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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 30, 2017

In a stunning new development, in what has been a month of developments, a third elf has come forward to accuse Santa Claus of sexual harassment and retaliatory behavior. The yet unidentified elf has come forward with claims that Mr. Claus made unwanted sexual advances while they were flying over the Horn of Africa sometime on Christmas Eve in 2011. It was not clear whether the elf involved was male or female, or really whether or not there is such a thing.

The elf went public this week, after complaining to HR, in what they were assured was a confidential meeting, only to be subsequently demoted to painting faces on Chucky dolls, a more or less discontinued item.

The elf’s lawyer, Yukon Cornelius, claims that his client was retaliated against after Mrs. Claus discovered the incident and wouldn’t allow the elf to continue working Christmas Eve duty.

Ignatius Thistlewhite, lawyer for the Clause Corporation vehemently denied the accusations calling them “baseless and without merit.” He countered, “This is merely the case of a disgruntled elf who is trying to attack a beloved childhood figure. The truth is, this was a substandard elf who was demoted for poor performance.”

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 16, 2017

My entire life, I’ve always fought bullies; be they a teacher, a boss, a classmate or a neighborhood thug. I was a smart, outspoken kid, who was more or less well liked by my peers and had the confidence to fight back. I often found myself in the position to take up for someone who was in a weaker position, or without the ability to fight back. I always fought for the underdog. The kid who was different, or weak, or new to the country, or didn’t speak the language well.

I fought teachers, principals, employers, and other kids. I would use my intelligence, wit, popularity, threat of shame and sometimes the threat of physical violence as tools in my fight.

I think back once again to Dalton Trumbo’s thoughts on his many fights.

I’ve always thought of my life as a sequence of conflicts, each a separate battle, segregated in my mind under the heading, “My fight with these guys” or “My fight with those guys.” In thinking back now I realize I have regarded each fight as distinct and unrelated to the other, and have sometimes marveled how one man could have so many of them. I now realize it was all one fight; that the relation of each to the other was very close; and I am really no more combative than any other man. It just happened in my case that the original fight once undertaken, expanded marvelously into what seemed like many many fights and the most recent in a sequence of fights is actually no more than the current phase of he primary engagement. Since all men have at least one fight in their lives, and are not considered professional troublemakers because of it, the longer view reveals in me a citizen no less peaceful than his neighbors.

It’s possible, that this applies equally to me. That my original fight—that of standing up to bullies—once undertaken, expanded marvelously. It’s not the answer to all my troubles, but it could certainly be viewed as a defining motive. I’m also just a cranky misanthrope, who while despising the herd, is often quite fond of the individual.

I think people who only know me on social media, are quite surprised to meet me in person. I place a high value on personal etiquette and manners, at least my version of what constitutes good manners: empathy, compassion, civility, decency, and kindness. I might not like you, but there is no reason to be rude.

I don’t generally walk around angry. But when I’m thinking critically about a subject, my ire often comes to the surface. I’m bothered by many things in life, and when I’m writing, or arguing with a friend I trust about a topic I’m passionate about, I can get quite animated.

Which brings me to politics.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 9, 2017

There is a current feeling among many progressive Democrats that religion is the enemy of liberty and in all fairness, it’s not without cause. Conservative religious groups have often been on the front lines of so-called culture wars that have done so much harm to vulnerable groups outside of traditional norms. For many, particularly among white, college-educated professionals, the church has become the enemy of progressive politics.

But that’s a mistake.

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Posted by David Todd McCarty | Friday, November 3, 2017

I think of this piece often when thinking about how it can be easy to be seen as combative when defending your concept of liberty. How easy it is to be dismissed as “Angry Dave” a moniker I did not invent, but did adopt. How often are the fights in our lives, really just part of one big fight?

Screen writer and director Dalton Trumbo holding finger up to lips as if to say quiet, and waving other hand while sitting on sofa. (Photo by John Swope/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

“I’ve always thought of my life as a sequence of conflicts, each a separate battle, segregated in my mind under the heading, ‘My fight with these guys’ or ‘My fight with those guys.’ In thinking back now I realize I have regarded each fight as distinct and unrelated to the other, and have sometimes marveled how one man could have so many of them. I now realize it was all one fight; that the relation of each to the other was very close; and I am really no more combative than any other man. It just happened in my case that the original fight once undertaken, expanded marvelously into what seemed like many many fights and the most recent in a sequence of fights is actually no more than the current phase of he primary engagement. Since all men have at least one fight in their lives, and are not considered professional troublemakers because of it, the longer view reveals in me a citizen no less peaceful than his neighbors.”

Dalton Trumbo

From a cover letter accompanying several dozen boxes of his papers sent to the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research in 1962.

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Why Journalism Matters

by David Todd McCarty | Monday, November 28, 2016

My very first class at Temple University in 1986 was Journalism 101 with Dr. O’Shea. He began with a question. He wanted to know how many students had seen the Calvin Klein ad underwear campaign and every hand in the class went up without exception. The campaign was part of the culture. Marky Mark. Kate Moss. These black and white ads were synonymous with the 1980’s and were undoubtedly hanging on 75% of the dorm rooms throughout campus and beyond.

He then asked how many people thought that sex was effective in advertising. Many of the hands went down. Then he asked how many people thought that it was appropriate to use sex in advertising. Only a few of us remained.

He then explained that we weren’t there to discuss the value of using sex appeal in advertising underwear for Calvin Klein, but to discuss journalism. And the first thing we needed to understand was that there was no such thing as “objective journalism.” No two of us saw the world around us the same. We all had a lens through which we saw the world, that combined our own experiences, morals, religious beliefs, and childhoods into a perception of life.

