Monday, November 11, 2019

Week of 11/11/2019

Enough With The Stupidity!
Sometimes I make the comment in social media that the hypothetical giant asteroid that is supposed to strike the planet and obliterate us all cannot come soon enough.  It’s something that gets a few laughs and sort of lightens the gravity of the situation.
But... here’s the thing: sometimes I don’t think that I’m saying it in jest. 
There are times when I do think that the giant asteroid is long overdue to rid the universe of our stupidity.  The fact that we elected a narcissistic orange-skinned self-promoting clown act to the highest office in the United States and that we have a faction of Americans that not only virulently defend him, but actually believe that everything he says is the literal truth, should be proof enough of this.  And then you add to that even more reckless and stupid things like some of the stuff here...
“The Chickening” – So once upon a time not too long ago, Popeyes Fried Chicken decided to compete with Chick-fil-A and come up with their own fried chicken sandwich.  Simple, right?  Fried chicken, bun, pickles.  That’s it.  But then the hype machine got involved and generated so much interest that Popeyes simply “ran out” quickly.  This led to acts of violence by people who “missed out”.  I’m serious.  Literal acts of violence.  People even sued Popeyes because they “missed out” on it!
But now they’re back and they are still so much in demand that people are doing outright stupid and even criminal things to get this sandwich.
You have fights.  You have traffic accidents and reckless drivers who don’t want to wait long lines.  And now someone has died because of a fried chicken sandwich.
The insanity is such that some have dubbed it “The Chickening”.  Think of it as “The Happening” but with overhyped fast food leading people to killing themselves instead of something in the pollen.  Or, better yet, think of “The Shining”, but with overhyped fast food instead of a snowbound hotel and creepy little girls.
People have killed and maimed themselves over an overhyped fried chicken sandwich that you can make yourself!  Hell, even Popeyes executives told people how to make it back in September!  So people are twisting themselves up in knots and wrapping their cars around cement posts and getting into fights and even are getting killed over this.
Over an overhyped fried chicken sandwich.
Bring on the giant asteroid already!
Gender Reveal Stupidity – So on the other side of the socio-economic food chain we have stupid parents and would-be parents who are doing some really stupid things to reveal what gender their future tax deduction will be.
Apparently this is a “thing” now for privileged people.  You can’t just have a baby shower anymore.  Now you have to make a big goddamned production about the gender of that soon-to-be-arriving tax deduction.  Now you have to have a big display of either pink or blue. 
And we’re not talking about balloons and confetti.  No.  We are talking smoke, planes, alligators, gallons of water, and even explosives.
Some dumb privileged parents-to-be staged a reveal party in 2017 using explosives that resulted in a raging wildfire in Arizona that took a week to get under control.  Another set of dumb privileged parents-to-be set off explosives that ended up killing a 56-year-old grandmother.  Yet one more batch of dumb privileged parents-to-be used their car to give off colored smoke, which then ignited the car and it burst into flames.
And then we have the airplane.  Just outside of Dallas, Texas, a pilot was hired to drop hundreds of gallons of pink water for a gender reveal stunt.  Only the plane was too low to maintain altitude and it stalled and crashed.  Thankfully nobody died.
Over a goddamned gender reveal for a tax deduction that hasn’t even been introduced to the world yet!
Whatever happened to... oh, I don’t know... waiting until the tax deduction is born first?!?
And then we have this...
The “Joker” Nothing – So Warner Brothers decided to make a movie about Batman’s most dangerous enemy.  And, no, it’s not Bane.  Or Superman for that matter.  It’s supposedly a movie about The Joker.  His origin story.  Or at least some version of an origin story.  It may not even be his “origin story”.  Because, to quote from “The Killing Joke”, “If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”
This interpretation of the Joker is about a bad comedian named Arthur Fleck who has been given nothing but misery and cruelty while living in Gotham.  Mocked and ridiculed by everyone, he turns his cruelty around and becomes an agent of chaos while wearing his clown outfit.  Not the first time there was such a story.  After all, we saw this with Michael Douglas in “Falling Down” minus the clown outfit and Gotham references.  And let’s not forget the 1976 classic “Taxi Driver”.
But this time, somebody decided to sound the warning bells.  “Joker” is, after all, a loser who becomes a homicidal criminal.  We can’t have someone like that in the real world deciding to be “inspired” by that movie and go on another shooting spree, right?
Except that it didn’t happen.
How many shooting sprees happened because of this movie?
How many people died in real life because of this movie?
Let’s get brutally honest here... there were more people killed and far more destruction over privileged parents throwing gender reveal parties and over a goddamned overhyped fried chicken sandwich that there was over the supposedly “dangerous” Warner Brothers movie!  But everyone wants to trash on the “Joker” movie, because, you know, comic books.
By the way, “Joker” is not the first live-action movie that featured a villain without their superhero foil.  Anyone remember when Halle Berry was “Catwoman”?  Anyone afraid of mousy young women turning into adventurous homicidal thieves when that movie came out?  Of course not!  And not because that movie was really mediocre.
Oh, and for the record, the man that shot up the Aurora theater during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012 never dressed as The Joker, nor did he target the movie because of the Batman connection.  He did it because he knew that it would have the biggest audience.  It was the media that erroneously spun the Batman connection.  Because, you know, comic books.
From where this commentator sees things, the bigger threat to society in general are privileged parents putting on big and dangerous productions for their own ego gratification, and stupid people in general who ditch any semblance of sanity over an overhyped fast food sandwich.  These two groups have a body count.  The only deaths in “Joker” are currently on the screen.
I’ll make it simple: knock off the crap!  Get your heads out of your anuses.  Being a parent does not entitle you to be stupid and pretentious, and no kind of fast food is worth death and destruction over.  And maybe if we can get rid of some of this kind of stupidity, we can work on the kind that’s in the White House.
And if not... well, there is always that giant asteroid that we are long overdue to encounter.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Week of 11/04/2019

