Category Archives: culture

The Division of Islam

A few years ago, I communicated with an Islamic blogger about the division between our cultures. I timidly asked if there can be any coming together, middle ground where we can live in peace. He said, I’m sorry, no.

About 15 years ago, an Iranian woman said that the West should get all the Christians out of Iran and kill the rest. My husband and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing.

But they are your people. You don’t understand, kill them.

How can you say that? You don’t understand their mentality.

Everyone? You don’t understand, there is no other way.

So, anyone, is there another way? Is the most we can hope for is the word Sorry before the  bullet hits the head?

All I know is that worrying about backlash against the Islamic community is moving down my list of concerns.

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Word Crimes

Rosencrantz: What are you playing at?
Guildenstern: Words, words. They’re all we have to go on.
           Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

She chastised me because I used a word. She told me a person cannot be Oriental, since it is degrading. I was out of the loop, I did not know. The preferred word is Asian, a person can be an Asian.

What’s in a word? It helps us communicate and limits our communication at the same time. It can be artificial, complex and ever-changing. There is heaven and hell in those words. Take pleasure in its playfulness and beauty. Find frustration when communication fails.

In Latin, orient simply means east. That was the origin of the word and the end of it became insulting. Evidently people from Asia don’t call themselves Oriental, and it’s best to call people the name that they prefer. I learned that calling a person Oriental is an antiquated term that calls to mind a time when Western peoples viewed Asians in a subordinate way.

So Asian or Asian-American is preferred. And so is African-American. Say Native-American instead of American Indian. An Indian is actually an Asian. We end up chasing our tails.

This whole idea of hyphenating Americans is a bit odd to me since hyphenation carries its own inherent flaws.

The word America is named after Amerigo Vespucci. An Italian explorer, Amerigo stumbled upon what is now part of Brazil. An early mapmaker decided to name this part of the world America after this Amerigo guy and plunked that label onto his map. Soon other mapmakers started to label the lands north of Brazil as America also. So by chance, the continents were called North and South America.

So where does this leave hyphenated Americans? You give up the words like Oriental and Black in exchange for the name of a dead-white man that poked his nose into an indigenous population beyond his own borders. I don’t see a vast improvement. Other words such as black, white, red, and yellow also fail to accurately describe human beings.

The West creates more word crimes than anyone else. Through a modern political lens, Western civilization has a name, and that name is evil. The word and the land America may find itself in jeopardy.

Native-Americans crossed into the the Americas about 25,000 years ago; relative newcomers to this land since humans first appeared on the planet about 160,000 years ago in East Africa.

In more realistic terms, we are all East Africans that have wandered far across the globe. A politically correct analysis: We torment the rest of the animal and plant kingdoms, and tamper with the climate and the earth’s crust. All of humanity is the real evil in this world view. Paradise was lost when humans entered the scene.

The world and the words in it are not perfect and never will be. Can’t we just relax and enjoy our discourse and disagreements without a call to self-flagellation? Do the best we can, do no purposeful harm, and move on. That’s all we have to go on. Go peacefully.

I Blame My Mother for How I Feel About the Jews

The 78 record was spinning Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” on the record player. My friend and I just discovered this stash of 78’s in my basement and they were hilarious to us. We made fun of this old music not realizing the connection swing music had to our favorite music, rock and roll.

So “In the Mood” was playing and my mother came in and for some unknown reason started listing great historical and modern problems. She went thought a long list and finally she said, “Do you know who is behind all these problems?” Slight dramatic pause and then she said, “The Jews.”

Glenn Miller just started his loud horn work after a long period of hushed music as she said this. My friend and I laughed our heads off. The music was too funny, and my mother’s comment was so beyond absurd.

How could one group of people be the cause of all the bad stuff that ever happened on earth? Historically, the Jewish people were chased out of every country in the world, and if they were allowed to stay, they were treated like crap. The crap is never ending.

I learned young not to trust my mother’s ideas. She had some crazy ones. So my knee-jerk reaction was to swing (thanks Glenn) to the opposite viewpoint. I’ve been doing this all my life.

I am amazed and horrified by the anti-semetic protests happening in the world right now. Ethnic cleansing is abhorrent to most people, but exceptions are always made in the case of the Jews.

Being Christian is a rough road to travel in large parts of the world too. Killing Christians is also a justifiable act. All you secularists out there, don’t think that you are immune, you just might be on that list too. Where is this thing called civilized society? The dark ages are still with us.

My mother is dead, but the list is alive and well.