Heard the sharpest retort to one of the vilest insults recently. Of greater interest, though, was the woman who launched it.
Nasrin identified herself as “Persian.” Yeah. She’s Persian, all right. As Persian as I’m African. She’s a 20-something Cali girl through and through.
What gained my favor was her having enough pride in self to supplant Persian for Iranian. The former carries nobility stretching back into antiquity.
A Persian background is replete with culture and atavistic figures. Xerxes? Cyrus? Esther? Their respective histories are as current today as their living importance in the past.
Iranians, their inheritors, are poor cousins. Compared against their classic progenitors, they lack stature. Who esteems them? Continue reading Her Persian Voice
Could Harvest of Shame be filmed today? And if so, what would our reaction be? Horror? Guilt? Scorn?
In 1960, CBS News produced a documentary titled Harvest of Shame. Migrant farmworkers, the conditions under which they lived and worked, were the subjects. To further emphasize the misery, CBS premiered this episode on Thanksgiving night. Perhaps it hoped the subject matter would pierce viewers deeper on our national okay to gorge day.
I first saw the show about 16-17 years after its initial broadcast. Recently I re-watched Edward R. Murrow and a cast of fellow citizens then likely considered disposable, if better-off Americans bothered considering them at all, discuss who made our nation’s groaning larders possible.
Watching it again after intervening decades, the black & white program has become starker, my understanding of disparities in America clearer, as the chasm between empathy and indifference in Americans has widened. Continue reading All the News That’s Fit to Reap
The United States is no longer inspirational. Our people have surrendered aspiration. This Republic has assumed the vilest qualities of Donald Trump, a pig who has been awarded our presidency.
Gone are the verve, curiosity, and intellect which propelled our formerly great nation. Removed is the fresh-faced visage and vigor which once made us indispensable among all countries inhabiting the earth.
Under Der Trump the United States is sliding from vital into nonessential. Continue reading Weak and Worthless
Larry Flynt made a Las Vegas appearance recently. The Hustler publisher visited Southern Nevada for the grand opening of another of his adult novelties emporia.
Although I seldom bother glancing at Hustler – the magazine’s content is too artless for my taste – I nonetheless trekked over to Flynt’s new smut hut. Not because I’ve become more prurient, but in our encroaching Donald Trump times it just seemed proper to pay homage to Flynt, a man who rose to the forefront of defending and strengthening our First Amendment.
While he doesn’t suit any image Americans prefer of their heroes, the Hustler publisher has done much to preserve and expand our ability to opine without censure or censoring. Had Flynt lost his fight, the public’s room to dissent, to ridicule, to deflate, would’ve been circumscribed today.
Too many Americans misunderstand the First Amendment. A great many of us mistakenly believe it only pertains to them, what they believe is “good” and “decent.” The amendment doesn’t only provide protections for views we favor. It also secures much of what we may find objectionable. That is the measure’s greatest strength. Continue reading It Can Be Said