INSIGHT FROM PEGGY NOONAN

In the Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2017

The Culture of Death—and of Disdain

When news broke at Christmastime five years ago of what had happened at Newtown a friend, a news anchor, called and said with a broken voice: “What is the word for what we feel?” I thought for a moment. “Shattered,” I said. “We are shattered, all of us.” When people in ensuing days spoke of what had been done to the little children in the classrooms, I’d put up my hands and say no, we can’t keep putting those words in the air, we can’t afford it. When terrible images enter our heads and settle in, they become too real, and what is real is soon, by the unstable, imitated, repeated. When Columbine happened in the spring of 1999, it hit me like a wave of sickness. I wrote a piece about the culture of death that produced the teenage shooters: “Think of it this way. Your child is an intelligent little fish. He swims in deep water. Waves of sound and sight, of thought and fact, come invisibly through that water, like radar. . . . The sound from the television is a wave, and the sound from the radio; the headlines on the newsstand, on the magazines, on the ad on the bus as it whizzes by—all are waves. The fish—your child—is bombarded and barely knows it. But the waves contain words like this, which I’ll limit to only one source, the news: “. . . was found strangled and is believed to have been sexually molested . . . had her breast implants removed . . . took the stand to say the killer was smiling the day the show aired . . . said the procedure is, in fact, legal infanticide . . . is thought to be connected to earlier sexual activity among teens . . . court battle over who owns the frozen sperm . . . contains songs that call for dominating and even imprisoning women . . . died of lethal injection . . . had threatened to kill her children . . . had asked Kevorkian for help in killing himself . . . protested the game, which they said has gone beyond violence to sadism . . . showed no remorse . . . which is about a wager over whether he could sleep with another student . . .

“This is the ocean in which our children swim. This is the sound of our culture. It comes from all parts of our culture and reaches all parts of our culture, and all the people in it, which is everybody.”

We were bringing up our children in an unwell atmosphere. It would enter and distort them. Could we turn this around?

And here is the horror for me of Las Vegas: I was not shattered. That shatters me.

It was just another terrible story. It is not the new normal it is the new abnormal and deep down we know it’s not going to stop. There is too much instability in our country, too much rage and lovelessness, too many weapons.

On television, the terrible sameness. We all know the postmassacre drill now. The shocked witness knows exactly what the anchor needs and speaks in rounded, 20-second bursts. Activists have their bullet-point arguments ready because they used them last time and then saved them in a file called “Aurora,” “Virginia Tech” or “Giffords, Gabby.”

We are stuck, the debate frozen. The right honestly doesn’t understand why the left keeps insisting on reforms that won’t help. The left honestly doesn’t understand how much yearning there is among so many conservatives to do something, try something, make it better. They don’t want their kids growing up in a world where madmen have guns that shoot nine rounds a second. Many this week at least agreed bump stocks can be banned. It probably won’t help much. But if it helps just a little, for God’s sake, do it.

But: Why do so many Americans have guns? I don’t mean those who like to hunt and shoot or live far out and need protection. I don’t mean those who’ve been handed down the guns of their grandfather or father. Why do a significant number of Americans have so many guns?

Wouldn’t it help if we thought about that?

I think a lot of Americans have guns because they’re

fearful—and for damn good reason. They fear a coming chaos, and know that when it happens it will be coming to a nation that no longer coheres. They think it’s all collapsing—our society, our culture, the baseline competence of our leadership class. They see the cultural infrastructure giving way— illegitimacy, abused children, neglect, racial tensions, kids on opioids staring at screens—and, unlike their cultural superiors, they understand the implications.

Nuts with nukes, terrorists bent on a mission. The grid will go down. One of our foes will hit us, suddenly and hard. In the end it could be hand to hand, door to door. I said some of this six years ago to a famously liberal journalist, who blinked in surprise. If that’s true, he said, they won’t have a chance! But they are Americans, I said. They won’t go down without a fight.

