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Why Christians Won't Blow Up HBO
(c) 2009 by Tom King
Last night "Curb Your Enthusiam's" Larry David did a bit where he accidently urinated on a picture of Jesus in a Catholic family's bathroom. He left the urine on Christ's face and the women of the household thought the fluid was tears and fell on their knees in prayer, proclaiming it a miracle.
The piece not only tries to make light of urinating on a picture of Christ, but also makes fun of what it sees as Catholic gullibility regarding miracles.
Okay, we get it, Larry. Christians are stupid. Ha, ha!
I'm sure you see this as courageous comedy. It's not. Christians really do believe in the golden rule. The worst they will do is cancel their subscriptions to HBO and express a lot of outrage on conservative blogs. No true Christian will drive a car bomb into the HBO home office. No Christian terrorist will kidnap David and behead him.
Naw, Larry, this gets no points for courage. It's like picking on the class nerd. It's safe to do, gets general laughter and makes you feel smarter than somebody who's very probably smarter than you. You want points for guts, pee on a picture of Mohammed. Shoot, just make a picture of Mohammed and laugh somewhere in the same room with it. You don't even have to laugh at it. You don't have to make fun of it. Just hang a picture with the prophet's name on it. Put a turban on a stick figure. That'll about do it.
Maybe Salman Rushdie needs a roomie.
Do that and I'll acknowledge your bravery. What you did last night is what a bully would do on the playground to a nerdy little kid like you probably were in elementary school.
One nice quality of duct tape is that you can use it to tape your own mouth shut and it will not only hold your lips securely together, but when you are done, it comes off without causing permanent damage to your face. For a man with a beard, this is an important feature.
My problem is that I never learned the ultimate truth about women that my grandfather tried to teach me all those years ago. Grandpa believed firmly that all men were henpecked. That is because my grandfather was absolutely raised to believe that no man should ever strike a woman. His father absolutely adored his mother and grieved away within a year after her death. Like his own dad, Grandpa was utterly devoted to my grandmother, who rode him like Seattle Slew all his life. My grandmother was still griping at Grandpa about the quality of his workmanship for two years after he died.
"That man!" she would puff. She did love him though and missed him terribly. I could tell, but she stayed mad at him.
My Grandpa was a quiet man for most of the years I knew him. I thought that was just his nature, till I started prospecting for family history. Turns out, as a young man, my grandpa was quite a talker. He was tough as nails, opinionated and played a mean piano. Near as I can figure, my grandmother was the one who silenced him.
If I got him out under the tree in the backyard and away from the house, Grandpa could tell stories till the cows came home - literally. I have a recording of him telling stories to my son and it is priceless to me. He was funny and witty. He’d pull out his harmonica and play scurrilous old songs to the grandkids, who for years bought him new harmonicas for Christmas and birthdays when his old ones wore out.
When my grandmother was in attendance, however, he was as silent and taciturn as Calvin Coolidge. He had learned a valuable lesson about getting along with women that I have been slow to pick up.
If you shut up, there are only a limited number of things they can argue with you about.
Good advice. I may, however, need a little duct tape to heed it.
Glenn Beck and I have similar views. We both think something nasty is going on and that we shouldn't stand idly by and let it happen. The media wants to discredit Beck, but when so many people watch his television show despite its lousy time slot, it's hard to sell the idea that he's a crank. How do you make the case that he's making things up, when you see video of a trusted presidential aid announcing that Chairman Mao's her favorite philosopher? Then we watch side by side videos of the President saying "I support a single payer health care system." and "I never have supported a single payer health care system." Stuff like that really causes folks to wonder, you know.
I like that Beck fights with facts not feelings, even though he sometimes weeps when he does it. He lets his opponents keep talking till they bury themselves. He uses charts and chalk boards to make things easier to understand The last guy to do that well was H. Ross Perot and we all remember what a heart attack he gave the liberals for a time.
There are dark forces on both the left and right that want large, intrusive government. These people believe they are smart enough to tell all the rest of what to do. They happily tax the bejeebers out us (or take the money through evil corporate exploitation of the masses - whichever suits them) and I'm really kind of hacked off with both Republicans and Democrats about that.
