Bienvenue, 2018!

        It seems appropriate, after more than a year’s hiatus, to begin again at the start of the year. I’ll say “Hello” to a new year “Good Friggin’ Riddance” to 2017, please let the door hit you on the ass on your way out! There’s no fancy Latin title to start this year – this time it’s French. Heh!

        “Why French?”, you may ask. Because I have also put South Carolina in my rear-view mirror and moved to Vermont! As such, I am currently hip-deep (not quite) in this year’s wintry high jinks. I haven’t seen this much snow since I was in Japan more than 35-years ago. It’s been good, though, and I have no complaints – much.

ascutney-vermont.jpg

This is Mt Ascutney from my front yard

Ascutney Snow

Mt. Ascutney in the snow.

         I’ll get to the shortcomings and nonsense I see in the world eventually, it’s cathartic, you see, but for this installment of the Digression, I’ll touch on a few things here and there and, perhaps, address certain topics more completely at a later time. I suppose I’ll just lay into the belly of the beast and scatter the snowflakes of both left and right. Here it goes:

Politics

        After an election between two of the worst candidates imaginable, America elected a narcissistic idiot. All I can say is that we, both left and right, live in an age of government control; no, not the kind of government control you’re thinking about, but the kind of control that encourages people to think “we can elect any dumbass we want and it’ll be all right”. No matter how imbecilic Trump is or how flawed his policies are, someone in government will clean up his mess and kiss our boo-boos and make it all better. It just isn’t going to happen that way and you better get used to it. Actions have consequences and America fell for a snake oil salesman. Trump promised jobs he can’t get back. He’s promoted the worst people to his cabinet positions, likely by design. And he lies: about showing his tax returns (whether you think he should or not, he made that promise), about the shady characters in his staff, about voter fraud, about Obama’s citizenship, about state’s rights, and about the size of his inaugural crowd (as if that brag really meant anything at all); he lies about reality.

        I’m not going to pore over every stupid thing that Trump has said and done, but America, you elected this nincompoop, so you deserve the misery. You elected the supply-siders’ wet-dream candidate and every bad idea the Republican Party has ever had is now in danger of being passed because they have the numbers to ram it down everyone’s throat and a willing signatory in the White House. You’re not going to get jobs when there is no market (the only economic law that means anything is “supply-and-demand”) or when profits are at stake. You’re not going to get more affordable healthcare. You’re not going to be safer by building some ridiculous wall or treating immigration as would the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. There is a lot of frustration in America – and hate; Trump tapped into that and played his supporters like a fiddle. If you think there’s a Nero allusion there, it may be apt.

        Does anything about this strike anyone as strange that these guys, who are wealthy, who run multinational corporations whose concerns are only with the bottom line and their shareholders, who pay their executives obscene salaries, are saying that the tax system, under which they, themselves, became wealthy, is broken and needs to be fixed? I think “fixed” is the operative word here. Do statements like these that the Republicans continually trot out not smack of a con? I know you Trump supporters don’t like being called stupid but, as Bill Maher put so well, “you gotta meet me halfway and stop being so stupid.”

        The only silver lining I can see to this comes from Dave Chappelle’s latest Netflix special where he recounts the obscenity that was the Emmitt Till murder trial. Out of that injustice came civil rights legislation that was supported by people who demanded that this nation do better by all its citizens. Trump supporters probably think demanding this nation do better is exactly what they did, but they’d be wrong. What they did was give the affluent a tax break they don’t need or deserve, and this nation a leadership that does not respect science, facts, the Constitution, or the very electorate who voted for them. This nation has to do better than allow the self-interested greed of the wealthy and short-sightedness of those who oppose anything they deem smacks of liberalism or feminism to turn this country into just another failed empire that collapsed upon itself through its own inequity.

Language

        I am an unapologetic grammar nazi, as most of you who have dared traipse through my screeds can attest. It strikes me as astounding that people cannot grasp writing skills in a medium of communication that depends on clear, coherent, and readable thoughts and opinions. If anything, this state of laziness in writing has been so omnipresent in internet forums that it is being passed over, to the delight, I’m sure, of the “you know what I mean” crowd. Lazy is lazy and “you know what I mean” doesn’t change that one bit. “Comments aren’t a term paper,” you say? Maybe not, but if you think your opinion is correct, why not be just as correct with the way to communicate it? I’m not obliged to decipher your sloppiness and nothing you scrawl in a comment forum is going to be a revelation anyway. At the very least, make an attempt to want to not appear like you slept through school! If you can’t differentiate between you’re and your, or to, two, and two, or there and their, etc., I will skip over whatever you’ve written because I’m just not going to waste my time when you clearly didn’t give a shit. By the way, “etc” is the proper abbreviation – contrary to the way I’ve seen it written too many times – because it stands for “et cetera” not “ectcetera”! For those who don’t believe me, look it up in a dictionary (I’m certain that experience will be a new one for many of you!).

