Naked Curmudgeon

The Naked Curmudgeon curmudgeon n [origin unknown] (1577) a crusty, ill-tempered, and usu. old man. naked adj 6: devoid of concealment or disguise. Attempting to cover everything that annoys me, Dan Culberson.

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“Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Intelligent”

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Here’s what gets me.

Dan-1

Full disclosure: I was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college, where I took an IQ test for a psychology class and scored 160, which was classified as being “genius.”

Consequently, I have usually been successful at what I did, not always at what I wanted to do. For example, although I decided at an early age that I wanted to be a writer and was writing stories even earlier, I was a reporter for my high-school weekly newspaper and co-editor-in-chief my senior year, I received a journalism scholarship to college, but then I changed my major from journalism to English literature because I decided that I wanted to be a famous novelist instead of a reporter or own a newspaper.

Eventually I did publish a novel, Plastic Man: A Novel of the Sixties.

Which brings me to television, and for those of you too young to know or too old to remember, the title of this piece is a play on the catchphrase for a Panteme commercial in the 1980s featuring Kelly LeBrock, a beautiful and famous woman at the time, which was “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”

Speaking of old, I am old enough to remember when television became socially popular and pervasive and when TV executives and society in general debated whether television should give the audience what they wanted or give them what they needed. In other words, to use newspaper terminology, should network television be produced to appeal to the least common denominator of the viewing audience or should it be of higher quality and enrich and enlighten the audience.

There was even the notion that television was going to educate the masses either actively, for example, from “educational TV” or passively from just watching worlds and customs and countries different from our own.

Just look at your TV schedule today, and what do you see? So-called “reality-TV” shows, which are anything but, because they are cheap to produce and they are scripted to bring out the worst in its participants. Unfortunately, “give the producers what they want” won out, and the producers and network executives are greedy and want money.

Which brings me to politics.

I was very much interested in politics and believed that I could make a difference. I attended my first precinct caucus in 1976 for the Democratic party and was disillusioned when the candidate I supported didn’t win and another attendee urged me to change my vote to the leading candidate and said, “It’s a shame that you won’t be represented at the state convention.”

In other words, she believed that the best way I would be represented would be if I voted for a candidate I didn’t support.

However, I did attend the state convention and became even more disillusioned when I saw most of the people there spending more time wheeling and dealing to be selected to attend the national convention than they did in conducting the business at hand.

Although I stopped participating actively in my party, I continued to vote in every election as I have done since I became eligible to vote, and except for 1976 I was disappointed in every national election for president.

Then came 1992, and I again attended my precinct caucus. Bill Clinton was the candidate I supported, and not only did he win the vote in my precinct, but because the precinct chairman was resigning after the caucus, I volunteered to be the precinct chairman, a position I held without any assistance until I became burned out in 2008 when Barack Obama was running, and I essentially retired from active politics.

I was still writing during that time, however, and wrote and published the newsletter for the county Democrat party.

Politics today is obscene when elected officials vote according to what their pockets and lobbyists tell them instead of what their constituents want.

Which finally brings me to religion. Although I was raised by my parents to be religious, I lost my religion when I thought about all the inconsistencies I was being taught as absolute truths, and I even published a book, An Atheist’s Handbook, about my experience.

And to complete the trilogy, I also published The Searcher, my secular response to the hugely popular The Prophet.

I don’t need or desire approval from other people to make me happy, and I don’t care what other people think about me.

I don’t use Facebook or Twitter. I am content being me.

I rest my case.

Dan Culberson

“The Force That Changed America”

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Here’s what gets me.

Star Wars was changed, as you know, and in 1997 could also have been changed to “Twenty years ago in a Hollywood universe far, far away a young man named Lucas fulfilled his vision and managed to make a sappy space opera filled with mythological overtones, innovative special effects and filmmaking techniques that were a throwback to Saturday matinee serials, and young Lucas was also farsighted enough to keep all the merchandising rights for his creation, which became so successful that it changed how we look at movies, how Hollywood makes movies and society itself, which became seduced by the Dark Side of merchandising and greed.”

