Wednesday, September 12, 2007

RANT: My Culture Doesn't Always Win

I feel sorry for the earth's population,
because so few live in the USA.
At least the foreigners can copy our morality.
They can visit but they cannot stay.
'Cause only precious few can garner the prosperity.
It makes us walk with renewed confidence.
We've got a place to go when we die,
and the architect resides right here.

We've got the American Jesus,
overwhelming millions everyday.

Yup, it's another 9-11 blog. I'm sure you're sick of them by now. I'm sure you've been told a million times in the past six years about how 2974 people died during or as a direct result of the single largest terrorist attack on American soil since Woodstock. I figure if you've read this far that you're hoping I'll say or do something different.

Friends, I intend to deliver on those hopes. Instead of highlighting the tragedy and the loss of life or tooting the horn of my favorite political candidate (Cheney/Cthulu in '08 - why vote for the lesser evil?) I want to preach a message of peace and tolerance in a sea of "Never forgets" and "God Bless the USA"'s.

You see, the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. We enjoy a strength of diversity not found anywhere else in the world. Even living in Kansas, I can bask in the joys of a cultural melting pot - with nationalities, ideas, and ideaologies so varied even I can't keep 'em all straight. I can get that same level of culture and variegated ideals pretty much anywhere I go - 'cause the only culture truly indigenous to this mass of land we all walk on are the Native Americans.

Say what you will about how our freedoms have diminished since the attacks, but remember that is some places in the world you'd be executed for voicing those opinions. Harp on the tragedy of the attacks, but remember that is some countries incidents like this are practically commonplace. Just remember that, for the most part, those people that are different from you are Americans as well. Hate the folks that commit acts of terror, not the culture or country they come from.

America! Fuck yeah!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

RANT: Bushido and the Strong Pimp-Hand

I found myself wishing the other day that everyone who failed me would be inclined to gut themselves in shame. Fortunately, it didn't come true or there'd be a lot of dead sum bitches out there (me included). It did get me thinking about old codes and modes of behavior. I know that I wasn't around for any of them, but I find myself missing 'em nonetheless.

Most old codes of conduct were created to keep badass muthafukkas from just killing less badass folks and taking what they wanted. In Europe, rich guys with estates and armor and horses and mandates from richer guys with more estates and more armor and better horses followed chivalry to avoid solving everything with a strong sword arm.

In ancient (meaning before WWII) Japan, the baddest muthas of them all had to figure out a way to keep all of these hereditary-title warrior-caste badasses in line. I'm sure they had a big damn meeting where they fought a lot about what "Ways of the Warrior" were the most important. In the end, it came down to Courage (not being afraid to do stuff), Honor (doing stuff that is right), Sincerity (saying that stuff like you mean it), Compassion (being nice most of the time, especially to one's lessers and guests), and Loyalty (doing all of that stuff to honor your lord, clan, and ancestors). I imagine a lot of blood spilled on floors over whether or not "One Night Stands With Hawt Geisha" was actually a virtue. "Hatin' on the Ninja" probably came up as well. With the code in place, another samurai could still gut you if you stepped wrong, but he couldn't do it just 'cause you'd smudged his obi.

Flash-forward a little bit to the mean streets of major cities before guns came to the fore. I'm talkin' blacksploitation/Clockwork Orange-style. Whole new sets of societal norms came to the fore to keep folks from just up and killing other folks. It made (and still makes) good sense that you'd step lightly around other ultra-violent people, even if you were ultra-violent yourself. Fighting all the time just gets you dead. Sure, the virtues didn't have fancy names anymore, but there was still a Way. It might've been cane-upside-the-head-do or strong pimp-hand-do, but the Way was intact.

I'm sure there's some kind of code in place now, but for most of my adult life it's been either "avoid conflict" or "resolve with extreme prejudice and little regard for collateral damage." Maybe I'm just not seein' it, or maybe it's gone. Either way, I miss it.