Three events this week have expressed the complete disappearance of common-sense on our planet. Submitted for your approval: Amy Winehouse, the US Debt Ceiling and Norwegian Terrorism. Why not start with Winehouse?
It follows the usual pattern, international success at 22, lionized by the media as a slightly off-kilter darling with the beehive and tats. Stir in a couple of public meltdowns, a unique marriage, professional-grade substance abuse, the rehab revolving door and likely a circle of sycophantic cling-ons who do nothing but blow rainbows up their butts. You have a Betty Crocker Approved recipe for an early death.
The media must help society kill the popular. If we can’t kill them, then at least we must gnaw their leg bones with examples of Lindsay Lohan, Brittney Spears, or as far back as Marilyn Monroe serving as sound examples. We eat our young.
The US Debt Ceiling Debate is simple enough: The US has run out of money and must either a) cut back on what they’re spending it on, b) raise taxes or c) a wise combination of both.
There is a choice d) Declare bankruptcy and throw the entire economy of the planet into the toilet from which it will not recover for at least a generation. Where common sense is missing is the knee-jerk reaction of the various parties involved. The Republican-Tea Party morons are adamant that taxes must not be raised especially for big corporations and the fabulously wealthy.
This is nothing more than the last vestiges of Regan-era trickle down voodoo economics. It didn’t work in 1976; it didn’t work in 2001; it doesn’t work now and it won’t work in the future. Would the US please grow up and recognize that you can’t run an economy on the basis of a sound bite? You can only spend as much money as you have and if you don’t have enough money, you have to cut back somewhere, or get more money by raising taxes. General Electric earned $5 billion in profit last year and paid no taxes. Why not try simplifying the corporate tax code and canning about 98% of the tax credit dodges set up by previous administrations of both political stripes to reward their buddies?
What you have developed is a form of corporate welfare socialism that wraps itself in a free-market capitalist cloak when someone looks too closely. We can only quote Eisenhower so many times: Watch the Military-Industrial Complex. Those guys don’t so much as set their alarm clock unless the government is paying for it in some manner.
If the sole reason large corporations have for doing anything or being in the US is the tax breaks, then you don’t have an economy. If the US economy is as wonderful as the press release says it is, then they’ll stick around and pay their fair share of the bill while making damn good profits from doing things well. That would be how an actual economy works.
The Norwegian bombing is very much a story in transition. Close to 100 killed in two incidents, one a bomb let off in the government area of downtown Oslo, followed by an execution spree at a youth campsite.
We can hear the NRA doing a logic backflip now decrying Norwegian gun laws as unable to protect the citizens who should have been armed and would have ended the killing spree by massed fire. Except the shooter was disguised as a police officer.
The Fox News commentators are disappointed: The story isn’t about towel-headed bearded terrorists with bombs sewn in their bellies, detonating for Allah. The perpetrator is homegrown Norwegian loon with a Timmy McVeigh complex. He allowed himself to be taken alive, one would assume so he can read his manifesto at his trial.
So what happened to our common-sense gene? Has it gone recessive and like the little toe, will soon be nothing more than a nubbin on the side of our pituitary gland?
We can lay a percentage at our media, who pander to nothing more than our basest, most vindictive instincts. We love to see the famous and fabulous brought down several dozen pegs at a time, like reading the News Of The World, TMZ.com or the Huffington Post. At the same time, we’re the ones who insist on there being an entire cultural subset of hollow celebrity presented for our amusement and entertainment. We are confronted by a fire-hose of minutiae about hundreds of thousands of events, screaming for our attention, demanding their fifteen minutes of importance.
Back in the Golden Era of Hollywood, the publicists did the same thing, building profile for budding stars, grooming the images of the anointed, piling up little mints of image. Their timelines were measured in months, each week a new photo set coming out, to add another particle to the image of Deanna Durbin being the girl-next- door, or Roy Rogers as the singing cowboy with his loyal horse Trigger.
Today, our timelines are measured in trending-now minutes from Twitter as the measure of success. We don’t see beyond the next hour, looking for the next data fix masquerading as news. It isn’t much different from fans writing in for an autographed picture of Cary Grant, except the time scale is compressed.
That might be where we’re losing our common-sense. We don’t reflect, taking actual minutes to think about what we’re hearing and seeing. To close the circle, Amy Winehouse is tragic and predictable. The US Debt Ceiling Debate could be fixed if someone grew a set and told the business elite to either bucks up, or get out. The Norwegian terror killings have nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with a hyper-politicized loon.