Monthly Archives: January 2013

Chew, Shoe, or Skew?

Standard

I’ve been enjoying  audio books lately because I have to drive to distant parts of my county for work. One thing that fascinates me about the audiobook experience is the ways in which the readers pronounce some words. Now, I have degrees in English, and have always had a pretty good vocabulary, primarily as the result of reading. So consequently, there are many words that I’ve only ever read and not heard anyone use, so I’ve deduced my own pronunciations. Some of these have seemed clear, and there are others about which I’ve been unsure.

So now, when I hear some of these words uttered by the readers of different audiobooks it’s an interesting experience. I noticed this a lot with “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” as Tom Wolfe has an expansive vocabulary, and the audio book reader had some interesting pronunciations that mostly sounded right.
Today, listening to the history, “Occult America” the reader pronounced the word ‘eschew’ as “es-kew,” which seemed to me a novel way of pronouncing a useful word that sounds awkward the way I’ve always pronounced it, which is “es-shoo.” Looking online about the issue I saw some debate about whether the word (in American English) is pronounced “es-shoo” or “es-choo,” but interestingly, no mention of the potential “es-skew” version I heard on the audio book.
One writer on a message board on this matter, with the screen name “Packard,” amusingly commented:
“If ever I used “eschew” in conversation I would immediately be branded an effete snob. So that neatly exempts me from ever pronouncing the word as I do not wish to be considered an effete snob and I don’t use it orally. (I do use it in written communication, but rarely.)
In a subsequent post, Packard writes, “I do recall a teacher saying, “Eschew obfuscation, espouse elucidation.”
Chew, Shoo, or Skew? All would seem to work.

Warriors for Jesus

Standard

Image

Let’s review some facts before getting to the point of this post:

Despite the fact that the US and its military is not a Theocratic regime:

1. The U.S. Military is saturated with and actively promotes Evangelical Christian sermons, events, and strongly worded proselytizing.

2. Military academy chaplains continue to vigorously promote evangelical Christianity to all troops. At services attended by some 600 cadets undergoing basic training, one of the chaplains told the cadets that those not “born again will burn in the fires of hell.” He and other chaplains urged the cadets to “witness” to their fellow Basic Cadets and led them in prayers for the salvation of those who had chosen not to attend the services.

3. The Pentagon reports: Suicide rates for Military personnel during 2011, 2012 occur once per day.

4. PTSD: Nearly 30% of vets treated by the VA in 11-12 have PTSD (and many more don’t seek treatment)

5. The Sept. 2012 study by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, says about 20 percent of active duty service members reported they drank heavily in 2008, the last year for which data is available. And, binge-drinking rose to 47 percent in 2008 from 35 percent in 1998

6. Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Report in Sept 2012 concludes: We’ve had people beaten, denigrated, families and careers ruined. Our clients are being told they are not Christian enough. […] When you’re told you have the wrong religious faith—the military is very tribal and ritualistic.

7. SO THEN, we recently hear from the ‘eminent’ spokesperson of the Family Resource   Center, Tony PerkinsT Perkins military’s institution of yoga and meditation as methods for decreasing stress, drug and alcohol use, and depression in soldiers. His ridiculous response is this:

“If yoga and medication is meant to create a sense of calmness, reduce drug and alcohol use, increase productivity, and improve working relationships.Tony asserts: “What a coincidence–so does faith! Unfortunately, the military seems intent on driving religion out and replacing it with wacky substitutes,” he continued. “They’ve added atheist chaplains, Wiccan worship centers, and now, meditation classes. But none of them are as effective or as constructive as a personal relationship with God. Unfortunately, though, it’s mind over what matters–and that’s faith.”

Wiccan? Really!

8. Now, with all the pervasive God pushing in the armed forces, and all the rampant problems plaguing our troops, it appears that this faith thing isn’t work very well! Perhaps Tony P. would say the troops aren’t practicing it properly…

Let’s review some more facts on the matter (knowing full well that facts mean nothing to Tony and his ilk):

9. Drug abuse is also a growing problem,  reports find. Just 2 percent of personnel on active duty reported misusing prescription drugs in 2002, while the latest report found 11 percent of personnel engaged in such abuse.

10. Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, alcohol abuse among returning military personnel has spiked. In 2008, nearly half of active duty service members reported binge drinking. Among the environmental changes endorsed by the committee are curbing easy access to relatively inexpensive alcohol on military bases through consistent enforcement of regulations on underage drinking.

One soldier’s experience is detailed here: An atheist soldier suing over prayers at military formations claims a larger pattern of religious discrimination exists in the military, citing attempts to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and an evangelical bias in a suicide prevention manual. The Defense Department has identified fewer than 50 complaints about alleged violations of religious freedoms during the past three years, with 1.4 million personnel in uniform lodging complaints(fishy numbers here), according the Military Spokesmen. The revised lawsuit criticizes the Army’s 2008 manual on suicide prevention, quoting it as promoting “religiosity” as a necessary part of prevention and describing “connectivity to the divine” as “fundamental.” The lawsuit also notes that in 2007, the Air Force sponsored “Team Faith,” which performs motocross stunt shows to “lead extreme sports athletes to Christ.”

Many more accounts are available from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Atheist/Agnostic member of the military who feel pressured to attend such Christian events and who are ostracized when they do choose not to do so.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Report in Sept 2012 concludes:

We’ve had people beaten, denigrated, families and careers ruined. Our clients are being told they are not Christian enough. […] When you’re told you have the wrong religious faith—the military is very tribal and ritualistic

Now, with all the pervasive God talk in the armed forces, and all the rampant problems plaguing our troops, it appears that this faith thing isn’t work very well?

Let’s review some fact on the matter (knowing full well that facts mean nothing to Tony and his ilk):

Drug abuse is also a growing problem, the report finds. Just 2 percent of personnel on active duty reported misusing prescription drugs in 2002, while the new report found 11 percent of personnel engaged in such abuse.

Plenty of research can be found online that supports the benefits of meditation and yoga–and it’s not in conflict with Christianity either. Shut up Tony.