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MONARCHY, BUTT PATTING, SELF CHECKOUT, AND RANDOM STUFF: #17

 


MONARCHY

It is not possible to be an English-speaking expat living in Europe without having gained some understanding of how the UK works and how UK policies and politics affect European life. And so, a word about the monarchy is in order today.

I'm no monarchist. As an American, I have grown up believing in liberal democracy. Today, I consider myself a democratic socialist. But I have come to appreciate the manner in which British royalty has accommodated itself to the modern world. There is no doubt that accommodation has diminished the role of the monarch. That's probably a good thing. But a diminished monarchy need not necessarily herald the end of the monarchy.

Elizabeth's monarchy became simply the personification of her country's flag, to be trotted out to acknowledge community, in good times and in sad times, expressing publicly what was being felt privately. There was a time, during Brexit, when I was furious with Elizabeth. As one of the richest, most well-informed people in the world, I thought that she had a duty to intervene when elitist politicians swayed public opinion with obvious lies and deceptions. Elizabeth knew it, said nothing, and thus Brexit. But I have come to realize that, had she intervened, she would have become an elitist politician herself. Perhaps on what I considered to be the right side of the issue, but covered in the same political mud nonetheless.

The flag does not take sides. A neutral symbol...or it should be, anyway. I see nothing wrong with a traditional personification of that symbol. Patriotism in the flesh.

And yes, I understand the horrors of the slave trade, of colonialism, of the plundering of indigenous peoples' lands and resources. Inexcusable. But the ability of humans to treat other humans as resources or as vermin continues today throughout Asia and Africa and South America and the Middle East without the intervention of European colonialists. And regardless of European hubris, such inhumanity is not a direct and unavoidable consequence of European intervention. Expansionism, tribalism, and physical, economical, and psychological slavery is as old as human history and persists in the modern world in spite of our best efforts. If we don't encourage basically decent human beings like Elizabeth and the Pope Francis and Joe Biden, in spite of their flaws and the flaws of the institutions that they represent, we will end up with less desirable leaders in their place.

SELF CHECKOUT

I've seen increased online conversation concerned with the trend of growing numbers of self-checkout lanes in stores. I find the hubbub a distraction. Counterproductive. Our problem is not that there will be fewer humans in jobs that can be accomplished more efficiently and effectively by utilizing technological advances. Eventually, there will be no checkout lanes at all. You'll pay as you put an item in your cart and you won't get out the door unless everything in your cart is paid for. 

No, the problem isn't making certain that our teenage kids have the opportunity to ask that most important of questions to other teenage kids,"Do you want fries with that?" The problem is much more profound, a problem that is not being addressed at all in the USofA. How does a compassionate, resource-rich society treat that class of people who are not now and will never be employed doing meaningful work? Whether you believe that a Welfare State is an abomination, that you either find gainful employment or somehow magically disappear, or whether you believe that people are entitled to certain levels of food, shelter and amenities simply because they are human beings, serious planning is needed and is not being done.

If contributing to the betterment of society through work is no longer possible for tens of millions Americans, how will they live their lives? What are the odds that our children be among them?

BUTT PATTING



How was I to know that I was being groomed in Little League when my manager patted me on the butt? If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the outrage on social media over this:

I find it ironic that those who are concerned for that young tennis player because her dad and her coach patted her on the butt are the ones who are themselves guilty of sexualizing that girl.

RANDOM STUFF

  • An 8-year-old Wisconsin lad beat out 700 contemporaries to win the 2022 Kids Mullet Championship. Pictures at 11:00.
  • Angelina says Brad is being vengeful, Aniston and Schwimmer were almost a thing, and why does my curated news feed think that I need to know these things?
  • Sir Isaac Newton, during his retreat from the Plague and while he was inventing calculus, also believed that you could drive away disease by using lozenges made from toad vomit and powdered toad. Just sayin'...

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