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The “Perks” of Being a Christian

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Most, if not all, states in this country – that being the gool old US of A – have long offered what are referred to as "vanity" auto license plates on which purchasers can request the plate's "number" be a particular word, short phrase, or some other combination of letters and numbers significant of something or other as long as the message is not obscene or considered to be otherwise offensive. These messages are usually limited to no more than seven digits or letters. Now, many states offer "specialty" plates that promote a wide variety of things such as state colleges and universities, charitable causes, sports teams, arts organizations, the environment, and so on. Normally, a portion of the collected fee goes to benefit the respective organization or cause.

Recently here in good old Indiana, Woody Burton, a state legislator, led a successful effort to make available a plate with the legend "In God We Trust" stamped upon it. They were approved a few months ago and have proven to be wildly popular here in the bible belt with over five hundred thousand of them now bolted to the backside of the family sedan or pickup. While given my godless perspective I find these plates somewhat offensive, I thought, what the hell? Who gives a crap? It isn't a battle worth fighting. I know that to actively oppose the plate would lead to the inevitable charge that, if I am so offended by the phrase, I should stop carrying and using US currency upon which the odious phrase has long been emblazoned. (Actually, I don't use much cash now owing to the widespread ability to use debit cards for pretty much everything.) But, at any rate, I thought, let it be.

However, an enterprising fellow in Allen County, Indiana, one Mark Studler persuaded the ICLU, Indiana's arm of the national ACLU, to file suit on his behalf against the state as regards these very plates. The legal issue at hand is not the plate per se, but the fact that they have been made available to anyone wanting them at no additional charge over and above the normal fee the state charges for license plates, while all other specialty plates sold in Indiana have an additional $15 administrative fee tacked onto them. It is Studler's and the ICLU's contention that either all specialty plates be charged the fee, or none of them should be so charged. I agree.

Unsurprisingly, the Indiana State Legislature is largely made up of devout, Protestant Christians who were either enthusiastic promoters of the plate, or if they had any misgivings, did not dare voice them so as not to offend the tender sensibilities of their properly righteous fellow lawmakers or their like-minded constituents.

While given the bigger picture of what's going on in the world, this is pretty small potatoes; lest we forget Fascism started out as relatively small spuds as well. If we don't fight the seemingly insignificant battles in the trenches, we've got no chance when they suddenly lock down the Federal government and force all of us to have "In God We Trust" branded onto our foreheads.

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About Baritone

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I’m amused at your presumption that only Christians believe in G-d. Beyond that, all I’ve learned is that the ICLU, and its sick parent, the ACLU, are no longer worthy of any American’s support.

  • Joe

    If Indiana has enthusiastic promoters and like minded constituents then STFU. Sorry to offend your tender sensibilities.

    For you, Baritone, we’ll make an exception. You can have “small potatoes” branded on your forehead.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ruvy,

    I made no such presumption either in the above posting, nor anywhere else. Where you got that notion, I can’t imagine.

    I am well aware that there are millions, nay hundreds of millions, of Muslims and Jews around our little planet who are equally deluded into believing in a god.

    As to the ACLU, thank god for its existence. There has to be some means to curb the excesses of the religious community.

    Joe is of course a shining example of christian charity and love for his fellow man.

    Why the hell should christians get a pass? Are christians, just by virtue of their religiosity more worthy than, say cancer research? What a load of crap.

    Baritone

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    As to the ACLU, thank god for its existence. There has to be some means to curb the excesses of the religious community.

    And/or the government. The freedom of the American people has no greater threat.

  • Robert Herrick

    Friends,

    We all know this is a religion issue (primarily Christian). If it weren’t people wouldn’t be so upset about it.

    Unfortunately, because the Supreme Court ruled that motto constitutionally acceptable, I suspect the lawsuit will fail.

    If it fails, it will be because of religious sensitivities but the courts have a loophole to justify their rulings.

    But I’m with you man, get those embarassingly stupid phrases out of my government!

    Best Wishes.
    Robert

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Our government is truly a dangerous brew at this juncture. It is largely filled with ultra right wing neo-cons with an admixture of wacko theocratic christians being only lightly diluted by the generally weak-kneed middle of the road democrats.

    Baritone

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    The legislative branch is largely filled with lawyers, the worst possible group to be holding the reins of power.

    And on the non-elected side, it’s filled with millions and millions of overpaid non-productive bureaucrats.

    Both groups with their hands perennially in our pockets.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Baritone

    I made no such presumption either in the above posting, nor anywhere else. Where you got that notion, I can’t imagine.

    Try the title.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ruvy,

    If you look at the make up of the Indiana legislature and the over-whelming majority of the citizens of Indiana, you would find that virtually all are christians of one ilk or other. Jews, muslims and people of other or no faith make up less than 5% of the population in the Hoosier state. As the “perks” in question are only available to people licensing vehicles in Indiana, I believe that the title is apt. It does not in any way assume or indicate that christians have the corner on the “god” market.

    Excluding Palestinians, which many Israelis would like to do, what percentage of your population are non-Jews? If you had written a similar piece naming only Jews as the beneficiaries, few would challenge it as you have my little offering.

    Baritone

  • zingzing

    everybody’s missing the entire issue here. ruvy wants to bash you because the title of your peice isn’t “the ‘perks’ of being a christian, muslim, jew or [name your own god-believing, non-christian, non-muslim, non-jewish religion here] in the state of indiana].” Robert Herrick wants to make this into an issue of church and state… and he may be closer than he thinks.

    if the state starts taking money for drivers to proclaim where they stick their trust (i.e.–the sky), then that’s a violation. as it stands, christians (and all those indiana jews and muslims) get a free ride. so what do you do? i dunno.

    i’m sure the aclu will make this into a case of church and state as well. but if ruvy thinks that the aclu has outlived its usefulness, maybe he should check out all the ways that the aclu protects freedom of religion. maybe he should actually do a little bit of searching into all the things the aclu does that DOESN’T make the news. religious freedom isn’t their only cause, you know.

    people can be soooo dumb.

  • JC Mosquito

    Do they still make license plates in prisons down there? Maybe you should be able to get the plate at no extra charge if you’ve actually visited the imprisoned like you’re supposed to do.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zinging,

    Of course the separation thing pops up at every whip-stitch (just a little down home colloquialism.) That is, I believe implied in the last graph of my post. God is truly in the details. They chip away, a little here, a little there. The theocrats are nothing if not tenacious. They have the patience of Osama but they don’t (by and large) live in caves.

    JC,

    Our fine prison population may still be in the license plate business, I frankly don’t know. We just had a prison incident yesterday. It seems our privatized prisons contracted with the State of Arizona to import approximately 1200 of their convicted overflow to a facility near New Castle, IN. About 600 or so have been brought here to date. Well, it seems that things are different here in the Hoosier state than out in the mesas. Prisoners in Indiana can’t smoke, nor can they have “men’s magazines.” We wouldn’t want to despoil their lungs or their minds with nicotine and smut, now would we?

