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Friday, April 27, 2012

Why can't I be famous? Everyone else is...

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning of April 27, 2012, my blog surpassed 10,000 lifetime page views. That seems like a pretty large number to me. I've published 133 blog posts at the Blogger home of the Stream of Consciousness, beginning on August 1, 2009.

Let's break that down.

Thanks to Al Gore, I can easily use the Internet to determine that there have been exactly 1,000 days between August 1, 2009 and today. Math in factors of 10 being easy, even for a math moron like me, most of us can calculate that my readership has averaged ten page views per day I've been on Blogger. What does that mean? On average, by accident or design, ten people have landed on one of my blog pages every day for the last two years, eight months and twenty-six days.

Sure, those aren't Kim Kardashian or Tim Tebow numbers but I'm in this for the long haul - I'm not generating much Stream-sanity.

                    Ten THOUSAND page views...

As I was pondering this new milestone in my blogging career, I happened to read a thoughtful article on the types of people our modern society reveres by Simon Doonan. According to Mr. Doonan, inside most of our heads at any given time is a dynamic mosh pit of useless information on celebrity goings-on. He bemoans the loss of true accomplishment as the bellwether for celebrity.

The reason Doonan gives (in the next to last paragraph of the article) for reality stars and other non-accomplishing folks being elevated to the modern pantheon of celebrity is this:

"We are living in an everyone-is-special-and-there-are-no-losers society. As a result, we are fearful of accomplished people because they can do stuff that we cannot do, and giving them the spotlight would un-level the playing field. We are, as a result, much more comfortable with the famous-for-nothing paradigm, because then, we, the great unexceptional masses, still have (a) shot at celebrity."

I don't think this is a new concept. I could have my own little curmudgeon party while highlighting ways our society have taken competition and achievement out of the societal equation. A trite but revealing example would be in youth soccer. More than one league around the country has done away with keeping score.

Excuse me?

If you have a bunch of young boys and girls chasing around a field kicking a ball and occasionally putting said ball into one of the nets at either end of the field, but you are not keeping score, then you actually are more likely playing a dynamic game of kickball or just letting the kids participate in free play. And if it's free play you want, why do you need lines? Why do you need goals? Heck, why do you need teams? Just gather the kids together at the park, charge the parents some money and let them run around and randomly kick one ore more balls.

Kicking it old school; no unis, no cleats, no field, no goals

In this I agree with Mr. Doonan: we need to start lifting up people who actually accomplish something. Snooki doesn't deserve one iota of my time, unless we're going to have a conversation about how disappointed I suspect Jesus is with her. And before all the thou shalt not judge-nicks come out of the woodwork, I'm not judging Snooki. She is free to live her life in the way she sees fit. More power to her. But that does not mean I have to pay attention to her life or agree with it. 

However, I am allowed to disagree with it, not like it, and feel that she (and many others) are part of a burgeoning problem in our world where we mistake being famous for being useful.

What do you think?


Friday, April 13, 2012

Is Romney the Answer?

In the wake of Mitt Romney's April primary victories, and Rick Santorum's capitulation, it is likely that Mr. Romney will win the GOP nomination when all is said and done in Tampa this August. It should be noted that the 2012 Republican National Convention will not be held in Tampa Bay, as some sites are noting. Which is good news for everyone except scuba gear rental outlets.

          "I've wanted to be President since I was this high!"

But what platform is Mr. Romney running on? What part does his Mormon faith play in his bid to be President of the United States? For Christian conservatives, can you vote for Mitt Romney in good conscience? And what does it say about the United States when two of the major candidates for President are named Mitt and Newt?

Jordan Sekulow, Director of Policy and International Operations for the American Center for Law and Justice, decided social conservatives needed some help to see the light regarding Romney's conservative credentials. Mr. Sekulow highlighted a few of those issues in this Washington Post blog.

Abortion: Romney is against it. Unless you count his endorsement for the legalization of RU-486 - aka the morning after pill - in 2002. Yet in 2012, stumping hard for the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney was quoted as saying, "Scientifically, life begins at conception."

I don't know; maybe he had a change of heart.

Family values: Mr. Sekulow highlights that Mr. Romney supports traditional marriage and that he (Romney) will appoint an Attorney General who will support The Defense of Marriage Act. Mr. Romney's Mormon faith and upbringing definitely provided a foundation for a conservative position on the family.

The problem I have with Mr. Sekulow on this, and I should note I agree with him on several other issues he's championed through his work at the ACLJ, is that he is basically telling evangelical Christians, 'Never mind the Mormon thing, what's important is how Mr. Romney will deal with being President.'

One, just give me the facts and I'll make up my own mind. I don't need Mr. Sekulow or anyone else telling me, 'Vote like this.'

Two, are Mormons really Christians? Let me preface any comments with the statement that if Mr. Romney is the best man to lead our country, it should not matter that he is a Mormon. But don't tell me that it's more or less the same thing as being an evangelical Christian. I'm no theologian, and I've not had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Romney in person about his faith. But according to reports, he was a bishop in the Mormon church (1984). And from what I've read about the Mormon faith there are some significant differences between what I believe and what Mormon's believe concerning God, Jesus, eternal life, the role of Joseph Smith, etc.

Leaving all that aside, is Romney really the person we need to lead this country back to....what? Prominence? Power? Prestige?

What should our next President focus on? Will their faith play a role - should it play a role?

What do you think?