Thursday, July 30, 2009

Social Norms for New Technology

The winds of technology have unleashed a storm of confusion on the sea of humanity. Texting, sexting, IMing, Facebooking, online dating—I can't handle it! How does all this stuff fit into our established rules of interaction?

Thankfully, Brad Pitt is here to guide our way.

In the July issue of Wired magazine, Mr. Pitt and company spill the beans on surviving in a tech-saturated world. The article, "How to Behave: New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans", provides some of the following gems:
  • Using [your Facebook status] to declare a breakup is like announcing you're going to sleep by pounding the lamp with a hammer: It gets the point across, but you're likely to leave a mess behind.

  • Don't Google-stalk before a first date... Reading your date's Muppet Show fanfic might end a beautiful friendship before it even begins.

  • Friend your boss but not your boss's boss.

  • When your college pals emerge from their parents' basements to litter your Facebook wall with sexist jokes or embarrassing tales of drunken misadventure, people may think you're like them.... Don't be shy about deleting untoward graffiti, eliminating your name from tagged photos, or even asking friends to remove incriminating pics that weren't meant for public consumption.
  • And...
  • Here's a rule of thumb for those of us playing catch-up: Feel free to text while talking or dining with friends.
  • Well, no. More on that topic soon.

    Monday, July 27, 2009

    Obama and Racism: Can't we all just get along?

    The elephant in the room: That's the only way I know how to describe the racial tension that permeates the majority of black and white relations. There is something present of which no one dares to speak.

    I wish I could write off the recent drama involving President Obama, Professor Gates, and Sargeant Crowley as mere miscommunication or foolishness. Unfortunately the root lies closer to ignorance, intolerance, and self-righteousness.

    This issue requires much thought and dialogue. In lieu of a post I am not ready to write, I leave you some words from political commentator Andrew Breitbart. His entire column can be read online at

    Less than a month after being confirmed as the nation's attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr. called out the American people as "essentially a nation of cowards" for refusing to talk openly about race....

    Americans, especially nonblacks, are deeply fearful that [racial interaction] is predicated on an un-American premise: presumed guilt. Innocence, under the extra-constitutional reign of political correctness, liberalism's brand of soft Shariah law, must be proved ex post facto.

    Think not? Ask the Duke lacrosse team, which had 88 of the school's professors sign a petition that presumed their guilt before their side of the story was known. Even though the white athletes were exonerated and the liberal district attorney who pushed the case was dethroned, disbarred and disgraced, the professoriate that assigned guilt to its own students still refuses to apologize.

    Those signatories constituted 90 percent of Duke's African and African-American Studies Department, the subject-matter domain of Mr. Gates, Michael Eric Dyson, Cornel West and other tenure-wielding, highfalutin, iambic-pentameter-filibustering race baiters, and 60 percent of Duke's women's studies department, another hotbed of victimology posing as intellectualism....

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    In the Beginning was Fergal

    The Origin of the Species

    The Blue Anchor was conceived in a bathroom in County Wicklow, Ireland in 2007. This rather unseemly circumstance delayed her birth until May 17, 2009 when Barack Obama helped deliver her on a stage in South Bend, Indiana. She has been slowly growing ever since and has attracted quite an array of admirers. They await her formal début, which has been scheduled for mid-August of this year.

    Meanwhile, allow me to regress a moment to that fateful day...

    In the beginning God created some space

    Apparently the Divine left out the bathroom at Fergal M's modest home in Bray, because there wasn't room to stand. This fact may explain why my mother avoided Fergal's facility—a choice without which Baby Blue would never have been.

    By the time I left the cupboard under the stairs, The Blue Anchor lived within me.


