Archive for July, 2010

Capital Offense

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Me thinks the end of beautifully written English is close at hand — most emphatically at one’s fingertips. Once, written communication was accomplished by dipping a nib point in an inkwell and painstakingly moving across delicate paper with flourish and style. No more.

Sadly, we’ve eclipsed even the rudimentary elements of the written word. I hate to say it, but one of the most marvelous inventions is at fault: the personal computer.

I would wager that at least five times a day I receive an email with no proper names capitalized. Some poor blokes don’t even bother to capitalize “I” when citing self. My business education teacher is bound to be rolling over in her proverbial grave.

Oh, I know nobody wants to go back to the days of manual typewriters and carriages that chimed at the end of a line. Nobody wants to revert to carbon paper, stencils using only brute force minus a ribbon. Nobody wants to return to the day when one mistake plunged the writer into another entire page of typed copy. But, where, I ask is simple pride?

First came the electric typewriter. For those of us who learned on an old manual machine, the electric successor was really impressive. Not only was it much quicker with a lighter touch, but much quieter. Next came the early word processors and the electric wonder could store text and type it repeatedly. I recall the IBM “Selectric” was very popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Then, the age of the personal computer hit.

It existed far back into the 1970s, but ownership was narrow and few households owned one. My first Apple dates back to the 80s. A 512K, it featured a boxy, fairly heavy monitor and a separate keyboard. Over the years, I have been a “Mac” user. Not susceptible to viruses, Apple’s Macs are very user friendly and are the tool of choice for both graphic artists and publishers.

How is it, then, that the pride people once took in written letters on company stationery or personal notepaper is not reflected in their ordinary Internet communications? I don’t have the answer. As for me, I take as much care in an email as I do a formal letter that I put into the mail.

To me, it’s just a matter of courtesy to send a note or letter to someone and not corrupt the King’s English. It doesn’t take that much time to capitalize a letter. I did it just now. Did you note that I was not “i”. Maybe it’s as much a statement of how the writer judges him or herself as the attitude taken toward the recipient. If you think of yourself as a lower case “i”, then I’m sorry for you.

It only takes a second to write a proper salutation… a few moments to compose a proper sentence… a minute or two to review the message before you send it off into Cyberspace. Be polite. Write well. If you are — as some put it — what you read, then aren’t you also what you write? Think about it.

What’s in a name?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

We have all heard this question and, undoubtedly, there are thousands of explanations. Thank goodness for The Village People. At least their oft-sung anthem will not abandon its name.

Sadly, though, the YMCA is changing its banner. If you haven’t guessed the particular omission, you aren’t paying attention to the politically correct crowd that is, slowly by surely, dismantling every nuance of documented religious history from the American scene. Ah, yes. Young Men’s Christian Association is not to be known only as the “Y”.

My question is “Why?” Oh, the retort will be the much-overused “diversity”, but is the reason. I doubt it. Day by day, more and more of us turn to history for details of our founding. Yes, Christians founded American. Yes, Christians do reach out to non-Christians and give aid with little fanfare or push for recognition. Yes, Christians gladly go into third world countries — places that do not espouse Jesus Christ as savior. These Christians not only offer up physical labor, money, medicine, and emotional support to the poor of the world, but they do it without asking for anything in return.

How long will we stand by and ignore the constant attack on Christianity? We ban school prayer by Christian students yet respond to pressure and provide prayers for Muslim students. Network news covers any small disagreement or bad behavior on the part of Christian groups but ignores the incessant brutality of other religions.

Where, for example, is the National Organization for Women as headlines proclaim the imminent stoning of a woman in Iran for adultery? And the details? The woman’s husband died, and a man claims that she had an intimate relationship with another man while a widow. Who is the accuser? Is the charge simply a power play? A grudge?

A growing part of the American population regards adultery far differently today than the majority did a few decades ago. The Scarlet Letter is dead, folks. No longer are women considered “fallen” if they stray from marriage vows and enter into racy trysts with other partners.

Today, adulterous women are glamorized on soap operas, lauded in cinema, and praised in romance novels. Even though I believe that solid majority view adultery for what it is, our children are exposed more and more to images that reinforce bad behavior and put a stamp of approval on it.

I suppose the NOW would take a stand in this Iranian case —- that is, if the woman in question were pushing for an abortion. They will, undoubtedly, stand by without comment as she dies. However, they would cry from the rafters if she were unable to terminate a pregnancy. Their logic is predictable, but inexplicable to someone who tries to understand or find a balance in their actions.

I have yet to hear the NOW group come to the defense of the women in the Muslim world who are treated as chattel. We hear people dredge up slavery at any opportunity, but they turn a blind eye to modern day slavery in Islam.

Fear is a great motivator, as is exposure. Why do you think that the powers that be in Iran seek to ban Internet access? Could it be that women might realize that women outside Islam have real opportunity… are equal with men in the workplace… are able to make personal choices? Talk about a threat. Masters never want slaves to yearn for freedom.

The freedom lacking in gender among Muslims is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to society as a whole. Justice is not blind; it is channeled. Theocracy runs amok. There have been men who saw the shortcomings of such governments and moved for democracy. Egypt’s Anwar Sadat was one. The assassin who gunned Sadat down at a formal parade silenced a voice that could have transformed the Middle East as a region.

Dissent, whether in leadership or among the masses, are systematically eliminated by a theocracy determined to hold power sheer force. Nothing that threatens their power is tolerated.

If you doubt their low regard for life, consider this. There is a size limit the stones used to kill this woman. The rocks cannot be too large, lest she die too quickly. All the wider world can do is hope that the practice of female discrimination and maltreatment dies, too.

The attitudes rendering women to subservience won’t go softly into that good night. Muslims proclaim that the entire world change to their ways. Why can’t the rest of the world demand that Muslims change? Why wosn’t
freedom-loving countries call for the emancipation and education of Muslim women? Think about it. Oh, and think about the woman facing death by stoning. Surely we can’t ignore her. We can’t.