Category Archives: education

Liberalism’s spawn. Conversations with 20-somethings

Over the past year, I’ve had a number of interesting discussions with people in their 20s regarding current political and cultural issues. I like to know what 20-somethings are thinking, saying, and doing; they will soon be the dominant shaping force in society. I also like to hear their opinions directly instead of reading their words second or third-hand in the media.

After a number of these conversations in 2016, it became clear to me that a definite pattern was emerging. I noticed a common thread of liberalism in their opinions on important subjects no matter their country. While young people identifying themselves as liberal is nothing new, what surprised me was the ideological gap between young and old, and between urban and rural, seems stronger than ever.

I asked a couple of my coworkers from England their opinion of Nigel Farage and UKIP. As soon as I said the name ‘Farage’, I could see the complete disdain on their faces. “UKIP? It’s a joke,” said one. “They have very little support; most of it is in the countryside. Nobody with any brains takes Farage seriously. He’s just plain stupid.”  I recall the young man who said this to me had a look of curiosity on his face as well, as if he couldn’t believe I was even asking about this person. I was somewhat surprised at his breezy dismissal of Farage as he had been receiving a fair amount of publicity in America at that time. I watched his interviews closely, and it appeared to me that he had a lot of valid points to make. In fact, he came across as quite intelligent, lucid, and convincing. I had a hard time reconciling my impression of Farage with this young man’s description of him.

A short time later, I was sitting in a different office and was surrounded by young Brits. Without offering any thoughts or opinions of my own, and asking in the most neutral manner I could, I inquired whether England should severely curtail immigration. The Brits all shook their heads. The girl sitting directly across from me offered, “We should be allowing MORE immigrants, not less. Those poor people. England can do more and we SHOULD do more.” I mentioned how many immigrants England had already taken in and some of the negative consequences of that immigration. My colleague dismissed my concerns with a wave of her hand. “Those bad stories are mostly made up by the media.”

Recently, I brought up politics with my young Austrian friend. What was fascinating about that chat was the eerie parallels to my conversation with the young Brits. I mentioned to the Austrian a recent news story I had read about the so-called ‘Far Right’ winning some elections in Austria. What was his opinion? Just as the Brit had scoffed at Farage and UKIP, my friend similarly made a scowl when mentioning the far right parties in Austria. “They’re nothing. Only the farmers, the uneducated, really OLD people, and dupes take that party seriously. Immigration is not that big of a problem.”

Last week, a friend from America and I were having a friendly chat at the park when the conversation turned to the cultural and the political. He made a comment about his friend having a baby and I made a light-hearted remark about his friend doing a good thing for the white race, keeping in mind the historically low birth rates in most European countries which is nothing less than a demographic disaster. Even though I smiled when i said it and was (halfway) joking, my friend, who is white, went ballistic. Literally. I thought he might start hyperventilating. “White race? Did you really just say that? Oh my god! I can’t believe you said that! I haven’t heard someone say the white race in 20 years. Dude, don’t you know that’s racist?”

I momentarily felt as if I had just slipped into the Twilight Zone. But then I remembered my friend was in his early 30s. Though I had a good size dose of cultural marxism, feminism, political correctness, affirmative action, and multi-culturalism force-fed me when I was growing up, that was nothing compared to the onslaught that people now in their 20s and 30s have experienced. My friend went on. “Besides, there’s no such thing as race anyway. Race is just a fiction. I mean, come on. What is the white race? Do you mean Europeans? I myself am a mongrel, like most of my friends. Sorry Brian, but there is no such thing as ‘white people.’

As our discussion meandered on and became more heated, he started to use the phrase ‘The N word.’ He continued, “I’m a comedian and the rule for stand-up is that you can never makes jokes downward, meaning you never make fun of people who are below you in the socio-economic world.” He explained that was why he never made jokes about black people and would never, ever use what he called ‘The N word’ , either in public or even in private.

I asked him, “Since we’re in a park in Asia and there are no black people anywhere to be seen and since I know you’re a decent guy with not a racist bone in your body, you can say the scary word ‘Nigger’ to me. I won’t hold it against you. After all, we’re discussing words and language and it will save you from using the tortured phrase ‘The N word.’ My friend shook his head  emphatically. “No way. I’ve removed that evil and unnecessary word from my vocabulary. I’ll never use it.” To try to get him to budge, I even mentioned George Carlin’s famous dialogue on the word ‘nigger’ in which he showed, quite convincingly, that it’s all about context and meaning. My friend was unconvinced.

The conversation mostly devolved from there until we agreed to call a truce. What was especially interesting to me was that, on reflection,  his views were more or less the same as my views when I was his age. I too spouted the politically correct liberal line on most every issue. I too was brought up to believe that the white race, and specifically white men, were the cause of all evil in the world and that I should feel nothing but shame and regret for my ancestors. I finally grew out of that conditioning but it’s taken me nearly 50 years to do it. Talking with my friend was like having a conversation with my younger self.

