Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dead, Dishonorable and Daunted Recap

I've not been totally asleep on the huge issues, including:
  • NY State SSM
  • Norwegian domestic terrorism
  • U.S. debt crisis
  • Amy Winehouse
  • News Corp.
  • DOMA
It's been a great month for justice, gossip, fear, comedy. I am not sure I have meaningful insights to those topics so many have covered in such detail and often with such conviction and passion.

Yesterday, Ryan and I did rant for 20 minutes on Murdoch and his minions at News Corp. My conclusions include that both in the UK and here, a lot of damage has been done to the power of winger media. It remains to be seen whether this will sap Fox/WSJ and the like's influence in our 2012 election. I predict yes, but not as much as I'd like. Media moguls and other mean millionaires will still buy votes per our Supreme Court's decision.

For SSM, the delirious stampede of newly enable marriers is a delight all around. This is a great pro-marriage/pro-family victory from the slight expansion of civil marriage. We see the contrast in Rhode Island, where a tiny number of homosexual couples has applied for civil unions. No surprise there. Perhaps it will spur the cowards in Providence to duplicate CT's correction to full marriage equality.

For debt, I can't avoid criticizing the POTUS. Of course, the GOP leaders and winger members are absolute asses about this, as we knew going in. Even so, a leader and progressive as President would have been tough with the lying fools who don't care about America long ago, long enough to have prevented this panic. Yet, writing of going in, we knew Obama was a centrist and will remain so. Instead if being a crazy woman always depending on the kindness of strangers, he is an academic always relying on the reasoning ability of the TV audience, once he has lectured them. It's like he's playing Battleship when there's a real battle to be fought.

Likewise, the DOMA is finally staggering to its death. That was, as the cliché goes, low-hanging fruit, that Obama should have picked and pickled in his first year in office. Yet, he didn't have the vision and courage to pick an even lower fruit — don't ask/don't tell. Dumping those two would have set a tone of equality and civil rights. Instead, we continue to be the red lantern among Western nations in rights.

On Winehouse, I am astonished at how many commenting fairly scream, "How dare you!" when anyone else says it was bound to happen. All of us who have known addicts are surprised when they live, not when they die. In this case, I'm not in the camp who think she was one of our greatest singers. She was pretty good and had a couple of superior cuts, but I can name a lot better singers I listen to regularly. Such highly public and publicized deaths reasonably make us think of the mortality of those we know, including ourselves. Personally, I have very small gossip muscles, which I don't flex much. I'm more in the Morse Peckham mold, like his Beyond the Tragic Vision. Deaths are rarely real tragedies. We live and we all die.

That written, in contrast to the singer's death, the murders in Oslo and on Utoya Island by Anders Behring Breivik deserves tragedy. The relentless, calculated slaughter of the dozens, particularly those just beginning adulthood, has all the characteristics of a central flawed character bringing great suffering and destruction. I was not surprised at the winger claims this had to be a Muslim (Islamist in their bigoted lingo) and not apologizing or changing when they found how wrong they were. I'm not surprised that assault rifle and semi-automated handguns meant only to kill people fans selectively compared the high-gun owning hunting society with ours to forestall criticism. Alas, as we have seen here as well, a single crazy or small group of them, with or without political drives, are forever lurking in our neighborhoods. Targeting disfavored racial or ethnic groups won't prevent such violence. We can pause to consider the absurd overkill of TSA, wiretapping and torture lunacy, which has not and cannot keep us safe individually or as a nation. The better-safe-than-sorry crowd eager to give up all Americans' liberties to participate in such fantasies don't want to see the real risks.

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