Life, the Media, and Everything

Years ago there was a movie with a famous quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates:  you never know what you’re gonna get.”  That was years ago.  And it was oversimplified and it was idealized.  Life is not like a box of chocolates.  When you get a box of chocolates, it’s all basically good.  Except the nasty ones you leave for other people in your family to eat, but they’re all covered in chocolate, so it’s theoretically all good.  Life is not like a box of chocolates.  The movie, paradoxically, said that I think at the beginning, and then throughout the movie showed us how many bitter shitty nuts were inside a few of the chocolates, and I think a few chocolates weren’t chocolate, they were just brown and looked like chocolate.

Life is not like a box of chocolates.  It’s like a real-life, un-televised reality TV show, and it sucks just as bad, or worse.  Rhymes with “Harry Finger.”  It wasn’t a good show, but that wasn’t his fault, or maybe it was.  He had a sense of humor about it.  His guests were really, really obnoxious, like everyone in the modern age.  It got to where the fights weren’t amusing any more.  Somebody throw a damn chair, it’s all a part of the show.  Dr. What’s-His-Name.  No.  Nevermind, he isn’t even a real doctor, he just likes telling people how smart he is and how stupid they are.  Smarmy fucking asshole sounds like a used car salesman, how the hell he charmed D’Oh into his ticket to fame is anybody’s guess.  Even in a pretty, expensive suit he still looks low-rent.  Which is to say, he looks like anybody else.  Joe Ordinary.  Put an honorary doctorate on Joe, now he’s Doctor Ordinary.  Just like anybody else, still fucking ordinary.  But he’s got strong opinions.  But they’re inoffensive to the ordinary audience member, so they’re not really opinions, they’re demographics, which makes his appearances insanely popular.  He should run for president.  Oh, no.  Fuck no.  He’d win and I’d hate that.  And then there’s the medical “suggestion” shows, the ones where they tell you how to diet and how to exercise and how to live, because nobody knows how to go out and do things.  Swim at the lake.  Ride your bike.  Walk the countryside.  Work around the house.  If you’re not hiring someone to do everything physical for you, and you make time after working to work around the house and go for a bike ride or a hike, you should not be fat.  And if you are, you’ll be healthy and fat, which is fine.  And in my humble opinion, there’s beauty at any weight.

My friend says, “I think we’re fucking desperate for entertainment, so desperate the lowest common denominator is the standard and nothing is ‘good.’  And the lowest common denominator doesn’t heal anything, it just makes our culture sicker.”  He’s right  That police reality show and that Hispanic ‘news reporter’ started the whole trend.  Drug addicted, alcoholic wife beaters in wife beaters, or more commonly, in skin.  Holding a beer while they talk all respectfully to the cops.  They didn’t send the cops cameras to the race riots, or they’d have heard less respectful talk.  Thank God they didn’t.  If I could go back in time, I’d still be too late to save us.  There was a song a long time ago, and the lyrics were sad but they still ring true.  Pink Floyd, Nobody Home.  “I’ve got thirteen channels of shit on the TV to choose from.”  Except today I’ve got five hundred.  Or more.  And they’re still all shit.  Where’s the remote, though?

I click the satellite remote and the TV shows me the options available.  Stupid TV shows, lame movies, horrid pay per view sports, even worse, God-awful porn.  There’s shit out there I wish I didn’t know existed.  I’d say the world is more twisted than it used to be and grows more sick every generation, but it’s not.  It’s just that it’s available for my viewing perversion.  What’s next?  Live theatrical performances?  What’s next?  Audience participation?  I bet Rome under Caligula was a lot like the modern free-for-all.  Six Thousand B.C., First Century A.D., or Twenty-First Century A.D., it’s all the same.  We’re still human.  Fuck all that.  I choose my favorite, a music channel that just plays music and sometimes commercials, it’s about like radio except it’s broadcast through the TV.  I can choose whatever genre I want.

I’m so old I find the classical music my dad used to listen to soothing, in fact it’s what I use to lower my blood pressure in the car, and at home after work.  And fuck me, it works.  Dad did that right.  I still like my classic rock to help me ignore that I’m washing dishes, or working around the house, but I put on the classical and drift.  Sometimes I can even sleep.  How the fuck do people eat a steady diet of the shit on TV, even if they’re just listening, and not lose their minds?  Some of our music is sick too.  Chest thumping, name calling, insults, fucking profanity, teasing other religions (Mostly Christians, they’re such easy targets after all, and you can get such a rise out of the “evangelical”.  You can’t tease some religions, unless you want to die trying.), braggadocio, and worship:  all glory to the guns, gangs, drugs, partner abuse, sleazy men, and easy women.  Now you know why I like classical music.  Mozart and Beethoven might have been the rock stars of their day, they may have had all the women and drugs and mayhem they wanted, but I don’t have to hear them offering lyrics bragging about it.

