Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Into Arizona Culture

essaysbysean.blogspot.com

Editors note: This was deleted from my archives last year because it was attracting spam. Let's try again.

Hello Reader,
Got culture? 



There’s only one reason Europeans travel so far to the micro state of Monaco. No, not for the culture: for the casino! Recently I flew hundreds of miles, past three states, due south to Arizona for the “casino thing.” From Sky Harbor I went by road to the Arizona Casino. The road infrastructure alone was a sight worth telling of; I also looked at colors. These are the three things to tell you about my trip: colors, road and casino. 
And then I’ll try to grasp the “cultural context” of it all.

Colors 
Arizona is sunny like Italy, with the same quaint red tiled roofs everywhere, but often duller, even grey. In “the grand canyon state” shoveled dirt is brown not prairie black. Pottery is red. Homes and structures are of dull earthy colors: grey-white (never a Greek bright white) ochre, rust, brown, or grey. A couple times I saw red buildings, but always in a dull in hue, never bright like a barn. Nothing colored like a lime fruit, be it a green one or a yellow one. And no blue; never a bright blue. The city of Phoenix, of course, is not surrounded by sparkling emerald ocean and brilliant jungle, but by dusty desert. Very sunny, yes, but without intense tropical colors. No bright parrots. All the birds of the desert have dull feathers. 

Roads 
Do you like public art? In Calgary, the city has mandated that that all city infrastructure projects allot a tiny percentage of the budget towards public art, to be built very close by. Hence the giant hula hoop as you approach YYC. And hence the crude sketching in the concrete under the overpasses: For me, the only memorable road art in Calgary is the realistic fish glimpsed along the Glenmore Trail walls as you are rushing by.

Around Phoenix, the broad highways are amazing. All the overpasses and road walls are a brownish red. No doubt the cement powder is mixed with red dye. The art changes every mile. For the road walls above the highway embankment, I invite you to imagine in the concrete an endless variety of “crafty” decorations, such as cross hatching, swirls and vertical lines. Changing every mile. Now imagine embankments, below the walls, with zigzags of ribbons of little rocks, separating ground of different textures. Amazing embankments! All sorts of simple brick lines, as well as carefully landscaped repetitions of shrubs, then cacti, then bushes. All on reddish ground. No grass. Ever changing. 

Each red overpass, facing oncoming traffic, (unlike Calgary) has a different artistic picture on it—often a modern-art type animal, never mere realism. How affluent it all seems. You would think Arizona must be erupting in gold, or gushing in oil—more oil Alberta ever sees.

Casino 
If you watch too much TV, you may be expecting elegant ladies in pearls and men in tuxedos.  Nope: Forget James Bond. Although back in the 1950’s we dressed up for special things like air travel and going to the cinema, no one does so now. The slogan near the casino door, under multi-media screens, goes something like “the local folks casino.” And yes, the folks are all people you would see in everyday Arizona life, maybe not quite “the people seen at Walmart,” but truly like folks at the local mall. 

No windows in the dimness. A constant sound, allegedly musical, tries to keep you excited: How silly, but at least there’s not the blinging bells of an old video arcade. The sit-down slot machines have the same flashing vibrant colors of a pinball machine, while new digital technology allows lots of flowing pictures. For example, The Walking Dead slot machine had chained zombies moving through a forest, and sometimes a close up of a zombie approaching. My own slot machine had dancing hot peppers. Wearing sombreros. No action at the gambling tables—the poor tables seemed lonely.

Again, as with the roads, there’s Arizona culture: lots of indigenous art was inset behind glass along the walls near the casino restaurants. I saw a dress, with beads, of Navaho turquoise, that was off the shoulder. In other words, the aboriginal artists felt safe doing things a little modern, even as they surely felt pressured to be authentically traditional. Same with the bracelets, being inscribed traditionally, yet still a wee bit modern and free. 

