Saturday, February 28, 2009
Roe Sham Boe
(Edshu had a hat that was yellow, red, white and black on either side. One day, while strutting through a field, two farmers happened to take note of this strange being.
Later in the market place - one farmer said to the other, "Did you see that strange fellow in the green hat?".
"No, it was yellow, for I saw it with my own eyes."
The two started arguing and came to blows.
At the trial of the two men, the Jungian trickster archetype revealed himself for who he was - a being whose greatest joy was in causing discontent between men.
While neither account of the deity was wrong - neither were they fully correct.
Each man had failed to take into account the validity of the other mans perspective.
If we look at the above pyramid from only one side, what color would it be?
But even further debate could be raised if we view it from above or below (The top view would actually be of a series of colored triangles which form a square. The view from below could be a solid black square).
While each statement could be said to be correct, none could be said to be complete.
And if we tip the pyramid (and our perspective) to a different angle, what was once considered to be the top point - would now be considered one of the bottom points.
cnulan (subrealism) has a bunch of articles cited for discussion concerning the epigenome and temporary (and limited) evolutions. In short, they state that the traits of humans (and other living things) evolve in a way that is best suited for each species' survival.
But noting that one trait cannot be seen as absolute and permanently dominant in all situations.
It seems that evolution is an ongoing game of Ro Sham Boe.
They can also be summarized in the axiom (or is it idiom?) "Style's win fights". (Fraiser could beat Ali, but Ali could beat Foreman, but Foreman could abuse Fraiser - a boxing version of Ro Sham Boe)
This is why I try to treat all religions as valid for one group or another (but not necessarily for me).
People fight over religions (and even denominations) without focusing on where they stand in their own belief systems.
IMO - Religion (and to a greater extent, denominations) are just the vehicles used to get from one point to another, but religions (or denominations) are not the final destination (G-D).
But what happens when someone has "Made It"?
Say that someone has; fame, fortune, looks, health, popularity, and all of the glamorous trappings associated with these things - as well as a good reputation for doing good things in a good way.
What happens when he reaches the top?
What else is there?
Who else is there?
One could view himself as uniquely qualified for this position,
or chosen by G-D.
But this generally leads to too much license for that individual.
He becomes as crazy and paranoid as Nero.
He fails to understand that sometimes a small, short term loss can lead to a lasting long term gain.
Winning becomes his right.
Or he could view himself as having worked harder, or being smarter, or being more skilled than those around him.
But this leads to arrogance and the oppression of others.
He won't have to fall apart - his status will be taken from him (usually by revolution).
Or he could view himself as haven been lucky.
But this usually leads to guilt.
This is usually why so many celebrities (who were previously nerds) tend to self destruct.
They feel that they're success wasn't earned.
But all three examples lead to failure and despair.
Many religious models impose a god (or G-D) as the sole being above this person.
Why? To keep this person from going crazy.
As long as this person fails to see himself as the top, he fails to fall into the trap of despair suffered by Biblical kings (Solomon, Nebuchadnezzar, etc.).
There is a need to be subservient.
There is a need for some type of opposition.
Think of it as the benefits seen in wild fish (with the stress of larger predators and the uncertainty of food) as compared to farm raised fish.
The wild fish are stronger and provide better nutrients.
Or the case of cultures that have become so comfortable that disease has become more common.
Since more Chinese have adopted Western ways (easy food, less strenuous work, et. al.), Cancer rates have risen,
Or the obesity epidemic in America (easy food, less strenuous work, easy entertainment, etc.).
It seems that we are keeping more unfit people alive to repopulate the earth.
The lack of some short term worry seems to have caused many to suffer in the long run.
The Christian model would seem to be to tip the pyramid on it's side - where he that would be the greatest becomes the least.
But this model is seldom followed.
How many pastors or preachers do we see who are actually getting dirty?
Or who are more concerned with their flocks than their ratings or the size of their congregation?
How many would die for their followers?
So, what's the answer?
(Read the last paragraph of Ecclesiastes to find out)
It's just a giant game of Rock Paper Scissors.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
You're The Prize
The most important lesson I try to teach them is that THEY are the prize - not some simple azz kid just trying to get some panties.
My niece Bianca says, "Bye John." as she gives me a hug.
Me - "Get out back out (of her car) and stand up".
Puzzled, she obliges.
