Today Google honors International Women’s Day with one of their doodles.
I am 100% in favor of honoring the women of the world. And, I have some thoughts. Consider these remarks by Morgan Freeman on the occasion of Black History Month:
MIKE WALLACE: Black History Month, you find … MORGAN FREEMAN: Ridiculous. WALLACE: Why? FREEMAN: You’re going to relegate my history to a month? WALLACE: Come on. FREEMAN: What do you do with yours? Which month is White History Month? Come on, tell me. WALLACE: I’m Jewish. FREEMAN: OK. Which month is Jewish History Month? WALLACE: There isn’t one. FREEMAN: Why not? Do you want one? WALLACE: No, no. FREEMAN: I don’t either. I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history. WALLACE: How are we going to get rid of racism until …? FREEMAN: Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace.” Hear what I’m saying?
2005 interview with Mike Wallace for television’s “60 Minutes” news magazine program
There has recently been an immensely favorable response to the Neflix series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” ¹ as well as rising awareness of the challenges still faced by women around the globe (astonishingly, in the 21st Century. Sadly, there are bastions of troglodicity (my own word) in my own country where people in power are bound and determined to keep women in a state of perpetual subjection and inferiority – notably the US Congress, SCOTUS, and legislatures in various “red” states around the nation, such as Texas, Alabama, Utah, and many others.
The Christian faith has a lot to do with it, especially religion of the evangelical sort:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour.”
Ephesians 5: 22-23
“Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man; rather, she is to remain silent.”
1 Timothy 2: 11-12
But even in non-Christian societies, the pervasive attitude that women are inferior beings has been present for millennia – the following passage from one of my favorite short stories, set in Brazil, lays it out pretty clearly.
Then [the tribal chief] went on to explain—it took all night—that the tictoc nut was not like other nuts. Everything, said the chief, everything could think a little. Even a leaf had sense enough to turn itself to the light. Even a rat. Even a woman. Sometimes, even a hard-shelled nut. Now when the world was made, the deuce of a long time ago, man having been created, there was a little intelligence left over for distribution. Woman got some. Rats got some. Leaves got some. Insects got some. In short, at last there was very little left. Then the tictoc bush spoke up and begged, “A little for us?”
“River of Riches” by Gerald Kersh, 1958
Fast forward to our day and age and country, and these attitudes have some direct consequences within individual families, and not just in the less-tangible global sense of economic and social inequality. In other countries it’s worse still; female children in Afghanistan and India, for example, are more likely to be abandoned, sex-selectively aborted or killed in instances of infanticide than are boys. Human trafficking, largely perpetrated upon women and female children, continues to be rampant. The evil is mind-clenching.
If we’re going to be fair about it, every other day should be International Women’s Day… plus February 29th when it rolls around because women slightly outnumber men on a global basis. But until the recognition which they deserve is granted them in the same sense that Morgan Freeman expressed, I give honor – every day – to all the women of the world², who not only bear and raise the next generation but who have made incalculable contributions to humanity since the dawn of time.
This little essay may do absolutely nothing to improve the situation, but I felt that for myself, it was important to mark the day with more than just a congratulatory message.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ If you liked the series, read the books by Margaret Atwood, including The Testaments. They add a lot of things you’ll never see in the series and leave you with some reasons for optimism instead of bleak hopelessness.
² Cis-, trans-, or otherwise, in case you were wondering.
From a lady named Jen. Seen at reddit, posted by u/xenophonXiphos, but shared widely elsewhere and originally posted (I think) on Facebook.
“You all don’t get it. I live in Trump country, in the Ozarks in southern Missouri, one of the last places where the KKK still has a relatively strong established presence. They don’t give a 🤬 what he does. He’s just something to rally around and hate liberals, that’s it, period. He absolutely realizes that, and plays it up, they love it, he knows they love it, and the fact that people act like it’s anything other than that just proves that liberals are idiots, all the more reason for high fives all around.
“If you keep getting caught up in why do they not realize blah blah blah and how can they still back him after blah blah blah, you are not understanding what is the underlying motivating factor of his support. It’s 🤬 liberals, that’s pretty much it.
“Have you noticed he can do pretty much anything imaginable and they’ll explain some way that rationalizes it that makes zero logical sense? Because they’re not even keeping track of any logical narrative, it’s irrelevant, 🤬 liberals is the only relevant thing, trust me, I know first hand what I’m talking about. That’s why they just laugh at it all, because you all don’t even realize they really, truly, don’t give a 🤬 about whatever the conversation is about, it’s just a side mission story that doesn’t really matter anyways. That’s all just trivial details- the economy, health care, whatever. 🤬 liberals.