        But even more irritating is that the constant bombardment of buzzwords and stupid phrases through the media, social and otherwise, is affecting how people speak and write and how obvious it becomes that they aren’t even thinking about what they’re saying. Listen to any show on television with someone who’s trying to be up-beat or “positive” and you will invariably hear them use the word “super” as a hyperbolic modifier: “super-excited”, “super-trendy”, “super-jazzed” (I nearly threw up in my mouth with that last one), and on and on. Is it not enough to simply be “excited”? Why does it have to be SUPER-excited? Are the people in charge of these shows marketing to pre-adolescent girls who draw circles over their lower-case i’s instead of dots? Or maybe they think the collective intellect of the viewing audience is merely that of little girls? You can tell the people speaking haven’t put one second of thought into what flows out of their mouths; they have to maintain a “positive” image because so many of these shows or the topics they cover are just so much fluff. Thanks, 24-7 programming! I definitely have more gripes on this subject matter for future articles.

TL;DR

        This last part is about how the “troll mentality” that pervades every aspect of our lives now is ruining every aspect of our lives. The overarching lesson to be learned about the internet is that when people don’t want to admit they are mistaken, misinformed, or just backed the wrong side, in many instances, they will shut down any attempt to burst the little bubble in which their misconceptions live. I blame a lot of this on the “ratings and sensationalism is more important than truth” model, but a lot of it points back to simple laziness – again!

         If you’re locking into Fox News or MSNBC or NPR or Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones and not seeking to find information elsewhere to figure out if these guys aren’t just feeding you a line of bullshit, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you get dismissed. Just because someone has a “source” doesn’t mean that source is credible. The old standard in the newspaper business was to have three sources for a story. In this day and age of instant gratification and “breaking news”, that’s a hard standard to meet, but damn it, that’s the standard that needs to be met! Everybody in media today is so concerned about being “first” that speed to print or upload is primary and mistakes will be fixed later. That’s a great recipe for getting a reputation for being sloppy with the facts. The adage “speed kills” applies to reporting just as well as it does with idiot drivers. You go too fast and all you’ll do is drive right into a wall or over a cliff. A slower, more deliberate pace allows time for consideration and avoiding mistakes. Cooling off before responding? Proofreading? A dictionary? “Hot takes” are usually worthless, chatty opinions that serve as nothing more than programming filler. Reduce your fat intake; start with the garbage you feed your brain.

And Finally:

        I realize a lot a what I scribble is ranting or complaining about something, but there are a lot of things in this world that are beautiful and worthwhile and I don’t want to see them go away. What I complain about largely are the things I see us doing to ourselves for no reason or selfish reasons. We have developed into a society that pays lip-service to a lot of ills and balks at the notion of getting our own hands dirty. Instead of the wrong-headed griping about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem, we get off our asses and actually address the problem of the way police do their jobs (because stop-and-frisk is fine so long as it’s happening to someone else, right?). Instead of translating female “empowerment” into unrealistic action movies and TV shows (I’m looking at you, The 100), we acknowledge that there are places where we all are rightfully and sensibly equal and places where creating a false narrative to supplant reality is… chaos. Just because you want something a certain way doesn’t mean it can be – or should be –  that way! As Joe Rogan once said about female MMA fighters to a guest, “They’ll fuck you up!”, which is fine if you aren’t trained to fight. But you pit a female fighter against a male fighter and reality will prevail. So things go in all areas in life. Some people, undoubtably, will say I’m being negative, but I say, if you want to call reality “negative”, why do you want to go through life with your mind so screwed up? “No limits” is just marketing fodder for those folks who have to have a buzzword to get off their asses. I don’t respect that kind of mentality, I pity it.

