Justin Lack's Nutcracker
A couple weeks ago, prior to my Simmons/Olbermann article, I promised my drummer friend Justin (via Facebook), "I'm gonna post your video on the blog as soon as I post anything else on the blog." Well time passed. I posted something else on the blog. But no Justin video. So I'm rectifying this problem by sharing with my loyal army of readers (or as I like to call them "An Army of One" - RIMSHOT) Justin Lack's rendition of The Nutcracker. But first, I have to make a call to arms. At this time Justin's video only has 874 views. Also on YouTube is a 48 second, horribly recorded drum solo by the talentless Beatle, Ringo Starr. View count? 25,550. What a travesty. I won't say it's the worst video on YouTube, but given my druthers, I'd rather be listening to a skipping version of the bass intro to Weezer's "Only in Dreams" at max volume and through a blown out subwoofer. And I'd certainly rather be listening to Justin Lack's Nutcracker. In a fair and just world, the view totals for these two videos would be reversed. So I'm asking all of you kindly, please view this video. Let's, at the very least, get the view count up to 4 figures. Now enjoy.
The American People
I'm going to keep the words this week to a minimum, instead ceding my voice to those of more accomplished men. But briefly, I just wanted to share why I'm broaching this subject. On account of last night's passage of h.r. 3200, or "Obama-care", or whatever you care to call it, TV viewers like myself got to experience local news crews hitting the streets in search of the opinions of the everyman. And I ask, is there anything more painful? Can any of you, accurately and in detail, explain to me how this bill is going to change your life when it's enacted? I sure can't. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what exactly "individual mandate" implies or how much the poor can receive in subsidies and how much coverage that will equal. Even the summaries that try to simplify this shit are mired in complicated language and vagueness. So why oh why, local news, are you giving some asshole in a diner the soapbox to say remarkably stupid shit? Just last night, FOX Chicago sticks a mic in the face of some dipshit who shouts, "What they SHOULD do is fix the ECONOMY...then people could afford their OWN HEALTH CARE." Wonderful thesis, sir. Just fix the economy. That's brilliant. Why didn't I think of that?? Ugh. The news is the goddamn bill, not what Jim from Bridgeport thinks about it. Furthermore, fuck Jim from Bridgeport. And all the other ignorant, uninformed pieces of shit who don't have the good sense to shut the fuck up when they have nothing to say.
Amongst these ignorant and uninformed pieces of shit were a handful of passengers on the suburban Pace bus I was riding today. With my headphones on and the volume of my podcast (Doug Benson's "I Love Movies") loud enough to hear over the engine noise, initially I was undistracted by the angry ramblings of my fellow passengers. But eventually these folks would be heard and it was time for ole Jack to do some eavesdropping. The topic? You guessed it. Health care.
Any time you come across these impromptu debates amongst common folk, there is very little variation. Those involved, like preprogrammed drones, take on whichever talking points sound best to them. With health care it's generally as follows.
- Everyone should have the right to health care.
- How are they gonna pay for it?
- I don't want socialized medicine.
- The government doesn't get anything right, what makes you think they'll do this right?
- All these pricks care about is money.
The list goes on. And I'm not saying these are false premises or questions. However, the point is that people, through repetition and conditioning, eventually pick up on these extremely basic talking points and little else. And what results are these god awful shouting matches between angry people who seem to put more stock in being heard than being informed. Today's bus ride was no different. And for that matter, neither was Thanksgiving dinner.
What kills me most about this is the massive divide between this population of Americans and "the American people" as portrayed by politicians and pundits. Sensible, intelligent, active. It's the stuff of myth. Politicians speak about this "American people" so frequently that it almost breezes past you. We don't even consider what it's supposed to mean or what the intended effect of this language is.
Watch this video of Barack Obama with Jay Leno.
Without watching this critically, all there is to see is the typical, light-weight late night interview with a politician. But critically, it's pure political expediency. Can you imagine if Obama's words in this interview were literal? Can you imagine if he actually wanted to open up the White House to the everyman? To Jim from Bridgeport or the loud-mouth bus riders? What a nightmare that would be.
Ideally, we'd live in a smarter country with a more invested and educated public. But we don't. We live in the country that Bill Maher describes in the following video.
And the one George Carlin describes in this one.
And the notion that any of this stuff is ever going to change seems far-fetched at best. But what can you do? If I had the answer I'd probably be doing more with my life. But maybe if we were a bit more honest with ourselves it would be a good start. We are NOT the greatest country in the world. We have flaws, as everyone else has flaws. We are largely fat. We are largely uninformed. And instead of doubling down on the hollow pride and on the noise, maybe we should all try to be a little bit better.