Posts Tagged ‘Father’s Day’

Grads, fads and dads

June 22, 2009

New grads face urgent matters

Following my son’s recent graduation from high school, he received a number of congratulatory notes from family, from friends, and from people who don’t even know us. Most of the latter were from business concerns seeking profits from newly minted graduates with all those crisp 100-dollar bills from Aunt Helen burning a hole in their pockets. But one he received was especially bizarre, writing not of rewards of this world but of the next.

South Carolina State Representative F.G. “Greg” Delleney, a Republican legislator from neighboring Chester County, used official state letterhead to send out his best wishes, and to offer a plug for his particular view of the firmament and man’s place in it. I’m reprinting the entire letter below, with a few comments of my own in bracketed italics:

Congratulations upon receiving your high school diploma. Graduating from high school is certainly a memorable milestone and great accomplishment. I know that your family and friends are extremely proud of you. [Note: Chester County, thanks in part to narrow-minded right-wingers like Rep. Delleney, is one of the poorest counties in South Carolina, which is saying a lot. High school graduation is about as far as most Chestonians get, with about 40% of the population reaching that lofty milestone.]

You will soon be faced with many decisions, choices and challenges as you begin a new and exciting chapter of your life. If you would indulge me, I might offer some advice. First, determine, as soon as possible, what you are going to do with your life. [Urgency in job choice is key in Chester. There’s only one McDonald’s and one Burger King in the whole county.] Once you make your decision, stay the course until you accomplish your goals [assistant night managers get to wear a tie]. Remember, this life is short. [Uh-oh. Here it comes.] However, you were created to live forever, and you will live on in eternity either in God’s presence or outside of His presence. The most important thing in this life is making sure you have the correct relationship with God. This is only possible if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. [Of all the thousands and thousands of religious constructs in the world, he has somehow managed to find the only one that’s right. Imagine that.] You can have that relationship by trusting Christ and turning your life over to Him. He will never leave you or fail you. He will be there for you in good times and bad times. He will always have a plan for your life. [Much like the South Carolina GOP, which wants you to avoid birth control, fear those who are different, get a big gun and, of course, vote Republican.] What is most important in this life is your relationship with God, your relationship with your family and being a good steward of not only your wealth but also of your time, health, talents and abilities [But don’t worry too much those wealth and health parts. Remember, you live in the rural South.]

I wish you all the best. [Well, some of it, anyway.]

Longing for TV of the past

Interesting conversation I overheard at work the other day. A few of the middle-aged ladies were lamenting the state of modern-day prime-time television, what with the sexual references and the language and the double entendres. They were longing for the simpler times of the past, when three TV networks guaranteed there’d be little deviation from a narrow selection of family values.

“Can you imagine what Petticoat Junction would be like on TV today?” one of them asked rhetorically. “Bobby Jo would be divorced, Betty Jo would be pregnant, Billy Jo would be living with her boyfriend, and they’d all be riding around on Segways.”

And they’d all probably be living in a town called Hooterville.

 News from inside The Slammer

While waiting in line at the local convenience store the other day, I listened in on a conversation between the two women in front of me. Ronnette and Darlene had similar frizzy blond hair, similarly overdone makeup on their overripe faces, and similar purchases – a Monster Khaos Energy Drink for Ronnette, a Full Throttle Fury for Darlene, and a pack of smokes for each.

They talked openly about visiting their prison-bound boyfriends in the week ahead and compared stories about their caseworkers. As they paid for their items, Darlene reached across the counter and grabbed a copy of The Slammer to add to her purchases.

For those of you who haven’t seen this publication, it struck me as a kind of non-digital Facebook for the trailer set. The Slammer describes itself as “an informative and entertaining weekly newspaper covering crime – up close and personal. The Slammer features ‘all crime, all the time’: breaking crime news, recent arrests, fugitives and the most wanted, sex offenders, deadbeat parents and more. See why everyone agrees that The Slammer is the most entertaining way to kill time.” The newsletter is jam-packed with mug shots, heights, weights, rap sheets and reward-for-capture amounts, and Darlene seemed eager to catch up with all her old friends.

The June 19 edition was a special Father’s Day issue. “This week we look at some fathers in prison who won’t be visited by their children because they killed them, and at some fathers’ sons who won’t receive a visit from ‘dead ol’ dad’ either.” There’s a center spread in the middle showing all manner of miscreants and their various crimes. One Philadelphia father is shown under the headline “No videogames where he’s going”; he was charged with hitting his daughter for messing with his Xbox. Under the heading “Hop on pop,” the story is told of a teenager who stabbed his father while he slept, then got mad at investigators who took the kid’s favorite boots as evidence.

It’s good to see such balanced coverage in an otherwise sensational periodical – there seem to be as many children who harmed their fathers as fathers who hurt their kids.

Along side the display of perpetrators is an informative blurb about how Father’s Day is celebrated around the world. “In Germany gangs of people get drunk and roam the streets while others go on man-only hikes,” writes The Slammer, almost longingly. “In Thailand, everybody dresses in yellow. In Italy, special breads are baked.”

With print journalism facing such difficult times these days, it’s good to see that publishers who find their special niche may be able to survive.