        More than anything, as I traverse the melange of the superficial that is the internet, I will occasionally see the phrase, “get off my lawn” as a response to something that comes off as complaining about the younger generation. It seems to me that complaining about millennials is sport for all generations, not just the older folks. But, really, the “get off my lawn” response is just more trolling from people who either aren’t serious or don’t want their opinions challenged. Just because a person is old (or older) doesn’t mean they don’t have a good thought or opinion – so long as they can back it up! A lack of willingness to listen to an opposing view is what I’ve been talking about in this article. Don’t dismiss things out-of-hand unless you know the FACTS! Believing is not knowing. Faith is not knowing. Only seeking facts until other possibilities are eliminated is knowing. This is how logic works, how science works, and how our government should work. So what’s wrong with this picture?

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Confessions

I took a hiatus from writing on this blog, not because I am tired of writing nonsense, but I am getting very tired of writing about nonsense; unfortunately, there is plenty of that to write about.  The stream of stupidity from the Republican “adults” seems endless and it just isn’t worth the effort to talk about while those who are getting paid to do it (Jon Stewart, et al) are doing a rather clever job with it.  But while we have a major reckoning with the Confederate flag (again), it’s time for a little truth-telling – about the flag and about myself.  I’ll tell on myself first.

There was a time, when I was in my early twenties, that I wore a Confederate flag on a jacket that I frequently wore.  I didn’t wear it because of any racial animosity or anything other than as a “Southern” thing from someone who grew up in Alabama.  There truly was no more thinking into it than that, that is to say, there was no real thinking going on about that flag at all.  I was finally forced into thinking about it one night as a black man I worked with, a Marine who went by the name of “Slash”, asked me about it.

“Montgomery, you’re a really good guy and I just can’t figure out why you wear that damn Confederate flag patch.”

“Well,” came the feeble reply, “I’m from Alabama, you know, I grew up in the South.”  Yes, it rings just as stupid and hollow in my ears today as it likely reads for you.

“Well, so am I! I’m from Alabama, too!”

If I had a reply to that, I don’t recall what it was.  What I do remember is Slash saying something along the lines of “think about it”.  I did.  That night, after coming to some conclusions about the flag, I took that patch off and refused to make any rationalizations about it since.

The rationalizations that surround the Confederate flag have to do with “heritage”.  Well, that’s all well and good if you’re a white Southerner who doesn’t think that holding slaves in a country that made the pretense to freedom and liberty is hypocritical.  If you happened to be a descendant of those who suffered under such a myopic society, your views of such a heritage might feel a bit differently.  Regardless, the flag has nothing to do with “heritage”, it is straight up bigotry.  The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups didn’t adopt the Confederate battle flag by accident – they know what it means and what kind of a culture supported its cause.

Honoring one’s ancestors has a curious quality about it: those who are ostensibly being “honored” don’t know anyone is doing it; they’re dead.  Ultimately, the recognition is on display for the living to view.  What must be “honored” is the act of defending one’s home against the invaders.  Well, why were the invaders invading?  Could it be that the Confederacy declared war on the United States and fired the first shot of the war?  They did this in the name of secession, something the U.S. Constitution did not expressly give them the ability to do.  Then the defenders of flag and heritage will have to begin to lie so to perform the mental gymnastics inherent in defending the flag while disassociating it from the cause of the war.  They will tell you that the war was not about slavery, and maybe they are correct in a very technical sense – the war was for secession– but all paths lead to the driver of the economic engine of the agrarian South: slavery.  One only needs to look at the articles of secession issued by various states and the Confederate Constitution, where the rights of slaveholders were declared and protected, to see the lie.  There is no doubt that the South feared the loss of slavery and viewed secession as the remedy to maintain the institution.  There are no lies to tell, no diversions to employ, that can undo this truth.

Yet, there will be those who will continue to try to hide the truth.  I can only hope that a portion of those will have a similar experience as I did and stop and think about what that flag really means.  Maybe that portion aren’t really bigots, they’re just, as was true for me, unthinking.  I had the courage to admit my mistake and I changed.  Change is coming and it is good.

Heyba, Mamby, Who Be Raybbin?

You’re travelling through social media, a dimension of insinuation, of gossip, of unprovable nonsense; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of agendas and biases and a willingness to accept things at face value. At the allegations up ahead, you’ve entered The Prattling Zone.