“Look at the thing with not wearing the masks. I can tell you what that’s about. It’s about exposing fear. They’re playing chicken with nature and whoever flinches just moved down their internal pecking order, one step closer to being a liberal.
“You gotta understand the one core value that they hold above all others is hatred for weakness, because that’s what they believe strength is, hatred for weakness. And I mean passionate, sadistic hatred. And I’m not exaggerating. Believe me. Sadistic, passionate hatred, and that’s what proves they’re strong, their passionate hatred for weakness. Sometimes they lump in vulnerability, a compromised circumstance, or an overwhelming circumstance in there with weakness, too, because people tend to start humbling themselves when they’re in those circumstances and that’s an obvious sign of weakness.
“Kindness = weakness. Honesty = weakness. Compromise = weakness. They consider their very existence to be superior in every way to anyone who doesn’t hate weakness as much as they do. They consider liberals to be weak people who are inferior, almost a difference species, and the fact that liberals are so weak is why they have to unite in large numbers, which they find disgusting, but it’s that disgust that is a true expression of their natural superiority.
“Go ahead and try to have a logical, rational conversation with them though. Just keep in mind what I said here, and think about it.”
I’m seeing calls from right-wing “thinkers” to impeach President Biden, Vice-president Harris, and any and all Democrats. This is the sheerest nonsense; Tumblr user “biokitty” explained it this way (emphasis mine):
These are people who don’t understand politics as an entity that actually affects them, they can’t be reasoned with because they know being like that pisses off liberals. It’s honestly the most juvenile, immature tactic that elementary school-aged bullies use but they get a rise out of liberals repeatedly by doing it. It’s why so many of them comment on social media “trump 2020″ on posts that aren’t even about politics: because they know just posting that on a tasty video or something will piss off a bunch of liberals.
And now its “Trump 2024.” God forbid.
You see, Trump is an evil bastard, bred and raised by an evil bastard, a sociopathic serial narcissist and compulsive liar. His moral failings are too many to list here in full, but are well-documented. He’s a racist, sexist, abusive, heartless, bullying, spiteful, vengeful, cheating con man. And he deserved to be impeached, twice. And should have been convicted, if the Republicans in the senate had anything resembling decency, or a spine. But they’re all terrified of him and his evil vindictiveness, and their political careers are worth more to them than honor.
But calls to impeach the Biden administration are being made for one reason, and one reason only: spite. Whereas the Orange Screechweasel belongs in jail on any of hundreds of counts of moral turpitude, business fraud, and outright criminal behavior, President Biden is an honest and decent man as politicians go¹ and is working hard to undo the devastating damage the former guy did to our nation both domestically and internationally. He cares about you and me, regardless of our political affiliation. He wants all Americans to have a better life. But the alt-right, in their slavish, brainwashed devotion to the cult of personality that has sprung up around The Thermonuclear Bowel Evacuation Formerly Disgracing the Oval Office, are mightily offended that their Golden Calf was so unfairly maligned, and they want revenge. Revenge on a political party whose platform essentially says “build a world that works for everyone, with no one left out,” as opposed to the one that says “🤬 you, I’ve got mine.”
The GOP has become a cult of personality, filled with wannabe autocrats who have chained themselves to a violent, hateful, despicable (and piteous) human, one who makes Richard Nixon look like Romper Room’s Miss Julie. If democracy is to survive in our nation, this faction must be sidelined and rendered impotent and irrelephant [pun intended.] Based on what I’m seeing in the way of Democratic disarray, the presence of two additional Republicans in the Senate – specifically Manchin and Sinema – and the growing efforts of GOP-led state governments to implement disenfranchisement strategies, I don’t have much hope for 2022 and 2024. We may be in for a very, very dark time before sanity once again prevails, as it always seems to do.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ Politicians in general have a less-than-stellar reputation, largely deserved. Most of them are a bought-and-paid-for bunch; Congressmen and women, for example, are encouraged to spend at least 30 hours a week calling potential donors for contributions instead of doing the people’s work. As long as Citizens United is in effect, corporations will in effect write our laws and determine the direction and tenor of our society. That said, there is a bell curve of decency, and from everything I’ve seen President Biden is a couple of “honorable” standard deviations from the mean.
