Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Chick-fil-A Celebrates My Birthday

01 a woman at the riverbank

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1 August was my birthday. I heard they also had a big stonkin’ bigot party at Chick-fil-A. I spent the day at home with my exceptionally smart trophy wife and my two clever and funny children. There wasn’t a homophobe in the room. This birthday got me thinking about my 18th, 39 years ago, and of what I thought the world would be like by the time I was pushing 60. One thing I never imagined was that bigotry, racism, and sexism would still play such outsized roles in our public life. However, they sure did back then.

To give you some idea of how much other things have changed, in 1973, I used a newly-available “correcting electric typewriter” to write something. After going through the five-step process to change an errant “s” to a proper “a”, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, it can’t get any better than this!” It’s been a wonderful life. I’ve skydived under old Korean War surplus parachutes, crossed the Continental Divide on a motorcycle during a snowstorm, been lured to Arizona by a cult, and been rescued by good friends. I came to love the West and its people, most of whom aren’t racist like Joe Arpaio or dumber-than-a-cactus like Jan Brewer. I was just in Tucson last week, so, even the cult experience had an upside.

Nevertheless, my history precedes even me. My Pop, Henry, saw electricity, the telephone, and the automobile arrive at my grandparents little family farm in Capitol Heights, Maryland. He lived through the Great Depression and always feared we would make that mistake again. I thought he was being silly. The Vietnam draft ended 30 June 1973, just one month before my 18th birthday. Before that, they chose draftees by “lottery” drawing from a glass jar, then, shuffled envelopes, then, a rotating raffle bin. If they picked your number early, you simply prepared to go. Lottery Day always felt like a national day of mourning. Mothers agonised and cried. After living through the upheaval of Vietnam, I never imagined we’d attack another country in a pointless exercise of American imperialism. We’d lost so much by destroying Vietnam and losing the war, and we damaged so many tens of thousands of our young men. I was sure we’d never forget the cost of our foolishness.

Having witnessed the correcting typewriter, I was kind of expecting big things to happen… they have. I’ve lived through the birth (and now death) of the desktop computer and the emergence of the internet as our new town square. Automobiles have gone from lasting about two years to lasting ten. Clothes, which used to be expensive, are now cheap. Gas, which used to be cheap, is now expensive. I also came of age during a time of both introspection and birth control pills. There was a lot of sex, a lot of sex. I wouldn’t call it “casual”, but it was friendly, and it was liberating. I don’t know anyone damaged by it. I remember saying I’d quit smoking if the price ever got to 50 cents a pack. Of course, by then, I was hopelessly addicted, so, I ended up quitting quite a few times. I didn’t quit for good until a miracle drug, Chantix, came along. It blocks nicotine receptors. Back in 1973, we wouldn’t have understood the brain well enough to even head in that direction.

A few problems continue to haunt us. We still haven’t figured out how to keep rich guys from using their money to tilt democracy in their favour. If anything, we’ve gone backwards, what with Citizen’s United and all. The other thing that really hurts my heart is our incomplete progress in ending bigotry and racism. Of course, we’ve made significant progress. However, when I was 18, I believed that intolerance would end when the old rednecks died. Instead, dumb uneducated rednecks raised dumb uneducated children, who continue to hold dumb uneducated views about black people, Muslims, women, Hispanics, and people who love the same gender.

This brings us back, I suppose, to Chick-fil-A. They’re “Christians”, they say. One religious group or another endorses so much bigotry and hate these days. Besides, we now have something called “Prosperity Theology” that teaches that God speaks to you through profits. Still, we’re heading in the right direction. My 19-year-old daughter encounters only a minority of bigots her age (mostly men, she says.) Recently, my 9-year-old son explained to a friend that “gay” isn’t an effective insult. It was his only experience with bigotry so far. I wonder what things will be like when those kids are pushing 60.

