Slightly over a week ago, 'A Chicken Is Not Pillage' turned 10 years old. That hallmark passed without any recognition, hoopla or fanfare on my part, mostly because I didn't even realize it until today. Simply put, I've been through a lot in this little online world, and the Montana online world has been through a lot as well. There is a HUGE amount more to write about this, but frankly, I'm tired and impatient. Happy Birthday to this blog. I hope that many of you have found at least some enjoyment here.
No, I am not writing about football, though that's pretty damned good too.
Many years ago, WAAAYYY on back when I was 12, Autumn was a truly special thing. I grew up in the Bitterroot Valley. Everywhere you went in my small little domain you could find plums ripening in the wild. The scent of apples and dill was pervasive. Horses were looking shaggy, and the yellowjacket wasps were moving slower. I had just entered junior high. The building was an impressive three story structure, with the band room on top, and two staircases. Our math teacher would stand at the bottom oggling girls behinds as they walked up. I still dream about that building sometimes. It's been torn down now, I understand. Progress and all that. I had a very different set of friends, most of them long removed from my reality. I don't really miss them, because I remember the time, and have moved so very far from made them friends ion the first place. I could do sleep-overs then. It was the first time I ever had beef tongue with noodles and mustard. That was actually pretty good. Life was about bubblegum, being outdoors, chores and growing up. I was eligible to take hunter's safety.
As Autumn set in, hunter's safety classes got more good better. When we left, it was dark, and Autumn nights called. Since I lived out of town, I would occasionally stay with a friend in town. He was the first guy I ever shot a gun with, his Dad's 12 gauge shotgun. I held that thing away from my shoulder and pulled both triggers to fire both barrels. It's a good thing that the young are resilient to damage.
Every once in a while you encounter a blog site where the author truly loves what they are writing about. David Sherman, when writing about Greater Falls, Prairie Mary, D. Gregory Smith at From Eternity To Here, Boing Boing, Wil Wheaton, some very few political blogs ...
Even rarer still is encountering the blog where the writer not only loves their subject but writes for those who can't help but love it as well. Whether the readers love Montana as much as Nameless Range or not doesn't matter. This author inspires a love of subject, a love of Montana. In just several short weeks, I find myself checking the site several times a day, almost desperate for a new post.
Time has been limited for me. That's probably an understatement. I have had little (awake) free time and I've chosen to spend it with my many greatest loves, my wife, my animals and NFL Football. Reviewing my last post, and inspired by comments therein, and an email or many over the years, I would just like to throw a few thoughts out.
There are those who deride football as being a waste of concern. There are those who think the undo influence exerted by players is a net bad for society. There are those who believe that fostering certain ideas are politically bad due to the awful tie between dogma and leadership. It's not that I think any of those people to be wrong, per se. I just don't really care.
See, I love NFL football. I have watched the sport since I was 5 years old, and to this day my admiration for it and study of it has not waned one bit. Anyone is welcome to suggest that it manipulates my emotions based on lizard brain stimulus. Fine. I get that. So what? Most of the functions that give people joy are the very same. Sex, strenuous activity, drugs, competition at any level, seeing friends succeed just as the disappointment of seeing them fail, religion, music, dancing, hobbies, political advocacy. All manipulate the emotions in the same manner that football does for me, if not to same intensity.
I don't like religion mixed with my football. I like politics mixed even less. The problem with Tebow is that folk think they have to mix them both with a guy who really has no say in the direction of either. He's a football player and that's what he can control. Right now, he's thrilling me to no end. He plays good football. If people in the Flathead want to idolize him, really, so what? People believe what they want to believe. There is no forcing them to idolize what is healthier for 'mankind'. There is no fostering of behavior that we see as worse than what has come before. Tim Tebow can speak to these folk and make no difference to their thinking at all. Yet we'd rather he not do it? Why?
It is an insistence, a nagging reminder of a well wornout canard. The underlying axiom is that football is a grand distraction from 'bigger things'. To which I can only respond that no, it's a distraction from 'different things'. We are human beings, each one running a unique mental program of unimaginable complexity. Our stimuli are unique, our moral codes very personal and our interests well varied - even among singular individuals. What's common is that we all have stimuli and interests which inform our moral codes. What else is common is that we all have distractions. Those can only be seen as bad if we have a society pre-convinced that many personal values should be universal, and that distractions from those values is a net harm. Fine. I accept that and simply submit that distractions are necessary activity for the human animal. Some are destructive to the host and society. Some are shared activity among like stimulated folk. It shouldn't be a mystery that I come down in the camp of the latter.
To bring this back to Tebow, part of this post is in reaction to Pete Talbot's comment below. I don't highlight that to insult it, but rather to applaud it. Pete made a very clear distinction between Tebow the Player and Tim the Evangelical fostering bad behavior among others who foster bad behavior. I appreciate that distinction a great deal, because it feels very natural to me. I don't care about Tim the Evangelical save that I agree with Pete about bad behavior from those folk. Craig Moore responded in defense and Pete has accepted the challenge. The interchange is fine, enjoyable even. It peaks my interest. That's because they're discussing politics and a moral code in critique of the stimulus of religion. That's not a stimulus I'm personally invested in, and politics/religion are deep interests of mine. What they're not talking about is how lame my personal distraction is. What they're not talking about is a quarterback. My quarterback.
When Tebow comes in March, I may be right there in my tut-tutting of his tutalage. But I remember this clearly. As a good liberal I was morally outraged by the very thought of Tim and his Mom doing an ANTI-abortion commercial during the SUPER BOWL! I saw it. You know what? It wasn't offensive at all. It's base message was "think of what could happen in the world with the life of this baby." The thing most on the right miss is that most women going in for an abortion already think about those things. What get's missed on the left is that Tebow and his mother were advocating a *choice*. Football gained him the popularity for his pulpit, but he wasn't speaking for the NFL, the NCAA, for fans or for any who love football as football. If you want to hold to the idea that Tim the Evangelical is a bad person and or bad for society, that's fine. He's an entertainer, like any other, and how far one goes to condemn him is equally measured by how far one goes to enforce their own moral code. It doesn't his play on the field, now does it?
Football is a distraction, agreed. Many employers hate it because it distracts from productivity. Many persons hate it for personal reasons, such as that they've encountered football players behaving badly. Many hate it because they find it an abhorrently violent ground acquisition struggle of pointless merit and minimal return to the nature of good. Many hate it because it is a big money business. So what? Many have a difficult time with disagreement, that's what. That also seems universal to the human animal. I'm not a big fan of poetry, dramatic readings, interpretive dance, modern pop-music, the Baltimore Ravens, RAP, poorly written horror, conspiracy theories and stupid people. These are distractions that clearly don't work for me, but obviously work for others. The only reason my distractions would cause reaction, and yours would cause reaction with me, is that we disagree. Tim Tebow appears to be a point, a focus, of great disagreement. I would submit that disagreement is proof that a distraction actually matters.
Things in my universe (professional, not personal) have been pretty damned rocky here of late. They are likely going to get downright dicey before things improve. Stress, in many ways, has been at an all time high. A very wise individual has informed me that one needs joy in thier life every single day to continue our modern level of almost insane activity.
So, me being me, I am engaged with the joy project. It is simple enough. Find the little things, doable on a constant basis, that help one to cope with energy (psyche, spirit, whatever) drain.
Singing. I had thought that just listening to music that reminds me of who I am and what I favor would be the key. It became somewhat evident to me today that it isn't the music perse. It's my involvement with it. Singing. This I can do.