Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Militarization of the Police… Or Not

Posted: August 20, 2014 by ShortTimer in Crime, Culture, Government, Media
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The last couple weeks worth of rioting and looting in Ferguson, Missouri over what’s looking less and less like the outright murder of an unarmed teenager and more like a cop who had to defend himself against multiple attacks from a thug who’d just committed a strong-arm robbery has led some punditing pundits to pundificate over the militarization of police.

In the pundit mind, it goes “cops with cargo pants and rifles means militarization of police leads to warrior cop leads to police see people as the enemy to be oppressed leads to police start oppressing people everywhere”.

Rich Lowry at NRO turns around the point that the whole militarization theme has been overblown, and started without any militarization and helmets and rifles and MRAPs at all:

It was ridiculous and wrong for police snipers to train their weapons on peaceful protestors in Ferguson. But, when you get right down to it, the militarization of police has had basically nothing to do with events there, even though the Left and parts of the Right have wanted to make that the main issue.

When Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, the officer was presumably wearing a typical police uniform and driving a typical police car.

Just so you get a visual of that, and the story from an eyewitness on scene discussing it:

No MRAPs in there, no fatigues, no helmets, no Wiley X goggles.  And the eyewitness’s own description as the body lies in the street is not what the papers and news have been saying for the last couple weeks, either.  None of it has to do with “militarization of the police”.

Lowry continues with this point:

Finally, there’s the argument that the militarized police were inciting the crowd. This wasn’t entirely implausible, although it seemed unlikely because it should be possible for lawful, well-intentioned people to restrain themselves from throwing things at cops whose uniforms and vehicles they don’t like. Sure enough, after a night of calm in the wake of the “demilitarization” of the police response and the insertion of Captain Ron Johnson, the lawlessness started right up again.

Yeah, actually the first part is implausible.

See this crowd:

>Tea Party Tomorrow

That’s the big DC Tea Party protest from a couple years back.  There was no violence there.  They even picked up their trash when they left.  Harry Reid called those people terrorists, though.

See this crowd:

guns across america slc ut

That’s from a guns across America rally in January 2013 in SLC, Utah.  And this one’s from January 2013 in Austin, TX:

guns across america austin tx 2

Lots of folks there.  Folks with guns, even.  Yet there was no looting, no rioting, and no violence.

By contrast, this is what a lot of “protesting” in Ferguson, Missouri looks like:

ferguson quiktrip

Not with signs, but with fire bombs.

ferguson molotov 1

ferguson molotov 2

ferguson molotov 3

The first protests and the last “protest” are not the same.

That’s the reason for the police response that looks like this:

ferguson mrap

Police riot gear and riot equipment may look more military today than in the past, but the “militarization of police” idea is due to media perception that molds public perception, sensationalizing the uncommon, and whipping up a new crisis.

Just for contrast, here’s a cop with a belt-fed machinegun – state of the art in 1918 – and what helped turn the Great War into an industrial slaughter that killed millions.

NYPD-traffic-motorcycle-policeman-Indian-cycle.-May-18-1918I don’t see the cops with the MRAP having any belt-fed weapons.  Instead their weapons are precise, and they have many non-lethal options that don’t consist of batons.  They are also filmed constantly.

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Generally speaking, I have seen cops wearing kevlar vests.  I have seen a handful of law enforcement agents carrying longarms (and those were Border Patrol agents out in the boonies dealing with very different threats, or game wardens who are almost always approaching someone who’s also armed).  I have never seen an MRAP on the streets of the US.  Of course, I also don’t frequent places where looting is a pasttime.

I do know of Marines who went to New Orleans after Katrina to deal with the looters and rioters and anarchy… but I was on the other side of the globe at the time.  And of course I’m familiar with the National Guard having been called in to a lot of civil disturbances.

But the thing is, those are all still rare.

SWAT raids are rare.  They make the news because they’re exciting to the press, and the press principle of “if it bleeds it leads”, but they’re rare.  When I’ve asked people about if they’ve ever seen a SWAT raid in real life, the answer is almost invariably no – or is incredibly rare (unless they’re in law enforcement, but even then the answer still tends towards scarcity.)

Even SWAT raids that go bad are rare.  And the type of 2AM no-knock raid on the drug dealer’s house that gets the wrong address and results in overzealous swat clowns shooting an old man in his bed – are clearly unacceptable and should result in Hammurabic punishments for whoever okayed and participated in the raid.  But their seriousness makes us see them as more common, and no doubt the number of raids gone bad should be zero… but that discussion isn’t any part of what’s going on in Missouri.

Crime is on a downward trend, but political race-baiting and pushing class warfare in a classless society is on an upward trend.

From CBS St. Louis:

Protesters filled the streets after nightfall Monday, and officers trying to enforce tighter restrictions at times used bullhorns to order them to disperse. Police deployed noisemakers and armored vehicles to push demonstrators back. Officers fired tear gas and flash grenades.

One looter who came out of a QuikTrip told The Washington Post that he was proud of what he was doing.

I’m proud of us. We deserve this, and this is what’s supposed to happen when there’s injustice in your community,” DeAndre Smith told The Post. “St. Louis — not going to take this anymore.”

This goes to the heart of the matter – there’s an entitlement mentality where a looter has decided that since the facts aren’t all out there yet about the confrontation between Brown and the cop that by default the cop is wrong, and it’s right to loot local businesses.  Because A did something to B, then C is entitled to terrorize D.

Read that sentence again:

One looter who came out of a QuikTrip told The Washington Post that he was proud of what he was doing.

I’m proud of us. We deserve this, and this is what’s supposed to happen when there’s injustice in your community,” DeAndre Smith told The Post. “St. Louis — not going to take this anymore.”

He “deserves” to loot.  And looting and mayhem is what’s “supposed to happen” when there’s “injustice”.

The owner of that Quiktrip, the employees working at that Quiktrip, the people who shop there are all finding their livelihoods and lives wrecked or harmed or at the very least inconvenienced because he thinks he deserves to steal.  And lest they run to authorities demanding something be done, the reminder that “snitches get stitches” was put on the side of the building.

Number 7 of the Peelian Principles comes to mind:

To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

When a large part of the public has decided that they will reject not just the police, but the concept of law and order, and threaten those who would want actual justice, there is a societal ill that is not caused by cops wearing jungle boots.

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The problem isn’t some perceived militarization of the police – at least not there.  For all the hype of leftists and some libertarians screaming “MRAPs do not belong on our streets” – the answer is that they actually don’t – they don’t belong there any more than the actual military in the form of the National Guard does – but they will be there if the real problem strikes.

The problem is a lack of civilization of the society.

Can Anyone Confirm?

Posted: August 17, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture, Humor, Leftists, Media
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That Huffpo Writer Ryan J. Reilly Is An Idiot?

can anyone confirm ryan j reilly 140817

Soopermexican’s on this, as is Jawa Report.  They remind us this is the same reporter who played the fool and got himself arrested at McDonalds and cried about it.

Soopermexican writes:

This guy is a reporter. He actually WRITES stuff to inform OTHER human beings about what OTHER human beings are doing. How could you POSSIBLY do that with any kind of accuracy if you’ve never even SEEN earplugs before? Not only has he never fired a gun, or done a day of work in his life that requires earplugs, he’s never even BEEN AROUND people who do!!!!

Sort of like having a president complete with an entire staff, speechwriters and advisors and none of them can pronounce corpsman.

It exposes an astonishing ignorance of culture and life experience.  What kind of soft-handed delicate flower must Reilly be if he doesn’t even know earplugs when he sees them?

Reilly was probably never even given this talk, or was raised by people who didn’t know the difference:

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Meanwhile, over at “can anyone confirm” on twitter, fun is being made.

Liberal Privilege

Posted: June 18, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture, Progressives and Left

From Professor Melvyn Fein:

One of the current liberal cliches tells us “whites” are privileged. The color of their skin evidently bestows benefits others do not receive. They are therefore supposed to be grateful and defer to those who are less fortunate.

But in what does this “privilege” consist? Yes, whites have not been discriminated against the way African-Americans have. They have not been denied jobs or forced to drink from separate fountains because of the pigmentation of their epidermis. This is surely an advantage — but how big an advantage?

