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civilized conversation


We’re back in civilization and I’m at a barbeque doing my best to be good company.

“So what’s your novel about?” the lady said, perfectly coiffed, delicately buffed and polished, foundation and eye liner applied with the touch of practice.

“It’s a thriller, set in the 1960’s in West Africa, Nigeria. Night Must Wait.”

A slight sneer, more than one expects on a lady’s lip and she said “But that’s so, well, you know, depressing. Africa, people don’t really want to read about Africa.”

I guess I should have said –you’re so right, I’d better go back and fix that.

“It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived,” I said instead. “Don’t worry, it isn’t all grim. I have a lot of humor in the story.”

“But Africa, Nigeria, why they’re stuck back in the fourteenth century.”

I lost some of what she was saying at this…

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E T & co

How You Will Vote On Tuesday and Why

Tent of Abraham

As a life-long student of the social sciences, I’ve always been intrigued by the capacity of seemingly honest, intelligent people to twist facts and re-tell events in the cause of resolving their own cognitive dissonance and advancing what they perceive to be the best interests of their tribe.

The current Presidential campaign in the United States is a case and point:  Republicans and Democrats are both quite sure that the other side, is at best, embellishing or editing the truth in the cause of winning supporters.  At worst,  there’s an incredible amount of intentional lying going on.  Why?

Heres my explanation. All of us belong to a number of tribes.  I am convinced that tribal loyalties not only shape our opinions but empower us to comfortably revise inconvenient truths.

I respectfully invite you to take the following brief test.  Without knowing who you are or what your current opinions…

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When culture breaks evolution.

... by misadventure

It seems incomprehensible to most heirs of the Enlightenment that a concern for your family reputation could lead you to murder your own child.

Tangent: But I suppose it was the men of that very Enlightenment who spent their own time dueling one another other over matters of their own honor.  It seems just pointless and ridiculous, but at least all those involved had consented to be part of the pointlessness and ridiculousness.

In the case of honor killings, though, it’s just a continuation of the existing violence (forced marriages, disenfranchisement, genital mutilations, &c.) — all in the name of honor — already prevalent within the societies that accept such things.

It’s just one more part of that whole appalling continuum that says women are no better than livestock, and perhaps even less useful since your cow will never bring dishonor on the family.

My incomprehension in this matter…

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