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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Different Kind Of One And Only

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It's Friday The Thirteenth and my house is overrun with somewhat inept painters who, apparently, fear The Boss and are hell-bent on finishing this job today, even if it means that the interior of my house looks like a third grade class went at it for a School Project. I'm trying to be pleasant and sympathetic while still insisting that my house look better than it did when they started; surely it should look no worse.

Situations like this make me wonder if I'm The Only One anymore. Am I The Only One who sees that this looks like crap? Am I The Only One who expects quality? Am I The Only One who thinks it is rude to have strangers come into my house and blast loud music without asking and for the whole day? Am I The Only One...well, you get it. Lists like this are truly Endless.

But as I made my rounds of The Interwebs this morning, I came across something else that made me wonder if I was The Only One again, this time in a far more humorous instance. Or...maybe that's not the exact word I want.  You can decide.

By now all of you are aware of the scandal in which Brian Williams, NBC news anchor, is deeply embroiled. Because he was found to be heavily embellishing a story about being in a helicopter while reporting in Iraq, a lot more of his reporting and his basic truthfulness have been called into question. Thanks to social media, everyone has been able to weigh in on this story, and people have lined up on either side as supporters or opponents. As is often the case, it is surprising to see who says what.

But no one could have prepared me for this, a letter of support for Brian Williams written by Charlie Sheen. I am including it here for you to read, exactly as it was posted to Mr. Sheen's Twitter account. Get through it, and let's discuss.

Dear Mr. Williams,

Sorry to bother you during this most surreal, unjust and mercurial moment in your awesome life.

First off, THANK YOU, for 24 years of inimitable professionalism and top shelf brilliance, as a stone cold passion driven and (PERFECTLY) fact based journalist.

Secondly, Thank you “squared” for delivering not only the news on a nightly basis, (PERFECTLY) to myself and my family.

But for every other person alive, (with a TV) who relied and still do,on your poetic, insightfuland NOBLE sacrifices,that made our longest nights shorter,and our shortest nights safer.
You good sir, are a hero in my “Entire Library”

Lastly; you are clearly the victim of a transparent and vile witch hunt! Erroneously “staged” by hooligans, non coms, cowards and oligarchs, who’s only desperate and hideous goal is to discredit the genius that they relied on for almost 3 decades!

Now and forever you are a true Patriot and a Hero of mine until the day i leave this star crossed imperfect Rock we call Earth…

Mr W: respect love hi 5’s and refuge! (if you need it!) I remain humbly and on dangerous standby at your service….

I am;
the MaSheen….

At the risk of overusing my Rhetorical Device from above:

Am I The Only One who is stunned and mystified by absolutely everything in this letter? (But let's start with "poetic, insightful and NOBLE sacrifices." Brian makes 6 million bucks a year. What "sacrifices" has he made, really, that he has not been handsomely compensated for? I'll let Mr. Sheen have his own interpretation as to the level of their nobility, insight, and poetry.)

Am I The Only One who is still trying desperately to figure out how BW "made our longest nights shorter and our shortest nights safer" by reporting the news? Can anyone give me an example of anything that has done or is doing that so as to help me understand?

Am I The Only One who wonders if being a hero in an "Entire Library" is a sort of mixed metaphor or if it's really, really creative?

Am I The Only One who is laughing (hard!) at the series "hooligans, non coms, cowards and oligarchs" and wishes it wasn't too long to be the name of a really awesome band? (If I were still teaching, I might address my class that way. "All right, you hooligans, non coms, cowards and oligarchs, let's grab the vocab books and get going." Okay. Maybe not.)

Am I The Only One who reads the last "sentence" as a sort of jumbled command that then devolves into a sort of closing, like: Mr. W, Respect love, hi 5's, and refuge! If you need it, I remain humbly......?

What is "dangerous standby?"

And, finally, Am I The Only One who thinks that it would be great if someone like Patrick Stewart would read this aloud?

I remain on dangerous standby, awaiting your comments.

11 comments:

  1. You are not the only one.

    Cheers!
    JzB

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  2. Oh lord, that letter is AWESOME. I hope Mr. Williams has it framed in his house somewhere. It's so confusing and wrong that it comes out RIGHT.

    I'm sorry that your painting is not coming out the way you want. I hope they FIX IT, and soonly.

    I have 3 instances that come to mind for "Am I the Only One", all 3 are parenting issues, where I am apparantly the only person to complain.

    1. When Maya was almost 2, she went to an in home day care for a short time. For some reason, the caretakers had problems cleaning her properly. We were perhaps overprotective parents, and upon picking her up in the afternoon, we would take her home and give her a bath. Upon doing so, we would discover that, while her diaper had been changed, she was not clean. On the last occasion, there was crap in her waistband, and her pants were wet. She had a clean set of clothes there, which they for some reason did not see fit to put on her. The last time, I cancelled our contract, got our money back, and told them why. Then I called the proper agency, and they investigated and asked other parents if they had similar issues. Not one issue. So, either I'm the only one who notices when my kid comes home with crap in their waistband, or I'm the only one to have a problem with it.

