Monday, December 30, 2013

American Pagan Culture: Our Nation's Religion, Fun, Fluff n' Stuff

Materialism runs amok in the USA, has always been the dark
side of the equal opportunity coin here, since at least ~1830,
when Alexis deTocqueville toured what was then our nation
and analyzed our culture's psyche. He critiqued what he
observed to be our constant hunger for novelty, our almost
universal lack of interest in delving deeply into important
matters--still regrettably true in 2013.

What the materialists fail to understand, therefore to correct,
is the cascade to boredom, jaded reactions, lack of effort
and ever-increasing desire for more money and possessions,
never achieving contentment, always dissatisfied with what
one already has. Character counts; it's difficult to become
a fully-actualized human being while constantly preoccupied
with getting the latest toy, gadget, outfit, etc. (--And what
will my friends think about my latest acquisitions, be they
house, car, clothes, dinnerware, electronics, trips?)

I am not saying these things are completely unworthy
goals/desires. I AM certain, however, the degree to which
an overweening obsession to obtain them takes over a life
is time-wasting, unhealthy--and unfortunate for all of us.

I've been studying the history of ancient and current political
systems recently--religions of many different persuasions figure
prominently in every one of them. So I've inescapably arrived
at a sobering realization--our country's state religion is fun,
fluff n' stuff, our culture, American Pagan.

Can we return to BEING something rather than HAVING
something before it's too late?  The vandals (our competitors)
are at the gate, while we focus on buying and enjoying, a la
410 AD's Ancient Rome.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

More Than One Thing Ails Colorado

Murder/suicide spectacularly strikes again (12/2013)
in Colorado. This makes at least three incidents in
just the past few years, no? There is a personality
profile here--the perpetrator is young, disaffected,
with access to guns. I'll wager parental supervision/
guidance is absent or lacking in any kind of efficacy
leading to an intelligent, civilized existence.

I've said it before: largely to blame is our national
myth/hype/ethos that anyone can achieve the "top",
be it the presidency, wealth, fame, talent, expertise,
scientific discovery, or even a ride into outer space.
The common expectation here in the USA is just
plumb unreal, really ridiculous. --Disagree? Just
watch those "reality" shows where anyone can get
on to sing, dance, etc. Do all these contenders win?
--Can they?  Come on.

When some unstable unfortunate begins to understand
he/she will never have their name lit up in lights,
dangerous turns occur in that mind, and Littleton,
Colorado-type tragedies are the result...(now, media,
recognize THIS!)

We must achieve equal rights, respect and education
under the law; many laws are better than they were,
but just as many should be stricken from the books,
while the good (just) ones MUST be promoted and
properly prosecuted, period. The mythologizing of
"anybody is capable of every sort of excellence"
must end as well.
Some sing better than others; some are more
beautiful than others; some have better characters
than others; some have tech skills others can only
read about; some are wordsmiths, others possess
only adequate writing abilities; some can discover
useful drugs like penicillin, others must perform their
lesser scientific skills at a lower level, part of a team.

That realization should be enough to cross those
class lines back and forth more often, to commiserate,
communicate, participate, and improve everyone's
lot...respect and caring, where are they?  Good
people exist everywhere, but there doesn't seem
to be a significantly large enough number to effect
the just civilization I've been waiting for.

More than one thing is wrong with Colorado--their
political philosophy married to a love affair
with guns, underscored by our national myth,
shares some responsibility.

Does anybody dare tell the truth here, does
anybody actually dare to fix it?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rise of the Republican Moderates--Finally!

I'm sitting here about to break my arm in self-congratulatory
solitary schtick predicted...

Moderate republicans DO exist, now hear them roar!

U.S. House Leader Boehner (12/11/'13) has finally, publicly,
called radical right extremists "ridiculous", which is as apt a
derogatory term as any.  He was concentrating his ire on those
think tank-style outside groups which up to now have so cowed
and harmfully influenced most of the Republican Party, and
by extension, everyone else. (Grover Norquist, I TOLD
you your power would ebb....)