True liberals and conservatives can find common ground. We want the same things, only we have different ideas about how to get them. When you get diverse, honest men and women together to hammer out solutions you get things like the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and evening public transit for the disabled so they can work second shifts.
What we have here is a struggle between those who believe all men are created equal and those who believe some are more equal than others. Beck and I are on the “created equal” side. The media seem to believe there’s some kind of genetically superior "nobility" that should be in charge. Philanthropy is merely noblesse oblige and the elite must take care of the rest of us because, as Bill Mahr so aptly put it, we're too "stupid" to take care of ourselves.
Sadly this isn't the 18th century and people won't sit and read a 10 page argument over the social, political and moral ramifications of deep-fried butter on a stick! We want our news short, spicy and to the point. Then we will move on to other things. It is the age of short attention spans.
The prophet Habbakuk was advised to write his prophetic message large "that he who runs may read it". Early marketing advice directly from the Almighty and pretty good advice 3500 years or so later.
I shall, therefore, make a belated New Year's Resolution. I shall limit my blog posts to 400 words. I'd be more generous if this were not the Internet. A thousand words, as Reader's Digest profitably discovered, is roughly the limit of what a person can read during a good poop. Unfortunately, people never poop at the computer (or at least not intentionally and, on second thought, perhaps fortunately) and I'm pretty sure most of us don't take our laptops on that particular little journey with us, although I'm not sure the same can be said about PDA's (which makes me a little reluctant now to borrow anyone's PDA or enhanced cell phone, know what I mean?).
I'm sure my resolution will come as a bit of a relief to my fans (there are at least two I know of - hence the plural "fans").
Recently, conservatives have rediscovered author Ayn Rand’s works “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugs”. Ayn is one of the few respected intellectuals that conservatives can quote who believes in total laissez-faire capitalism. I think I've discovered the reason why she, a rabid capitalist, was so respected by the media and the academic community.
She thinks Christians are evil.
For those of us who are Christian’s, Ayn presents a problem. Ayn Rand firmly believed religion to be, not only misguided, but evil. True, she was an equal opportunity critic of religion, including Islam, Judaism and Eastern religions in her club of anti-rational systems of thought, but she particularly disliked Christianity.
At the same time, she embraces capitalism as the only economic system that makes sense in a society that is free. She shares that opinion with the practitioners of most of the religions that share the protection of the American constitution. She even admits that she believes you have the right to believe whatever you want, no matter how irrational it is to do so. Strange bedfellows, the Christian Right and Ayn Rand!
Ayn Rand argued that religion was the antithesis of what she called “objectivism”, or the pursuit of pure reason. She embraced capitalism because as an economic system it best fit with her philosophy of enlightened self-interest.
She blamed the Christian ethic and all forms of altruism that emphasized man’s duty to be of service to his fellow man as a species of self-imposed slavery. Ayn Rand found the self-sacrifice practiced by Christians to be a kind of madness that, eliminated from society, would vastly improve things. Oh, she respected our right to be insane in the matter of religion, but she never respected Christians for believing as we do.
The progressives would actually agree with Ayn’s reasoninge on this one. If we believe in pure free market capitalism, they would argue, then, we should all be greedy and self-interested (and that's bad). If we were to be intellectually honest, and if we truly believe in Christ’s “golden rule”, they would claim, then we would logically have to come down on the side of the socialist/collectivists' idea of legislated "goodness" in order to remain true to our beliefs.
Okay, here’s where I attempt to create a “harmony of the gospels” so to speak. Wish me luck:
I disagree with Ayn’s contention that the concept of God must be proved and that not being able to disprove his existence does not, therefore, allow for even the possibility of His existence. Well, I cannot disprove the existence of my great, great, great grandfather. All records of him are gone. There are no documents, birth certificates, photographs, military records, etc. that any of us can find. Biologically, Great Great Great Gramps should exist, but I can't prove absolutely that he did. I believe, based on my experience of human reproduction, that he did exist. But I cannot say, unequivocally that this is what happened. I mean there were all those unexplained cattle mutilations and crop circles in Ohio around that time. Alien DNA might just look exactly like human DNA. Who knows? I cannot prove there wasn't some alternate way that my great great grandmother came about. Cloning? Alien probes?
