Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Even Stupidity Can be Understood If You Think it Through

This will be a relatively short entry today as I am still going through a personal intellectual crisis that prohibits me from doing anything insightful or thought-provoking. Allow me to explain.

This morning, I had an epiphany: After reading the news from several media outlets, I suddenly - as Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz character in "Apocalypse Now" said "like a diamond bullet straight into my forehead" - I am totally disconnected from the world around me. I just don’t understand anything anymore. The news I read suddenly seems so nonsensical and irrational. Is it just me? I wonder.

Let me just put this single news item, from the Associated Press, as an example. Please read this and then let me explain why I have obviously lost my dial tone to world’s logic network. News article follow:
DETROIT (Jan. 11) - David Livingstone says the idea behind the economic boycott he's organizing is simple: If people don't show up at work or buy things, companies lose money. As he sees it, that's money the Bush administration can't tax, and can't use to run the war in Iraq, protect polluters or chip away at the Constitution.
So the Detroit Democrat and a handful of other anti-Bush groups across the country are urging others of like mind to withhold their cash and labor on Inauguration Day - from all businesses. They don't think they'll inflict a huge economic pain, but they do want to make a point.
''I view the inauguration of Bush as a black Thursday for this country,'' Livingstone says. ''We've tried marching in the streets to stop the war, we tried writing letters, we tried initiatives on the Web, but Bush doesn't listen. It seems to us the only thing Bush and the Republicans will listen to is money.''
Livingstone, a 41-year-old writer, hopes to be in Washington for the Jan. 20 festivities, which for him means protests, black armbands and backs turned to the parade route.
And he's vowing not to buy gas, food or use his credit card that day: He wants the GOP, big oil, big banking, big box stores and any other ''bigs'' to know they can't push him around or ignore him - at least not on Jan. 20.
The White House is taking all the boycott talk in stride. Bush ''is proud that we live in a society where people are free to peacefully express their opinions,'' spokesman Jim Morrell says.
Other groups nationwide, many loosely connected through the Internet, have put out calls similar to Livingstone's. Jesse Gordon, 44, of Cambridge, Mass., spreads the word through his Web site, Not One Damn Dime! Gordon doesn't expect to shake the economy, but does want to see the president recognize dissent. ''I think Bush should acknowledge the boycott. If we're effective, he'll know about it, and he should acknowledge it,'' Gordon says.

[End of AP Report]
OK, let me see if I can get this straight. This is a man who lives in Detroit, Michigan. He is going to Washington to be at the President’s Inauguration ceremony on January 20. His aim is, as best I can understand, to express his protest of President Bush taking office. He is going to do this by - here comes the confusing part - "not buying gas, food, or use his credit card" on January 20. His logic is - again I am a little shaky here - if he, and enough others like him, can withhold purchases that day, they will make companies lose money and it will hurt the country’s economy. And by hurting the economy, there will be less tax dollars and companies will contribute less to President Bush's re-election. [Oh, wait. Scratch that last part; Bush can't run again. Sorry]

Fair enough. Now, let me think about this some more. He is traveling from his home in Detroit to Washington (512 miles, according to MapQuest) and back home. That’s over 1000 miles. I assume, under more happy circumstances for Mr. Livingstone, he would not be taking this trip. So, by deductive logic, it is an extra expense to his usual lifestyle. Then, he will stay in Washington for a day or two, presumably, in a motel (judging by his picture in the AP News article, he looks like a "motel" as opposed to a "hotel" kind of guy). Another expense he, though I may be wrong, would not ordinarily have. Unless he is going to starve (protesters call this a "fast" though) for the entire trip, I am going to again go out on a limb here and assume he is going to eat somewhere and sometime on the road. Again, the expense of food and, possibly, drinks he would not be paying for back in good old Detroit. All for the purpose of economically protesting President’s Bush Inauguration.

Does anyone, other than me, see any problems with this? This, presumably, sane man is going to participate in an economic protest by spending money into the nation’s economy that he wouldn’t ordinarily spend.

Please, I beg you, if anyone is reading this, explain to me: Would it not make more sense - at least if he is trying to accomplish his stated goal - if he stayed in bed in Detroit and slept all day or watched his soap operas or Jon Stewart, and never got out of bed? Wouldn't that be a more focused economic protest?

Oh, wait, I take all that back. I truly am a silly old man. It’s not about the protest at all! Now I get it. It’s not really about protesting President or anything else; it’s about getting some bored, inane reporter for some - any! - news outlet to write a dumb story about you. Then you get your name and a really bad picture of yourself in the news. Then this incredibly unfortunate, genetically anyway, man can get some liberal arts college chicks to go out with him! Well, DUH!

You see? When you think things through, sometimes you really can understand the world around you. But, alas, only sometimes.

Addendum - 01-20-2005: My friend Steve Lee suggested this site for a counter protest for this wing nut. It sounds like a good idea.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee hee!

Certain people are working on a counter protest. The plan is for people to collect all their receipts from expenditures on January 20 then mail them to:

David Livingstone
955 E. Robert
Hazel Park, MI 48030

Here is the link where I found out about itSteve

4:31 AM  

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