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Col Jessep: You want answers?
Lt Kaffee: I want the truth!
Col Jessep: You can't handle the truth!
-- A Few Good Men
Aaron Sorkin

Americans love to complain.

That's a good thing, as guaranteed under the aegis of the 1st Amendment.

At least it used to be prior to the current Fascist government takeover.

The biggest problem is we have a tendency to make poor choices when picking our battles.

(Hey, I complain practically every week right here. But I like to think my battles are worthy ones, fighting the good fight against a Republican-dominated Federal Government so thoroughly wracked by cancerous infestation the recovery process can only begin by near-total transplantation. Still, I can't deny that on occasion my choices are, how shall I put this, inconsequential.)

Last week I briefly mentioned how masterful self-anointed leaders of tunnel-visionary special interest groups are at manipulating people; they concoct pyramid letter-writing campaigns wherein thousands of faithful adherents denounce some non-event or support a superficial cause about which the writers have no personal knowledge, rather reiterate a list of distilled "facts."

These are the intolerance-driven few, such as "Rev." Donald Wildmon, who would dictate what is acceptable television viewing for all America based upon their own personal belief systems. Functionaries of what Meredith Willson called "massteria" (The Music Man), they schmear fear and a chilling effect throughout broadcasting's artistic community, management and advertisers, while impeding the Freedom of Expression guaranteed by the Constitution to both communicator and receiver.

Most recently, through trickery and deceit a handful of truly good Christian folks provided the Neo-con Ministry of Thought and Information Repression (a.k.a. the FCC) with "cause" to fine CBS-TV, long renowned as the "Tiffany Network" for its tradition of sterling programming and news excellence, an exorbitant amount for airing a program with sexual themes. What absurdity, especially when one considers the vast majority of complainants did not even watch the episode in question!

"If God did not want them sheared, He would not have made them sheep."
-- Outlaw leader Calvera (Eli Wallach) philosophizing about the Mexican
villagers in "The Magnificent Seven" (1960)

Some ridiculously silly complaints pop up in this overly-insulated middle section of Illinois where I mark time. The good Christian folks around here are thin-skinned on a plethora of issues, particularly anything that involves change or progress.

I reside in an allegedly erudite town of 40,000, with two community high schools serving about 3,000 students. It is also home to a state university as well as two community colleges. A couple of years ago, two students - one at each high school - managed to throw down the gauntlet of censorship.

Yes, in the 21st Century, in a Northern state, that votes "blue."

No, the complainants were not what you might think - they were African-Americans. Ordinarily, it wouldn't matter to me what their race might be, but read on.

The specific book these children -- who were not at the time even old enough yet to drive - insisted be removed from the curriculum was the great John Steinbeck tale of Depression era Americana, "Of Mice And Men."

This book has been a staple of American classrooms, and I dare venture to surmise the counterparts thereof in countless other nations, for decades. It is recognized as one of the quintessential writings in American literature as it existed nearly 70 years ago, when most of our parents and grandparents lived a hard, dusty, non-politically correct existence.

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JERRY TENUTO Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

An erstwhile Philosopher and sometime Educator, Jerry Tenuto is a veteran of seven years service in the U.S. Army. He holds a BS and MA in Broadcast Communications from Southern (more...)
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