By Anyn's standard, like God, my great great great grandpa should not be believed in. I can't prove he exists and even though I can't disprove grandpa's existent, I must by objectivist rules disbelieve in the existence of my great great great grandpa since I cannot prove he did. Remember, Ayn Rand claims you must not be called on to disprove a thing in order to prove that thing doesn't exist. Simply put, if you can't provide proof positive that is enought to disprove the idea.
Scientifically, she is all wet. To discount the experience of literally millions of people who have claimed both in print and in public to have witnessed direct evidence of God, is not objective. It presupposes an idea - "God does not exist." Okay, prove the theory that God does not exist! You cannot do so conclusively. Neither can you disprove it, but by Rand's standard that doesn't matter. You don't have to disprove a thing. You only have to prove it.
If a preponderance of evidence from apparently otherwise reliable witnesses supports a theory that can be formed into a structured reasoned philosophical framework that is internally coherent, then that framework must have at least equal footing with any other rational philosophy that is supported by witnesses and evidence. You don’t have to like it, you just have to allow for it.
I disagree with Ms. Rand that religion is evil. While it is true that much in the way of evil has, in fact, been done in the name of religion, much more has been conducted under the flag of atheism. The death toll of all the Crusades and pogroms ever conducted by the coopted Christian Church fall far short of the death toll left behind by one solid atheist - Joe Stalin. The French Revolution saw the brutal murders of thousands presided over by a prostitute dressed as the Goddess of Reason. Evil is done by individuals who wish to have absolute power over others and will use any handy belief system, religion or policy or philosopy to obtain that power. Evil cannot be successfully practice by true practitioners of the golden rule.
I disagree with Rand that capitalism and self-interest are the end-all, be-all of human life. While I agree that capitalism is the economic system that best supports liberty, I do not subscribe to unbridled selfishness as a very good way to live. I believe we pass through this world so that God can prepare us for eternity. I serve God and my fellow man. God, in return, provides me with a life experience that fits me to live forever without mucking up the universe again. I believe there is something about the experience of life on Earth that changes one forever and that it is essential if the safety of the universe from evil is truly to be guaranteed. In other words, “all things work together for good.”
I also disagree that the moral selfless life is a species of self-induced slavery. Rather, the principles that God gives us to guide our lives (the 10 commandments, the golden rule) are far and away the best way to insure the freedom of all in a universe where we are all immortal. It works pretty well in a mortal world so long as everyone subscribes. If all are giving, all will be receiving as well in a kind of niceness competition. It is the 100/100 rule of relationships. In a marriage, of the "business" model Rand proposes, partners give 50/50 by contract. In the Christian marriage contract, both partners pledge to give 100% to the relationship. Allowing for human fallability, this insures that the business of the marriage gets done and both partners find themselves with some free time from time to time - more so than if they were trying to insure everybody in the relationship gave their fair share. That's why socialists spend so much on secret police. You need them to insure nobody is doing less than their fair share. In the Christian model, nobody worries about that because we don't expect others to always do their share. It's why, when disaster strikes and charity is called for, it's usually the Christians that are the first on the scene. It's what we do.
To conclude, while I applaud Ms. Rand’s defense of capitalism, I also realize it’s limitation. Government’s job is, as Ms. Rand correctly points out, to protect our rights, not to diddle in our lives. A Christian recognizes that there are those who cannot defend themselves, take care of themselves or help themselves. We believe that to expect these folks (children, the aged, people with disabilities, physical and emotional disorders) to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is like asking someone to stand up and introduce himself when he’s been sitting in a wheelchair for 20 years.
It is not contradictory to believe in self-imposed charity (or God-imposed charity for that matter) and at the same time to believe you also have the duty to respect others rights to do as they wish, work where they will and sell what they want for whatever the market will bear. It is respecting the individual freedom of all, including yourself. It also recognices that although a society based on selflessness behavior is more likely to survive than one based on selfish behavior, you cannot have a free society without allowing for selfish behavior. If you try to institutionalize selflessness, you must inevitably use fear and terror as an enforcement tool in a world where sin and greed exist naturally. Christians, because of our long association with God, value free choice above all. We are willing to pay the inevitable price for allowing evil to exist so that freedom can be nurtured and grown and taught by observation. When all this is over, no surviving follower of Christ will ever be remotely tempted to sin again, not because we fear the fires of hell or some hideous punishment, but because we will have seen the consequences of sin and selfishness and we choose not to go down that path.