    Well, these gentlemen took exception to all that by smacking around a couple of guards and burning their mattresses in the prison yard. That’ll show em, by god!

    Sleep tight fellas.

    Baritone

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Excluding Palestinians, which many Israelis would like to do, what percentage of your population are non-Jews? If you had written a similar piece naming only Jews as the beneficiaries, few would challenge it as you have my little offering.”

    Eventually, we will get around to excluding the Arabs from the country, Baritone.

    But leaving that point aside, the reason you wouldn’t challenge me is because there is only ONE single solitary Jewish state on the face of the earth. How many Christian countries are there? About 70 or more? How many Moslem countries are there? Forty or more? While it is true that about 95 percent of Indiana’s population is Christian of one flavor or another, Indiana doesn’t advertise itself as a/the Christian state – unlike Israel which does advertise itself as the Jewish state.

    Capisce?

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ruvy,

    So, what’s your point? My problem with all of the god stuff that goes on in the US is that there are any number of people who would like nothing more than to make this a christian nation.

    Frankly, I don’t care to live in a christian state any more than I would want to live in a muslim state or even a jewish state for that matter. I don’t want to be governed by someone’s interpretation of what they believe some mythical god intructs to do.

    In my perspective Jews are no less deluded than any other believers. It is religion, christianity, islam, judaism and others which divide us more than anything else. Religion is has historically been the source of violence, pain, suffering and death on a monumental scale. What good has come from any religious traditions is far outweighed, in my opinion, by the hideous evil it has wrought against humanity.

    Baritone

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    My point is and was that I’m amused at your presumption that only Christians believe in G-d. This I pulled from the title.

    I’m not happy at what the ICLU doing either, but as I do not live in Indiana, in the final analysis, I don’t really give a shit.

  • zingzing

    ruvy, it’s more amusing that you presumed a presumption. nothing in baritone’s essay even came close to saying that only christians believe in god. not one bit. and you know that by pulling your entire point from the title of an essay, you’re really presuming a lot about the contents of that essay.

    as it goes, i don’t really think this is much of an issue. it might be better just to leave it alone. putting something on the back of your car really doesn’t matter to anyone.

  • MBD

    “Religion is has historically been the source of violence, pain, suffering and death on a monumental scale”

    Wrong.

    Religion doesn’t cause suffering and death. It is the misinterpretation of religion and the manipulation of religion by demagogues that causes problems.

    The teachings of the Bible attest to this.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    MBD is right. Most religions teach peace. It’s when money and political power come into play that those in power manipulate a religion (or lack thereof) and make bad things happen.

  • A Concerned Citizen

    Constantine, Stalin, Osama bin Laden, and numerous others.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Religion doesn’t cause suffering and death.”

    Good point. Many of the greatest genocides were carried out by atheists from the extreme left, communists in particular. When you consider the small minority of leaders that have been atheists in history the facts indicate just the opposite of what anti-religous leftists would have you believe.

  • Doug Hunter

    Oh, and the special plates with ‘in god we trust’ should have the same $15 fee as every other specialty plate. Churches should not receive special treatment, either positive or negative, from the government. If a baseball team can have a plate then I see no reason the nutty christoids can’t.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Beyond that, all I’ve learned is that the ICLU, and its sick parent, the ACLU, are no longer worthy of any American’s support.”

    Welcome to the party Captain Obvious. You’re really just figuring this out now Ruvy?

    All the lefties can say is how the founding father’s intent in the 1st amendment was to prevent the government from endnosring a single religion. That is only half right. The other intention of the 1st amendment was to make it so that citizens could express their religion without fear of being sileneced by another party in any way (ie the aclu filing lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit to prevent religious expression)

    The public expression of religion act was just passed in the house and is awaiting a vote in the senate. the act would make it illegal for shakedown artists like the aclu who routinely twist the constitution to advance their anti american agenda to collect attorney fees for bullshit lawsuits..

    Here’s hoping it passess.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Ah yes. Religion causes no suffering or death. And guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Right wing christian bullshit!

    Every right wing christian damns all atheists with Stalin. They usually throw Hitler in the godless mix as well. Of course, Hitler was no atheist. He simply hated the catholic church, although he was raised as a catholic. But he was a believer.

    Stalin on the other hand was an atheist. Tis true. Tis pity, tis true. Stalin was also a communist, and he was also a paranoid megalomaniac. His atheism had little to do with his being a mass murderer. Also, keep in mind that communism simply substituted the state for god.

    Millions more people have been slaughtered in the name of one god or other than those killed by Stalin and Hitler combined. And millions of those were slaughtered in the name of the christian god. The catholic church was very efficient at mass murder.

    Hell, god killed or ordered the death of several hundreds of thousands of people in the old testament alone. Just out of spite! He could really be pissy.

    Why does the ACLU file lawsuit after lawsuit? Because christians insist on shoving their religious crap down everybody’s throat. American right wing christians are the 21st century’s new Fascists. They brainwash their children into little jesus loving, bible thumping automatons. Watch the movie Jesus Camp. They have no minds of their own. They are not even allowed to grow up and make their own decisions. All of that is taken from them before they are old enough to understand what’s happening to them, or to bitch about it. Mommy and daddy are so proud!

    Right wing, fundamentalists are narrow minded, self-righteous hate mongers praying to their loving god for a theocratic utopia where everyone is given the choice of either accepting jesus christ as their lord and saviour or they can die and be consigned to hell for eternity. Hell of a choice, huh?

    Hey, who’da thunk it? A license plate brought out all this vitriol. What if this had been a “meaningful” issue? We’d be chosing weapons by now.

    Baritone

  • MBD

    “Right wing, fundamentalists are narrow minded, self-righteous hate mongers”

    I won’t disagree as long as they act warlike as they are doing now in the Middle East.

    But don’t confuse their politics with what they should be doing if they really were acting as Christians.

    “And guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

    Right.

    I never heard of a gun jumping up off the floor or up off a table and firing away at someone. Has anyone seen this?

    And speaking of “narrow minded, self-righteous hate mongers”, you do quite well yourself as an unmitigated frothing-at-the-mouth liberal who goes ballistic over a license plate.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    But don’t confuse their politics with what they should be doing if they really were acting as Christians.

    Damn few of them do act as christians these days.

  • Zedd

    Baritone

    I am a committed Christian and agree with your position fully.

    From a theological standpoint, that slogan is neither here or there. It gets you no extra points. I mean really, if we believe that God is who we say He is, why would the creator of all that is including the most complex physics, scientific concepts that haven’t even been conceived of by man kind, the prime mover, the alpha and omega actually care about a license plate slogan? Its really, really, dumb, crazy and arrogant. We get to say that WE trust in God. As if he is going to feel proud. Its all just weird and goofy. Cant they get a bumper sticker with that on it? Why MUST they have that slogan on a plate. Perhaps the medal extra means something who knows.