Some time ago, a preview of this book appeared in various places around the internet; reddit, Twitter, and a few others. I encountered it, and knew at once that this is a book I would need to own and read. And I was right.
The excerpt reads as follows:
My husband plays the trumpet, which is a sort of loud pretzel originally invented to blow down the walls of fucking Jericho and, later, to let Civil War soldiers know it was time to kill each other in a river while you chilled eating pigeon in your officer’s tent twenty miles away, yet somehow, in modern times, it has become socially acceptable to toot the bad cone inside your house before 10:00 a.m. because “it’s your job” and your wife should “get up.” What a world! If one was feeling uncharitable, one might describe the trumpet as a machine where you put in compressed air and divorce comes out, but despite this—despite operating a piece of biblical demolition equipment inside the home every bright, cold morning of his wife’s one and only life—the trumpet is not the most annoying thing about my husband.
West, Lindy, The Witches Are Coming
Once I had read the book, I felt morally obligated to leave a review at Amazon, if for nothing else than to give this beautiful collection of essays a signal boost. This is a cross-post of that review, with a bit of amplification.
A witty, acerbic, and irreverent look at sexism in the 21st Century (and other critical issues that are crying out to be addressed).
Make no mistake, this book will resonate with women… but it’s a book for men. We as those who hold supreme privilege in our society by simple roll-of-the-dice virtue of having a Y chromosome cannot be allies in the fight for gender equality (indeed, for human equality) – we must be the frontline warriors.
We can no more expect women to overcome misogyny than we can expect people of color to overcome racism. The problem is not them; the problem is us. Until people like Donald J. Trump and those who think like him can be rendered irrelevant or educated (and doing either will be an Augean task, if even possible), writers and influencers like Ms. West can continue to publish and speak and agitate, but they must become the rear guard. It is up to men to take up the cause and win the war.
At the age of 70, I do not expect to see a bloodsoaked fatal flawless victory in my lifetime, but battles are being won.
The #MeToo movement and its consequences are just one example. But that’s still a sortie in the war, waged by the oppressed minority. Do you wonder why there are so many “strident” feminists out there?¹ It’s because their stridency is the moral equivalent of the Watts riots and so many subsequent outbreaks of violence by people of color who have been enslaved, oppressed, lynched, sidelined, and minimized for over 400 years. Read up on history and you’ll see that women have been waging a battle for equality for just as long, if not longer.
Men, buy this book and read it. Then think about it, and read it again. Despite its biting humor and delicious writing, it’s not a book to entertain or amuse. It should be a textbook for anyone who wants to understand why the problem of misogyny is so rampant, and what needs to be done moving forward.
I’ve written about racism before. For all the talk about Critcal Race Theory, (an academic theory that is not being taught in K-12 schools, no matter what Tucker Carlson may be telling you), white America needs to face the fact that racism is real, and rampant, and deeply ingrained in our society.
But in all honesty, there should be a Critical Gender Theory as well. Donald Trump and his “locker room talk,” Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and so many others bear not mute but loud and blatant testimony that for far too many men, women are still less-than: objects to be used, property to be managed. Ms. West’s book offers few real solutions to the issue. She’s loud and funny and sharp and biting, and shows in delicious prose where our society has gone wrong and how much there is to do, but in the end analysis it will be up to the faction in power (read: men) to make the difference.
Fixing Hollywood and the media would be a good place to start, but I honestly don’t hold out much hope for that in the short run. As long as there are dollars to be made by depicting women as pliant sex toys in drama and advertising, nothing short of the zombie apocalypse will get entertainment and advertising moguls to wise up.
In the meantime: Men, read this book. It’s not just the pathetic moanings of a whiny liberal feminist; it’s an unashamed accounting of what women in general have to face on a daily basis. If you, by the grace of God, get a sense that maybe you’re part of the problem even without wanting to be, this is a good place to start as I mentioned in my other post on racism:
It won’t be easy, but it has to be done.
(And if you care about the climate and the impending destruction of our global environment which we may not have any way to reverse, you should read this book as well.)
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ You might also be interested in watching Ms. West’s Shrill, a 2019 Emmy Award-nominated drama about a woman who seeks out ways to change her life without changing her body.
“In 2004, [Kellog’s Korea] advertised a public vote for a new product: chocolate-flavored Cheki or green onion-flavored Chaka.” (AP)
Cheki won, but per the article there was a vote-stuffing scandal. Now, the injustice has been corrected.
