Thursday, August 24, 2006

History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Second As Farce

To pick up from the last post in which it was revealed that Turner Broadcasting would begin censoring thousands of hours of classic cartoons to placate the six people in the world who actually take umbrage at having to watch an animated bulldog smoke a stogie. Scott points out in a response (in which he never cursed even once) that this is not an isolated incident, and our country is dangerously doomed to repeat our mistakes because instead of attempting to learn from them, we close our eyes and wish that they never happened. So, here’s my own tangential response.

History, as Alex Haley has said, is written by the winners. Make perfect sense to me; why would the conquered people make notes on their own failures? They can try to spin it to their advantage, so they come out of the event looking less bruised, but the fact of the matter is, for example, both the Roman and Aztec Empires fell. And we know why the Aztec and the Roman civilizations fell, and there’s not much we can do about either one. We know that the South lost the Civil War, and it’s water under the bridge. We can either learn from the mistakes of the vanquished, or fall in step with their cycle of failure and doom ourselves in the process.

And of course, as Americans, we are doomed to repeat our history, perhaps as punishment for our hypocrisy: This country was founded by slave-owners who believed that all men were created equal. They wanted a place where they were free to practice their religion, so they founded a country that does not, any longer, respect their religion. They dreamt of a land full of opportunities for prosperity, yet today they tax to death the corporations that provide the jobs, forcing them to outsource to cheaper, foreign labor. We revel in our absolute freedom of speech, just so long as that speech is tame, politically correct, and doesn't offend the scores of "victims."

As Americans we're forced into acknowledging, celebrating, and even worshipping every minor achievement by every special interest group since the dawn of mankind, but the history of the Straight White European Christian, (you know, the people that founded the fucking country in the first place) is permitted and encouraged to fade away into obscurity. And you know who is letting it fade? We are. By not fighting back and defending our history.

Want an example? Why does America have a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. but not for Thomas Jefferson? Martin Luther King plagiarized his “I Have a Dream” speech from one given to the Republican convention in 1952 by an African-American preacher named Archibald Carey, Jr. Hell, his name wasn’t even “Martin”, it was “Michael.” Why are we so quick to assign holidays to identity-obscuring plagiarists, but not to one of the most important Founding Fathers of our country? The short answer: we are not celebrating history; people with an agenda are spinning the facts to weave a web of self-righteousness to placate voters.

Martin Luther King Day was the brainchild of John Conyers, a Democratic congressman from Michigan who, besides publically stating in Michael Moore’s Farenheit 9/11 that “congress don’t read most of the bills,” is a fervent Anti-Republican liberal, maintains an “impeach Bush” website, is a frequent contributor to Arriana Huffington’s (you know, the crazy woman who once said that driving an SUV was contributing to terrorism, yet owns a private jet) website and has been brought up on charges of misuse of federal funds by the House Ethics Committee in 2004. Does anyone honestly believe that this man is serving in the best interests of History, let alone the country? His agenda has been made perfectly clear; the reason behind his push for the holiday was to garner support from the Trade Unions. He didn’t care about King, or Civil Rights, or anything of that nature. He used King’s support of unionized workers as his platform to get Jimmy Carter elected, and wouldn’t you know it, Carter supported the King Day Bill. John Conyers used Martin Luther King, a man opposed to the Status Quo, to maintain his own personal Status Quo.

There are no true “Historians” being nurtured in the country’s universities anymore – there are only whitewashers of facts and guilty liberals seeking to right the wrongs of the past by changing the unchangeable. Plus, if you take a long-standing notion of history, and alter it, you get your fifteen minutes of fame. That’s where you get idiots like Bart Sibrel who is convinced that the Apollo moon landings were faked. He’s so sure of himself that even after he has been debunked by countless authorities, he continues to sell his DVD’s. There’s money to be made in reinventing the truth.

