Thursday, April 26

"Tain't Funny, McGee..."

"It's always fun to come to Florida because you never know what might kill you."  So proclaimed Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central's the Daily Show, where he appeared this past Saturday evening in Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall before a reported sellout crowd of 2,000 Stewart vapid devotees. (I've seen larger crowds of rubber-neckers at a car wreck, but that's another matter entirely.) "It's just a weird state (Florida). You have spring break, where you invite thousands of drunken frat people down. And if you feel threatened by them, you can kill them."  

Stewart, the bombastic, self-anointed king of satirical humor, was lamely attempting to ridicule Florida's "stand your ground" self-defence law, which is currently undergoing nationwide scrutiny principally as a result of the February shooting death that occurred in Sanford, Florida of 16 year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed community watch guard. A much needed review of the nuances and specifics of the law as a result of that tragic occurrence need not be a subject for debate, but to diminish the importance of such a review by trivializing its life and death consequences with black satirical humor is in poor taste even for someone as prone as is Stewart's relentless pursuit to make fun of anything and anyone that do not measure up to his boundless ideal of self-righteousness and misplaced sense of intellectual superiority. 

Indeed there can be much truth gleaned from satirical humor, as the employment by editorial cartoonist have illustrated for decades. But there must a moniker of recognizable truth underlying the pointed jabs in order to hopefully affect a desired beneficial end result. To merely amuse oneself and supposedly others at the detriment and embarrassing expense of another is neither satirical nor funny. It is merely in poor taste.   

Shakespeare penned, "Jesters do oft prove prophets."  Stewart may consider himself to be a jester, but a prophet he is not. He is just an entertainer in a cheap suit looking for another moment or two of misguided adulation from a collection of malcontents who have nothing better to do on a Saturday night than laugh at their own ignorance.     

"America's Children..."

Which one of the following young boys would you claim to look like your son, Mr. President?

Would it be Nicholas Lindsey, who at the age of 16 fired his illegal weapon multiple times and murdered Officer David Crawford of the St. Petersburg Police Department on February 21, 2011? Maybe you can send him a card on his next birthday. He will be celebrating it in a Florida prison where he will spend the rest of his life.

Would it be Shawn Tyson, who also at the age of 16, shot two British tourist through their hearts who had mistakenly become lost in a Sarasota housing project in April of last year? Perhaps Shawn would also appreciate receiving a birthday card from you. Save yourself some postage, Mr. President, as both Shawn and Nicholas will no doubt become bosom buddies as they serve their life sentences together.

Or do your personal sympathies extend only to 16 year old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed while walking unarmed through a gated Sanford Florida community in February? Perhaps your expression of kinship was prompted by the fact that Trayvon was the victim instead of the perpetrator in this tragic case, the shooter being, as the media was so quick to pass judgement, an over-zealous neighborhood watch "white Hispanic." Surely Trayvon's killing must signify and underscore a pandemic of white hate crimes against our nation's blameless and persecuted black youth? Surely that must be your motivation. Surely...

Surely your motivation can't be that you are blissfully unaware that "black-on-black crime" is escalating at a near incalculable rate among your African-American brothers and sisters. The 41 people shot in Chicago between March 16th and 19th, your home town Mr. President, must surely have been an anomaly. Ten people were killed, one of which was a 6-year old little black girl. Where's your heartfelt expression of at least sympathy if not outrage that this devastated Mother (not unlike Trayvon's Mother) held her bloody lifeless baby girl in her arms, never again to feel her tender kisses and warm embraces? Doesn't this dead little girl look like your two daughters and doesn't she deserve as much empathy and sympathy as you have lavished on Trayvon? Where's your sense of proportion, Mr. President? Where's your sense of priority? Where is your sense of "fairness" that you are so quick to admonish all Americans to adopt? Have you no concept of non-partisan leadership? Must you continue to emphasize those valueless differences that divides us rather than seek the higher more noble plane of compelling all of Americans to bring forth our better angels?

Perhaps you feel more akin to such infamous social malcontents as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Lewis Farrakhan, and Jeremiah Wright, who, at every opportunity of racial discord do not hesitate to deal from the full deck of racial cards to fan the flames of distrust and hatred of white society. Dare you deny that  indeed these "gentlemen" would look just like your brother, if you had a brother? Where is your bully pulpit fanfare for these "brothers?"

I ask, Mr. President, where is your sense of duty to be the President of all Americans, not just those who bear a striking resemblance to your ethnicity?  I have the answer. You don't possess the desire nor the motivation to be anything more than the dutiful son of your anti-colonialist father, who regarded America as the perpetrator of oppression.  You will not, cannot, nor do you care to see that our nation cannot survive as a house divided. You are a thinly veiled closeted bigot, Mr. President. Your teleprompter speeches may disguise that fact, but your off the cuff remarks confirms it. Your back brothers and sisters may continue to  regard this character flaw as a sign that you are one with them in their alleged oppression, but the rest of America sees you for who you are: an apologist for bad behavior, an opportunist to exploit racial division, and thus, sir, a bigot.

You sully the office of the Presidency. And you defame America.

Monday, April 9

Everyone Hum Along Now...

In 1967 when Paul McCartney penned the lyrics and melody for this song to be included in their The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Heart Club Band, I had just graduated from high school, was anticipating beginning my freshman year in college, TIME magazine had named my generation as their "Man of the Year," and I was otherwise preoccupied with any member of the fairer sex that possessed legs that began at the bottom on their feet and concluded with a winning personality at the opposite end.

"When I get older,

losing my hair,

many years from now.

Will you still be sending me a Valentine,

birthday greetings, a bottle of wine?"

Any meandering thoughts of what the future might have in store for me that stretched beyond the next impromptu gathering of my high school running mates dissolved into a youthful belief that my growing older was an eventuality that was best left unexplored.

"If I've been out

till quarter of three.

will you lock the door?

Will you still need me?

Will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four?"

I remember thinking, some few years later as I watched a Saturday afternoon football game on television, that as long as the athletes and cheerleaders on the screen didn't look any different in appearance than me, that I hadn't perceptibly grown any older. And then one Saturday afternoon...they did.

"I could be handy mending a fuse,

when your lights are gone.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside,

Sunday morning go for a ride."

"Doing the garden,

digging the weeds.

Who could ask for more?

Will you still need me?

Will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four?"

Now, some 46 years past my 18th birthday, my totally gray hair has at least had the hereditary decency to keep from falling out completely, although the hairline is most assuredly advancing like a thawing iceberg toward the nape of my neck. I collect social security rather than a steady paycheck. My wife and I recently presented our daughter in marriage and my son is the father of two delightful grandchildren.

Send me a postcard,

drop me a line,

stating your point of view.

Indicate precisely what you mean to say.

Yours sincerely...wasting away."

In the happy and contented company of my beautiful and devoted wife of twenty-nine years, the lyrics of the song have become more than just a merry little song to whistle in accompaniment. They have become my song. So, for all those who I have been most fortunate in making your acquaintance, who are my dearest friends, and who took a moment to wish me a Happy Birthday on this particularly special birthday, I say...

"Give me your answer,

Fill in the form...

'Mine forever more.'

Will you still need me?

Will you still feed me,'When I'm sixty-four?