Ramblings of Charles Prier – Writer-Insomniac-General Know-it-All

Archive for February, 2010

The View from the Road

We drove up to Batesville today after church for a short visit with my sister. It was a nice day for a leisurely drive even though the scenery was not so pretty; it takes a magical mind’s eye to see the beauty in necked trees and brown grass. We enjoyed the visit, coffee, brownies, and pleasant conversation.

On the way back home I noticed a disturbing change in the view along Highway 167. Heading south a little past Pleasant Plains each side of the highway begins to look tacky. What we use to call house-trailers dominates the curbside view (euphemisms like Mobile Homes and Manufactured Homes have replaced this older term.) Mingled with these habitats are older traditional structures showing their neglect, wear, and the obvious mismatch with the needs or habits of their inhabitants.

I find it sad; the highway view used to be pretty with even simple home sites showing pride in ownership. I was reminded of a conversation of a few weeks ago when it was mentioned that a subculture called the “Let it go back mentality” is a growing trend in our younger generation. Perhaps the current view from the highway reflects an unwelcome (at least by me) change in our society’s values. Maybe it will not be so noticeable in Springtime. –CP

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Letters to the Editor

Has anyone noticed the lack of letters to the editor appearing in the Daily Citizen lately?

 I recently submitted a letter and after a period of non-publication made an inquiry as to whether or not a policy change had occurred after the departure of Jay Strasner as editor. Although Jay generally maintained the Newspaper’s conservative leanings, I found him always fair and impartial in printing the other view.  

 The publisher, Mike Murphy responded that my letter had been deemed “not of local interest” and subsequently ignored. The letter contained substantially the same text as presented in my post on this Blog titled “The Tea Party.”

 I disagreed. If the subject of the letter was not of “local interest” it certainly should be. Also, I think the tenor of the letter fell within the bounds of those previously published by myself as well other authors. Of course it is always the publisher’s call.  

 Mike seemed to take exception to my implication that the Newspaper had “general leanings”; yet this call demonstrates the bias that almost any regular reader should recognize. I contend that “general leanings” are demonstrated not only by what is printed and how it is presented but what is rejected. In my mind, I’m pretty sure that if a letter presenting right-wing views had been submitted by Kevin Fullofhimself it would have been published without delay.

 Then look at the front page of Friday’s edition and note the extensive and flowery coverage of Laura Ingraham’s appearance at Harding. For those that are not aware Laura Ingraham is a talking head with the ability to talk over almost anyone and frequently appears on Fox News. She also has a radio talk show where she is a prettier, less vulgar extension of Rush Limbaugh.

 Bias even unintentional, is especially troublesome in an election year. If our country is to survive, we must elect legislators who are willing to work toward solutions not just say NO for political reasons. Another period with a political climate like that of the eight years of the Bush Administration will be devastating to everyday citizens. If our hometown press is biased is there any hope? –CP

Maryanne’s Serious Cookies – A metaphor in five paragraphs.

Maryanne makes great cookies. Cookie making is not her profession nor does she depend on it for making a living.  Instead her baking efforts are toward achieving self-fulfillment. Receiving recognition of her success is an addiction, the more she receives the more her ego demands. Each measure of success changes Maryanne, the recognition she craves creates a buzz that she loves and hates at the same time. It gives her a feeling of power yet a makes her acutely aware of a deeply felt inadequacy not only as a cookie maker but as a person.

Over time Maryanne’s talent as a cookie maker has improved but at a slower pace than her ego demands; Maryanne has assumed a lonely loftiness and often becomes frustrated. She is dismissive of cookies baked by others, their recipes, ingredient suggestions, and packaging methods. She puts on an air that in every way her culinary skills are superior to others.

Poor Maryanne is quickly reaching the limits of the recognition her cookie making can provide, leaving her silently shouting for attention with her attitude, mannerisms, and body language.

When she speaks she may try to tell you what you do not want to know, invoking opinions as facts, dogmatic, always inflexible and insensitive to others. You may not remember exactly what she does or what she says but you will likely remember how she makes you feel.

I believe that to preserve my own sanity, my somewhat limited creativity, and my enjoyment of non serious cookie making, I must avoid the society kitchen; unfortunately I will miss many talented and tolerant friends who frequently assemble there. I’ll just bake cookies for the fun of it, self-package them and feed them to the always appreciative Cookie Monster (who will eat just about anything).–CP

The Tea Party

I just watched a newscast reporting on the first national convention of the Tea Party. One comment by an ultra conservative stands out. He said his job was to get the ignorant and stupid citizens that have never been involved interested in politics.

These fanatics are far from everyday citizens; obviously, they paid more than $500 each to attend the affair, hear Sarah Palin speak and cheer as Joseph Farah insisted that President Obama is not a citizen of the United States.

This Party, if it is actually a party, shows no signs of any capability to help solve the Nations problems; it simply promotes a loud “NO” to Obama anything. This is worse than the already jeer worthy Republican leadership – that presents a policy of “NO” even to those principles it traditionally advances.

The cry that Obama is out to destroy the country is ludicrous considering the damage done over the preceding eight years. How can an honest, informed, reasoning individual hold to such ideas?

I do not believe that everyday citizens are stupid; I do believe they are easily deceived and victimized by the fanaticism of these right-wing charlatans. As a result of the policies of the last administration, things are tough; everyday citizens have a lot on their plates. Just getting by day-to-day is a major challenge and future prospects are bleak; it’s easy for these mountebanks to influence them with their venomous rhetoric.

We need to realize that what needs doing is not about Obama it’s about us, the everyday citizens of America. What has always worked is respect, orderly and sincere debate, followed by compromise on otherwise divisive issues; this can resume if we turn a deaf ear to the cynicism and hypocrisy of the fanatics, search for common ground and move forward.

Mr. Fullofhimself

The Online edition of the Daily Citizen allows reader comments on articles of local origin. It is interesting to read some of the comments as it provides insight into the thinking of those inclined to comment. It’s a good study in human nature and politics.

Letters to the editor prompt the most entertaining threads; the gallery is filled with regulars signing their often ill thought out commentary with an alias. Since I have a smart-alecky side, I often comment particularly on the comments presented in the Opinion section – I always use my real name. Here is where I encountered a character that calls himself Kevin. Kevin never uses his full name and I suspect that the first name is an alias. It’s understandable since the blather he posts would be embarrassing to the average shaved monkey.

Kevin is a man really caught up in himself who he admires. His bragging and blowhard rhetoric is almost as sickening as the right wing conservative ideology he spews. Since he will not abandon his alias I have named him Kevin Fullofhimself. Surprisingly he seems to like it, as well as being cast in a group with Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter. He calls them patriots.

Although I am a Democrat and lean a little left of center politically, unlike these fellow citizens, I have a high regard for truth and don’t believe we have all the answers.

Quite frankly it is not Kevin’s errant political views that irritate me as much as his failure to sign his real name to his blather. Like anonymous letters, if it is not worth signing it’s not worth saying. –CP

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