Archive for January, 2014

The Bully Pulpit: Turning the Blind Eye

Welcome to a new radomly appearing series here on If you’re a regular reader of my “Western Watchins” you’ve probably noticed that those had at times turned more into social commentaries than outright movie reviews. The blunt and barbaric truths I have to share about both society and the cinema were getting watered down with one another and while it sort of worked it was muddy and messy and the point of much of my writing is to be crystal fucking clear. Ask any of my friends current or former and they’ll tell you I’m really into a straightforward, heart on my sleeve, loose cannon call out kind of lifestyle. And that type of attitude isn’t looked upon too kindly in these days filled with everyone’s “friendship is magic” mindset that slavishly reminds you to hold hands, stay in line and keep your head down lest you look up and see what’s really happening to the world around you.

So every once in a while, when something ridiculous occurs that demands a response or if I’ve had too much whiskey and just feel like typing up a tongue lashing I’ll come here to do it. Call me a bully if you want, many have, but I’ll be damned if you can call me a liar. What you choose to do with these truths is up to you, namecalling’s the easy way out but just because you can’t deal with my asshole-ian authenticity doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Remember that “bully” used to mean brave back in the day, something very few people truly are these days. 

That was so much more serious than I had planned. But tongue in cheek can become fist in face real quick under the right circumstances so no apologies here. And with that…

It’s either synchronicity or a mild case of divine intervention that I would have just finished watching High Plains Drifter when I then come across this article. Seems a girl accidentally walked in front of a group photo op and after some terse words was literally beaten to death as folks nearby took video on their phones. Yes, instead of rushing to nullify a torrent of punches and kicks so violent that they would eventually lead to a 23 year old being declared brain dead the bystanders just watched.

And this happens all the time.

What’s worse is that people are okay with it. The ability to ignore something on the scale of the Holocaust doesn’t blossom overnight. It must be cultivated and cared for with a healthy mix of justification, excuse and cowardice. In quite possibly the greatest “frog in a boiling pot” scenario humanity has ever faced we’ve trained ourselves as a society to not give a shit on a daily basis about seemingly mundane things but that world view numbs us and as silly as it sounds when we brush off one friend royally fucking another friend over it’s not too long before we walk past someone out in public who might need help and then that apathy builds and builds and builds on to grander and graver stages and at this point we recognize how entire countries can choose to not see the most horrible atrocities. Because the country that ceases to care is simply made up of a people that have ceased to care.

One slow, unseen and apathetically painless step at a time.

You probably wouldn’t condone the shoving of a friend of yours into an oven. That’s terrible, unforgivable. But I’ll bet you that you’ve glossed right over that post on Facebook, that cryptic Tweet or, worst of all, that face to face sit down with someone close to you who’s having an issue with someone else you know and explains in detail how much they’ve been hurt only to see it’s all falling on deaf ears. You feign interest while the rationalizations begin building in you like a backed up septic tank, you’re proud of your self preservation and you stink of it too.

Angie and I rented a room once to a guy named Peter. Just some guy, someone we shared a love with for almost all things fitness and nerd related but who in the span of a few short months betrayed all that love and left us rather wronged. By the time he moved out he had  broken a gentlemen’s agreement we had for the room rental, despite “cleaning” left his bathroom an absolute biohazard and a half dozen cats worth of feline fur all over our furniture and was present when a shield I’ve had hanging in my stairwell unmolested for more than two years mysteriously ended up broken during his moving process. Top it off with the fact that he was courting one woman while invloved with another whom he eventually slept with then dumped a week later by text before hooking up with another as a pretense to vacate the residence and his obligations. Of course he was never responsible for anything. The girlfriend in Texas had misunderstood him, the one here just wasn’t working out and Angie and I were pressuring him menacingly on all fronts. He laid waste to at least five friendships but not one action did he own as he played the “woe, is me” concerto on his little violin to anyone that would listen.

And listen they did.

Even once others had heard both sides of the story which showed without a doubt that Pete was in the wrong and owed apologies instead of excuses they figured he was one of the best friends you could ever have. That’s right, knowing full well how he’d lied, cheated, abused and connived a whole cabal of companions just wasn’t enough to trump pizza night.

And one degree at a time the world burns.

And it stands flabbergasted and afraid when I cut anyone who has anything to do with ilk like that out of my life. I get lots of flack for rolling around deck the way I do but I’ve cleared out lots of garbage along the way and been able to find the kind of pals that would take a bullet for you if need be. Those folks speak their minds and get called all sorts of names just like I do. But if that’s the price of true friendship, of true humanity, then so be it.

Bully for them I say, and bully for me too.