    Also, where do they actually see the separation of church and state? If the state is supporting a religious sentiment how is that separate?

    As for the manner in which the ICLU will address the law suite, it will force the state to sell the religious notion which will possibly force a deeper discussion, we hope.

    What is funny is that those same people would be offended if there was a slogan with Buddha or Krishna or even calling God Allah. Its all just so childish.

  • STM

    Baritone wrote: “Joe is of course a shining example of christian charity and love for his fellow man”.

    True, old boy … it’s amazing how many people who call themselves Christians and can quote verbatim from the Bible act the exact opposite to the simple teachings of Christ.

    A person can call themselves a Christian all they want, but unless they act in accordance with these teachings, they aren’t Christian at all.

    There’s a big difference between the Christian Right and true Christianity: one is based on inclusion, tolerance, non-judgement, unconditional love and the practise of compassion while the other is about, Believe what I believe, scum, or else!

    Scary stuff ….

  • STM

    Clav wrote: “The legislative branch is largely filled with lawyers, the worst possible group to be holding the reins of power.”

    Look on the bright side Clav. It means less lawyers, first up, and at least they don’t have to learn to lie when they switch professions.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Well, actually I didn’t get to frothing about the license plate. As I stated in my original post, I’m not really all that disturbed about the plate. Also, as I stated, the ICLU is pursuing the suit because of the fee situation, not because of the “In God We Trust” legend.

    I am in fact, not at all narrow minded. But I do become angry and, yes, I may froth on occasion about the arrogance and stupidity of many right wing christians who are cock sure that they are operating from the moral high ground.

    As I posited earlier, either here or some other comment thread: How many people do you suppose Cho Seung-Hui could have killed at Virginia Tech with, say a knife, a grappling hook, a John Tesh CD, or poison darts? A few perhaps, maybe four or five. Thirty two? Not likely. How about Harris and Klebold?

    Only Canadians, amongst western countries own as many or more guns as do Americans. Yet, they don’t shoot each other very often. Nor do people anywhere else in the western world or most of Asia. Only war torn areas, and ravaged areas of Africa have greater incidence of gun death than the US.

    Americans just love their guns. Can’t get enough of them. The more the merrier. After all, you gotta be ready to plug holes in all us America hating liberals before the Rapture whisks away all you good god fearing, properly red-necked, armed to the teeth true believers.

    Baritone

  • STM

    “Also, as I stated, the ICLU is pursuing the suit because of the fee situation, not because of the “In God We Trust” legend”

    Well, that’s what they’ll claim to get around it … :) Good on ‘em, too.

  • MBD

    “Americans just love their guns. Can’t get enough of them. The more the merrier. After all, you gotta be ready to plug holes in all us America hating liberals before the Rapture whisks away all you good god fearing, properly red-necked, armed to the teeth true believers.”

    I believe law-abiding citizens have a right to own guns. Connecting that with the rest of your unmitigated frothing-at-the-mouth liberal bullshit is nothing but bullshit.

    Get a life.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Right wing christian bullshit!”

    Baritone, please dewad your panties. The rest of the world considers those facts. The crazy leftist slaughtering madmen don’t nearly end with Stalin, I can trot out many other murderous leaders including most of the top ten genocides of all time. Although to your credit I believe religious nuts can be just as dangerous, they’re just not quite as efficient about their slaughters.

    Morals are the problem, not religion. Religion lays down some arbitrary morality, atheists, socialists, communists and every other ist does the same. They’re all cut from the same wad of BS and consist of devoted followers who believe they’re exclusively right and their position allows them to dictate how others should think and act.

    You yourself rail against those who preach from the moral high ground, yet your too blind to see that you do exactly the same thing. Your tone, your personal attacks against “right wing fundamentalist”, your anger in the face of facts demonstrate that your are fundamentally no different than those you hate, you just choose to follow a different moral code.

  • Zedd

    Doug

    The issue is the enactment of this legislative action. Permitting this slogan promotes ideals that we don’t support as a nation. Its anti American. It’s Talibanesque. Forcing our religious ideals on people who chose not to engage is against everything that we stand for.

    I have chosen to be a Christian. By the way, having a license plate with that slogan does not make you a Christian or any closer to God. Anyway, my personal choice does not permit me to require the government to push for my religious choice specifically. I would feel very uncomfortable if the government endorsed a plate slogan which said “In Krishna we trust” or “There is no God”. That is not the government’s place.

  • http://fromtherooftops.terapad.com Darien

    Pity more folks in Indiana don’t get online, let alone read blogs. It’s much more educational than the illiterate pablum the regular media puts out.

    In fact, it would be nice if more Hoosiers educated themselves on issues and what their legislator actually did (or didn’t do) during the session. Maybe then we could get some folks in office more accurately representative of the people .

  • Zedd

    Baritone,

    I am wondering why you sound almost apologetic about not supporting these silly plates?

    When 911 happened, thinking people were afraid to speak up and say “they used box cutters!!! Stop the madness!!!” We now find ourselves in the wrong country contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and also sending our soldiers to their death, only because we didn’t speak up. Progressive people were crouching together behind cubicles and shaking their heads as their coworkers screen saved with slogans such as “count down to freedom”. It was dumb but we sat there, coward and watched the madness happen.

    That entire situation taught me a great deal. The diversity that we have in ideas is important. It tempers our extremes. Its important that all voices are heard CLEARLY without apology or tip toeing around important issues.

    600K people are dead in Iraq because we sat quiet while the madness expanded.

    So where do you stand? Do you support the state endorsing these plates or not? You keep hiding behind that fact that they are not charging people more for them. Is that what your beef is REALLY?

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    No, the fee is not my major beef about the plates. It is, however, the focus of the lawsuit brought by the ICLU. I am not a fan of the plates and I note that in my post. It’s just not something I’m going to go out and start a riot about. Perhaps I or someone should, but it probably won’t happen.

    However, I do note in my post that it is another small battle that should be fought as these things tend to have a cumulative effect.

    I have been accused of being both too mild and too vociferous in this same thread. I guess you can’t please everybody. But one does have to pick his or her battles. The ICLU has taken up this particular battle, and while its legal focus is the fee situation, the publicity it has received has served to raise the debate. Had the suit not been filed, I probably would not have written my post.

    I was vaguely aware of the plates being made available, but it was something the legislature kind of slipped through quietly a few months ago. A few weeks later I began seeing the plates on cars and trucks while driving around town. I didn’t much like it, but I just had other fish to fry.

    At any rate, should we fight the inclusion of the phrase on US currency? That is far more ubiquitous than the offending Indiana license plates.

    Baritone

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Darien,

    I don’t disagree with you concerning Hoosiers being uninformed. I doubt, though, that Hoosiers have the corner on that market. I don’t know if there exists some kind of pole or other research about such matters – where Indiana might stand as compared to other states, but there are millions of people all across the country with their heads stuck in the sand, or perhaps up their butts.

