Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Freedom's Just Another Word

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose," Janis sang in Kris Kristofferson's Me and Bobby McGee. That's what immediately came to my mind when Twitter (yes, Pastor Zip has a Twitter account, but only because NetworkedBlogs, which for free automatically forwards my blog posts to my Facebook page, does -- or at least did -- the same with Twitter; so every couple of days there's an e-mail from Twitter) wanted me see CNN's tweet, "Florida student Emma Gonzalez to lawmakers and gun advocates: 'We call BS'."

The thing is, what may fit the context of a song from the end of the '60s is not a civic reality. Freedom actually means you have everything to gain. And freedom means, conversely, you also have everything to lose. Miss Gonzalez tells of what she has been learning in her AP Government class. Well, thousands of years ago (as my 8th grade social studies teacher Ms. Greenman used to say) in my (11th grade) AP American History class I learned that our Founding Fathers, after winning their rebellion against the British Crown and the King's Parliament, intentionally devised a national government that would have limited ability to infringe upon rights that they regarded as "unalienable." Which helped us to understand the Bill of Rights, which we first learned about in plain old 4th grade Civics.

Other news reports today, which happens to be the national holiday usually called "Presidents' Day" -- though legally it's the observance of George Washington's Birthday -- have noted protests by young students across the nation, demanding that the President and the Congress "do something" in the light of the latest school shooting. And if I'm reading Miss Gonzalez' address rightly, she's saying something that many advocates of "gun control" have been saying for years -- that the Second Amendment, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," is outdated and ought to be set aside. And set aside now. If necessary, without the bother of actually amending the Constitution. In other words, to grant those two branches of the federal govenment powers that our governing authority says they do not have.

"Freedom's just another word for something more to lose..."

Monday, January 29, 2018

Another Awards Show

Last night while flipping TV channels for a few moments I discovered that the Grammys were being aired. As I watched the song being performed at that moment I realized that, given the current popular music scene, there probably wouldn't be too much that I like listening to. It's not so much the music, though reading the list of nominees and winneers artists this morning I recognized almost none of the artists from the station I listen to most -- the Triple A (Adult album alternative) WWCT -- but the, uh, social commentary that is de rigueur with such televised spectacles. So I turned the TV off...

As into my mind popped another awards show from the distant past, in this case the Emmys. From its beginnings television programming has (often deservedly) suffered much from the tongues and pens of critics. Radio's Fred Allen observed in 1950 that "television is called a medium because it is rare that it is well done." (Google tells me Ernie Kovacs, the early TV genius who was taken from us much too soon, said much the same thing.) And while the Emmys can often take television more seriously than it deserves, there's this wickedly funny presention from the 1959 Emmy Awards by the comedians Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
There will be a lot said here tonight about excellence. And the creative, the artistic, and the skillful will all be recognized and rewarded.

But what of the others in this industry? Seriously, there are men in the industry who go on, year in and year out, quietly and unassumingly producing garbage.

I'm very, very proud to have been chosen by the Academy to present tonight's Special Award to the man who has been voted the Most Total Mediocity in the industry...
Oh, go ahead and watch it all. It may fit last night's Grammys more than I imagined.