Category Archives: Social comment

M*A*S*H Iraq

How long will it take for us to see this show? It took nineteen years from the Korean armistice to the M*A*S*H premiere.  (Hogan’s Heroes took twenty, which reinforces the evidently unofficial timeline.)   With Hollywood doing more recycling (of ideas, since it has no new ones) these days than your typical granola Oregonian, it is just a matter of time.

If it’s the 1990-1991 Gulf War, the necessary time has elapsed, yet the problem there is you have months of buildup followed by about three minutes of blowing the other side to hell followed by a decade of periodic bombing–difficult to structure a show around, unlike Korea, a war whose stalemates, steady casualties and periodic cease-fires made actual dating of events in the show rather nebulous. We are, of course, well overdue for a Vietnam sitcom.  My guess is that the networks are too chicken there.  I think they don’t give Vietnam vets enough credit.  They have had, after all, thirty-five years to think about it.  Who thinks they have not done some processing?

If it’s the 2003-2009 Gulf War/occupation, of course, the necessary 19 years for society to accept comedy mixed with its tragedy have barely gotten a start.

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The decline of message boards

While I do not think they will just go away, I think they are fading overall.  It came to me today while reading a post I thought was fairly misguided, though not offensive.  For whatever reason, I posted that the poster was missing the point.  He of course challenged me to prove my point.  I thought about it, and then I thought:  Why would I care? I don’t care to make him agree or see it my way, and I don’t care what he thinks especially to begin with, and I don’t care if anyone else on the board looks down on me because I didn’t engage him.  I simply do not care.  So I just told him it wasn’t worth my time, and left it at that.

It’s not that he was stupid, or that it wasn’t a debatable point.  It was that the whole message board environment simply has worn down my ability to care what he or anyone else says there.  And I am wondering if others sort of passed through a message board phase and lost general interest in them, as I have.  In many ways, Facepalm walls and posts and comment threads seem to have taken over, and often with even greater idiocy, though at least some greater need for circumspection how one points it out.  One never wants to hear from a liked friend, “Uh, that’s my brother-in-law, and while I agree he’s a fairly dim bulb, I’m not having fun reading you sending his BP into triple digits over triple digits.”  Or worse:  “I’m sorry about my brother-in-law.  He wasn’t always this way.  He got caught in an IED blast and has never recovered.  Before that, though, he won the Silver Star, and was the best Little League coach ever.”

Anyway.  Am I the only one out there who nowadays only bothers with message boards when he has a specific question for a specific group/subject, asks it, thanks them for the answer and then vanishes for two years?

Business accountability

Why do we hold mom & pop businesses more accountable than Dow 30 corporations? If a local mom & pop sent us deceptive advertising personally created for us, we’d be outraged.  Yet a major corporation may do the same, impersonally, to millions–and people just accept that as normal.

How are mom & pop more culpable? Or, for that matter, why are the largest companies not culpable at all? If mom & pop don’t return our call, they get a black mark.  If the largest companies don’t return our call, it’s “what did you expect?” If mom & pop said, “sorry, that’s our policy,” we’d hold a stupid policy against them.  If a huge company has a stupid policy, we accept that same answer in ovine fashion.

Why?

Thinking about Dixie

I’ve long had a fair bit of affection for the South and its people, which is odd because I doubt I could ever live in the South in comfort except in carefully selected areas, maybe not even then.  It’s nothing by any means common to most Southerners; rather, its vocal minority is simply more vocal than would enable me to live in peace, me being not particularly prone to withstand certain things in silence.  It’s a rough situation for the vast majority, whom I find a diverse, thoughtful, friendly and self-honest bunch.  They are sick of being caught up in broad generalizations, and I completely get that because I’m a Kansas boy.  I get the same sort of crap, and by and large, Southerners seem to deal with those broad generalizations based on minority viewpoints better than I do those about Kansas.  I guess they’ve had long practice.

Thus, there’s more than one reason a son of Kansas roots watching twisters tear the living hell out of Dixie can feel pretty badly for them.  Hang tough, folks.  My condolences for your losses, which are appallingly grave.  You have a lot of good people, a lot of tough people, and you’ll rebuild.

