Where is modern civilization heading?

As a society are we heading in the same direction as the ancient Romans? If so the question becomes.......

Are our leaders fiddling while civilization burns?

While we ponder the question I will post my personal thoughts on this blog. Often I will focus on current events that catch my interest, however I am not and do not pretend to be a news organization. I'm simply a guy with his own thoughts on issues that I believe affect our country and society.

Be forewarned, I have been accused of being a right wing thinker and if that is offensive please move on. Remember, this is my blog and my opinions, and unlike many facets of our already over-governed modern society they are not being forced on anyone.

However, please feel free to leave your comments, good, bad or indifferent, after all this is a free society we live in (at least for now).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Labels, The pen is truly mightier than the sword

Here is the poster in question
Read More Here
Last week as I was driving into work and listening to one of my favorite talk radio networks a topic arose  that really caught my interest. Apparently the owner of  a barbecue joint in Texas is being accused of being a racist due to a poster he has displayed in his restaurant. The poster depicts an individual hung from a tree, surrounding him are a group of armed individuals posed much the same as a group of hunters would display a "trophy" kill. The caption on the poster reads "Lets Play Cowboys and IRANIANS!" 

Now although this may be viewed as being in "bad taste" by many, particularly in an eating establishment I would argue that it is in NO WAY racist.
First off , when did Iranians become a "race" onto themselves (any more than Canadians or Americans are a "race"). Second, the reality is that the poster was created and hung in the restaurant in 1979 (over 30 years ago) when the USA was in the middle of the Iranian hostage crisis. For the young, the uneducated, or simply those who have a bad memory, this was the event where Iranians stormed the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for over 400 days. Now, I think it goes without saying that the average American at the time probably did not have a "warm fuzzy" feeling towards citizens of Iran (note, the use of the word "citizen" rather than "race") and I suspect that in a state like Texas this poster was probably well received. Put this in perspective, at the time IRAN WAS THE ENEMY! (although some will argue that still holds true today).

So lets fast forward to November 2011 when an individual named Ayman Wafai walked into the restaurant and took offense to the poster and to quote Ayman "“You know it’s 2011, looking at it now, I see nothing really more than a display of racism and bigotry,” he said. “I don’t think something like this should really be accepted by any community.”. So now the big ado begins with television, radio and newspapers across the country covering this story, and the restaurant owner becoming the target of verbal abuse.

In today's politically correct world, if an individual doesn't like something they view or hear there is no longer a need to take up arms, use the court system to resolve the issue, or even form a group to protest the situation. Individuals now have a weapon to force their views on others that is more powerful that than any other available in the last 2000 years..... THE LABEL. That's right, simply label the individual that you have a beef with as showing discrimination, a racist, a bigot, a homophile, or a sexist, and your victory is almost guaranteed. Left wing thinkers and special interest groups will rally around your cause like moths to a flame, this will occur virtually overnight as most of them will not waste valuable time doing things like checking the facts. Better yet, use the right label and even the government or one of its departments will throw its weight behind you, if this happens you have for all intents and purposes "won the lottery" and have a juggernaut for your cause.

Come on Frustrated Joe, one individual can't have this kind of power....
Really... Well pull up your chairs boys and girls and let Frustrated Joe tell you a story.

Back in January of 2011 a single individual, a listener to OZ-FM in Newfoundland filed a complaint with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), the self-policing body of private radio, about  the word "faggot," which was used by a character portrayed as a bigot in the song "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits. Here is the text of the complaint

"A song was aired, “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits, and included the word “faggot” a total of three times.  I am aware of other versions of the song, in which the word was replaced with another, and yet OZ FM chose to play and not censor this particular version that I am complaining about.
I find this extremely offensive as a member of the LGBT community and feel that there is absolutely no valid reason for such discriminatory remarks to be played on-air."

 I added the Bold to emphasize two things, first that the individual is a member of a special interest group, and secondly that they chose to play the "discrimination" card. By the way,  for those of us born in a simpler time, LGBT stands for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender". The CBSC subsequently ruled that the original version of 1985 song was offensive and therefore unworthy of space on the nation's airwaves.

Fortunately the public backlash to the CBSC ban was so fierce that even the CRTC (can you imagine? a government department fighting political correctness...) asked the CBSC to re-examine the matter to make sure that their opinion was, in fact, correct. This resulted in somewhat of a reversal of their decision (Read It Here), I say somewhat because here's the gist of it

"While, for the reasons given in this decision, the ad hoc National Panel concludes that the original version does not breach the private broadcasters’ codified standards, it would encourage broadcasters to make the airplay choice appropriate to their market."

Finally on a last note, this whole concept  "labels" is drummed into our children in the school system at a very early age, intentionally or not. Here's is a great example of this teaching and one that I can attest to personally. About five years ago my son (who was 10 at the time) and I were having a conversation that went something like this

Dad: So son how was your day at school today? What did you do?
Son: We went on a field trip and me, Ryan, and Walter sat together.
Dad: That's nice, I think I know Ryan, isn't he  the boy with the blond hair who was over to our house? Have I met Walter?
Son: Yep, Ryan was over to our house, and Walter was on my soccer team, he scored most of the goals.
Dad:: I think I remember him, he was the tall boy with brown skin
Son: Dad that's racist

Ouch.... There's the LABEL and used by a 10 year old to boot. I proceeded to explain to my son that my description was not intended to be racist in any matter and in fact was no more racist than describing the other boy as "blond haired", I was simply referring to a physical feature that I recognized. Fortunately, my son is a bright lad and since that time he has come to realize that not every comment deserves a label, some are simply innocent statements with no ill will or animosity behind them.

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