Tuesday, January 3, 2017

That Don't Confront Me


So I had an interesting online interaction this morning. A person whose Twitter account I follow and with whom I have occasionally interacted wrote this morning that he felt an "ethical dilemma" every time he saw someone buying lottery tickets at a grocery store he happens to frequent.

The dilemma? He feels compelled to discourage people from buying lottery tickets, but doesn't want to harm the owners of the grocery, whose business might suffer if people didn't play the lottery.

I made a good-faith attempt to engage this Twitter acquaintance on the subject, and for my trouble I was called stupid and then blocked. That's life on Twitter, of course, but in this instance it was irritating because I was unable to get an otherwise-intelligent person to recognize that whether someone buys lottery tickets is none of his damned business 
in the first place.

Even people with only a rudimentary understanding of "ethics" understand that we are under no moral obligation whatsoever to advise people on how to spend their money.
It is one thing to shake our heads at the "foolish" (to us, at any rate) spending decisions others make, but quite another to suggest, as this person did, that we have a duty to try to persuade them to change their behavior. ("Ethical dilemma" is a meaningless phrase unless he felt duty-bound at some level to act.)

As I tried to explain before this acquaintance blocked me, the claim that his chivvying and harassing his neighbors in the market would merely be an attempt to "persuade" them to make better choices completely misses the point. It doesn't matter that he doesn't have the power to coerce their behavior. It matters that his unwelcome attempts at "persuasion" in a wholly inappropriate forum cannot be justified. Frankly, there are far too many people in this world whose most ardent desire is to manage the life choices of others. My suggestion that this is so was met by the retort that we need MORE such people in the world, not fewer. And then not only the conversation but the entire online relationship was terminated.

"Yeah, blocking people who disagree with you is just persuasive as hell!"

I know, right?

Bowled Over

I watched, but without much enthusiasm, yesterday's Outback Bowl and Cotton Bowl games.
I didn't really have a dog in either
of those fights.

The Rose Bowl was another story, as my best friend Skip's beloved Penn State took on USC in what turned out to be the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played.

After taking the lead for the first time just seconds into the the second half, the Nittany Lions never trailed again...until the clock read 00:00.

They lost 52-49 on a field goal as time expired, a particularly gut-wrenching way to lose (as any fan of my beloved Kansas City Chiefs can attest).

I was sorry Skip's team lost, but it was one of the most exciting college football games I've ever seen, and I'm glad to have shared that experience with him...

"I just love a good defensive struggle..."

Too soon, old friend, too soon...

Happy Birthday!

On January 3, 106 B.C. Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in Arpinum, about 60 miles southeast of Rome.

The son of prosperous parents, Cicero received
a classical education in Rome, specializing in the study of Greek philosophy. He went on to great renown both as a writer and philosopher and also as a political speaker. His influences on rhetoric were profound, and are still studied to this day.

A recent book synthesizing his theories of argumentation and persuasion was the Weekly Book Recommendation here for the week of October 10, 2016.

On January 3, 1892 John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, one of the largest cities in what is now South Africa.

A university professor who was friends with C.S. Lewis, Tolkien also dabbled at writing both prose and poetry in his spare time.

You might have heard of some of his writings...

"Nice understatement there..."

I have my moments...

You and Me Both, Sister

From the Johnny Hart-created comic strip B.C., now being produced by Hart's grandsons Mason and Mick Mastroianni and his daughter Perri.

Until Next Time...

Part of the appeal of this section of the blog for me is getting to share my enthusiasm
not only for music that has enriched my life, but for the stories that go along with that music, which usually relate directly to my own life experiences. Today's featured song is a case in point.

On January 3, 1980 rhythm and blues artist Amos Milburn died in his hometown of Houston, Texas, at only age 52. I ran across that tidbit of information while looking for something else, a frequent occurrence during the writing of these entries. As soon as
I read Milburn's name it rang a bell, albeit faintly. I looked him up, and sure enough
he was the guy who originally recorded a song that is now one of my blues favorites.

Original 1953 45 rpm single
In 1953, just months after I was born, Milburn had a major hit on the R&B charts with "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer," a wry jump blues written by his frequent collaborator Rudy Toombs. The song peaked at No. 2 and spent fourteen weeks on the charts.

Fast forward to 1966, when blues guitar icon and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Lee Hooker altered the song's title and lyrics slightly, resulting in a significant hit for himself. It quickly became a staple of Hooker's live performances, and remained one till the end of his performing days.

My own first encounter with the song came in 1977, when I found an interesting-looking album in one of my favorite independent record shops in Kansas City: 
George Thorogood and the Destroyers. It was George's debut album, and I instantly became a fan of his raw, primal, guitar-based blues style, and especially his slide playing. I've remained a fan ever since, and have had the good fortune to see him perform live
on a couple of occasions in Kansas City.

The best track on that album was George's cover of Hooker's version of Milburn's original tune, a song which quickly became a staple of George's live shows and which remains one to this day.

Today's send-off is George's hilarious original 1977 studio version, from the Rounder Records YouTube channel. Enjoy...

No comments:

Post a Comment