Friday, October 14, 2016


Back when I was young,
there would still be
phrases thrown around
like - 'Was he a foreigner?'
or 'How come you're
driving a foreign car?'
You don't hear that stuff
anymore; no one ever says
it, and it's not something that
comes front and center.
Simply put, there are no
'foreigners' anymore;
now everybody's from
everywhere. People
these days look different.
The faces are a generation
or two deeper into that
whole 'International Man'
genetics thing; bloodlines
crossed; skin tones and
facial characteristics
are much different. Here
and there, perhaps yes,
you can still detect a real
Slav, or a deep-Italy kind
of face, the racial connotations
of a Pole or a Hungarian,etc.,
but all that's harder to detect.
I don't care. The newer
influences of Asian or
subcontinent India can be
seen to be more commonplace;
Mexican and Central American
too  - they've now all rutted
and merged with one another
so that I'd bet thirty years
hence the entire idea of what
an 'American' looks like has
been altered. Fully. Almost
mulatto, the mix will be a
cohesive gem of a Black,
Latino, and Asian mix-up.
Universal man will be a
different mix entire.
So, anyway, it's pretty
difficult now to hear that
kind of phrase uttered, that
verbal distinction. Sad to
say, when you do hear it,
mostly, it's from some
third-tier know nothing
running off at the mouth.
The kind of  person you're
surprised even to learn is
still around. Or, also now
conveniently, it's given
in a more general reference
to onboard 'terror' or security.
That's just the way things
are now, as the entire
American societal thing
has turned into one huge,
over-rolling upon itself
and snowballed, fiasco.
Sadly, or not, the days I'm
talking about, and the times
and people I knew growing
up, bore only the most basic
connotations. It was a land-line
that ran through friends and
their families. Period. People
were either, you'd say, German,
or Irish, or Polish, or Hungarian.
I knew the Oshiro family, and
they were 'Hawaian, and that
seemed close enough to Japanese.
I'd see them in Church, the
entire family, Henry and his
brother, and the parents. A
strange sight for me. I hardly
knew anyone so 'out of the
ordinary.' As it were. What a
world. That too is all different
now  -  all sorts of national
and ethnic foods and restaurants
on most every street, no one
thinks twice. Just in New
Brunswick alone, as an
example (an otherwise
real dungheap of a place),
there are three 'African'
grocers that I know off,
stores specific to African
foods, and there are, in
addition, food-places for
every nook and cranny
culture worldwide. That's
all the result of struggle. We,
of course, aren't taught to
think that way, but it was
the breakdown of all those
colonial manners and means,
through the 1950's and 60's,
that put all this front and
center before us. Sort of
'unregimenting' the format
of what we assumed the
'world' outside to be. America
was pretty myopic. Now,
we (I) am as comfortable
seeing Nigerians and Turks,
(just examples) and their
native garbs and clothing
fabrics and language tongues
and manners. It's nothing at
all. I'm always amazed how
I hear, as well, the weird
rationales for it  -  how
'War' has brought us the
advances for the Internet,
and the networking of the
worldwide web; how the
space program has brought
us laser service, lights and
some wonder foods and
fabrics. Breakthroughs in
things we now think of as
ordinary. What a boost it
all is, in its way, for the
National' in nationhood.
Globally, one huge,
working, interconnected
activity of effort. Nothing
separate at all.
At the same time, by 
propaganda, it's a spoiler  
-  in that it's now allowed 
us to let go of so many 
of the special characteristics 
by which we once identified 
as Americans, for ourselves 
and families, and schools.
Think of all those picture-book
vacationing families, in their 
station wagons, with the 
happy kids, the back-seat 
coloring books and Hawaiian 
Punch containers. That's all 
so gone now  -  those car 
rear-windows with a
zillion stickers on them, 
places visited and
grand vacations taken 
(driven to). 'This car
climbed Mt. Washington'  
-  even if it looked like it 
couldn't make it up 
the next American 
driveway it came to.

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