Americans have so many guns because drug gangs roam the streets, because they have less trust in their neighbors, because they read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Because all of their personal and financial information got hacked in the latest breach, because our country’s real overlords are in Silicon Valley and appear to be moral Martians who operate on some weird new postmodern ethical wavelength. And they’ll be the ones programming the robots that’ll soon take all the jobs! Maybe the robots will all look like Mark Zuckerberg, like those eyeless busts of Roman Emperors. Our leaders don’t even think about this technological revolution. They’re too busy with transgender rights.

Americans have so many guns because they know the water their children swim in hasn’t gotten cleaner since Columbine, but more polluted and lethal.

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is—how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They’re barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They’re not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it’s been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans—on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn’t free if what you’re saying triggers us.

Would it help if we tried less censure and more cultural affiliation? Might it help if we started working on problems that are real? Sure. But why lower the temperature when there’s such easy pleasure to be had in ridiculing your mindless and benighted countrymen?

 

CHANGING FOR THE WORST

 “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.”

   Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

In the June 27 issue of the “Weekly Standard” Barton Swain reviewed Stephen Hess’ book about the improbable association of President Nixon and Patrick Moynihan during the first two years (1962-64) of Nixon’s presidency.  Though a liberal, Moynihan had been vilified by fellow believers for his “Moynihan Report,” which declared that “government policies aimed at solving economic problems were predestined to fail if they neglected to account for cultural habits.”  Moynihan concluded that “at heart of the deterioration of the fabric of the Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family.  He had concluded that culture, not government policy, determines outcomes.

You can imagine all the liberal waste matter that hit the political fan when the leftists read that.  Blaming the victim, they cried, a mantra that exists to this day and prevents any hope of progress.   Moynihan also wrote that government policies had consistently worsened outcomes for black Americans   “The steady expansion of [welfare programs] … can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.”

In one of his first memos to Nixon, he summarized the essence of a lecture by Harvard sociologist, Paul Weaver.

From Moynihan:  “His (Weaver’s) central point — an immensely disturbing one — is that the social system of American and British democracy that grew up in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was able to be exceedingly permissive with regard to pubic matters precisely because it could depend on its citizens to be quite disciplined with respect to private ones.  (Italics mine)

“He speaks of “private sub-systems of authority,” such as family, church, and local community, and political party, which regulated behavior, instilled motivation, etc., in such a way as to make it unnecessary for the State to intervene … More and more it would appear these subsystems are breaking down in the immense city of New York.  If this should continue, democracy would break down.”

We haven’t learned and it’s happening again.  The unhealthy societal dynamics that worried Moynihan about the black community is now infecting the entire country and the stakes are Vegas-poker high.   Those crucial subsystems Moynihan ascribed to Weaver have broken down, not only in the black community, but in the entire country.  All the governors of behavior — Church, family, schools, neighborhoods, are in the wind.  Whatever remains is being auctioned off by the elite to the highest bidder –corporations, cynical politicians,  Progressive ideology, and the media in full view of a hopeless audience of the unemployed, minorities, gullibles, millenials, useful idiot immigrants and the never changing plight of black Americans.

Applauding and assisting the auctioneer sell off our country’s birthright are the craven media, smug celebrities, a-patriotic politicians, academia and unions, all full participants in the destruction of Moynihan’s subsystems, the lifeblood of civilization.  In the ongoing, destructive process they are eroding trust, faith, loyalty, belief and fidelity to our Constitution.

We have entered the era of the elites, all of whom are in unison saying, “I’m alright, Jack.”

 

Hillary To Propose Universal Hotel Care

Hillary Clinton gave a shriekingly rousing speech on the campaign trail yesterday announcing a bold legislative plan to provide Universal Hotel Care to every travelling American.  The AHCB or the Affordable Hotel Care Bill would guarantee every American an affordable hotel room or suite in any city in the United States, with no co-pay.

“Our spy in the Sanders campaign told us that Bernie was flirting with the same idea so we pre-empted it,” said Huma Abedin, the Good Wife of famed penis portraiturist, Anthony Weiner.  “All’s fair in love and politics,” she continued.  “We got there first, and Bernie can suck wind.”