Ayn Rand has some good things to say, but at the same time, her Russian upbringing and experiences certainly gave her such a bad experience of religion and political ideology that I think she became emotionally unable to accept the existence of God. It’s the old, “If God exists, how could he let such bad things happen?” argument.
The truth is the bad things that happen to us may be like the titration of chemicals in a lab. It’s what you need to do in order to produce what it is you’re trying to produce. I don’t think Ayn could see beyond this life to anything else. If she could have, she might not have been so quick to dismiss religion. That notwithstanding, I do think her recognition that capitalism as a sure-fire economic system for a sinful selfish world is dead on. On religion, we'll just have to agree to disagree.
The inimitable Kirby Vacuum Cleaner was designed either for or by a man. It's steel, heavy and you can do everything with it from vacuuming to spray painting your house. It has a power drive switch that applies graduated force to the wheels as you vacuum. It's an ingenious feature that makes vacuuming faster and improves maneuverability over the old non-powered version.
I am not allowed to use the power drive switch!
The women in the house forbid it. They claim the vacuum doesn't work as well when the switch is engaged. They tell me it's not really a power drive, but some sort of parking brake to keep the vacuum from rolling if you park it on a hill when the motor is turned off.
I call this the Kirby Effect. A useful feature of something is rejected because it doesn't "feel" right. In the mind of the womenfolk in my house, if the vacuum doesn't feel like it's hugging the floor, it must not be working. They can push it too fast and make it skitter on the carpet, which reinforces the opinion that it doesn't work as well. If you have the power drive on, you still have to push at the regular speed or it doesn't pick up as well - hence the skittering.
But it doesn't "feel" right, so the users reject the feature.
Researchers in the 60's came up with a "no suds" laundry detergent that was virtually pollution free. Users rejected it even though objective tests showed it worked as well as or better than the sudsy kind. But users, particularly women felt like it didn't because it didn't make suds. They rejected the feature in favor of less effective sudsy formulas because they felt like you have to have suds to clean clothes. Simply adding inert fillers to the formula created suds and made the product acceptable and sold the users on the product.
To avoid the Kirby Effect as I conceive it, in order to sell anything expensive, whether it be a product or idea, it must meet the following criteria:
1. It must appear to be of value or to own it must confer prestige.
2. It must appear to work somewhat as the user (not necessarily the buyer) expects it to.
3. It must not require any extra work on the part of the buyer to use the object or idea that is for sale.
4. Paying for the idea or object must not cause visible discomfort.
Progressives have learned how to pay attention to the Kirby Effect as it relates to political issues. What they've learned is that, so long as it feels right, a sizable segment of the population will let you do almost anything you want and no amount of reasoning will substantially effect their perception about the issue once established, especially if a program you propose doesn't require any real effort on their part to move forward.
Kirby, like the progressives has a sales strategy. Men tend to buy the Kirby for it's ruggedness and multiple use features and are more willing to shell out for expensive products if they can get it on payments. Women look at the price tag to determine quality, but care little about features beyond straightforward vacuuming and using the upholstery hose and attachment. So Kirby first sells the husband. That's why their sales guys want to talk to the couple together. The fancy feature demo is for the guys. The women aren't much interested in painting the car with their vacuum. Men like to know they could if they wanted to. For the ladies, the price tag sells the value and so long as the guys are willing to pay the bill, the ladies don't need a bargain. The payment plan seems a cheap way for the guy to score "I care about you points" with the wife, so the sale is made. After all, the car's got a couple of chips on the paint.
Simplistic and I'm going to catch a lot of flack for this, but stay with me.
Around here, I usually am in charge of switching from the beater bar to hose attachment. My neat freak wife doesn't like the extra steps it takes with the Kirby to hook up the upholstery hose even though it's more effective than the other hose attachment on her other vacuums. She just wants to clean the upholstery. Kirby does that well enough, so long as I change the attachment for her and she doesn't have to learn how.
Let's face it. Nobody paints their car with a Kirby or ever uses half of the things a Kirby can do, but it's reliable so no one is really unhappy and the payments aren't too high as to be painful. Ergo, Kirby makes money.
