Monday, July 13, 2009
There has been much in the news recently that deserves comment. Reams have already been written about certain people and issues. You may think that all pertinent information on the following topics has made it into the public domain and that any additional perspective would be redundant. Of course, you would be wrong. In my review of available information on these stories, there is a glaring gap and that gap is the perspective of an aging white guy transplant from the mid-west who is currently living in the deep south. This is a gross oversight that must be addressed.
So, without further ado--and there has been a gracious plenty of that--I present said perspectives.
Michael Jackson. From all indications, Mr. Jackson is still dead. As a business model strategy, one that closely parallels that adopted by The King his-own-self, Elvis Presley, when your act is popular primarily because you have become a parody of your own-earlier-self, death is an excellent career move. Reportedly, there is a large cache of unreleased MJ recordings which will now be packaged and relentlessly marketed via Infomercials. These new recordings, along with collections of MJ's "Greatest Hits", MJ's "Mediocre Hits" and MJ's "B Sides" will continue to create millions of dollars of revenue. The most interesting aspect of this looming marketing juggernaut is the question of who, exactly, will benefit. My prediction, given the early indications based on recent child custody discussions, family comments to the media and such, is that the scramble for a place at the MJ lucre trough will make the family squabbles over Dr. MLK's money-producing legacy look like a pillow fight at a Brownie Scout pajama party.
Sarah Palin. For my personal entertainment dollar, Ms. Palin is still the most interesting nut job in the Republican party, and recall, this is the party of Governor Mark "I love your tan lines" Sanford, Newt "Hey, here's yet another new idea" Gingrich and Nevada's Senator John "The wife and I joined the Promise Keepers (wink, wink)" Ensign. These are tough acts with whom to compete but the Thrilla from Wasilla is more than up to it. It helps, of course, to have an entire family, a daughter's former main squeeze and a hairdresser at the Beehive Beauty Salon who are attracted to media mics like liberals to Birkenstocks. Some say that Ms. Palin is "crazy like a fox" and, in part, I agree. If you want to sharply focus your mind, imagine that Ms. Palin, given the right set of circumstances, could eventually have access to the U.S. nuclear arsenal codes; David Letterman should watch his tasteless remarks.
Swine Flu. This illness is now officially called the H1N1 virus after a well-orchestrated outcry from the U.S. pork industry claiming that the handle "Swine Flu" was a pejorative, reflecting poorly on pigs and, more to the real problem, ruining bacon sales. The moderately serious influenza has spread worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is thought to have incubated and first spread from porker to human in rural Mexico. Apparently, pigs are no longer needed to spread the bug and neither are Mexicans. One could assume that if the bug can jump from pigs to humans that it can also jump back, a possibility that the Chinese government is suppressing lest its population of 2 billion pigs becomes restive and takes to the streets like unhappy Uyghurs. Ironically, a report out of Michigan this week indicates that out of 10 cases of H1N1 in one hospital's ICU, 9 of the patients were obese. This medical observation is another PR body blow to pigs in general and swine in particular.
Global Warming. Al Gore missed the fact, probably because he was born several million years too late (a fact about which Tipper is somewhat conflicted), that Earth has had significant warming(s) in the past. Thanks to these earlier warming cycles, Hollywood has been able to create blockbuster releases bases on the flora and particularly the fauna of those epochs. (I am still working on the difference between "epoch", "eon", "age" and "era". I mean, why do we say, "The Jazz Age" instead of the "The Jazz Epoch"? Huh? Huh?) Anyway, without those warmer days of yore, we could not have enjoyed such classics as "1 Million Years, B.C." with Raquel Welch in that really, really fashion-forward one-piece animal skin (PETA approved) or "Jurassic Park" in which Laura Dern proves that the acting gene isn't necessarily passed from father to daughter. It seems to me that the most important reason for reducing greenhouse gases isn't the warming impact, it's that we're all breathing this crappola into our lungs!
Health Care Reform. According to the pundits and experts (rarely the same people) there are "billions here" and "trillions there" to be spent, saved, squandered, applied, acquired and/or taxed, all associated with U.S. health care. The Democrats push for this or that reform, the Republicans push back. For all of the pushing and pushing back, it seems inevitable that some legislation is going to pass, but it isn't likely to help much. Here's why: unless a majority of Americans and their representatives are willing to admit (1) that it is not an appropriate use of the innovative free market to let that market set the agenda for national health care (as the providers do now) (2) that paying providers for procedures, regardless of the potential and actual outcomes, is a poor way to run the rodeo and (3) that it is a fallacy to assume that the payers--government, private insurers or patients--are going to rein in the cost associated with items (1) and (2), which are now ordained by the providers plus flawed policy. If we don't address the primary reasons why health care costs in America are unsupportable and climbing, those rising costs will continue to eat America's corporate budgets, America's family budgets and America's federal budget. Both parties are dodging these realities. If you were looking for a chuckle in this final item, sorry. I'm as serious as a colonoscopy prep about this one.
Observoid of the Day: Cats are needy; they just refuse to let on.