THE IDLE AMERICAN: As the world darkens

Published 7:35 am Saturday, March 10, 2018

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

 When the word “culture” is heard these days, one does well to think of buttermilk, whether or not it “does a body good.”

Even though our understanding of buttermilk is exceedingly vague, it seems degree-worthy when compared to our comprehension of current world culture that is cratering all around us.

Throw life like a bloated paintball against the canvas–be it global or otherwise–and the resulting image seems void of discernment. Warm “fuzzies” are not to be gleaned from sky images. There’s no resemblance to childhood memories of spotting of bunnies in the clouds. More likely, we imagine rough-edged question marks. Or, maybe lumbering vehicles–veering off course with wheels falling off–as dark clouds loom.

Values guiding civilizations for centuries are kicked to the side. The world hurries aimlessly, and what is hoped to be better turns out to be worse. Dorothy and her buddies found it easier to find Emerald City on Oz’s yellow brick road than do we who encounter dead ends and detours on life’s highway. Frustrations loom.

We are quick to expect perfection from others with little effort to improve ourselves.

Truth seems hard to find, and we are torn–if truth is pursued at all–between accounts in mass media and the fast tracks of social media. We’ve heard many references to “double-edged swords.” Cuts today are at least in triplicate.

To sharpen focus, I’ll choose one topic this day–the growing use of technology in officiating professional and collegiate sports. Oh, unquestionably it often can be counted on to “get it right,” but at a great cost.

We expect too much from officials. Coaches and players make multiple mistakes, but we cut no slack for the refs. They can’t win, and their striped shirts are “hung out to dry,” left flapping in the wind.

TV controls too much, and comments that challenge amount to whistling in the wind. Suffice it to say that games are too long, emotional juices flowing in surging teams are interrupted and outcomes of plays–and even games–too often are in doubt for minutes. Much is sacrificed at the altar of instant replay.

Two cases in point–Dez Bryant’s “non-catch” in a 2015 NFL divisional play-off game, and a less-noted traveling call at a recent Dallas Mavericks’ NBA game.

The game official “on the play” when Bryant landed on the Green Bay one-yard line signaled “catch.” The call was overturned. Now, the NFL’s competition committee has decided that it was, indeed, a catch.

At the Mavericks’ game, a referee whistled “traveling,” but the lead official called a huddle of the three arbiters. About a minute passed before the arena announcer blared something about it being a “no call, due to an inadvertent whistle.”

Huh? A few thousand of us in the arena saw the same play, and it appeared that the player was “guilty as charged” by the ref nearest the play.

No matter what the other two officials thought they saw on the replay–be they right or wrong–one thing for sure is that the other official did NOT inadvertently blow the whistle. He meant to blow the blamed thing, as he should have.

Someone said “the trouble with times like these is that there have always been times like these.” I disagree. Times are worsening.

We could start first with ourselves to “get life right.” Preoccupation with too much else causes aimless scurrying on roads leading nowhere. The Bible warns us about such.

The world yawns, as if assuming that “political correctness” will magically make everything right. Mac Engel, Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer, wrote volumes with one sentence in a recent column: “Mistakes are not to be rectified but crucified over and over again.”

This is not the first time crucifixion has been the choice of the masses. Let the guy devoid of sin hurl the first rock.


Dr. Newbury is a former educator who speaks throughout Texas and the Southwest. Comments/inquiries to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: Twitter: @donnewbury; Facebook, don newbury.