To sell a political strategy, the most effective way is to utilize the Kirby strategy to make the sale, but to avoid the Kirby effect whereby features are rejected because they don't pass the "feels right" test.
First, you create a perceived need that invokes guilt. Then you come up with an expensive solution that makes everyone feel good that the problem will be solved by the expensive solution. Promise that it will do lots and lots of things. Do enough of the things you promise to make people feel comfortable that you're handling it. Make the price tag feel easy to bear (soak the rich is one way). Voila, everybody supports you and gives you the power in order to feel good that they are solving the perceived need.
Because the progressive agenda is being presented as a package, it is vulnerable. Obama may actually be overplaying his hand with the public service demands he is making. It violates the 3rd principle. The tax burden if it crashes the economy, it may violate rule 4. If program elements like "cash for clunkers" don't work as promised, they may have a rule 2 violation. If something major gets blown up by terrorists, rule 1 gets violated because they promised the world would love us and therefore we'd be more secure. If that happens, the whole thing comes down like a house of cards.
I worked in human services. It's amazing how many things people believe the government is "supposed" to handle. When someone tells a story of someone's trial or tribulation, "Isn't the government supposed to take care of that?" was one of the most common questions that followed. The other response I used to get was "What can we do?"
The two responses represent two disparate groups. One believes that for every social need there should be a government program to take care of it. After all, they pay their taxes.
It is almost as widely believed by the second group that we are personally responsible to help fix things like this. They respond to the story as if it were a call to action. These guys work with local nonprofits and donate to their church and other charities. They work soup kitchens and work bees, go on mission trips and volunteer at nursing homes.
The first group will tolerate a little bump in their taxes if you just promise to solve global warming, eleminate poverty, hunger and crime. They don't want to look too closely at whether or not the program is actually working, so long as they feel good that something is being done, they can go on with their lives without any guilt. At least that holds true so long as they don't have to spend any of their own personal time doing anything inconvenient about solving the problem themselves. If it becomes obvious that the program isn't working they look for someone to blame.
The other group gets mad because the government is obviously NOT doing the job, so they do it themselves. They are goal directed. The problem needs to be solved, so they solve it. Casting blame doesn't get the job done with this group. There are hungry people to be fed, illness to be treated, children to be rescued.
Not everybody is like the first group, but enough are to swing the vote toward progressive socialism. Conservative solutions have the disadvantage of not making you feel better, asking you to do things that may be hard, expecting you to solve problems for yourself and letting you pay for things out of your own pocket. The only personal benefit the conservative agenda gives us is that we retain our liberty, but at the cost of some little discomforts.
So, the question becomes, "How much of your liberty are you willing to surrender for the promise that you'll feel good about losing it?"
I think Pelosi, Reid and Obama would make a great vacuum cleaner salesmen.
The collective guffaw over President Obama's Nobel Participation Prize may be just the beginning of a gigantic wave of laughter that sweeps the nation. The media and the comedians won't be able to resist much longer, no matter how much they love his policies. They have to make a living and laughter sells! I notice that in the cartoons, his ears are getting bigger!
The tradition of making fun of the King is an ancient Celtic tradition. The bards were considered sacrosanct and having one set up in the castle gates and sing scurrilous songs about you could bring down your kingship in those days. The freedom of the press ideal is America's version of the ancient bardic system and if a president makes himself so at odds with us, that our "bards" succeed in making a fool of him, he fails and falls. The media and entertainment establishment tried with only partial success to bring down Bush with sarcasm in the same way. Unfortunately, enough folks approved of his war on terror, that they didn't find the jokes so very funny.
Obama may not be so lucky.
The Europeans think our contentious congress that can't get anything done is a bad thing. The Europeans are wrong. It's congress' wrangling and inability to do much of anything that has done more to protect our liberties than any other feature of our government. Every time they do get organized and meddle (except for a war or two), they wind up making a mess of things. Better they should do nothing. No man's liberty or wallet is safe while the Congress is in session.
By the way, I don't hate Obama personally because I make fun of his actions. He's a nice man for a closet communist. But, he actually believes big socialist government is better. I believe governments can't be trusted with our liberties - the big ones even less so.