Concepts such as nationalism, national identity, racial pride, and cultural pride are still anathema to many people in the West, especially those under the age of 50 and particularly the kids in their 20s. We can, of course, blame World War II and its outcomes for this. Whenever nationalism has threatened to gain a toehold in Western politics in recent decades, opposing parties simply went  on media channels and screamed , “Nazis! Hitler lovers! Fascists!” And it has worked-  until now. Those old smear tactics are wearing thin from overuse. The Alt-Right is gaining more traction every day and is starting to reclaim the concept of nationalism from the gutter where it has been rotting for more than a half century. Brexit, Le Pen, Trump, nationalist parties in Austria, Denmark, and many other countries- these are all signs that something is shifting.

 

 

 

 

 

Updates on The Mandela Effect

The Mandela Effect which disturbs and affects me the most is the geographical changes. I look at maps almost every day and the world I see is so different from my memories of it that it leaves me shaken. Although I touched briefly geography in my last article on the Mandela Effect, I want to look at this in a bit more depth and detail.

Remember the ‘Land down Under’? Australia was always known as such, for a reason. It was ‘under’  everything else, meaning it was far south of the equator and distant from almost everywhere else, especially the closest large country, which is Indonesia. My friends and I used to talk about visiting Australia, but whenever we looked at it on a map, we commented on how isolated it was and how expensive it would be to fly there. In this parallel dimension we’ve slipped into, Australia is now part of Asia. There is no separation between the Australian continent and the southernmost islands of Indonesia. You can now literally swim from the northern tip of Australia to Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islets. If you’re an Australian, I suppose this could be either something to celebrate or mourn. If you enjoyed the isolation and remoteness that you had in the earlier reality, then this new reality sucks. However, if you’re an Asian-Australian and wished you could be closer to your relatives, congratulations.

Japan is another country that I look at and say to myself, “That looks all wrong!” Japan was always a long and thin country, so to speak. I remember this because I used to hear someone say that they lived in ‘Western Japan’ and I replied, “Oh come on. There is no real Western Japan. There’s only Northern and Southern Japan.” The current version of Japan (or at least Honshu) is now shaped like a comma. In this reality, Japan really has acquired a ‘West.’ Shikoku is currently an East-West island. Hokkaido bears no resemblance whatsoever to its former incarnation. It’s badly misshapen and enlarged.

Panama is  another country which has metamorphosed from an North-South oriented land mass to an East-West one. I remember reading about the Panama Canal when I was young; I recall seeing photos of the men building it. They dug out a straight line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in an East-West orientation. In this version, the canal now goes Northwest to Southeast! In the old version, people would lie on beach on the Pacific Coast and watch the sun set looking due west. Currently, people who visit a Pacific Coast beach in Panama will be looking southward or even southeastward.

Cuba is now a bizarre sight to look at. In the old world, Cuba was a small country located 90 miles off the southern tip of Florida. It lay to the southeast of the North American landmass. Its size and shape were not particularly noteworthy. Presently, Cuba is an Orca whale-shaped island, twice the size of its former self, and provides an almost seamless bridge from the Yucatan to the Eastern Caribbean.

Moving over to Europe, Denmark formerly situated itself far to the south of Sweden. The northernmost tip of Denmark pointed toward Stockholm. Nowadays, in this reality, Denmark is located to the west of Sweden! It has seemingly moved itself hundreds of kilometers northward to snuggle in between Norway and Sweden. I wonder how the Swedes feel about their new neighbors.

Italy has always been the most easily identifiable country in Europe. When kids first begin studying  a map of Europe, the first country they learn is Italy; the reason is simple. Italy juts down from the continent into the Mediterranean and is shaped like a boot. In our parallel dimension (PD), Italy has been ‘pulled’ westward. It now points in a more southeasterly direction and the heel of the boot is much more pronounced than it used to be. Sicily has shifted hundreds of kilometers to the north and now almost joins the mainland of Italy. No matter how often I look at the map of Italy, I can’t shake the feeling of unreality which envelops me.

These countries are the most obvious and outstanding examples, but it is certain at this point that every single country has changed and shifted in PD. It appears that all of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere have moved en masse toward the north pole which, by the way, has disappeared. Welcome to the new world.

Addendum: I wanted to collect some new examples of the Mandela Effect and did a quick search on youtube. When I entered the search term ‘New Mandela Effects’, I was confronted with page after page after page of channels that are, apparently, produced by teenagers. Their headlines are always in all caps; the descriptions are nearly identical and are some variation of this: OMG! NEW MANDELA EFFECTS. THIS WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. The accompanying photo of the channel shows the teenager with an exaggerated look of surprise and shock with pictures of Jif peanut butter and febreeze  floating above his head. The channels have different names, but with the nearly identical headlines and photos, they are obviously being produced from a common source. I would guess that the source and producer of these channels is Intelligence. Perhaps they are trying to surround the topic of the Mandela Effect with a lot of noise and mindless trash in the hope that people will dismiss it.

 

 

The Problem with textbooks

Few people outside of the field of education are aware of what has happened to the textbook industry. A small percentage of parents who take an active role in their children’s education have some idea, and perhaps some politicians who are involved  in education know a bit as well. While many in academia see the downward spiral of textbook quality, few are speaking out about it.

