NickOtani

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About NickOtani

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    Spokane, WA
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    Philosophy and Literature

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  1. I saw a television movie last week about the relationship between Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. It was good. I vaugely knew they were once a comedy team and broke up, but I didn't know the whole story. The movie brought out how the personalities of each of these guys grated on the other. Dean was the suave, good-looking man who was laid back, easy going, and with a great singing voice. Jerry Lewis was the idiot, the guy with the slap stick, physical antics which got laughs. He could mimic in exagerated ways which poked fun at those he copied. He played the fool to Dean's straight man. However,
  2. Whatever. I am aware that some people try to control me in various ways. They should read the "I" speech from "Anthem" or my post on Prufrock and Henley. I am not unhappy with myself or the image I project. I'm not really bothered by other people who disapprove of me, and I do not live my life to please them. Have a good day. bis bald, Nick
  3. In the issue of 2001-12-24 of the NewYorker, John Updike discusses a new collection of essays by Czeslaw Milosz, the 1980 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Milosz originally came from Poland but has lived in America, working in the Slavic department of the University of California at Berkely since 1960. Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, he travels back and forth between Berkeley and Poland. He is now in his 90's but continues to write, both essays and poems. He lived in Lithuania, which was part of the Russian Empire up to 1918. He moved, in 1937, to Warsaw, where he endured
  4. Most of us recognize that we are observing a different culture, the Memphis Black scene. Words like “Bitch” and “Ho” are just second nature to them, and the “F” word is spread all over. Nobody gets shocked by it. I have known Black people from Memphis, but the current culture is different than what it was ten years ago. As soon as we get to the point where we understand the slang, it has to change. It’s an unwritten law. Still, even if we have to strain, which is good for us, it isn’t hard to recognize that this guy is struggling and has a dream. As different as he is from us, we can identify
  5. The two main characters in Brokeback Mountain are regular guys who shared an experience while alone in an isolated environment. They didn’t expect it. They didn’t think of themselves as homosexuals. There was self-deception. There was concern about acceptance from society, and that concern was ultimately shown to be justified. Letting some people know one is a homosexual can be deadly in some places. It is dangerous. Many stories about love end in tragedy. There are parallels between Brokeback Mountain and Romeo and Juliet or The Great Gatsby. It’s the forbidden love syndrome. People try to pu
  6. It is also a movie worth seeing, one that makes us think of the issues. This time, it is sexual harassment. It's a movie, like Norma Ray, about one person against the herd, until others begin to stand with her. I know that women have it rough in some environments. I've been in the Army and saw changes over the years, from when Drill Sergeants taught us about our M16s by comparing them to women, saying that if we treat them nice, stroke them gently, they will respond for us the way we want them to. We sang dirty lyrics in our cadence chants, like “between her legs, she wore a bloody rag. …” I w
  7. This shows how Edward R. Murrow took on Joseph R. McCarthy, and it was really accurate, using actual dialogue, when known, and coming as close as possible to what actually happened. It even used actual footage from film of the real McCarthy. In some of the newsreel footage, we see glimpses of Bobby Kennedy and other real people. The movie was in black and white, like Shindler’s List, and it captures the mood of the times. It’s good for Americans to see this. Many may not even know who Murrow and McCarthy are. It’s sad how little people know about history. People have done stupid things in hist
  8. I've already talked about how free-will in the Objectivist philosophy conflicts with their mechanistic view of the universe with cause and effect running everything. Nathaniel Branden talks about how it is man's nature to be free and that he is a prime mover, not really a negation of causalty but another kind of causation. This doesn't explain things, folks. Objectivism just doesn't get into this issue very far before declaring it self-evident. It's another axiom about which they don't have to discuss further. Another problem Objectivists run into when they reject the mind/body dichotomy and a
  9. I have actually taught in prisons and in public schools. There is a difference. However, good looking and popular kids have no real problems in any setting. They tend to get what they want. Students like I was will always experience injustice. However, I think I am now a little deeper, intellectually and emotionally, than the cheerleaders and jocks and class presidents who were in high school when I was. bis bald, Nick
  10. Again, I think it is better to debate than to fly airplanes into buildings or drop bombs in places where innocent people reside. However, I can understand why some people would rather not debate this issue. As much as I enjoy debating and think it can be productive, I need to respect my opponents somewhat, even if I disagree with them. I have such little respect for people who think killing innocent people is morally justified that I really don't want to debate with them. This is why I sometimes walk away from debates with people who think dropping the bombs on Japan was a good thing. If this
  11. BTW, I wish more of our battles would be on messageboards rather than in residential and business areas. bis bald, Nick
  12. I don't really understand. Why would someone profoundly disagree with me that we should be reminded of our culpability in killing innocent people, as collateral damage, in going after those we think are responsible for going after us? And, where have I been debating this umpteen times? Let me put on record that I profoundly disagree that killing innocent people, as when we dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, is ever justified. Nick
  13. To Barbara, Yes, I agree we need to be reminded of recent history. We tend to become complacent and vulnerable. We also need to be reminded of our culpabilty in killing innocent people, as collateral damage, in going after those we think are responsible for going after us. And, we need to be reminded that not all Muslims and people of Arab descent are evil. It is evil to discriminate against them all indiscriminately. bis bald, Nick
  14. To Barbara, Good point! I agree. Anne Frank's story is much different from Rachael's. It appears that Rachael had a fairly safe and pleasant life prior to being shot. I think the family and people trying to promote Rachael are stretching to find parallels. It reminds me of how people once pointed out all the similarties between John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. They didn't mention the differences, like that Kennedy was rich and Lincoln wasn't. To Chris, I don't know if this is the girl to whom you are refering, but she is being exploited, it seems, by religious people. She is being used to
  15. The other day, when I was substitute teaching at the North Central High School in Spokane, I attended an assembly. It was a special tribute to Rachael Scott, the first person killed in the Columbine High School shooting incident in 1999. She was a cute teenage girl and well liked by many people. The presenter, a friend of the family, compared her to Anne Frank, the Jewish girl killed by Nazis in World War II. The two boys who shot her, Eric and Dylan, idolized Hitler, and, like Anne Frank, Rachael Scott is having a post-mortem impact on the world. Rachael’s brother, Darrel, missed being shot b