March 9, 2015, San Diego- All in all, today was a lovely day in this, one of my favourite cities. I had a nice visit with my brother, who had come from the Atlanta area, for a fortnight’s worth of business. Our talk ranged from his intermediate term plans to my own long-range goals. Basically, our conclusions were that each of us should be happy and responsible- and that the two were complementary to one another.
After he left, to go back to his work for the day, I pondered the whole matter of why some folks just can’t put themselves in another’s shoes, as we siblings do for each other, all the time. It could be upbringing, or it could be a character defect-as with several people I have met over the years, as well as recently.
I drove from Mission Bay, where I had met with my brother, to Seaport Village, a pleasant collection of shops and restaurants near Embarcadero Park. After getting a couple of pastries and a coffee, to be enjoyed later, I stopped and listened to an a capella choir of nine young men, who were singing a potpourri of popular songs from the ’50’s and ’60’s. They did each song justice, ranging from The Platters’ “Only You” to The Four Seasons’ “Sherry Baby”. After an hour or so along Embarcadero, I met up with Aram, went back to the pad for a rest and then we went over to L & L’s Hawaiian Barbecue, for simple and fabulous island fare.
My after dinner browsing brought forth two disturbing cultural insensitivity incidents. One, at Santa Barbara Community College, was a promotion for a group of engineering students having devised a rather tacky looking tipi-like structure, with windows, out of which a couple of the kiddies were leaning out, and grinning for the camera. This has brought reactions, ranging from eye-rolling to loud calls for dismantling the structure. I believe it is “playing Indian”, and some gentle, but firm, cultural lessons are in order. We are no longer in the 1950’s.
Cross the Atlantic Ocean, and in Rome, two Americans were definitely not doing as the Romans do. They carved their initials in a section of the Colosseum, and were promptly detained by the Caribinieri. I like that. We are in a global society and do need to treat each nation’s treasures, as they are indeed our own.
ISIS is cultural and historical insensitivity, writ large. Extremists, the world over, long to demolish mankind’s historical legacy- and a good deal of our present-day humanity along with it. It goes without saying that decent and noble people have to stand up to these maniacs. It is foolhardy to excuse them, as some have done, by saying “Well, they are just doing what’s in their hearts”. BALDERDASH! They have become disconnected from their hearts. There is no way the Assyrian historical record should be gone from us, as so much of it has, in recent days. Where they will stop is really up to the international community, at this point.
Insensitivity only bolsters walls which need to be brought down, and the remnants made into bridges and roads.