Monday, November 3, 2008

Quick Hits and a Programming Note

As The Common Man previously wrote, Halloween was a rousing success at his house. The candy was distributed, the pumpkins remained on the front porch (not smashed in the street), and The Boy adorably made his way about the neighborhood scoring candy and dishing out "Happaween" cheer. However, not everyone had such a Happaween. In particular, 8th grader Alex Woinski, of Paramus, NJ, was sent home from school for dressing as his lord and savior. According to the Associated Press, "Alex, who has shoulder-length brown hair, wore a white robe, a red sash, sandals, a fake beard and a crown of thorns." Woinski, whose shoulder-length brown hair has invited similar comparisons from his friends, apparently has a significant interest in religion and is studying the Bible in his spare time. So, regardless, it seems unlikely that Woinski meant any disrespect in his choice of costume. And The Common Man applauds him for his creativity at age 13, and the quality of the getup.

Still, it's likely that the school acted appropriately in this case. They did not single out Woinski; other students were directed to alter their costumes that were deemed "distractions" and offered him the opportunity to stay at school and in costume if he removed the beard and thorns (making him a Roman (Pilate?), The Common Man supposes). It's simply the case that some costumes are more distracting than others and that distracted students don't learn. While The Common Man loves Halloween, loves Woinski's costume, and loves The Lord, if the school felt as though he was being a distraction they have the right and responsibility to send him home.

--On a tragic note, Halloween went horribly awry for 12-year old T.J. Darrisaw, of Sumter, S.C. Stopping at a house to trick-or-treat, T.J. was shot and killed by an AK-47, wielded by a convicted felon. The 22-year old shooter, who had been robbed and shot in the past year, was afraid that polite burglars were knocking at his front door. So, he fired close to 30 rounds through the door.

The Common Man believes strongly in the constitutional right to bear arms. Whether or not there is actually a need for a militia today is less a valid argument and more of an excuse for anti-gun lobbists to get angry and whine. After all, a traditional interpretation of the Bill of Rights has allowed gun ownership for hunting and protection, as well as recreation. That said, (pardon The Common Man) can't everyone fucking agree that
AK-47s are not necessary for hunting or recreation or protection? After all, what can an AK-47 do for you that a .357 can't, aside from its ability to go from assault rifle to fully-automatic, rapid fire machine gun? God only knows how this deluded, dangerous, ex-felon got ahold of the gun, but the fact that it was available for him to acquire speaks volumes about how indescribably stupid it is for such weapons to be in general circulation. How it can take the death of an innocent 12-year old to make gun manufacturers and gun nuts realize that (or worse yet, if they remain unconvinced) that these weapons should be off the street is totally beyond The Common Man.

--Switching topics almost entirely, The Common Man is incredibly geeked up for the election tomorrow. First of all, the day itself, every four years, practically hums with excitement. There is so much to pay attention to in national and state races that The Common Man is always on the edge of his seat. And every time one of the networks calls a state (and then uncalls it and then calls it for the other guy) butterflies dance in his stomach. Indeed, after two years of foreplay and frustrating tantric games, election night is essentially a national ejaculation of voting. And The Common Man loves to be a part of it (even if it sounds as though this year's results will be anti-"climactic").

And while The Common Man doesn't mind the ads so much (though he's sure there are states where the advertising is far more obnoxious than it is in Wisconsin), he is excited that he won't have to see videos like "Obama Is Going To Pay For My Gas And Mortgage," posted below:

Now, of course, Peggy Joseph never says that Barack Obama will pay for her mortgage and gas. Rather, she contends she'll not have to "worry about" them. So instead of being a mother full of hope and optimism about how a new president's administration will bring the high cost of living back under control, so that she won't have to decide between food and gas (she can buy both with her own money, huzzah!), it becomes a racist "look at the silly black woman who thinks that Obama will pay for her goods and services." It's this sly, ugly, backhanded racism that The Common Man finds most offensive, that couches itself in rooting out "socialists" while trying to paint black Americans as clowns and sheep. Again, pardon The Common Man, but fuck all you who think that a meaningful number of Americans are not smart enough to see through your bullshit. Meanwhile, Senator Obama is called "traitor," "terrorist," and all manner of vile unspeakable names that would make your nana blush, but you don't give a damn. That The Common Man gets to go a 2-3 years without hearing from these jackasses delights him. Perhaps some of them will have a change of heart between now and then. Or perhaps they'll drive off a bridge in disgust at having a competent, educated, clear-eyed, and dynamic man as President (who happens to be African-American). Frankly, The Common Man doesn't care which.

--Finally, The Common Man urges you all to get out and vote tomorrow, regardless of who you decide to vote for. A few weeks back, Cameron Schaefer wondered whether some Americans should not vote. The Common Man thinks, perhaps, that some Americans should not. But by and large, the Americans that should not, will not, regardless of how much encouragement, education, or enticement they are given. If you have an interest in who will run this country for four years, and how it will be governed, you should vote. It's as simple as that. You should pull a lever and express your preference. And if you don't care or can't be bothered, then don't. In the end, the effect of "unfit" voters will be minimal (and who the hell gets to determine who's fit and who's not, anyway?). But this dewmocracy is far healthier when people participate in it. Almost a democracy even.

--One final programming note: The Common Man plans to live-blog the election night, starting at about 7 PM Eastern. Reviews of the previous live-blog were overwhelmingly positive. So, he hopes you'll join him, and maybe even participate.

No comments: