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Theater of the absurd in Ferguson

Cal Thomas's picture

It was in a college theater class that I learned about a genre called “Theater of the Absurd.” These were plays written mostly by European playwrights between the 1940s and 1960s, as well as a certain style that flowed from their work.

What reminded me of this is now “playing” in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was — select one — a) innocently walking down the street when a police officer shot him to death without provocation, or, b) walking with a friend in the street and told by a police officer to get on the sidewalk, whereupon a physical confrontation occurred and Brown allegedly tried to grab the officer’s gun and was shot by the cop, now identified as Darren Wilson. This after Brown allegedly robbed a convenience store of some cigars and was seen on a store camera intimidating the clerk as he walked out, which may, or may not, have been related to the shooting.

The rioting and looting that followed and the pundits who weighed in with the familiar narrative about slavery, discrimination, stereotyping, joblessness, lack of education and absent fathers, are familiar scenes we have watched in incidents dating back to the race riots of the 1960s. Blue ribbon commissions have been appointed to study the “causes,” laws have been passed, little has changed.

The Theater of the Absurd, as defined by The American Heritage Dictionary, is “A form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence by employing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and confusing situations, and plots that lack realistic or logical development.”

Doesn’t this sound like Ferguson, Missouri, in recent days?

The cast of characters has expanded with the introduction of the National Guard, ordered to Ferguson by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to quell the unrest, much of it apparently fomented, according to some locals, by outsiders taking advantage of the situation to engage in criminal activity.

Just how absurd things are getting in the St. Louis suburb and in some of the commentary written before all the facts are known can be seen in these headlines on the Drudge Report: “George Zimmerman attorney urges caution” (Zimmerman was found not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin); “Iran’s Ayatollah weighs in;” “Jesse Jackson: ‘state execution.’”

If jumping to conclusions were an Olympic sport, some of these loudmouths who insert themselves where they don’t belong and frequently fan flames instead of working to extinguish them would win gold medals.

The shooting galleries in Chicago and other major cities leave hundreds dead each year. Most shooters and victims are black, or Hispanic, but only the local news gives coverage. There are no statements from the president. No FBI or Justice Department investigative task forces are sent from Washington. I have yet to hear a credible explanation for this.

It is the same when a child disappears. A white child, especially a female, gets a lot of attention, a black child, no matter the gender, not so much. Isn’t this a form of racism?

One more question that adds to the absurdity: Why is so little attention paid to African-Americans who have overcome difficult circumstances to become responsible citizens and committed husbands and fathers? Possible answer: It doesn’t play into the media’s stereotypical portrayal of the black man as a frightening, threatening, menace to society. Blacks who loot stores make for more dramatic pictures than those who are law-abiding. (To their great credit, Brown’s parents have repeatedly called for calm in Ferguson, to little avail.)

Don’t the major media have a bias of their own in these matters?

It’s all so absurd.

[Cal Thomas’ latest book is “What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America” is available in bookstores now.]

(c) 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Cyclist's picture

And after the grand jury reviews the evidence and elects not to issue an indictment I wonder what's next.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

PTC Observer's picture

on how many TV cameras are there.

The same stuff happened during and following the South Central Riots in 1992. It took several days of media coverage and "priming" agitators to get it going but when it was over 6,345 people were arrested and 44 killed. When everyone goes home, the community will be left with a gutted town where no one will invest in business, insurance will be non-existent and the people will lose the few existing jobs. It took twenty years for South Central LA to make a comeback. Ferguson will be no different. It will succumb to criminals and the wreckage they wrought on a community.

In 1906, the city of San Francisco caught fire and burned following an earthquake. The Mayor of that city, following a night and day of looting, decreed that looters would be shot on site. There was no looting following that decree. The "protesters" are not protesters, peaceful protesters don't throw fire bombs, bricks, stones at police. It is figuratively and literally throwing bombs at the law. Either we are a nation of laws or we are a mob. It appears, that the mob rules in Ferguson, MO. another failure of government entitlement.

Tomorrow puts the chances of no indictment right up there with

those of Hillary and Bill having their first grandchild named Christopher Stevens Clinton.

PTC Observer's picture

It really doesn't matter, when people are intent on breaking laws, they will break them. What some of these people want is more dead people on the street, they want it to end badly.

Getting it going in more cities, that is their intended objective.

To enable them than Eric Holder and Barry Obama. Their record of success in affecting positive change for the black community is exhibited by the stellar example of their work in their home city, Shitcago..

[quote]And after the grand jury reviews the evidence and elects not to issue an indictment I wonder what's next.[/quote]

Sadly we both know the answer to your question. There is a segment of the population that is acting like children. And as with children if you give in when they throw a tantrum they will continue to use that tactic to get what they want. Justified or not. The only way it stops is when the parents get tired of it and start spanking. I for one think it's time to spank.

brewster's picture

Make sure you know which day your child has PE and plan accordingly, or a visit from the Agency will be forthcoming.

Nice avatar Brew. I love aunt Ester. LOL

It is bad policy to gun down unarmed civilians in the streets.


