A Round-Up of All the News That’s Fit to Skip

cohen headline Post & CourierI feel very fortunate that Charleston, the nearest largish city to Folly Beach, boasts an excellent daily newspaper, the Post and Courier, which won the 2015 Pulitzer for Public Service.

Now that I’m retired, I spend about an hour each morning perusing the paper, starting with Section A’s front page, which focuses on local matters like our Governor’s mandate that bars close at eleven to flatten the mission-to-mars trajectory of South Carolina’s Coronavirus infections.[1]

Then on Page 2A we have one of my favorite features, “Today in History.”  This section is rife with airliner crashes, coal mine cave-ins, capital electrocutions, and other notable incidents of mayhem that occurred on this date in history.  For example, today (11 July 2020) marks the 216th anniversary of the Hamilton/ Burr duel and the 487th anniversary of Pope Clement VII’s excommunication of Henry VIII.  Henry had incurred Clement’s wrath by annulling his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, making possible his union with Anne Boleyn, an important milestone in his accumulation of spouses.  423 years later Henry’s many marriages would lead to the Herman Hermits hit “I’m Henery (sic) the Eighth, I Am.” (see below)

On a more pleasant note, Big Ben first chimed on this date in 1859, and the word “jazz” appeared in print for the first time in 1915 when the Chicago Tribune ran an article titled “Blues Is Jazz and Jazz Is Blues.”

“Today in History” winds up with a list of celebrity birthdays (Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 73) and a quotable quote: “He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home” ­– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.[2]

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Not to be confused with Wolf Blitzer

The next few pages are devoted to spillovers from the front page, and you don’t really get to national stories until A8 where you can check out Trump’s latest Molotov tweets or learn that the US Roman Catholic Church received 1.4 billion in tax payer backed Coronavirus aid to make up for payments dioceses had to fork out because of sexual abuse. Meanwhile Lindsey Graham is adamantly opposed to unemployment extensions because shiftless former bartenders might sit at home whupping themselves up bloody marys after sleeping in on the dole.

International news brings up the rear, as a sort of looking through-a-telescope-from-the-wrong-end perspective.

Finally, the A section ends with the op-ed, including Letters to the Editor, which I merely scan given I suffer from hypertension and devoted my working years to correcting imprecise prose.

Rather than going to the B section, I skip to C, Sports, which has been reduced to two pages, given that there are virtually no scores to report, just idle speculation about upcoming seasons and nostalgic remembrances of Carolina and Clemson highlights.

So, I save the B section for last, for dessert as it were.

B1 is devoted to business. Today’s main story announcing the expansion of a Columbia company seeking a vaccine is counterbalanced by this melancholy below-the fold-headline: “Charleston’s only magic club closes its curtains over coronavirus.”

The party doesn’t really get started until B3 with Dear Abby, who unlike her mother and her mother’s twin sister Ann Landers, is non-judgmental and offers a wealth of good ol’ common sense.  For example, to today’s first correspondent, concerned that some beachgoers might find the large tattoo of a naked angel on his side off-putting, Abby sagely suggests he “go for it” but “use sunscreen,” then allows that not all beachgoers will not be thrilled to see “a large naked angel getting roasted on the sand.”

Despite what I wrote earlier about avoiding amateur writing, I do read three or four obituaries, which appear on B4 and B5. Making an obituary engaging is difficult and most suffer from a paucity of introductory subordinate clauses. I’m always curious to see who “has entered into eternal rest” as opposed to who “has entered into the loving arms of Jesus” or who has simply “died from complications of Parkinson’s disease.”  What I keep looking for, as hopelessly as Ponce De Leon seeking the Fountain of Youth, is for someone to pass away after a long cowardly battle with cancer.”

My daily journey through the paper comes to its end with the comics and puzzle pages.  I start at the very last comic, “Andy Capp,” move up to the top, taking in “Dilbert” and “Zits” “and Baby Blues” back down to the left-hand column and reading upwards “The Wizard of Id,” “Luanne,” and “Mary Worth,” who has really turned out to be a looker in my old age. Even though I don’t enjoy “Judge Parker” and “Beetle Bailey,” I read them anyway, but what I really enjoy is “For Better or Worse,” which features well-developed characters. Making the final turn, I head up the right column enjoying traditional fare like “Blondie,” “Hagar the Horrible,” and “Peanuts.”

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[cue wolf whistle]

Finally, I do the one-panels, “Dennis the Menace,” “Bizzaro,” and “Ziggy.”

All that’s left is “Jumble” and “Scrabble.”  I’m always a little bit sad when the journey ends, when I figure out the punny caption in “Jumble” and tally my score in “Scrabble.”

