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jonza
04-02-2003, 02:33 PM
Some reflections on life in The Dog House

I am not a person who usually participates in political discussions, but like most people I have very strong views about the state of the world today. Since Karen & Paul introduced the Dog House, I considered this a suitable place to air my views. One thing that is very important for me is the right to freedom of expression, and the toleration of political satire as it is practised in most democratic societies.
I am English by birth, but have lived most of my life in other European countries. I was brought up with the Goon Show and Monty Python and other such satirical programs, so when I see the articles by Terry Jones, I consider them relevant and acceptable political satire. Unfortunately, I was rather thoughtless, my timing was not good, and I should have taken into account that many Pet Talkers have relatives and loved ones in a very dangerous situation. Funnily enough, my original intention was to make fun of Tony Blair, and definitely not the American people, or even the American administration for that matter. In order to try and regress this situation and get a bit of balance, I posted some nasty(?) jokes about the French. This didn’t seem to help at all, but just made matters worse!

I am not just totally against the Coalition invasion of Iraq, that is presumably a very unpleasant task which has to be done, and the Americans were the only ones prepared to do it. It is at least very pleasing to see that the Coalition forces are acting so humanely and intelligently in their implementation of this awful task. For that they should be praised.
Many of you may well consider me “unpatriotic” for leaving my country of birth and settling elsewhere. I would prefer to be just a citizen of the world, I’m afraid I’m not too keen on extreme patriotism, nationalism or any other ‘ism.. Extremism in anything is for me a negative and dangerous thing. I would prefer that my views were not coloured by my background and roots, but try and get a wider, more balanced perspective on things. This is VERY difficult, and I would not presume to be especially good at it. I would also like to point out that although I now live in a small, insignificant country, it is one of the few that has actually sent men and materials to actively help the Coalition forces. OK, just a submarine and a Corvet, but we are only small and insignificant after all. That suits my mentality best. We can’t all be the biggest or the best.

I am more worried about the long term implications of all this. When the White House starts to imply that America will in future decide how the world should be run, I start to get worried. It is an undeniable fact that America is the greatest economic power in the world, and that that power is sometimes used to impose Americas’ views on other cultures. There is nothing new in this, it has happened all through our history. I was brought up to believe in the great “British Empire” and how good it was and how it helped so many under developed societies, but with a more mature, critical view, I can see how much damage that sort of thinking has done to the world in the long run. Many of the disputes in the world today can be traced back to British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch etc. politicians haphazardly deciding on the borders of countries from a political point of view, with no respect for the cultural or religious principals of the people involved. This is quite obvious in the Middle East and Africa.

The American ideal seems to be that everything has to go as fast as possible and that big is better. I do not contribute to that view, and feel that we should give ourselves more time to think things out and make better, more balanced and objective decisions about the future of this increasingly complicated and confusing world. We can all bring up “facts” that support our point of view, but they are in reality just drops in the ocean, and can easily be refuted by other “facts”. Seen from afar, perhaps superficially, America seems to be motivated by gross commercialism, infantile TV advertising (up to 30% of the viewing time!), arrogance, egoism and conflicts of interest. There’s so much HYPOCRICY out there, and I don’t mean just in America.

Is it true for example that “Mr Bush and his chums want this to be an exclusively US business. They're only allowing American companies to bid for the Ł640 million worth of reconstruction planned”? And is this true - “What's more the UN won't continue its humanitarian aid (which currently feeds 60% of Iraqis) because the yanks will insist on US troops delivering it”? I don’t know, probably not, but it sounds ominous to me, and even if they refute this, my experience tells me that there is no guarantee that it won’t happen anyway. That’s politics as far as I can see.

And then there is the PNAC: “PNAC's stated aims are: to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests, to achieve "a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad, to increase defence spending significantly, and to pursue America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles."
I’m sorry, I don’t care what you think about me, but I do not like the sound of that at all.

Freedom of speech?
I noticed that there was a post about the Dixie Chickens and their singers silly comments. I can understand that people get annoyed when their entertainers say stupid unpatriotic things about their country or president, but isn’t the following a bit over the top?
Quote: Although Maines has since apologized for her comments, she is still being fiercely criticized by patriotic country music fans. In fact, the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a resolution last month that requires the group to put on a free concert for the troops as recompense.
This doesn’t seem to show any tolerance for freedom of speech to me, and being upset is no excuse. I hope I have misunderstood something.

In reality, it isn’t possible to have a really productive discussion about such matters, since nobody has all the facts, and none of us can see into the future. So we must try to stop being personal, just try to discuss matters in a neutral, objective light … and that is by no means easy!

It was definitely not my intention to show any lack of respect for this great site. Thank you Karen & Paul, please keep up the good work!.

