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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Sad. Very Sad.

Sad Parable


There was a fellow who had always been rich and accustomed to getting his own way. By a quirk of fate, this man had been born in a land where the inhabitants worshipped wealth and power. And so it was that, as his wealth and power grew, he became the object of worship to many in the land. Though he continued to get richer and richer, inside, he was as insecure as he'd always been. He felt a niggling deep down. It was a little voice telling him he was nothing but a blowhard snake oil salesman. However, never needing to face real consequences for his selfish predatory behavior, filled him with a false bravado. He cheated and scammed and bought his way out of trouble until he began to feel invincible.

At some point, a great and wonderful idea came to the man. He would spend whatever he needed to spend and say whatever he needed to say, to become the king. The man didn’t truly understand the responsibilities of a king but this did not worry him. He also didn’t know as much as others believed he knew about his business interests and he had done alright at that. After all, the man knew he had tried and true formulas for success. He decided to double down on bombast, forcible assertions, and fear-mongering. He was quite certain becoming king would be his most glorious achievement and position him to scheme and scam without limits. But, the man still carried his dubious methods and niggling doubts wherever he went.

Soon after accepting his crown, he began to worry that, rather than insulating himself from further troubles, he had exposed himself to levels of trouble he'd not even imagined. The man was terrified, angry, and frustrated. But none of that mattered. Those who were sniffing at his trail were the best trackers in the land. They were methodical and determined. Worst of all, they were not afraid of rich people and they couldn't be bought

Sad. Very sad.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fresh and Withering




I concede, this is the world we all inhabit now. Every day brings a fresh and withering assault on intelligence and decency.  Apparently not content with squandering the opportunity to broadcast messages of unity, hope, and inspiration to a world in turmoil, the man at the bully pulpit feels inclined to broadcast petty vindictive assaults on those who fail to shower him with praise every waking moment. When he grows bored of these activities, he fills the gaps with golfing or self-absorbed brooding. After all, there are so many tragedies in the world intruding on his primary needs, constant personal adoration and monetary enrichment.

When pressed by poor "optics" he will make phone calls to the families of recently fallen U. S. soldiers. Due to the tragic events behind the calls, one might be tempted to imagine some expression of genuine empathy. One would be wrong.

This leads us to consider our greatest recent tragedy. America has elected an insecure, self-absorbed man incapable of empathy. I realized this highly unlikely because we are all rubberneckers now, driving past a seemingly endless existential car wreck. But, just for a moment, forget him. In  the silent instant that follows, let's ask ourselves, "What does this say about us"? Can the answer be so straight forward? Could we have elected him in order to stare the New American Ideals in the face? The unhindered accumulation of wealth without accountability. Self-possession over community or greater good. The cynical manipulation of the less fortunate and less sophisticated. The permanent installation of the de facto oligarchy consisting of the top one-percent.  


Are our ideals as two-dimensional as our reflections? Not if we stand up. Those at the top can't or won't. The best among us need to stand up and reflect the best in all of us.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kakistocracy

It is no longer even a challenge to find conservatives bad-mouthing president Numnutz.

Click this link to read the Atlantic article.
A sobering read by conservative political scientist

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Twelve Steps

What if
we could have empathy and compassion for our fellow humans who have been traumatized
and
not enable them to define themselves as victims?

What if
we were to realize our best instincts, minus critical thinking, may fail to truly help?

What if
there are unfortunate people who have been traumatized by tragic events at a moment in time, who need to heal?

What if
what feels like helping, unintentionally encourages the traumatized to see themselves as victims for life?

What if
“survivor” language was part of the problem?

What if
calling people “wounded warriors” was was a catchy phrase that caused helpful people to feel good about themselves- but was a manifestly bad idea for the veterans?

What if
there were programs where traumatized people met and were encouraged to see themselves as powerless over their trauma?

What if
these programs encouraged them to group together and endlessly repeat stories about their issues with others who share the same issues and to introduce themselves to the others as perpetual victims (Hi, I’m John. I’m a drug addict, alcoholic, etc.).

What if
those programs strongly suggested that people should continue to attend those meeting for life?

What if
our good intentions are creating an exalted victimhood status in a giant game of Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy.


What if
there are unfortunate people who have been traumatized by tragic events at a moment in time, who need to heal?

What if
what feels like helping, unintentionally encourages the traumatized to see themselves as victims for life?

What if
“survivor” language was part of the problem?

What if
calling people “wounded warriors” was was a catchy phrase that caused helpful people to feel good about themselves- but was a manifestly bad idea for the veterans?

What if
there were programs where traumatized people met and were encouraged to see themselves as powerless over their trauma?

What if
these programs encouraged them to group together and endlessly repeat stories about their issues with others who share the same issues and to introduce themselves to the others as perpetual victims (Hi, I’m John. I’m a drug addict, alcoholic, etc.).

What if
those programs strongly suggested that people should continue to attend those meeting for life?

What if
our good intentions are creating an exalted victimhood status in a giant game of Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Professional Sports and Hummingbirds


You might be thinking, no connection. But au contrair, mon ami.

What if I were to tell you that hummingbirds are only found in the western hemisphere and as a resident of that hemisphere I felt extremely proud of this fact? What if I inexplicably claimed, “They are our hummingbirds!”.

You might fail to see a connection between the random evolutionary and geological events leading to hummingbird range, the random evolutionary chances of me being born within that range, and my feeling a certain pride of association or feeling of ownership with regard to these facts.

