Friday, April 29, 2016

Flashback Friday: Throwing Christians to the lions

In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “pride” is defined as “a company of lions.” The mascot for the minor league hockey team in Florence that played in the East Coast league from 1997-2005, the Pee Dee Pride (“Pee Dee” is the name of the region in South Carolina that encompasses Florence), was a mountain lion.

Sexual deviancy groups and festivals will often use the word “pride” in their names. This is no accident; these organisations' activism targets Christians. They are the lions who devour Christians. They want to ban Christians from running foster care or adoption ministries at their churches because of their worldview (as we've seen in many states), they want to put Christians at the back of the foster care or adoption line while advancing sexual deviants to the front, and they have passed laws similar to those in other countries where ministers can be prosecuted for speech that violates the “civil rights” of sexual deviants. They want to drop Christians to a caste system where they and their followers are the emboldened class, while Christians are treated as the untouchables.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Commissioner Chai Feldblum has made it clear “sexual freedom” triumphs over religious freedom. In the new Utopia of this Administration, the three fundamental freedoms of Speech, Press, and Religion are wiped out by new government controls, and the only freedom that the nation will offer is Sexual Freedom.

At Eastman Kodak (a company that later was driven to bankruptcy, no less by the sexual deviancy movement), Rolf Szabo was fired for sticking up for Biblical Christianity at his office in Rochester, New York. Allstate fired Matt Barber for writing a column based on Biblical truth that the lions declared was offensive, and he is now the director of a major pro-family organisation. Other companies have fired employees for posting Bible verses. Now, with many countries have laws similar to the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act, ministers have been prosecuted for preaching the Bible, especially since activists have declared it hate speech, specifically targeting Leviticus Eighteen and Romans One.

With the arrogance of judges trying to impose same-sex “marriage,” implementation from humanist judges with an assist from the Autogol Strategy, or urban metropolis-run state legislatures (something the Founding Fathers warned would be a hazard and led to the Great Compromise, overturned at the state level in Reynolds v. Sims 50 years ago, thus leading to state legislatures being controlled by urban metropolises where one area may have ten seats in the upper chamber while some rural counties have no representation, something the Founding Fathers knew would be hazardous – can you imagine California having 12 Senators while South Carolina would be represented by one North Carolina Senator representing Buncombe County (a notorious liberal hotbed where they bought the NASCAR race track that is the site of the only win by a woman on a NASCAR Touring Series race -- 1988 by Shawna Robinson in the 4-cylinder Dash, or Baby Grand National, formula that was sanctioned from 1975-2003, who is battling breast cancer as of this writing -- and turned it into what Hall of Fame member Jack Ingram calls a drug park), and one Georgia Senator representing DeKalb or Fulton County), with the majority now from judicial activists who have taken their feelings to be priority over facts, they have made it clear they want Christians to be thrown to the lions.

It is no coincidence that sexual deviancy activists are called “pride” for a reason. They are the lions and they will throw Christians into their den to become their food. The persecution is the goal to wipe out Christianity and impose by courts, schools, and popular culture a new state religion of humanism. Look at the prosecution of Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and now the Benham Brothers for their support of the Bible. While the First Amendment only bans Congress from imposing a state religion, it doesn't ban state legislatures, Hollywood, popular culture, or the courts from doing so. The pride is intending to use courts to overturn everything and impose a new belief system they dictate.

The judges running amok continue this danger. At this rate, are we becoming the New Humanist Nation with Christians being thrown to the lions, swallowed by the lions, as the activist groups want us to be consumed by them, henceforth their name?

Originally published May 22, 2014

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Weekend reflections

Pop Culture Über Alles.  A recent WorldNetDaily article noted now CNN is now beating Fox News (and business) in the Nielsen ratings primarily because of coverage relating to the death of pop culture figures.  The key rating statistic was the 4 PM ET slot, because Fox News has the venerable and trustworthy business programme Your World featuring Neil Cavuto, who was one-thirds of what has been declared the best debate moderating team among all who led the “glorified press conferences,” as the late Tony Snow mentioned 20 years ago in an early Fox News broadcast.  (Gerard Baker and Maria Bartiromo were the other members of that trio.)  But to see how CNN trounced Fox in that slot shortly after a pop star's death showed how the country has become more Entertainment Tonight than "The Chase for the Presidency," let alone Wall Street.  Isn't hating Wall Street a popular “sport” among those what oppose Messrs. Trump or Cruz?

