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Archive for October, 2016

Did You Notice? 10.13.2016

As you might already know, I am a life-long Green Bay Packers fan. Come to my office in Battle Ground, and you’ll be hard-pressed to miss my Packer “Wall-of-Fame.” What you might not know is that the first time San Francisco 49er quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, decided not to stand during the national anthem was prior to the preseason game between the Packers and 49ers on August 26th of this year.

Following the Packers v. 49ers game in August, Kaepernick’s protest against, in his words, “a country that oppresses black people and people of color” became a contentious point of debate both in and out of the sports world. As with most things in our culture, almost everyone had an opinion about the merits of sitting or kneeling during the national anthem. From nationally known politicians like Ted Cruz to internationally known supermodels (Kate Upton, if you’re wondering), we learned that almost everyone agrees that Kaepernick has the right to kneel during the national anthem even if we feel that doing so is a bit tacky. So really, we learned nothing . . . because we all already knew that everyone has the freedom to sit during the national anthem, to burn the U.S. flag or to spread their personal feelings across the internet. We also already knew that, generally speaking, conservative white Americans would be more likely to be disgusted with anthem protesters, while non-white liberal Americans would more likely support the peaceful protests.

Then, earlier this week, I was surprised to hear Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a justice unlikely ever to be identified as conservative, her close friendship with former Justice, Antonin Scalia, notwithstanding) chime in on the Kaepernick protests. In an interview with Katie Couric, Justice Ginsberg called Kaepernick’s actions “stupid” and “arrogant.” She also said the protests by NFL players were “dumb.”

I’m less intrigued by yet another person’s opinions on this matter and more intrigued by the coverage Justice Ginsburg’s comments have (or have not) received by all of us on the internet. I don’t see any responses related to Justice Ginsburg’s comments on the social media sites I partake in, and I had to seek out an article with a link to the interview rather than having the interview pop up on just about every website I visit.

I’m certain that if someone else, perhaps the late Justice Scalia if he was still living or any number of other well-known conservative white guys, used the words “stupid,” “arrogant” or “dumb” related to Kaepernick anthem protests, there would be more outrage or at least more interest.

Why the muted response to Justice Ginsburg? Is it because we give her the benefit of the doubt due to her liberal reputation? Is it because she’s a Supreme Court justice, and we as a culture don’t even know what that is? Is it because August 26th is so long in the past that we, with our 7-second attention spans, have already moved on to more important issues like exploding cell phones and celebrity marriage-breakups?

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Some other articles that might interest you:

Hurricane Matthew in national news 

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hurricane-matthew/hurricane-matthew-death-toll-rises-n-c-gov-warns-stay-n664361 

Hurricane Matthew in international news 

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/11/world/haiti-hurricane-matthew/

More on exploding phones 

Samsung still can’t figure out why Galaxy Note 7 phones are exploding

A shark attack on the Oregon coast?!

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2016/10/shark_bites_man_off_oregon_coa.html

What We Talk About vs. What is True 10.07.2016

Earlier this week, the schools here in town were locked down for 15 minutes allegedly

due a perceived threat of danger. I can remember the climb-under-your-desk drills we did when I was a kid in school. These drills were usually associated with a potential danger related to what we sometimes refer to as “acts of God” – severe weather, earthquake, etc.

These days, the drills and lock-downs at schools are less likely to be related to acts of God and more likely to be associated with acts of men. Probably the most common fear/danger we think of these days has to do with guns/shootings at schools. It’s not uncommon for schools to be proactive when it comes to any actual or reasonable threat of violence on school grounds.

However, the lock-down at local schools this week, rumor has it, had neither to do with severe weather nor guns. Instead, the schools, we have been told, took extraordinary measures this week to protect our children from . . . clowns.

Yes. Clowns.

If you pay any attention to the world wide web, you won’t be surprised that, based upon what we read on the internet, America has a new (maybe old if you’re a fan of horror books and movies) menace to deal with – a menace that presents itself in polka dot onesies, red yarn hair, extra large shoes and creepy makeup. This menace, at least I was told by several kids and parents in town, made its way to little ‘ole Battle Ground, resulting in a report of a clown near the high school . . . which then resulted in a lock-down of several schools in town.

The internet tells us that creepy clowns are on the loose just waiting to get us, social media (us!!!) fans the fear so that a new reality is created.

But are creepy clowns really on the loose just waiting to get us? Is there an actual clown threat that should reasonably result in school lock-downs? Or have we created a false reality that is now, in fact, shaping how we live?

I have my opinion about the legitimacy of what I’ll call the “Creepy Clown Threat,” and it seems as though this week’s school lock-down actually had nothing to do with clowns even though school kids and parents are buzzing about clowns in town. (The lock-down was the result of a student argument that led, briefly, to a seemingly missing student as per the BG school district).

What intrigues me most about this issue, however, is the ease with which the things that excite us – whether those things are based in truth or fantasy – so easily become a reality for us. A story is told (accurate or not), assumptions are made (reasonable or not), drama is added (the more sensational, the better), and soon I’m hearing stories about a female jogger in the eastern U.S. who was attacked by a clown who jumped out at her from a bush with intentions, it seems, to do her great harm. There may never actually have been a clown-hiding-in-the-bush-just-waiting-to-assault-a-female-jogger, but the danger seems legit. By all means, let’s lock-down the school!

Whether the Creepy Clown Threat is real or not, I do have a few pieces of advice:

1. If you see a clown, don’t beat it or shoot it. It’s not illegal to be a clown or to be a clown in town.

2. If you see a clown in town, the clown is not likely to do you any harm. I’m sure, as occurred with Pokemon Go a few months ago, there will be a few people (or a few clowns) that take this fad too far and someone will get hurt (or worse, killed). However, you were probably more likely to get injured by planking back when that was “the thing” than you are to be injured by a clown today.

3. Exercise your ability to think critically. I know it’s fun to be dramatic about creepy clowns, but our societal desire to latch on to ideas without critically thinking about those ideas is a much more legitimate threat to our culture than creepy clowns will ever be. Most of the internet wants to stimulate the part of your brain that craves entertainment. So be it. Just don’t neglect the part of your brain essential to proper reasoning.

Stay safe out there!

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Some other articles that might interest you:

Clown Calls Test Patience of Clark County Law Enforcement

Clown calls test patience of Clark County law enforcement

Federal Appeals Court Blocks Indiana from Refusing Syrian Refugees 

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2016/10/federal-appeals-court-blocks-indiana-from-refusing-syrian-refugees.php

“There’s no good excuse to be carrying a gun into a deposition.”

Guy Allegedly Pulls Gun During Deposition (FWIW, You’re Not Supposed To Do That)

“The fight to get professional football to Nevada”