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1 Bob Levin  Thu, Nov 17, 2011 8:37:37pm

This doesn't sound as, lighthearted is the wrong word, but it's close, All-American Muslim. AAM really is about folks having the same life issues as everyone else in the country. The show really could be about any US ethnic group.

This one, however, discovering dark and sinister forces behind New York, does not sound as though it will be helpful. I have a funny feeling that this show might make some headlines.

So, I guess you're right. The dialogue is leaving the halls of student unions everywhere and entering the mainstream.

2 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 10:57:14am

re: #1 Bob Levin

This doesn't sound as, lighthearted is the wrong word, but it's close, All-American Muslim. AAM really is about folks having the same life issues as everyone else in the country. The show really could be about any US ethnic group.

This one, however, discovering dark and sinister forces behind New York, does not sound as though it will be helpful. I have a funny feeling that this show might make some headlines.

Yes, this one looks like it's going to touch on some of the less pleasant aspects that American Muslims deal with rather than the "everyman" stuff. It may not be helpful, which gives me pause, but it is very much a part of reality in several places given that certain members of the GOP have chosen to use us a political football.

So, I guess you're right. The dialogue is leaving the halls of student unions everywhere and entering the mainstream.

Yep, if there's going to be a dialogue, then let it be a real one, not some more palatable, candy-coated version where both sides pretend there are no serious problems. It is undeniable that there is extremism within the American Muslim community, and no matter how small it is in terms of numbers, it can be (literally) deadly serious. It is equally undeniable that there is also extremism on the far-right in the form of activists & politicians who—for political gain—are trying to drum up fear & mistrust of all American Muslims, and would like to see our First Amendment privileges stripped away. The latter may not be literally deadly, but it is equally as serious (IMO) as it challenges the freedoms guaranteed to every American by a founding document of our republic.

If we're going to claim we want to shine the light of honesty on our problems, then let's shine it on everything, and let both sides stop making excuses.

3 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 11:51:53am

re: #2 CuriousLurker

It is equally undeniable that there is also extremism on the far-right in the form of activists & politicians who—for political gain—are trying to drum up fear & mistrust of all American Muslims, and would like to see our First Amendment privileges stripped away.

However, in America, this group always loses. They've always been there, and they've lost every time. They get a few years when they get to make noise, but it isn't long before they have to go back underneath the rocks.

For me, the world has gotten so chaotic that it's impossible to make any kind of cogent analysis, it's impossible to clear away the smoke and break the mirrors. I don't even know what to post anymore. These are the circumstances when the extreme groups get to make noise. Even the protests, the Occupy movements, don't have any clear goals. Something is wrong, they rightly say, but we don't know what or how to fix it. No one knows.

Actually, I think I have an idea. But I have no idea how to get the dialogue going. Right now, it's a monologue. And monologues will not help. The world doesn't need one more person doing a monologue.

4 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 12:42:18pm

re: #3 Bob Levin

However, in America, this group always loses. They've always been there, and they've lost every time. They get a few years when they get to make noise, but it isn't long before they have to go back underneath the rocks.

Yes, that particular group always loses, BUT what always comes to mind for me (even though it had nothing to do with religion) was the internment of Japanese Americans, not to mention Italian Americans and German Americans. This included some Jewish Germans who had escaped Nazi persecution by fleeing to Latin American countries—they ended up being expelled and sent to the U.S. for detention. See Jewish Internees in the American South, 1942-1945 (PDF). German-born Americans were interned during WWI as well, though on a much smaller scale.

That's always in the back of my mind. In fact, there are people here on this blog who have admitted that in the aftermath of 9/11 they had felt it would have been acceptable to intern American Muslims. To their credit they have since changed their minds, however I'm not convinced that if (God forbid) there were another major terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims there wouldn't be a president willing to issue orders like Wilson & Roosevelt did.

