Posted in Miscellany

Leave the children out of it.

We tend to be ready and eager to put fingers on those in need as if the milk of human kindness is not fit for them because we don’t like them as we see them. Such is because humans are physical rather than rational, operating on optical illusions to create our versions of reality. The present migrant crisis in the border of Belarus and Poland manifests dominance of Id over Superego, the eclipse of Reason by the Sense, in the face of travails on both sides of narratives.

Migrants mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan now fly to Belarus on tourist visas after paying from $1,000 to $4,000 to brokers and go-betweens in the high hope for a low heaven. They think their and their children’s lives are grim and dreary, with holistically low living quality in their home countries. So, they keep their eyes at the stars in West Europe’s firmament, scintillating bright futures despite the impending hostility toward their religious belief and cultural unfamiliarity. The frigid cold and the equally cold reception do not seem to overthrow the migrants’ will to catch Luck of Troy in Unfriendly Europe. On the contrary, it brings the grist for the mill of furious Belarus disaffected with the EU’s economic sanctions for its still Soviet-era Modus Operandi of the government. Belarus sends the influx of migrants to West Europe through the gate of Poland as an audacious manifestation of vengeance and anger.

The Polish government defends their territory against the unwelcome intruders, clenching the fists toward heaven that their predecessors bled for the Polish, not for the aliens. The good-hearted people in the border area who help needy migrants face backlash from their neighbors and often become subject to judicial harassment for humanity. In this traumatic atmosphere threatening even the most basic requirement for and right of survival, the presence of children is default to provoke sympathy used as an emotional gambit to win the game of chance – for either side. People should not use children to acquire their political or social demands because that is another form of exploitation of childhood, using the vulnerability of children for soliciting the need for however righteous the cause is.

Posted in book review, 미분류, Miscellany, Poetry

Beam Me Up, Scotty: Admiral Kirk’s onboard

The skies were clear blue, and the wind mild and agreeable. The day was ripe for the moment the star returned to the galactic heavens in rejuvenated buoyancy of jubilee that he would be out to the extraterrestrial world again. “Beam me up, Scotty,” the man said as he boarded on New Shepherd, treating it like his beloved ship USS Enterprise. It was art imitating life in the former captain’s bright eyes; it was life imitating art in the old star’s beady eyes. For William Shatner, aka Admiral Kirk of Star Trek, it was a one-of-a-kind experience, equivalent to an out-of-body experience in which you fly from your corporeal vessel and wander in all whither, floating weightless, groundless. It was his very Real McCoy galactic trip to outer space.

On Wednesday, October 13th, Blue X, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos-owned spacecraft enterprise, took off from its launching site about 20 miles away from Rural Texas town of Van Horn with civilian passengers who paid astronomical sums for their space trip. But not Shatner, who spent nothing at the courtesy of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said to be a long-time Trekkie and something of a billionaire with a flair for space cowboy. The motive for a publicity stunt to outshine Blue X over entrepreneur rivals, Elon Musk’s Space-A and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., is impossible to ignore, yet why not when it also produces positive effects of provoking the imaginary in the real? Shatner, at age 90, seemed no longer the dashing brilliant, just young Admiral Kirk any longer. Still, his spirit beamed up as he experienced overview effect outside the orbit, profoundly mesmerized with the deep fragility of Planet Earth, the Galaxy Blue. Shatner articulated the face of the Earth as so ethereal and impossibly gorgeous vis-à-vis the blackness of outer space that he had a eureka moment of what distinguished Light (Life-Earth) from Darkness (Death-Outer Space). Methinks that such pareidolia of the overview effect has something to do with his nonagenarian age, the last age in Seven Stages of Man, one foot closer in the grave. However, when I watched him in the news, overwhelmed by the ineffable emotions, Jeff Bezos removed his shades and embraced the old actor; all looked genuine, not an act staged for a post-trip publicity event. And even if it so, then it is a likable sort of entertainment that does viewers of all kinds good.

Criticisms on the expensive space trip only the haves can afford are worldwide and understandable amid the unequal distribution of wealth makes earthlings live and die or live and suffer. Yet the veteran movie star reminds me of an old soldier who has lived through the vagaries of life. Overall, the 90-year-old Shatner’s space trip materializes the earthling voyage of the USS Enterprise, boldly searching for new life and new civilizations into the galaxies.

Captain Kirk coming home
Floating under a parachute
Touching down on Mother Earth
in a soft haze of excellent dust,
Calling it home, Roger out.

Welcome back to Earth, Admiral Kirk.