In her speech, Hillary screamed out the question “Why should any citizen of this great country have to stay with friends or family because they can’t afford a decent hotel room?  Why should a hard-working American have to crash in someone’s living room, or pump up an airbed in an acquaintance’s basement because a hotel room would crash his budget?”

Patterned after the deliriously successful Affordable  Care Act, Americans would sign up for Hotel Care Insurance, even if they never travel.   If they do travel without being insured, hotel rooms will cost them three times the going rate.  Pre-existing travel conditions will be covered with proof of  planned family gatherings of any kind.

The Clinton staff coordinated her speech with commercials showing  stories of  horrific American travel experiences, like families having to wait in line to use their host’s bathrooms and insufficient towels.   Another traveler tearfully said she had to make her own bed before breakfast.  Others told of guest rooms without a television, or a television that wasn’t cable ready.  We then see true but “simulated” scenes of house guests forced to get out of bed to change channels because there were no remotes.

“This great country cannot tolerate such  guest abuse,” Hillary yelled.    “Research shows that having to be a good guest and submit to the demands of a host is extremely stressful, especially if the host is a hard ass about keeping neat the house that is probably under water.  Such stress can lead to major health problems, which Obamacare isn’t set up to deal with.  We want all Americans to enjoy unfettered maid and room service, free wake up calls and the opportunity to pilfer those little shampoo bottles and bathrobes.   Congress gets that stuff for free all the time. Why shouldn’t every American!?

“We are a transient, mobile people,” shouted the former first lady, after taking a throat lozenge.   “In these difficult times,” she continued, “many citizens must move to other cities to find the jobs our current economic policies are now in the process of wiping out.  Families are fractured as kids leave home to take up residence in states with lower taxes, an inequity we will  fix with executive orders mandating equally high taxes in all states to keep families together.”

Hitting her stride at 92 decibels, Mrs. Clinton gargled and became emotional when she introduced Mindy Ferguson’s parents, who last year had traveled out of state for their daughter’s wedding.  “It should have been a joyous occasion,” said Hillary, stifling a sob.  “But it wasn’t.  Hotel costs were so high that Mindy’s parents had to return home right after the rehearsal dinner.  The Fergusons never had the chance to be at  their daughter’s wedding and only heard  it over an open smartphone.  This is tragic.”

Clinton staffers acknowledged that the Universal Hotel Care plan will be costly, but added that it will be deficit neutral and paid for by magic.”   David Copperfield was asked to be the Hotel Care Czar but he refused the putative position saying that even he can’t make something out of nothing.

Bill Clinton Volunteers To Die To Boost Hillary’s Faltering Campaign

In an effort to attract more voters and stem Hillary’s drop in the polls, the Clinton Campaign has launched the Authenticity Project, events and photo-ops that Hillary could shamelessly exploit to come across as genuine and not the lying, treacherous, two-legged, pants-suited  creature that she is.   That’s when Bill  surprised everyone, stood up and valiantly volunteered to die.    “Nothing unites people more than a death in someone’s family,” he said.  “Besides, she gave up her life so I could become president and now it’s time I did the same for her.”

Hillary spokesperson and spin shill, Huma Abedin, wife of noted penis portraiturist, Anthony Weiner, said “the impact of Bill’s death will ripple a wave of sympathy across the electorate and evoke powerful, human voter reactions like “Poor thing,” “How horrible,” “I’m so sorry for her” and other sympathetic platitudes everyone can identify with, even the racist, sexist pigs of the Republican Party.  After all,” continued Abedin, “they’ve lost husbands, fathers and sons just like us decent, forward joking progressives.   And good riddance!”   After much discussion Hillary and her staff agreed that Bill’s death was more exploitable than a Chelsea miscarriage – the Grandma Factor and all, but the grandma demographic isn’t large enough to tilt the vote.   But the possibility is still on the table.

