Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beware word inflation

A cyberacquaintance who is a Trot, along with her comrades, say I am a "pedant" and a "warmonger." Why? I made the mistake of asking why she posted on Facebook a picture of Bill and Hillary Clinton with Madeleine Albright at the funeral of Vaclav Havel with the comment: "how ugly  war criminals become."

War Criminals?

As Dr. Scalper remarked to me, former President Bill Clinton may be "a corporate ass-licker." His wife Hillary, current secretary of state, and Albright, who served under Clinton, may be something less than Mother Teresa on a good day.

But "war criminal" has a very specific meaning. There must be a war. There must be a crime. And the criminal must have committed it. Right? Right!

Those who bombed Dresden and Hanoi when there was no military justification can be accused: there was a war, a crime, and persons who committed it. They were not accused (because they were on the side of the "good guys"), but we can discuss it.

So I asked her what war crime are you referring to? The Lewinsky matter was surely  irregular (if fun), but not a war crime. From January 1993 to January 2001 when Clinton was president, the United States was not at war.

Or am I crazy?

She refused to explain. Three of her partisan gang began to rain links to opinion pieces full of generalities how ugly the world is, but about the alleged crime ... nothing much.

So what does she do? She says she's going to de-friend me, block me ... in short, virtually disappear me. Exactly the kind of left-wing fascism that killed her idol, Leon.

War crime should be prosecuted. Better yet would be not to have wars. But any chance of all that is destroyed when one calls politicians one dislikes "war criminal" just for so.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two days left for what?

Turned on my favorite music station in the car, only to find tastefully orchestrated, choired and tenored "classical" carols. Yes, the Berlin Philharmonic does a great Stille Nacht. On Monday it will all be gone, even though the 12 days will have just begun.

This is my uniquely American Christmas lesson this year: our distinctive malaise is ... drum roll, please ... anticipation. Feeling let down? Not the public debt or unemployment or "low-intensity warfare"?

Yes, anticipation.

We spend a month preparing shopping for Christmas and only one day opening presents and gorging. (And, yes, please let's not bother to debate whether there's a religious aspect of Christmas.) Then out goes the tree, the gift-wrapping and trimmings on the 26th.

Yet, remember the 12 days of Christmas and the partridge on the pear tree? What happened to them?

The same thing that happened to elections. It's not yet 2012, yet if I hear one more speech I'll scream! Yet I betcha on Nov. 7 they'll start talking about 2016!!!

The drugstore is out of Christmas junk and you can see the agenda books and the party hats at the ready (along with a few summer flip flops for the really, really early birds).

We're so busy anticipating the next great thing that we hardly get to taste the actual, maybe not-so-great, but real thing right in front of our nose.

Stop the clock, I want to relax. Sure, maybe to the sound Carol of the Bells sung by the Westminster Abbey Boys Choir; but on Monday, OK?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Maybe there's a messiah among us already

A new acquaintance of mine was waxing admiringly about a particular rabbi whose wisdom he reveres. Maybe, he wondered, that rabbi is the Messiah and we are just not ready to understand that. I was reminded of the branches of Buddhism whose devotees search in each age among the living for an Enlightened One.

Although, with all due respect, I doubt my new friend's rabbi is the one, I particularly like the notion of humanity just not being ready to recognize the Messiah, Enlightened One or Grand Whatever. Anyone familiar with the Christian story who looks around at Christmas or Good Friday knows amply that no one has ever really paid attention to, much less understood, the Galilean woodworker some of his day thought was the Messiah.

So maybe there is someone walking around among us today with a message to which it would behoove us to listen. Someone who, if we really listened to her or him, would change everything in all the ways that global enlightenment and the coming of a Messiah should.

Even though I get the feeling that whoever the one is, we're not going to listen any time soon ... what if we did?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Will the real God please stand up?

Nothing like dreading the deluge of treacly Christmas music on the radio to put a man off the anthropomorphized God of the Semitic religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Let's face it: the only possible God is a specie of one who is nothing like us at all.

Traditionally, God is a He who supposedly cares whether you smoke, drink, eat pork or masturbate. This God is an egotist who wants lots of bowing and scraping, who picks winners and loser and demands invocations that use the particular human words chosen by the professionals of religion.

To my mind, God is an immaterial living being, perhaps a self-sustaining living energy (maybe she looks a bit like a multicolored flame), capable of bringing everything we know and everything we don't yet know into being. I doubt very much God speaks English or any human language, even though she intuitively knows everything that exists: she caused it to be.

My guess is that she is incredibly wise, having had sufficient forethought to produce history, from the big bang to the birth of the latest child ... and everything in between and beyond.

And, no, God doesn't really care whether you fornicate or fail to fast on certain days. Did you hear her yelp when Kennedy was shot or the planes crashed into the World Trade Center? I sure didn't.

Still, I am related to her as the one who, ultimately, made me be. To pray, all I need do is live. She has already spoken in reply everything for all time. Somewhere within what is around me is her "speech" to the universe, or at least they syllable of it I might just grasp, with a lot of luck.

When I do, I expect her to blow my socks off.