Charges of white privilege make it sound as if every Caucasian is automatically successful. The fact is most are not. Few are born with silver spoons in their mouths. The vast majority needs to work hard to achieve the objectives they desire.

Far more pervasive is “liberal privilege.” The very people who accuse others of not being sufficiently grateful for their status are guilty of taking their own advantages for granted. Liberals do not seem to recognize the special treatment they receive. They actually believe they are nicer and smarter than others as a result of having been allowed to get away with this conceit.

Liberals can destroy the economy, but hey, no one could have done better. They can undermine the national security, but at least they were showing the appropriate humility. They can drive their country into bankruptcy, but this only confirms their compassion.

If one is a liberal, any nasty thing one might say about an opponent is passed over in silence. The cruelest invective is regarded as appropriate, given the sins of the target. Even vulgarity is excused because it emphasizes the understandable passion of the speaker.

If one is a liberal, lies are accepted as essential to promoting benevolent causes. The rabble does not appreciate the benefits heaped upon them; hence, it is OK to manipulate them into submission. Whatever the falsehood, the worst criticism will be that one “misspoke.” Or maybe one was quoted “out of context.”

Is this not privilege? Is it not a form of protection others do not obtain? Yet liberals consider it their due. They become huffy if their motives are questioned. Then they drive up truckloads of excuses they expect to be accepted without dissent. If this still doesn’t work, they attack their critics as playing politics (which, of course, they do not).

Read the whole thing here.

TV’s Andy Levy’s Apology To Chris Brown

Posted: May 14, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture, Humor
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The discussion of tweeting and how violence against is conveniently dismissed in modern media and culture reminded me of this:

If you haven’t seen it before, enjoy.

Don Jones and Isaiah Washington

Posted: May 14, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture

This week at the end of the NFL draft, a Miami player Don Jones sent a couple of tweets about the NFL drafting an openly gay player.  It went about as expected.  The openly gay player had pictures of himself and boyfriend celebrating tweeted and reposted by reporters on the not-really-a-story story (the kind of picture that would prompt “get a room” if he were straight).  And a Don Jones, presumably offended, tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible.”  So of course he’s being fined and sent to tolerance camp.

tolerance campBye, Don!

There’s plenty more backstory at HotAir.

I was immediately reminded of the story of Isaiah Washington, who made a similar mistake a few years ago.  Isaiah Washington was a TV actor on the show “Grey’s Anatomy” who made the mistake of offending a gay cast member.  Despite being considered a great addition to the cast and winning Image and SAG awards as well as making TV Guide and People’s lists for attractiveness, he found out that there is a hierarchy in modern culture and media of whose identity group is more powerful, and how merely using one word can get you erased.

Isaiah Washington in an argument where many words were exchanged was sufficient for him to be culturally removed.  But all it takes is a magic word to go away.

KING: So why does that lead to this word?

WASHINGTON: He got un — became unhinged, face-to-face, spittle to spittle, in my face — first. I did not start it. And I’m asking him why is he screaming at me, why are we doing this? Get out of my face. Several times. Several times. And he just becomes irate. But I’m not understanding why am I being berated to this point in front of our crew, particularly after what we experienced in Seattle. You know, I mean, I think you owe me on apology and I’m being berated.

And by that time I pushed him out of my face and it just took off from there and I began to say a lot of — a lot of things that I’m not really proud of — but all referring to myself and how I felt I was being treated.

KING: But how did the bad word come out of that?

WASHINGTON: Well, I said several bad words, as well as he did.

KING: To him?

WASHINGTON: To him about how I was feeling. I said there’s no way you’re going to treat me like a “B” word or a “P” word or the “F” word. You can’t treat me this way in front of our crew.

Miami player Don Jones didn’t even call the gay NFL player any names.  He got in no arguments, there was no getting in anyone’s grill, no spittle flying.

Jones just expressed disapproval, yet he’s being fined and ordered to tolerance camp because his opinions are not in line with those that are allowed.

What is allowed?  Why, violence against women, of course!

Ed Morrissey at HotAir notes that the NFL is highly inconsistent, as it’s willing to crack down on people who disagree with gayness, but won’t crack down on players who beat women.