Just like we all had different thoughts on something that was common to us all, our experiences colored our outlook on the things we saw and heard and we had to stay vigilant about allowing our personal experiences from coloring our judgement, and more importantly, how we reported it.

Journalism shouldn’t be simply a vehicle for our own personal biases, but an honest accounting of what is happening, or at least as honest as we can muster. But is there any integrity left in journalism? Is there any objectivity? Who can we really trust in this day and age of relativism and fake news?

John Pilger wrote in 2002:

Many journalists now are no more than channelers and echoers of what George Orwell called the ‘official truth’. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as ‘functionaires’, functionaries, not journalists. Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words ‘impartiality’ and ‘objectivity’ is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They’ve been taken over… [they] now mean the establishment point of view… Journalists don’t sit down and think, ‘I’m now going to speak for the establishment.’ Of course not. But they internalize a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, November 17, 2016

Empathy is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. We feel the hurt and fear and pain when it’s there. We feel the pride and joy and freedom when it’s there. When did so many of us lose the ability to do that, especially with anyone outside of our immediate social circles?

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
—“To Kill a Mockingbird”  by Harper Lee.

America is a culture that has worked to socialize people into becoming more individualistic rather than empathic for over 200 years. In fact, America is the most individualized society in the history of the world. It’s every man for themselves. We pride ourselves on it in fact. It’s part of what makes us American! We don’t need nobody else. We’ll do it ourselves. We don’t care what you think. We know what we’re doing.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I had to make a change. It was all getting too dark. Too angry. So little hope. I was running full force down a dark alley with no choice but to run headfirst into the brick wall at the end.

I’m looking for a way back out now from the dark alley and I’ll attempt to start with people. Too much time on my own perhaps. It’s hard because I’m an introvert and too many people make me uncomfortable.

I’ve embarked on a new journey towards a mystic’s understanding of Christianity. I’ve pretty much walked away from God in recent years because the theology I was taught seemed hateful, bigoted, ridiculous and petty. But what I’m reading is pretty fascinating stuff and nothing like what we were taught as children with God as this big scary guy with a clipboard marking down your short comings. I don’t understand it enough to explain it yet, but suffice it to say I’m interested. That’s a start. If that doesn’t work out I might try Buddhism. For now I’m gonna give God another shot. See if He’s got anything up his sleeve?

I need some sort of hope.

The whole concept of Angry Dave, while entertaining to many of you, and often far too comfortable for me, seems unsustainable, at least in its current incarnation. Not to get too nerdy, but I felt a bit like Luke Skywalker, torn between the Force and the Dark side. I was careening too quickly towards the Dark Side and it wasn’t good. Some of you were cheering me on the way a crowd might encourage a man on a ledge to “jump” simply for the spectacle of it all. And I can create quite a spectacle, I’m sure. But no more.

That doesn’t mean I won’t still have strong opinions about social justice, religion, politics or etiquette. But I’m going to tone down the rhetoric and try to hold my rage in check.

I will continue writing, directing and taking pictures. But I have to get out of the instant feedback loop which has become far too addictive to me. I still look at my phone out of habit, but Facebook was a huge problem. I’ve deleted it. It was too constant. Radio Angry Dave broadcasting and responding 18 hours a day. Can’t imagine how that would be a problem. Sigh.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting pieces here about subjects that interest me. I hope to retain my humor without maybe quite so much anger.

Join me.

Stop by and comment so I don’t feel so alone.

And please share this with my friends on social media so they know where to find me.

— Angry Dave

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I really didn’t think I’d see anything like this in my lifetime. Sheer arrogance I guess. I thought we were past this. I thought we’d evolved. I thought we were better.

But ask a person of color in this country, or most women frankly, and they’ll tell you what they’ve known all along. This is who we are. This is who we’ve always been. We were just kidding ourselves to believe otherwise.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I’m not one to believe conspiracy theories. I think the world is fucked up enough by sheer human nature so I don’t believe we need to rely on theories of far-reaching conspiracies by the powerful. Greed and hubris are plenty reason enough to fuck up whatever order the world contains.

That said, through the powerful revelations by Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks, and generations of intrepid journalists, we now know that many outlandish geopolitical and domestic “conspiracy theories” are now truths of the modern world. So despite my lack of belief in most conspiratorial things, here are ten things that, while initially scoffed at as conspiracies, turned out later to be all too true. (Source: theantimedia.org)

1. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Gulf of Tonkin incident, a major escalator of US involvement in the Vietnam War, never actually occurred.

The original incident – also sometimes referred to as the USS Maddox Incident(s) –involved the destroyer USS Maddox supposedly engaging three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats as part of an intelligence patrol. The Maddox fired almost 300 shells.

President Lyndon B. Johnson promptly drafted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which became his administration’s legal justification for military involvement in Vietnam. The problem is the event never happened.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, June 1, 2016

We, the members of the internet, just wanted to say a few words in defense of you who so diligently keep us informed on Facebook and other social media outlets to all the vital conspiracy theories, racist rants, urban myths, and fear-based flotsam and jetsam. You provide a valuable public service and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

It’s takes a special kind of selfless public servant to regularly pass along obviously suspect information with zero criticism or awareness. Not just anyone can click share without a thought to intent, meaning or impact.

We’ve been talking amongst ourselves and we really like the posts about poignant subjects such as guns, congress, war, or gorillas, written by such awe-inspiring luminaries as Jodie Foster, Abraham Lincoln, Morgan Freeman, and Thomas Edison.

It’s astounding that Lincoln had such insights into the internet, or that Morgan Freeman happened to make a comment that was oddly in tune with our personal beliefs, but there they are, in plain type across a picture of them. We didn’t even know Jodie Foster was that political. But no one would post it if it weren’t true, so it’s good to know that our celebrities have such wisdom.

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