31 October 2010

The Real Mythbusters

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart debate reasonableness. Photograph: Kris Connor/Getty Images

So the mystery has been solved: What are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert going to do at their big rally?

Unlike Glen Beck’s rally, where the tax-exempt co-sponsor of the event, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, required all speakers to sign an agreement promising not to talk politics, yet the politically polarizing Sarah Palin was one of the main speakers, the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive was not in the least bit political. That’s right – no left-wing bias on stage, unless one considers diversity, the patriotic call to come together as a nation and stop allowing ourselves to be painted as opposing forces, and comedy itself to be left-wing biases.

19 October 2010

Fragmented Reality

My most recent post at Because the World is Round... is the tale of how I could note make sense out of a Tehuelche legend that I was trying to translate from Castellano to English. It turned out that the version I had of the legend was just fragments of the complete story that had been posted on a tourism website, feigning interest in the indigenous culture that had been nearly wiped out in order to build the resort there. I was in some ways relieved, and in others, incensed. Relief came from knowing that my understanding of Castellano was not insufficient, that the problem was not due to a horrible translation from the original Tehuelche language into Castellano, although how accurate it is remains unknown to me; and that the Tehuelches were not simply horrible storytellers. My outrage sprang from the irony of the tourism industry utilizing what I would call a crude caricature of the Tehuelche culture to market their product amidst land disputes and the larger struggle of the indigenous Mapuche and Tehuelche people for not only justice but also to regain their dignity.

09 October 2010

Social Networking Put To Good Use

One of the goals of this blog is to utilize the connective power of the internet. Here is this amazing access we all have to the whole world. The potential that it holds in bringing diverse people and groups of people together is immense. Facebook serves as an example of this potential. Yet, the purpose of Facebook is, above all, to sell advertising. So even though it can be used to spread good ideas and bring people together, it is not set up to do any more than invite individuals to go on the site, post their 400-character blurb of the moment, see what else is going on within their individual and separated group of friends, perhaps push a button that announces that they like something, perhaps even engage in some meaningful conversation... but, in the end, it is all entertainment. Real sharing of ideas, I find, is stunted by the structure and the amount of banter that's overwhelming nature rises exponentially the bigger one's list of friends grows.

06 October 2010

F*** The Rules

“Living by the rules is another way of hoping the future will be like the past.” - Adam Phillips

I didn't know who Adam Phillips was until I just now looked him up on Wikipedia, but I sure do like this quote. According to them: “He has been described as the 'Martin Amis of psychoanalysis' [?] ...and by John Banville as 'one of the finest prose stylists in the language, an Emerson [Lake and Palmer or Ralph Waldo?] of our time.' ” Hmm – seems like an interesting fellow, even though I don't have a clue who Martin Amis or John Banville are – something to look into.

The quote didn't persuade the publisher I sent a proposal to explaining why I was not following their rule that required all potential authors to purchase, read, and write a short review to prove that we had actually purchased and read one of the books that they publish before they would deign to consider the proposal.
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