Friday, December 15, 2017

Media Recreates Fifties

by Meg Sonata

The mysteries of the mainstream media include hyping hysteria over Russia as if the USSR still existed and the Cold War were about to turn hot at any moment. Are American children still practicing national defense drills by hiding under their desks? Are JFK and Khrushchev still engaged in debating the future of Cuba? Do Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley reign over the nation's attention like Queen and King of Disney World?

Newsflash for those not in the know: Diversity and Multiculturalism policies have brought so many international citizens to this country that your neighbors may be from every place on the globe. In MD alone, this writer encountered the virtual equivalent of the United Nations between 2007 and 2012. What was the media doing while this academic was teaching alongside the former residents of the Middle East, the Far East, and every East including Russia? 

Does the media realize that The Manchurian Candidate was not released last week? Is this fact a big secret which they hide from their audience, lest somebody discover they haven't updated their databanks in fifty years? It really isn't helpful to international relations, you know, to keep Americans in the dark about the breakup of the Soviet Union, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and Nixon's rapprochement with China. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Surprise! The Media Are OFFENSIVE

by Meg Sonata

Friends tell me they ignore the news  This behavior marks a major change in the American lifestyle. Was it that long ago when citizens rose with the news and fell into bed after it, too? Of course, Walter Cronkite is one thing--endless repetition of the DC soap opera is another--and the latter deserves to earn no ratings wars.

Meanwhile, the internet treats us to this information, hot off the information pipeline which Americans may be incapable of reading for these reasons:
"According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million of American adults are illiterate, 21 percent read below a 5th grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates are functionally illiterate, which means they can't read well enough to manage daily living and perform tasks required ...Sep 13, 2016

Did Public Schools Really Improve American Literacy? - Foundation ..."

Is it offensive to observe that the American Declaration of 
Independence and Constitution were not written for a children's 
book bizarre? 

Is it offensive to observe that illiterate residents cannot read the 
announcement that they are illiterate--and their fellow illiterates 
may not care?

Is it offensive to realize that American media professionals are 
getting paid to serialize the adventures of celebrities' and 
politicians' genitalia? 
If the American media were designed to tell us the same outrageous story for a thousand years, they might earn forgiveness for being 
hot on the trail of the Kardashians and every other celebrity whom 
they can interview. Until they report the state of American literacy, journalists earn the suspicion that they have never heard that truth 
is stranger indeed than fiction--and truth functions as the lifeblood 
of democracy. 

Are reporters illiterate, too? How else could they endure repeating the word "Russia" ten thousand times a day for a solid year while their audience learns nothing more than they knew when US astronauts could and did land on the moon because Americans can be superb at communications, engineering, and math, too?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hot Dogs and Beans--Best Ever?

by Meg Sonata

Let's see if I can blog without somebody taking political umbrage? Are hot dogs and beans a political topic? Are they too upper class or lower class to keep every reader happy? 

I found this tiny can on a store shelf at eye level--obviously a plant designed to make me spring for a trial at least. The label presented this product as exceptional all right: "Hickory smoke" flavor had been added, so I wasn't getting the straight scoop.

Ask me if I care. Nope! That snack was so delicious that my only complaint was that I didn't invest in an annual supply immediately--but how could I when I hadn't tasted franks and beans--that's the old-fashioned term, isn't it?--in decades?

My yogurt kick may just be over! Is brown sugar the secret ingredient--and no, that isn't a political reference!--which transforms an every day convenience into an exotic meal so good that it beats out my former favorite, Chinese chicken and peanuts--and, no, that isn't a political reference, either. 

Ask me if I care again. I dare you! While public snipes may be reviewing every word we speak for a chance to jump on our verbiage, I'm just plotting my return to that store whose owner was smart enough to stock a food which reminds us of a time when camp fires and spooky stories kept kids happy--and begging for more and more hot dogs, beans, and hickory smoke memories. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Word for Our Times: Funitude

by Meg Sonata

A Word for Our Times: Funitude

That word actually exists in the Urban Dictionary. I thought I made it up this morning after reading the news until I couldn't endure further enlightenment on America's current obsessions. In an act of intellectual rebellion, I checked out the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and found this marvelous column by Garrison Keillor, which I recommend if your funny bone is aching for humor, too: "Welcome to the Abyss."  