It's in the (rule) book!  The mocking of Sen. Cruz over his use of the term “ring” instead of “rim” forgets the most important factor of all.  “Rim” is not used in the rule book, “Ring” is the correct term in the rule book of basketball.  For an attorney such as Mr. Cruz, who pushes for a nation of laws by the book, and not by the feelings of a few people, it makes perfect sense for him to use the term “ring”.

Here is an example – NBA Rule 7, Section II, Paragraph c, “24 Second Clock:  Starting and Stopping of 24-Second Clock”:

c.  A team must attempt a field goal within 24 seconds after gaining possession of the ball. To constitute a legal field goal attempt, the following conditions must be complied with:
(1) The ball must leave the player's hand prior to the expiration of 24 seconds.
(2) After leaving the player's hand(s), the ball must make contact with the basket ring. 

We Remember.  8:17 AM EDT, May 1 always means, sadly . . .

Consider that the recent rash of celebrity deaths on the news recently will never reach the level of mourning that occurred of that moment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

It was sad when the great ship went down

One of the many good things about taking some time off, as I did last week, was in catching up with items that one needs time to appreciate. Such is the case with this extraordinary video that has been making the rounds, showing the sinking of the Titanic in real time.

Now, having had a longtime interest in the Titanic, this was something I couldn't resist. However, it called for watching at one sitting to really appreciate its full power, which is why I held on to it until last week, a few days following the 104th anniversary of the sinking. It truly is an amazing video, not just for the subtle signs over the two hours and forty minutes of the ship sinking deeper and deeper into the water, but for the eerie look of the ship absent any people (a decision by the software designers; this is, I think, an alpha version of the final product), particularly in the last minutes when all the lifeboats are gone, their empty davits - which were never intended to be used - standing in mute testimony to the ongoing horror. It is, and I don't mean to overuse the word, an extraordinary experience.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Erotic liberty payback

In 2014, shareholders at a major corporation voted overwhelmingly (81%) against New York's retirement system when they attempted to impose erotic liberty friendly policies at the corporation in question.  Shortly after the convincing win, the President imposed an erotic liberty mandate for all businesses with contracts.  Evidence came that the executive order imposing an SOGI policy ("ENDA") on corporations was a byproduct of payback for that major company's refusal to support the agenda.

When a dictator imposes his agenda on erotic liberty and forces corporations to impose it or be barred from business contracts at any level, we have clear evidence of a dictatorship.  Religious liberty would be endorsed by corporations as well as people if it was not for the bullies such as those in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and Washington, and of course, The White House.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Things I don't understand

There are a lot of them, unsurprisingly. The Library of Alexanderia, vast as it was, wouldn't stand a chance at cataloging, not to mention collecting, all the things I don't know. Much of it is probably unimportant, at least to me, although if you were, say, an architect or a brain surgeon, they would probably be extremely important*. Some if it is out there, just waiting to be discovered - as my wife says, a day you don't learn something is a wasted day. And then there are the things I don't understand that frustrate me, because they seem so obvious to me that I have to wonder if I'm missing something. A couple of recent examples:

*On the other hand, I doubt they know or care much about the role of television in midcentury culture, so we're even.

First, the Pope, and I guess this isn't so recent because he's been talking about it constantly. In almost every one of his documents that touts mercy and forgiveness, he refers to mysterious Pharisees in the midst of traditional Catholics, people who can't wait to judge and condemn those who fall short of their standards. He also comments on priests who preach nothing but sin and negatives, urging them to talk more about compassion. I don't know about you, but I've been in very few parishes where I've heard priests say anything about sin, let alone abortion, homosexual marriage and the like. They're really too busy playing at being Mister Rogers than being scolds. And as for the modern-day Pharisees, I'm sure they do exist, but they have to be vastly outnumbered by the "do what feels good" Catholics who take the Ten Commandments to be more suggestions than anything binding, and tend toward the relativistic way of looking at "truth."

So I don't really understand just who the Pope is talking about, or where these people (phantoms?) happen to be. Perhaps he knows something I don't know*, but if that's the case, could he provide us with a few examples?

*I'm sure he knows quite a bit more than I do - but he's very bad at demonstrating it.

