Musings on Everything

I muse, therefore I write.

Archive for November 2009

On Hunting

Human beings are pretty terrifying creatures, from the perspective of other animals. I don’t mean in some kind of OMG EXTINCTION way, either. Humans are the global heavyweight champions of endurance running.

Primitive man would take some rocks – later on they’d use slings or spears or even bow and arrows, basically some type of projectile- and they would find an animal, and then start chasing it. The projectiles were mostly to harass the poor prey. A fit human being can run for hours and hours, whereas most of the animals humans ate can only sustain a sprint for a few minutes. Humans hunted by more or less running their prey to death. Or, rather, chasing them until they couldn’t run any more, at which point said animal would be killed. For some animals we found we could save effort by driving them over cliffs.

As for the other animals with great endurance, rather than hunting them, we domesticated them as herd animals. Ancient goats, sheep, cows, horses… those were the animals humans couldn’t outrun over marathon distances.

So, from the perspective of a delicious animal, a human being represents a predator that can strike from a distance, can thwart all but the most heroic attempts at escape, and will not stop chasing you until you die. And they hunt in packs. Like wolves.

Aliens should be afraid of humans, too. We’re crazy, for God’s sake. We constantly fight each other in horrible, bitter wars that frequently have no better reason to be fought than petty arguments. A bunch of humans went and executed one of their gods.

It’s nice to know that you’re a member of a completely badass species, huh? It sort of begins to make up for the terrible fatties we’ve become. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

P.S. For more information, check this out.

Written by Sri

November 27, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Posted in Musings

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On Strata

Well, yeah, this is an image of strata.

Social stratification. Class system. These are both archaic concepts, long overthrown in Europe and never seriously present in the United States. This is what we’ve been taught, this is clearly what happens in reality. The US prides itself in being a welcoming place for all people, no matter where they came from.

Yeah, right.

Let’s face it. The United States of America is more bigoted and racist as a culture than perhaps any other nation since, well, the United States. Has it ever occurred to anybody that you never see reports of British neo-nazis, of white hate crimes towards any other race other than here? Has it ever occurred to you that of all the other First-World nations, the United States has the most colorful record of slavery, racism, prejudice, and segregation of any ethnically heterogeneous population. (I need to put heterogeneous in because without it, you get nations like Ireland, which are not fair comparisons to what I’m trying to put across here.)

Here, a bullet-list of all the various prejudices and social issues that the United States so proudly counts as part of its heritage:

  • Catholics. Present in the American population since before 1776, this took until the election of JFK in 1960 to really work its way out of the collective American psyche.
  • Blacks. Present since the widespread adoption of slavery in the colonies in 1680. Slavery, while formally abolished in 1863, did nothing to stem the racism towards blacks, formally and legally abolished in 1964, but still present in many areas of American life even today, whether you consciously aware of it or not.
  • Women. Present in the American population since the beginning of ever, women were denied the right to vote and other social necessities until the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Nowadays, women are, nominally, more or less equal, though there are lingering effects, such as women being paid 75% as much as men for doing the same exact job.
  • Native Americans. Very strong prejudices against Native Americans existed in the United States ever since the white people realized that the land that they wanted had other people living on it. This, in turn, led to such things such as the Trail of Tears, reservations, etc. This particular social ill died out after America reached California and Manifest Destiny petered out. As it is, though, the Native American population is vastly reduced from what it used to be not 300 years ago, and they are still mostly out of sight on reservations, living their lives, unfortunately, in destitution and squalor.

And this is just a small list. I hear stories every day that prove racism is still alive and well.

Nowadays, it seems that America has latched on to anti-Islamism. You hear reports of terrorists in Afghanistan existing. Fair enough, these reports might be true. But then, take a look at the Google news search for “terrorist threat.” Sure, one or two of these reports might actually be about terrorists. The rest have headlines like, “Are American Muslims a Threat?” and “The emerging homegrown terrorist threat.” I mean, there is a point where fear crosses over into ludicrousness. We are way past that point. We proved we were way past that point when people started getting shot at because they had beards. When a little old lady got up and brazenly told John McCain, “Obama’s an Arab.” And while it may not be getting any worse, it sure isn’t getting any better. There is a stereotype now, that Islam is an inherently violent and white-people-hating religion. Which is simply not true. In fact, it startles me that on the one hand, people can say that anybody who accepts Jesus will be saved, and then turn right around and attack fellow acceptors of Jesus. It boggles the mind and startles the spirit, really.

But guess what? I’m guessing it’s going to take another century for that stereotype to exit the collective American psyche. Just like Jim Crow. Just like the stigma against Japanese people during WWII. Just like the prejudice against Catholics.

Not cool, America. Not cool.

    Written by Sri

    November 16, 2009 at 9:37 PM

    Posted in Musings

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