Absurdities and Animal stories

Americans seem always more fascinated with inconsequential trivia, rumours and       than with important issues.

The networks are hot with Obama’s religious belief, a new Islamic cultural center, and Dr Lassie… oh sorry, Dr Laurie.  Those take the bulk of airtime, while the economy and unemployment are still the main issues in our personal lives, and wars, starvation, homelessness, continued unrest in the mid-east and a massive humanitarian need caused by flooding in Pakistan go almost unnoticed by most Americans.

Yet these trivialities could be seen as a weathervane of American feelings… so in a sense they may be important.  Or they may seem so because the collective media is fueling the stupidity.  What is quite clear is that all the silliness is making Americans less able to have intellectual thoughts about anything… worthwhile or not.

With today’s Americans, what you want to believe is more important than facts.  If you want to believe that president Obama was born in Kenya then no amount of documented evidence is convincing.  The tea party’s motto should be “Never yield to facts”.

Polls indicate that many believe Obama is a muslim, because of his name and his father’s religion (not his mother’s), and racial hatred just keeps the belief going.  Should Jesus vow for Obama’s christianity, Jesus would be again crucified.  So the important thing is not that Obama isn’t a muslim, but that many white Americans hate him for his skin colour, and throwing ‘muslim’ at him is just one more expression of the racial hatred.

The tantrums against the Islamic cultural center being built near where the 9/11 twin towers were, have become toxic.  By the way, I refuse to call that ‘Hallowed ground’ because the ramifications of that are too great and it really trivializes the term.  I have been reminded that at the site, American tourists come, laugh, smile, horse around and take pictures in such a manner that doesn’t give any respect to a place of sacredness.

Secondly, the area is regarded is one of the richest piece of commercial real estate in America.  Not long from now, whatever will eventually be built there might even house a Hard Rock casino.  Actually that might not be a bad idea.  Give Manhattan back to the red Indians, one block at a time.

And I don’t think the term ‘Ground Zero’ is appropriate also.

But back to the point.  The issue has nothing to do with the center itself but about hatred for muslims and again, Obama… him being a ‘muslim’.

Having first trying to deny the right to build the center, the attack turned to the wisdom of such construction.  But even that is fraught with falsehoods and illogic.

The center is slated to be 2 blocks away from the former twin towers.  For those who claim it is too close then how far away is reasonable?  There is no answer there as the replies range from 5 blocks to not in NY city.

Some say the center will be a continual reminder of the attack but the 2 places aren’t in sight of each other.  And one doesn’t have to pass the center to reach the towers… there are other routes.

Slurs have been cast against the imam (Feisal Rauf) behind the project.  The 2 foremost accusations have been his statement after 9/11, that ‘American policies have been partially responsible for the attack’.  No matter how much Americans try to deny that, that’s a fact.  We must remember that among other things, bin Laden was once on the CIA’s payroll.

Another accusation is that he hasn’t denounced Hamas as a terrorist organization.  But that is his right.  Just because the US state department labels a group as a terrorist organization, doesn’t mean the designation is accurate.  There are many organizations so designated by the state department and others more worthwhile which conveniently avoid such categorisation.  One man’s terrorist is America’s freedom fighter, and vice versa.

Just because the imam’s point of view just doesn’t fit neatly into what Americans ‘should’ think, doesn’t make him any less an American, nor does it make him the head of a muslim terrorist attack center.

Others say that most Americans oppose it, but since when should mob opinions ever sway facts and what is right.  One fact is that Manhattanites have no problem with this being in their backyard.  So should outsiders be allowed to influence such decisions?  What’s your take?

Dr Laura is a horse of a different colour… and I do mean horse.  Now, I have no problem with the word ‘nigger’.  I’ve always maintained that to ban a word gives the word greater power.  It’s not what you say to me that is important but the action… like touching me in a aggressive manner.  In fact if someone calls me ‘nigger’ in a contemptuous manner, I at least know where he stands.  It’s those who want to say it but are being politically correct that I have to be wary of.

The problem with Dr Laurie, is that her brand of racism is destructive to black people who don’t know her.  The most dangerous parts of her conversation were when she told the caller (a black woman) that she was hypersensitive because the woman complained that her white husband’s friends were always stereotyping her, and that she shouldn’t have married a white man if she was hypersensitive to race.  In fact, read the transcript and tell me what you think.

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Now to Animal Stories.

Stupid deserves what stupid does, was eminently highlighted when a doctor in California while texting, drove off the road and was fatally injured.  No sorrow here.  Only a fool, yes I said it, only a fool would be texting while driving. He could have run into someone killing them.  But stupid people will never learn from this example.  They’ll think that they are better… until they crash and hopefully kill only themselves.

Oh yes, he was texting about his dog which by the way, was in the car with him.  I guess if the dog really was his best friend, he would have said, “Stop texting fool”.

In Ohio, a man who kept up to 9 bears, wolves, a lion, tigers and coyotes in captivity in his home and who at one time would rent out the bears for wrestling matches with humans, was mauled to death by a bear.  My sympathy meter hasn’t budged at all.  Too many Americans think it is fine to try to domesticate wild animals.  It might work, but sooner or later, well, the above happens.

And the best of the week has to be the bull in Spain that decided to stop being entertainment for spectators by going after the spectators.  Damn, this bull must have been planning this.  He executed a marvelous leap from the bullring into the stands and from there, it was all fun.  This video is the ‘bumb’ as Renarto would say.

I just love it when the underdog turns the tables every now and again.

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For those who have lost touch with the more representational of Caribbean Art, there is a show currently at Diaspora Vibe in the Miami Design District that offers the opportunity to views works from Caribbean-influenced artists as well as some older Jamaican masters like Albert Huie, Walter Rodney and Karl Parboosingh (whose surviving wife, artist Seya Parboosingh died recently in Jamaica).

These older artists offer us a comparison to newer artists whose work on display, remind us of aspects of Caribbean life and its joyous vibrant colours.   These contemporary artists, most of whom are currently living in South Florida, were either born or have been influenced by Caribbean art.   They include Patricia Roldan, Paul Chang, Muriel Jean-Jaques, Carol Jaime, Jeremy Powell,  Lisa Remeny, Norma Trimborn, and Brian Wong Won.

The show titled “Carib~bean, the Way You Like It”, runs until September 23.

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