July 12, 2002

progress and dust

After my earlier weather rant, I came across this. It's from href="http://www.fbofw.com">Elly Patterson, an extremely sane ans sensaible
woman even if she does live in two dimensions and have ink for blood "Now we're
into July. It's hot, humid and all fans are sold. People now have something to add
to their list of complaints. Canadians complain about sports and the weather -
what a luxury. Others have too many things to cry about and say little. We're
lucky to live here." The rest of it is href="http://www.fbofw.com/char_pgs/elly_letter.html">here. Those of us a bit
below Canada on the map tend to complain about lots of other things too, but the
principal applies.

In even more surprising news about fictional
characters, check href="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=573&e=3&cid=573&u=/nm/20020
712/od_nm/sesamestreet_dc_1">this story
out. I don't know whether or not it's
necessary in the US, not having the figures handy, but those numbers for South
Africa -- that 1 in 9 people has AIDS -- suggest it's not too extreme a move for
there. With luck, it will ensure that the children there (those who survive) will
grow up with more sense than their current generation of leaders. Maybe that means
we do need to do the same here. I wonder if Sesame Street hasn't had more effect
than anyone realizes already, though there are always so many other factors at
work that it would be difficult to study. For example, Sesame Street was a pioneer
for colorblind casting from the beginning. Now, I was a first generation
Muppethead (the show started when I was 3) and my attitudes are substantially
different than my parents'. On matters like race and gender they have been since
before I can remember, and I don't know where else that could have come from, so
early. And it's not just me. I will never deny we have far to go on race issues,
but it is clear that the changes over the past 30 years or so have been dramatic.
I don't have numbers for this, either, but all you need to do is go walk around in
a crowd and note the number of mixed-race couples. They used to be very rare, not
all that long ago. Even in about 1983, when I was in high school rumor had it a
black boy and white girl were asked not to go to the prom together. I fervently
hope that doesn't happen any more. (Twenty years before that, they wouldn't have
been "asked". These days it's same-sex couples who have those problems. I hope to
see the same sort of progress, though preferably a faster rate of change.) Mixed-
race adoptions are common, TV shows about black people are targeted to everyone
(Bill Cosby gets a lot of credit there), most sports fans don't pay much attention
to who is of what race. (There is always the not-occasional-enough troglodytish
exception to all of this, of course.) Maybe Sesame Street will have some impact on
attitudes toward AIDS.

I do want to talk about weather again, but no
rant this time. You've seen a sun shower? Yesterday, on my way home, I drove
through a sun-dust-storm. The storm was blowing in from the mountains to the east,
while the sun was shining in the west, and I was driving due south. As a result,
the dust clouds coming in form my left were glowing as if they were lit
from inside. They were golden instead of beige. I couldn't watch too closely
because it was rush hour and the storm wind stirring them up kept trying to push
me into the next lane, but it was very beautiful in an eerie way, The effect only
lasted a few minutes. No rain yet, though.

Posted by dichroic at July 12, 2002 12:30 PM
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