I Can’t Do It

I have kept my stylus to myself lately, because I just cannot deal with your so-called systems of government.

Some rulers are interesting, such as Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great who conquered everything in site before he died at age 32. Some are bizarre, such as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (who hated being called Caligula) or China’s Jin Hui Di. Others were just evil, like Stalin and Hitler. Even with all their faults (maybe because of them) these leaders were, at least, interesting.

On the other hand, the current cast of the play, “Modern Earth and It’s Leaders” is just plain bad theater. It’s boring and the characters are all one-dimensional. I’m not so fond of the script, either, and recommend it be completely rewritten.

Please, for the sake of posterity, either rewrite the tale and recast the entire troupe or close the show. Farce does not work with these players, all of whom take themselves far too seriously for comedy. For the record, I’m not fond of tragedies.

I cannot write about something if it is not at least minimally interesting.

 

The Border

Death–at least for me–has its privileges. Because I’m dead, I now have a ringside seat from which to observe humanity’s foibles.

I love watching so-called leaders. Actually I don’t but after a millennia or two one learns to laugh rather than cry. I’ve seen them all–every Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, and so on, etc., etc., etc.

Leaders come. Leaders go. Each leader has some grand plan. They always offer a simplistic fix to a complex problem that sounds great but never works.

I’m used to lying, stealing, cheating, bribery, graft, and corruption. They haven’t caught my attention for centuries. However, in your world, the idea of some poor schmuck and their family crossing the border into your so-called “civilized” countries is something else. This throws supposedly modern, 21st century, educated people into a phenomenal panic!

Remember the last sabbath you celebrated? The God you worshipped then also left you with these:

Exodus 22:21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 10:19 “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

 

Everything I Tell You Is a Lie

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Star Trek, “I, Mudd”

Living for millennia, it’s easy to get bored (or is it boored?). In your era, give or take a couple of hundred years, such things as television and streaming data are easier for me to assimilate than printed material. I confess I love music, but it’s difficult to convert it from your plane of existence to mine. However, I do, somehow, manage (if you’ve got eternity on your side, it makes more sense). For what it’s worth, I particularly like Mozart and The Beatles.

On your television, in the original Star Trek television series there was an episode on a planet, controlled by artificial intelligence. Kirk introduces the android who is the hub for all the others to the concept of lying. Kirk tells him that everything Harry Mudd says [Gotta love the character!] is a lie.

Mudd then calmly tells him, “I’m lying.”

The android gets caught in a do-loop and self destructs.

Based on your television of half a century ago, I have to wonder if you reached that point before you got starships.

 

Cowards

In my millennia, I have observed many cowards. Every one of them disgusts me.

I can understand the man, woman, or child who hides from a threat. That is survival. To confront every challenge without having the ability to prevail is foolish. Even a strong army retreats for strategic advantage. The failure to do so is “Winning the battle, but losing the war.”

I cannot contain my disgust with those who enter a school or place of worship in order to do harm. It’s a one-sided interaction. The aggressor is heavily armed, armored, and has the advantage of surprise. The victims are unprepared, innocent, intending to learn or worship–not to engage in war.

The perpetrators have no honor and certainly no courage.

If, when they arrived at their target, they were met with one–even one–other who was equally armed and equally prepared, they would run away because they would know they would lose.

Unfortunately, the media acknowledges their desire for publicity, showing their names and faces on the news. Their friends, family, and anyone else available are interviewed on camera. All of these images and sounds are played and replayed until the next big news story comes along.

For hundreds, indeed, thousands of years, I’ve advised people to see these losers for what they are. They are bullies–nothing more. If you want to meet one, just shovel out the stables. They will be what stinks the worst.

Mueller Report

Being several thousand years old (I forget my exact birthday) I can sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between true reporting and satire. Therefore, without deciding which this is, I share it with you.

New Attorney General William Barr is at risk of losing three stars and being demoted to Attorney Brigadier General after a flurry of lawsuits have been filed in response to his handling of the Mueller Report. While there were protests over Barr’s four page synopsis to a document that is reported to contain over 400 pages, no one foresaw recent developments.

Readers’ Digest filed suit against Barr for copying, without permission, their popular Condensed Books style that was first published in the early 1950s. Many people used Readers’ Digest Condensed Books to experience popular literature without the need to spend inordinate amounts of time actually reading. No sooner had the Justice Department been served with a cease and desist order (and President Trump had tweeted, “Totally exonerated! No confefe! WHICH HAUNT!”) than the second of three shoes dropped.

Cliff’s Notes, a popular study guide, that has been published in the United States since the late 1950s argued that the truncation and radical editing performed by Barr was more like their system than Readers’ Digest’s. “Every student,” they protested at a frantically scheduled press conference, “knows that they can turn to Cliff’s Notes as a concise, terse, minimalist synopsis of traditionally assigned readings.” When asked if Donald Trump ever used their product, the press conference was abruptly halted.

An industry insider anonymously provided additional information . “With Readers’ Digest Condensed Books, it is still necessary for the customer to read dozens—if not hundreds–of actual printed pages. Cliff’s Notes, on the other hand presents lengthy classics in a format that can be read–cover to  during a single visit to the bathroom!”

In the meantime, the same industry source tells us that Classics Illustrated is in negotiations with the US Government Printing Office to reproduce the Barr version of the Mueller Report in four-color comic book format. Classics Illustrated hasn’t published in years, but is prepared to print this special edition because it appeals to those who prefer to never read real books.

Neither Cliff’s Notes nor Classics Illustrated would provide specifics as to the length of their proposed publications, except to say that they would be “more than four pages, but less than 400.”

Have something to say? Add a comment.

 

Mob Mentality

There is a phenomenon in which people who normally know and adhere to their values change when in the company of an emotionally charged group. Over the past millennia, I’ve seen it far too often. Call it “peer pressure”, “groupthink”, or “mob mentality”, it doesn’t matter.

Since most people in your time are not scholars of history, I won’t use an obscure example, but one with which most of you are familiar. Nevertheless, the same interaction has recurred time after time–the living do not learn, so it is up to those of us who are gone to explain.

In an ancient land with no BBC, no cable, no wi-fi, a man approaches a village. A murmur passes through the crowd. “This is the ONE that we’ve been waiting for! He is the one!”

The people run together and a crowd forms and welcomes him. “Hail to our hope! Hail to our future! Hail to military victory!”

But it is not Alexander, or Caesar, Hitler, or Stalin. It is an itinerant teacher who has asked for nothing; who has accepted only a place to sleep and a shared meal.

As he approaches, the people line the streets.

“You are what we’ve prayed for! You are the best–Holy, Holy, Holy (holiest, the third order of holy). We wave palms over your head! We lay our cloaks for you to walk over. You are THE one.”

A few days later, in the middle of the night, a kangaroo court is held to condemn the same man to death. The mob, this time, cries “Crucify him.”

Was it the same people?

Think.

 

 

Fact and Fiction

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams

If something is a reasonably accurate representation of reality, it is a fact. As humans, we’re incapable of observing, remembering, and then stating any event with 100 percent accuracy, even though most people try.

However, if you tell a lie, that’s what it is.

If you repeatedly tell a lie, it remains a lie.

If you get a million people to repeat your lie, it still remains a lie. It does not become a fact.

You may be able to kiss a frog and have it become a prince, but a lie is a lie is a lie.

It’s not a difficult concept, so why do so many people find it impossible to understand?