And as odd as it might sound to people who don’t know me, I think I would eat these. It’s a darn shame that unique things like Pepsi-flavored Cheetos™ only surface in the Far East (a big-hearted colleague of mine sent me a couple of bags from Japan, I thought they were awesome); if I were richer than God I think I’d hop a plane to Japan every month just to gather up new bits of strangeness to try. (But not until there’s an effective vaccine for Covid19.)
Sadly, by the time I can afford a trip to Korea and the health crisis has passed, these will probably be gone – limited time offering and all that. But if I ever get over there, I’m sure there will be a host of other bizarre foods that I can sample.
It was the ’60s. I recall my mother sitting at the kitchen table typing out a letter with carbon paper, making multiple copies of something. I remember the words “chain letter,” I never read it, and I don’t know if any money exchanged hands – typical of the so-called “gifting scams – but the point is that these things have been around for a long time.
Back then it was all done by the US Post Office. Then came the advent of the fax machine, and along with the ubiquitous “Nigerian Prince” con, chain letters continued to enjoy popularity.
In 1971, Ray Tomlinson invented and developed electronic mail by creating ARPANET’s networked email system, and by 1976 a full 75% of ARPANET’s traffic was electronic mail. This invention, so useful and so fraught with complications (think Spam), allowed chain mail to come into its full glory.
Now, there are many kinds of chain letters, but the idea of all of them is self-propagation. They are, in a sense, viruses that replicate by the good graces of the receiver and are usually propagated based on the inculcation of guilt. They serve no purpose other than to stroke the ego of some twit who wants attention, and waste internet bandwidth and storage space.
Fully 21 years ago, a valued colleague (thanks, Stephanie) sent me this great send-up of chain letters (by email, of course) and I’ve had it in my files ever since. And it is not lost on me that the fact that I’m sharing it here makes it a chain letter of sorts.
Chain Letter Type 1: The Scroll Down
Make a wish!!!
Really, go on and make one!!!
Oh please… that person will never go out with YOU!!!
Wish something else!!!
Not that, you moron!!!
Something else! Quick!!!
Is your finger getting tired yet?
Wasn’t that fun? Hope you made a great wish.
Now, to make you feel guilty, here’s what I’ll do. First of all, if you don’t send this to 5,096 people in the next 5 seconds, you will be attacked by a mad goat and then thrown off a high building into a pile of manure. it’s true! Because, you know, THIS letter isn’t like all of those fake ones, THIS one is TRUE!!
Really!!! Here’s how it goes:
• Send this to 1 person: One person will be mad at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
• Send this to 2- 5 people: 2-5 people will be mad at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
• 5-10 people: 5-10 people will be mad at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
• 10-20 people: 10-20 people will be mad at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
• 20 to 674,951 people: 20 to 674,951 people will be mad at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
Thanks!!!! Good Luck!!!
Chain Letter Type 2: Starving Little Boy
Hello, and thank you for reading this letter. You see, there is a starving little boy in Baklaliviatatlaglooshen who has no arms, no legs, no parents, and no goats. This little boy’s life could be saved, because for every time you pass this on, a dollar will be donated to the Little Starving Legless Armless Goatless Boy from Baklaliviatatlaglooshen Fund. Remember, we have no way of counting letters sent and this is all bull. So go on, reach out, Send this to 5 people in the next 47 seconds. Oh, and a reminder if you accidentally send this to 4 or 6 people, you will die instantly.
Chain Letter Type 3: The Horror Story
Hi there!! This chain letter has been in existence since 1897. This is absolutely incredible because there was no email then and probably not as many little 8 year olds writing chain letters.
So this is how it works. Pass this on to 15,067 people in the next 7 minutes or something horrible will happen to you like:
Stupid Horror Story #1: Miranda Pinsley was walking home from school on Saturday. She had recently received this letter and ignored it. She then tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, fell into the sewer, was gushed down a drainpipe in a flood of poopie, and went flying out over a waterfall. Not only did she smell nasty, she died. This Could Happen To You!!!
Stupid Horror Story #2: Dexter Bip, a 13 year old boy, got a chain letter in his mail and ignored it. Later that day, he was hit by a car and so was his girlfriend. They both died. Their families were so upset that everyone related to them (even by marriage) went crazy and spent the rest of their miserable lives in an institution. This Could Happen To You!!!
