Thursday
Dec292016

Scratch an English Gentleman and you will find a........

     Depending on the purpose in berating the 19th Century "Culture Class", the derogatory reveal was either a pirate, a rogue or a crazed beast.  A half dozen generations forward these inferences would be no more believable than would be arguing that Trump is at core a populist. Yes, the "Culture Class" is still with us, perhaps more elitest than ever.  We still think they are pirates in the definitional form that includes "pay to play", but surly not rogues or crazed beasts.  The many generations of practiced superficial civility suggest that a more timely 21st Century reveal might be.....Scratch a NATO Gentleman and you will find a pampered whimpering man-child!

Wednesday
Dec282016

Home-Schooled.....Take Two!


     In the current sci-fi movie, Passengers, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are the sole conscious persons on a 90 year trip through space.  As the story is told, they lived an isolated life.  Whether they had children was not revealed; however, if they did have children, we can presume that they were “Home-Schooled”.
     Under less taxing circumstances than deep space, namely the real world, the Home-Schooling Decision is a parental choice made by only a very small number of parents.  My sense is that the majority of us who looked forward to little Billy and Susan getting on the bus, believe that Home Schooling Parents are almost always those parents whose lifestyle has been informed and constrained by Conservative Religious Dogma.  
     In the Ozarks, where Christian Fundamentalism is well, as fundamental as country music; interacting with the Home-Schooled is a daily experience.  My sense is that normally the Home-School Effect is not socially or culturally of much note.   Yes, the Professional Class and the Night Life Crowd are both under represented by the Home-School Alumni, but in turn Food Pantry Drop-offs and Disney Movie Ticket Sales are skewed the other way.  I just don’t see any serious aberrations.
     Unfortunately, there is more to this story.  When you look closely at the Home-School Claimers, you find a growing subset that aren’t wearing Scripture Message Shirts.  They are the “secular kids”, and there is something very different about them. These “non-faith based” outliers appear to have had almost no exposure to the human drama other than from their nuclear family.  They are the “no church-no TV-no internet-no Games-no Books kids.  They’re shy, submissive, often frail, and have underdeveloped communication skills.  They are overtly sensitive to money and possession issues and always speak from the family (we) perspective.  My reactionary to having often seen this profile is that it is an unintended consequence of our ever modern "tolerant and inclusivity" addicted culture.
     Yes, I am old, anti-fundamentalist, and as liberal as is possible at +70.  I disagree with narrow educations for any reason, but  I do believe that Scriptural Literalist are well intentioned. I acknowledge that a life lives in adherence to the time tested Christian moral platform is not a bad thing........but, absent this religious under pinning, as in the case for the secular home-schooled, it looks a lot like 19th Century “child labor abuse,”
     Surly over the last half-century our liberalizing of schooling policies to accommodate belief diversity was not intended to patronize indolent parents seeking to enjoy cheap, reliable 24/7 domestic help and ego gratification from dominating, all under cover of faux-Libertarian convictions.  Just because bio-droids can be home-grown and home-preserved, it doesn’t mean that society should just look the other way. How about some “Kid Rights” push-back.  

Tuesday
Dec272016

Ozark Old......

 
     Until the 20th Century, people struggling to survive in the Ozark Mountains most likely had not considered that their “way of life” had entertainment appeal to an increasingly urban culture spreading inward from two oceans.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, a modestly recognized East Coast Author who, seemingly in bad health, was advised by his doctor to camp out in the Ozark Backwoods as a restorative remedy.  Never mind the science of this prescription, it proved providential in the wildly successful H Wright book about his sojourn, The Shepard of the Hills, published 1905.
     The book was read by untold city folks during the first half of the 20th Century.  Like all folklore tales, it was a mostly fictional story about old and primitive people in an old and uncivilized place.    Although the book did not outsell the “Bible” or “Gone with the Wind”, it did produce a geographic “branding effect” that has endured for 6 generations removed.  Perhaps it would be exaggerating to suggest that, to this day, everyone living in the Ozarks models their lives after "Old Matt and Aunt Mollie”,  but it wouldn’t be irresponsible to say that the modern Ozarks celebrate “old” far more than most of America.  
     For a 100+ years our exports have been crops and crafts.  Our most successful attractions have been  fishing/camping/folklore venues.  Our dress styles have stayed plaid and coveralls.  Our education has been vocational.  Our cusine has been fried.  Our politics has been conservative.   Our winter homes smell of burning wood.  Our religion has been trans-rational-evangelical.  Indeed, Ozark 40 equated to Marin County 60, and Ozark 70+ is about little more than Medicaid Funding.
     Some of us who are not “lifers” in the region, sometimes feel as though we are participants in a long-running reality show.  We wonder whether Dad Howitt, the enigmatic sage resident of Mutton Hollow would cheer our evolutionary path?

Friday
Dec092016

Admit It.......You Kinda Like Putin!

     Well, I guess the recent election forecast/results confirmed that Americans are somewhat closed about their real preferences.Followlng those that proudly,"standing on the cross", checked Pence on their ballots, a whole bunch of us "more secular, thoughtful people", voted for the alpha-male dude too.  Yes, we may prefer CNN to Hannity and while we might intellectually agree with Fareed Zakaria and the other Spock elites, I guess we wanted someone that reminded us more of of JJ Watts than Anderson Cooper....never mind their their policies! 

     Maybe in the few minutes a day that we aren't socially exposed, we realize that depending on personas adorn with, like, BA's in Psychology, Soccer Camp Experience, Facebook World Views, and 39th place in Math Skills; well, we may not be Boy Scout Prepare for these volitle times.  Indeed, we are, post election plus a few weeks, feeling pretty good about our new "bad-ass" champion representing us in the Geo-Political World Games. We certainly accept that the Games are nuclear serious, but we consider that, much like "highway lane-sharing", ultimately no one wants a crash in which mutual injury is virtually certain. 

     This brings me to the high profile "bad-ass" quarterback for our lifetime rivals, the guys in Red trimmed in Gold.  He sure as hell doesn't run three plays off-tackle and then punt.  He is strategic, gutsy and clever, a worthy opponent.  No, we don't want him to win, but he's not unintelligible to us, like trans-rational Imans and just plain weird Chinese.  In our more honest moments many of us think it's more like Drew Breese fans cheering for Aaron Rodgers than it's like Skywalker locked in a death struggle with D. Vader.

     Of course, I could be way wrong! 

Thursday
Dec082016

You Cannot Be Serious!

 Take you pick for the most depressing reveal in a recent Tri-Lakes News Headline.

 * That there is a street named Boo Boo Boulevard in our community

 * That damn near every one in Taney County awake at Midnight owns a gun

 * That a planned encounter was so poorly planned

 * That a woman, without a reported weapon, was shot

 * That the term "friendly fire" was used where one cop accidentally shot another

 * That the injured cop reports that his chest was filled with "schrapnel"

 * That it is possible that a deputy was firing military grade schrapnel projectiles

 * That the "fundraiser" was held at a "distillery"

 * That the reporter who wrote the story was so unskilled at writing simple stories

 * That the story was approved by an experienced editor

 * That someone as bored as myself would "comment" about the story

However, being serious, I do feel deeply for all involved, most notably the physically injured officer and the psychologically injured officer who fired the shot.  These events are far to common in our area.  We need better

                                          EDUCATION-EDUCATION-EDUCATION