Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Consider the Source

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday in memory of the great civil rights leader who was assassinated on April 4, 1968. At the time, King was in Memphis supporting the garbage workers strike. On April 3rd he delivered an address at Mason Temple, and on the next evening he was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

The alleged weapon was a Remington Gamemaster, allegedly wielded by James Earl Ray from a hiding spot in a building across the street.

Captain’s Note: I say “allegedly” because Ray initially pled guilty, then recanted. Later he was advised to plead guilty by his attorney in order to avoid a jury trial and the possibility of the death sentence. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison, and he fought the rest of his life to withdraw his guilty plea and secure a trial. Rumors of conspiracy continue to swirl.

This weekend also happened to be opening weekend of the new Clint Eastwood-directed film, “American Sniper”, based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, the most successful sniper in U.S. military history. The movie has already earned more than $100 million at the box office.

Suddenly, the two stories seemed to converge, thanks to Michael Moore – director, producer, writer, and liberal political activist. On Sunday Moore posted the following on Twitter:

An uproar ensued. “Deadline Hollywood” and “Hollywood Reporter” took this “tweet” and reported that Moore said he didn’t like Clint Eastwood’s movie and disrespected Chris Kyle. The public was outraged by what the news media reported. Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and even Rob Lowe weighed in, adding fuel to Moore’s public lynching.

The controversy almost broke the internet!

By the way, Rob Lowe has offended the International Paruresis Association for his “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe” commercial.

Michael Moore followed up on Facebook Monday with an explanation. He claims his comment was referring to the King assassination, not the sniper movie. He points to the fact that he never mentioned the movie or Clint Eastwood in his tweet.

Moore explained that his uncle was an Army paratrooper who was killed by a Japanese sniper 70 years ago. His father, a Marine stationed in the South Pacific in WWII, always held a low opinion of enemy snipers as a result.

“My dad always said, ‘Snipers are cowards. They don't believe in a fair fight. Like someone coming up from behind you and coldcocking you. Just isn't right. It's cowardly to shoot a person in the back. Only a coward will shoot someone who can't shoot back.’"

This, by the way, is why the Captain prefers fighting with a sword: you have to face your enemy and look him in the eye.

But the kerfuffle didn’t end there. On Sunday, actor Seth Rogen also took to Twitter to actually comment on the movie:

The scene he referenced was a fake Nazi propaganda film within the film about a sniper.

Again, the internet exploded.

Keep in mind this is the same Seth Rogen who was partially responsible for “The Interview”. 

Rogen defended himself:

Would it matter to anyone that even Chris Kyle, before his untimely death, also criticized Hollywood’s version of war? Speaking to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Kyle said, “Hollywood fantasizes about it and makes it look good. It… war sucks.”

But this post isn’t about celebrities or Chris Kyle or “American Sniper” – which the Captain has no plans to see.

This post is about all those people who get their panties in a wad over a comment someone has made. 

Frankly, judging by how often some people are offended and feel the need to mouth off, the Captain wonders if they shouldn’t just go buy some new underwear that doesn’t bunch up and get twisted so much!

Seriously, does anyone really care what Michael Moore thinks… about anything? Or Seth Rogen? Or even the Captain for that matter?

These people are not world leaders or even national policy makers. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone whose opinion was ever swayed by a tweet!

As for the Palins and Gingriches, these are political has-beens who once tasted the magical power of being in the spotlight for a brief moment in history and will now offer up faux rage at just about anything in order to pander to their constituents and keep their names in the media.

Yes, that dreaded liberal media!

But we’re finding more and more that the American public has become a thin-skinned lot, taking offense at every little thing. The best I can remember, it started when then-President H.W. Bush announced that he didn’t like broccoli.

Oh. My. God! The world is coming to an end!

No. It’s. Not!

But public outrage has only grown worse since then, as the average American now has many more venues by which to publicly express their anger – like Facebook... and Twitter... and... Blogspot....


Yes, I am offended that so many people are getting offended these days! In a land that supposedly cherished the First Amendment –

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”

– we sure don’t like it when a citizen exercises that right!

But here is an important word of wisdom the Commodore ingrained in me as a child. If someone ever said something that hurt my feelings, he would simply say, “Consider the source.”