Sandy Hook and What is Our Duty

To not have the discussion about what has happened in Connecticut is to be an irresponsible member of society. As a part of this generation of human existence, we must take responsibility for each and every person in society, not because we created them, but because we are them, for better, or in this case, for worse. We cannot take credit for the innovations in our society without also owning up to the scars we have suffered.

This incident is particularly difficult to process. A presumably sane adult premeditated a mass murder in an unsuspecting elementary school.

This did not occur in an alleged war zone or third world country overrun by pirates. This happened in the United States of America in 2012. While we are at war with tyranny and oppression on foreign soil, we must not forget about the conflict within our borders.

The capitalist society has the potential volatility of a brutal society. If it is the fittest that survive, what becomes of the un-fit? This presents a most troubling paradigm. Those outcast by the machine can either whither or embrace the role forced upon them, and rebel. The problem with rebelling is that there is no predictable outcome. The result has no concern for society, nor should it. No, the only purpose is to react, of opposite, but not always equal magnitude.

Who is to blame for making Adam Lanza this way? Perhaps that is not the right question. Discovering an answer might appease us, but this is a selfish notion. This implies the desire to point a finger, wag, and return to business as usual until the next tragedy. Wash, rinse, repeat. This is not an acceptable course of action.

Adam Lanza may well be written off as another insane youth gone awry. Again, this generalization provides an answer to appease those of us unwilling or incapable of digging deeper. And though there may not be a clear answer, that only points to our naivete of the mind rather than the complexity of it. While the unknown can be frightening, in this case, apathy is the most terrifying attitude of all.

Let us not presume, assume, or otherwise project Adam Lanza's motivations, however unstable or lucid. Let us only empathize with the loved ones of the deceased, sympathize with the survivors, and reflect on what has become of us.
To move on without doing so is to disregard that which makes us human.

If you ask me, that's what got us in this mess in the first place.


The Convenient Life

We have: 
climate control 
focus groups 
drive-ins, drive-ups, and drive-thrus
where we have ads on our food. 
We are: 
over-stimulated, over-diagnosed, and over-worked. 
But we are under-lifed. 
We have a cell phone app called "face-time". 
Identity fraud is a federal offense but there is no punishment for existence fraud. 

We are afraid to face the day, face our fears, and get older.

We often doubt, second guess, regret.

We need something to look forward to so life doesn't seem so unbearable. A vacation. An after life. 

All the while, life itself is overlooked.

We fret, ignore, dispute, deceive, dismiss, refute.

We work towards a better future, yet reminisce on the 'better days'.

We want the present to be the past, and the future to be the present, but don't want to get older.

We are now used to getting what we want how we want it when we want it.
And we demand it.
And we complain when it's not perfect or not instant. 
What is it that truly matters? My iPad? My car?My condo? My credit card rewards points?
Let's see.

1. Note that none of the slogans include the product. What soda pop's slogan was "Be young, have fun, drink_______?" in 1993?
    Dr. Pepper
    Mountain Dew

2. "Once you pop, you just can't stop," is what potato chips' slogan?

3. "Double your pleasure, double your fun. It's the _________, __________ chewing gum!"

4. What paper towel's advertising slogan is "The quilted quicker-picker upper, __________!"
    Mardi Gras

5. What candy's slogan is "Taste the Rainbow,"?
    M & M's
Seem easy? 

Now take this quiz on modern world facts:

1 - What is the capital of Scotland?

2 - From which country were the majority of the 9/11 hijackers?

3 - Of the following countries, which is not included in the negotiations on the etablisment of a 'Free Trade Area of the Americas'?

4 - In which country was Osama bin Laden killed ?

5 - Which South American country is shown below?


Edinburgh; Saudi Arabia; Florida; Cuba; Pakistan; Argentina

That is what is considered by kstudio.com to be their easiest modern world quiz.
In a news report in any medium, at what point does the content end and the advertisement begin? Which do you think are more effective at delivering information? Which productions have bigger budgets? 
The messages have evolved to subtly subliminal. But they started as this:

It's hard to consider one's own perspective. Here's something to try- enter a date and/or time, and find out just how much time you have until then:

What will you do with it?


Comedy Central Again Takes Censorship Too Far in South Park Episode: 201

South Park, the Comedy Central flagship original program, is in its 14th season and recently celebrated its 200th episode cleverly titled, "200". The episode has been the subject of much controversy which is complicated on many levels.

In "200", all of the celebrities that the 'town' of South Park has previously offended or slandered get together to file a class action law suit against the 'town'.

This situation is an example of show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone using the 'town' to represent the show of the same name for real life situations.

This clip for example, uses the show's most famous character Eric Cartman as the spokesperson (specifically at the 1:15 mark):

This was of course a reference to the fact that so many people group 'Family Guy', the raunchy animated show on Fox, together with 'South Park'. Cartman, or 'South Park' claims that while some may categorize them together, they feel that they should not be compared based on the surface perception of both programs simply being known for raunchy humor. 'South Park' is claiming to be more deep than that, and unfailingly, an in depth investigation into ANY episode will prove just that.

Co-incidentally, the episode from which the above clip is taken, also contained the first infamous 'Muhammad controversy'.

In the town of South Park, Kyle's favorite show 'Family Guy' was insistent on showing Muhammad in an upcoming episode. The juxtaposition here is that the show 'South Park' would then be showing an image of Muhammad by showing the episode of 'Family Guy' in the town of 'South Park'.

Confusing indeed, but this aspect adds to the absurdity of the controversy by speaking about the issue in the town of 'South Park' with its residents discussing the ramifications of 'Family Guy' showing an image of Muhammad on their 'show':

In the 'Family Guy' episode, the image of Muhammad was 'censored by Fox' before it went to air. What ensued was a dialogue about freedom of speech vs. censorship. This was a result of Comedy Central declaring that they would, and did, censor the image of Muhammad when 'Family Guy' did indeed show the image in South Park.