Fox Sports’ Clay Travis noted that the league is strangely inconsistent when it comes to off-field behavior, too. In February of this year, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was charged with beating his fiancée into unconsciousness in an Atlantic City casino. A grand jury handed down an indictment for third-degree aggravated assault, perhaps convinced by video footage of Rice dragging her out of an elevator, with no one else in sight. Rice has since asked for a pretrial “intervention” to avoid a conviction and a potential three-year sentence, expressing through his attorney that “he’s ashamed of his conduct and he’s sorry for what he did.”

And yet, as Travis notes, the Ravens and the NFL have yet to do anything to Rice — even though the league has spent the last few years marketing heavily to increase its audience among women. “You get in more trouble for a tweet about men kissing on a sports television show,” Travis writes, “than you do for allegedly knocking out your girlfriend and being charged with domestic assault? The message is clear: Words matter more than actions.”

Apparently women are pretty low on the identity group ladder when it comes to mainstream-lefty culture.

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As far as I know, the gay player didn’t give a crap about Jones’ tweets, as he was busy enjoying getting a nice fat business contract and publicity enough that’s made his jersey the second most purchased since the draft.  If he’s actually played football, and it seems he has, I’d bet he has thick enough skin not to care.  I have yet to hear of him responding to it, probably because it woudn’t make his radar and he wouldn’t care, or might just talk some trash back and think nothing more of it.  I guess if he surfaces with an indignant PC response or a “whatever, man, don’t care” response I’ll update, but as of this writing, he’s not even really part of the story – I haven’t heard of him asking for sanctions against Jones, and suspect he doesn’t really care.

Opie & Anthony On Obamacare

Posted: April 5, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture, Health care, Media, Obamacare

Via HotAir:

Opie & Anthony’s radio show isn’t really my cup of tea, but they’ve got a decent market share doing some shock-jock type radio, and a lot of folks have loved their show for quite a while.  They’re really sharp guys, and when they’re hit with Obamacare’s mandates, it’s something that resonates with the average guy in their audience.

Talk radio is a fairly personal mode of communication, where someone listening is inviting the talk show host/presenter into their car/workplace/home to discuss things with them and for them.  So when folks like Opie & Anthony are telling their personal stories, they’re telling an audience who is composed of listeners who are also invited into their lives.  With this type of show, it’s like having one of your drinking buddies who you bs with suddenly telling you political stuff and how it’s impacting him.  It’s no longer a distant thing on the news, it’s in the culture; and it’s impacting someone who’s a media figure that you support, talk to on the call-in show, meet at local events, and identify with.

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And if you listen to it through the whole thing, they also slam NY’s new anti-gun NY SAFE ACT that tells them they have to register and surrender firearms as well.

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Drudge also carried this story about Opie & Anthony’s encounter with Obamacare yesterday, but not the audio.

Ukrainian Protests and The Orthodox Priests

Posted: January 23, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture, Religion
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Saw this last night:

orthodox priest in kiev jan 22 2014

Orthodox priests were putting themselves in between rioting protesters and police forces.  And just to give some idea how bad it is, beyond the protesters’ trebuchets and homemade rioting gear… when the police are throwing molotov cocktails, it’s bad.

kiev protest cops with molotovs jan 22 2014

There were reports yesterday of government forces moving tanks in to deal with the protesters and rioters, and video and pictures of tanks on railcars moving in.

And then today, it looks like things started to cool down – halted in no small part by Orthodox priests who stood between the two clashing sides.  Not taking sides, just standing amidst them and putting an end to the violence through faith.

kiev priests jan 23 2014

Contrast that resolution with the actions of religious leaders in the Middle East during the so-called “arab spring”.

In a dispassionate, purely economic view, she has an economic incentive to not work.  Her behavior is reprehensible to those who work, but in an amoral view, her behavior is quite logical.

Parasitism is rewarded, and if it provides all she desires, why not be a parasite?

Margaret Thatcher gave conservatives/libertarians/classic liberals the answer in a simple sentence years ago:

margaret-thatcher other peoples money

To the individual riding the socialist gravy train, however, that’s not a concious concern.  The welfare recipient isn’t concerned about where the next handout is going to come from as long as they keep coming, and if the handouts stop, there’s always someone to blame and some politician willing to buy votes.  The career welfare recipient is almost always someone who isn’t concerned about their long-term well-being, otherwise they’d be actively working to improve their lot in life.  Those rare few that are concerned are those who demand more from others simply because they exist.

