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Re: “Danehy: Tom takes on the anti-vax community

Mr. Danehy, thanks! Wish I'd written it, a great piece that says what NEEDS to be said. Love your expression, "Just enough education to be ignorant." God knows we run into those types. I've even met a few with law and medical (gasp!) degrees... Ignorance respects no profession, nor does dogmatism and narrow-mindedness. They live amongst us, like those folks who sprouted from pods in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Heaven help the rest of us.
Be well.

43 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by socrates2 on 03/14/2019 at 7:32 PM

Re: “Crime, Punishment, and Prisons in America

concoin nails it! "With so many rules and regulations our society has made it very easy for the ordinary citizen to become a criminal. It's no longer about rooting out evil and injurious behavior but rather forcing the masses to live politically acceptable lives rather than any life of liberty that always has a measure of risk."
Government driven prohibitionist policies that have nothing to do with the traditional badge of the outlaw, "moral turpitude," and everything to do with massive profits for the Prison-Industrial-Congressional complex contribute to the massive incarceration rates across the land.
Recall that silly phrase, "build it and they will come?" Prison building and staffing profiteers cynically utter, "Build them and neo-Prohibitions will fill them up." And so we've arrived at this bankrupt point in American economics and politics. But why blame cynical, fear-of-crime mongering politicians alone? The television entertainment industry, hard-up for original storylines, sticks in our culture's fear-stoker and bogeyman par excellence, "The Serial Killer," into every other cop porn show. Not to mention that other strawman, the grade-school drug dealer, ever-ready to convert those 4th graders into meth freaks... The former tends to be the stuff of urban legend and if statistical data be accurate, one may be safer in her/his average campground than on the highway getting there! As for the latter, Prohibition and the logically-ensuing black market introduce the "profit" and proselytizing "factors." I suspect that decriminalizing use, tax infusions into behavioral health systems, and character-boosting, living-wage job creation would go a long way toward extinguishing addictive escapist behaviors. An ego-corroding, alienating culture does nothing more than create a strong desire to "escape" it. The status quo may be good for the constant ka-ching of salve-merchant cash registers, but detrimental to the typical culture-inmate who merely wants his handful of happiness and has few avenues to turn to...
Be well.

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by socrates2 on 03/07/2019 at 4:29 PM

Re: “Empty Glass

After sitting through the relentlessly slow and boring (and vapid) "Signs" and "The Village," I have sworn off M. Night as a must-see, go-to director worth a night and money at the local cinema.
Don't get me wrong. His _brilliant_ "The Sixth Sense" not only got better on _second_ viewing but it _felt_ like a completely different film! Perhaps due to the fact that one actually knows the ending and appreciates the nuanced cleverness of how M. Night got there...
"Sixth Sense" appeared to promise a new Spielberg or, dare I say it, Welles. Instead his post-"Sixth Sense" fare (that I've bothered to pay to watch) has decayed into two hour-long (but feel longer!) overly-padded, merely deserving-to-be half-hour episodes of "The Twilight Zone."
I suspect that Rod Serling, the master of the O'Henry ending, intuited that half-hour could or should be the outer limit of plot-twist "misdirection" or for a morality tale.
If the point of M. Night's plot devise(s) is a "killer, twist ending" then character-building, if at all (his protagonists feel like strawmen waiting to arrive at a pre-arranged destination that we must patiently wait for), feels more like pointless, uninvolving, plot-padding and a waste of the viewer's time, money, and above all, patience. If some of M. Night's movies were Broadway (or even off-off), I suspect a substantial number in the audience would either boo or walk out by intermission.
Mr. Shyamalan, the clever, surprise-twist ending must arrive as a _supplement_ to a good plot--which is actually good character development via the obstacles faced and the CHARACTER-building _choices_ in each scene the protagonist makes in order to achieve her goals.
Give us a decent plot, i.e. decent character development, _then_ throw in your ultra-clever plot twist just for _added_ fun. If the plot-twist is the point of your narrative, use only enough celluloid (or digital 0's and 1's) and scenes that set us up to appreciate your cleverness. Please re-watch the first three seasons of the "Twilight Zone," before it stumbled into the talky one-hour format.
That said, for some reason I enjoyed "The Happening." Perhaps due to the fact that I had such low expectations of this director that the movie's interesting moments kept me from actually walking away and that I knew that Shyamalan's shtick is his "clever, plot-twist ending."
I believe I'll wait till this Shyamalan movie or the next (that is, if anyone in Hollywood continues to fund his projects) shows up on Netflix or Amazon Prime...
Be well.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by socrates2 on 01/24/2019 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Danehy

