A Disappointment ~ Early Evening Thoughts

I was so hoping that we had moved beyond certain backwater behaviors, that some how we as a people had gotten beyond certain things in our lives that hold us back from reaching our own potential and allowing all others to reach the potential within themselves.

How wrong I was …

I’ve been following the controversy over Rick Warren – fed in part by Rachel Maddow (who might be heading down the road of becoming the Ann Coulter of the left). I’d been reading about Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich being guilty and defiant at the least of idiotic conversations and possibly more.

But these paled in comparison to the stories about Republican Chip Saltsman, a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee distributing as CD titled “We Hate the USA” and includes songs referencing former presidential candidate John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.

According to The Hill, other song titles were: “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish Banner.”

The big main song according to reports was “Barack, the Magic Negro.” (to the tune of “Puff, the Magic Dragon)

Saltsman’s lame excuse was “political satire” and “I think RNC members understand that.”

Sorry sir ~ They might, I do not. It certainly didn’t make it any easier when I found out that the Rush Limbaugh ‘s radio show had played it first back in 2007. While this is the kind of racist behavior I would expect from Rush and gang, for someone who wants to be considered a serious contender for Chairmanship of the ailing RNC and the ailing party, it certainly was not one of the better ideas he might have had.

The song had it’s genesis in an article by David Ehrenstein (who’s Father was a Jew and Mother an African American with white Irish roots) who often writes about homosexuality in cinema and in the article talks about the “magic Negro” of cinema and somehow Mr. Ehrenstein makes the leap from the silver screeen to the politcal stage. You can read the article —>here<— And he certainly would have been upset if someone had written about the "Magic Jew" problem…given his ethnic background.

All this was coupled with realizing that we as a people, have NOT really progressed to where we should be in this day and age ~ and I’m including BOTH sides of the ethnic divide. I hear African Americans say things in public that if someone else were to say them would cause immediate backlash of all kinds. I have gotten e-mails from people I really love containing Obama jokes that not only are tasteless, but border on racist. These kind of things hold someone up to ridicule and show how little we hold them in regard.

SIDE BAR: I need to say here that I do understand satire and political satire…those are both vibrant and valid forms of expression and speech. What is involved here is neither. Satire really doesn’t work when it only involves characteristics that someone can no change. For example, Barack Obama can NOT change the color of his skin or his ethnic heritage. Jokes about either are not satire..they are more the old saying of “keeping the uppity in their place.” (THAT ring a bell for anyone around in the 60;s?) The fact that Prince Charles ears are rather large and obvious serves as “quick identification” in satire, but if was the only thrust of the story or sketch would not be satire, but rather cruelty.

If goes back to what I have written about before, this kind of behavior simply allows “us” a sense of “control” over the person we have labled as “the enemy.” And allows “us” to label them, put them in a box and decide how all behavior toward them will be.

All it does is belittle, cut down and move toward humiliation of people. And for those that are listening (especially children or youth), they form the idea that it’s perfectly acceptable to behave in a similar manner. And why shouldn’t they? After all they see/hear the actions, speech and “satire” , so it must be alright. It must be “cool.”

This reminded me of the lyrics of “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific and I think they are more true today than when they were written:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Is there a place for satire and political satire? Absolutely!! Satire is a wonderful lens to hold up the mistakes and foibles that the great and near-great and the not-so-hot make. But merely denegrating someone or holding them up to contempt for my own amusment or sense of control isn’t.

Dear Lord ~ January 20th can’t come soon enough and according to a poll just released 75% of the people asked can hardly wait for the 20th as well!!!

The Cowardly Closet ~ Late Night Thoughts

In all honesty, I have been following the hypocrisy on both sides of the Imus affair,and had actually started a fairly lengthy essay on my thoughts. I took a break and started reading blogs that I follow each day, when I read today’s post at A Spider’s Web in Thornton Park.

I felt as if I had been hit in the stomach with a fist. My sadness gave way to anger and then back to sadness. Spiders blog has been an incredible light in my world. He’s just gone through heart surgery, is facing treatment (possible surgery) for cancerous tumors – and now this. All caused by anonymous scum that don’t have the guts or “cojones” to come out their own closet to say or do what abhorrent things.

Yes, I deliberately used the phrase “out of the closet.” To me, these people that hide behind anonymity are closeted bigots that would probably be completely comfortable hiding behind white sheets and pointed hats – or wearing green shirts with a swastika on the sleeve.

I have re-printed his entire post. Be sure to read it completely – then my statements at the beginning will make sense.