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On May 25, 1977, Star Wars opened in a little over 30 theaters and went on to do blockbuster business, earn obscene amounts of money, spawn many equally successful sequels, make George Lucas a wealthy man and an unequaled force in the entertainment industry and perhaps “single-moviedly” create movie fan clubs and people obsessed with collecting every collectible associated with the movies they could get their hands on.

However, Star Wars is more than just a sappy space opera filled with mythological overtones, innovative special effects and filmmaking techniques that are throwbacks to Saturday matinee serials. It is also a transference of power and importance from one generation to the next, and it might not just be coincidence that the “special edition” came 20 years later, the time of one generation.

If you were one of the millions who stood in line at one of the 1800 theaters in which Star Wars (Special Edition) opened January 31, 1997, you might have noticed how it was not as interesting if you already knew everything that happens and what everything means. Wait! We already knew that from the many, many times we had already seen it, whether in theaters the first time around long, long ago or on TV from either broadcast showings, movie rentals or our own private collections.

We already know that Mark Hamill was a wooden actor, that the story is sappy at the beginning when Luke Skywalker is with his aunt and uncle and that scenes go on way, way too, too long to show us the razzle-dazzle of special effects rather than advancing the story. And we already knew that the superficial banter between Han Solo and Princess Leia is just a cover-up for their mutual attraction.

Yes, we knew how the movie begins, how it middles and how it ends. So, why were we so fascinated to want to see it again when it was already etched in our brains like a historical myth?

Well, that depends on who “we” is. Some of us were (ahem) old, old enough to have seen it the first time around, which means we were probably Baby Boomers and didn’t want to grow any older and were reliving that experience again, which helped us to think we were still that age of 20 years earlier.

Some of us were just old enough to have children, and we probably wanted to see it again with our kids, sort of like passing a sacred totem on to the next generation.

And some of us were (ahem) young, young enough to have never seen it on a large screen, where Lucas maintained it was meant to be seen.

Lucas said he was only 50% to 60% happy with the film 20 years earlier and later he was 80% happy with it. He said, “The only thing I joke about now is it would be fun–and we can’t do this for another 10 years or so–to go back and digitize the entire movie and clean it up.”

May the Force help us!

Was this how we wanted Hollywood to treat our icons? Was this how we wanted movies made and remade as new technology allowed filmmakers to ignore the limitations of their raw material?

Think of Independence Day. Think of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Heck, think of Mars Needs Women.

Star Wars created Hollywood’s obsession with the blockbuster, it created the phenomenon in which merchandising earns more than the box office and it probably has a direct influence on why magazines and newspapers contain more advertising than text over time, companies now sponsor sporting events and even uniforms, and athletes make more money from endorsements than they do from playing their sports.

Star Wars is the Force that changed Hollywood, and as Hollywood goes, so goes America.

I rest my case.

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Stop Saying “Take a Look”!

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Here’s what gets me.

5[1]Take a look at this.

The three most overused and unnecessary words you ever hear on television are “Take a look.”

Take a look at this.

First of all, except for blind people who only listen to the television set, we are already looking at it, and so people on television don’t have to tell us to look at it!

Take a look at this.

And for all we know, blind people might get offended by being reminded all the time that they can’t see anything whenever told to “take a look.”

Take a look at this.

Second of all, what does saying “Take a look” add that a simple “Look” doesn’t convey?

Take a look at this.

And third of all, the expression in either its shortest form of “Look,” its longer form of “Take a look,” or even its longer forms of “Take a look at this,” “Take a live look,” or “Taking a look at the temperatures” are all just a lazy way of introducing what the meteorologist, traffic reporter, or any other on-camera person wants to talk about next. Much worse is “take a listen.”

Take a look at this.

I first became aware of this lazy crutch of an expression back in the past when I would attend a presentation by a programmer I worked with, and he would mangle it by saying “Take and look” instead of “Take a look.”