At the point that the handouts stop completely, they’ll either starve or work.  Whether that’s because of welfare reform that stops giving people disincentives to work or whether the system collapses and no longer can give handouts, either way, the practically Randian caricature of the moocher exemplified by that caller will simply cease to exist.

If that career welfare recipient is forced to starve or work because welfare goes away by reasoned economic decision-making in government, there’s going to be gnashing of teeth, bleeding hearts bleeding, and knee-jerkers jerking knees.  There will also be private charities for those who truly need, rather than the taxation at gunpoint that leads leftists who “care about the poor” to ignore the poor since they have government to care for them.

If that career welfare recipient is forced to starve or work because welfare has gone away because of collapsing government

mad-max2

That’ll make things interesting.

Die Hard isn’t just a Christmas movie.  Die Hard is the Christmas movie.

Die Hard is quintessentially a libertarian-conservative American Christmas movie, and that’s what makes it The Christmas movie.  Despite what some people say.

Just to get this out of the way first – what’s often said about it is that it wasn’t released at Christmas, so it’s not a Christmas movie.  Release date doesn’t mean it’s not a Christmas movie, either.  “The Christmas Song” was written in the middle of summer, and no one complains that it’s not a Christmas song.  Anyhow, on to the story…

Starting with its hero, John McClane – the story throws an everyman cop out of his element into a situation he doesn’t expect and he, the individual, through his own resilience, perseveres.  It’s a celebration of individualism and independence, where one man can and does make a difference.  That one man isn’t alone in the world, but his individual actions make the difference.  Without him, everyone at the Nakatomi Christmas party would be fodder for murderous thieves.

die hard merry christmas

In contrast to other Christmas movies, John McClane doesn’t need Clarence to take him out of the world and show him what life would be like without him.  When John McClane is at his lowest, his friend – a friend whose face he’s never even seen – talks to him and reassures him that his actions matter.  John McClane doesn’t have an angel to come save him, but he has his friends who help him.

That friend whose face he’s never seen is important doubly so for that reason.  John McClane doesn’t know Sgt. Al Powell of the LA police department.  He knows nothing about him to begin with save that Al was a street cop based on his driving.  He doesn’t know Al’s race, his religion, or whether his ancestors and McClane’s fought each other in the old country.  They don’t judge each other based on some preconditions or some prejudice, there’s no room in their world for that, and there’s no reason in their world for that.

When government gets involved in the situation above the individual level, we see a very libertarian small-government criticism.  The 911 operators are blase and uncaring, dismissive of a citizen’s call for help.  Even when finally driven to action, they choose to dispatch a lone squad car on his way home – because they are blase and uncaring.

By the time Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson arrives, we really begin to see government involvement and its consequences.  Robinson starts by ignoring that Al was the man on the ground, had experience, and was as hands-on as the situation would allow.  Al has a grasp, but Robinson dismisses him and has some ham-fisted responses by sending in his teams in “standard two-by-two formation” – decisions that ultimately get good men injured and killed.  The further he goes from the individual, the more foolish he gets.  When he has men injured or dead at the door and in the car who are protected by John’s quick actions, he’s more concerned about the glass that the individual John McClane blasted all over the grounds.

Local government is shown as foolish, even moreso when it defers to the federal government.  When that same local goverment listens to the individual or starts to think about its role, it becomes more responsive and effective.

The federal government response is one you’d expect from Washington, DC.  It’s a one-size fits-all approach for an A7 scenario, running the universal playbook step-by-step, and it’s an even more ham-fisted and foolish one than the local government uses.

But Agent Johnson does add that “We’ll try to let you know when we commandeer your men,” in perfect parody of the uncaring fedgov taking over.

agents johnson and johnson die hard

In defense of the realism of Agents Johnson and Johnson, Die Hard was made prior to the siege in Waco, where the fedgov proved itself more incompetent, not less.