The discussion then turned to “when?”   Extravagantly paid psychological consultants were hired by the Clinton Foundation, through a shell company chartered by a Dubai charity for The Very Sick Children’s International Trust, funded by The American Grout Initiative, a subsidiary of Dave’s Laundromat Money Collective on loan from Skip Trace, Inc., which found discretionary funds in the trunk an anonymous super pac’s car.   Their computer models have shown that any wave of morbid good will has a very short shelf life.   Bill needs to kick the bucket no earlier that forty-eight hours before election day, the optimum window of electoral vulnerability.  That’s when Hillary Haters will let down their political guard, go with their hearts and trigger the so-called “Poor Thing” vote before they come to their senses and go home to cry.

The method for  Bill’s death provoked heated discussion.    “Kill Bill” expert Quentin Tarantino offered to devise a satisfactory death, but  he demanded free rein over the production  and final cut.  “Thanks but no thanks” said Abedin.  “We’re looking for something more Hitchcockian, cool and subtle, surprising but low key.”    The staff finally concluded that an accidental fall down a long set of marble stairs with sharp edges, presumably caused when he stepped on his own untied shoelace,  would fit the bill.  (Sorry about that!)  Hillary, however, rejected the  idea outright and insisted that Bill’s dominant personality will simply order himself to die.

Once settled, the staff turned to other events Hillary could shamelessly exploit to firm up the Authenticity Project.  News of  a puppy that was hit by a car was called in, a promising possibility that the staff is investigating.  More on that in another story.

 

THE WARPED PROGRESSIVE MIND

Some years ago Michael Savage wrote a book  called “Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder.”  While I despise the liberal (I guess they’re now the Progressive)  mindset, I wasn’t prepared to go as far as Savage.

Well, times have changed, but the Liberal/Progressives have not.  They’ve grown like kudzu and have emerged in the mainstream media, academia, environmentalia, stupid studentia and, of course, with the Democrat politicians who cravenly encourage and exploit their mistaken, uninformed, stubborn zealotry.

At their core, progressives are natural-born totalitarians.   Since I believe people naturally prefer freedom and liberty, I find it hard to accept that they would freely choose a ruling system that severely curtails, cripples and removes liberty from their lives.  It’s like saying a person freely chooses to be black or gay or ugly or fat, qualities that in today’s society still bring much grief to those who possess them.

Hardly anyone would choose any of those characteristics for themselves.  That’s how they were born.   Much of it is troubling, burdensome and often unjust.  But, those were the DNA cards they were dealt.

I believe that people are born to want liberty and freedom and would not choose to be totalitarian, or to willingly accept totalitarian rule.  But they do.  They are The Progressives.  This societal species mindlessly and eagerly accepts government intrusions in their lives, government regulations, increased government confiscation of wealth and property, petty politically correct stipulations, irrational fear of opposing ideas, a willingness to ban the speeches of opponents (a clear 1st Amendment violation) — all that and they ask for more of the same.

Michael Savage must be right.   What else but a mental disorder would cause human beings to reject their birthright of freedom and liberty?  Communism, Fascism, and other regime “ism’s” don’t count because the absence of freedom and liberty is forced upon them.  In America, destructive incursions on our liberty is proceeding apace, like Hans Christian Anderson’s inch worm.   And free people are choosing, defending and promoting it.  And that mental disorder is probably stamped on their DNA — a gene to accept subjugation.

 

But here’s a little wrinkle.  Like all totalitarians, they don’t want subjugation for themselves, only for others.   The elite totalitarian population — journalists, celebrities, professors, politicians , empty-headed students — will happily chip away at the freedom of others and this  disorder puts them in denial that they themselves will be totalitarianated. (I just made up that word.)     Because totalitarianism knows no limits.  It may take longer to get to them, but it will get them.

Why I Love Liberals

After a few years of disparaging liberals, especially the ones who’ve morphed into leftist progressives (or whatever they’re calling themselves) I started to realize that I’m really in sync with them much more than I realized.  

They are the watchdogs against all that is wrong with America.

The latest example is Stevenson College in California.  Students and some faculty created a Star Wars sci-fi binge-watching event for fans of this genre.   The question about what food to serve came up and someone (a definite racist) suggested Mexican food.  This insidious attack on Hispanics would have gone unnoticed in America’s racist culture were it not for some alert, ever watchful liberals, who unearthed the truth behind this racist food choice.

