There’s an awful lot of fear-mongering going on in the United States and too much of it has settled in Texas. Our new governor parlayed people’s fears into votes, and he continues to play on the fear. I couldn’t believe it when I heard him say that he suspects the summer training exercises by the U.S. Army is a cover for establishing martial law.
The Army has been holding training exercises all over the country for as long as the military has been in existence, and they have yet to usurp states’ right. Still, a majority of conservatives believe that the Jade Helm 15 maneuvers pose a threat.
As Steve Blow wrote in a recent Dallas Morning News column, “Fear is paralyzing. It distorts truth, clouds judgement and impedes the rational debate and negotiations that are essential to good government.
“The problem is that fear is also like sex. It sells.”
The conspiracy theorists used to be the hermits out in the woods who came to town once a month for supplies and to broadcast their latest alarms. They did not occupy the highest seat of state government. That one does now in Texas is pretty scary.
There is more about this in an article on Truthout by Candice Bernd, who does offer a caution about domestic military expansion.
This from Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis isn’t very funny, but it makes such a good point I had to share it.
In the first frame Pig is walking past Sammy’s Shop and calls out, “Hey Sammy the shop owner. Where are you off to?”
“I’m mad at our government so I’m gonna go out and protest.”
“I’ll join you. How are we gonna protest?”
“We’re gonna hold signs and march.” Sammy shows Pig a sign that reads, “We want change.”
“Good. Then what?”
“Then we’re gonna block the streets and let the government know it’s no longer business as usual.”
“Yes! And then what?”
Now Sammy is working himself into a rage. “Then to really get our point across, we’re gonna break windows! Lot’s of windows!”
Pig is connecting to the rage in a big way. He picks up a rock, growls, and tosses it through the window of Sammy’s store. Then he turns to Sammy and says, “That’ll show the government.”
This next joke is funny. Honest.
A lady goes to the doctor and complains that her husband is losing interest in sex. The doctor gives her a pill, but warns her that it’s still experimental. He tells her to slip it into his mashed potatoes at dinner, so that night, she does just that.
About a week later, she’s back at the doctor, where she says, “Doc, the pill worked great! I put it in the potatoes like you said! It wasn’t five minutes later that he jumped up, raked all the food and dishes onto the floor, grabbed me, ripped all my clothes off, and ravaged me right there on the table!”
The doctor says, “I’m sorry, we didn’t realize the pill was that strong! The foundation will be glad to pay for any damages.”
“Nah,” she says, “that’s okay. We’re never going back to that restaurant anyway.”
I enjoy Kristen Lamb’s blog where she shares insight and inspiration for writers. She has recently been doing a series on the craft of novel writing, and her latest blog was most interesting. She points out the pitfalls of using a gimmick in your story.
Here is the thing. There are only so many plots. DO NOT try to get creative with plot. Everything has been done. Seriously. Remember Part One of this series? There are only so many elements on the Periodic Table, yet everything in the universe is made up of some combination of these elements. Think of core plots like the elements on the Periodic Table.
Many new writers make writing a novel way too hard in that they try to reinvent the wheel. The wheel works. Leave the wheel alone. You do not have to revinvent plot as we understand it to tell a darn good story.
I find a lot of new writers get really excited about gimmick. Gimmick is dangerous, and gimmicks can bite back. Don’t believe me?
Okay…M. Night Shyamalan. He got us with The Sixth Sense, but after that? It was over. Why? Because the “magic” only worked with a naïve audience. After The Sixth Sense we were like CSI Vegas with every Shyamalan story. Short of using a swab kit and blacklight, we paid attention to every last little detail trying to figure out the twist ending.
I loved The Sixth Sense, and I never realized that Shyamalan created a problem for himself, but I can see Kristen’s point. What about you?
I do hope everyone has a great weekend. It is the Memorial Day Holiday weekend for us here in the United States, so there will be cookouts galore, and, hopefully, lots of fun with family and friends. What are your plans?