Over objections of local government in the form of Deputy Chief Dwayne T. Robinson – who sucks up to the FBI heavily at first, but begins to question the wisdom of it later (as he realizes he could be held accountable, and thinks he should call the mayor) – and private citizens who object, the feds kill power to an entire grid.  Federal, local, and business authorities spend the whole argument ignoring Walt the technician who could cut power locally.

dwayne robinson johnson power guy 1

Walt is the individual, showcased again as the only competent one there, ignored by his company boss, the local authorities and the federal authorities.  Over his own objections and explaining that he can get the same result with no harm, he is threatened by Agent Johnson, and ends up being forced to shut down a power grid that inconveniences and harms local families on Christmas Eve, and plays right into the hands of the terrorist thieves.

walt die hard

Further from the consequences, as the FBI prepares its doublecross, Agent Johnson (no, the other one) comments that they’ll lose 20-25% of the hostages tops, and the other says he can live with that.  American lives he and his partner (no relation) are sworn to protect are ultimately expendible to him in his mission.  When Agent Johnson is rolling in with helicopter gunships, he whoops “Just like Saigon, eh, Slick?” – he’s become the embodiment of reckless militarization of police forces and the consequence-free actions the federal government would take against its own citizens while remaining assured of its own unaccountability.

While John McClane is on the roof and trying to move a terrified group of citizens back down and away from the bomb-laden roof of the building, it’s Johnson who’s gleefully commanding shooting and sniping at McClane, without having analyzed what the situation was.

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Hans Gruber and his gang as the bad guys are “the world”.  They are mostly Europeans and vaguely foreign characters, and Theo, of course, who is an amoral professional with a charming personality.

Hans and his crew, when silent, aren’t fully understood by anyone but John and Al.  John and Al understand in a direct, visceral way – the terrorist thieves are bad guys.  They show a traditionalist conservative or libertarian response to a direct threat – handle the threat.  They don’t need to pontificate about it – they know the bad guys are what they are, and somebody’s got to stop them.  There’s no introspection or “are we really the terrorists who brought this on ourselves?”  There’s not a thought to “Helsinki Syndrome” – which is mocked by the film itself.

“The world” is recognized for what it is – they aren’t ideologues – they’re thieves willing to use any tactics – “the world” has its own motivations, self-interested motivations, while naiive American govt. policies believe in the babble (Deputy Wayne Robinson) or ignore it completely and don’t even try to understand the motivations (FBI guys) that ultimately lead to failures by government at varying levels.

Hans, when he communicates their “demands”, play the slow-thinking local authorities for suckers, to such a degree that even his right hand man is thrown for a loop.

karl die hard asian dawn 2Asian Dawn?

hans die hard asian dawnI read about them in Time magazine.

John and Al see through it as a ruse.

Dwayne is duped, but baffled – again because he doesn’t listen to his own people on the ground.

The FBI simply ignores it, and fits it into their own plans.  They don’t even bother to wonder why such bizarre requests would be made.  Their sledgehammer-instead-of-a-flyswatter approach doesn’t even factor in that the “terrorists” are stalling, or why they were stalling.  It’s just an A7 scenario, and “we’ll take it from here”.

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On a whole host of topics, the movie subltly demonstrates a varying host of both libertarian and conservative beliefs.

On social issues of race or class, none are important – individual character is what matters.  Even just stripping away the action and drama of the story and looking at the characters shows people who are success stories due to their own hard work.

Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi, better known as Joe, is the man at Nakatomi, but he’s no rich robber baron or parody of zaibatsu business.  He’s an immigrant who worked his way up from humble beginnings, including spending young childhood years in the Manzanar internment camp, and he’s become a wealthy and powerful businessman, respected and loved by his employees.

On the other side of the spectrum is Argyle, who’s worked his way up from taxi driver to limo driver, and who’s personable and engaging with people he works with and ultimately for.  He helps John out with a plan to get back together with his wife, and agrees to help John find someplace to stay if things don’t work out.  He’s good people, showing character and initiative that doubtless was part of what got him moved up the socioeconomic and status ladder from taxi driver to limo driver.

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On gun control, the movie recognizes the bad guys will always be armed.  The terrorist thieves have rocket launchers – things that are already banned.  How did they get them?  Irrelevant – they’re criminals and criminals break laws.

