Happy New Year everyone!
It's been no secret that there are some things that escape my understanding. As we leave 2010 and cross into 2011, I'm happy to say that stupidity and complete ridiculousness (It's a word, because I just made it up!) still remain. Geez, you mean we didn't stamp out stupid? You'd think by now, we'd have no more stupid! Of course, we were promised flying cars, too.
As writers, we've all gotten rejection letters or contest comments regarding logic. "This character would NEVER do something like this in real life.
Anyway, I'm tracking the following issues, and looking at these issues from a writer's standpoint, I'm wondering just when common sense and actual logic will take over. So I have to disagree with the great Dorothy Parker once said, "What Fresh Hell is this?" I think there is no new fresh hell. There's only the same series of stupid events that lead to the same end. Insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Insanity has no logic. There is a lot of insanity in this world. And therefore, as a writer, I have to argue that my story shouldn't have to involve logic because, as my following points will prove, there is no logic in real life.
1) Co-sleeping deaths in Milwaukee.
For those of you not familiar, this fresh hell sort of came into our collective consciousness a couple of years ago when babies started dying because they were being smothered under the bodies of their sleeping parents. The distraught parents defended themselves saying it was a "Co-sleeping" accident. Well, another baby just died in Milwaukee this week and I have to ask the question, "When does a cultural activity become a crime? How about when people start DYING?" How many babies have to die before the authorities start treating this as less of an accident?
I think this falls along the lines of drunken driving. Honestly, there's enough information out there, that anyone who drives under the influence really should be charged with attempted murder because, let's face it folks, we all know that driving drunk can end in a fatality.
Which brings me to point #2
2) Murder by booze and car
This past week there were two stories that broke my heart, both involving alcohol and cars.
The first was a gent with 4, yes 4 OWI convictions hitting an elderly couple while again under the influence. This couple was out for a walk on a clear winter evening and POW, the driver ran them over. But that's not the end of the story...nope, this guy stopped, got out of his car, dragged the couple into the ditch and then drove away. Now, this could have been avoided had we maybe, oh, I don't know, PUT HIM IN JAIL or something after, let's say, his THIRD OWI conviction.
Wisconsin is a drunken state, and Milwaukee is the drunkest city in the nation. Whoo hoo, folks. But seriously, how many times do we have to hear about people with multiple OWI convictions driving around killing people before we get serious about punishing drunk drivers? From a writer's viewpoint...there is no logic if this activity isn't stopped.
Which brings me to a sub point, let's call it 2a: The other murder by booze and car in Milwaukee. A young mother was killed last week when a gent decided that guzzling a 12 pack while driving the wrong way down the interstate was a good plan. (Add litterbug to his list of crimes if you want...he tossed the cans out his car window.) Now, not only was this guy completely hammered out of his head, and he was driving the wrong way down the interstate, and he was littering...but...wait for it...HE WAS IN THIS COUNTRY ILLEGALLY! Last year in Wisconsin we had at least three deaths, and this would make a fourth, perpetrated by folks who were here illegally. I'm not saying everyone who is here illegally is a criminal...(although when your personal description involves the word ILLEGAL, doesn't that sort of put you in the category of people who break laws?) but I am saying that if our immigration laws weren't so convoluted so that people could actually immigrate here legally without the gigantic fees or horrifying red tape, or if the laws we had were enforced, maybe, just maybe, this young mother would still be alive.
We can't stop every drunk from getting behind the wheel, but we sure can stop the ones we already know drive drunk and we sure can stop the ones who aren't even supposed to be driving on our roads!
Writers, you know if you put this in a book, you'd get that happy little, "This would never happen" comment from the agent or editor.
Another bit of fresh hell, I'll call it
3) Making a lot of noise about stuff that really shouldn't matter because it doesn't affect you personally so we should just shut up already and let those who it does affect handle it!
I'm not a terribly political person, but I have some strong feelings about a few things, and you don't to agree with me on all my points, but you to agree that the amount of noise made about these issues is illogical.
1) Gays in the Military
Anyone who wants to pick up a weapon and go defend their country should be allowed to do so without worrying about what people are going to think about them. That said, why is Congress spending a lot of time on this issue? Shouldn't the military get to decide who and what policies they institute regarding soldiers and sailors? Why are the 24 hour talking heads on the news channels wailing on one side of this question or the other? This is a military question, for the military to decide what's best for them. Right? RIGHT?
2) While we're on the topic: Gay marriage
My personal feelings about the whole gay experience aside, I believe in civil unions for gay couples. Civil unions are a legal standing. Marriage is a religious issue. In the true spirit of keeping the government out of religion, shouldn't individual churches decide who they do and don't marry? So leave religion to churches and legal standing to the state and maybe them everyone can just shut UP already about it. It seems to me that we're wasting a lot of time and energy (CONGRESS!) on an issue that is really very simple to handle, and frankly shouldn't offend anyone. Honestly, we're in a society that accepts the gay lifestyle already, and we're a society that separates church and state...so where's the big shouting match?
3) The endless campaigning of our elected officials.
What's more important...getting elected or doing the job you got elected to do? If you take a look at our elected officials, you might thing it's all about getting reelected, and you would be right. It makes no sense to me that we send "public servants" to go "represent" us...and they spend more time raising money to get reelected so they can spend more time NOT doing what we elected them to do in the first place. Presidents have term limits. so should Senators and Representatives. Maybe then, MAYBE THEN they'll take at least a few minutes a day and try to focus on the job they're supposed to do.
4) Political programming preempting prime time programming.
When I was a kid we had three channels and if the President had a message, he got on those three channels and spoke. But now we have multiple 24 how dedicated news stations. So can someone explain to me why "CSI" and "Survivor" still gets preempted every time the President wants to yak? Oh, but Sarah, you say, not everyone has cable TV and therefore not everyone is able to hear the President speak if he only speaks on the cable news channels.
Yeah, okay, and I argue that those who are interested in hearing a speech from the president will actually have cable so they can watch the speeches, you know, on one of the NEWS NETWORKS.
Finally, and really this is the point that sort of sums up all the points above:
4) The need to make MORE LAWS instead of enforcing the ones we have.
I know this is sort of a job security thing for the Legislative branch of government. They are the law makers, they have to make laws. But seriously...MORE gun laws aren't going to keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys. MORE laws regarding ANYTHING isn't going to keep bad guys from breaking laws. My 17 year old kid gets that and he spends most of his time going to concerts and banging around in mosh pits! More laws just means more lawbreakers, and more money to enforce more laws. How about if we spent a little time sorting through the laws we already have and maybe just enforcing them?
Oh, I know, then what reason would we have for paying an entire layer of government employees?
There would be no logic in that...