Order of the Arrow Ordeal Secrets: The Final (Bad) Words

Two years ago, I wrote a lengthy article titled “Order of the Arrow Ordeal Secrets: The Final Word.” I thought that was, indeed, my final word on a subject that has attracted more people to this blog than any other. But I offer this addendum to share an NSFW comment I just received – edited for community standards, of course.

What’s interesting is that this comment came on the heels of my visit to Scout Camp yesterday.

It was Camp Hunt, to be specific, right along Bear Lake, which sits across the Utah/Idaho border. My youngest son is our troop’s Senior Patrol Leader, and I got to spend the day doing archery, watching corny skits, and playing Mafia by the campfire after the sun went down.

Other than the fact that camping is a miserable experience by definition, it was a pretty good time, with good company and plenty of father/son bonding. I know I’m supposed to be deeply bitter about the Order of the Arrow, but I managed to somehow enjoy myself.

However, it also included a pitch for Scouts to join the Order of the Arrow, featuring this very white dude in faux-Native American garb.

He even asked all current or former OA members to stand up and be recognized. And stand up I did. I was hoping he would ask me to say something, but he didn’t. Which is probably for the best, as anything I would have said probably wouldn’t have been helpful to anybody.

You know, kind of like the following comment, received from someone named Brad, who has chosen to defend the honor of his sacred organization with the following screed, which appears with dashes as substitutes for letters in words that violate the Scout Law:


You’re a F—ING LIBERAL PEACE OF S–T A–HOLE! Who probably never earned EAGLE SCOUT, and you only went through ORDEAL and never participated really, because you were too busy going to the mall and riding on your skateboard – to actually take the adventure and go to a Boy Scout National Jamboree where you meet diligent, disciplined, educated, outdoors-man-type young men READY FOR ADVENTURE coming from all cultures, countries, languages and backgrounds and getting to interact with tose people and et their food and learn their language and customs and guess what young boys in REAL BOY SCOUTS D: Mr. Greek, and Mr. American, and Mr. Kenya and Mr. China, and Mr. Australia, and Mr. Russia, and Mr. India, and Mr. Argentina all sit around the campfire and whittle neckerchief slides (the reason why the BSA was started) – apparently you don’t value you your neckerchiefs – I still have all mine – they make great tourniquets or did you never get past 2nd class and earn the First Aid Merit Badge.

As far as your STUPID CONSPIRACY THEORY regarding the OA being a secret arm of the BSA associated with the Taliban?????????? WTF? You might honestly be the most retarded idiot f—ing douche bag cum dumpster trash can lid complete fat a– piece of s–t, meaning that you and your STUPID points of view are neither accurate or warranted. Effectively your arguments are nothing but the ramblings of a little picked on pussy child. GET UP A–HOLE BE A F—ING MAN! ARE YOU KIDDING? BOO F—ING HOO. I AM SOOOOOOO SORRY YOUR PRECIOUS FEELINGS GOT SO TERRIBLY HURT WHEN YOU WERE “poor me, i’m cold tired wet and hungry”. Well MOUNT UP B—H. Some of that training carried me through the Army as an Infantryman, and Airborne School, and Ranger School, and in 2003 to the invasion of Iraq, and after I got out of the ARMy after being shot – I went back overseas to serve my country more as a Contractor – also getting shot at in multiple countries. But the best part is….I learned earning my Ordeal, Brotherhood, and Vigil, as well as my EAGLE SCOUT, I learned how to survive WITHOUT B—-ING.

Apparently you never learned that F—ING LESSON.

So YOUR F—ING WELCOME. Because the OA “Ordeal” and the “Brotherhood Ceremony” and the “Vigil Honor” plus being a Cub Scout, Webelo, and finally an EAGLE SCOUT – because that early training taught me how to live, survive, and taught me how to lead and love my fellow scouts. I was then prepared when I volunteered for the infantry and airborne and ranger and combat….so you can NOW appreciate the opportunity and right to voice this complete BULLS–T. So “DOUCHE BAG” your F—ING WELCOME – C-NT!

And that is all Brad had to say on the matter.

I don’t have anything to add, really, or to say in response. Instead, I offer this one Arrowman’s passionate defense of the organization he loves and let the reader draw their own conclusions.

And that’s my last word. Really. (Until the next last word.)

Today’s Dinner Table Question: Is Trump Hitler?

