Saturday, November 27, 2010

Take The Pledge, You Intolerant Bigot

Leaving San Francisco was one of the great joys in my life. At long last, I wouldn't have to spend most of my day being lectured about being a racist and a bigot simply for having come into existence. Living now in Caliente, in an area that is populated by whites, Mexicans and African-Americans who are too busy working together to waste time talking about tolerance, I thought I had gotten away from the legions of self-righteous hypocrites.

On the other hand, living the solitary life (family aside) I tend to watch a bit more television than in the past. Most of what's on is worthless, so I use the TV for background noise. But there are some shows worth watching, and there is one network that has done an amazing job of producing fun, interesting, thought-provoking fare. That network is USA. Sure, the vast majority of programming is nonsense, but their percentage of good stuff is far better than the networks and less over-the-top than pay cable/satellite channels.

To a greater or lesser degree, the shows I enjoy most and actually watch include White Collar, Royal Pains, Psych, Covert Affairs, In Plain Sight, and my absolute favorite, Burn Notice. For those of you who haven't figured it out by now, I'm not a cultural snob. I can quote Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, and Jefferson with the best of them. But sometimes life needs to be a bit more middle-brow (even low-brow under the right circumstances). So unlike so many of my friends and associates, I freely admit that I am a TV watcher. I laugh at the humor, tear over at the sad parts, and allow myself to be manipulated for those few hours by clever writers.

USA developed a theme a couple of years back called "Characters Welcome." I tended to ignore it because it was the usual pap. They would gather many of their stars together to say things like "I'm half-Mexican, I'm a Jew, I'm a Christian, I'm spiritual, I'm a single father," and other things of no note. In other words, these Hollywood/TV babies thought that all those things made them "characters," when in fact it simply made them Americans. Still, I didn't feel pressured into politically-correct thinking, nor was I either convinced to watch USA shows or refuse to watch them because of their little commercial squibs.

Lately (apparently for a month), the network has developed a new theme: "Characters Unite." The first of what is planned to be an entire month's worth of such feel-good messages was done using one of their pretty-boy stars of dubious sexuality telling us that he has taken the pledge, and wants all of us to join together with him and give up our intolerance. We must cast out our evil demons of bigotry and learn to love and respect each other's religions and beliefs.

Now I grew up with a 2000 year old message from a Jew with long hair who told us "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," and "even as ye do unto the least of these my brethren, ye do also unto me." So I've tried to follow that admonition with a mix of commendable success and terrible failure. Somehow, listening to a rather twisted version of the same message delivered by a vacuous child who was born twenty-five or thirty years after the Civil Rights movement, I am not motivated to rush out to the nearest person not of my race or religion, wear sackcloth and heap ashes on my head, and hug him in a show of slobbery brotherhood.

So what brought this all about? Was it the perfidious Jews practicing their satanic rituals? Or was it the Catholics hiding incendiary bombs sneaking down the street to burn down a Lutheran church? Perhaps it was the evil Buddhists, chanting constantly in order to keep all their neighbors awake at night and unable to function the following day. Maybe it's the Hindus trying to keep us all from having that hamburger at McDonald's lest the slaughtered cow that forms the main ingredient be somebody's grandmother. Or maybe it's all of them joining forces to murder that atheist in his bed. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Apparently, USA knows, but so far they have failed to enlighten us on just who is the perpetrator of this discrimination and who is the victim.

But you can rest your minds about one thing. We know without a doubt that at least one group is guilty of none of this horrible hatred. Islam is, after all, the religion of peace, and we also know that no more than fifty or sixty of them worldwide have ever done anything that violates the rules of that religion of tolerance and love. And joining with the Muslims throughout the world, the USA stars are echoing the loving brotherhood of Mohammed by giving us the following mission statement: "Characters Unite represents a movement committed to combating intolerance and discrimination, and to promoting greater acceptance and mutual respect."

