Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Festivus for the Rest of Us, The Kwanzaafication Factor

The Leap into True Communication

Racism is ugly.

espect and Truth

Yesterday's post drew a couple of comments that deserve a detailed response, so here it is. Basically, my feeling is that whenever a White criticizes anything to do with anything Black, the whole burden of history is laid on his/her back.

Despite our society's penchant for calling Whites racist who criticize Blacks or, again, anything to do with Blacks or Black culture, this should not deter anyone from being honest. This blog is about truth. I don't write the blog to be loved. I don't write it to be politically correct. I write it to tell the truth. If you want me to patronize you, you're at the wrong blog.

I owe you, my Reader, whether you are White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, whatever, only two things: respect, and the truth. I respect you, but I can only treat you as an equal, which is what I want to do, by speaking what for me is the truth. I'm not like the patronizing liberals who tell you everything you want to hear. I tell it like it is. You can handle it. You are adults, and we need to battle these things out, with words. Here are my comments to Anonymous from yesterday's post about Kwanzaa.

Dear Anonymous

Anonymous, thanks for your comments. You said:

My man, I have to take serious exception to your criticisms of Kwanzaa, not due to your opinions of course, but due to your gross misunderstandings of the holiday.

I'm willing to listen, although I got my info directly from Wickepedia, among other sources, hardly a conservative source, and usually accurate.

1. "The emphasis ought to be on being Americans." Would you tell an American Jew that the emphasis of Hanukah celebrations in America "ought to emphasize being American?" or that they should speak in English during their prayers rather than Hebrew?

Actually, I do have issues with any sect totally walling themselves off from others. I've seen orthodox religious of all religions do this. Of course I want to be tolerant and let people behave as they want. On the other hand, I think it would be ideal if people could both practice their individuality and separateness, plus contribute to society as a whole, and to the country they live in.

Racism ought NOT exist and had America as a whole been kinder towards Black people historically, this wouldn't be an issue. Kwanzaa emphasizes the celebration of African heritage, not a separation from America.

In the interest of fairness, I'm open to hearing this. I sense otherwise, though. It appears that the prevailing belief among some Blacks is that Whites are so bad that they need to insulate themselves from them. As I said, which you seem to ignore, Kwanzaa does seem to have many beautiful things about it, and these I applaud.

Eyes on the Prize

2. It wasn't/isn't African Americans who had/have a misunderstanding of e pluribus unam. Remember the 60's now- the fire hoses, the German Shepards, the fire bombings, the KKK, the impossible poll tests, the segregation, the economic oppression, lynchings, etc, etc, etc. At a time when most Black people were actively TRYING to become equal partners in American society and live out the true meaning of "e pluribus unam" it was racist/prejudice White people and American GOVERNMENTS at the federal, state and local levels who fought vehemently to keep us separate and socially/economically disenfranchised.

Hey, you've identified yourself a bit, as African-American, which I like. I understand what you're saying, but I think things have changed dramatically in the U.S., and that Blacks actually had a better way of seeing the world back then. Unfortunately, you're right—this better attitude I remember and see on all the news footage, movies, shows, etc. got "beaten" out of much of the Black race in America. They gave up or changed tactics, more towards Malcolm X and away from Martin Luther King. These tactics worked, but they are no longer useful. I also don't think there is any further use for seeking out racism everywhere anymore either. Things have changed.

The need for certain organizations grows and wanes, depending on the threat. We don't so much need to separate ourselves anymore. That maybe was good for a time. Now, it has the opposite effect—making things worse.

FestivusA Holiday for the Rest of Us

Kwanzaa is not a "movement" nor is it separatist. The holiday came about to instill historical pride and forge a culturally African holiday tradition that had up to that point been missing from Black homes. You and 98% of the White people living in the US can trace your family ancestry to a specific country of origin and relate to it's culture in some way, even visit distant relatives in Europe if you want. You have the CHOICE to celebrate a Polish/Irish/Italian/English/German version of holiday traditions if you wish and take historical pride in it, but for 98% of Black people that's not even an option. Kwanzaa and it's African traditions are the closest Black people will come to a "traditional" holiday celebration.

Black people are welcome to participate in Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, the Fourth of July, and even President's Day. They can even drink green beer on St. Patrick's Day. They are welcome at all our holidays. These holidays are their holidays. If not, then I guess we ought to have "White" holidays too, just for Whites. Kwanzaa, though, as I've said, is welcome. If any group wants a holiday, that is their right. We all need a Festivus I guess, for the rest of us.

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It's sad to think that I have to judge my worth based on knowledge of my ancestors. My ancestors were English, and Irish, and German. Some English, Irish and Germans were good, but some of them weren't. I don't even know their customs anymore, and if it weren't for the fact that I am a writer and filmmaker, I could care less.

My self-worth comes from being productive and living a good life, and contributing to society, to Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and all of the people. Somebody handed you a bill of goods by making you think you need to know your roots in order to be fully human. You are fully human because you are a child of God, just like me; or, if you aren't religious, you are fully human because you are a child of the universe. Being Black is nice, but it shouldn't mean that you are more human knowing where you came from. I don't even know where my ancestors lived. Does that affect my life? I don't think so.

I paid to have a DNA test conducted to find MY specific heritage (read 4/18 and 4/19 on my blog archive) but ask ANY Black person what their country of origin is and you will get a look of dismay and scorn because most don't know and probably never will. That my friend, is something you will NEVER understand or relate to.

What blog archive? You sign as Anonymous and there is no link to your site.

Getting your DNA checked? Sounds a bit racist to me. I guess I should have my "White" DNA roots checked too. I guess that will make me a better person knowing what percentage "White" I am and exactly where my "White" ancestors lived. You are the one obsessed with color, my friend, and genes. I don't mind the scientific recent best guess that every human on earth now is genetically related to one female, nicknamed "Eve", who was, yes, you guessed it—African American. So, Anonymous, it's official. MY ROOTS ARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN, but I don't know from which village exactly.

Plus, my friend, I could care less what country I originated from. Yes, it's interesting to me to see things about the Irish, the English, and the Germans, but so what? I wouldn't die if nobody ever told me I had these three origins. I'm an American. I'm a Hoosier from Indiana. I'm a member of the human race.

