Random Saturdays – Propaganda & Bias

One of the phrases I loathe is, “Now more than ever”.  It applies to plenty of things, but I’m tired of hearing people use it the same way that they use, “literally”, which is to say that they misuse it.  This phrase has been used in so many discussions about biased news and propaganda, as if both of these things are brand new and started in the 2016 election.  The U.S. used propaganda in WWII to get people to sacrifice things like nylon stockings to help the war effort.  We also used it to make people paranoid that Japanese Americans were out to destroy the U.S.  Nazis used it to convince people that they were just trying to make Germany the great country that it deserved to be.  Propaganda and bias have been used in plenty of elections in America’s past, by such celebrated presidents as Roosevelt (Teddy and Franklin).  During the American Revolution, guess what the Americans and the British were doing?  They were fighting with words just as much as they were with weapons.  Propaganda and bias are just things that exist because people with opinions exist.

I wouldn’t even blame it all on social media or reality t.v.  The internet and social media give people immediate access to events across the world.  Whether it’s Arab Spring or a hilarious cat meme, it’s all there before the eyes of the world for immediate viewing and enduring saturation.  As for reality t.v., I never thought it would last.  Thank goodness I didn’t bet on that.  I just think that “Reality t.v.” is a complete misnomer.  Reality is waking up too early to go to a job that stresses you out so that you can come home and pay bills that you hate for things that you barely get to enjoy because you have to go to bed to get four hours of sleep to go back to the job that you hate.  That is reality for those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs that actually pay our bills.  Nobody wants to see that.  Reality t.v. has been around in different forms for years.  People love to watch other people.  Have you ever heard of a little musical called, “Chicago”?  It’s based on actual events that happened in Chicago that involve people being wrongly convicted or freed for crimes based on how well lawyers could sway the opinions of the press, and therefore, the public.  This was decades before Al Gore invented the internet.

None of this is to say that I think things in the world are fine as they are and nothing needs improvement.  There is so much at stake right now, in my city, state, country, and around the world.  If anyone has taken a U.S., European, or world history class, you’ll notice that the nationalistic movements growing in popularity around the world closely mirror similar movements in the past.  Those movements had some positive results, but mostly catastrophic results from which the world will never recover.  This is why it irks me when people act as if all of the divisiveness between political parties, world leaders, etc. is something new.  If anything, I’m worried because none of it is new and we have seen this before.  We fought through this before.  We survived this in the past and said that we would never allow ourselves to get to this place again because we are now enlightened.  Yet, here we are…again…

By the way, I am not citing sources of actual facts, quotes, etc. because this isn’t a political blog.  This is just my place to sort through some thoughts about things going on in my life and there aren’t enough people who read this to make it an effective platform for me to use it for anything other than rambling. So, I do not feel that I’m being hypocritical in this post by voicing my opinions while not citing facts and sources.

I have toyed with the idea of sharing random facts of the week on here, sources and all.  I might still do that.  The facts may or may not have to do with politics, but I’m not sure.  I always forget what I want to write about as soon as I sit in front of a blank page.

Random Saturdays – Thanksgiving Guide for Aliens

We do not have the kids this Thanksgiving (and I’m writing this post before Thanksgiving).  It took longer than normal to figure out what we’d do for Thanksgiving this year because we didn’t have to figure out when we’d pick up the kids, what activities they had, what activities our friends and families had, and how to be as efficient with our time as possible so that everyone got to see the kids and nobody’s friends or families were forgotten.  When we realized that we wouldn’t have the kids this year and that nobody had offered any solid plans for us to add to the calendar, we had no idea what to do with our time.

I had been talking to some friends about their different plans for the holiday and I read many articles in magazines and online about how to plan a stress-free Thanksgiving or how to deal with the stress of Thanksgiving.  There are also plenty of articles on how to decorate, clean, and cook for Thanksgiving.  I love Thanksgiving!  I love that we, as a country, set aside a time to be grateful for anything and everything.  If an alien visited the U.S. during Thanksgiving, though, how would we explain Thanksgiving?  I mean, there’s history with Pilgrims and Native Americans and whatnot, but that would mean nothing to an alien.  How do we explain how we celebrate Thanksgiving now?  The obvious answer is that we’d compile a list of Must Dos and post it on the internet for all the aliens to read.

Thanksgiving Guide for Aliens

  1. Figure out when the most people are the most available.  Is everyone off on Thanksgiving?  Would meeting the weekend after work better?  Does anyone have child custody, probation, or Mogwai time restrictions that must be followed?
  2. Find a location big (or small) enough to hold the available people.  This could be someone’s house, a restaurant, or the neighbor’s backyard since they have a better landscaper than you and are out of town this week.
  3. Make a menu.  This is really important because the timing of everything else depends on when the food will be ready to eat.  My family always had Thanksgiving dinner.  Ben’s family always had Thanksgiving lunch.  I’ve even heard of Thanksgiving brunch.  It really doesn’t matter as long as the person cooking and the person arranging the location for eating are on the same timetable.  Everyone else can do whatever they want as long as they don’t make the person cooking wait to eat.  It’s even better if everyone makes a little something so that no one person has to do all the work.  I say this (a) having made entire Thanksgiving meals from scratch by myself because my perfectionist attitude and my tastebuds told me to and (b) my antidepressants now make me really unmotivated to do much of anything 90% of the time, despite my tastebuds.
  4. Cook, travel, gather, and eat.  Don’t argue (or fight) over something dumb.  This is a time to enjoy family, friends, and food.  As long as you have a sliver of one of those, then you’re doing well.  Don’t instigate arguments.  Don’t be snarky.  If someone says something snarky to you, ignore it.  I always feel sorry for those people because they are bursting with so much negativity that it just spews from their mouths like stinky farts.  Also, if you’re with your loved ones, then it’s safe to assume that they did not mean what they said in a way that would hurt you.  They either have diarrhea of the mouth or it sounded better in their heads.  Even if you know this person just likes to complain and pick arguments, consider it a mouth fart and be glad that you don’t mouth fart.
  5. Sleep.  Watch the parade.  Watch football.  Play games.  Eat way too much.  Read.  Go for a walk.  Enjoy this time because it will be a memory in the past before you know it.

That’s my guide to Thanksgiving for aliens.  There’s no need to thank me.  I just like to volunteer out of the kindness of my heart to check things off the Alien Invasion Preparedness List.

H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G !

Or Happy Random Thursday if you are not in the U.S.!