Take a look at this.

For example, he would have a visual aid displayed before us and say something like, “If we take and look at the coding, we can see how the reverse Polish notation affects all the lines that follow.”

Take a look at this.

Then I began noticing that the weather girl on the local news that I watch every morning was saying “Take a look” much too often and even more much too unnecessarily.

Take a look at this.

Then I began to notice that the traffic reporter who would follow her weather report was using “Take a look” in his reports, too, and sometimes even saying “Take a look” twice in the same sentence.

Take a look at this.

And then I began to notice that national reporters on television and hosts on national talk shows were being lazy and using the expression, which, when you think about it, doesn’t add anything to the introduction of whatever follows that we are being told to look at.

Take a look at this.

Rather than saying “Take a look at these temperatures,” the weather girl could simply tell us that the temperature in Denver is a pleasant 65 degrees, compared with the temperatures in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City.

Take a look at this.

Rather than saying “Take a look at the traffic map,” the traffic reporter could simply say “The traffic is heavy on the Interstate highway, so you might want to avoid it.”

Take a look at this.

And rather than saying “Take a look” when a national reporter or a talk-show host wants to introduce a piece of video footage, a simple description of what is going to be shown would suffice or even a simple “Play it” when the person might not know what is about to be shown.

Take a look at this.

Now that I have made you aware of this excessive and unnecessary overused expression on television, start counting the number of times you hear it said, and if you use social media to follow either the person you hear say it too much or the program on which you heard it said or even the network on which the person or program appears, write using either of the more popular social-network tools directly to the person, program, or network and encourage them to stop using that now offensive, unnecessary and overused expression.

Take a look at this.

Unfortunately, this might turn out to be a lost cause. Emphasis on good language and effective communication might have been lost ever since the Baby Boomers became a major influence in society in the Sixties.

Take a look at this.

I don’t watch religious shows on television, and so I don’t know if televangelists use the expression in their sermons or requests for money, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, because I am hearing the expression almost every time I turn on the television.

Take a look at this.

The same goes for politicians.

I rest my case.

Dan Culberson

My Cold, Dead Fingers The Naked Curmudgeon by Dan Culberson

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The Naked Curmudgeon curmudgeon n [origin unknown] (1577) a crusty, ill-tempered, and usu. old man. naked adj 6: devoid of concealment or disguise. Attempting to cover everything that annoys me, Dan Culberson.

Here’s what gets me.

Does it have to take an English major to explain the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution and put to rest this unjustifiable crutch of the right-wing, gun-toting fanatics and their conservative supporters?

For those of you who don’t remember, Amendment II states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Even for those of you who do remember, Amendment II states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That is what it says word for word, comma for comma, capitalization for capitalization. Notice that the subject is “Militia,” the verb is “shall not be infringed,” and the sentence becomes “A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.”

“What about the bits between commas?” you say? Those are two appositional phrases, and an apposition is “a grammatical construction in which a noun or pronoun is followed by another that explains it.”

The subject, a noun (See how it works?), is followed by “being necessary to the security of a free State,” and it is followed by “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” in order to explain “a well regulated Militia,” the subject of the sentence.

The subject cannot be “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” because you cannot put a single comma between the subject and the verb of a sentence. You cannot write “The dog, ran around the yard.” You can write “The dog, being frightened by the gunfire, ran around the yard,” because now we have two commas separating the subject and the verb. You can also write “The dog, being frightened by the gunfire, the pet of the neighbor, ran around the yard.”

That sentence is not “The pet of the neighbor, ran around the yard,” because that would be ungrammatical, just as “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is ungrammatical and therefore not the sentence of Amendment II.

“The right of the people to keep and bear Arms” is an apposition that explains the subject, “a well regulated Militia,” just as the other apposition, “being necessary to the security of a free State,” does. It is a “Militia” that is “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” which is necessary to the security of a free State and which shall not be infringed.

