The News, Sans Trump? – What Is Left?

Based on the news I have seen these last 2 years, the only thing keeping U.S. news sources going is Trump.

Really, subtract all the coverage of Donald Trump and his coterie and we have what?  The major cable news channels would be reduced to human interest pieces, sports, and weather, oh, and North Korea.  Sure, the occasional terrorist attack, another Catholic priest scandal, and futile battles in the Middle East crop up every so often, but the rest would have to be just plain entertainment.

This goes double for the tiny news sites like salon, BuzzFeed, and their ilk.  Without political warfare, their nets, and their advertising coffers would be empty.

ESPN invented 24/7 sports programming.  The franchise makes a fortune from 1% actual sports activity + 99% talking, analyzing, postulating about sports figures, drafts, management changes, wagering, keeping score, and all the endless, pointless falderol of mostly man-talk (often by beautiful women).

Cable news, ala CNN, Fox, MSNBC, have taken that model to new heights of expanded air time by making everything editorial opinion, building media stars and forums to pander to one political cohort or the other.  The real feeding frenzy around everything Trump never seems to end.  Shows how hatred sells and fear captivates.

Anyway, I hope the news media enjoys the ride, because some day, they won’t have DJT to flick around anymore.

What Are We Watching? – Peter, Parkinson, Murphy Rule

Parkinson’s Law suggests that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”  The Peter Principle posits, “in any hierarchy people tend to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach the levels of their respective incompetence.” Murphy’s Law states that “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, at exactly the wrong moment.”

All three ideas developed before the current age of exponential, media expansion.  What is so amazing is, that in the age of the Internet, and myriad TV channels, these three principles combine to form a valid hybrid theorem I have dubbed the “Information Extinction Horizon,” (IEH). This new IEH theorem states that, “as media content expands to fill existing bandwidth, it declines logarithmically to inane, bogus levels of incredibility, intellectual value, journalistic validity, and schlock, while simultaneously accelerating from bare facts to all possible interpretive opinions, and providing exactly the wrong information to the wrong people, at the most inopportune time, or, worse yet, no information of discernible value at any time. ” This is a clear refutation of e=mc2.

Major corollaries to the IEH theorem relate to the milieu of internet blogging outlets, social media platforms and any other posts of personal and political natures, including pure invention, and pictures of what one’s dog ate for breakfast (including recipes).

Using Google News as a proof, rate the value and verity of their current page of articles.  In your analysis, include the sub-articles and the number of outlets with different, (apologists use the word “nuanced”) versions of the same reportage.  Notice how the results form nebulae, galaxies, solar systems and planets of personal, political, regional, national, celebrity, and sports-team-loyalty cohorts.

Also notice how futile efforts to filter searches of any topic have become.

Added support to the new hybrid theorem is Parkinson’s Law of Triviality: “members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.”  Browsers and search/advertising engines of major internet “organizations” amplify and degrade the value of content at the same time with advertising “pollution.”

For now, we must rely on anecdotal evidence and impressions to support the new theorem, but then, anecdotal is the essence of the theorem to begin with.

Whining the Election – Trumpled Aspirations

Over the 52 years and 13 presidential elections I have been eligible to vote, I have never seen such sore losers, and humble winners.

I am disappointed with the disparate responses to the results of the 2016 presidential election.  Smug expectations from pollsters and pundits seem to have set a trap for Hillary’s disciples, and set a stage for impetuous, righteous indignation.  Rejection, disputation, refutation, spoilsport language, protests, and denial among disgruntled Clinton supporters is “over-the-top,” and “unpresidented.”  “He is not my president,” spake Gloria Steinem, Wednesday morning.  (Ironically, in the past, she also said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”) 

Why have Mrs. Clinton’s avid proponents gone off the rails into the deep waters of denial and despair?

I believe the presumption that Hillary Clinton had a commanding lead over Donald Trump was their downfall.  Belief in optimistic statistics led to haughty attitudes and supercilious sneers on the faces of Hillary’s fans.  The extreme vanity of the oracles’ predictions led to nasty, braggadocios, arrogance.  When pride met gravity, the indignity of the pratfall magnified the embarrassment of hubris. The expectations of overwhelming victory were shredded, by the unexpected appearance at the polls of hordes of angry, underserved workers.  The ambush of the uncounted, disenfranchised citizens prevailed.

