[This post was composed as I drove from nowhere to nowhere… and was driven batty by NPR.]
A few weeks later I was on the road again. My cell phone rang. (Better service every year.)
“Some dude shot up a church.” Came my personal news source.
“Oh shit. Did they kill the jerk?”
“Yep, but…” there was a pause.
I sighed. The pause was enough to tell me that something about this event was photogenic. Politicians would roll in it. I was trapped in my truck and would be getting yapped at about some new distraction. Stopping the bad guy with the gun before he hurt more people; that interested me. It was reality talk. Now, unreality was about to ensue.
We discussed likely outcomes. Maybe Al Sharpton would dance on the graves and call for his poisonous version of “racial healing”. Maybe Barack Obama would dance on the graves and call for what he thinks of as “reasonable gun control”. If Sharpton opened his yap there’d be a riot in a city or two. Obama could cause a riot but more likely he’d just spike firearm prices. If they both spoke, things could really get rolling. People could get hurt. They’re playing with fire.
I thought the gun thing was unlikely. Gun control is never far from the left’s mind but it’s far from their lips on four year intervals. I’d planned a route through Chicago but if either of the two seemed intent on fomenting mayhem I’d route around it. Paranoid? Maybe. Ask Reginald Denny.
I bet on “race”, my friend bet on “guns”, neither of us bet on “rebel flag”.
For the next few days my truck radio informed me that the rebel flag caused all this. Just like the Benghazi Consulate was burned to the ground by a YouTube video.
Obama sang a song. They say it was very moving. Of course it was.
The other side of the spectrum fumed about history and honor. It made no difference at all.
The obvious response is that a murderous asshole did a reprehensible deed and there’s no easy solution to evil. So of course, nobody mentioned that.
A flag is a distraction. Unreality. Suppose this particular murderous asshole drank a Pepsi. Would that mean Pepsi is evil? In his evil selfie did he sit in a chair? Better ban chairs. Did he use indoor plumbing, watch movies, eat pizza? Better ban all those too.
It seems nearly all murderous assholes post on Facebook but so far only one murderous asshole had a rebel flag. The difference is that NPR likes Facebook. So Facebook is OK.
NPR spent hours badgering me with the official party line. I watched the Dukes of Hazzard as a kid. I associated the rebel flag with nothing more than car jumps and Daisy’s ass. I have not repented. Therefore I suck. I’m the other.
This only applies to me. Hillary Clinton put rebel flags on her memorabilia for presidential candidate in 2008. Bill Clinton did the same as a presidential candidate in 1992. I watched bad TV in the 1970’s. Of the three, I’m to be accused of racism and both Clintons are pure as the driven snow.
NPR has determined, through some method not unlike divination, that I’m a witch and it’s OK to burn me. This is in accordance with logic known only to our State Propaganda arm.
It was an interesting juxtaposition with the kerfluffle of a week earlier. They’d switched from informing me that I’m homophobic because I was uninterested in an aging runner’s crotch to informing me of my racism because a murderer’s Facebook page had the same flag as a bad TV show I watched as a kid. Unreality.
For that matter Boy George was guest player on the Dukes of Hazzard. Was I not embracing sexual ambiguity (as I have been so ordered) by watching that yoyo sing a song in the fictional Boar’s Nest? Can they at least give me that? Throw me a bone folks, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!
We’re supposed to meekly put up with it. That’s the disconnect. The farther you get from city streets the more obvious it becomes. I’ve yet to see the fellows in the combines or the trucker with weak brakes force anything on the population centers. The other side won’t extend the same courtesy. You never know what the purveyors of unreality will do next; an endangered toad, fuel regulations, water restrictions, a tax on something you need, a regulation against something that’s necessary, teaching stupid shit to your kid, banning your memories of Daisy’s ass… when does it end?
Being ordered around is unpleasant. Pretending the abstract is as real as a rainstorm is just plain stupid.
It’s a bad way to do things. I don’t know the solution. I’d like to imagine it could all peter out without undue mayhem. Stranger things have happened. Maybe someday they’ll run out of air from calling me homophobic and racist and stupid. Maybe they’ll encounter their own realities. Just chill out and join the rest of us as we go through life on the actual planet we call Earth. There’s plenty of room. We could have a beer together. I’d invite them fishing and they’d quit bitching at me long enough to catch a trout and discover it’s fun. They might see that sometimes people talk about the weather instead of an asshole’s flag and some aging athlete’s crotch for the very good reason that the weather matters and the other stuff doesn’t.
The problem about a 24 hour news outlet (ANY 24 hour news outlet) is they have to “report” on SOMETHING no matter what. So you get endless detailed “analysis”* about the most stupid side tangents. I remember part of the cycle of this, when many of our 24 hour news outlets came in the wake of 9/11/2001 when people were so scared out of their minds that they NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON! The news programs just kept running, past their allotted time, reporting on things from faulty sources (car bombs in NYC, anthrax scare, etc) then promptly retracting their statements (nope, made that stuff up! 😀 ) all with smiling faces and additional news tickers scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Eventually many of them became their own cable channels. Yes some existed before this, but the ticker was new, and several new ones were born in the days following Sept 11th
*ever realize how you cant have analysis without anal? Ever suspect that the root of the word (either does or should) has something to do with pulling it out of yer a$$?
“I’ve yet to see the fellows in the combines or the trucker with weak brakes force anything on the population centers. The other side won’t extend the same courtesy.”
Um, I hate to bring reality into this picture, but the fact is that the population centers subsidize the rural areas with their tax dollars (not that either side has any say in the matter). Not the other way around.
Anyway, my own reflections on this flag kerfluffle:
You’ve got a good point, the roads and government infrastructure of rural areas (and States) are subsidized by tax dollars from urban areas (and States). That’s simply a fact.
I suppose, if you look at it that way, some bus riding apartment dweller in Boston shoving the 55 MPH speed limit down the throat of a Wyoming rancher is fair play. Boston paid for the road and it can therefore shit upon the users of that road. However, I think it best to avoid shitting on people.
Also North Dakota’s oil is keeping a lot of cities warm in the winter, Wyoming’s coal powers electricity all over the grid, we all eat corn flakes from Kansas and chicken McNuggets from Missouri, etc… I suppose what gets my goat is that there is nothing to be gained and much to be lost when Seinfield’s neighborhood starts hassling America’s very different “frontier”. “Once size fits all” really means “it fits poorly for most”. For example, toilets installed on my private well and private septic system are ruled with parameters drawn up for collective water/sewer system but parameters that make sense for me are not applied the other way. “Flush twice in my house because Phoenix was built in a desert” is not reciprocated with “hunt deer in the Phoenix suburbs because deer ate my garden”
I checked out your article on the Confederate flag. Excellent!