How a Movie Almost Wrecked a Life

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The passing of Harold Ramis was big news today. The actor/writer/director wrote or co-wrote such classic comedies as National Lampoon’s Animal House, Stripes, and Ghostbusters. His talents certainly brought a lot of laughs and good cheer to America.

But there were downsides too. Just today I read an account told by a former alcoholic. It’s as-yet unpublished so I wish to respect his anonymity. At age 16 he saw Animal House. He really got turned on by John Belushi’s character, the hard-drinking, reckless and care-free slob that brought so many laughs to millions of Americans. Upon leaving the movie theater he decided to start drinking, in order to shed his mellow and upstanding image in favor of someone wild and crazy like Belushi. He said to himself, “I wanna be just like Belushi.”

That’s what he did, re-creating the Belushi experience for the following six years. They were miserable years. Often homeless and on the verge of suicide, he eventually landed in a psych ward, which shocked him into finally getting sober at age 22.

One wonders how many others were thus inspired by John Belushi’s character, and who never were so fortunate as to eventually get their life back on track.

And that was just one aspect of the movie. It also was a ground-breaking movie with regard to the amount of sex and sexual imagery it contained, influencing untold millions of young people into suppressing their raging hormones no longer. The resulting looser sexual mores and coarsening of the culture had to have been a contributing factor in the wreckage of families and relationships that so afflicts America today.

Co-star Dan Aykroyd wrote of Ramis’ passing, “May he now get the answers he was always seeking.” One wonders if those answers will include a full accounting of the impact of his movies on people’s lives, both for the better, and for the worse.

Rightie Incivility Alert

You’d expect to come across uncivil and immature language among certain segments of the population, especially uncouth and uneducated people. But in an alarming sign of the coarsening of American society, such language has appeared in an article in a popular online media outlet. It’s by one John Nolte, writing at Breitbart.com. He ruined what at first seemed like a decent read – on the media’s unloading on Clint Eastwood’s great speech at the RNC. Near the end the writer includes this piece of verbal trash: “Go to h— you Obama-shilling crybabies.”

I couldn’t believe such low-class nastiness appeared in an article like that. What kind of editor at Breitbart.com would leave something like that in? Is there no decency in writing and editing anymore? To top it off, The Drudge Report linked to it, supercharging the article’s readership. What happened to the standards of The Drudge Report?

Mr. Nolte should apologize for writing it, Breitbart.com should apologize for publishing the article without editing that part out, and The Drudge Report should apologize for linking to it.

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Of course, this sort of thing is standard practice for some lefties. For example, Bill Maher just called Clint Eastwood an a**hole only because he disagrees with his politics.

An Incomplete Apology to the Posterperson of the Gimme Generation

If there’s one thing that the whole Rush Limbaugh flap has made apparent, it’s that society holds conservatives to much higher standards of decency than it holds liberals.

When a Bill Maher or an Ed Schultz or others on the left make gratuitous and vulgar remarks about women, it’s met with a shrug, a laugh, or silence. People don’t expect them to have high moral standards. When a Rush Limbaugh does the same thing, there’s heck to pay. That’s because the right is expected to have higher moral standards than the left.

And I’ve no beef with that. I’d much rather be a part of the group to which society holds a higher standard.

As for Rush, in his apology he said he descended to the left’s level when he used the disparaging words to describe Sandra Fluke. He became like them, he said, instead of maintaining a high degree of integrity on his radio program.

OK Rush, that’s a good start, but demonstrating your sincerity requires more than just renouncing the use of those disparaging words. You have to go beyond that. If you mean what you say about not adopting the tactics of the left, you have to pledge to renounce the use of the term “feminazis” to describe feminists, “Chicago thug” to describe President Obama and any similar words you’ve used to describe those on the left. You can’t just not say those words in the future. As part of your pledge, you have to explicitly say that you’ve been wrong to use those words, that you were adopting the tactics of the left in using those words (many, but certainly not all, of them sickeningly call their political opponents “nazis”), and that integrity means erasing those words from your lexicon forever – unless of course you’re talking about actual National Socialists or actual thugs.

Regarding Sandra Fluke herself, in the 1980s young people were said to be in the “me generation” because all they wanted to do was make money and supposedly not share it with others. Well 30 years later, Sandra Fluke is the posterperson for the gimme generation, a large and growing group of Americans who expect other people to give them money – even money for accessories (i.e. contraception) that enable them to engage in pleasures of the flesh!

Note that the gimme generation, aka the entitlement generation, doesn’t just include people in Fluke’s age group, and doesn’t imply that all of them are of that mentality. There are many in the younger generation who shun the entitlement culture and who prize independence and self-reliance. The gimme generation refers to anyone, of any age, who accepts welfare but who doesn’t need it. Remember, two-thirds of welfare goes to the middle class and rich.

Wow – so with Obamacare, we Americans are not only being coerced into financing the routine healthcare costs of rich and middle class Americans, including law students who attend expensive, elite universities, but we’re also being coerced into financing what enables them to engage in their worldly pleasures.

Yes the boiling frog principle is alive and well. Five or 10 years ago if someone were to tell you that’s what’s in store for Americans, you’d think they’d be out of their minds. But that reality is here. And the water boils on.

So Much for “Minnesota Nice”

Speaking of the Angry Left (see below), several of their own are firmly ensconced in the U.S. Senate. Socialist Bernie Sanders is the most prominent angry leftie that comes to mind, but he’s now getting a run for his money in the form of Al Franken. He’s the one who previously made a name for himself by hurling insults at people, like “fat”, “idiot”, and the eminently redundant (or double negative) “lying liar”, as well as writing obscene literature in magazines like Playboy.

Minnesota’s former Senator Paul Wellstone had a knack for being coarse and abrasive, but the new senator from that state makes Wellstone look like a paragon of civility. Click here to read about some of his greatest hits – after only a few months in the Senate.

Worried about the coarsening of American society creeping into our revered institutions? Talk to the people of Minnesota about that – or the half of them who voted for angryman (not funnyman) Al.

(Update – two months later.) Ya know I’ve been meaning to change that last sentence. I have to admit that when it comes right down to it, people mainly vote based on a candidate’s policy positions rather than his or her comportment. I mean, if you abhor a certain political agenda, and if the only candidate opposing that agenda happens to engage in buffoonery a little too much, then I’ll admit that you’re going to place more importance on the agenda than on the buffoonery. So I’ll grant that the half of the people of Minnesota who voted for Al Franken aren’t necessarily at fault for promoting the coarsening of American society. After all, if they abhor free markets, small government, a strong defense, etc., then I guess they had no choice than to vote for ole’ Al.

Near-Obscene on National TV

In another “what’s-this-society-coming-to?” moments, yesterday the annual Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia, broadcast nationally on ABC, featured a singer named Jason Derulo. As is common for some singers of that genre, during his performance his hand would drift uncomfortably close to his crotch area – sometimes parked right over it. During such instances the cameramen would cut to another angle, presumably in order to try to spare the audience the agony (especially when there are kids watching), but often it was too late.

It’s baffling as to why the parade organizers would allow such a performer to participate in the family-oriented event; surely someone in charge must have known he would carry out such obscenities? If so, then they probably didn’t give a hoot, being so accustomed to and accepting of the coarsening of American society.

They should have not even entertained the idea of inviting Mr. Derulo to perform. Or barring that, prior to the parade they should have thoroughly coached the young performer to keep his hand well away from his crotch.

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