"Close your legs", I say.
She is still puzzled.
"Keep them that way.", I say.
Now she's embarrassed but gets the message.
Me - "Who's the prize?"
"I am", she whispers.
"WHO?", I ask.
"I AM!", she says.
"Right.", I reply.
Then she's off.
This is the message that we need to teach our daughters.
One of my favorite young cousins is a young lady who I call The Monkey.
Because she is beautiful.
She was her high school's Homecoming Queen, starting (all star) guard on the basketball team, head cheerleader and the Salutatorian (Okay, she could have been Valedictorian but she was kind of busy) - as well as doing volunteer work at the hospital which her mom worked as an Rn.
Even though her family started in the projects of Lake Charles, Louisiana - her (single parent) mother became a nurse, her sister became an engineer (I forget which discipline) and she also became an Rn..
But while she was in college, she had a sort of Rhianna incident.
Her boyfriend hit her and pushed her sister during an outing to their local mall.
One of her hot-headed uncles and I decided to grab some "negotiators" and have a discussion with the kid.
When we arrived, she begged us to let it go.
We ended up having a regular discussion with the kid, but he understood what we meant when he saw our hands full of chrome.
She ended up breaking up with the kid.
But I had to ask her... "Who's the prize?".
"I AM" she replied.
Epigenomes Gone Wild ?
It seems that this fish has evolved to the point of having a see through head.
But since there are no other fish with similar DNA, but lacking this phenotype, is this this just a simple case of evolution?
Google Terrorist Tools
it seems that a Google Earth feature allows you to better plan the effectiveness of an explosive device on any given area.
Go ahead, try it.
Blow up your least favorite locale.
Not Oprah or Bob Johnson
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Continental flight 3407
As long as the forms are recognizable, the variances don't matter.
When people complain about cultural differences, it's usually only a different the style of the same standard - not a whole new language.
If one is versed in only the Phoenician standard, they would have problems understanding and practicing a Western language (and vice versa).
Or if one is versed in only a minority standard, they would have problems communicating in or acculturating to a majority standard (and vice-versa).
Unless we make them about race - most of our problems are cultural, not racial.
First I.Q. Test
The first "IQ" tests given are often the simple "Draw A Man" tests.
One's ability to notice and interpret (see and draw) details at an early age is considered by some to be an indicator of their cognitive skills and mental maturity.
The first drawing would be considered remedial for a kindergartner but the second would be deemed to be more expressive and insightful.
Is the ability to draw an early indicator of being able to thrive at M.I.T.?
Princesses Puppies And Pageants
But it is still done.
Sorry bro, but chances are that she will not pick the new Black princess as her favorite. Not that she won't see herself as Black - racially speaking. But that she won't see herself as "Black" - culturally speaking. The fact the the Disney character speaks in Ebonics will be an early signal to your daughter that "She is not like me". Much like the Cosby Show being seen by many as "too white".
The problem won't lie in the parenting, but in society's opinion of "Normal (average) Black people". Her opinion can't change until the definition changes and expands to include all social and economic levels as being truly Black - not just the victim/ghetto/poverty explanation.
Kids are strange creatures. She may like Cinderella better because she has mice that can turn into horses or a pumpkin that can turn into a carriage. Not everything involving one's race is racial or Racist. But the fact that she now has a choice in how to see herself is what really matters, not the color of the doll.
Or at least they've seen or heard of Scrooge.
Anyone in the community who seeks to own his own business and compete with the established elite is quickly destroyed by those who wish to stay in power.
Often, even those indebted to this establishment will fight against anyone who seeks their own freedom.
The system itself is flawed.
Even more so than those who are subjugated by it.
Freeman (says, in response to another post dealing with the subject); "... C'mon, for someone to blame the bank is just as crazy as someone claiming entrapment..."
But he answers his own statement in his post Sharecroppers. (http://freemanpress.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/sharecropping/)
I still hold to my belief that the current banking system itself is flawed. Rewarding failure is never a good idea. Maybe we need a Jubilee Year to put things back in order. (Government by the people for the people... not just the socially elite.)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Just to look at someone and say that they are "so ghetto" or "so country" or "so hood".
You know... maybe they are.
But why should it matter?
I'm as elitist as the next guy.
I hate Ebonics, slabbin' and loudness too.
I hate the hood (but that's why I'm always trying to make it better).
