Monday, July 7, 2014

Fireworks, Soccer Reveal Disturbing Truths About American Psyche

Articles written by George Stefano Pallas.  Timidity, stupidity, jumbled metaphors, and pop-culture references expressed by the author are his alone and do not necessarily reflect nor should be construed as those of the Author.

Obama to answer Iraq crisis with jerseys on the ground

While a Congress buried in partisan gridlock bickers endlessly over which regime is primarily to blame for the deteriorating stability of Iraq, President Obama has sent a strong message to the jihadist army storming the region that he means business.  In a serious bid to reclaim the U.S. influence he eagerly gave up three years ago when he directed every last one of the U.S. forces to evacuate the Middle-Eastern country, Obama has stepped up the strictly rhetorical battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS as it’s referred to for the sake of avoiding the confusion of a legitimate nation-state with a metaphorical pseudo-state.

According to credible, unbiased news outlets like CNN and the New York Times, America has finally caught up with the rest of the socialistic world to appreciate the complexities of The Beautiful Game, and the president has taken that progress into his foreign policy considerations.  NBC News, Google CEO Larry Page, and the White House itself formerly leveraged the hype surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympic Games to denounce homophobia and communicate the United States’ acceptance of all sexual lifestyles in sports.  By the same token, Obama hopes to pacify and have a dialogue with ISIS through the universal language of sports, this time by exploiting current obsession with the World Cup.

Sports have historically played a crucial role in guiding international negotiations and preserving worldwide stability.  Mere months ago, it was through the bond of brotherhood shared by basketball players that U.S. ambassador Dennis Rodman engaged North Korea’s authoritarian ruler Kim Jong Un (albeit at the cost of his own life) to enter peace talks with South Korea, disband its nuclear arsenal, and release prisoners detained for religious or political dissension.  Much further back, when the 100 Years War was still raging between France and England, the Dauphin sought to mollify King Henry V over a lighthearted game of tennis, and even before that tradition was enshrined in theater, it’s said that the ancient Romans would use rousing contests of strength in the Coliseum to connect with emergent religious minorities such as Christianity.

The president hopes he’ll have the same fortune with the holy Muslim army and has already assigned Secretary of State John Kerry with the task of arranging a game between U.S. players and their jihadist competitors.  Kerry declares he’s excited about the potential to close barriers between cultures and is committed to achieving peace by any means necessary, even if by the notoriously controversial game of soccer, which he insists is becoming more broadly accepted every day just as society is growing more tolerant of formerly stigmatized lifestyles like homosexuality, which primitive and regressive peoples used to
fear might lead to severe mental, spiritual, and health effects.

Obama has spoken of soccer (or football, as the rest of the world calls it) in the most glowing of terms, calling it his favorite televised entertainment next to “Modern Family”, “Mad Men”, and “House of Cards”. Appealing once again to the recurring imaginary figure, the president said that, “If I had a son, he’d playing soccer long before pro-football.”  Like many Americans, he appreciates the game’s multicultural aspect in that it brings his country together with other people’s republics in a spirit of good will and rivalry from which neither nation need necessarily emerge victorious, but he also admires the nonviolent nature of the sport, in which players often vie to see not just who can score the most goals but also who can sustain the most fake knee injuries in the process of performing as little physical activity as possible.

Mr. Obama’s motion has been met with soaring approval from Pacifists, a Democratic Senate, and USA Today readers.  In under 120 characters, foreign policy expert @FlyInStilletos concurred, “We should embrace soccer because it unites us with other cultures through friendly competition.”  But conservatives are rallying against the president’s tactics, calling them foolish and ineffectual.  Ann Coulter furiously writes that, “Any growing interest in soccer can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay…  In soccer, the blame is dispersed and almost no one scores anyway.   There are no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child's fragile self-esteem is bruised.”  She recommends challenging ISIS to football instead.

In other news, Obama recently invited non-American actress and esteemed economist Keira Knightley to testify on the pressing need to realize equal pay for equal non-work in women’s soccer.  “As much as we want to feel the realm of women’s sports is like a feel-good comedy,” she said, “it’s really more of a dark tragedy, and while I applaud the president’s support for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and other propositions, I would reaffirm that the rules as they stand are really more like guidelines anyway, judging by the White House’s own employment disparity between genders.”

The Author would comment on the State Department’s reaching-out to ISIS but has temporarily committed all his mental faculties to ascertaining whether Lindsey Stirling even cares enough about soccer to make his pretense of interest worthy of the effort.


