Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Socialist’s Journal: Quick Hits 2016 Part 3

Brookins Head Shot
Trevor Brookins

*If there’s one thing that last week’s presidential debate proved, it is that preparation is important. If there’s a second thing that last week’s presidential debate proved, it is fair to wonder how Trump would prepare to lead the country when he apparently doesn’t think it’s important to prepare for a debate.

Watching the Emmys I was again confronted with the snobbery of the Academy Awards. Performing arts typically move human emotions via sorrow and joy. The Emmys recognizes the difficulty of inspiring joy through comedy; the Golden Globes recognizes the difficulty of inspiring joy through comedy. Only the Academy Awards looks down on comedy which is arguably the more difficult of tasks. Most people believe they can act in a dramatic way. But even beyond an individual’s personal belief, most actors get the chance to do a dramatic role to some degree. But most people would not believe they could make people laugh on demand, and certainly most actors do not accept or get cast in comedic roles. Comedy is hard and should be more appreciated in movies.

Anyone who votes for a presidential candidate they don’t believe will make it through a four year term is not acting responsibly with their vote. But because that is the only way a vice-president can become president, I fail to see why VP candidates should get a debate. For the most part they are stating positions that reflect the presidential candidate’s views so the entire debate is a long campaign commercial. Of course these guys (or women) should be trying to get their candidate’s message out to the public. But it doesn’t have to be paraded to the American public as a substantive debate.

Evangelical Christians frequently highlight the persecuted church. That is the subset of Christians in other parts of the world that are not able to freely practice their religion and/or cannot proselytize others to join their church. What does not get the same amount of attention is the persecuting church. That is the subset of Christians who promote a world in which no other religions are allowed. Both of these perspectives reveal problems in the world and need to addressed.

I have argued against reality television on multiple occasions. This week I heard another reason it might be terrible for American society. Many reality television shows employ voting in some form. While this is undoubtedly democratic, it can be said that voting for such trivial competitions waters down the idea of voting. Furthermore it has allowed people to undermine the integrity of some of these competitions. If enough people want to vote for me (I’m not a good cook) to win a show about making the best restaurant dishes, they could do it. Either producers of the show would have to override the democratic process or they would have to watch as their show went down in flames. In a parallel situation with much higher stakes the Republican party has watched as its rank and file have continuously voted for Donald Trump as the standard bearer for the party. As the national convention approached there was talk of Republican power brokers trying to subvert the democratic process. But they couldn’t and now they must watch their presidential campaign go up in flames.

One of the reasons I believe socialism is that it is designed to allow for profit but not gouging. The company Mylan created a product (the epipen) that saves lives. Knowing that their product was irreplaceable for individuals undergoing an allergic reaction Mylan charged $600 for their product. After pressure to lower the price for a product that literally saves lives, Mylan decided to produce a generic version for $300. It should be said that generic products contain the same active ingredients but lack some of the bells and whistles. It should also be noted that Mylan is the company that is putting out the generic brand not a competitor, so they could have priced the product at $300 from the beginning. Government oversight is not the greatest thing in all scenarios, but I can’t imagine that such price gouging would be approved when the alternative is the death of citizens. And if Mylan cannot be profitable charging $300 for what allegedly costs less than $10 to produce, that is a Mylan problem not a government problem.

Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War.  His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.




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