Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colorado shooting: Mark Twain and Sylvia Agree on Emotionial Overkill and Self-Indulgencde

I am not makng this up.  Here is an approximate trnascriptin of my conversation with my only female freiend, Sylvia, on Friday (Sylvia called me, all excited and emotionially stirred):

Sylvia:  'It is a tragedy.  I cant' believe it.  A tragedy occurred today."

Me:  "Are yu talking abut that shooting in Colorado/"

Sylvia:  "No.  Why would that be a tragedy to me?"

Me;   "Well, the media is saying it is a national tragedy."

Sylvia (a rather typical Obama supporter):  "Of course the shooting is bad. But it does not directly affect me.  I can't regard it as a personal tragedy.  It happpened to peole I don't even know."

Me:  (Okay, a DIG at Sylvia): "So are yu saying President Obama was lYING when he said he was 'heartbroken' by the shooting in Coloado?"

Sylvia (in exasperation, recognizing the dig):  "Yes, he ws.  Now can we get on with my tragedy, or are you going to keep spoiuting this nonsense?"

Oh. Sylvia's "tragedy"?  It was that her "team' (including her) are being moved to an area right outside of the office of the aDP supervisor how has been the BANE (not "Bain') of her existence for about a year. But I don't want to digress too far here.  Readers of this blog know that Syulvia is a VICIOUS CREATURE, and that my very life is at reik--much more than going to a movie theater--because I live iwthin a mile of where she lives, and have fairly regular contact with her. My problem is that I have come around to the view that Sylvia is a TYPICAL WOMAN, rather than being an especially vicious exmpale of the sex.  Tim Dorsey got it right when his male SERIAL KILLRE anti-hero married a female serial killer, and had MAJOR problems becuase she was a typical WOMAN (and NOT because she was a serial killer).  Nevertheless, Sylvia was right, as she often is (although not as often as she thinks). It is absurd to profess to be "heartbroken" over what happpened in Colorado, and this idea that it is a "national tragedy" is equally absurd emotioinal overkill. And it IS self-indulgent:  WALLOWING in your 'compassion". 

Mark Twain ("life on the Mississippi"): "It is not easy to manufacture an emotion out of whole cloth. It is easier to come up with 7 facts." Twain was talking aobut "tourists" from Britain who became "writers" when they went back home.  Twain's point (he might as well have been talking aoubt today's "journalists") was that these writers BUILT on each other's "emotions" with each new book.  Soon, their own descriptoins of their own emotions had more to do with previus descriptions of the eotins of others than with the Mississippi itself.  By the way, if you arre presently a published author, do NOT read Mark Twain  It can only depress you.  Modern writers are not even as good as the writes of the first sixty years of the Twientieth Century--much less Mark Twain.  If you are a WANNABE, lyou sould read Mark Twain, even if it will make your task seem imnpossible.  But if yu are a modern "journalist" or novelist, forget it.  You will only commit suicide. 

Note that this is NOT a "criticism" (exactly) of President Obama. It IS a damning criticism of moden "journalism", and of US (at least the ublic).  Our media is TELLING our Presidents that they HAVE to say these UNTURUE thin gs, and engage in emotional hyperbole 'feeling your pain'.  Peole supposedly EXPECT IT.  Do YOU "expect it?"  I hope not,  But too many peole evidently do.  Yes, I ealize that "heartbroken" could be regarded as jsut not quite the right word, but I think my inerpretatin is more correct:  President Obama jsut thought he HAD to say somethnig that dramatic.  How else can you explain him talkig about how he thought of his own two dauthers attending a movie theater--imply that he therefore "undersood" what the families are facing.  HOGWEASH.  You heard me.  Sylvie iis right;  HOGWASH. 

Then there are what are are laughably called  "jurnalists".  There oft-repeated phrase is that this is a "natioinal tragedy".  Mark Twain--a 'journalist" himself-must be turning over in his grave.  Doubt me?  Never, ever, do that.

