Friday, January 18, 2013

Depreciation in Appreciation – Gun Appreciation Day

Which is larger, the caliber or the IQ?
The Most Imbecilic Idea for a Celebratory Commemoration to Ever Arise from the Rapidly Regressing Grey Matter of the Far Right

How to Insult and Hurt the Victims and the Families of American Gun Violence

A Completely Non-Partisan and Utterly Objective Commentary

“To give the victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary” – Abraham Lincoln

“What a wonder is a gun!
What a versatile invention!
First of all, when you've a gun
Everybody pays attention.

And all you have to do
Is move you little finger,
Move your little finger and
You can change the world.” – Stephen Sondheim

“I’ll be a son of a gun” – Joey Bishop

A coalition of conservative organizations (time travelers from a long-ago epoch, modern-day scientists estimate their era of origin to fall somewhere between the 15th and 17th centuries) have declared Saturday, June 19, 2013 to be the premiere - and should intelligence, logic, compassion, concern, sense and sensibility, or even Pride and Prejudice hold sway - the final, "Gun Appreciation Day.” Those behind this firearm-folly felt it of utmost importance to organize rapidly in relation to the tragic and horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut, so as to inflict as much pain, suffering and sorrow upon that day’s survivors and victim family members. In arms-owning solidarity and with the sincere belief that it is the God-given and Constitutional right (the Bible and the Constitution being, of course, interchangeable texts, particularly to those who have neither read nor understood either) for Caucasian, Christian, Conservative males (real Americans) to possess limitless weaponry, armaments and ammunition allowing the ability to commit as many Columbines, Auroras and Newtowns that they and they alone (with noteworthy contributions from the great minds of the Right such as Limbaugh, Palin, Bachmann, Goehmert, Joe the Plumber, Larry the Cable Guy and the cast of Honey Boo Boo) deem necessary to preserve their freedoms and liberties from the America-hating, anti-Christ, Kenyan-born, Muslim, Atheist, Socialist, Communist, Nazi presently in illegal residence in the people’s White House and his second term agenda to destroy our Republic, institute Sharia Law, kill our Grandmothers, take our guns, program television and movies solely with product from the Tyler Perry canon, legalize only gay marriage, make abortions and marijuana mandatory, disband the military, incinerate the original copy of the Constitution in a primetime Christmas Day special on BET, replace all statues, busts and prehistoric cave paintings with images of himself,  have all Bibles reprinted so that the name Barack Hussein Obama replaces that of Jesus Christ and, needless to say, declare himself Emperor and Deity for eternity.  On January 19th, an army of the indignant, insensitive and ignorant are to sally forth from gun show to gun range to gun store, cash and credit card firmly in fist, with a message of violence and bloodshed for all, that Conservative perception of what is the true manifestation of American greatness and sustainability, and to share the joyful message of pistols before people, Berettas before boys, Glocks before girls and Lugers before life.

Famous American Idiot and current Hades inhabitant who held an NRA rally in  Denver only 11 days after Columbine - believed he needed guns as protection from "damn, dirty apes!"
Does a day set aside in celebration of mankind's most popular and most prolific apparatus of death and destruction seem something an enlightened, considerate or contemplative culture condones? It has been just slightly over a month since the sickening scene at Sandy Hook and in that short period of time there have been over 1000 additional gun deaths in the United States. Guns may be a necessary evil but they are not an item of appreciation or celebration, rather a presence and need we must sadly tolerate. Other instruments of injury and fatality, so often elicited in debate - the car, the knife, the baseball bat, the crowbar – exist for other primary purposes, any resulting casualty occurs through accident or malicious misuse.  The gun has but one purpose, it exists to do one thing, it is manufactured and sold and marketed for one reason – to kill – not really cause for a national day of praise, worship and rejoice. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Never has a more simpleminded phrase ever been muttered, and perhaps, never has one so effectively reached and harmed so many.  People with guns kill people. In a very unusual confluence of occurrences, on December 14, 2012, the very day of the Sandy Hook shootings, a deranged, knife-wielding madman went on a violent rampage in China attacking 22 children, fortunately all survived.  The weapon comparison and tally – the knife results in not a single death, the semi-automatic Bushmaster .223 rifle regrettably results in 26. Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people, and people with automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons kill large numbers of people proficiently and speedily.  Has it ever before been tradition to fete tools of torture and terror? Does one recall the childhood respite from the classroom when we praised and partied in humble honor of the guillotine, the mace, the lethal injection, or that classic bit of festiveness and frivolity – “Drawn and Quartered Appreciation Day?” 