Evil, Racist America

Though you believe that it was established to "create a unified society", it did so by SEPARATING White settlers from Native Americans, and using a SEPARATED enslaved African population to create a strong economy, at one point considering a slave only three-fifths of a human. How horribly were Asians treated in the early 1800's? It was "unified" if you were part of the White majority, but you were thought of as virtually less than human otherwise.

Our country was, like most countries on the planet at the time, involved in slave holding. Blacks in Africa were kidnapping Blacks to sell to the White traders. Those were evil men, those White AND Black slave traders.

The United States fought a war to end slavery, and this war was preceded by millions of Americans who voiced their opposition to slavery. Instead of being a rogue nation at the time, we were actually one of the first to fight to end slavery.

You paint a broad brush about Whites, which, if I'm not mistaken, is the definition of racism. My ancestors, as you would like me to think about—did not even live in America at the time of slavery. Yet, I am painted with your broad brush when you talk about "Whites." My family, as much as I know, was always pretty decent to people of all races.

Remember Those Who Fought and Died for You

In fact Kwanzaa was established just two years after the Civil Rights Act made it illegal to discriminate against people based on religion, race and gender. Mathematically, it took nearly 200 years to lay just the groundwork for a "unified" country. How quickly we forget history....

Yes, you're right. You forget the Abolitionists. You forget the people who died to end slavery. You forget the White Civil Rights workers in the 50's who stood right alongside Martin Luther King, and those that gave up their lives. You forget what your greatest leader said, that you should judge a man by the content of his character rather than by the color of his skin. You do forget quickly.

Historical Context

You're taking the seven principals of Kwanzaa and applying them to a modern context. These principals were created in the 1960's and I don't think I need to remind you what foul types of things were happening to Black people in the 1960's. The "philosophy" was rooted in the idea that the government was not protecting Black peoples' rights, nor supporting Black causes but was actively usurping them and it was up to the community to protect itself culturally, economically and socially. American society was for the most part treating the Black population as a separate group so Karenga sought to make that population as vibrant as possible.

Finally a position we can agree on. Yes, that's exactly my point. Both the NAACP and Kwanzaa were necessary at one time, and maybe still are—but things have changed, and both these manifestations of the golden era of the Civil Right's Movement need to grow and change.

Unity of Whom?

Despite this, Karenga made the FIRST principal Umoja which "strives for and maintain unity in the family, community, NATION and race." He wasn't talking about Nigeria, Togo, and Ghana, he was talking about the USA.

What community was he talking about? What nation? What race?

Racism Today

Again, Anonymous, thanks for your passion and your comments, but I sense the racism is coming from comments like yours, and not from questions about Kwanza. I am not calling you a racist, as I don't want to get personal, and you have avoided calling names, which I respect. I just think your comments reveal an attitude about "Whites," which to me is a racist way of looking at things.

Most "Whites" are good people, not racist, including their ancestors, like mine, and had nothing to do with slavery. As much as you might imply, we don't inherit guilt. If we inherit guilt, then we also inherit merit—so, we inherit the spirit of Lincoln and the Abolitionists.

America is a nation in progress. It is a living evolution. We've come a long way. Now is the time for the kind of attitude Blacks had in the fifties. Now America is ready for it. It's time to stop wallowing in the past and get to work building a better society.

Them Versus Us

Keep Kwanzaa; it's a good thing. There are a lot of wonderful things about it, as I said. The rituals, the African roots, the laughter, dance and song, these are all great. Anything that adds beauty to life is from God.

I'm not talking about these. I'm just commenting on the "them versus us." There's no need for this anymore.

Just please stop branding all Whites as racists and at least consider the idea of joining with us in fighting to battle injustice, and continuing to make this great nation of ours even greater.

America at the Vanguard

Instead of condemning America as past and present racist, consider the idea that America was at the vanguard in the evolutionary leap away from slavery, and away from racism. All peoples on the face of the earth, not just America, owned slaves at one time in their history. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and yes, Africans—Black Africans—owned slaves. It has always been wrong.

Finally, one nation, the United States of America, did something about it. We fought the longest, bloodiest war in our history to end it. I'm proud of this.

People shed their blood to get us where we are now. In the space of 200 years we came from slave holding to the Civil Rights movement. Then, in the space of fifty years, from the 1950's until now, we advanced from the water hoses and dogs to African-American Secretaries of Defense and State and a presidential candidate in the next election—one who has a fair chance of winning. Open your eyes. Things have changed.

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How to Succeed in America Today

Let me tell you the "Secret of Success in America" in the 21st century.
You take any man or woman—any man or woman—put him/her in good looking clothes, put a smile on his/her face, have them talk intelligently and respectfully, have them study and work hard; then—I guarantee you—I bet you my life savings on it—that this man or woman will succeed—REGARDLESS OF COLOR.

Have that same man or woman wear sloppy clothes, earrings in their nose, tattoos, with a frown on his/her face, talking with bad grammar and disrespectfully, with a chip on their shoulder, avoiding study and hard work; then—I guarantee you—I bet you my life savings on it—that this man or woman will fail—REGARDLESS OF COLOR.

The only racism I see where I live these days, is reverse racism. I know this isn't true all over the nation, but it sure is in the media, including radio, TV, print, and most of the Internet; on the streets where I walk; and at the workplaces I frequent.

I hate racism period, reverse or forward. God does not approve of it, and neither do I.

Happy Kwanzaa.


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing and Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa starts today.

Happy Boxing Day and Happy start of Kwanzaa.

Boxing Day

is a British holiday on the day after Christmas, whose meaning and origin are varied, with one explanation being:
It was the day when people would give a present or Christmas 'box' to those who have worked for them throughout the year. This is still done in Britain for postmen and paper-boys - though now the 'box' is usually given before Christmas, not after.

See the article for further explanations.


celebrated December 26 to January 1, is explained in this video below if you are interested in a complete but concise explanation. The irreverent video at the top frame of this post, besides being entertaining, showing up all over the web, illustrates a point, which I'll get to at the conclusion of this post.

is a non-religious African American holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase 'matunda ya kwanza' which means 'first fruits' in Swahili. The kinara is the center of the Kwanzaa setting and represents the original stalk from which we came: our ancestry.

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(or Kwaanza) is a week-long Pan-African secular holiday primarily honoring African-American heritage. It is observed almost exclusively in the United States of America.

Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting and pouring of libations, and culminating in a feast and gift-giving. It was founded by Ron Karenga, and first celebrated from December 26, 1966, to January 1, 1967. Karenga calls Kwanzaa the African American branch of "first fruits" celebrations of classical African cultures.

The Seven Principles

or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle:
Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

These principles correspond to Karenga's notion that "the seven-fold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black.

Underlying these principles are Black pride, a return to roots, and unity.

The History of Kwanzaa

Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa in 1966. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Dr. Karenga searched for ways to bring African-Americans together as a community. He founded US, a cultural organization, and started to research African 'first fruit' (harvest) celebrations. Karenga combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations, such as those of the Ashanti and those of the Zulu, to form the basis of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa Celebrations

Common to the celebrations are song, dance, and African drums.
Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.

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First, God bless all of our African American brothers and sisters who are celebrating this holiday today. May you gain great joy from your family and friends with your festivities and rededicate your life to your purpose.


I see good and bad in the holiday.
The Good

I love ritual and believe that with the passing of time we have lost some of the meaning of rituals in our existence. With the rise of secularism in America, some of us have lost the great soothing of our Catholic or other rituals that used to fill our lives with meaning. Kwanzaa admirably fulfills this purpose.

The emphasis on family and unity in Kwanza cannot but be a positive thing.

The desire to leave communities more beautiful and beneficial is wonderful.

Plus, the general feeling of Kwanzaa appears to be joyful and celebratory. We humans need more of this, and Kwanzaa, like Christmas, is a fine exercise in good cheer, dance, song, and laughter.

The Bad

Kwanzaa is one of those movements that was born of black pride and separatism; and an expression of the storied multi-culturism, which is the politically correct liberal rage even today.

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Much of the emphasis on separateness, I believe, comes from a misunderstanding of e pluribus unam, on which our country was founded, whose meaning is out of the many, one. The multiculturalists have distorted the meaning to become out of one, many. In other words, our country was founded on the principle of unity among all our citizens, out of the many kinds of people we attract here. Our country was not founded on creating a separateness within our unity—rather, on creating a unity despite our differences.

The emphasis ought to be on being Americans. Fine, I know, Irish Americans and Polish Americans and German Americans take a great deal of pride, some of them, in their heritage and celebrations. This adds to the richness of life, as does Kwanzaa. On the other hand. the Irish, Polish, German et al Americans never strive to separate themselves from the rest of America. They don't dedicate their lives to just the welfare of their fellow Irish, Poles, or Germans.

In my social work days, I entered the homes of several Afro-centric homes, some of them that celebrate Kwanzaa. Though these were wonderful people, with great family structure, respect and dignity, hard-working, good Americans—I was struck by their insularity. All the pictures in the homes were of blacks—not just those of family members, but every piece of art and so on. It looked like the mirror-image of some white homes that seem to ban anything smacking of color from its walls.

Plus, despite the humanity and decency and religiosity emanating from these homes and people, I also got the feeling of an us versus them atmosphere. I even heard what to me were racist remarks at times. "Blacks have to be better than whites to succeed." "All black children will face misery in their lives." And so on. The assumption being that all whites are racist.

One other major criticism I have of Kwanzaa is that it is inner-directed to a fault. Every effort in a black's life is directed, by this philosophy, towards helping blacks—not towards helping whites and other races; not by helping their communities, just black communities; and not by helping America. In fact, it is directed at creating an enclave within America, without any connection or responsibility to society as a whole.

There are other criticisms of Kwanzaa which I won't go into, like its seeming promotion of communism, and so on.

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I remain of mixed feelings about Kwanzaa. I see much good in it, concerning family, ritual, joy, and heritage. I regret, though, that Kwanzaa seems to separate a group of people from the mainstream, rather than merely promote its individuality.

The irreverent video at the head of today's post shows how far the search for separateness can go. Some people, white and black, want to distinguish themselves by vulgarity, profanity, and crudeness. Some people make a good living at it. Others entertain us with it. The majority, though, of those who adopt it get stuck in lives of anger, without the possibility of joining in society, without the chance to rise economically, and with a mentality of us versus them that guarantees unhappiness.

God bless all of you who celebrate Kwanzaa, and may you have joyous days this holiday season for you.


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Who was Jesus?

Views of Jesus

Christian Perspective


also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity. He is commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, where "Christ" is a title derived from the Greek christos, meaning the "Anointed One", which corresponds to the Hebrew-derived "Messiah". The name "Jesus" is an Anglicization of the Greek Iesous, itself believed to be a transliteration of the Hebrew Yehoshua or Aramaic Yeshua, meaning "YHWH is salvation".

The main sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Most scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee, who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate under the accusation of sedition against the Roman Empire. A very small number of scholars and authors question the historical existence of Jesus, with some arguing for a completely mythological Jesus.

Christian views of Jesus center on the belief that Jesus is the Messiah as promised in the Old Testament and that he was resurrected after he died on a cross. Christians predominantly believe Jesus is God the Son who became incarnate to provide salvation and to reconcile humanity with God by atoning for the sins of humanity by his death.

Non-trinitarian Christians profess various other interpretations regarding his divinity and humanity. Other common Christian beliefs include his Virgin Birth, miracles, fulfillment of biblical prophecy, ascension into Heaven, and future Second Coming.


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Jesus as Myth

The Jesus Myth:
is a loose collection of ideas that have in common the central idea that Jesus of Christian belief did not exist as a concrete human historical personage. While generally associated with a skeptical position on the existence of Jesus as an actual historical figure, there is also a minority of modern Gnostic Christians who hold that Jesus is a myth. Regardless of their actual take on the existence of Jesus, mythicists in general view the Jesus narrative in and out of the New Testament as constructed fictions.

Historically, mythicists have held that the Jesus stories are syncretisms from older myths, but in modern times that view has fallen out of favor among mythicists. Modern mythicism now draws heavily on Bible scholarship and comparative religions, and is increasingly incorporating knowledge of early Hellenistic fiction techniques.

Currently mythicists fall into several major groups. One group, championed by Earl Doherty in The Jesus Puzzle, argues that the Christians originally saw Jesus in visions, and that apparent references to Jesus' earthly existence are misinterpretations of references to visions or later interpolations. Doherty has paid close attention to modern New Testament scholarship, and builds off its findings. This view finds its origin in the work of G. A. Wells.