This episode entitled, 'Cartoon Wars', originally aired on Apr 5, 2006.

Four years later, in '200' not only do every celebrity from former episodes return, many of the past themes and gags reappear as well, including the Muhammad problem, and it faced the same problems still.

'200' takes the issue even further, and with the same medium awareness.

In the episode, Tom Cruise is leading the celebrity class action suit charge, and offers an ultimatum for the 'town' to be cleared: bring Muhammad to the town, which really means, make Muhammad appear on 'South Park'. "Ooh, that's tricky," Randy Marsh, Stan's father explained.

While discussing the possible ramifications for Muhammad's appearance, Randy drew a sketch of what he believed Muhammad to look like, and everyone held their breath at the thought of showing a depiction of the prophet. It was simply a stick figure, and the most crude one imaginable at that. At the sight of the drawing, Mr. Garrison asked quietly, "Is that OK?"

He was asking the group that gathered to discuss the situation, but he was also asking rhetorically, to the Muslim community in the real world, because none of us really know.

Some of the options discussed were giving Muhammad a mask or putting him in a suit of armor, but they were dismissed because his image would still be manifested in some way.

This rhetoric represented the same dialogue that probably occurred amongst the 'South Park' writing staff, and though they clearly discussed what may or may not be deemed offensive, they decided to show Muhammad without any mask or disguise whatsoever, or at least they tried.

Comedy Central once again chose to censor the image of Muhammad, and this should come at no surprise, even though four years later it could be reasonably assumed our tolerance level as a society had progressed.

What was shocking was not that the image of Muhammad was once again censored. It was what Comedy Central decided to censor additionally.

Comedy Central was motivated by veiled death threats against the show's creators Parker and Stone after episode '200' depicted the prophet, albeit inside a mascot bear costume.

A Muslim extremist group out of New York posted a warning and referenced what happened to Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker that depicted Muhammad in a documentary about violence against Muslim women.

It goes without saying that the difference in the messages are both vast and insignificant.

Vast in that van Gogh's message was pointed directly at the Muslim practices and beliefs in today's culture of equality for all; 'South Park's was that of simply using the 'image of Muhammad' situation as a commentary on free speech and not omitting anyone in the quest to satirize hypocrisies in all religions and walks of life.

Insignificant in that to this radical group, the message itself is of no importance to their outrage.

As a reaction to these threats, or what what the group said was not a threat but, 'a warning of the reality of what will likely happen,' Comedy Central chose to again censor any and all depictions of Muhammad as well any mention of the word 'Muhammad', 'Muslim', and the ENTIRE speech at the end of the episode by Kyle, which the creators said in a statement about the episode after it aired, did not even mention Muhammad but was simply about intimidation and fear.

The irony in all of this is even more abundant than the fear itself.

The first bit is the situation which is pointed out by Stan in '200'.

When discussing just how Muhammad can even be seen by anyone, Stan explains that he has seen him before, out in the open, and no one even cared.

This is a reference to an episode called 'Super Best Friends' which aired on July 4, 2001, about the leaders of various religions who work together as superheroes to stop evil-doers around the world. Muhammad was indeed one of the 'Super Best Friends' and his image was prominently displayed throughout the episode with no censorship, and more importantly, no outrage or controversy.

The second is that the current episodes involve the 'Super Best Friends' again, and the other religious figures are not only displayed, but shown using vulgar dialogue performing heinous acts, such as Buddha snorting cocaine and Jesus frequently using his own name in vain.

The point here is not only that Muhammad or the Muslim faith is in no way being singled out, it is simply being treated equally, and even some favoritism, but that no other religions would submit threats of violence for even the most vile offensive images of their prophets.

The third and most important is that this is all related to what the premise of the episode is about.

The celebrities are suing the town of South Park for their previous acts of slander, and are willing to drop the case if the town can produce Muhammad. Sounds strange indeed, but the reasoning is directly in line with the controversy.

Because Muhammad's image is never shown in entertainment media and thus is never victim of ridicule, the celebrities simply believe that Muhammad has a special magic essence they refer to as 'goo' that prevents him from being the butt of any joke. The celebrities plan to capture Muhammad as soon as he appears in the town and steal his 'goo' so that they can enjoy his power of being free from ridicule.

Clearly, there is no physical element inside Muhammad that protects him from 'being ripped on' as Tom Cruise says in the episode.

Then what is the element? They key words pointed out by 'South Park' creators Parker and Stone on their website are intimidation and fear.

That the only time Muhammad's image was ever shown uncensored on 'South Park' was four months before the attacks on September 11, 2001 is indeed a strange co-incidence, however, the fact that an image of the prophet has not been shown after is not.

The 9-11 attacks have intimidated us all, and given legitimacy to fear nearly any threat posed by a radical Muslim group.

Does that mean, however, that we should alter our beliefs, and important principles that this country was founded on?

What is more infuriating is that the group that posted the message on their website, is based out of New York. Jon Stewart puts it best in this poignant but lengthy clip:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Well said Jon.

But if Jon Stewart can sing the words, 'Go F*** Yourself' to this group, why can't 'South Park' even make fun of the fact that they can't show Muhammad?

It seems the only thing more appallingly prevalent than the irony in this entire situation is the hypocrisy.

Perhaps by 'South Park's 300th episode, we will have progressed enough to preserve freedom of all speech and refrain from allowing ourselves to be bullied by terrorists in order to protect that which is most important.

And if anyone still has a problem with it, they can go fuck themselves.