Don’t Say You’re An ‘American’

A refreshing perspective on a nearly autonomic response, reblogged from MyQuest dot blog.

my quest blog

We are conditioned so effectively to play artificial roles that we mistake them for our true nature. JeanJacques

John, an expat who recently relocated to Colombia, approached the desk at the Medellín immigration office. “Cómo puedo ayudarte” (how can I help you), the lady behind the glass window at the reception counter asked?

John had no idea what she was saying, so he shook his head and said, “I want to apply for a visa. Does anyone here speak English?”

The lady at reception rolled her eyes and called over her supervisor who responded in English and looked over the information John had provided in the online application. “What is your nationality,” the supervisor asked?

“I’m American,” John replied in a matter of fact manner.

“We are Americans too Señor. What is your country of origin,” the…

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Racists Are The Undead: Live

My formative years molded me into a leftward-leaning spirit — I studied German and geography in West Germany in the days of Willy Brandt, cast a vote in 1972 for George McGovern at the American Embassy in Frankfurt, watched the tragically pivotal Summer Olympics in Munich.

The unemployment rate in West Germany was 0.8% at that time. Gastarbeiter (guest workers) were invited as guests. Willkommen Gäste!gastarbeiter

Returning to privileged shores in 1973 brought cultural shock in the form of enormous automobiles, gigantic shopping carts, conspicuous consumption to match conspicuous war — all the trappings of glitz and phony patriotism. Homesickness set in, not for the country of my birth but for my newly forged affinity to nascent European sensibilities, a widening disdain for all things Nixon in the final three years before a well deserved defeat in Southeast Asia.

Your country needed your bleeding heart for fodder, but you didn’t enlist. You’re as yellow as a Chinaman, Bill.  

Lottery luck: 255 of 366.

The Monroe Doctrine is a thin veneer for brutally enforcing manifest destiny upon innocents — another word for sanctioned rape of Latin America. Has the United States ever interfered in the free elections of another country?

Might always makes right. The meek are weak. 

Do your part by looking the other way, pledging allegiance to a cotton flag and never sitting during the national anthem.

You can get down on your knee in a prison cell, rabble-rouser. 

The Gerrymander assures white privilege, something that Clarence and Neil agree upon. Six Supreme Court justices are of the Catholic faith, three are of the Judaic faith. No Atheists, no Protestants, no Muslims. What’s up with that?

gerrymander0675

Mitch (the unditched) changed the rules to seat a freaking originalist, Neil Gorsuch. Sing along with Mitch.

Clarence Thomas : Thurgood Marshall as Neil Gorsuch : Merrick Garland.

It’s what the founding fathers intended, my friend. It’s manifest. It’s destiny.

The constitution is a living document that matures slowly and deliberately. Society is kinetic. Amendments to the original document are a sign of vitality. Originalism molds its arguments from an intensely small set of volumes written in the 18th Century. Through the 18th Century human slavery was thought the most natural of laws, a societal bulwark. I’ve read that man was created in God’s image. Real men are white aren’t they? Why does Western Civilization color semitic speakers in shades and features comforting to western sensibilities?

originalism

Powerful white men were slaveholders. It’s a great way to keep the costs of production down. Down, down, down. Bail another crop of cotton, please. What did the white man do to the red-man? What would the white man do to those human resources obtained from Africa, the ones who arrived in cruise ships?

breeding.american.slaves

Do slaveholders have vested interests? Do slaughterhouse proprietors pay slave wages to undocumented workers? Why don’t American birth-certificate holders get in line for jobs at the slaughterhouses?

Don’t judge the evils of an earlier era from the perspective of later generations. We all benefit by looking the other way, Bill. Please look that way too. You fit the bill, Bill. Respect yourself.

Columbus Day is still on the calendar. Andrew Jackson is still on the twenty-dollar bill. Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans? Still the wrong color.

I’ve heard the following platitude: There is only one race,  — the human race.

Unfortunately, that platitude whitewashes centuries of evidence to the contrary. Forgive and forget? Convenient.

The human race consumes 70 billion fellow sentient beings per annum. Those fellow sentients possess inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — unless homo sapiens cast a veto vote.

animals.killed.yearly

Did heroin present threats to polite society before it struck nice white folk? Is that fact relevant in a deeply racist society? But if you do not call yourself a racist does that earn you a wild card?

White flight in one generation becomes white gentrification in a succeeding generation. But the gentrifiers are making poor neighborhoods safe aren’t they? Don’t they create jobs and contribute to a well wealth-managed economy?

Nothing succeeds like success, Bill.

Racism is alive and deadly well in the country of my birth. Is that a success story?

Thanks for reading.

 

Question Mercatorian Authority

 

In 1974 German cartographer Arno Peters developed a projection that ignited a firestorm by introducing a map that far more accurately portrays land-area distribution on planet Earth.

Listen Bill, firestorms hurt innocent people. It’s not nice to start fires; however, if we may say one good thing  about firestorms: they just might melt the snowflakes who start them.

 

do_not_question_authority_by_graffitiwatcher

All projections are approximations — you peel the surface of a sphere and press the peels onto a two-dimensional surface. Each attempt compromises something, but that god-awful Mercator (invented in the year 1569) compromises everything except convenience for sextant users in the year 2017.

The higher the latitude, the more profound the misrepresentation. Now what value could that have for propagandists? None I guess.

There must be something worthwhile in a technique that has survived 500 years of history, Bill. We think you have too much time on your hands. Watch some March Madness, Bill.

Yesterday my son turned me on to Cartographers for Social Equality — a cult classic from The West Wing episodes.

Bill, this sounds like something you could put on a business card to alert the innocent of the foolish views that seem to stick in your craw. Can we help you get the help you need?

WordPress uses the Mercator for data analytics by country.  Canadian and Russian visitors make me feel globally successful, simply by dint of all that map-shading.

I’m still waiting for visitors from Grønland (grøn is Danish for green). For no reason at all let me tell you that the German for green is grün.

Stay on task. Do your job. Sit down and shut up. Capiche?

What of those massive islands in Northern Canada? They are actually tiny islands. Take a look at a globe the next time you’re in a furniture store. Observe how the lines of longitude join at the North and South Poles —those antipodes are infinitely distant from the Equator. Literally. Only the places close to 0º depict areas accurately — the North Pole on a Mercator is as impossible to reach as the mythical elvish workshop.

mercator.brittanica

Geography glommed many generations ago into a mash-up called branches of social science. In effect a spattering of soundbites in an already watered-down curriculum.

Here are two of many remarkable cartograms by Benjamin Hennig that you can access on his website: viewsoftheworld.net. You can directly compare area and population density for the insight that this brings — if you’re into this kind of thing.

USelection2016Cartogram

We’re not ‘into’ things. We’re on to things — we’re on to you.
The map on the right resembles a vascular circulatory system, doesn’t it? Perspective matters perhaps.
EUreferendumCartogram
Read Hennig’s blog for more cartograms that portray other dynamics at play.

The Guardian published an annotated series for comparing map projections in 2009.

Why reinvent something that Mercator already settled 500 years ago? But you have to be different, don’t you?

Thanks for reading.