Saturday, May 11, 2013

Post No. 186f: "Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?"

© 2009 and 2013, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

In the world of social commentary, there are “observers” and “critics.”

People often ask how we approach preparation of articles reflecting our observations.

Short answer? We watch C-Span, the History Channel, Tom and Jerry, and Turner Classic Movies all weekend. During that time, we absorb roughly 50 different points of view on various subjects, and give Tom’s observations more weight.

We consider them further during the week, while watching the news and Congressional hearings, in an effort to identify themes or “cross-over” principles, which arguably apply to divergent subjects. It could be sports, science, religion, and music. Like Wile E. Coyote, we keep chasing the Road Runner, seeking something.

(We also walk through book stores each week and pick up any and everything.)

So many today claim to know, with certainty, how we got here economically, why and how this or that President was flawed, and why we will fail as a nation if we do X. This banter drove the Logistician to Brazil for his sabbatical to study with the heads of the samba schools.

Before he departed, while eating his standard meal of sardines, beef tongue, and horseradish on pumpernickel, he asked, “How are these people able to come up with evidence which only supports their position?” He abhorred “goal determinant analysis.”

He then asked, “Why didn’t these people step forward to take control before things imploded?”

We seem to be dissatisfied with virtually every aspect of our lives, along with the people running most of our institutions, not to mention our significant others).

There’s no shortage of “incompetents” according to the critics: politicians, doctors, commercial banks, insurance companies, the Federal Reserve, drug companies, pedophile priests and Boy Scout leaders, automobile companies, oil companies, current and past Presidents, the housing and construction industries, the poor, the rich, CEOS, lawyers, investment bankers, immigrants (whether illegal or not), unions, doped up athletes, Hollywood, and of course, Wal-Mart. Most recently, it was the 47%.

It’s a Herculean task to find anyone or anything held in high regard, and about which at least 70% of Americans view positively. We’d settle for 60%.

Apart from all of the new input we consume, we constantly review earlier posts, to consider their continuing applicability. In Post No. 85 in February of 2009, amid rising concerns about the global economy, we generated, Why We Suspect, To Our Dismay, That “Whatever” Our Leaders Devise Will Not Work.

In Post No. 27 in July 2009, we wrote about The Inability of our Leaders to Please (or Lead) Us.

Finally, in May 2008, in Post No. 9, Recognizing the Potential of the Innovative Thought Process (We are a Better Country Than We Currently Think of Ourselves), we noted that a recent poll revealed that 81% of Americans felt the country was heading in the wrong direction.

And that was before the recession was officially announced, and blame assessed.

And before Obama was even nominated.

The sentiment crossed ideological lines. Amazingly, it was something about which the majority could agree.

Thomas Woods was recently on C-Span. He is the author of Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse.

We’ve now watched his presentation 4 times. He had so little positive to say about much of anything over the past 30 years, that it made us stop and think about the views of other commentators over the past 18 months.

Then we asked, like the Logistician, “Why aren’t these people leading us?”

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and some are simply Monday morning quarterbacks.

But shouldn’t we be concerned that despite the personal successes of many of our leaders and captains of industry, our country as a whole appears to be in such a precarious state?

Does our current political climate or system discourage the true best and brightest from running for public office, and seeking the helm of our major industries?

Does the public scrutiny of our leaders serve as a disincentive for the “truly qualified” to share their wisdom and insight with us for the public benefit?

Maybe a nation really does deserve the leaders that it gets.

And here the rest of us stand, growling, and fighting like Dobermans for scraps of raw meat.

During our preparation of this piece, the words of Simon and Garfunkel kept swirling in our heads:

Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio? A Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You, Woo, Woo, Woo.”

You critics, who have figured it all out, and find others to be incompetent, please step forward and participate in fixing this mess.

We need you.


  1. Certainly an interesting retrospective on the problems of the day and how they developed, along with the same questions being asked again. The majority is still on the sidelines, even though their participation could be game-changing, because the "coach" isn't sending them in. Our "coach," the President, gives lots of speeches but fails to engage Congress in a personal challenge to put the voices of the people in play--listen to what we are saying and quit playing the same old "How do we manage to get re-elected?" game. Unfortunately, so many of us have all but given up trying to be heard. Oh, yes, there are numerous "petitions" being generated, so many in fact that they have become virtually useless. On and on it goes. I truly hope your repeated questions and assessment of our situation raises a serious response!

  2. May I comment DP that the 'coach' also sits on the sidelines in most of the games I have watched. However will not an opposition as crude and disreputable as the current one (sitting not far away perhaps) play the getting elected next time game by default? And will win without an opponant also playing?

    Educating the 'audience' must surely be a priority to reduce absenteeism from the voting booths, pity the coaches connive in keeping the crowds dumb!

  3. 'Does our current political climate or system discourage the true best and brightest from running for public office, and seeking the helm of our major industries? '

    Yes of course it does - perhaps by the simple method of promoting greed (for money/power) from the cradle on, and muscling out people with human values.

    Nice post IC, these sentiments can't be over-repeated.

  4. 'Spector,

    My favorite line from "Mrs. Robinson" is:

    Laugh about it, shout about it/
    When you've go to choose/
    Any way you look at it you lose.

    Quite prescient of S&G . . .

    The Independent Cuss


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