21 April 2008

Communication from Elu; Things in Court; Shallow Values; Pride goeth along with ignorance; and other snippets

The office has heard from The Elu. He sent the following brief email:

To: R. Curry, atty
From: The Elu Hisself
21 April 2008

Stopover in Barbados. Sunny & warm.
Notify broker to sell immediately all of my preferred stock in Susquehanna Hat Company, invest immediately in Bacardi - Rum is the coming thing down here. Don't sell the common stock, I still intend to be the board's official irritant.
More later.
Elu

Interesting notes from Court:

In a hearing last week, a mom made excuses for a 19 y.o. kid having used marijuana by saying that “everyone does it.” I could hear the Judge’s intake of breath, and waited for him to react. He waited until ruling and commented with some heat that all kids do NOT use weed, and that attitude is disturbing. Let me say that I agree.

In the same hearing, a 19 y.o. man proudly testified that he had called the police when his mother called him on the phone and was nasty to him. You’ve got to be kidding me! Have people forgotten how to hang up? Would your momma really scare you in a phone call? This is emblematic of a bigger problem, that we are becoming, as Justice Neely suggests, busy, lazy and scared, and expect the police or the courts or the counselors or the pills or the schools or the welfare department or anybody but ourselves to solve all of our problems, even if they are not really problems. That this infantile behavior is so rampant is really disturbing.

Shallow Values Festival:

La J & I went to the movies Saturday night. (This is rather a treat in that I can now use the seats.) We saw 21, a movie about MIT students hitting casinos in Las Vegas at blackjack. I don’t pretend to do movie reviews, but this one disturbed me. It has some vague positive reference to things like study and work, but the theme is that thin-to-nonexistent values are lots of fun and for some reason useful. I cannot imagine something more boring than gambling in Vegas (or anywhere else, for that matter.) However, the protagonists get a charge out of taking money from the casinos (which doesn’t terribly offend me), screwing one another to distraction (ditto), but also they glorify profligate spending on silly “luxuries,” (thousand dollar suits, that sort of thing), the superiority of riding in limos, the joy of having their asses kissed by “servants” at the hotels, and hooking up with “dancers” at strip bars. The closing scene extols all of the above as a superior life experience which translates into splendid success in honest and hard work and study. Traditional “liberals” sternly declare all that communications are good and valid because the First Amendment permits us to make them. What a silly notion. There are lots and lots and lots of socially unacceptable and destructive messages out there. They are all protected. It is up to responsible citizens to reject those messages and introduce the young in our society to the ever-present Dr. Reality. I just came into possession of Henry Ward Beecher’s Addresses to Young Men, with an 1897 inscription. I’ve just read the first chapter, “Industry and Idleness,” and wouldn’t you know, the same sorts of issues that are flaming problems today were flaming problems then. Go figure.

The movie did prompt thought about one thing: There is something called the Monty Hall Paradox (google it) which is a mathematical proof that defies logic. I’ve read it over and over, and I confess that I still don’t see it.

This leads me to preliminary thoughts on a related topic. We idealize celebrities and also “ordinary people” of a particular description. Our “ideal” person is a conventionally physically attractive person between the ages of 18 and 27 (there are a few exceptions for unusual people outside that age range). Usually they can sing well, or at least “rap.” (However, I think that anyone can probably rap if only they can suspend their embarrassment at looking and sounding like an idiot and pompous jerk.) Their degree of intelligence and record of good judgment, service, demonstrated willingness to work, success from work, loyalty to friends, loyalty to family, loyalty to God or any other positive attribute matter not a bit at all. Persons not of that description are fundamentally life support systems for the Beautiful People, and so they/we are a dreary necessity. Moreover, after even the Beautiful People attain the age of 28 or so or, Lord forbid, start acting in mature or responsible ways, they are no longer Beautiful and the remainder of their lives are wasted. Well, I detect a longer essay looming, but these were the thoughts on my mind right now.

The sports news is full of the story of Danica Patrick who “broke down” after winning her first Indy Car race. Give me (another) break! This is a person at the pinnacle of a highly competitive sport. As is the case with most athletes, God has given her enormous gifts – do you think that it’s easy to drive at 220 mph? And, she has worked very, very hard to develop those gifts. So she’s emotional winning a race. Why is that news, particularly news tinged with negativity or “understanding” because she’s a woman and women do that?

As I was going into Fairmont General tonight, I once again saw a strange sign posted by the main elevator: “We proudly serve Starbucks coffee.” How’s that again? Why is buying a certain brand of coffee something that engenders pride? How about a sign “We pay a living wage,” or “We saved Joe Smith’s life,” or “Our CEO comes to work at 6 AM”? THAT would be something to be proud about. Oh, I always buy coffee on the way in or out of the hospital, and the urns say “Maxwell House.” Now, that, I’d be proud of.

Outside ICU Friday night was a family, a dad, mom and a couple of kids. They were going in and out of ICU, and from their demeanor, tears, etc., it is obvious that someone loved by them was dying. I mentally debated a minute, and finally talked to them just a bit - that we in the community know that this is a hard time, all of that. I don’t want to intrude. But I don’t want to ignore people genuinely in pain. My dad always said that we each have a ministry. Only relatively recently have I figured out what he was talking about. At least, figured it out more than my prior profound ignorance.

My op-ed about Justice Maynard hit the net this weekend. We’ll see if and where it’s published. I expect a good bit of negative feedback. Screw ‘em, the First Amendment means me, too.

A number of contemporaries are running for judicial office. I have clearly told them that (1) I'd help (those of) them (I like) with campaign stuff and (2) I'll duly kiss their keisters when they are on the bench, but if their opponents win, then it's their keisters which will get the smooch.

Pippa passes.

Yours for candor,
R

2 comments:

doreenmary said...

R,

I enjoyed your expose' about the state of values (or lack thereof) in America today. My 18 old son recently said to me, "Mom, never will I marry or venture to bring children into this horrible world. Why?" He's so cynical--which I cannot blame him, but where are the stars in his eyes and idealistic hope for the future? He sounds 20 years older than he is, but even he, part of the millenia generation (alleged to be part of the problem), sees shallowness all around.

Ironically, as I write this comment, the tape of the Florida girls who beat up on one teen is replayed on the TV in my hotel room. It's frightening.

Speaking of shallow, I am on a business trip and just before coming here to your blog, posted my own blog entry tonight about disdain about the state of traveling...the ease with which opportunity for indiscriminate "hooking up" lurks...I feel it, and it is why I choose to eat my dinner out of a styrofoam box in my room alone...away.

I find myself increasingly reclusive, cocooning from the world to the safety net of the writer's world...where love rules and dreams dare to live. Maybe it's just a mood thing tonight...but your post seems to parallel much of what's on my mind tonight.

Doreen

aliasmoi said...

While I agree that not all kids smoke pot, just as not all people consume alcohol, the unfortunate fact is that due to the efforts of popular media and shows like That 70s Show - pot has become socially acceptable and a lot of people do it - if not the majority. It needs to be legalized, so it can be somewhat controlled, and the courts can spend their time prosecuting real criminals.