This Day in History. "A country without a memory is a country of madmen." - George Santayana

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bad News #4: Who Cares?

I will tell you, I have been trying desperately to avoid using less-than-savory language while writing this blog, but I keep having Lewis Black moments where the word "fuck" just comes flying out beyond my control.

It is stories like this one recently posted on ABC.com that confirms the fucktardedness of our present-day media. It should be clear from scanning my posts that at this point, for all practical purposes, I am a fan of Obama, but PLEASE... why the fuck should I care about what beer Obama chooses for his sit-down meeting between Gates and Crowley?! This is national business news? Not only that, but this is a news article that deserves FOUR fucking pages?! Come on ABC, save this story for something like All About Beer magazine or some equivalent.

I have long maintained that we do not have a liberal -OR- conservative media, though both sides frequently try to point out "bias" to gain the advantaged position and generate mistrust of the press (recent example: Sarah Palin). Rather, we just have an equal-opportunity idiotic media that largely shows puff pieces anymore. This comes in the middle of some potentially ground-breaking and financially crippling legislation that of which the citizenry of the US needs to be made aware: Health Care Reform. Instead we focus on Michael Jackson, So You Think You Can Dance, whether or not Paula Abdul is returning to American Idol, Henry Louis Gates-gate, and what fucking beer Obama is going to choose when he sits down with Gates and Crowley... Yes, please don't pay attention to what is happening behind the curtain...

Corporate advertisers and lobbyists need their asses handed to them for a month or two while our news networks need to be straight with us about all the potential advantages and ramifications that could result from upcoming health care proposals. Instead of airing the dis-information commercials from the left and right, PRESENT US WITH THE FUCKING FACTS! DO YOUR DAMN JOBS!

Friday, July 17, 2009

It Came From the Comment Boards! #2: A Good One

Usually I will visit the comment boards on the Washington Post and CNN (and a variety of other places) and there are a sea of two sentence responses uttering the most idiotic garbled nonsense that indicates the "Me" Culture we live in; everyone thinks they have a voice. The irony of course is that by writing this blog and hoping people will read, I am succumbing to that same very cultural urge, however, not all commentary/blogs/opinions are created equal. Occasionally, I come across some affirmative/positive opinions on the comment boards and I'd like to display one thoughtful post in reference to a "Black in America 2" commentary regarding parenting:

"I agree with you Mr. Ferguson - the last few generations of young Americans are the MOST dumbed-down Americans ever to walk the country - but I dont know how you can manage such an undertaking.

First, look at Television - its a total wasteland with mindless shows promoting mindless goals. Second, look at movies - again, endless mindlessness and the kids all think its "cool" simply because of special effects. Third, look at music - where we used to have musicians and performers we could envy and look up to, it seems now to make it in music you have to be a criminal, and have the IQ of a vegetable.

An old college professor once said to us that "democracy without individual responsibility is merely defacto chaos" and today, that is very true. We have parents who's main concern is the size of their house, their car, and how much they can consume devoid of any real parenting responsibility. We have children who can name all the latest rappers, but cant name the state capital of the state they live in, let alone understand anything about the world at large - and this, and lots more only gets worse.

Vladimir Lennin said "if you want the people to crave white bread, you feed them only white bread" meaning that to control a populous, dumb them down so that what they consume seems to them to be the best. If you look at our society now, that is what we have. Kids who think their music, movies and television are "ground-breaking" when in fact, they are merely being dumbed down by these media outlets so that they can flood the airwaves with commercials for stuff no one needs.

I admire what you aspire to - but for me, frankly, I have given up and realize that eventually, the United States will implode on itself because we chose to raise greedy morons who have no individual responsibility, let alone deep thinking capacity.

It does not take violence, or rigid rules to make a democracy work - but it does take an informed and interested populous - and that, we have just about killed off."

When folks make commentary like this, it gives me hope that we still have some portion of our country that is educated and thoughtful. Praise goes to the commentor. Parenting has fallen off in all communities, not just the black community, and as a result we have a generation of parents who are so concerned about themselves that they assume school and society will teach their children. Sad state of affairs.

Bad News #3: No Duh!

