Speaking Ill of the Dead

I was taught “If you can’t say anything good, say nothing.”  I fully admit having failed to heed that teaching but I will not speak ill of the dead.  I will not celebrate his death, but I cannot celebrate his life either.  I will not call his name.

I’m quite sure during the course of his life he spoke some truth, but I cannot see his truth because of the hate he peddled and the anger he caused me.  I don’t blame him for peddling hostility anymore than I blame him for my outrage. I’m not speaking ill of him at all.

From college dropout to AM disc jockey to rightwing mega pundit, he was trying to find a way to make a living and found fertile ground to till.  A fertile ground that grew bountiful crops from the seeds of bigotry, misogyny, conspiracy, and misinformation he peddled.  All he was doing was farming the fields he had been blessed with.

No!  I’m not speaking ill of him.  I’m speaking ill of many of his followers.  They provided an eighty-five-million-dollar salary on the way to being worth six hundred million dollars.  He was just doing what he needed to do to provide for his family.  Capitalism at its best.  Charging what the market would bear and then some.  Not caring who you might step on while climbing to the top. If comparing thirteen year old Chelsey Clinton to a dog sold advertisements and airtime, what is a guy to do? If it helped write him a new and bigger contract, what is the big deal?

His audience loved the comparison along with making fun of Michael J. Fox’s disease, referring to Obama as a “house Negro”, mocking rape victims, and calling activists sluts and femnazis.  It was all in good fun; real knee slappers his fans guffawed loudly at. Just pokin’ fun at political correctness. There were other examples but like a good farmer I will not over till my ground.

He was a snake oil salesman who knew his fan base well and played to it every chance he got.    Know your demographic.  He was a President maker, a purveyor of conspiracy, a trader in fear and hatred. He was a comedian that none of his followers believed to be comedic. I’m not speaking ill of him, but it bothers me his fans couldn’t see through his shtick.

He was a Billy Mays huckster, Joe Girard car salesman, P.T. Barham showman, and Jim Bakker TV evangelist all rolled into one.  People metaphorically lined up to spend their money or shed their panties because he spoke to them in a language they understood.   They bought his absurdities along with his truths and were unable to tell the difference. They are the ones I am speaking ill of, not him. He was just trying to make a living the best way he knew how.

Do not despair fertile field. There will be others to take his place.  Seeds will continue to planted and bitter crops harvested. Want to bes are already posturing, ready to harness their mule.   He laid out the furrows and someone will broadcast the seed. While they may not be as successful they will make their living, there will continue to be successful crops.

 But he liked cats. How can you speak ill of a cat lover who named his pet “Punkin’?”  I’m sure Punkin’ loved him.

For mostly non-political ramblings https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR1Cv5JjARlf26IKkUq2zgrvGXL-GnP_1j8cgoPJOlIEjfVzAeMTupWmL3c

To Block or Not to Block….

 

Alert:  This ain’t about football…

I unfriended and blocked a poster on my social media account.  I normally have a hard and fast rule, I don’t block people unless they become threatening.  Stupid and illogical are okay…well they aren’t okay, but I like knowing those who are stupid and illogical…but if you are threatening, WHAM!  YOU ARE SACKED LIKE Y. A. TITTLE!

I went against my rule yesterday simply because I became tired of the irritation.  The poster, a woman I may be related to due to the twisted branches of my family tree and by marriage, became an irritant. It should have been a minor annoyance, reminiscent of jock itch.   Seeking relief from the itch I blocked her going straight to Defcon One using a good dose of Atomic Balm.  I’m unhappy with my decision, blocking was not the soothing anodyne I expected.

Like-minded friends engaged in the unarmed combat of social media have asked me on more than one occasion, “Why do you put up with So and So?  You have more patience than I do.”  It is not about patience, I taught school for forty-one years and coached for forty-five.  My patience ran out a long time ago.

Until yesterday, I had an easy answer to my friends’ questions.  My act of blocking would be an admission that I gave the “block-ee” control over me.  I am logical, I can argue my point…except when I’m not…and can’t.  I believe blocking is an admission of their control over my thoughts and my inability to positively argue my position.

The comment I made to her post was about empathy for someone, a public figure, who “might” be suffering from a family member’s terrible illness.  Her original post discounted his pain and made it about politics.  I countered with logic, she tried to check me with conspiracy before browbeating me with, “Since you are such a liberal maybe you should block me and go back to watching CNN.”  That isn’t the exact quote but captures the flavor of her comment.  At least she didn’t use the descriptor snowflake.

