Friday, November 30, 2007

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* RADIO RANT: Indian Wars (Still Going On)

Billy Cunningham is the "new" conservative talkshow host in these parts, replacing Matt Drudge on two local radio stations. Last Sunday night (11/25/07), I tuned into a discussion (or rant) regarding the "Indian Wars." To one caller's allegations of land theft & immorality, Cunningham replied [not verbatim here, but close], "It was war. We won. Get over it!" (I'm reminded of Paiute poet AC Louis's anecdote about a white student who told him, "We shoulda killed you all when we had the chance"!) "If the Indians had won," Cunningham continued, "they'd have done worse to us." No. We especially wouldn't have forced you to follow another culture's jealous monotheistic deity. But this radio guy is adamant that the Natives were apparently in need of a little good ol' Western Civilizing: "Why do you think they call them savages?" (And the phrase "Stone Age" was also tossed around liberally—er, conservatively.)

Hell, if these "GET OVER IT!" people (including some of my own students) were JUST talking about a survival-of-the-fittest social Darwinism, then I wouldn't be so upset. But if this "might makes right" is what you folks ultimately meant, it also means that you have to surrender any lofty pretensions regarding your Western ethics & religion, and acknowledge Christianity as a hypocritical & bankrupt enterprise, as mere prop and rationalization for capitalism & colonialism [cf. Vine Deloria, Jr.].

Thursday, November 8, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Savage Ignorance Encore

An apparent true believer called Michael Savage and asked, seriously, for a history lesson from the good Doctor "for us" listeners, on how the Christian monks of the Middle Ages saved Western Civilization. Now, I haven't had time these last few months to ride herd on all of Savage's assertions of ignorance, but this one blew me away. His one lone example of an answer? Gregor Mendel!—a "monk" who was, he claimed, of "THAT PERIOD"!?!—who did some things with peas and thereby "discovered genetics." (Uh, Mendel lived from 1822-1884. The medieval period ended approx. half a millennium before the beginnings of genetic science.)

Friday, November 2, 2007

* Children & Animal Extinction

* SPEAKING of EXTINCTION (and morbid children's books)--here's an ad from the BITS & PIECES gifts catalogue (Holiday 2007). How casually the young are indoctrined into an "everything's-all-right" attitude regarding the extinction of other species. The phrase "don't exist in the wild anymore" even intimates that these animals are still safe, in zoos or in rich people's backyards, perhaps. The Dodo on the cover is especially ironic in this regard, as perhaps the most famous species driven to extinction by humankind's own handiwork. But, "whatever": it's "Hours of dot-to-dot fun," all the same!

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