A second view holds that all of Christianity is a second-century invention. It takes its cue from the 19th and early 20th century Dutch Radicals, who argued that the Pauline letters were fictions. The most well known modern proponent of this view is Hermann Detering, who has published several books. An important recent work of Detering's is The Falsified Paul: Early Christianity in the Twilight.

Yet another position, popular in the pre-WWII period, was that the Jesus stories are reworkings of earlier Near Eastern mythology. However, the scholarship that underpinned that view was primitive and shoddy, and it has gone into abeyance as modern New Testament and Ancient Near Eastern scholarship has exploded many of its claims.

Finally, a persistent position has been that Christianity was an invention of the Romans to suppress Judaism. The best-known modern proponent of that theory is Joseph Atwill , who argued in a recent work, Caesar's Messiah, that Jesus actually represents Titus, son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian. This view is considered fringe even among mythicists, who are considered fringe by mainstream New Testament scholarship.

Regardless of the particular views of a given mythicist, mythicism is driven by several perceived weaknesses in the current "Big Bang" view of Christianity as beginning with Jesus, including the paucity of extra-Christian testimony to the existence of Jesus, the perceived lack of data on Jesus' life in Paul, the knowledge that forgery was widespread in early Christianity (leading to suspicion about the early documents), and opposition to modern historicist Christianity.

Islamic view of Jesus

Islam holds Jesus:
to have been a messenger and a prophet of God and the Messiah (The concept of prophecy in Islam is broader than Judaism and Christianity since Muslims distinguish between "messengers" and "prophets". Unlike prophets, messengers are assured of success. All messengers are prophets but not vice versa) According to the Qur'an, Jesus was one of God's (Arabic Allah) most beloved messengers, a precursor to Muhammad, and was sent to guide the Children of Israel.

In Islam, Jesus (Arabic Isa) is considered one of Allah's most beloved and important prophets, a bringer of divine scripture, and also the Messiah. Muslims, however, do not share the Christian belief in the crucifixion or divinity of Jesus. Most Muslims believe that Jesus ascended to heaven, and will return to the earth as Messiah in the company of the Mahdi once the earth has become full of sin and injustice.

Judaism's View of Jesus

Judaism maintains that the notion of Jesus:
being a God, part of a Trinity, a Messiah, or a even a prophet, to be heresy. This view is shared by all Jewish denominations unequivocally. In Jewish eschatology the idea of the Messiah is so different from the Christian Christ that the slightest possibility that Jesus fulfilled any Messianic prophecies to embody the criteria for a Messiah has always been rejected. These statements and the rabbinic views derived there from present a specific picture of the indivisible Jewish steadfastness in rejecting Jesus as a God, Divine Being, an intermediary between humans and God, Messiah or saint.

The belief in the Trinity, as with many other central Christian doctrines, are held to be incompatible with Judaism. Very few texts in Judaism directly refer to or take note of Jesus.

As Jesus plays no role in the Jewish faith, doubting the historical existence of Jesus is completely compatible with Judaism. Based on a Talmudic tradition some rabbis believed that Jesus lived 130 years prior to the date that Christians believe he lived, contradicting the Gospels' account regarding the years.

Jesus - The Man

Jews believe that Jesus was a Jew who was born in Bethlehem, raised in Galilee, and killed in Jerusalem. Like other Jews in his day, Jesus spoke and wrote the Aramaic language. His own Aramaic name was Yeshua. Like other educated Jews in his day, he was faithful to the law of Moses, learned in Jewish scriptures and oral law, steeped in the spirit of the Pharisees (the leading religious teachers of his day), and expectant of the coming of the Messianic Era (which he called the "Kingdom of God"). In his day, many people called Jesus "rabbi."

Like other religious, nationalistic Jews before and after him, Jesus angered the Roman government.

According to the New Testament and the Christian church, Jesus is divine, the son of God, the Messiah. In sharp contrast, Jews believe Jesus was a man - period.

One Group of Jews Believes Jesus Was the Messiah

Jews for Jesus have a different view:

About Jesus, Jews have said:

"He was a good rabbi. He taught everyone to be nice to one another."

"He was a good Jew, but Paul made him into a god for the Gentiles."

"He got in trouble with the authorities and became a political martyr."

One thing is certain; after two thousand years, Jesus of Nazareth is still as controversial in the Jewish community as he was in the first century. Still, most hold to the traditional bottom line that whatever he was, he wasn't the expected Messiah.

Jews for Jesus begs to differ. We believe that Jesus was, and still is, who he claimed to be-the Messiah of Israel and of all nations. In this section, we present you with arguments for his Messiahship and respond to objections that you may have heard or raised. In this way, we join with those first-century Jews and Gentiles who found Jesus-in Hebrew, Y'shua-to be 'the way, the truth, and the life.'" One thing is certain; after two thousand years, Jesus of Nazareth is still as controversial in the Jewish community as he was in the first century. Still, most hold to the traditional bottom line that whatever he was, he wasn't the expected Messiah.

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Have a Blessed Christmas

Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha'i or any other religion, or atheists or Wiccans, may the spirit of Jesus touch you, and may you have a blessed Christmas.


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Slippery Eel

Merry Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, I found this funny great video above on a blog that I just discovered, from Nevada, Sunni Kay's RANTINGS, RAMBLINGS, AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS STUFF. I think you'll enjoy the blog as much as I, and you might get a laugh from the video.

Try Getting a Straight Answer from the Slippery Eel

andor is sadly missing.

Part of the reason that John Bolton was never confirmed as ambassador to the United Nations, and was roundly criticized, was that he spoke the truth. He was not a diplomat, some say. For example, he was not averse to criticizing the United Nations for its corruption.

Contrast this style with the new Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, who is called the Slippery Eel. I saw him on some of the morning talk shows this morning, and he deserves this sobriquet. He basically says nothing. He sounds like a Miss America contestant when she pronounces she is "for world peace."