Tourism broadens my mind… 
As for art and culture, I am still accustomed, as are others, to my favorite decade whence I was born: the 1950’s. I wonder: Is it a betrayal of our ’50’s space-time, a time of uptight conformist culture, for us to build Arizona’s 21st century “artsy fartsy” highways? Similarly, are artists with aboriginal names, while making modern art, betraying aboriginals of earlier time-space locations? If so, then do we call those artists “they” or “us?” 

I wonder, because recently some people would make “culture” into a sacred cow. They refer not to different “countries” but to different “cultures,” —that being their synonym for country. Call me middle aged, but I grimace. 

Or laugh. I figure those young folks don’t realize their current fetish for rigidly separate, straining-to-be-unique “cultures” is not “a new improved idea.” Nor is it a final plateau that civilization has been building to all these years. Naw, it’s merely part of a swirling river, or a pendulum, as new ideas, just like new styles of “off the shoulder” clothing, will have their day in the sun. Like in the casino, like the off the shoulder sweatshirts seen around town after Flashdance. But some folks seem unaware of flowing temporary time, treating their concept of “culture” as if it were their permanent golden calf.

I like how my clothes closet figuratively has a Nehru Indian shirt next to British sailor bellbottoms, next to a Yankee preppie vest that looks like some old sort of life preserver. I know, right? How many cultures can one closet appropriate? And hey, don’t say I’m hoarding: Those styles might come back again… 

Meanwhile I amuse myself by extending the consequences of people’s fetish idea of “cultural appropriation” idea, imagining “these American states” as each having it’s own prim and proper culture, where people who would cross state lines must figuratively go through watertight doors like on a submarine, where roads “are supposed to,” at the Arizona state line, instantly turn dull and boring.

Tres Amusante. That’s all I can say as regards the cultural context of what I saw in Arizona.

… I would recommend you go to Arizona even if you don’t gamble. Why? Easy: When I left there today it was a dry 32 degrees; (90 Fahrenheit) when I touched down in Calgary the tarmac was sopping black and there were snow flurries blowing across the plane windows. A whole planeload of strong hardy Canadians all groaned.


Sean Crawford,
April 
South East Calgary
Trying to warm up
2017

Footnote: I tackled “cultural appropriation” in an essay archived May of 2017

Footnote on road speed
So there I was, driving a rental van in the dark, along a winding well-traveled rural desert road, with only one narrow lane each way, only a dotted line to keep us from oncoming traffic. I told my passengers, “The speed limit is 65 miles per hour, but I’m only going 60. It’s dark.” 

Have you ever driven the arrow straight Queen Elizabeth II highway up to Edmonton? It has two lanes going north, with a hundred yards of grass separating you from oncoming lanes, along flat prairie. The Canadian engineers put the speed limit at 110 kilometres per hour. This snaky desert road was nearly that fast! And it was faster than the majestic Stony Trail highway of 100 kph!

As we music fans sped along the fantasy desert we had no time to contemplate the pompetis of love or smell the warm callitas.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Commenters and My Responsibility

essaysbysean.blogspot.com


—Oops, is that a troll-proofing, patronizing thing to say?
Me, near the end of last week’s page


Hello Reader,
“Don’t touch that dial!”
Ready to tune into the same blog-topic, same blog-station?

Other People and Me
Other People
My Responsibility

This continues last week’s post of Readers and My Responsibility.

Other People and Me
The last time (Over April-May) I did a two part blog, (for citizenship and air travel) I began part two with a conversation I had with David Gerrold. This time, let me begin with something one of Gerrold’s characters said in the Chtorr War series: Don’t try to explain or defend, because if you have to explain, then you are already half in the wrong.

