Thursday, November 6, 2014

Specialization is for Insects

It’s an anniversary of sorts as it’s been seven years since I’ve been writing this blog, this memoir, this record of just one person’s views during that period.   I’ve been all over the place with content, mostly starting with some personal history, some postings about my former profession, publishing, on to politics, the economy, the market, lots of postings on our travels and boating, with photographs, my affair with the piano, including some videos, and, more lately, focusing on literature and theatre.  I’ve always considered myself a generalist, jack of all trades and master of, maybe, a few.  As such, blog traffic is less than specialist blogs written by “experts”, but that’s OK.  I write for my own pleasure.  Recently I updated my profile to include a Robert Heinlein quote which I think best explains my eclecticism:   A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

While I can and have done most of these things and could probably learn the rest (would like to pass on butchering a hog – I don’t eat hogs anyhow), I mean eclecticism on a more metaphoric basis.  My interests take me many places and these are reflected here.  I just don’t write about one subject.  I’m not an insect!

I see that I’ve mostly avoided politics lately.  It’s not that I lost interest, but the tide of campaign money had risen to such an extent that we, the voters, have been drowning in distorted advertising, appealing to emotion, twisting the facts, and little about the issues themselves.  I have long contended that political advertising should be banned and candidates should have rounds of public debates, but debates in the purist sense of the word where they cannot go to their well-rehearsed sound bites.  We learned more from the “debates” between Crist and Scott in the Florida Governor’s race about their families than anything else, not to mention whether a “fan” is an “electronic device.”  And the media was swamped by the endless political advertising and mailers.  The number of times I had to hear or see the words “Charlie Crist, Slick Politician, Lousy Governor” was sickening.  All this $$ spent across America to promote attack sound bites.  I say give it all to charity and make the politicians stick to the issues.

It reminds me of the Manchurian Candidate.  The queen of diamonds is beaten into one’s brain, and you pull the right (no pun intended) lever on command (oops, we mostly don’t pull levers anymore behind a curtain, but mark electronic ballots).  Corporations are people!   And that is the message of the mid-terms, money prevails and people vote against their best interests.  No doubt the Koch brothers are happy.  They paid enough, along with the so-called “dark money.”

Assault weapon control, immigration reform, and righting fiscal policy are the really big elephants in the legislative room.  No, these we avoid.  The only good news in the political arena is those endless robocalls, mailings, radio messages and TV ads, all little subliminal negative messages are over for the time being.  Good riddance.  They should be banned.

Our political system is broken, at the election level and on the legislative level.  The mid-term elections now turn over control of both the House and Senate to Republicans. OK, it’s your turn!

 © John Jonik