But really... what does someone else's fashion sense have to do with me?
Often, when I was a child, I didn't have the best wardrobe.
Maybe that's why I overcompensate by wearing a lot of subtle Armani Collectioni, Hugo Boss, Valentino or anything else that Barney's or Saks has to offer.
My style might be seen as square or Bougie (pretentious) by some, but it's what I'm comfortable in.
It just reflects the way I see myself.
Maybe I get too much attention.
Maybe that's why I have no need to announce myself by playing my music too loud, talking on a cell phone too loud, dressing in an attention grabbing way or letting people know what I really have.
But for many, they're just slightly more than invisible.
All of their affectations are really just a means to be counted, noticed or seen.
I just checked out Rippa and his post about someone who is country calling someone else "Country".
This could just reflect a low level of self esteem,
or it could be a country way of someone being polite and saying, "Excuse my friend...".
This attempted subjugation is not limited to one race or another.
-Some American Born Mexicans will call those who are newly arrived "Wet Backs".
-Whites use pejorative terms for "lesser" whites too - White Trash, Trailer Park Trash or a host of other insults usually referencing ones ancestry (Wap, Hebie, Kraut, Polock, Potato Eater, etc.)
-Blacks use terms that go both ways in kind of a Nietzschean example of the master/slave mentality and the Will To Power (Miss Ann, Uncle Tom, and Bougie; taken to mean pretentious or "Acting White" - and Ghetto, Country or Hood; taken to mean less than).
-Some Asians will call those newly arrived FOBs, but those who are seen as acting white can be referred to as "Bananas" (used the same way other cultures may use "Oreo" or "Coconut").
(And the list goes on - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_slurs_by_ethnicity)
Don't get me wrong, I'm as shallow as the next guy - maybe even more so.
But it's no fun to boast when those in present company are unable to relate.
It is in poor taste when those who are still aspirational are denigrated for their efforts.
Shit, David Letterman had to tell P.Diddy that bespoke suits have working buttons (And P. Did. is seen as the penultimate by many).
So the fact remains that everyone is still aspirational.
The only ones who have truly "arrived" are those who are able to accept others as they are.
The only ones who have "made it" are those who can help others. (No, it doesn't take a lot of money to help someone if it is done according to one's means).
The only ones who should be universally respected are those who can universally treat others with respect.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Eff The Banks !
"The Rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender."
In filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, Brian Tierney has failed to turn around the fortunes of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. It seems that many newspapers are having trouble competing with other mediums for advertising dollars. Maybe we should give the publishing companies huge stimulus packages too.
Or is it that their old business models are flawed and outdated? Maybe some institutions need to go the way of the telegram.
I hate to be skeptical - but this latest bailout of the banks won't work either. Why? Well, there are many reasons - among them, the propping up the old banking system would just be flushing money down the drains of institutions that have outlived their usefulness (in their current form).
Who owns your mortgage? Tough question - but more than likely, the answer isn't 'your bank'. In most mortgages, there are several layers of ownership. You owe your bank, your bank owes a bigger bank, that bank owes some type of REIT (http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/real-estate/reit.htm ), and that REIT owes a larger foreign investor. Between each of these layers is a money manager, broker or firm who packages these loans into instruments to maximize banking profits. Add to all this the fact that each level charges the next highest level a fee in order to make a profit. So your $250k loan is floating around somewhere out there with a false $750k value. Is this your fault? Nope, the banks are just effed-up.
How did we give Citibank a $70 bn loan and the company now has a market cap of about $40 bn? How did we give Bank of America a $45 bn loan, and the company is now even worse off with a market cap of about $19 bn? The Layering Effect is the problem - and as long as this Layer Effect exists (and is subsidized by the Government (them) and paid for by tax payers (US)) we will never be out of debt. (This is why I favor giving the TARP money to Credit Unions - the ownership is local and the systems are more accurate and nimble.)
Leviticus 19:10 "And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard: thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger..."
But the problems with the Housing Crisis are mostly due to the banks - not the borrowers. How? Take a look "Ethical Lenders" and their track record ( http://www.slate.com/id/2204583/pagenum/2 ) of being paid at a rate that is close to 98%... by the same "High Risk" borrowers. That these lenders are known as "Ethical" seems to imply that something is UNethical about the other banks. These Ethical Lenders provide the same types of people with good loans... and still make a profit!