Blunt versus Diplomatic

It appears to me that there is a difference at this time in history between these two styles within the two major parties. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks bluntly, a style I like, but of course I don't enjoy the things he says. Barack Obama, U.S. Senator from Illinois, the fifth African American Senator in U.S. history, is the diplomat, barely saying anything, but of course paying heed to the almighty liberal mantras. Senator Hillary Clinton from New York, kind of sways back and forth between being diplomatic and being blunt; again, a style I like, but I don't like her agenda.

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On the conservative side, Bush is the diplomat, barely communicating anything when he speaks, but sticking to his agenda always, which is one-eighth conservative and seven-eighth's liberal. (I do have to give him credit for holding the line on taxes and being resolute in Iraq.) The really blunt guy on the conservative side is Representative Tom Tancredo, from Denver, who is our champion against illegal immigration. Tancredo keeps getting re-elected, but he commands no national power base.

Pundits versus Politicians

This whole situation is interesting to me, as I see the outcomes for bluntness with politicians versus the outcomes with pundits are different. Politicians like Bolton and Tancredo don't seem to get rewarded much for being blunt. Pundits, though, like radio talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on the right, and media counterparts Al Franken and Keith Olberman on the left, seem to enjoy great popularity and to reap great wealth from their decisive stands.

I think that politicians don't benefit from their bluntness because they need a majority of voters to elect them. Bolton needed American support and world cooperation to be effective. He couldn't even get confirmed. Tancredo needs national support for his immigration policies, not just local interest.

The pundits don't need majorities in order to "win." They do perfectly well with niche markets. Rush and Savage get the hard-core conservatives, and Franken and Olberman the hard-core liberals.

As a result, I wind up liking Limbaugh, Savage, Franken and Olberman much more than I like the average politician. Rush, Michael, Al and Keith speak their minds, which is what I want in America.

I don't have a solution for this state of affairs, except I think you get what you deserve. I believe we ought to support more politicians who do speak their minds.

Crazy for Obama

I was all excited recently, like the rest of America, with Barack Obama. I am happy to see a black man seriously contend for the presidency. After all, he does not carry the same baggage as Democratic one-time black candidates Jesse Jackson nor Al Sharpton, two guys who do speak their minds, but unfortunately who are also demagogues.

Yet, as I hear more and more of what Barack says, I realize he is saying nothing. He is a diplomat. What's worse, he is a liberal diplomat—which means he will ultimately appease his base. He does not appear to have any great ideas, and continues to say zilch. How long can the excitement last? Is this still better than Sharpton? Yes, but not very inspiring.


My solution is this. I want politicians to be blunt enough to be real leaders. I want them to firmly believe in their political philosophies and take their chances with the voters. I favor Tancredo's solution. Say what you think and then let the voters decide. Yes, this means that Tancredo will forfeit any national stage for his ideas, and the Bolton's of the world will never get confirmed—but I prefer knowing where people stand than having them appease me but then later betray me when the voting on issues starts.

So, I prefer Howard Dean over Barack Obama; John Bolton over anyone they will appoint next; and Tom Tancredo over California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (another diplomat and appeaser to boot).

The Payoff for Bluntness

Yet, again, what is the payoff for bluntness? I won't vote for any Dean-like character, no matter how much I like their bluntness. I won't vote for any rabid liberal, nor for a demagogue of any party.

The only payoff for bluntness from me, then, is if you are a blunt conservative. Then, I will respect, admire, love and vote for you. I will be passionate about you. I am passionate about Tancredo. I am not passionate about Schwarzenegger. I am passionate about Dean, too. I passionately abhor the man.

Passion, that's the payoff for bluntness. Passion can get you elected, and move your agenda. It can also keep you from being confirmed. It's a double-edged sword.

The Leaderless U.N.

I'm glad the reign of the corrupt U.N. apologist Kofi Annan is over, but I'm sad we now have a diplomat taking his place, instead of a leader. And I'm sad to see John Bolton go.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

God bless you all and Merry Christmas.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Letters From Iwo Jima

Has William Munny forgotten Dirty Harry?

The Dangerous Liberal Impulse to Humanize Our Enemies

An American Master

Clint Eastwood is one of America's finest actors and directors; a master, an American treasure, and a favorite of mine. He has given us some of our best movies, and greatest characters on film, ranging from the High Plains Drifter to Dirty Harry; and directing masterpieces like The Unforgiven, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby.

Eastwood's Political Landscape

His gems have ranged the political landscape. He has portrayed iconic conservative characters, like Dirty Harry, but also ranged to portrayals that question the heroism of the manly values we used to cherish, as with his William Munny role in The Unforgiven.

Humanizing the Other Side

Letters From Iwo Jima is Clint Eastwood's companion piece to his masterpiece, Flags of Our Fathers. In Iwo Eastwood tells the story from the perspective of the Japanese, while in Flags he told it from the American point of view. In Letters From Iwo Jima, as in The Unforgiven and other films of his, Eastwood blurs our vision of good guys and bad guys. He does the very liberal thing of sympathetically getting inside the minds of our former enemies.

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I haven't seen the film, so I'm not here to praise nor criticize it. The reviews are mostly glowing. Even the reviews that are not effusive are still gushing with admiration that finally both sides of a WWII story are being told by an American. This includes, according to the reviews, that Eastwood ignores and never shows Japanese atrocities committed in that war, which were legend; but does depict on screen American atrocities, which were rare.

Leftist America-Hating

This makes me a bit uncomfortable. It is too close to the present American leftist myths that America is the bad guy, while all our enemies are good; in fact, according to the left, everyone on the planet are human and deserving of sympathy, except Americans and conservatives. Al-Queda have families too, but American soldiers are war criminals. Castro and Chavez deserve admiration, but Bush merits ridicule and scorn.

Our Enemies Have Families Too

Since I haven't seen the film, I don’t know if Eastwood promotes the myths I discussed above, but it appears that he may, at least on some level. I have no objection to portraying the truth, as you might guess. All of our enemies in all of our wars were human beings, with wives, children, cats and dogs. They all cared about their friends. Some of them were religious. They worried about taxes and mortgages. They honored their parents. Yes, they were human.

Good and Evil

Yet, they weren't saints either. They weren't the good guys while the Americans were the bad guys. There were whole segments of Germans and Japanese who did commit atrocities on a regular basis. Plus, the governments they were fighting for were perpetrating abominations on a daily basis. All this is part of the truth.

Fine, let's always understand that all the peoples on the face of the earth are human. They have their side of the story to tell too.