    Baritone

  • Zedd

    Baritone

    I suppose the reason that I am baiting you is because for some reason I don’t buy that you are not that upset about it.

    You wrote and entire article about it to sort of say “well it doesn’t bother me even though I think its idiotic. I just want to bring it to everyone’s attention.”

    I am tired of dumb ruling this nation then seeping out of our boarders into the rest of the world. What is sad is that people look at the things that we permit to happen and think, Americans are a bunch of airheads.

    As for the phrase being on money, whats that all about. Is it some sort of superstition? If we put God’s name on the money that we pay male prostitutes with, hit-men, buy fur lined thongs for our mistresses, crack, meth and coke with; If we use it to over spend and show off to our neighbors with, and all manner of items with, we will be blessed? Seems like we really don’t believe that God is as smart as we say he is. Again, its all really silly.

    That phrase needs to go. It offends me as a Christian because its got nothing to do with Christianity, AGAIN and it offends me as an American because it goes against our fundamental beliefs.

    However the plate thing is just taking things a step further. These kooks really want to take over the nation with their perverse version of religion. Basically its a marketing tool for these preachers to get more gullible people to buy other vacation home for them. Its frustrating.

  • Arch Conservative

    but there are millions of people all across the country with their heads stuck in the sand, or perhaps up their butts.

    Yes and we’re going to see a handful of them debating on national tv tonight.

    I’m amazed that you call conservatives facsists when you have far left wingers exhibiting all kinds of fascist behavior such as:

    -Liberal college professors and students ridiculing and attempting to stifle any speech on campus that doesn’t adhere to leftist ideology (ie the socialist nutbag group that attacked the minutemen at Columbia U) Not to mention all of the “speech codes” liberals have enacted.

    The ACLU filing lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit to have the Mt. Soledad war memorial cross in San Diego removed from public property even though virtually all of the residents of the area wanted it to remain up and said that it was not a state endorsement of a religion. All the fuss because one man was “offended” by the cross. There’s no right enumerated in the constitution against being offended by the way.

    oH and here’s the last one……. Every leftist moonbat has been decrying the supreme court’s decision to ban partial birth abortions as an infringement on our rights but they had no problem when all of the liberals supreme court justices (this was before Alito and Roberts) ruled in Kelo vs New London that the government could seize private property, in this case several people’s homes, for the purpose of giving it to commercial developers for economic reasons. Of course all of the conservative justices, the ones Baritone would label as right wing fascists,” actually sided with the private citizens in the case. How’s that for fascism Baritone [Edited]?

  • MBD

    One of the most dangerous lunatics in America.

    John Hagee, who serves as head pastor of the 18,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, argues that the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West. He recently launched Christians United for Israel (CUFI), a lobbying organization intended to be a Christian version of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. With CUFI, which Hagee has said will cause a “political earthquake,” the televangelist aims to put the political organizing muscle of the conservative evangelical movement behind his grand plan for a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.

    This warmonger wouldn’t have recognized Christianity if he had been there to hear every word Jesus spoke.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers…, etc, etc. etc.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Doug,

    I’m all right. I’m calmer now. I’m getting my heart beat back down to normal, my blood pressure is leveling out. There, that’s better. Whew!

    Yeah, I do get my Fruit of the Looms in a twist now and then. Why, you might say? How could I possibly find fault with those fine folks over there in christendom?

    Well, I’ll tell ya. Pretty much all my life I have been led to believe that one must in effect walk on egg shells when talking to or about religious people. You must watch your language. They are, afterall, gentle folk who love both god and humanity. So one shouldn’t say poopy around christians. They have sensitive, tender ears.

    Now it is not my desire to offend people of whatever ilk simply to be, well, offensive. My vitriol rose as I became more aware of the damage religion in general and christians specifically have wrought throughout human history. The fact that a considerable number of such people have wiggled their way into positions of political power at virtually all levels of government, and who are using that power in their effort toward the creation of an American theocracy is very troubling to me.

    Many of these people are professed believers in the coming rapture. These people are dangerous to all of us. Their concern lay not with earthly matters, for which many have been given responsibility, but with the great beyond to which they expect to be whisked away in that blinking moment when the rest of us will be left to deal with Satan, and Rob Schneider films here on earth. Their stupidity is palpable. These people revel in the prospect of a coming conflagration at Armageddon. They are nutballs. They make me angry. They make me froth at the mouth, and, yes, they put my boxers in a twist. The fact that so called “mainstream” christians don’t ascribe to the rapture doesn’t mitigate the fact that neither do they have the stomach to openly oppose them. That just binds me up even more. If this keeps up, I will no longer be a baritone.

    Has the screen name CounterTenor been taken?

    Baritone

  • MBD

    “The fact that so called “mainstream” christians don’t ascribe to the rapture doesn’t mitigate the fact that neither do they have the stomach to openly oppose them.”

    The fact is that the warmongers lost most of their voice in the Congress proves otherwise. What do you want — blood in the streets?

    And for:

    “That just binds me up even more.”

    Try Milk or Citrate of Magnesia. But hold onto your brain when it takes effect.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    MBD,

    I think you underestimate the theocrats. They have been plugging along, mostly under the radar since at least the mid-1960s, perhaps earlier. They are tenacious and determined. Their having risen to power under the auspices of the Bush Administration, which is itself riddled with any number of Raptiles including GW himself, has put them squarely on the radar over the last several years. Given their relatively incognito history, that has been somewhat of an anomaly.

    Yes, their progress will likely be hindered in the coming years as the pendulum swings at least somewhat to the left, but that doesn’t mean they will quit the effort. Once again, frustrating as it may be for them, they may be forced to work behind the scenes or between the lines as it were.

    Do I want blood in the streets? No. Ultimately, a number of the Raptiles want just that.

    Is it your meaning that upon taking the Milk of Magnesia my shit filled head will explode?
    If it should come to that pass, I will be sure to yell “FORE!” so you all can duck. I’d yell “SHIT!” but that might send the wrong message.

    Baritone

  • Arch Conservative

    NO thoughts on kelo vs. new london Baritone?

    Typical!

  • Zedd

    Baritone

    I don’t think that its the left swinging pendulum that will get them. I think they have gotten themselves. Their hypocrisy is evident.

    Instead of teaching that we are all frail and capable of wrong, they preached that they are the “moral majority”. How sick and unchristian.

    They created country clubs where the peer pressure was stronger than sophomore year in high school. I grew up in the evangelical establishment and I saw these guys coming up. You are right they have been plugging in there for years. Sad to say many of them are just some sad conspiracy theorist types who happened to latch on to religion (the prophesy thing attracts that type). In different circumstances they would have been organizers of Star Wars conventions. Even as a kid, I’d listen to the guest speakers (Hagee before he became popular) and think loo oo ser.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Kelo vs New London? Why don’t you tell us about it? Relate it to the topic at hand, and specifically how it sheds light on the issue of religious license plates, the legislative process and the separation of church and state. Consider other precedents and how it relates to constitutional issues. If you fill your blue book, you may request another.