Want to hear a funny story? Of course you do. A few years ago, in grad school, I was taking a Computer Science class in lieu of an advanced mathematics course. The professor, a bored old man who spoke with a heavy German accent, was explaining how computers use multiple drive letters. While doing so, he remarked that some schools and companies in Los Angeles were no longer using the terms “Master” and “Slave” in reference to hard drive settings as they were deemed “offensive” to blacks, and L.A. County demanded that the industry change the way that they refer to those devices. (This is true, by the way, you can read about it here). Then he laughed. Then I laughed. Then the handful of black students in the class laughed. Only one woman did not laugh: a young, white girl in her early twenties with braids in her hair and a perpetual smug leer on her face. She told us that we have to be very careful with the words that we use because language is the “true oppressor.” An older black woman turned to face her and said, “I don’t care if L.A. calls their hard drives ‘niggers’ as long as they give me a job!”

I don’t know what History has to say on the subject, but I’m pretty sure that’s the only known occurrence of a graduate-level Computer Science class being dismissed early on account of simultaneous pants-wetting.

Want another example? A newly opened restaurant in Bombay was going to be called “Hitler’s Cross,” referring to the swastika symbol. The swastika was originally an ancient symbol first described in the epic Hindu poem Ramayana written in the 11th Century. It was referred to as svastika which translates roughly into "lucky charm” and it has been displayed all over India to bring good fortune. The symbol itself has been found (without explanation of course) on numerous pieces of ancient Bronze Age, Indus valley area pottery and artwork, in Zoroastrian Persia, and even appeared in the Vinca script, a set of writings dated to 4000 BC. Historically it had been used by the Bon faith of Tibet, as well as the Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun Gong of China, and the Akan civilization of southwest Africa. The Hindu, however, are typically the only modern culture who continues to use the symbol in writings and festivals such as Diwali.

And yet, due to the pressure of an individual, one Elijah Jacob, the restaurant in Bombay was forced to change it name. Ok, ok, I’ll admit, the owner probably should have found a way to highlight the swastika without mentioning the name Hitler. But you know what, the symbol is representative of the owner’s culture, not to mention that it’s his restaurant, and he can do with it what he pleases.

There are about 5,500 Jews living in India, 4,500 of which live in Bombay. It is from this group that the complaint arose. There are 13 million non-Jews living in the city limits of Bombay, and an estimated 1.1 billion in all of India. That means, because of the overactive sensitivity of .03% of a city, or .004% of the entire country, one man should alter his business plan and abandon a symbol that has been part of his culture for millenia.

Do people like Elijah Jacob have nothing better to do with their time than calculate their current state of indignation? I suppose if you’re named after two separate biblical prophets you had better speak up for something, but whatever happened to turning the other cheek? And to Puneet Sablok, the owner of the restaurant, I say this: What exactly are you worried about? That .03% of the population is going to boycott your business? You should change your restaurant’s name to “If You Don’t Like It, Piss Off.”

So what’s the point of all of this? Aren’t we better off in a world where cartoon cats are not smoking, where Martin Luther King’s shortcomings are ignored for the sake of his life’s work, and all Swastikas are completely erased off the face of the planet? Shouldn’t we be glad to have our society portrayed as a clean, healthy, tolerant, egalitarian civilization that embraces justice and diversity?

And I submit, that no, we are not. Future civilizations will look back and regard us like a sorority girl wearing white on her wedding day. Perhaps they’ll smile politely, and perhaps whisper conspiratorially with their mates, but they won’t be as foolish as we are when we lie to ourselves. But History does not lie, does not deceive, does not pander. Only people are capable of such things. I think Percy Bysshe Shelly said it best: “Shit, I certainly have a lot of fucking Y’s in my name.” And then when it was pointed out that he was on the air, he cleared his throat and continued, “Fear not for the future, weep not for the past…” then he sort of just trailed off. But the point is, as long as we are honest with ourselves in the present, and stop trying to deny where we come from, then, and only then can we all sit down one day, shoulder to shoulder, harmoniously sharing a big old order of delicious Hitler Fries and laughing until the check comes…