Remember, you could end up like Pinsley and Bip did. Just send this letter to all of your loser friends, and everything will be OK.
Chain Letter Type 4: Meaningless Poem
As if you care, here is a poem that I wrote. Send it to every one of your friends.
Friends A friend is someone who is always at your side, A friend is someone who likes you even though you smell like poop, A friend is someone who likes you even though you’re disgustingly ugly, A friend is someone who cleans up for you after you’ve thrown up on yourself, A friend is someone who stays with you all night while you cry about your loser life, A friend is someone who pretends they like you when they really think you should be attacked by a mad goat and then thrown in a pile of manure, A friend is someone who scrubs your toilet and vacuums and then gets the check and leaves and doesn’t speak much English… no, sorry that’s the cleaning lady, A friend is not someone who sends you chain letters because he wants his wish of being rich to come true. Now pass this on! If you don’t, you’ll be eaten by wild goats.
Chain Letter Type 5: Microsoft or Disney
This e mail is wicked cool! It was started by Microsoft to test it’s e mail tracking system because, you know, a big high tech company like Microsoft always sends important new software out over the internet to be available to any moron who can operate a computer, right? Plus, they have formed a secret merger with Disney Corp., who has agreed to give up millions of dollars in revenue by giving everyone who reads this e mail, passes it on, looks at it, knows someone that looked at it, or is related to someone who is a friend of someone who looks at it A FREE, ALL EXPENSES PAID TRIP to Disneyland, Disney World, or Euro Disney! So pass this on to everyone you know that is gullible enough to believe this (or not)!
Even if it’s not true, hey insulting all of your friends by implying that they are gullible by sending this to them is worth the improbable chance that you could go to Disneyland! Even if you lose all of your friends because they are tired of receiving this kind of junk from you, it’s worth the chance, right?
And just for good measure, if you don’t send this on, Microsoft will send its specially trained attack goats to pilfer your house and eat all of your family, SO SEND IT ON!!!!!
Chain Letter Type 6: Virus Warning
VIRUS WARNING!!! If you receive an email entitled “Badtimes” delete it immediately.
Do not open it. Apparently this one is pretty nasty. It will not only erase everything on your hard drive, but it will also delete anything on disks within 20 feet of your computer.
It demagnetizes the stripes on ALL of your credit cards.
It reprograms your ATM access code, screws up the tracking on your VCR and uses subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD’s you attempt to play.
It will re-calibrate your refrigerator’s coolness settings so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles.
It will program your phone AutoDial to call only your mother-in-law’s number.
So be careful! Forward this to all of your friends, relatives, neighbors, family, enemies, plumbers, garbage men, stock brokers, doctors, and any other acquaintances! It’s for their own good! Thank you.
Chain Letter Type 7: Meaningless Picture
Here is a cute picture I drew.
It is a decapitated angel. Send it on to all of your friends so it will brighten their day like it did yours! If you don’t, demon possessed goats will move into your house and eat all of your socks, leading you to believe that something is wrong with your washing machine because all of your socks keep disappearing.
Have a nice day!!!
Remember, the moral of the story is, if you get a chain letter, ignore the stupid thing. [Edit for 2020: Especially if it involves sending money or sensitive information to someone you don’t know!]
If it’s a joke or something, send it, sure, but if it’s gonna make people feel guilty (i.e. the goatless boy from Baklaliviatatlaglooshen) or nervous (i.e. Miranda Pinsley who ended up in a waterfall of turds) just delete it.
Do yourself a favor, and everyone else in the world, and say, “DEATH TO CHAIN LETTERS!”
Except this one of course. This one must be sent on to 4,170 people in the next 15 seconds or you’ll be eaten by wild goats.
People have hated chain mail since its inception:
On the other hand, there is an entire subreddit dedicated to the kind of mindless trash that fills your inbox or WhatsApp or Messenger, r/forwardsfromgrandma. To this day there are people in my circles who send me the most idiotic things – political screeds, conspiracy theories, pseudoscientific garbage, or random bits of inane humor – despite my begging them to stop. There’s no getting through to these people. So many of these things could be easily put to bed with a 10-second Google search, but they can’t be bothered.
I can’t count the number of times I have been warned about a program that will “open an olympic torch that will burn the entire hard disc C” of my computer.