Must we act grim and nearly apocalyptic to prove our brains are functioning? Garrison Keillor says, No! It's comic relief that we need to demonstrate our frontal lobes haven't cut out completely. It's that little poke in the ribs from a friend who suggests that maybe the world won't end today--at least not until we've finished a decent meal and shared a joke--or not until we've gone for a walk where the Grim Reaper never spends his time--like a Mad Tea Party perhaps, or a song from childhood like "Mersey Dotes and Dozy Doats," which spins us round and gets us off this news cycle of bedlam and hell and unfunitude.

So, here's to a decent weekend: That means we seek that little surprise from a forgotten source like Garrison Keillor, who keeps right on diagnosing modern life as a cup short of sanity. He reminds us that we don't prove our brilliance by acting all snarly and constantly finding fault with the human race. That behavior takes no talent at all. No! It's the capacity to see the big picture which demonstrates even the most basic aptitude for health and happiness. In that big picture of life, there ain't no yin without a yang. So, go for the bright light of morning, even if carrying one's own flashlight comes with the territory. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Calling Agatha Christie to Las Vegas

With all the hubbub over guns, Congress, terrorists, and gambling addicts, the Las Vegas shooting has created a new variation on the one puzzle sure to rivet mystery readers from here to Australia and back. Even the shooting victims--in a most painful kind of extortion of the dead--have been hijacked to distract attention from one key fact in the Las Vegas atrocity. This hideous crime creates a locked room mystery. 

From the first reports to the most recent accounts of the awful tale, versions accumulate of the final 70 minutes of waiting before the SWAT team breached the gunman's door--and discovered his body. Perhaps video recordings will resolve discrepancies, but so far, readers have heard that HE shot through the door at the SWAT team; he killed himself after killing 58 victims and injuring 520 strangers below his windows; and his body, along with 23 weapons, lay on the other side of that door, waiting to be discovered by police.  

The police have explained that they were under orders to wait for the SWAT team to arrive before breaching the door. Meanwhile, no information has so far been released indicating the state of that body which awaited discovery. Was it warm or cold? Had rigor mortis set in, turning the flesh rigid? Analysts have observed that a single individual could not fire 23 weapons and accomplish a massacre of those proportions in the eleven minutes of recorded firing. So, who besides Agatha Christie could solve a crime this complex and baffling?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why Create Robots to Replace Ourselves?

By Meg Sonata
          When Harvey and his girlfriend Irma are not trashing the American 

landscape, the skies fill with unemployment alerts. Jobs in restaurants, 

warehouses, and delivery systems are supposedly about to go to robots. 

Uber has announced its thrilling conversion to robot drivers. Educators 

have been warned that they, too, will soon be replaced by mechanical 

substitutes. Sex robots have even popped onto the scene. Meanwhile, 

where are the protests over this scandalous development?
          In the college classroom, I once asked students to vote on these 

scenarios. If they were in the hospital, would they prefer to be comforted 

by a robot or a human being? If they were choosing supervision for their 

children, would they prefer their offspring's guardians to be mechanical 

or human? Unfailingly, their hands shot up to indicate their choice to keep 

society and civilization within the human domain. So why does the media 

now storm us with enthusiastic crusades for robots?
          Have unemployment lines suddenly become THE place to be? Is 

America recruiting H-1B visa immigrants to stand in unemployment lines 

along with their buddies, mechanically replaced American workers? If

mental health experts want new project, how about this? Can they 

discover why anyone would support his/her displacement in their own 

lives? No matter how cute a robot may be, it is not YOU! Isn't that point 

obvious? So how about campaigning—for such a delightful change
to keep life on this extraordinary planet obnoxiously and surprisingly 


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Removing Statues Is Stupid Economics

by Meg Sonata

Will you visit Atlanta and Charleston if they look just like Dunkirk, NY? The latter has no grand statuary to attract tourists--unless they trek off to nearby Jamestown, NY, which indulged in a rare kerfuffle over a commissioned statue of Lucille Ball, the town's guardian saint, since Western New York is NOT famous for its sense of humor.

Okay, once we've taken down all the grand statues and put up the trigger warnings, what is left of an attractive community in the United States? Do you enjoy seeing film of yourselves shoving and being shoved in political contests completely devoid of historical accuracy? No one dares mention Northern carpetbaggers now. They may have been too colorful and unscrupulous to pass the ratings tests. 

Of course, hysterical historical current events are a bonanza for students who always hated history--and the poor teachers assigned to teach history through the seasons as parents complained about "unfairness"--and administrators whined about budgets and buildings and declining revenue. Who needs dates anyway? Aren't they just a fruit which sticks in your teeth?