From A Spider’s Web In Thornton Park

I had written the first part of this blog on Tuesday Night…

I just got back from a wonderful dinner with some friends tonight and my phone rang. It had been ringing all night long at dinner – but I didn’t answer it because it kept coming up Private Number and I didn’t want to take a call from an unknown person at dinner. So it rang again when I got home. I answered it and no one spoke on the other end… just sounded like a car radio on the line so I hung up. A couple of minutes later it rang again… and this voice said “Brett”… Has the cancer killed you yet? I said “No” and they said, “Damn it God – let the cancer kill him – let the cancer kill him” and they hung up.

Now, I can only assume that this is an individual who read my blog and I KNOW it is not any of my readers – I can only assume that it is the same person who was harassing me last year over my letters to Patty Sheehan. Only my blog buddies and my closest friends know about my illness – so it must be someone who reads or has read my blog.

So, gentle phone caller – sorry to disappoint you, but you did not upset me. I am not a basket case nor am I bothered. Actually, I just feel sorry for you… that something is making you do things like this. Calling me, telling my employer about me, none of that will make me die. I am too strong, too mean and too stubborn to die just because you want me to. Nope, sorry – someone greater than both of us will make that decision.

By the way… have a nice day and just remember – karma is a real bitch…

Then on Wednesday, I get this comment on an old post…
———————————–
Um, yeah, hi, this is Death. I’m still gunning for Spider. I think the cancer will get him.

Death said this on April 11th, 2007 at 4:40 pm (edit)
———————————–
Well… it is now Friday and I hate to say it but the gentle caller has won. He found some things on the internet that were totally personal and done on my own time. Long story short, I was terminated from work today because of a personal ad he forwarded to the CEO of my company, the VP of my division, the Chairman of the Board – my VP found it to be “disgusting, immoral, vile and made him sick to his stomach” – so since I could not be terminated for something that was done on my own time from my own home, I was terminated for sending personal e-mails to several friends and my parents from work.

So gentle reader, you win. I surrender; you have what you have wanted since July… I hope you are happy, I hope you sleep well tonight, I hope that you can look at yourself in the mirror in the morning.

I have also decided to put an end to A Spider’s Web in Thornton Park. I have enough going on in my life without having to deal with without having to deal with the nut cases out there on the net. A lot of the information general reader found out had to come from my blog… and I am just tired of thinking 3 times before I post something something. The loss is just too great…

I love you all, I thank you for everything – especially the love you showed me the past month… I will be around – I am sure that Tony and Sorted will keep you posted on my ongoing treatment.

It’s been real, it’s been fun – and it HAS been real fun! I am just sorry it has to end this way at this time – this may be closing the barn door after the cow ran away… but given the past month, I need to focus elsewhere – and not be looking over my shoulder.

I am really going to miss you all – each and every one of you.

And gentle reader, now that you have gotten what you want, maybe you will have the guts to tell me who you are…

~ by Spider on April 13, 2007.

————————–
Fear has its use but cowardice has none.
—Mahatma Gandhi

Cowards can never be moral.
—Mahatma Gandhi

The coward threatens when he is safe.
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Only cowards insult dying majesty.
—Aesop

Dear Spider ~ You have no idea how much I will miss you!!!

An Afternoon Case Of WHAT??? ~

As I was digging around today (OK, surfing around) two absolutely amazing little pieces of news caught my eye … the first an invasion, the second a complete lack of …. well, you decide what is lacking…..

Imagine reading this on a headline service this morning: (or being a news “puller”)

Yes, it’s a screen shot of an actual posted headline. However, before anyone feels that they need to start looking for some kind of shelter – the truth is quite amusing – and far more mundane.

Once upon a time, there was a training exercise … and a few soldiers got lost in the process.

The second story caused some clean-up of my monitor and keyboard from the coffee spilled (OK, spewed) on them as a result of this little tale.

Remember awhile ago when Boston was shut down over a publicity campaign? I thought you might. If you remember, the offending hardware that caused so much Police panic were a Light-Brites cast around for people to find and (if you ever watch Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim) recognize.

It seems that today** Wednesday, the City of Boston placed traffic counters around. You know, those identifable boxes attached by chain to a pole with a small cable running across the road that counts the cars as they drive over it.

I’ll let Wonkette tell the tale:

Well, the brave anti-terrorism officials of Boston most certainly do not know of these common devices — so they shut down the city today, again, and blew up the traffic counter. You know, the traffic counter the City of Boston was paying for ….

(Article and picture here)

Now that I have cleaned up the keyboard and monitor – I can go back to feeling safer in knowing that any car I ride in Boston is going to go uncounted.

Why do people make up news, when there’s so much really interesting (insert any other word here) true news to look at?

**edited correction of date

Early morning thoughts

Be entirely tolerant or not at all; follow the good path or the evil one. To stand at the crossroads requires more strength than you possess.
Heinrich Heine

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.
Heinrich Heine

There are more fools in the world than there are people.
Heinrich Heine

Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.
Heinrich Heine, From his play “Almansor” (1821)