Yet, there still is good and evil, something the left cannot grasp. Dirty Harry knew this.

There are people on this earth who are scum. They don't have a human side to them.

Probably, most of the Japanese people, even in WWII, were good, honest, decent folks. Yet, some of them were not. Persons like Hitler and his gang, Mussolini, Stalin, and the Japanese leaders who ordered torture and death marches, were not very human. Nor were the followers who enthusiastically carried out their orders.

The same is true now about radical Muslims who behead, bomb babies, and fly airplanes into skyscrapers in the name of Allah and 72 virgins. There is no humanization for characters like this. There are not two sides to the story. America did not deserve this kind of inhumanity.

Perverted Liberal Impulses

I don't care if the terrorist has a wife and children, takes good care of his dog and cat, and sends money to his mother. If he kills in the name of Allah, and hates infidels to the point of wanting to exterminate them, he is an evil man. I don't want to hear his side of the story. I can guess it anyway. He grew up in a home that preached hatred; went to madrasahs that shouted that America is the great Satan; and read books written by the left, by Americans like Noam Chomsky.

The liberal impulse to humanize our enemies in war, demonize our own war efforts, and dehumanize our own leaders is perverted and upside down.

We Need You, Dirty Harry

Still, and again, and always, I don't mind hearing and seeing the truth. Mr. Eastwood's film may portray one essence of the truth in humanizing this group of Japanese soldiers on the island of Iwo Jima, who were stuck fighting what for them they knew was going to be a losing battle; that would end in their own deaths. Nothing can arouse our sympathies, mine included, more than this.

Yet, all I ask is, don't abandon your Dirty Harry entirely, Mr. Eastwood. Good and evil do exist, and there really is black and white in some cases. There truly are scum on the face of this planet, and they do deserve Magnum Force.

It's all right to question your gun slinging from time to time, otherwise you will be Unforgiven; yet there will be moments when you can do great good for your loved ones and the world, and be on the side of the good guys and God, when you look evil in the eye and say, "Go ahead, punk. Make my day."

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Sean Gets an "F" in Pennmanship

Republicans, Take the Gloves Off

Sean Penn, Hollywood Nitwit

Hollywood brilliance.

This is Part Two of my responses to Sean Penn's acceptance speech for the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award. Here is more of what Penn said, and my reactions:

And should we speak truth, we stand against government efforts to intimidate or legislate in the service of censorship. Whether under the guise of a Patriot Act or any other benevolent-sounding rationale for the age-old game of shutting down dissent by discouraging independent thinking and preventing progressive social change.

Obviously, Mr. Penn, no one has shut you up. Plus, your progressive social change you seek is already here, with your brand of political correctness, your fascist hatred of America, your anti-military, anti-capitalism, pro-multiculturalism that promotes dictators and tyrants all over the globe—who suppress minorities, gays, and women, and bring poverty to the world's children.

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But, as a practical matter, most of the limits on creative expression and other forms of free speech come from self-censorship, where the mechanism of corporate clout offers carrots and brandishes sticks. We avoid a conflict before the conflict materializes. We reach for the carrots and stay out of range of sticks.

Decades ago, Fred Friendly called it a "positive veto" - corporations putting big money behind shows that they want to establish and perpetuate. Whether in journalism or drama, creative efforts that don't gain a financial "positive veto" are dismissible, then dismissed. We may not call that "censorship." But whatever we call it, the effects of a "positive veto" system are severe. They impose practical limits on efforts to bring the most important realities to public attention sooner rather than later...

I suppose, Mr. Penn, that government ought to force corporations to financially support these shows you say they are censoring? Have you noticed that many of the news outlets and programs actually have been biased towards your side anyway for years—including now, Mr. Penn? We are forced to accept the liberal bias you and your cohorts in Hollywood impose on our country.

We're beginning to see more revealing images of this war. But it's later now, isn't it? What we have to pay attention to are the results of these "practical limits." One, is that wars become much easier to launch than to halt.

Yes, all human political endeavors become much easier to launch than to halt. One reason is that your side practices "gotcha" politics where any leader of a war is damned if he does and damned if she doesn't. If he "stays the course," you label him a warmonger. If she adjusts, changes tactics, or ends the war, you say "See, she was a war criminal after all, and just admitted it."

Instead of hatred, try offering positive solutions to the world's problems.

Men and women stationed in Iraq at this moment, under orders of a Commander-in-Chief so sufficiently practiced in the art of deception, that he got vast numbers of American journalists and the most esteemed media outlets of this country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and PBS to eagerly serve his agenda-building for war.

Which is it, Mr. Penn? Is George W. Bush an idiot, or is he a genius—"so sufficiently practiced in the art of deception" that he can bamboozle a whole nation?
And the process also induced vast numbers of artists and performers (probably even some in this room tonight) to keep quiet and facilitate the push for an invasion in Iraq.

Yes, there are some in Hollywood who are real heroes, not America-haters like you.

And, where is the accountability on behalf of the American dead and wounded, their families, their friends, and the people of the United States who have seen their country become a world pariah. These events have been enabled by people named Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, and Rice, as they continue to perpetuate a massive fraud on American democracy and decency.

You are the one who is perpetuating a massive fraud. Our dead and wounded did something positive for the world. Unlike you, they have acted in the name of honor and decency. You and your cronies are the ones who enable the world to promote a distorted vision of America. Though we are alone at this time in our history, this is often the position of real heroes. Those who stand with or encourage angry mobs, like you, are villains.

Would they have believed Rush Limbaugh if they'd known he was high as a kite on OxyContin? Would they have believed the factually impaired Bill O'Reilly if they knew he was massaging his rectum with a loofah while telephonically harassing a staffer? Hannity, had they known he was simply a whore to the cause of his pimps - Murdoch and Ailes?

This is what a pacifist sounds like, Ladies and Gentlemen. A man of peace.

Or the little bow-tie putz, if they knew all he was seeking was a good laugh from Jon Stewart?

Note that Sean Penn is not even smart enough to know that Steven Colbert is a parody. The man is on your side Mr. Penn. I know this level of humor is above your ability to grasp.
Maybe our countrymen and women were listening to Ted Haggert while he was whiffing meth and boning a muscle-headed gigolo? Or Mark Foley seeking junior weenies? Joe Lieberman, sitting Shiva? And Toby Keith, singing about how big his boots are?