    You have 1 hour. Good luck.

    Baritone

  • Arch Conservative

    The issue I was addressing was how you like to call people on the right fascists and belittle us when there are numerous examples of the American left is far more fascist.

    Kelo v. New London was just one example.

    All of the liberal justices felt it was fine for the government to seize priavte residential property from American citizens and give it to another private party, a developer to stimulate the economy. All of the conservative justices sided with the citizens who owned the property.

    But I guess you find right wing facism, having the word god on a license plate, far more aggregious than left wing facism, left leaning justices givingthe Ok for the government to basically steal the private property of American citizens huh?

    Oh and one last thing. Shortly after the Kelo decision Howard Dean went on TV raving about how “George Bush’s supreme court had just taken your right’s way.” Howie failed to realize that Bush hadn’t made a single appointment to the Supreme Court at that point in time and it was the liberal judges who had decided to screw the American citizens and not the conservative ones. And this is the guy we were supposed to have as our president?

  • MBD

    Kelo v. New London…

    Talk about turning the Constitution on its head!!!

    Justice is supposed to be blind, but not the justices on the Supreme Court.

    If private property can be confiscated, what’s next?

  • MBD

    After the Kelo v. New London decision, there was a proposal in New Hampshire to seize Justice Souter’s home in Weare, New Hampshire by eminent domain in order to build a “Lost Liberty Hotel” which would feature a “Just Desserts Cafe”.

    Unfortunately, the town of Weare, New Hampshire, voting at a town meeting, rejected the bid to take Justice Souter’s house by eminent domain. The reason was Souter “was just doing his job.”

    In addition, it was discovered that Justice Breyer owned a vacation estate in Plainfield, NH and it was planned to use eminent domain to pursue Breyer’s property. It’s status is not known but it probably died as well.

    The citizenry is spineless and deserves what it gets.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Eminent Domain has long been a touchy subject all over our country. The right of government entities to take private land for public use has been used and abused many times.

    I looked over some of the material available regarding Kelo vs. New London, but owing to the need to complete some work, I didn’t read it in any depth. Consequently, I can’t make an informed response to that case.

    We had a similar situation here in Indy a couple of years ago. The new Colts facility, Lucas Oil Stadium was ready to be built. Land was being acquired at and around the site. However, a small corner of the land needed to complete the deal, the Hearst Bean Company did not want to sell. His company, while small, was a kind of landmark. They claimed that moving would cost them so much that they couldn’t afford to stay in business. I don’t know all of the details, but the City/County council moved to invoke eminent domain against Hearst. The land was needed not for the stadium, but for a planned parking garage.

    The council, then dominated by Republicans voted pretty much along party lines to take the Hearst property. Things started getting ugly. However,a deal was finally brokered by our Democratic Mayor, Bart Peterson allowing Hearst to keep his land. An alternate site has since been chosen for the needed parking.

    I recount this to illustrate that the use of eminent domain is not now, nor ever has been an excusively liberal tool. It should be noted that all uses of it have not been evil or fascist in nature. Historically it has been used to acquire land for direct government use such as for schools, other government buildings, highways, reservoirs, etc. Many times people have been treated unfairly, but usually the land owners are fairly compensated.

    What is now more troubling is the government invoking of eminent domain on behalf of private concerns such as in the Kelo case or the instance I noted above on behalf of the Colts.

    The reasoning of the government entities and the courts seems to be based in the notion that even though the immediate beneficiary is a private concern, that the end result will be positive for the population at large in the form of increasing the tax base, new jobs, available products and/or services, etc. Whether that is the case needs to be judged in each individual case.

    Keep in mind that what we own as regards real property is a “bundle of rights.” Those rights are limited, as a given by the ultimate right of the government to take the land if it is determined to be in the public interest. That was not made a part of law by fascists. It is part of the US and most state constitutions, and has been for many years.

    I can’t say that I like it, but it is nevertheless a reality.

    As to Howard Dean. I think he’s a nutcase. He proved that on more than one occasion. I think there is little danger of his ever being president.

    Baritone

  • Arch Conservative

    Consequently, I can’t make an informed response to that case.”

    That’s liberal speak for “I refuse to critisize my own, even wen they so obviously justly deserve criticism.”

    That’s the difference between people like myself and leftists like yourself Baritone. I am capable of criticizing my own.

    Just as an example….

    Even though I am a republican I believe that George Bush is an idiot for not being able to see that the situation in Iraq has long been unsalvageable. The Iraqi people are unwilling to stand up and take control of their own nation and wrestle it from the hands of terrorists. If Bush cannot see this and refuses to consider the bginning of a phased withdrawal of troops but rather insists on sending more and more young American soldiers to die for a people who don’t deserve it then he will get no support from me.

    Also Bush is incapable of showing any fiscal restraint. The level of government spending he finds acceptable is more representative of a jive talking socialist leftist than a conservative republican.

    Another bone I have to pick with Bush and the GOP is there total lack of action in addressing the illegal immigration. I would expert it from the Dems but my own party has been entirely reluctant to even begin to address the problems that illegal immigration pose to this nation.

    See how easy that is Baritone? So the next time some prominent leftists like Ginsberg and Breyer do something that’s clearly wrong you don’t have to toss up a bullshit copout like you did… but of course you probably will.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Archie,

    No cop out. I don’t know that what the Court did was in fact wrong. The decision was no doubt controversial, but without some knowledge and understanding of the situation, it is foolish to render an opinion. So. No “liberal speak.” I just don’t jump to conclusions as some people seem to do.

    As you may have noticed, I didn’t exactly give Howard Dean resounding approval. Politics being what they are, there are plenty of kooks on both sides of the aisle. There are even a few Reps whom I like – well kinda. Giuliani and McCain aren’t totally repugnant. A Rep I actually like AND respect is Dick Lugar. I have voted for him every time he has run. (Of course, last time he ran unopposed.)

    Obviously, I agree with you (What! OMIGOD!) about GW and Iraq. But I also believe that we should never have stepped foot in that country.

    As to immigration, I also agree that it is a major problem, but I doubt that we agree on a solution.

    Just curious. Is “jive talking socialist leftist” a way of saying Black?

    Baritone

  • Arch Conservative

    Just curious. Is “jive talking socialist leftist” a way of saying Black?”

    Why s it always about race with you lefties?

    NO. It was my way of describing the poiticians in this country whose true beliefs border on socialiasm but try to smooth talk the public into believing that this is not the case.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    It’s not always about race. But sometimes it is. I was just asking.

    Socialism isn’t all bad, nor is capitalism all good. There are problems and inequities under both systems. It’s incumbant upon us to find the best of both worlds to enable progress and a better life for more people.