By the way, perhaps we should rename The Dog House “The Hornets Nest”! That’s what I seem to have poked my finger into.

john

”How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will” Albert Einstein

mugsy
04-02-2003, 02:47 PM
Thank you for the explanation John. That took a lot to do. You sure did cover a lot too!! :)

I do agree that South Carolina kind of went overboard by passing that resolution, but I love the idea of the alternate concerts....that's freedom of speech at it's best.

RICHARD
04-02-2003, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by jonza
Some reflections on life in The Dog House

America seems to be motivated by gross commercialism, infantile TV advertising (up to 30% of the viewing time!), arrogance, egoism and conflicts of interest. There’s so much HYPOCRICY out there, and I don’t mean just in America.


[/i]


let's see, monty python, fawlty towers and that guy that chases the half clad women.....benny hill!!!!! infantile tv programming!
peh! catspit!!!!

arrogance??

in the US we have a saying, IT AIN'T BRAGGING IF YOU CAN DO IT.
egoism, naw....

freedom of speech is a big one around here also!!!!!

dude,

first of all, when you lead with your head, you'll find out that that is the first thing that you encounter is hard objects!!!!!!

conflict on interest? you make it sound like we are only interested in conflicts.

NO disrespect meant-

walk into a room and start saying things like, "hey that wallpaper sucks", or "what crappy carpet"........get the idea???

we are pretty tolerant until someone rattles the cage....

hornet's nest????????

geez, who wasn't paying attention when they stuck their hand out?????

actually, i rather enjoy everyones right to make their point known.

it's great comedy when people hit themselves in the head and
shoot from the hip.

(shoot from the hip is a term that comes from those AMERICAN COWBOY movies, kinda like a 'Hey, I'm bad, watch me shoot without aiming........do they have cowboy movies in denmark???)


hugs!

Logan
04-02-2003, 03:02 PM
John,
Thank you for your honest and insightful post. Since I am the one who posted about the Dixie Chicks and I live in South Carolina, I thought I would let you know that I thought the resolution went a bit too far too. I just thought the alternative concert was a good idea, especially knowing that all the profits will go to help military families.
It's not a hornet's nest.........it's just a few of us, expressing our thoughts and feelings. It gets a bit "hairy" at times, but so does the real dog house!! Since we don't have a dog house, then I should say "our house"!!
Logan :)

momoffuzzyfaces
04-02-2003, 03:04 PM
I will admit to wondering what Tony Blair had done to YOU! He doesn't seem to be on your list of top 10 favorite people!:D

RICHARD
04-02-2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by jonza
[b]I would also like to point out that although I now live in a small, insignificant country, it is one of the few that has actually sent men and materials to actively help the Coalition forces. OK, just a submarine and a Corvette, but we are only small and insignificant after all. That suits my mentality best. We can’t all be the biggest or the best.






by the way.......what kind of corvette? the 68 stingrays are kinda cool!!!


(don't be so serious! :) ask anyone who's been in the US and they'll tell you that we are a fun loving, generous country that love fast food and fast cars !!!)

Edwina's Secretary
04-02-2003, 03:38 PM
Jonza,

How long did it take you to learn Danish?

Soledad
04-02-2003, 05:23 PM
Wow. Great contribution, John.

Too bad we're still getting a bunch of scatalogical nonsense from RICHARD. You'd think such an intelligent and considered response could be met with more coherent arguments.:rolleyes:

04-03-2003, 04:42 AM
Thanks for this, John!! You said it all purrfectly!!
CONGRATS!!!

from Lut, living in one of the smallest countries in the world. In history, we learned that Julius Ceasar said: " The Belgians are the bravest among the "Galls" " I am proud to be a Belgian!!!

Cataholic
04-03-2003, 12:05 PM
Jonza,
I didn't really see that you did anything different than anyone else, and I, for one, wasn't offended by anything you did. I think we all are a bit sensitive right now, and I think I would just forget about it. The only 'ism I like is FISTERISMS!!!

jonza
04-04-2003, 12:16 PM
Thanks for all your replies, both positive and negative. (But not the threatening, incoherent ones).

