Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, October 02, 2017

So much freedom....


The horror of the shooting in Las Vegas can't overshadow the horror of conditions on Puerto Rico:

By Saturday, 11 days after Hurricane Maria crippled this impoverished U.S. territory, residents scrambled for all the staples of modern society – food, water, fuel, medicine, currency – in a grinding survival struggle that has gripped Puerto Ricans across social classes.

For days now, residents have awoken each morning to decide which lifeline they should pursue: gasoline at the few open stations, food and bottled water at the few grocery stores with fuel for generators, or scarce cash at the few operating banks or ATMs. The pursuit of just one of these essentials can consume an entire day – if the mission succeeds at all – as hordes of increasingly desperate residents wait in 12-hour lines.

The story that opens that article is about a grandson who drives 45 minutes to a Wal-Mart where 400 people stand in line hoping to get in. He's there to get blood thinner medications for his grandmother.  The generator fails and the store closes before he can get what he came for.  If Geraldo Rivera can't find anyone dying in Puerto Rico 11 days after the storm hit, he just needs to wait a bit longer.  According to the Pentagon:

“Forty-five percent of customers have access to drinking water. Ninety-five percent of customers remain without power; power has been restored to San Juan airport and marine terminals,” the statement said.
A lot of those people are going to get sick, and some may die before they can be treated; or die regardless, but will they do so in front of Rivera so he can decide what caused it?

So what did Trump do yesterday, before extending "warmest condolences" to the families of shooting victims in Las Vegas?

 “On behalf of all the people in Texas and all of the people of ― if you look today and you see what’s happening, how horrible it is, but we have it under really great control ― Puerto Rico, and the people of Florida who have suffered over this last short period of time with the hurricanes. I want to just remember them,” Trump said.

“And we’re going to dedicate this trophy to all of those people that went through so much that we love, a part of our great state, really a part of our great nation,” he added, before pivoting to talking about golf. “And I’ll tell you what ― I’ve been watching this thing from the beginning. And I have to say, our Team USA, wow, did you play well.”

With those words he awarded the President's Cup at a golf tournament.

These things will be driven out of the headlines, for a while.  No matter; our attention to them is not important; it's the President's attention that's important, and it seems clearer and clearer his attention is directed by cable news, not by briefings from his staff.

 Trump has a different philosophy, however, and spent the post-storm Saturday glued to his television and letting the hosts of Fox & Friends drag him into an ill-advised Twitter spat with NFL stars.
"Fox & Friends" covered this story at 8:24am. Banner: "Curry Wants to Skip White House Visit." Trump tweeted at 8:45. https://t.co/hVN7qnRwyy— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 23, 2017

Because Trump wasn’t paying attention, the situation evolved into a catastrophe. And because the situation evolved into a catastrophe, it eventually ended up on television.

The Washington Post reports that by Monday, Trump “was becoming frustrated by the coverage he was seeing on TV.”
 If it ain't on cable TeeVee, it ain't real to Trump.

Perhaps at least we won't be treated to any more episodes like this:

Before the performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at today’s game between the Ravens and Steelers, the P.A. announcer at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore asked fans to join and “pray that we as a nation embrace kindness, unity, equality, and justice for all Americans.” When players knelt to observe the prayer, a cascade of boos rained down upon them from the stands.
We can allow people access to automatic weapons; we cannot allow people to kneel on football fields.  So much freedom, I'm getting sick of all the freedom.

1 Comments:

Blogger The Thought Criminal said...

One of the problems is that people use words like "freedom" and "rights" without any real thought as to what those mean, individually and when people live in societies, as easily close to 100% of us do. In the United States it went from free to do what is right to free to do what "I" want (can't do 60 point characters in comments so I used quotes).

Turning the narcissistic interpretation of "freedom" "rights" and other things into a fetish, as has been done in the civil liberties industry of lawyers and judges has been a disaster for the United States. That idea has been popularized by movies and TV and pop culture to the extent that even when a large majority of Americans favors restrictions on guns, it can't be had even as the gun industry, the NRA and the Republicans on the Supreme Court knocked down any attempt to protect us from insane people. Our country has been driven insane by that notion of rights.

I've been reading a lot about Holmes and am finding he was more detestable, his legal realism pseudo-scientific clap trap than my previous reading had led me to thinking. From what I can see it was largely a matter of his adherence to a particularly odious cult of masculinity, perhaps in reaction to his poet father? I think that he was more than a little attracted to violence and scornful of things like mercy and kindness which he dismissed as "sentimental" due to his concept of manliness. I think it also has more than a little to do with his scientism, his materialism, his support for imperialism and his opposition to regulation of corporations. His Darwinism was out of the pleasure of a man in a clean, white collar, affluent way of life derives from contemplating the murders of people he disdains because of what he sees as their weakness and their inferiority to someone like him. At least that last part is my conclusion. I don't think those are unrelated to our current problem with the gun cult, the gun industry and the current fascist majority on the Supreme Court.

I'm also struck that in many ways Holmes gave permission to the legal profession to practice a kind of post-modernist rejection of reason and, oddly enough, meaning in pursuit of a pseudo-scientific status for the law. I think he practiced the common folly of deification of science by those who aren't able to pursue science, by his time elevated to the highest position previously held by things like theology and poetry.

Anyway, that's what I have after being too troubled to sleep.

3:51 AM  

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