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Posted by on Jan 18, 2013 in Guest Contributor, Society | 8 comments

Air Conditioning

Fuzzy thinking will be the death of civilization. Listen:

GOP pollster: Stop talking about rape

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — It’s way past time: House Republicans need to stop talking about rape.  —  That’s the message GOP lawmakers got here Wednesday evening from Kellyanne Conway, a top GOP pollster.  —  Conway dispensed the stern advice as part of a polling presentation she made alongside fellow GOP pollsters David Winston — an adviser to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — and Dave Sackett. The comment was described by several sources in the room.

Conway said rape is a “four-letter word,” and Republicans simply need to stop talking about it in their races for office…

No! Really? Rather than face the REASON the GOP gets in trouble for its pronouncements on rape, the tactic is going to be to not talk about it. There you go.

Civilization is air-conditioner noise. Most of the time, we tune it out, and only notice it after it shuts off. Most of the time we don’t notice it, and some few, arrogant souls will actually speak of their annoyance at that constant, low whine.

Pyramid 2

Now, suppose this were Death Valley in August, and you were in the restaurant. If that annoying whine of the air conditioner ceases, you will very quickly get to choose the greater and lesser of the two annoyances (for life is nearly never ‘black and white’ but human thinking is entirely too often) a mild whine that you can tune out, or 120 degrees Fahrenheit AND the sudden aroma of the other patrons of the restaurant as their bodies, like yours, attempt to equalize the temperature via sweat.

Civilization IS that air-conditioner, keeping our lives relatively mild while the deadly heat of savagery lurks outside its public tavern.

And, as there are several parties (OK: one) who would shut down the air-conditioner because its noise annoys them, let’s look at some other household mundanities.

Just suppose, for instance, that Auntie Em was coming to visit in two weeks and there is a sudden grease fire in the kitchen.


Now, most people would prioritize, thusly: the immediate reality of the fire trumps the potentiality (Auntie Em may have to nurse Uncle Henry back to health after being brutally beaten by his three no good farm hands). And the grease fire would be the immediate focus of attention.

This does not seem to work in Congress, however. For four straight years, they have demanded that Auntie Em’s visit (Social Security and Medicare and the National Debt, oh my) take priority.

And so the kitchen has burned. Because there are far too many who cannot distinguish between reality and imagined reality.

The grease fire is the reality. It is immediate, distinctive, unmistakable.

Wizard Statue

The visit by Auntie Em is a “reality” inasmuch as that’s the plan, at least. But Auntie Em is only a possibility, even, perhaps, a probability. It is not real in the way that the grease fire is real. Yet, for four years, the reality of the Great Bush Crash has been ignored as a lunatic would ignore a grease fire, with the priorities being abortion, debt and ‘entitlements.’

Yeah, Jack. If I pay into Social Security from the time I’m fifteen, THAT’s an “entitlement”?


In the immortal words of Bill O’Reilly debating Al Franken at the LA Book Fair, as a horrified Pat Schroeder and Molly Ivins tried to stop all the testosterone:

“It’s MY money! It’s MINE!”

As a matter of fact, you Congress goons have RAIDED the Social Security Trust Fund to the tune of Trillions of Dollars. I think you better pay attention to that grease fire.

professor marvel

Sorry. The “lock box” is empty. Whoops!

You know, “Jobs, jobs, jobs”?

Or take the fuzzy thinking of the sudden distraction in the “gun debate.”

Violent Video Games and Crazy People.

Well, we have a problem with the second inasmuch as ANYBODY who shoots other people is, by definition, crazy. But if you want to undo the horrific damage Reagan did to the public mental health system in this country, go for it.  As for the “violent video games” …

fair game

This was a particularly violent
video game played by the Bush
Administration for a long while …

Again: there is an utter inability to distinguish between the fine (OK, not fine at all) line between thought and deed.

This is the old Comstock Argument (used to this very day among the Blue Noses): If you make pornography available, it will rot men’s minds and they will go out and rape women all over the place.

Well,  we now know from three different decades in three different industrialized countries on three different continents that the availability of pornography directly correlates to a DROP in sex crimes. That’s Denmark, the USA and Japan. And, in Japan, it also correlated with a steep decline in sex crimes against children!