In other words, the citizens of the United States have the right to keep and bear Arms in “a well regulated Militia,” not to stockpile weapons at home and to carry a gun around with them in some Old West mentality.

And what did the sheriff in the Old West do to maintain order? Do the words “Check your guns at the door” strike a familiar note? That didn’t mean “Inspect your guns to ensure that they are in proper working order.” That meant “Turn your guns in at the door. It’s too dangerous for you to carry guns here.”

Now, the possibility of everyone having a concealed weapon might deter a few criminal acts, but the probability that hotheads and teenagers carrying a weapon could use it in a moment of unbridled emotion is far greater.

Sir William Blackstone (1723-80), a British jurist and Oxford instructor who was the first at a British university to teach English law as opposed to Roman law (See how those appositions work?), wrote in his great work Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69), “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.”

I believe it is better that ten crimes be committed than one innocent victim be killed by a convenient handgun.

Luke Woodham, a teenager in Pearl, Mississippi, who is spending the rest of his life in prison for murdering his mother and two fellow students in October 1997 when he was 16, kept a map on his bedroom wall with the slogan “One Nation Under My Gun.” Do we want our immature, impressionable children growing up and believing this heinous claim?

We used to see so-called Amendment II supporters brag “I’ll give up my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”

After a moment of rage, I don’t want those cold, dead fingers to be mine.

I rest my case.

Dan Culberson

Trust in Santa Claus: Naked Curmudgen by Dan Culberson

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The Naked Curmudgeon curmudgeon n [origin unknown] (1577) a crusty, ill-tempered, and usu. old man. naked adj 6: devoid of concealment or disguise. Attempting to cover everything that annoys me, Dan Culberson.

Here’s what gets me.

Trust in God is no more realistic and rewarding than trust in Santa Claus.

After all, the concept of God and believing in God’s existence is merely childhood fantasy grown up, because God is nothing more than Santa Claus for adults.

Think about it. Occasionally, some very old people will be singled out on television, and many times one of them is likely to say, “I attribute my long life to clean living, good health and trust in God.” If they are born-again Christians, they might say “trust in Jesus” instead, but think how substituting “Santa Claus” for either one makes absolutely no difference to the validity that the trust had anything to do with the person’s longevity and absolutely nothing to the validity of the existence of any of those named individuals.

Look at the similarities: Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and all of Santa’s elves live up at the North Pole, and their only reason for being is to reward good little boys and girls one night a year by giving them presents. And when does Santa do this? On Christ’s birthday!

God, Jesus, the angels and every good person who has ever been rewarded with eternal life lives up in Heaven just waiting for new souls to come on up and live forever. And when does this happen? On each “saved” person’s death!

Depending on the religion or denomination, people are rewarded with an all-expenses-paid, free trip to Heaven for their good deeds on earth, for “accepting Jesus Christ as their savior” or merely for believing that God exists.

Santa Claus keeps a list, checks it twice and knows who has been naughty or nice in the past year, which he uses to reward those who have been “good” with presents and to punish those who have been “bad” with either no presents or a lump of coal in some cultures. And what do we associate coal with? Hot burning fire!

Have you ever known anyone who actually did receive only a lump of coal for Christmas, or is that just an empty threat that parents use to try to keep their children in line?

Santa Claus has lots of impersonators during the Christmas season standing on corners ringing their bells and collecting money and sitting in malls in order to let little children sit on their laps and tell them what they want for Christmas.

God has lots of churches throughout the year on practically every corner collecting money every Sunday or whenever a service is held and plenty of representations of either Jesus nailed to a cross or the Virgin Mary, Christ’s mother, God’s concubine, to which people can pray and tell them what special favor they would like.

This is where the Santa Claus myth is lacking. Astute creators and perpetuators of the myth should have thought to have given Santa a son so that Santa Jr. and Mrs. Claus could stand on corners and sit in malls to relieve some of the burden during the holidays, which, of course, comes from “holy days.”