The trends in textbook publishing affect all levels of education, from preschool to postgraduate studies. Public and private schools, rich and poor, urban and rural, all draw from the same pool of textbooks. They have little choice in the matter; the textbook industry has gone through the same relentless wave of consolidation as almost every other industry over the past few decades.

The textbooks I am most familiar with are ESL (English as a second language) books since that is the subject I am currently teaching. However, I have looked closely at my students’ textbooks for their biology, physics, chemistry, history, and health classes, and I see the same design and content changes occurring everywhere.

First, the overall dumbing down of the texts is undeniable. One rarely encounters a word that requires  a dictionary to understand. In the secondary school texts, the lexical, grammatical, and syntactical level seems to be stuck at around the 6th grade. At the university level, it’s not much better.

Much of the content presented in modern textbooks is thinly disguised corporate propaganda. Textbook publishers are reluctant to divulge how much of textbook content is taken directly from corporate sources, but we can be sure it is substantial. Corporations are known to write entire and complete legislative bills which they hand to congress for approval.  Corporate lobbyists write speeches for politicians. Transnational corporations now control everything of value on the planet, so it follows that they are writing textbooks as well. Some of this corporate propaganda is subtle and woven into the content unobtrusively.  In some chapters, the propaganda is more blatant, such as when biology texts discuss GMOs. Monsanto definitely has its dirty hands in the education field.

Besides the obvious propaganda pushing GMOs , Darwinian evolution, quantum physics, and space exploration, there’s also the social engineering type of brainwashing. This includes the celebration of rampant consumerism, transgenderism, homosexuality, multiculturalism, hi-tech, celebrity culture, shopping, social media, and general superficiality. Parents who have not looked at an English textbook for 20 or 30 years would  be appalled at what they see. Nearly every page of the ESL text which I used for a recent course discussed one of those subjects. Consumerism and high-tech gadgets such as smartphones are especially popular topics for learning. The not-so-subtle message being taught to students, outside of the embedded grammar lesson, is this: The only meaning you can derive from life is through shopping, consumerism, acquisition, and the acceptance of a multicultural and inclusive world. The only pictures one sees on the pages are photos of models,  smiling and joyful in their sleek modern offices, making loads of money which they will spend in fancy restaurants and department stores.  Traditional families are absent. Pictures of rural life are nearly absent as well. The world is presented as one giant playground, basically. It’s filled with exciting and exotic cities which  you can visit on your next ‘holiday,’ and return home with giant shopping bags filled with the loot you collected overseas. Oh, the joys of being a yuppie! That, essentially, is the dream being sold. Everyone can be a rich yuppie, living in a high-rise in some ‘bustling’ metropolis.

Every page of modern textbooks must have a photo. On some pages, more than 50 percent of the total space is filled with photos. The people in the photos are utterly fake. Most of them are models. They looks about as real as a GMO tomato. They’re always smiling and laughing, of course. They’re always attractive. They always seem to be on holiday. They’re usually talking on their smartphones and striding confidently to their next high-powered business meeting.

Do these photos contribute anything to the lesson being taught? Do they enhance the subject matter or clarify important points? No, they do not, not in the least. They’re just filler. Publishers insert them because they claim that students will not look at a page filled only with text. Actually, the publishers are correct when they state this. I once gave my students a book to read. It had no pictures. They gasped audibly and complained loudly and bitterly to me. How could they possibly read a book with no pictures? It would be so boring….

We must ask, though, how our kids became so frightened and/or bored with a page of text. Television and computers deserve the bulk of the blame, but parents and educators have done too little to instill a love of reading to students. Education publishers help to create this problem, and then turn around and state that they are merely responding to market demand.

The hundreds or thousands of photos placed into a typical textbook today drives up the cost of the text enormously. The expensive and glossy paper on which the photos are placed is considerably more pricy that simple paper for text. Moreover, it’s not just lots of unnecessary, ugly, and fake photos that one sees on textbook pages. Graphic designers now play a role even more important than content writers. Every page must be a different color. Oh, yes. Pages must be multi-hued with flashy background themes. Black text on white background, white text on black background, green on black, blue on yellow-whatever. Every page must now resemble a website. Many pages are so repulsive to look at that I ignore them when working through a chapter. I don’t want my students to look at something so ugly and so manipulative.

Students coming up through the system today have no idea that textbooks used to be different. With their immaturity and lack of perspective, they naturally assume that things have always been this way. They are unaware that students used to read books with no pictures! And sometimes those books were hundreds of pages long, and filled with highly technical details.

In conclusion, I regard modern textbooks as abominations. They are filled to overflowing with shameless propaganda, touting GMOs and transhumanism, among other things. Their slick and glossy pages, designed by well-paid graphic designers, are all about style, not substance. Content has now receded into the background. Actual text now coves less than half of most pages and the lessons are presented in small doses so as not to stretch students’ minds too much.

 

 

My problem(s) with British English

I don’t like British English. Only in the last couple of years did I realize this. I was born and raised in the United States and wasn’t exposed to much British English during my time there; besides watching the occasional Monty Python movie, BBC documentary or BBC newscast, I heard and read little of it.