If I robbed a bank... and while trying to escape, people stampeded and killed other people... I would be charged with some type of manslaughter. People like Madoff and Stanford should be charged with manslaughter charges as well. They should be given ten years in a maximum security prison for each dealth that resulted from their crimes. Let enough of these big time criminals learn to toss a few salads - that would be REAL banking reform.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
By Any Means Necessary
Friday, February 20, 2009
I would have to ask, is he wrong.
He didn't say "White" America.
That some would assume that he was only talking to whites is an arrogant assumption that the well being of the country and the responsibility to make the needed changes lies solely with whites.
That essentially, America = White.
But in making this assumption, many have assumed the role of "Victim" that they often decry from the likes of racial polemics Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Now, I hate the whole victimology philosophy.
It's weak and assumes the B**** role.
While taking it in a supine position isn't any better (you're still taking it), it assumes the prone position.
Check out an entry from one of the New Victims (Here you go Indra, someone with whom you can agree).
But these assumptions are wrong!
Holder was also talking to;
The NAACP - In your town, have they advanced "colored" people?
The Black Church - Do they still talk about getting blessings and being wronged, or do they talk about being a blessing and forgiveness?
Black Families - Are we still begging for acceptance or are we taking responsibility to raise our own to be the best?
Black Politicians - Are they doing better than those whom they replaced or are they being paid to do the same things?
Black Schools - Are your students actually prepared to graduate or are the just old enough to graduate?
So no, Holder wasn't talking only to the New Victims, but about all Americans.
And until we realize that... he may be right.
What's Your Problem ?
But what does it mean?
Does it equal...
Seeing that monkeys are often used as an insult to Blacks. Was the intent to underhandedly call Obama a monkey who needs to be killed?
Or are many being "too sensitive" like Martin Lawrence's Tyler character in Boomerang?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tear Down Or Renovate ?
People think that because it's the way they've always lived, they should continue living the same lifestyle.
Sometimes problems arise or people out grow their homes or the homes just become outdated.
When this happens, people often decide to renovate.
The decision to renovate is often based on one's needs and their ability to turn what they already have into something that they want.
If the foundation and structure is still good and the final value outweighs the cost, renovation is a good idea.
But sometimes the structure and foundation are so badly damaged that the cost to repair the old building is not an option.
Even trying to patch this type of structure would be a foolish waste of money, time and effort.
The best option becomes completely tearing down the old structure.
Rebuilding it's foundation.
And starting from scratch.
Sure it may be more costly than the patch method, but the final product (with the needed updating) will have more value and a better chance of lasting through the next storm.
If a simple carpenter knows this - why is the Obama administration having such a hard time figuring out that the old banking paradigm was a failure?
Even a 2 trillion dollar patch won't solve the problem.
Maybe we need to tear the old system down and start from scratch.
At least that way we'll know that we have a stable environment in which to live for generations to come.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Hispanics Causing Panic
Tiana (from the film The Princess and the Frog - release date; December '09) joins other established princesses; Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (Aladdin),Pocahontas, and Mulan.
Disney has already had success with Black characters like Raven (That's So Raven) and Penny Proud (The Proud Family), so the leap to the big-screen was only natural.
Tiana fills out the racial mix of Disney princesses (Jasmine - Arab, Mulan - Asian, Pocahontas - Native American, Others - European) in the year of the Obama females.
Some think that Disney is pandering to Blacks with this new release.
But animation takes a while to produce.
I doubt if they could have written, drawn, voiced, scored and edited this movie since Barack Obama had any serious chance of becoming POTUS.
But the protests will come. ("Why does she have to be a maid?")
People will hate. ("They had to have a Black one.")
And Disney will get paid.
But Why Do You Care ?
Second only to the horse-faced Joan Rivers in his cattiness, Mr. Blackwell assumed that his opinion should shape the fashion conscience of straight men and straight women.
If I was trying to attract a gay man - his opinion would matter.
If a woman was trying to attract a gay man - his opinion would matter.
Among the new guys shaping the clothing choices for men is Cojo. Not that these guys shouldn't have the right to make a living by stating their opinions - but that it shapes the choices for clothing for regular guys is my issue.
I have to buy suits two sizes too big and have them tailored down to achieve a desirable fit. I can't move in the current cuts. If these gay dudes like that stuff, fine. But designers need to focus on real buyers not the opinions of guys who the real buyers aren't trying to impress.
