Saturday, March 17, 2007
I always get a kick out of the Academy Awards "Best foreign language film" category, just from the name. Why is it called that instead of, "Best non-English language film"? Answer: Because the Academy is based in the United States where English is the dominant language of the land, and almost all motion pictures up for nomination thus have to have English as the primary tongue spoken in the film in order to qualify for the various categories of nominations.
A Canadian-produced film can qualify for all Academy Award nominations if the dialogue is mainly in Canada's official language of English, but not if the dialogue is primarily in its other official language of French.
A film produced in the United Kingdom can qualify for all Academy Award nominations if the dialogue is mainly in the U.K.’s official language of English, but not if the dialogue is primarily in one of the U.K.'s living, native Gaelic dialects.
Never mind that there are over 300 living Indigenous American languages spoken within the United States alone. If Mel Gibson's Apocalypto would have been about the Cherokee Nation instead of the Maya, and most of the film's dialogue was mostly in Tsalagi, it would have still been categorized as a "foreign language" film and only eligible for the "Best foreign language film" nomination, even though the Cherokee language and the Cherokee people are not “foreign.”
What has prompted me to comment on this topic is a more important related issue that has been floating around the U.S. for a number of years, and has taken effect in a number of individual U.S. states already. That is the "English-only" and "English as the official language" movement. The most recent one to take place is in the State of Oklahoma where Indigenous American tribes there are up in arms about it.
Most “English-only/English-as-the-official language ” advocates are the same morally conservative, politically right wing, neo-Cavalry Amerikaner nativist-types who regard undocumented Mesoamerican Indian-blooded migrants from Mexico and Central America to the United States as “invaders” and “illegal aliens.” I have compared these nativists in previous commentaries as the American version of pro-apartheid era Afrikaners who live under the illusion that they are just as indigenous to the Americas as we Indigenous American-blooded peoples are.
Like the Yankee flag, the bastard English language is right wing America’s sacred cow. I call it “bastard” because all the mostly non-grammatically phonetic modern English language basically consists of is a mixture of Latin, Greek, French, Gaelic, and Saxon German, and has more words in its lexicon than any other language.
After the American colonies gained independence from Great Britain, most of the Europeans and their spawns living in the thirteen colonies were of English, German, French, Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish origin. The “founding fathers” took a vote as to whether English, German, or French should be the language of the new government to conduct business in. (Gaelic was not included because most people of Celtic stock back then spoke English as well, plus there are dialects of Gaelic that are not intelligible with one another). German lost out to English by only one vote, and French came in a not-to-distant third. However, for those of you who have U.S. passports, you will note that it includes information in French as well as English.
Not being content that English is already the official language to conduct local, state, and federal government business in, these language apartheid Amerikaners want to make English the official language of the entire United States and prohibit the use of “foreign languages” in government print. What their campaign all boils down to is their hatred for the gradual re-browning of America by Spanish-speaking Latin American Indian-blooded migrants and immigrants.
Now I don't mean to downplay the importance of English in relation to its practicality. It has ended up the most widely-spoken language globally, and is thus important in that respect, and non-English-speaking people who move to the U.S. ought to attempt to learn to become at least functional in the language so they can function communications-wise that much more effectively. However, because of all the living Indigenous American languages within the United States, no language should be declared the official language of the land. To do so is just another symbolic slap in the face to Indigenous Americans. The French-speaking Cajuns of Louisiana faced similar discrimination in the past.
On the other hand, for those who still insist on such a wide-scale, across-the-board “official language,” then Spanish ought to made an official language as well as English, due to the southwestern United States having been under the domination of two Spanish-speaking nations previously (Spain and Mexico), and due to the millions of Spanish-speaking peoples in the United States, which includes the County of Los Angeles, which is the second-largest Spanish-speaking region in the world. Also, many Indigenous American peoples from tribes in the Southwest are tri-lingual, and many of them have Spanish surnames. (Spanish is already the official language of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico).
Wikipedia: English-only movement.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
With the left hand I cleanse and nourish.
With the right hand I damage and destroy.
The drought-ridden farmer welcomes me,
While the carwash owner curses me.
I am the God of Rain.
Indigenous peoples around the world associate deities with the forces of nature, such as rain. Among the Aztec peoples and their present-day descendants the Nahuas, rain god Tláloc is symbolized as illustrated above at the top.
The Mayan rain god is Toc, illustrated above, offering a mortal his bestowal, which the mortal ignores and thus does not receive.
The Yaqui rain deity, Kakaliwa is just symbolized by two black rain drops as illustrated above.
Modern meteorology's symbol above needs no explanation.
The word "hurricane" is derived from Hurucán, the Carribean Taino Indian name for the deity associated with that category of storm.
Most modern day, non-indigenous urbanites in particular dislike rain more than they appreciate it, simply because it causes them inconveniences and even mishaps. Because of that, rainy weather is often referred to as "bad" or "ugly" weather.
Indigenous people appreciate rain. We hold the view that even the damage and destruction that heavy, prolonged rainstorms can bring will result in the long run necessary changes. Even for those who don't hold that view, it's often the case that mishap, damage, death, and destruction from rain storms are the result of human error and judgement in the way of building in, living in, traveling in, or exercising a living in a high-risk flood zone.
Last but not least and needless-to-say, there would hardly be any life on Grandmother Earth's terrain if "the rain deity" didn't shed his "teardrops" often enough.
So the next time you're inconvenienced by or "fall victim" to rain or snow, remember that like the sun, rain brings about more benefits to the world in the long run than it does negative effects.