So, let me make this clear. We conservatives will NEVER agree with him on that. We CHERISH our liberties. We believe that what he is doing will cost us those liberties. As Churchill said, we will fight him on the beaches, we will fight him in the streets, we will never surrender. Nothing personal. We'd do it to anyone who wants to turn our homeland into the projects. Humor is a weapon we use in that fight.
It has nothing to do with his race, party or personality. We simply take him at his word based on his speeches and writing and he scares us. We will never give him a chance to try out his ideas.
Socialism has a very bad history of not going away once it's in place without outside aid. Soviet Russia had Reagan's America working from the outside to bring down communism.
So who will help bring down the American socialist monster once we surrender our freedom?
Is it really going to be this simple to figure out? About all that's left to make it any more obvious that we're being taken for a nasty ride is for the guys on the UN Security Council to put on those funny flat topped hats and grow toothbrush mustaches. Maybe the guys on the Nobel Committee could speak with thick Germanic accents and award the Peace Prize to closet Marxists.
The world is rapidly turning into one of those little cartoon books about the end of the world that some fundamentalist churches hand out to frighten people into being baptized. The overblown dialogue, the improbable situations, the harshly lined faces of "evil" world leaders being blindly worshipped as superheroes by the ignorant masses; the two dimensional villains lurking in the background.
And that's just the nightly newscasts.
"In today's news, Super Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for pulling down America's pants and forcing the once powerful international oppressor of innocent, peaceful people's republics to grab its collective ankles. The Enlightened U.S. Congress expects the Super President's gesture to fill the world with love, peace and flowery praises from all. Americans are advised that, 'You're all going to feel a little burning sensation...."
"In a related story, Super Obama today dispatched Air Force One to fly over Jerusalem and Tehran to take pictures for the cover of his new book, "Doing it to the Jews One More Time".
Come on, people! The Nobel Peace Prize? This has got to be the first time the Nobel's been awarded for "Participation". It took almost a whole decade before people like Watson, Crick and Wilkins were recognized for their transformative work on DNA. And Rosalind Franklin was left out entirely, though she deserved as much recognition as the rest of the team. Why? Because they took so long that she died of cancer 4 years earlier and you can't get one after your dead.
Mahatma Ghandi never got a Nobel Peace Prize. He got passed over 4 times and was assassinated before they could give him one. Jonas Salk never won a Nobel. Ronald Reagan was the architect of the end of the Cold War, the removal of the Berlin Wall, the destruction of thousands of nuclear missiles and the collapse of the Soviet Union and freeing of its vassal states. He certainly never got a Nobel!
But two weeks after taking office as President of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama is nominated for the Nobel. And today, they announced that he won it. The canned speeches have been pouring out all day as though they were spontaneous shouts of worldwide jubilation and not carefully choreographed elements of the propaganda campaign they really are.
There's a story about a couple of Aggies that decided to go into counterfeiting. They were pretty good at it and came up with a whole stack of $25 bills. When someone pointed out their mistake, they decided rather than waste the effort, to run up to Arkansas and see if they could pass them out up there in the hills where folks might not be as, shall we say, "observant".
They drive up to this little grocery store up north of Malvern and go in. They handed the bogus $25 bill to the clerk with the two teeth and asked for change.
He said, "Sure, mister," and handed the Aggie two 4's and a 17.
I think the Marxist strategists have overplayed their hand this time. I think they expected Obama to have passed health care and gun control and ended all war by this time and figured the Nobel would be a nice icing on the cake - like in movies like "Dave" and "The American President" where presidents just wave their magical policy wands and solve all the worlds problems.
Missing the timing like they have, is a huge mistake. The folks who planned this colossal screwup managed to make the Nobel Peace Prize look like some bizarre international version of a second grade play about preventing tooth decay. Obama is the one dressed up as the big toothbrush.
I've been worried that we were on the edge of the Apocolypse, but we may be getting some breathing room here. Surely people can't be so easily lead by simple-minded propoganda as this. Surely they see how artificial and false all of this is. Surely, we won't be manipulated so easily.
In my whole life I've only seen two Roman Polanski* directed films - Chinatown and Frantic. Didn't much care for either one. Frantic was my least favorite Harrison Ford flick, Chinatown my least favorite Nicholson outing (though admittedly I'm not a big Nicholson fan either).
