Normally when I’m in here I don’t really touch on political matters. It’s not because I don’t want to rile people up or piss people off, it’s just that, honestly, usually I don’t care. I don’t have the time or the energy to try to check-and-balance everything that goes on in the world. I have to trust that the people in charge know what they’re doing.
Lately, though, I’ve been getting a little worked up about things. I guess it all started about a week ago when Marty started going off about things in his blog. I had stuff to say about those things, I just never got around to it. Then I went and rented Bowling For Columbine and I have stuff to say about that, too, but just didn’t get to it.
Well, I finished a lot of stuff today, so I’m going to take a break and write this stuff up. I’m sure this will be a long one, so read on… Let us first address Marty’s original rant that started all of this about bicyclists. Marty’s point that bicyclists are generally a bunch of fucking morons that can’t figure out how to obey traffic laws is absolutely correct. I can’t tell you how tired I am of coming to a four-way stop, having my turn come around, start going, and then have to slam on the brakes because some numb-nuts decides he doesn’t have to stop for a stop sign.
I don’t give two shits if you think you’re “too small to have to obey the law” or whatever. You’re on the road, you obey the traffic laws. This means that you signal when you turn, you follow the lights and the signs, and you ride on the correct side of the road. If you’re coming at me head-on in my lane, you’re probably going to lose, and I’m not going to feel bad for you.
I also have to fully agree with his shopping cart rant in which the general conclusion is that the assholes riding bikes who can’t figure out how to obey traffic laws are the same people who can’t figure out how to manipulate a shopping cart through a store in a courteous and efficient fashion. If you’re too stupid to work a shopping cart without parking it in the middle of the aisle and blocking traffic, you’re too stupid to shop at my store. Get the fuck out.
Also on that note, if you bring your family shopping with you, we have something called “single file” in my country. Try that out - you don’t have to walk side-by-side down the aisle like you’re playing Red Rover or something.
I do take a bit of an issue with the part in his rambling where he talks about the Portland funding of a baseball team. God only knows that I think baseball is, like, the most boring game ever and that whoever thought it up should be shot. However, I’d like to point out that the taxpayers, to the best of my knowledge, are not funding the stadium; the stadium is coming from taxing players’ salaries. At least, that’s what I heard on the morning news.
Regardless, I’d rather that money went to other things. Baseball is bullshit, and I don’t think we need more. I’ve been to a Portland Rockies game, folks, and let me tell you - the stadium wasn’t remotely close to filled. Somehow I think you’ve got like 500 people out there who want this thing really bad and they’re forcing the rest of us into it. As long as I don’t have to pay, I guess…
And now, on to Bowling For Columbine.
Basically, what the movie does is explore the reasons why people in the US are so violent. How come other countries can have in the low hundreds of shootings every year and the US has in the tens of thousands?
The thing I liked about it was that the filmmaker (Michael Moore) explored the differences between our country and other countries - we have the same movies here as in other countries; we have the same video games; we have the same number of guns as other countries; and in many cases, we have less blood on our hands historically than other countries. So what is it?
The conclusion I drew from it was that the media - particularly the news media - is to blame. If you watch the news in the US, you see shootings and stabbings and kidnappings and all sorts of death and destruction. You watch the news elsewhere, and they show you more uplifting things more often; it’s not all just chaos and despair. Of course, I’ve never personally watched the news from other countries, but I’m going from what the movie showed, which could admittedly be biased.
But Moore didn’t seem to want to stick with that, and that’s what irked me about the film.
Okay, the Columbine thing was terrible. A couple of kids get some guns, go down to K-Mart, buy a bunch of bullets, and come in to school and kill people. That’s really tragic, seriously.
But does that mean that you should go to K-Mart and tell them that their sporting goods section should no longer carry bullets? I don’t think so, but that’s what they did. What, precisely, does that accomplish? If you’ve already made the conclusion that it’s not the guns that are the problem, what difference does it make if a store doesn’t sell bullets? They still sell the guns anyway, moron.
