Tuesday, April 24, 2018

All of This Because Bad Theater Went Viral?


All too often anymore, college and university students, faculty and administration seem to have forgotten that nobody has a constitutional right NOT to be offended.  Offensive speech, images, thoughts -- all of that has a place in our society, and should somebody be offended either once or perpetually, the best responses involve either avoiding or ignoring what offends, or speaking out against that which offends, offering reasons and evidence where appropriate.

Instead, students and fellow sympathizing flash mobs take to the streets, insistent upon shouting down or chasing away those with views opposing their own.  Free speech is just fine with such people, as long as the speech caters to their own whims, biases and concepts of decency.

A wonderful example of the worst among such instances currently sweeps across the national media as it erupts on the campus of Syracuse University, where an entire fraternity was just banned "forever" because of videos coming to light which show frat members performing amateurish scenes where racism, homophobia, the mentally challenged, anti-Semitism and religion in general are played up outrageously for laughs in order to leave almost nobody un-offended.  Apparently, these fraternity boys never received the message condemning "hate speech," a rather nebulous term which, nevertheless, can and will get you ostracized, extracted and destroyed merely for expressing disturbing thoughts via voice or video.  How dare one demonstrate tastelessness on camera! 

We forwarded to the Syracuse University chancellor's office last week our opinion that drastic measures administering severe punishment, despite one's guaranteed First Amendment rights, were the wrong way to go.  Instead, we would have preferred, now that the videos are "out there" for all to see and, presumably, names of all students involved are available, to simply let the system work and allow students of opposing viewpoints confront the "offenders" so that everybody can talk it all out.

If we have this right, the problem isn't freedom of speech so much as it is student "conduct," according to the chancellor's office.  Whaaaa. . .?

Syracuse U. is known for a great drama department, and we dare suggest that a fraternity's offensive, disgusting and just plain vile videos -- depending upon whom one consults -- would have been seen as little more than bad and poorly advised theater, had they been performed on the Syracuse U. stage with the same non-actor actors performing similar antics. 

We hold no particular love for fraternities, but because all of this occurred in the rough it was only a matter of time before mobs of "protestors" hit the streets, invigorated with a reason to show up and hate in their own way in the name of "justice" -- and perhaps with a dark agenda of their own -- and the fact that this fraternity seems to have been composed, for the most part, of white guys, all the better for those desirous of playing the race game to go on the attack.  We ponder whether a good share of Syracuse University's -- interesting -- street protestors would also volunteer to lower the hammer on Black Lives Matter in mass demonstrations for its kill-the-police attitude.

We, in fact, further wonder whether student protests have more do with their role as "snowflakes" unable to handle the rough edges of society than with the alleged issues with video recordings.

What did the frat videos really show?  A cornucopia of young people acting like fools in their own way.  That the acting out in playtime theater proved deplorable to the few or the many is the smaller issue.  The street mobs attired in messages of socialism and no tolerance, infinitely more dangerous to First Amendment rights than fraternity boys with a camera, would prefer censorship, extreme punishment and, as we now see time and again in institutions of supposedly higher learning across the country, banishment of speech offenders to distant prison-like places from which they shall never return.

Familiar with film director and author John Waters, still in the public eye?  Not only has Waters spoken at Syracuse U. on at least a couple of occasions way back (and I have written about and corresponded minimally with him in the distant past), he is also the proud creator -- particularly in his early years of the sixties and seventies -- of what some have termed the filthiest movies ever made, using extreme humor and even nudity to poke satirical and absurd barbs at society's cherished, damned and misery-laden people, situations and beliefs.  Over the years, through his cinematic magic, books and public appearances (again, hellooooooo Syracuse University), Waters has established himself as an icon of the intellect -- a strange icon to some, indeed, but an iconic figure nevertheless.

Less cultured and certainly uncouth in terms of telling picture tales for reasons best known to themselves, the S.U. fraternity guys walked a similar path, adulterated unfortunately with something akin to youthful fart jokes, and it's more than obvious that they never considered the effects their efforts would have on a society poised to be offended at the drop of a hat.  However, as Syracuse and national media share a field day in grinding this story out in colorful, glorious pieces of condemnation day after day, what's the big deal? A bunch of students expressed something without benefit of settings in an officially sanctioned university drama class and the crowd went wild. 

Some may wonder, what takes more brainpower -- a gaggle of student morons producing amateur videos, or university marketers enticing people to buy tickets for the privilege of watching peculiarly-garbed people direct a ball into a hole (the latter a talent, by the way, enjoyed routinely by every dog with which I ever shared my life)?

It is a profound disappointment to watch Syracuse University fall in line with proliferating gangs of student pod-people, undermining the very concept of traditionally protected and expressed observations sans consequences on U.S. campuses. 

Rejoice!  The thought police are alive and well and enjoying free reign in colleges throughout the land.  Will no one deny them a watchtower?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Starbucks Rubs Diversity into the Wound

Will they never learn?  The pattern remains the same.  In this instance, a single Starbucks employee called the cops to remove two black men whom she suspected were loitering or doing other things she felt questionable.  In any event, the employee no longer works for the apologetic company.

