Thots and observations about our culture 2005
By Jim Watson
Black professors at a university in Oklahoma complained that their percentage makeup doesn't match the percentage makeup of the general population. Here's how ridiculous that argument is - the NBA determines its starting lineup based on skill, talent, and expertise; not on the percentages of ethnic populations (which would probably be 3 white guys, 1 Hispanic, and one from black, Asian, Native American populations). Why are we okay with the NBA having racially unbalanced starters? Because we accept that a basketball team wants to win - they don't care about employing the underrepresented - they want to win. In education, apparently, its not about assembling the best, its about providing a job service. Educators don't care about 'winning', just fear of reprisals.
Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays? Gee, these people are getting desperate - they now are making an issue of what people say at discount stores while they go shopping. Is Christianity really so fragile that it matters if someone says Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas? The word Holidays is from Holy Days - quite a respectful and appropriate phrase. Again, WWJD? Did he not teach us to spend our time and energy with our hearts and loving each other and not making ostentatious displays of our faith. Christians today seem to be more concerned with their arrogance than with their faith and becoming more Christ-like. WTF? (Where's the fire?)
Who Would Jesus Bomb? Have you noticed the fad of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets and bumper stickers has ended. Abruptly. Even bracelet-wearing believers had to admit that Jesus would not attack Iraq, kill innocent people, and lie to people about the attack. But then, there is not much about the behavior of George Bush nor the Christian right that is very Christ-like.
At the World Trade Center site there is a symbolic Christian cross made of I-beams that is mounted on a concrete base. Isn't it likely that there were Jews, Muslims, atheists, Mormons, etc. who died that day and suffered the same tragedy as the cross-believers? Some agency or group of people made a concerted effort to express a specific viewpoint and send a specific message. But that message is not inclusive nor appropriate on the site. At nearby churches it would be appropriate, but not within Ground Zero. I was told by a government agency (when I wrote to complain) that some people feel the cross is a symbol of hope. That's true, some probably do; but others do not. This religious expression suggests that the USA is in a Holy War, after all - one between religions, not governments or politics. Why is that cross there - why would tolerant and ethnically diverse New York City allow such a blatant and obvious display of exclusion and favoritism towards one belief system on such 'public' property? Can't we do better?
Have you noticed that the climax of Christmas parades is Santa Claus, not Jesus? There are at least two versions of Christmas now - the minor spiritual observance (who really celebrates a birthday at Christmas?) and the major frenzy of consumerism and one-upmanship. The early American Puritans (who were probably more religious than any of the Christian-right today) even banned celebrations at Christmas as they felt it cheapened the birth of their savior. They were so right. Almost all the traditions associated with Christmas are pagan in origin - Christmas really is not about the birth of a mythological character from a book. Its more about culture, greed, pride, and excess. In 2005, some churches even canceled Sunday services on Christmas day.
Crosses on downtown buildings in OKC? Absolutely shameful for two major buildings to broadcast over a city the symbol of one specific religion. What a terrible message. A few reasons:
1. WWJD? Jesus would likely be disgusted by the showy display.
2. A city should avoid alienating any of its citizens.
3. There are likely many non-Christians that work in those buildings.
4. The USA is in the midst of a religious war - this just heightens the division and animosity.
Disneyland - what a phenomenal place, manufactured to be comfortable, satisfying, and exciting.In LA, I took a walk in Walt's footsteps: houses and early studios. An incredible experience. Walt Disney is one of my role models, a mentor - his imagination, vision, talent, and persuasiveness to get things accomplished. I had been a fan since watching the Disneyland TV show, visiting Disneyland in 1956, watching the Mickey Mouse Club, and enjoying his many movies. So, here I was in LA at the site of his first home (he moved in with an uncle after he moved west from Kansas City) and three blocks down the street was the first storefront studio that he and his brother Roy opened - Disney Bros. Studio. I walked those three blocks twice seeing houses that Walt saw, wondering what his imagination was thinking while he made that walk every day.
In Griffith Park, I saw the carousel where Walt sat and watched his daughters ride in the early 1950s. It was amazing to be in the same spot, almost unchanged, where he was inspired to create Disneyland. I drove the route he probably took from his home to the park.
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