    Baritone

  • Arch Conservative

    Well when Al Sharpton is around it is always about race, even if it isn’t about race.

    I think socialism at it’s extremes encourages laziness and stifles individuality while capitalism at it’s extremes encourages greed and sometimes causes apathy and callousness toward others.

    That being said I would still choose capitalism over socialism as a socioeconomic system in a moderate form.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I have nothing against capitalism. Nor do most liberals. Most rich liberals made their fortunes as capitalists. They just recognize that certain elements of socialism work, especially for large populations. Social security and medicare aren’t perfect, but they are better solutions than anything else anybody’s come up with.

    I understand the ideal of socialism, but humans just aren’t built for it, not in its pure form.

    But, as I said, you just have to pick and choose.

    TLS

  • STM

    Archie and Baritone: There’s a vast difference between real socialism and the concept of “community”.

    Forget both the loony Left and unregulated capitalism for a moment: The mainstream liberalism practised in the US is about community and is so far away from socialism, it’s not funny.

    Fears by those on the Right in the US that the kinds of social programs favoured by “liberals” and operating in nearly every other western country, including those with governments of the Right, constitute socialism and are somehow eroding their rights are a nonsense.

    Socialism does take away people’s rights. But community ends up giving us more. From a person who lives in country with a great health care system, I can tell you that you’d be amazed at how much personal stress top-quality, universal medical care removes from the community generally – and how many jobs it ends up providing when it is done in conjunction with the private sector.

    Despite some opposition early in the piece, the system operating in my country has now become the “third-rail” of politics – and any government attempting to dismantle it faces defeat at the polls and a long time in the political wilderness.

    After some years of tweaking, it is now just about perfect.

    Happy citizens are good citizens, too ….

  • Zedd

    Arch

    I think socialism at it’s extremes encourages laziness and stifles individuality while capitalism at it’s extremes encourages greed and sometimes causes apathy and callousness toward others.

    In our society, the myth of individuality actually gets in the way of us ever actually being individualistic. We have home owners associations which regulate the color of our homes and length of grass so as to protect property values.

    We are studied and trend projections are made to determine what we ALL will buy in the next year, or decade so that advertisers can start doing their number on us to indoctrinate us into making certain purchases. We do it like sheep.

    Because of the competitive nature of society we end up morphing into one person because we rush to replicate what our neighbors have so that we don’t get left behind.

    One of the things that stuck out to me as a child when I immediately entered this country was how everyone seemed to be performing a script of sorts. There is a thick layer of supposed to be in our culture. When I was small at home, people ran to catch the bus. People lived life in whatever practical way they needed to. There was no script. I discovered that one must eat an orange a certain way or else there would be an uproar. I sliced the skin off of an orange starting from the top to the bottom peeling it and leaving the skin connected. It was as if I had either committed a sin against nature or had discovered gold. People would gather around amazed. I WAS JUST PEELING AN ORANGE. If I cut it into wedges and ate it from a plate, I’d be asked WHY I just didn’t peel it with my nails an pull the wedges off. “ITS JUST AN ORANGE can’t I eat it any way I want” I would think.

    It was such things (many of them) that made me re-evaluate what freedom and liberty really meant. Watching the commercials I eventually got that people were being told what to do and how to do it and everyone went along.

    Capitalism does not promote individualism at all, it promotes drones and it cheats people of their human element.

    The part that is human and requires liberty is not the grand outer man that makes career choices and wheels and deals only. It is the aspect which does the small things like deciding to run full speed to catch the bus without being looked at as crazy or to eat a snicker layer by layer if you so choose without the fear of a straight jacket being placed on you, painting your car and house whatever color you feel like painting it. In our society, we have been forced to believe that all of those things are unacceptable. We miss what individualism is. We think it is an opportunity be the most like everyone else.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I understand and to some extent agree with what you are saying. We often do respond to stimuli like automatons. But a certain “sameness” in human behaviour is part and parcel to a homogenous society. If billions of people living on this planet chose to be, say ascetics, there would be no society and ergo, no civilization.

    The fact that we all share common needs for our very survival necessitates a certain conformity in our behaviour. For most people life is hard. Life is for many equated with suffering. The advent of civilization was a recognition that working together did in some measure make life easier. However, it requires some sacrifice of one’s individuality.

    Certainly we are bombarded and constantly prodded by smiling faces, earnest voices, and tantalizing images all encouraging us to believe certain things, to do certain things, and, above all, to buy certain things.

    I find much advertising cloying and irritating.
    How often do you see adds inferring that the ownership and/or use of their particular product(s) is preferable and should take precedence over personal relationships and other elements of our lives? – “I would sacrifice my marriage, my kids, my friends, my job, my home, for a bottle of Bud or a big screen TV.” – “The world can go to hell in a hand basket so long as I can watch football all week-end.”

    The advertisers of course, will say that it is all tongue in cheek, but the message is clear and pervasive. “YOU MUST HAVE OUR PRODUCT”

    So, yeah, I agree with you to an extent. But we also must understand that in order for civilization to survive and grow, conformity and sacrifice of individuality is, at least to some measure, necessary. While there are pressures as I’ve noted above, it is left to us as individuals to make our own decisions as to how much and in what ways we surrender ourselves to our society. Afterall, where would Ron Popeil be if a certain number us hadn’t picked up the phone and bought a Pocket Fisherman or a Salad Shooter, or where would George Foreman be if people didn’t just have to have a George Foreman Grill? How about the makers of plastic vomit? They have needs, too.

    I know, I seem to contradict myself. It’s unavoidable, though. It just points up the notion that each person must pick and choose for themselves. Some fall in line, as you say, like drones. Others don’t. At least we remain free (no one is forcing us at gunpoint) to make those choices.

    Baritone

  • Zedd

    Baritone

    I agree with the idea that everyone must choose for themselves.

    I suppose I didn’t make my point clear. I am saying that in a capitalistic society, making that individualistic choice is difficult because selling tends to design society and we individuals are social animals as you have said. We end up choosing things based on what the sellers say we should choose and how we should choose them and what to do with them once we choose them.

    Afterall, where would Ron Popeil be if a certain number us hadn’t picked up the phone and bought a Pocket Fisherman or a Salad Shooter, or where would George Foreman be if people didn’t just have to have a George Foreman Grill?

    The more important question is where would the individual be without these products? They would be grilling, cutting and fishing their own way. As it stands, you believe YOU are missing something because you don’t have a George Foreman.

    Civilization doesn’t have to come with this souping of society. What we go to Europe for is the flavor and individuals “joi de vive”. Even the British posses a more extensive individual state of autonomy. We live with a lot of “have to’s”. That is what I meant by a script. We have a lot of “why is this not done this way”. They think we are crazy. How do you go somewhere new and expect a “should”. That comes from a mindset that is not used to the freedom of improvisation. It is the human experience. Its the liberty that we’ve all had prior to the Magna Carta.