Racist, mean, and stupid. Don't stop talking now, Mr. Penn.

So...look, if we attempt to impeach for lying about a blowjob,

Mr. Penn, stop perpetuating this fraud. Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. The Chief Executive of the laws of the United States of America took an oath in a courtroom and lied. He should have been impeached for this, and convicted.

yet accept these almost certain abuses without challenge, we become a cum-stain on the flag we wave.

Again, you have raised the level of discourse in America. Thank you, Mr. Penn.

You know, I was listening to Frank Rich this morning, speaking on a book tour. He said he thought impeachment proceedings would amount to a "decadent" sidetrack, while our soldiers were still being killed. I admire Frank Rich. And of course he would be right if impeachment is all we do. But we're Americans. We can do two things at the same time. Yes, let's move forward and swiftly get out of this war in Iraq AND impeach these bastards.

I've got a better idea. Let's impeach you as an actor. Let's just stay away from your movies.


Let's not censor this kind of talk from liberal America-haters like Sean Penn. Let them speak. This is a free country. Then, when they have spewn their venom, let's decide how we feel about them. Do we want to allow them to spread lies without challenge? Should we permit their negative view of America, our President, the war in Iraq, and even about the capitalism that gave them their fortune and podium, to poison the atmosphere without a rebuttal?

I speak in kind to them. They lie about Bush. I challenge their lies. They spew hatred. I show them how some Americans feel about them. They are vicious. I return their viciousness.

One thing I have always disliked about Republicans is that they are too nice. Guys like Bush just smile and take it. They praise their enemies, like Edward Kennedy, and get scorn and hatred for their trouble. Stop trying to be nice guys, Republicans. Politics is a dirty game, and you've got to stand up to bullies like Sean Penn. Take your gloves off. God will approve, believe me. In fact, you have to fight just as hard as the Democrats if you are to get the truth out there. Lives are at stake.

You are still good and decent people when you do this. You are weak if you don't.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hollywood Bravery

Mean and Stupid

Liberals are mean-spirited people without brains (except for the ones that read and comment on this blog!). They spew their anti-Republican, anti-conservative, anti-American rhetoric, slandering some of the best people on earth based on their own miserable inadequacies, without proof, without logic.

The Bravest Man in the World

Sean Penn, the king of the Hollywood Nitwits, just got an award for sputtering his inanities.

He won the 2006 Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award.

This is a slap in the face to America, and shows once again that Hollywood is the first to give itself another award, and the last to embrace rationality and responsible citizenship. America ought to boycott all of Hollywood until they grow up and act like the caring people they pretend to be.

Again, for all you liberals who are a few brain cells short, I am not stifling free speech. I don't want you locked up for spouting your nonsense. Free speech, though, does not imply, my challenged friends, that there will be no reaction to what you say. I am free too, get it?, to respond to your free speech. I am "permitted" to call you the names that you call George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

I've read the full text of Sean Penn's acceptance speech for the award, and am willing to admit that the guy finally put together sentences that are actually readable. I think it's so Hollywood of him, though, to behave as if he is some great hero, speaking truth to power, by spouting his liberal drivel to an adoring Hollywood crowd. What courage it must take to say such revolutionary things to his choir of Bush-haters. Yes, this man has cajones! He is willing to risk his career by criticizing conservatives. What a man!

The truth is, anyone who goes against the grain in Hollywood, and speaks the truth; who defends conservative values—this would be heroism. You are not a hero by preaching to the KKK how bad blacks are. You are not courageous by standing up for women's rights at a NOW convention. And you are not brave by bashing Bush at an event populated by mindless liberals.

This will be a two-part post, one today, and one tomorrow. Since Mr. Penn has finally put together some coherent sentences on his beliefs, I feel he deserves a point-by-point response. Here are my reactions.

Mr. Penn states that the real areas of concern for the world ought to be:

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Sean Penn's Mantras

Global warming

The truth is, Mr. Penn, that there is still disagreement among reputable scientists whether global warming is man-made or a result of natural periodic processes. The other thing that mindless environmentalists miss is that Ice Ages happen too. If we are on the verge of an Ice Age, then we'll need all the global warming we can get—as an Ice Age is much more devastating to humanity than any warming period.

Massive pollution

The United States is, relatively speaking, one of the cleaner nations on the face of the earth now. China is the biggest polluter at this time—with one particular factory spewing more greenhouse gasses in a year than all the automobiles in the United States together.

Non-stop U.S. war in Iraq

If you, Mr. Penn, had supported the war against the monster Saddam Hussein, and added to the dialogue about how to fight the war effectively, then perhaps we'd have a different outcome now.

Attacks on civil liberties under the banner of war on terror

I don't see your civil liberties being violated, Mr. Penn. Nobody is locking you up, as they would do in one of your favorite dictatorships, Cuba, for saying exactly how you feel.

Military spending

We're not spending enough on the military, Mr. Penn. This is why our fighting forces are stretched so thin and we're having trouble maintaining enough troops to win the war in Iraq.

You and I, U.S. taxpayers, spend 1 1/2 billion dollars on an Iraq-war-'focused' military everyday, while social needs cry out.

We are in a War on Terror, Mr. Penn. I know you don't care about the 3,000 people that died on 9/11, but it will happen again if we follow your policies. We spend plenty on social needs, Mr. Penn. If we didn't have so many illegals in this country, then we'd have no shortage of medical care, welfare, and housing.

Health care

Yes, I know you want to make us into Britain, where you have to wait 6 months to get treated properly for a broken arm, and where taxes rise so high that the government takes most of what you earn.


You want all our children to continue to be educated in our failing public schools instead of having the freedom to choose where to go. You'd like the schools to continue brainwashing our children so they grow up to be mindless liberals like you.

Public transit

Surprise! Here we agree. We need subways like in Europe. Good idea, even and especially for Los Angeles. How do you get stuff like this done? Privatize, Mr. Penn. Just like the first subways in New York City.

Environmental protections

Fine, but don't go sparing your home and land from windmills while you impose them on the rest of the country. Don't lecture us for driving our relatively gas-saving Hummers when you gallivant the globe in your fuel-guzzling private jets.

