Annie, the Aussie, has been reunited with her original owner, Chuck Hoage. But what should have been a Happy-Ending Story, has ended with an unpleasant taste left in a lot of mouths.
Yesterday, the Tribune ran a story saying the adoptive owners had agreed to return Annie, but instead of a gracious explanation, perhaps some justification for not quickly making this mistake right, the excerpts from a letter supposedly written by the folks who adopted Annie was filled with anger, fear, accusations and grudging resentment. No high road there, just the anger-filled response from someone who perhaps, deep down, knows they’ve not done the right thing, weren’t going to do the right thing, but who were finally forced to do the right thing and are ticked off about it.
And Bob Cuddy, who kicked off this brouhaha in the first place, wrote another blaming column, turning his focus on the various people who organized to hold rallies, write letters to the editor, including radio talk-show host, Dave Congalton, who offered a very public venue to rally the troops. But while pointing fingers and urging everyone who responded to this story to go look in the mirror as some people took this issue to the dark side with nasty, threatening anonymous blog comments and allegations of threatening phone calls to the adoptive family, Cuddy failed to note that his own paper was instrumental in not only keeping this story alive, but when it stated to naturally die down, goosing it up again and again. After all, Annie sold papers.
But Cuddy’s last column was right about what can happen when what should have been a Happy Ending Story turned into something far darker. But therein lay the one key thing that made Annie’s story so long lasting and interesting. Like a tooth ache, from the start, this story went wrong and that wrongness is what got people riled up.
Humans have a very finely tuned sense of justice and fairness. It’s inherent in us. And, apparently, it’s inherent in dogs as well. There was an interesting experiment done on dogs that indicated that even dogs have a sense of justice and fairness. Trick a dog unfairly and pretty soon he figures out he’s being unjustly treated and he’ll respond by not cooperating any more with the experiment.
And it was that sense of unfairness that bothered so many people. This wasn’t a tale of evil and good. It was a story of a series of mistakes that had been made and an opportunity to make it right. But that didn’t happen. And the public was never given a reason why.
And it was that silence which helped drive and escalate the increasing outrage, the anger, the frustration, the community disapproval and pressure (threats). The public read into that silence a Bleep You and All The Horses You Rode In On defiance followed by images of cheats getting away with something, thieves stealing another man’s property, heartless kidnappers, evildoers! All of which needed community outrage and increasing pressure to bring the scofflaws to heel in order to restore that sense of broken justice.
And when the denouement came, it was graceless “Here’s your damned dog back. And we’re only giving her back because you’re all a lynch mob and we fear for our lives, so F-you all!”
No, no grace notes there. No Happy-Story ending. No winners. Just rough justice that remains . . . rough.
And leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Just How Stupid Are We, Anyway?
The cover of the September 6 Newsweek says it all. In huge type it says, “The Making of a Terrorist-Coddling Warmongering Wall Street-Loving Socialistic Godless Muslim President,” then in fine print and asterisk and “who isn’t actually any of these things,” just to make sure the reader gets the joke.
And there, in that cover, is the perfect example of why we are in such a mess.
In the good old days, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were actual editors on newspapers, and TV and radio stations had to abide by rules of the Fairness Doctrine and had to offer actual public service in order to justify their using the public airways.
These folks and those policies helped make sure that batshit crazy lies promulgated by looney-tune fringe groups stayed where they belonged – at the non-credible fringe.
That all went away with the wind with the changes in the telecommunications acts (written in the back room by special interests), cable TV, Faux News, and the internet. Now, the Noise Machine brings the batshit crazy lies into the mainstream where they are plunked right down into the mainstream media and given equal weight with actual facts. While “reporters” never bother to expose the lies as lies but instead treat them as valid segments in the corrupted On the One Hand / On The Other Hand style that passes for reportage nowadays.
And we wonder why Americans are so poorly informed and believe so many false things? In the same issue, Newsweek’s poll shows that 24% of the respondents think Obama is a Muslim. 24% don’t know. 24% think it’s “probably true” that Obama “sympathizes with the goals of fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.”
Really? Are 24% of our fellow citizens really that stupid? Poorly informed? Really?
Of course, who can blame some of them when we have Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell saying “The President says he’s a Christian. I take him at his word.” Wink-nudge, “says,” heh-heh,wink-nudge, are you still beating your wife?
All this for political/corporate advantage. All this to the detriment of the Country. All being done by scoundrels supported by uniformed fools.
None of which bodes well for this country. So, just how stupid are we?