Once again, we're in for an installment of my random thoughts blogging, wherein I discuss issues briefly, rather than write a full post on each one.
The Bachelor: Once again, I was roped into watching "The Bachelor" - and not just the two hour finale, but the extra hour "after the rose." Ugh. As usual, I found actual finale rather dull - as I said before, Brad Womack is not an especially interesting person on television - but I will say that my prediction as to who Brad would pick was spot-on (here's a hint - Brad's family liked Chantal, but his Mom literally CRIED TEARS OF JOY at the thought of Brad settling down with Emily, it was OVAH), and I predicted Ashley as the next Bachelorette (the makeover in the last episode was a dead giveaway). The accuracy of these predictions came much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, and I did manage to get a great deal of dishes done.
What was more interesting was the "after the rose" deal after the ritual humiliation of Chantal when Emily and Brad were being interviewed. And here's what's interesting to me - Emily was P-I-S-S-E-D at Brad and they broke up just about every Monday evening/Tuesday morning because Emily was watching her "man" romance other women. And that lead me to an interesting train of thought - what if, utter failure of the Bachelor to produce married couples (3 relationships out of 15 seasons) comes as a result of "Bachelor" couples watching the show? Even more interesting, does the fact that more Bachelorette couples stay together after the show ends indicate a difference between the sexes with regard to jealousy? Certainly, the format of the Bachelorette, where men compete for a woman's affection, fits more within traditional social norms. Can we get Malcolm Gladwell to look into this?
Devastation in Japan: When I first saw the news, my reaction was, as with everyone, "Holy Fucking Shit!" From my experience as a Californian, an 8.9 earthquake is ENORMOUS. The Easter earthquake that did a lot of damage to the Imperial Valley, and was the first earthquake that actually scared me, was a 6.9-7.0 quake. Given that the Richter scale is exponential, an 8.9 quake is around TWENTY TIMES stronger than the Easter quake. Yikes. But, if there was ever a country who could withstand such a quake, I thought that Japan would be that country. And from what I can tell, it wasn't the quake so much as the tsunami that caused the damage. Anyway, my heart goes out to them, and I sincerely hope I don't get any radiation sickness from the reactor meltdowns.
Buyer's Remorse in the Midwest: The newly elected governors of Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan are all engaging in various degrees of union-busting, and find themselves with lower and lower approval ratings. And ultimately, that's the rub that we face in America. On one hand, we have the Democrats who generally have beliefs that are popular - like gun control, abortion choice, social safety nets, regulation to keep products safe, etc. - but are either incapable of expressing those beliefs, or incapable of enacting legislation to bolster those beliefs, and on the other hand, we have Republicans, who favor policies that are not popular - union busting, dismantling the social safety net, etc. - but are very capable at governing. The whole thing is maddening, and until one party (*cough*Democrats*cough*) figures out how to govern, we're going to be stuck in this quagmire.
Libya, Bahrain and the Middle East: Like a lot of people, I am both heartened and dismayed by the democracy movements in the Arab World. In countries like Egypt, this movement may well bring real progress. But in Libya, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, I am genuinely concerned that the governments will put down these movements in a horrifically violent way. Given that our military is already stretched (thanks, Dubya), another military intervention, or two, is unlikely.