For some reason, many people seem resistant to education, so there’s probably no way to stop the flood of self-replicating messages on Facebook and other platforms. But over time I’ve learned a couple of discernable red flags that something you’re being sent is bogus:
If the message exhorts you to “send this to everyone you know” … just don’t.
If the message says “Snopes confirms this is true!” the odds are that it is completely bogus. Don’t forward it, trash it. A quick Google search is usually sufficient to confirm that the message is a self-replicating hoax.
If the information you’re being sent and asked to share outrages you, check it. Many people forward things that make them angry, thinking that they are doing something to mitigate a problem. In most cases, the information being spread is completely false, taken out of context, or badly misrepresented.
If you want to be metal AF, you could respond with something like this, but in today’s environment you had better be able to read your audience or your next visit might be from the FBI.
Knowing humanity, this kind of thing will probably never disappear entirely, but continuing education will serve to reduce the flood to a manageable level.
Share this blog post with everyone you know. ¹
The Old Wolf has spoken.
¹ That’s a joke, people. Of course I like increased engagement, but you’re not obliged to share anything you read here with anyone, unless you really think it has value.
This was an odd one. It happened at a Naval Air Station, where people essentially carry weapons for a living. So that muddies the water a bit. And, it turns out that the perp was a Saudi national, and an aviation student to boot, which raises a *whole* lot of questions in my mind, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Before anything else, my heart is broken for those impacted; the victims, their families, and their loved ones. People die every day from all sorts of reasons – illness, unavoidable accidents, natural causes, even violence – but death by terrorism is especially hard on those left behind. And I make no apologies for calling it that. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
But now comes the summum bonum of this post: According to CBS News, ” The number of mass shootings across the U.S. thus far in 2019 has outpaced the number of days this year, according to a gun violence research group. Before this year has even ended, 2019 has already had more mass shootings than any year since the research group started keeping track.”
This doesn’t even take into account the little ones. Individual shootings by unbalanced or patently evil people. As of today, the total is 36,518. Now, in terms of national statistics, that’s only roughly 3/4 the number of deaths by suicide from any cause, according to the CDC, and almost the same number as automobile fatalities in 2018. So some might argue that in terms of overall numbers, it’s not a big deal.
But it is. It’s a big deal. It’s too many, and too horrible, and too traumatizing, and gun violence takes adults, and children, and breaks hearts and shatters families and reduces our safety (the NRA would argue the opposite) and the quality of our life.
So here’s the question, directed at those of my friends and associates who fall on the “cold, dead hands” side of the equation:
What are you going to do to stop this carnage. What are you doing right now to make sure that guns don’t get into the wrong hands, the hands of people who will use them to destroy the innocent?
I exhort you: don’t get me wrong. I support the 2nd Amendment as long as it remains part of the Constitution.
These are patches and such that I earned as a youth. I remain proud of them to this day. I learned gun safety and responsibility and enjoyed target shooting immensely. (Thanks, Hutch.) We own a 30-30. I’m not a “gun grabber,” as the NRA loves to pigeonhole people who advocate for gun control. But the situation today has far exceeded what I consider madness.
The courts have repeatedly ruled that you have the right to assemble an arsenal that would be the envy of a small nation. I think that if the Founders, in their wisdom, could see what that those 27 words had wrought in our day and age, they would weep in outrage and promptly need to go home and change their pants. But that’s my interpretation, and the wisdom of the 2nd is not what I’m discussing. It’s a fact, and we need to deal with things as they are.
I think our nation would be far safer if there were no guns in private hands, but if the right to bear arms is never going away, it needs to be tempered with a responsibility to bear arms safely, and I support treating guns in the same way we treat cars, none of which contravenes the wording of the 2nd Amendment:
Gun owners should be trained, licensed, and insured for each type of weapon owned.
All weapons should be annually registered, inspected, and taxed.
So what are your solutions? How will you preserve your rights and still stop the daily carnage? Change my mind.
¹ Note: I’m inviting comments for this post, despite the fact that it’s a divisive and often inflammatory issue. I have attempted to be as impartial and even-handed as possible in laying out my feelings. Comments that are ad-hominem attacks (i.e. “You gun-grabbing pussy!”) or not based on reason (“I disagree!”) will simply be deleted without ever being seen. I want to know how you would fix things, and preserving the status quo is not an option. So choose your words wisely.
Mad Magazine™ was wonderful back in the ’50s and ’60s. I seem to recall that as I grew older, either my sense of humor changed – I started appreciating Harvard Lampoon’s work in the late ’60s – or the quality of the writing diminished.