USA will "donate $1.00 to its nonprofit partners for every pledge made during Characters Unite Month." Now doesn't that just warm your cockles? And since USA hasn't actually identified the victims of this massive outpouring of American intolerance, I'm going to assume that one of those "partners" is CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations).

The whole campaign must have formed in the minds of the loving honchos at USA after several rounds of mass murders of American Muslims, uncountable burnings of Muslim mosques nationwide, public stonings of Muslim children, and the horror of group rape of innocent Muslim women in Poughkeepsie, Omaha and Bismarck. For shame, you bigots. You are attempting to wipe out an entire religion--the one that tolerates everyone, keeps women in high regard, and would never consider attacking those of a different faith or of no faith at all. Least of all would the religion of peace consider mass slaughter of civilians who aren't at war with anyone.

The great thing about movie and TV actors is that they see more than just the usual violent acts of bigots. They live such lives of scholarly study and deep introspection that they can see things we mere peasants can't see. Subtlety. They are also motivated to hector us for such massive acts of non-violent (so far) opposition to the building of an Islamic monument right next to the hole in New York City created by a few wacky kids who falsely claimed to be Muslims.

You should all cooperate with USA and their script-reading intellectuals by going to their website and getting that dollar for CAIR by swearing: "I took the pledge against prejudice, intolerance and hate." Just go to the link that says: "Support Characters Unite and spread the word throughout the world." Forget that outdated admonition "go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel." There are bigger fish to fry than what that insignificant bigoted Jew said 2000 years ago. It is time to cling to your olive branches and Korans and abjure all those other intolerant religions.

I'll have to close now so that I can myself take the pledge. I shall then spend the rest of the day speaking to my children and grandchildren about my lifelong mistakes made while I was an unthinking bigot. And as for the subtlety, I shall also point out to them that it was my secret intolerance and hatred of other religions that I cloaked in the misleading words "self-defense." Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. How do you say that in Arabic?


Tennessee Jed said...

Good grief, Hawk. When networks start doing that kind of drivel, I really fear for the future of television altogether. Thanks for picking up on this since it was news to me. (Admittedly, I haven't watched much on the network, but have heard good things about burn notice.)

There is one guilty pleasure on CBS I have enjoyed which, as a lawhawk I think you might enjoy. It is "The Defenders" on CBS at 10:00 p.m. Wednesdays. I expected it to suck, but the episodes have been quite interesting. You and Andrew could probably figure out the inaccuracies, but thus far, I've enjoyed each episode.

Joel Farnham said...

I like USA for Psych, Burn Notice and White Collar. They remind me of some of the 70's shows that just focused on entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.

I hadn't noticed the ad campaign. Maybe it blended in with not listening to the Election ads. At any rate, I won't listen to them for the same reason I won't listen to the world hunger commercials.

I am like Sam in this regard. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... I don't particularly mind the occasional PSA (I grew up with "The More You Know" and all that) but I can't entirely disagree with the theory that once one attains a certain level of success in Hollywood, one tends to either feel guilty about it, or the need to - for lack of a better word - "help."

In this case, it's the network, and I bet more than one of those actors resents being cajoled into this. There was an Entourage episode where Matt Damon (as himself) basically cons Vince into donating an exorbitant amount of money to some pet charity - I imagine that happens quite a lot in Hollywood. What can you do... say no? Think of the publicity! :-)

As for TV, there are shows out there that are better than most movies. I don't watch tons - Chuck on Monday nights; Fringe, The Office, 30 Rock, and Community on Thursday nights; and The Soup on Friday nights where Joel McHale makes fun of all the crappy TV shows from the previous week. I also watch SNL hoping I'll laugh more than once. If I do, it's a miracle.

As for background noise, I'll put on the Science Channel or the History Channel. I'm a sucker for documentaries like "Life Aboard an Aircraft Carrier" or " Go Inside Grand Central Terminal" and things like that.

StanH said...

Well Lawhawk, I was blissfully ignorant to latest Hollywood drivel until I read your piece…spit!

