Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Some Thinking Points to End the Month

As February hurtles toward the finish line, here are just a few, random thoughts with which to close the month:

Sometimes celebrity deaths are genuinely sad. I'm going to miss Don Knotts. I know he was 81 when he passed, and so he got to live to a ripe old age. I also know that I never even so much as got to meet him, much less got to know him as a person. But I feel like I have lost a member of my family. And every time I see one of those saucer-eyed formal portraits they keep showing of Knotts on the news, I can't help thinking, "I wish...I wish...I wish I wuz a fish!"

Knotts was an entertainer, and he was a professional. He didn't spend his time shooting his mouth off about politics or chasing women. No matter what role he played, he did it so perfectly that it was impossible even imagining anybody else doing it. And Barney Fife is a classic. It speaks volumes about the decency of his lifelong friend, Andy Griffith, that even though it WAS "The Andy Griffith Show," Barney got most of the laughs. The good of the show, and the joy it gave the viewers, was always both actors' primary concern.

A great many of the folks in the entertainment business are genuinely fine people. My brother-in-law happens to be an actor, and I can certainly vouch for him. He has given my sister nearly thirty years of happy marriage. From every account I have heard, Don Knotts was another good soul.

R.I.P., Barney.

The American people are making fools of themselves over the port controversy.
Okay, so this is yet another of those rare occasions when I find myself actually agreeing with the President. All the outrage about a company from Dubai managing our ports is nothing but racist crap. Them A-rabs, don'cha know, we can't trust 'em. Somethin' about those towels they wear on their heads...and the oily color o' their skin.

This is nonsense. Of course two of the 9-11 highjackers came from the UAE (a fact I missed in an earlier post). But I'll believe we're sincerely outraged when we attack a nation (like Saudi Arabia or Egypt) that can actually defend itself. The other nations from which 9-11 terrorists came are big and strong enough to fight back, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, owns so much of big-corporate America that we have mortgaged our very souls to them. Just watch what happens whenever Bush receives a delegation from the House of Saud. Not only does he hold hands with them, he practically sits on their laps.

Bush didn't even know about the port deal until it had been sealed. And as overseeing port contracts is not Constitutionally a part of his duty, there's absolutely no reason why he should have. Of course what this is, really, is a case of what goes around coming back around to bite him in the ass (Remember, I can still use that word 'til tommorow). He has taken on so many powers that are NOT Constitutionally his that I can see why a lot of people think overseeing the ports deal ought to have been one of them. Moreover, this Administration has stirred the pot of racist hysteria against the Middle East to such a fevered boil that Americans can hardly be blamed for not being able to turn off their paranoia now that it suits Bush and Company for them to do so.

We are a nation of Barney Fifes. The character on those old black-and-white reruns is indeed one of the funniest and most memorable on TV. But in real life, Barney Fifes are not nearly as funny. One of the first things I noticed, as a young tomboy growing up with a lot of male friends, was how insightful The Andy Griffith Show was about the male psyche. There are basically two sorts of guys: Andy Guys and Barney Guys.

Andy Guys are easygoing because they're sure of themselves. They don't need to get cocky about it. They seldom carry their sidearms, but they do okay out on the firing range. They don't brag about their prowess with the ladies, but once Ellie Walker leaves town, they know Helen Crump will come along. And though they're only the sheriff in some podunky little town, they know that when the big case comes along, they can solve it with ease -- and let the deputy take the credit for it besides.

Andy Guys go out and fight in the wars, and they earn most of the medals. But once they've come home, they don't want to talk too much about it (having actually done something worth bragging about, they feel no need to brag). When the time comes for a younger generation to go to war, the Andys are the ones reluctant to send anybody else unless they absolutely must. And even if they have been tortured themselves, they don't want to see it happen to another human being. John McCain and John Murtha are Andy Guys. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are classic real-life, un-funny, non-sitcom Barneys.

The whole damn country has been taken over by Barney Fifes. Too piss-in-their knickers cowardly to go and serve their country in actual combat, they strut and preen stateside from sea to shining sea about how brave they are to have an opinion about the war that costs them absolutely nothing and causes them no conceivable risk. I really liked Don Knotts in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." It isn't so funny when a passel of trembly, bony, bug-eyed pencil-necks are sending teenaged boys and girls overseas to kill and be killed so that they themselves can feel like heroes for "supporting the troops." C'mon, guys, I know it doesn't take much, anymore, to feel like a real man even when you aren't one, but this is far, FAR more pathologically pathetic than simply feeling like a star quarterback because your NFL team won the game.

And it was funny, in black and white, when Barney proclaimed the storekeeper a Christian of lesser piety than his own because the fellow didn't know the words to "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." It's considerably less amusing when live-and-in-living-color Barneys smugly assume themselves better Christians than others because they happened to be born heterosexual. The very fact that heterosexuality has been enshrined as such a cardinal virtue is actually a grim sign of how far into the moral abyss our country has fallen.

It isn't all that difficult to understand what Christian morality is. Jesus actually took the trouble of telling us in plain language. The difficulty is that darnit, we just don't want to do what He told us to do. How much easier simply to gunk up the whole works by replacing the genuine teachings of Christ with a bunch of rules that are rigged in the favor of those who make them.

