Back when I started on the WRNN morning show in the late 90s, I was 'the hip one'. The guy who knew all the pop culture references...knew how to pronounce all the rapper's names....what movies and TV shows were hot. I was the rock and roll guy who transitioned in Talk Radio. I like to think I created a good balance between the straight news opinions that were being delivered and the current events that were being talked about around town or around the country. Now....here in 2013...I've become 'the old guy'. True, Pat's a couple years older than I am, but at least he stays up to date musically with his DJing gigs, so he has some street-cred. There were several hints...some subtle and some not-so-subtle...to let me know that I've gotten old, like when my wife and I watch SNL, I realized I don't pay the least bit of attention to who the musical guest is- and we fast-forward through their performances anyway. Or, instead of being the 'passer' on Highway 501, I've now become the 'passee'. I can't put my finger on exactly when I lost my youth, but at least it stuck around longer than my hair. I hope I don't get too old or crusty on the air, although I did start a sentence on this morning's show with, "what's wrong with these kids today?". I feel a 'get off my lawn' coming on.....
I've lived in the Myrtle Beach area for 26 years now and I've learned when to avoid the touristy spots. I also know when it's safe to be on the highways and when to take the backroads. We're a tourist mecca...that's what the Grand Strand has hung its hat on...so it confused me to no end a handful of years ago, when several area governments decided they wanted to pass laws and rules to run motorcyclists out of town. In case you don't know, May along the Grand Strand is essentially Bike Month...with the Harleys here for 10 days followed by sport-bikes here Memorial Day weekend. In the late 90s and early 00s, both rallies became a bit over-grown, closing down highways with traffic and pretty-much making it impossible to get around. It started to regulate itself and get back to a more managable size when rules were passed to require helmets and to restrict where, and how many, vendors could set up. That led to several years of motorcycle-less highways during May - which was the intent - but it also devastated businesses that rely on tourists. Things ARE starting to come back somewhat, but they will never be back to levels we saw in previous decades. That's a shame. We are a tourist community and should welcome any group that wants to come here and spend money. Like any group, if they break the local laws, they will be held accountable...but we shouldn't pass special laws aimed solely at them. It's always been my contention that there are more residents that are either in favor of the bike rallies or who are indifferent to them...than those who are against them. It's just that the anti-bike forces are better organized, and have more money, power and political sway than the pro-bike groups.
A new study from the Census people showed that Myrtle Beach ranked 4th in the nation in the number of unmarried women giving birth. 4th in the nation! We've been in a lot of top 10 lists in my time, but that's not one I've ever heard before and it's not one to brag about. The ranking is bad enough, but when you look at the actual numbers, it's even worse. The national average is about 1 out of every 3 births being out of wedlock. In the Myrtle Beach metro....it's 2 of every 3. Why is this happening? I don't have any specifics...but here are a few possibilities. One of these by themselves wouldn't be enough to catapult MB to this level...so it has to be a combination of several.
1) Looking at a map of the states where the unwed birth rates went up, down or stayed the same....a majority of the rates that went up were in the 'bible belt'...from North Carolina to Louisiana and everything in between. I contend that in lots of these states, kids are being taught abstinance-only, rather than being taught contraception. Which is dumb.
2) A listener contends that also since we're in the bible belt, the abortion rate would be less...leading to more kids.
3) The fact that being a single mom doesn't have the stigma attached to it that it had just a generation ago.
4) Some couples want to have kids before...or instead of...getting married
5) A large influx of immigrants
6) if you're getting government money....more kids equal more money, while getting married cuts your government check considerably
7) Access to adequate healthcare
8) Lack of education
But why Myrtle Beach? It's not rural, it has good schools...why? Is it just the perfect storm of several factors getting together and putting us high on this list? Personally it doesn't bother me one bit if you're a single mom, unmarried parents or happily married as long as the children are being taken care of. I'm just kind of a stat geek and when I see something like this, it makes me wonder why.