Did everyone see that the religion of peace took a shot last evening in Portland Or. Pioneer Square, with a van loaded with six 55gal drums of some kind of explosive. The van was parked amongst thousands of people at a Christmas tree lighting, evil Christians.
The cops busted the little shit at a train depot dialing in the detonation code and reportedly yelled Allah Akbar. The good news, the entire thing was set up by the FBI, the bad news, a naturalized American, born in Somali would want to blow up innocent people singing Christmas Carols. Hey maybe he could get lucky and it would detonate during Handel’s Messiah, at the Hallelujah Chorus, sick little Islamo-Goon.

Though the ideals being espoused by our hectoring Hollywood halfwits is admirable, it’s never a good idea to kiss a rattlesnake on the nose, We’d better get past this PC, BS, or one of these little bastards will be successful, hey! …maybe an Easter Parade?

Oh, his name was something like Mohamed Muhammad, hmmm…there may be a clue there?

Anonymous said...

Tennessee: Yeah, the show is loaded with legal inaccuracies, but I watch it because it doesn't take on the boring pompous tone that so many other lawyer shows take. Not to mention, I won as many cases with humor as I did with earnest solemnity. My first (and only) partner and I split over that issue. I always tried to warm up juries by getting them to laugh at least once during a trial. So he told me that I didn't take the law seriously. I told him that I took the law very seriously, but unlike him, I didn't take myself all that seriously.

I would also guess that procedures are quite different in Las Vegas from the ones I was used to in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

Joel: I'm generally like you in that as soon as the shows take a commercial break, I'm off to the kitchen for coffee or snacks. I think what slowed me down was Matt Bohmer showing up in the first of those PSAs. I watched it only because I figured he was going to announce when the show White Collar was going to be back from hiatus. Instead, I got Mr. "I'm spiritual" from the Characters Welcome promos lecturing me on my intolerance. Ptooey.

That Kinison clip is as obscenely funny as were most of his comic rants. For those who don't know the trick of getting to the clips directly from the comments section, here's the clickable link: World Hunger.

Actually, I thought you were talking about Sam on Burn Notice referring to the FBI agents as "a bunch of bitchy little girls." And immediately I thought of the "tolerance kids" as a bunch of prune-faced old maiden aunts.

Anonymous said...

Scott: Most of these PSAs are like group therapy sessions for Narcissists Anonymous.

I don't know if they were the least bit effective, but the "this is your brain on drugs" campaign was at least both apt and funny. The use of celebrities in PSAs really annoys me since most of them live a life that would put a Roman sybarite to shame. I guess it causes me to think "physician, heal thyself."

I live the life of getting along with everyone wherever and whenever possible, and don't have to read scripts about tolerance to convince others of my own attitude. But I'm also not afraid to tell someone in clear terms that your religious beliefs sound an awful lot like passages from Mein Kampf. Ergo, I am intolerant by USA network standards.

On a different note, I ordinarily can't stand Justin Timberlake. But he has done several very effective and touching (with humor) PSAs for Shriner's Children's Hospitals. Good for him.

Anonymous said...

Stan: See what I mean? You're intolerant. Just because in the name of a god, and with the name of a prophet, some little bastard tried to blow up a bunch of Christians, you are making judgments about the religion of peace. Maybe he just suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, or mistook a munitions manual for the Koran. It has nothing to do with his religion. You bigot.

Tehachapi Tom said...

I like your paraphrasing a Roman Catholic prayer with Islam, that is real interesting. Those idiots could not feel anything, especially that of remorse. Have you ever heard a Muslim beat up on himself for doing some thing wrong? I have not.

As for TV, an old line fits still
"A vast waste land".
I listen to more radio (not music) than watch the tube. In the wee hours on Sunday mornings in particular, a Salt Lake City station airs radio drama.
They even air "The Shadow" among others. A bit of nostalgia is good for something I think, even if I cannot remember what.

Where you are should be great for radio reception since the amount of
electrical and RF background noise should be low.

