Headlines: Popping Balloons

Headlines I have read over the past several hours….

NFL World Reacts To What Donald Trump Said About Rihanna.

Well, I know there are three extremely popular entities in that exciting headline, none of which any of us would ever have heard of if we lived in a semi-rational universe. And as completely uninteresting and irrelevant as is whatever Rihanna does, or whatever Donald Trump said about Rihanna, less interesting still may be what “NFL World” has to say about Trump in reaction to what he said about Rihanna. This is the sort of inanity that passes for news these days, when for God’s sake our skies are virtually raining Chinese balloons and alien Volkswagens and who knows what all else, objects most of us had never even heard of before last week, although we had certainly heard — heard ourselves to death, in fact — about Rihanna, Donald Trump, and “NFL World.”

In other big sports news:

‘Make fascism look benign’: AOC and others blast right-wing ‘redeem Jesus’ Super Bowl ad campaign.

A wealthy Christian group — a group of wealthy Christians? — has dared to go at least two places where Jesus most certainly would not go, namely to the Super Bowl and the realm of television advertising, paying for advertisements promoting Christianity with the slogan, “He gets us.” In response to this homespun and somewhat trivial message (of course He gets you; the only question that matters is whether you get Him), “AOC and others” — it’s apparently important to know that Congressperson Ocasio-Cortez was not the only person dumb enough to make something out of this — jumped onto social media to declare, as AOC (and to some degree, perhaps, “others”) put it, “Something tells me Jesus would *not* spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign.”

I have to confess that my first thought, upon reading that tweet from the woman who made American socialism sexy again, fifty years after her predecessor Bernardine Dohrn praised the stabbing murders of “capitalist pigs” by the Charles Manson cult and conspired to foment a race war in America which would culminate in the communist overthrow of the U.S. government…but I digress. I merely wish to say that my first thought upon reading AOC’s tweet was that it’s interesting that she says “something tells me” about what Jesus would or would not do. I wonder what that “something” is, and how it speaks to her. (I have a guess in mind, and just for the record its name doesn’t begin with a G.)

My second thought, following hard on that first one, was that of course she is right: Jesus would not spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads to make fascism look benign. I frankly doubt He would spend money on ads for any purpose. But as far as I know, and I admit I am no expert on these Christian ads aired during the Super Bowl, the people who paid for them were not claiming to be Jesus. I infer this from their slogan, “He gets us.” If they had been pretending to be Jesus, or to be paying for these ads on behalf of Jesus, wouldn’t their slogan have been, “I get them”? So everyone, on the left and right, seems to be in agreement here: Jesus would not, and did not, spend millions of dollars on television advertising.

So AOC’s point (not to mention the related points of “others”) is true, but trivially so. No one was claiming that Jesus would pay for ads promoting fascism, or even claiming that Jesus had paid for any advertisements at all. So what?

As for the “making fascism benign” part of the critique, I suppose AOC and others are referring to the fact, as noted in the article linked above, and attributed to a spokesperson for the Popular Front of Judea (if memory serves), that the group funding these ads “is also helping finance the lawsuit seeking to ban abortion medication nationwide.” In other words, they believe abortion is immoral and should be illegal, just as do tens of millions of normal Americans, and hundreds of millions more around the globe. In addition, this very same group supports legal action defending the constitutionally protected rights to freedom of religion and speech in the case of business owners who do not wish, for example, to make wedding cakes for homosexual couples. Good God, they’re just like Hitler!

A song referred to, quaintly, as “the Black national anthem” (is Black a nation?) was performed before the Super Bowl, along with the U.S. national anthem. The implication is obvious: Black people are somehow not represented by the actual “Star Spangled Banner,” and therefore, in the name of racial justice, they must have their own anthem performed as well, lest this event be perceived as racially exclusive, i.e., a strictly white football game. Now there’s a great way to overcome prejudice and foster national unity.

Did I mention Bernardine Dohrn earlier? 

Meanwhile, as all this great Super Bowl action was unfolding, balloons and Volkswagens and cylinders and polyhedrons and things with strings dangling from them were being shot down all over the place. Making up for lost time, apparently. No one knew these things were flying or floating all around North America and the world until some private citizens noticed one from the windows of a passenger jet, and from the ground, as it floated over the farms of Montana. The reason only civilians could see these things, as we are now told, is that the military radar filters were not set to pick them up.

Really? Some of these objects, we are also told, were shot down because they were flying in commercial airspace, and therefore endangering ordinary air traffic; but the people whose job is to monitor the skies for evidence of hostile interlopers and intruders of all types were deliberately filtering out radar signals from that altitude? Fantastic.

No wonder the U.S. military is rife with peabrains who can’t tell the difference between a bird and an alien spacecraft, or between a jerky camera movement and a physics-defying aerial maneuver, and who wet their pants imagining that a collection of nearby weather balloons on the radar is a fleet of extraterrestrial attack pods.

Anyway, since we are all in full shoot-down mode now, I would like it to be known that I, even here in Korea, am prepared to make my contribution to the collective effort to stave off the evil Chinese aliens before they find out all the stuff you used to have to go on Google Maps to learn. Why, just today, I successfully downed a suspicious object floating over the university campus where I work, no doubt here to learn about the mechatronics research being done a couple of buildings over from mine. After suiting up in protective gear and contacting the local and national authorities, I approached the object gingerly, just close enough to get one reasonably clear photo for the history books.

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