Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bill O'Reilly And Celebrity Psychosis

I'm listening to Mike Nesmith's autobiography, Infinite Tuesday, these days. Mike was one of the Monkees, in case you didn't know. The book is painfully honest and that gives it tremendous charm. More on that in another blog post, perhaps.

Mike coins the term, "Celebrity Psychosis," to describe what happens to you when you become a big star. You turn into something of a psychotic and it comes to dominate your life if you don't fight it tooth and nail, which most people can't. It's what causes celebrities to park their cars in fire lanes and be deeply offended when the car gets towed. It makes then scream at paparazzi and then pose for photographers to make sure their face is seen in all the right places. You take advantage of those around you because you feel entitled, entitled to everything.

Bill O'Reilly seems to have succumbed to CP. I have to admit that I never watched him, save for catching some Dennis Miller clips on YouTube. I loved his book, Killing Jesus, but I thought his rants and his show to be insufferable. As the stories come out about his behavior, which I must admit I'm watching only tangentially, they're echoes of stories Mike tells in his book about his own horrible actions. Bill O'Reilly never stopped himself because, well, "Don't you know who I am?"

One wonders who Mike or Bill or Bill Cosby, for that matter, might have become in the absence of celebrity. Decent people, probably. Mike Nesmith finds redemption and one hopes both of the Bills will as well.

In Infinite Tuesday, I've just reached the point where MTV was created. Interestingly enough, the genesis of it was this music video that Mike put together to play on European channels as a promo for one of his albums. Up to that point, pop clips, as they were called, were just the artist lip-synching to the song and had no action or plot at all. By comparison, Rio is positively inspired. Enjoy.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spanish Flu

My cold is really dragging me down right now. One of my coworkers is starting to get it, too. Sometimes when this happens, I wonder if it's the start of an epidemic and we'll be patient zero in something like the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. We won't, of course, but it makes you wonder what it was like as it started. You've got to figure that the first people who came down with it blew it off as just another flu or cold.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Living In Mein Kampf

From an article by Republican political operative Ed Rogers on the recent special Congressional election in Georgia wherein the Democrats, funded lavishly by outside money, fell just short of taking the seat, comes this sentence, the 4th one into the piece.
It seems strange, but today’s liberals invested a huge amount of money, media attention, and hopes and dreams in a 30-year-old straight, white Southern male.
Mein Kampf is a horrible book, and not just for the meat of its content. It's ignorant, bombastic and badly written, accurately reflecting the lousy mind from which it sprung. It also shows that no one felt comfortable editing der future-Führer's work. Had a decent editor taken a whack at it, they might have asked him to do more research, add counter-arguments and debate them and, for the love of God, delete whole sections of utter bollocks.

I feel like we're in that world right now, one of unedited, histrionic, race-crazed rubbish. When Ed Rogers, a guy who probably thinks oatmeal is too spicy, feels the need to whip out the white male card four sentences into an utterly forgettable piece, you know we've entered Spandau Prison and are all pacing back and forth in front of our secretaries, waving our arms and ranting wildly about der Volk.

All of us.

I have the beginnings of a cold today. Praise Jesus for Nyquil because that wonder drug helped me sleep last night and I might avoid the worst of the sickness. I just bought a spring suit (short-limbed wetsuit) and am looking forward to getting back into boogie boarding. At work, I'm thoroughly enjoying being more technical again and have found that I enjoy server configuration and programming. Newcastle United is threatening a late-season collapse that could keep them out of the English Premier League next year, which would be tragic for me.

There is nothing, nothing at all in my life that has anything even remotely to do with der Volk, be they schwarz, weiß oder braun.

What kind of strange, surreal world do we inhabit these days? It's like every story, every opinion piece has to trot out racial facts in the first few lines. Meanwhile, our daily lives are almost completely unaffected by it.

It's enough to make you stop reading and watching the stuff. Which I have done, save for some guilty pleasure time wherein I consume it like I would candy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Prayer And Used Cars

So my friend who had cancer, for whom I was praying and had given up beer, turned out to be alright. The tumors were benign. The affected organ had to come out no matter what, but the results were the best possible. That got me to thinking.

Have you ever bought a used car and later wondered if you could have gotten it for less?

Maybe I didn't need to say a Rosary every day and give up beer. Maybe a Rosary every other day and just give up double IPAs...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ayn Rand And The KKK

How's that for a click-baity title?

I'm currently thoroughly enjoying this biography of Nathan Bedford Forrest (NBF).

NBF was perhaps the most successful Confederate general of the war. If I recall the quote correctly, General Sherman once said, "Even if it took the lives of 10,000 men and bankrupted the Union, that man needs to be caught and killed!" NBF fought with crazed ferocity and was personally credited with killing 30 Union troopers in hand-to-hand combat. NBF's cavalry was feared and rightly so.

That's interesting, but it's not the point. Prior to the war, NBF was a slave trader in Memphis. With the supply of new slaves from Africa cut off as of the early 1800s, slaves were extremely valuable, fetching over $1000 each which today would be on the order of $30,000. The book details his trading and treatment of the slaves and it's quite illuminating. For example, he very rarely separated mothers and children. This was not due to a kind heart, it was a strictly business decision. Young children separated from their mothers did poorly, lowering their price. The same went for mothers whose children had been sold away.

Slaves were seen as livestock. Just as you wouldn't mistreat a prized horse, you certainly didn't mistreat a slave if it could be avoided, slaves being worth many multiples of almost any horse. That's not to say that punishment for infractions wasn't severe, it's just that the slaves were one of the largest investments, if not the largest investment of any enterprise.

Therein lies the connection to Ayn Rand's philosophies. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a true Randian. He did things for money and family and not much else. Up until his last years, he was an unbeliever and there's no indication in the book that he possessed any moral framework outside of his self-interest and his love for his family.

From an Objectivist point of view, why was what NBF did wrong? He was working to maximize economic value, wasn't he? He acted out of cold, impersonal logic and followed no superstitions. That it led him to trade in slaves, defend the Confederacy and become the first Grand Wizard of the KKK after the war seems immaterial to any objections a Randian might raise.

Wouldn't it have made for a more interesting novel if, in Atlas Shrugged, some of the people of Galt's Gulch had owned slaves? Without God and objective morality from a source outside ourselves, why shouldn't they?

Nathan Bedford Forrest fighting to defend his right to make dollars at the expense of human lives. Today, he might have been a board member at Planned Parenthood.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Peaceful Repose

I have a different post written in my head comparing Nathan Bedford Forrest and Ayn Rand, but I don't have the time to type it out, so this lovely photo of our Maximum Leader, Maddi, lying on a cherry floor will have to do. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

What could be more Easter-y than a huge patch of lovely, yellow wildflowers? We saw these while taking the Catican Guards out for maneuvers at Mission Trails Park.

Enjoy and God bless!