Here's a brief (thus far) but interesting blog by a guy who thinks that we're all too complacent and could use some heartfelt anger about the way things are going in the culture. Never mind that anger is unhealthy, unwholesome, negative, and causes high blood pressure. He's got a big list of rants, some of which push him over the edge from angry to furious. Two of them in particular caught my attention.
The Missile Shield
It's really not a shield at all, is it? It's actually just a bunch of other missiles. If you thought someone was going to throw a dart at your head, would you defend yourself with intercept darts? Hitting a mid-flight dart with another dart or a missile with another missile is hard, and it pretty much never works in either case. I wouldn't declare my head dart-proof based on a system like that. And I sure as hell wouldn't spend billions of dollars trying to dart-proof my head in response to having a brick thrown at my crotch on September 11th.
This just makes so much sense to me I wish I'd thought of it first. It was true in Reagan's day and is no less true today now that Bush has resurrected the project. It's also so laughingly foolhardy it's tragic, considering the public funds spent chasing so elusive a chimera.
I shouldn't have to hate standing ovations. But good lord do I ever. Tony Blair, when addressing the US Congress received 19 standing ovations during his 32 minute speech. George Bush received 6 in the first six minutes of the last state of the union address. A standing ovation is meant to be reserved for the best of the best. This should automatically exclude the following from receiving them: 1) all school productions (I've seen your kids, they're not that cute) 2) speeches by presidents who say "nukular" 3) concerts from local musicians 4) amateur plays. Most performers and speakers aren't that good and you devalue those who are when you arbitrarily dish out standing o's. I propose that everybody get a lifetime quota of three ovations that they can bestow on performers. No more. It might make people think twice before they stand up and start clapping like idiots for a kid hitting a tambourine.
This one has been a peeve of mine for a long time. I think one underlying cause is that we're all out to maximize our enjoyment of things, and to do so, it becomes necessary to validate our experience with standing ovations at every turn. I once took part in a staged riot at a classical music concert, which was a very modest recreation of a real riot in 1913. The looks of utter horror on the faces of the audience before they realized what was happening — that someone might disapprove of a public performance and be disruptive — was remarkable. Were I to really boo a performer these days, I'd probably be sanctioned for expressing my judgment.