I might argue, “What you fail to account for is, these stunning creatures possess amazing near-magical abilities and I very much enjoy observing their behavior”. You might then concede that, by comparison to mere humans, the physical abilities of hummingbirds are indeed extraordinary and observing these beautiful creatures is a worthy pastime. However, you may still feel this falls short with regard to my prideful-kinship or ownership-like feelings.


What if I told you how, when relating to friends the amazing achievements of my humming birds, I would excitedly claim, “We did it! We won the gathering nectar game!” Your first thought might be (as you began backing away), “WTF is this guy talking about? He played no part in the gathering the nectar game. In fact, he appears to be conflating his mere observation of the events with the events themselves. Stranger still, he may be laboring under some illusion that his excited observation, in some way, contributed to the outcome”.

Now you may, perhaps, uunderstand how I feel when you share with me about "the game" you recently watched in a stadium or on a television. I will stick with my hummingbirds.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SOS



SOS

Once upon a time a fellow had a big sack of shit. Hereafter known by the shortened moniker, SOS. Now, the fellow was, for the most part, quite happy with his SOS. It did exactly what one expected from a SOS. But, after owning the SOS for a short time, really deep down, the fellow felt somewhat less happy with his SOS. Now, mind you, the SOS had totally lived up to its end of the bargain. The SOS was being itself. The fellow knew this and berated himself for even thinking about expecting more from his SOS than could be reasonably expected. 

The fellow decided to give the matter a little time to sort itself out. Of course, he could have done some research or consulted the best minds regarding his dilemma, but he didn’t. He decided to ruminate of the situation all by himself. And by ruminate, I do not mean to suggest the fellow engaged in deep deliberative thought. He happily chewed and re-chewed his favorite dietary foodstuffs.

After a short time the fellow came up with what he named in his own mind, “The Best Fuckin Idea Ever!” or (TBFIE).  Parenthetically, for a man for whom prescience was not a strong suit, the idea bore a striking resemblance to a great idea. Arguably, demented, but great.

The idea was this. The fellow would spice up his SOS. Now, for the thoughtful reader who is already jumping ahead with probing questions, let’s take a deep breath and slow down. Sure, on some philosophical level, one might indeed wonder if a SOS is still a SOS if you add extraneous ingredients. And so on. However, the fellow with the SOS simply wanted it to do more, be livelier, more interesting. In short, he did not concern himself with matters of philosophy. At all. The man straightforwardly took TBFIE and ran with that puppy! 

With items presumably found at his local SOS improvement center, the fellow set to work. First he added a liberal dose of narcissism. The fellow noticed some hopeful rumblings almost immediately. He followed that with a solid sprinkling of wacky ideology (largely scrounged from bits and pieces discarded by more thoughtful people). The SOS began to show signs of liveliness beyond his expectations. Sure, the liveliness was unpredictable and erratic but, hell, who cared about that shit. Finally, he added the pièce de résistance, although the fellow thought of it as, “the crazy shit that should get this train moving”! Either way it was a healthy sprinkle of latter-day-Three-Stooges-like incompetence”. I am sure there are young people for whom this, admittedly outdated, reference means nothing. Please feel free to substitute a more current popular reference. Think of a group of individuals who act in a manic fashion, are comically incompetent, and possess little or no self-reflection. Every age has its version.


I am going to leave the story here. For those of you wondering what happens next, I can say this much. History forgot about the fellow. Some would argue that is for the best. Others vociferously contend it is quite a shame. These folks will enthusiastically tell anyone who cares to listen, about we should go back and find the fellow. If he is alive we should slap the snot out of him. If he’s deceased we should pull out all the stops and bring his sorry ass back to life- so we can slap the snot out of him. On the other hand, the SOS will not soon be forgotten. Though many people wake up each morning with that fervent wish on their lips. “Please wipe this SOS from all memory.”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

HEADLINES

Two Recent Headlines

Administration aides reel after Trump's nonsensical 24 hours: 'He just seemed to go crazy today' according to The Week magazine.

Psychiatry experts claim that Trump is unfit for presidency due to ‘dangerous mental illness’ according to The Blaze.


My Headline: New Prez folds like a cheap suit.

On one recent day, when a journalist inquired about his, now insider, perspective on the position of POTUS, this poor pathetic fellow had the temerity to respond, "I thought it would be easier". To be clear he was referring to the Presidency of The United States of America or, as the position is otherwise known, The Leader of the Free World. This is the sort of thing that bears unpacking. One wonders what sort of arrogant dim-bulb expected to embark upon one of the most difficult and complex jobs on the planet without training, experience, or topical knowledge. In the vernacular, he was going to "wing it". Long story short, the new POTUS, operating under his own delusional reality, happened upon the idea of employing his freakishly outsized ego to, in effect, bitch-slap into submission, the most intricate, inextricably interwoven, decades old, global problems with a few executive orders.

This is only one of the reasons many thoughtful observers took seriously the claims made by a number of Psychiatric experts recently. They publicly claimed, This man is unfit for the presidency due to "dangerous mental illness".

And now, just for grins and giggles- a thought experiment. If one leaves a toddler alone with nothing but a big glass of milk and a bag of cookies as he sits at the control panel of a nuclear power plant, chockablock with brightly colored knobs, buttons and levers, how long before something really bad happens? The answer is, while we are quite certain we don't know, we are equally certain it won't end well.