4th of July Fireworks Illuminate Partisan Divide

A coded message to Democrats as seen at a Patriots-sponsored Independence Day event.

When the executive branch warned Americans last fall that the Republican shutdown would compel the federal government to gut vital services such as panda cameras, non-essential environmental studies positions, student White House tours, and Independence Day fireworks shows, many conservatives were understandably outraged, accusing the administration of overstepping its boundaries and threatening the privileges of middle-class Americans to achieve its agenda.  Now the issue of public tolerance for fireworks has become even more contentious, as newly-elect New York City mayor Bill de Blasio acted upon the advice of his predecessor and fellow Nanny State Party affiliate Michael Bloomberg to add 4th of July celebrations to the long line of things already banned within the city limits, including soda cups of an arbitrarily delegated size, the burdening of beasts of burden, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, trans fats, etc.

De Blasio cited environmental and fiscal concerns as the city council’s main justification for prohibiting the Macy’s fireworks show and others.  Due to the lack of scientific research on the subject of these explosives and the strong potential for resultant smoke clouds to trap heat from the sun, the mayor deemed it prudent to restrict these activities until a solid “consensus” is reached in the “scientific community” that the aftermath of fireworks shows “doesn’t contribute to global, man-made climate change.”  Co-sponsor of the ban Al Gore said that it’d be “irresponsible to gamble the security of our children’s children for a momentary bit of selfish amusement and chest-thumping patriotism.”

The White House agreed with a press release stating that “in order to preserve the blessings of 4th of July fireworks for ourselves, our posterity, and other folks, we must practice good stewardship of the blessings we presently enjoy on account of the generosity of foreign lenders.  A lot of people mistakenly assume that America’s system of unbridled capitalism enabled one of our technological pioneers to invent the firecracker that’s become a hallmark of Independence Day tradition, but we didn’t build that.”

Free-market, environmental activists advocating economical but green solutions to the country’s foreign dependency have likewise applauded De Blasio’s law and its selling point of reducing U.S. reliance on Chinese imports, an effect which is bound to curb corporations shipping jobs overseas and build incentives for creating shovel-ready jobs back in America.

Rivals of New York’s progressive administration have seized upon the ban as a chance to attack the forward trajectory of the country at large, calling it a slippery slope that both diverts attention from the real problem, viz. excess spending on something or another, and opens a door to further encroachments on constitutional rights in the name of protecting the environment.  “Before you know it,” said former Massachusetts Governor and conservative icon Mitt Romney, “they’re going to be banning such important pastimes as birthday parties at public schools just on the basis that they make kids fat.”

The Pew Research Center modeled American attitudes on 4th of July displays in a poll released this last weekend which showed a sharp split between the political right and left on the subject of the fireworks. While “steadfast conservatives” by a majority of 80% answered that fireworks were a symbol of their American Pride, 60% of “solid liberals” claimed that watching fireworks go off didn’t give them any sense of Pride whatsoever and that they’d be more likely to take Pride in other things, like their pigmentation or sexual flexibility.

Even more strangely, most respondents agreed that the awe they experienced in watching fireworks far eclipsed their satisfaction with the current state of American government.  Pew concluded that if the aim of fireworks is to celebrate the past while simultaneously pointing out the impending explosion that is the present, they’ve served their purpose remarkably.

Unfortunately, the polarization over fireworks is yet another sign of America’s diminishing middle ground and inability to compromise.  Obama likens speaking with the deniers of fireworks-caused global warming to “being the tough parent who has to reason with their kids who just want to eat candy and sip on slurpees for dinner and you tell them, ‘That’s not good for you,’ but they’re like, ‘Give me, give me more!’ and once you’ve paid for their slurpee, they run off and leave you with the tab, and then they have the nerve to come ask you for the keys back!  There’s always been a fringe that insists on denying scientific fact, but I don’t remember a time when people expected their lawmakers to indulge the kooks who said the moon was flat or the earth was made of cheese.”

“I’ll always have fond memories of fireworks shows as a kid,” said the president, who’s been striding a thin line between retaining the approval of big businesses and alienating the green lobby which backed him throughout both elections.  “Nobody’s talking about taking your fireworks shows away, but at the same time, we have to recognize that everything is best in moderation.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these ceremonies, but it’s just as vital that we leave the same opportunity to our kids twenty years down the line.”

Whatever the future holds for fireworks in America, one thing’s for certain: if you listen closely enough on the 4th of July, you can hear them go o-o-oh as they shoot across the sky-y-y.

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