Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Charlie Sheen is not filial
- Source: Global Times
- [10:34 March 07 2011]
By Hao Leifeng
Actor Charlie Sheen is a classic example of the difference in Western and Eastern values and norms.
Ignoring public pleas from his father, Sheen has continued a weeklong media blitz, exhibiting obvious signs of mania. With no firm hand to guide them, Western media has deliberately goaded him into making increasingly delusional statements, more concerned about "winning" higher ratings than Sheen's own sense of pride, or the negative example his brash public admissions about his private sex life and unverifiable international conspiracies could be setting for society.
How many young people have been led astray by Sheen's boasts about his substance abuse and freewheeling sex life? And that was when he was in character on national television, as a randy bachelor in Two and a Half Men.
Sheen attracted 1 million Twitter followers in just 24 hours, yet more evidence that microblogs spread the most unhealthy contagions in society like a disease. Chinese family, coworkers, or the authorities would have taken firm steps to make sure someone like Sheen did not make a public spectacle of himself.
Take Edison Chen, who humbly apologized and slipped away to Canada. Or Li Gang's father, who wept as he sought forgiveness on his son's behalf.
The fact that Sheen continues to embarrass himself unabated, becoming even a hero to many, points to the vast differences in cultures.
His employers are unhappy that he was distracted with prostitutes and drugs, and didn't show up to work on time. Why not take a tip from the Chinese business community, and make visits to a KTV parlor part of Sheen's workday?
And instead of epic parties at his home with porn stars, why not keep Sheen occupied with business banquets?
Sheen goes on television and boasts that he has two girlfriends, who both sleep in the same bedroom. Is he too poor to set up his wives and mistresses in different houses?
In Chinese society, these problems are dealt with delicately and privately. Sheen is like a typical Westerner throwing fuel on the fire with each interview and tweet. It is almost as if he feels no shame and is loving the attention.
Racism, spousal abuse, addiction, politics, mental illness, boasting about mistresses, - these are all subjects best dealt with behind closed doors.
As much as Sheen has lived a life most Chinese men can only fantasize about, our admiration of him can only go so far. He has not only lost face with his public rants, but also crossed a cultural barrier no Chinese can abide.
He ignored his own father's advice to keep quiet, who was once the president of the US. Sheen is a disgrace, unfilial to his father and his fatherland.
Martin Sheen should at once go on television and tearfully apologize on behalf of his son for his inability to keep up appearances and keep his mouth shut.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Each time, when these things happened, I was disgusted with the way people didn’t bother to help. I was stuck on the side of the freeway hoping my friend’s roadside service would show, just watching tow trucks cruise past me. The people at the gas stations where I asked for a gas can told me that they couldn’t lend them out “for safety reasons,” but that I could buy a really crappy one-gallon can, with no cap, for $15. It was enough to make me say stuff like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket,” which I actually said.
But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke any English.
One of those guys stopped to help me with the blowout even though he had his whole family of four in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to three hours with my friend’s big Jeep. I put signs in the windows, big signs that said, “NEED A JACK,” and offered money. Nothing. Right as I was about to give up and start hitching, a van pulled over, and the guy bounded out.
He sized up the situation and called for his daughter, who spoke English. He conveyed through her that he had a jack but that it was too small for the Jeep, so we would need to brace it. Then he got a saw from the van and cut a section out of a big log on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top and we were in business.
I started taking the wheel off, and then, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones, and I wasn’t careful, and I snapped the head clean off. Damn.
No worries: he ran to the van and handed it to his wife, and she was gone in a flash down the road to buy a new tire iron. She was back in 15 minutes. We finished the job with a little sweat and cussing (the log started to give), and I was a very happy man.
The two of us were filthy and sweaty. His wife produced a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand, but he wouldn’t take it, so instead I went up to the van and gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I’d send them a gift for being so awesome. She said they lived in Mexico. They were in Oregon so Mommy and Daddy could pick cherries for the next few weeks. Then they were going to pick peaches, then go back home.
After I said my goodbyes and started walking back to the Jeep, the girl called out and asked if I’d had lunch. When I told her no, she ran up and handed me a tamale.