Polanski's films, the ones I've seen and the ones I've only seen previews of, seem sleazy and dark anyway and I'm not terribly surprised that Polanski did something sleazy and dark himself. I'm more surprised that he was actually arrested for it.
Now there's a big uproar in the conservative community because some Hollywood types are standing up for Polanski. "See Big Hollywood has no principles," they cry. Hmmm. Sounds to me like an echo of the cries about "Big Oil" that came from the other side of the chamber during the Bush years.
Is anyone really surprised that Hollywood would support their boy? Have you seen his filmography lately? The man generates a lot of work for everybody. If Hollywood turned on one of its cash cows, some of the glitterati might just have to give up that second Ferrari and that would be unacceptable. Think of the starving Italian peasant auto workers who would be put out of work if that happened.
AND you can bet that every producer who ever sacked a starlet would take note of which actors and actresses could not be trusted next time there's a casting call.
Hollywood could no more turn on a big time producer than Exxon could go around insulting Arab sheiks and princes. It just ain't good business.
You'll note that the causes they champion are pretty much low risk for their careers. As much as they depend on movie-goers for their living, they aren't worried about us not showing up for a good movie. We've all been willing to ignore the character flaws of the people involved in making films. Many of our favorite actors and actresses are reprehensible people, but if we need a two hour escape and the film makes us laugh or takes our minds off the rat-race or we just want to see it, then, our vaunted principles get folded up and left on the car seat.
It's easy to talk a tough game, but having principles can be pretty difficult. For all our tough talk, how many of us would have skipped the last installment of Star Wars or the Harry Potter series or some other favorite movie simply because Roman Polanski directed it or, even more likely, if some actor who supported him was only a member of the cast? Do you skip the whole movie because one actor with low moral standards is in the movie? It would make it pretty tough to find a movie to go to!
People laugh at people who don't go to theaters for moral or religious reasons. Not going to movies used to be more common, but now it's seen as archaic and reactionary and a cause for snickering.
See what I mean about it being tough to have principles? It's no wonder the actors aren't worried about our righteous indignation. It's certainly not likely to cost them any money.
I was fooling around with Google today and searched the title of a piece I wrote several years ago, then rewrote and released back in May on this blog. It's a spoof on the famous "Who's on First" sketch by Abbott and Costello. I was stunned to pull up nearly 2000 entries. Now I admit I posted the piece on several of my blogs, but not in that many places.
I wrote it as a skit. I posted it in a couple of places about 4 or 5 years ago and then left it to marinate on my hard drive. Back in May I dusted it off, updated a couple of the software references and posted it again.
Turns out there are 5 or 6 videos on Youtube of people doing the piece. One's quite good. The skit is posted word for word on hundreds of joke forums and in not one single instance am I credited as the author.
In the old days I'd have sold the piece to Reader's Digest and made a little money, but now, your work gets spread so fast via the Internet, but by the time I prove it's mine, I'm not sure it would be worth the money. At any rate, I'm at least trying to get folks to add a weblink and copyright everywhere I've found it posted. Maybe it'll do some good.
I'm trying to go back and add copyright notices to all the stuff I've written, but I have few illusions about getting credit when a piece goes viral. I do plan to take credit for it on my resume'. Here's one of the best of the films.
It's kind of flattering that someone stole my work and took it this far. I'm sure, with it being all over the web and posted as anonymous, no one though of it as stealing and I do know that posting something on here leaves it virtually unprotected. I am, however, going to stick my copyright on everything that I post on the web. I can always use the film credits on my resume'.
I'm just sayin'
by Tom King (c) 2009 - All Rights Reserved
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to reprint
"The birthers"? Now we've got the "Obama was born in Kenya" crowd calling themselves by the kook name given to them by the media? PLEASE, you guys. We're getting some real work done right now. We're discrediting Obama's staff. We're discrediting his policies by reading the actual legislation to a public that never would have read it for themselves. Obama's approval rating is plunging.
