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Monday, September 13, 2010

ZOOMING IN

planet earth (detail)


Tapo has clung to me since the dog went away. She snuggles into the crook of my arm when I'm reading, on my lap watching a movie. She waits while I'm on my feet for me to sit down. Here she comes. Caterpillar has wanted more attention too. She's become quite vocal, which she's never been. I'm beginning to think I did all the communicating with TarBaby. She's opening to communicating. We had to learn how. Now we're getting it. Tapo too. With TarBaby not here, they both get more attention. Martha still comes by during the day, but they're not afraid of her any more. They're used to her being around. She's not a threat, but I don't want the cats to let down their guard where dogs are concerned. Martha is all the dog I need. She's around during the days. This is her hangout place.



Saw a documentary film today by French director Louis Malle, And The Pursuit Of Happiness. It was a series of brief interviews with immigrants to America; Vietnamese, Laotian, Iraqi, Mexican, Nicaraguan, Egyptian, Ethiopian, what have you. It amounted to looking at why different individuals came to America. Often they don't like to think about where they came from, because they are here now. They like what we take for granted. There was a Vietnamese doctor in a small town of western Nebraska. We went into the home of General Somosa of Nicaragua, which seemed to be in Los Angeles. He did not look like he was particularly happy about gringos in his house filming him and his son who did the talking. His wife seemed nervous and his son seemed nervous. It felt like major reserve with a film crew in his house not knowing what was going to come of this project. He looked wary as a cat with a dog in the house.



One of the themes of my life has been making sense of America, the whole hog, what makes us the way we are as Americans such that Europeans say they can spot an American a mile off. It's the way we walk. We waddle. It's called the American Waddle. I saw it in the Charlotte airport after returning from a week in Europe. As soon as I left the plane, everyone I saw was waddling. Everybody. Curiously, we walk on sidewalks like in Greece. We tend to walk in lanes when it's busy and we watch where we're going. London sidewalks are mayhem. Somebody in front of you will suddlenly stop. Everybody it seems is in their own little world of themselves alone. In America we're very much aware of the people around us. We're so social we run our mouths nonstop when we get together. We don't like to bump. It's such a bother when we bump cars, police, insurance, estimates, getting it fixed, so we tend not to bump into each other walking either. Same with grocery carts. We'll do anything to avoid bumping. When we do bump, it's followed by apologies from both sides.



I've even become emotionally involved in issues American, politics, and have followed politicians with skepticism until by now I don't trust any of them. I don't know if it's because I've paid enough attention until I came to that end, or if it's because they're so much more transparent now in their self interest. One thing I've found in examinations of my homeland is we are the most racist people in the world, maybe next to the Chinese and Japanese and all of Africa. The whole world is racist. We are too. We pretend we're not. Ban a word and everything is ok. There's no reverse racism. Only racism. I trace it to our egoic need to be superior to somebody, especially when we can't do it by merit. It doesn't just run white to all races. It runs all races to all races. American Indians don't have a great deal of use for white people. White people don't have much use for them. We keep them in concentration camps a century after Sitting Bull was killed. If it weren't for the liberals in the cities back east, the Indians would have been wiped completely out. It was genocide, period.



I like living in a place where racism isn't an issue except where political correctness is concerned. People have their own beliefs about race. But there are no issues here. No black part of town no white anybody dares enter, ever. No gang violence here that's out in the open yet. It's the South. I have no argument with the South as itself. Yankees are every bit as racist as it is in the South. Not everyone in the South is racist, either side of the color line. Look at all the great Southern writers of the 20th Century, Faulkner, Welty, McCullers, Penn Warren, Ransom, Tennessee Williams, and the list goes on, none of them racist. They wrote about racism, because it was the world they lived in, but they didn't write about it as racists. I've known a great number of non-racist Southerners. Personally, I don't care if somebody is a racist. I'm not totally free of it, myself. If I were cocktail party talking, it would be, I'm no racist. But when I pay attention to myself, I see I have some. No big deal. I'm not ever going to disrespect somebody over race or nationality, ever. Or so I intend. I don't know that I ever have. If so, it was unconscious. I do a lot that's unconscious. So far I'm keeping it in the road.



I think what I'm getting at in a digressive sort of way is my study of the USA has come to a place where I'd rather not concern myself over it politically any more. I can't concern myself with so much that's "out there" anymore. I want to pull my attention more "in here." At home. Where I live. The road I live on. The roads I drive. The people I know. Daily social interactions. These are the places I want to put my attention from here on. The experience of the world I live in, which is the people I see in the course of a day, has become the extent of my concern. I don't mean to say I'm withdrawing from civilization. The people we live among is civilization as we know it. Mine is a very different experience from someone in Burma. I can't concern myself any more with laws in Arizona, executions in Texas, preachers on tv, who wins what election, or even whether or not 911 was an inside job. The news is for other people to wrangle, fuss and have opinions about. It's got to the place when I think to turn on the news, I pretend to barf and don't push the button. I hear some of it, but it doesn't move me one way or the other. I'm at home in my peaceful mountain schoolhouse in a world of people I care about personally. Please don't misunderstand that I mean anything absolutely. I'll listen to news from time to time. Just not like before when I cared about it.

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