July 23, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 30

Dr. Wes

When the news is bleak, we look to good news for relief; but good news isn’t news and it isn’t funny

By Dr. Wes Browning

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Let’s talk about stuff I don’t like to talk about!

Specifically, there are times when I don’t write about certain kinds of news. Let’s consider some examples.

Microsoft layoffs: The problem here is, you think there’s news. “Microsoft is laying off 18,000.” But you don’t really know which 18,000 where, and the bulk of them, for all we know, were employees of Nokia, which was only just acquired. So is it a layoff at Microsoft-original or a Microsoft ordered layoff at Nokia?

I could write pages and pages reminiscing about the Great Boeing Layoffs of ’71, ’72. Yesiree, gather ‘round kiddies, give grandpa a minute to find his uppers and turn down his devil music… I was there! Now that was a real layoff. It was so bad, when I went looking for work I ended up one of 437 applicants for the same one job in the entire downtown of Seattle, that of cutting flowers to make bouquets for the half-dozen Seattle residents who could still afford them.

“Will the last person to leave Seattle please…” Oh you’ve heard it? Never mind.

I could write about America’s standing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. We’re number 15! We’re number 15! USA! USA! USA!

There’s the shooting down of the Malaysian flight over eastern Ukraine. As of now, Friday morning, last week to you, it looks like pro-Russian rebel separatists took down the passenger liner with a mobile surface-to-air missile that they got from Russia or from the Ukrainian army itself. The argument is “they control the territory” from which the missile had to be launched. Maybe these are the weapons of mass destruction we’ve all been looking for since 1991. They were a bit further north than expected.

OK, it’s probable that the rebels shot it down, but then what? So one side or another of a stupid civil war killed innocent civilians, and I’m supposed pick apart which side actually pulled the trigger? Putin pulled the trigger, he set all this in motion, we all saw that in plain view, all else is tumbling debris, there it goes. Putin dangled the possibility of Russian annexation in front of Russian sympathizers in the Ukraine, and civil war resulted. War kills. Not comedy material.

Speaking of which, the latest turn in the ongoing eternal Israeli-Palestinian conflict is decidedly not amusing and therefore all I am going to say about it now is to harken back to the last time I mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in October of 2005.

That column ranted “the Mother of All Stupidity Stories, in which the Israeli Supreme Court had to inform the Israeli Army that it was not OK to use Palestinians as human shields.” The Israeli army thought it was OK, because their men with guns had asked politely, “Would you please sirs and madams step over here between us and your neighbors, thank you.” But the Israeli Supreme Court said they can’t do that, and I was merely taking note that the Israeli army could not figure that out without advice from the high court.

So I got mail in which I was asked why I hated Israel.

To which I had to reply, if I hate their country why do I praise their supreme court? The Israeli Supreme Court and their judicial system is not part of Israel? Where did the court come from?

A few days ago I got a delightful phone call. It sounded like a teenager, although it might have been a coworker. I asked why he was calling. He said “You know why.” I said I didn’t.

“I want to talk to your brother,” he said. I said that I don’t have a brother. He said, “Oh yes, you do.” I said, “No I don’t.” He said, “Oh yes, you do.” I said, “No I don’t.” He said, “Oh yes, you do” and I laughed and laughed and hung up.

What a great metaphor for what passes for debate these days.

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