Santa Claus uses the parents of the children to make them be good for their rewards, punish them as need be throughout the year, make empty promises about what they might get on Christmas morning and then make the actual purchases, hide them in closets, wrap them neatly and finally place them underneath the tree for the excited and eager children to find on Christmas morning.

God uses priests, preachers and other self-anointed representatives to “guide” the people, relay God’s words and intentions to them throughout the year, convey special requests if need be back up to God, make empty promises about what they might expect upon their deaths and then finally perform the memorial services for those people when they do die.

Trust in Santa Claus is expedient for parents to encourage their young children, because the promise of presents for good behavior and threats of no presents or that lump of coal for bad behavior is another tool in the parents’ bag of parenting tricks.

However, when children reach the age of about six, they should be clever enough to figure out on their own how all the contradictions and illogical details in the Santa Claus myth enable them to conclude that there is no Santa Claus and their parents have been misleading them all those years, even though their parents will claim that it was “for their own good.”

I rest my case.

Amen.

Dan Culberson

Fear of Dying: Naked Curmudgeon by Dan culberson

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The Naked Curmudgeon curmudgeon n [origin unknown] (1577) a crusty, ill-tempered, and usu. old man. naked adj 6: devoid of concealment or disguise. Attempting to cover everything that annoys me, Dan Culberson.

Here’s what gets me.

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People who try to convert others to their religion are like those who recommend their dentist or eye doctor to people.

They have had satisfactory experiences with their dentist or eye doctor, and the more people who do likewise supports and legitimizes their own choices and beliefs. And as everyone knows who has ever attempted to persuade someone to believe what you believe, if you can demonstrate that your belief is supported in print, your position has more substantiation and more weight. In addition, if your medical recommendations have been in print for 2,000 years, then you have a lot of weight and persuasion on your side.

However, suppose that the dentist and the eye doctor receiving these recommendations are quacks. Suppose the dentist claims he has a better method of filling cavities and better suggestions for good dental hygiene than other dentists, but in fact he removes all his patients’ gold fillings for his own profit and replaces them with a cheaper filling, one designed to wear out and ensure that his patients return for more dental work. And suppose that the dentist’s  “Ten Commandments of Doctor Gold’s Good Dental Hygiene” begin with “Thou shalt go to no other dentist than Doctor Gold.”

Now suppose that the eye doctor, who might even claim to be the son of Doctor Gold in order to acquire added prestige and pick up some easy patients, suppose that he, Doctor Christman, claims that all of his patients have special abilities as the result of his practice which enables them to have perfect vision without the need for eyeglasses or corrective lenses of any kind after they are dead.

That is correct. Ridiculous as it might seem, Doctor Christman, without any proof whatsoever, claims that if you patronize his practice, you will be given special powers that will enable you to continue living after you die, and you will be whisked away to some special, spiritual Haven for Doctor Christman’s former patients, where everybody spends eternity with perfect eyesight and presumably continues extolling the wonders of Doctor Christman’s special powers.

Now, remember those people who recommend the practices of Doctor Gold and Doctor Christman? Suppose they get a percentage, a finder’s fee, a kickback for every patient who actually does go to those doctors. That would make their recommendations suspect, wouldn’t it? Especially the ones who recommend that kook, Doctor Christman, who boldly claims with a straight face that if only you go to him for your eyesight needs, he will additionally reward you with life after death?

Why would any sane, intelligent person believe such nonsense?

Well, those few people who are blessed with perfect eyesight who can see clearly in all situations that require clear far vision and closeup vision don’t, because they have no need to correct their eyesight and don’t need an eye doctor in the first place. Nor do they need to follow the “Ten Commandments of Doctor Christman’s Perfect Vision,” which are suspiciously similar to Doctor Gold’s Ten Commandments. They are mostly common sense and obvious suggestions, anyway.

However, there are some people, perhaps even a majority, who are afraid of dying. And if they persuade themselves, either on their own or because of the persuasive powers of those paid shills for Doctor Christman, that simply by patronizing Doctor Christman they will be given the additional magical blessing of life after death, they consider that they would be fools not to patronize Doctor Christman and anyone who knows about Doctor Christman and doesn’t patronize him is just a fool.