Sure, I lean middle-left but I’m not a raging radical and haven’t watched CNN in forever plus a day.  She had triggered me and I dropped the hammer on her.  I answered her with, “Done but not because you are a conservative….”  I blocked her before I could add, “…but because you are not a nice person and have the sympathy of a gnat and the empathy of an amoeba.”  Sorry amoebas and gnats.  Did I drop the hammer on her…or on me?

I had blocked her simply to be rid of her.  My attempted expungement failed.  Her Ka lingers like the smell of fried fish or liver and onions from the previous day’s supper.

Another reason I don’t block people derives from a saying from Sun Tzu’s  The Art of War.  “Know your enemy” …except they’re really not my enemies.  It’s easy to think of them as enemy combatants but they are Americans who simply share a different point of view and how does one argue logically if you don’t know your countryman’s position?  She was simply another American with a different point of view…and a nasty personality.

Blocking people with different opinions leads to interacting only with people who share your own beliefs and opinions.  I would think this “vacuum” of only like opinions might help move us farther and farther apart from those who disagree with us.  It moves us farther and farther from discovering common ground.

Walt Kelly’s intellectual opossum Pogo comes to mind. “We have met the enemy and he is us” or in this case, me.

Image result for we have met the enemy and he is us

As soon as I touched “Enter” one of the voices in my head smirked and made itself known, “You just did exactly what she wanted.  She gets her jollies from being blocked.  She’s bragging right now about how she melted a liberal snowflake.”  

My real voice agreed, “Yep if you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen. ” Another head voice added, “and you just gave her control over YOU.  You let her bully you into blocking her.”  I’ve also allowed her to trouble my thoughts since.  I’m not sure how to counter my ruminations.  I’m certainly not going to send another friend request to her.

The one logical voice in my head tells me my triggering is the dislike for PC culture taken to a level of bullying.  Sometimes it is best not to say exactly what is on your mind if your intent is to win friends and influence enemies.

I’ve never believed the “words can never hurt you” rhyme.  I hope my own dislike for political correctness is tempered by my humanity, empathy, and the belief people should be treated with respect until all else fails.

I’m not sure I did that.  I’m not sure all else failed.  The same voice also points out, “She ain’t worth the effort to analyze.”  Maybe.  Maybe I’m trying to analyze me.

Many more of my illogical voices are yelling too but as is their nature, quite mindlessly.  All they do is confuse an already confused issue.   

Like two offensive linemen unsure who should block the three hundred pound gorilla in the gap across from them, both decide it is the other guy’s responsibility and the quarterback pays the price as the gorilla, untouched, smashes him into the turf.  I think our country is paying for our confusion…and for the lies told to us that we pass along without a fare the well of research.

Oh well, I’m not sure writing this has helped but the morning is breaking and there should be enough to do around the foothills of the Blue Ridge to take my mind off this subject.

As I wrote this, the sunrise through my French doors was a brilliant orange making the ridgeline look as if it was on fire.  When I went out to enjoy the first hit of my cigar, I found the temperatures quite nice for early-February.  Since then, the rain has put out the fire and the temperatures have receded to normal February levels.  After temperatures in the seventies, thunderstorms, and tornadoes…it snowed.  It appears Mother Nature is confused too.

Sunrise

An early morning jog to go with my walk might just the “soothing salve” I need.  The pain of running seems to displace all other pains and takes my mind away from everything but the pain of putting one foot in front of the other.  I guess it is just replacing one pain with a more acceptable one.

Good day to all.

***

Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM

Images:  The featured image: The Wisconsin Badgers appear to have a body on everybody except the guy crashing from the backside.  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blocking_(American_football)

In this 1964 photo, New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle kneels after being sacked by John Baker of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  “A dazed Tittle on his knees in the end zone, helmet off, blood trickling from his balding head.”  https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/nfl/article178031466.html

A colorized version of Walt Kelly’s cartoon strip, Pogo.   https://www.myjewishlearning.com/rabbis-without-borders/we-have-met-the-enemy/

Houston Texan’s QB, DeShaun Watson, pays the price for a missed block.  https://texanswire.usatoday.com/2018/12/21/texans-qb-sean-ryan-deshaun-watson-nfl-high-sack/

A view from the ridgeline above my house.