Now I'm not going to rehash all the old stories (or let the dead be pissed on), but with someone who got at least 10% of the obsessive coverage Michael Jackson is still damned getting (no Kennedy news this morning, but we got our morning Michael), a little more has to be said. And yes I saved it for the AOTW post.
Such is the case whenever you become a parody figure. And there's not the space here to list them all. So take, for example, Mayor Quimby, the horny, greasy, Kennedy-sounding mayor of Springfield from the TV show The Simpsons. Or for that matter, the gallons of various parodies over the decades that Rush Limbaugh declined to play (despite my desire to hear them one last time for the smile they brought. Or even my own little parody that my daughter found funny (really an incoherent babble). The senator from the People's Republic of Taxachusettes was always good for a laugh.
The fact is that even political opponents have lost something: A unique character that will probably be replaced by someone equally liberal but obscenely boring (like John Kerry, for example).
And on that note, here's a couple of Kennedy stories I saw that were interesting:
When Ted Kennedy Spoke - This is a look back to the first time Senator Kennedy spoke in the Senate, when the deaths of his brothers and the incident in Chappaquiddick were still recent memories.
Media Today Would Demand Chappaquiddick Answers - A focus of anger for many who opposed Kennedy, This looks at the reaction at the time compared to what would have happened if it had happened in the 24/7 news era. It's definitely an example of how the culture has changed.
And now, rest in peace Teddy (I'll come back for you later, maybe). For now, I have an asshat to crown:
Why the venerable spokesbear? Especially since his primary message is, "Only you can prevent
(note the magic message change in the above quote)
Probably because he's the political response to a conservation problem.
As with many things, Smokey was born out of World War II propaganda; in this case, his role was to help prevent fires that would otherwise pull manpower away from the war effort (replacing posters of Hitler and Tojo, as well as the cast from the soulless anti-hunting rant, Bambi). However, he is the most visible symbol of the triumph of politics and politicians over working with the nature of the forests themselves.
The politics are simple. Forest fires destroy a lot of territory that attracts tourists and granola-munching voters. And wildfires (our current scare word) are destructive enough to burn not only the forest floor, but burn the crowns of the old trees and sterilize portions of the forest. So we have to fight them so property isn't destroyed. Meanwhile, other asshats with their half-assed idea of "pristine" in mind, want to keep people (except for the granola-munchers) out of the forest. And they REALLY don't want big evil loggers to come through with heave machinery and rip up swathes of forest.
One problem: Fire is how nature clears out the clutter of a forest. So if you try to stop every fire AND you don't let people clean a lot of it out AND you build a shitload of houses in dry areas (California, most prominently), Mother Nature is going to eventually kick your ass and burn the area anyway.
Now I don't wish to completely make light of the situation in California, with both the property loss and, more importantly, the loss of two firefighters. But the fact that we continually underestimate the power of our planet to do whatever it wants is the reason these things continue to happen. That we believe we can apply our resources and do much more than affect the local environment is hubris. And that we fail to learn from our mistakes (or buy enough insurance) is sickeningly standard operating procedure, both in Washington and all across the natural destruction-ravaged country.
Finally, to clarify, starting fires in the forest is a bad thing. But when we forget to balance the needs of nature to do what it does with our own desires, we're asking for bad shit to happen. And Smokey, as you are the symbol of that effort (and forced to reword), you're a bear with an asshat (until you kick my ass, being a bear and all).