Cursing: fecklessly foiled again

Feckless means “lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible”

Early in this blog, I tried to make the case that people generally ought to use cursing/”foul language” sparingly, lest it come back to bite them. I gave up the fight, as I was told, repeatedly, “it’s the way everyone talks.” I do not believe that to be true, but that was the standard response.

I was surprised by the Roseanne Barr situation. Oh, I wasn’t taken aback by a racist tweet, only that it was that particular message that got her in trouble, having seen other vile stuff from her.

And not just recently. Writer Ken Levine, who unwittingly got into a feud with her has noted how toxic she could be to her writers one her earlier show and had predicted her downfall.

Writer Mark Evanier noted: “The speed with which the decision was made as well as the star’s reputation for… I’ll be polite and say ‘instability.’ Deciding to ax one of your most popular shows is not an action taken on impulse. It’s the kind of thing you run past a lot of people including lawyers to determine any unforeseen legal complications.”

Then I finally got around to watching Samantha Bee did a great six-minute piece on her show Full Frontal about the regime’s untenable treatment of separating parents from children as young as 13 months, even for families that have entered the country legally.

And it’s all but forgotten because she chose to use the word feckless, followed by a word I’m fairly sure I’ve never used in this blog. “Feckless twit” would have been accurate description of the First Daughter – feckless means “lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible” – and wouldn’t have totally underminded Bee’s message.

So people write: “First Roseanne Barr then Samantha Bee. Do people no longer have any self control?” They talk about double standards. I suppose the difference is that Roseanne is a multiple repeat offender.

While I’m on the topic, I thought Michelle Wolf’s profanity at the White House Corespondents’ Dinner this spring also lessened its impact. The comments, especially about the press’ too-cozy relationship with the regime was dead on, but some selective words became the story, not the underlying message.

I’m not trying to be a prude here, merely pragmatic. If you want to speak truth to power, make sure the type of words you’re using don’t negate the message.

Maybe I’ve taken up cursing for Lent

Iran’s Mother Teresa, Passes away at 91

It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of the holiest period on the Christian calendar. The news is on the TV. The previous evening, he gave a speech before Congress in which he exploited the misery of a Gold Star widow. Earlier THAT DAY, he threw his generals under the bus for the death of that Navy SEAL. “They lost Ryan.”

I wasn’t yelling, but was talking aloud, “You schmuck! You’re the Commander-in-Chief! The buck stops with YOU! You’re SUPPOSED to say, ‘WE lost Ryan,’ you @$$#01e!” This was loud enough that The Wife, who had been upstairs at the time, to comment that she heard that. She also opined that I’ve cursed more in the past three or four months than I have in the 20+ years since I’ve known her. And this is almost certainly true.

It has usually happened when he lies about his lies. Or when one of his surrogates does the same. I remember giving the finger to the TV when adviser Kellyanne Conway came up with the phrase “alternative facts.”

When Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz said that rather than “getting that new iPhone that they just love,” low-income Americans should take they money they would have spent on it and “invest it in their own health care” – as though that was anywhere near equivalent cost, I gave him a silent “Chuck you, Farley.”

I have mixed feelings about swearing. I don’t buy that “everybody does it, so it’s OK.” I know PLENTY of people who forego it, at least not publicly. Moreover, he is a well-known vulgarian, and I don’t want to stoop to his level. I do keep reading that swearing is actually a sign of more intelligence – not less, but that’s obviously NOT universally true.

In other religious topics:

* My presbyter (think bishop, but it’s not, really) Shannan Vance-Ocampo wrote about going through the immigration process with her husband. Beyond the personal agony of these stories, I worry that we’ll discourage people coming into the country who have long provided economic wealth to this country, such as students and scholars, because of our xenophobia.

* Ashraf Qandehari-Bahadorzadeh, Iran’s Mother Teresa, Passes away at 91. She’s the aunt of Darius Shahinfar, the Albany city treasurer, who I first met when we were schlepping our kids to the same preschool.

* Diane Cameron, who led a writing exercise I participated in nearly three years ago, has written her third book, Never Leave Your Dead – A True Story of War Trauma, Murder, and Madness. Initially, this was about a guy who was involved in a dismal US military (in)action barely hinted at in this narrative. She writes about how “war can inflict deep and lasting psychological wounds in warriors.”

She spoke at my church on a Friday night in February. “In March of 1953, Donald Watkins, a former Marine… who served in China during the Japanese invasion of 1937, murdered his wife and mother-in-law.” Some of her points she also shared in this December 2016 TEDx talk. Not incidentally, Donald Watkins, many years later, married Diane’s mother. Riveting stuff.

* I just got a flyer for Dr. Henry G. Covert’s book Ministry to the Incarcerated, “a vital resource for prison ministry. The contents include the emotional world of inmates, institutional challenges, models for prison ministry, biblical teaching outlines, penal reform, re-entry and aftercare… Ministry to the Incarcerated is available on Amazon, eBook, and Kindle.”

* The Day Ringo Starr Got Death Threats -for Being Jewish. September 1964: I had forgotten about this.