Monday, November 16, 2009
It's not fair to say young people are stupid, but a lot of young people are blissfully unaware of the concept of consequences. This has been true since the dawn of time, but now in the modern age, anyone paying any attention at all can see what scandals do to people's reputations.
Actually, maybe that's the problem. Britney Spears still gets to make records and videos. Lindsay Lohan is still making movies. Paris Hilton is still... doing whatever it is that makes people want to pay attention to Paris Hilton. Maybe there aren't any consequences.
Into this murky morass, enter Carrie Prejean, Christian martyr. She became "famous" when she voiced her opposition to gay marriage at the Miss USA pageant. So she was in a pissing match with bitchy gay gossip diva Perez Hilton, yet another counter-example to the idea of consequences ending careers, and she would have the high ground of upholding morality.
Any hack writer knows how this will end, right?
Of course nude pictures showed up. How could they not? But this is the 21st Century, and still photography is so 1983. Now, there are sex tapes, stuff she sent to a previous boyfriend. She tried to get them stopped by saying she was 17 when she made them. The boyfriend says she was 20, so that ploy didn't work. In her defense, she does not have any partners in the sex tape. But even though the wrapper she is holding is obviously for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, that not what she's got in there, and that leads to the trouble.
Sarah Palin does not have the luxury of saying she was young and stupid and suffering through a youthful indiscretion. She wrote her book Going Rogue - An American Life at the age of 44, or to be more precise, she worked with a ghost writer, with Palin saying what she wanted to say and the writer turning it into at least partially understandable prose.
She doesn't seem to understand that the act of going rogue is not a good thing. It's completely expected that she would state her political beliefs, trash those who disagree with her and gloss over her failures and claim that some of them are actually victories, largest among those being the pipeline that is still just a plan. The less expected parts of the book are the attacks on the McCain staffers, the people who by her account got her into all the trouble she experienced during the campaign.
Palin seems as blissfully unaware of the facts of life as a young woman half her age. She may not have to work with Steve Schmidt ever again, but she's going to have to work with somebody like him if she ever plans to have a political career. She may have a point that she was mishandled, but it's time to realize the buck stops with her. Dukakis looked like an idiot riding around in the tank, but he didn't throw the organizer of that photo-op under the tank publicly. Sometimes you have to show some character and take responsibility for your own mistakes. McCain has done so, not even willing to state the obvious that Palin on the ticket helped energize the base and helped to lose the election.
Moving on to a third example of consequences, this time in the world of sports. One of the great things about sports is that trying to spin a loss into a win is close to impossible, and often, the person responsible for a close loss is easy for the world to see.
Last night, the New England Patriots were doing everything right in a road game against the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. The Pats were ahead 31-14 in the 4th quarter, and even with a major surge, the score was still 34-28 when the Colts scored with 2:23 left on the clock and they had to give the ball back to the Patriots.
The Pats didn't get a first down. These things happen. It was 4th and 2 on the 28 yard line with a little more than two minutes, and any coach with a lick of sense would simply punt, forcing the Colts to score a touchdown on a field about 70 yards long with time running out.
The set of coaches with a lick of sense obviously does not include Patriots' coach Bill Belichick. He went for it on 4th and 2 and came up short. The Colts got the ball back and scored easily, and when they were done there was no time for the Pats to come back.
So here's the thing. Carrie Prejean lost her crown. Sarah Palin lost the vice presidency. Bill Belichick's team lost a close game last night that they could have won. Only in the world of sports is there no one defending a person who obviously doesn't have a leg to stand on.
Yay, Flags of Many Lands™!
I previously listed Myanmar among the regimes too repressive to let their citizens wander around the net and find an odd site like this, a list that still includes Cuba and North Korea. The visitor appears to be from a government Internet service provider in Rangoon.
Does anyone know the penalty for goofing off on the job in Myanmar? Is it death or just a public flogging?