2011-01-20 / Sam Bari

Another year of trying to understand the system

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

Six years have passed since “You can’t beat a system you can’t understand” began appearing in the Jamestown Press. This is the 313th column.

My heartfelt thanks goes to the many faithful readers who have taken the time to write kind letters filled with words of support. For those, I am most appreciative.

Mid-January 2010 to the same time in 2011 appeared to be an interesting year. However, as predicted, nothing really changed much during the first year of the second decade in the 21st century.

The residents of Planet Earth did not fail to provide headlines and stories that ranged from heart wrenchingly sad to downright hilarious.

We pointed out a few of the less flattering human behavioral patterns that might have caused the space guys pause, had they been watching. And watch they apparently did. Years 2010 to 2011 brought the space guys to the media forefront with frequency.

We addressed those occasions when witnesses by the hundreds and sometimes thousands saw flying objects that defied explanation. If anyone could explain them, he or she did not step forward.

We also took more than a casual look at the attitude of heads of state when responding to inquiries about our – we assume – extraterrestrial visitors. I believe the consensus was that until we approach the White House walking hand in hand with ET, we should not expect comment from our president or any other of the world’s leaders.

Our remarkable system provided enough confusion to keep us in a state of delirium without worrying about what’s going on beyond the reaches of our atmosphere.

We managed to get a few chuckles out of the human-penchant for-loving scandal, and for admiring the lives of those who are famous for being famous. We also laughed at our forgiving attitude toward the wealthy, no matter how stupidly they behaved.

Writers, journalists and photographers around the globe should probably thank Charlie Sheen for continuing to party hardy, Lindsay Lohan – that’s enough ink about her, Mel Gibson for his infamous rants, Tiger Woods for his indiscretions, and Miley Cyrus for growing up.

Oops! I don’t want to risk offending anyone, so I suppose I should include Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and the talentless Kardashian sisters in that group. Although, Paris and Britney did not do anything too imaginative that warranted paparazzi favor.

Except for her yearly drug bust, Paris was rather well behaved. And Britney is attempting to make a comeback as a recording artist, so she’s been sequestered in studios where her sporadic tantrums cannot be monitored.

However, when I stop to think about it, Paris did manage to be banned from Las Vegas. Can you believe that? Being banned from Sin City takes talent. I cannot imagine what one would have to do to be banned from a municipality known for catering to the rich and infamous.

So – I stand corrected. Paris Hilton, you are without doubt a member in good standing of the media darlings who deserve to be in the tabloids.

I should not disrespect these people. Their daily activities provided the fodder that kept many media types and would-be media types employed.

Publishers managed to hire enough gossip columnists to produce adequate front-page news to appease the inquiring minds that want to know. Although what they want to know remains somewhat of a mystery.

I can only guess that they want to know about everybody else’s misery so they don’t have to pay attention to their own sorry lives. As sad as it may be, as long as people want to read trash, publishers will demand that reporters write it.

We managed to concentrate on a few offbeat subjects that needed addressing, but they did not warrant media attention for undisclosed reasons.

We discussed electronic toys, the new symbols of power, and how politicians like to talk about political reform, but they never change the business of politics.

We even touched on the benefi ts of war and how war keeps so many people employed. Unemployment will have a completely new meaning when they discharge our troops after bringing them home.

The truth is, we can’t afford to be at peace. War is big business. Ask those who work for any defense contractor. They don’t know we’re in a recession.

These are just a few reasons why I’ll continue to have much to write about as we continue to live in a system we can’t understand.

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