Once Upon a Time in America | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

Once Upon a Time in America 

The completely unnecessary news analysis

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Once upon a time in America, there were mass shootings every week. But no one knew what to do about it. Some people didn't care. Once upon a time in America, there was a Big Lie that Donald Trump won re-election for president. No matter how much evidence to the contrary, most Republicans believed the Big Lie. The country was drowning in misinformation. But no one knew what to do about it. Once upon time in America, there was a pandemic killing hundreds of thousands of people. Public safety officials asked everyone to wear a mask to keep the disease from spreading. But many, mostly Trump supporters, refused because the disease wasn't really real and besides, it stole their freedom. When scientists miraculously came up with vaccines against the disease, many refused them because they couldn't trust scientists. Once upon a time in America, there was a thing called "personal freedom" where you could do anything you wanted; you could tell big lies that hurt people; you could buy guns and kill people; you could ignore public safety and if you helped spread a deadly disease, well, that was your right because personal freedom comes before anything else, no matter what. America—land of the free, home of the knaves.

Between Sex and a Hard Place
Talk about being caught between a hard place and a hard thing, sex therapist Natasha Helfer is in double-Dutch with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after her blog post said masturbation is not a sin. (Hallelujah.) Suddenly, her blog has a lot more pull (no pun intended) with Mormons and ex-Mormons for what The Washington Post called "her frankness around sex." Here's the rub: Helfer, who is a Mormon, is now facing possible excommunication for apostasy for publicly opposing LDS teachings. "They're treating me like a pariah," she said. One of the few licensed sex therapists familiar with the Latter-day Saints faith, Helfer said her clients have previously been advised to pray their sexual urges away. She also said that viewing pornography is not sex addiction, and she supports same-sex marriage. After being castigated by her stake president, Helfer posted this on her Facebook page: "The last thing I want for my people is to replace one patriarchal prick for another ... Beware of any person or organization that assumes they know better than you what you need." She didn't exactly say, "If it feels good do it," but for some, like Wilson and the band, that's close enough.

Poor Burgess Owens—Boo Hoo Hoo
Poor, poor Burgess Owens. Utah's Republican 4th District congressman is a victim—Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley had the temerity to publicly compare him to a bigot. Poor Burgess. This is the same poor Burgess Owens who called President Joe Biden a dictator. "We don't have anything close to a constitutional republic right now. We have a dictatorship." Poor Burgess. And as for Black Lives Matter, the movement seeking to stop police shootings of African Americans, Owens, who is Black, said this: "They hate God. They hate capitalism and they hate the family... ." Poor, poor Burgess. After visiting the country's southern border earlier this month, Owens told hard-right Newsmax TV: "Americans, this isn't a border issue anymore. They are coming to your neighborhoods, not knowing the language, not knowing the culture, and there is a cartel influence along the way... and it is done on purpose by a party who could care less about we the people." When Bagley drew a parody of Owens next to a KK Klansman with a torch saying, "They are coming to your neighborhood," Owens and Utah Republicans had a synchronized shit fit (difficulty 8.2). Nasty ol' Pat Bagley, look what he's done to poor Burgess Owens. It's just not fair. Boo hoo hoo.

Postscript—Some good news: "U.S. to Get Out of Afghanistan." After 20 years, trillions of $ and 2,312 dead soldiers and Marines, Joe Biden has had enough. Those stats don't include service members who were maimed or committed suicide or who suffer from PTSD. The war began on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after al-Qaida terrorists attacked the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Soon after, a small number of American special forces and the Northern Alliance overthrew the Taliban government, which had provided safe haven for al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden. A contingent of Navy Seals later killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011. The question: If we could surgically overthrow the Taliban and use a minimal force to kill bin Laden, why did we send the entire U.S. armed forces into Afghanistan? It's puzzling but not as strange as this: On May 19, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq because then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said there weren't enough good targets in Afghanistan and, oh yeah, Saddam Hussein had "weapons of mass destruction." And by the way, did you hear the one about the attack on a U.S. warship in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam in August 1964?

Want to get away? How about a place where there's no shootings, and sex is just part of natur?. Hey Wilson, maybe you and the guys in the band can take us back to paradise—if just for a while:

I'm an ape, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
I'm an ape man

I don't feel safe in this world no more
I don't want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man
I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man
I'm an ape man, I'm a King Kong man, I'm ape ape man

Cos the only time that I feel at ease
Is swinging up and down in a coconut tree
Oh what a life of luxury to be like an ape man
I'm an ape, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
I'm an ape man

I'll be your Tarzan, you'll be my Jane
I'll keep you warm and you'll keep me sane
And we'll sit in the trees and eat bananas all day
Just like an ape man, I'm an ape man, I'm an ape ape man, I'm an ape man
I'm a King Kong man, I'm a voo-doo man
I'm an ape man...

"Apeman"—The Kinks

PPS—During this difficult time for newspapers please make a donation to our very important local alternative news source, Salt Lake City Weekly, at PressBackers.com, a nonprofit dedicated to help fund local journalism. Thank you.

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