9 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

I don't know how you do it. Really. I want to live in a world that can take it on the chin once in a while. Being white in America has made me the target of all sorts of accusations. I lived on the Colville Indian Reservation, or right on its border, and came just short of being a victim of their hate and despite of me for just being a white boy. They shot two of my dogs for running the the woods. Not on their property, but in the woods. Then the music practically halts when I walk into a bar, the only white man in twenty miles. In San Francisco I dated a Japanese girl, and the residents in Japan town stared at me with such hatred for holding her hand. In parts of Chinatown I couldn't even get served at a restaurant. And yet, day by day, I have to listen to how the white man is supressing everyone else and blah blah blah. Well tough shit. Life isn't perfect. I've been programmed to hang my head in shame for the crimes of other people long dead, to apologize whenever I've given offense for simply being white. There are places where I would be skinned and hung by my balls for the mistake of taking a wrong turn.

I just want to unhitch my tongue like I did when I was younger. But the world has beaten me down.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Valannin said...

When I was in college, I tried very briefly to start a newspaper called SWM, or Straight White Male. I had the backing of a student senator and another iconoclast such as myself. The endeavor lasted all of two days when we were informed that such a paper went against the Jesuit teachings of the university. We hung our heads in defeat - or at least they did, as I went on to found an underground newsletter focusing on censorship issues with a member of their faculty who just happened to be a homosexual, ex-communicated priest who was teaching my Hegelian Philosophy course. (Sometimes it's a good idea to have a minority on your side). A co-worker of mine informed me that the newsletter (now a magazine), called Naked Singularity, is still being published to this day (of course, now it's been co-opted by the Left). The truth shall live on. When the world beats you down, get a bigger stick.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Well, I need to hang around with people like you to help me keep on track. You really know how to speak it in no uncertain terms.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Valannin said...

Ironically that's exactly why most people don't want to hang out with me...

Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Believe me, I know. I was a polarizing figure in my time. People in college thought I was like an interesting science experiment. They loved my wild nature, my ability to speak it when I thought it, but when it came down to making a decision between me and status quo...

Friday, August 25, 2006 9:02:00 AM  
Blogger Moni said...

Oh I'll try not to be niggardly with my coment. Haha!

I blame the media... No, seriously I blame special interests groups for propagandizing the diversity that stems between us, to which the media is only too happy to spread. I worked with a older black lady and the subject of racsism came up and she said she hated to be called African American. "I'm just American,' she said. "My parents didn't come from Africa and neither did I."

Sure the diversity and melting of our country makes us one of the most unique in the world, but it should not be used as a leverage tool in the hands of special interest group, lobbyists, politicians. I'm sure you've heard about the "Macaca" incident. What a load of hooey. The campaign volunteer didn't seem as upset about it as the press who seem jump on it like a shiny penny rolling toward a drainage ditch.

Oh, and I just realized I didn't mean for my post to have the same subject matter as yours,(your's is way better :)) it's just that you make me think...

Dee, Dee, Dee!

:)

Friday, August 25, 2006 6:55:00 PM  
Blogger Valannin said...

Yeah, the Macaca incident. A Senator calls someone a monkey, and that makes him a racist.

It's been awhile since my Logic class in college but let me see if I have this right:

A member of the government in a public speech uses an innocuous word that means "monkey"

A minority group takes offense because he called ONE PERSON this name.

Therefore, this ONE PERSON must
a) Represent all members of that minority
b) all members of that minority group must therefore be monkeys

Therefore, all members of the aforementioned minority group must feel that they are monkeys, and they are upset that the senator pointed it out to the general public, thereby exposing their latent monkey-ness.

Right. Does that make any fucking sense at all?

Remind me to tell you all the story about what happened with the "stupid" kid and his parents...it's too long to go into now. Maybe tomorrow. In fact, definitely tomorrow as it needs to be told within the context of this discussion...

Friday, August 25, 2006 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Did you burn out and fade away?

Monday, September 11, 2006 4:30:00 PM  
Blogger Moni said...

Yeah Val, where the hell are ya? We miss you dude. ;)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 5:53:00 PM  

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