Stop making inappropriate comparisons

Between Glenn Beck/FOX Noise comparing everyone to Nazis and the media saying Madison, Wisconsin is like Cairo, Egypt, I can’t take it. These comparisons are just offensive. And I don’t mean they’re offensive because they might undermine how horrible WW2 Germany was, or because they do a disservice to the struggles of people under a 30 year dictatorship. I mean they’re offensive because they’re so fucking stupid. Just fucking stupid. And on that note, I welcome Providence, RI into the fray:

Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras is sending layoff warnings to all 1,926 of the city’s teachers…

“This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith told The Providence Journal’s Linda Borg. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7, 1941.”

Yes, this is exactly like when the U.S. was attacked and entered a massive world war. I can’t see where there are any differences. Steve Smith really hit the nail on the head this time.

God damn it.

Capturing the world

As usual, the wonderful writing over at Shambling After deserves recognition.

I lived in a little bubble of ignorant bliss and although I convinced myself that I was concerned with the rest of the world, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend how much of the world there is to be concerned with.

This is about Cairo, but the same feeling found its way into me while I was in Africa. The constant dirt and abject poverty was something I expected, but it wasn’t something for which I was necessarily ready. I found myself often thinking, when people say they’re suffering, when they say they have it bad, it’s all relative. The tiny villages of Tanzania have suffering, they have it bad. That isn’t to say there is nothing but misery there – the number of smiling children I saw astounded me – but it isn’t ice cream and video games. When black Americans say they can relate to their ‘home land’, I now have nothing but contempt for such statements. Just as when a white person says he can at all relate to being black in America, the claim would be risible if it wasn’t such a lie. And I’m not saying I can relate merely because of what I saw while I sat in a Range Rover with my hundreds of dollars worth of hiking equipment and Slim Jims. But I do at least know I can’t relate.

To steal the Samuel Johnson quote used at Shambling After,

The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.


Shambling After has been having an awesome summer, I dare say more awesome than my Utah-Africa summer. Given that I am making this post so far in advance of my departure (it’s July 25 as I type this), I can only hope she has been delighting you all with her excellent writing. But if she hasn’t been posting, I can at least deliver some of what she has to offer the blogging world via this photograph from Cairo.

It’s awesome.

Shambling After

I’ve advertised, supported, linked, and done everything within my blogging power to promote a number of my friends. Just take a look at my blogroll: Acadia Sunrise, Gorgeous Green Mama, Mr. Jay Gatsby. And now that we’re tight, tight Facebook friends, even Ashley F. Miller.

I support these people because I like what they’re doing, what they might do, or just the fact that they’re doing. I wish more people would blog. Back in my dark days of actually being an English major (no, Christopher Maloney, I no longer am one), I came across a lot of fellow writers who really knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely anyone else will ever read much of what most of them have to say – of what they can say.

But I think the bloggers I’ve listed above have that same quality of knowing what they’re doing. At Acadia Sunrise, there’s the clear intent (and accomplishment) of making a connection between nature and prose. Gorgeous Green Mama has some similarities, but with a distinctive community/family flavor. Mr. Jay Gatsby’s writing is driven, clear, and unambiguous. Ashley F. Miller reminds me a bit of my own style, first with the summarizing then with the analysis. But she is certainly her own blogger, bringing a particular wit I’ve just spent the past 10 minutes trying (and failing) to define.

But I mention that all these people know their way around the English language because I don’t want to offend them when I gush over how insanely…good…Shambling After commands her prose.

It may seem as though I am complaining about the way Cairo is. In reality, all of this is what I like about it. Life is not easy here. Every morning you wake up in 109 degree weather, sweat-soaked and more exhausted than when you closed your eyes, you remember that you’re alive. Every time you turn away a begging child on the streets of Cairo, you remember that you’re alive. Every time you walk away from an epic cat battle on the streets, you remember that you’re alive.

My greatest fear is that I’ll leave Cairo, return to my monotonous life, and forget how unbelievable it feels to feel…

And the thing is, yes, out of context “an epic cat battle” sounds like a joke. But within the structure of considered prose, it means something; that I have a vivid idea of just where this cat battle happened, of the particular cats involved, of the numbed people on the streets, is a good indication that the writing is effective.

Keep reading.