(Editor's note: Back when Tom Pfeifer was required to read five-plus newspapers a day for his day job, for amusement he compiled news reports from which he could thread a theme and emailed his Initial Thoughts to family and friends. While he works on other projects, he is regurgitating some of them here. We hope you enjoy.)
© 2011 Tom Pfeifer
Current as of December 31, 2011
On a single day this week, the New York Times published two stories that caught my eye. One discussed face blindness, a condition in which the sufferer cannot recognize people he sees all the time, even his children. The second story referenced mindblindness, an autistic condition that makes it difficult for the afflicted to read social cues.
I knew you could turn a blind eye to your blind date as
you wander down a blind alley. I knew you could have a
blind spot to your blind trust. I knew you could steal a
person blind while he’s being blinded by the light. But
I didn’t know about face blindness or mindblindness
before. So I went looking for other blindnesses.
There are many, but the one that trumps all is Trump
blindness, the inability to see that you are not God’s
gift and are, in fact, a pompous blowhard.
Those who suffer Trump blindness never fail, even
when they obviously do. Consider that Donald
“Birther” Trump’s ignominious pitch to moderate a
GOP debate failed faster than a Trump business
venture when only two of the seven GOP presidential
candidates agreed to participate. Former U.S. Sen.
Rick Santorum is desperate for any media attention, so
his bid to tie himself to the circus ringmaster is
understandable. Former House of Representatives
Speaker Newt Gingrich agreed because, well, Newt
is Newt. Newt is always thinking, but he rarely thinks things through. Call it think blindness.
Peeved that he didn’t get his way, Trump stomped his feet all the way to the elections bureau and changed his party registration from GOP to independent so he could preserve his right to run for president without party baggage. He is, after all, Donald Trump, and the peons love him.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich suffered from Trump blindness until he was cured this month by a 14-year prison sentence. Ditto the guilty plea by New York State Sen. Carl Kruger who, while not gay, lived with his apparently gay lover in a lavish mansion paid for with graft and bribery proceeds.
Happy tidings blindness broke out across this great land of ours this holiday season, at times literally. It began on Black Friday when a woman at a Walmart in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb pepper sprayed fellow shoppers so she could have a better crack at getting a discounted Xbox video game player. The story didn’t explain why there is a Walmart in a wealthy suburb.
Then, two days before Christmas, retailers hoped to rake in some last-minute Christmas cash by offering Air Jordan Retro Concords for sale. They were blindsided by the chaos it caused. As the New York Times reported:
“In Charlotte, North Carolina, shoppers smashed glass doors to get to the sneakers. In suburban Atlanta, the police made four arrests when a crowd broke down a door to get into a store before it opened. In Richmond, California, a man fired a single gunshot in the air just after a mall opened. In Louisville, officers had to stop fights that popped up among a crowd of waiting shoppers. And in a suburb of Seattle, the police used pepper spray.”
It didn’t stop there. The day after Christmas, about 200 young people made life a shopping hell at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. It started with a fight in the food court. Soon, there were fights throughout the mall and, later outside the mall and on routes from the mall.
Conventional wisdom turned out to be blind as well. It turns out that 18- to 25-year-old men do not think about sex every seven seconds. A Journal of Sex Research study found that although some young men think about sex 388 times a day, on average young men think about sex only 18.6 times a day. Young men also thought about food 18 times a day, which is why the way to a man’s heart, or at least to his pants, is through his stomach.
Twenty percent of teens aren’t sexting, either. A study in the journal Pediatrics found it closer to 1 percent. And, police involvement in sexting cases is very rare, another study found. Perhaps the lack of sexting and thoughts of sex are why only 48 percent of public schools failed the No Child Left Behind test this year, instead of the 82 percent Secretary of Education Arne Duncan predicted would fail. Call it success blindness.
But it’s blind justice Steven Hopler is after. The authorities want to take away his collection of about a dozen guns just because he’s blind as a bat. Hopler is not a man I would want to play blind man’s bluff with. But perhaps The Donald would like to play. He always wins.
Barrow, Karen. “Have We Met? Tracing Face Blindness to Its Roots.” New York Times. 26 December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/health/views/face-and-voice-recognition-may-be-linked-in-the-brain-research-suggests.html
D’Arcy, Janice. “Kids sexting less common than thought, study says.” Washington Post. 5 December 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/kids-sexting-less-common-than-thought-study-says/2011/11/30/gIQAzBPxLO_blog.html
Dillon, Sam. “Failure Rate of Schools Overstated, Study Says.” New York Times. 15 December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/education/education-secretary-overstated-failing-schools-under-no-child-left-behind-study-says.html
Davey, Monica. Steven Yaccino contributed. “Blagojevich Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison.” New York Times. 7 December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/us/blagojevich-expresses-remorse-in-courtroom-speech.html
Dunham, Will. Reuters. “Trump leaves Republican Party after debate snub.” Chicago Tribune. 23 December 2011. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/sns-rt-us-usa-campaign-trumptre7bn029-20111223,0,5869382.story
Harmon, Amy. “Navigating Love and Autism.” New York Times. 26 December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/us/navigating-love-and-autism.html
Jablon, Robert. Associated Press. “Woman pepper sprays other Black Friday shoppers.” Ventura County Star. 25 November 2011. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/nov/25/bc-us--black-friday-pepper-spray-4th-ld-woman/
Levy, Paul. “Mall of America stepping up security after Monday chaos.” Star Tribune. 27 December 2011. http://www.startribune.com/local/north/136261828.html
McGeehan, Patrick. “Blind Man in New Jersey Challenged Again on Guns.” New York Times. 25 November 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/26/nyregion/blind-new-jersey-man-challenged-again-on-guns.html
Rashbaum, William K. Thomas Kaplan and Noah Rosenberg contributed. “After Resigning, Tearful Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes.” New York Times. 20 December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/nyregion/senator-carl-kruger-pleads-guilty-in-corruption-case.html
Stein, Jeannine. Booster Shots blog. “Men's thoughts about sex may not be as frequent as we think.” Los Angeles Times. 2 December 2011. http://www.latimes.com/health/la-heb-men-thoughts-sex-20111202,0,4250638.story
Williams, Timothy. “Rush to Buy New Sneakers Leads to Arrests.” New York Times. 23 December 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/24/us/rush-to-buy-new-sneakers-leads-to-arrests.html
(Editor's note: No one should go hungry during these trying times. If you have the means, please donate to your local food bank. Even a dollar goes a long way. Simply search "food banks near me" to find one. If you're in need, please contact them for help.)
Tom Pfeifer is president and CEO of Consistent Voice Communications and author of Write It, Speak It: Writing a Speech They’ll APPLAUD! Reach him at Tom@YourConsistentVoice.com.
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