    When I watch Spanish television, I am amazed at the marketing that takes place. I am also enthralled by the audience participation. The entire audience sings and screams all of the jingles. I am also astonished by the SHOPPING that Hispanics do in my area. Its amazing!!

    Advertising has as a goal, mind control. So does entertainment (movies for the most part). In our capitalistic society we are inundated by both. This control leads to a drone like existence. There have been books written about how most of us (I would bet even you) perform tasks pretending as if we are being viewed performing them. The example would be: When ironing my laundry, I imagine either being in a commercial or doing it like women on the commercial or I imagine that I should be doing it a certain way in order to be perceived as doing it correctly. Just getting the darn shirt ironed no longer becomes the goal. Can one claim true autonomy with that mindset?

    Hope that makes sense.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I believe I understand what you’re saying, and I share your concern to a degree. It seems, though, that you look upon the advertizing industry as a kind evil, monolithic, conspiratorial beast. When it comes down to it, the intent of each ad or commercial is to sell a product or service. Over the years they have become very adept and sophisticated at doing so. Marketers have probably made more practical use out of sociological and psychological studies and discoveries than the medical industry. They have learned how to tweak and cojole people subtly to remember the product, even if it means irritating the hell out of people.

    As to our autonomy as individuals, again that is to some extent dependent upon how much and in what manner each person involves her or himself in society, including the market place.

    While, yes, we do tend to imagine how others would judge us when performing particular tasks, that’s always been true, hasn’t it? Haven’t you found yourself concerned or imagining how your parents, siblings, friends and so on would judge your performance? That such concern has been expanded to the wider world, at least to one degree or other largely by the media is simply a natural progression, and part of the desire to “keep up with the Joneses.”

    Most of us function quite well without a George Foreman Grill (although, I admit, we do own one,) or a Pocket Fisherman (don’t have one of those.)
    There are a myriad of products and services that we have, and likely could do fine without.

    I lived for around 36 years of my life without a computer. I lived nearly 50 years without a mobile or cell phone. I just purchased my third digital camera. It would now be nearly impossible for me to function in my job without any of those items. Honestly, though I couldn’t tell you if or how I have been influenced by advertising in making my purchasing decisions.

    I bought a Canon Power Shot camera. I know pro tennis player Maria Sharapova has been and remains the spokesperson for them. Was I influenced by those ads? Perhaps. However, I needed a new camera. Canon makes good cameras. I found one that I liked. Certainly, I probably could have purchased a Nikon, a Sony, or a Kodak. They all have similar cameras which would have probably been just as good. Maybe Sharapova tipped the balance of my decision to Canon.

    Of course, it makes no sense. What does Maria Sharapova know about cameras? Probably little or nothing. It would make more sense for her to promote tennis rackets or shoes (which she probably does.) Peyton Manning is shilling for about everything right now. What does he know about TVs, insurance or cell phones? Again probably not much. But advertizers know that a number of prospective buyers will associate Manning, doubtless some of these consumer’s favorite football player, with their product or service. It’s not altogether logical, but it apparently works.

    I guess I went off on a tangent there, which doesn’t really address your concerns. I would say that it is up to each of us as individuals to be aware of how advertisers, politicians, religious leaders among others attempt to manipulate us. We have to decide, I guess, if we want to be manipulated. I think we also must realize that the great majority of people are followers. They want a beacon of light to set their sights on and follow. That will pretty much always be the case, and there will always be those who take advantage of it for good or ill.

    Baritone

  • MBD

    The devil makes you do it?

    Stop whining.

    Learn the meaning of a-c-c-o-u-n-t-a-b-i-l-i-t-y.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Who’s whining? I think that’s just what I said. But, accountability should be born by advertizers as well. No? Or is that part of the sacred capitalistic cow that should ever and always have free reign?

    Baritone

  • MBD

    Who’s whining?

    You and Zedd..

    Accountability has nothing to do with capitalism.

    Sp stop whining about capitalism. If you must whine consider whining about people who can’t control themselves.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Why the hell should I? If I want to whine, by no-god, I’ll whine. Whining suits the nasaly midwestern quality of my otherwise rich vocal tones. Why don’t you stop bitching about whiners? Bitchers should be consigned to a never ending Rob Schneider film festival.

    Baritone

  • Zedd

    Baritone

    I don’t think that Advertising is evil. If you knew what I did in my professional work before my hiatus, you’d understand. Advertising is good, its creative and exciting. I still love the coke song from my childhood and the Kentucky fried chicken commercial that ran for a short time in my childhood summer. I’ve not found too many people who remember it. I remember every word. I was the child who was glued to the TV and had to be snapped out of it by my Dad’s booming voice :o)

    Great point about how we emulate our parents and so on. I am grateful for the thoughtful exchange! You are right. That is how we are socialized and that is how tradition is passed down. However the invasion into our psyches by our greater society is rather pervasive. Its unnatural and gratuitous. The marks on our actions are not for productivity, accuracy, or even enjoyment as our parents often pass down methods for.

    The real point however is that we over worship our version of capitalism. We equate it with liberty. Theoretically it should work that way but there is a deeper more pronounced liberty that cant be mandated, legislated or be given. It is the freedom of being. Not playing at being, which is what we often do in our society because of giving ourselves over to those who want money from us. But actually living as we are. Its a difficult concept to explain if you’ve never experienced it. Often times on these threads I find it easy to spot a none American, not always but for the most part those who are not socialized here have a certain element that I have been able to spot. Its that thing that we lack. They don’t go along. Not out of defiance. They think independently. Not on purpose, they just do. They look at every situation for that situation. We however must fit things into categories. Off course there are extremes like Arch who’s parameters are even tighter and it just doesn’t seem that he can get passed it and it gets in the way of his being able to engage, period. He seems frozen. On the other hand STM is everywhere, blissfully too. He can engage on any subject and bring sanity to it. Christopher argues lucidly, based on the topic or subject matter not based on the feeling behind the matter. Often times his frustration is palatable.

    This may not make sense at all to you, however I REALLY appreciate the dialogue. It was refreshing. Thank you.

  • Zedd

    MBD

    Perhaps this is not the conversation for you to engage in. It seems that don’t understand it. Nothing that you’ve stated has anything to do with what is being discussed.

  • MBD

    Zedd

    If you must whine consider whining about something else.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    Yes! Worshipping capitalism. That is it, isn’t it. Everything is measured by how much it’s worth monetarily. Take theatrical films. Rarely do you hear about the critical worth of a film. But you always hear about how it did at the box office.

    While good films do come out of Hollywood, generally the best films from a critical standpoint are either American Indie films or foreign made. I have long been a fan of foreign films, going back to Godard, Bergman and Truffaut among others. One of the best films I’ve seen recently was The Lives of Others a German film. Actually, it won an Oscar as the best foreign film. Few, if any, of these films make big money. But neither are they designed to do so. Certainly, they don’t intend to lose money, but generally they are not made to be “blockbusters.”

