Monday, September 10, 2012

Five of Wands

Five of Wands: Conflict, competition, discord

The Boy Scouts of America were selling some sugared-up substances outside my local grocery store this weekend... and I really really really wanted to walk right up to them and ask, do you let the transgender scouts in? The Girl Scouts do! But I lacked the nerve; the scout-leaders on duty had that hyper-masculine, super-patriotic Toby Keith vibe going on. I could easily see it all escalating into a heated argument, and possibly culminating in a call to Greenville's finest.

Those guys love cops. Some of them ARE cops.

I used to relish that sort of thing, but now I get weary and tired just thinking about it. (sigh) Do we get less radical as we age, or just more sensible? I mean, it would all be a huge waste of time, and could get me locked up besides.

Then again, IS it a waste of time? Could one of those unassuming, plucky little boy scouts be gay or transgender and therefore: silently cheering me on? Could I make a good impression by accident? (I know I have in the past, but I usually only find that out years later.)

Well, I'll never know now. I passed them by and pretended not to hear them when they politely addressed me as ma'am and asked me to buy their sugar-treats. If I had stopped, even for a second, the argumentative questions WOULD have tumbled right out of my mouth. I am old enough now, to Know Thyself well.

Therefore, I know when to keep on walking... unless I have the strength and wherewithal to deal with the various Toby-Keithesque-characters of upstate South Carolina. And at that time and place, I just didn't.

I hope some brave young person, with energy and time to burn, does.

One of those little scouts needs to hear you speak up.


We watched the whole first season of HOMELAND on DVDs, which was terribly enjoyable but politically disturbing.

Is the CIA really this much of a mess? I shudder to think.

And do we accept this fact without question, just to have some mind-twisting entertainment? Are government-sanctioned, covered-up drone attacks on masses of children now just another plot development?

Saints preserve us.

As when I watched Standard Operating Procedure, I had nightmares after one of the episodes, the one about the drone attacks.

Observations: Nobody plays crazy as well as Claire Danes. Her stream-of-consciousness mania/complaining about not being able to find a green pen (Not blue!) was fantastic. I highly recommend the show for sheer class and talent on display, and yet... I resent the fact of the war, the tortures, the devastation they are dramatizing. But of course, that is all some genuinely high-stakes stuff, isn't it? This makes for some honestly gut-wrenching drama and challenges to the moral sensibility. One's conscience is suddenly thrown into high gear, and how many TV shows can manage to do that?

On the other hand, the danger is that horrifying, harrowing military realities are reduced to the status of a Tom Clancy thriller. I find this disorienting. It leaves a decidedly-unpleasant taste in the mouth. More psychologically sophisticated than John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima, to be sure... but still presented as entertainment. And is there any way the CIA does NOT come off as a glamorous occupation, with Claire Danes madly running around risking her life to save the unsuspecting populace? Or, as Peter O'Toole noted in that obscure cult movie, The Stunt Man: "I know a man who made an anti-war movie; a good one. When it was shown in his home town, army enlistment went up six hundred percent."

Is it possible to portray something, anything, in movies and TV without somehow making it interesting and cool?

On the political flip-side, conservatives have often asked this same question about drug abuse. How can one properly dramatize drug abuse and its accompanying devastation, without inadvertently glamorizing drug use as dangerous and edgy?

Because it if weren't, on some level, we wouldn't bother watching.

We don't get the Showtime network, so I will probably not see the second season of HOMELAND in its entirety until it comes out on DVD. (I hope I can resist Googling the spoilers, as I have been known to do.) If the second season can keep up the dramatic tension, it should be excellent. The second season will debut on Showtime at the end of this month.

The nasty snipes at Dick Cheney are obvious, at least. And well-deserved.


Saturday's radio show podcast is online. Hope you will give us a listen.

Speaking of radio... Bob Jones University has sold their radio station, which had the cutesy call letters of WMUU: World's Most Unusual University. (Nobody ever argued with that.) It will now be converted into still another conservative talk-radio station here in town. Certainly, we know that is a DIRE NEED here in the upstate! (snark)

Swimming upstream, but we are still afloat. One slim hour of lefty-radio in a sea of constant and endless right-wing blather.

It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.


JoJo said...

The tarot card you drew really sums up what's going on a little bit right now in my life! Just working thru is as best I can!

Conseglieri said...

As I have mentioned on the show, I am a "Life Scout"...just below Eagle. I am a member of the Order of the Arrow. I had daughters, but if I had sons I suspect I would have been involved as an adult.

The Boy Scouts are 100% wrong with their policy of not allowing gay adult leaders nor gay scouts themselves to be involved. No doubt this is being ignored all across the nation by right thinking folks who understand that gay people can play a positive and vital role in a child's life. As you point out, the Girl Scouts of America manage just fine with an accepting policy.

The same applies to their refusal to allow atheists into scouting.

I also believe that the Boy Scouts should be denied access to taxpayer funded institutions, such as schools and libraries, until they change this policy. If the United Way wants to fund bigotry, that's up to them. Boy Scouts of America is a private group, and has successfully asserted their right to discriminate. So be it. Now, they need to stand 100% on their own two feet.

And remember...I love scouting. It was one of the very best experiences I had. We went camping, learned how to do a number of things other folks don't often know how to do, and built friendships that meant a lot to me.

But right is right, and wrong is wrong...and BSA is wrong.

Re: Homeland, as you no doubt know, Law and Order in all it's versions became very willing to allow characters to go off on people accused of terrorist connections, pretty much without consequences. Was that reflecting suspected reality, or Wolf's hopes?

Some shows, like NYPD Blue, have always shown rogue cops with likable or at least understandable personalities. A show on the way, Last Resort feels like it could well get pushed in a very bad direction...a sort of survivalist military adventure. The only reason to be concerned is, if TV didn't persuade people, there would be no advertising, and no TV.

The Peter O'Toole comment is a reflection of the Law of Unintended Consequences, which is something I always try to keep in mind.

As to the new competition from WMUU...all I can say is to parrot George W. Bush: Bring It On!