This leads more or less directly into the second thing I don't understand today. It comes from this Federalist column about former porn star Bree Olson, who's trying to create a new life for herself away from the industry. I think this is terrific, but apparently there are those who aren't as welcoming:

People look at me as if I am the same as a sex offender. They look at me as though I am less than in every way, and they assume the absolute worst in every way. I had never realized how progressive my mind was and how scared people were of sexuality until this. I also realized I could never go back and be a nurse or a teacher, or work for any company really that can fire me under morality clauses for making customers feel ‘uncomfortable’ because of who I am.

Now, I have no reason to doubt what she's saying, or that she's making all this up for dramatic purpose. So based on the assumption that this is all true, my question is: why? Why hold this young woman's past against her while she's trying to start her life over again? And how many people would really be that "uncomfortable" with who she is?

Most of us are familiar with Christ's words to the woman prostitute: "Go and sin no more." This is an important part of mercy, by the way; love can and should be unconditional, but justice often requires paying the price. When Christ promised the Good Thief that he would join Him this day in paradise, he did not free the Thief from the cross: there was still justice to be served. One of the things the Pope seems to overlook (or ignore, depending on what he really believes) is that God's Divine Mercy does include a commitment by the sinner to repent of his past behavior and to make the best effort to go forth as a new man without an attachment to sin, understanding at the same time that man is an imperfect creature and will fall back into sin many times. It is the desire to avoid sin that is paramount; if you have that desire, the grace to be stronger against sin will follow.

That's not the message that most people pick up from the Pope, however, as Fr. George Rutler points out in this article on the recent Amoris Laetitia:

A lack of clarity in the text might endorse the conceit already expounded in some media interviews, which says contrition is not a necessary element in petitioning for mercy. [Emphasis mine.] Any parish priest should wonder at the description of the confessional as a torture chamber. . . Dramaturgic references like that to torture are straw horses, and a straw horse is the rhetorical device of a weak argument.

Ah, yes - a lack of clarity. Becoming the papal trademark, don't you think?

And so perhaps that's Bree Olson's problem, that she's been reading too much of the Pope's writing. Because people don't detect a sense of repentance in her words. Why should they, after all?

My biggest regret was leaving the industry. Leaving all of that money and trying to get the world to like me. They still don’t, and they never will. I should have just put in another five years at least so that in more my smart financial years as I was older, I could have saved enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life.

Bree, the fact of the matter is that nobody ever gets the world to like them. Christ warned His disciples that the world would hate them, as a matter of fact. As many a politician has discovered, the man who tries to please everyone winds up pleasing no one.

In general, I've found that Americans in particular love the idea of second changes, of people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and overcoming past problems. Look at how many times we give someone a break in hopes it will help that person turn his or her life around? We're suckers for a good sob story, and I don't say that to be critical. We want to think that everyone can change, that they can turn away from their past sins or troubles or whatever skeletons exist in their past, that they can, indeed, start all over again - the prostitute, the thief, the addict, the philanderer, the goldbrick. All we usually ask from them is one thing, and that's for an honest effort to reform. Not everyone will be forgiving of a relapse, but most people will be - if that's what it is, a relapse and not a reversion.

An addict, for example, must accept the truth of who they are: that the addictive personality is an undeniable part of that identity, and that to deal with it means not returning to the addiction. It's the same for everyone who wants to turn away from an unfortunate past, whether caused by illness, psychological trouble, or simply misplaced desire. If Bree Olson sincerely wants to be accepted for who she is and not who she was, she has to demonstrate that willingness to separate herself from her past, to start over as a new person. If she can and does, and we still don't accept her - if we become the Pharisees that the Pope endlessly refers to - then shame on us. If she can't or won't do it, then shame on her - and one those who tell her it isn't necessary, those who should know better.

Either way, it's something I just don't understand.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Throwback Thursday: What if democracy, like higher education, is just a scam?

Yeah, don't remind me. I know I've been away for awhile. I'm reminded of it often enough by The Boss. (That's Mr. Hadley, in case you're wondering.) Just consider this a cameo appearance if you want, but I promise I'm going to try and come back here more often.

Anyway, I have a couple of pieces for your consideration.  The first hearkens back to the "Scam of Higher Education" series I did a couple of years ago, and it concerns the new director of Islamic Studies at Duke University. (I asked Mitchell if he wanted to take this one, since he used to work at Duke; his reply was more or less unprintable, but by and large suggested that if I wanted to write about Duke, now or at any time in the future, I was more than welcome to do so.)

