Tag Archives: social change

Apollo 11 and Us

We dream of soaring…

Sunday night I watched the new Apollo 11 documentary by Todd Miller. At first, I was really into the show. When the Apollo 11 mission happened I was just starting high school and had been a big fan of the space program going back to Project Mercury. Watching a Saturn V lift off has always induced a profound sense of awe in me.

But I was increasingly struck by how white it all was. And male, but really, really white. That diluted the joy I was feeling with some deep regrets about how we act still today over what are basically paint jobs and some minor accessories.

Given where we find ourselves these days, 50 years hasn’t brought as much progress as it should have. We’re still really stupid about paint jobs.

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Our Existence (part 2)

Recently I wrote that I was reading Existence (David Brin, 2012), a novel I found so striking I had to post about it before I was even halfway through. Now I’ve finished it, and I still think it’s one of the more striking books I’ve read recently. (Although a little blush came off the rose in the last acts.)

Central to the story is the Fermi Paradox, with a focus on all the pitfalls an intelligent species faces. The tag line of the book, a quote attributed to Joseph Miller, is, “Those who ignore the mistakes of the future are bound to make them.” Brin’s tale suggests that it’s well neigh impossible for an intelligent species to survive their own intelligence.

I’ll divide this post into three parts: Mild spoilers; Serious spoilers; and Giving-away-the-ending spoilers. I’ll warn you before each part so you can stop reading if you choose.

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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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Seriously? Seriously?

surprisedI hope you know what you’re doing. I get the part about voting for him. What I don’t get is being fooled by him. And I’m not sure who’s getting fooled. Is he what he appears to be, or is it all just an act?

He’s a real estate salesman. He doesn’t design buildings. He doesn’t actually build them. He just puts his name on them. He “gets it done” but what about how he gets it done?

What is his word worth? Is he an honorable man? A decent one? A kind one? Do we have any fucking idea who this guy really is?

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The National Disgrace

vote-1

Do it in the name of sanity and decency.

Please.


The Penis Election

pumpkin-vomitWhat a sad and pathetic group of ape-descendants we turned out to be. After the Dark Ages, the human race had high and lofty aspirations. We saw ourselves so vastly evolved from our animal origins. We had the power of nuanced communicative language, of higher thought and rationality, of powerful evocative art, music, and literature.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the human experiment is a fail. The answer to the Fermi Paradox is that “intelligent” species actually aren’t intelligent enough. All our technical toys turn out to be exactly like giving an ape dynamite and a lighter.

And after several thousand years thinking we’re better than animals, we prove we’re not by making this election cycle about penises.

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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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Final Straws

trump-bustedWhen you elect for the highest office in the land a feces-flinging “damned dirty ape” (as Charlton Heston famously said), you really can’t be all that surprised when he shits all over your political process. What did you expect would happen?

What depresses, nauseates, and outrages me is what it seems to have taken (and who knows if even this is enough). As final straws go, the business of the Orange Goblin claiming (and, indeed, very possibly truthfully) that he cops feels and steals kisses with impunity pales in comparison to the sheer evil he embodies.

Once again we demonstrate that the big picture is beyond us; it’s the little things that capture our attention.

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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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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.