This is the reasoning that revealed the truth:  Sci-fi deals with aliens, aliens mean illegal aliens, illegal aliens mean illegal immigrants which means that Mexican food is a racist attack on Hispanics.

Thank God someone discovered this racist insult.  Action was swift by the liberal administration.  The event was cancelled and the heroic Dr. Carolyn Golz, a college administrative officer, issued a three paragraph apology (as if three paragraphs is enough, but that’s for another time.)  Ms. Golz wrote “As a result of this incident, I will require cultural competence training for Programs staff, in addition to implementing mechanisms for future program planning that will ensure college programs are culturally sensitive and inclusive.” 

Hurrah and kudos to Dr. Golz for her courageous response and to the alert liberal students who called this abusive event to her attention.  The name of the student who suggested Mexican Food is being severely disciplined and his identity hasn’t been revealed to prevent attacks (justified, we think) on his person by the powerful tweeting, army of liberal social media.

 

 In a lighter note, noted liberal megastar and cultural educator Ben Affleck has requested  that Harvard professor and documentary filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr. censor references to one of his slave-owning ancestors, in Gates PBS documentary “Finding Your Roots.”                          

Bravo, Ben!  As a protector of liberal values, he naturally wants any stain on his liberal identity removed because it might reflect poorly on the idea of liberalism itself.   He wants to protect the leftist, liberal, progressive, ultra-righteous values that will correct America’s sins and flaws.

This is why I love liberals.

The Spring Bunny, 2015: Reprint (a cautionary tale)

Fluffy the Easter Bunny
R.I.P. Fluffy

We are coming to the end of another Easter season and the politically correct, leftist, Godless crowd known as progressive leftists (or something) are out in full force.  And it’s not Islamists who’re  making a fuss in Dearborn, Michigan.

So much tradition has been associated with Easter, the holiday that defines the Catholic Church.  We have Easter bonnets, Easter Seals, Easter Sunday, Easter baskets & cards, the great MGM film The Easter Parade — movie and song (written by a Jew, the great American, Irving Berlin.)  He gets it and he wasn’t even born here.

A few years ago, a victim  of the predatory, secular left was the Easter bunny.  See, these people have nothing in their lives except to stick their whiny buckets into their reservoir of complaint and come up with something else to piss people off.  Since 2007, they’ve been trying to replace the Easter Bunny with the Spring bunny because the Easter Bunny might offend some people.  Easter eggs have been redesigned as “spring spheres.”  You can find dead Easter bunnies in Walnut Creek, Ca., St. Paul, Minn and the Shops in Plano, Texas, where the Easter holiday is now the Spring holiday. More Easter bunny deaths are expected.

These holiday name changes are getting harder to keep track of than all the places renamed after Martin Luther King.

It will take awhile before people start calling this furry little rodent the Spring Bunny when Easter time rolls around. First, the President will have to change the name of it’s traditional White House egg hunt on their lawn to the Spring Egg Hunt or the Holiday Egg Hunt. The former name is preferable so as not to confuse this holiday with the holiday we hold in December.

However, the association of a bunny with eggs has always puzzled me.  Eggs mean chickens, not bunnies.  Logically, shouldn’t it be the Easter Chicken? Besides, none of the gospels mention bunnies when writing of the resurrection, so Christians shouldn’t object to changing the Easter mascot to a chicken.  It would then be called The Spring Chicken, an expression, however, that might offend seniors, who’d feel they’re being discriminated against as they clearly aren’t in the “spring” of their lives.

The Easter Chicken

While we’re at it, let’s do a complete holiday makeover.  Let’s change everything so that the secularists can enjoy the empty bankruptcy of their holiday desire.   Valentine’s Day, for instance,  is a tainted occasion, a minor one, to be sure, but there’s that religious word “Saint” attached to it. It must give excruciating psychological pain to American Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or atheists to send Valentine Day Cards to their loved ones knowing that they’re tacitly endorsing a Christian-based personage. Certainly any expression of love is ruined by this connection.  So let’s change it to something secular and call it Happy Valentines Day Massacre.

