Cheesesteak and English Only

General discussions of interest to readers and fans of Harlan Ellison.

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Postby Moderator » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:07 am

Mindtraveler -
You'll find this filed in the "Contemporary American Society" drawer, with allusions to the various dynamics which are shaping our society -- mostly to our detriment. Safely ensconsed in a progressive European country, you're probably already aware that English is not the "official" language in the states. Unfortunately the xenophobes in our society like to demonize "them fer'ners" who don't speak it fluently. You'll find THAT little factoid under "ugly Americans".

IMHO: The reason it's of interest here is that Harlan is a serious social commentator and the current political and sociological climate is out of step with what he, and many of the posters here, believe our society should be.

Hope it helps and doesn't seem elitist.

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Postby markabaddon » Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:18 am

Mindtraveller, no you are not being cranky. Steve summarized the situation very well, but allow me elaborate slightly. There were a couple of comments about Philly on the main Webderland page, and I related the experience I had during a recent trip there. Since a number of people commented on the initial posting, I thought I woudl continue the discussion here.

Does it relate to Harlan directly? No, it does not but if you, as a foreign national, have any comment on this practice of ordering only in English here in America I would be very interested to hear it.
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Postby Mindtraveller » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:42 pm

Thank you everyone for answering my query. I am most delighted (or, not) to report to you that in Sweden, Swedish is not an official language either, though everyone speaks it. However, this does only come into questioning when combined with the fact that the native Swedes are slowly, but securely, being alienated in their own country. That is: The government does not wish to step on any toes, which, in effect, has made anyone publicly advocating or praising the native Swedish traditions stamped as a racist. If you wear a Swedish flag on your sleeve, you are a racist. If you sing the Swedish national anthem, you are a racist. So on, so forth ...

Anyway; I shall get back to you with what I think about the situation spawning this topic as soon as I've informed my self further. Until then, gentlemen.
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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:13 pm

What if racial minorities wear the Swedish flag? Is that allowed?

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Postby Mindtraveller » Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:58 pm

Steve Evil wrote:What if racial minorities wear the Swedish flag? Is that allowed?


Everyone is allowed to wear the Swedish flag, but nobody does it. A person belonging to a racial minority who is wearing a Swedish flag is basically unheard of. Recently our discrimination ombudsman suggested that singing a popular Swedish psalm during summer exams would be prohibited, because it belongs to the Christian faith. This particular song has been sung for ages here, and as we all are pretty much secularized, nobody really cares about its contents.
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Postby Moderator » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:09 pm

Interesting. That exasct scenario would elicit howls of protest that the Christian Right was being persecuted (apparently persecution of other groups is tolerated by them, it's only when you tread on their turf that they get nasty).

Wearing the American flag traditionally was limited to a uniform of some kind (scouts, military personel, police, etc), but since 9/11 we've seen a resurgence of flag-bearing designs on T-shirts and the like.

Flag waving, quite sadly, has now become more an exercise in political patriotism than any real sense of Americana (at least, from what I've seen and heard).
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Postby Mindtraveller » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:56 pm

Thus we are alike, even though great waters divide.
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