Inhumane Humanity

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

Thursday, October 30, 2014

THE PARADOX OF POLARIZATION

There’s a huge problem with mainstream media today; we all know that. We are pummeled by influence-peddling in the media to the point we can no longer trust, with any level of certainty, what we’re reading.

However, in our quest for alternatives, we need to scrutinize information even closer, for the “blurred” lines of the mainstream media are completely non-existent in the alternate universe of the Net.

Polarizing “reporting” can be found here in an article on Breitbart.

It is utterly impossible to mistake the intent of the “report."

Perhaps the author conducted at least a cursory review of the restaurant, perhaps he didn’t.

One may certainly derive the opinion that the intent was purely inflammatory, at the expense of credibility in the name of “politics."

At any rate, in a nation which holds the world championship for knee-jerk reactions and hysteria in response to poor information, it is most certainly damaging to the restaurant; and for what gain?

The potential outcome of this should be obvious when reading many of the subsequent careless comments.

Conflict Café, this purported odious purveyor of evil and political treachery, can boast of 300 customers per day.  A very successful business in just about anyone’s perspective.

Wait!  Did I imply there was a story of a wildly successful small business endeavor in the free-market world of capitalism?

Did I somehow find myself in an alternate universe in which the ultra-conservative somehow finds fault with a capitalist’s wet dream?

From Conflict Café’s Webpage: “Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, and discussions that seek to expand the engagement the public has with the culture, politics, and issues at stake within the focus country. The restaurant rotates identities every few months in relation to current geopolitical events.”

The cafe has received very high praise from the community and media alike, including the traditionally conservative Fox News.
 
And therein lies the contention, not only with the author at Breitbart, but other media outlets with similar goals such as “The Jewish Press,” “The Washington Free Beacon” and yes, even a report from Fox News contradicting their previous Fox News report.  The  Heinz Corporation, the heir to which is Kerry’s wife Terry Heinz Kerry, endowed the café with a $50K grant for its contribution to the community.

Heinz offers endowments in support of southwestern Pennsylvania (the location of Conflict Café) and to improve and maintain educational and cultural diversity and growth.  A far cry from the subversive picture painted by the other “reports.”

With food wrappers containing comments from citizens of the country highlighted by Conflict Café, the café’s goal, is to provide the community opportunities to debate current issues and to enjoy cultural discussions.

Yet, as I’ve shown, we find blatantly misleading “reports” in an attempt to discredit John Kerry.  At the expense of Conflict Café.

My very good friend sent me this link to “We are all confident idiots.”

With the aid of reports such as these, the world in which we live has become a hodgepodge of the extreme; a polarized world in which nothing remotely resembling the commonality required for civilization to exist can be found; a time wherein careful analysis of what we read and hear can either inform and enlighten us, or turn us into opinionated, “confident idiots,” unwilling to consider anything but that with which we are comfortable.

And therein is the paradox of polarization; as we seek comfort in our “expertise,” we do nothing but widen those opinion chasms, polarizing our world more extremely than it already is.  And, regardless of your political leanings, it is as simple as reading misleading information on the Net and accepting the comfort level as truth.

As for me?  I'm never quite comfortable with comfort and I love ethnic diversity, in communities and, as my ever-expanding waist will attest to, food.



Photos courtesy of Conflict Cafe.

I wish you the best of luck.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Where do they take you?



Rusted, Steel, Silver and Gold Ribbons 
What is your adventure;
Where Do They Take You?

Rusted ribbons nestle
In forests hushed, but for
Whippoorwill’s song

Woodpecker’s drum,
Wind’s song in the tree tops,
Squirrel’s chatter and coyote's cry!

Where do they take you?
What’s at the end, around the bend
Between here and there for you?

A cold and dreary tour of summer’s end
Your passage on rails
From which to seek shelter ‘til trip’s conclusion?

Or of fires of golden aspen
And crimson maples
Emboldened by steel’s cool blue and gray,

With crows squawking amidst crisp air
Laden with a hint of winter’s presence
Thrilling and chilling your soul?
This way, or that?
What will be missed when
This is chosen or that is pursued?

Your directions split,
Decisions stalled, plans dismantled,
Judgments questioned?

Can you circle back for adventure renewed?
Or are alternatives banished
As choices are made?
 Do you peer over horizons
Devoid of color,
Replaced by shades of gray?

Or do you see a road filled with promise,
Explosions of ecstasy
In moments of intense curiosity

Amidst the awesomeness
Of open space, bewildering vastness
And freedom of direction?
 Are yours but frail tracks filled with stormy darkness,
Fear and desperation?
Yet another worrisome turn,
One after another?

Angry, jagged fingers, frightful thunder
Interrupting
Mundane and routine trails?

Or are you on an expedition of excitement,
Thrill and exhilaration
Of adrenaline instilled enthusiasm?

 
 Is darkness looming,
Signaling an end
To yet another day?

Or are there silver threads
Leading your golden
Trek with awe

Following Sol
As he guides you
Along his purple shores?

Once sentinels of energy
Keeping currents
On intended routes

Now, a half-concealed emerald gem
Between ribbons
Of roaming silver

Shattered jewels
Blue, green, amber and red
Provide color for the rocky trail
 


Cicadas singing in unison
Under a stifling sun
As brilliant white clouds

Glide lazily through thick
Humid air, a respite
From blistering rays

Cottonwood feathers floating slowly
Distracting thoughts
Of the void below

Track’s silver crowns
Glinting with Sol's rays
Creosote’s sweet aroma
And engine’s horn bellowing.

Cohort’s eyes wide
Hearts pounding
Against the dare

Senses sharpened, taking in all
As cool waters rush upwards, towards
The temerarious youth jumping from above

Ribbons of rust, steel,
Silver and gold,
Endless passages.

A ride
Of infinite discovery,
Of endearing moments;

Of squinting towards the searing sun,
Taking the opportunity
To change the ordinary into ribbons
of rainbows and adventure.