Thursday, March 30, 2006

Another Experience in America

Our African-American fellow citizens are confused.  I have recently had the pleasure of editing a magazine.  As you might imagine it has allowed me to come in contact with a variety of personalities and talents. As a free-lance writer it has also made it clear why many editors probably toss material sent to them without reading it or only giving it a cursory glance.  Those comments are for another column, I digress.

Several of the writers and colleagues at the magazine are African-American or Latino. The divergence of cultures is obvious, but perhaps the similarities might surprise some of those whose experience in America has been rather sheltered by comparison.  I won’t name names as it will serve no purpose.  One of my writers is a young man who is extremely skeptical of white society and whose writing is mostly a disorganized reaction to and defense against perceived slaps against blacks.  His one saving grace is his passion and his ideas.  I have tightened up his work and published it; I can’t wait to see the letters.

Another one of the team is simply writing because he loves it; this comes through very clearly.  His computer skills are limited but cut and paste is simple compared to the task of getting writing that can be published.  His approach to his subjects is fresh, and interesting, always with a black cultural slant but not obviously angry.  The difference between the two: the former is part of the entitlement culture while the latter wants his work to stand on its own.  Both are very interesting people.

The other colleague is a well known NBA and Collegiate star.  He is quite artistic, and intelligent.  His formal education appears to have been just that: a formality.  Yet he is amazingly considerate, diplomatic, and as might be expected goal-driven.  He too keeps the undercurrent of black resentment under control as he views it as unproductive.

Finally my Latino friend.  He is laid back and goes with the flow. The picture of his feelings he presents the world is false.  As he relates his experience “We Mexicans learn to do the work and keep quiet.”  This appears to the way, from this limited sample, that many if not most minority group citizens respond to the Anglo environment.  Of course this is not healthy in the long run.  Our country was made great by arguments regarding what is best for all, even though the few often won out.

I said that African-Americans are confused and the reason is that they are no longer in a life or death struggle for equality, prosperity, and respect.  Their leaders take the opposite view to maintain their own power, not an unusual position for demagogues to adopt, but because the Civil Rights wound is still relatively new, the pain has not fully dulled.  The collective memory will never fade as they get a reminder every time they look in the mirror.
Latinos are a different case, particularly those who have come from professional families or who are 2nd or 3rd generation.  These citizens still have something of an abashed mindset.  It will surprise many in Anglo land that Latinos consider them, albeit quietly, as foolish and untrustworthy.

These are just some thoughts you might consider during your next encounter with friend or acquaintance of a minority background.  They don’t like you as much as you think they do.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ah Spring!

Spring is coming on strong here in the Carolinas, pollen is making its presence felt; mostly in the form of dust leading to sneezing and coughing.  It’s time to mulch, put a new spark plug in the lawnmower, plant some pansies, and generally clean up winter’s damage.  Daylight savings starts Sunday, more hours for golf being the major benefit, and so all kinds of outdoor activity may be expected.  Boats, water skis, PWC’s will all be made ready.  It’s a routine that is taken to be just that, most of the United States has drifted into a complacent view of life.

Of course there is the nightly news which can be disturbing at times, no one really knows what to make of illegal immigration; the latest media hot button. The nation’s political and social life is adrift on a sea of malaise where the main problem is how to avoid getting involved in anything.  There are plenty of UFO and Conspiracy Nuts to amuse us, but the fear of finding out anything of substance keeps at bay the impulse to really pay attention to the world around us.  Spring is a time to enjoy renewal and avoid reality.

One of the worst things to happen to modern US society, and probably others is the advent of 24 hour cable news.  This is true because it creates apprehension, tension, and discomfort by constantly bombarding those who pay attention with “news” items of little or no consequence and then repeats them endlessly. The stories are constantly revised as the real facts, as opposed to the original “facts” come to light.  We are still dealing with Natalee Holloway’s case, with no end in sight.

Sharon Stone has a crush on Hillary Clinton and basically says so during her publicity tour.  The senators are posturing more than ever and loving it.  All the interests groups are clawing at one another and yet nothing, absolutely nothing constructive is being attempted.  I have zero faith in the ability of the United States government to govern effectively.  Neither Republican nor Democrat really wants to further the interests of the citizens as a whole, lobbying groups only please.  The fact that legislative earmarks have disappeared from the public discourse proves my point.  Public service should be just that, a service to the nation with personal expenses being reimbursed at a low level.  The chance for gain eliminated.  These are na├»ve wishes but they are after all wishes.

The best plan is to enjoy each day Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter as if there will be no other day to follow.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I Hope This is The Last Time for This Subject

This is the last time, I hope, that I will address the issue of the mentally ill among us; that is the UFO nuts, the 9/11 desperados better known as Sheenites, Oliver Stone fans, Nostradamus believers, fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists in short any one that has too much time on their hands or is so warped they can only cope with life with some kind of belief system that resembles the thinking of Stone Age Mankind.  I have had a few emails and have been unfortunate enough to have the television on when the latest insecure nut jobs have crawled out of the darkness and become frightened.  Let’s take a look at the Sheenites and those of his ilk.  Charlie was quoted as saying the 9/11 hijackers were amateurs.  They were not.  They were highly trained commando-style operatives who trained in the Baka Valley and in Afghanistan.  Bin-Laden and Massaoui have admitted to such.  Charlie further said that the planes didn’t resemble any commercial planes he’s ever flown on.  It’s difficult to evaluate this statement as I don’t know what condition he was in while flying a commercial airliner; he could have hallucinated anything.

One of my nutty buddies claims there is no evidence of a commercial airliner.  Well bodies were recovered, including one of Charlie’s friends the producer of the TV show Cramer.  The Pentagon security cameras tracked the flight and crash of UA77 as it hit the building.  The crater it left was quite large over 70 feet in breadth and 80 feet in length.  Another correspondent mentioned that a theologian, unnamed, has definitively stated that the whole attack was a US government plan.  Tell me a man is a theologian and you have lost my interest altogether, I mean look what else they believe in.

Another great thing about my pal the “Ministry of Truth” and “Meta Mind” is that they make statements anonymously indicating that they don’t really believe what they are saying.  Why else won’t they be named and defend their claims in a manner beyond citing questionable sources.

I have a brother who has been ill with schizophrenia since the age of 19.  I have yet to meet a conspiracy theorist who can argue their points with more passion, conviction, and cogency than he.  Yet, he is nuts.