Slight delay in the end of the world

A couple of quick pop-culture references, and Kathryn will be grateful that neither is to “The Godfather” (don’t worry, fans, I’m sure I’ll get back to the Corleones soon enough). The first is that I’m feeling sort of like Billy Jack

I want you to know… that I try. When Jean and the kids at the school tell me that I’m supposed to control my tendency to be a wiseacre, and be passive and respectful of other people’s beliefs like they are, I try. I really try. Though when I see this guy… who should know to keep quiet after this weekend… and I see him speaking up again, and getting quoted, and I think of the number of months that we’re probably going to have to keep hearing about it… I just go BERSERK!

I’m referring, of course, to the news that this Harold Camping guy is saying, Oops, the Rapture’s gonna come in October now.

The second cultural reference is more obscure. It’s to The Dirty Dozen. No, not the movie, but the (much superior) E.M. Nathanson novel on which it was based. The novel is so little-remembered that I had trouble finding a full preview of it on Google Books to check my quote. But near the end of the book, when Samson Posey, a Ute Indian, tries to perform a Sun Dance to get the weather to clear over Normandy, and one of the other 11 guys starts making fun of him, suggesting he’s doing a rain dance by mistake, an Army chaplain standing nearby says “Don’t mock him, fellow! Whatever your beliefs — if you have any — do not mock him!”

Which I’ve always thought was a pretty good thought to live by. (Look, if you want a blog that quotes Shakespeare, there are plenty of them out there.) A lot of people believe a lot of unlikely things. In this case, we have some people believing something that is directly refuted by the Bible. Which is inexplicable. OK, so Camping isn’t a biblical literalist. Cool. But we’re talking about a quote attributed to Jesus Christ himself saying No one knows the day or the hour

But I try, I really try, not to make fun. You’ll note that I did not do so last week.

But this guy is really, really trying my patience, and my resolve to be tolerant and respectful…

36 thoughts on “Slight delay in the end of the world

  1. Steven Davis

    Billy Jack, now there’s a high school play put on the silver screen. I remember seeing it in the theater and a few years ago tried to watch it on television… acting has improved substantially over the past 35 years.

    Nearly as bad, Dirty Mary and Crazy Larry.

  2. Steve Gordy

    According to a news report I read this morning, Camping’s organization has assets valued at greater than $ 100 million. I guess he saw no need to distribute them to those who would be left behind.

  3. Brad Warthen

    You have to realize, in 1971 — when I was a freshman in college — we had never seen anything like the martial arts in “Billy Jack.” We also though it was cool mixed in with all that hippy stuff. I mean, Billy would give a speech about peace and love and doves and all that — as he does in the video I linked to at the start of the post — and THEN kick butt.

    It was an awesome combination, perfectly attuned to the times. “Kung Fu” came along a year or two later, and expanded upon the same theme — highly spiritual man of peace who always ended up kicking butt in the most amazing and impressive manner. But “Billy Jack” did it first. You could say that Obama uses the same formula — he’s all about peacefulness and diplomacy, and then he takes out bin Laden using the stunning skills of the SEALs to the max. Most effective.

    Of course, then I saw the movie about 20 years later, and it was AWFUL. I don’t think there’s ever been a movie with worse acting, with the possible exception of the FIRST movie Tom Laughlin’s character appeared in, “The Born Losers” in 1967.

    But we loved it at the time, when I was 17.

  4. bud

    The end of the world may be at hand. A Democrat prevailied in last nights special congressional election in New York. John McCain handily won that district in 2008 and only 3 other Democrats have ever won there since 1857. Is this a sea-change in the political environment? Could be. The GOP plan to get rid of medicare is not setting well with the voters. Hopefully there will be more good news like this.

  5. Ralph Hightower

    This past Sunday, I tweeted:
    “Fortunately #FamilyRadioCult #JudgementDay was a bust. Unfortunately, that means 1333 more days of SC Guv’not @nikkihaley”

  6. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Steve Benjamin’s trip to Paris would be to try to get some econ devo related to Boeing. If it pays off, $6K will be the best deal ever….and as any salesman can tell you, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.

    You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

    As a resident and taxpayer of the City of Columbia, I say, “You go, Steve!”

  7. Brad

    Yeah, me too. I assume Nikki and Bobby will be spending similar amounts…. It’s not cheap going to Paris.

    It’s not like Steve WANTS to go to Paris. But whaddyagonnado?

  8. Doug T

    Steven Davis: Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is a cult favorite, along with Vanishing Point and Thunder Road.
    Nothing like car chases and a thin plot.

  9. Steven Davis

    Kathryn and Brad, maybe Steve should worry about getting some of his local and immediate problems resolved before trying to go world-wide.

    If it’s just to meet, doesn’t the city have a video conferencing unit in one of their conference rooms? If not, they can reserve one at Kinkos.

