Category Archives: Society

Breaking Wrong

For years friends have been urging me towards the TV show Breaking Bad. They tell me about how the writing is so good, and the drama so engaging. The problem I have is that it stars, not just a meth dealer, but a meth maker. For me that’s a deal breaker that no writing is good enough to overcome. Nothing is worth inviting a meth maker into my life on a regular basis.

I see a parallel in how people accept Trump even when they do see him for the idiot and creep that he is. In this case, it’s certainly not good writing (or good governing) they seek, it’s getting their way that makes them support an ignorant, incompetent, greedy, narcissistic racist.

I gotta ask: Have we gotten too willing to embrace human failure?

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Feelings vs Intellect

xkcd #1901There’s really only one web comic I read anymore: xkcd. Randall Munroe continues to turn out thoughtful gems, and I really appreciate the ad-free nature of the site. I also find his What-If? series delightful; the first episode is one of my favorite interweb jewels!

But it’s his insight to the human condition and ability to nail a point with such brilliant brevity that I most relish. I value some of his comics as highly as I value favorite quotes; both are pithy petards against our myths and illusions.

And sometimes he even hoists my petard a bit!

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A Side of Feelings

face-palm-polar-bear

SMH…

When it comes to feelings (nothing more than feelings), there are two strongly reactive — yet very separate — feelings clubs on my mind these days. The one that surprises me is personal and seems to have only myself as a member. The unsurprising one, the angry, depressed, shocked one, contains nearly all the liberals these days.

A more on-the-nose term might be ‘city folk.’ (Or my personal favorite: “polis people.”) Some see this — I fully agree — as a divide between rural and city sensibilities, between local old-fashioned and global modern tech, between yesterday and tomorrow.

One side is stunned the other won, while the winners are holding their breath wondering what they’ve won…

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Sick At Heart

franciscoWhat do you do when you realize that society is an insane asylum and the inmates are the keepers? If reasonable people were running the place, maybe there would be some hope, but as it is we seem to be gleefully accelerating straight towards a cliff. One maniac in particular seems to be stomping on the gas pedal and no one seems able to grab the wheel.

How do we navigate a world so out of touch with the rational (let alone the truthful)? Our collective heads are so far up the collective asses of our brand loyalties that all conversation is muffled by all the shit in our mouths. There is no real dialog, let alone a dialectic.

And I can’t stop running that line from Hamlet in my head.

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Good vs. Evil

good-evilWhen it comes to doctors (or nurses), lawyers, airplane pilots, the people who prepare and serve us food, the people who design and build our houses, the people who design and build our TV, cars, or cell phones, we naturally expect them to be well-trained and very good at what they do.

Of course we do. We avail ourselves to these things because we trust the experience and ability of those workers to do their job reliably, accurately, and correctly.

So why is it that, when it comes to politics, so many are so unwilling to listen to those who clearly know what they’re talking about?

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Great Expectations

debate2016-1This post’s well-known title could apply to my Minnesota Twins (who lost their 100th game yesterday), but even someone who’s been a close observer only six years knows better than to have great expectations of the team these days.

It might also apply to the pending NASA news conference about Europa. Many of us are hoping for something along the lines of a mysterious monolith and staying away, but rumor has it that the Hubble telescope spotted the long-absent water geysers. (They were observed years ago, but never since.) ((Update: The rumors were correct!))

But, while those are expectations, considering what’s taking over about a dozen TV networks tonight — what’s been long awaited by so many — the post’s title absolutely refers to the first Presidential debate.

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Take A Knee

I’ve been considering this business of sports figures kneeling during the national anthem…

kneeling

My initial reaction was, “WTF?” But after a bit of thought, I decided I was more,  “Meh, whatever.” It seemed mostly to be going on in football along with some other sports I really couldn’t care less about

(And, full disclosure, I have a definite antipathy towards the NFL; do not like them at all.)

But then I realized that this was both important and right. Civil disobedience is the very quintessence of necessary but painful social change.

We’re noticing. We’re talking about it. This is where it starts, if it is starts anywhere at all.

Yesterday I read a New York Times article[1], apparently a regular thing they do highlighting the best comments of the week on their social media platform.

The first one was interesting, a lady blamed not being shot after being stopped by the police on being white. But it was the second one that really, really grabbed me. It says perfectly what I’ve been searching to say about the taking a knee thing:

Rioting and angry protest … “Why can’t you just peacefully protest?”

Kneeling peacefully … “No, not like that.”

~Darius Ensey (on Facebook)

Exactly. Nail; hammer; head! I can’t think of a better way to put it.

Because here’s the awful thing: When you’re black, sometimes there’s just no winning.

So maybe we should all take a knee and keep talking about this. Hell, maybe we could even do something about it.

Ya think?


[1] I’m a White Lady. Perhaps That Is Why I Am Not Dead., By Lela Moore and Lindsey Underwood, September 24, 2016.


Five-Second Rule

deplorable

Well that didn’t take long!

Multiple news sources have reported on a two-year microbiology study out of Rutgers University (Is the five-second rule real?). The upshot is: Yes, of course it’s not real.

What strikes me is that anyone actually thought it was real. We (meaning pretty much everyone I ever associated with) always understood it as a bit of obvious irony, a self-serving excuse for eating fallen food. If asked, I would have said one would have to be a real idiot to think it was real.

Well,… can’t say I’m surprised.

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The New Normal

crazy-town-exitThe 1991 movie Grand Canyon, which I wrote about recently, in large part is about how insane life has become. In the 25 years since, the insanity has grown. Perhaps most are so focused on just getting through their life, or are so taken up by the distractions and toys of modern living, that they never stop to realize just how really crazy the world has gotten.

I don’t mean the apocalyptic reality presented by TV news, or by the GOP; I mean the sheer insanity of how we go about our business these days, what we accept as “the way things are.”

I mean what we’ve come to accept as normal.

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High Ground

questionsWhen did we change? When did we decide that torture was an okay idea? When did we begin to so tolerate the very presence of nationalism, racism, and gender politics? When did we decide to so forsake the values that defined us as a nation?

Why do we think popular or successful means — even defines — what is right? Why do we cling to clearly false beliefs rather than accepting demonstrated facts? Why do we confuse what we like with what is good?

Where is our moral high ground, the set of values espoused by the founders of the USA and which, until recently, have largely been at the center of our national identity. Where is one of the most important questions of all: Is it the right thing?

What is wrong with us that an obviously unqualified raging narcissistic reality TV show star has even a chance of being elected President of the country? How can we possibly be this foolish? What makes anyone think he can even begin to deliver?

Who will we elect, someone who — like her or not — is clearly qualified to run the country, or an ignorant human monster surfing a wave of hate, fear, and angry frustration? Perhaps more importantly, who are we as a people?

Who do we want to be?

Which way will we turn? Towards the Dark Side? Or towards the light?