Some random stand-up comic said something about Bill Cosby and the internet blew up.  Yep, Bill Cosby. The Coz. Fat Albert. The black-youth-need-to-get-off-their-asses man. Shall we add “Serial Rapist” to his resumé? With thirteen (and counting) women coming forward to tell similar sordid tales of roofies, and ‘ludes, and unwanted advances, The Court of Public Opinion™ is having a field day while the Department of Due Process and Innocent Until Proven Guilty™ is struggling under the weight of circumstantial evidence that will never be tried in real court. What is one, who cannot escape the inescapable news feeds, to do except see this for what it is? And what is it? Empty.

My wife thinks I’m victim-shaming or “-blaming” or some other type of “-aming”, but that’s not it at all. I fully realize that slipping a woman a mickey to get into her pants is not the thing to do and to downplay that is inexcusable; I mean, duh! But at what point are we allowed to demand that people take responsibility for their own actions? It’s not like Cosby was accused of slipping something into a drink in every instance, some of the women say that they were handed the pills and told to take them. Why did they? A bad decision is a bad decision, whether you are star-struck or not. And some of these women continued to associate with Cosby after the incidents they describe as “rape”. (If you want a blow-by-blow account of their accusations, this is not the venue for that.)  It’s not that I don’t believe their stories, it’s just that taking into account the entire relationship with some of these women makes their accusations harder to accept… and after more than thirty years. I’m sorry, I just like things to make better sense than what I see here.

For one woman, money was enough, as there was a civil case brought against Cosby which was settled out of court and, also, in which many of these same women were prepared to testify but never got the chance. If they were ready to testify, why didn’t they strike when the iron was hot? The rationale of “no one would have believed me” or “it was harder for women then” may have some merit, but at some point, those wear thin especially in light that Cosby had just settled a case and there was a potential line-up ready to hit him with suits again and again. Yet, only when one woman broke her silence more than thirty years later did they come forth. It didn’t have to be this way and that’s what frustrates me about the way they handled this violation of their persons.  All because some random stand-up comic said something and a video went viral.

Is this a catharsis for them? In most cases, very likely. I can’t say that I even have the mechanism to relate.  But what is the difference when many people today won’t believe them or suspect their motives from when it was “harder for women” at the time of the assaults? The very fact that they waited in silence for so many years hurts their case as much as anything Cosby could say in rebuttal – if he was saying much at all. He’s all lawyered up and this will all come to nothing. Perhaps that is the most aggravating thing of all.

I like justice. I like to know that when someone has been victimized, their offenders will be brought to justice and properly punished. That’s not going to happen here. Whether the stories of the women are true or not will never be tested; the statute of limitations has run out. What does that say about our system of justice? If this crime happened, isn’t it in the interest of society that the facts of this are examined rather than put them to an arbitrary timetable that an offender only has to wait out? Yet the crime of rape can be dismissed after a certain length of time even if the mental scars will survive a lifetime. Where is justice?

I suppose an argument can be made that there is no evidence, so any type of trial will have little more value than the decrees already handed down with impunity from the self-appointed and faceless arbiters of guilt and innocence who, of course, can see these things more clearly from their vantage point on the internet than those folk from the Department of Due Process. But there are more sins to go around than just the ones’ Mr. Cosby committed – allegedly (Gah, I hate that.) What other sins, you may ask? Why, the women who were violated didn’t speak up, so they allowed this predator to continue to do what he was doing and the only means for warning off potential victims was the comedy circuit grapevine. That worked really well, didn’t it? Some, doubtless, felt intimidated to say anything against a celebrity, but some were also thinking of their careers in their silence. Yes, maybe they were raped, but their inaction assured that others were in danger, as well. Courage thirty years after the fact doesn’t look much like courage to me.

I have no particular regard for Cosby; I didn’t watch his show and his comedy is definitely a take-it-or-leave-it proposition for me. The Fat Albert cartoon was pretty unwatchable and the Jell-O commercials were just a dirty joke waiting to happen. I am not defending him, but I am defending the idea that an accusation has to carry the burden of proof and a mob of voices speaking in concert is not proof. Because with every subsequent woman who comes out against Cosby is another who said nothing and did nothing when action would have meant a hell of a lot more. What can possibly happen as a result of all this? I want more than internet noise. I want proof and there is nothing. I want justice for victimized women and there is nothing. I want a justice system that says a crime is a crime and the passage of time does not change that. Short of a miracle or a crisis of conscience, all the angst will amount to little more than yet another empty media event… and some random stand-up comic got his 15 minutes of fame.