So the murder of 12 peole, and whooting of 70, is a "national tragedy".  Mark Twain did not apply that descritpin to a steamboat that BLEW UP (as they evidently did on occasion), and killed 150 peole.  Then there are those 40,000 peole KILLED each year in traffic accidents.  HOW can the death of 12 peole be a "national tragedy" in the face of this? 

"But, Skip, this was MURDER.  that is DIFFERENT."  Nope, to the familis of the DEAD it is NOT.  Oh, I know that this k-ind of mass murder is more "shocking', and hard to "understand". But that the DEATHS are "different" is "manufactured emotin", "building' on what cable TV is TEACHHING us we are SUPPOSED to "feel'. Give me a break.  Still doubt me?  I twarned yu abut that.

There are 16,000 MURDERS in this country every year.  What makes THESE 12 a "natinal tragedy, when the 16,000 plus others are not?  Even Prsident Obama, while particiapating int he verbal emotional overkill, mentioned how "less lpublicized" murders are jsut as "devastating" to victims and their families.  What abut CHICAGO?  As of the end of June, or therabouts, there had been 259 MURDERS in Chicago in HAF a year.  HOW can the 12 murders in Colorado be a "natinal tragedy" and those 259 murdres in Chicago NOT a 'natinal tragedy".  Nope.  This is a DEBASEMENT of our language, and of our FEELING.  I think I am with Mark Twain on this one, even if your rightly think that I am light years from Mark Twain in my prose.  You just CNNOT "respond" to this by saying that ALL of these things are "natinbal tragedies".  Yet, that is exactly what the media is really saying when they use this kind of verbal OVERKILL in describing emotions. 

A tragedy (although not in the Shakespearean sense) for he victims and their families and friends--even for Aurora? Of couse.  And that IS true of EVERY murder in this country, and EVERY traffic death,  Those ARE just as big a tragedy for the PEOLE direclty involved.  No. I reject the idea that this is not true: that an event like the Colorado shooting is MORE of a tragedly for the peole injured and killed, and their families, than in an "ordinary" death.  Do you really want to admit that I have MORE OMPASSIN than yu do for the ORDINARY DEATHS out there ever day: in Chicago, on our highways, and in other "routine" murders?  I even have "compassion" (feel sa) about the 3,000 DRUG CARTEL MURDERS that have been occurring every year in Juarez, Mexico, right across the rive from where I am tying this in El Paso (3,000 a year, anyway, until there were just not the same number of peole LEFT in Juarez tto be killed).  But I am NOT "heartbroken" by these things. It is simply absurd to suggest that you PERSONAL emotiions should be that easily aroused, as if your own mother or wife had been murdered.  Civilizatin would simply not exist, and PEOLE would no exist, if peole took this kind of thating that PERSONALLY (as Obama suggests he did--he lied). 

Then there are the victims and their families.  They DO, obviusly, face real emotions (and not those the media istrying to 'teach" the rest of us we need to LEARN from them).  However, I don't like an aspect of this either.  Every time this kind of thing now happens, we now hear the refrain that "mental health professinals" are on hand to "hep" the victgims and their families, and that these pele can be eXPECTED to not be able to eal with this.  You know what (shot me if you want to)? I EXPECT THE VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES TO DEAL WITH THIS< JUST  LIKE I EXPECT THAT OF "VICTIMS" AND FAMILIES IN TRAFFIC DEATHS, OTHER ACCIDENTAL DEATHS, AND OTHER MURDERS.  No.  I am NOt saying ti is "easy".  I am not saying that peole should not seek help from "mental health professionals" if they feel they need it  . I AM sayig that we appear to be encouraging peole to WALLOW in their grief and sorrow, just like our 'journalists" are doing (with much less reason) . I don't think this is healthy.  You know what?  There were NO "grief counselors" there when that steamboat BLEW UP on the Mississippi (aS described by Mark Twain), or to help peole get over the rEAL "national tragedy" of theCIVIL WAR.  World War II?  World War I?  The Vietnam War (50,000 dead, if I remember right)?  The Black Death (in Europe), when one peson in every three DIED?  No real "grief counselors", and no real idea that it was up to the Presidetn (as far as the USA) to "comfort" us as if he is our "father".  Yes, Abraham Lincoln provided 'comfort" at Gettsburg, but not in terms of peole "getting over their grief, or saaying he "understood".   Maybe a Presideent, and even a JOURNALIST (horrors) should say sometime that we are a GREAT NATIN (Lincon), and that he believes that our peole can HANDLE the things thrown at them, difficult s they may be.  Maybe a President should say taht we don't NEED HIS COMFORT--a stranger--because we have EACH OTHER, our God (for soem of us), and our determinatin to perservere and show that a natin like ours can ENDURE.  I just don't like the idea that peole can't handle this sort of thing.  There si somethign wrong with that attitude, even if you htink there is soemthign wrong with mine (or Sylvia's). 