In other words, their fear of dying has got the better of them and clouded their vision even more than their correctable myopia.

That is just plain silly. Those people are even bigger fools than the ones Doctor Christman’s patients claim to be who aren’t Doctor Christman’s patients, because there is no evidence that life after death is even possible, much less with perfect eyesight.

What are Doctor Christman’s patients afraid of? Why are they so egotistical as to believe that they are so special that they even need to have a life after death?

Where were they before they were born? Nowhere. What have they felt every night of their lives after they have been born? Nothing. They have been in a state of unconsciousness that people with perfect eyesight and those with corrected vision accept without fear of going to sleep.

Doctor Gold and Doctor Christman are quacks.

I rest my case.

teensDrinking

How to Change Someone’s Mind

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Here’s what gets me.

Throughout our lives, we encounter many situations in which we try to change someone’s opinion to match our own.

As children, we tried to persuade our playmates to agree with us as to what to play, where to go, what to do.

Occasionally, we tried to persuade our parents to let us stay up later, buy us a particular toy, let us watch television.

As teenagers, we might have had younger siblings to convince to let us have our way, best friends to agree on which movie to see and sweethearts to persuade that we were being honest and true to them.

As adults, we sometimes have a fellow juror or a spouse we try to persuade to agree with us, a co-worker we want to do things the way we want and our own children to persuade that what we want is best for them.

But have you ever examined the art and process of changing someone’s mind? Have you ever thought about your successes and failures and drawn any conclusions about what works and what doesn’t? Have you ever taken the time before an argument to determine what you want to achieve, what the best persuasive evidence is to present and what characteristics your adversary has that might help your cause?

Childhood arguments are simple. We either reach a mutual agreement about what we want to do or one of us walks away in hurt or anger. With our parents, if we don’t have a convincing argument to prove our point, the larger, more powerful person wins.

Teenage disagreements are more complicated. We can usually win an argument with a younger sibling based on our broader knowledge and experience, but we have to be aware that an arbitrary, selfish decision might be used against us later in life. With best friends and sweethearts, we are on equal ground, and logic has to come into play along with our emotions.

Adult arguments are the most complicated of all, and yet society wants us to conduct them in the most logical, dispassionate manner possible, as adults, without violence.

So, what is the best way to change someone’s mind, so that not only do you achieve the result you want, but all parties are also in nonresentful agreement afterwards?

The best approach is to use logic. For example: “If all A is B, and C is A, then C is also B.”

Who can argue against that? If you don’t agree that C is B, then you have to disprove either “all A is B” or “C is A.”

“All politicians are crooks. Richard Nixon was a politician. Therefore, Nixon was a crook.”

The problem with logic is that the opponents have to agree that the premises are true. (“Two neighbors were arguing over the backyard fence, but they couldn’t reach an agreement, because they were arguing from different premises.”)

Humor can be useful in arguments, because it can break the tension, put things in a different perspective and sometimes allow you to save face and agree to change your opinion in an argument that isn’t really important.

However, unless the parties agree to the truth of the premises, no amount of logic is going to change anyone’s mind.

Pro-life people believe “All abortion is killing. Killing is wrong. Therefore, all abortion is wrong.”

Pro-choice people disagree with either “all abortion is killing” or “(all) killing is wrong,” and therefore they will never agree with the conclusion “all abortion is wrong,” unless they can agree to live with something they believe is wrong.

The pro-choice argument is “Women can do what they want with their bodies. Abortion is an act of doing what you want with your body. Therefore, women can have abortions.”

The pro-life people disagree with “women can do what they want with their bodies.” And until the two sides get in the same backyard and argue from the same premises, no amount of logic is going to change anyone’s mind.

When logic fails, threats can sometimes work, followed by force or else sometimes just force without the threat.

“If you don’t give me that ball, I’m going to punch you in the nose.”

