Being born and raised in what some would call a religious cult, we had rules about everything. One of them was,“Thou shalt not go to the movies”. For one reason and one reason only, I was fine with that one. Why? Because I believed everything I was taught about the Devil, Evil and that yes, things do go bump in the night. Fear was palpable and the last thing I needed was to slip into a theater for the express purpose of putting myself in the cross-hairs of Stephen King, Wes Craven or James Herbert. Wasn’t going to happen.
Rick, on the other hand, loves nothing more than a good horror film. For years he had to beg and cajole me to move off my mountain. “Ah come on. It’ll be fun”
What he meant was, ‘I can’t wait to start laughing hysterically the first time you jump out of your seat’.
Ain’t love grand?
Here’s the kicker. In seeing me stepping way outside my comfort zone, he was charitable enough to let me in on a little secret that helped him keep the horror in perspective.
“Whenever you see something scary, just remember that there are all kinds of cameras, lights and crew people walking around eating doughnuts and all of it is just out of the shot…it’s a movie.”
Yes, from time to time I still want to slap the grin off his face and into next week when I jump, but begrudgingly I will admit his advice has helped. With my new perspective, I feel like I’m on an episode of The People’s Couch when the movie music goes ominous as the scene cuts to hapless group of teenagers approaching a darkened cabin in the middle of a rainstorm and their leader, usually a high school quarterback, says, “I know. Let’s split up…I’ll go check out back”.
I firmly believe the guy lying in wait with an ax in the woodshed is wearing a mask for a reason. He’s showing us his true self.
As I came to grips with who I was, I experienced hate and ignorance. There is no special merit in it. We all have been…in different flavors and circumstance, on the receiving end of sanctioned stupidity. We all know what it looks like because we’ve all looked it in the face. We may not be able to name it, but our recognition of it is instantaneous. Here are a few more facial exhibits for your viewing pleasure:
This past Tuesday saw long lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots in the presidential primaries in Maricopa County (Arizona). That’s good, right? Democracy in action!
In the 2012 Primaries, 300,000 people in the county had voted at nearly 200 polling places. This year, the number of voters was estimated at 800,000 but the number of polling places was reduced to 60 sites…a 70% reduction.
To put the stats in context, The Arizona Republic reported across the state, there was on average, a polling place for every 2,500 eligible voters. But in Maricopa County (with significant Latino and Native American populations) there was one site for every 21,000 voters.
Not surprisingly, people either waited the three-to-five hours in line or they gave up and went home – uncounted. Faces in the crowd.
Helen Purcell, Maricopa County’s Recorder, was asked by a Fox reporter: “Just to start, obviously you’ve heard of all the frustration. Who is to blame for this, these long lines?”
“Well, the voters for getting in line…maybe us for not having enough voting places.”
There’s more to the story and to that end, I’ve included plenty of source material in Attributions to get you started if you want to read more about it. But let’s move on.
In other news, we hear a great deal about the States wanting to take more control back from Washington DC because ‘they’re closer to the people’. Fair enough. If Truth is stranger than Fiction, let’s look at another mask…this one in North Carolina.
“DURHAM, N.C.—The North Carolina General Assembly called lawmakers back to Raleigh on Wednesday for a special session. The reason wasn’t a pressing budget crisis, a natural disaster, or court-mandated redistricting. (That happened last month.)
Instead, legislators returned to the state house to overrule a local ordinance in Charlotte banning discrimination against LGBT people.
A bill written for that purpose passed Wednesday evening and was signed by Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican. In the House, every Republican and 11 Democrats backed the bill. In the Senate, Democrats walked out when a vote was called, resulting in a 32-0 passage by Republicans.
The law not only overturns Charlotte’s ban: It also prevents any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s.”
North Carolina’s governor immediately called a press conference within hours of the bill’s passage so he could be seen signing what the General Assembly had done into law. The face of law and order. Sleep well.
I’ve been told by the Supreme Court not to worry about voter suppression…racism, much less institutionally sanctioned racism because some say it does not exist anymore…that our Country has changed (e.g. Justice Roberts opinion in Shelby County v. Holder in June of 2014).
I’ve been told that all men are created equal (United States Declaration of Independence – 1776). And I know I can be fired from my job for being gay just like my brothers and sisters in North Carolina.
Another face. Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the State of Texas has reduced funding for women’s health to the point where more than 155,000 woman have been left without access to cervical cancer screenings or mammograms. I’m no economist, but do you really think that Texas legislators have done something that is going to reduce health care costs for Texans going forward?
Other faces see families tossed on the sea of a broken immigration system. This week, Muslim Americans listened as those who wish to lead us talked about instituting increased patrols in their neighborhoods in order to protect ‘us’ (e.g. anyone who is not ‘them’).
There’s an old African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”...which brings me back to North Carolina.
The General Assembly in North Carolina anticipated a speedy signature by the governor. What they did not anticipate was the swift reaction from the business community.
In fairly short order, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Google, DOW chemical, The Walt Disney Companies, BioGen, Facebook, PayPal, Apple, Bank of America, the NCAA, Lowes, ESPN and American Airlines were some of the first to speak out against the move. Better faces.
Remember ‘Sad Grandpa’, the man who made burgers for his grand kids and only one showed up?
This week, word went out that Kenneth “Papaw” Harmon was having a barbecue and everyone was invited. With ‘I ate a burger with Papaw” t-shirts for sale and burgers at $2 apeice, Cosmopolitan magazine reported, “Hundreds of people from around the country — yes, the entire country — showed up at Papaw’s house to eat hamburgers with him. At only 16 minutes into the cookout, over 100 people had already arrived, and it only grew from there.” Faces full.