Do you promise not to put my tires on someone else’s car?

We had that conversation today down at Les Schwab.  Last fall I had to buy new studs for my wife’s car.  Les Schwab put my tires on the car of a mediocre local news anchor.  The only credit they earned occured when the supervisor came out to the waiting area and enumerated this event to me.  Too stunned to speak at first, I just stared at him with the you could not possibly be this stupid look.  Moreover, I was in no way compensated for the extra hour and a half I had to sit around waiting for them to fetch her car back, get my tires, put them on Deb’s car, etc.  Sorry.  You’re screwed.  You will be delayed another hour and a half; no, it is not your fault; no, you will not get that time back, nor anything for it; yes, we really do expect you to just meekly accept this.

I don’t do ‘meek’ too well.  I am resolved not to let them forget it soon.  If that’s the only compensation I get, besides sinking this particular banderilla, very well.

This led to today’s odd conversation as I had the studs swapped out for the regulars (required soon by law).  I went to the counter, and asked how long it would be.  I explained what had happened last time, and asked if she could promise they would not give someone else my tires.  If she would promise, I would dare go eat some guilty pleasure lunch across the street.  Otherwise I would stand there and never take my eyes off my tires.  This was the part where she was supposed to show shocked disappointment and wonder what could be done to restore my confidence.  I didn’t think very much of her attitude, quite frankly; she acted almost as if I were making it up.  She didn’t quite eyeroll, but Les Schwab got another black mark for that.

Guess they’ll just have to wear it.  It’s not like I would tell the story on the Internet or something.

Facebook Slacktivism

If you’re on Facepalm, you’ve seen them:  profile posts pressuring you to change your status to something.  And yes, it is pressure, often coupled with a guilt trip.  To gather these, I had to go unhide a whole bunch of people who have done them so often I finally just tuned them out:

Put this dog on
.//^ ^\\ your status
(/(_•_)\) to show
._/”*”\_ that you are
(,,,)^(,,,) Against Animal Cruelty

If I don’t, does that mean I’m for animal cruelty?

Who says Facebook friends aren’t real friends? They enjoy seeing you on line everyday, miss you when you aren’t, send condolences if you’ve lost someone, give you wishes on your Birthday, enjoy the photos & videos you post, put a smile on your face when you’re down, make you laugh when you feel like crying. Re-post if you love your Facebook friends. ?

And if I don’t, does that mean I don’t care for them?

Tell me if this makes any sense. I’m still scratching my head at this one. Homeless go without eating. Elderly go without needed medicines. Mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits they were promised. Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our… own first. Have the guts to re-post this. 1% will re-post and 99% won’t

So if I don’t accept your premise and parrot what you say, I’m gutless?

Doesn’t make sense, does it? Homeless in the US go without eating. Elderly in the US go without needed medicines. Mentally ill in the US go without treatment. American troops go without proper equipment. American veterans go without benefits that were promised. Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first. 1% will re-post and 99% won’t. Have the guts to re-post this. I KNOW I’M IN THE 1%

For this one, evidently, I’m gutless again, plus unkind to our needy?

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL! MY GENERATION GREW UP RECITING THIS EVERY MORNING IN SCHOOL WITH MY HAND ON MY HEART WITH RESPECT. THEY NO LONGER DO THAT FOR FEAR OF OFFENDING SOMEONE! LET’S SEE HOW MANY AMERICANS WILL RE-POST THIS & NOT CARE ABOUT OFFENDING SOMEONE

So if I don’t make a mindless repetition in ALL CAPS, it’s because I’m afraid of offending someone?

Very sadly, most of you probably won’t copy and paste this. Will you do it and leave it on your status for at least an hour??? It’s Special Education week, and this is in HONOR of all the children who need a little extra help, patience & understanding. Proudly, I will! …Thanks!! ….’Here’s to all the kids who need just a little bit…… more

This one switched message a bit, leading with the guilt trip.  So now I don’t like learning-disabled kids?

Now you see why I just block anyone who does too much of this.  Maybe some people can be insulted into making a show for others, but the idea has no appeal for me.