Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words, Words! WORDS!!! All talk and no action.

Words come in many different forms. I am thinking about threats, lies and promises and wisdom. Some words are uttered by wise philosophers and other words are uttered by charlatans, con men and snake oil salesmen. Mostly, the latter are comprised of politicians. I have several favorite words of wisdom that help keep my mind on important issues that I would like to share. Some of them come from known sources and some do not.

"Those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them." A modern version of this with a humorous twist is, "Everyone makes mistakes. Only a fool makes the same one twice. An idiot repeats them over and over again."

From the writings of the political satirist Al Capp who also created the "Li'l Abner' 'Daisey Mae' comic strip in the 1940's and '50's. Wikipedia notes that: "Li'l Abner was censored for the first, but not the last time in September 1947, and was pulled from papers by Scripps-Howard. The controversy, as reported in Time, centered on Capp's portrayal of the United States Senate. Said Edward Leech of Scripps, "We don't think it is good editing or sound citizenship to picture the Senate as an assemblage of freaks and crooks... boobs and undesirables."

In the 1960s, Capp's politics swung from liberal to conservative, and instead of caricaturing big business types, he began spoofing counterculture icons such as Joan Baez (in the character of "Joanie Phoanie," a wealthy folksinger who offers an impoverished orphanage one million dollars' worth of "protest songs". He also attacked student political groups, such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) as "Students Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything" (SWINE).

In the late 1960's Al Capp wrote a column for the New York Daily News syndicate on political satire and I recall the substance of one of his most famous quotes: "A Liberal is a Conservative who hasn't been mugged yet." but I cannot find the exact words he used. There is another variation of this quote that was attributed to Frank Rizzo, former Mayor of Philadelphia who said: "Do you know what a conservative is? That's a liberal who got mugged the night before" 

My all time favorite quote is from a liberal who once candidly boasted of the true nature of things in Congress. The very liberal Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania boasted to a reporter one day: "(Liberals] get the action and the Conservatives get the rhetoric." For some reason I have also thought this small piece of clarity was attributed to the liberal columnist Joseph Alsop, but again I have not been able to clarify this.
So that's how things remain today. Conservatives seem to be popular only when talking to other conservatives, sort of 'preaching to the choir'. The only exception was when the choir took to the streets in the past two years and the nation was rocked by the TEA Party movement. We still have to worry about who is getting the action and who is getting the rhetoric. The mainstream news media is almost entirely liberal and control the words, the deeds and the public image of those icons who share the same thoughts. But the conservatives seem to dominate in the realm of talk radio and in the Internet blogs, which is why we are so concerned with the unconstitutional ruling by the Federal Communication Commission that granted oversight of the Internet to the government.  


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