The latest episode of Dinner Table Politics is online!

The separation of children at the southern border has launched a new round of “Trump is Hitler” memes. Jim argues that this actually helps Donald Trump, while Abby wonders why no one is comparing Trump to Vlad the Impaler and insists that memes that say “TEMPERED RHETORIC” aren’t likely to go viral.

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How to Hitler your way to eight years of Trump

Before I even begin, I want to make something clear. This is not going to be a post about how Trump isn’t Hitler. I have written posts like that, but I don’t particularly like them, because they end up sounding like defenses of Donald Trump. And I don’t want to defend Donald Trump, especially with his current policy of punishing asylum seekers by ripping their children away from them. It is monstrous, and it must stop. I do not want anyone mistaking this post for anything that can be interpreted as a defense of this terrible president or a minimilization of the terrible things he is currently doing.

So let us begin.

A Jewish friend of mine who is no fan of Trump posted a Facebook status update asking people to refrain from comparing Trump to Hitler. Acknowledging the fact that Trump was awful, she called it disrespectful to the millions of people slaughtered by the Nazis to equate Trump’s current evils with Hitler’s exponentially more monstrous crimes.

As could be expected, she was inundated with angry comments from both sides, and the thread degenerated into namecalling and nastiness, at which point she deleted her status and replaced it with one that said “I like roses.” Thus shamed into silence, she exited the conversation as the rest of social media continued to go full Godwin and make wall-to-wall Hitler comparisons from morn until night.

I do not think people realize how helpful such comparisons are to Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Some history:

  1. Bill Clinton survived impeachment in 1998 not because everyone was hunky dory with a 50-year-old president having an affair with a 21-year-old intern in the Oval Office, but because Clinton’s adversaries were seen as puritanical hypocrites who were even worse than he was. I don’t recall anyone calling Clinton Hitler at the time, but I don’t think it would have been helpful if they had.
  2. George W. Bush won reelection not because he was adored in 2004 – by then, his post-9/11 sky-high approval had fallen to earth and then some – but rather because he was able to define John Kerry and the Democrats as weak, unpatriotic pansies unable to stand up to terrorists and rogue regimes. It’s not insignificant that pictures of W. with a Hitler mustache were all the rage at war protests.
  3. Barack Obama entered 2012 with dismal approval numbers, but the people who hated him were unpleasantly angry white dudes in tri-cornered hats who had plenty of Obama-is-Hitler memes at the ready.

The point being: modern presidents typically don’t win reelection because they are beloved. They win when they effectively define their enemies. And when those enemies resort to Hitler comparisons, defining them as extremist loons becomes much, much easier to do.

If I were Donald Trump, and I had the option of 1) defending my indefensible policy of ripping children from their parents when they cross the border seeking asylum, or 2) defending myself against charges that I am Hitler, which option would I choose?

No contest. Like Donald Trump himself, I’d be #2 every time.

Now you can try to make the case that the Hitler charge forces him to defend both positions, but that’s demonstrably incorrect. It actually makes it easier for him to minimize the horror of what he’s doing because it’s not as horrible as what Hitler did.

I say this is demonstrable, so allow me to demonstrate.

On June 17, actress Debra Messing made the following post on Instagram:

See that? “This little boy, who has been taken from his parents, has been assigned a number. #47 on his chest and arm. Like the Holocaust.”


Okay, with that caption as the catalyst, where is this conversation likely to go? Is it going to focus on the inhumanity of separating children from asylum seekers? Or is it going to be on whether or not this is an apt Holocaust comparison?

Because this isn’t an apt Holocaust comparison. People are assigned numbers for all kinds of purposes all the time. (When you take a number at the deli, is that like the Holocaust?) And of course, those interned in concentration camps weren’t given T-shirts; they had their numbers tattooed on them. And the tattoos, as awful as they were, were the least of their problems. How likely is this little boy to be forced into hard labor with little or no food until he succumbs to sickness or starvation? What are the chances that he’s going to be led into a gas chamber?

Now before you get angry and start arguing about the aptness or non-aptness of my comparison analysis, take a moment and recognize what you would be doing if you were to engage me on this.  All I have to do to win that argument is prove that this photo isn’t the Holocaust. It’s the kind of argument that Donald Trump could win easily.