The Death of Honey Boo-Boo

I never had occasion to watch the show – basically because I dumped my cable TV – but I have longed for the day when Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo would be given the axe. What little I know about the show is that the mother looks like that hog Clint Eastwood was wrestling in Unforgiven and that, in this family, ketchup is supposed to pass for spaghetti sauce, or as they called it “sketti”. I don’t know what part of the country they are from, but if stereotypes have any basis in truth whatsoever, this family reeks of Southern white trash. Is that judgmental enough for you? Of course, the circumstance for the show’s cancellation, which I won’t get into here, was unexpected, but it gives some credence to the way I view this sorry scene. In reality, I just don’t care about them but I do care about why they even crossed this country’s consciousness.

This is the crux of why I interrupted the other things I’m tending to for this ill-tended blog: has anybody responsible for “reality” television smartened up at all? The only thing that is “real” about reality television is that it focuses on the broken and dysfunctional in our society – and it’s cheap to make (that’s a biggie!). It’s not enough that there are people who hoard things because they are emotionally disturbed individuals, but let’s drag their crap out for all to see and entertain ourselves under the auspices of “helping them”. It’s not enough that there are little girls aspiring to be dancers, no, “reality television” has to inject some garbage-mouthed, ill-mannered heifer and throw a lot of manufactured outrage on top of it all. And the list of pure shit-for-television-programming goes on and on. Why has “The Learning Channel” become “TLC” and descended into showing the most despicable examples of human behavior? Why has A&E, Discovery, SyFy, Bravo, and many others become nearly exactly the same with little to recommend a difference, much less anything with intelligence? Have we become so insecure, so narcissistic, and so voyeuristic that we watch this shit-pile of schadenfreude to make ourselves feel good about ourselves? In the race for ratings, it’s been a race to the bottom of decency and “reality” television has mired itself in inequity and stupidity and bullshit. Who could be surprised that they finally stumbled across a sexual predator in the muck? Idiots.

A creative partner and I worked on a scripted television project and my partner presented it to a producer/creator of many of these shit shows purely for the purpose of using his connections or funding to move the project along. Well, it didn’t go anywhere as my partner got the sense that this producer didn’t have the juice to see a project such as ours through. His conclusion was that this guy was a one-trick pony and his trick was producing shit “reality” shows. Color me not surprised.

I hate the FCC, the Comics Code, the Hays Commission, the MPAA ratings system, and pretty much any other means of censorship, historical or current, where somebody thinks they know better than me what I should be allowed to watch, read, or say, but damn it, people, when do we start demanding some quality out of these braindead fucks? They don’t seem capable of doing anything other than chase ratings and we have shit television because of that. Is it enough to boycott advertisers or is that just an improbable quick-fix for short-term problems?

Hell, Alton Brown admitted that part of the reason he ended his excellent show Good Eats was because he could see the writing on the wall that the days of recipe shows was drawing to a close to be replaced by competition shows and DAMN I hate those shows! Everybody does them now! Everything has to be a competition; somebody has to be better than somebody else! Just stop the crap!

When the aim of your business is making money, you’ll sell whatever sells. You don’t have to care about the product as long as it sells and you don’t get sued. It’s well known that television is a business to make money. It’s also painfully obvious they don’t give a shit about what they’re selling.

Social Media Sucks…Again

“Life’s too short to debate other people’s opinions.”
                           -Neil DeGrasse Tyson

I thought the "update" to the logo was unnecessary, so doing this was a pleasure!

I thought the “update” to the logo was unnecessary, so doing this was a pleasure!

Ah, the internet and especially the Twitterverse is up in arms again. After the NFL’s mishandling of the Ray Rice situation – that did nothing more than show NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as little more than the owners’ lapdog – we have a situation with Adrian Peterson, star running back of the Minnesota Vikings. Full disclosure here: if you’ve bothered at all to look into any of my previous miscarriages of writing, you will find that I am a life-long Vikings fan. As I have seen the photographs of Peterson’s son’s marked-up legs, my parental sensibilities are fighting with my inner Viking.  I gave up spanking my kids early in my parenting career, but I am not necessarily against corporal punishment.