According to a recent CNN article, they claim that certain families of the victims of the September 11th attacks in 2001 do not want Obama to close Guantanamo Bay. Well, no shit! If you have ever heard anyone who lived in NYC at the time of the attacks recount their experience, it is clear that it was very traumatic, and rightfully so. I cannot even begin to imagine losing a loved one in the first tragic attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. I would never try to take that away from them. Getting to the point of my article however, that is not what is wrong with this story.

Let's go over the two major blatantly flawed parts of this article:

1) 9/11 victims want us to continue to hold "Muslim terrorists" at the Guantanamo Bay facility. No duh! This is not news. Anyone who has suffered the amount of tragedy/loss that many of these victim families have is going to want revenge/vengeance. Of course they are going to want to hold these people indefinitely because, honestly, they are going to be selfish (again, rightfully so). They want the retribution for their families' losses; I would most likely be the same way. It does not take a stretch of the imagination to know that this is how they would respond, CNN.

2) The point of an article is to inform, but frequently it is also meant to adjust public opinion or political action. What bothers me is that these victims are not experts. They are simply people more closely connected to the situation than many of the rest of us. Their responses are purely emotional and should not be held with any gravitas above that. These family members are not experts in terrorism, the Middle East, Islamic jihad, so beyond the fact that they lost someone, what does their opinion matter? How about interviewing someone who can tell us, USING FACTS, what could happen if we close down the Guantanamo Bay facility? I am open to either side of the coin if someone can reasonably argue why or why-not.

On one side, we hold these people indefinitely, further losing standing with the Muslim world (you know, those of whom we are trying to win "hearts and minds"), but also most of the developed nations for potentially violating the Geneva Convention. On the other side, we "release" these detainees into supermax prisons across the US, holding them on our soil, and charging them with crimes. Justice will be served either way. From an visibility standpoint, it would seem to make sense to go with option #2. The detainees would be separated, and less visible to the international media. We get so scared by the words "on our soil" as if they are going to breed Islamic terrorism in the prisons with the hour or so of time they will have out of their cells.

CNN, you can/should do better. The opinions of these victims' families matter to me about as much as asking an Average Joe on the street how he feels about closing Guantanamo. Nothing is resolved in my mind over whether we should or should not close the detainee facility. Just another "feel-good" filler piece to load the 24-hour news cycle crap bucket. Let the Today Show cover that shit and give me FACTS.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sarah Palin in a Nutshell: Hypocrite

Amongst all of this Palin resignation hoopla, I feel it is important to reflect on the nut in the shell that is Sarah Palin. It is not my intention to rise above the muck and write some unbiased piece. This is my brief roast of the woman on her way out.

Over the past few months, this is basically Palin's paraphrased message to the media: "Damn you for your coverage, but really, thanks for the coverage *wink*. I did not mean for my family to become part of this until I thrust them into the spotlight and made them part of this. Please do not focus on me or my family anymore unless it's about my book deals and speeches or my daughter's baby."

She is either VERY smart, or VERY dumb. But what I can say, regardless of whether her approach to her popularity is intentional or not, she is an egotistical hypocrite (like MOST politicians).

Don't get me wrong, I am not claiming some sort of moral high-ground in which I am cleansed of any and all hypocritical behavior. We all have moments in which we say one thing and then do another. The difference is that we are not out there claiming some consistent moral high-ground.

Many women - on the right, in the center, and even on the left - would have you believe that Palin is some kind of superwoman, largely because I think they all want to think of themselves as superwomen. These are the same women who think they can work 40+ hours a week and still be considered the greatest mom ever. They either do not have the time or do not make the time to self-censor what their kids watch/play/read/learn, so they expect the government, the public education system, and businesses to bow down to their ideas of what is decent and proper, either through legislation, regulation, or petition.

In one vein, Palin talks all day about freedom-of-this and freedom-of-that and yet in the other she wants to limit said freedoms to what she sees fit. She would limit the freedom to information (sex education), freedom of sexuality (gay marriage amendment), freedom of (and from) religion (creationism in schools). But don't tell the woman she can't own a high-powered automatic rifle that could tear a person apart, that would just be unAmerican... right.

I will tell you one thing that is consistent about Palin. Regardless of what she says about the press/media, she LOVES the attention.

For her sake and mine, I hope that this marriage of convenience between Palin and the media ends soon as she resigns from the position of Governer of Alaska. She can head home and try to make more time for her family as she tries to be the good mom she claims to be, and I can go on living my life feeling thankful that she is not our vice-president.