Friday, December 25, 2015

Of Sad Snowglobes and Crestfallen Advent Calendars

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. (I've covered that silly tempest in a teapot many times before.)

Among the many commercials that have blasted us over the past month, two similar ad campaigns have been for cars I can't afford. One of them explains that there is a snow globe for every family, and we see a few examples of happy families or of children experiencing the joy of Christmas. Another shows tabs of an advent calendar being lifted, and similar happy holiday scenes on the other side.

Those scenes might not be as happy for some other people, though. People can feel sadness or disappointment at any time of the year, but Christmas somehow has this amplifier effect. When I see the snow globes, I'm picturing someone alone at her kitchen table on Christmas Eve, looking at pictures of her siblings and their families and children, and wondering if she'll ever get to experience that herself. Behind the tab on the advent calendar we find someone spending his first Christmas without the spouse who has just divorced him, or without a parent he's recently lost.

Have a season filled with cheer, but leave some place in your hearts for these people who aren't as fortunate. Or as jolly.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Judging Many for the Actions of a Few

When terrorists from ISIS killed 130 people in Paris last month, we were told -- rightfully -- that most of those who practice Islam are horrified by the killings, and that they should not be lumped in with the savages who committed the atrocity.
When two NYC police officers were assassinated last December amid several months of anti-police rhetoric, we were scolded not to lump all critics of police behavior in with the killer. That's fine.
So why is it, after a mentally disturbed individual shot multiple people near a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, that some of those same people seem perfectly content to associate all pro-life critics of Planned Parenthood with Robert Lewis Dear?
Apparently, when it comes to smearing entire groups based on the actions of a few, some people need to have their judgment recalibrated and made a little more consistent.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Yeah, We'll Manage, Hank. You're So Right, Camille.

How can you replace a man such as Stewart? I guess you just need to find someone with zero integrity, with the ability to hoodwink a couple million gullible twenty-somethings. Playing heavily edited clips of people you don't like, and stopping them abruptly before they say what they really mean, followed by pressing your palms down on the desk, staring incredulously into the camera, and pointing your magic marker backwards towards the inset are all plusses. An obsession for tilting at Fox News windmills and throwing in an F-bomb or sixty in lieu of actual substance should seal the deal for you.

Fans of The Daily Show aren't as big a group as they'd like to think, but they're not aware of that because of the hive mentality they're so fond of. Interestingly, they're so busy laughing at those they consider ideologically different from them (e.g. their parents, or FNC-watching, Republican-leaning farmers in Nebraska) that they fail to realize that their foils are laughing at them, too.

And it's because of headlines like this:

Can we go on without Jon Stewart? Of course we can. He’s shown us how.

The Washington Post's Hank Stuever is simply adorable here. One can imagine him emerging from the group hug to whimper, "Hey, guys...[sniff]'ll be okay! After all, there's a little bit of Jon in all of us now! We just have to remember to be smug, sarcastic, dismissive, and condescending to anyone we disagree with...we can do it...I mean...we have to try!"

Camille Paglia -- not exactly Ronald Reagan, I'll point out -- has a refreshingly different view:

My favorite excerpts:

"I think Stewart’s show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy...He’s certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse.  I find nothing incisive in his work.  As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he’s partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States."

"I don’t demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long? They controlled the major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines and T.V. networks. It’s no coincidence that all of the great liberal forums have been slowly fading. They once had such incredible power.  Since the rise of the Web, the nightly network newscasts have become peripheral, and the New York Times and the Washington Post have been slowly fading and are struggling to survive."

"Liberals think of themselves as very open-minded, but that’s simply not true!  Liberalism has sadly become a knee-jerk ideology, with people barricaded in their comfortable little cells. They think that their views are the only rational ones, and everyone else is not only evil but financed by the Koch brothers.  It’s so simplistic!"

But read the whole thing!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

BeneGram's 2015 Final Fourcasts

...already shot, but here they were:

Women: Connecticut, Tennessee, Baylor, South Carolina. Connecticut over South Carolina in the final.
Men: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Villanova, Gonzaga. Villanova over Kentucky in the final. So much for that.