Or we could change it to ACLU Day? We could change the acronym to mean All-Cultures-Love-U. Keep the flowers and chocolates and maybe assign a bird to it.  If a real bird is needed, make it the dove – the lovey dovey bird.  So you can send Happy ACLU Day Cards on the day when love fills the air and romance blooms for the shriveled left.

The Thanksgiving Holiday is a tough one. Even secularists wouldn’t find much wrong with a simple thank you. I’d been taught, mistakenly as it turns out, that on the first Thanksgiving the Pilgrims were giving thanks to God while inadvertently creating the first long holiday weekend. Other religions might not have much of a problem thanking God since they can just substitute their own God for the Christian God.

No thanks

But there are those devout atheists, agnostics, ACLUists and general all-purpose secularists to satisfy, and satisfy them we must in this great country of ours, where we allow any minority interest to kick the crap out of the rest of us and call it democracy.

So, if not God, who are we supposed to thank if we want to continue losing those two or three paid days off from work?

Obviously, the turkey. It’s the bird that started it all and is identified with Thanksgiving as the hot dog is with baseball and condoms are with public high schools.. In fact, we could create national unity by allowing secularists to give our traditional holidays the bird — the Spring Chicken, the Valentines Dove, the  Thanksgiving Turkey and Holiday Goose. With the mighty eagle as our national symbol, we could change our national motto to In Fowl We Trust.

Thanksgiving Eggplant

Of course, all these bird symbols will offend PETA and vegans, whose feelings must be considered. These super-minorities are a noisy part of American life and follow their dietary beliefs with a religious fervor in the chapels of Whole Foods across the country, where soy turkeys are sold.   For starters, we could create the Thanksgiving Eggplant. Some of them are as big as turkeys and they already come stuffed. Not only would this not offend anyone but it’s probably healthier, along with the Spring Asparagus, the ACLU Brussel Sprout and the Holiday Broccoli.  Me, I’m sticking with my Easter Bunny.  I’m off to paint some spring spheres for the annual spring sphere hunt.

The Totalitarian Left

A LITTLE PROLOGUE

To those willing to look and examine the reality of today’s politics and events I think one can’t escape the observation that the left – Democrat, Liberal, Progressive  – (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days) is structurally and fundamentally totalitarian.  They want to control and censor those who disagree with them.  They decide, from their smug, elite, often well-to-do status, what is not worthy of seeing or saying.  I choose to illustrate things that are NOT worthy because The Left only names s worthy only what they approve of.  To everything else they bring their inherent negativity, anger, amorality, denial and deceit.  Or they blame it on Republicans, past and present.  They’re good at finding a way to do this.

As a current example of the totalitarian mind set, I direct you to a story in The Daily Caller about a pro-Hillary group HRC Super Volunteers who tweeted this message of warning to New York Times’ reporter Amy Chozick:  “We will be watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexism.”  As examples of “coded sexism” they’ve listed twelve words and phrases you shouldn’t use when talking or writing about Hillary:  polarizing, calculating, ambitious, disingenuous, insincere, over confident, represents the past, out of touch, entitled, will do anything to win, inevitable and secretive.

Is this group sanctioned by Hillary?  Doubt it!
Does she even know about them?  Probably — they’ve been active for her since 2008
Does Hillary approve of this kind of message?  Don’t know.

The point is that this is the mind-set of the loony left.  They come up with these kinds of mind boggling ideas and inflict them upon us like a virulent plague.  And try to force others to fall into line.

The irony here is that by naming these twelve words, they seem to admit tacitly that Hillary actually suffers from these descriptions.  You don’t ask to ban something that someone is not saying about you, only things they are saying about you because this is the vibe what you give off.  This is how you present yourself, Hillary.  It ain’t nice.

The Religion Of Atheism

The atheistic rallying cry appears most strongly at a time of religious  celebrations like Easter and Christmas. That’s when they come out of the woodwork.  This is a season when you can see them hawking their wares on TV, on YouTube and read what they have to say on editorial page columns, on blogs and among the punditry.

