SOME LEARN EARLY

Some late, some, maybe never. Some get only a few bumps, some get battered from birth. Some live a golden life and feel they were entitled to it, others are thankful every day for their gold. Some go so long with their world and their beliefs intact that it is a seismic shock when apodictic reality says forcefully, it ain’t that way, Jack. I know you were sure it was, but it ain’t.

I always say, you’ve got to expect surprises in life, some good, some difficult. Roll with the punches, go with the flow. No one should be judged on their circumstances or what happens to them in life (but many do — in LA you can be instantly judged by the car you drive, no more info needed) — only on how they react to it.

True, some bring about their fortunes, good or bad, through their own actions or inaction, but that’s reacting to your circumstances, isn’t it?

I got as behind on this column as I ever have. Went to sleep for a few hours, after writing and researching nothing, with the column due by noon, leaving myself with only one possible subject, the dire situation of our historic Church In Ocean Park, at odds with a bigoted mother church (UMC). I awoke at 4 to write and a few minutes later my phone pings. It is a message from my best friend’s girlfriend that she called 911 because he couldn’t walk or talk and then she couldn’t wake him. Pretty scary. But not much I could do then except wait hours for test results, sitting in a hospital waiting room. I will go as soon as I finish this. I spent a bit of time texting with her and assuring her she did the right thing.

Even though 62, he is extremely fit, eats well, bikes and swims and volleyballs and works out besides our frequent basketball duels, looks like he has  five percent body fat and is 10-15 years younger than he is. Much of his motivation, I know, in hooping so often with me is wanting to contribute to my health, after my double bypass six years ago. And now I am the worried one, about superman collapsing, with no health issues in the 25 years I’ve known him, except a serious injury. And then we played basketball days later, with his arm in a sling.

But circumstance, and my procrastination, have chained me to a keyboard for now. Bad timing. Hoping for a good result. (Late news flash: looks good.)

I KEPT TURNING THE TV

On and off Monday, fascinated by the reactions to Trump’s racist tweets about the four Congresswomen and his subsequent doubling- and tripling-down on them, and the press conference the four held, dignified but forceful.

I always force myself to tune into Faux “News” every once in a while to see how they react and remind myself that my CNNMSNBCPBSBBC world is alien territory for millions of Americans. In fact Fox, the station of Trump, under its leadership by the disgraced sexual predator Roger Ailes, and its large audience feeding at its trough, deserves a lot of responsibility for the ignorance and bias they intentionally fostered over decades, that feeds on reckless lies. (Ailes wrote a book he honestly titled “You Are the Message: Getting What You Want by Being Who You Are.” Was there a forward by D. Trump?)

Not to imply that Fox viewers are pigs at a trough — sheep also feed from a trough, and they are much less intelligent and more pliable than pigs.

Not to beat this issue into the ground — that’s what Trump always counts on, and fosters, distraction — but I have a couple of observations.

MEDIA GET A COLLECTIVE “D”

On their handling of Trump. I’m well aware it is a daunting task, one never faced before in the history of our White House, but they’ve fumbled it badly at nearly every opportunity. The media itself has bought into the lie, or at least extreme exaggeration,  of “liberal bias” that the right-wing has been pushing for decades, and have become paranoid and cowardly for it. Even if you could show that most media members held liberal views, professional journalists are aware of their biases and do everything possible to not let them affect their factual reporting. Many may scoff at that notion  but as a journalist of half a century, I can tell you it’s so. (Fox has only a handful of real journalists.)

Trump may not be very smart, or educated, or informed, but he is a genius at manipulation and grabbing the media spotlight, through whatever means necessary. He’s a con man who has pulled off the greatest con in history, and it seems like it finally took these unequivocally, unabashedly racist statements to wake the media up, to finally call a spade a spade.

The fumbling foolishness of Trump apologists trying to spin even this became satisfying, as most now-more-woke journalists would have none of it, and instead of having raging untruths have standing as “the other side,” it was satisfying to see these minions interrupted, questioned hard, with incredulity, and called to task.

I’ve said it before and I’ve been wrong, but I hope this is a turning point. We just can’t as a nation continue many more steps down this ugly path.

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at  therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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