Or how about this: A lady has this job to pay the state back for the welfare she took. To get to this job, she has to get on a bus and travel for an hour each way to get there (that sounds familiar, except I have a car). Okay, well, the job doesn’t make ends meet so she has to move in with her brother. Fine. One day, the lady gets on the bus to go to work. After she leaves, her six-year-old kid finds the uncle’s gun, takes it to school, and shoots one of his classmates. One six-year-old killing another six-year-old. Tragic? Yes. The fault of the welfare system? I don’t think so.
Moore does seem to think so, though. He goes and finds out that this lady worked for some American Bandstand restaurant in Ohio that Dick Clark owns. He then proceeds to fly to California to confront Dick Clark about this - that the lady wasn’t at home watching her kid because she was working at his restaurant.
Dick Clark, of course, has nothing to say and drives away. I’d have done the same. What did this guy expect? That Dick Clark, who probably has his name attached to the restaurant and that’s about it, has some sort of explanation or answer for this? No, no, no.
Then Moore decides that it’s time to confront Charlton Heston, actor and president of the National Rifle Association. Let me remind you, lest you’ve forgotten, that Moore has already come to the conclusion that guns are not the problem.
Moore commences his interview and he asks Heston what the cause of all the violence in the US is. Heston says he thinks it might be the culture. Moore says that, no, we have the same amount of violence in our culture as other, non-violent countries. So, Moore asks, what else could it be? Heston says he thinks maybe it’s our history of bloodshed. Moore says that, no, we have, in many cases, less blood on our hands than other countries. So, Moore asks, what else could it be? Heston fumbles around, looking for an answer for a guy who’s obviously not going to be pleased with any anser, and then ends the interview.
I think Moore was trying to make Heston look bad, but I think he only succeeded in making himself look bad. I mean, where was the constructive discussion? What happened to the conclusion that the media was to blame? Argh!
All in all, it was an interesting movie, though. I learned alot about stuff I didn’t know the US was involved in. If anything, rent the movie just to see the statistics and whatnot. But I’m not sure where Moore was trying to take this one. Maybe he just wanted people to think. If that’s the case, I guess it worked. I mean, I’m writing this now, right?
This all has spawned some interesting discussions between me and some of my coworkers about the state of governmental affairs and what needs to be done. One of them brought to my attention that there’s sort of a cycle that society goes through, like first there’s Slavery (of one form or another), then Freedom (from the Slavery), then Apathy, then Plenty (if you’re just sitting around accumulating material wealth…), then Slavery again. Looking at the way things are going, I think we’ve just exited the Plenty phase and now we’re headed into Slavery. Slavery to our jobs, to the government… No good.
And there’s no way I can see to get out of it, short of a complete overhaul of the way government works, from the ground up. Less “tolerance” and “consensus” and more action. I mean, the way things are now, it’s like 12 Angry Men - rather than just getting things done, we all sit around and discuss the impacts of this and that, then discuss the impacts of our discussions… No. Just fix things already. It’s not that simple? Yes, it is.
Get rid of these pork barrel projects that keep the politicians rich and just soak up the government funds. Find people for office that are experts in their field and want to actually get things done. Fire all the existing politicians. Ensure that there’s not a fortune to be made in government - if there’s a career to be made that can make a person fat, the person will probably focus on the career and less on the work. Make lobbying illegal - all lobbying. Money or not. Let the people decide, not the various “causes” out there.
On a different note, we probably also need to overhaul the whole legal system, too. Less tolerance. Less “human rights.” Seriously. We live in a world where someone can break into my house, I can shoot them, and if they live, they can sue me and win. There’s something very wrong about that. If you break into my house, you just lost all of your human privileges. If I decide to tie you up in my basement and get out a pair of pliers and the blowtorch, there’s nothing you should be able to do, man. You broke into my house. Period.
Obviously the pliers and blowtorch might be a little much, but you get the idea. There’s something wrong when the legal system can consistently work against common sense.
I wonder sometimes if it might be better to go all the way back to the Code of Hammurabi - eye for an eye (code #196) and all that. No lawyers, just one guy against another, and a jury using common sense rather than looking for legal loopholes. Would we convict a few more people wrongly? Maybe. Reduction in crime? Almost definitely.
There you go, my controversial post for the week. Got something to say? Either leave a comment, or, better still, go bitch in the forums.