However, my circumstances have changed. I am currently  teaching English as a second language in Southeast Asia, and my daily exposure to British English has caused me to form some strong opinions about it. This exposure comes in two forms: 1) the local media and 2) the British  ESL textbooks which most, if not all, language centers in Asia use.

The various print media in Asia , including newspapers and magazines, are always written using British spelling and the British lexicon. The ESL textbooks are often printed by Cambridge or Oxford University Presses. If not, they are  printed by  giant publishing houses such as MacMillan (British) and Pearson PLC (British).

Journalists and writers working in Asia use, presumbably, the Oxford Style Manual when composing their articles. They certainly are not using the Associated Press Stylebook or the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage. Hence, when I am perusing the daily newspapers in Saigon, Phnom Penh, or Bangkok, I always read about ‘labour’ disputes, ‘tonnes’ of rice, and ‘programmes.’

This, then,  is my first major complaint with British English: the spelling. Why do the Brits insist on doing stupid things like adding unnecessary letters to words? Program is just fine as it is. It does not require or need an extra m or e to make it more official sounding. It’s the same situation with ton. T-O-N. It’s simple, direct, and to-the-point. Yet, the Brits want to glop on an n and an e to this word as well. And what is with the equally irritating habit of inserting unnecessary u’s into otherwise functional words such as labor, color, neighbor, and favor? I once had a British colleague here tell me that the extra u ‘softened’ the words. Give me a break.

The list of British English words that are spelled nonsensically is too long to list here. However, it should be noted that it is, indeed, a long list. Why spell complection as complexion? That just looks wrong. Where else do we put an ‘x’ into the middle of a word like that?

The British take logically spelled words like center, fiber, theater and liter and insist on transposing the e and r which makes them look retarded. Last week, I came across one of those glossy travel mags that are often left lying around in 4- and 5-star resorts. It was titled ‘Traveller.’ I had to blink to make sure I was reading it correctly. My first thought was, “Is that possibly a typo?” I mean, that’s not how traveler is spelled. But then the idea hit me: “Is that some stupid alternative British spelling?” I looked it up online and sure enough, adding an extra ‘l’ to words like that is standard practice in the British Isles. Thanks, Oxford and Cambridge.

It gets worse. Words like maneuver and estrogen are bludgeoned  with extra o’s in Brit-land. Just look at this word: manoeuvre. Does that look correct? Yes, I know we stole that one from the French, but we are using English, so let’s use the spelling that makes the most sense and reflects how we pronounce it.

British slang words and phrases are equally tiresome. This too is a long list. Let’s begin with one of the worst- knickers. Does that word conjure an image of something colorful, silky, and sexy under a woman’s skirt? No, not at all. The word panty however does conjure that image. Score one for the Americans.

A Brit might say, “What about the word herb? You Americans, for no logical reason, don’t pronounce the h while we do. Now who’s the silly one?”   It’s a fair observation, but I’m inclined to think the hippies (American)  had a hand in this one. You see, hippies have for a long time used herb as a synonym for marijuana. Every day at 4:20 p.m., they sit down and say, “It’s time to smoke some herb (silent h).  Any hippie will tell you that word rolls off the tongue  so much more smoothly when the hard h is dropped. ‘Erb’ just sounds sexier than Herb. So even here, Americans have been on the right track.

If you live in a room, or group of rooms, inside a building, then you live in an apartment. It’s not a ‘flat.’ That word is properly used to mean ‘level.’ If I am interested in something, then I am, well, interested in it. I am most certainly not keen on it. If I am really interested, then I might say that I am excited about it.

When I was growing up, the word brilliant always meant ‘having or showing great intelligence.’ However, it seems that over the decades more and more meanings have been attached to this overused word, thanks to our British friends who love to use it like confetti: a brilliant goal, a brilliant show, etc. In these circumstances, there’s always a better, more precise word to use in the context, if they would but try.

The loathsome recent trend of saying ‘sorry’ whenever ‘excuse me’ used to suffice must have been started in Great Britain. There’s no way brusque and direct Americans would initiate such a tortured  assault on meaning. Hell, they’re even teaching this now in textbooks!  Seriously. Chapters that teach phone manners, social gatherings and such state that when you interrupt, ask directions, or bump into somebody, you should say ‘sorry’ instead of ‘excuse me.’

Hey Brits, percent is one word, not two. It’s a synonym for percentage, you know. I don’t care if the dictionary says that both spellings are acceptable. The American usage is better and more commonsensical, as usual. And finally, the woman who gave birth to you is your Mom, not your Mum.  Listen to a baby calling for his mama. It sounds like MOM-A, never like MUM-A.  Let’s keep the word Mum with its proper meaning- silent.

 

 

 

A Bill Mollison tribute

I learned a few days ago of the passing of Bill Mollison. While few people outside of the organic and sustainable farming community have ever heard of him, his legacy has already spread to every continent and will continue to grow in the years and the decades ahead. There’s a good chance that the farmer whose organic produce you are eating has studied and implemented many of the permaculture principles that Mollison developed back in the 1970s along with David Holmgren.* The theories on gardening and farming which tried to mimic nature instead of subduing it  would later be put into print in such books as ‘Permaculture One’ and ‘The Permaculture Designer’s Manual.’