At any rate, some of the early stuff was priceless, and still relevant to today’s challenges. One example that keeps surfacing in my mind every time I hit a detour is this gem, written by Tom Koch and illustrated by Bob Clarke.
Peeved at Obstructions (Sung to the tune of “Eve of Destruction” Barry McGuire)
You save up all year long to take a nice vacation. You make a lot of plans to drive across the nation. You dream of all you’ll see with great anticipation. You’ve only got a week to reach your destination, But that seems like enough, you feel no consternation. Then they tell you over and over and over again, my friend, That you can’t get through; the road is under construction.
You’ve never been to Maine or Utah’s scenic section. You call the auto club to help make your selection. You pay to get your car a thorough trip inspection. So you can drive afar and feel you’ve got protection. Then, when you’re almost there, you seek a cop’s direction. And he tells you over and over and over again, my friend, That you must turn back; the road is under construction.
Vacation here at home, our president keeps sayin’. Don’t spend your dough abroad, he fervently is praying. So you head for New York do do your summer playing; Or maybe to the west a travel plan you’re laying, To see those snowy peaks and geysers wildly sprayin’. But the signs warn over and over and over again, my friend, That you can’t get there; the road is under construction.
“The project involved the reconstruction of 16.2 miles of interstate mainline and the addition of new general purpose and high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes through the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The project also included the construction or reconstruction of more than 130 bridges, the reconstruction of seven urban interchanges, and the reconstruction of three major junctions with other interstate routes, including I-80 and I-215.”
While the project was sorely needed and the end result was beneficial, for four years, the commute from outlying areas to Salt Lake City was a major pain in the patoot, with commuters searching out and jealously guarding favorable and secret bypass routes.
But wait, there’s more!
In 2009, UDOT undertook the I-15 Core reconstruction project, rebuilding 24 miles of I-15 from Point of the Mountain to Payson in just 35 months. The design-build strategy meant that the entire stretch was torn up at once, instead of doing a few miles at a time. The inconvenience was so significant that I was moved to memorialize the experience in video:
In retrospect, I really shoudn’t complain at all; nowadays our nation’s crumbling infrastructure could use a bit of help, and I think subsequent generations would appreciate our putting up with some inconvenience if it means that their bridges won’t collapse underneath them. But when you’re behind the wheel and trying to get to work (or to a vacation destination), the aggravation can certainly raise one’s blood pressure.
Since I happened to be on the subject of MAD Magazine, another extract from the same article is precisely the reason our family threw out all our TVs over 20 years ago (the kids were absolutely devastated, but somehow they survived):
The TV Victim’s Lament (Sung to the Tune of “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan)
How many times must a guy spray with Ban Before he doesn’t offend? And how many times must he gargle each day Before he can talk to a friend? How many tubes of shampoo must he buy Before his dandruff will end? The sponsors, my friend, will sell you all they can. The sponsors will sell you all they can.
How many times must a man use Gillette Before shaving won’t make him bleed? And how many cartons of Kents must he smoke Before the girls all pay him heed? How many products must one person buy Before he has all that he’ll need? The sponsors, my friend, will sell you all they can. The sponsors will sell you all they can.
How many times must a gal clean her sink Before Ajax scours that stain, And how many times must she rub in Ben-Gay Before she can rub out the pain? How many ads on TV must we watch Before we are driven insane? The sponsors, my friend, will sell you all they can. The sponsors will sell you all they can.
Full disclosure: My mother single-handedly raised me on the income from commercial advertising, so I feel a bit sheepish about this, but the onslaught of advertising, much of which has now moved from the airwaves to the internet, still rubs me the wrong way.
This exchange was shared with me on Facebook as a screen capture. I went digging and found the original post at the Tumblr of Iowa Rambler (systlin), followed up by a repost with a couple of comments at the Tumblr of assasue.
I present it here in slightly bowdlerized form for a family-friendly audience (my apologies to the original writers); if you don’t mind language you can follow the links above for the original text. Other than one small spelling correction for clarity, nothing has been changed.
Something I find incredibly cool is that they’ve found neandertal bone tools made from polished rib bones, and they couldn’t figure out what they were for for the life of them.
“Wait you’re still using the exact same thing 50,000 years later???”
