No Choice 2016


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

RATHER A RANT [SERIOUS, I’M AFRAID]
 
 

A day has passed. I watched the final presidential debate, listened to the after-action pundits, and I took the time to seriously examine my thoughts and feelings about the upcoming election.

With the exception of that disorderly portion of the Republican Party that has been deservedly called “Deplorables,” I believe that the majority of American voters will cast a ballot for
Hillary Clinton. No amount of whining about imaginary “voter fraud” or “biased media” will convince thinking voters that Donald Trump is the right man for the Oval Office. “Tempermentally unfit” is simply polite phrasing for a laundry list of character flaws that Mr. Trump would bring to the presidency. He’s narcissistic, hateful, crude, mercurial and abusive, certainly not the qualities that American citizens want in their most visible and powerful representative.

Regarding Trump’s statement that he may not concede the election if the vote goes against him, “unfit” is grossly inadequate to describe such disrespect for American voters and values.

The Republican Party has only themselves to blame for being unable to stop a damaged and dangerous outsider from co-opting the candidacy for president. The party truly had no one better to offer, nor did they. The backlash from their own constituency should be telling Republican office holders that inaction, belligerence, and right wing fanaticism is not a substitute for progress, or more simply, doing the job that they were elected to perform. If the Republican Party is facing its demise, it will not be a murder, but a suicide.

On the other hand, Hillary, burdened with baggage, is arguably one of the most disliked presidential candidates since Richard Nixon. However, she’s well-qualified, experienced, stable, studious, hardworking, and believably interested in positive change. She can do the job, and do it well.

Regardless, Hillary will enter the Oval Office with one of the lowest approval ratings of any president in recent memory. Baggage must be carried, and it’s never easy. More troubling, she has still not learned that being secretive about information and actions that should be shared publicly will continue to foment voter distrust, and may cripple her ability to get congressional support for her political agenda. Her presidency may be short-lived (no second term) if she does not comprehend that, excepting national security concerns, America only trusts verifiably open government.

Hillary will not be the first president to begin an administration at a disadvantage (Gerald Ford, one easy example). However, her first hundred days may be a wash unless the Democrats take control of the US Senate. The Republicans are desperately, desperately, DESPERATELY hoping that on November 8th, ticket-splitting ballots will prevent this from happening.

We’ll see.

Regardless, the description “deplorable” has been undeniably misused by both the candidates and the media. It applies to this entire presidential campaign, and honest voters know in their hearts that this is a self-inflicted injury. We have done this to ourselves.

I have no qualms about voting for competence versus crass showmanship, but I will do so taking no pride in this presidential campaign or our political parties. I will cast my ballot knowing that with a combination of laxity toward civic responsibility and a failure to compromise for the common good, We the People have failed ourselves, and
We deserve better.

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Is Criticism Cruel?


Jay Cole image

Humor is our most enjoyable form of truth.

A bit of a serious rant, today.

Noooooooo!

Yes, so buckle up!

Humor (in this case, humour) has once again raised a teeny-tiny controversy, and I may have some thoughts on the issue.

That was the cue for the drumroll, dammit! Drumroll? Drumroll?

A recent online article (2/2/2016) about John Cleese in the British newspaper, The Telegraph brought a complex issue to light. Here’s the short version:

The Monty Python star revealed that he has been advised not to perform to [university] students as the fear of offending has expanded so far that any kind of criticism is now seen as “cruel.”

While this article was published as entertainment news, and I applaud the writer, Lucy Clarke-Billings, for not mixing news and commentary as so often happens today, I must also note that this article failed miserably to adequately address the many issues that it raised. Certainly, this writer could have stimulated a very lively debate had this been handled not as entertainment news but as an opinion piece. And I, for one, would have preferred the latter.

I had an opinion; I’m quite sure. Maybe, in my other jacket…

Consider just a few of this article’s implications:

  • Are colleges and universities, institutions founded on the freedom of intellectual inquiry, now graduating a generation of whiners who do not have the intellectual or emotional capacity to handle a little criticism?
  • Has freedom of intellectual inquiry become a politically-correct-only freedom?
  • Are we raising a younger generation incapable of accepting that not everyone thinks the way they do?
  • Is it time to rein in political correctness?
  • Is political correctness killing comedy?

My Frank Opinion: People who take political correctness to extremes are hilarious fools.

That’s the hysterical reason-challenged, if you please!

There are certain aspects of the human psyche that, as adults, we all must accept:

  • Everyone is open-minded until you challenge their core beliefs or comment negatively on their mother.
  • Freedom of speech is generally supported only until someone that you oppose tries to use it.
  • The younger generation is always viewed as inadequate.

It’s difficult to believe that the younger generation is incapable of handling criticism, or that they do not understand that political correctness is a concept of limited usefulness but large bandwagon. And in fairness, note that the older generation also whines a good deal; easily seen in the waiting room of any arthritis specialist.

Cover image: "Sexual Evolution"Now, I have the utmost respect and a good bit of hero worship for John Cleese. I can’t say that I would act the fool and gush all over him if I met him on the street; however, as he is a true master of the absurd, I probably wouldn’t object if he wanted to skip paper altogether and place his autograph on my left buttock.

The man is a comedy genius. If you doubt this for a second, please note that it was also reported that a Monty Python reunion show sold out in under a minute!

Try naming other artists who have done as well.

We have to grant that criticism is sometimes harsh, but then so are truth, justice and many other concepts\ideas. Are writers, humorists and standup comedians now to avoid opinions, criticisms, and God-forbid, possibly harsh words for fear of being considered cruel?

  • Yes, if you want your work to have no discernable impact.
  • No, if you want to develop your own unique voice.

I suggest that British university students write, petition, or shout from the rooftops an invitation for John Cleese to speak at their institution. For if a little criticism truly shatters your piddling, little, insular world, then you are, without doubt, an idiot.

And yes, that’s a criticism.

Parting Funny: The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of Charades.
Demetri Martin

Next Up: The Comic View: Richard Pryor

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