Friday, July 18, 2008

July 21-25 Programs

Salve, Amici!

Here’s what’s coming up this week on Here on Earth:

Monday: Samuel Johnson once said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. With Democrats and Republicans waging a war of words over which candidate is the true patriot, how do you weigh in? Join us for what promises to be a lively discussion about the nature of patriotism and its place in this year’s presidential election.

Tuesday: Imagine an American summer camp where no one speaks English and you can’t either. Welcome to the world of language camps, where traditional activities like canoeing and hiking are conducted completely in Spanish, Chinese, or even Arabic. We'll be joined by Donna Clementi of the Concordia Language Villages, and a new camp in the Fox Valleys of Wisconsin.

Wednesday: Life is good for Binti, a young girl living in Malawi. She has a role on a radio play and goes to a prestigious school. But when her father dies of AIDS and she’s sent to live with resentful relatives, Binti has to find a way to remake her life. You might recognize this plot from The Heaven Shop, the latest book from Canada’s award-winning children’s author, Deborah Ellis.

Thursday: “I don’t believe the solutions…will come from the left or the right…They will come from islands of people with integrity who want to do something.” So said the founder of The Natural Step, a program for sustainability based on the laws of thermodynamics that was founded by Swedish scientist Karl-Henrik Robert. Followers include Whistler, BC, IKEA, and groups in Eugene, Oregon, and Madison, Wisconsin.

Friday: In order to save an endangered species, you have to eat it! Or so says the coalition of groups behind Renewing America’s Food Traditions, a project committed to restoring the unique foods of North America as elements of living cultures and regional cuisines.

Think Woody: That’s all, Folks!



Brian Dunbar said...

In order to save an endangered species, you have to eat it!

My daughter's favorite animal is the manatee. Teasing her, I suggested that manatees are tasty and would be really good on the grill.

Then I did some googling. Turns out that people did used to eat manatee. Which doesn't mean they're very good - anything is going to taste better than starvation. But there is (supposedly) an outlaw group that very quietly culls a wild manatee every so often and cooks them up, deep in the backwoods of Florida.

So there might be something to manatee steaks on the grill. And heck - anything tastes palatable with enough Tabasco.

We know the best way to make sure we have a lot of something is for someone to have a monetary interest in having more of them. We have more cows than you can shake a stick at. Buffalo were nearly extinct - but part of their comeback is surely due to ranching: buffalo meat is pretty good.

My question is - how could we go about getting a critter like the manatee off endangered species list and into manatee ranches?

Jean Feraca, Here On Earth: Radio Without Borders said...

Hi Brian - this is an excellent comment and could work well as a starter for our program on endangered species this Friday. What I'd like to suggest, rather than read it on the air myself, is to have you call it in to our hotline - 608-890-0269 - that way it will be your voice rather than mine that listeners will hear on the program. Would you do that? I'd really be grateful! Thanks so much! Jean

Roger Diggle said...

Patriotism. I remember it well.

I grew up in the 50's in a small, somewhat isolated neighborhood. The neighborhood's flag pole went naked most of the time back then, but we hoisted the flag on all the important days. Flew it at half-staff when some notable Americans died. [Flew it lowered for Jack and for Bobby. But, sadly, not for Martin.]

The neighborhood flag was stored in my family's basement. My father, my brother, and I considered the proper display of the flag a sacred trust. When rain threatened, one of us was always there to take it down. I helped to fold it in the prescribed triangular manner on dozens of occasions. The flag was woven of wool. I still feel that fabric in the memory of my fingers.

Then came the war in Viet Nam. I saw it as horribly ill-conceived, and realized that I could not go. I came to realize that protesting that war, and working to end it, was the single most important service I could perform for my country - even if it refused understand. And even though it meant I might have to go to prison for refusing to go to war.

During that time, on a stunning number of occasions, I had U.S. flags waved in my face in the guise of support for some policy of the government. America: Love It or Leave It. It became fashionable to fly the flag after dark, in the rain, or both. The larger the better. Flag decals abounded. A uniformed Chicago policeman thrust his flag pin at me, like a cross at a vampire, amidst a torrent of vituperation. My sin? Wearing a black arm-band in his presence while walking, alone, on a Chicago sidewalk.

Flag desecration, and laws punishing very particular forms of it, became a subject of heated discussion and much posturing. I was threatened with arrest for desecration by the police in the town where I went to college. My sin? I took a photo of several friends, posed holding a U.S. flag in front of themselves. The police heard that I had photographed an act of flag desecration, and illegally demanded that I give them copies of the photos. I refused their demands - so they never learned that the pose was perfectly innocent.

I have ideas of my own about just what constitutes flag desecration. When anyone suggests that the U. S. flag be flown to show support for *any* particular government policy, *that* desecrates the flag. I watched a ceremony, in a Wisconsin town, preparing damaged flags for destruction. The ceremony was rife with religious and military symbolism. Vice President George H. W. Bush posed in front of a flag manufacturer's facility and criticized Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis - for a law stating that students in his state could not be coerced to say the Pledge of Allegiance. *That* was flag desecration, first-class.

While I'm no big fan of Barack Obama, I agree completely with him that waving the flag has become a cheap expression of patriotism. Sadly, the flag has been polluted by millions who just can't let it be, simply, Our Flag. The flag of
our Land, and of the incredible breadth of people who are Our Country. All of Us. Desecrated - by people who want to say, "This flag is Mine - not Yours."

As Ambrose Bierce so pointedly pointed out, with apologies to Samuel Johnson: Patriotism is not the last refuge of a scoundrel. It is the first.

Brian Dunbar said...

that way it will be your voice rather than mine that listeners will hear on the program. Would you do that? I'd really be grateful! Thanks so much! Jean

Jean, I'm so sorry - I usually listen to the program via podcat and I had no idea you wanted me to call in. I would have happily taken a few minutes during work today to call in.

Next time, I'll go back and read comments on this blog (grin).