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Archive for March, 2009

Speak like this

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I wanted to talk like a Kevin Smith [wikipedia.org] character when I was in high school…

Jesus, nobody twisted your arm to be here. You’re here of your own volition. You like to think the weight of the world rests on your shoulder. Like this place would fall apart if Dante wasn’t here. Jesus, you overcompensate for having what’s basically a monkey’s job. You push fucking buttons. Anybody can waltz in here and do our jobs. You-You’re so obsessed with making it seem so much more epic, so much more important than it really is. Christ, you work in a convenience store, Dante! And badly, I might add! I work in a shitty video store, badly as well. You know, that guy Jay’s got it right, man. He has no delusions about what he does. Us, we like to make ourselves seem so much more important than the people that come in here to buy a paper, or, god forbid, cigarettes. We look down on them as if we’re so advanced. Well, if we’re so fucking advanced, what are we doing working here?

Randal Graves, from “Clerks” [imdb.com]

Now, I think I might prefer Anthony Bourdain [wikipedia.org]…

“Alice Waters annoys the living shit out of me. We’re all in the middle of a recession, like we’re all going to start buying expensive organic food and running to the green market. There’s something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic. I mean I’m not crazy about our obsession with corn or ethanol and all that, but I’m a little uncomfortable with legislating good eating habits. I’m suspicious of orthodoxy, the kind of orthodoxy when it comes to what you put in your mouth. I’m a little reluctant to admit that maybe Americans are too stupid to figure out that the food we’re eating is killing us. But I don’t know if it’s time to send out special squads to close all the McDonald’s. My libertarian side is at odds with my revulsion at what we as a country have done to ourselves physically with what we’ve chosen to eat and our fast food culture. I’m really divided on that issue.”

Anthony Bourdain

If I prefer Anthony Bourdain, it’s only because you can’t talk like Kevin Smith characters in the real world… unless you live in a frat house or work in porn…

Download some good sense

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

And thanks to Twitter further eroding the wall between your big mouth and a moment required to download some good sense, the Internet is now empowered to get you fired faster than ever.

Helen A.S. Popkin in “Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less” [msnbc.msn.com]

I wonder how this will pan out in 20 years… when the poor drunkfails are in positions or power? Will they ignore one’s online persona or will we all learn to keep our online persona and our professional persona separated enough to avoid such tragicomedies?

…and remember the Internet never forgets! [confusion.cc]

Comm 100 – Persuasive Speech

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

The Dalai Lama’s remarks [news.bbc.co.uk] on the 50th anniversary of his flight from Tibet and the failed uprising against the Chinese Communist occupation reminded me or a long delayed project; transcribing my 1999 speech — originally written for a communications class — about the plight of the Tibetan people. So, here we go. I just going to transcribe the outline I used for the speech (given in class and several times in Amnesty meetings around the DC Metro area). In 1999 there wasn’t the crazy cool Internet video there is today, so I actually had to show the video’s linked to below using a VCR and I had to go and buy them from Save Tibet [savetibet.org] in downtown DC! Anyway, here is the speech:

Brian Beggerly
Comm. 100
Persuasive Speech
Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience to take personal action to end the situation in Tibet.

Main Idea: China has and continues to violate the human rights of the people of Tibet.

INTRO

SHOW “WHY ARE WE SILENT [savetibet.org]

— What you just saw was a public service announcement prepared by the International Campaign for Tibet, the actors and actresses were reading passages from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

— The Declaration was passed by the United Nations in 1948 and subsequently ratified by all member states. Today all 188-member states are legally bound by it’s articles.

— The 30 articles of the Declaration are designed to guarantee the basic human rights of all citizens of the world.

Rights like:
— Freedom of speech
— Freedom of religion
— Freedom from torture
— Freedom from arbitrary incarceration
— and many others…

— Yet China, the largest country on Earth, a country with a permanent seat on the UN Security council, has been in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for over 50 years, almost since the day Eleanor Roosevelt first read out the worlds of the declaration to the world.

— China has and continues to violate the rights of many of it’s citizens according to Amnesty International’s latest annual report. The plight of the Tibetans in their own homeland, occupied for half a century is especially dire.

— And since the governments of the world, including the government of the US with it’s supposed moral leadership, seem not to care about the people of Tibet, it is up to us, to you and I, to ordinary people all over the western world to stand up and do everything in our power to put a stop to China’s Tibet policies and abuses. To put a stop to what Russian defector Alexander Solzhenitsyn described as

The most brutal and inhuman communist regime in the world.