J. Frederick Wertham rears his ugly head once more.

The publishing sensation of 1954

In the 1950’s, slightly before my time, there was a nasty little man named J. Frederick Wertham. And Wertham wrote a book entitled Seduction of the Innocent, wherein all juvenile delinquency was laid at the doorstep of comic books. E C Comics famously almost folded, save for one desperate ‘humor’ magazine the launched to try and stay afloat. Suddenly, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee in his buckskin jacket and his coonskin cap (cashing in on Davy Crockett, I think) was holding Congressional Hearings, trying to do the Democratic version of the Republican McCarthy and House Unamerican Activities Committee (from whence Richard Nixon oozed ever upward) and why Dr. J. Frederick Wertham was the star witness. And for most of my childhood, you had to watch out, because a lot of parents literally thought that comic books were either “of the devil” or, “no self-respecting person would read such gutter trash” according to their socio-economic status.

Senator Estes 'Davy Crockett' Kefauver

Senator Estes ‘Davy Crockett’ Kefauver

Or, in short, comic books were scapegoated, without any proof except for the ravings of some little self-anointed Comstock. (If you don’t know who Anthony Comstock and the New York Society for the Supression of Vice was, I suggest you google “Ida Craddock”)

In all cases, the THOUGHT was considered the crime, the father to the deed.

Now you take them guns: The NRA claims that violent video games are the culprit. And, yesterday morning, I listened to Tom Brokaw accept that dumbass argument as ENTIRELY reasonable without once batting an eye.

Except that we, again, are claiming that if kids engage in first person shooter games where you get to blow crap up, it’s just like when they view pornography and become rapists.

tea party zombies koch2

This violent video game has evidently failed

Except that they don’t.

Yes, I know that the Columbine shooters did such a good job that the US Marine Corps started running video simulation game training even more intensely. (Video sim games have been used in the military since, arguably, the USMC had the makers of “Doom” make a version using the standard marine weapons and three-man rifle team.)

But thought and deed are ENTIRELY different.

The gun is the reality that facilitates the volitional DEED.

The video game is just an idea. A gazillion kids play ‘violent’ video games and hardly any of them move from thought to deed.

So, like that visit from Aunty Em and the grease fire, FOCUS, dammit.

And watch out for them flying monkeys.

flying monkey typewriter

Now a senior editor at the NY Post!

Because, as you decide to turn off the air-conditioner of governance and civilization because the whine annoys your precious little ears, take a moment to remember that we’re in Death Valley, stupid.

And today Sydney, Australia clocked the highest temperature ever recorded there: 45.8°C or 114.44° F.

Australian Bureau of Metereology temperature map

They just added a new color, purple, for previously unheard of temperatures

Oh wait. You don’t believe in that, do you?

Or don’t you want to talk about that either?

Thought so.

But it HAD to be a dream, didn’t it?




A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, an honorary Texan, Clown (ditto) and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • zephyr

    Where are my ruby slippers when I really need them..

  • slamfu

    Keep em comin’ Mr. Williams. Although I have sometimes wondered if it isn’t just easier trying to trick the tens of millions of Americans who basically take their prejudices about how the world works over any evidence to the contrary. I think taking the reasoned approach to making better policy is actually wasted on tens of millions of voters who just want to hear what they want to hear. The GOP has clued into that fact quite awhile ago.

  • rudi

    Let the Wingnuts have fuzzy thinking, with their attack on science it’s what they deserve. I’ll take fuzzy logic and neural networks over global warming deniers and intelligent design…

  • ShannonLeee

    Well done!

  • Jim Satterfield

    Mr. Wertheimer’s message didn’t reach my parents and he missed the real problem anyway. So when I asked for superhero comics I got them (Hey, my mom told me it happened when I was only three. We didn’t know better.). And having comics was the gateway drug. It led to reading before I entered a school building. That led to feeding my habit through the Scholastic Book Club. Then the evil commie socialist institution known as the public library captured me. My relatives were enablers who would even supply me on my birthday and Christmas. I even became a dealer for a few years, hauling my merchandise to gatherings of fellow addicts called science fiction conventions. And now I suffer horribly because of the bookshelves in every room of the house. The stacks of books on the shelves and cabinets. The horror, the horror. My name is Jim and I’m a bookaholic.

  • The_Ohioan


  • The_Ohioan

    Except they do in some cases. Which is why the President is willing to give $10 million to the CDC to study how violent movies and games may affect some youngsters. It is always perilous to base general assumptions on your own experience. Especially when that experience is quite different from present day youngters’ experiences.

    The jury is still out.

    In an interview with USA TODAY last month, Chris Ferguson, associate professor of psychology and communication at Texas A&M University, says research into video games have found little to no effect on violence or aggression. “During the past 20 years as video games became more popular, youth violence plummeted to 40-year lows, the lowest since the 1960s,” he says.

    However, Douglas Gentile, a media violence commission member and associate professor at Iowa State University, says there are signs games can influence aggression. “We do really need to have a serious conversation about what all the serious risk factors are,” he says.

  • zephyr

    Well done Jim!!!

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