Sunday, February 26, 2023

Post No. 210: She’s So Fine, There’s No Telling Where the News Went

© 2023, The Institute for Applied Common Sense™

SPOILER ALERT! Today, I’m an Equal Opportunity Offender. The success of this post is based on how many groups I manage to offend.

Despite my appreciation of consequences in life, I’m not concerned; because (unlike politicians) no one is paying me for my inconsequential nonsense (unlike politicians who we pay and whose nonsense is consequential). There is nothing like the power of money, having prompted the Vatican “Founding Fathers” to propose “greed” as a Deadly Sin. A black friend of mine is sending out proposals this week to KKK chapters, to build their websites, if the price is right.

I called him a few minutes ago to warn him that despite my failure to identify him and his location, he might see some protesters out front. He said that he would be on the lookout and get him promotional materials ready. He noted that he tried to join several of the chapters from which he solicited business, but he couldn’t get past the application question whether he was a Christian.

And yet, many were confused about the motivations of Herschel Walker, which upon investigation, arguably go back to 1983. Unlike the inability of police to identify “motive” amongst the mentally ill, I always say, “Follow the money, or lack thereof.” Its accumulation promotes unparalleled devotion and loyalty. Its absence has long term ramifications.

I delayed posting this for 7 days. Michael Richards of Seinfeld’s Cosmo Kramer fame destroyed his career in less than 100 words, and forfeited millions. Then I thought, “I ain’t getting paid. People ain’t reading my nonsense. Why should I care?”

A positive feature of old age is not worrying about offending others. To some extent you don’t care. You realize that by uttering a phrase which was unacceptable just 9 weeks before as an employee, no one will call from HR, or, as a business owner, serve you with a lawsuit. Despite my concerns about the current divisive environment, something is “unsettling comfortable” about being able to identify those who do not wish me well. Don’t forget about the convenient sudden onset dementia option. “He used to be so sharp.” You can get elected president by simply noting, “I was just joking.” And then there is “I'm just a dirty old man” option available when needed.

As one of my former girlfriends oft says to me, “Greene Man, but you digress. Focus.” I move to prospective “offended group No. 21.”

After a full year of drinking California Kool-Aid and breathing smog, I may be delusional about manipulation by elected leaders of “deeply divided” citizens. I don’t think so. I regularly speak to ordinary citizens of every variety, including friends of 45 years. I’m convinced (like Obama), there is more that binds us than divides us. Consider the reactions to George Floyd, the Buffalo supermarket massacre, Tyre Nichols, and Damar Hamlin.

It’s the professional politicians who stink, along with their sycophants. (I got that from one of my die-hard Trumper friends of 45 years.) On one of my no income platforms, someone noted former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, an academic I enjoy while on Kool-Aid, suggested a memo to media outlets.

Paraphrasing, he ordered that they stop referring to “labor shortage,” and try “living wage shortage” instead, along with “hazard pay,” childcare,” “paid leave,” and healthcare” shortages. Of my readers, 97% cheered as if they won the Super Bowl. I asked, “Is it because it’s (a) not true; (b) needs more detail description; (c) scares / discourages people leading to anxiety; (d) the media has too much power / influence; (e) we ordinary citizens can't handle the truth, or (f) a combination?

They pretty much obliquely suggested that the message to “the American people” needs to be crafted, framed, and spun, in pursuit of their goals. They engage in the same tactic about which they complain of the other faction. Heretofore, I appreciated why professional hubris and greed merchants felt citizens lack sophistication / ability and right to make their own informed decisions. But the fact that those of us not seeking elected office felt the same way caught me off guard.

Admittedly, Overbooker, once again, I digress. Focusing now, the most disgusting phrase which the most disgusting people in our country utter is “the American People.” We are not some monolithic body. Perhaps the local “Founding Fathers” were prescient opting out from direct democracy?

For those of you on the young side, click here to watch an entertaining video explaining the title of this piece. For older folks who still read, click here for lyrics, which you may have been previously reticent to sing or whistle out loud in our politically correct world.

