Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Vaccine Hesitancy and Seatbelts

 I've been watching a lot of news lately, noticing how each network has it's own unique spin on events; some worse than others. I also recall reading Numero Zero by Umberto Eco, which very expertly undresses how tabloids, and media in general, modify our perceptions of the world through subliminal messaging. (Trust me, it's a lot more legit than it sounds, and less the tinfoil hat vibe I'm sure that last sentence read as.) With the help of Eco's work, I've been more active in my listening and digestion of television media. Reality TV is relentlessly scripted and contrived. News media, while, for the most part, built on the backs of honest reporters trying to maintain their integrity in a rapidly shifting world, is not innocent either. 

I mention news because I was thinking about seatbelts. (Like how my mind works?) When seatbelts were mandated in the late 60s, early 70s, where were all the anti-belters crying out for blood? Would there have been an equally vitriolic reaction to Uncle Sam enforcing the wearing of seatbelts, if the news media was more like it was today? (That is, pandering to the partisan groups of either side.) I'm genuinely curious what you guys think about that. 

Likewise, the shadow of doubt being cast over vaccines is equally concerning. As Patton Oswalt pointed out in his recent special, Patton Oswalt: We All Scream, Americans came out in droves to get the polio vaccine, in a time when the Conservative voice in America was just beginning to become amplified by the lamentable "Religious Right." It's funny to me, the flip flopping of Republicans, that they would identify as the "Grand Old Party", the party of Lincoln; the same president, mind you, that suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War and decisively solidified the supremacy of the federal powers to combat the treasonous Confederate States of America. It's probably the best, practical demonstration of the cyclical nature of history that I have encountered in recent memory. (I'm sure there are better ones, but that's just my opinion.)

We all agree that seatbelts save lives. It's been demonstrated time and time again by car crash data. 

We all agree that vaccines save lives. Remember when you got polio? You didn't? It must have been that vaccine! 

 Anyways... I recently discovered a new news channel called "Channel 4", a British public service station (similar, maybe, to PBS). If you haven't heard of it, I recommend watching it, especially the coverage of the War in Ukraine. It's top notch reporting. 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Colorado Recap and Bellyaches

Outside the original location of Breckenridge Brewery.

While I was driving around in Colorado with my buddy, and wookie life-partner, Jared "Desmond" White, I saw a few strange things. 

While we drove through Aurora I saw two churches, one on each side of the street, and it preoccupied my thoughts for the rest of our trip out to Fairplay. (Originally the one-and-only South Park, Colorado!) This is problematic: the strange prevalence of churches. In my own time spent in purple and red states over the years, churches become something like Starbucks locations: places to consume palatable, current-culture approved Christianity. (Our consumerist and capitalist context we live in perpetuates this.) Ideally, Churches are meant to bless the community, and serve as conduits for the Kingdom work of God, but the presence of literally dozens of churches in a 5 mile radius makes me suspicious.  

(I later found out that one of these churches was a Baptist and the other was a Lutheran, so I was probably just being a prick.) 

The next day, we went to a brewery, which was hosting an event for the local chapter of the Log Cabin Republican party. (I had heard about the Log Cabin Republicans from various media sources, but seeing them in the wild was strange.) This genus of Republican is LGBTQ friendly. But, noting the pride flags everywhere across their booth, I also saw a handful of "Lets Go Brandon" stickers and other by-the-numbers propaganda sharing the space. (Jared insisted, gleefully, on vandalizing my Magic the Gathering cards with them while I wasn't looking. ) Two seemingly disparate ideologies hand in hand: a movement that very literally prides itself on open-mindedness, and inclusivity, and the other playing to the fears and ignorance of another reigning political ideology.  

Culture shock aside, Colorado wasn't all bad. It's the kind of Americana that I wouldn't mind transplanting to, given the right conditions. I very much enjoy the scenery and the general community vibe that comes across in each mountain town and municipality. The people there seem to know each other well enough. (I'm more suspicious of peoples' intentions than not, so you would have to go there and see it for yourself.) 

Also, it was fun to see Jared in his element, in a beautiful home to call his own. My god, they have a basement and a crawlspace? Imagine a bespoke, suburbia 3 bed, 2.5 bath home, but underneath it a dungeon full of nerd shit. "Someday," I tell myself.

We got in a good game of Warhammer 40K while we were there!