Sunday, October 23, 2005

Mongrels At The Gate Posted by Picasa

Mix It Up

According to Harpers Index there's a new blog created every second. So it's probably only a matter of time before everyone has a blog. There's something odd about writing posts here for an intended audience who don't spend much discretionary time on the Internet. And maybe I'll have to wait a long time to read blogs by my friends.

I'm surprised I compose mostly in the word processing client that blogger provides; rather different from my habit of writing offline, except for email. My posts are too long. What luck! there's a good way of handling too many too long posts for all of us too busy people.

One good way to read blogs is to read them in a reader. I'm quite computer-challenged so I don't really understand this. But on the sidebar is an icon for bloglines. If you click on that you can sign-up for a reader which where you can read the feeds from multiple blogs--there are many other readers of course. Another feature of bloglines is a handy subscription link so when you find interesting blogs you can subscribe to the feed with just a click of the mouse. In the reader you'll see short feeds of the recent posts in your subscribed blogs. When something seems interesting you can click to read the whole post.

I read about a half-dozen blogs daily and have links to them bookmarked. I've also subscribed to some blog feeds with the too easy to subscribe feature of bloglines. Somewhere along the line I subcribed to Marginal Revolution economist/author Tyler Cowen's blog. It's wonderful, but I have no memory of how I happened upon the blog. Although Cowen has written several books, I hadnt read any of them or even heard of him.

I won't go on about Tyler Cowan except to mention that he's written about the mixing of cultures through commercial culture. I was reminded about that because last night I went to the Safari Club in the Strip District. Saturdays are African Nights and last night was all about Zambian Independence Day--or was it Gambian?

I occasionally use the term African American for black American, but it's a tricky term. Last night there were plenty of Africans in the house at Safari and African American probably would suit some of them just fine. There were also black Americans in the house and probably some of them would like the mantle too, others would ask: "Why can't we be just American?"

In a forum lately discussing "political correctness" a poster wrote:

I was at a pool party once, sitting at a table with 5 white guys. One guy made a witty comment, something like, "Don't mess with me! I'm German!" -- or something like that, and the next thing you know, they were asking each other about their backgrounds. I watched and listened as each guy at the table was asked about his ethnic background -- except me.

So, just as the conversation was shifting to another topic, I said "Why didn't anyone ask me about my ethnic background?" An awkward silence followed. So I continued. Each of my mom's parents had a black parent and a white parent. The white parents' backgrounds were Irish, French, and German. The black parents were of Cherokee and African ancestry.

...So I'm just as much a "mutt" as some of the other guys at the table were. But no one even thought to ask me about my background, because, well, isn't black just "black"?

Something I like best about Americans is that we're all mixed up, "mongrel" is a term used by historian Ann Douglas pointed out by Caetano Veloso in his story about Tropicalisimo Tropical Truth Veloso critiques Samuel Huntington's Clash Of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order The short version of his critique is America is less the zenith of white European culture and more the antithesis of it.

Black isn't just black. The frustration so many Africans have about Americans is they seem to think Africa is a country. That we as Americans are so often oblivious to our own multiple origins contributes to our stereotypes we'd to well to transcend.

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