PTC Observer's picture

At least we agree on this and I think you would agree we should let the legal system handle it.

It's NOT policy--if it was,it would happen just about every day.

brewster's picture

Just surf some of the street beat-downs on YouTube to get a sense of the growing promotion of how to get cred in the hood.


Not that the story in MO is just like this....it may be, it may be worse, it may not be as bad...just no way for folks to react, by stealing things that don't belong to them. I hate thieves.

This happened right near my house when I lived in Miami. The suspect wrestled the gun away from one of the cops and killed them both.

Officers Shot To Death In North Dade

An ex-convict released from prison 10 days ago was charged with murdering two Metro-Dade police officers with their own guns on Monday, then fleeing to Hollywood in a police car and stealing another car at gunpoint.

The suspect was captured in Dania by a Broward sheriff`s deputy.

Both victims, Officers Richard Allan Boles and David Strzalkowski, were wearing bulletproof vests. They were shot in the head, as well as in the arms, shoulders and about the tops of their bodies.

Dr. Barth Green, Jackson Memorial Hospital`s chief neurosurgeon, who tried to save Strzalkowski`s life, described the gunman as an ``ugly person`` who aimed carefully and shot around the officers` vests.

``He wasn`t just satisfied to disarm the officer,`` said an angry Green. ``He was a nasty S.O.B.``

Boles, 41, a father of two, was pronounced dead on arrival at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Boles, a North Lauderdale resident, had been on the Metro- Dade police force since 1984.

Strzalkowski, 34, whose wife, Deborah, is pregnant with their second child, died at 11:45 a.m. at Jackson. Strzalkowski lived in Hollywood and was a six- year veteran of the force.

The suspect, Charles Harry Street, 34, of Boynton Beach, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed robbery.

Metro-Dade police described Street as a career criminal, released on Nov. 18 from Martin Correctional Institution after serving eight years of a 15-year sentence for attempted murder.

Street was being held in the Dade County Jail, and a court hearing was scheduled for today in Broward County.

``This is a great tragedy for the department,`` said a shaken Metro-Dade Police Chief Fred Taylor. ``We are all in mourning for our fallen brothers.``

The double police fatality was the second worst in the department`s history. In 1976, three auto theft officers were gunned down in Miami Beach.

The tragic string of events began at 1:37 a.m. when Boles and Metro-Dade Officer Eric Rossman responded to a routine call to assist a Metro-Dade Fire- Rescue unit at a Mobil gas station at 19255 Biscayne Blvd. in northeast Dade County.

A man there was complaining of gastric disorder, Metro-Dade Sgt. Russell Fischer, the lead homicide investigator on the case, said at an afternoon news conference.

``The suspect voluntarily got into the ambulance and minutes later climbed out, stating that he no longer wanted medical assistance,`` Fischer said. Police said Street was in the area visiting a girlfriend

She must still be in Fergurson.

PTC Observer's picture

I hope nothing bad has happened to her, seriously, she brings so much to this party by way of exposing the socialist's agenda.

Hoping she shows up again soon, perhaps she's visiting the Cuban Utopia? North Korea? Somalia? You know, where everyone is treated equal because of great leaders?

expedition garnering material for her upcoming posts. Seems like she was absent for a while a few weeks ago. I just cannot imagine her not posting re: Ferguson if she is around. I, too, wish she is safe and well. She certainly adds something to the mix----even if it is only imagination.

PTC Observer's picture

Yes indeed, but even there she may be in touch via internet, not so in those other paradises.

Hmmm....imagination or delusion?

bbwillis's picture

Hello PTC Observer & MY TMITE,

Although I often times agree with you on issues, I am disappointed by the disrespectful tone taken towards DM here. While I do think DM's political, social presuppositions/views are sometimes flawed, she often states them respectfully and attempts to cite her sources. Maybe I am old-fashioned in this cyber-world, but I try not to say things online that I wouldn't say to one's face... I appreciate having DM as part of this forum. Disagree with her on her positions, but from what I can see here, she is being belittled and she deserves better.

Often, attempts at humorous sarcasm can be misconstrued and I think that is what you've done here. Note several cmts with hopes that nothing serious has happened to her and she's ok. Look for the good and accept the rest for what it is. I know you realize that respect must be earned and is not automatically conferred on anyone. Your opinion always welcomed.

PTC Observer's picture

I often agree with you too Ms. Willis, in fact you're one of my favorite people and I respect you a lot for your insights, learned wisdom, values and many other traits as revealed in your columns. I don't agree with you on everything, and your post above happens to be one.

The problem I have with DM and with socialists in general is that their philosophy is based on the notion that what's mine is theirs. A majority vote can simply take it from me by force of law. This is not merely flawed thinking, it is a deliberate and methodical way of depriving me and millions of other citizens of life, liberty and property. It is theft Ms. Willis and it is not the intent of the social contract each citizen has with our government. Our government is there to protect our Rights not infringe them and it infringes on a regular basis.

I don't "respect" DM, I don't respect anything that she advocates because it is based on a dishonest and dishonorable philosophy. DM may have good intentions, I don't know for sure, but at the very least she is intellectually dishonest.