Which is why I won’t explain to you any unhappy specifics of how my comments on a blogger’s long comment thread, earlier this month, led to other commenters having derisions, projections, assumptions and so forth at my expense. Ouch! I will say that maybe I was rocked off-center, un-grounded, but not by much, maybe flustered. And I will say the topic of that post is relevant:  

Imagine a man writing in the 1950’s during the atomic age when everyone is aware of the destruction of Hiroshima. If you wanted to talk of the danger of pacifism, you might have a character spit on the ground and say, “That so? Go tell that to the city fathers of Hiroshima.” A no-brainer, right? What if I told you the writer was Robert Heinlein, and that instead he wrote, “tell that to the city fathers of Carthage.” Why the heck use that ancient city, from two millennia ago, instead of Hiroshima? A possible explanation is that Heinlein came of age when every schoolchild was taught about the Greeks and Romans. I tried to say so, in effect, for a blogger’s topic of Robert Heinlein’s writing. 

As I said last week, this caused red and black emotions, perhaps because although Heinlein was an award-winning author in his day, a lot of people despise him. Seriously.

You may recall that back in mid-April I wrote about Citizenship and Belonging. I bookended it with references to Heinlein. Six paragraphs in I wrote:
Now, before I attempt an essay about classical citizenship, I would say to you, dear reader, “let’s be cool.” Relax. No one is saying we should return to the days of my father, born 1919, or Robert Heinlein, born 1907. It’s all cool. As I write this, I am merely agreeing with a young history major I know who said “You need to know your past to know where you’re going.” This I believe.

You would think I should have deleted that paragraph, after second thoughts of, “Oops, that’s too patronizing, too insulting and maybe too cruel.” You would be wrong. Judging by that comment thread, the gods were with me when I put that into my essay. Because people on that blogger’s comment thread were not reading responsibly.

So you may wonder: Did I proceed to add that paragraph, or something like it, to the long comment thread? No, I forgot I had ever written it! And no, because I kept being innocently taken off guard, not thinking people would be irresponsible. As it happens, my self-esteem is no better than the next person’s, yet I did not get all scared and full of butterflies. Reason: The responses from people who assumed and didn’t read responsibly sounded like non sequiturs (Latin for, “it does not follow”) so I couldn’t truly “get it” or take them seriously. 

Other People
How the heck did my subconscious prompt me to put that paragraph onto my blog? I mean, I’ve never tried to troll-proof before, never. And I’ve been writing essays every week for years. 

I guess I was immunized by the cheerful blog of Derek Sivers. Like Paul Graham, Derek has made himself independently wealthy. He doesn’t have to work, yet he still takes time to labor over essays on his blog. Not for money, but to be helpful. People comment “thank you” for nearly every post. Sivers makes it plain that anyone can use his texts and graphics, without fear of copyright. So here is a relevant part of one of his posts You Should Feel Pain When Unclear (link):
Email blasts are the best training for being clear.
At my last company I had about 2 million customers.
When writing an email to everyone, if I wasn’t perfectly clear, I’d get 20,000 confused replies, which would take my staff all week to reply to, costing me at least $5000 plus lost morale.
Even if I was very clear but took more than a few sentences to explain something, I’d get thousands of replies from people who never read past the first few sentences.
Writing that email to customers — carefully eliminating every unnecessary word, and reshaping every sentence to make sure it could not be misunderstood — would take me all day.
One unclear sentence? Immediate $5000 penalty. Ouch.
Unfortunately, people writing websites don’t get this kind of feedback.

To me, the most relevant sentence is “…replies from people who never read past the first few sentences…” As I said last week, some readers are irresponsible. I am wondering: What is my responsibility to them? Unlike Sivers, I don’t have a company to worry about.

I do try to accept responsibility for helping. As I said at the end of last week, I try to help Sivers be more understandable to my fellow commenters, as when, for example, they miss a metaphor. 

Derek Siver’s blog is mainly for people trying to succeed as music artists. Sivers urges them to learn from the business world, as music is a business too. Meaning: Don’t just read his blog literally and concretely, but also abstractly think of how Derek’s “business world” metaphor-lessons can be applied. Read responsibly.

For example, in his essay Does Your Company Really Want To Hang Out With Me? (link) Sivers tries to straighten out big companies (and little music artists) that would “use people” on their company social media. Sivers attempts the metaphor of a pretty bank teller “using” him over a fancy dinner. 

