In Olden Tymes, when I was a fairly frequent workshop presenter, I used to designate a sheet of butcher paper, affixed to a side wall, as the "parking lot"--a space on which could be recorded questions or subjects of interest not immediately pertinent but that could (and should) be addressed at a later time.
I need just such a Parking Lot for this blog. Though old age has mostly idled my body (which was never much given to action anyway), it has not yet immobilized my brain, which continues quite promiscuously to generate momentarily intriguing "thoughts" that pop up at odd times and then, unless I jot them down, vanish without any further development. I experience that disappearance of an embryonic idea as a kind of loss: a potential "baby" that I could have nurtured and brought to full term but that, alas, is now aborted--gone to the great Limbo of Unborn Ideas.
So herewith is my parking lot of embryonic ideas--questions or observations that might be worth further gestation:
1. Fox News. Clearly, this channel is NOT "fair and balanced." Yet it IS efficient in providing "breaking news" (a bombing in Iraq, a car chase in L.A.). But so much of their "news" is, in fact, commentary, spin and innuendo. I'm not talking about Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity: clearly these guys are biased. No, I mean all those blonde "journalists" who are supposedly doing nothing but "objective reporting." Objective? Fox can make even a car bombing in Iraq sound like a socialist plot to take over the U.S. government and impose health care on unwilling Americans. Is MSNBC guilty of similarly (but leftist) slanted news reporting? (Again, I'm not talking about Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz--both of whom have an obvious point of view.)
2. Why do poor Republicans, especially those with poor educations, wind up thinking like rich Republicans with good educations? I can understand why a rich Republican might oppose taxes and government spending on programs intended to afford more opportunity and greater wealth to the "underclass." Such "fiscal conservatives" want to spend their money themselves. They don't want to give the government any of their wealth, except--perhaps--a little bit to provide those services that will preserve the current system and guarantee their continued wealth. But why do those poor Tea Party boobs, who don't have a pot to pee in, run about screaming their opposition to taxation (they don't have enough money to pay much in taxes, except for Republican-inspired regressive sales taxes that disproportionately hurt the poor). Waving their guns and hostile signs, they, too, denounce government spending--even though such spending would probably afford them (the little guys) a fairer slice of the American pie. They oppose the very programs that are in their own self-interest. It doesn't make economic sense.
Perhaps it is selfishness, more than "self-interest", that unites these two groups. The rich Republicans want to keep their money, even if they have obscene amounts of it (selfishness); the poor Republicans don't want any OTHER poor people to have a chance to get rich (selfishness). Thus, both the rich and the poor Republicans resemble the slothful servant (in Matthew?) who prefers to bury his talent (hang on to what he has, i.e, selfishness) rather than to take a chance on investing in other people and other ways of doing things. Like that servant, the Republicans, both rich and poor, are FEARFUL--afraid of "losing" (even if what one has to lose is derisory) rather than HOPEFUL--confident that it is in everyone’s self-interest to spread the wealth, like fertilizer (so that the rich get richer and so do the poor).
3. After rereading my blog "Beauty and the Beasts," I realize that the CENTRAL question about beauty is actually "how do human beings prioritize / rank beautiful things"? We might find, for instance, that a certain bulldog is a nearly perfect--and hence, beautiful--specimen of its breed (possessing integritas and consonantia). At the same dog show, we might find that a German Shepherd is similarly "perfect" and hence beautiful. But how do we determine which of these two beauties is the MORE beautiful? What criteria do we use to judge degrees of beauty?
4. The blessings and benefits of coffee. How would we live without it? Why don't Mormons drink coffee? Has coffee-deprivation caused Mormons to become homophobic? Could MORE coffee drinking diminish homophobia in the general population? An exercise in a whole bunch of logical fallacies. Could be fun.
5. Barter as Health Care. Nevada Republican candidate for Senate, Sue Lowden proposes that we barter for health care with our doctor. Offer to bring him/her a chicken in return for services. She will probably defeat Harry Reid!
6. Why do I keep trying to "love" America? I really can't love such an abstract concept. I love certain people; I love certain places; I love certain activities, I love certain traditions. Insofar as the majority of these people, places and things (nouns!) are American, and ONLY in that sense, do I love this nation-state. Someday, nations will disappear--to be replaced by??? Who knows? I'm pretty sure, though, that I have no sympathy for those insane anarchist groups who want to destroy America from within.
7. Why doesn't God speak to ME?
8. The space-time continuum. Why are we trapped in this silly Einsteinian box? Surely someone can figure out how to travel faster than light! And I'm really pissed off about Time. It's entirely too one-directional for my tastes. THIS is what we should be having "tea parties" about. The tea-baggers are protesting TAXES. They SHOULD be protesting DEATH.