Anyway, this gentleman, Omid Safi, compares recent Israeli "crimes" to the Holocaust. I'll let you read all about it here, but what bothers me about this is not only the dishonesty that apparently accompanies his "scholarship," but the laziness of it all. I mean, how many times do we have to read about something being compared to the Nazis or the Holocaust? It's just plain lazy - lazier than the number of F-bombs that show up in a Martin Scorsese movie. I used to think that just dropped them in there to meet the word count minimum, but it's a stroke of pure creativity compared to how many times liberals compare _________ (fill in the blank) to the Holocaust and equate ___________ (various conservatives) to Nazis.

Just give me an effing break, will you?

The second item this week is more thought-provoking.  It's by one of my favorite pundits, Judge Andrew Napolitano, and he asks a disturbing question: what if democracy is a fraud?

Yes, I know - there are a lot of conservatives who throw that question around the same way liberals toss around Nazis.  But, setting aside the provocative nature of the headline, there's some real food for thought here:

What if democracy as it has come to exist in America today is dangerous to personal freedom? What if our so-called democracy erodes the people’s understanding of natural rights and the reasons for government and instead turns political campaigns into beauty contests? What if American democracy allows the government to do anything it wants, as long as more people bother to show up at the voting booth to support the government than show up to say no?

He goes on to elaborate with a number of similar points, before he comes to the conclusion, which is a crusher:

What if the late progressive Edmund S. Morgan was right when he said that government depends on make believe? What if our ancestors made believe that the king was divine? What if they made believe that he could do no wrong? What if they made believe that the voice of the king was the voice of God?

What if the government believes in make believe? What if it made believe that the people have a voice? What if it made believe that the representatives of the people are the people? What if it made believe that the governors are the servants of the people? What if it made believe that all men are created equal, or that they are not?

What if the government made believe that it is always right? What if it made believe that the majority can do no wrong? What if the tyranny of the majority is as destructive to human freedom as the tyranny of a madman? What if the government knows this?

What do we do about it?

I've always been one to defend the United States from those (primarily very traditional Catholics) who charge that the nation was conceived in sin, so to speak, that religious freedom itself was license for the kind of hedonistic libertarianism we seem to have today. While the Founders may not have been Catholics, they were great Americans nonetheless. As someone once said, the United States is the worst country in the world in which to live, except for all the rest of them.

Nowadays, that defense is harder and harder to maintain. What do we do about it, indeed? Thoughts?

Originally published July 28, 2014

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Don't be fooled on Al Jazeera's "demise": They are growing rapidly in the country

Don't be fooled with the announcements as Al Jazeera is shutting down its United States news channels.  While their news operation is being reduced to just working for their Middle Eastern channels, Al Jazeera is rapidly expanding in the United States via its beIN brand. Note how Al Jazeera has expanded its presence to both coasts.  Al Jazeera Sports (beIN) has acquired exclusive rights to motorcycle road racing in the United States, with the addition of MotoGP to its portfolio that includes World Superbike.  Both are managed by Dorna, and Dorna also has given Al Jazeera broadcast rights to the AMA MotoAmerica series, which is organised by Wayne Rainey's KRAVE Group in addition to Dorna.  The Miami-based channel also has added International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) world championship events and another #2 league, the North American Soccer League, to their leagues that include the Football League (#2 in the UK with the SkyBet Championship and the Capital One Football League Cup), the BBVA First Division in Spain, and the Telecom Italia Mobile Serie A.  The BBVA First Division, known simply as La Liga worldwide, is easily football's most powerful league considering the UEFA Champions League finalists in recent years is most often a Spanish team, while English teams have yet to find their way into the final.  In addition, top road FIFA Qualifiers for the United States National Teams also air on the Al Jazeera channel when the Qatar media giant owns broadcast rights of that country, and they also air the CONMEBOL (South America) World Cup qualifiers featuring powerhouses Brazil and Argentina.

The beIN Media Group has also acquired the Miramax film studio, which gives them a major presence in Hollywood.  This will likely mean more power for the emirates in Qatar, allowing them to produce more films that fit their view.

So do not be confused regarding the demise of Al Jazeera's news channel in the United States;  rather, they are expanding their footprint with motorcycles and films.  Why do you think motorcycle companies are buying advertising on Al Jazeera more than Fox, which has the Supercross season (their two network television SX events are the next two rounds), and NBC, which has the Motocross season?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


There are some stories appearing on the wires that will amuse you.  One that had me thinking for a bit on this Tax Week was the University of Oklahoma human relations theory class that stated a white man cannot be singing songs from pop diva Robyn Fenty (see December 2010 commentary on Grammys) or he would be causing "microaggressions."

What type of indoctrination is happening in our schools now?  This reminds of a very popular sexual deviant male, British pop singer that at the time was well-known for his cover of another (now deceased; her daughter died in a similar suspicious behaviour) female pop diva of the 1980's hit (he has since been known for singing the theme to a Bond film).  We'd charge microaggressions for him singing that diva's hit under the logic of the Sooner Schooner.  And don't get me started on the numerous numbers of "wailing women and moaning men" who sing certain Top 40 songs on "religious radio" via the karaoke machine when men sing women's and women sing men's hits under this logic.  Can you imagine a big 90's femme hit I loved for many years being sung by a mixed quartet (which could fit)?  Pre-LaRoche Era Bobby would be guilty, but LaRoche and Beyond Era Bobby understands this tenor isn't designed to sing soprano songs!

That absurdity on the news reminded me of this in England a while back, where a man sang as the lead singer of their Life Enhancement Centre's rock band (it's no church, we know what these Warrenist types and Perry's House of Heresy do) a song from a 90's femme supergroup that I remember from college days seeing numerous times, resulting in a nickname for the venue where they performed the night before the first game of the ECHL championship series, the same venue where in January I attended the Fox Business debate well organised by Bartiromo and Cavuto. Knowing this is a femme song, I just had to wonder would he be guilty of a microaggression considering two members of that group at the time have sons who are gridiron-playing seniors, one of whom is signed to play at a top FCS school in 2016?

Monday, April 11, 2016

The pseudosport of professional wrestling reflects on absurdities

The fixed pseudosport of “professional wrestling” is now starting to run amok in regards to a pair of incidents on the news this week, in puns that those who watched “Championship Wrestling” could understand.

Exhibit A is the New York Daily News cover that denounced Ted Cruz, who had previously referenced “New York (City) Values” in regards to various issues, including his opponent in the Republican Primary.  This tabloid style newspaper (note how it resembles a tabloid and not a regular newspaper) has made numerous cover references that attack the rest of the nation.  The cover of the said publication on the morning of this post being written has a double-entendre that also cites “championship wrestling” in its veiled attack on Mr. Cruz.  All I could see from this through the eyes of the popular pseudosport was Ted Cruz responding with an Attitude Adjustment on the publication in light of them trying to deliver the same move on him.

Exhibit B is the California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who has now worked to arrest the filmmakers investigating Planned Parenthood selling baby parts.  She is running for the US Senate seat in the state, no less, and associated with Planned Parenthood, so she is working to arrest her opponents for uncovering the scandal of Planned Parenthood selling freshly slaughtered children for cash.  Don't forget also that she refused to defend the state's Constitution when it regards to legal unions of one male and one female only as Attorney General, choosing after being sued to jump to the camp of the sexual perversion camp to create an automatic squash of the laws she was to defend, a tactic now used by many state attorneys general when the erotic liberty crowd wishes to overturn laws based on their feelings based in Biblical standards and passed by supermajorities of over 60 percent nationlly, over 75 percent in man states.  This has the look and feel of a monster heel, as her name is reminiscent of a Mississippi “professional wrestler” of the 1980's who was a monster heel.  Freedom of speech isn't available if you are not in the Left's protected territories, no less, and the only freedom they desire is sexual freedom, so it's time to shut opponents.  What does it say?

In both cases, I see cases of “championship wrestling” coming.  In the former, I see the “Attitude Adjustment” reference, and in the latter, I see a “Ugandan giant” reference.  Has the pseudosport come to full fruition in these recent stories?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

This just in

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks with reporters about the unexpected embarrassment of riches for this year's draft.


(NEW YORK, April 6) – NBA officials today confirmed reports that all 32,190 male college basketball players in the United States have declared for the NBA draft.