I was commenter # 259, after a lot of people had tried to give Sivers dating advice. I just had to write to his music loving fans:

How queer:
I wouldn't have imagined how many commenters can read a story that starts with "Imagine..." and then somehow imagine it is not a metaphor, but real.

Some folks have no imagination. You might say, they can't be dreamers while they're wide awake.

I know I'm not the only one to say it: English speakers are impoverished in their use of the subjunctive. 

My Responsibility
Having established that some people are irresponsible, it is time to start forming a philosophy: How much shall I be responsible for such people? If I had a company like Sivers once did, it would be a no-brainer. But I’m not in the smaller business world, I’m in the bigger real world. 

Certainly there are times when it is OK to “patronize.” (From the Latin pater, for father) For example, Robert Heinlein, back in the 1950’s, in Citizen of the Galaxy, wrote a novel about a beggar boy and his pater on a planet having a version of Sharia law. The boy steals. The father finds out. What to do? He asks himself, “How do you teach morals to a stray kitten?” Knowing his boy is flocking with boy-criminals, he tells the boy about consequences, adding that as his father, he would be the one to lose a hand! The boy agrees not to learn to steal.

Today it’s not just social workers, but the general public that has learned that if, for example, you are talking to a delinquent adult, or a practising alcoholic, then you must not talk in terms of morals, but in terms of consequences, maybe using a calm computer voice: “If you get caught doing X then…” With a normal person, though, you don’t need to patronize; you can talk of good and bad, right and wrong, and show by your voice and expression how distasteful certain behaviours are.

I wonder: If some readers are irresponsible, then should I, like a good social worker, meet them where they are at? By patronizing them? And therefor patronize all my readers? Or do the opposite, treating the bad ones as I would the normal ones?

If so, then would a wise crone say that with my standards are too high, that I’m being too responsible? I know the facts, but how do I respond to the facts?  

As a citizen? George Orwell said that every healthy society must demand of citizens a little more than it is reasonable to expect. So maybe I should hold people to a standard of proper reading

As myself? Paul Graham has said new ideas are hard enough to catch whispers of, without trying to sooth people as you write, which might unfortunately cause you to miss the whispers because of censoring or restricting your own brain.

Ouch! As a writer, that strikes home. I had best expect people to give me benefit of the doubt on-line and on the page, just as my friends and I do in real life. I still believe what I commented to Sivers on his pain when unclear post:

I blog for people whom I would not dislike personally.
I blog for people of good will who have enough politeness to read before they reply,
with enough responsibility to read before they would publicly censor, or censure (reprimand) me,

I write for gracious ladies and gentlemen who converse and comment, in person and online, with an appropriate patience and attention span.


Sean Crawford
Calgary
May
2018

Credibility Footnotes:
~to document that normal people go by principles, and not by consequences, 
Mark Manson has a “40 minute read” called (link) How to Grow the Fuck Up: A Guide To Humans.

~Paul Graham wrote “But I don’t write to persuade, I write to figure out” in his essay about not pandering (link) Persuade xor Discover.

Credible Research
~As for my credibility in saying I always write without ever troll-proofing, except for once last month, you may check out my archives.

~As for my credibility as regards my comments being disinterested: I don’t have a business to promote, my blog site has no advertising, and as specifically regards Derek Sivers, I can truly say that no one has ever clicked on my comment name to go see my blog. Because you can’t. Name links are disabled.

~As for my credibility for having lots of experience in writing comments: 
my best “writing references” are on a Derek Siver post from three months ago, (link) Why You Need a Data Base:

Zohreh (2018-02-14) #
You have such a fabulous fan base, Derek. I find I have nothing to add. However, I did want to thank Sean for comments #6 and #9 which made me laugh out loud - great way to end my day!!
Sean Crawford is amazing. If you go through my entire blog, over 300 posts, he has left a thoughtful comment on almost every single one. -- Derek

Zohreh (2018-02-14) #
In response to your comment, Derek - I had already been struck by Sean's comments on your various blogs. In fact, meaning no disrespect to anyone else, I tend to rapidly scroll down to see what he might have said. A thoughtful person. I liked his piece about being a nerd and small talk.