Whether he has a legitimate birth certificate or not, this "birther" thing is playing to his advantage. If he doesn't have one, he's got the judges to keep this dinking around in the lower courts forever. Meanwhile the media, the late-night TV talk shows, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live dismissively call you "birthers" and make you look like kooks. If he does have a legit birth certificate, he can let them keep tormenting you till it is to his advantage and then, voila, he tosses out the real deal as a smoke screen to cover up something really awful he's trying to get across at the time. The man's good at misdirection and sleight of hand. The sympathy that releasing the real "BC" would generate for him with the American public would thoroughly discredit conservatives by association. BHO can dodge this for years. Better to focus on 2010, elect a new congress and then get a "show your birth certificate" provision written into law before the 2012 election.
One self-proclaimed "birther" even suggested we start using Saul Alinsky's techniques against the left. I'm here to tell you - we don't want to use the Alinsky playbook! Better to lose the fight than to lose our soul. The Alinsky method involves deception, manipulation, willful and deliberate damage to the country in order to seize power for your cause. That is not a place honest Americans should go -- EVER. The left has one tool to use against us that we cannot and should never use -- the belief that it's okay to lie if your cause is righteous. So long as you believe you are right, Alinsky and Marx see no problem in creating massive deception to get the power you need to force your beliefs on others.
That's why I'm always nagging conservatives to be absolutely certain sure we are telling the truth when we present our arguments. The truth, certain, sure and always is the ONLY tool we have against organized lying. When we pick up lies as tools ourselves, we join the dark side. I don't care how good the story is or how much we wish it were true. Let's wait for the facts before we use them in an argument.
I wrote a note last night on one of the 912 forums asking some of the guys to hold off with the long garbled posts that make us sound like conspiracy theory nuts.
I got this response back (as written): Tom, I don't see where a little talk about coordinated efforts to destroy our Conjtitutional Republic are inappropraiate? Do you NOT believe there is codordination or is this all random?
Well, aside from 3 misspellings in 2 sentences (about average for the good Doctor).....
No, Dr. Schell, I don't mind a discussion of efforts to take apart our constitutional republic. I absolutely believe these guys are reading from the "March to Socialism" playbook as outlined by Marx, Alinsky and others. They telegraph their blows. They are almost cartoons of themselves in the sheer awkwardness of their attempts to crash the economy and replace it with a socialist state with an elite group of so-called intellectuals wielding almost absolute power. I absolutely believe that, unchecked, the Democrats will soon have us hearing the sound of jack boots in the streets.
What I AM saying is that there is plenty of rope out there to hang these guys with without having to sound like propeller-headed, UFO abductees. We need to speak clearly (cut the kook jargon). Make sure our facts are correct and provable, not just what my cousin's hairdresser's plumbers, mother's podiatrist said he heard outside the day care center where a CIA agent sends his children.
We need to spell at least well enough so no one notices when we miss a word or two (that's why we have spell checkers). We need to hand people no more information than they can handle at one time.
We can win this thing with measured, carefully researched, intelligent argument. Ten page, single-spaced, poorly spelled, jargon-filled diatribes with abysmal grammar make us look like schizophrenics or manic depressives having a psychotic break. How about let's not do that.
At least limit your posts to maybe 3 points, clearly presented. Much more than that gets lost - like with this post. It's already gone on too long. I've probably lost some of you three paragraphs back and now you are hammering away at the word processor, cutting and pasting pages of what you believe is lucid and clearly reasoned prose into the hundred and twenty seventh post you've made today. I probably won't fair well in these posts, Let me go ahead and anticipate what you're going to accuse me of:
1. I'm a traitor to the cause and a closet liberal.
2. I don't care that Obama doesn't have an American birth certificate.
3. I'm a tool of the Illuminati to lull conservatives to sleep which is all part of the Trilateral Commission's sinister plot to convince us that there is no Bilderberg Conference.
Now let me answer these rebuttals to save time:
1. I hack off everybody. I'm an equal opportunity offender. I don't really line up with any ideology completely, so I'm probably not a "true" conservative as some of you define conservative.
2. Nope, I don't much care. Pass the law that makes 'em show the thing before the next election and that will solve the problem. Biden is just as dangerous, if not more so, than Obama, so getting rid of him probably won't help.
3. I don't think the guys at the Bilderberg Conference could agree on what to have for supper, much less how to take over the world. Oh, there's a plot alright, but the author is way more sinister than any of the dimwit tools that are being used to carry it out. AND only God can impeach that guy!
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That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain