05 March 2021

The March Edition of 'I Comment on the Today's Headlines'

Banned?

Since July, I have occasionally been posting headlines from various news sources and writing comments about them that are either pithy, snarky, wise or brilliantly on point (or a combination thereof). The response has been so overwhelming (thank you, Vidal Buffoon of Bend, Oregon) that I have made this a regular feature -- to enthusiastic acclaim. Here then is part twelve in what is now a regular and beloved monthly feature.

From The NY Times:

Dr. Seuss Books Are Pulled, and a ‘Cancel Culture’ Controversy Erupts

I believe this is what the British call a sticky wicket. First let's set aside the term "cancel culture" as it has become a misnomer. Few people or books or ideas are ever really canceled. The exception being the worst of the convicted felons such as Bill Cosby. Also it's debatable whether there's an actual culture around current attempts to silence people and books, although some people do seem to revel in it. There are in the Dr. Seuss books mentioned some highly questionable references to race that many people would not want their children exposed to. Keeping them from young eyes is not a terrible idea given the plethora of children's books available, many of them classics and many of those by Seuss himself. But I shudder every time a book, movie or TV episode is taken away from the public. It is a dangerous precedent that is becoming a dangerous practice. One thing that has gotten me through the pandemic has been re-watching 30 Rock (thanks Hulu) from beginning to end. But several episodes have been deemed inappropriate and are unavailable. (White characters in black face.) I'd have preferred the episodes be kept with a disclaimer appearing before it pointing out the offending part of the show and explaining why it is problematic. Then viewers could decide to either forge ahead and watch it anyway -- armed with the knowledge that they will see something offensive, or they can watch it and fast forward or mute the offending section or they can skip it entirely. The key here is that is the viewer's choice. We're walking some might fine lines these days and I don't know that we're always getting the more rational, informed people making the final decision. About the only critique of the left in which conservatives have a point is that we tend to be pretty censorious of speech we don't like. I'd hate to give the knuckleheads any more ammo. I understand the impulse to keep racial stereotypes away from young eyes and ears, but I worry about an increased tendency to censor and what is supposed to be a free society. Very fine line indeed.

Cuomo Aides Rewrote Nursing Home Report to Hide Higher Death Toll

Come on, you must have known at the time that what you were doing was a) morally repugnant and b) stupid. It is much easier to tell than truth than lies -- unless someone asks if their new skirt makes them look fat. 

As Biden Urges Caution on Covid, Governors Split on How Fast to Reopen

The governors of Texas and Mississippi have announced that their states are going to fully re-open. Idiots, boneheads, morons, jerks and a-holes have celebrated the move. What's particularly frustrating is that we are not that far away from states (meaning restaurants, theaters, gyms, sports venues, etc.) actually being ready to open. But dumb people are not known for their patience. How many more people are going to get the virus and die because of the stupidity of these governors? Shameful.

From CNN: 

Father arrested in India for beheading his 17-year-old daughter

The daughter's "offense" had been to be alone in a room with a boy that the father did not like. He severed her head and calmly -- yes, calmly -- walked to the police station to turn himself in. This is a situation for which the term 'unspeakable tragedy' was created. Yes, the man doubtless suffers from mental illness but this is also indicative of a culture that oppresses women and endows patriarchs with far more power than any human deserves. Indian reported 24  'honor killings' in 2019. Other countries, such as Pakistan, register even more. That was one sad, sick culture.

Creighton's men's basketball head coach suspended after 'plantation' comment

The coach in question said, "Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation." I've heard worse but that's still pretty bad. The coach claimed that the remarks are not reflective of his values. I believe him. He said something stupid and offensive and he's got to pay the price. He's probably a decent bloke. I know how hard it can be when you are constantly talking to young people and often in stressful situations. As a middle school teacher I once grew extremely frustrated with a class and said that if their present attitude towards behavior and classwork is really how they felt they might as well plan on working in the fields. Dumb thing to say. Worse, one student decided to rat on me and told the principal I said, "cotton fields." I most certainly did not. In any case I was immediately sorry for what I said. I know of many other teachers who have said worse. They were generally good people who in the heat of the moment weren't careful with their words. It ain't easy, folks. So I feel for the coach but feel that after the suspension the lesson will hopefully have been learned.

Aged 118, the world's oldest living person will carry the Olympic flame in Japan

Wow. She was born in 1903. She was born in the same year as George Orwell, John Dillinger and Bob Hope. She could have dated Babe Ruth or Rudolph Valentino or Charlie Chaplin. She could easily remember the end of World War I and probably the beginning too. If an American she could have voted for Calvin Coolidge in the 1924 presidential election, which could have been the first of nineteen presidential elections she voted in. She could have been going to movies for over a dozen years before they added sound. She was 38 when Japan and the U.S. went to war. She was born the same year the Wright Brothers first flew. She was born over forty years before television sets were available. She was in her nineties before home computers were readily available and nearly 100 when the smart phone came along. My goodness me. 

From the BBC:

Voting rights: How the battle is unfolding across the US

This is easy to explain: Republicans are trying to make it harder for people to vote, especially people of color, because they care more about their chances of winning than they do about the principles of a democracy. Rather than try to appeal to a wider spectrum of the electorate they choose to cynically narrow the number of people who vote. If given the opportunity they would embrace fascism as they nearly did when Trumpy tried to steal the election he lost. The modern Republican Party only cares about feeding its corporate overlords tax breaks and stripping women and minorities of protections and rights while shrinking government so that it is too small to serve the people. Fuck them.

Covid: Bolsonaro tells Brazilians to ‘stop whining’ as deaths spike

Poor Brazil. We had a president like him until quite recently. Not a wit of compassion. No common sense. No understanding or respect for science. Wishing you the best, Brazil. We got through it, bloodied but unbowed.

US sees jobs surge as hope for rebound rises

Look everybody, it's good news. I could get used to that. Let's have more in the months to come. God knows we're owed a lot. Let's have news about the pandemic being over, joblessness plummeting to new lows. Indoor activities being safely open to one and all. Trumpy jailed for any one of the numerous crimes he's committed (treason, election fraud, tax evasion, inciting a riot, obstruction of justice). Let's see Republican politicians held accountable for their lies and deceptions and greed. Let's have signs that efforts to reverse global warming are proving effective. Let's see America's infrastructure being rebuilt. Let's see long overdue reforms of police departments across the country. And let's see my favorite sports team have their greatest seasons, and oh yes, how about my latest novel becoming and international best seller? Thanks.

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