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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

8 Things That Make Me Shake My Head In Disgust

1. People Who Confuse Faith & Science
I recently read a great story (linked here) about how humans are still evolving. Reading it though, I could hear in the back of my head comments from the uber-religious crowed claiming that there is "scientific proof" for the Bible's creation story. In fact I watched something of TV a month or so ago about a creationist-themed park that has opened where you can see displays of humans along side the dinosaurs that (according to this group) existed with them at the same time. Personally I have nothing but respect for those that have a strong faith, because that simple act (of having faith) seems beyond my capabilities, but faith is no substitute for scientific reasoning. The two, faith and reasoning, can co-exist, but each has to have it's own place.

2. Reality Television Shows
Jon & Kate + 8 seems typical of an entertainment world where we all just sit and watch the train approaching the pending wreck. To be fair to Jon & Kate Gosselin, they didn't create the genre, and hell others are famous for being famous, so why not them? I would, however, hate to be Jon Gosselin; think about it: in 30 years he will look back on his life and discover that he produced nothing (other than sperm) and contributed nothing. "I was once on TV" will be his only talking point. Hurray.

3. (Related to #2) Breeders
I've seen a few shows that showcase these "breeder" families...parents that have extremely large families. Let me bottom line this: It's not possible to be a good parent to so many children all at once. Having that many children says more about the compulsions of the parents than it does anything else.

4. The Pennsylvania Legislature
I'm convinced that Pennsylvania has the most ineffective, self-serving, and complacent legislative body in the country...although I suspect that New York state can give the crew in Harrisburg a run for their money. This crew makes Scranton's City Council look like a group of stellar legislative professionals. Do they do ANYTHING that isn't self-serving in some capacity?

5. Politicians Who Spend My Money & Then Get Things Named After Them
Ever been to the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College? Now in the real (as opposed to the surreal) world you would think that the theater was named after someone who contributed his/her own money into refurbishing the facility. Not here. No in our surreal world, a state legislator can use OUR MONEY and treat it as if it were some kind of personal contribution. Ah, the magic of "walking around monies" (also known as WAMs). Now to be fair, I'm not claiming that State Senator Robert Mellow asked that the theater be named after him, but does it really matter? Let's rename the Mellow Theater to the "Taxpayer's Theater".

6. "I'm a News Guy. Here is who you should vote for..."
A comment I saw yesterday on Facebook reminded me of how much some radio talking heads annoy me. We have a particular commentator in northeastern Pennsylvania who likes to say "I'm a news guy" in his promos, but then during his show he proceeds to tell his listeners who they should vote for. Now I know he would probably claim "hey, I'm not telling people who to vote for...I'm simply telling them who I am voting for", and that would be a mighty fine bit of razor edge walking. Call me crazy, but I don't think that people who claim to be hard news reporters should be in the business of editorializing, as it's far too difficult for some folks to separate what is the "news" and what is the "commentary". It's like the trick that the late Paul Harvey used to pull, intermixing commercials in with his "news" stories, hoping to confuse his elderly audience into buying a product they heard referenced in the "news".

7. Stuff That Poses for Modern Music
I don't get how someone who writes none of their own material, plays nothing, and then has their voice electronically modified in their recording can be considered to be an "artist". Unfortunately I've described half of what kids listen to these days.

8. Fox News
I want to watch Fox News, but I just can't. I want to believe that they truly are "fair and balanced". The problem though is that they are balanced, to the extent that they feel the need to "balance" what they perceive as being overly liberal media outlets with their overtly conservative brand of media. This is an outlet there are ten conservative commentators for every one liberal one; in fact, I can think of only two non-conservative Fox contributors...Juan Williams and Geraldo Riviera. Fox News could serve a higher purpose and truly be "fair and balanced", but instead they've become nothing more than a calculated profit center for a company that discovered a niche news market. Score: Capitalism 1, Journalism 0.

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