On right to life, even Hans recognizes that a pregnant woman should be treated kindly.  He’s already calculated to kill everyone there as part of his scheme, yet he neither dismisses her nor her unborn child and their value to the Nakatomi community.  He does value them both less than the $640 million in negotiable bearer bonds in the vault.  But he recognizes the woman and unborn child as being respected by the community and responds to it for the value that Holly and the Nakatomi crowd place on her and her baby.

On smoking, characters smoke because they choose to – and they state they are aware of the dangers.  “These are very bad for you.”  It’s an individual decision, totally aware of the risks.

Abuse of hard drugs is shown to be something that’s ultimately self-destructive as it’s detrimental to the individual and the individual’s judgement.  There’s not a legal or moralizing argument against it, but more observation of the results of drug abuse and the poor decision making and foolish behaviors that drug abuse leads to.  Like the douchey thinking that just because you’re a corporate hot-shot, you can go and negotiate your way out of a situation with men who use guns, not fountain pens.

ellis die hard

The hubris that comes with trying to sleaze and bullshit one’s way through real-world threats is shown very vividly.  While Joe Takagi tried to negotiate as a civilized man with an enemy that feigned civilized manners and ultimately lost his life for it, Ellis douchily walks into a situation already knowing what the stakes are.  Ellis is the mush-brained slow-learner egocentric who thinks there’s a way to talk through problems that can only be solved by force.  He is the embodiment of negotiations with hostile international powers who will act to their own ends and don’t care what anyone talks at them.  He is as effective as the UN – a force only dangerous to those who are allied with it – because it empowers hostile forces by its own simultaneously naiive approach and arrogant sense of self-importance.

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The sensationalist, short-attention-span media, in the character of Richard “Dick” Thornburg, is shown to be irresponsible and reckless, as well as dangerous.  He endangers McClane’s children for nothing more than a scoop, but does also briefly touch on the hypocrisy and foolishness of hiring illegal aliens when he threatens Paulina with the INS.  We not only see Thornburg as the kind of newsman the NYT would hire when they want to show weaknesses in US armor to enemy forces in combat, but also as the kind of self-absorbed ass we expect to see from the news, where the story is always about him.  The rest of the media and their wholly wrong assessment the Nakatomi situation has already been covered above.

Die Hard 2, would of course give us the contrast of the moral journalist in Samantha Coleman with WNTW news.  But I’ll save any further analysis on Die Hard 2 for next year.

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An a much deeper level, one could discuss how John McClane running through the glass and emerging with bloodied feet could signify the stigmata, or running on glass the miracles of walking on water, but those would all be a stretch, to say the least.  There are plenty of religious connections that could be made in subtle fashion, and really most would be more valid than celebrations of Christmas involving a fat guy in a red suit, flying big game animals, and toymakers from Lothlorien who live in the extreme arctic.

You could have another conversation as to the relative values and virtues of other Christmas movies, and the traditions they have (they aren’t bad movies, after all… but they aren’t Die Hard).

While some people are adamant that Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie… it really doesn’t matter.  Like Crow T. Robot famously said during the initial singing of Patrick Swayze Christmas – “you keep Christmas in your way and let me keep it in mine.”

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As an addendum, there’s also a criticism about Nakatomi having a Christmas party on Christmas Eve saying that they’re a horrible company for it.

This is nonsense.  Joe Takagi and the Nakatomi corporation recognize the dedication of their employees and treat them like family.  They know the amount of work that has been put in to their projects, and they offer a Christmas party for those working long distances from home – like Holly, who had to leave New York to work in LA.  Unlike others in the Nakatomi family, she has her own family that she moved – but she’s there at the party because she wants to support her fellow workers.  She’s not going to be there all night – as she’s already planned to take her husband home to see their children, and Argyle was expecting to be spending Christmas driving John home… and maybe head to Vegas at some point.

Lame Duck vs Duck Dynasty

Posted: December 20, 2013 by ShortTimer in Barack Obama, Culture, First Amendment, Media

bo vs pr duck

I think the most important thing about what Phil Robertson said is what he said at the end:

I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.

And what he didn’t say:

He asked for no new laws, he asked for nothing to be taken from one group and given to another, he asked for no force to be applied against people whose choices he disagreed with.  He didn’t ask that the DSM V be dialed back to the DSM II or something, he just voiced an unpopular belief to the media in a direct, folksy way.

