Saturday, February 3, 2018

May You Live In Interesting Times

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) -- the Stickies -- to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse (right shoulder) and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader (left shoulder)

Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ballgame. Free speech is life itself.
                                                                                              -Salman Rushdie

May you live in interesting/exciting times/an interesting age -- the interesting ancient Chinese curse that isn't -- certainly seems to apply to the interesting times that I'm/we're currently experiencing. Here's hoping, My Dear Stickies, that your times are also interesting, but less so.

However, the current interesting times that began when the Black & White Ages ended in 1965 keep getting more interesting with each passing year day. Of course you, my gentlereaders, and even I, being historically literate, have to acknowledge that to any given H. sapien, living in any given interesting time in the past, might feel might just as overwhelmed by life as you or I often do.

Ben Shapiro & UConn

I bumped into a news story recently about a Ben Shapiro speaking engagement at the University of Connecticut. Mr. Shapiro drives on the right side of the road but avoids the shoulder in my semi-humble opinion.  Full disclosure, I'm a fan because, like me, he's a big fan, of actual facts.

Due to my Libertarian tendencies, I frequently find myself deliberately driving on the shoulder. But to me, he's a very smart, very nice Jewish boy who often talks too fast. My buddy Joe Biden confirmed he's also very clean.

[Stickies please note: I'll risk not only being accused of being inadvertently anti-Semitic I'll risk being accused of being an apologist for people who talk too fast. When clearly intelligent folks who seem to know what they're talking about talk too fast there's an excellent chance that they're even smarter than you think they are. I have no studies/statistics to point to but my "lived experience" (HT: Postmodernism) indicates this is true.]

Of course, in these interesting times, there is no shortage of folks that would describe him as a right wing-nut. There are others who apparently regard him as Beelzebub incarnate. The U of C is of the opinion that having him speak on campus required that an emergency psychological response team (EPRT) remained on standby to administer teddy bears and there, theres to triggered snowflakes.

Since I, your semi-humble columnist, will stop at nothing to get the facts, I've conducted my usual intensive/exhaustive/extensive/etceterive research (fired up my browser and went a-googling).

Fortunately, I found a video news report on the FOX News site that contains everything I need to complete the rest of this column before collapsing from exhaustive research exhaustion syndrome.

CLANG!!! This is a Fox news alert. The New York Times is reporting that according to a highly placed source in the White House -- who chooses to remain anonymous due to the highly sensitive nature of this story -- that the president's dog is suffering from an undiagnosed case of excessive flatulence.

We will have more on this right after our next overly frequent, overly-long commercial break -- which is a story unto itself when you think about it considering that in theory, the public owns the airwaves.

In the meantime, we have a report on a recent speaking engagement at the University of Connecticut featuring Ben Shapiro.

For a half a mo' I thought, well that's that. All that My Dear Stickies and discerning gentlereaders have to do is watch the comprehensive video. Geez, that was easy. Next.

[By the by, if you're short on time, click on the clip, and skip, to 2:10. Watch a UConn flunky insert himself between a student attending the anti-Shapiro and a reporter. If he doesn't make it big as yet another college administrator he can always make a living as a tourist or reporter minder in the Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea.]

Big But

But there's a handful of Luddites out there that have youngsters (who haven't even turned 50 yet) print my stuff out for them. And of course, one of the major, but rarely discussed problems of living in the Dizzinformation Age is link rot. In relatively short order, the given links in a given nearly anything composed or/and published on the web are often riddled with link rot (electronic silverfish).

Therefore, let me summarize. Mr. Shapiro spoke at an event that more students wished to attend than would (safely) fit into the provided venue. UConn prohibited the public to attend for security (more safety?) reasons. Another campus venue was provided as an anti-Shapiro. The anti-Shapiro was sparsely attended (good). As far as I'm able to tell the EPRT was not triggered.

The devil, of course, resides in a cozy beachfront condo in the Details (a pair of islands/tourist traps in the Outer Banks).

According to the Washington Examiner, as well as several other media outlets -- featuring old-school style actual quotes and facts (as opposed to the wouldn't go on the record/endless speculation school of alleged journalism) -- UConn stepped up to the plate and fulfilled the primary purpose of institutions of higher learning -- prophylactic psychology -- before Mr. Beelzebub arrived on campus.

"We understand that even the thought of an individual coming to campus with the views that Mr. Shapiro expresses can be concerning and even hurtful and that’s why we wanted to make you aware as soon as we were informed.” - Joelle Murchison, Associate V.P./Chief Diversity Officer

I'll bet that's a (fake) job loving happy H. sapien, assuming, of course, there's an office full of diverse diversifiers to handle what I'll betcha-a-bottle of pop is some serious paperwork.

Now I, your humble correspondent, believe the obvious question is -- considering Mr. Beelzebub spoke to 500 (safely seated) students (remember, it was a no Nazis/pesky Citizens of the Republic event) and many students were turned away from hearing a speaker at their own college (for safety reasons), even if they were up to date on their tuition -- what happened at the anti-Shapiro?

Since this was not widely reported I performed some more exhaustive research, ignoring the bloody calluses that have developed on my fingertips, and discovered what follows.

The Facebook page created to promote the anti-Shapiro event reported that although 277 students were "interested" only 88 showed up for an event that could have (safely) accommodated 500. Good. Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.

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©2017 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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