Posted in book review

Equality vs Civility

Re: July 21, 2018 issue of The Los Angeles Times on “Paramount TV President fired over comments” by Ryan Faughnder

The article surfaced on the last Saturday’s edition of the paper in tandem with #MeToo movement that had gone viral in the Cyber Sea of Internet. The incident reported in the article illustrates a current phenomena that became all the rage by a willful destruction of a bete noir character whose strong, offbeat views and opinions irked some of the audience in their circles. The gist of the article relates a grave disregard for the principle of civility and a hackneyed understanding/conception of equality – i.e., what constitutes Equality in its pristine essence – by putting the case on the balancing scale of Lady Justice.

Amy Powell was fired following her inappropriate comments made on the upcoming series of “the First Wives Club,” which is expected to feature a predominantly black cast. During a phone call discussing the project, Powell was allegedly said to make stereotypical comments on blacks, especially black women’s being pugnacious. This incident came to light, thanks to a studio assistant’s eavesdropping of the phone conversation and reporting thereof to the department of Human Resources forthwith. Powell denied the out-of-context allegation and said she would be vindicated.

In fact, the ousting of Powell was followed by a series of bloodcutting of the business tycoons along the lines of their allegedly racially motivated faux-pas unearthed from within. Take Netflix’s firing of its chief communications officer for using a racial slur on two occasions. Also, John Schnatter, the America’s number one pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc Chairman, was forced to step down from the company that he founded and grew with sweat and blood after the acerbic and acrid public accusation of him as a racist all because of his comments on the black footballers’ inappropriate behaviors during the national anthem. The aforementioned companies expressed their concerns over such incidents because what they had said were not in line with their values as companies and therefore were detrimental to esprit de corps of the companies. They said in harmony that the salubrious and comfortable work environments should take priority over individual contributions and experiences consummate their capabilities and other personal assets.

Notwithstanding the above statements made by the companies and their measure of justice to enforce a total domain of equality to create salubrious working ambiance, the gravitas of misappropriation of equality and the absence of civility in our society looms large in the imbroglio of incivility and distortion of liberty at its best. With respect to equality of human condition, of course it is among the greatest and most uncertain ventures of modern mankind. However, we have bastardized its pristine nature and the meaning of the sovereign privilege of mankind by applying to just any and all aspects of our contemporary life ad nauseam. The more equal conditions are, the less explanation there is for the differences that actually exist between us. Equality will simply be recognized as a working principle of a political organization in which you are normal if you are like everybody else, and vice versa. It is the perversion of equality from a sacred sovereign value into a mere social concept, politically influenced, conditioned, and shaped by a great social Leviathan vested with all the power to persecute all abnormal you.

Speaking of the importance of civility, the elimination of the aforesaid individuals contextualizes just how the society in general mistakes incivility for racialism. It’s about a lack of courtesies generated by the informalization of civility in the sense of benevolence and respect for others. It’s the manners that take place of the gaps left by the law. For example, there’s no law against cutting a line or importuning of a panhandler to customers in a coffee shop. And this is where a role of civility comes in. Civility in essence is about strangers being able to live a communal life in society. It’s about being able to disagree without being disagreeable, as Obama once said wisely. And just as this presence of incivility takes a heavy toll on keeping the society in an orderly system, our society should endeavor to educate the citizenry on the subject of public civility instead of prompting the public to eavesdrop their coworkers or colleagues and encouraging them to inform their colleagues on the ground of racialism that may not be objectively true because reality is always another way of looking at the world in multifarious ways.

Posted in book review

Hostages to Franchisers; on No Poaching Clauses

Re: July 10, 2018 article of “Fast-food hiring practices are probed” by Jeff Stein of The LA Times

Working at a fast food store is often the only possible choice of laboring men and women out of steady, well-paying employment under unfavorable circumstances that push them to choose provisional jobs to eke out living, just as some of aristocratic and educated middle-class men used to work at the docks at a harbor in Victorian England. To add insult to the injury, be it ever known that any such worker who finds himself/herself in the labor limbo gives hostages to employment security in exchange of his/her sovereign principles, dreams, and wills.

I was appalled by this article of modern-day version of indentured service term called “No-Poaching Clauses,” which restricts managers from hiring employees from another store in the chain. Such arbitrary employment practice oppresses not only the livelihood but also dignity of employees working at well-known fast food franchises in the U.S.

By binding employees only to one store in the chain, an employer violates the quintessential elements of what makes us human: to quest for freedom of will, will to meaning, and meaning of life. Anyone striving for a new opportunity in life should do so to achieve individual values of life of which the acquisition of sustenance is indispensably requisite.

Forget sectarian political tendencies and partisan ideologies that are nothing but airy doctrines and demagogic campaign leaflets that are not in touch with the reality. Although it is reassuring to learn that there are at least seemingly some conscientious politicians (thank God for exerting their statesmanship on the existential matters of citizens’ daily lives) who are investigating such proprietorial contractual clauses, there should be many more bipartisan politicians willing to join the force to voice out the injustice done by the employers of the franchises and stop the exploitation of their workers at once.

Never forget  “The laborer is worthy of the reward.”