But was that enough?  Noooooooooooo.  Instead, Starbucks wimped out and lifted the old diversity training chestnut high, promising to close all of its stores for a day later in May to conduct diversity sessions.

Nobody gets it.  "Diversity" training means, and has long meant, if you're white you're guilty, and somehow "they" plan to instill warm and loving diversity emotions into you in a manner gentler but similar to a North Korean re-education class.  By the time class ends, yep, you'll graduate as tolerant, and if you're not it'll go very badly for you next time something, anything happens which seems remotely offensive, racist, anything-o-phobic or (God help you!) wrongly or unfortunately worded.

Starbucks -- three words for your corporate butts:  Go to hell.  You caved, just as Laura Ingraham's radio show sponsors took off on a run and didn't look back when intimidated by a nasty, foul-mouthed teenager and his fanatical little friends who apparently live their days accompanied by a tall cup of, not coffee, but hatred for everybody who disagrees with them.

Okay, racism is bad, bad, bad -- but to force hundreds or thousands of innocent Starbucks employees to undergo the undeserved punishment of diversity training when they have violated nobody's sensibilities is just plain insulting.  Further, diversity training can tend to make one less, not more tolerant of racial differences, from my observations.

How much longer U.S. interests and corporations can be held hostage within minutes via the weapon of instant messaging and the flash mob mentality is a question that must be addressed before we're destroyed as a society, and be assured that not even diversity training will put that egg back together again.

A date with Kim:  As members of Congress seethe over not being informed of Pompeo's secret meeting with North Korea's Kim Jung Un, we suspect that Trump's people realized the usual blabbers would leak the event's existence enough to drown it into oblivion before it even happened.  Oh, the times in which we live.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

When Collusion Becomes Hullabillusion

During March of 1966 the U.S. was swimming in UFO reports, particularly in parts of Michigan.  So intense were press reports that LIFE Magazine's April 1rst issue -- which obviously could have played up the "April Fools" aspect -- chose instead to offer extensive coverage of the events with an exhibit of alleged color photos of UFOs.

A key witness among UFO observers was farmer Frank Mannor, who, with his son, claimed to have encountered a strange object in a marshy area.  Anxious to be believed by a curious but often skeptical media, Mannor emphasized that their sighting was real, not a "hullabillusion," a perfect non-word which informally went down in UFO history to accentuate a grand delusion or elusive illusion (well, that's my take on it, and I'm sure better descriptions abound).

The word, "hullabillusion" has resurfaced in my mind some 52 years later as I watch the Washington, D.C. circus of policy blood-letting among both Donald Trump and opposition personnel.  Me, I'm an Independent voter with conservative views, but I also entertain a divergent side which no conservative would touch with insulated gloves.  So, it's sometimes deceptively easy for me to "take sides" on issues.  Nevertheless, I'm just a mortal human with no superpower abilities.

We hope that talk of all-out war with nukes is just talk among the world's Elite, but should it come and military man and woman power becomes essential, we wonder how that would work out, now that we know a significant portion of military-age youth in the U.S. couldn't be military material under the best of circumstances due to the deplorable physical, mental and drugged-out conditions under which they dwell.

Meanwhile, now that our relationship with Russia could hardly be worse WITHOUT nukes involved, we suspect that all the talk of "collusion" which has given both Democrats and other Trump-hating folk a really nice ride appears dead in the water -- or should be.

"Stormy Daniels," election violations and a daily cavalcade of subjects -- orchestrated, we suspect, particularly by Elitists who successfully hide their own baggage -- just chomping at the bit to take Donald Trump down will continue, and maybe impeachment and a ceremonial kick-out will happen.

From my tiny point of observation, it seems that the more Trump accomplishes his agenda, the more that darker forces come out of the woodwork to destroy the man chosen as President, taking the extra step of "officially" messing with lawyer-client privilege (Update:  Apparently, the attorney-client aspect may not apply in this murky situation, as a criminal investigation with a focus on lawyer Cohen himself has surfaced as the reason for Cohen's visit from the FBI) and eventually, we believe, pursuing Trump's family members, all in the darkest tradition of destroying people politically.

Where were these negative, inquisitive bastards of media and government lurking while Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and a cacophony of others screwed big-time with us?  This country has developed into more opposing layers of a who's-who justice system than colors on a gay rainbow flag.

Trump and Russian collusion?  Hey, if that doesn't work out, try and try again with something else until you win the brass ring.  Give a thousand monkeys a thousand typewriters and eventually they'll type out a novel where some extremely offensive people reach their goal of ridding the country of a President named Trump so they can. . . make America restrained again.

Mark Zuckerberg endures and testifies before old congressional farts:   First of all, how is it that he met with a few of them before he even testified?  That raises an eyebrow for me.  Second, if this Facebook controversy ends with MORE government oversight and control of the Internet, the enemies of free speech will have progressed another inch.  Bad news for the rest of us.