What I dread is the day when the Post Courier goes belly up.  I only hope that it outlives me.  I realize I can get the comics online and obituaries from funeral homes, but it’s not the same.  I want to hear the crinkling of the paper as I open Thursday’s Entertainment supplement to discover what’s going down this weekend, read new album reviews, take the head-on-head Trivia Contest, and enjoy Kayln Oyer’s excellent prose.


[1] I know if I’m drinking in a bar past eleven, I’m much more likely to spraying my words like Sylvester the Cat as I nudge loser to whomever I’m regaling with my slurred wit.

[2] Pronounced “Gur-ta,” not “goth-ee” (or “Blitzer”).

 

How “Karen” Became a Synonym for A** H***

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© Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

Oddly enough, the organization that keeps track of the popularity of baby names is the Social Security Administration, the same friendly people who constantly fill my in-box with phishing alerts as enterprising young folks seek to make a quick buck bamboozling boomers.

For the last five years or so, the most popular names for girls are in descending order: Emma, Olivia, and Ava, the terminal “ah” sound dominating.

These names seem rather old-school to me, e.g., Emma Wodehouse, Olivia from Twelfth Night, and St Ava[1] have been around for centuries.

On the other hand, up-and-coming girls’ names sound much more exotic. Here are the top trending choices for this year’s pink clad newborns: Meaghan, Dior, Adalee, Palmer, Oaklynn, Haisley, Keily, Novah, Yara, and Ensley, five out of ten scoring a red-squiggly underline from my spell checker.

One female name that you won’t find on any popularity lists is Karen, which recently has entered our lexicon in the form of a common noun denoting a certain irritating sort of entitled mom easily offended and quick to ask to speak to the management.

Here’s Urban Dictionary top definition (which violates the rhetorical stricture of placing the word to be defined in a category and distinguishing it from other members of the category):

TOP DEFINITION

Karen

gives raisins to kids on Halloween

drives an SUV to carpool her kids to soccer practice… better hope the ref doesn’t make a wrong call because she will sue!

love to use snapagram to post her workout selfies

after a long day of talking to managers and driving her kids around she sits down with her mom friends at book club and drinks lots and LOTS of wine

“oh my god Karen do you really have to talk to the Burger King manager every time they forget to give you a ketchup packet.“

“LOL! Yes!! I have to Facebook and instasnap it to all my friends to make sure everyone knows to watch out LOL!!!”

##karen #soccermom #probablyaboomer

by omgurmomsaboomer November 27, 2019

I had never heard of the term Karen as a common noun until the other day when I ran across it in Brian Hick’s column in our local paper, The Post and Courier. He wrote, ironically, “Because, of course, public health decisions should be based on the protests of some Karen in front of a Baskin-Robbins and not, you know, the fact-based recommendations of epidemiologists.”

I found the phrase “some Karen” odd, and, as so often happens when you run across a new word or locution, I started seeing “Karen” all over the place, especially on Twitter, the high church of herd mentality.

So I wondered why Karen and not Cindy or Debbie or Caitlin. So I went to my number one source for literate explanation, VOX.

The “Karen” meme has multiple origins, each one using the idea in slightly different ways. But one of the most prominent uses developed on Reddit, thanks to a redditor known for posting amusingly bitter invectives about his ex-wife — posts so amusing, they inspired a high school student to make an entire subreddit, r/FuckYouKaren, devoted to turning his saga into a meme.

Karmacop97 is a 17-year-old from Irvine, California. He made the subreddit two years ago as a joke and named it after the now-deleted user account Fuck_You_Karen. At first, karmacop97 told me, the subreddit was “just to compile the lore behind this guy’s relationship,” which he viewed as likely being a parody. The villainous Karen had taken the kids and then the house, both typical parts of the “Karen” meme. Soon, a few thousand redditors had subscribed to make memes based on the redditor’s enraged posts — but when that aggrieved user eventually deleted his account and vanished shortly after the subreddit’s creation, the forum kept growing. Since then, the subreddit has grown from 4,000 redditors to more than 435,000 — and the memes posted there call out all kinds of “Karen”-ish behavior.

In particular, the “Karen” has evolved into a figure known for her hypocrisy, rudeness toward working-class staff, and anti-science beliefs.

So there you have it. Like the name Bubba, which has come to designate an unsophisticated  white Southerner, we have Karen, a name that now is an insult, designating an entitled, unsophisticated pain-in-the-ass white woman with an untrendy hair-do, which is too bad if your name happens to be Karen. The first Karen that comes to my mind is a former colleague who is the antithesis of the meme’s caricature. She’s witty, compassionate, well-educated, a believer in global warming and vaccination – and she’s not a boomer!


[1] BTW, Today (29 April) is St Ava’s  Saint’s Day. Cured by blindness by St. Rainsfredis, she was elected abbess at Dinart, Hainaut in c. 845.

 

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