I had already developed an interest in organic gardening and farming back in 1996 when I first came across the term ‘permaculture.’ I learned that there were a group of visionaries who were ‘going beyond’ organics and attempting to develop whole systems of sustainable living which including not only food production but also sustainable housing, energy production, village design and social dynamics. This small but growing nucleus of visionaries were putting Mollison’s principles into practice in various rural communities and small homesteads, refining and adapting them to fit into different regions, climates, and micro-climates. Mollison’s core group of students from the late 1970s and 1980s soon became teachers themselves and ,through hundreds of permaculture designer training courses,  spread the knowledge of the techniques and theories far and wide. Today, you can find farmers and gardeners practicing permaculture in Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America.

 

I never got the chance to meet Mollison in person though I did have the opportunity to study with some of his students including Peter Bane, Chuck Marsh, and the Bullock brothers in Washington state.  Mollison was rumored to be irascible, rude-tempered, impatient, and provocative. Some found his personality and temperament to be offensive and there was, for a time, a split within the permaculture community over the ‘cult’ of Mollison. However, this drama eventually subsided as Mollison retired from teaching and the movement developed organically, without leaders and gurus.

Permaculture has evolved in leaps and bounds since its introduction almost 40 years ago. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, more books have been written on the subject since ‘Permaculture One’ was published in 1978. Dozens of websites connect practitioners from all over the world who now exchange information, techniques, and knowledge. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance you can find someone offering a course in the core principles. Three-day introductory courses to two-week or even one-month designer courses are regularly offered in most regions of the U.S., Australia, and Canada.

For those who have no knowledge of experience in permaculture and want to get a quick introduction without  leaving home or reading a book, two excellent documentaries are available to watch for free on youtube: ‘In Grave Danger of Falling Food’ and ‘The Global Gardener.’

 

 

Ten volunteering ideas to benefit your community

Here are ten things you can do now to start making a difference in your community. Volunteering your time, energy, and skills to contribute to the betterment of humankind has always been and will always be a noble enterprise.

Teach kids to swim. 

I live in a country which currently records about 6,000 drowning deaths per year, the vast majority of which are children under the age of 16. Other countries, espcecially in Asia and Africa,  have similar statistics. Even in rich countries in North America and Europe, many children do not learn how to swim.

Becoming a certified swimming instructor is a relatively easy task. Once you know how to teach swimming, finding students will be easy. Walk around your neighborhood and you’ll find at least half of the kids don’t know how to swim. Learning how to swim will enrich the child’s life enormously and prevent him from meeting an unnecessary early death.

Teach English

You don’t need to be a certified English instructor in order to teach English. If it is your native tongue, look around your neighborhood to see if there are people who speak English as a second or third language. They and their kids are likely in need of some instruction. Volunteer your time and assist  them with whatever they need the most help with, whether it be simple conversation, writing, public speaking, or reading.

Teach reading 

Illiteracy is still a huge problem in many parts of the world. Parents who are illiterate will not pass on the habit of reading to their children. If you can teach a child to read and also  share a love of books, you will be giving a gift that will last a lifetime. Help a kid to wean off the smartphone and learn the joy of book reading.

Teach nutrition and healthy cooking

Obesity is spreading like wildfire around the world. We need to start fighting back against the fast food conglomerates, the evil GMO seed companies, and junk food manufacturers. Most people receive no nutrition education whatsoever during their formative years. They don’t know how to read a food label, how to calculate calories, or how to cook a simple, inexpensive, delicious, and healthy meal. People will rarely go to a bookstore to buy a book on nutrition and take it home to read and study. They need a mentor and a counselor to guide them to a healthier lifestyle.

Teach gardening, fishing, and hunting

‘Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat forever.’ If you possess skills related to procuring your own food outside of the global capitalist food chain, then you can help others to do the same and gain a freedom they didn’t know existed. As more and more people move to the cities, these skills are rapidly being lost. Keep them alive by teaching the next generation.

Teach music

Everybody would love to play an instrument, but most need a nudge to get started. It’s not the money factor; second-hand instruments can be had for a dime. The time can be easily be found to practice. Even so-called ‘super busy’ people waste time during the week doing silly things like updating Facebook. What most truly lack is a good teacher who is affordable and available. You can be that person.

Teach martial arts

You don’t need to be an expert or a black belt to teach, especially to kids. This is not about opening a martial arts academy. If you possess some competency at a martial art, and you are willing to teach for free, then you can have a class  in your back yard or basement. Share what you know. Some knowledge of a martial art has enormous benefits. Your students will learn self-defense, get in shape, and gain self-confidence.

Teach CPR

Every town has a Red Cross chapter or a local clinic which offers CPR classes. Go one step further and become a certified trainer so that you can pass the skill onto others. When tragedies happen, the vast majority of people freeze like statues. They are scared and have no idea what to do. You can be the hero who jumps into action immediately.

Be a mentor

Millions of young boys around the world lack fathers and father figures. They long for the company of an older man who cares about their development and growth, even if they don’t consciously know it. Spending a few hours on a weekend afternoon with a fatherless boy and exposing him to some culture will often work miracles.