In fact, he could cut you off at the pass by pointing out, as Snopes.com did, by pointing out that this whole story is fake.  According to Snopes, a “closer look at the image shows that the numbering is part of the shirt,” and that this is “a shirt manufactured for retail, not government issue.” Which makes sense – where are kids #1 through #46? It’s probably a sports jersey of some kind.  This photo was taken as “Border Patrol agents [were] taking in a father and son, neither of whom had yet been processed. The snapshot was captured as the pair were apprehended, meaning they had not been issued clothing.”

So if you were to have this conversation with the president, you would be arguing he’s just like Hitler, and he would be arguing that you’re blowing things way out of proportion and making the whole thing up. And he would be right and you would be wrong.

And neither one of you would be focusing on the terrible things that are actually happening to this little boy.

That’s the real problem. You want to defeat Trump? I sure do. And you don’t defeat Trump by fighting on his turf, where exaggerations carry the day and facts are open to alternatives. That’s the turf where Trump-as-Hitler lives, while in the meantime, the real Trump is splitting apart real families and creating a great deal of human misery. 2020 is going to be an absolute nightmare if all Trump has to do to win reelection is be better than Hitler.

iHob, Clinton, and Colonoscopies

The latest episode of Dinner Table Politics is online!

Yes, the Korean summit between Trump and Kim Jong-Un gets a mention, as does the G7 debacle, but we spend a good deal of time talking about the change from iHop to iHob, the need for colonoscopies, and how Bill Clinton would fare in the #MeToo era, with a detour into a discussion of John Hughes movies.

Also, Abby professes her undying love for the two Canadian Justins: Trudeau and Bieber, respectively.

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Roseanne, Tariffs, and Abby v. Barbara Bush

We discuss Roseanne, which may or may not have been Abby’s favorite television show, as well as the stupidity of tariffs and a president who thinks he can pardon himself.

And finally, at long lost, the world learns the story of how an eighteen-month-old Abby tried to pull off a daring pearl heist at Barbara Bush’s expense.

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Solo, Opioids, and Korean Summits

Recording the latest episode of Dinner Table Politics pre-Roseanne, Abby and Jim wonder if “Solo: A Star Wars Story’s” underwhelming box office performance has a political explanation. They then discuss whether medical marijuana is a solution to the opioid epidemic, and how President Trump’s on-again, off-again summit with North Korea will impact the upcoming midterm elections.

Abby’s choice for president in 2020

Also, how is it possible that Glenn Beck is a Trump fan? Could it have something to do with him being forced to sell his private jet?

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Guns, Guns, and Guns

This “very special” episode of Dinner Table Politics was actually recorded after the Parkland school shooting and never released, but the Texas school shooting has made it all too relevant again.

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Abby and Jim share their thoughts and prayers about thoughts and prayers and discuss what kind of concrete actions are possible to stop gun violence. If the Second Amendment allows militias to be well-regulated, then what regulations are appropriate?

Also, is the NRA buying politicians? If so, why doesn’t it start buying Democrats instead of Republicans?

Jerusalem, the Salt Lake Tribune, and Religious Bigotry

In Episode 4 of Dinner Table Politics, Abby and Jim discuss the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, the end of the Iranian nuclear deal, and the massive layoffs at the Salt Lake Tribune. And was a religious bigot like Robert Jeffress really the best choice to give a prayer at the embassy dedication?

Plus both Abby and Jim give armchair reviews of the long-running Book of Mormon musical, despite the fact that neither one of them have seen it.

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Korea, Melania, and Presidential Morality

The third episode of Dinner Table Politics is online!

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Abby returns to the dinner table to talk with Jim about the historic summit between North and South Korea, the Stormy Daniels mess, whether Melania and Donald Trump have a functional marriage, and whether or not the personal morality of a president matters. Also, could the Korean Peninsula someday be home to a real-life Jurassic Park?

Eliza joins the Dinner Table

Episode 2 of Dinner Table politics is online!

My daughter Eliza joins the conversation  – this is the only time she’s going to be able to participate all summer, because she’s heading to Africa on Saturday.

We talk about Kanye West and Donald Trump and whether Chance the Rapper is right about African-American loyalty to the Democratic Party. I also defend the honor of my alma mater, Calabasas High School, from possible Kardashian encroachment.

We then discuss the differences between Groundskeeper Willie and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons – why is one ethnic stereotype acceptably funny and the other is not?

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Spewing stuff since 2007