• Sunday Essay #7: Reprise: Trump the Magic Dragon

    • Posted on Jan 14, 2018

    Can’t resist reposting this—one year ago today, on the occasion of the inauguration. Still worth singing, though still waiting for little Mikey Pencey to abandon Trump. 

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    1-14-17
    Herewith: my contribution to the inauguration. Thanks to Peter Yarrow for the original. For best effect, sing.

    Anyone wants to improve or add verses, go for it.

    Trump the Magic Dragon

    (Chorus) Trump the magic dragon, lived by the sea
    And frolicked with his toady friends in a tower for all to see
    Little Mikey Pencey loved that rascal Trump
    And gave him praise and flattery and other fancy stuff.

    1. Together they would travel on a yacht with billowed sail
    Mikey kept a lookout perched on Trump’s gigantic tail
    Diplomats and suckups would bow whene’er they came, 
    Russian ships would lower their flags when Trump roared out his name.

    2. Trump he lives forever, but not so little Veeps 
    Fakey wings and phony things make way for other creeps.
    One grey night it happened, Mikey Pencey came no more, 
    And Trump that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

    3. His hair was bent in sorrow, his toadies fell like rain 
    Trump no longer went to play in Washington again
    Without his straight-man Pencey, Trump could not be brave, 
    So Trump that mighty dragon finally went back to his cave.

    (Chorus)

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Politics
    • satire
    • Predictions
    • Humor
  • Sunday Essay #6: Government as Source of Fake News

    • Posted on Jan 07, 2018

    Here's today's (1-7) Courier column, which also serves this week as Sunday Essay, #6.  Spielberg's latest film THE POST is due out this Friday, and it ties into the Vietnam War film, as well as our ongoing need for a free press, able to expose government lies.  

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=+

                Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's recent “The Vietnam War” documentary deserves a careful viewing for anyone interested in American culture and history.  Granted, that’s no small feat—it’s over seventeen grueling hours of America’s Vietnam war history.     

                 I’ll be helping discuss the film in a March public forum as well as an April adult ed course, so I’ve been re-watching it and reading the accompanying book.   Also I’m researching other sources, including Robert McNamara’s mea culpa book: “In Retrospect—the Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam.”  And pondering the film “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” about Daniel Ellsberg’s role in getting Vietnam war facts to the media.    

                I can hardly wait for “The Post,” Steven Spielberg’s new film, about the sharp conflict between the Washington Post and the Nixon administration over the publication of the classified Pentagon Vietnam study, dubbed “The Pentagon Papers.”

                It’s all been depressing and heartening in equal measure.  

                Consider:  The “Pentagon Papers” study was nothing more than an accurate, detailed history of the Vietnam war from the beginning, commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and researched by 36 analysts.  McNamara asked for an “encyclopedic” history of the war up to 1967, and he got it. 

                It should have been required reading for Americans earlier in the war. Its knowledge might have saved thousands of American and Vietnamese lives. 

                Yet it was classified “Top Secret,” and in 1971 the Nixon administration desperately and unsuccessfully tried to prevent its publication.  Daniel Ellsberg, the New York Times, and the Washington Post were threatened with severe legal penalties if they published it. In fact, the New York Times had already printed some of it before an injunction halted further publication. 

                The “Pentagon Papers” revealed that four presidents repeatedly lied about the war and America’s involvement in it.  They worried that factual truth would have made America and its leaders lose face. Their fear of Russian and Chinese communism kept driving them deeper into what was basically a Vietnamese civil war. We now know that the U.S. created a country--South Vietnam--in order to fight communism. 

                Our Defense Secretary at the time, Robert McNamara, played a major role, and he confesses that he got it wrong, as did Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.          

                In effect, our leaders fed the public fake news, which newspapers dutifully reported, thereby creating a country full of deceived believers.  Fake stories from the government inevitably led to false beliefs among the American public. 

                Sound familiar? 

                The only American institution that stood up against government lying was the mainstream media—large newspapers printing facts that might have saved us from a worse catastrophe. That’s the heartening part. 

                As Justice Hugo Black wrote for the Supreme Court, “Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people. . .”

                Put another way, the media is only fake when it prints government lies.  

                           

               

                

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Films
    • Movies
    • Hot Button Issues
    • Cedar Valley Chronicles
Cedar Valley Chronicles Photo

“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.

Categories

Contact Scott

Contact Scott Photo