Anti-gay Christians, in particular, interpret Biblical moral teaching differently for themselves than they do for gays and lesbians. They are "no longer under the law, but under grace" -- and, therefore, no longer bound by the Holiness Code of the Old Testament. What they evidently missed, in their spotty, shoddy, sloppy, disrespecful, hypocritical reading of Scripture, is that Jesus said we will each be judged by the standard with which we have judged others. On the Day of Judgment, those "Christians" who have used the Old Testament Holiness Code to judge other people will find themselves judged according to that Code. They will not be able to avail themselves of any "grace" they refuse to extend to others.

Back to Barney. At heart, the character was a really good guy. And at any rate, as Andy Griffith has taken great pains to point out, Don Knotts was NOT Barney Fife. He was a very intelligent and insightful actor, who knew his character to a degree that Barney never dared to know himself. From what I have heard about him, it seems that Mr. Knotts, himself, was very much an Andy Guy (who, it must also be mentioned, ACTUALLY DID serve his country in World War II -- and brought home a few medals, to boot).

When we watch our old "Andy Griffith" reruns, we feel at home in Mayberry. We are with people who remind us of ourselves -- usually in a comfortable sense, but sometimes far less so. There have, in fact, been few shows in TV history more insightful about the human condition. All over the country, actual Bible studies have formed using the show as their basis. We can learn a lot more from Andy and Barney (and Opie, Aunt Bee, Goober, Gomer and all the rest) than, perhaps, we ever imagined.

Before we take the shiny bullet out of our pocket and shoot ourselves in the foot with it over issues like gay marriage or port contracts with a company in Dubai, let's just take a breather and watch another episode or two of Barney.

TV Land is having an Andy Griffith Show mini-marathon, tonight, in honor of Don Knotts. I'll be right there with Thelma Lou, and a great, big pan of cashew fudge.


At 8:48 PM, Blogger chancuff said...

As most who attended the rally know, I was there. After the dust had cleared created by some moonbat among the bootmurtha crowd who called in a fake police report that a fight had broken out, Larry Bailey came out to speak with me.

I complimented him from the bottom of my heart for the contributions he has made to our country's national security while he was serving active duty in the US Navy.

He made it clear my request to speak would not happen. He then proceeded to suggest he has no memory of the email he wrote me on 8/20/2006 2:59:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time stating that our current Commander in Chief made stupid mistakes in Iraq.

Larry then proceeded to illustrate stupid mistakes made in passed wars. After he mentioned 3 or 4 examples I interjected that there is a difference between those wars and this one.

In the past it took weeks, months, sometimes years for mistakes to be discovered and reported. Today is the information age where mistakes are reported within hours of their occurrence. I reminded him this war was still going on. I also reminded him of the glaring mistakes he had acknowledged President Bush had made in Iraq, and our respective use of the Internet to support our respective views and that is where our conversation ended.

I waited outside the Arena with a Johnstown police officer who had stayed behind after the bootmurtha hysterics caused 3 squad cars and a sergeant to arrive with sirens blaring. I was debating Steeler football with him when a motorcycle officer stopped by, who had been inside. When I asked how many were inside he said, "not many at all" When I asked "500?", he responded, "na ... well maybe 500, at most."

At the end of the event when Larry Bailey came out for a photo op next to the bootmurtha.com sign on the sidewalk outside the War Memorial Arena. I handed Larry the speech I had waited to deliver. He put it in his outside left coat pocket.

This is my speech Larry Bailey has in his coat pocket ... the words he was not man enough to let me say:

"Please join me in Prayer.

Heavily father we pray today for you to continue to protect the men and women of the armed forces of the United States and other countries who are in harms way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries throughout the world. We thank them and their families for their sacrifices.

We pray for the souls of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all wars. We pray for strength and courage for the POWs and MIAs and those held hostage.

We pray for protection and safety of relief workers helping those in need.

We pray for the protection of children and innocent civilians. Lord we especially pray for our nation and our leaders."

Below you will find the press release that went out on October 29th of this year.

CONTACT: Cliff Hancuff
September 29, 2006 (202) 247-1418

"American troops could be home now, except for critical mistakes made by our current Commander in Chief," charges Cliff Hancuff, Director of The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too.

"Media and right-wing bloggers are ignoring this fact. For weeks I have been challenging political activists and journalists to act with a minimum of ethical standards," continued Hancuff.

"I became involved when the Sun-Sentinel in Florida reported that Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said the U.S. poses the top threat to world peace. I watched in dismay as the media and bloggers worldwide reported on this misquote."

"My involvement continued when I discovered Diana Irey, John Murtha's political opponent, had attacked Murtha using a fictional quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln."

"Larry Bailey of bootmurtha.com is continuing his three year blind support of our current Commander in Chief's incompetence in war. President Bush declared war in Iraq without the 4th Infantry, our most lethal, modern, and deployable heavy division in the world," added Hancuff.

This mistake lead to the atrocity of Al Qaqaa. Iraqi insurgents stole hundreds of tons of high explosives to be used as weaponry.

"These are the explosives being used by Iraqi insurgents and al Qaeda to perpetuate the war in Iraq."

"I am distressed that the same issues ignored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004 are being ignored again in 2006," said Hancuff adding, "Americans, American soldiers, and their families deserve better."

"Without these critical mistakes made by our current Commander in Chief, our American troops would be home with their loved ones, with honor, right now."

On October 1, 2006 Hancuff be at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena located in Johnstown Pennsylvania for Larry Bailey's Swiftboating of John Murtha rally. It is there Hancuff will continue his wait for Mr. Bailey to recall the values of honor and integrity taught him by our US Navy.

There is a youtube.com video online at:

YouTube - Rovian Architecture Unplugged


The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too
(202) 247-1418



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