Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breaking Bad

The AMC series Breaking Bad had its last episode last night.  Various people are writing various things about the various themes explored over the course of five seasons and about the character 'development' that went along. 

Something that occurs to me is that the whole thing can be viewed as a study in incrementalism.  The main character, Walter White, can be seen as a metaphor for the United States and their Vietnam policy in the 1960s.  Both went in with good intentions.  Both meant to get right back out, as soon as one simple objective was accomplished.  Both experienced unintended consequences beginning pretty much immediately and persisting.  Both, when faced with a rebuff, committed more resources to problem resolution and renewed pursuit of the objective. 

Both ultimately failed.  But not before horrifying themselves and witnesses with how low they could go.  One day you're pledging to 'protect Democracy' in a far away land, the next day you're dropping napalm on children.  And insisting that you're right to do it.

One step at a time.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Letter

Here's another one:

A Saturday letter (Pitts too often blurs Christian biblical values) expressed concern that our "moral envelope is about to break."  Essentially the writer argues that Pitts' ideas regarding what Jesus believed and taught differ from his own.  Which is just fine, of course, except that he also evidently believes that our society is based on these 'Christian biblical values.' 

He mentions only one specific 'moral' issue, that of 'gay rights,' and that while Jesus might "accept repentant sinners of all shades" he "wouldn't sponsor a gay rights rally."

While he doesn't believe society should condone "excess and deviant behavior," he apparently is more understanding of "individuals' violent acts which come from feeling helpless or powerless," which he sees as the result of 'confusion' arising from living in an "anything goes society."

So, condemn gays, or at least, blame them for society's problems, and forgive killers because it's not their fault?  Do I have that right?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

King For A Summer

It has taken me all summer, about 15 weeks, but I have finished a three volume biography of Martin Luther King/history of the Civil Rights Movement.  What an amazing era.  The trilogy covers 1954 - 1968; the last volume, At Canaan's Edge, 1965-68. 

The Vietnam War leaves its mark all over the last volume.  It dominated those three years, from the date the first ground troops hit the beach until the night King was struck down by an assassin's bullet.  It split King from LBJ as it divided the country.  King saw peace in Vietnam, peace on Earth, as inextricably linked with the struggle for equal rights, and had to speak out.  Johnson saw King disloyally turning on him, the best, most powerful friend the Civil Rights Movement ever had. 

Despite this split, both men achieved much in those three years, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in August being the culmination of a concerted years long effort.  Both men then turned their focus to LBJ's War on Poverty though both faced major distractions, Johnson with escalation in Vietnam, King with internecine movement politics and an expansion into the north, especially Chicago.  King was to lead a second March on Washington in the Spring of '68; Johnson was pushing Congress to build his 'Great Society.'  Instead a summer of bloody chaos began with King being shot to death in Memphis where he had gone to support striking sanitation workers.  There was no second, peaceful march on Washington.  Instead there were riots in 110 cities the night King was killed, and many more throughout the summer, including the chaos in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NFL Predictions, 2014

NFC Championship Game:  Packers vs. Seahawks

AFC Championship Game:  Broncos vs. Texans

Let's get it on!

(I'll feel even better about this if the Packers can dump the 49ers tomorrow ... )