And Christians.  Why are they easy targets?  Because lots of them are fifty years behind the times, with their music and their methods, or they’re trying to adopt contemporary slang and contemporary styles but they’re hopelessly awkward and behind enough it’s obvious.  If they’re not behind the times they’ve lost the gravitas behind their message, all preaching sunshine and lollipops, fluff and love, and not reality, or they’re just offensive with their dogmatic approach, that again, doesn’t address reality.  And it’s funny to make fun of all of these kinds of Christians, to some people.  It’s not right, but it is funny.

The news media wants to sell us something, and I’m not sure I want to buy it.  I don’t know who controls that shit but it’s not good.  Yeah I’m paranoid, but there’s a message behind the messages on the news.  They soft peddle it, but it’s in what is reported, and it’s in how it’s reported.  They’re selling a perspective, they’re selling an opinion, and they expect everyone to tow their line.  Anyone who doesn’t gets bashed or ridiculed or told to shut the hell up, Christians.  And say “happy fucking holidays, instead of your damned “Merry Christ-mas.”  (is my sarcasm showing?)

It’s not going to get better, because to get better, we’d have to all get along and be nice to each other.  It’s NEVER going to happen.  People are pushy, they like having the advantage, or taking from others, or taking cuts in the line.  And people are angry and mean and looking for a place to pick a fight, or file a lawsuit.  The trouble is, there’s a double standard that’s based on public, or personal, opinion, whether it’s majority opinion or not:  we shame some bullies, but not all.  We shame some people for displaying their symbols of hatred, but not all.  And each have a basis in history that shows how different we are, where we’ve come from, and how far we’ve come, and we are never going to homogenize society like we do our milk.

When the Twin Towers fell in New York, “hateful racist” Americans were quick to jump on the patriot wagon and bash the Muslims, or anyone else that looked different than Mr. White Bread American, and the media rode it out and proudly displayed it.  Then the peace loving Muslims cried foul, and the media listened, and now we worry about pockets of Islamic State followers hiding in the United States waiting to strike but we’re supposed to be supportive and accepting of everyone.  When the #yesallwomen thing was popular, the man-haters came out from under their rocks and spewed on all men, and men couldn’t win. I don’t hear a lot of male backlash against the guy-stripper movie about how it objectifies men, but I’d sure hear that shit from women if it was a movie with stripper women.  When the race baiters run the streets and the media, poor whitey is as good as dead, and better damn well keep his privileged mouth shut.  He must be privileged just by virtue of the color of his skin, not the content of his character or the (lack of) contents of his wallet, even if he has a skill set that makes him work for close to minimum wage just like everybody else who’s out there yelling “racist.” Now that gay marriage is legally accepted in the U.S., the Christ followers are nervous about how far they’re expected to be “tolerant.”  Can a church refuse to marry a gay couple because they believe they shouldn’t, or will they be subject to Christian-bashing and possible law suits because of their adherance to their standards for life and their practice of their religion?  What if so-called “radical Islam” took hold in the United States?  They are pretty drastic in their approach to non-traditional sexual activities, more drastic than these pesky verbal Christians about it.  All a Christian is going to do is say something, and they’ll be bashed as mean and intolerant, until they shut up.  But if radical Islam takes hold in the U.S., in say, 20 years, they’ll have a list of every gay marriage registered since the law allowed them to register.  Think about that one.

All of these movements put one social group at an advantage over another social group, and it’s not fair, but it’s popular.  We need to learn how to get along and allow everyone to hold, and express, their opinions, and deal with it like civilized people.  We don’t have to agree, but we should at least listen politely to each other’s opinions.

I don’t think there’s going to be a #StopChristianBashing movement, but there should be.  I don’t think there’s going to be an #AllLivesMatter movement either, but there should be.

If you interact with someone today, I hope they’re nice to you.  If you interact with someone today, I hope you’re nice to them.   Put me down as #ProudlyOpinionated, and #ProudlyPolite.

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