To be clear, this does NOT mean throwing away the power of your vote by either not using it, or giving it to someone who has no chance of winning. By all means, vote your heart in the primary, but PLEASE vote for whomever wins when the general comes around. We can’t afford narcissism this time around. That’s what got us a narcissist in the White House.
I like taking photographs through windows and other openings. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Windows make composition easy, they give you a ready-made frame within a frame. They also give you the perspective of being inside looking out, or outside looking in. Sometimes both. Am I outside the courtyard looking in, or inside the museum looking out? Both, of course, depending on your chosen perspective.
I remember going to Costa Rica in 2003. My first trip outside the country as an adult, not including Mexican border towns and a little bit of Canada. I remember noticing the change in perspective. I was outside the United States looking in. I watched Al Jazeera on the TV, which was unavailable in the US at the time, and saw the news of the world with the US as a major player, but not the center, as we always appear on our own media. The more I have traveled over the years, the more I see us as a small minority with asymmetrical power over the majority.
Most Americans see the world from inside looking out through the tiny window afforded them by their screens, censored and spun into a fabric that keeps them at the same time secure and frightened. The few who step outside and look back in realize that they should feel neither. American hegemony will not last forever, especially with ignorant and heartless leadership such as we now have, but that’s OK. There is a big, wonderful, diverse world out there. There are a myriad of windows to look through with infinite perspectives in every direction. Just take the blinders off.
Welcome to 2020, either an election year or a re-election year.
I play Scrabble on my phone. A lot of Scrabble. The app includes advertising. For a while, I was endlessly bombarded by ads for plus-sized female clothing. Humorous and easy to ignore. Of late, 3/4 of the ads I get are for an app called News Break. It purports to show local Tucson news. Its pitch is accompanied by lurid photos, from car accidents to mug shots of scary brown people and meth-heads. Most of the images are identifiably NOT from Tucson.
I have not downloaded the app, nor do I intend to, based on the way it is promoted. I can see it appealing to the very sort of under-informed and frightened American who brought us to our current political crossroads. I can also see it as a very effective platform for election meddling. First you hook the viewer with sensationalist, tabloid stories about scary things, and then you feed them sensationalist scary stories about the politicians you don’t want them to support. This is what RT, the propaganda channel of Russia did in 2016. I saw them reposted many many times on Facebook by Bernie supporters. Always there was dirt on Hillary, usually it was fabricated.
So I wondered about News Break. Who owns it? Do they have an agenda? The company is wholly funded by three entities, all from China. Hmmm. It is the number one downloaded news app on Android phones, with several million regular viewers. Enough to swing an election? I suppose that depends on who reads it and whether they are capable of critical thinking. It will be interesting to see what kind of stories they publish as election season heats up.
Remember the other day when Trump was ranting on about impeachment and said that not only should Ukraine investigate the Bidens, but China should too?
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Habia lluvia en Cd. Oaxaca. It was raining in Oaxaca, so they took down the flag. We Estadounidenses are used to seeing our flag folded briskly and neatly into a tight triangle when it is taken down for the night or inclement weather. In Oaxaca, and I presume in the rest of Mexico, the red end of the flag is bundled up by one person, the juncture between the red and white by a second, and so on, and then it is marched back to its storage place like this. I’m not sure how it is stored.
It is a ritual that is curious to me and I am sure commonplace to Mexicanos, likely dating from the early years of the Mexican State, hundreds of years ago. It occurs to me that many of the cultural differences we find so intriguing in foreign countries date from long ago, when we were more isolated from each other. Just as birds with a common ancestor will evolve into different species on different islands, humans develop different languages and different idioms within those languages, different preparations of food, architectural styles, and more when they are separated by distance and time. Then there are the deliberate and arrogant constructions of difference, such as “American Football”, which bears almost no resemblance to the football played by the entire rest of the world. A melting pot of all the world’s cultures, we desperately needed something to call our own. We took cricket and shortened it, making it slightly less boring, renamed it baseball, and then held “world championships” that excluded almost the entire world. We took football (which we renamed soccer), crossed it with rugby, and made it less exciting than either. Of course we also have world championships there too. The United States, after all, is the entire world to most of its inhabitants.
I am looking forward to enjoying the World Cup in Oaxaca.