5 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 1:10:22pm

re: #3 Bob Levin

Damn. I started poking around the website where I found the PDF in my previous comment, and they have a whole microsite called Significant Documents Illuminating the American Jewish Experience. In the Prejudice & Response section I found this: Ulysses S. Grant: General Orders Number Eleven

WTF? Our country has an awful lot more ugliness swept under the rug that I'd previously realized. Not just WRT to bigotry & racism, but all kinds of crap. I know no country is perfect and we try to improve, but sheesh...if you scratch the surface just a little our history is wayyy different than the pretty picture that generally gets painted.

I'm almost afraid to look at the other documents.

6 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 1:16:22pm

re: #4 CuriousLurker

There's no country without skeletons in the closet. The US is not an exception (wink, wink).

7 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 1:22:19pm

re: #6 Sergey Romanov

There's no country without skeletons in the closet. USAis not an exception (wink, wink).

Heh, yeah, it's just kind of a rude awakening to realize how very imperfect human we've been. The whole "American exceptionalism" thing seems to be designed to have that amnesiac effect. As I was saying in some comment the other day, I don't think that sort of smug self-satisfaction is a good thing...it makes backsliding too damned easy. O_o

8 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 2:13:36pm

re: #4 CuriousLurker

Actually, that issue is in the front of my mind, and it extends a little farther than internment, to genocide. Yes, if you scratch the surface of American history, you'll find it here too. And if you blow on the history of Europe, oh boy will you find it, extending all over the world.

By retracting the issue a little bit, you get racism. For me, this problem needs some diagnosis. Has anyone diagnosed this problem before? Well, yes. In a way, the US Founding Fathers gave it a whirl and concluded that tyranny is the disease. It was a part of the disease. Marx looked at the problem and concluded that the problem is evidently deeper than simply tyranny, it's a matter of economics, capitalism. That also turned out to be a partial diagnosis. Some leftists of the 20th century took their turn and concluded that the problem is a combination of economics, culture, and psychology.

The economic aspect has been pretty well defined, and I believe the cultural aspect has also been well-defined, but not at all widely known. The psychology, however, is most definitely undefined. To me, this is where we are in this process. The cultural issues need to be more widely understood, and we are at square one when it comes to our understanding of psychology or consciousness.

How do you start this conversation?

Instead of Occupy movements, we need Sitting Down for Coffee.

9 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 2:46:44pm

re: #8 Bob Levin

Instead of Occupy movements, we need Sitting Down for Coffee.

Would that we could have something like a national Sitting Down for Coffee Week every year! It could be like each day everyone has to choose a different person from a religion (or unbelief) or ethnicity they're unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with, and spend a couple of hours drinking coffee and getting to know them.

10 Bob Levin  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 3:02:45pm

re: #9 CuriousLurker

Obviously, we have to continue this another day--but I'm talking about taking back the research questions from the universities and their people products. There are questions that no one is asking, or if the questions are being asked, the researchers are looking for the data in the lighted parking lot.*

*You know this joke, right? A guy is walking around at night in a lighted parking lot. Another guy comes up and asks, what's up. The first guy says he lost his house keys. The second guy asks where he was last when he had them. The first guy points to a dark vacant lot across the street. The second guy asks why he's looking here, then. The first guy says, the light's better here.

That is the social sciences in a nutshell. Coffee, and these questions--

The cultural issues need to be more widely understood, and we are at square one when it comes to our understanding of psychology or consciousness.

Lot o' coffee.

11 CuriousLurker  Fri, Nov 18, 2011 4:31:00pm

re: #10 Bob Levin

*You know this joke, right? A guy is walking around at night in a lighted parking lot. Another guy comes up and asks, what's up. The first guy says he lost his house keys. The second guy asks where he was last when he had them. The first guy points to a dark vacant lot across the street. The second guy asks why he's looking here, then. The first guy says, the light's better here.

LOL, yep, but I know it as a Mulla Nasruddin story.

That is the social sciences in a nutshell. Coffee, and these questions--

Lot o' coffee.

Indeed. Have a good shabbat.


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