Friday, September 30, 2011

Yet more jottings: National Day in China, Stereotypes about Americans, and the words "self-righteous" and "judgmental"

  • National Day in the People's Republic of China.  Are the Chinese people filled with patriotic fervor?  I don't know.  None of the students, I talked to, said they were going to be particularly patriotic on October 1, and thought it strange that I would ask them  if they were.
  • I will be spending my October/National Day Holiday in Beixin, my wife's hometown.  This is not an exciting prospect for me. But, I at least get to spend one day of my five day holiday in Wuxi.
  • I had one local tell me that I was famous for doing the commercials that were seen on buses around Wuxi in September.  His wife even bragged to her friends that I had come to her house to pay a visit one time.
  • Try as I might to blame myself for being annoyed and being annoying, people do and say things that demand me being righteously indignant.  Someone asked this while I was in the teacher's office at school:  What is your stereotype about Americans?  The Australian anti-American said "they were self-righteous!" (How you can say that without actually being what you accuse the other person of is a mystery to me!)  The first thing that came to my mind was "loud and brash!"  And the second thing which I did say was "generous!  The most generous people I have meet are Americans."  The Australian teacher, who is exceedingly anti-American, then said "yeah, they are generous with their opinions!" ( I have meet anti-Americans who generously tell me they are anti-American at the drop of a hat.  I had one tell me that Cole Porter wrote deliberate sexual entrendres into his lyrics in order to mock the McCarthyites.  I think I was talking about the great American song book at the time.)  Another teacher said Americans were stupid.  "Really!  How was that they were able to put a man on the moon!" (Because science is easy said another anti-American living in Wuxi)
  • This sort of exchange was not the first time I encountered such sentiments and it won't be the last.  It is my great shame that I let these things past without making any retorts.  I going to have to stop. I should push back.  For as I have said in the blog, I believe anti-Americanism is a disease akin to Antisemitism.  It is fueled by envy.  America is not perfect but it is great.  Its vices are the vices of humanity.  And yet it has done a better job of controlling its vices than most.  People who complain about America's foreign policy should note these things:  America has a power that all other countries in the world lack.  The notion that, say, a Canadian can somehow say the foreign policy of his country is better than America's because it is soft is silly -- Canada has little power in the world and is obscure on the world stage.  It can only dream of being in America's shoes and carrying America's sticks.  America, with its unprecedented power, has done an astoundingly decent job with it.  It has become the world's second moral superpower (the first was the British).  America has rebuilt Europe, Japan, South Korea, Israel, and Taiwan to its credit.  And hopefully soon a rebuilt Iraq.  America has fought wars -- Vietnam and Iraq and Yugoslavia -- where it either had no interest or could have chosen to make the area Carthage but didn't. All and all, a not bad legacy.
  • I come from a country Canada over which America looms.  Our grievances against America are minor and inconsequential, than say our grievances would have been if we had Mexico, North Korea, the Soviet Union, France, Germany, North Vietnam, China, or Japan as our neighbors.  The very existence of Canada is proof that the leaders of loser countries like Mexico and Cuba who blame America for their troubles are engaging in demagoguery.
  •  It is not fashionable to hate Jews (but that might be changing), so you might as well hate Americans.  The human capacity for hate is something to behold.  And the human capacity to rationalize it is astounding.
  • And the human capacity to be so unaware amazes as well. 
  • And of course I have to wonder how I am doing on that count!  Ha!
  • What is the opposite of Self-Righteous?  Self-Wrongeous?  Otherly-Righteous?  It seems to me that people who say others are self-righteous are falling into a logical error.  By merely saying others are being self-righteous, one is being hypocritical by self-righteously condemning others for being self-righteous.
  • The same goes for those who accuse others of being judgmental.  The Bible says "Judge not lest ye be judged."  But that has been interpreted by anti-Christians to say "Judge not lest ye be judged judgmental."  The Bible says you have to keep to high standards.  The misinterpretation means you don't have to have standards at all, and that it is bad to act or speak as if you did.
  • No one has the right to be left alone by all other people in this life.  Though it is something to be devoutly wished for.  
  • Anyway, I sure get exposed to a lot of Leftism in my time in Wuxi.  I'd rather have the Christians bother me.  There is no escaping being judged in this world.  Is is a consequence of living.  And that is something that no sane person would devoutly wish for.
  • The parachute game.  A plane is about to run out of fuel and will crash.  Ten people on board but there are only six parachutes.  The object of the parachute game is decide who gets the parachutes, or who doesn't.  A student told me that the doctor shouldn't get a parachute because he could probably take care of himself if he was injured in the crash.
  • Major League Baseball playoffs have started.  Prediction:  The D-Back and the Rays play in the most unsexy and unseemly matchup in World Series history.  No one will care who wins.
  • That's it for now.

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