It's Award season. These guys are worried about darts and hems. I don't care. If a woman looks hot in a dress - who cares what some gay guy thinks. We need a straight guy at these shows. The best and worst dressed list would be a lot different.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Fakin' Da' Funk
Barbie is looking pretty good for being 50.
Before the introduction of Barbie, most models in magazines were about 5'2" and roundish.
After Barbie... ?
People like to say that the Barbie ideal is seen as desirable because it reflects a healthy physique.
But studies are now suggesting that having a fat bottom could be in a woman's best interest.
J-Lo, Shakira, Kim Kardasian and Beyonce have made the callipygian ideal more desirable and acceptable to the mainstream.
It wasn't too long ago that it was reported that Janet Jackson had liposuction to remove her naturally round hips. And that was during the apex of her popularity.
Whether someone is good looking or not is usually just some one's subjective opinion.
Ask my friends whether I'm ugly and most of them will say "yes".
But ask their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers or daughters and almost all will say that I'm not.
It usually comes down to what was taught to be the ideal
I can't stand Mo'Nique - but Sheryl Lee Ralph is sexy.
I think Rhianna is kinda' ugly - but still sexy.
(But not ugly like Brandy - who looks like a trout.)
I think Beyonce is pretty but not sexy (I don't know... maybe it's that country accent that puts me off.)
I think Halle Berry is pretty and beautiful but nowhere near sexy. And when she tries to play sexy in a movie... I'll pass.
That lady in Baby Boy, Hustle and Flow and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Taraji P. Henson) is cute.
Pretty - Good to look at.
Beautiful - Good to collect.
Sexy - I would hit that.
Cute - I'd take care of her.
Ugly - I'll pass
But women hate to be called cute.
But what we are often told is attractive is really just someone trying to force a new view of beauty on the masses.
Lisa Leslie - Nope
But Candace Parker - Yes
Jackie Joyner Kersee - Nope
But Flo-Jo - Yes
Oprah - (Have you seen The Color Purple ?) Nope.
But these women developed skills that would allow them to compensate for their unfortunate looks.
Instead of trying to change the rules of beauty, they understood them and developed traits that would allow them to succeed in a looks based society.
The women from the movie Maybe He's Just Not That Into You is another case of forced beauty.
Jennifer Connelly looks kind of dirty. Like Helena Bonham Carter, she looks like she just needs a good bath.
Jennifer Aniston is okay but has to truly realize that Brad upgraded when he chose Angelina.
Drew Barrymore has that forehead and jaw line that makes her look like one of the statues from Easter Island.
Of the cast, only Scarlett Johanson is good looking.
But again - looks are primarily based on what one is used to or has learned to idealize.
I've always confused Michelle Pfeifer with Melanie Griffith, who I would confuse with Meg Ryan.
Or Reese Witherspoon with Claire Danes, who I would confuse with Julia Stiles.
Pheifer and Danes are the only ones approaching any type hotness.
But I still confuse the lot of them.
Many men have a fetish for Asian girls.
This is largely due to fact that they haven't seen enough of them to judge them as individuals.
Believe me, like other races and ethnicities - there are a lot of ugly ass Asian women.
The only Asian women most men have seen are the ones in movies.
If I were to just look at Bollywood films, Asian Indian women would be the hottest women on the planet.
Every one of them would be seen as having the same traits as those on the screen.
My limited exposure to only the best looking women would influence my views of all.
If I were to only look at all of the Black "Mammy" and slave characters in old movies, my opinions would be shaped in a negative way by these images too.
But understanding that looks are usually only a subjective measurement - on the whole, preferences exist.
But to all the ugly ladies who feel the need to post a sexy(?) photo of yourself on YouTube/FaceBook/MySpace and trying to lie to yourself that you are hot -
Please... stop fakin' da' funk.
(If I hear one more obese and ugly lady who sits on her couch watching the judges while criticizing someone like Beyonce's little sister Solange about her looks or her level of success, I'm going to snap. "B**** please, you're a beast!" is what I'll say.)
I Hit A Girl (Twice !)
But reading the blog posts and responses to the Chris Brown/Rhianna episode offers insight to what is expected in an assumed civilized society.
When the incident makes it onto hard news programs, then it's a story.