Happy Mace Day! God Bless Us Everyone.

 Don’t fret over your freedoms, lose it over your liberties or even sulk over your self-determination or sovereignties, no one in this country is trying to overturn the second amendment and take your guns – not even the guy in 1600 who’s foreign name and atypical hue (to you) so disturbs your digestion and disrupts your domesticity; keep those single-shot muskets every day that you’re an active member of a regulated militia, just as the Founding Fathers intended. But remember that such responsibility requires reasonability and restraint, for  even when employed for the most noblest of reasons  - to defend, to save a life, to free a people, the ensuing consequence may be necessary, but never anything to desire or celebrate -  or even appreciate. Perhaps the true appreciation that grateful American citizens should feel, regarding our nation’s unnatural and irrational religious fervor toward firearms, is that we currently are blessed with a President and Vice President with the courage, understanding and compassion to see children’s lives, and a nation’s and generation’s health and future as being of greater importance than the generous financial felicity of the NRA, gun lobby and related special interest groups.

In musical conclusion, a combination almost as ill-conceived and perilous as the pairing of Wayne LaPierre and the gun manufacturers, Frank Sinatra performs the Sonny Bono composition, “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" -

Saturday, January 5, 2013

An American Girl – A Yuletide Postscript

A Curious Co-Mingling of Christmas, Country and Kahlua

“Well she was an American girl,
Raised on promises,
She couldn't help thinkin'
That there was a little more to life somewhere else” – Tom Petty

Sometimes you just never know from whence inspiration will arise (excellent, pretentious prose prevails despite the prolonged posting pause).  Today’s tale is of this photograph, origin unknown, and of a generally joyous holiday whose spirit can oftimes be elusive and grueling to grasp;  and how this seemingly unrelated pairing coalesced in a most usual way in this most unusual time in which we all live and persevere (“It's a most unusual time, I keep feeling my temperature climb. If my heart won't behave in the usual way, well, there's only one thing to say - It's a most unusual day.”) Upon initial glance, it was clear that there was something to be explored in this picture, some material to be mined from the intriguing image. That it would lead to both a heartwarming Christmas account (meaning, thoughts on Christmas as opposed to a Christmas Club Account, that is), as well as a sharing of patriotic bravado and a unique interpretation of how American Exceptionalism may be manifested, is a bit surprising, and hopefully not too severe of a stretch for the cerebellum. Most likely, the coming conjecture is but a reflection of the inner-workings of only one man’s mind, so I beg indulgence and no minor patience.  Allow me some leeway and some rope, follow the twists and turns and leaps of logic and let us journey jointly - through holiday spirit and the lack thereof; through Americana of a nature unrealized in our previously, equal parts iconic, imaginary and illusory, Norman Rockwell existence;  and through the people’s portal of 1600 to the residence of the current Commander in Chief whose distinctly American biography, whose authentic rags to riches story and whose legitimate connection to his constituency, as he rose from those very ranks, sets him apart from most who preceded him in far more tangible and significant ways than just the obvious darker skin tone that so dis-endears him to, and aggravates and irritates the impenetrable, padlocked and minute minds of the Tea Party and Far Right Neanderthals (and once again, nycityman forfeits even the most slimmest of hopes of garnering any readership in red states.)

"Oh Miss Crabtree..."