    2. She went to a Montessori preschool. My mom was a Montessori teacher, so I know that generally, homework is frowned upon, at least for the youngest kids. So when I had to spend evenings arguing with Maya about whether she was going to do homework or not, I complained. Again, I was the only one. Other parents were requesting homework for their children. I don't think 4 year olds need homework.

    3. Between kindergarten and first grade, Maya spent the summer at a local elementary school summer program. Dropping her off at 9am one morning, I found that the art project they were working on was covering oreos with canned frosting. What? Again, I'm the ONLY ONE who has an issue with cookies covered in frosting as a morning snack/art project. When I asked whether there might be other, healthier snacks for the kids, at least SOMETIMES, I was told that I was free to send my 6 year old to school with carrots if I wanted.

    How can I be the only one to have issues with these things? Am I the only one paying attention? It's insane. Especially the poopy pants.

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  3. Sigh. It's enough to make poor Martin Sheen go back to being Ramon Estevez permanently. The fascinating thing about this screed is that it was posted to his Twitter account. Since each "tweet" (Lord help us) allows only a limited amount of characters, the whole thing had to be composed in a series of drug-addled, disconnected bursts.

    I, too, hate it when workmen on a prolonged job insist on playing loud, obnoxious (to me) music. Far worse, however, is when they want to listen to a local right wing talk radio channel. It features willfully ignorant racist, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic hosts and callers of identical persuasion. How's that for a rant? I once walked into a new dry cleaning shop in the neighborhood, heard that station playing, and walked right out again.

    Am I the only one who gets overly irritated by TV commercials? My current pet hate is an ad for a headache remedy in which two nasty little brats whine "pleeeease", repeatedly, at their mother. Instead of taking a pill, why doesn't she put them in time out? I can imagine my mother's reaction, back in the fifties. What would St. Patsy have done?

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  4. No, you are not The Only One. But your numbers are close to extinction...

    I was already Snorfling a little bit & then you had to say you were on dangerous standby - oh man that is just very funny to me. :)

    I think if you shorten it just a bit it would still work as a band name. How about Hooligans of the Oligarchy? Well, yes, that's still a bit of a mouthful...

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  5. Dear Charlie,

    Perfectly fact-based journalist? What is your drug of choice these days? Think about Brian’s apology + what we now know, not just from witnesses, but actual footage of the events. Think about his multimillion dollar salary, his ego as a media icon, and his totally lame apology. Maybe you should think about the actual content of his apology, and maybe Brian Williams should re-write it, too. Ask Your Big Buddy Bri, the stone cold, passion driven and (PERFECTLY) fact-based journalist to consider the statements he made in his NATIONAL NIGHTLY NEWS APOLOGY:

    In an effort to honor and thank a veteran who protected me and so many others... =
    I have to wonder if the veteran was the first person who called him out. But let’s get down to business: He LIED so he could HONOR and THANK a veteran? Or, uh, maybe he LIED so he could look like a HERO? Let me think about that for a minute.

    I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago... =
    Ah, the pitfalls of selective memory. Funny how erroneous recall always seems to err on the side of the FALSE HERO. Did you read Rolling Stone’s version of this and decide that Brian was just reading what they put on the teleprompter because NBC wanted him to look like a hero, and what choice did he have? I’m thinking that B.W. had just a clue about the text on the teleprompter before he read it. Then he thought about his salary and how cool it would make him look. And, uh, let’s face it: isn’t he also the EDITOR of the Nightly News?

    We all landed after the ground fire incident and spent two harrowing nights in a sandstorm... = Nice touch, Bri. Admit to landing instead of being shot down, but throw in the harrowing nights in the sandstorm so we do not think that you did not suffer at least a little bit.

    This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran... = Um, how does making himself the hero actually thank the real hero?

    I hope they know they have my greatest respect and now my apology. = Kinda late for that, wouldn’t you think? If they had had his greatest respect, he would have made THEM the focus of the story.

    Charlie: How many drugs were you high on when you wrote your defense of this man? Out of curiosity, did you and Sarah Palin conspire to write this? In any case, I hope King Brian has invested his 10 million dollar annual salary wisely. Otherwise you may have to make good on that promise of refuge.

    Signed,

    (Another) One Who Does Not Believe Your Crazy B.S.

    ****************
    “Am I the only one?” Pet Peeve :

    Am I the only one who thinks that people who park their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle without enough room for anyone to get past them are... troglodytes and cretins?

    I have many more, but I will spare you for now. :-)

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  6. No, you're not alone. Williams' half-a**ed pseudo apology puts me in mind of another famous historical non-apology: "Mistakes were made." Such a useful application of the passive voice.

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  7. I'm enjoying all of the "Am I the only one?" scenarios above. I wish that I could think of something to add here, but my mind is not clicking today. Many years ago when blogging was brand new I had a blog that was about a gripe-a-day. It was a surprising popular topic, but ultimately made me wonder about the fate of humanity… so I ended the blog. Perhaps you could spin your Rhetorical Device into a money-maker! Looks like there is still a demand for it.

