for August 27, 2003
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for today's rant...
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Mouthing The Words
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman
Suppose you had an older relative who marched with Dr. King. Within the last 23 months, you might have had this perplexing conversation, as had Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love:
You: Everyone's lost his mind. Moslems in Upstate New York are being beaten in the streets.
Your Relative: The Trade Center's a smoldering hole in the ground. I don't care who gets hurt anymore.
You: What? Those people are innocent.
Your Relative: Yeah, well, someone's got to pay.
You: Perhaps I should run out to the train station and roll the homeless for change...
Common decency asks us to refrain from criticizing our elders but arguments in favor of mob violence test the most saintly of patient folk. Your Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice, no candidate for sainthood, reminded this fellow of Mediterranean descent that his swarthy complexion made him a possible target for actions based on his own faulty reasoning. The message was not received. A vengeful idea had formed, a hateful feeling was entertained, Pandora's Box lay hacked to splinters on the floor.
Since 9/11, people seem to feel perfectly justified in spouting prejudices and expect not just polite conversational listening but complete agreement. Currently, Your CranApple is recovering at home from a modern medical miracle, but back in June a co-worker blurted:
Her: ...I was at the pool in my complex and these Chinese kids were splashing me and screaming and I thought I was going to lose my mind.
Your V8: Children can be a bit much when one wishes to relax...
Her: Exactly! These Chinese kids! You know how they are! Screaming in those tiny voices! It ruined my afternoon!
Your V8: Words fail to express how sorry I am to hear that.
Perhaps most distressing is the effect loose lips have on the young and impressionable within earshot. When children hear angry ideas voiced by adults, children adopt the ideas without much in the way of critical thinking. At a June graduation party, it was Your Pink Grapefruit Juice's startled displeasure to hear the graduate tell his sister the yearbook refused to publish his senior statement - you know, that sentence under the senior picture summing up for friends, family and future investigative teams your high school experiential wisdom. The graduate said, "Maybe it's racist but I said, 'You're in America now so speak English or go back where you came from.'"
Miss Manners hints that telling other people what to do and how to live their lives is rude behavior, and telling people what to think is out of the question. However, Miss Manners is not a Jersey Chick trying to behave decently while people in her face spew every wicked form of racial, ethnic and religious - let's not even get into the sexual orientation nightmare - prejudice as the god's honest truth. Your Lemonade prays for restraint but suspects one day in the face of this vitriol, she's going to make a very unmannerly suggestion.
©2003 Robin Pastorio-Newman
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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