A Christmas Valentine to Whomever that Young Lady May Be – Making Much Ado About Nothing

I have come to love this picture, this picture whose innocuousness is surpassed only by its silliness, and to have such powerful and devout sentiment toward it, appears both illogical and nonsensical, and so a bit of explanation.  Any reader who has perused previous prattlings from the prodigious past catalog of “… and several butcher’s aprons” may have very correctly concluded that nycityman is often not much of a “people person.”  Fondness towards my fellow homo-sapiens does not always come as easy as to a puppy, a person of ill-repute, or a pandering politician. When graciously invited to a special event, the unappreciative essential query will most-times be, “okay, but are there gonna’ be other people there?” with the probable follow-up, "I'm not going to have to talk to anybody, am I?"  Now, neither an ogre, nor a hermit I be, I curry companionship, I favor friends, I don’t dwell within the darkest recesses of the shadows of the night (not primarily) - there are those few to whom I’m close and love like a remarkable Rioja Reserva, the episode of “The Little Rascals” when Jackie and Chubby woo Miss Crabtree or a fresh out of the package pair of boxer briefs (don’t judge me, sometimes it’s the simple things.) However, when in attendance and conversation at one of the aforementioned “are there gonna’ be other people there” social soirees, is it really my dutiful responsibility to recall all the of the imaginative monikers of your progeny flock, as well as academic institutions attended, years they have preciously inhabited our beloved terra firma, and the ostensibly infinite inventory of their impressive accomplishments in life? In reality, I’ve very likely been faking my way through your name all evening whilst, during our tete a tete, daydreaming about an unlikely chance encounter  between Katherine Jenkins, Freema Agyema and myself, or perhaps pondering just how far in the competition a really well-trained horse might go on “Dancing with the Stars.” And so it went,  until this un-credited photograph appeared on Facebook - the honesty in her reaction, the excitement, the lack of formality with the leader of the free world and now forever a figure in history, the silliness and the playfulness, the fact that her pose of choice for a photograph that will live for generations in her family was this one articulating “oh my God, check this out, I can’t believe this!” and the sincere and obvious joy and amusement conveyed by our President’s countenance originally entertained me then, unexpectedly, filled me with affection toward people. You.  And you, in the representation of this very American girl, helped demonstrate, in some albeit, extremely unintended and indirect way - a spirit of Christmas.


A New American Exceptionalism?

And still, there’s more to it. This is an image captured on film, or as a jpeg, that is utterly, patently and only American. This is modern day Norman Rockwell. This is casualness between citizen and leader not seen in many, if not any, other parts of the world - it wouldn’t be allowed and certainly considered improper protocol and, perhaps even, criminal behavior. Nycityman holds much fondness and affection for our sister city of London, and much respect for the history and traditions of the United Kingdom, but there will never come a day when the Daily Mail touts a shot of Queen Elizabeth is such a setting, arms entwined with a royal subject.  And what of that setting - just what is this somewhat, seedy-appearing locale? Was our President mere moments away from a dive into a mosh pit? Was he called in to an after-hours joint to bail-out Biden after a brawl? Or was Barack Obama simply getting himself another new tat - Mitt Romney on his left bicep to accompany the McCain on his right? 

If there is such a thing as American Exceptionalism, is this a depiction of what it really is? American Exceptionalism is undoubtedly not bragging every day and telling everyone with a cochlea that we are the greatest country in the world – that’s just annoying.  Perhaps instead, it’s the equality exhibited between Obama and that young lady. For where there is no line of succession, no divine intervention, no military coupe our leaders are beholden to us, work for us and report to us; and arise from our citizenry - the American President is one of us and that idea and ideal, particularly prevalent in the life story of Barack Hussein Obama -unlike Bush and Romney, no patrician wannabe, he – is communicated in Obama’s behavior and demeanor. This image of the casual, confident commander and the jumpy but joyous, everyday American is a meeting of equals - and isn’t that exceptional?

And, in the audio/video portion of our presentation – first up, Tom Petty with “An American Girl,” followed by Andy Williams and, “It’s a Most Unusual Day.”