“Mom! You’re Breaking the 4th Wall!”

I have a friend, Becky — (Hi, Becky!) — who describes herself as an ex-hippie.  She dislikes representations of violence, and wouldn’t buy her son video games.

Becky told me today that when he was old enough, her son bought a copy of “Grand Auto Theft.”  She could hear it and wasn’t too happy about it, but it wasn’t against the rules and she let it slide.

Then one day, he had his high-school friends over.  They were all playing Grand Theft Auto, and laughing in a rowdy way.  So she decided she had to do something.

She went to the room.  On the TV there was a little old lady crossing the street.  Her son was at the controls, and he ran her over.  And all the kids laughed.

Becky demanded, “Did you just run that lady over?  Why would you do that to her?  You probably killed her!”  — and continued in this way for about fifteen minutes, as they passed the controller around.

Finally, her son turned it off and said, “Ok, ok, will you just go?”

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Loving thy neighbor

Well, I went to church today.  Not something I normally do, but I’m looking for people who (a) speak English, and (b) aren’t here for the drugs and hookers.

Christians are kind of weird, and especially these guys. 

I also paid my rent today.  I gave it to the Grandma who appears to run the joint.  I wanted her to sign a receipt in my notebook.  She didn’t understand, and the 20-something girl with her didn’t understand either.  She went to get another girl, who was probably 17 or so.

She came out in her PJs.  I explained I wanted a signature.  She looked it over, explained it in Khmer to the other two, and after much nodding and chatter, signed it.  Then, after a discussion with Grandma, she asked me, “Do you want to come to my room?”

I smiled and said it was okay.  She walked away without another word.  (Hey, sorry.)  Then the other girl offered me a ride to town on her motorbike, which I pretended not to understand; I don’t know why.  I think at that point I was just trying to be consistent.

Published in: Uncategorized on January 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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realization: Why the meek shall inherit the Earth…

I meditate quasi-regularly.  Not nearly as disciplined about it as I ought to be.  I realized today, at the end of my meditation, why it is that the meek shall inherit the Earth.

The reason is: (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on December 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Comments (2)  
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Health Care: Making a Killing in the Free Market

In general, this blog isn’t about politics.  But let me get this straight–

The Problem

America has about the best medical technology in the world, and the best doctors, and we have about the worst citizen’s health in the first world.  Because we allow insurance companies to suck sick people dry, chew them up, and spit them out.  In some cases, ambulences take sick people without health insurance out of hospitals and drop them off on a curb in the slums.  Old people smuggle legal drugs in from Canada.

Rationing

Now the Republicans tell us that if we were to change this, we would be rationing health care.  Because what we have now isn’t “rationing.”  Currently we give health care to — we treat — people who can afford it.  People who can’t afford it, we don’t.  And that’s not “rationing” because (more…)

Published in: Uncategorized on September 2, 2009 at 10:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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Problems with Face

Cultures are generally complex, and I’m not interested in rating them, in saying one is superior to the other.  But I am interested in that kind of cultural troubleshooting which is so popular in the West, and which is done by both progressives and conservatives.

And in my reading of biographies written by U.N. social workers, I’m noticing a pattern.

Something inexplicible happens, very often, when young women and girls enter into prostitution.  A little over a third of the time, I seem to notice this pattern.

The girl — I’ll stick with that term because they’re very rarely of age — is tricked or forced into sex-work.  She’s promised work as a seamstress in another village for good money, and then shipped to a brothel; or she’s abducted; or she chooses to prostitute herself because she needs money, often to pay for medical treatment for a sick parent.

Sometimes her madam, who might be an aunt or other relative, pays her monthly as a means of keeping her dependant; and then sometimes refuses to pay her at the end of the month, or doesn’t pay the agreed wage.

Sometimes, she’s just molested or raped, and it has nothing to do with money.

After that, what we’ll call the initial contact, she very often may escape the (usually exploitative) situation and return home.  Then, inexplicably, she starts looking for work as a prostitute. (more…)

Rifqa Bary’s Interview

I have a strong suspicion that this kid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0P5IaIE_LI

is lying. And the way she hangs on that guy — who I’m guessing is Lorenz, the married conservative Christian church leader to whose household she fled and in which household she was secretly sequestered during a frantic search for her by officials and her parents — there’s something about the way she hangs on that guy I don’t like.

It is technically true that anyone who converts out of Islam (an apostate) is supposed to be killed, but it isn’t done much in the first world. I imagine that when it is done, in modern society, the motivations wouldn’t be purely theological, but it would be the culmination of a domestic dispute.

But, be that as it may, this kid is very close to being incoherent. Her hysteria looks put-on. While I think some of the social norms of Islam are a big problem for secular society — they may be actually incompatible with our version of civilization — it looks to me like she’s playing to mainstream bias against Muslims.

She may have good reason to want to get away from her parents; but it doesn’t look to me like she’s being straight about them.

Also she looks like a wingnut. I can see the parents might not be too pleased.

And, for what it’s worth, I’ve met a few people with profoundly deep faith in Christ. None of them behaved like that.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  
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