Bugs Bunny vs. Kim Jong Un


Sony has canceled the release of The Interview.  Par for the course in a nation that has lost its backbone.

America has surrendered to a stupid little country with a dictator better cast for an Austin Powers film than reality, and nary a shot has been fired.  LAME!  Now, of course, it isn’t the United States Armed Forces surrendering to North Korea, but if one of Hollywood’s biggest movie studios is throwing away a $43-million investment two weeks before it is set to start paying dividends, can the rest of society really be that far off?  After all, truth is stranger than fiction, and life imitates art imitating life all the time.

I blame Obama.  Yes, yes I do.  It sounds trite, but it’s true, because Obama, if he stands for nothing else, if he has failed at nothing else, he has failed at executing his paramount duty as president: protecting this nation from foreign threat.

Sure, Obamacare is a disaster.  Our national debt is spiraling out of control.  There’s the Lois Lerner thing, the Fast and Furious thing, the amnesty thing.  The list can go on and on, with major failures by Obama and his pals in Congress, but at the very least, those things are largely internal, and Congress is equally complicit.  Protecting our homeland from foreign threat, though, really falls under the purview of the commander-in-chief.

Of course, people are flipping out because he’s recommitting troops to the Middle East to combat ISIS (as he should) without any sort of congressional oversight, so there’s that whole War Powers Act thing.  But I’m not talking about direct action; I’m talking about setting the tone of the nation.  I’m a big believer in the separation of powers and a limited executive.  But one thing the president can do without any sort of legislation or executive order is use the bully pulpit.  Teddy Roosevelt understood this when he talked about speaking softly and carrying a big stick.  Reagan understood it when he told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”  George W. Bush understood it.  Even Clinton understood it to some extent.

There’s a reason why most big guys you meet don’t go throwing their weight around.  They don’t need to.  But even more important than one’s size is how one carries oneself.  The Duchy of Grand Fenwick comes to mind, and isn’t it sadly ironic that a Peter Sellers comedy is now reality.

Obama has the bully pulpit.  So far he’s used it to tell Putin’s puppet that he’d have more flexibility after the election (indeed), drawn fake red lines in the Syrian sand, called ISIS the JV team (one instance where he should have used less hubris), and apologized to a bunch of other enemies while throwing our allies under the bus.  To his credit, he did say we should all go to the movies on Christmas.  (I could probably make a joke about the War on Christmas here, but I won’t.)

Sorry, Barry.  It’s too little, too late.  You did say you were going to fundamentally transform America.  Well, congratulations.  We’re a nation of cowards now.  A vague threat from a couple of guys sitting in their underwear in their mothers’ basements eating North Korea’s answer to the cheesy-poofs have now completely derailed a major motion picture release.  I just hope Seth Rogen and James Franco didn’t take the majority of their pay in box office percentages.  And that’s really something.

As I said, we’re cowering in fear of a kid who’d probably still be carded were he to go to The Interview if it had been released.  We’re cowering to a nation that levels threats on a regular basis and so far has managed to launch only a few missiles into the ocean miles off their intended course.  (Yeah, they killed a few South Koreans, and as tragic as that was, it really doesn’t amount to much in the way of threats.  Walking down the street in Detroit is more dangerous.)

I’m sure there was plenty of chatter from the jihadis (and the North Koreans) when Team America: World Police was released.  Same goes for Zero Dark Thirty.  Heck, there was a legitimate bomb scare outside Comedy Central after South Park did an episode making fun of Muhammad.  And probably the granddaddy of them all: during World War II, Warner Brothers turned out plenty of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons making fun of a couple of dictators that were actively killing millions of people.  When a cartoon rabbit and a cartoon waterfowl have more backbone than you do, it’s time to take a serious look behind you to see if your spine is still there.

But I guess this is par for the course (with no apologies to the Golfer-in-Chief).  We pulled out of Iraq because they wanted to play a little footsie during Status of Forces negotiations.  We threw a no-talent hack with a camcorder under the bus when we couldn’t heed warnings and common sense to protect our consulate in Benghazi.  We let Putin mow over half of Ukraine while setting eyes on the rest of Eastern Europe.  The only “threat” we seem to take seriously these days is a Canadian oil pipeline.  Maybe Sony should release a film lampooning Stephen Harper next.

 Cross posted at AmericanThinker.com.

Media As a Cause of Violence

Leisure time helps promote the advent of entertainment media. I am reminded of the quote “idle hands make the devil’s work” when I think of this. I don’t believe that media violence causes real world violence but I think it can help to further perpetuate it.  If I were wanting to commit a crime, for instance, I would devour true crime shows and novels, scour the internet for facts and accounts of that type of crime, and then analyze them to make sure that I would not make the same mistakes. If one were to just watch every episode of Columbo, he would greatly improve his chances of pulling off a murder without a hitch. Of course, he must have murderous intentions to begin with but mass media only helps him to carry these intentions out.