Affordable housing

Yeah, that's a great idea. More projects and rent control that drive down the supply of housing and raise rents for everyone.

Job training

Yes, I agree. On the other hand, I see so many job training programs around I wonder how many more we need.

Public investment

Fine, again. Except, I know where you're going to get the money for this—exorbitant taxes. Why don't you just give 95% of your earnings to public investment, and put your money where your mouth is.

And, levy building

Yes, I agree. Government really sucks at stuff like this, doesn't it, Mr. Penn? Privatize things like this and you'll get your levies built, and built properly.

Sean Penn's Brilliance, Part One

You've just read the usual Hollywood/liberal mantras, and my response to them. I don't go into depth, because liberals wouldn't understand the arguments anyway. I just, as usual, want a voice out here that speaks the truth, opposing the leftist Hollywood propaganda machine.

Tomorrow, part two of my responses to Mr. Penn's perspicacity.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

To All My Fellow Bloggers and Blog Readers

Congratulations to Everyone Reading This Blog!

I Won!

I am flattered. This year not only did I win Bestest Blog of the Day for 10/12/06, and Ezine Articles Expert Author status, but I just learned I won Time Magazine's Person of the Year Award.

Wow, I only started blogging in June of this year and my traffic is already around 4,000 visitors a month. Pretty good year. Well, I have to admit that I share the Time award with you. It goes to all the bloggers and readers of blogs, Internet contributors and users of the Internet, and the new electronic media, like YouTube and MySpace.

Time's Person of the Year Award

Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

Time Magazine

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You can read about Time's choice for Person of the Year in these sources:

Time Magazine Names Millions as 'Person of the Year':

Now It's Your Turn: By RICHARD STENGEL, Posted Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006.

Time Says You're the 'Person of the Year': ABC News. "In an age where MySpace, YouTube and blogs rule, Time chose to recognize the power of the common people who create and use content on the Internet.

Congrats, TIME's Person Of The Year: Radar.
The 2006 "Person of the Year" package hits newsstands Monday. The cover shows a white keyboard with a mirror for a computer screen where buyers can see their reflection.
It was not the first time the magazine went away from naming an actual person for its "Person of the Year." In 1966, the 25-and-under generation was cited; in 1975, American women were named; and in 1982, the computer was chosen.

"I always love it when it's a person — and it is a person, not a computer or something like that," Stengel said. "We just felt there wasn't a single person who embodied this phenomenon."

Last year's winners were Bill and Melinda Gates and rock star Bono, who were cited for their charitable work and activism aimed at reducing global poverty and improving world health.

Criticisms of the Choice

There are those who praise the decision, and those who criticize it, as:

Time's wimpy choice ignores readers' needs -

Do you like being pandered to? Do you like being presented with a mirror so that you can admire yourself? Time magazine sure hopes so. The venerable but not-much-venerated newsweekly is sucking up to you, its hoped-for audience, pure and simple. In naming 'you' as its Person of the Year for 2006 - complete with reflective plastic on the cover - the fading publication demonstrates how its weakening financial condition has led to a weakening of editorial judgment.

Are self-generated online media really a bigger deal than the Iraq war? Is the self-displaying YouTube more consequential than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Does MySpace rate higher than the proliferation of weapons and enemies around the world, from North Korea to Russia to Venezuela?

My View

I think those who criticize the decision are again being snobby and elitist. Yes, I do think Time made the right choice. I don't judge it's an exaggeration that all these new media people influence elections, wars and world peace, the economy, and trends. I don’t take what we do too seriously. I realize our limitations.


Take me, for example. I work very hard on my blog. It requires hours each day out of my time to research and write my articles, keep my template working and attractive, answer comments, and so on. Yet, I still must work for a living. I am not yet a professional blogger. So, I don't have the time to do all that I would if I could devote every moment to my blog. So, I can't spend as much time researching as I'd like; I can't check my facts as much as I'd like; and I can't follow all the interesting threads; and so on.

This necessarily means that I remain, for the moment, half amateur and half professional. In one way this is good. It means I stay close to my immediate feelings on all the important issues, without over-thinking them. So, if I am representative of a certain percentage of bloggers, this means that one service we provide is as a temperature gauge for the national mood.

Effect of the New Electronic Media

I don't want to overemphasize the importance of my particular blog, but I do think that the net effect of all the blogs on the national consciousness is significant. Just on this one tiny blog you've got links and comments from people all over the world, from a soldier in Afghanistan, to a young consultant in Lebanon, to a Vietnam Vet in Florida and his Bestest Blog of the Day winner wife, to a teacher in Atlanta; from liberals to conservatives; from hawks to doves.

If I can just narrow down the new media to bloggers, I think all of them are important. They add to the political discourse, get people involved; contribute to our art, and literature, and poetry; expand our horizons of travel, hobbies and experiences. They are a part of 21st century literature, fiction and nonfiction; and an extension and driver of the electronic media.

Plus, it's entirely democratic. It's of the people. People say what they want. Notice that this kind of thing is still banned in China, and other places. They have a "filter" on what can and cannot be seen on the Internet. No opinionated bloggers allowed there.

Amatuerism as a Good Thing

Again, the main complaint against bloggers is that they are amateurs. Yes, I've admitted that this is true, or at least partly true. So what? The founders of this country were farmers by profession, mostly, and only amateur politicians. That's how the country was designed. So, the amateurs have taken over again. They are standing up to the professional politicians, leaders, organizations and media. The professional media are scared witless. Stories as often get broken on the blogosphere as not.

Fears of the Traditional Media

Still, I don't think the traditional media needs to fear. Just accept the blogosphere as a fact of life. It's here, and will probably stay, forever. Just get better at what you do, and there will be room for all of us. Some of us bloggers will "graduate" into the professional media, and some of us will just continue doing what we do—engaging in the national debate. It's a good thing.

Being Good Bloggers/New Media People

If we are good bloggers, we'll admit our limitations. We'll be open to opposing points of view. We'll welcome diversity of thought. We'll retract when we make mistakes. We'll be willing to change directions.

Yet, the good bloggers will also form some core values in their messages, and try to communicate them as best they can. Plus, they have a responsibility to communicate with integrity and try to present the truth, or a portion of it, for others to consider.

So, I say that Time was right. I salute you, and I salute me. The world is richer for this whole phenomenon.

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