I’ll come clean — the atheist mindset twists my shorts. It isn’t their belief itself, but the unspoken superiority of that belief, which contains strong currents of ridicule towards those who believe in God and believe that there is more to our earthly surroundings than our earthly surroundings.  It’s usually called faith.

Atheism wants to destroy that faith, which is living aspect of our cultural tradition.  Fully entitled to their belief, atheists hope to worm their particular point of view into the national psyche.  It’s a tough task, pissing into the wind as it were, but they keep trying and are certainly making some inroads. Many of their objections have been  localized across the nation, but last year a digital neon sign that reads ‘Take the Christ Out Of Christmas’ with a cross-out line through Christ decorates Times Square.  The media, always on the lookout for raw story meat, gave the sign national attention.  We’re left to understand that while the religiously inclined are celebrating Christmas, atheists are celebrating “Mas.”  Okay, go with God.

To steal from a Seinfeld episode — Atheism!  What is it good for?

Atheists mock the stupidity and frailty of those who place their faith in what is a scientific unknown.  They suggest that believers delude themselves by paying homage to an unknown Creator.  How pathetic, they smugly imply (or say).  How unrealistic to have faith in what can never be proven through science of some kind.

Well, what about the atheist’s belief?  Just as Deists can’t prove that there is a God, atheists can’t prove that there ISN’T, which makes their belief  a matter of faith.  Without proof, their belief, their “truth” is as much a religion as, well, religion.  They are operating on faith, but they won’t acknowledge it.  Maybe they don’t even realize it, in which case they’re pretty dumb.  Maybe they do realize it and lock it in the attic of their minds like the crazy aunt,  in which case they’re deceivers.  And yet Deists are the dumb ones, the weak ones, the fooled ones, the ones with no realistic or scientific anchor to support their belief.

Bottom line:  Deists don’t know and Atheists don’t know.   Ultimately, it comes down to a cosmic  “he said, she said.”

So … at this Christmastime, if I had a choice between the religion of atheism and the religions of Deism, I’d pick the latter.  By its nature, atheism is a belief in the  negative, a belief that something DOESN’T exist!  It is a futile belief,  a faith in nothingness, ultimately a celebration of death.  Deism is a belief in something positive, in a better future, in a faith that is affirming and hopeful, a faith that celebrates life, here and hereafter.

Deism has given us a legacy of great architecture, great music, great literature and inspired art.  Atheism has given us a few surly magazine articles by (the brilliant and sorely missed) Christopher Hitchens and the minor, unimportant British comedian, Ricky Gervais.  There may be others, but  …. who cares?    Atheism destroys, Deism creates.   (How ironic that Hitchen’s first name is Christ-opher.

In New York alone, then, this Christmas time, Deists can point to the glory of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Atheists can proudly point to ….. point to … uh, point to –

How pathetic.

No More Happy Holidays

We’re in the holiday season and the perennial disagreements about religion, atheism and Christmas flood the airwaves.  Advocates of all persuasions are invited onto talk shows to promote their beliefs or are challenged about them.

Full disclosure!  I’m a traditionalist.  Tradition nourishes a culture and helps shape a national psyche that gives its people a sense of who they are and how they got there.  This is true of all cultures, races and nations.  It is part of the collective DNA.  Some of those groups honor tradition more, some less, but it is always there and should be celebrated as part of the glue that holds a group together.  It should not be denied or eliminated, rather celebrated.

Christmas is a tradition.   We revel in it and our families gather to celebrate it.   Many movies and songs and stories have been inspired by it.  Many of us partake in its religiosity.  Many just like the jingle bells and gifts.  But at its foundation is the birth of a man named Jesus Christ, who has been the driving force of this celebration for centuries. Even though the “jingle-bellers” emphasize more the secular trappings of the day, I bet they’re still aware of the day’s religious significance – the birth of Christ.