Well Sara, as far as the languages go, here’s the long answer:
I left England in 1961 and went to work in Germany. We hadn’t had German in school, so I bought an ancient German grammar book at a flea market (written in Gothic script!) and studied it for about 3 months. When I got to Frankfurt, I worked for 2 months with an American company (Jeppesens), then got a job with the German company BV Aral designing gas stations. I didn’t have a lot of problems with the language. I moved on from there to Paris, and although I’d had 5 years of French in school, I found it much more difficult than German. (Pity, it’s a much nicer language!) My original intention was to move back to England for a year, save up some money, and go to Japan. While living in Paris one of my friends visited me, and had a correspondence with a Scottish guy living in Copenhagen. He invited me up for two weeks holiday, so I took my suitcase, took to the road and hitch hiked to Denmark. Copenhagen was indeed a lovely place to be in the early sixties, I was very impressed by the Danes’ open, friendly tolerance, and not least the great jazz clubs and charming ladies! I used to say that it was as close to civilisation as I could expect to get!
Since the wage levels were higher in Denmark, I decided to find a job and work in Denmark before continuing to Japan. I had arrived on a Sunday afternoon, was lucky enough to get myself an interview on Wednesday, and started work the following day. Things were a lot, lot easier then! Time passed, and after about a year and a half, I decided I’d better start consciously learning a bit of the language. To my surprise, I found I could already manage quite well, and it has not been much of a problem. I have more problems explaining myself in English than Danish nowadays, I even dream in Danish! The unfortunate side effect of this was that I forgot most of my German. But my my, those were good days!
After about 4 or 5 years in Denmark, I realised that I wasn’t going anywhere from here, so 40 years later, here I sit. I never did get to Japan, but I’m still hoping!
We love travelling in Southern Spain nowadays, and I really would like to learn more Spanish, but it just will not stick anymore. Luckily Randi is competent in Spanish, so at least I have the advantage of having an interpreter with me.

Re: Tony Blair
Ah that’s a hard one! I suppose I was in opposition by leaving, and have never had much respect for the majority of politicians. If I had been in England when Maggie Thatcher was reigning, I would definitely have left post haste. The problem with Tony Blair for me is (among many other things) the “spin doctors” and PR methods that he uses, and the fact that he does tend to act like George Bushes’ little lap dog.

… and you’re right Cataholic, I think I’d better get back to working on “Fisterisms” instead, I’m not very good at political discussions and shouting matches. Talking about Fister is much more productive and much more fun! :D

john

Logan
04-04-2003, 12:29 PM
It really is more fun to talk about our pets, isn't it? I read everywhere, just don't feel up to the task of trying to participate uin some of these discussions where I feel very inferior in fact and knowledge.

Looking forward to more and more Fister discussions, along with those of all the other pets!

Logan

cali
04-04-2003, 04:28 PM
good post jonza! I completly agree with everything you said! and obviosly dont agree with a single thing RICHARD said ;)

yorkster
04-06-2003, 08:13 PM
Originally posted by RICHARD


freedom of speech is a big one around here also!!!!!

dude,

first of all, when you lead with your head, you'll find out that that is the first thing that you encounter is hard objects!!!!!!

conflict on interest? you make it sound like we are only interested in conflicts.

NO disrespect meant-

we are pretty tolerant until someone rattles the cage....

actually, i rather enjoy everyones right to make their point known.


it's great comedy when people hit themselves in the head and
shoot from the hip.

(shoot from the hip is a term that comes from those AMERICAN COWBOY movies, kinda like a 'Hey, I'm bad, watch me shoot without aiming........do they have cowboy movies in denmark???)




DUDE,

I think you're kinda rude , Richard.

RICHARD
04-08-2003, 01:09 AM
im sorry that you had to find out that i was rude this way...

the doctors gave me 6 months to a year to recover.....

i'm so, so, so.........*boo hooo*






can we still be friends?????

yorkster
04-08-2003, 02:41 AM
actually, I had already heard all about you Richard.

RICHARD
04-08-2003, 12:10 PM
then make up you mind then.

either i'm rude or kinda rude......


i hate it when people pigeonhole me half ways......


talk about wishy washy....

catland
04-08-2003, 02:31 PM
I was kind of-sort of going to say, hey, welcome back Richard, it sure has been quiet around here... but now I'm not sure;)

RICHARD
04-08-2003, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by catland
I was kind of-sort of going to say, hey, welcome back Richard, it sure has been quiet around here... but now I'm not sure;)


it's rude not to talk to people when they challen.....
ah, talk to you.:D


yours,


til thursday!

rich

Logan
04-08-2003, 03:00 PM
I really do welcome you back, Richard! Your wit has been missed!!! :D

momoffuzzyfaces
04-08-2003, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by RICHARD

yours,


til thursday!

rich
How come you are only Catland's until Thursday?:D

RICHARD
04-08-2003, 05:14 PM
Originally posted by momoffuzzyfaces
How come you are only Catland's until Thursday?:D



(i am trying to stick to my word and it's so hard.....plus i belong to
all of you.......no, no controversy until thursday......)

catland
04-08-2003, 06:38 PM
Originally posted by momoffuzzyfaces
How come you are only Catland's until Thursday?:D


Cuz I'm special:D :p :rolleyes:

momoffuzzyfaces
04-08-2003, 07:02 PM
Originally posted by catland
Cuz I'm special:D :p :rolleyes:
:D LOL! I'm sure you are! It just sounded funny that he was only yours until Thursday. :D