But to get back to you, I do like how you're writing your book.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Readers and My Responsibility

essaysbysean.blogspot.com

Hello Reader,
Got censuring?

Other People
Me and Others
My responsibility


For other people, as readers, what is my responsibility when I write? How much reading comprehension may I  reasonably expect? As a schoolchild doing Reading Comprehension tests, I always assumed that as adults we would understand fully, just as we would one day be able to write and do arithmetic.  Was I wrong? To put it crudely: How much stupidity is normal and OK?

Other People
For example, during page making, at my college newspaper, I remember my editor being gleeful. The previous week something controversial had been published. Now she was putting two censorious letters, side by side, onto the letters page… letters showing diametrically opposed interpretations of what had been written in the first place! One of the two writers, who would surely want to read closely how her ally in print beside her would agree, would then be mortified to realize she had messed up badly by not reading closely in the first place. 

If my editor was gleeful, I can understand. Reporters hate censors. If the classic sin of the censor is to ask society to censor, to blot out from existence, something she has not even read, then surely it is almost as sinful to censure without first reading. … I mean, sure, skim and get hot under the collar all you want in the privacy of your own home; you may feel pleased rustling the newspaper and snorting, “harrumph!” But if you plan to write a public letter —or an Internet forum comment— that would hurt people’s feelings, then you have a duty to first read the piece that you are offended by, taking responsibility to read it word for word, sentence by sentence. 

Or am I being too responsible?

In the privacy of a three man group, a very loose “group,” where the other two are locked in eye contact and arguing… and I realize there is a miscommunication, that they both “don’t get it” as to what they are talking about, or maybe just one is not getting it, do I have a duty to break their eye contact and bust in? Maybe not, if I am being ignored like mere chopped liver; surely not if I am a bystander they don’t even know. 

What’s strange is when I watch this happen not in real space but in web space, on a blog comment section, or thread. Sometimes people “don’t get” where the other person is coming from, sometimes they make a human honest mistake. More often, though, they are being irresponsible. Not solely from being lazy. I see people assuming and projecting, from their petty motivations or having an ax to grind, sometimes from a desire to compete and be superior. Some folks find it easy to offend and be offended, while seemingly never having their own feeling hurt, and therefore, it appears, never caring if they hurt others.

(One of the ways I know my fellow males are the weaker sex is they aren’t tough enough to feel hurt)

For example, web essayist Paul Graham once pointed out that if you watched television about four hours a day, including commercials, then you were spending a quarter of your life before the boob tube. On the essay comment thread, someone didn’t sincerely ask clarification from other commenters, but instead, with a scornful tone, said Graham couldn’t do math. No one else, including me, bothered to tell that needlessly impolite person that a day only has sixteen hours, because you sleep for eight.   

Maybe “reading comprehension” is a cousin to “listening comprehension.” Back when I was in real space, having “meaning of life” conversations at university, if a person had unworthy motivations, or a vested interest in poor listening comprehension, or was too quick to scorn, then I would see no point in conversing. In fairness, I have known people who would argue because it was their one chance all day to “feel some passion,” and I even attended a few meetings of a very argumentative science fiction novel discussion group, but truly such people were rare in my circles. In college I was there to seek the truth, not score points: I felt no responsibility to talk with a man who was vexatious in spirit. Someone else could be his friend. 

In blog-space today, as the non-readers are migrating more to social media and Youtube, you might think that those who still read blogs are folks who read, and maybe even have library cards, folks who have a good chance of having gone to college. College, eh? And even if they didn’t go, well, they would have picked up the proper ethics of discourse from our culture, without ever attending college, just as an atheist would instinctively know how to talk in church. Even a cavalry trooper, if in church among civilians for his first time, would strive mightily to refrain from swearing like a trooper.

