August 01, 2006


Gross Domestic Product

...America exports various things: motor vehicles; aircraft; food; iron and steel products; electronic equipment; industrial machinery; and chemicals. We’ve also delved into exporting democracy to a few countries, but that’s a column for another time. Earlier this year, Toronto’s mayor, David Miller, claimed that we were exporting guns and a culture of violence to our northern neighbors, thus aiding in the murders of Toronto residents. (That must have made them feel better, considering that their strict gun control laws were made to look as useless as they really are.)
...Now we’re exporting ignorance and our ability to be easily offended.
...American diplomats in Belgrade have forced a café, located across the street from the U.S. embassy, to change its name. It had been known as “Osama,” which means “secluded” in Serbo-Croat, but the café’s owner insists that he named it after a local homeless shelter. He explained, “I had no intention of offending Americans. It is just a word in Serbian.”
...This is reminiscent of the sad story of Stephanie Bell, a teacher at Williams Elementary School in Wilmington, North Carolina. She used the word “niggardly” during a discussion on literary characters a few years ago, but a student became offended, and subsequently the child’s mother was offended, too. Even though “niggardly” is a synonym for “stingy,” the school’s principal, Susan Hahn, reprimanded Bell for using “poor judgment” for her choice of vocabulary. Would that be similar to the poor judgment by that school board in the hiring of Hahn? One wonders.
...In the end, Bell had a black mark on her permanent record and had to attend sensitivity training, simply because she was more intelligent than the principal and a parent. That’s not to mention the Belgrade café owner, who now realizes that the United States’ chief export is our ability to be offended by everything.


Blogger a.m. said...

I can't even dignify all of this with a coherent response.

August 02, 2006  

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