Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Ghost of Christmas Past

My mother had an annual Christmas tradition where she would take each of her four children with her on a shopping expedition to downtown Pittsburgh.  This was treasured alone time with my mom.  We'd take the street car to town and look at the holiday window displays at Kaufmann's, Gimbel's, and Horne's department stores.  The tradition also included lunch at a coffee shop (I can't remember the name) where they toasted the hamburger bun - a gourmet touch to my young palate, since for our family buns themselves were a splurge.  Our hamburgers at home were served on sliced bread.
On one such expedition, when I was about four or five, my mom helped me pick out my gift for my father - handkerchiefs.  When we got home I quickly ran to my dad, jumped in his lap and with childhood excitement told him I'd chosen his gift.  Teasingly, I said to him "I won't tell you what it is but you can blow your nose in it!". 
You know, he never was able to decipher my hint and he was really surprised on Christmas morning.


Duck Hunting

I've never seen the show Duck Dynasty so I speak as an observer, not as a fan or combatant.  Since I live in a country where free speech is still allowed, here are some of my random thoughts on the topic:
  1. We live in a country where free speech is a right protected by the Constitution.
  2. Phil Robertson has the right to express his opinion.
  3. We live in a country where freedom of the press and other media is protected by the Constitution
  4. GQ magazine has the right to publish Phil Robertson's comments.
  5. A&E has the right to set their programming schedule or discipline, hire and fire whomever they want, within contractual or regulatory requirements.
  6. Citizens and residents of our country have these same rights to express their opinions on Phil Robertson, A&E or whatever.
  7. With every right comes a corresponding responsibility.  In this case one of the responsibilities is to respect others' rights and to express opinions in a manner showing consideration of others' rights in a mature manner.
  8. Duck Dynasty is a reality show, with "reality" defined by the producers, directors, editors and network.  A&E did not like Phil Robertson's "reality" so they're trying to change it to suit their business needs.
  9. A&E is owned by The Hearst Corporation and Disney, who's job it is is to make money for their shareholders.  Entertainment is a means to an end. Own any Hearst or Disney stock?
  10. Are you willing to forego a trip to Disney to support Phil Robertson?  Are you willing to subscribe to Hearst publications or watch other A&E programs to support A&E?  Put your money where your mouth (or keyboard) is.
  11. Is A&E's beef with Phil Robertson about his opinions or that these opinions were expressed in a GQ interview, which is owned by Conde Nast, and not a Hearst Corporation publication?