Now Bank of America has declined to loan money to gun companies which produce "military style" weapons.  That makes two out of the big five.  I think it's just about time to remind giant banking institutions that the taxpayers bailed them out in grand fashion, and if they really wish to take the moral high ground, maybe they should start with a look in the mirror. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ten Words

"Nobody Can Tell Me How Many Children I Can Have!"

Fighting words for some, a comforting declaration for others.

Time to check the. . .time.

It's zero o'clock and the year is 2018.

By 2030, some estimates suggest that 20 percent or more of jobs humans have come to depend upon will be gone, mostly absorbed by the world of high-tech, robots and devices yet to arrive on the scene.  This raises a question,  interesting as never before:  Who needs all these people roaming the planet?

That's right, us, we, they.

The "Third World" is destined to be especially proficient at baby production in the future, despite a population decline in developed nations.  Why do some people insist on becoming proliferating "baby machines?"  Probably for the same reason why baseball players consume a game by periodically spitting on the field for no apparent reason.

Which means, is there a reason to continue popping out large families?  Parents love their kids, but if one looks upon the future as, not a time of opportunity, but instead a fractured era of suffering, joblessness and enough idle time to drive the newly useless ambitious folk insane, what then?  We may like to believe we can choose or deny artificial intelligence and its successors down the road, but the situation more likely involves an AI that won't need us.

Doom-and-gloom prophecies are nothing new (the latest concerns observations of a giant crack in Africa and magnetic anomalies), but putting those aside in favor of merely wondering about a future catastrophe caused by human numbers alone takes a different approach.  Hours need not pass into eternity before one realizes a basic point:  Every person born on the planet requires land, resources and something with which to exercise one's brain. 

In a world where AI accomplishments become important enough to surpass human needs, desires and basic reasons for existence, what's the point of giving birth to torrents of folk without purpose, destined only to bump into one another or, in the worst instances, murder one another just for sport (and we anticipate, as this dreary episode unfolds, that nearly all wild and domestic animals would already be dead, having been killed for food or, again, "sport")?  Just look at Venezuela's empty zoos and good people who turned into prostitutes and thieves simply to survive under a radical government -- a society in chaos.

We strongly suspect that tech labs all over the world, right now, are flexing their intellectual muscles under either the hope or pretense of building a better world, though the real outcome here, almost inevitably, could be a planet hostile to the purpose or continuation of human life. 

"Nobody can tell me how many children I can have!"

From smart to outsmarted in a few decades?

California governor Jerry Brown:  Trial, conviction, and a long prison term, please.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg:  I do believe an astounding number of people on the left really would vote this guy into the presidency, despite the Facebook baggage.  Still love your daily digital "social" network activities?

Cynthia Nixon:  Another actor running for something, this time for Democrat governor of New York.  We guess almost any old leftist thing would be an improvement over Andrew Cuomo, but Nixon's politics will make each battle to see who can move farthest to the left without falling off the cliff.  Either way, assured though it appears that a Democrat will continue to keep the NY governor's office, New Yorkers will continue to see dramatic tax increases while even more residents move out of the state.  Nixon's campaign promise to allow and tax marijuana sales in NY merely shows her wish to gain state revenue on the backs of people who probably don't know or could not care less how many toxic substances come with marijuana.  Better, we think, that Cynthia Nixon continue mouthing lines from a script and do what TV or motion picture directors tell her to do in the actor's world of fiction and fantasy.

The borders:  If Trump's plans for National Guard or other military influence at the borders fails to work as intended, maybe AI could play a role.  Has Silicon Valley invented robotic dogs capable of biting illegal border immigrants and drug runners on the ass until they turn around and go back?  We could order 100,000 of those useful little items.

Writing while white:  Me, guilty as charged.  Look, I'm not about to stand by and take it kindly as universities, colleges and hate groups disguised as puppy dogs condemn people of whiteness for our existence.  How can I speak out in this newly-enlightened society without sounding like a KKK member?  The new KKK-like entity in the U.S. encompasses non-white voices acting as irrational as the KKK ever could, minus (for now) the lynchings and cross-burning.  Radical voices, implementing a crazy term called "white privilege," go on the attack at every opportunity, reflected particularly in what have become, strangely, knuckle-dragging institutions of so-called higher learning where white folk are admitted with an expectation that they'll act guilty and submissive, once certain faculty members backed by cowardly or radically permissive administrations perform extreme mental twists and torture.  From firsthand experience I can declare loudly and with certainty that there are few words invoking stark terror in the English language than the one known as diversity, when applied to race and skin color, but that's an issue I prefer not to detail in a blog entry.

On the plus side, we remain grateful for college students and others who have the courage to issue public reports when various groups or speakers take to the podium or classroom to intellectually water-board white people, Christianity and established values with nothing to back up their assertions other than pure racial hatred in reverse.  And, by the way, these folks don't appreciate at all those who dare to exercise freedom of speech by criticizing their antics and nonsensical words. 

Revel in the new society of lefties, mad as hatters.