I mentioned Paul Graham. He’s very well known in computer nerd circles for his essays. Maybe I’m too innocent, but I never have any problems with his essays. It probably helps that he always runs early drafts past some friends before he posts. He said once he likes it if his friends laugh, which means they were surprised, which means he was able to offer a new idea. Well, he once posted an essay called Economic Inequality. Someone “refuted” it at length. So Graham, feeling attacked, wrote a rebuttal, saying he and his detractor agreed on practically everything. Someone else “refuted” it too, and Graham defended himself again. I put “refuted” in quotation marks, because you can’t refute when a reader hasn’t read.

To me, Graham’s detractors had a carelessly irresponsible level of reading comprehension. Call it “stupid,” and hey, call it “bad,” because of the effects on other conversations in the virtual forum.

Graham says it’s as if they had read the essay title, imagined what a rich computer guy would say, and then wrote their response against the imaginary article in their head. Weird, I know. To avoid this, Graham points out, you can quote the parts you disagree with, thus ensuring you have read it.

As a child long ago, doing those reading tests, I never thought it would come to this. Quoting because otherwise you can’t read? Like I said, weird. I didn’t realize how many people had dark currents messing up their vision until I started reading the comment threads on many blogs. This would be back when “troll” was a new word to me. Incidentally, Graham did an article on trolls, where he said, in my words, “A troll never sees a troll in the mirror.” 

Me and Others
I guess people don’t know when their shadow side is messing them up. As I was reminded this month. Not from reading my comments to others down a comment thread, but from theirs to me. As it happens, one of my joys in life is commenting, but this was the first time in my life I have ever stirred up red and black emotions on a comment thread. Weird.

My responsibility (A preview)
… Well, I’m at over 1,000 words. Better stop. Next week I could touch on what happened with me, and say how one of my joys is helping my fellow commenters comprehend what a nice blogger is saying, and evolve a decision at last as to what my responsibility is for my own writing, which you may find useful. But of course I won’t tell you what to decide—Oops, is that a troll-proofing, patronizing thing to say?

Next week I could start in right where this piece ended. So long!


Sean Crawford
Calgary
May
2018
Footnotes: 
~Here is a link to a hub and spoke: Paul Graham’s essay, followed by links (spokes) to his detractors and his rebuttals, and even to his shorter, trying-to-be-idiot-proof version of his essay.

~Here is a link to Graham analyzing the problem of “trolls” and what he could do about it with his new forum, Hacker News.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Free Fall Interlude

essaysbysean.blogspot.com

Hello Reader,
Got Free Fall?


Why an interlude? Why, when “everybody knows” that blogs are “supposed to” be on a narrow topic-niche. 

Bloggers are “supposed to” attract lots of readers by always having an ongoing familiar focus. So why? Easy: because I did college drama, and movement studies with theatre majors, and then after graduation I did rhythmic gymnastics, (with parents and coaches, not to compete) and all these activities were like figure skating: Judged not on a narrow focus, but on variety, such as space used, levels, and so forth. 
Variety is the spice of life. 
Hence an interlude. 

Free Fall writing, at the City of Calgary’s C-Space every Friday, is where we all have the same prompt, and then we write like mad, until the timer rings, without no editing, no apologizing. 
On a recent April morning I did fiction, nonfiction, and a prose-poem that people said was beautiful.

Sing it on the way to a funny forum: “Greece is for next week, Free Fall today.” 


April 27 
prompt- “I’m never late”

Darcy was a child of privilege. “I’m never late” he remarked. “It’s a corrupt world, God knows, but back in Hamburg we all knew that wars were won on the playing field and in the halls. No one was supposed to be late.”

Jung looked at him bleary eyed. His alarm watch must have rang, but he was just too tired to hear it.

Darcy continued, “Although we had servants at home, we all took turns in cleaning up, and making breakfast, and here—have some of my star pan cakes.” Darcy had a tray with not only pancakes but some prime great-juice and a carafe big and a carafe small. Tea and milk.

