There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are you people nuts?

Anyone who doubts that the human race is collectively losing its mind has only to observe the juggernaut of absurdity known as black Friday. If any single event exemplifies the extent to which our national holidays have been corrupted by greed and a total abandonment of common sense it is this orgy of materialism. Even the media, which suckles at the teat of retail advertising, is becoming repulsed by the whole repugnant spectacle as this article on indicates. Retailers are ruining the holidays.

It was bad enough when stores opened at 6:00 AM and eager sheep began lining up the previous evening but now retailers driven by ravenous mammonism cannot wait even 24 hours to revel in the squander mania of the crowds with pockets so fairly flaming with cash that they begin lining up days in advance. Retail employees are now required to forsake their homes and families during Thanksgiving Day in order to participate in the plundering. Rather than observing a day in which to give thanks for what we have already received, retail merchants trample tradition in the mud of avarice while demanding more, more, MORE.

And for what? It seems all too easy to decry a materialism where demonstrations of parental love seem to require vast expenditures to acquire extravagant playthings that will be unused and forgotten before the first month of the new year is out; where only the newest and most flamboyant entertainment delivery systems are suitable to display in our living rooms and where every living human being must be equipped with an electronic pacifier whereby they can keep in contact with other humans without actually having to deal with them face to face.

The fact is that the fruit of the frenzy for which people are willing to die (witness tramplings and similar tragedies of past events) is largely crap. Chinese and Japanese manufacturers turn out stripped down versions of products already burdened with built in obsolescence produced especially for this event so that people will willingly stampede to purchase an item on which they will “save” the cost of a Big Mac.

The psychology of black Friday is subtle and insidious. Once inside a temple of trash, mob mentality takes over and all thought of what is actually needed gives way to the desire to load the cart with anything perceived as a bargain. Additional incentive is the element of competition. Seemingly normal housewives will revert to feral behavior struggling over a bin of trinketry.

I could go on – but to what end. Thanksgiving is morphing into a demonstration of what is the very worst about American capitalism. Black Friday. Indeed.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So long Mitt, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

So our long national nightmare of the 2012 campaign season is over and the republicans have been handed yet another clue that the demographic they appeal to is shrinking and their fragmented party can’t seem to do anything about it. To the contrary they almost seemed to flaunt it in picking as their party’s nominee a man who not only could not shake the image of a rich arrogant white man but seemed to have no desire to. Maybe the fact that Romney’s religion teaches him that he will someday be an equal with God made him feel that it was his destiny to be President of the United States. Even while winning the first of the three debates his persona was one of a condescending know it all surprised that he even had to deal with his uppity opponent. His plans for a fireworks display over Boston Harbor and his failure to prepare two speeches for election eve as did Obama indicate that he believed that he could not lose. Only when the rest of the country already knew he had lost did he, after an hour and a half’s delay, finally deliver a hastily prepared concession speech which ironically was the most sincere and human of the entire campaign.

Throughout the campaign Romney seemed to believe that no matter what he said publicly or privately he would prevail in the end. Caught in outrageous lies nearly daily he persisted in spewing enormous whoppers right to the end when even the head of Chrysler had to issue statements deploring his fantasies about sending the jeep unit to China. Behind closed doors he said things to supporters that he should have had second thoughts about even revealing to his closest aides. The 47% statement was beyond all comprehension for someone who had been in the political arena as long as Romney. His shameless pandering as he put on the spray tan for a Hispanic audience, affected a southern drawl for an audience of good old boys, and posed as an arch-conservative for two years only to repudiate it all and turn into a moderate in the final 30 days of the campaign underlined his belief that what he said and who he was had no bearing on his perceived coronation as leader of the corporate states of America.

Never since Richard Nixon had the republicans fielded such a dishonest slippery conman, but it seems that Americans have learned something since then. As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Even though half the electorate is below average intelligence there were enough in that half perceptive enough to see through the fakery. Mitt Romney could have easily done a walk on in a revival of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas singing “Sidestep” but without the humor of Charles Durning. It could have been his theme song.

Now if we can just figure out a way to get elected legislators to do something that benefits the country instead of pouting over who is in the White House.