This family, undoubtedly poorer than just about everyone else on that stretch of highway, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took a couple of hours out of their day to help a strange guy on the side of the road while people in tow trucks were just passing him by.
But we weren’t done yet. I thanked them again and walked back to my car and opened the foil on the tamale (I was starving by this point), and what did I find inside? My $20 bill! I whirled around and ran to the van and the guy rolled down his window. He saw the $20 in my hand and just started shaking his head no. All I could think to say was, “Por favor, por favor, por favor,” with my hands out. The guy just smiled and, with what looked like great concentration, said in English: “Today you, tomorrow me.”
Then he rolled up his window and drove away, with his daughter waving to me from the back. I sat in my car eating the best tamale I’ve ever had, and I just started to cry. It had been a rough year; nothing seemed to break my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t handle it.
In the several months since then I’ve changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and once drove 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. But every time I’m able to help, I feel as if I’m putting something in the bank.
Justin Horner is a graphic designer living in Portland, Ore. This essay was adapted from a message-board posting on reddit.com.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Every week, the Opinion section presents an essay from The Times's archive by a columnist or contributor that we hope sheds light on current news or provides a window on the past.
This week, we highlight an Op-Ed written by Peter J. Gomes, a Harvard University minister and theologian who died this week at the age of 68. You can read his obituary here.
August 17, 1992
Homophobic? Re-Read Your Bible
By PETER J. GOMES
Peter J. Gomes, an American Baptist minister, is professor of Christian morals at Harvard.
Opposition to gays' civil rights has become one of the most visible symbols of American civic conflict this year, and religion has become the weapon of choice. The army of the discontented, eager for clear villains and simple solutions and ready for a crusade in which political self-interest and social anxiety can be cloaked in morality, has found hatred of homosexuality to be the last respectable prejudice of the century.
Ballot initiatives in Oregon and Maine would deny homosexuals the protection of civil rights laws. The Pentagon has steadfastly refused to allow gays into the armed forces. Vice President Dan Quayle is crusading for "traditional family values." And Pat Buchanan, who is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention this evening, regards homosexuality as a litmus test of moral purity.
Nothing has illuminated this crusade more effectively than a work of fiction, "The Drowning of Stephan Jones," by Bette Greene. Preparing for her novel, Ms. Greene interviewed more than 400 young men incarcerated for gay-bashing, and scrutinized their case studies. In an interview published in The Boston Globe this spring, she said she found that the gay-bashers generally saw nothing wrong in what they did, and, more often than not, said their religious leaders and traditions sanctioned their behavior. One convicted teen-age gay-basher told her that the pastor of his church had said, "Homosexuals represent the devil, Satan," and that the Rev. Jerry Falwell had echoed that charge.
Christians opposed to political and social equality for homosexuals nearly always appeal to the moral injunctions of the Bible, claiming that Scripture is very clear on the matter and citing verses that support their opinion. They accuse others of perverting and distorting texts contrary to their "clear" meaning. They do not, however, necessarily see quite as clear a meaning in biblical passages on economic conduct, the burdens of wealth and the sin of greed.
Nine biblical citations are customarily invoked as relating to homosexuality. Four (Deuteronomy 23:17, I Kings 14:24, I Kings 22:46 and II Kings 23:7) simply forbid prostitution, by men and women.
Two others (Leviticus 18:19-23 and Leviticus 20:10-16) are part of what biblical scholars call the Holiness Code. The code explicitly bans homosexual acts. But it also prohibits eating raw meat, planting two different kinds of seed in the same field and wearing garments with two different kinds of yarn. Tattoos, adultery and sexual intercourse during a woman's menstrual period are similarly outlawed.
There is no mention of homosexuality in the four Gospels of the New Testament. The moral teachings of Jesus are not concerned with the subject.