The number, which includes all 4,511 players competing at the Division I level, means increased competition for the 60 spots available when the draft takes place June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“I admit we were a bit taken aback that every college basketball player in America has filed for the draft,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show, “but it demonstrates how strong the NBA brand is. When every player in the country wants to be a part of your organization, you must be doing something right.”

“It’s an opportunity for every young man’s dream to come true,” Silver continued, despite the fact that less than two-tenths of one percent of the players will be wind up being drafted in June.

“I just have to do what’s right for me and my family,” said 6’5” center Sam “Slam” Duncan of Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. “All my life I’ve imagined myself standing on that stage in front of my friends and family, wearing the hat and holding up the uniform of the team that drafted me,” even though the odds of him winning a roster spot in the league are approximately 3,400:1. “I’m going shopping for a suit tonight.”

Executives at TBS, which will televise the draft from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning at 7:00pm ET, said they plan to use both Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens to handle the overflow of NBA hopefuls, and to shuttle players to the Barclays Center if they are selected. “It might take a little longer than usual, but we can handle it,” network executive Bruce Wyler said. "Besides, the weather outside in June is usually pretty good."

At press time, it had not yet been determined whether or not the entire roster of the University of Connecticut women’s team would declare, although analysts said if they do, it would change the picks made by several teams.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spin doctors

Bill O'Reilly is known for his "The O'Reilly Factor" being called the "No Spin Zone".  But the NCAA Final Four and Championship are now exclusively on pay television, ending over four decades of network television, means a reduced television audience for the Championship Game, which I believe is a big mistake.

North Carolina Tar Heels fans have long been associated with their team in Charlotte being on WBTV, the Raycom (and in preceding years, Lincoln Financial and Jefferson Pilot eras) station as part of the ACC syndication package.  From 1982 until 2015, Channel 3, the long-time CBS affiliate, carried the NCAA, but the NCAA has weakened it to the Turner TBS/TNT/TruTV trio, with this year ending with both the semifinals and finals on Time Warner's pay channels.

Following college football's push to pay television a few years ago, the Time Warner trio is masking the loss of widespread mainstream coverage in the same way Disney is treating the College Football Playoff by having one channel dedicated to each of the two teams with "cheerleaders," similar to the very unprofessional homers that dominate radio sports today (think of someone such as Bob Lamey of the Indianapolis Colts, best known for the famous Turn 4 call at the 1992 Indianapolis 500, and his notorious homer calls) sitting around a professional broadcaster, at each game.  We saw that at the CFP and now at both the Final Four and Championship.  Yes, they can boast more viewers combined, but what does it say when you take big game voices and relegate them to pay television that considerable fewer people watch?  Jameson Nantz (who isn't even three months old) might wonder why daddy's coverage is on far fewer homes now than it was even five years ago.

OK, NCAA.  This idea of pay television for the finals is a failure.  When WBTV becomes an afterthought, allowing WSOC to become the area's top channel as WBTV loses its "home of the NCAA" honours as they air more reruns on weekends, what does it say?

What does it say when TruTV, a channel about "reality" television, is more relevant than WBTV, a channel that is the voice of Charlotte, when it comes to March Madness?  Our culture is in arrays when "reality" channels, not general audience channels, air the biggest games in sports, does it?  And ignore the spin, they base their audience numbers on how many are watching the "cheerleaders" channels.

You don't see the Super Bowl with "cheerleader" channels with cheerleaders watching the games. Why have we stooped so low in college sports with this?  Time for a return to network television for the big ones.  The R&A and NASCAR have learned their lesson.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The April Fools

April Fools Day has never been a favorite day of mine. I don't have much time for April Fools jokes myself, and the attempts that one runs across online are seldom very funny. Most of them are either too labored or not labored enough, stupid or just lame, with the result that at least a third of the people who read them are sucked in and have to have it all explained to them. (Just ask Google.) They really are monuments to people who aren't as clever as they think they are.

That's not to say I don't enjoy a good joke or bit of satire; I think those of you who read "This Just In" when it appears on this blog will understand that. I was looking for one that might be good to offer as a "Flashback Friday," but the best of them have been rerun recently, so I don't think I'll dip into that well just now. One of the very best bits of April Foolery I've read today was this one from the F1 blogger par excellence Joe Saward, who offered this outrageous one on the new sport of bus racingIt made for a terrific way to start the day. (UPDATE: This one from the University of Oregon isn't bad either.)