Folks who are legimately of very solid faith are often the type who can hate the sin, but love the sinner, regardless of what it might be.  They pray for people they disagree with to see what they view as right, but they don’t try to force other people to live their way, either – forced piety would defeat the purpose and would mean someone doesn’t choose their path.  That older traditionalist mindset, but still respectful of the individual way of living per classic enlightenment views, is an attitude towards life that is part of the appeal of the show – for many it’s alien, for others it’s comforting.  From the few episodes I’ve seen, they are live and let live folks.

For the most part, I consider the entire ruffling of feathers over this to be something that should just be water off a duck’s back.  No one should care.  It neither breaks anyone’s leg nor picks their pocket.

It’d make a lot more sense for A&E to simply take advantage of the comments and ask the Duck Dynasty folks to interact with some normal gay people (not activists).  The discussion would probably be a lot more of a “teachable moment” or something anyway, or allow for an understanding of two different cultures – those mad at Duck Dynasty (who don’t watch it anyway), and those who have harsher views than Robertson’s upsetting but ultimately benign religious disagreement.

Objectively, one could also ask how many gay people are benefiting from the merchandising and financial success of the show through employment or investment in A&E or some other way – and how that prosperity is apathetic on sexual orientation.  A&E may be killing the goose that’s laying the golden egg here, since the Duck Dynasty family doesn’t need them, and without recognizing that all it would take is discussion if they wanted to counter Robertson’s opinions with their own – and it would make good TV.  They could go shooting with some folks from the Pink Pistols… and they’d probably all get along fine.

But instead A&E is choosing to can him, and gay activists are going apoplectic.  Just like didn’t happen with employers and gay activists when Alec Baldwin was actually using anti-gay slurs and threatening people with physical violence.

The contrast is even greater when you consider the difference in societal anger between what’s directed at Robertson and what’s directed at the lame duck, who is our employee and has lied about the murders of US citizens at home and abroad, including leaving our ambassador to Libya – who was gay – to die.  The lame duck is destroying our health care, is targeting us with revenue agents, and is spying on us.  We have an employee who is out to harm us and mass media make excuses for him and ignore actions and force; while they get angry at Robertson.

It’s a damn shame people are getting infuriated about a man’s opinion they disagree with, but who ultimately uses no force and advocates none, while they ignore a man targeting us all who uses force and advocates more.

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Update: At least one gay writer has questioned the stance of taking offense and demanding silence.

Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them? One of the biggest pop-culture icons of today just took center stage to “educate” us about sexuality. I see this as an opportunity to further the discussion, to challenge his limited understanding of human desire, to engage with him and his rather sizable audience — most of whom, by the way, probably share his views — and to rise above the endless sea of tweet-hate to help move our LGBT conversations to where they need to go.

G.K. Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right — and he usually is — then I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil’s.

He does spend almost the entirety of the piece saying Robertson is wrong, wrong, wrong, and he can’t see that moral authority he claims is why the gay community’s go-to political strategy is to silence people.  Except for Alec Baldwin, of course.  And anyone else who’s on the political left and supports the correct causes.

The most important point he brings up might be this:

But I also think that if I were to spend a day calling ducks with Phil, I’d probably end up liking him — even in spite of his position on gay men.

You don’t have to agree with the guy on everything to get along.  And Robertson isn’t advocating any harm to anyone or government or other coercive force be used against them.

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And some gay dudes from the umpteenth spinoff of Storage Wars found a much less destructive, much more hilarious way to disagree:

An openly gay couple on A&E’s “Storage Wars: New York” is NOT offended by the homophobic comments made by fellow A&E’er and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson — telling TMZ, they just feel bad for him … because man ass beats vagina any day of the week.

It’s crude, offensive to some folks in probably the same way Robertson’s were offensive to others, but it’s also funny.

Chris and Tad aren’t fazed, telling us, “You can’t go through life worrying what other people think. That’s their values and that’s what they think … as long as they’re not nasty to people … We’re not offended at all.”

Tolerance means you don’t have to agree, but if somebody isn’t harming you or advocating harm, it’s probably not that important, either.  You don’t have to send people to the Death Camp of Tolerance.