Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hi, C

High-Tech War Paint

When something horrific like the shooting yesterday in Roanoke, Virginia happens, the ubiquity of technology allows a veritable tsunami of personal expression about the event. And, as with anything else involving human beings, that flood of expression is not likely to be uniformly edifying. I don't have a problem with that, of course. Both here in the blog and elsewhere, I am a champion of people being able to speak their minds.

A lot of what appears online in the wake of such events is merely the donning of rhetorical "war paint," a kind of "virtue signaling" (which I have written about here and here). A typical example, from Sports Illustrated writer Peter King:

Get it? Peter is against murder. And if you are against murder, too (note the hundreds of favorable responses to his message), then you should strike the war post with him and...well, he's not too clear about what he wants to happen, but by God he's PISSED! It is deliciously ironic that his Twitter message is basically nothing but hand-waving indignation. That sort of thing doesn't really bother me much.

My only real problem is with the people who spout falsehoods and try to pass them off as the truth. I don't favor preventing them from expressing themselves, I just feel an irresistible impulse to smite them hip and thigh.

Thus, I have a message for everyone who feels compelled to ignore the facts and trot out The Narrative, the absurd (and false) notion of a gun-crazy America drowning in an ever-rising tide of firearm violence...

"Magua suggests you try Google Translate."

For future reference, here are some actual facts to keep close at hand, just to be on the safe side:
  • Yesterday's shooter was a deeply disturbed individual; there is little to be "done" about such people, since they are uninterested in laws, or in the consequences to themselves of their criminal actions
  • Incidents of gun-related crime are NOT increasing, they are in fact decreasing, and not by a trivial amount; what has increased over that period of time is the technology with which such crimes can be publicized--the belief that events like yesterday's are increasing in frequency is merely an artifact of the Information Age
  • None of the "common sense gun regulation" you hear people advocating for would have had the slightest effect on most of the shooters whose heinous acts capture our attention--President Obama's most recent attempt in this area, for instance, wouldn't have made a difference even if it had passed
Just because something bad happens doesn't mean we need government to "do something" to prove our concern; in fact, that sort of thinking is VERY dangerous
(it led, among other things, to Executive Order 9066, and the internment of roughly 120,000 Japanese-Americans--people who were citizens, mind you--during WWII). It is especially dangerous when the impulse to "do something" is grounded in a false narrative.

 Let's ask Fred Korematsu...

Speaking of Dishonest, Untrustworthy Liars...

Guess who has a perception problem these days?
"Ouch! But no one can say she didn't come by the problem honestly."

She did it the old-fashioned way, absolutely...

Do I Sometimes React Strangely to Sequences of Digits?

I don't know what you mean...


Hi-C Grape Drink can, circa 1962

The title of today's post is both a play on the Latin numbering system (today's post is No. 100, and "C" = "Centum" = "100" in Latin) and a nostalgic shout-out to a favorite beverage of my childhood. For me, it was always a tough choice between Hi-C Orange Drink and the Grape Drink pictured at right, but if I can only have one, I'd have to go with the purple.

One of the things that always made home "home" was the presence in the refrigerator of those familiar cans...

I also wanted to take the opportunity to mention that Comments are always most welcome. Agree or disagree, or if you just want to share some thoughts of your own, I'd love to hear from you!

Until Next Time...

My earliest memories of recorded music were not of LP albums at all. For quite awhile as a youngster, I thought all recorded music came in the form of 7-inch 45-rpm singles, because that's what my older cousins all listened to on their portable record players. (One of the peak experiences of my life was getting my very own such player as a Christmas gift after my family moved to Kansas City in 1967. It was a General Electric Wildcat, and I loved it.)

Sometimes, when the cousins weren't around, I would pull out their stacks of vinyl 45s and look through them. I couldn't make much sense out of what was written on them (I could read, but of course I didn't know who any of those artists were, or what the legalese meant), but I enjoyed comparing the various labels. My favorite was the Sun Records design, followed closely by the design from their satellite label Phillips.

Today's send-off was released on the Phillips label in 1957, and I remember my cousins listening to this one (and dancing to it) quite a bit. It was also one of my mom's favorites, which won it a special place in my memory.

"Raunchy" was co-written by saxophonist Bill Justis and guitarist Sid Manker. The original version included here and two subsequent cover versions each eventually peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard charts, and the song was selected for the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998. Some sources claim this record was the inspiration for the "twangy" guitar style made famous by the legendary Duane Eddy (whom both my parents liked quite a bit). I'm not sure I believe that, but I certainly did get a kick out of hearing this song again yesterday for the first time in many, many years. Enjoy...

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