Teach money management

It’s a sad fact of modern life that our world revolves around money, yet most people don’t have a clue about how to manage their own finances. They have difficulty balancing their accounts and planning for the future. They don’t understand how, when, and where they should use a credit card. On a higher level, they don’t really even understand what ‘money’ is. Bonus points if you can explain the banking system.

 

Bonus: Pick up trash and litter

It has always perplexed me how people will ignore the trash and litter that blights their neighborhood. I think it has something to do with people’s notions of private property, space, and responsibility. Folks mistakenly believe that their ‘home’ extends no further than their front door. Therefore, that trash across the street is ‘not their problem.’ It is someone else’s problem, usually the city or municipal government. They will walk by that trash day after day after day, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the problem and to act on it. By taking action and collecting trash and offering your neighbors an example, you just may start a chain reaction. Be extra bags and gloves to give to curious onlookers.

 

The destruction of language

In December of 2014, I wrote an article about the destruction of language and grammar. Since that time, the trend has accelerated. Wherever we look- in newspapers, magazines, blogs, emails, textbooks, novels, and everyday conversation- we can observe the rapid disintegration of the ability to use the English language with any degree of facility, fluency, and grammatical correctness.

The English language is under attack from many directions. From the top, it is under assault from the ruling powers, commonly known as the NWO. Their agenda is clear: dumb down the masses by inverting and changing the meaning of words and muddle people’s brains by making a mishmash of all accepted grammatical rules. Since they control all of the media, their power and influence to carry out such an agenda is considerable. Hence, whenever you read a story from any large news organization,  it is quite easy to see the actual workings of this plan. The paragraph form has now almost completely disappeared from news articles, replaced by one and two sentence snippets. Any academic words above a third grade level have been excised, replaced with simple and easy-to-understand words and phrases which will require no one to consult a dictionary.

Academia has been thoroughly and definitively infiltrated and compromised by these same elites and interests. The written word, which formerly constituted 99 percent  of textbooks, now occupies, at best, only half of the course book. The  other 50 percent is now taken up with color photos, mostly of celebrities. What little text there is does nothing to challenge readers.

 

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English is also being worn away from below. English is, for better or worse, the lingua franca of our time. All over the world, English is being learned by native speakers of hundreds of different languages. The vast majority of these students attain only an advanced beginner or intermediate level of speaking and writing. Before they have mastered the use of all of the verb tenses, the paragraph, cohesion, and coherency, they are using what they know in the real world. These non-native speakers combine their limited grasp of grammar with the slang, colloquialisms, and texting / internet lingo they pick up from the media and friends.

Though the attacks from above and below would probably be sufficient to complete the annihilation of English, there are other powerful forces  that we must contend with: tech gadgets such as smartphones and social media. It would be impossible to overstate the damage that has been inflicted upon language and grammar from smartphones, Facebook, twitter, and texting.

Smartphones, tablets, and all touchscreen devices by their very nature discourage not only academic and literary writing but also any coherent thinking whatsoever. How can one construct a detailed and persuasive letter or essay by typing with their thumbs on a flat screen? It simply can’t be done. The technology itself ensures that.

Facebook provided the initial impetus for people to jettison grammar rules and proper punctuation when posting comments. Everyone began to throw up quick comments on their friends’ walls without bothering to check if it looked or sounded correct. Twitter was the final nail in the coffin. Just as touch screen technology actively discourages long, careful, and disciplined writing, Twitter forbids it. Since only a limited number of characters are allowed, subjects, prepositions, adverbs and more must be thrown by the wayside. Pronoun  subjects  have  suffered a death blow from Twitter. Nowadays, instead of “I was elated at the news of his marriage,” we have “Elated. Great news.”  This TwitterEnglish has now  insidiously permeated into many other forms of written language.  More and more, I notice that when my friends and family send me emails, they omit the subject from the majority of their sentences. Typically, the emails  read like this: “Went to the store yesterday. Saw an old friend. Came home late. Considering a vacation out West this year. Worried about my friend…” etc.

 

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Finally, we must also mention YouTube. If you want to see just how far down the destruction of language can go, simply spend a few minutes reading the comments of any popular YouTube video. Every time I think a nadir has been reached, the bottom falls out and it plunges down further still. Probably the most prevalent comment on YouTube is ‘U r an idiot. LOL.’  I’ve been wondering lately if all of the comments like that are from real flesh and blood readers and how many are produced by paid trolls at Langley, Virginia and computer programs. That may sound far-fetched, but it shouldn’t. The NWO wants to discourage, by all means possible, rational dialogue and real, honest discourse. Why wouldn’t they be active on YouTube, dropping millions of dopey and insulting comments, thereby dragging down the overall level of communication and discouraging people from talking to one another?

