The man got his news from one source, and one source only. He didn’t need to diversify his sources, because “This is America, daggonit, and as an American in America I’m allowed to do as I please.” The talking heads appearing on his favorite conservative-leaning television station told him everything he needed to know, and he liked it that way.
He also listened to his wife, of course, who sometimes passed along knowledge and advice gained from her circle of friends and family. Which meant he got news from at least two sources. He also listened to the pastor of his church, of course, and read such bible verses as appeared on the mobile application a grandchild had installed on his phone. Which meant he got news from at least four sources. He also listed to some of his conservative-leaning friends, whose opinions tended, at times, to match his. Which meant he got news from at least eight sources.
And yet, when pressed, he insisted that he got his news from one source, and one source only. The man was fearful, you see, and stubborn. He had learned to stick to his guns no matter what. Even if it meant being wrong, and lying to himself, and riding roughshod over the gut-knowledge that he was acting foolishly. Even if it meant being cruel to others, and attacking them personally because of their views. Because, in America, where the gentle nonconformist gets steamrolled daily by ten million angry yes-men, corporations don’t profit when people are open-minded or learn from mistakes.
americanifesto / 場黑麥 / jpr / urbanartopia / whorphan
In Hoi An, Vietnam, I learned to balance a bottle on my head - while bicycling. The year was 2016. Before then, I’d trained myself to balance things on the top of my head while just standing or walking slowly around. The stars aligned, however, in that ancient and beautiful port city when I moved my halfway empty 1.5 liter bottle of drinking water from the bicycle’s front basket up to the top of my head on the last turn before reaching the local market, down by the river. Riding slowly through the milling crowds, I drew cries of praise, looks of astonishment and dull stares alike. I waved to a few people then kept riding, crossing a busy intersection before pedaling some kilometers out into the suburbs. Occasionally, kids’ minds would be blown upon seeing me cycling past with the bottle balanced on my head; the children, almost always boys, would come running out into the street, pointing at me and laughing, shaking their heads, and giggling as they tried to emulate my efforts with their own bottles. In my experience, there are few methods for bridging cultural gaps as effective as lighthearted self-denigration; people around the world quickly accept into their midst someone who can prove he doesn’t take himself too seriously. And, the day after my discovery, I noticed that the residents of Hoi An seemed to recognize me personally. One or two got my attention, pointed to the tops of their heads, and smiled. A handful of others seemed to nod at me. Of all the things I’ve learned whilst traveling, this skill is both useful and useless, depending on the situation at hand; it’s helpful for making friends with kids but should be avoided around police officers and when wooing attractive young ladies.
© JPR / whorphan / americanifesto / 場黑麥
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