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

One World Less, One Mind Less: Goodbye to Mr. Jonathan Gold

RE: July 22nd 2018 Article of “He Gave us the Keys to a hidden city” by Ruth Reichl of The Los Angeles Times

I never thought about being interested in a food critic in my life. What’s more, I never thought about writing about a food critic or anyone associated with the word “Food.” Being a believer of food as a a means of providing energy to keep my body going to live, I never paid attention to anything written by a food critic whose audience I thought would involve bon vivants only. That was until I read the article written by Ms. Reichl, a former food critic and food editor at the Los Angeles Times about the death of beloved food critic Jonathan Gold that graced the front page of the Sunday edition of the paper.

It is said that Mr. Gold died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday evening at St. Vincent Medical Center, the illness that had been so rapidly progressed since its diagnosis in early July that none of his close friends knew about it. The death of this Pulitzer Prize winning restaurant critic was beautifully recited in a one-of kind eulogy by Ms. Reichl’s vivid memory of him in her own words evocative of the simple but consequential writing impacts that I had seen from the writings of George Orwell, Stephen Crane, and Chris Bohjalian. Through her photographic writing, Mr. Gold came to life once again, driving with her to their destined food places, be it ever taco trucks, distinctive restaurants, or just any other places where the food that grabbed his attention was waiting for him. Ms. Reichl’s fine writing in combination with the discovery of Mr. Gold as a revolutionary figure in the genre of food criticism was indeed a fresh breath of the air.

Ms. Reichl’s heartfelt presentation of this likable and democratic food critic drew me into another great writer with brain and heart who tried to democratized gastronomic experiences usually reserved to a certain strata of people and to break down the social and cultural barriers existing among the classes in our society. And certainly it would be a great loss not to read a book by this witty, vivacious food critic with a milk of human kindness who elevated the value of the taco truck and revered it more than the tasting menu of any high star Michelien approved snobbish New York City restaurants that were so overrated by rote.


Posted in book review

Inside American’s Tomb for Illegal Wildlife Trade

RE: July 16th, 2018 article of “On the Grounded in Commerce City, Colo. : Inside America’s tomb for illegal wildfire trade by David Kelly of the Los Angeles Times

Imagine the vistas: a cornucopia of a mounted tiger fetus with its tiny ears, a grand giraffe head, a pair of shiny python skin-made thigh high boots, a black bear’s toes coupled with its gallbladders, and many more artifacts made out of animals that will never cease to blindside your vestige of humanity and overawe your tactile senses. If your mind tells you to think that the imagery is but a visceral affectation of a surreal painting of Salvador Dali, you just think yourself awake in the stupendousness of dreamlike morbidity. They are just a few illustrations of taxidermic animals confiscated in the course of international illegal trafficking of endangered animals exhibited in the National Wildlife Property Repository (the “Repository”) located in Commerce City, Colorado.

My opinion on the report of the Repository as to its existence and nature is threefold: First, I can’t believe that there is such a horrendous and macabre exhibition of the animals killed and stuffed – and in the shoddiest way – open to the public, especially aimed at school students. Second, the grim underworld of a huge illegal trading market where a great demand of the coveted animal products is constantly met with a colossal supply of the dead animals is a stark reality even in this age of technological supernova. Third, it shudders me to think the wantonness of avarice and gluttony for which the sinners would find themselves in the third and fourth circles of Dante’s Inferno. What’s more, the fact that the Repository of such abhorrent kind is located not in the outpost of civilization where the artifacts of the sorts would be regarded as a cultural tradition but in Commerce City in Colorado chills me to the bone.

It is reported that the purpose of the Repository is to educate the public on the gravitas of poaching and trafficking of endangered animals systematically perpetrated in global criminal syndicates of Chinese origin active in South Africa. However, I am concerned about the effects it intends to produce, however noble it may seem, which will likely work at cross-purposes, even counter-productively, pace its original intention to raise social awareness and ethical context of the issue. It might be all over but the shouting that rather than promoting awareness of destruction of the ecological system and its inevitable adverse impacts on mankind as well as the nature itself, the sight of the mutilated dead animal bodies and/or parts may be regarded as a freak show for those who have bizarre tastes of necrophilia and/or sadism emanating from the perceived sensual pleasures of watching animals torn apart from rib to rib, ear to ear, or head to toe in perpetual torture.