 

 

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson: shill extraordinaire (and spook)

I’ve written about Neil deGrasse Tyson before and exposed him for the shill that he is.  A couple of years ago when I watched him idiotically  promoting GMOs, I couldn’t stomach it and had to write a short article warning people to recognize him for what he is: a paid agent working for the NWO. Recently, this smug ‘scientist’ has made headlines again, going on a talk show to do a ‘rap’ performance in order to refute a rapper who had claimed that the earth is flat. The most outrageous part of the previous sentence is not the part about the flat earth, but the fact that a country’s most distinguished scientist has nothing better to do with his time than go on a talk show to refute some pathetic ‘musician’ who made waves by writing a song about the flat earth.

Does Tyson actually have a real job? With people like Tyson and Zuckerberg, one has to ask this question. Given the amount of time he spends on radio and tv interviews and self-promotion, he must have precious little time to do any real work, let alone any authentic science. Tyson is simply a front man for the mainstream scientific worldview. He’s a hired gun for the priestly class of scientists who  do not tolerate ANY debate on their theories and models of the universe. In fact, Tyson admitted in an interview that he doesn’t stoop to debating people. He claimed that ‘there are the laws of physics….and everything else is opinion…so I can just walk out of the room when people want to start debating.’ Is this not the height of arrogance and pomposity? You can find the clip on youtube.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has so many red flags flapping around him that it’s easy to expose him.  Look at where he studied: Harvard; Columbia;  Princeton. These schools, along with Yale, are the prime incubators not only for the ruling elite in the United States but also, and more importantly,  for Intelligence agents. Tyson has been educated and groomed at the premier spook schools in the United States and promoted relentlessly to take his fake science message to the masses. See the recent work of Miles Mathis.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Tyson spends more time in Langley, Virginia than he does at a university science lab. So how did this brilliant scientist prove the existence of gravity on the talk show? He dropped his microphone. Wow. Brilliant.

 

 

Hipsters, the fake left, and misguided youth

It’s never been easy to make sense of the world, but in 2016, the Powers-That-Be (PTB) have turned reality upside down and inside out so that forming a coherent picture of our situation  has become a herculean task. It’s a particularly arduous chore for those under the age of 35, as they are the most susceptible to brainwashing, propaganda, peer pressure, social engineering, and the various effects of the media to which they are constantly exposed. It’s not easy being a youth in today’s world.

For those in their 20s who want to fit in, be cool, and make lots of friends, they must of necessity ‘toe the line’ when it comes to their beliefs and attitudes. Youth today are under more pressure than ever to engage in groupthink in large part due to the effects of social media such as facebook.

Social media is a good place to begin. Even though 80-year-old grandmothers have facebook accounts, it’s the youth who spend the most time online networking on social media. You are simply not allowed to disengage from this MATRIX as doing so would cost you most of your friends and brand you as an ‘eccentric’ at best and ‘fucking weirdo’ at worst. And the higher up you are in the social hierarchy (think hipsters and djs), the more time you must devote to your online presence.

The slavish devotion to social media is a corollary of our unquestioning acceptance and  devotion to technology in general. Anything that is branded, marketed and sold as ‘new’, ‘improved’ or  ‘modern’, especially in the arena of technology, will be gobbled up by the masses in copious quantities. Again, the youth, with their desire to be on the cutting age and be with the hip crowd, will be easy game for the corporations selling their addictive techno toys.

Facebook and Instagram have transformed the notion of narcissism from a negative quality to a positive one. In the past, to be labeled a narcissist was a put-down. It was an insult. To be a narcissist signified that you were only concerned with yourself, that you had little to no concern for your family, your community, or your country.  But the unholy combination of Facebook and the camera phone has birthed the phenomenon known as the ‘selfie’ which has brought narcissism and narcissistic behavior to hitherto unknown levels. We see girls, particularly those from the 13-29 age group, walking around all day taking selfies, for no reason at all. They do it just….to do it. Taking selfies has now become an almost unconscious, reflexive behavior. ‘My friends are doing it, so I guess I need to do it too’. Middle-aged and elderly people engage in this abominable behavior as well, sending a clear message to the youth that ‘it’s ok and acceptable.’

The LGBT agenda, marketed most aggressively by those on the fake left, has snared today’s youth brilliantly. I used to support gay rights, gay marriage, the rainbow flag and the rest of that garbage until I wised up, so I know firsthand how easily one can be duped. When I first came upon information about the  ‘agenda’ behind the gay rights movement, I dismissed it outright. I thought the idea of an agenda or hidden hand was just a made-up story from a bunch of disgruntled Christians and ultra-conservatives. But, by and by, I noticed how the gay rights issue was getting an inordinate amount of media coverage; I noticed that politicians, including Barack Obama  were spending a lot of time giving their opinions on it (mostly in supporting it) ; I noticed that entertainers, especially young pop stars, were singing about their homosexual desires and experiences ; I noticed Hollywood coming out with movies about gay lovers. Gradually, I began to see that the idea of an agenda wasn’t so farfetched after all. Sadly, most 20-somethings haven’t grasped this yet. They march proudly in gay pride parades, waving their rainbow flags and cheering, completely oblivious to the fact that they are being played like a fiddle by a hidden hand that has an agenda to destroy the family and religion.