What I do respect is DM's Right to say what she wants to say.

Now, concerning my posts about DM, I truly believe that she adds a lot to the discussions on this board for what she reveals about her philosophy. I enjoy debating her here because of that fact. I have been and will continue to be civil to all on this board, if I fail then I fail through interpretation not intent. Our debates can be seen by all and they can make their own judgement of what is right and wrong. As a human being I hope nothing bad has befallen her, but I can never agree that she has my "respect". As to her civility, you clearly have not read everything that she has written here or you would not assert her mutual respect for her philosophical opponents.

Yes, I would say this to her face as well or anyone that shares her corrupt philosophy. I am sure this will never happen as we clearly don't travel in the same circle. I have no liberal (socialist) friends, the best I can tell. I would not want them as friends, I would have to count my fingers each time I shook hands with them. (joke)(smiling)

They say that respect is earned Ms. Willis, but in my way of thinking everyone should be respected until they earn dis-respect.

So, thanks for your thoughts as always and keep up the great columns on the reality of life.

I remain PTCO

G35 Dude's picture

As a human being I want to add my sincere hope that DM is OK. She does bring a lot to these blogs by forcing those of us that disagree with her to think and even do research on our positions. As for respect, that is a different topic. I see DM as a product of her environment. And I think that in her mind at least she is following the correct agenda. However, she is a ?__the ends justifies the means?_? kind of person. She is much like her hero, Obama, in that she seems to think that the truth is a disposable tool to be used or misused to further the agenda that she believes to be correct.

In my earlier days of posting here she and I had several civil discussions. But when the topic of the NAACP challenging the at large voting system was hot I repeatedly asked her to explain to me how changing the voting system would improve the best public school system in the state. She finally admitted that the lawsuit was solely about race and called me na??ve and less than intelligent for insisting that the kids were the most important issue not race. Since then she has called me other names as well. And I don?__t pretend to be perfect in my responses to her. Again, I do believe that in her mind she is doing what she believes to be correct. I just disagree with her methods. Therefore respect has not been earned on her part. And I?__m sure she?__d say the same about me.

that you go back and read many of her blogs. She can spew vitriol with a vengeance if someone writes something she does not agree with and then end with 'lets all come together'. I do not assume to speak for others but one of the things that seems to bother others as it surely does me is how she manages to insert race into every conversation. For someone who only wants peace and harmony, her ability to inject the race card into any subject belies that fact as far as I am concerned. On occasion, she also has managed to infer that someone who does not agree with her is an illiterate red neck. Hardly the inferences that would be used by someone who only wishes to get along with everyone. I am sure she would appeciate your concern for her, but as I previously stated she can more than hold her own.

I would also like to state that I have enjoyed reading your articles, even those I did not completely agree with-but that is the American way. I may not have the same viewpoint but appreciate the fact that you have the right to express yours.

Busy Bee's picture

If you don't think DM is deserving of respect, maybe instead we should focus on being respectful of the readers of this blog. It is not particularly enlightening or enjoyable to read a bunch of ad hominen attacts on another poster. Perhaps as you say, DM "can spew vitriol with a vengeance." If so, let the vitriol hang there in mid-air for all to see and don't engage. The same goes for other posters who spew vitriol. Ignore them and focus on showing respect for everyone else who is reading this blog.

BTW, this advice is intended as a guide for everyone, not one individual in particular.

brewster's picture

I rather enjoy reading the attacks on each other - the more juvenile the more hilarious. To me, this is daily entertainment and part of the fun is trying to anticipate the "trigger" comments that set off the individual posters. There are bullies and there are drive-by dingers as well as respectful and descent attitudes. It's sometimes like sitting on a bench and watching children interacting on a playground. But hey, that's me.

Busy Bee's picture


Busy Bee's picture

And it does seem appropriate that we are posting under an article titled "Theater of the Absurd."

Sometimes though, even at the playground, an adult needs to step in and say "Hey! Act your age, not your shoe size! (Or IQ, whichever is lower)"

PTC Observer's picture

Indeed, let it hang there for all to see but don't ignore it. Vitriol is abusive language full of violent hate and anger expressed through severe criticism in words. There have been a few on this board that are no longer on this board that use vitriol. I think we know them well.

Words have meanings and there are few on this board that use vitriol, many are sardonic. Sarcasm does not translate well in writing because of the lack of inflection of speech and lack of facial expression.

Unfortunately, ad hominen attacks are part of human nature because by definition they express how people feel about others' ideas. We should all strive to argue against the actions and ideas of others as corrupt based on fundamental Truths, like non-aggression for example.

We should all be remined of this every now and then, thanks Busy Bee. I'll attempt to follow your advice.

All is well.

It is interesting that some of the most affluent cities/countries on our globe are noticing the issues that you have noted in your column.

[quote]Why is so little attention paid to African-Americans who have overcome difficult circumstances to become responsible citizens and committed husbands and fathers? Possible answer: It doesn?__t play into the media?__s stereotypical portrayal of the black man as a frightening, threatening, menace to society.[/quote]

Interesting point!!

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