Rick Spanier, agree with you but like Tom, I, too, remain intrigued by the marathon, self-inflicted nose-pinching (or was it?) so many female voters underwent while voting for Mr. T.
True, Hilary and Bill represented nothing more than Republican-lite and more of the Beltway same-old, same-old. And while Trump's image-makers projected "populism" despite himself and his background how the hell did he overcome the MSM's well-publicized charges of misogynism and self-admitted sexual assault proclivities? Are we entering an era of serious feminist backlash, female self-hatred, and out and out cultural masochism--as described for the Teutonic culture in Erich Fromm's seminal, _Escape from Freedom_? What widespread dysfunction in a culture induces folks to run toward the sado-masochistic embrace of authoritarians and dictators? Is the physical abuse of women that widespread? Sexual abuse? Is emotional violence toward women so endemic in certain strata of our culture that womanly openly embrace _even more_? I cannot tell. I am no sociologist but that this sado-masochistic streak reveals itself in the ballot box sends shivers up and down my spine! Has economic despair driven some folks to seek answers in the empty promises of the Horatio Algier myth and this myth-mongering Manhattan demagogue?
Does cultural conditioning (as in Pavlov's dog) run that deep? Drs. Jung and Freud, come back, all is forgiven....
Be well.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by socrates2 on 12/27/2018 at 2:46 PM

Re: “Under Threat

Charles Bloomer, agree.
These letters ceased to be merely malicious and protected by the First Amendment when they crossed a _legal_ threshold of free-for-all speech comment.
Operative sentences, "In her testimony, she presented letters that Saeler sent to her employer, which claimed that because of her affiliation with this nonprofit, she was helping illegal immigrants, terrorists and drug traffickers cross into the US and was using library resources to do so.

After looking into the claim, the library's staff concluded that Jacobson's work as a volunteer for People Helping People was conducted away from library property..."

Right off the bat, this individual appears to have committed a tortious interference with a working contract, between employee and employer. This individual libeled Ms Jacobson to achieve this end. In libel, truth is a defense. The library's investigation disclosed no such _truth_. The individual made up falsehoods about Ms Jacobson seemingly out of whole cloth and left himself open for a massive lawsuit, especially as this libel specifically targeted the employer-employee contract. Hmm.
It seems to me that some years ago some smart folks in Idaho, exhausted by wing-nut "militia" harassment, sued the local, armed "militia." As a result of the suit, the wing-nuts lost their multi-acre compound to the vindicated, formerly-harassed plaintiffs.
This situation may call for a similar remedy. It seems that some folks only appreciate the severity of their transgressions when the law demands severe economic sanctions.
I consider myself an unreconstructed defender of free speech. Every one of us has the First Amendment right to be as tasteless, moronic, bigoted and ignorant as we choose and express ourselves accordingly, allowing the world to "read" our minds (I hope and pray to God that someone out there who reads my bilge brings a lantern and guides me out of my particular, phenomenological _darkness_). Let the market-place of ideas determine the rational and irrational ones, the ones we choose and those that reflect our deepest, cherished values.
Lying about people in order to get them fired sure ain't one of them.
Be well.

28 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by socrates2 on 07/14/2018 at 12:02 PM

Re: “Never Going Back to Tucson

Not a bad piece, the life of an angst-riddled yuppie who never quite found his place in the universe once he opted for exile from his dad's strata. And it can get lonely but for those childhood networks and friendships one manages to hang on to. That said, I got a kick with some of Stuart's lines such as,
"I was living some sort of lie worse than any addiction, stone-cold sober and completely lost. Hometowns are cruel beasts; it's rarely a good idea to return, unless there's a final reckoning to be had, as if such a thing is possible." A decent homage to Chandler (Raymond, not the burg).
That said, get over that first song and move on to the second and third. "Never Going Back" may be repetitive and lacking in inventive structure as pop songs go, but damn, after one listening it's already ear worm!
Good luck in your pursuit of happiness, an elusive mirage "out there" but a zen moment in here, Mr. Stuart. You're a man with heart and soul. I, too, miss Tucson. And I only spent my formative, impressionable U of A days there! But its good vibes, loving women, needed friendships, and memories dug into my soul like a fistful of fine, but painful cholla needles, and they're never coming out...
Be well.

23 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by socrates2 on 06/21/2018 at 9:54 AM

Re: “Danehy

Damn, Mr. Danehy,

My older, wiser brother (who by the way, a few decades back always kicked my butt in Trivial Pursuit by a meager point/wedge or two) and I find those trivia/info-filled four paragraphs definitely worth the read! The author of _Childhood's End_ in gay exile in Ceylon? The "Earthrise" photo tilted for esthetic, expectation reasons? Frank Borman, former Tucson High quarterback! Who knew? President Tyler's longevity genes! So the man was a fertile septuagenarian. As for the Dakota state controversy: that's always good for a decent bar bet or two... Thanks.
Be well.

64 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by socrates2 on 06/07/2018 at 12:44 PM

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