Monday, January 21, 2013

The United States Jumps the Shark

The United States of America, "Inauguration Day",  Monday, January 21, 2013 (check local listings for time)
repeat (cc)

According to Wikipedia,
Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that is used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery. The phrase is also used to refer to a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of "gimmick" in a desperate attempt to keep viewers' interest.
That script, which aired September 20, 1977, was identified as the beginning of the end of the TV sitcom Happy Days

In this episode of The United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama will be sworn in for his second term as President of The United States. This script is believed to have been in production since 1848, originally created by German humorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels with the working title Das Kommunistische Manifest

That episode originally aired first in Russia (starring Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, among others) under the title Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). It ran for a staggering 69 years, from 1922 ~ 1991. The episode collapsed under its own weight after spreading a wake of unprecedented poverty and oppression. It ended in tears with 20 million dead.

The episode aired in Germany (The Third Reich, starring Adolph Hitler) with some modifications under the title Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' Party -- Nazi for short). This version ran for twelve years, from 1933 ~ 1945. It ended with a bang (sometimes called World War II, but The Third Reich was the central character), but not before spreading a wake of unprecedented poverty, destruction and oppression. It ended in tears with 50 to 70 million dead, depending on which critics you read.

The United States has been slow to pick up the story line, given that the third episode (The United States Constitution) was so popular and successful (the first, British Colonial Rule was largely panned as a failure, and Articles of Confederation were deemed too weak). "The Constitution" episode has been on the air continuously since its premiere in 1787. It has had its twists and turns, including abolishing slavery (which predated The Constitution) and the Civil War, but The Constitution emerged intact, and some say stronger following that historical correction. But some plot complications began to emerge that would have profoundly disturbed the original authors. 

In 1913, mid season replacement Woodrow Wilson from the progressive acting school, took his role in a disturbing direction. Some distasteful plot twists include the creation of the income tax, including one of the most oppressive collection agencies in human history, The IRS. During this era, congress vacated its responsibility for regulating the currency, and the crony-capitalist Federal Reserve was created. This is in addition to a whole slew of new bureaucracies the likes of which the original authors would be most skeptical, not being mentioned in, nor suggested by the Constitutional script.

Despite these setbacks, things continued pretty much along the original plot line until a new character, Franklin Delano Roosevelt joined the cast for an unprecedented run from 1933 ~ 1945. In a stunning departure from the original plot line, this renegade gave us Social Security and a whole New Deal, not to mention packing The Supreme Court, all of which undoubtedly had the original authors spinning in their graves. The problem with these plot developments is that viewers become hooked on them, and it is well-nigh impossible to retire them. This is a continuing theme, as we shall see. To prevent future actors from nearly becoming emperor and totally screwing up the script, term limits were introduced. 

Harry S. Truman introduced a new twist, starting a war without a formal declaration by congress. The Korean War was the first of several unauthorized wars, and a serious departure from the original script. No surprise, the United Nations was a player here. Nobody seemed to care. Still numb from WWII, they seemed to overlook it.

In more recent times, we have had a string of bad actors come through the scene. Dwight Eisenhower brought the Interstate Highway System, though which appealing and nice to have, an earlier actor, James Madison (also one of the principal original authors) deleted a very similar scene 144 years earlier. John F. Kennedy went off the rails with the first (undeclared) involvement in the Vietnam War. He also introduced the Moon Shot. It was an exciting premise, but certainly not part of the original plot. The writers would not have supported this, even if it had been technically possible in their time. They would have suggested the private sector do that, assuming We The People really wanted it.

From this point on, the script has been veering completely out of control. Some say that it is because the viewers have no idea what the original script was all about. In addition to escalating the US involvement in the Vietnam War (again, with the UN's help and no formal congressional declaration), Lyndon Baines Johnson declared war on poverty, which grew government entitlements, but 40 years later, poverty still exists in roughly the same amount. The only difference is, the biggest health problem by the modern poor is obesity instead of starvation. Maybe that is an improvement. Oh, and the illegitimacy rate has grown to 51%. More than half of the children born in this country are bastards. That's a prurient plot twist that only Hollywood could love. 

Richard Nixon creates The EPA, one of the most oppressive, unconstrained and out-of-control bureaucracies of all time. OSHA is another departure from the original script. It seems nice to have until you realize that there just isn't any story line backing it up, and as usual, bureaucracies invariably exceed their original scope, and take over the whole plot. The two Bush presidencies (H. W. and W) brought us two more unauthorized wars.

Enter stage left, Barack Hussein Obama. A relative unknown (I mean really, we know practically nothing about this man -- his background is carefully sealed), this actor absolutely hates the original script, saying it "reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day". While this was taken out of context,  the fact is, he believes The Constitution was, and is flawed, in that it provides only "negative rights" -- limited government, but no entitlements. Duh! That's the whole point! Oh well. Although a knowledgeable audience would have rejected that story line, they renewed him for another season, even after he pushed through an economic "stimulus", ObamaCare, both staggering usurpations of the enumerated powers, and a whole litany of other plot lines that defies audience suspension of disbelief. 

So the original script is simply being ignored, to be replaced without any official action or fanfare, with the Marx story line. It happened so gradually that nobody really noticed. The original authors and the original audience are long gone, and the rest of us just haven't been paying attention. The United States actually jumped the shark on November 6, 2012, when the viewers officially changed the channel to the new story line. 

There are now more takers than makers in our viewing audience. There are more people who believe it's okay to take someone else's earnings without their consent, and give it to someone who hasn't earned it. Taking something from someone without their consent is called "theft" unless you're the government. Taxation for constitutionally authorized services is one thing. You get what you pay for. But it's quite another thing when government does more than We the People agreed to when we ratified The Constitution.

Government makes the laws, so somehow it's exempt from them. It would be different if it followed The Constitution. Why is theft considered illegal? Because property represents irreplaceable time from a person's life that it took to obtain it. Taking their property equates to fractional murder. On the other hand, generosity is giving your time and property willingly, freely. We do not have a Great Society, we have a sick society, consisting of a bunch of people who think they are entitled simply to take without asking, a part of someone else's life. 

Barack Obama isn't the problem, but he's a really nasty symptom, the tragic hero in this farce. The real villain is the viewing audience, who selected him as the American Idol. Jumping the shark is usually the marker for the time when something begins its final death spiral. I hope I'm wrong about that. We can change it, but it will require  the re-education of a large number of citizens about lib-classic and constitutional principles. Studying The Federalist Papers. It could take generations. In the meantime, hang on tight. It's going to be a bumpy ride. 


  1. I just opened a closet door which I have not opened for several years.

    Yessir, there he was smoking his, wait- this time a joint.

    Rod Serling on pot, coughing, laughing, telling me: Welcome to the real twilight zone.

  2. Karl, you have used a brilliant concept of the TV series - which all can relate to. I fervently hope the final episode has not yet been written.


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