Friday, May 23, 2014

Another Week Down the Drain: Acting Happy in Iran, The Undiplomatic Prince, The Twelfth Coup, Phil Robertson Redux, and Don Gives up the Ghost

It was a busy week for a lot of people who are in the business of being outraged, or in charge, not to mention those who can best be described as, the usual suspects.

First, a video was posted on the internet showing six young people reacting to Pharrell Williams' song, "Happy." They pretty much did what any kid would do in a similar situation. They danced, posed, and laughed while wearing funky clothes and hair dos. Unfortunately they forgot where they were living. That would be Iran, which, as we all know, has a decidedly deficient sense of humor when it comes to young people dressed funky and being happy.

All six were arrested and their mugs were shown on TV to make damn sure everyone else there knows, "decadent western culture" is unacceptable to the protectors of the faith. At last report all six were out of jail, but the guy behind the camera was still in the slammer. The kids, not being crazy, or dumb, claimed they'd been told the video shoot was an audition for a movie and it would never be put on line. Well, you have to say something don't you--especially when you find yourself in a windowless room surrounded by members of the morality police who are looking to put their truncheons to use.

Today, the AP is reporting Iranian authorities have banned the social media Instagram because of, "privacy issues." Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube had all been previously outlawed because they're considered part of a, "cultural invasion." The AP also reports Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenie, both have Instagram accounts. In addition the Iranian Foreign Minister has a spot on Twitter. Obviously these distinguished gentlemen are above the temptations of western decadence, while the hoi polloi can't be trusted to be so utterly immune.

Roughly 54% of the Iranian population is under the age of 30 and various sources say many of them routinely ignore the prohibitions and access social sites through various means. Hey, telling a young person not to go somewhere doesn't do anything, but make the destination that much more attractive  Just ask scads of children who lived in repressive fundamentalist Christian families in the United States.

Meanwhile the Russians were aghast at Britain's Prince Charles' recent comments. His Highness was visiting Canada this week. He had what he thought was a private conversation with a 70 something woman whose family fled Poland to get away from the Nazis. During the chat Charles compared Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine and Crimea to those of Hitler on the eve of the second world war.

The woman blabbed and the press ran with it. Various Russian officials called the comparison, low and disgusting--outrageous--and, my personal favorite, unworthy of a future British monarch. People in the U.K. opposed to the monarchy immediately jumped on board. A few went so far as to say, Charles should abdicate.

Well, lets see. Russia annexed Crimea because Putin said ethnic Russians there were being increasingly marginalized and persecuted by an illegitimate Ukrainian government. In addition he insisted most of the population of Crimea was ethnic Russian so they should be able to determine which country they wanted to belong to. Then, he sent in the troops.

In September of 1938, Herr Hitler made a speech about ethnic Germans living in an area of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland. During the speech he called Czechoslovakia a "fraudulent state," and claimed the Germans living there didn't want to be a part of the country. In addition he accused the Czech government of planning some sort of slow motion genocide against the German population and that he, as the head of the German state, supported ethnic German, "self determination" in Sudetenland.

Shortly thereafter, in collusion with the French and British, who were desperate to avoid another war with Germany, Adolf annexed the territory and, you guessed it, sent in the troops.


While what the Prince of Wales said might not be considered extraordinarily diplomatic it certainly seems like, ol' Chuck did have a valid point.

In Thailand there was a military coup--the 12th since 1932. The head of the army told the nation it had to be done to restore order in the country. Indeed, if you fuckers can't get along on your own then big brother will make you. After all, what else is an army to do other than make everyone behave?

The Duck Dynasty guy, Phil Robertson rose to the pulpit to say homosexuality, among other things, was a sin. It isn't the first time, but honestly, who gives a rat's ass what the old rube has to say? Let's face it, if you're worried about Phil Robertson's views on social issues, you really need to get a life.

Finally, FOX Sports is reporting Don Sterling is giving up the ghost and wants his wife Shelly to negotiate the sale of his NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers. This. despite a letter sent last week to the league by his lawyer, saying he wouldn't pay the fine imposed on him and would sue if the the NBA attempted to sell the Clips without his permission.

It remains unclear if Shelly Sterling, who, unlike her estranged husband, hasn't been accused of saying anything grotesquely racist, will agree to give up her share of the team without a fight. Unfortunately for her, the NBA constitution, signed by the majority owner of the club, who would be dear old, Don, says when this sort of drastic measure is called for, minority owners, no matter how innocent, must relquish their shares too .

And there we have it. Another week down the drain.

As the cartoon character, Zippy the Pinhead  used to say, "Are we having fun yet?"


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