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  8. Sorry for the delay in responding to everyone's Comments and for the delay in Posting. Lots of factors here that I won't bore you with, the least of which is the mind-numbing, single-digit, below-zero wind-chills cold. My poor furnace!

    Ally Bean--Moneymaking from blogging? It is to laugh. And like you, I don't think I could ever see myself doing so by simply bitching. It's tiresome for everyone.

    MsCaroline--I think the worst Apology Device EVER is this one: "I'm sorry if you were offended by what I said/did." This puts the onus of the bad behaviour squarely upon the receiver of the action. It's the old "perception is reality" manifesto.

    Ortizzle--Hubris. Always hubris. And here's another thing that took me far too long to learn, I'm ashamed to say. There are two times when you should say the least, be humble, and move on: when you are proven right and when you are proven wrong.

    As far as Charlie Sheen goes, I do think that he is picking his spot and trying to get his name into a news cycle. The mix of vocabulary in his letter continues to make me laugh. The shopping cart thing does not irk me with the intensity that it does you because I have always unlimited time for shopping and can wait patiently for the offender to see me do so. Usually he or she hurries on to the cart, says, "Oh, I'm sorry!" and hauls it to the side as I graciously (with Royal Mien) say, "Oh, that's all right" and wander past.

    Bug--In that case, I'm happy to be Rare And Unusual. I'm The Last Bastion of a lot of things. I love "Hooligans of The Oligarchy" for a band name. Get right on that. How long do I have to be on dangerous standby, I wonder? I guess it depends on what I am standing by for.

    fauxprof--Oh, dearest. St. Patsy would have none of Time Out. Are you kidding me? We did have a "Sit In The Chair", and she finally figured out to add, in my case, "And that means NO BOOK!" but it was for way longer than The Number Of Minutes Equals The Years Of Your Age. She used to forget we were in the chair for hours. A stern, "Wait til your father gets home" was often sufficient, and making us clean our room, the kitchen, the upstairs steps, or vacuum was another.

    I am immensely irritated by all car commercials, especially TRUCK MONTH commercials, since they often feature highly annoying music playing loudly with very quick cuts, which can exacerbate or trigger a headache. One commercial always makes me laugh, however, and that is the one I CANNOT THINK OF RIGHT NOW!

    J@jj--Oh, I hate that. I am that in the neighborhood. The dog behind us used to bark all day and all night long. Did anyone else do anything? NO. WE DID. Did anyone else call the police when the rental across the street had a huge brawl one summer at 3 AM? No. So WE DID. It's insane. Then the fallout is that all the Other Neighbors band together and act like We Are The Problem. Sigh. Okay. No. We just do the dirty work.

    I'm okay with that. Just like you have to be okay with advocating for Maya when other parents sighed and thought, "It's not great, but at least we have our kid in a daycare/Montessori/summer program and he is getting supervision." If our standards are a little bit higher than everyone else's, and we have to push for the level of excellence that we SHOULD be getting, that's fine. Let everyone else settle for less. Then that is what they will get and that is what they deserve. It's tiring, but everyone else is making it so for us.

    JazzBumpa--Apparently not! But we need to recruit and increase our numbers.

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  9. As the saying goes, with friends like Charlie, one does not need enemies. Charlie does much better when he has a script and speaks versus writes. Even then, he's not my up of tea. It's possible that some of his word choices were driven by Twitter character limit. I'm pretty sure that he wasn't using a thesaurus to come up with some of his words.

    BW ... honestly, I still have not gotten over his idiocy in this matter. It "seems" that he might have a long history of stretching the truth though. Seth Meyers is also defending him. Charlie and Seth are not exactly the kind of folks he needs in his corner right now.

    Am I the Only One? The substandard job and the paint fumes would bother me much more than the music (although I agree with fauxprof that a right wing radio show would put me over the edge). But it does go back to proper manners and asking your customers if such a thing is okay with them or at least playing the music at a reasonable level. I wish I could think of some examples for me, but I can't right now.

    Commercials generally make me crazy. I'm always hitting the Mute button for commercials and then missing part of my show that follows. I'm one of those folks who doesn't have a DVR and never really liked recording things back in my VCR days. There's something about watching in real time that I far prefer.

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  10. Shirley--We are the ONLY ONES without a DVR. My brother counseled me years ago to get one. He said it would be life-changing. Ah, well. I've opted for other things, I guess.

    Lots of people are defending BW, and that's fine. There are worse things in the world, of course, than what he did, regardless of why he did it. I'm continually amazed at the Great Levelling of our society that makes everyone in the universe able to weigh in and be taken seriously about it. Certainly I can write my opinions here and say what I wish, but it's astonishing that if I tweeted it, it might actually be read aloud or scrolled along the bottom of a screen on local or national television during some program, news or otherwise, completely at random, simply because...of what? Social media is, overall, a blight.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed on all, Nance. I am always appalled when tweets and Facebook messages get shared in the news as an example of public opinion, etc. It shows just how low and non-news that the "news" has gone.

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