“Well, yeah. We’ve tried other things. Metal scratches up and damages the hide. Wood splinters and wears out. Bone lasts forever and gives the best polish. There are new, cheaper plastic ones, but they crack and break after a couple years. A bone polisher is nearly indestructible, and only gets better with age. The more you use a bone polisher the better it works.”
50,000 years. 50,000. And over that huge arc of time, we’ve been quietly using the exact same thing, unchanged, because we simply haven’t found anything better to do the job.
i also like that this is a “ask craftspeople” thing, it reminds me of when art historians were all “what?” about someone’s ear “deformity” in a portrait and couldn’t work out what the symbolism was until someone who’d also worked as a piercer was like “uhm, he’s messed up a piercing there”. interdisciplinary stuff also needs to include non-academic approaches because crafts & trades people know things ok
One of my professors often tells us about a time he, as and Egyptian Archaeologist, came down upon a ring of bricks one brick high. In the middle of a house. He and his fellow researchers could not for the life of them figure out what it could possibly have been for. Until he decided to ask a laborer, who doesnt even speak English, what it was. The guy gestures for my prof to follow him, and shows him the same ring of bricks in a nearby modern house. Said ring is filled with baby chicks, while momma hen is out in the yard having a snack. The chicks can’t get over the single brick, but mom can step right over. Over 2000 years and their still corraling chicks with brick circles. If it aint broke, dont fix it and always ask the locals.
On the Media is “WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our world view. Veteran journalists Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield give you the tools to survive the media maelstrom.”
A recent segment intriguingly addresses the PEOTUS’ twitter-storm, and how the media should appropriately respond.
As we all know, Donald Trump’s tweets have become a potent force in our new era. On the one hand, a single tweet can cripple opponents, activate supporters, move markets, and subsume the news cycle. On the other, they’re a window into Trump’s wee-hours, unfiltered id. But when his tweets are full of half-truths, distortions, and often bold-faced lies, should journalists treat them as normal presidential utterances, or something else? Cognitive linguist George Lakoff believes that the press must understand how Trump uses language if we’re to responsibly report on his tweets, not just magnify their misinformation. He talks with Brooke about the categories he’s come up with for thinking about Trump tweets.
A summary of the categories:
Preemptive Re-framing – Trump’s tweet stated, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” This was rated “Pants on Fire” by Politifact, but it effectively re-frames the popular vote in the minds of those who see the tweet, thus distorting the facts in the public arena.
The Diversion Tweet – This kind of tweet is akin to the magician’s misdirectional “nothing up my sleeve.” While you’re busy looking at his or her sleeve to be sure, jiggery-pokery is happening elsewhere. A good example is focusing on Hamilton, as Trump did when he tweeted “The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” In this way, people focus on Hamilton rather than the $25 million settlement in the case of fraud allegations against Trump University.
The Trial Balloon – Send up something and see how the public reacts, so you’ll know what to do in the future. When Trump tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he watched to see how the public responded to this idea; in this case there was a brief discussion about nuclear policy which quickly faded from the public consciousness.
Deflection – In which you attack the messenger. After being pointedly called out by Meryl Streep for mocking a disabled reporter, Trump attacked the messenger: “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never “mocked” a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him “groveling” when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!” The video is out there; no matter how much he denies it, Trump’s actions can not be interpreted as anything other than cruel mockery of a man’s afflictions – but attacking Ms. Streep, one of the most accomplished and versatile actresses of this generation, deflect’s the public’s view from the issue at hand. This was also evident as Trump attacked Buzzfeed, CNN, and the BBC around reports on the supposed Russian dossier.
Lastly, Lakoff presents an example of a Trump tweet that uses all four strategies at once:
“Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
Pre-emptive framing: “This is fake news.”
Diversion – Getting the public to discuss whether or not this is fake news rather than addressing the issue itself.
Deflection – Attacking the messengers
Trial balloon – Will the intelligence agencies be stopped, and are they working like Nazi Germany?
And, of course, tucked away in the tweet is the invocation of a corollary to Godwin’s Law: In any online discussion, whoever first brings up a reference to Hitler has lost the argument, and the discussion is ended.
Lakoff’s suggestions for the press on how to handle the onslaught of 3 AM tweets, as well as the entire podcast (it’s only about 8 minutes long) are well worth the listen.
Most of these unusual eateries are gone, replaced by restaurants whose gimmick is found inside rather than outside. As for me, I miss places like this. I still grin when I drive along the freeway on a road trip and see a huge Sapp Bros. water tank decked out to look like a coffee pot.