More and more, every day, most everyone , including main
stream republicans, sees that these extreme right-wingers
are only out for themselves, pursuing/pushing for the shield of
law to protect them and theirs while damning all the rest of us.
Few LIKE paying taxes, but taxation is the principal method
of generating good for an entire community; fire and police
departments, libraries, schools and hospitals come to mind.
These wingnuts fail to realize that if they got their way, harm
would reach even the richest of them. ( A biology and/or
sociology lecture is not forthcoming here, lucky reader! You
can jolly well conduct your own research for the implications.)

Most of the time, under normal circumstances, let concerned
centrists rule. Let it be understood that all have rights: rich,
poor, and those in between. Let no one take unjust advantage
of another...

Let's celebrate the rise of the republican moderates.
I knew it had to happen.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Albino Murders: Man's Inhumanity to Man

--It is even worse, if possible, than I previously realized,
just a few scant hours ago, when I watched with horror
and some disbelief a PBS program documenting the
obscene practice of murdering Albinos in different
areas of  Tanzania, or short of that, dismembering
Albino adults and children to sell their limbs so that
their fantasies born of desperation, denial and
ignorance become reality:

(1) Magically, my fields will reliably, sustainably produce
(2) Magically, I will be a wildly succesful fisherman
(3) Magically, I will become a millionaire

None of these "success scenarios" involve more informed
practices or greater effort, no, not one. Every one of them
stems from primitive village leaders (essentially, witch
doctors) exploiting their own weaknesses and character
flaws (something for nothing) along with those of their
"subjects", the other villagers. "Nothing" is a bit of
a misstatement--Albino limbs have fetched fantastic
sums such as ~USD$75,000! other words, treating actual human beings as if  they
were "merely" depriving rhinos and elephants of their
miraculous powers by taking only their horns or tusks,
leaving them to die without killing them first.

There is another atavistic aspect to attacks against
Albinos--being considered ghosts and/or devils,
"community" pressure exhorts many parents
to kill their own children immediately after birth,
if Albinism is evident, evil practices again, based
on superstition. When an Albino is dead, buried,
presumed safe from further harm, the grave must
be carefully cemented so as to foil greedy grave

This documentary ends with our two Albino heroes,
both young men, persevering amidst ostracizing,
insults, death threats, attempted kidnapping, more.
Mr. Torner even fulfills a childhood dream, climbing
to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, despite poor eyesight
and other ills sadly concomitant with Albinism.

Looking all this up afterwards was dispiriting--
it seems that there was a spike in the Tanzanian
Albino murder rate early in 2013.  

Man's inhumanity to man! I'll say it yet again,
now and forever: I'm ashamed to be human.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gratuitous: Release by the News, the Newtown Tapes' Tragedy

There is nothing the public urgently needed to know
about this horrific multiple child and teacher murder
as heard on these 911 dispatch tapes...unless we
want to feel less confidence in the hearing/understanding
ability of 911 dispatchers, i.e., when the call center
person asked again if this was occurring inside the
school, when the distraught caller clearly had said so.
Then there was a teacher being entirely too vague--
couldn't she simply say, "many gunshots being fired
inside our school right now?"

Release of these tapes is merely cheap sensation by
the media networks; where, by the way, were the
JUDGE'S brains when he authorized the tapes' release?
This WAS NOT a First Amendment issue, period.
Consult the U.S. Constitution again, such a matter
is not promoted therein.

Even the main free broadcast networks have a lot of
cleaning up to do. There is this highly unnecessary,
yet frequent, gratuitous releasing of recordings which
agonize victims' survivors, all in the name of "buzz",
ratings, etc. I rail against right here. Anchorwomen
too often dress as if they're at a club or cocktail
party--ladies, this is NEWS, often tragic and/or
troubling--be sexy on your own  time, i.e., off air.
Lastly, the lengthy, time-consuming coverage of
celebrities (Movie, music, sports and TV)
wastes valuable on air time better spent on
more substantive matters affecting all of us.

Look out, ABC, CBS and NBC, you'll be
hearing from me....