Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Not so much a rant as a description of where I'm coming from.

I'm a Southerner by birth, though my parents' immediate families were primarily from the Midwest and I grew up in Sarasota, FL where I was one of the few in my graduating class in high school who was actually born in Florida, so I don't have a heavy drawl. My dad was born in Chicago, IL, but it was on an "extended vacation" as his folks had gone there from south central Florida in 1918 for a stay with my great-grandparents; he disliked "Yankees" (i.e., anyone from much above Atlanta) and always pointed out habits or things he thought were "Yankee" (putting ketchup ON your french fries instead of on the plate NEXT to them, for example).

I know it's fashionable these days to some degree to be "Southern", but that term of art has been nearly ruined for me by television (where we're all hicks from the hills who can barely read and write) or by the Neo-Confederates, who find it oh-so-cool to worship the "good old days" (good if you weren't black, Jewish, poor or somewhat progressive in your thinking). The Neo-Cons (as opposed to the little "n" neo-cons, who are Republicans; just like a Venn diagram, there is a LOT of overlap between the big "N" and little "n"-types, but there's areas they don't) are the ones who helped overthrow the governor of Georgia a few years ago when they didn't get their precious Confederate battle flag as part of the current state flag; forgetting the part about that flag representing a dark segment of our country's history. Of course, the present governor welched on his promise to have a vote to see if the majority really wanted it put back on the flag, apparently fearing that (A) a majority would want it, thereby letting the nation see that Georgia might be wanting to move back to the Jim Crow days or (B) the majority would have voted it down and all the Neo-Cons would have melted back into the hills and tried to dig up all the old muskets of their forefathers and tried another secession.

When are we gonna figure out that "the good old days" weren't really so good? Most of the ideas that both the Neo-Cons and the neo-cons lay out as being from the GOD(Good Old Days)-era (I'm sure there's NO possible way that acronym was an accident, though it's the first time I've seen it in print; just a lucky happenstance) are really from watching too much TV during the Eisenhower days with Ozzie & Harriett and the Beav. The trouble is that we're moving to an even more regressive position with the NCs, ncs and their theocratic friends on TV. Make no mistake, the TV preachers and their buddies would like nothing more than to get rid of the democracy that the founding fathers instituted (and which has been improved upon as the decades have gone by) and put women and minorities (of all colors, creeds and thinking) back into what they think their place should be (and it ISN'T in positions of power, unless they agree with the theocrats). Sure, they'll deny it, proclaiming that they are just putting things back the way they supposedly were, but think about it--do you REALLY want to go back culturally or politically to the USA that existed at the time of the signing of the Constitution? Remember, slavery was still legal, women had no right to vote and the Americans who weren't well off or slaveholders were trying to live as best they could. Disease and ignorance abounded and, despite the claims of the theocrats, illegitimate births were quite common, as were all sorts of STDs. Just because we were religious didn't mean we were in step with the Big Guy.

I'm Christian by upbringing and by choice back in the mid-'70s; got involved in a church that was a curious amalgam of mainline/developing cult. The cult part moved away from the mainline part in the early '80s and has since split again and now managed to begin to eat itself up with controversy. What I found was that, no matter how much people may try to live up to high standards, someone has to have power and once they get it, they hate giving it up. What's worse is that they usually clothe that power in scripture to keep you from questioning their authority. My wife got smart and left first and I followed her lead. That was about sixteen years ago and I still have nightmares; sorta like Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I know, I know; there's a lot of good been done in the name of Jesus, but there's also been a lot of bad, more than we'd like to admit. We can rationalize it all we want, but with all the TV preachers and healers out there trying to protect our "Christian nation" and culture, I worry an awful lot about where we're going.

I'm a lawyer, though I really, really love the study of history. Law is just how I make a living and, because I work in government service, it isn't like the lawyers who advertise on TV. If I could make a decent living for my family looking around through dusty old libraries, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Gotta win the Lottery one of these days. I make up for it by watching the History Channel and subscribing to WWII Magazine.

I like sci-fi. Love the Sci-Fi Channel (at least most of the time). I grew up watching Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, even the old Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon movie serials on an old UHF channel in Sarasota. Yes, I did watch the old Star Trek series when I was in grade school and thought it was the greatest thing going (until they showed the episode "Spock's Brain"; biggest piece of trash they ever had--maybe with the exception of the episode with the guys who were black on one side, white on the other or the episode of Kirk's personality being switched with the old girlfriend's who hated him...gee, come to think of it, a LOT of the old Star Trek was kinda cheesy in retrospect). I'll watch a good sci-fi show over just about anything and it drives my wife and youngest daughter crazy that I'll watch episodes over and over. Love Babylon 5, Stargate (both kinds) and the new Battlestar Galactica, but I also love old sci-fi movies, old horror movies, silent and talkies. I'm NOT a Trekkie and think the person who showed up for jury duty one day dressed like a Star Trek character should have been quietly taken out and shot. There's a limit, a line that shouldn't be crossed.

Love cooking. My mother made sure that I learned some of the basics. It came in handy when I was in college and when I lived with roommates afterwards; most of them couldn't cook worth a hoot and when they did it was heartburn city. Had one idiot roommate who was an up and coming bigwig in the church and he'd never lifted a finger to cook or help out with any chores around the apartment--he was too busy throwing his weight around to lift a finger otherwise. Anyway, this guy, who everyone from his home state called Mad Dog, whined at me one day when I didn't have a salad with the supper I'd prepared when I was sick with a bad cold. Could've killed him, but I tried to talk to him about it, but he managed to whip out some scripture and fast talking that made me the bad guy, keeping him from sharing his faith with a green salad in his gut. He tried to cook a few days later, some weird Yankee concoction of white fish filets baked in milk. Nobody could eat it with a straight face.

More later.

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