"I have to write a review of an exotic restaurant, let's bring our kids even though we know from experience that 4-year-olds can be clumsy and 18-month-olds can melt down at the drop of a hat. What could possibly go wrong?" Here's what: readers will avoid the restaurant for fear of running into families with squalling children now that you've told everyone that the owner is very patient with them.
...why are we always represented by drag queens and a Judy Garland movie?
I always suspected that the host's resume includes German kink porn, the kind that involves live eels.
For a moment, let's set aside the various culturally offensive aspects of Langley's interview (particularly the "myth of the noble savage" crap, and the perspective that a non-white culture isn't legitimized until a white guy experiences it). There are many events that Langley describes which your Navajo friends would point out as highly questionable or just plain wrong. You did ask your Navajo friends if Langley sounded legit, didn't you?
In order of mention in Langey's interview:
Although code talkers participate in many parades, especially on Veterans' Day, there are no parades specifically for code talkers. Certainly not in Window Rock.
A Navajo man would not walk out of a parade crowd to tell a bilagaana (white guy) that he's never seen anyone like him. It's just not done.
Medicine men don't announce that they're medicine men. They have a lot of enemies due to the nature of their work, e.g., transferring sickness from one person to another, breaking curses that someone paid another medicine man a lot of money to inflict, etc. And, when they're not dealing in the redistribution of suffering, they must maintain a graceful balance with a gazillion subtle forces in the physical and spiritual worlds. Self-promotion, or even self-identification, disrupts that.
Medicine men and medicinal herbalists do, indeed, instruct in very conventional ways. It's not just "watch and try to absorb".
But the teaching method is probably moot, since it's HIGHLY UNLIKELY a medicine man would share such deep tradition with any outsider, bilagaana or otherwise. They don't even share the knowledge among family or other Navajo unless they see the gift in another person, and that's not something that can be seen in one quick look.
Medicine men also tend to work with a team, including, for example, an interpreter, an herbalist, an assistant who handles charms and such, etc. Langley speaks as if it's only ever him and Blue Horse.
There are many, many forms of divination other than scrying a fire, and it's peculiar that Langley's Blue Horse seems to use that technique exclusively. Also, studying the smoke and ash are much more common that firegazing. And sand painting is perhaps the most common divination, yet Langley doesn't mention it at all.
But then there's the skinwalker business. A medicine man would NEVER become a skinwalker himself. Instead, some poor malleable chump is chosen as victim of the skinwalker transformation. It's a kind of voluntary enslavement. You have to WANT to become a skinwalker and kill a close relative as your first step down that road. This is perhaps the darkest, most sinister aspect of a medicine man's work. And, the skinwalker doesn't become an animal. The skinwalker manifests the qualities of the animal that can accomplish the dark deeds at hand, sometimes as far as donning the hide of the animal and distorting his body to fit the hide.
Finally, Langley says he can't decide to be an Indian and live on the rez. True, he'll always be bilagaana, but he can live on the rez if Navajo friends invite him to. It's peculiar that the people he spent so much time with, and shared such deep spiritual experiences with, wouldn't invite him. Perhaps there's more cachet to being the Albuquerque white guy who studied with medicine men. Or maybe his claims can't be as easily vetted in white society.
Excellent commentary, Ed.
My boyfriend and I were planning to attend Pornotopia to see John Holmes in 3D, but eventually decided not to, largely for the reasons Ed detailed. Two main reasons, actually.
First, the prior night at the Sidewinders gay bar we watched a hipster male-female couple stroll into the Gearwerks sex toy shop. Heterosexuals with a day pass... everybody hates a tourist. They were blatantly sight-seeing, standing just far enough away from everything to make it clear they had no real interest beyond enhancing their "alternative" aura. My boyfriend commented, "You know, the audience at the Guild is going to be full of them."
Second, I moved to Albuquerque from Boston and I'm familiar with the women who own Self Serve from their store Grand Opening with its distinctly male-negative vibe. I visited Self Serve just once when they first opened and felt the same chill. Both shops could best be described as clean, well-lighted places for Wellesley grads to do research for the revised "Our Bodies, Our Selves". It's great that there's an alternative to The Castle for those who prefer their sexiness clean and lavender scented. But I was pretty sure that Pornotopia would be a dissertation about sex rather than actually being sex.
So my boyfriend and I had sex at home instead. To paraphrase Woody Allen, sex is only dirty when it's done right.
You may be misunderstanding the difference between voter fraud and other types of fraudulent voting.
Voter fraud occurs when people or identities that are not eligible to vote get on the voter rolls and cast votes. Frauds cast votes by passing themselves off as deceased people, as neighbors, using fake ID cards, etc. In these cases a person walks into a voting place and casts a vote. The Republicans accused Democrats of these techniques. I used to piss off my voting place assistants by insisting they check my ID.
The Bush elections were challenged on grounds of voter intimidation, reallocated votes, hacked voting machines, falsified tallies, and other cheating. They racked up thousands of votes that were never cast by citizens. Sadly, there's overwhelming evidence they got away with it.
The Republicans complained about voter fraud because if they drew attention to other techniques for scamming votes, it would have validated the complaints made against the Republicans.
When I was 11 years old, I was one of those precocious advanced placement kids. I loved the library so much. The stories! The text books! Newspapers from other states! Magazines I'd never heard of! I would have lived there if I could. Unfortunately, the library was a little too far to walk there from home. I had to get a ride from one of my parents. One day I cried to my mom. "Why can't I drive? Why is there an arbitrary age to get a driver's license? I'm mature, I'm more responsible than other people!" No one seemed to understand that I was special, I was different, I should be allowed to do what I knew was right for me.