Anonymous said...

Tehachapi Tom: I enjoy radio once in awhile. Of course as background noise I listen to oldies stations. I love the old radio dramas, but it doesn't work as background since you actually have to pay attention. So I just wait for our next power failure, turn on the battery-operated radio, and I'm good to go.

StanH said...

Thanks Lawhawk! You are helping me with my latent bigotry. With your wisdom I now see the era of my ways. “Bad Stan! Bad Stan!” And you’re probably right, it could be irritable bowel syndrome, or perhaps he lost his extended play on his X-Box, either way these are very serious matters that we must not judge. Thanks again Lawhawk.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, I've seen these ads. Very stupid. I checked out their website when I first heard about this and what's funny is that they are only giving up to $20,000 (not much in the way of corporate money), and the money will be spread around 20 groups. So don't make any big plans for the money! LOL!

In terms of CAIR, there is one Arab group -- Anti-Arab Defamation something or other, but there is no Muslim group. Beyond that, you've got the usual suspect, the ADL, the NAACP, La Razza, etc. etc., and a couple different teachers unions.

Anonymous said...

Andrew: Although CAIR has its tentacles in almost everything, they would get more than $20,000 from behind the cushions of a Saudi prince's couch, so they probably didn't bother with this one. La Raza and its cousin Mecha are very tolerant. They have no problem with non-Hispanics living in the Southwest just as soon as la raza has booted the gringo governments and American citizens out.

Anonymous said...

Stan: It takes a lot of practice. I stand in front of the mirror every morning and remind myself "you are a white, blue-eyed, Christian Islamophobic bigot." And yet I still find myself having anti-Muslim thoughts throughout almost every day, like when a Somali Muslim wannabe terrorist tries to blow up a crowd of Thanksgiving shoppers. I always remind myself that he could just as easily have been a Baptist or a Jew, and that I'm drawing bigoted conclusions with no evidence whatsoever.

StanH said...

It shows. I was telling my wife just the other day, that Lawhawk, he seems to be losing some of his racist/Islamophobic, tendencies. Keep up the good work brother, one day you might even have your white sheet up for sale on eBay. Don’t laugh, my sheets brought $375.00 and I was able to purchase Korans for the whole family, so now we too can learn to be peaceful.

Anonymous said...

Stan: The other hard part is that I have lots of trees to cut down on my property for making burning crosses, and I have to remind myself that we don't do that anymore. It's not easy being a white, bigoted oppressor.

StanH said...

I know! …wow you too. Hang in their brother recovery is at hand.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk and Stan
You guys are just spending to much energy on this being non-bigoted.
I am to old and don't have the energy to even try.If Islam was so great,peaceful or understanding then fine.Or if Islam deserved any extended consideration it would be understandable. It is not and because of that why spend your precious intellect and energy on a waste of both.

There is nothing wrong with profiling, only the left leaning wing nuts feel that is meritorious.

In a perfect world I would agree profiling is wrong.

We do not live in a perfect world therefore we must move in the ways of the world we find ourselves in.

An exception can be found in any format you choose, I would choose to take the path of the most probable.

If you all can reach a universal correct choice I can most likely embrace it. Till then I'll hold on to my large-oted ways. They are just bigger than big.

Anonymous said...

Stan: I'm starting a new group here in Caliente. Religious Bigots Anonymous. Of course, now that you know about it, it's not very anonymous, is it? LOL

Anonymous said...

Tehachapi Tom: Are you prepared to meet your maker only to find out he's Allah? I think you should re-evaluate your position. LOL

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good post, Lawhawk!
I concur. I saw one of those last night while watching Psych, during a commercial break. It got an eye roll outta me.
Might as well be lambs led to slaughter tellin' me to be tolerant of the wolves.
Fools, maybe they will kill you last, is my thought.

It's like when one of the networks, I forget which one, I think it was NBC, did a "green" week that actually spilled into their programming.

Very annoying, ignorant, gullible, naive and just plain idiotic.

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