A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Morning Post (V.3; #5) - An Unknown Icon (At Least to Me)

I never heard of Hilton Valentine until I heard he had passed away this past week.  He’s another person I am learning so much about after they are gone, but I know his work.  His obituary identifies him as a founding member of the British rock group The Animals.  And, yes, like most Americans, we associate the Animals with one recording: House of the Rising Sun.

And yes, it is his guitar riff at the beginning of this recording that people tend to remember more about anything else about him or the record.  The riff has become an iconic part of our western culture.  It's a somber entrance to a traditional folk song which sounds more like a funeral dirge than a recounting of a human being’s fall from grace.

I will offer it today for the memory of all the times we have heard the song played on the radio, and as a tribute to an artist about whom I knew so little. 

The song itself seems be relevant too in its own strange way.  Between the lies and delusion of the last four years, and the ongoing ups and downs of the pandemic, it feels like we’ve all been in the House of the Rising Sun for a long time.  Yes, the house may promise happiness, but it all leads to ruin in the end.

(Thank you for reading.  RIP, Hilton Valentine.)

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday Morning Post (V.3, #4) – Name This Era


I believe many of us have figured out by now that we are living at the end of an era.  Up until the past year we were two or three generations into what should be considered the most leisurely prosperous time period of American history.  We have had a few watershed moments in the last few years which may be signaling the end of that prosperity: rise of domestic terrorists, a pandemic with its resultant harm to the global economy. 

Nothing major mind you, just a few minor watershed events.

I’m thinking this current era began when the Great Depression subsided: somewhere 1939 to 1940ish.  The era began with a major global conflict between nations and cultures.  Now the era ends with another conflict between humanity and those microbes who can be our friends or our exterminators.  In between there was a number of wars, a few police actions, punctuated here and there by probably the most rapid pace of technological development in human history.

Look at it this way: 80 years ago, we were getting comfortable with the horseless carriage and starting to use that technology not only for war, but also peace.  We were no longer entertained by the family gathering around the family piano in the parlor after dinner.  Advances in technology allowed us to venture outside the home, gather in one place with other members or the community and witness dramas on a large one-dimensional screen where we could see and HEAR the actors at the same time.  

A few decades later, this technology would be refined so that we could see these same dramas at home, albeit on a much smaller screen.  This retreat to isolation from the neighbors in our community to the privacy of our own homes had just begun.  Now many of us are isolated from everyone as we stare at pocket size screens, ignoring the fact that we may be among a crowd of fellow humans who are, likewise, engulfed in their own dramas on the tiny iPad screen. 

We have managed to come full circle from isolation to common good then back to isolation when we didn’t even realize we were moving.

Of course, this happened due to a stable high standard of living over the last 8 decades.  The family unit no longer needed to increase its membership just so we needed workers to farm the family crops.  No, we could just settle on two offspring, on average.  Many American families enjoyed so much economic prosperity that we discovered the concept of leisure activities, taking extended times away from our home toils to relax and enjoy some other activities which did not involve the everyday pressure of “making it.” Then some others just said the hell with it and decided that they were doing so well that they could afford to leave the traditional centers of opportunity (see cities; urban areas) altogether and settle in these new outposts called “suburbs”.

Of course, we must note that the arguably flawed traditional capitalist economic model doesn’t necessarily allow every member of society to experience prosperity at the same time as the majority population.  Oh sure, various ideological and political remedies were introduced and flirted with over the years, but overall, we are still existing in a society where the cultural elite look down their noses at the downtrodden, and those not as well off do what they’ve always done to survive in this modern world.

It’s all human nature with its expectant shortcomings in the end.  We all do what we can and did all this (and more which we would never think to mention to our mothers) in the era rapidly closing down on us now.  For whatever reason, those of us living now are the survivors of this vast era of ideological and technological innovation which may or may not see the end of the human race.

So, whither humanity?  I’m convinced that history is in my DNA, and so I like to think that I could put a label on the late 20th - early 21st century with all of its follies and foibles.  Maybe I’m biting off more than I chew in grabbing up all of the years from 1940-2020 with the demand that they be lumped together under one title.  Or most likely it won’t matter what I think.  It’s always the future historians who will get the chance to analyze and judge us with the times we are living in.

Future historians are such lucky bastards!

Anyway, I would call this last 80-year period the “Era of the Post War Prosperity.” *

Do you, dear reader, have any thoughts, suggestion or nominations for an era label?  

*Okay, admittedly my label isn’t as dramatic as say, “The Jurassic Era” or sexy like “The Roaring 20s”, but, to be honest, history is not meant to be sexy.  Honestly, what do we picture when we hear the word “historian”? Do we envision a stuffy old codger bent over a desk, analyzing primary resources at a newspaper archive?  Or do we ever picture this same old codger moonlighting as a pole dancer at the local Delilah’s Steak and Strip?  

(Thank you for your reading. Yes, waitress, I’ll have the strip steak special with a lap dance.)

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday Morning Post (V.3, #3) – Finally! An Adult in the Room*

The United States finally saw an adult emerge in the current regime during the week of the insurrection.  The Vice President, of all people, did not cave in to the demands of his boss, or the marauding hoards of protestors outside the US Capitol.  It was his Constitutional duty to supervise the certification of Joe Biden’s election as President, which he was able to do once the Capitol was cleared of the hoards. 

The President and his allies were disappointed that Mike Pence did not unilaterally invalidate the votes of millions of Americans.  He may have told his boss later in a one-on-one Oval Office meeting that such a move was beyond his authority as Vice President.  I’ve seen an old-fashioned diplomatic term used to describe the outcome of this meeting: détente.  I’m unsure of this term’s exact meaning, but I think it may be defined as something along the lines of agreeing to disagree on issues stopping short of ripping each other’s lungs out.  Or something to that effect...

No one has any idea where the mature Pence was hiding the last four years.  We could see someone who looked a lot like him in countless photo ops in the Oval Office, standing behind the President and applauding the Chief Executive like a parent who is encouraging a tot who had made doo-doo in the potty for the first time.  So yes, Pence demonstrated that he was a team player during the course of the administration, but unfortunately, that team appeared to be bent on destroying American democracy.

So, what happened?  Where did Pence have his epiphany? Was it when the final certification had started and he had to be whisked out of the Senate chamber just seconds before the rioters breached the inner sanctum of US government?  Or was it when Mother banished him to sleep on the couch for being so subservient to such an amoral man as Donald Trump?

Only Mike Pence knows for sure.  Yes, he found his spine, but apparently his balls are still missing in action.  He could have invoked the 25th Amendment enabling him and the cabinet to declare Trump unfit to complete his term.  It wasn’t like there was no hard evidence of the President’s mental incapacity.  Even people outside of the behavioral healthcare industry could see that Trump is a batshit crazy lunatic. (Editor’s Note: This is not an official diagnosis certified by the American Medical Association or American Psychiatric Association).

So, we should probably be grateful for the adult Pence who did step forward.  It is a hopeful sign along with actions by Republicans at the local level around the country who are finally figuring out that a Trump Republican is not the Republican Party.  They are stepping back from the GOP and realizing that they may have to start over, possibly running as Independents.  God speed to them. 

As for the Trump Republicans chasing after their leader lemming-like to the edge of the ideological cliff: remember, last one to the bottom of the cliff has a broken spine!

*Or Mike Pence Finds His Spine

(Thank you for reading. Run, lemmings, run!)