What shuld President Obama have said? Well, we now that he thught he HAD to say about what he said, becasue that is what our 'journalistic" HYPOCRITES expect him to say. But here is what I would have said:

"People are hurting in Colorado today, because an evil man chose to do evil.  All of our hearts go out to the victims and their families (no mention of "heartbroken" or "daughters"). Americans are tough, and help each other.  I am confident that the victims and their families will handle their grief and sorrow, and get beyond this--with the support of a community and natin that wil come togethiher behind them.  I have instructed that all Federal resources be made available to Colorado to help Colorado bring the killer, and anyone involved with hm, to justice (notice no typical Obama arrogance about OBAMA bringing the killer to justice).  Let me make a statemetn about personal rsponsibility here.  Anyone involed in this kind of wanton murder does not just face judges here on Earth.  He faces a higher Judge, in the view of many of us.  It is not for me to tel that Judge what to do, but anyone considering this kind of horrific act might want to consider what it means to burn for all eternity, or whatever fate awaits him in Hell.  Maybe God, in his infitie mercy, will find a way to invoke that mercy.  If I were a peson contemplating this kind of crime, I would not count on it.  Even for peolle who do not believe in such an ultimate Judge, we need to get belond the idea that there are any excuses for this sort of thing.  Peole are acccountable for what they do, and this killer is accountable for more than he will ever pay, even if he does burn for all eternity."

No President will ever say anything like this.  I hink one SHOULD.  No, it is not" too harsh".  Now, if you believe this blog, you know that Obama is not a Christian.  But even if you oly are pretending to be a Christian, you MUST accept the idea of ETERNAL PUNISHMENT (if only by being permanently denied Heaven).  How can this idea be "harsh", or the idea that a peron who does someting like this is "evil"?

"But,,Skip, you are an agnostic." Yep.  But what have I told you?  I have told you the idea of HEAVEN attracts me not at all (although some sort of "afterlife" might, since I would dealrly like to live forever in my present life). However, the idea of HELL attracts me a LOT--even though  its existence may mean that is where I will end upo.  There are a lot of peole who I think DESERVE eternal torment, wihout "right of appeal" by the ACLU.  Thios killer is one of those peole.  And no, I do NOT think that some sort of "convenient' "conversion" wil "save" such a person, because there is no way such a "conversino" could ever be sincere,  Thus, I go back and forth on the questino of whether I should HOPE that Hell exists.  Right now, I think I do, even at the sacrifice of my own eternal damnation.  What a noble guy I am!!!!!!!!!

P.S No proofreading or spell checkng (bad eyesight).  Oh, I noticed that the unfair and unbalanced network was takng the lead of CNN and MSNBC and acting like we should "dbate" "gun control" in the EMOTIONAL CLIMATE of right aftger this shooting.  That is, of course, absurd, and tells you again why I suggest yo BOTCOTT the unfair and unbalanced network (except for mere surfing to get a variety of input into how "news' is being treated).  This shooting (rfead above) is merely a DATA POINT in the debate over gun control, and the EMOTIN of a time like this is the WORST time to be "debating" the subject.  After the funerals?  Fine.  If you think this one data pont chaNges anything.  But it is an eVIL thing to try to USE the EMOTION (overhyped that it is) of this event to PUSH "gun contro'.  But you alrady knew that gun control advocates have no shame.  Nor do "journalists". 

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