This is going to be a post of random, scattershot musings, after I clarify this: my previous post on the skanky goings on at a Florida retirement community has met the usual wall of people being unable to think outside of the box of their own lives. So let me clarify: I don’t care what married people do with each other, though after a certain age they should, out of a sense of decorum, keep their canoodling activities to themselves. I also do not care what you, my readers, are planning to do with your naughty bits as you and they age. This may wound you to the core, but I assure you that I have never sat up nights worrying about the sex lives of the people who read my blog. The fact that some of you have chosen to reveal to me your plans concerning your intimate parts is one of the many customs of contemporary life I prefer to do without.
Okay, that’s me getting rid of a few more readers, possibly. On to other things:
Volkswagen’s new series of commercials attempting to use the notion of stereotypes in a comic way is the most grating thing to come out of their advertising department yet. The only slightly amusing aspect is the sight of the announcer in his lederhosen. The idea that one can use mockery of stereotyping in this meta-comedic way is not unusual, and can even be quite funny, but the VW ads are off just enough to be annoying instead of funny.
I think many of the problems in this country are caused by what is supposed to be one of the great boons of modern life: the constant stream of “information” in the form of what is called “news” that comes at us from all corners. I remember when CNN first came out, everyone was enthralled with the idea of 24 hours of news. “You would never not know about what was happeneing everywhere!” I don’t know what we were thinking. People are getting stupider and even more unable to process information than when humanity was confined to getting their news in stingy dollops at 5 and 11pm, and in dull grey newsprint. And far from making us more secure, the more we find out about what a mess the world is, the worse — as in more insecure and fearful — we feel. Couple this with the average American’s weak grasp of history (a stronger background in which would at least reassure him that the world had always been a shipwreck) and our unusually high level of physical comfort, and the hysterical panic that seized so many people merely observing from afar (through the media) serious situations like New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, or the looting — or half-looting/half-removing-to-putative-safety — of ancient artifacts from the Baghdad Museum during the invasion — is explained.
“Perspective” anyway has become a misused concept. It now means straight middle school students are supposed to worry about what their gay classmates will think about everything.
Solonor links to this woman’s screed against the FCAT. He seemed rather impressed by it, but I wasn’t. I don’t have kids, but I do remember school, and it was bad enough when I was going, in the early years of testing (they had this test called, if I recall correctly, the Florida Literacy Test, which was humiliatingly easy, but they were so anxious about it I felt as if it was being administered by the CIA — the security and secrecy was at a ridiculous level, we had to take the parts of the test at odd times like Saturday at 7am, and the sensation that anyone who flunked it would be dragged off to an undisclosed location and their names inked out of the yearbook was thick); I think if I had to go to school again these days I’d have been put on suicide watch. And I test easy; it’s the boredom, the pointless grayness of bureacratic regulations, the — as the woman does rightly point out — lack of interest in the individual creativity and initiative of each student that the FCAT hysteria has produced. However, her screed goes flat every time she goes off into a moan about how the FCAT can’t measure squishy stuff like the “compassion” inside every student. Well that’s a good thing, because that would be the lowest score in the history of test scores. Looking for compassion in the heart of the average human child is like looking for a rose in a salt mine. I do agree with the writer that there is too much emphasis on sports in schools these days. Phys Ed was my least favorite activity in the entire universe; I actually envied the crippled kids who got to sit out the stupid kickball and softball games. (Now the crippled kids are dragged onto the field along with everyone else.) I had no catching ability (well, my face and stomach both had a great knack for catching balls whether I wanted to or not, but I could not follow through with tossing the object back, as I was usually too busy writhing on the ground in pain), I had all the muscle tone of a boiled egg noodle, and was so afraid of heights I couldn’t stand on a footstool. One year, in junior high, I was so desperate to escape the pointless trap of games I didn’t like and couldn’t play, not to mention activities I was sure were dangerous to my health, such as gymnastics, that I attempted to sign up for an exercise class. I was skinny and short. Guess what class the gym teacher overrode my request in favor that I attend. If you guessed it involved contraptions like parallel bars you guessed right.
My check to the cable company bounced (oopsie) and I got a warning phone call. I expected the cable to finally be turned off today, but it’s still on, so I’m listening to Designed to Sell. (The tv is in the other room.) I’ve become strangely fond of that program, I can’t tell you why. Another more interesting program in the British version, called Trading Up. The most hilarious thing about British homes is the little joke fireplaces many of them have. They look like little hobbit fireplaces, with hearths no bigger than a postcard; how on earth do they heat anything? Also, the rumors you heard about horrible English wallpaper and their bizarre addiction to clashing flower prints is true. Fortunately it seems to finally no longer be in fashion. One thing the hosts on the show do is try, in their own small way, to ameliorate the effects of this decorating disaster. Usually they just paint right over the wallpaper; it always makes me want to cheer.
Phyllis Schlafly is ranty this week: “It is impossible in so short a time to assimilate a hundred million people whose native culture does not respect the Rule of Law, self-government, private property, or the sanctity of contracts, and where they are accustomed to an economy based on bribery and controlled by a small, rich ruling class…” I do agree. The sooner we deport all the liberals to Mexico the better off we’ll be.
More later, perhaps, as the thoughts come to me.