BODY

  1. It began in 1949, only a year after China ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the communist Chinese army invaded and quickly overran the mostly pacifist country of Tibet.
    1. The invasion was uncontested by the rest of the world despite the fact that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and secular leader of Tibet, requested help from the free world; the UNITED STATES, BRITTAN, INDIA and other all ignored the pleas for help and protection.
    2. For ten years the Tibetans struggled to live under Chinese rule, but as time passed the Chinese began to take away the basic aspect of Tibetan Culture one-by-one.
    3. In 1959 when the Chinese government outlawed the practice of religion in Tibet, the Tibetan people revolted. The Tibetan people did not use violence as a means to revolt, instead the pacifist Buddhist people gathered in the streets and sang religious songs and chanted anti-Chinese slogans…
    4. The response from the Chinese was swift and violent. Half a million Tibetans were killed. The Dalai Lama and nearly one million other Tibetans fled Tibet on foot, traveling across the roof of the world — the Himalayan mountains into India to seek safety as a political refugee.
    5. Over the past 50 years China has done as it pleases in Tibet. Committing uncountable atrocities with complete immunity. According to the Tibetan Government, exiled and today based in India, and numerous human rights organizations around the world:
      1. Over 1.2 million Tibetans, approximately one-fifth of the population, has died as a direct result from China’s policies in Tibet.
      2. Hundreds more languish in prisons and labor camps, enduring what the Chinese authorities term “reeducation”.
      3. More than 6,000 monasteries, temples and other cultural and historical buildings have been demolished and their contents pillaged. Today, less than 300 monasteries remain.
      4. Today China uses the Tibetan Plateau as a testing site for nuclear weapons and as a landfill for it’s toxic and nuclear waste.
      5. In 1995, Nagawang Choephel, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Tibetan, returned to Tibet to document the religious practices of this native people as part of his Doctoral Thesis. He was arrested and charged with promoting anti-government activities, based on his videotaping of religious ceremonies. He remain is a Chinese prison today.
      6. Then there is the case of Gedhum Nyima, recognized in 1995, at the age of 6 as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second highest religious figure in Tibetan Buddhism, was abducted from his home along with his entire family on May 17, 1995. He and his family have not been see or heard from sense, he remains the youngest political prisoner in history.
      7. The worst atrocities in Tibet are inflicted on the nuns. The nuns are the heard of the continuing peaceful struggle for freedom. In recent years hundreds of nuns have been arrested for gathering to sing religious songs and for possessing pictures of the Dalai Lama. They are kept in prisons without trial where they are systematically starved, tortured, raped and executed in an ongoing attempt to break the will of the Tibetan people.
      8. To show what the people of Tibet have been enduring for half a century the International Campaign for Tibet released their video “The World isn’t Listening” in 1998:

        SHOW “THE WORLD ISN’T LISTENING [savetibet.org]

  2. In recent years, and especially since the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Price for Peace, the world has begun to look more and more into the realities of China’s occupation of Tibet.
    1. Today there are many organizations working to inform the world of the atrocities which continue to be committed by the Chinese government. Including:
      1. The International Campaign for Tibet, based here in DC publishes many resources to educate people on the situation. Both the videos I have shown tonight were provided by the International Campaign for Tibet.
      2. Amnesty International, based in London, with offices around the world engages it’s members in letter writing campaigns to attempt to gain freedom for the prisoners of conscience in Tibet.
    2. Thou the actions of these and numerous other grass roots organizations around the world has helped to focus more attention on the situation in Tibet there is still a long way to go.

CONCLUSION

Why should we care about what happens to this remote, isolated, third-world country of Tibet?

According to the International Committee of Lawyer for Tibet;

World peace shares it fate with the outcome in Tibet. A peaceful resolution of the Tibetan struggle will send a message to the world community that international disputes can be resolved peacefully through the rule of law. On the other hand, if such a resolution does not come about, the message to other peoples is that only war, terrorism and violence will force effective international attention on our situations.”

Each and every person who believes in human rights has a responsibility to act to help end the atrocities in Tibet. What good is a belief in human rights if countries can ignore them at will? Elie Wiesel said it best when he said:

If to be free is the most important goal of all, the to help someone else to be or become free must be the most sublime and rewarding of human endeavors.

Here’s what you can do:
— You can seek out the organizations which work for a peaceful resolution, help them, learn from them and help to educate others.
—You can exercise your rights as Americans by addressing our Representatives and Senators in Washington, telling them that the US should use all it’s economic and political power to help the oppressed people of Tibet.
— But most importantly, you can vote with your wallet; refuse to by goods made in China. It’s hard but there are alternatives and if there are not, ask yourself if you really need that new gadget or that pair of shoes more then an entire country needs it freedom.

Because the old saying holds true;

“IF YOU’RE NOT PART OF THE SOLUTION, THEN YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM.”

A lost childhood?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

IMG_4443