One of the problems with good satire, which is what a lot of these April Fools jokes try to be*, is that the world itself has become so ridiculous and absurd that what passed for satire even a few years ago has become plausible enough that it loses its sting, and winds up looking no different than the hour's headlines on CNN. Then, in order to get your laugh, you have to explain to your readers that they shouldn't panic, it's all just a joke, and at that point you might as well throw your hands up and walk away.

*For example, when I was a kid (and maybe it's still the same way today), the quintessential April Fools joke had to do with a green and yellow bug, or something like that, crawling up your back. I suppose the equivalent in today's digital world is be telling people that opening this post has given them a virus that will wipe out their entire hard drive, but nowadays you'd probably get shot before your readers got to the punch line.

Jokes of any kind also run the risk of being labeled politically incorrect, which nowadays is a crime worse than murder, equal to treason, and falls just short of child molestation. It is tragic that humor, which is, according to the good Bishop Sheen, a divine attribute, has fallen victim to this purging of anything that deviates from the new norm, the norm that has been declared for us by our new thought police. I don't know where this is going to end; if the people simply roll over and accept it with docility, that would be the effective end of America as the Founders knew it, If, on the other hand, it is met with the same verbal and physical violence with which it is being administered, which seems increasingly likely, that could bring us civil unrest the likes of which we haven't seen since 1968 - or 1861, if you want to take it to its logical conclusion. The people responsible for this atmosphere are surely April Fools.

One of the truly disturbing aspects of today's world is that there does not seem to be any support coming from those we usually turn to. Literally all of our institutions have failed us: politicians, of course, are useless - they're the ones responsible for most of this in the first place. The one man running who ostensibly isn't a politician, Donald Trump, is thought by many to be a cure worse than the disease, although in truthfulness it's hard to see how he could be any worse than what we already have. Our courts and jurists are a joke, finding rights that were never thought of before while ignoring the Constitution meant to keep things together. Religious leaders are no better: the Church is being run by a man who seems bent on destroying eternal truths. Our law enforcement officials seem more comfortable establishing a police state than anything else, and often cause more fear in law-abiding citizens than they do criminals. Our schools have completely capitulated, either giving in to the PC fascists or promulgating their beliefs in the first place.* Bankers, investors, businessmen - all of them are seen as caring more about lining their own pockets than doing anything for those less fortunate, who are just a speed bump on the way to wealth. The streets themselves are jungles in many of our large cities, and there seems to be no standard American culture anymore. Speaking of which, what passes for culture couldn't fill a petri dish, and merely panders to the lowest common denominator. What's not to be depressed about? Our institutions are run by April Fools.

*Leading to the new aphorism that no student's mind is safe as long as schools are in session.

No amount of April Fooling with paper over this fact, that America seems to be at a crossroads, with the choices being the frying pan or the fire. That's not to say, as I find myself telling people, that we should be living as nihilists; even in Communist countries, people often found a way to live without attracting the attention of the authorities, and if it was a life that is unlike what we've become accustomed to, it did nonetheless allow for a certain degree of security and satisfaction. We've seen the persecution of Christians throughout Christianity, and yet Christianity persists. For those Christians remaining firm in their beliefs, Christianity will remain until there are no Christians left*, in which case there likely will be no world left either. The world may be run by Fools, but Paul reminds us that we can be fools as well, fools for Christ. Every generation has imagined the world would end, for one reason or another, during their lifetimes, and while this era has new and disturbing qualities which others lacked, we've managed to hang on so far.

*Although the truth of Christianity exists whether there's anyone to acknowledge it or not.

We too are fools, in April or any other month, if we don't acknowledge how bad things are. We shouldn't let it get to us, though; capitulation is the worst thing we could do. If America is no longer worth fighting for, no longer worth saving, it remains the case that many of the people living in it are worth saving, and that's what we have to do, however we can. It starts with your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, the people in your church. Some call it the Benedict Option, others have different words for it. It exists, however, and it's up to us to make sure it comes to fruition.

I started out talking about how April Fools Day isn't my cup of tea, and neither are the biggest fools of all, who try to fool us all with the world they're creating. Ultimately the joke will be on them, but until then, no matter what we've done before, hang firm. I won't channel my inner Dan Rather and urge "courage" for everyone, but I will offer this piece of advise: you know who the Fools are - don't let them fool you again.

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