09/19/13

PTA

Adam Carolla’s exhausting, howitzer-style commentary falls into one of three categories:

1. Wildly offensive, profane, vulgar, mysoginistic, borderline racist;

2. Non-lude/non-bigoted but still wrong; and

3. Pure-cane genius.

I was never into what I surmised about his type of comedy. The Man Show. Crank Yankers. Love Line.

More recently, Carolla has become a kind of political lightening rod and Hollywood pariah for his conservative politics, which I viewed dubiously, at best. I was confused why the inventor of “Girls on Trampolines,” had become such a darling of the socially conservative FOX News audience.

Of course, if you’re under about 35 you literally probably have never even heard of him. He has become culturally marginalized, except to his still quite large and insanely devoted fan base. Which he would rightly say is no kind of marginalization at all.

What was lost on me, and probably anyone else who had only viewed him through the crass, soundbite lens of these shows, is his world-class erudition, inexhaustible memory, impossibly fast improvisational wit, AND, believe it or not, deeply held moral sensibilities. Or maybe it’s just Aspergers. Regardless, the dude is crazy, crazy smart. Even when I don’t agree with him, which is probably well in excess of 60% of the time, I’m almost always impressed. And, laughing super hard.

But, the strangest, most stunning part of my experience with Carolla is inspiration. He has a LOT of opinions about behavior, responsibility, interpersonal etiquette, and human welfare. None of which he seems to personally practice, but who knew? Of course, like many modern conservatives, the value Carolla places on personal responsibility and self-reliance is too severe, taken to its logical and blanketed policy extremes. But, on an individual level, and for me specifically, I’ve been genuinely inspired by it.

Inspired to work harder.

To be a better dad and husband.

To expect more of myself.

To desire challenge and difficulty over leisure.

To laugh at third grade bathroom humor.

Things I already value and which are reinforced by other sources in my life but rarely so cleverly as Carolla’s unexpected take.

Weird, huh? He’s sort of ambushed my life with motivation.

And, potty talk.

As it turns out, Adam Carolla and my favorite sports commentator, Bill Simmons, The Sports Guy, are fast friends and through the years Carolla has made appearances on Simmons’ critically acclaimed podcast, The BS Report, which is how I came to be reintroduced to him, in the first place. But, the real king of podcasting is actually Carolla, himself, who now has the number one downloaded podcast in the world after his decision to leave radio four or five years ago. Which may be comparable to declaring yourself World Champion in Electric Football or War Hammer. Anyway, for his hilarious appearances on the BS Report, I found myself tempted to listen to the podcast of a man, I rejected as gratuitously profane (he is) and with whom I assumed I shared no intersecting cross-street (but, I apparently do).

Oh, and one other thing . . .

You should NEVER, EVER, EVER listen to him.

The aforementioned lavish praise should not be construed as any endorsement or recommendation of mine.
(Which, I know, is sort of like saying to your kids, “Whatever you do, don’t play with this bowie knife.”)

I say all of this by way of simple qualification as to why I am about to reference a podcast I wouldn’t recommend to a porn star fearing her lost innocence.

So, anyway, on today’s podcast, Carolla was discussing an open letter, written by the CEO of Starbucks, directed to certain legally armed and licensed gun owners recently patronizing his stores. Apparently, pro-gun advocates have been enjoying a cake pop, ready to pop off so to speak, as a kind of protest against anti-gun sentiment. Starbucks has kindly asked them to stop.

Oh, and, to pick up their iced mocha, which is ready.

Carolla off-handedly quipped that the presence of firearm carrying patrons would at least disincentivize madmen, bent on public massacre, from selecting Starbucks as a future target for the presence of armed patrons. This is a common motif on the pro-gun side: If citizens are armed, bad guys will either stop or be neutralized. Like in Wild West times, I guess. The conversation then turned to the Navy Yard shooting. Without noticing the irony, there was no acknowledgment that the Navy Yard shooter was not only not deterred by, but actually successful in murdering 12 at, a location which literally specializes in armed security – a Navy Yard.

And, this made me think about the argument for guns in schools. Or, what I’ve decided to call, the PTA (Pistol/Teachers Association). If the security at a Navy Yard fails to either deter or foil, before the death of 12, a gunman bent on violence, why would a pistol in the palm of Miss Pomegranate? (That’s some cheap alliteration, while we’re on the subject of education.)

I don’t think too many are taking seriously the suggestion that teachers carry guns. But, the bigger policy debate remains. Are we really safer with more guns in the public domain or less?

If the tragedy of the most recent shooting at the Navy Yard is any indication, however, don’t get too comfortable sipping your Dirty Chai. No matter how many baristas are strapped.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Fab da Eclectic.

Today’s blong here:

Star Buck-Bucks!

01/16/13

It Only Takes One

The President’s gun violence plan seems pretty reasonable. It doesn’t strike me as executive power too far. Without boring you the history, executive orders are constitutional, especially where they are made within the context of some explicit or implicit congressional authorization, see Dames & Moore v. Regan. Here, the President has tweaked the efficacy of certain already existing gun controls, especially as they relate to sharing applicant and background check information. While the plan makes an appeal to Congress concerning a ban on assault rifles, the orders themselves do not purport to accomplish any such thing. The plan provides for some additional gun violence research, and it appeals to more responsible gun ownership. It also appropriately emphasizes the role of mental health in this discussion focused mostly on weapons. But, precisely because this set of executive orders seems largely uncontroversial they are at the same time probably more gesture than change. And, that’s okay.

Of course, the NRA would, in a brand new ad, call the President a hypocrite because his daughters’ private school enjoys the security of armed guards.

I doubt they’ll recant even as his plan provides for:

School resource officers [who] are specially trained police officers that work in schools. When equipped with proper training and supported by evidence-based school discipline policies, they can deter crime with their presence and advance community policing objectives.

It would make too much sense for the two sides of this conversation, equally vested in growing the rate of non-deaths and un-kills, to see common ground where they are standing on it.

People would point to other first-world successes in violence free society. Europe, Canada, that awesome jungle moon in Avatar.

But, America’s just different. We have a deep gun identity.

We conquered with a gun.

We were colonially liberated with a gun.

Our union endured by the gun.

Cowboys.

Annie Oakley.

John Wayne.

Rambo.

Gangsters.

Gang bangers.

Yosemite Sam.

Separating us from our guns is more than an exchange of rationale arguments no matter how rationale they may be. It will take a weening not a divesting.

In today’s blong, I would simply add song to my prior point that the collusion of a gun-free society means we will always be susceptible to the threat of just one. But, I think I would rather live with that risk in mind than a kind of Home Room Saloon.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by Dave Santos.

Today’s blong here:

High Noon