The battle over the name of the Washington Redskins has bubbled back to the surface again. The DC city council is getting ready to vote on a proposal that could force the NFL team to stop using the name and ban it from any future trademarks. Is this political correctness run amok or is it sensitivity to an entire race of people...the indigenous people of this continent, no less? I honestly can't believe that anyone can use the word 'redskins' and NOT know that it's offensive to Native Americans...as offensive as the N-word is to African Americans. I you think it's okay, why don't we have teams like the Brooklyn Darkies or the Skokie Jewboys or the San Francisco Fairies. Those all used to be well-used terms for those groups. They were derogatory at the time and they're even more derogatory now. So is 'Redskins'. People who are fans of the team will say it's just tradition and to them it's just a name without the racial hatred attached. We had lots of other traditions in this country that have fallen by the wayside, like forcing blacks to drink from separate fountains, not allowing women to vote or not allowing bi-racial couples to wed. But, through time, we realized how backwards those traditions were and did away with them. Isn't it time to do the same with Washington's team name?
To be honest, I went to the University of Illinois, where our name is the Fighting Illini...and our mascot was Chief Illiniwek. We would come out at halftime with the marching band, do a routine and leave the field. Yes, he was dressed traditionally with full headdress, but he wasn't a characterture and it had the approval of the Illini Nation. I always felt pride in that and loved The Chief, although the NCAA forced the school to get rid of the Chief but let the name intact. I felt it was an homage to the natives that inhabited the plains in centuries past. Redskins fans will say the same about their team...but how can you be paying tribute when the very word you're using is the most hateful term you can use for a Native American?
Through the years, I've had quite a few listeners ask me why we report the arrest of someone who hasn't been found guilty yet. Especially when that arrest was brought about by the testimony of another person that may or may not be factual. The answer is simple: because the arrest IS news...and to NOT report it would be censoring the news. That's why reporters came up with words like "allegedly"...so they can report the news, but safeguard themselves from lawsuits if the person turns out to be innocent. The problem is, once the suspect's name and mughot makes the paper or websites, viewers or listeners pretty much convict the person in their minds. They've been arrested - they MUST be guilty. But, there have been 2 cases that made headlines recently where people have been charged with crimes, and the charges have been subsequently dropped. One had an 80+-year old couple that was charged with kidnapping their great-grandchild...while the other one was a conway woman who was charged with child abuse after spanking her 7-year old boy. Investigations showed that both cases didn't have merit to go forward and charges were dropped...however, the retractions don't make as much splash as the original story, and the reputations of the 3 people charged in those 2 cases is already ruined. Whose fault is that? The media for printing a true story? The law for arresting someone before all the facts are out? The public, for believing people are guilty until proven innocent? I'm going to stick up for the media on this one. Maybe you think differently.
Another government body somewhere felt that they needed to act fast and eradicate the scourge of Western Civilization last week and voted to ban sagging pants. The commissioners in Terrebonne Parish, LA decided that they were the ultimate last-word when it comes to fashion sense, so they've instituted fines and public service sentences to those unruly thugs who dare to let their underwear show by wearing their jeans around their hips, rather than around their waist. First of all, let me say that of all the fads and fashions over the past several decades, this is one of the worst-looking and least sensible. I wish it would go away, too...and it will, just give it time. When was the last time you saw a leisure suit, elephant bell-bottoms, Neru jackets or acid-washed jeans? Not recently? Of course not...people who wore those fashion nightmares grew up and grew out of the need to make a statement with something that upset the establishment. Face it, that's what drives kids to do what they do. If if upsets 'the man' it must be cool...let's keep doing it! I don't see people handing out fines if women wear their tops with most of their bra showing. There's no difference. Underwear is underwear people! It not going to hurt you, I promise. If their skin is showing, fine, give them a ticket..but unless you're handing out tickets to plumbers, carpenters and construction workers too, there's no way you can justify your actions. Now, if you start fining old men for wearing black socks with sandals...I'm all in.