And I think the same is true with misguided youth or even those not old enough yet to understand the ramifications of their actions.  Could it be that little boy who shot Kayla Rolland had no idea that by shooting her he was taking a human life?  Perhaps he had seen too many TV shows or played too many violent video games only to see that the victim returned in the following episode or that he could just press the reset button. Now, as I said before, I don’t think this is necessarily the fault of either of those two media but certainly some of the blame could rest on them. The real problem is that too many of us, both young and old, have become desensitized to the world because we can see such amazing things just by turning on the TV.  Who, twenty years ago, would have thought to choke down a pig liver shake?  Now one can watch it every week on Fear Factor.  And of course there are shows like Jerry Springer that glorify dysfunctionality all in the name of ratings.

Still, I think that mass media, like any invention is not good or evil in itself and used properly can have a great effect on positive change. I have a few good friends in Europe that I know I wouldn’t have kept in touch with had I not had email, but then again, perhaps some of the people right next door may be just the friends I need. And that fact does make me a little sad about today’s society and I think helps to explain some of the violence.

Neighborhoods used to be great places. People would move in across the street and immediately you would bring them a fresh apple pie then invite them over for a cup of sugar anytime they needed it. Now everyone has been sequestered into their e-communities and have become suspicious of the outside world. I must admit that as an adult I have a certain uneasiness toward going next door or even to the person sitting next to me in the collegium as I write this and saying hello. I have this feeling that they may ask what I’m doing. Why am I talking to them? Do they know me? No, but am I such a bad guy? Why don’t you get to know me? Perhaps we have something in common. No, I better not take that chance because my next-door neighbor could be a rapist or he might have some weird fetish. I think it’s better if I just get on the internet and find someone exactly like me. That way I won’t be challenged to open my mind toward other cultures and the next time someone gets shot in the ghetto I can just ignore it because I didn’t know him. Plus he was black so he probably deserved it and even if he didn’t it happens all the time so who cares. It’s just another story for the evening news. I’ve seen it before.

The Loss of Spirituality

In a society constantly bombarded by images of sex, fame, fortune and violence it can be very easy for someone to lose sight of the things that really matter in life; the things that bring about true, eternal happiness.

In youth we are cavalier, impressionable, possibly a bit shallow and, let’s face it, stupid. We are prone to doing things that make us cool or popular; things that give us an oftentimes unhealthy rush. It is a childish existence we lead during our adolescent lives and those who fail to break free of these activities are prone to a “Peter Pan” syndrome, one much worse than that of the past. The symptoms of today’s post-collegiate child are no longer just innocent horseplay and a propensity to find a woman to do his laundry or a man to pay her bills. They’re much worse now with the introduction of shows like South Park and celebs like Britney Spears, which are targeted at prepubescent boys and girls but are better designed for a mature audience. With these stimuli, our youth, left unchecked, become complacent to sex. It becomes a topic thrown around as loosely as yesterday’s baseball scores.

And then, of course, there is the violence. Both TV and print media, driven by the almighty dollar, market this atrocious “news” as part of the modern sensationalist zeitgeist plaguing our society. But they are not the worst, for in all fairness, they are only broadcasting what others have created. It is the creation of a new stream of Reality TV, combined with other, now commonplace, entertainment like WWF and Hollywood blockbusters featuring ruthless terrorism and serial murder.

All of this then relates to fortune. Sex and violence sells and the profits beget nothing more than sex, violence and fame. The final piece to this puzzle of non-spirituality is the new ambiguity created by things like automatic bill paying, chatrooms and telecommuting. We shut ourselves in our private spaces and hardly venture out for the light of day, leaving us with a false sense of accountability for our actions. We sit in front of our computers and TV screens, entertaining fantasies and visions of grandeur.

So what is our escape? How do we remove ourselves from this downward spiral of debauchery and self indulgence? We break the mold of post-modern artificiality and make a return to a more natural way of life and traditional values. We begin anew, dedicated to the restoration of truth, peace and enlightenment.

In order to make a real effort in reaching this goal we must educate our youth not just in the traditional way but also in a the subjects of values and spirituality. It means taking interest in them as people and showing, too, that we are people. It means turning off the TV and the computer, the idle chatter and the empty promises. Love can not be found in a box and caring can not be found from a modem. Spirituality and the way to happiness can really only be found in the simple things in life, those that carry no price tags. The true happiness that comes from spirituality comes from smelling a rose, beholding a sunset, hearing the laughter of a child or feeling the warmth of someone who loves you and whom you love, truly, as well. These things may scream cliché but they are the foundations of a good life for years to come. And even if we can’t rid ourselves of many of the modern conveniences that make our lives easier and sometimes more enjoyable in certain ways, we should at least pause from time to time and reflect on what these current habits lead us toward.