Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two and a Half Men

Chapter 8 -- Two and a Half Men    p.195


Personally, I recall that I had been a fan of Two and a Half Men, but I always cringed somewhat with the concept of a show about a household where a child was being brought up without much supervision and the complete lack of parental discretion that was being exercised.  In Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen’s character was uncle to the youngster involved and he was a forty year-old alcoholic, womanizer who floated through life yet received all the rewards that society at the time could offer.  He had a beach front house in Malibu, beautiful women, nice cars, essentially the ability to be totally selfish in his actions.  His brother was considered an amusing sidekick who was divorced, broke and generally just a bit of a square.  He usually tried to do the right thing by his son, but was ostracized by his brother for being such a loser.  The son grew up on TV to be portrayed essentially as someone with no intelligence and no prospects for the future.

Upon a personal collapse by Charlie Sheen, Ashton Kutcher was put into the role.  He was a youthful internet billionaire who had the mind and social awareness of a teenager.  The son at this point was relegated to making bathroom humor and being a dopey young adult who smoked a lot of pot.  The producers of the show, at this time, chose that the father’s character should become somewhat mentally unstable and had him in and out of stressful conditions until the show went off the air in 2015.  The show tried many tactics to keep up viewers and resorted to the bottom of the barrel, I thought, when they introduced lesbian grandmothers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

excerpt from chapter 9 - female sexuality in the media

Chapter 9 - pages 204-205


What I had a severe disagreement with in 2012, was that sexuality had become the dominant cultural attribute that women have in the world in order to live their life and to achieve what they want.  This very much is the result of media influence and the resultant obsession with female appearance as the defining characteristic of a woman’s value.  This to me was abhorrent.  Too many girls were content with just being recognized for being attractive or sexual, and used this as their sole criteria for their position in the world.  Before continuing, let me take a moment to point out that I am not above admiring a beautiful woman and I ended up marrying one of the most beautiful, but in Natalie’s case, there was an abundance of other attributes that affirmed the original attraction and the fact that we were in love was predicated on many other aspects of her talent, intelligence, character and personality. 

I distinctly remember that I was at a coffee shop in Seattle back around 2002, and there was a magazine rack.  While I waiting for my coffee, I was looking at the magazine covers and I noticed one magazine specifically called “Complete Woman.”  I smiled to myself as I read the content headlines on the cover of the magazine.  They comprised two articles on satisfying their men in bed, two on hair and make-up tips, one on losing their winter weight and one on fashions for spring.  I remember openly chuckling to myself that the magazine was called “Complete Woman.”  Even Cosmopolitan magazine didn’t simplify women to this standard of being just attractive and a sexual object for men’s benefit.  It turned out, however, that this was exactly what was happening and girls were being influenced into adopting this self-image.

I started asking myself what was behind all this at the time and I came to realize that it was the Mom’s who were encouraging this notion and allowing their daughters to focus on their female sexuality as the core of their femininity.  This contention goes back to the notion I referred to earlier, as an entire generation of girls had been raised with the influence of Madonna in the 1980s and embraced the desire to be sexual.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

excerpt for Chapter 2 - election results

excerpt from Chapter 2 page 37


Henderson West was elected with 55.1% of the popular vote and received the highest number of individual votes ever in the history of presidential elections in the USA. That 55.1% of the popular vote represented over eighty million American citizens. This represented a tremendous mandate and an over-whelming personal vote of confidence from the American electorate.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

excerpt from Chapter 2 - STAND UP AMERICA election campaign

excerpt from Chapter 2 - page 33


The circumstance that I chose to be positive throughout my communications with the American public touched a lot of positive nerves as well.  As mentioned previously, by 2012 many people had been hurt by the recession and were extremely disillusioned and lacking a bit of faith in the American system.  My goal was to restore faith and confidence not only in America but in themselves.  Hence my election platform became STAND UP AMERICA.

STAND UP AMERICA became a rallying cry through the latter part of 2012 as a spirit of renewal took hold.   We as individuals have all been down at one time or another and the measure of any person’s strength is the ability to get going again.  This is the same for a nation, especially one as great as the USA.  The spirit of “standing up” for one’s own situation and then being responsible for improving ones personal state of affairs fuelled a culture of success and hard work that lead to a much more positive attitude within our borders and lead to an almost immediate recovery.

One of the difficulties we have as Americans is the ability to admit that maybe we make mistakes or that we can occasionally let ourselves down.  I’ve mentioned numerous times that we were embracing a culture of blaming others for what has happened in our individual lives but for most Americans to admit that they were wrong is just ludicrous.  Well, what I recognized and shared was that we had created our own mess through a very out-dated governmental model that was no longer relevant in the twenty-first century, a business culture that celebrated profit as the only reason for being and a citizen base that had lost its collective American spirit.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

excerpt from Chapter 10 - foreign relations

Chapter 10 - pps. 230-231


One of my key tenets of being an American is that we as Americans are the thought leaders for the modern world.  We can use this leadership to take the actions and create the strategy and platform to deliver a world in which everyone has the ability to exist in a peaceful manner and to pursue their own life objectives.  That is, if we choose to be tolerant of other systems.  Whether they be managing a farm for the state, creating the biggest company ever known to man or pursuing the word of Allah.  All to me are valuable contributions to society and should be acknowledged and respected.

In order to be a thoughtful leader for the world, however, you have to have respect for the views of others, rather than hold an overt contempt for how the rest of the world lives.  Think about it this way, how often in your life have you as an individual done something because someone forced you too?  Probably not too often, or if you did end up doing it you did it begrudgingly, the results were likely not as good as they could have been.  I always found that if you could get people to do things because they wanted to contribute and feel that they mattered, then the results will be substantially better and result in dramatic successes and exponential improvement for whatever area you are focusing on.  Once you have people motivated for success and working to the best of their abilities, then you can propose new thoughts and methodologies and philosophies to attain even higher goals.

Now, with all that being said, quite often it is advantageous for your counter-parts to know you are serious about your capabilities and your desires.  This does not mean strong-armed approaches to negotiations and conflict resolution, but rather that the inherent knowledge should be that your opponent is truly aware of your objectives.  This all sounds like threatening behavior but utilized correctly it is not.  Being number one gives you a distinct advantage.  No one ever said that everything had to have an equal result, rather just an amicable one, and one that everyone can walk away from with some level of positivity and know their role.

Following the financial collapse of Greece and the attempts by the EU to save it, Greece’s internal politics became a shambles and its people were crushed in spirit.  Greeks had been quite used to prosperity and what I will call a “relaxed work ethic” coupled with extremely generous social policies.  When the Greek government could no longer afford to keep up the social policies for the nation, there was nothing to fall back on, and the bottom fell out of the economy.  Even at the end, and with generous offers from Germany and the EU, sadly there was an unwillingness on the part of the Greek population to accept much in the way of austerity measures.  Therefore, Greece declared bankruptcy at the end of 2013.

With nowhere left to turn, the monarchy of Saudi Arabia arrived with the offer of billions in support.  In exchange, they asked for a prominent seat within the future government of Greece.  This in and of itself was not necessarily such a horrific thing on its own, but what was most troubling for people was that the Saudi’s were offering a direct cash payment and jobs to individual citizens if they converted to Islam.