T. V. & The Society’s Riveting Issues

In the last several days,I’ve been watching some interesting stuff on tv.I watched Boro Colorado on Smithsonian and the intricate interrelationships of plants,insects and animals in the Amazon and reheard the warnings about our destruction of this gold mine of information and oxygen through deforestation for profit.I watched the Jackie Robinson special created by Ken Burns and heard a familiar voice,that of the remarkable Rachel Robinson.I have tactile  recall of Jackie’s powerful handshake and  remember his relentless pursuit of equal access.I also watched the Clarence Thomas confirmation special and its’re-exposure of the race and gender issues that bedevil us.(and the rest of mankind).Most surprising was the revelation of the existence of Samurai warrior women who fought and died in defense of the Shogun in the 1850s confrontation with the rifle and cannon equipped forces of an emperor,who prior to Commodore Perry’s incursive opening of Japan for purposes of a trade agreement favorable to the U.S and many European governments, was a weak symbol, entirely dependent on his Samurai under the Shogun.The clan((Izai)still trains warrior women ,for competitive sport, in the use of 14th century weapons.
The traverse of current tv highlighted for me the many prevalent myths in circulation.The major myth is the benign quality of the relentless pursuit of profit.The other myths are 1.the unsuitability of blacks and women to fit into upper levels of organized sports.(a level by level struggle)The preponderance of an unsuitable degree of anger, making leadership by blacks a risky,unsuitable and properly improbable proposition.2.The absence of a meaningful impact of modern eco-knowledge on our management of the world ecosystem.3.The “father knows best” nature of intervention into the affairs of 3rd world nations.4.the inability of women to compete in a world dominated by  assumed male strength,courage and virility.
Much of what has been argued in this blog has been in support of specious assumptions such as presented above.I suggest that the ” best outcome”argument in support of a status quo (ante),for it is surely changing,is merely a variant of the Publican’s prayer.(“Lord I thank thee that I am not like other men”)As has been suggested by SB,the ancient Egyptians thought that they were ” the “cat’s pajamas”,the Vikings, the Greeks,theRomans,the Aztecs,The “bee’s knees”English and so on.All civilizations wax and wane and in a world with so many inhabitants and nations armed to ensure mutual destruction, a better way has to be found.It is more than probable that empathic understanding is the key to beginning serious work on planet survivability.With the recognition that women can and will fight to the death,the distaff part of the human race with a greater capability to empathize,(Not artistic appreciation) may have to get into leadership positions to give homo sapiens a shot at survival..
The well done “Confirmation”,besides reintroducing a grand strategy on the part of dixiecrats and old republican elites to cynically undo the Thurgood Marshall “black seat” on the supreme court, indicated the congress’ antipathy toward women and the widespread prevalence of disregard for women’s rights(Even by women).It may re-offer insight into why a black President was elected in preference to a woman President.



  1. Daeedal2207: “It is more than probable that empathic understanding is the key to beginning serious work on planet survivability.”
    For society and neighbors a person’s “feelings” are less important than is behavior. It is true that feelings inspire behavior, but by placing the priority on behavior we see more clearly the importance (and our responsibility) to control and grow “appropriate feelings”. These are the feelings that bring benefit (and avoid dysfunction) to self and others.
    Empathic identification with those guided by feelings that conflict with the best values runs the risk of enabling the survivability of dysfunctions. Of course, this puts the onus on our “knowing” the “better” values. That is likely the best reason for our engaging in this discussion. And that kind of knowing (values) “is the key to beginning serious work on planet survivability.”

  2. Our job, it seems to me, is exactly that of discerning the difference between “myth” and reality. What people want to believe is often at odds with what they ought to believe. I use “ought” referring to that which the best empirical and logical evidence DICTATES should be our optimal guess. But for many who wish to protect “sacred” or “cherished” beliefs, the following path is often selected: I quote SB paraphrasing Joseph Heller, “One’s truth is another person’s falsehood.” The implication is that any person’s idea of truth is no better than any other person’s (and therefore, you have permission to believe whatever you want to believe!) Heller could be correct in the sense that our ideas are subject to many variables. Given different premises, logic would dictate different conclusions. Heller’s statement becomes less correct, and even misleading, when our beliefs are based in empirical and logical testing. Beliefs that are most rooted in empirical evidence and good logic will have a higher probability of correlating strongly with objective truths (whatever they turn out to be) than do those rooted less well or in other sources. What are the options? Consider these: Astrology? Crystal Balls? Heart? Charismatic leaders? Faith of all sorts? Please provide for us an option more pragmatic than the scientific method – if you can.
    Daedal2207 states that: “The major myth is the benign quality of the relentless pursuit of profit.” The use of “relentless” implies something excessive. If excessive, it is not likely to be benign. But is it a commonly held belief – a myth? Profit is an incentive. If it moves us to damage the future more than it improves the future it is certainly not benign. But if we do not incentivize those with the best talents and abilities to quickly attend to society’s legitimate needs, by definition, we are harming ALL our brothers, sisters, and offspring. So, “profit” is not an illness. But neglecting it, or not guiding it wisely, or choosing to demean it, is not benign. That describes a sickness, a dysfunction that weakens us.

    1. I wonder what “talent ” is required to overinflate tires ,to attach temporary devices to throw off monitoring devices , to spot an FDA failure to certify a cheap drug and to up the ante, beyond avarice, on its approved substitute…..On and on we go to trafficking,,the arms race ,the theft and destruction of historical artifacts etc etc .These are a few of the dysfunctions that demean and weaken us..