  10. Steven Davis

    “Could I ask the band to lower the volume, the Queen can’t hear my speech”.
    Barak Obama

    I hear it was all straightened out when Michelle gave the Queen a hug and an iPad2.

  11. Bart

    bud hit on a good point. When a Democrat wins in a conservative district, held by Republicans forever, over a single issue, Medicare, troubles, they are abrewing for Republicans across the country – if they continue to support the Ryan budget proposal.

    Ryan was right to address the issue but as anyone with any political acumen will soon realize, touching the third rail of politics, Medicare or Social Security, is political suicide for any aspiring politician.

    Both sides have used SS and Medicare as strawmen to advance their ideological agenda. Perhaps one of the easiest influenced demographic group of voters is the senior vote, especially when you try to make changes to something they are comfortable with and all too many rely on for survival.

    Seniors, as a general rule, do not like changes. And as the article pointed out based on comments by seniors, young people talk a lot about politics and voting but on election day, seniors always show up when young people do not.

    Democrats took the Medicare issue and run with it. They won and if they can successfully take advantage of it through next year, I believe the House will go back to Democrat control and the Senate regain its losses.

    Maybe bud should send a “Thank You” note to Ryan.

  12. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Meeting in person allows for the kind of schmoozing that pays huge dividends. You need to be face to face to charm some high-level executive into coming to our admittedly problem-ridden state–the city is actually doing quite fine, thank you very much.

  13. martin

    I would love to see a list of every American state or local elected official going to the Paris Air Show. It was a favorite of Mark’s, right? Of course, he loved his junkets so he could cross those lines.

    I don’t think the NY26 race is overly important because the D got less than than 50% of the votes against a TP & R.

    What was really disgusting this AM on Morning Joe was Paul Ryan talking about how the Ds were demagoguing the Medicare issue, just like the Rs didn’t do the same in the 2009 town halls through the 2010 mid terms. And, he was proud of ending Obama’s “rationing board”, aka death panel in his plan…sounded just like demagoguing to me. I quess people don’t realize when they are doing it themselves, yep.

    BTW, saw some of Obama’s speech to Parliament and it was great.

  14. Steven Davis

    What’s Steve going to “schmooze” with? What does Columbia have to offer any company that is even thinking about coming here? I mean besides heat, humidity and bi-annual property tax increases.

  15. Brad

    Actually, the best thing he can offer is being there. Your way, the prospects would say: “Hey, I’m really impressed with that Columbia mayor. He really cared. He went all the way to Kinkos…” Of those who are at the show in Paris, who do you think is going to take time out to teleconference with some guy in Columbia, SC, that he’s never met? “Hey, guys, I’m skipping the champagne reception. I gotta hear what this Benjamin guy’s got to say…”

    I have trouble understanding how others would find hard to understand the importance of being there.

    That was a slightly convoluted-sounding sentence. Yoda helped me with it.

    I’m not entirely sure Woody Allen was right when he said that 90 percent of life is just showing up. That could be a tad high. But it counts for a lot.

    If you don’t understand that; if you don’t understand the kinds of opportunities that showing up presents, you must not work a lot with other people. And it’s not just an economic-development thing.

    Yeah, back in the days when I covered several counties as a reporter, I DID like getting those mileage checks, because they helped me make the payments on my Volkswagen. But the best reason I preferred driving to the next county to picking up the phone was that if I did it by phone, I might get an answer to the specific question on my mind, and I might not. But if I WENT there, I not only was more likely to get my answer (people are more likely to cooperate with someone right in front of them), but I picked up on three or four other stories that I would never have known about otherwise.

  16. Steven Davis

    Actually I do work with a lot of other people, I just don’t tend to need Chapstick for my chapped lips when they leave the room.

    Looks like Steve got approval from the city council (big surprise there), we’ll see how much business and how much tourist action goes on. Just glad it’s not on my dime.

    What are the odds that six months from now that this trip will be viewed only as $6000 wasted?

  17. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    I love Columbia. I moved back here despite serious health issues with the heat and humidity (I got one of my high 90s migraines today–I get ’em even if I never go outside–must be the air pressure or something). It is indeed famously hot and surprisingly cool.

    Anyone who doesn’t “get” why Columbia is awesome doesn’t have to live here. Oh, yeah–most of you all don’t, although I’d love it if several of you would reconsider and move to the city!

  18. Mark Stewart

    I will weigh in on the side of waste. The Mayor of Columbia in Paris for the Airshow? Fine for Commerce Dept. – even the Governor I hate to say. But a Mayor?

    There are local business development opportunities to mine; like batting singles vs buying a lottery ticket. Both Columbia and Richland County need to simply learn to be business accessible. Neither is today. That problem is systemic and won’t be addressed by seeking handshakes on the world stage.