I have here in front of me the most recent copy of slick magazine marketed to rich, urban, English-speaking expats and tourists in Southeast Asia. The picture on the cover is a young transgender. When I  open to the article, I read his ‘heartwarming’ story and his struggle for acceptance in a traditional, family-based society. See how this goes? This type of story in the mass media is not an uncommon occurrence. Moreover, nightclubs here often have benefit shows dedicated to ‘LGBT’ rights. We’re all supposed to come and cheer our queer brothers and sisters.

I could write much more about this topic. I could talk about how the youth have been told to love modern ‘art,’ which is a complete creation of the CIA, how they’ve been manipulated into supporting multi-culturalism, how they’ve been cleverly suckered into supporting a corporate tool like Obama,  and how they’ve been dumbed down to such an extent that being intelligent is not cool and being ignorant and stupid is seen as hip. Even the corporatocracy  itself is no longer questioned, let along rebelled against. Wearing t-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with corporate logos is acceptable and trendy.

What can we do? As a teacher, I try my best to decondition my students from the programming as best as I can. I try to put books in their hands. I talk to them. For those of us who are 50 and over, the best we can do is model sane behavior. Youth today increasingly have no one to look to see how to act in a proper manner in a sane society. If you are 50-year-old father of four, and you are taking selfies and checking your smartphone while you are sitting at a restaurant with your family, you are failing. It’s time to look in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

The decline and fall of conversation:The smartphone’s effect on our ability to meet, greet, and speak

People are quickly losing the ability to talk to one another. A residual  capacity still exists, but it is evaporating so fast that I may witness its extinction in my lifetime. The roots of this problem can be traced back as far as the invention of the telegraph more than 180 years ago but the advent of the smartphone has now vastly accelerated the decline of face to face speaking skills. Oratory, rhetoric, public speaking, and clarity of speech have likewise suffered greatly.

When I was growing up in the time before cellphones, I recall the numerous opportunities I had to meet and converse with strangers. Luckily, my parents never discouraged me from interacting with strangers unlike today’s parents who are told by well-meaning but misguided ‘authorities’ that they should inform their kids to ‘never talk to strangers.’

Indeed, the chances to meet new people, chat, make small talk, and possibly make a new friend or acquaintance  were endless. However, all of those situations where formerly we were encouraged or at least allowed to chat up a stranger are now gone, thanks to the smartphone.

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If you found yourself in an elevator with someone and you were both riding up to a high floor, you may not have had a lot of time, but perhaps it was just enough to offer a “It’s going to be a hot day, that’s for sure,” to the person standing next to you. And that may have led to a reply of “Oh, you got that right. And my air conditioner broke last night and I was miserable because my room was so hot.”  And then you could commiserate with this person. The next time you ran into him you might continue the conversation by asking about the air conditioner. See? It was so simple. Now, I notice that everyone, once they have boarded the elevator, immediately takes out their phone to text to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of standing next to a stranger for a few seconds.

The introduction of televisions into airplanes guaranteed that people would no longer speak to one another on long plane rides though they were a few hold-outs who stubbornly insisted on having conversations with the person sitting next to them. Nowadays, with everyone carrying a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, even those hold-outs have disappeared. Most people don’t even wait for take-off to get plugged into their cyber-world. They cast nary a glance at the person who they will be sitting mere inches from for the next 10 hours. You, the person sitting next to this new species of cyborg, are irrelevant; actually, you don’t even exist.

Buses, too, have now installed televisions and wi-fi, and predictably people now no longer talk there either. I recall riding the Greyhound Bus on long trips up and down the West Coast and making some wonderful friends in the pre-television and pre wi-fi days.

Coffeeshops, bars, and restaurants used to be places where one could meet a stranger and start up a conversation, especially if one of you was reading a book. A glance at the front cover of a book was always an easy introduction into a chat. “That book looks interesting. I’ve heard of that author but have never read anything by her. Is it good?” Your interest in the book, and literature in general, was usually sufficient to show that you were not a creep and could hold a reasonably decent intellectual conversation. These days, nobody brings books into cafes or restaurants. It’s all about the smartphone now and no one is going  to ask you what you are looking at on your phone. Furthermore, when people read books, although they were concentrating, they were still present in the here-and-now world. Not so with the smartphone. The iphone and its ilk draw people deep into a cyberworld, an alternate reality. People lose all awareness of the real world. They don’t know who is sitting in front of, next to, or behind them, and don’t care.

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Because of the addictive nature of the smartphone, people, especially the young, have an extremely difficult time putting it down for even a few minutes. Hence, even if you are able to punch through their psychic wall and begin a conversation, it will inevitably peter out in a short time. The phone being held tightly in the palm of the hand begs to be used. It is insistent. If the conversation lulls for any reason, the one holding the smartphone will start texting or browsing the web and the talk is done. Finished.

Look at people today waiting at a bus stop for the bus to arrive. Look at the poor, lonely souls waiting in the queue at the supermarket or at the bank. Are they talking? No. They are checking their facebook or instagram. Look at the friends and families sitting in cars at traffic lights. Talking to each other? No- all looking at their phones. I used to work at an office where everyone would take their lunch tray back to their desk to  eat while watching youtube. Nobody was interested in sitting at a table and eating with friends and engaging in that age-old ritual called ‘conversation.’