      1. Daedal2207 has accurately described a number of ways that “profit” incentives have not been guided wisely. The freedom to pursue profit creates a productive force that has provided something rare in human history – relatively widespread wealth and good health. The prevailing human condition has been that of poverty and misery. The power of profit is a driving force. The road forward needs clearly defined guard rails (laws with real deterrent value) to prevent the shortsighted from driving erratically and taking shortcuts that do others harm. To the greatest degree possible clear the road forward and continue to empower (reward) those capable of delivering the greatest cargo of goods at maximum speeds (Those who are most talented will successfully deliver the most goods). That delivers for ALL a greater chance to acquire wealth and health.

  3. daedal2207: “… I’ve been watching some interesting stuff on tv. I watched Boro Colorado on Smithsonian and the intricate interrelationships of plants,insects and animals in the amazon and reheard the warnings about our destruction of this gold mine of information and oxygen through deforestation for profit.”

    Television is not the vast wasteland to which it has so often been referred. There’s something for everyone. Unfortunately, with the exception of PBS, we are required to pay for that broader exposure … ultimately incurring greater expense if we are to access the premium channels … HBO responding to the call of quality (also edgy) concepts. VICE is an investigative reporting program, on Friday nights at 10:30 PM (I confess to recording it for future viewing because it is seldom I can stay up at that hour. Sorry.). On 3/4/16, their two reports were titled “Meathooked” and “End of Water.” Both were related to our global meat consumption and inefficient … more like plundering … use of water with current population, which are UNSUSTAINABLE. The Amazon featured prominently in our uncontrolled abuse of our resources. Various attempts continue to be made in an effort to sound the “wake-up” clarion. The NYTimes Editorial Board offered its latest in “A New Dark Age Looms,” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/19/opinion/a-new-dark-age-looms.html?login=email&_r=4. The Times piece reminds us that we have the scientific knowledge and tools that were lacking during the earlier/original reference Dark Ages (generally European, 5th -15th centuries). This new threat has the potential of being much more catastrophic to our specie, calling into question “what would survive?” Of course, there are those who do not stop trying … and, again, VICE broadcast on 4/15/16, “The Future of Energy” … renewables … pointing out that all efforts are being made on behalf of generations ahead of us. Do the deniers have children, grandchildren, anticipated great-grandchildren and so on … though population growth is another catastrophe … but, that would be for a religious discussion (smile)?

    daedal2207: “The major myth is the benign quality of the relentless pursuit of profit. … 2. The absence of a meaningful impact of modern eco-knowledge on our world ecosystem. 3.The ‘father knows best’ nature of intervention into the affairs of 3rd world nations.”


    daedal2207: “I watched the Jackie Robinson special created by Ken Burns … 1. the unsuitability of blacks to fit into organized sports (a level by level struggle). The preponderance of an unsuitable degree of anger making leadership by blacks a risky, unsuitable and improbable proposition.”

    Ah, again … another quality production by Ken Burns. It was extremely sad to watch. The tone of the hate rang so familiar, almost 60 years later, in what our current president encountered from day one of his administration. To watch Mr. Robinson remain “cool” and outwardly unemotional in 1947 in the face of ignorant, harmful, destructive bias brought us instantly to the present mirror. We have not come very far, have we? One of the present leading presidential contenders rose to that standing exploiting (the birther issue) the very hate that the very capable, upstanding Mr. Robinson encountered. (BTW, I couldn’t believe how young he was when he died, how much he had aged!) If this remains the acceptable tenor, is the cultural ignorance of another Dark Ages looming?

    daedal2207: “… the Clarence Thomas confirmation special and its re-exposure of the race and gender issues that bedevil us.(and the rest of mankind). … indicated the congress’ antipathy toward women and the prevalence of disregard for women’s rights.”

    This was equally stressful to relive. I remember it so well … I was glued to the television. For the most part, men don’t get it. For my generation, what Ms. Hill endured was par for the course. From an NPR interview with Nina Totenberg (who had broken the story):

    “TOTENBERG: Totally because of this. The number of sexual harassment claims doubled over the next year or so. Up until this point, most professional women in varying degrees had been sexually harassed. Some had been actually attacked, some simply profoundly embarrassed, whatever. But women didn’t talk about this for a reason that may seem odd to the millenial generation. We were embarrassed to talk about it.”

    How quickly we are made to “forget/forgive” those hypocrites who remained in power. As much as I like Joe, not one of Mr. Biden’s proudest moments. In my community, Arlen Spector, the senator from across the river, was a source of shame for his prosecutorial role, distorting and insulting (when he switched party affiliation, he wasn’t particularly welcomed). One of the worst, Orrin Hatch … especially in light of his present opposition to Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. It’s not as if the Thomases … Ginni and Clarence … have been the epitome of discretion regarding conflict-of-interest with regard to politicizing their privileged positions.

    “Ms. Thomas, 53, has long been active in conservative circles in Washington. In the past year she has become more prominent as the founder of a new nonprofit activist group, Liberty Central, which is dedicated to opposing what she has characterized as the leftist “tyranny” of the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats. The group has drawn scrutiny in part because of the unusual circumstance of a spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice drawing a salary from a group financed by anonymous donors.”

    Justice Thomas is a classic example of one of those members of society who pull/remove the ladder for those who try to follow in his heels. The hypocrisy is abundant … everywhere … but, it is particularly offensive, if not appalling, when exercised by those professing to have holier-than-thou attitudes. Phyllis Schlafly … need I say more? What was her objection to Nelson Rockefeller? I mean, the woman recently endorsed … well, you know who (smile).

    Thank you, Professor Thomas for an invigorating post … for the brain! I apologize for overextending … my contribution.

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