Monday, April 2, 2018

“Being Foolish on April First…

Is like getting drunk on Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s strictly for amateurs.”

I’m not sure where I stole that quote from nor do I have the energy to check at the moment, but I'm going to adopt it (a day late, I suppose) in order to talk about a couple of serious things I’ve been thinking about lately.

The first comes from all the recent revelations (or more accurately, belief of revelations) concerning misconduct in the entertainment industry.  
It is the question:
“Is it proper, or possible, to separate the art from the artist?”

Movies can get around this worry by virtue of being such an immense group effort.  Pixar as a whole can remain magnificent storytellers, in spite of the actions of its boss.

For me, the main focus of individually created entertainment art will be and has always been standup comedy. 

If we learned one of the Great Masters had a dark underside to their personality, would the paintings suddenly be less beautiful or less valuable?

Richard Jeni tragically committed suicide due to depression. He did routines about that exact issue. On the one hand, it’s very hard to listen to them without being reminded of what happened.  Yet on the other, the concept of a “Nothing but Love Songs” radio station playing an “Entire Kevorkian Suite” is still funny.  I have to believe in the possibility that someone who knows that routine might actually get a lift or a chuckle that might help them prevent an emotional low by remembering it.

The same goes for John Pinnette’s overeating based humor. His unhealthy life style was no doubt responsible for his early passing, but it doesn't make the artistic combination of his words and expressions any less hilarious in and of themselves.

Then of course, is the big one- Bill Cosby.  Independently, Fat Albert is still a well-made show, with many good messages for kids.  Can it be separated from what he did in real life, though?  For me personally, I have a more important connection to his routines.  My sister and I are in our forties now, and yet whenever we end up next to each other, we go into, “You broke the beeeed…its broken on your side, man.”

Frankly, I don't know what the right answer is. The individual should be punished, but the art may exist as a separate entity. I guess I feel the same way about the argument against George Lucas editing the Star Wars movies. He felt entitled to, because they were his films.

However, I'm in the camp that believes once they were released, the films became all of ours. 

Again, I don't really have an answer as to what is correct, only a bunch of questions. Yet, I personally will stick with the belief that the art should exist and be judged on its own merits.

The second topic is a big one, the gun arguments going on everywhere now.  I’d like to direct this to both sides, because it’s getting infuriating-

Stop using tragedy to promote your political agendas and point out why the other side’s agendas are wrong!

Can’t we all stop insulting each other long enough to sit in a room, agree that not having kids get shot is the goal, and work towards it?

We may need some new systems, and we may need to use the systems we have in place better, but trying to pee all over the people on the other side of the aisle instead of fixing the problem is not the way to handle this.

And, note to both sides- your analogies and examples suck.

Preventing gun sales to eighteen year olds being compared to eighteen year olds being given rifles when serving in the military is a fair point, as long as the consideration is added that when they are issued those rifles, they are also given training and discipline to go with them.

Comparing an armed attacker and armed protectors to rock throwing is stupid, because it’s non-lethal and parallels arming all the students, which I don’t think anyone is advocating.

Complaining that no one is against armed guards in a bank falls apart once you realize that no one gives a damn if their money gets accidentally shot.

Calling any firearm discharge anywhere near an education building a school shooting is a pointless artificial inflation of the statistics that the opposition can easily pick apart and distract from the point trying to be made that ONE kid shot in a school is unacceptable.

Pointing out other teen death rates are higher so we should focus on that instead is like saying, “More people die from heart disease than cancer, so we should stop cancer research.” Also, leaning on the numbers that show gun related suicides are far more frequent than school shootings is not really helping your "guns are good to own" argument.

The second amendment was written way before the modern weaponry of today, in the same way the first amendment was written before the internet, age does not determine applicability.  On the other hand, there are laws and restrictions on the Freedom of Speech.  Libel and slander are still illegal, and you still can’t yell movie in a crowded firehouse. (Yes, I'm stealing from everywhere today)

And from a personal safety side, can we please stop talking about arming the teachers?  I was one of the good kids, but my levels of smart-assness would have led to justifiable homicide by most of my English instructors.

In Maryland a “good guy” with a gun stopped a “bad guy” with a gun. But the “bad guy” still shot two students, and then himself before the "good guy" could.  Clearly, both extreme sides’ views of the merits of this option have major flaws.  It’s time to sit down together and figure out which parts work.

Side note- news agencies, stop labeling this criminal as "lovesick."  Lovesick people mope around and write bad poetry.  Don't use anything with the word "love" in it for this psycho.

Yes, the kids' protests likely aren't based in deep knowledge of how the law and government work, or the difference between an assault rifle and a shotgun.  They are based on the kids being afraid of getting shot during a normal day at school. 

It’s up to the adults to stop picking on each other, and help get rid of that fear.

Final point that’s driving me even crazier than the other two:

Jeff’s vocabulary lesson for the day:

Etymology- The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.

There’s a whole field built around this, and here in the future, there are multiple really well researched sites that can tell you the derivation of any word…AND ANY NAME!!!!

Stop using those goofy Facebook quiz things that are no doubt mining all of your personal contacts for possible identity theft to tell you how your one syllable name is made up of two separate parts from a language that has nothing to do with its actual origin.

Take your name, type it in google followed by “etymology,” hit enter and you get your real answer. 

Not only that, but since these are…
Almost every single correct meaning will be more beautiful and inspiring than the ones made up fortune cookie like by the data miners.

Thank you, back to the silliness next time.


MOM said...


Jeff McGinley said...

Many thanx for the encouragement.