I'm not sure if the altercation took place over an alleged Booty-Call or news that Rhianna had given CB Herpes.
I would be mad if I caught Chlamydia from a girl, but I wouldn't beat her (I should have had enough sense to use some sort of protection.
But if it was Herpes, I might be mad enough to hit that girl.
Taking a big pink pill is different than being stuck with permanent luggage.
But I've hit a girl before - twice.
Once, the girl and I were just playing around slap-boxing.
She could hit me, if a punch landed, but I had to pull my punches.
On one punch, the girl stepped into the punch and ended up getting thumped in her chest...hard.
"Down goes Frasier!", I joked.
Then I asked if she was alright and apologized.
She said that she wasn't mad and that she knew it was an accident, but that she was sore (and crying).
Her friends, on the other hand, were ready to fight.
Usually I do the old Rope-A-Dope and let the girl try to hit me.
After she's spent her anger and energy - then we'll talk.
But the other incident was one where I asked a girl to drop me off at a house in a bad neighborhood.
I told her to wait ten minutes, and if I wasn't out - she should leave.
Fifteen minutes later, the girl walks through the front door.
I had been called in the middle of dinner with the girl to go to a house and safely remove one of my friend's friends from a bad situation.
(Being that I had a history of cheating on the girl, she had assumed that I was just dismissing her while making a booty-call on another girl.)
The girl had added another level of stress to an already stressful situation.
I now had to ensure her safety as well as the friend's friend and my own. She just put me into a worse situation.
After we left, I drove a block and got out of the car to argue with her. But she wouldn't listen.
I grabbed her by her throat and explained that she could have gotten us both killed and then pushed her away and then I walked away.
After she understood the situation, she calmed down.
But in both incidents, I could have been charged with assault.
I could have been branded a "Wife-Beater" (even though we weren't married) and as someone who should be shunned.
I come from a home where my step-dad would beat my mom to the point of her having to go to the hospital on a monthly basis.
So if anyone has a tendency to hit women, it's people like me.
Or Chris Brown.
But the CB/R incident has brought the issue of domestic violence to the kitchen tables of millions of households.
In many circles, domestic violence is just a part of any relationship.
I've heard older women telling their daughters and grand daughters that being beaten is just something that a woman has to deal with if she wants to keep her man.
That being beaten was something to be expected.
But what has changed?
Is the fact that both singers have personas that are seen as more from a Mouseketeers mold than from a ghetto mold ascribe more value to both victims?
Someone commented on another blogger's post that things would have been different had Rhianna looked like Mo'Nique.
Rhianna is closer to the acceptable level of American beauty.
Tall, thin and sexy.
She is closer to the ideal.
And being closer to the ideal - she is seen as having more value.
Not quite Nicole Simpson value - but having more value than Mo'Nique.
Looks have a lot to do with value.
How many women go missing every day?
How many make the national news?
Of these, how many are seen as attractive and happen to be white?
You see, the closer to the ideal - the more value.
But I can't comment in either way regarding the CB/R situation.
I don't know what happened or why.
But the fact that a Black woman is allotted some value in modern society has to be a sign of progress.
The fact that many young Black males are learning from the lessons of Chris Brown has to be seen as sign of progress.
Maybe CB/R can use this incident to help others.
Maybe some good will come from this.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I Collect These
I'm not sure.
I had a bunch of them in the kitchen when I inherited the house.
Some of my darker cousins are offended whenever they enter my kitchen and see them prominently displayed on some of the shelves and counters.
Some just say", I remember those".
Some of my lighter cousins ask if I had these left over from when my grandparents lived here.
Some are disgusted and tell me that I should break them and throw them away.
They're not ugly.
I have several caricatures of many ethnic groups.
But the one's that seem to draw the most debate are my little Black chefs.
Even white friends can't believe that I have these little guys in my kitchen.
But what's the difference between collecting these and the little Sarah's Attic or All God's Children figurines.
My cousins have hundreds of the latter figurines in poses that have them; eating watermelon, taking baths in tin tubs, fishing, playing the "squeeze box" - all in tattered clothes and often toothless.
But still, they're more offended by my older figurines.
Is it the intent or the image itself that offends?
Is it that my figurines remind many of a time when these stereotypes were controlled more by those other than ourselves?
Friday, February 13, 2009
But What Is Knowledge ?