The carefully crafted deception of optimistic unemployment statistics did not fool the people who took discounted wages and lesser jobs over the last eight years.  These voters had no voice among Democrats who applauded the “champion of hope” for his rescue of the economy, and restoration of the American Dream.  They were not deceived by or grateful for their thinly disguised demotions and the smiling, dismissive, carefully worded denigrations spun by an accommodating media on behalf of the Obama administration.

The scales did not fall from their eyes, because no scales formed as they lost their jobs, houses, cars, and pride.  The Affordable Care Act did not replace the healthcare insurance they lost when their employer dropped their health coverage; when they lost their jobs, their hopes were dashed by the failure of the “marketplace” to make personal health insurance and their out-of-pocket costs affordable.  Instead, they found themselves ravaged by astronomical premiums, deductibles, copays, and incredible prescription prices.  Hospitals and pharmacies raised their nominal, private pay prices to offset the discounts demanded by insurance providers.  The uninsured were left with impossible choices.

Promise after promise lay fallow by the roadside.  Example after example of the USA borrowing trillions of dollars to pay for the rest of the world’s problems and defense festered, while Americans suffered from the Great Recession.  Pact after pact, treaty after treaty left us at disadvantage.  Military efforts left us looking weak, as we shrank from conflicts under cover of spin.  Former allies spat disparaging invectives on our leaders.

Did Hillary’s followers believe she could pull us out of the ditch of weakness and doubt created these past eight years?  Did her apostles think her baggage and prevarications would evaporate by inauguration?  No wonder they were blindsided when Trump won.

Don’t Try So Hard to be Perfect – Nobody Cares & You Could Hurt Yourself

Don Miguel Ruiz’s “Fourth Agreement is mandatory for lifelong happiness.

“Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

No generation of humankind has ever enjoyed and suffered so much perfection; especially in the U.S.A.  We are surrounded, bombarded, and suffocated with sensory ambrosia, which we can repeat at will.

We are stranded on an island of “I am not that good” and “I am not good enough;” and the fact is you are not and can never be that good at that activity.

At 5’ 7” I never expected to be drafted by an NBA basketball team.  It just was never going to happen.  All of us have limitations in some aspect of who we are and the gifts we were born with.  But somehow people cannot accept that, at first.  At some point, though, we find out we cannot be great at many things.

So, instead of exercising our strengths, and broadening our scope with learning, we expend our time and money to consume someone else’s perfection; we gorge, splurge, drown in an ocean of perfection every day; perfection we can never achieve.  We are slaves to the masters of perfection: Advertising, Arts, Sports, Theater, Hunting, Singing, Dancing, Cooking, etc. ad nauseam.  Unless we are one of the chosen, we are either deluded to think we rival these gods and goddesses, or we bow our heads and surrender our hope of ever being great.

This sad avarice for greatness drives us to seek glory by association.  We buy recorded reminders of our caste; we wear the royal colors and wave the pennants of our lords; we gladly pay a week’s wages for three hours to bask in their radiance.  Doomed as addict/slaves, we borrow power by joining fellow followers in preparing, attending, watching, celebrating, lamenting, and endlessly arguing the merits of our champions, as if we were part of the extreme excellence we love and worship.

For so many, this leaves despair, a desolation of value, and dearth of purpose in life.  “Who are we?” we ask, unsure of our value to anyone, especially to ourselves.

Once upon a time, the best singer in town, the best dancer in town, the best cook in town, could feel proud and excellent.  The small community was a context for excellence in which many could participate and win.  Then, there were few replicable performances for comparison.

Enrico Caruso’s fabulous voice could be heard once, at each performance; then the magnificence was gone.  The crude recordings of the time were nothing like the actual singing, but they were treasured for what they were; flawed reminders and faint samples of greatness.

We all need approval and love.  We need confidence and pride in what we are equipped to do.  Our happiness depends on our satisfaction with whom we are, and testing the limits of our best efforts.  So, what does it mean “Do your best”?  If you hope to live up to the perfect, and often “perfected” images we see every day, undoubtedly, you will be disappointed.  Instead, ask yourself honestly, “What is my best?”

The “Fourth Agreement” gives us a sane view of having excellence in our lives.  Your best is the best you can do under the circumstances.  Not compared to being perfect.  If you give your best without holding back, that’s it.  Do your best and be happy about the result; that is the essence of the “Fourth Agreement.”  Rejoice & and don’t hurt yourself;)