2 August 2012

Jimmy Zuma

Tucson (AZ) Sentinel

http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/opinion/report/080212_chick/chick-fil-a-celebrates-my-birthday/

Editor:

I grew up in this world. I’m only one year older than Mr Zuma… he was born in 1955… me, in 1954. I’ve seen the same changes. Some people scream that the “good ol’ days” were better and more moral. I remember hearing that as a kid, too. I don’t think that’s true. There’s always been evil and skulduggery afoot. There’s also always been goodness and right about, too… generally, most of the changes were neutral, though. I disagree emphatically with those who wish to use to use the law to punish those whom they disagree with. I also disagree with those who want to repress the “different”. The worst of that lot are those who confuse Real Religion with Mere Respectability. They obsess over gays, abortion, teenage sex, and condoms. Indeed, they’re VERY concerned about the world’s sins… but don’t do overly much about their own! As for me, I’m going to work on my many faults. That’s why I can’t abide sorts like John Whiteford or Freddie M-G… one gets the impression that they’re not only busy-bodies, but repressed persecutors. Of course, I guess what most rankles me about Whiteford, Freddie M-G, Rod Dreher, and Paffhausen (to name a few) is that one can tell that they’re putting themselves up as exemplars. I’m far from that… I know what I did (and I know that the sorts that I named have just as many sins on their plates).

This world would be a MUCH better place if religious people would remember the point of having a religion. It starts with working on YOURSELF… ’nuff said…

BMD

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

21 October 2014. Why Hungary? RT Video on Rusin Identity

00.01 Carpatho-Russia coat of arms

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Why Hungary? For one, Magyar is sufficiently different from Rusin to ensure survival of the language. Secondly, the Rusins were under the Kingdom of Hungary prior to 1914. Thirdly, and most importantly, the Magyars aren’t bent on destroying the Rusin people as the Galician Uniate fascists are. Galician Uniate “Consciousness” is a racist ideology very similar to Nazism. “The Ukraine for Ukrainians only!” “Knife the Moskals!” That’s why many Rusins are looking towards Hungary. That’s what I see, any road…

BMD

 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

19 October 2014. Politics Through a Cartoonist’s Eyes…

00 Don't Wake Up the Russian Bear. 19.10.14

The Bear doesn’t fancy being woken up from his hibernation…

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00 Bob Englehart. Sharia Laws. 19.10.14

The US forces are making Afghanistan safe for Islamic law of the most retrograde variety (they do NOT represent mainstream Islam)… the American-backed junta there is as strident as ISIS is! What a luvverly thing “democracy” is, wot? Afghanistan was freer in 1965 and under the DRA, too… fancy that…

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00 Rob Rogers. GOP Guide to Leadership. 19.10.14

Reagan and G W Bush used dictatorial ukases (“executive orders”) more often than B H Obama has… Obama’s the “threat to democracy!” I’ll check into Bedlam with Mr Scrooge…

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00 Rob Rogers. NATO. He's Been Stuck Like That AInce the End of the Cold War. 19.10.14

NATO is as much of actual use as buggy whips in an age of automobiles. Yet, the USA wastes billions upon it for no good purpose… the GOP demands that we do so… Obama goes along, for if he doesn’t, the GOP in the Senate would filibuster him to death.

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00 V C Rogers. North Carolina Republiccans. 19.10.14

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It’s coming near Election Day… vote! Then, at least, you’ve got bitchin’ rights until the next time. Step up or shut up…

BMD

19 October 2014. 1,000 Years of St Olav!

00 King St Olav II of Norway and Stefan Uros III of Decani Nemanjić 01. 19.10.14.

Right-Believing Kings St Olav II Haraldsson of Norway and Stefan Uroš III Dečanski Nemanjić of Serbia

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00 King St Olav II of Norway 06. 19.10.14.

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00 King St Olav II of Norway 05. 19.10.14.

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00 King St Olav II of Norway 01. 19.10.14.

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00 King St Olav II of Norway 04. 19.10.14.

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00 King St Olav II of Norway 03. 19.10.14.

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00 King St Olav II of Norway 02. 19.10.14.

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It’s been 1,000 years… a full millennium… since the Baptism of Right-Believing King St Olav II Haraldsson of Norway in Rouen. He baptised and enlightened his people, stopping endemic civil strife, but he died in battle in 1030 fighting rebellious nobles. A year later, in 1031, the Church canonised him “with the agreement of the whole Norwegian people”. In his homeland, people call him “the eternal king”. He’s amongst the last of the Western European Orthodox saints and there are churches in Russia dedicated to St Olav, notably in Novgorod and in Staraya Ladoga, where he lived for several years. There’s another link with Orthodoxy and Norway… the most loyal soldiers in Constantinople New Rome were the Varangian Guard, who served from the 10th to the 14th centuries… who came from England, the Nordic countries, and Russia. Most of them fell in battle in the Fourth Crusade fighting the papist invaders. This unit lost its mostly Nordic character after that event.

Raise a glass and cheer, Norskis… it’s your day!

BMD

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