Thursday, 8 November 2018

'Rural' Versus 'Rural'

If you ever sit down with a guy from Alabama, among the 7,000-odd topics that you might get into (depth of septic tanks, best paint for barn roofs, copperhead snakes, failed camping trips, etc).....there is this PhD-level discussion that would consume an hour over the definition of 'rural'.

Regular folks will classify a junction of two roads....where a church, a cemetery, and a gas-station being only semi-rural.  Some will suggest that a junction of two roads....where one bank, a catfish restaurant, a Dollar-General store, two churches, and a being truly rural.  So there is a thought process going on and some folks want to define real just plain rural.

I grew up near a two-road junction, with a cemetery, two churches, and a farm-related-general store....which I tended to note as just plain and absolute rural.

On the opposite direction, about another half-mile was a road that passed along a creek, and this 'town' had around four churches, a cemetery, two gas stations, a barber shop, a catfish restaurant, a post office, and a general store (Ottos).  As much as one might want to define it as just never had that appeal.

Southerners get into discussions like this because some folks think they've got it 'rough', when they actually have a 'drive-up' burger enterprise, a Dollar-General, a cemetery, and three churches.  Then the next guy will lay out his woes as a kid, where they had only a run-down gas station (with leaking tanks), a beer-joint, a church, and a cemetery. 

This discussion appears to be getting less and less of a topic-item.  Today, that junction of two roads doesn't really matter.  Within a four-mile circle, there's likely two Dollar-General stores, a couple of gas stations, a honky tonk, a cellphone-satellite TV shop, and six to eight churches of various faiths.  People under the age of thirty?  They don't even size up rural status anymore.  In another thirty years....ruralness may not even matter. 

SNL, Pete Davidson, and the Crenshaw 'Joke'

Over the past weekend, I observed the Crenshaw 'joke' from Saturday Night Live from Pete Davidson.  I watched it one single time, and then had this fairly negative view of the joke, the intent, and the lack of responsibility.  So, this 'joke' and the whole SNL show thing has been on my mind.

I've come to three observations:

1.  In 1975, across the entire US.....there were probably a grand total of 300 true comedians (either doing stand-up, TV, or movies).  There might have been more....but these were folks were making a living and you tended to recognize.  

Today?  There's probably over 8,000 folks attempting to do comedy....either via stand-up, TV, or movies....of which the bulk of them...probably 90-percent...don't measure up to the 300 folks from 1975.  In this case, Pete Davidson just isn't a comedian, and he's attempting to make up for the lack of humor with critical punchlines that you'd expect out of some fifth-grade kid trying to insult another fifth-grade kid.  

2.  Once someone today (2018) has gone and truly insulted someone....they have no ability to go back and apologize for bad behavior.  It's a talent or skill that they've never developed.  Important?

Johnny Carson never openly insulted anyone in his entire life, and basically never had to apologize for any bad behavior.  He could get away with it.  Same with Buddy Hackett.  Same with any of the folks from the Andy Griffith Show, or Gilligan's Island.  Pete Davidson? He probably needs to develop this talent because I don't think he's done....he's got dozens of other folks to insult over his career.

3.  Finally, I come to Saturday Night Live.  When it started in the 1975....for probably two years, I felt they had something unusual.  Every show clicked.  By the mid-1980s....I felt less enthusiastic about the show.  Over the past decade, there might have been a couple of sketches which worked but the bulk of it simply isn't comedy's something 'else'.

Maybe it's time that SNL just retired itself.  Bring in some Dance-Fever Show, or Soul-Train Show, or perhaps some Saturday night roller derby action, or even a celebrity crash derby show.  But to continue this fifth-grader type humor, and pretend they measure up to the crew from 1975 or 1977?  No.  

South Africa: 2038

I've been back from this South Africa travel episode now....for ten days.  It was my first, and likely last trip to the region, but it dwells heavily upon my I sat and pondered the past couple of days. This is an essay of where I see South Africa in twenty years.

1.  I don't see it surviving as one single united nation.  Between the political climate, the government acquisition of farmlands likely to occur, and massive unemployment....there's very little to keep the country united.  My humble guess is that five to eight states will come out of this revolutionary period, with the Western Cape likely to be the largest 'piece'.

2.  There's little to nothing to hold young blacks to the region, and no hope for jobs.  I think at least three to five million over this twenty-year period will simply up and leave....either for the US or Europe.

3.  Drug trafficking will simply continue and escalate, with a drug-war likely to occur among gangs in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Duban.  Township police protection will be demanded....and ultimately fail.

4.  Bank failures or banking corruption practices will become a monthly topic, with trust dwindling for most folks in South Africa.  While people need a banking vehicle to won't work if half the nation distrusts the majority of banks.

5.  Drought and lack of water will remain a topic on the Western Cape for the next two decades.  The amusing thing here....if you had some real leaders....real capital investment, you'd have a dozen reservoirs existing, and a massive amount of water for irrigation projects, and make half of the Cape an agricultural paradise, with fresh fruit and vegetables available for the locals and to sell. 

6.  Finally, social media is likely providing a vehicle which will be the downfall of the ANC (the African National Congress Party), where their shortfalls and 10,000 promises will finally be open to public scrutiny.  But here's the thing....once they splinter up and dissolve, you will end up with numerous parties and agendas which will make stability impossible to attain.

Acosta and Trump

I sat and watched that clip of the exchange between Jim Acosta and President Trump at least ten times. 

Once the intern stepped forward to take the can observe Acosta using his hand deny her and assert that he wasn't going to let her do her job.  Suspending his privilege for a month....ought to be the punishment here. 

But I would go one more step....replace the mic-handling business with a Marine Gunnery Sergeant.  Once Acosta would have refused the directive and then put his hand on the Sergeant....the Marine would have laid him flat on the carpet.  After that, Acosta would have understood the message.