    And hey, Columbia doesn’t even have a strong mayor…

  19. Steven Davis

    I used to live in “the city” (Shandon do be specific) but got tired of the weekly tax/fee increases, the fact that I couldn’t leave anything out in the yard for more than 10 minutes unattended or it was gone, the frat houses (because we can’t have Jr. living in a dorm room) on every block, the leaf rakers ringing my doorbell at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and Bob Coble with his worn out “Approved” rubber stamp so I did what any rational thinking Republican would do… I sold the house, packed up and moved 10 miles west and my only complaint here is that these people keep electing Jake Knotts into office. A lot of trouble, but in my mind well worth it.

  20. bud

    I don’t think the NY26 race is overly important because the D got less than than 50% of the votes against a TP & R.

    I disagree. Without giving this one race too much importance it’s worth noting how dramatic the shift was from the last election in NY26. In 2010 the Republican garnered 74% of the vote. In this 4 way race the take by party was:

    Dem – 48%
    GOP – 42%
    TP – 9%
    Green – 1%

    Virtually all of the Greens would have either stayed home or voted Dem if the only choices were DEM/GOP. The TP guy had previously run as a Democrat so as much as 1/3 of his vote would have gone to the DEM candidate. So in a pure 2 party race I’d say the outcome would have likely been something like Dem 52 – GOP 48. That is a resounding turnaround in a district that voted for John McCain in 2008. This race looks a lot like the MA special election that replaced Ted Kennedy in 2009. And we know what happened a year after that. Still, it’s only one congressional race. But it cannot be said that this is no big deal.

  21. Brad

    Oh, and Steven, you forgot to mention all those annoying fellows walking around with ghetto blasters on their shoulders, and break-dancin’ in the middle of the street at the drop of a hat…

    Just to complete the picture…

  22. Brad

    As for this thing that happened in New York that Bud and Martin are on about… this happened in New York, right? You know, something that New York voters voted on for reasons only they know, and which doesn’t concern us in any way…

    Far as I’m concerned, I don’t see “news” like that, because it’s protected by a Somebody Else’s Problem field. Just to continue the Adams references on this, the day after Towel Day. This is kind of like Towel Boxing Day or something…

  23. bud

    Brad, as usual, is completely wrong about this. The NY26 race is extremely important to everyone in the USA. The only debate is the extent of the ramifications. Besides Brad doesn’t live in the city of Columbia so why is the Benjamin trip to Europe important? Just asking.

  24. SusanG

    I would think a Lexington Republican would applaud the leaf rakers — they get up early on a Saturday, go out and try and work for some extra money. What’s wrong with that?

  25. Mark Stewart


    Calling a congressional district that stretches between the suburbs of Buffalo and Rochester “extremely important to everyone in the USA” is a bit much. Have you been to that area?

  26. Steven Davis

    SusanG – Where did I say they came on a Saturday morning?

    Besides, the job they do… which is one man with one rake will rake your entire 1/4 acre yard (average size in Shandon) in about 10 minutes for $20. And guess what… you get what you pay for.

    I don’t have a problem with someone going out and looking for work, I do when I know it’s a scam to rip people off… and especially on a Sunday morning just after sunrise.

  27. bud

    Mark the importance of the election is what it shows about the mindset of the American electorate. It’s also one vote less for the extremist GOP agenda. It could just be a one-time fluke. Does this represent a sea-change in American politics? Could be. And that’s what makes the results so important.

  28. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    @ Mark Stewart–my family are all from there–it’s very beautiful, but you’re right, not influential!

    @ Steven Davis–I have stuck around and worked with the city and we have not had a problem on my block with party-hearty students for many years now–you just get active and do it. The city people do great things if you treat them like the professionals they are.

    As far as leaving things out–I put things that are too good to throw in the trash and not worth much to even Goodwill out on the curb and the gleaners get them. Seems like a good thing to me….

  29. Mark Stewart


    It’s always risky to draw inferences from a statistical pool of one. But yes, it probably will take a real nationwide upset for the GOP to realize the path away from centrism is not the road to the future.

  30. Brad

    That election does NOT tell us anything “about the mindset of the American electorate.” It tells us which of the offered candidates a majority of the voters who turned out to vote in that district on that day preferred. It doesn’t tell us WHY they preferred them, which in any case would be (one hopes) a complicated set of reasons causing each individual voter to like or dislike this or that candidate. You could probably spend the rest of your life delving into why one voter cast one vote, and still never reach absolute certainty. To draw simple, broad conclusions about WHY a majority of a specifica set of voters voted as they did is a slippery thing. And if I felt I knew that electorate well enough to do such a thing (which I might try to do with a population I knew well), I certainly would not extrapolate from that set of rickety conclusions and assert that I now know something about they entire U.S. electorate…

    Do you see what I’m saying?

  31. SusanG

    @Steven — Sunday must be their Shandon day. In my neighborhood near Richland Mall, it’s Saturday.

    I think maybe they were a gift from God, to allow you to spend your early Sunday morning figuring out how Jesus would respond to a poor guy with a rake at his front door.

  32. Ralph Hightower

    This is the End of the World as some know it. Oprah Winfrey disappears from syndication.


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