Sunday, June 11, 2006

Still on a rule kick

Rule #21: Jingo Jargon

Don't say, "You're in America. Speak English!" It's stupid and more than a little ironic for anyone who understands American history. If we're that saturated with national pride, then we need to declare independence from the language of our former oppressors!

I say we create a brand-new language for use exclusively within U.S. borders. We could call it, "American." How's that for a no-brainer? Best of all, we wouldn't have to work too hard to create this new language. All we really have to do is come up with jargon for good old American capitalism and euphemisms to soften the unpleasant effects of our foreign policy. Then we steal words from other languages, conceive 150 synonyms for "revenge" and add a host of obnoxious accents. Only then will our bastardized dialect be ready for forcing on the rest of the world. Picture the glorious future: "Speak American! Remember, if not for Mr. Bush's preemptive doctrine, we'd all be speaking English and eating pizza."

On second thought...never mind. We're pretty much there already.

Rule #22: Base Behavior

Stop talking about "the base," and how George W. Bush is alienating "the base" every time he attempts something that isn't completely insane. The president has only one base: the people of the United States of America. Anything less than that is pandering.

It's very telling how often Republicans (be they letter writers or seasoned columnists) talk about the importance of "pushing the conservative agenda" or "putting Republicans in office," as opposed to "doing what is right for America" or "putting decent people in office." It's almost as if having the GOP in control is the opposite of a good idea. Hey, you guys dug that hole; I'm just the one spraining my ankle in it.

Even more telling is how groups such as the religious right constantly warn Bush that they'll abandon him (and effectively destroy him) if he doesn't bend to their will. Such posturing doesn't exactly warm your heart with Christian compassion, does it? The Democrats may stand for very little these days, but at least they're sincere about it.

Rule #23: Parental Guidance Suggested

Parents really have to do their job. Recently, a 16-year-old honor student was sent home by U.S. officials after she trekked to the Middle East to meet up with a 25-year-old man she met on MySpace. Apparently, she had gotten a passport under the false pretenses that she was visiting Canada with her friends, and then jetted to Jordan instead. Just like we all did at her age.

What did her father have to say about this incident? "She's a good girl. Never had a problem with her." Riiiiiight! She's a teenage white girl from Detroit, which alone should require her to have four full-time parents. Or, at the very least, two part-time parents.

According to the mother, the girl has never had a boyfriend. I doubt that's true; what boy wouldn't jump at the chance to date a girl whose parents are this apathetic? In any case, the girl's mother described her as having "never given me a day's trouble." Which is only fair, as the mother obviously never gave her daughter a day of trouble (or of anything else).

Hell, even the girl's lie should have raised a red flag: "I need a passport so I can cross unsupervised into Canada!" It's as if Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had asked their parents to buy them guns to mow down kids in the park instead of at school. You question it either way, right? Even the 25-year-old guy must have scratched his head and thought, "Whoa, she actually tried to come over? How creepy is that?"

It's every 16-year-old girl's right to dream about that special someone in a land far away, and to want to pursue that dream. It's also every parents' job to keep that sort of insanity from actually happening.

(Note: This rule does not apply to those annoyingly overprotective parents who use the term "PG-rated" to describe something naughty and who shelter their kids into becoming 30-year-old prepubescents who actually exercise viewer discretion. Those parents are already doing their job; unfortunately, that job is prison warden.)

Rule #24: Die Hard, Vengeance

When engaging in a war supposedly about ending a tyrannical reign of death and destruction, Americans should at least pretend to keep their bloodlust in check.

Top terrorist dog Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is credited for decapitating American Nick Berg, was recently killed in an air raid. Immediately afterward, Berg's father said that he mourned the terrorist's death just as much as he would anyone else--his point being that he wants the carnage to cease. But conservative pundits promptly jumped on him, labeling him as unfeeling, unpatriotic, vengeful and similar projectional sewage. I suppose that's why "nationalism" and "irrationalism" rhyme.

Here's a friendly reminder for the "Have You Forgotten?" crowd: part of what galvanized the war effort was that we were sick of seeing foreigners celebrating in the streets when America was attacked. So why are we condemning Americans for not doing the same thing?

When I was getting bruised in fights as a kid, my teachers always said that anger solves no problems and only perpetuates the cycle of violence. At what point on the road to D.C. did that change? I want to say down south someplace.

Rules archive


Nick said...

1. Even Mexico, which has about 45 different languages, declares Spanish as its official language. All official government documents are in Spanish. If you leave the Americanized Cancun area, such as we did to visit the Mayan ruins a couple weeks ago, you need to know Spanish b/c very little English is spoken by citizens. So, why in the hell should our teachers and managers of companies in states like Texas be forced to take Spanish speaking classes? If you're from a foreign country and want your kids to be educated here with FREE public education, they need to speak and understand English. Our government wastes enough money and our teachers are already overworked to have to pay for and be worried about students who can't understand them.

2. In regards to illegal immigration, what the conservative "base" wants is what is good for America. 70-80% of Americans want illegal immigration haulted now. And the Democrats are no better. They pander to their far-left "Bush lied us into Iraq for oil" base. Why else would a screaming Howard Dean have been chosen to lead the party?

3. I agree, parents should have to actually do their jobs.

4. I can count on one hand the number of fights I've been in. However, I was taught that if someone provoked and started a fight, give them hell.

Ian McGibboney said...

1) Does this mean you advocate the end of French classes in Louisiana? Or the end of French altogether in Acadiana? That's not very Cajun of you.

As for Cancun, you seem to have no problem with the fact that they speak English there. If they had the same attitude as you do, then Spanish would be the main language in Cancun and the burden would be on you to learn it. So why isn't it the chosen language there? Because it has a high concentration of American tourists and other English-speakers. It's the same way with the pockets of foreigners we have in our own country.

The core of the language is argument is, or should be, that everyone in the United States should know at least two or three languages. If both immigrants AND American citizens did this, then this debate would be moot.

2) That's your opinion. In my experience, the Bush administration (and neoconservatism in general) has been good mainly toward the people in power and their friends. Their prioritization of issues (and the blatant partisanship thereof) is a disgrace.

Anyway, my rule is a general point. Every action Bush makes is gauged against how it will affect his extremist and very fickle "base," which is appalling to me. Conservatives railed against Clinton and his supposed relaince on polls, and yet Bush gets a free pass even as he courts one the most dangerous fringe groups ever to directly affect American politics.

Say what you want about Howard Dean. He is no fringe figure; indeed, if the hatred he incites on the right is any indicator, he is far from an extremist. No one on the left is that furious about, say, Pat Buchanan.

3) The exploits of the idle rich cease to amaze me.

4) Nick, there's a profound difference between defending yourself and picking fights on smaller enemies without provocation. The latter is called being a bully. Bullies suck.

Nick said...

As for the language, that's fine if Spanish is spoken in the public arena for highlyh concentrated areas, like Miami. However, should our teachers and our government be concerned with having to learn Spanish to teach in Texas? The answer should be no.

Sure, classes teaching different languages are a good thing. But no American math teacher should be required to know another language just b/c he or she may have foreigners in their classes. It boggs down the educational system even more and puts another unnecessary requirement on entering an already hurting profession.

Howard Dean is fringe. Most Americans don't believe Bush intentionally lied about Iraq for oil or that he knew about 9/11 before it happened.