Adrian Peterson, in “disciplining” his four-year-old son, took a switch to him and literally “tore that ass up”. If you are of a certain age and come from a certain culture – of which I am a part – a parent taking a switch to a child is nothing new, albeit a bit archaic. While I was never “switched”, I certainly felt the wrath of my father’s belt or my mother’s weapon of choice, the hairbrush. A switch on a bare leg is going to leave a mark, there is no getting around that, but does that actually constitute abuse? Peterson is not in the same category as those who leave their toddlers in hot cars, or break their bones, or keep them in closets.

He should be removed from the team, from the league! Really? As excessive as Peterson’s punishment of his child may have been, the reaction has enjoyed its own level of overreaction. But that’s part of the problem of social media: it enables the hyper-judgmentalism that has infected this society with little regard for logic or reason. It’s hard to find the carefully considered commentary through the backwash of the mob mentality of social media where some feel empowered to play judge, jury, and executioner. I suppose it was too much to hope that social media would ever amount to much more than dogs barking at each other.

If Peterson has to be examined, I would rather look at the most glaring defect in his public persona and that is the state of his “Christianity”. He is not unique, unfortunately, in being an athlete who invokes God’s name during interviews and, as one of the faith, I have an issue with this. Peterson is also not alone, as a professional athlete, in producing multiple offspring as he has six children, only one of whom by the woman he married earlier this year. The boy who is the center of this controversy is not that child. Yet, Peterson has fathered these children – even the one with his “deeply religious” wife – out of wedlock, or, more succinctly, through fornication. Now while I am of the mind to follow the “go and sin no more” aspect of Christian teaching, what Peterson has to show for himself is a heaping helping of “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. For one who, without encouragement, publicly proclaims his “Christian” values, however vaguely, he seems more akin to “those who pray on street corners that they may be seen of men”. To add to the Biblical references, I would add the sage admonition from Judge Judy: “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” His invoking God for something as trivial as football accomplishments while practicing something that is in conflict with genuine Christian behavior cheapens and puts a superficiality on his proclamations. It is a tricky thing to comment on this without sounding judgmental or condescending, but this incident may give Peterson the opportunity to examine how he conducts himself in all aspects of his life.  But this is all beside the purpose of my piece, although this is the Terms of Digression, so you shouldn’t be surprised.

The final thing I want to touch on is the getting Peterson back out on the field and the hysteria over legalities. While the legal system has succeeded in large measure to parse out the differences between constitutional obligations versus those of a private sector nature, the disconnect I see in the mob in forum rantings is just another case of disconnect or lack of true appreciation of meaning in the phrase “innocent until proven guilty”. Just because you may think Peterson is guilty of something doesn’t mean a Texas jury will agree with you. For me, and because I do believe in the core of our legal system and that of due process, I am willing to wait for a court to decide. The Vikings organization agrees with this, naturally, to get him back on the field, and my inner Viking has no problem with this. Remember, Peterson was held out of the Patriots game; that amounts to a one game suspension… for what, because the über-parents out there don’t like the look of what a switch does to a bare leg; because some think he exceeded suitable punishment for whatever the kid did? If he is found not guilty, then what? What is suitable punishment for what he did if he is found guilty, further suspension for some arbitrary number of games or banning from the league? I am for justice, not only for the child, but for Peterson, as well; that’s justice, not vengeance. Nuance is not well-appreciated in social media.

Is this social media mob employing the double-standard that comes with being a public figure? How many of us could bear up under losing our jobs because of something similar? This hasn’t been proven to be habitual or even beyond a case where it appears Peterson employed the rod a bit much. But it’s okay because Peterson has already made more than enough money, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, he gets his day in court. But if the court of public opinion says he’s gotta pay, well, he’s gotta pay, right? He sits on the pedestal of a higher standard on which we placed him, whether deserved or not, whether realistic or not. Because unless he acts exactly the way we want him to act, the mob won’t be satisfied until he is torn down. The only thing we love more than building up our idols is tearing them down, but even with the tearing down, it’s still idolatry. Professional sports is built on it.

Opinion polls are for politicians and television executives, not for legal matters. If the Vikings want to let the legal process work, that is their prerogative. Nike and Radisson pulled their sponsorship in a typically feckless corporate PR stunt and people are applauding even though they should know that once Peterson’s case is adjudicated, they will come scrambling back to suck some more money out of the wallets of the temporarily outraged. But this is the mob of bread and circuses and social media gives it its voice. If the mob actually had the intestinal fortitude to really speak to the NFL with its wallets, then they would withhold payment and demand that companies like Nike bring back their jobs to the U.S. and college athletes would really act like students rather than entitled minor leaguers waiting for a payday.