“Genius” and the Cult-Con
Recently, former Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired Marine general, said that he had warned Narcissist President Donald Trump prior to his departure that his replacement should not be a “yes-man”.
"I said, whatever you do, don't hire a 'yes man,' someone who won’t tell you the truth. Don’t do that. Because if you do, I believe you will be impeached," he supposedly told Narcissist Trump.
To his credit, Narcissist Trump hasn’t “hired” a “yes man” as Chief of Staff yet.  He apparently doesn’t like hiring people, especially those that could later agree to invoke Article 25 of the Constitution and remove him.  He’s simply piled the job on to someone else, in this case the guy in charge of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, who is also now the acting Chief of Staff.  So Narcissist Trump doesn’t have a Chief of Staff right now, “yes man” or otherwise.  He has a yes man doing the job of Chief of Staff but not officially serving as Chief of Staff.  You know, like successful business leaders do!
Still, you know that Narcissist Trump doesn’t like criticism of any kind.  So he flat-out denied ever hearing that from Kelly, putting on his typical little boy bluster.  And then his toadies and enablers disgracefully attacked yet another retired soldier for daring to say anything unkind to their “Dear Leader”, of whom the sun rises and sets by his permission.
And then came a real surprise... it seems Narcissist Trump really does have a press secretary!  Who would have thought such a person existed after the departure of “Mean Girl” Sarah Huckabee Sanders?
So Stephanie Grisham steps up and not only flat-out denies Kelly’s comment, but accuses him of being, quote: “totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President”.
I’m sure a lot of you were smacking your heads for a second time... the first being the realization that Stephanie Grisham is a real person and not one of Narcissist Trump’s pen names, and then on her proclamation that Narcissist Trump is a “genius”, never mind “great”.
It’s not the first time that we’ve heard it... it’s just the first that many of us heard it coming from someone other than Narcissist Trump.
If you watch the CNBC series “American Greed” enough times, you begin to see a familiar pattern when it comes to con-artists.  It’s a pattern of behavior that is shared by cult leaders.  They make grandiose claims of greatness, they exploit others, they demand absolute loyalty and fidelity, they’re pompous and self-serving, and they view themselves as being superior over everyone else.  They lure people in with claims of having “a secret” that would give them whatever they want, be it power, money, or the fast-track to the hereafter.  And they drain their victims dry on those promises, laughing all the way to the bank.
One of the key traits shared by both con-artists and cult-leaders is their grandiose sense of superiority.  They have to be smarter than everyone else to give their victims an over-inflated sense of authority. 
For cult leaders, it’s having divine authority.  They claim to be “chosen by God”, which trumps any kind of mortal doubt, or they claim to have found some hidden meaning in some sacred texts, which gives them access to a “secret” that those in power either haven’t seen or else they want to keep to themselves.  Jim Jones, David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, Charles Manson, Marshall Applewhite... they all had some claim of “divine authority” that can never be challenged or questioned.
For the con-artist, it’s the claim of being a “genius” and that they would supposedly “know more” than anyone else.  For them, there’s a little bit of stagecraft needed to convince others of their authority.  That’s why they *have* to wear the business suits and drive the expensive cars and show off all the trappings of success.  They use the illusion of wealth to sell the myth that if you devote yourself and your income to his or her scheme, that you will be just as wealthy as them.  Again, watch enough episodes of “American Greed” and you will see that repeatedly.  And this commentator has seen this scam play out in real life, not just on television.
In Narcissist Trump, we actually have both.  He employs both the traits of a cult leader and a con artist.  He has both the religious people and the fools who still think he’s a successful businessman, not to mention the conspiracy nut cases and the usual gang of “might makes right” fascists, totally enthralled by him.
So, yeah, of course he would claim to be a “genius”.  Not only a “genius”, but a “very stable genius” with “complete and unmatched wisdom”.  He has to.  He needs to continue the illusion of his superiority over the rest of us, and for his lackeys and bootlickers and toadies and myrmidons and his followers and enablers to repeat it and reinforce it.  It’s the only way to keep the con going.
Let’s get brutally honest here... we do not have a “genius” in the White House right now.  We have a narcissistic cult figure and con artist in charge and backed up by a legion of supporters and worshipers.  Having a group of followers that you can convince to eagerly give you or let you do anything you want does not make you a “genius” by any stretch of the imagination.  That just makes you a manipulative a-hole, regardless of what title you put next to your name.
History is not kind to either cult leaders or con artists.  We talk about Koresh and Jeffs and Manson, but there were other cult leaders that controlled governments.  Without even mentioning “you-know-who” in Germany, there’s Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein and Moammar Qadhafi who also had a cult-like following.  They believed they were great.  They made the same promises of greatness.  They believed they were smart.  Certainly they believed they were smarter than their followers.  But in the end, they fell and they took their followers with them.  Like their religious counterparts, the political cult leaders left nothing but chaos and misery and death in the wake of their falls.  A real genius wouldn’t let that happen either to themselves or to their followers.
As for con artists, well, if you do watch “American Greed”, you would know that most of them don’t get away for very long.  In the end, they always leave with nothing but misery and ruin in their wake as well.  A real genius also wouldn’t allow that to happen.  A real genius wouldn’t play tricks on others.  They wouldn’t have to.
It’s just too bad there are no real geniuses here.  Just manipulators and suckers.