(Level of exposure in early childhood)
Like those old cell phone batteries - if they were not charged to their fullest potential when you first got them - their "fully charged level" would be lower than the creator intended.
If a child is given a "full charge" ( a greater level of exposure to complex ideas and practical application) in early childhood - his maximum expectation of success is increased.
But IQ tests only measure the potential level of the full charge - not how much an individual actually charges his battery (not any actual or true knowledge).
Someone with an IQ of 178 may only be functioning at 50% of their potential (or at the IQ level of 88) because of variables such as environment, disease or social pressures.
Is this person (IQ 178) any smarter than someone with an IQ of 110 who functions at 100% of their potential?
But even if someone has accomplished their fullest level of their potential - what does this tell us?
I know many teachers who can't teach. They (the teacher) understand the material - but they can't convey that information to their students.
Is this teacher "smart"?
Nope. They can't interpret the knowledge they hold to their students.
Since the objective of teaching is to teach - these "smart" teachers fail at their given task.
Their full potential is hindered by any ability to use it.
In some cultures, being too smart is not in one's best interest in terms of survival.
Smart people are often called "nerds' or "geeks" and picked on by other, more physical, members of that culture.
Even if someone had both intelligence and physical prowess (the physical prowess is what often gets the girls) - physical prowess would become the trait that is featured as dominant. Thus increasing his chances of reproduction and the continuation of his genetic history.
If a culture existed where someone would be punished or killed for displaying any ability to read or write - the practice of acquiring knowledge would be discouraged - thus enabling one to keep his life and have the opportunity to see his progeny.
Being intelligent in one way of life can be detrimental to one's survival in another.
But what do these IQ tests tell us?
Most often they measure the potential of an individual to fit into the social structure of those who are giving the test.
Are these tests fair? Sure.
These tests enable the administrator to see the likelihood of someone being able to continue the current society in a way that is compatible to their (the administrating entity) own.
As long as the person reading the tests understands what they are reading (not real knowledge - but the potential for knowledge), these tests can serve a purpose.
If the tests are culturally biased - that (to continue the current culture) is the intent.
Like the bear example earlier - each group is best suited to survive and continue his species in his own environment and social structure. Even when different types of bears live in the same area with the same conditions of climate, food and geography - different skills and abilities may be required for each to survive.
One is not necessarily smarter than the other - it's just that his conditions for survival dictate which traits to flaunt and which to suppress.
Their knowledge is not as important as their ability to use their knowledge.
They Forgot How To Hunt
The articles notes;
"The animals were also more susceptible to starvation and disease than their wild animal counterparts and less able to form successful social groups."
"Their lack of hunting skills and their lack of fear towards humans, for example, are major disadvantages."
Most people have seen the movie Trading Places.
In the movie, Dan Akroid's character ultimately surrenders to his new condition and learns to adapt from there.
He has to learn lessons that his social groups failed to teach.
Mortimer and Randolf have became so fat and comfortable that they forgot how to hunt.
In the movie Coming To America, we see them in a pitiful state - begging for crumbs.
Their "knowledge" of the workings of the world seems to have failed them in a new social structure.
Since the financial bubble burst - why are many having problems coping with a life without pampering?
Why the suicides and killings?
Maybe, they too - forgot how to hunt.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So if in the year 2525 - the choices came down to living like this -where one's lifestyle could be sustained by his environment.
Or living like this (a sort of post-apocalyptic version of the Tower of Babel).
A simple life would be better than one that is racing towards it's own demise?
Since the question of which race is smartest pops up from time to time - maybe we should look at a bit of history from another perspective. Blogger Choptensils (http://choptensils.com/2008/12/on-invention-of-racism-part-i.html) does a good job of explaining the cycles of knowledge and lessons learned and unlearned on his posts On Invention Of Racism (parts 1 and 2).
Since most "original" ideas are both seminal and derivative - maybe older cultures are just in a state of unlearning .
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Or better looking?
Or do they have the "Good Hair"?
Are they considered to be brown or white?
Do they have more opportunities?
Everyone knows that Yogi is smarter than the average bear.
But of the others listed - which bear is the smartest?
The Polar bear with it's ability to adapt to a frigid and hostile environment?
Since each bear has evolved to best survive in it's environment - how would we measure intelligence? Which has the highest IQ?
Who's standard would we use?