Explaining the Inexplicable

So, all that said, why the general quiet about gas? Do we think our newly found vast reservoirs of gas and oil, at some point recoverable, will ensure that these spikes are only temporary? Do the masses love so the administration that they have forgotten the president’s past talk of “skyrocketing” power rates, breaking the coal companies, and former Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s silly dreaming about the desirability of reaching European levels of gas pricing? Or are cars so efficient at the 30-plus MPG average that we don’t note the pain as much as in the past? Are we all driving Priuses? Or are people so dense that they scream over a one-half-a-cent increase in sales taxes, while keeping mum as they pay far more through a $30 or $40 per week hit in gas prices?

In any case, it is inexplicable that gas has gone so much higher in the last four years, that the public cares so little, and that there is so little connection made (rightly or wrongly) between the decision to go green and to ignore fossil fuels on public lands, and the subsequent skyrocketing price of transportation fuel. Were Bush -- or even Clinton -- president, would not a $2-a-gallon climb during their first four years earn outrage? Do things change at $5 a gallon? Six?

Non-racist Racism

Almost daily on internet news agencies is some lurid story of a shooting, flash-mobbing, or beating that unfortunately involves a racial motif. The Daily Mail and the Drudge Report (if indirectly) specialize in these racy tabloid tales, as does the New York Post, but also CNN.

Yet such information is usually implicit rather than overt. The paper or news agency that reports the crime either provides no overtly physical description of the suspects, or offers almost every detail of their appearances (sometimes even artists’ renditions!) except for their race. Fine, we understand political correctness and the theory of censorship in service to avoiding racial polarization.

But why, then, do the news agencies post readers’ uncensored comments to their own stories -- readers who are often furious over the PC reporting inches above? The tepid commentators note the hypocrisy and self-censorship; but the livid ones end up posting the most abjectly racist slurs: crude, even sick and repulsive.

So what, then, is the point of trying to avoid race in the news story if the publication is willing to publish readers’ overtly racially based reactions? Would not it be wiser to do anything other than what the agencies are now doing, like be honest about the race of the suspected perpetrators, or perhaps censor the worst comments as proverbially “inappropriate,” or maybe not publish any comments at all?

As it is now, we read the most ridiculous postmodern prissy news accounts followed by the most abjectly premodern racist furor. Inexplicable.

Or is it? Are the editors hoping to incite animosities by both reporting lurid crimes without offering common-sense information about the suspects, thereby getting off the hook for fanning divisions, while simultaneously stirring up tabloid interest, as the juxtaposed unfiltered commentary attests? It is almost as if the sick policy is: "Come here to read how sensitive to race we are while experiencing how racist our readers are."