I won’t hold my breath.

UPDATE: And, of course, after I post this, the Vikings decide to ban Peterson from all team activities until his case is settled, whenever that will be. Their decision is theirs to make and I respect that; my view and my questions remain, regardless. While some may view this suspension as some sort of vindication, I believe it stems from the question of other players who were in similar situations, but sucked as players (A.J. Jefferson, I’m looking at you) and were treated differently by the team. Consistency is a demanding mistress…

Airheads with their…um…Airheads in the Cloud

iCloud

The Cloud was a bad idea. Never liked it, still don’t.

Ah, yes, nekkid pictures, the lifeblood of the internet.  And thanks to the interest the internet has in nekkid pictures, we have a scandal of earth-shattering import: female celebrities’ iCloud accounts were hacked!

ME: Uh, if the investigation that Apple did is to be believed, no, the server wasn’t hacked, the security protection was breached (psst, they figured out your password, bunkie, hope it wasn’t “ABC123”).

THEM: But still, privacy was violated!

ME: Yeah, and your point is?

THEM: But… but… some of the photos were fake!

ME: Really?  Then they either weren’t part of some grand hacking scheme or those “fake” photos were uploaded to iCloud by you, little miss fake nekkid pictures!

Yep, all of that, in one form or another, was spouted off by poor little celebrities who feel violated because seeing them naked has some kind of cachet on the internet.  But you know who I feel bad for?  Ricky Gervais.  Yeah, old Ricky injected a little common sense into this entirely stupid collapse of responsibility by stating that if you want to upload your nekkid pictures, don’t live in that fantasy world where it stays protected from prying eyes and is safe forever and ever and ever!  And noses were promptly set out of joint as they are wont to do when victims are feeling flush in their victimhood.

Victim shaming?  Hardly, unless it’s a bad thing to get these “victims” to admit to themselves that uploading those kind of pictures was a stupid thing to do…  duh…

The simple truth is this:  if a security system is invented by Man, it can be broken by Man; that’s just the way the world works, sorry.  Nothing you upload is guaranteed impervious to theft, but everything you upload is out of your control, just ask Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who said that her photos had been deleted “long ago”.  If that’s the truth, why were they still accessible in any form or fashion?  That is a question I would like answered!

The “Cloud”, or as I call it, “Bill Gates’ wet-dream with an assist from Steve Jobs”, is not safe for confidential information and never will be.  You don’t know who has access to it and you never will know that.  How could it be safe?

I despise social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) with a passion and this is part of the reason why.  People are going to do and say stupid things and be victimized by other people doing stupid things and then we all get to “enjoy” the drama because people won’t admit that what they were doing was stupid!

Between a government that acts like children in a slapfight with the media egging them on and people who won’t take responsibility for their own actions and acknowledge that maybe those duck-faced nekkid selfies weren’t all that important after all, I have to ask, Are their any adults in the room?

Hello?  Hello?

Ignoramuses + Rants = “Ignorants”

Ignorants

        I can’t say I have a solution to the influx of children fleeing the barbarism of their home countries, but watching the ginned-up zealotry over… what exactly is the outrage here? Regardless of the motivations – real or contrived – of the protestors, what is being done in the name of “anti-immigration” is an embarrassment to this nation. Don’t these people have better things to do, like go to their jobs or complain about people who are still looking for employment?

        I could write these protests off as just another incident of “we still don’t like how the past two Presidential elections came out”, but I think these types of demonstrations – and the professional people in politics and media who encourage this garbage – are emblematic of what I’ve always felt is the Republican Party as it exists in this day and age. Make no mistake about it, they are Republicans even though they still want to play “tea party”; they’re just kidding themselves the same way Bill O’Reilly doesn’t have the guts to come out and say he’s a Republican. The underlying mantra of these people: Sucks to be you.

        Compassion? They don’t have it because it might involve somebody else getting something and that may cost them some money. That’s their fear: somebody’s going to get something they didn’t “work” for. They can get off their asses to protest, but they can’t get off their asses and help. While I have no doubt the vast majority of these people would call themselves “Christian”, living in a Christian nation, their enmity shows their true selves.

        And whether or not you want to call it “immigration” and whether or not these folks like it, asylum is still a thing and these children deserve to be heard and they deserve protection. But, hey, sucks to be them, right?