Three references from St. Paul are frequently cited (Romans 1:26-2:1, I Corinthians 6:9-11 and I Timothy 1:10). But St. Paul was concerned with homosexuality only because in Greco-Roman culture it represented a secular sensuality that was contrary to his Jewish-Christian spiritual idealism. He was against lust and sensuality in anyone, including heterosexuals. To say that homosexuality is bad because homosexuals are tempted to do morally doubtful things is to say that heterosexuality is bad because heterosexuals are likewise tempted. For St. Paul, anyone who puts his or her interest ahead of God's is condemned, a verdict that falls equally upon everyone.
And lest we forget Sodom and Gomorrah, recall that the story is not about sexual perversion and homosexual practice. It is about inhospitality, according to Luke 10:10-13, and failure to care for the poor, according to Ezekiel 16:49-50: "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." To suggest that Sodom and Gomorrah is about homosexual sex is an analysis of about as much worth as suggesting that the story of Jonah and the whale is a treatise on fishing.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I don't really understand the Reagan phenomenon. I think he was an actor, and he portrayed men behaving with courage and decent and humility, and it seeped into his political personality. But as to who he really was -- no one has a very clear picture of that. I am an admirer of Jimmy Carter, whom Reagan pretty much butt-raped. I see depth and genuineness and troubledness in Carter, where with Reagan, it is hard to get past the great image. I am aided by this that I lived in California during his tenure -- he was much more a redneck in California than he was as president.
General Monk and His Wife
FROM the same MS. collection of Sir Thomas Browne, I shall rescue another anecdote, which has a tendency to show that it is not advisable to permit ladies to remain at home, when political plots are to be secretly discussed. And while it displays the treachery of Monk’s wife, it will also appear that, like other great revolutionists, it was ambition that first induced him to become the reformer he pretended to be.
“Monk gave fair promises to the Rump, but last agreed with the French ambassador to take the government on himself; by whom he had a promise from Mazarin of assistance from France. This bargain was struck late at night; but not so secretly but that Monk’s wife, who had posted herself conveniently behind the hangings, finding what was resolved upon, sent her brother Charles away immediately with notice of it to Sir A. A. She had promised to watch her husband, and inform Sir A. how matters went. Sir A. caused the Council of State, whereof he was a member, to be summoned, and charged Monk that he was playing false. The general insisted that he was true to his principles, and firm to what he had promised, and that he was ready to give them all satisfaction. Sir A. told him if he were sincere he might remove all scruples, and should instantly take away their commissions from such and such men in his army, and appoint others, and that before he left the room. Monk consented; a great part of the commissions of his officers were changed, and Sir Edward Harley, a member of the council, and then present, was made governor of Dunkirk, in the room of Sir William Lockhart; the army ceased to be at Monk’s devotion; the ambassador was recalled, and broke his heart.”
Such were the effects of the infidelity of the wife of General Monk!
Posted by misteraitch at July 8, 2005 09:30 AM
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CommentsThe wikipedia article on George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-70), doesn’t mention this incident. The Duchess of Albemarle’s name was Ann, née Clarges, a woman of ‘low extraction,’ reckoned by Samuel Pepys to be ‘ever a plain homely dowdy.’
Posted by: misteraitch at July 8, 2005 09:15 AM¶ This article is repeated almost verbatim from its original in early (1790s) editions of the Curiosities.
Posted by: misteraitch at June 29, 2006 09:53 PM
Monk gave fair promises to the Rump
The story of a young boy who misses his father. Good, albeit sad, work. Peace to young Richard Riggins!
If you have missed the fiction and essays of Brad Zellar you have a great treat in store for you. he has one of the surest writing voices I know.
1 comments:Mike and sometimes Rachel said...
<img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_DkGmSl91nqc/Sip9QM44JBI/AAAAAAAACbQ/6h8d4bbIJ0g/S45/close-up.jpg" width="35" height="35" class="photo" alt="">
Rachel is a rabbit, you know, so I am familiar with the quirks of that group.
People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. You are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. You are typically admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. You are fond of gossip but tactful about it and too kind to be destructive. Rabbit people seldom fly off the handle. You are clever at business and being conscientious, you would never back out of a contract! You would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. Nevertheless, you don't gamble often, as you are by nature conservative and discreet. Rabbits have been known to lie with woolly Sheep, wise Pigs, and tiny Dogs.
March 3, 2011 3:56 AM