I’ll just keep choosing my news outlets based on who captures my visceral attention, as I scan channels, with the sound off. I know the names of all 173 of them that really matter.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Post No. 209: Sneaking Peeps Down Rabbit Holes During Negro History Month

© 2023, The Institute for Applied Common Sense


Many of us find ourselves complaining about the role of new media and social networking platforms in our lives, particularly that of kids.  Seattle recently sued Big Tech companies for a purported detrimental influence on the mental health of kids, which implicitly acknowledges the futility of parental involvement / responsibility.

While I appreciate the value of formal education in my life, it was not nearly as eye opening as two recent periods on internet platforms: (a) blogging since 2008 on Google’s Blogger platform; and (b) engaging folks on the Facebook group page I started, “Black Baby Boomers Who Seek a Better Future for All.” The page was prompted by my desire to better understand Donald Trump and the huge segment of the population, including Christian Evangelicals, who considered him akin to the Second Coming.

Consideration of and being open to widely varying, different views and positions, followed by revisiting our own, can't be anything but a good thing in my silly but pragmatic world. And here it was I thought that dementia was going to spoil the fun. One of our group page members has often forced me to use the phrase, "While I agree, I have a slightly different take...."

People on the platforms (and even friends throughout life), have always complained about the absence of hard and fast positions on my part regarding much in life.  I quickly disabuse them of that notion by informing them that I know the position that I would take should both Jessica Alba and Halle Berry pay me a visit, alone, and naked, should they be so inclined.

I was just saying yesterday that many of us in the late 1960s - early 1970s espoused anti-establishment views.  We campaigned against tradition and the old rules and values. Now, many of us appreciate how important they were in our lives and wish that we could bring them back, many of which cannot be rescued.  

The real institutions of value, I suspect, have changed with the times in some respects, but have continued to embrace the same fundamental rules and principles which existed long ago.  Consider, for example, the Seven Deadly Sins.

During my teenage years, I was the least experienced, least sophisticated, clueless creature on the planet, still trying to make sense of things.  It was a constantly changing landscape during those days, as it arguably should be with young adults.

In my dedicated effort to derive some modicum of benefit from my experience over the past 71 years, plus have forward thinking dominate my remaining years, history suggests that black folks have no choice but to at least intellectually segregate ourselves, take care of our own, build our own businesses and thus create our own jobs, with the ultimate goal of improving our communities as components of a civilized and evolved society.

I argue on a daily basis that while I consider it important to "appreciate” history, there is a danger associated with being consumed by the past, its wrongs, and wishful thinking. Interestingly, most protest and ask why I wish to deny our history; in response to which I ask, "Has humankind solved the racism issue?"

Black Baby Boomers are the last significant group with segregation, in all of its various forms, appearing prominently on our resumes. That's why duty requires us to seek a better future for all.  We, as societal members, ought to get the best out of that “learning opportunity,” as mucked up as it may have been.

In my view, every country and society, throughout history, has been built on gaslighting segments of the populace, beating them into submission, or instilling fear to suppress their interests. One of my partners used to refer to management as "herding cats," and the governance of citizens is most certainly not any easier.

Our challenge here in America is one of expectations in that our documents set a high standard. Reading the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address might make one stare up in the sky as if they were handed down by Providence.  I often use the term "aspirational" to describe them.

The stark, pragmatic reality is that humans will never live up to the ideals outlined. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't keep trying, and yet we should always keep in mind the inherent limitations of humankind. My favorite Clint Eastwood /"Dirty Harry" line is, "A man has got to know his limitations...."

So, the most significant difference between being 17 and 71 is simply more experience under our belts and thus the ability to reduce the number of stupid things we do.  But we still have to at least keep trying to engage others and keep taking peeps down potential rabbit holes. 

Simply put, rigidity is counterproductive.

P.S.  As I put the finishing touches on this piece, PBS was featuring a revival of the Youngbloods singing “Get Together.”

"There Are More Than 2 Or 3 Ways To View Any Issue; There Are At Least 27"™

"Experience Isn't Expensive; It's Priceless"™

"Common Sense Should be a Way of Life"™