Tag Archives: Society

BB #59: Who Among Us

BrainFireIt doesn’t matter, because this isn’t about that, but it was a blog page I was reading — about baseball, as it happens — where the writer used the phrase, “who among us is perfect?” I hear variations of that sentiment often. It’s meant to embrace the flawed humanity in all of us, but to my ear it sometimes excuses the egregious.

In this particular case (again, not the point), the writer was excusing the putative racism of a ballplayer during the 1940s, and that’s when a Brain Bubble floated up to my consciousness: Does it seem we use the phrase “no one is perfect” a little too broadly, a little too generously?

Have our standards of acceptable gotten lower in the modern era?

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Cast Your Vote!

ballotAs I was downloading my sample ballot and poking around the web for information about local issues and candidates (because that’s what good citizens do), I was struck by the profound sense of pain, fear, and sorrow I felt.

The feelings were so overwhelming I found myself, once again this election cycle, silently weeping. And praying that God would touch people’s hearts and minds with a measure of grace and decency.

How have we come to this? How have we gotten so far from our ideals and founding beliefs? How have we gotten so evil?

In a few days the ballots will be counted, and we’ll know if we’ve embraced that evil or rejected it. In a few days the future direction of our country will be set.

At this point, I can only repeat the brilliant words of Leon Wieseltier from his appearance on The Colbert Report:

“A democratic society, an open society, places an extraordinary intellectual responsibility on ordinary men and women, because we are governed by what we think, we are governed by our opinions. So the content of our opinions, and the quality of our opinions, and the quality of the formation of our opinions, basically determines the character of our society.”

He went on to say:

“And that means that in a democratic society, in an open society, a thoughtless citizen of a democracy is a delinquent citizen of a democracy.”

And, truly, that says it all. I can’t say it better or add to that.

So I won’t.

This November 8th, be sure to vote.

And, please… vote for decency. On just that count, the choice is clear.


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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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.


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?


BB #51: Web Bubbles

BrainFireIt has become self-evident that the interweb is a game-changer in human society. It is generally welcomed — rightfully so — as a big step forward in terms of access to information. More crucially, it’s a giant step forward in sharing information, which is what Tim Berners-Lee originally intended.

But, as with any powerful tool, there’s a Yang to the Yin, and something as extraordinarily powerful as the web is bound to have a strong Yang balancing that Yin.

If we consider the web as we know it as beginning in 2001, we’ve had 15 years to study the effects.

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BB #50: Blog Bubbles

BrainFireThere is no question ‘the urge to write is strong in this one’ but these days I’m weary (on many levels) of writing structured blog posts. At the same time, after so many years of writing for presentation, it’s hard to relax one’s own rules enough for a major style change. But it’s what I keep reaching for.

Seeking that, as well as catharsis from a world that has either gone mad, or — at the very least — is driving me mad, I realized, a-ha: Brain Bubbles! While intended for off-the-cuff passing thought posts, many turned out as collections of related (or unrelated!) thought bubbles.

So pop the cork and let the bubbly flow…

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Movies: Grand Canyon

Grand-CanyonYesterday’s post was a rant; this one counters with a rave. The bad news is that it’s my even earlier writing chops from three years prior to the Stargate review, plus — as this was essentially an email — the writing is especially informal and unstructured.

Therefore original plan was to write a new piece on Grand Canyon, because it’s one of my all-time favorite films, and I wanted to do it proper justice. The “review” you’re about to read I wrote shortly after seeing the film for the first time, so it lacks any thoughts I have about it after 25 years and many viewings since then.

But I’m all about clearing my weblog backlog (the blog bog), so here it is in all its informal gushy glory.

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