Monthly Archives: September 2014

Kurt Vonnegut; a Lesson in Stories

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Beer over cars in Bruges; wants vs. needs

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Bruges Will Cut Traffic With…an Underground Beer Pipeline

The New English Ideology; Derrida and Post-Structuralism

Tuition or a statue dipped in gold…

MPR News: Crane lifts golden charioteer from state Capitol for repair

Mr. Rogers: Thinking Helps You Grow

What do we “know” about Adrian Peterson?

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ABC News: Minnesota Vikings Reverse Course, Suspend Adrian Peterson

In the early hours of the morning there was a surprise which took place in Viking’s Territory, or possibly New Jersey- wherever Zygi Wilf claimed as his at the time. Part of that surprise was Adrian Peterson, not surprisingly, being taken off of the Viking’s roster for Sunday’s game. The more surprising bit of information came from a mega organization making quick decisions, reversing said decision, on account of fiscal security, and what seems nothing more.

I wonder, is the child okay? Where is the child now? I hear AP is off the team, sponsors are dropping like flies, but little mention of anything else, except… there is more to come.

We sit here today, with our fantasy teams in disarray. My fantasy lifeblood has run out. This musical chairs game (with players) has me scrolling webpages for something more, for something better. Why do I do this? Because money makes me, even though I have little (well, all Minnesota taxpayer’s have stake in the new Viking’s stadium) invested in the actual game. This is a story about child abuse, due process, and motives of discussion, not a star player or his situation, mostly.

What has become apparent is we “know” what we believe we “know”, not what is objectively true. This is called interpretation. See: Post-Structuralism; and the Modern Episteme. We interpret from “reliable media sources” what we think we “know”. What we really “know” to be true about this matter is: child abuse is unacceptable and wrong, we are not judge or jury or executioner, American citizens are innocent until proven guilty, and we personally don’t “know” Adrian Peterson as a person at all. Sure, we cheer for him on Sundays to win for our “favorite” team (which every partially-sane politician in Minnesota seeking office has regurgitated in the last week, to ad nauseam), but we don’t “know” him know him.

We can all rest easy “knowing” that we won’t actually be embarrassed for what another person does, even if they are from Minnesota i.e. Michelle Bachmann. We can rest easy because we actually don’t “know” what happened, and WE won’t be guilty of said crimes- if it actually occurred in the first place; which it may or may not have: it’s 50/50 so far, in fairness.

Furthermore, I am moderately embarrassed about the latter person, who says the most hateful things of the president and his organization. I guess I am sort of not embarrassed; she doesn’t owe me anything, and if I hear something stupid coming from her I can change the channel, same as with the former, likewise the actions of both parties. I can ignore those. I am not an escapist, just a selective-perceptionist.

What we “know” is that we all have choices. We can choose to label Peterson whatever we want, and Michelle Bachmann whatever we want, and more. Adrian Peterson can choose to make poor decisions. The beauty of being a human being is we have the power to choose, like professional athletes and politicians, everyone makes mistakes (I am not an Adrian Peterson apologist either). We can make up our minds. Unlike other cases that are ongoing now, Ray Rice, we have no video proof (we do have photos; photo-shop pending), we have no agency over the matter, and we have no lot in what becomes of him or her. We have nothing to choose on. We can all agree that abuse is wrong. But we can’t really do anything else until we “know” more. Perhaps events transpire. Child abuse is wrong, but so is labeling a person as guilty when they may or may not be.
I mean, who actually decides that, passes down the conviction, and does the sentencing? Does this media attention skew the fairness of the trial?

I was watching the Crucible last night and realized that if a crazy person, or crazy organizations, or massively crazy corporations, or insane groups of people says anything about anyone, and agrees on it, it is dangerous. We all “know” what happened to Winona Ryder at the end of that movie. Damn…

What this actually boils down to is my fantasy football team. This whole ordeal with Adrian Peterson was the Providence of God (I use this in the John Winthrop-esque way). I had never played fantasy football before, while Adrian had been a spotless star, with a promising career. This all changed after I drafted him onto my fantasy team, everything changed. The first Sunday he would play for me, he would move up the field with tepid charisma, something had affected his ability. I watched myself sink into last place in standings, everyone laughed. I thought what could this be? And then, mid-week, it came to me via one of my ten-thousand checks of the ESPN fantasy page, it was all over my cellphone, and had become the hot button topic on Facebook: Adrian was indicted on these alleged abuses. I rest my case. Does anyone know what alleged means? It means: “(of an incident or a person) said, without proof, to have taken place or to have a specified illegal or undesirable quality.”

