Death Sentences Are Given Based on Looks & Nebraska Gov Refuses to Feed Needy Children
Iowa Gov Would Rather Kids Starve than Become Obese, CA Town Bans Pride Celebrations for Blacks, LGBTQ+, and Women, Even a Little Alcohol Is Bad, My Petty Pop Culture Gripes, Gene Pitney Sings
What I’m Discussing Today:
Kareem’s Daily Quote: A poignant quote from my favorite baseball movie makes me reflect on why people are kind to others.
Death Sentences Given Based on Looks: In the past couple months four people sentenced to death have been exonerated. What if they’d been executed before their exoneration?
Nebraska governor stands firm on rejection of federal money to feed food-insecure children: He took $1 billion in a federal handout, but won’t feed children because he “doesn’t believe in welfare.”
California town proposes ban on Pride, Black and women’s history celebrations: Instead, they want to promote the history of oil, surfing, and railroads. Talk about a town without pity.
Even a Little Alcohol Can Harm Your Health: You may not like it, but alcohol is bad for your health. Even a little.
Kareem’s Petty Pop Culture Gripes: Natalie Portman’s perfume commercial makes no scents (that’s a pun, don’t write in about my spelling). Fox News texts are annoying click-bait. Thus spake Cranky Kareem.
Kareem’s Video Break: A video tribute to the amazing tap-dancing of Maurice Hines, who died last week.
Kareem’s Movie Masterpiece Vault: The best baseball movie ever made, Bang the Drum Slowly, is also one of the most touching and insightful dramas ever made.
Gene Pitney Sings: No one captures the angst and urgency of youthful romance like Gene Pitney.
Kareem’s Daily Quote
Everybody knows everybody is dying; that's why people are as good as they are.
Henry Wiggen, Bang the Drum Slowly
Today’s quote is from on of my favorite sports movies and easily the best baseball movie ever made, Bang the Drum Slowly. (I discuss the movie in more length below in Kareem’s Movie Masterpiece Vault.) I saw this 1973 movie when it first came out 50 years ago and two lines from it I’ve never forgotten.
The first line is the one above. I’ve thought of this line surprisingly often over the past 50 years. As Death looms ever closer over me, eclipsing more of the future’s light, I think of it more often. For me, the line is the epitome of empathy. The reason we have the ability to care about others, even those we don’t know or can’t see, is because we recognize in each other the depth of suffering we all go through. Most of us don’t want others to suffer and will even take actions to help alleviate the pain in others. That ability to empathize is what drives most of our religious, social, and political philosophies.
We know we’re all going to die, sure, but more important, we all know that we will have to endure the unbearable pain of living through the deaths of those we love. Over and over again. It knocks us to the ground and yet we are expected to rise again, go one with our lives, knowing we will be knocked down again. What makes these body blows in life bearable is the love of friends and family and the kindness of strangers. We are bound by something greater than politics or religion or even love. We are bound by grief, for which there is no cure, only an abatement of the symptoms. We are all convalescing together because we know each other’s greatest fear. And so, whenever we remember this, we are good to each other.
The other line from the movie that I think about a lot is this:
“From here on in I rag nobody.” This comes at the end of the movie after the main character, pitcher Henry Wiggins, realizes that once everyone on the team found out the catcher was dying, they started to treat him with respect and compassion. Because of that, the catcher, whom they’d always made fun of for being a rube, suddenly started to play much better and be much happier. All they had to do was stop ragging on him.
I keep that in mind whenever I’m tempted to poke fun at someone just for sport. That kind of verbal bullying (now mostly done on social media by trolls) degrades the speaker more than the object.
Of course, I constantly say harsh things about others in this newsletter. But there’s a difference between harassing the innocent and justly pointing fingers at those who would do the rest of us harm. We all know we’re dying, but there’s no reason we should let them make our lives miserable without a fight.