There are two things I love, and they are opposites — those that delight by running counter to expectations and thereby undermining oversimple assumptions, and those that run SO true to stereotype that they reassure the harried mind that there is order in the world and it can be understood.
So I particularly enjoyed this, from The Wall Street Journal this morning:
A very socialist Christmas: Venezuela’s Maduro destroyed the currency. Now he’s after the toys. https://t.co/NpOiJLgv9V
— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJopinion) December 14, 2016
If you were trying to lampoon the WSJ‘s editorial proclivities, you couldn’t have come up with a better headline. You take the Journal‘s disdain for anything that smack of socialism, and you add a touch of Grinch: Not only do those socialists dishonor the holy marketplace, but they want to take the kids’ toys, too!
It’s so perfect, it’s satire.
But here’s what really makes it special — the whipped cream and cherry on top: The Journal is right! The words accurately describe something that’s happening! None of it’s made up. The Venezuelan government is actually confiscating (some) toys before they can get to the kids.
So I enjoyed that — while at the same time feeling bad for the kids, and for their parents, trying to cope with 470 percent inflation. Which is way worse than not being able to find a certain brand of toy, which, let’s face it, is to some extent more of a First World Problem.
I could have done without the standard libertarian reference to “other people’s money” at the end, but that will probably delight Doug, so… something for everybody. Merry Christmas, Doug!
I’m trying to think of a perfect example of the stereotype-busting things that delight me. Of course, y’all know that I love it when partisans bust out of their narrow confines and do something for the greater good. For instance, all those Republican foreign policy experts who came out against Trump.
But those aren’t perfect examples. A perfect example would be one that I love PURELY for the unexpectedness of it, and the mind-expanding possibilities it awakens.
It’s easier, offhand, to think of the things that delight because they’re just what I expected.
The ultimate example that comes to mind, for me, was when we arrived in England back around this time of year in 2010, and we were riding the Tube in from Heathrow, on a stretch that was above ground… and the streets and their rowhouses were EXACTLY what I had always expected to see, a landscape out of a Monty Python skit. All my life I’d wanted to visit England, and my first glances out the window assured me that that was exactly where I was…
I hear that “now he’s after the toys” done in that sleazy movie trailer male voice-over (the one that sounds like Will Arnett)
“In a world…”
That was an awesome film!
I’m probably alone, but I really don’t care what happens in Venezuela. I tend not to worry about neighbors when there’s a problem within my house. Once that’s straightened out then I”ll take time out to worry about my neighbors.
Well, when the house next door burns down and takes out a major chunk of your, as happened in my neighborhood, well…
I think it’s always wise to take at least a passing interest in one’s neighbors, so if for no other reason, we can be a positive influence on them in ways that advance our best interests…which would be stability in the region and freedom for the people of Venezuela.
It would be a good idea to keep a close eye on Venezuela because of the WSJ article that under normal circumstances would sound like a spoof. When a dictator has no idea of what he is doing and the country is on the brink of total collapse, the chances that he may start a regional war grow as each day of the crisis passes. He may start one to justify his draconian iron grip on the nation or he may militarize the nation to keep the unrest quelled by use of force and violence. Then the borders will be overrun by refugees fleeing from his attempt to hold onto power. And guess where the refugees will try to flee to and it “ain’t” Mexico.
If he decides to start a regional war, you can bet it will spread further than expected and if one takes it to the extreme possibility of war, it could eventually involve us. After all, we don’t know what Trump would do if that potential raised its ugly head. A man who dismisses daily briefings because they are “repetitive” is not someone I trust with the largest and most powerful military in the world. Yes, we still are and we still possess the capability of destroying most of the known civilizations of this planet in a few short hours. If one is so damn stupid to believe he is too smart to be involved in daily briefings, that man is very dangerous. Enough said.
So yes, we should keep an eye on him. I certainly kept an eye on a former neighbor after he burned my back yard and the fire almost got our home. He was careless and threw hot ashes into the yard and the dry grass caught on fire.
Personally, I don’t need the neighbor’s house on fire to express my concern. I just actually DO care what’s going on in Latin America. And for most of my life, I’ve been really concerned about the fact that most people in this country do not.
I was destined to have this attitude after I spent 2.5 years — the longest time I lived in any one place growing up — in Ecuador. To me, Latin America is an actual place with actual people in it. And that was the last time I remember an American administration caring much about the rest of the hemisphere.
In this country, you have to read British media to find out what’s happening in our own neighborhood. This WSJ editorial, and Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s column — are about all we have…
NPR covers a lot….
I don’t think you got the point about my neighbor setting the grass on fire in my yard that could have burned our house down. The point is that if your neighbor does something foolish and potentially dangerous in the neighborhood, especially if your house is endangered, then you do need to be concerned and keep an eye on what your neighbor does afterwards. This is what we need to do with Venezuela and Latin America in general. Considering the fact that Maduro has done as much if not more damage than his predecessor, Chavez, his actions were most worthy of careful and close scrutiny. Who knows, he may set a grass fire that could spread to his neighboring countries and then what? By not paying enough attention to South America, the Chinese have stepped in and are fulfilling the role the US should be playing. Apparently a similar scenario is playing out in the Philippines and we are being told to abandon our base and remove our troops that leads to the question, who is next?
It was an analogy about neighbors, nothing more. If we don’t keep an eye on potentially dangerous neighbors, whether next door in our own neighborhoods or in South America, shame on us. For instance, we allowed Cuba to export terrorism and insurgent assistance to many South American countries and we are paying for it now. Cuba sent insurgent assistance to Africa – Angola, North Africa, Congo, & Ethiopia so Cuba didn’t restrict activities to its own “neighborhood”.