    Your observation regarding the difference between people raised and/or who have lived in the US for a long period, and those who have not.

    My son has lived in Germany for nearly five years. During his last visit here he observed that the US now seemed like a foreign country to him. He had long observed that Americans are usually quite easy to spot abroad. Many of us are loud, blustery, and at times abrupt, rude and presumptive of superiority. When visiting him, he often admonished us for acting too “American.” It wasn’t just a matter of being embarrassed, but owing to the very real distaste many foreigners have for Americans, it is generally best not to foster attention carelessly.

    Once, as we were leaving a train in Leipzig, a fellow standing in the doorway of the car uttered, somewhat under his breath “fucking Americans” as we passed. Neither my son, my family nor myself are ashamed of being Americans. But we certainly did not want a violent confrontation while visiting a foreign country.

    But you are correct, people who have not lived here for an extended period are generally more circumspect, less unabashed in their response to things such as advertising.

    Generally, my son thinks German TV is not very good by American production standards, but as he doesn’t own a TV, he doesn’t see much of it. But advertising there in general is understated compared to most produced in America.

    The difference you reference is subtle in most respects, but it does exist. Perhaps it is owing to the older, more finely aged culture in Europe and elsewhere. Americans are relative toddlers culturally. We can be like a bull in a china shop at times. And remember, America developed with a “shoot first, and ask questions later” mentality.

    I know I’m still dancing around the point you are trying to make, but I’ve gotta end this to do some work so I can pay my internet service.

    Baritone

  • Zedd

    Baritone

    I don’t feel that you are dancing around the issue as I feel the same way.

    We are Americans and proud of it. We know that there are fantastic aspects of our society. One thing is that Americans are nice people. Just NICE. You cant do better than that.

    You make a great point about the age of our society.

    I suspect that the mayhem of this era will help to mature us. I think the nation has grown weary of the spin. We’ve over played that hand and people are looking for simplicity and clarity. We are fortunate that the boomers are aging, which means we will all become smarter and wiser as a nation. As time goes by we want the essence of things and are rather put off by fluff. An older boomer population will benefit us with that.

  • MBD

    “As time goes by we want the essence of things and are rather put off by fluff”

    It certainly didn’t show up in #69 and #70.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Zedd,

    I am, in fact an old Boomer. We were perhaps the first recipients of the efforts of Madison Ave. in full force, and since, have taken the reigns making American marketing the most sophisticated and manipulative advertizing machine anywhere in the world.

    Perhaps, as we age, as you suggest, we may be able to reflect on what we have wrought, and provide some perspective and some notions of how and if we went wrong, and how those coming behind us can make advertising less cloyingly manipulative. Who knows?

    By the way, here’s a great quote by Zelda Fitzgerald: “We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising.”

    And MBD, I don’t even know what you are talking about.

    Baritone

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Those who run the advertising industry live by the words of H.L. Mencken:

    “No one in this world, so far as I know…has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”

    Notes on journalism, Chicago Tribune
    September 19, 1926

    And the advertising industry has made trillions for its customers on that one maxim alone.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Clavos,

    Mencken was great. I always liked his definition of a puritan (which I am paraphrasing here) as someone afraid that someone else may be having a good time.

    Baritone

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Baritone,

    I’ve been a fan of Mencken for a long time.

    The Puritanism one IS one of his best.

    Another I like is simply one word: The Booboisie.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Clavos,

    Yes, “Booboisie” is apropos of a great deal.

    Baritone

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    Baritone, please stick an http:// before your url in the comments window…

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Christopher,

    I was going to tell you I didn’t know how to do that, but now I think I did it. We’ll see.

    Baritone

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Yep, you got it…

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    Woohoo!

  • STM

    Hey Baritone, I linked to your site. Good stuff. I love your forsythia? (the big yeller bush). I am also extremely jealous of how green your grass is. Mine is now a slightly greener shade of brown after a long, hot summer – and despite some heavy rainfall recently, this continent remains parched.

  • http://www.antequeravillarental.com Christopher Rose

    See, Baritone, immediate results. Nice site too. Congratulations!

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I’m amazed. Maybe I’ll get that cyber-Pulitzer after all.

    As to the forsythia, yeah it’s a monster. (I measured it a couple of weeks ago. It is nearly 24 feet in diameter.) Ya just gotta know how to pick your continents.

    Thanks folks, for dropping by.

    Baritone

  • STM

    Also mate, and while I don’t want to get into racial stereotypes here (I’m going to anyway), I think it’s a bit rich for one of our German cousins to be muttering under his breath about those awful Americans. Especially in a city that was part of a Soviet puppet state.

    I don’t see that Americans overall have too much to be ashamed about. A bit, maybe, but that’s another issue. But in Europe, people should be eternally grateful both to them and the British.

  • SonnyD

    STM: #84 It’s interesting that you used the word “cousin” in the above remark. I was thinking about the scene that Baritone described this morning and decided what I would have done in the same circumstances.

    First look at the man as if surprised, then give him a big smile and call out, “Hey, Cousin, how are you?” Then, while he is still confused, lean over as if to tell him something in confidence and say, “Just think, if my great-grandfather had not decided to emigrate to the US, but yours had, I could be the one standing there making remarks when you walk by. Life’s funny, isn’t it? Have a nice day.”

  • STM

    I was trying to be polite, sonny, using the term cousin. You’re right though – it’s a great example of how the same person could have totally different views, depending on where they’ve grown up. I find those “sliding doors” type scenarios quite fascinating.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    I suppose, if I was quicker on the draw, I could have come up with something cutting and witty. It was so unexpected, kinda out of nowhere. It’s so much easier to be clever in hindsight. Within a few seconds of the encounter, we were off the train, the offending fellow still on, and the doors closing.

    As to where this guy was coming from, upon turning around and seeing his malevolent smile, it was obvious that he was likely a skinhead. He probably hated everybody.

    It is generally true, I think, that it is not wise to get into a confrontation, especially a violent one, when visiting a foreign country. The repercussions can be difficult, perhaps harrowing. Had I been alone, it might have been different, but I had my family in tow, plus my son’s girl friend. I know these all sound like excuses for being a wus, but angry as I was, doing nothing was likely the wisest response.

    It’s also true, though, that I am not a flag waver. I am well aware of the US’s deteriorating reputation abroad. Fifty years ago we were the great liberators. Today that is old news. As the saying goes, what have you done for us lately? What we’ve done is engage in an unwise war in a part of the world we simply don’t understand, just as with Viet Nam. The subsequent rise in terrorist attacks, particularly in Spain and England can be at least in part traced to our involvement in Iraq. Our arrogance and stupidity have cost lives in Europe, and elsewhere. Few people understand better the folly of war than Europeans. Sadly, we have earned our flagging reputation. We are no longer looked upon as the saviours of the free world. Now, we are the bull in the china shop.

    Baritone