Monthly Archives: June 2014

What’s in a Name?

Lately, the news media seems full of crazy people throwing fits over names. The most recent being some college/high school group changing their mascots from “cougars” in order not to “offend” women.

Excuse me, but I’m already offended. When did we lose sight of common sense? When did we become such a thin-skinned culture so afraid of “political correctness” that we lost sight of rationality? Isn’t imitation supposed to be the highest form of flattery? So where do we get off thinking certain groups are offending by certain names. Even when those certain groups fight to maintain a trademark name, special interest groups come along and force changes. It makes me wonder who those special interest groups really represent.

Personally, I think it’s a severe form of reverse discrimination, or maybe a disguised version of racism. After all, if I truly believe some person or group is “less human” than myself, wouldn’t I do everything to erase all mention of those groups, even if I have to do it under the disguise of “protecting” them?

An ancient case in point: Speedy Gonzales, a feisty little mouse that always got the best of the big, dumb gringo cats. The cartoon, immensely popular when I was a kid, fell out of favor with white liberals and was pulled from networks as being “racist”. Racist to whom? Not to Hispanics, who cheered Speedy and loved the series. Or take Little Black Sambo; finding a copy is virtually impossible now that the PC police got their hands on it and blazoned the “racist” button everywhere. Again, a small black boy creatively outwits the big, dumb “white” tigers and provides food for his family.

We don’t have to look far today to see the same idiocy mirrored in football teams forced to change their names and mascots in order to pander to some crazy white liberal nonsense.

The race button is too easy to push, and overused too often. Isn’t it time we stopped being afraid of words and feared mob mentality more? Isn’t it time we stood up for freedom of speech and the ability to think for ourselves before we find ourselves in a country where we have lost that privilege and others are doing our thinking for us?

 

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Truth Requires a Response

My daughter is working in Portland this summer and is keeping an online blog about her experiences.  http://joannanparsons.wix.com/prayersforportland One such experience dealt with a misunderstanding over who Jesus is and the reason for His death and resurrection.

It always amazes me how people will believe a misconception over the truth. Truth is not comfortable. Truth is not safe. Truth requires a response and most people find falsehood easier to swallow than truth, which demands they become responsible for their attitudes, actions, and destiny.

We take refuge in all sorts of misconceptions and fallacies, from blaming others for our shortcomings to denigrating others to make ourselves feel better; from dismissing what we don’t like about our world because it makes us uncomfortable to re-writing history to justify our actions; from name-calling and insulting what we don’t like or understand to passing laws to prohibit anyone from disagreeing with us.

Truth stands on its own. Truth doesn’t require a defence, nor does truth need my explanations or justifications. Truth spans centuries, crosses political, economic and cultural barriers. Truth endures; but most of all, truth transforms.

In the final analysis, it is the transformation we fear; which is why people will stubbornly cling to misconceptions, falsehoods, and outright lies. Transformation means we forgive ourselves, we forgive others; transformation means we step outside of ourselves and our belief system to embrace something bigger than ourselves.

Truth requires us to see ourselves for who we are, not who we want to be; and to realize our worth does not lie in ourselves, our possessions, or our accomplishments.

Truth sets us free.

The City Hunter

A couple of years back, my daughter introduced me to Korean telenovelas. Between work and writing, I didn’t have a lot of time to invest; but since school is out for the summer, I’ve come across several surprisingly great series, including The City Hunter.

It’s fairly easy to write a series where the misunderstood hero battles the corrupt officials and kills them one by one. It’s much harder to write such a character who is noble and uses the law and nonlethal means to take out the officials at great personal cost. The City Hunter repeatedly throws the hero in tense situations where his ethics are at stake against someone’s life. And the writers are creative enough to some up with truly exceptional solutions that violate neither the story line, nor the hero’s character.

One of the major differences between Korean series and American soap operas (which I despise in all forms and varieties), are the length of the series. Each series is short, running 22-24 episodes and none of the series leaves the viewer hanging at series end wondering what happened. (Lost being one of the most notorious of the more recent nighttime soaps). A second difference is the length of each episode. Viewers get a full one-hour of action packed adventure, and each episode leaves the viewer wanting more.

Other outstanding differences between Korean television and American television focus on dialogue (yes, it probably loses something in the translation, but the gist is still there), character development, and some of the best plot/counterplot writing I’ve seen in either television or books recently. While the American trend is to “dumb down” plot, as if the viewer isn’t intelligent enough to keep up with all the twists and turns, Korean drama is rife with political intrigue, plots and subplots; and just when the hero thinks he’s got a handle on events and beginning to gain ground against the enemy, wham! Another breathless plot twist keeps you guessing right up until the edge-of-your-seat resolution.

There’s another feature of Korean dramas I find a vast improvement over American television: the elegance of romance. While American viewers watch actors and actresses eat each other’s face in some sort of animalistic expression of “romance,” Korean television generates passion with a single look, or touch of the hand, or a solitary, chaste kiss. More elegant, more passion, and you can actually watch it with your kids present. Actually, in a way, it’s more expressive of real love and romance than the trivialized American “one-night stands” or the “I just met you, let’s go to bed.”

And oh yeah, the best part: happy endings. No matter how tense, no matter how hopeless the situation, the hero wins and gets the girl.

In the final analysis, you can keep your Grammy and Emmy award winning series and movies. I’ll take Korean telenovelas every time.

 

 

 

The Art of Pampering

Move over pedicures, manicures take a backseat to the best form of pampering on the planet: oxygen bars. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience this unique luxury while waiting for a flight in the Las Vegas terminal.

Oxygen bars, while relatively few and far between in the States, are very popular in Japan; especially Tokyo. The bars involve containers of flavored oxygen enjoyed through a nose cannula. A choice of peppermint or eucalyptus to open the sinuses was a bonus of hedonistic delight. In addition, a variety of massage techniques are employed, creating a very relaxing and inviting experience.

The O-bar, located in terminal C, is an understated place of soothing luxury. A fifteen minute session left me relaxed, refreshed, and content: and more than prepared for the upcoming three hour flight to Milwaukee! Imagine sitting at a private counter, inhaling a triple combination of fragrances. Although the bar is tiny it still conveys a sense of privacy for the clients, an oasis if you will, in the midst of a crowded, noisy, and bustling airport. Add to the subtle scents, an individually controlled massage therapy to sooth away tense spots. The “barista” was friendly, professional, and adept at using the various other massage therapies offered by the bar.

I’ve never been one for pedicures and manicures — sitting still for the requisite time stresses my ADD beyond belief. But this kind of pampering–a friendly barista, pleasant fragrances, and soothing massage without a bunch of passersby gawking at me was the height of hedonism. My only regret is there aren’t any in Texas!

As a writer, I love new experiences and this has been one of the most interesting. The only thing that could make it better: free chocolate!

 

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