Guaranteed Reaction

As I’ve mentioned several times before on this here back porch of mine, there are few topics that can compare with multi-language societies.  This one guarantees a rant of epic proportions, every single time.

You see, nothing divides a society more quickly than being unable to communicate with each other.   It’s cute when you’re a tourist;  it’s hell when you’re at home and are forced to deal with someone who can’t (or won’t) speak your language.

Trust me:  I know whereof I speak, having grown up in a nominally-bilingual country where speakers of either language hated or despised the others, all set in a multilingual society of no fewer than six other languages (English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho, Ndebele, Xhosa, Venda, Tsonga, Tswana, Swazi).  And then let’s add Portuguese, Greek and Italian, with a few others such as Hindi and related Indian languages.

And everyone hated everyone else, most often because they simply couldn’t communicate with each other.  The Black tribes were remarkably multilingual, in that each tribe had at least a passing / conversational knowledge of about four other African languages, and of necessity most spoke English.  (Understandably enough, they refused to speak Afrikaans because they — rightly — regarded the Dutch derivative as the language of the Oppressor.) As for the Whites… well, they were mostly hopeless.  (My father, born an Afrikaner, was way out of the norm because he spoke English, German, Zulu and Sotho fluently.  Most Afrikaners spoke English begrudgingly and badly, and hardly any other than farmers spoke an African language.  This was also true of most English-speaking South Africans, who likewise spoke Afrikaans begrudgingly and badly, and no Black languages.)

I won’t even go near the topic of Yiddish and the Jews.

So you can imagine my response when I came across this priceless little piece of fuckery:

The Denver school district is among the first in the country to adopt a “language justice” policy as a “long term goal.”

The district would encourage non-English speaking students to be able to use their native language to learn as opposed to being educated in English, which advocates say is oppressive and rooted in racism.

Denver schools had about 90,250 students in 2022 with 35,000 multilingual learners with home languages other than English. The district has 200 languages spoken across the district, with Spanish as the home language for the majority of those.

The district included a draft of an equity document that includes a policy statement on “language justice.” It was included in the Nov. 16 school board agenda. The document includes this definition for “language justice”: “The notion of respecting every individual’s fundamental language rights – to be able to communicate, understand, and be understood in the language in which they prefer and feel most articulate and powerful.”

This is not going to end well.  As with all idiotic nonsense of this type, it starts off with the noblest of intentions (albeit wrong-headed), but the end result is going to be a population of alienated people refusing to speak to each other in anything but their home language.  And hating each other in consequence.

You heard it here first.

Playing Field, Leveling Of

NASCAR fans or non-Formula 1 devotees can skip this post.

Consider the final standings for the 2023 F1 season:


If that looks like a runaway train for both Max Verstappen and Red Bull, then it was.  Verstappen won 19 out of the 21 races of the season, and Red Bull’s Perez won one.

Which has led to an interesting game among fans, thinking about leveling the field, so to speak, for the 2024 season.  Here are the favorites:

  • Level the driver playing field and find another Perez-level driver for Red Bull to replace Max.
  • Force Max to wear an eye patch and strap one arm to his leg.
  • Force Red Bull to use Trabant engines. (“Then they’d only come 3rd.”)
  • …and Reliant Robin 3-wheel technology.  (“Okay, 4th.”)
  • Fire Max and sign Daniel Ricciardo.  Or Logan Sargeant.
  • …and so on.

Let’s see;  only 90 days till the new season begins.

In the meantime, there are the college football championships and the Super Bowl… which I care about as much as most of you care about F1.

Not Alone

It’s a little sad.  I’ve always wanted to be, or at least stay in the middle class.  Screw the Commies and their lickspittles who sneer at the “bourgeoisie” and their “bourgeois values”;  I’m proud to espouse those values, if they mean things like hard work, a modest lifestyle, good education and aspirations to, well, just live comfortably.

But it seems that recently — thank you, Joe fucking Biden and your lickspittles — I’m no longer in that class.  Instead, I’m now working class.  And the realization thereof came to me as I was reading this article:

If things are hard for you and your family right now, please understand that you are not alone. Most of the country is in the exact same boat.

No kidding. We are managing — but only just — to keep our heads above water;  but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

In a desperate attempt to maintain their middle class lifestyles, millions upon millions of Americans have been taking on debt like never before, and as a result we are now facing an unprecedented consumer debt bubble.

We haven’t had to resort to that, with some very small exceptions, simply because we’ve cut back hugely on anything we consider non-essentials. But as costs of everything, especially essentials, have rocketed upwards, what that means is that we can’t pay down our small credit card debt to the extent we want, to where we can pay them off altogether.  (The last time we had a zero balance was sometime pre-Covid, pre-flood destruction.)

Hell, I hardly ever go to the range anymore, not because of the range fees (I have a soon-to-expire annual membership, thanks to an extremely generous Reader), but because I can’t afford the ammo anymore — and this despite having shall we say a well-stocked ammo locker.  I just want to keep my ammo stocks high, because you never know, right?

…and I can’t just shoot .22 LR forever.

Forget travel — and I mean local, forget international travel completely — not just because of the cost of accommodation on the road, but because I can’t afford a $60 charge at the gas pump every few hours.

Food… well, let’s just say it’s hamburger, rice ‘n beans, and not all at the same time, either.

Don’t get me started on other essential costs like electricity;  I’ve already talked about those price increases (around 50%, in case anyone’s forgotten).

In short, my standard of living is around that of a European bank teller, but without the state financial assistance that the Euros can fall back on.  Unlike many as discussed in the article, I refuse to “maintain” my middle-class standard of living by using credit cards because I know that at the end of that lies misery and ruin.  Been there, done that, won’t go there again.

I’m not telling you all this because I want money from y’all;  the annual appeal is only due in May next year.

No, I’m telling you because I am not the only one going through this.  I can’t help feeling that there’s an air of desperation in the air, because if I’m feeling it, there are probably thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people in similar circumstances to mine.

And I don’t see an end to it, either.  Even a Red Wave [snort]  in November 2024 isn’t going to help — hell, a lottery win is more likely than that.

That One Book

Onetime political prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe tells how one particular book kept her hopes up during her imprisonment in Teheran:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has revealed how a copy of the novel The Handmaid’s Tale among other books allowed her to feel liberated while she was locked up in Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

Well, okay.  Considering how said dystopian novel is all about how a tyrannical government oppresses womyns, I guess that’s fair play (even though the actual Iranian Muslim government is far worse than Atwood’s).

But it does lead me to ask the question:  if you were to be imprisoned for six years and could have only one smuggled book to keep you going, which one would you choose to have?

Right off the bat, I’m going to exclude religious works like the Bible, because that’s too obvious (and easy) a choice, especially for my religious Readers, bless ’em.  But I will allow stuff like Thomas  Aquinas’s Summa Theologica  because they are essentially philosophical  works.

My own choice is a simple one, as much for its volume as for its complexity and erudition:

From Dawn To Decadence (Jacques Barzun)

List your choice (and remember, you get one and only one) in Comments, with reasons if possible.