The aspect of football that proves scary in this case is the amount of money the owners and commissioners are willing to move and secure at any time, in any event; if shit goes bad for them personally. It’s not about the fans, but the money, the face value. They will forget their favorite players to save their financial situation; last week’s hero is today’s forgotten and exiled. Has anyone thought of the external cost of the NFL as a whole? Can we point fingers to how many concussed veteran athletes assaulted their loved ones due to trauma caused in career related injuries? I am not sure, I don’t know-

What I hear more about than anything in this case is lost sponsorships, not the kids, but the money. I think of Lance Armstrong finally admitting, well- not really, that he was doping… Gatorade dropped him, Livestrong dropped him. This is not unlike AP losing sponsors such as Nike (sort of), and the Viking’s losing Radisson Hotels, seriously. Pundits are asking- wondering, who will pay for naming rights to the new Viking’s stadium (besides the taxpayers that is), I am wondering are the kids all right? That is the highlight of this conversation: money. Who will pay the money? They want this person, labeled now a “child abuser” as far away from the Vikings franchise as possible. When we look back a month or so, or even a few days, where do we stand? How fickle are we to believe everything we hear?

What we do “know” is that we don’t “know” anything. These allegations could be frivolous and without warrant, they could be fact with proof positive. They could be fabricated by an ex-lover, put forth to ruin the goals and aspirations of certain people. The allegations could be true, AP could have abused his child(ren), and for that he deserves what is just; to be tried and sentenced. His children should have the right to a safe and secure living situation. However, if the charges are false, is it right that a person pay for a crime before he receives a sentence? If that be the case are his children worse off when their father loses his livelihood, and how firm will the NFL stand behind their star players after the fact?

There is no question abuse is wrong, child abuse, domestic abuse, etc.; abuse is wrong. Furthermore fabricating such abuse and speaking about it garrulously in the media is also wrong. Passing judgment on someone before they get their day in court is wrong. What if we are all wrong and it turns out this was just spin to get people talking about the NFL? This monster corporation, the NFL, wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t good at talking about itself, getting itself talked about, or in general talking about getting excited about itself. This idea excites me. What the players do on and off the field neither affect our daily lives (unless we let them), or change the outcome of our day. The only reason we are talking about these “professional athletes” is because they do physically extraordinary feats, the keyword in this sentence being physical. If their goal is to be physically abusive on the field, who says they aren’t more prone to become more physically abusive off? And how does one turn that aggression off? The NFL pretty much promotes that we eat, sleep, and breathe football. What is there to do?

Hands down the most compelling part of this event is the idea that child abuse is wrong, however, and it seems to be trumped by money and sponsorships in comparison. The stories I have read, with little detail, and utilization of vagaries gets me to about this point: What makes society quick to judge, and how useful is that in the end?

Minnesota bars and restaurants to manually disable cellphone reception in order to counteract the lack of general interest in society

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Monday, September 15th. In a surprise move the MBARA has decided to run a test trial of a new, clandestine program that will limit, and otherwise completely restrict cellphone reception in all Minneapolis bars and restaurants. Starting this week, and throughout the upcoming weekend, locals with “important phone calls” to make, “email checks ” to have, and “status updates” posts, will be completely out of range within their favorite establishments.

The MBARA (Minnesota Bar and Restaurant Association, similar to MMBA) has decided, like their sister sect, to limit the use of cellphone service in local businesses; while limiting the freedoms of American citizens by outdated law, akin to Sunday Sales Restrictions. This trail comes on the heels of public outcry over lack of attention in those dining rooms of your proxy. “People just don’t seem to care about those around them anymore.” says an unreliable stranger. Recently, establishments have cited a lack of conversation at the table due to excessive “selfies”, “updates”, and in general “scrolling”, of social media hotbeds by patrons in attendance.

This decision to act by law has been in the process for some time; initially, when pay phones inhibited restaurant goers of meaningful conversation, duels, and wagon races, back in the 1700’s. The lack of conversation, viz-a-viz, has been a growing epidemic of recent, brought on by smartphones, tablets, and the vanity crisis facing the human race, specifically Americans.

The MBARA is staunch in their stance against people’s freedoms when it comes to being shut-off in a social setting, and liquor sales. With this law they have one objective, that being: all people within a restaurant- or otherwise social, setting, should engage with those in their presence, or have no option to do such activity at all. “Human contact and communication is of the utmost importance; it conveys ideas, histories, and cultures.” says Barb Toto. The increase in personal smart devices has rendered a society of able bodied individuals irrelevant in the age of technology, undermining its tact and thought process at the most basic level.

Minnesota Legislators have agreed with restricting citizen’s rights in the past, with Sunday Sales Restrictions in Minnesota, proper. Now is the time again. If this test trial goes well, prepare to shut-off and be in a “dead zone”, everywhere, whenever you enter your favorite bar and restaurant, it is high time we all brush up on our in-person social skills. The MBARA wants people conversing and laughing aloud in bars and restaurants, not just on social media, and that should be the law.