    I didn't even know she was there until I got back in the car after bidding farewell to Fergal and his lovely wife. I'll pick it up as it happened:
  • Mom: Hurry hun, I really have to use the bathroom.
  • Dad:  Look El, I'm going as fast as I can. These damn Irish roads...
  • Me:   Mom, why didn't you just use the bathroom at Fergal's?
  • Mom: I don't know. I just...
  • Me:   You just what, didn't think Fergal's house was good enough for you?
  • Mom: ...didn't really think of it.
  • Me:  (perturbed) Didn't think of it? Did it not occur to you that there are certain benefits associated with using another man's toilet?
  • Mom: (drolly) Like water and a wipe? Son, the hotel has those too you know.
  • Me:   (sputtering) Water and a...No!
  • And then the baby moved inside and the words left my lips:
  • Me: It builds international relations.
  • Horns blared as my dad nearly lost control of the vehicle. My parents' laughter echoed in my head for days.

    The Ultrasound

    A closer look will reveal the wisdom of my statement.

    Relationships are built on commonality. By using Fergal bathroom, I extended the common ground we share. (Case in point: You and my parents now share a common laughter at my ideas. Maybe it will germinate into a conversation some day.)

    But laugh not hastily. Any conscientious housewife should agree: Before a party, women tidy the entire house. Oftentimes this exercise only serves the exasperation of the children. Guests stay on the main floor. They never see whether or not Johnny cleaned out under his bed.

    But on rare occasion, a curious or tired guest may enter the newly-cleaned, rarely-seen parts of the house. In such a case, the guest will be grateful for a tour of the house/place to rest/wardrobe to hide in. In consequence, the housewife will feel as though all her efforts were worthwhile. To some degree she will be grateful that she could provide for her guest. And a bond will be formed.

    The Family

    It is this bond, this common ground, that the Blue Anchor intends to foster.
    And in the naked light I saw
    Ten thousand people, maybe more.
    People talking without speaking,
    People hearing without listening
    Humanity needs to discuss the issues that most haunt us. We need help in answering those questions most intimate to our lives. Such an endeavor demands a great deal of sensivity and forbids self-righteousness.

    I recently commented on someone's blogpost. The response that came back distorted my words and reiterated the argument I had refuted. Clearly, there was no room for dialogue. The dissenting opinion failed to even grant me the accuracy of my own words.

    Unfortunately, 'dialogue' of this nature dominates the public square.

    "And Then One Day, They Learned to Talk"

    All our opinions are necessarily drawn from our human experience. Impressions are projected into beliefs—beliefs then weaved into ideologies. Two persons sharing one experience may end up worlds apart.

    The Blue Anchor intends to show Dick the Communist, Jane the Anarchist, and Joe the Plumber Fundamentalist that little can be achieved by ideological contention. Arguments from opposing 'thought spheres' will never meld into a peaceful solution.

    Instead, we ought return to the core of the dispute. The rediscovery of our shared human experience will allow us to walk together on the path to truth.

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    Apollo 11: A Bygone Era

    The buzz around the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing puzzles me. Am I the only one surprised at the news coverage this non-event is generating?

    Ha. All conspiracy theories aside, in an age of iPhones and space tourism the moonshoot has lost significance. NASA may not have moved on, but everyone else has. Apollo 11 does still have limited use though: For instance, if someone mentions conspiracy theories, well, it might be time to get out the shotgun and blow that un-American hippie away.

    Friday, July 17, 2009


    I owe you all an explanation.

    Two months ago I started this blog with the intent to deliver a more serious discussion of contemporary issues; to embrace what others might gloss over.

    Things have gone well but the clear difficulty has been in generating sufficient material to sustain interest in the blog.

    We (by that I mean my co-writers and I) are at a crossroads.

    Um, maybe not like that (although, as the Brits used to say, "Clapton is God" and therefore serious enough to mandate a post); but we do face the decision to really run with this or to to let it fade. There will be no middle ground.

    In a nutshell, this 10-day lull between posts will not persist. If all goes well, you can expect new material at least three times a week by mid-August.

    On a final note, if any of you know someone who has the writing ability, philosophical grounding, and emotional detachment necessary to write material for this blog, please drop me a line at blueanchorblog(at)

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    The King is Dead. Long Live the King!

    Rack my brain as I might, nothing about Michael Jackson's death or the ravenous media circus that has followed inspires a post of significance.

    One quick thought.

    That is Michael. The media abuses the memory of that scared little kid.

    This is how we ought to remember the King of Pop. His faults die with him. Let his magic live on.

    The kid was so smooth.