If the whole country takes note at what happened in Maricopa County, I have reason to believe November will be handled better (with or without the Justice Department).
When business leaders let Governor McCrory know they have a stake in what happens in his state, I’m encouraged.
When some people who’ve never met him will drive hundreds of miles to have a burger with Papaw, I’m downright ecstatic.
Face it. From Brussels to ballot boxes, it all boils down to being there for each other. I think being a good citizen starts as simply as being the one who pays it forward after the guy at the grocery made it a point to remember your name and say ‘hi’ the next time you were there.
Knowing there are people who don’t even know me willing to fight for many of the things I believe in is an amazing glimmer into what our Future can be. Knowing we don’t even agree on a lot of other things makes it remarkable.
Yes, right now, American politics feel like a bad horror movie. But ask Papaw. It may have been a long time since Lexington and Concord, but there is always hope for a more perfect Union as long as all of us are out there walking around, just out of frame, ready to show up for each other when it matters.
So when you see something scary this week, remember. Face. Good face. Our face.
Garry Emmanuel Shandling
November 29, 1949 – March 24, 2016
“Garry Shandling, the pioneering cable TV star and writer whose turn as a self-doubting talk-show host on HBO‘s “The Larry Sanders Show” during the 1990s helped redefine the television sitcom, has died. He was 66.
The Chicago-born Shandling died Thursday in Los Angeles of a heart attack, spokesman Alan Nierob said.
Shandling was among a generation of comics who helped revolutionize TV comedy by casting aside the setup-punchline mechanics of the traditional network sitcom and exploring characterization more deeply. Like his contemporary David Letterman, Shandling had little patience for show business conventions, which he found worthy of ridicule. Unlike Letterman, he never earned the brass ring of his own network talk show, even though he was a frequent guest host on “The Tonight Show” and was at one time, along with Letterman and Joan Rivers, a leading contender to replace Johnny Carson, who retired in 1992. That job ultimately went to Jay Leno.
Instead, Shandling reached his greatest career pinnacle as Larry Sanders, a host of a fictional talk show who was caught in an awkward, passive-aggressive dance with everyone in his sphere, including his on-air sidekick Hank “Hey Now” Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor). “Larry Sanders,” which aired on HBO from 1992 to 1998, pushed the boundaries by featuring real celebrities in sometimes less-than-flattering cameos (often discussing real projects), having Shandling directly address the audience and refer not-so-subtly to his own problems and — especially controversial at the time — doing away with a laugh track.”
By Scott Collins, The Los Angeles Times, March 24th, 2016 – 7PM: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-garry-shandling-died-66-20160324-story.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garry_Shandling; PHOTO: http://starcasm.net/archives/19488
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Oscar Wilde quote: From THE CRITIC AS ARTIST–WITH SOME REMARKS UPON THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCUSSING EVERYTHING – in A DIALOGUE: Part II. Persons: the same (Gilbert and Ernest). Scene: the same (library of a house in Piccadilly, overlooking the Green Park) from THE CRITIC AS ARTIST – WITH SOME REMARKS UPON THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCUSSING EVERYTHING http://www.online-literature.com/wilde/1305/ Graphic (SOURCE): Graphic (SOURCE): http://img10.deviantart.net/dbdc/i/2011/071/e/8/oscar_wilde_quote_by_softerthanstarlight-d3bius6.jpg; The People’s Couch: http://www.bravotv.com/the-peoples-couch; Maricopa SOURCES: http://www.rawstory.com/2016/03/watch-az-recorder-refuses-to-take-blame-for-5-hour-waits-after-cutting-polling-places-from-200-to-60/; http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/maricopa-official-i-apologized-to-voters-651934275875;; http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/03/25/democrats-republicans-blame-election-disaster/82230772/?hootPostID=a5b616cda5367bf47ddbcc5eec439d87; http://billsinsider.com/2016/03/25/107648-maricopa-county-election-administrator-backtracks-after/; http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2016/03/25/3763198/arizona-voting-debacle/ PICS: Maricopa Voting Lines Photo_David Kadlubowski_The Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/03/25/democrats-republicans-blame-election-disaster/82230772/; Helen Purcell Maricopa County Recorder: http://news.yahoo.com/photos/march-21-2016-photo-maricopa-county-recorder-helen-photo-213203912.html Charlotte SOURCES: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/north-carolina-lgbt-discrimination-transgender-bathrooms/475125/; http://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/north-carolina-lgbt-discrimintion#.maz19xG402; http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/24/news/companies/lgbt-bill-north-carolina/index.html; http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2016/03/26/3763715/san-francisco-north-carolina-nondiscrimination/; http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/article67970287.html; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/24/north-carolina-lgbt-rights-wiped-out-with-lie-that-boys-could-use-girls-bathrooms.html; PIC: The Atlantic and their story on LGBT rights and the North Carolina General Assembly: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/north-carolina-lgbt-discrimination-transgender-bathrooms/475125/; Supreme Court and the Voting Rights Act of 1965: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/republican-voting-rights-supreme-court-id; Texas Woman’s Rights: https://rewire.news/article/2014/02/28/orwellian-doublespeak-texas-womens-health-care/; http://rooseveltinstitute.org/gop-taking-texas-womens-health-crisis-national/; Pawpa SOURCES: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/news/a55863/sad-grandpa-cookout/; http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/sad-grandpas-cookout-brings-in-hundreds-to-eat-a-burger-with-papaw-w200350, PIC: Hundreds gather for Papaw: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hundreds-attend-cookout-hosted-sad-papaw-kenny-harmon-article-1.2579130; Closing photo: Baby Face on wood backgound: http://www.bhmpics.com/view-baby_face_and_wood_background-1920×1080.html
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