Some literalists argue that Christ was really born in April, or that we really don’t know what day He was born.  So what!?  Historically, He WAS born.   Our questionable knowledge about the exact date of His birth doesn’t diminish its importance.  He WAS born.  The wholesale and deliberate changing of “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” destroys a part of our cultural and national identity and is an insult to those who believe in the Lord.

Yes, I know there are some traditional popular Christmas songs like Happy Holidays, which  I believe, is the only one that uses the “holiday” word.   It was written for the film Holiday Inn and was sung  in the film at New Years Eve, the intention being to wish a ‘happy holiday’  to everyone for the whole new year to come, and not a replacement for the word Christmas.  Ironically, the song was written by the great Irving Berlin, who also wrote arguably the greatest popular Christmas song, I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas.   Mr. Berlin was a Jew and even HE got it.  Oh, and Bing Crosby sang both of them.

Why this ‘holiday’ insult to the tradition and belief of a majority of Americans?   I believe it originates in denial of the true meaning of Christmas.  There could be a lot of reasons for this denial — emotional, psychological, intellectual.  This is the work of therapists, not me.  My feeling is that during this season the secularists have nothing to believe in other than denial.  They need to justify their denial by attacking those to whom that true meaning, well, means something.  It’s sad, really. Here comes a great day for the country’s  religious majority and they can’t or won’t participate in the birth of Christ.  Their answer, then, is to attack and demean the day.  It must be terrible to carry a bellyful of hate for these two or three weeks.

So, while most of us celebrate Christmas, they celebrate ‘mas.’   To them I wish a Merry Xmas and I hope they put on some Elvis and start Rockin’ Around the Holiday Tree.

Johnny Manziel Failed Suicide Attempts

Johnny Manziel Suicide Story

    Despondent after his dismal debut against the Bengals, Cleveland’s much heralded quarterback, Johnny Manziel, couldn’t shake his depression      and wrote a suicide note.  When finished, he left his home and went to Cleveland’s Euclid Avenue and stood in a bus kiosk with several extremely disappointed Clevelanders.

As a bus approached, Manziel took a deep breath, and threw himself in front it …. but missed.  He landed on the far side of the bus as it passed..  His tremendous athletic ability got him out of trouble.  Again!  Of course, Manziel , didn’t consider it trouble, just a temporary setback.

Still determined to end it all, he walked down the busy street and took a cyanide pill out of his pocket.  Ever the showman, Manziel chose not to just swallow it.  Instead, he tossed it up, opened his mouth and waited for the pill to drop into it.  However, a passer-by, Marvin Lester, intercepted the pill before it reached his open lips.  “Hey, Johnny,” said Marvin, who later explained that he was just passing by, “fast hands, huh?”  Lester claimed he saw the opportunity and took it, asking Manziel to get him a tryout as a Browns cornerback.

Manziel continued and contemplated alternatives.  He walked along South Roadway and came upon the the Sailors and Soldiers Monument.  Pretty tall.  It should do the trick.  He ran toward it with the intention of climbing it and then throwing himself, head first, into the concrete below.  Even if he got a concussion, so what!?  As he ran to the statue, a troop of Boy Scouts on a park tour were so excited to see Johnny Football, they swarmed him and in the hubbub, he was thrown to the ground.  A sack!  He graciously signed autographs all for them and wrote on each one, “This will be a collector’s item by the end of the day. You wait and see.”

He continued walking and came to Voinovich Park.  Trees.  He took off the old, antique belt his granfather  had given him, and buckled it around his neck.  He climbed a tree and knotted the other end around a sturdy branch.  When all was ready,  he jumped… and landed on the ground.  The old belt had broken, a quirky case of equipment failure.

Now really discouraged, he walked until he reached The North Coast Harbor lakefront.   “I’m a lousy swimmer, he thought.  Drowning should be easy.”  So he jumped in and sunk.  Before you could blink an eye, two cops jumped in and rescued him.  They dragged him out, took him to a  table and sat him down.

He gave up.  Johnny was benched.

 

IMPROBABLE REVIEWS

From a piece published in PLAYBILL magazine.

PlayBill – Casey Stengel