A Burning Question

Are we where we are because of where we’ve been, or are we where we are because of where we’re going?

I’ve always pondered that question, but in a more technological sense. But more and more I’m thinking of it in a more sociological sense. I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere along the lines, hot coffee was involved. Somewhere along the way, there was a bad word someone said on television that someone else heard and raised hell because ‘how dare that type of behavior take place?’. And all throughout, it seems like everyone has lost the sense of responsibility for his own actions.

Take, for instance the drunk driving case from 2007 that suddenly is making the news. Spanish-speaking German Marquez was accused of being under the influence when he rear-ended another car at an intersection. His lawyer is claiming Marquez, who speaks only Spanish, did not understand the police officer’s  instructions in English to take a breathalyzer test and subsequently was wrongly cited for non-compliance to that as well as the DWI charge. The non-compliance charge carries a seven month license suspension which is concurrent with the three-month for the drunk driving charge. The lawyer argues he should not have been punished for something he didn’t understand. Now the consent statement (for the breath test) has been recorded in 10 languages for the police to play for a suspect.

Okay, so, how did he get his license in the first place? He obviously had to have studied a manual, and I’m sure the manual he studied from was written in Spanish. Is the point about consenting to a breathalyzer in there? I have to admit, I don’t know because when I was learning how to drive there was no such technology to worry about. It was the ability to walk a straight line and touch your nose while balancing on one foot and a theoretical equation to determine your blood/alcohol level. Is Marquez alone in the world? Doesn’t he have any friends or family or co-workers in his life who might tell him? And the biggest point, since when is ignorance above the law? I was taught that ignorance of the law is no excuse. So how does Señor Marquez figure he’s special?

Ah,  f**k it. You can’t say that on TV. Or can you? Maybe. On Tuesday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s broadcast indecency policy because the standards the commission use to monitor offensive language are ‘unconstitutionally vague’ and that the policy did not give broadcasters fair warning what is allowed and what isn’t.

I’m the furthest thing from being a prude, and every now and then hearing a slip up on a live TV show gives me a sort of rebellious thrill, but honestly, I don’t want to hear the F word said on One Life to Live on a daily basis. It’s enough that the word ‘bitch’ has gotten past the censors and there are days when it’s said almost as much as the word ‘amazing’. And after the first few dozen times of hearing it, it truly gets monotonous. Switching on the way back machine for a second, I remember watching the original run of Dark Shadows as a kid back in the ‘60’s and hearing Barnabas say ‘Hell’ and I thought it almost heroic, if not something I should hope my mother wouldn’t hear for fear she’d make me stop watching the show.

But in these days when everyone is up in arms about everything, it begs the question, are we regressing or advancing? Has everything gotten that complex that it’s impossible to keep up and so we’ve given up?  Yes, it’s the land of the free and all that, but shouldn’t this land be shown a little more respect than trying to tear it further down, limb by judicial limb? Is it really fair to kowtow to those who have a sense of entitlement because certain situations don’t fit their idyllic picture? It could be just about anything these days, from certain religious factions not wanting to conform to regulation policeman’s uniforms because of their headdress, to not letting kids “win” in  games so nobody gets their feelings hurt, to looking the other way in cases such as Marquez’?   Does it make sense to allow more profanity on television when parents are already rallying against its usage? Of course they expect the government to take care of everything so parents don’t have to come off as the bad guy and now the rest of us have to have huge TV ratings signs flash across the screen, as if seeing an “S” or an “L” will signal the kids that they must instantly turn off the show with too much sexual content  or harsh language? Is it too much to ask to let me say Merry Christmas, even though the next person might celebrate Hanukkah and he could simply say, “I’m Jewish” (or whatever) instead of getting all militant and stripping away my holiday spirit?  Damn it!

Oh well, here’s who was wearing this week’s bathing suit.

And, look who’s happy!

They’re here!

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