A shapeless bundle of cloth was in the corner. Darcy cocked an eyebrow that way “Sue? She up?”

“No. She crept in to keep an eye on me. I’m sure she’s heard of men creeping out in the dead of night. Just wanted to be sure.”

Darcy moved around. “Yes, that’s her. You can see her head from here.”

Jung moved to see and commented “Our little angel.” They sat camping style and enjoyed their food. 

“Next time,” Jung said, “we involve Sue in making breakfast.”

Said Darcy, “Elevenses”

“Eh?”

“Elevenses. What you soldiers call mid-morning tea break. She can help prepare it, and bring it around to everybody. Get to know them.”

Jung nodded.



Prompt- butterfly

I have butterflies firmly categorized as a chick thing. This ever since I took a semester of "Drama for adults dealing with children." For our final movement study, every group or person, except for me, surprised us by including butterflies. So there you are. A chick thing. Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I think I was the only male in the class. That was OK, some of my best friends were people who deal with children.

It was all so long ago. I’m still chuckling over taking a night school drama class. Some of us were lounging in the dairy bar when a lady asked if we knew that our classmate was a radio announcer. Of course. “Well I didn’t, I was casually listening to the radio when suddenly I heard that laugh!” I think of that moment, sometimes, when I listen to CKUA which is were she ended up, fittingly.  Young rock stations are best left for our younger years.

That was the class where I noted someone’s pin (badge) on the first day and said, “Oh, a Doctor Who fan” and we remained friends for years afterwards. She found the class useful for her live action role playing. I may have been the only male in that class too, but I forget. Strange. We think of space fans and nerds as being anti-girl, and keeping them out of our chess club, but I have never minded being around women. In fact, when I go to Japanese fantasy conventions half the people are women. Maybe not for video gaming, but for comics and anime, yes, gender equality.

I’m still laughing at the boy dressed as Sailor Moon, or one of her friends. A mighty cheer rang to the rafters, in female voices, when he said his mother helped him with his costume. That for a lecture on Yaoi, the male on male relationship comics. The professor told is it was nice to not have female competition in your love story.



Prompt- why them?

Why them, why?

Why go after, with hating eyes and clawing fingers, those who love those we don’t?

Folks of lame limbs, the halt and the blind and distant minds, they love in ways that we can only dimly understand, why them?

People of distant caravans once out of Egypt, why not let them go their own way? If they don’t love us, isn’t that punishment enough?

Add them all up, and in one place and time they tipped the scales at six million souls.


Why them? Do they not love football, mom’s apple pie, and ships sailing the waves? Do they not love laughter too? 

Add them up, at a dark place and time, and there’s another six million souls.


Sean Crawford
May,
Calgary,
2018

Footnotes:

~The Who fan was Shannon, the professor was from UBC on the coast, the DJ was Allison Brock.

~The holocaust (whole burning) was in the news that Friday. Lest we forget, the victims were twelve million in all, including six million Jews. 
For comparison: A few years ago Calgary passed the one million mark, during the 1988 Olympics we were at eight hundred thousand and something. 


~After the great fire levelled the downtown, and City Hall conducted business in a tent, future buildings were constructed of locally quarried sandstone. One of the old four storey sandstone schools is recently converted into "C-Space" where all sorts of creative outfits lease space from the City of Calgary.

For example: Quest Children's Theatre is on the third floor, there is a stage going in on the ground floor, and at the other end of that floor the tiny coffee shop is now up and running. 
Next to the three former classrooms for my Alexandra Writers Centre Society is the RGO Treehouse, an end room with three plate glass walls, for lectures, meetings and parties.

On our other side is a textile club that makes clothing, across the hall is Alberta Publishers.

Often the walls and halls are used for temporary art showing. You can buy art and jewelry in two stores on the second level. 

Note: That's the building I took my clients to see when it was still half renovated with cool debris. They liked that experience.

Another Note: In case you phone for a bus route, as of last week, Calgary transit is still learning about us.