“If you don’t go to bed right now, I’m going to give you a spanking.”

Threats and force, however, don’t change minds; they just achieve results in a childish fashion and always cause resentment.

Logic works better, as long as we’re all playing in the same backyard.

I rest my case.

Dan Culberson

Go, Turkeys! Ex-Senator Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell was a dope.

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Naked Curmudgeon by Dan Culberson


Here’s what gets me.

Ex-Senator Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell was a dope.

 

For those of you unfamiliar with Colorado politics or the Washington Redskins controversy over trying to build a new football stadium, Campbell was the Colorado junior senator whose former claim to notoriety was that he is 1/8-1/2 Native American/North American Indian, he flaunted riding his motorcycle without a helmet and he was trying to force the Washington Redskins to change their team name.

He also claimed to be the only Native American/North American Indian then sitting in the U.S. Senate.

Remember when you could be classified a non-Native American Black/North American Negro if you had only 1/16 nNAB/NAN blood in you? It is time to get rid of, or at least ignore, race classifications. They serve no purpose other than to perpetuate prejudice.

I’ll bet you beads to wampum that based on such a strict classification, Senator “Nighthorse” was not the only NA/NAI in the Senate. Do you know anything at all about your eight great-great grandfathers and grandmothers?

However, he was the first senator to make a national fool of himself over such a silly, misguided issue as sporting-team nicknames.

Consider the facts: Senator Ben said the word “redskin” is a racial slur and introduced a bill prohibiting a new stadium on land used by “any person or organization … using nomenclature that includes a reference to real or alleged physical characteristics of Native American or other groups of human beings.”

He also said, “Simply put, the name ‘Redskin’ is offensive to Indian people. Whether it is considered offensive by non-Indians is not the issue.”

Well, if it is so “offensive to Indian people,” why did an Indian high school on a reservation in Red Lake, Ariz., use “Redskins” for its team name?

People forget that mascot names are chosen for their anthropological totemism, not their condescending tokenism. The names are chosen with pride to strike fear in their opponents’ hearts, not laughter and chuckles in their throats. No team is called the New York Ninnies, Dallas Dumbbells or San Francisco Sissies. Names of pride are chosen like Giants, Cowboys and 49ers.

As for a term being offensive, the offense comes from context, not from the term itself. No one should be able to take offense at “mother,” right? Well, how about “That no-good mother went crazy and he shot 14 people”?

A word is only a symbol for something so that communication and understanding can occur. Otherwise, why would Senator Campbell take pride in calling himself a word also used to mean “beast,” “gelding,” “heroin,” “large or coarse,” “old-fashioned” and “nonsense” when used alone or with other words?

Would the senator have been offended if the Washington Redskins chose to call themselves the Washington Nighthorses? I think not. So, was he being selective in choosing what to take offense at? I think so.

Calling attention to a perceived racial slur only perpetuates racism, and the only race we should be concerned about is the human race–especially the finish of it. Back in the Embarrassing Sixties, we thought we could solve problems by drawing attention to them, bringing them out into the open and rubbing everybody’s noses in them.

Maybe we were wrong. Maybe drawing attention to problems only perpetuates the problems, because people will be offended at anything if it suits them, whether the problem is solved or not.

Perhaps problems can best solve themselves. When humans try to solve problems, they create new problems, and I hate to think that the purpose of humanity is to solve problems. I choose to believe that the purpose of humanity–if we have a purpose–is to live and be happy. If we can help others be happy, too, then all the better.

So, why don’t we all try to live with a philosophy of trying not to create any problems? If we don’t have any problems, then we don’t have to solve any problems.

If you are offended by a silly mascot name, then take pride in being unique. Ask yourself how many additional problems you would cause by broadcasting the fact you are offended. Ask yourself how many people are not offended. Forget the silly slogan of “If one person has a problem, then we all have a problem.”

Remember that Ben “Founding Father” Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird instead of the eagle.

How would you feel today if your favorite team was the Philadelphia Turkeys?

I rest my case.

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