Monday, April 16, 2018

White Reign

Can you embrace bicycling culture without cultivating a comparative attitude? If you ever doubt automotive culture dominates, tune into NASCAR, its exact opposite. Contrast competitive intensity of Talladega 500 to Tour de France; although both border on glory and insanity, over five hundred crew members, drivers, and spectators died in stateside motor races since 1994, while worldwide around one hundred cyclists died (no spectators) in road and velodrome races since 1894. Numbers exclude training on roads, never captured for drivers but mere dozens of pro cyclists. So, global versus national for over 5 times longer from among equal numbers of participants, one fifth as many from pelaton died. Said Reece Bobby in Talledega Nights, “You’ve gotta learn to drive with the fear… if you're scared, that beautiful death machine will do what God made it to do, namely, eat you with a smile." Annually, ratio of civilian fatalities is 50:1. Motor crashes claim 3,287 lives daily around the world, 90% of which occur in third world countries despite much fewer vehicles.

An estimated $1 trillion was invested in films during 20th Century, versus $10 trillion invested every 10 years on US highways, a multiple of 100, rife with corruption, with only a small portion actually going to construction. Roads provide emergency routes, sustaining lifelines, vital connections, so seem a higher priority and sold as a no-brainer among the cruel who rule and steal revenue from rubes they fool. Lion’s share goes to interstate boondoggles that mostly restrict to motorists alone, not minor upkeep of secondaries and side streets used by everyone. Once a year do they sweep them, spot repair potholes only after numerous complaints. Inadequate bikeways serve drivers better by getting cyclists out of their way, though fail everyone where traffic is thickest and will to build weakest.

Films do fill a psychological need, though not all and whether they satisfy can be debated at best. Many inventions first appear in articles, books or scripts that later become marketable innovations that drive industry and fund road creation and movie production. Storytellers, however, are not obligated to originate ideas for others to exploit, or please audiences even. Although ordinarily ignored, reminders of responsibilities also signify. One might argue that democracy owes everything to cranks with complaints, discontents who dismiss status quo, dissidents who for an answer won’t take no.

Appeals to one’s better self go unheard unless recipient has health or interest enough to notice and react. Getting along isn't even easy among relatives. Millions cherish family animals and despise human neighbors. Prisons are full because cretins don’t know that smacking others around might kill them and solves nothing. Greed, hate and stupidity underlie today's worst evils, but where do they come from? Obviously, no one source can be blamed, but can be categorized under nature, nurture and society’s demands. Neurochemistry looms large, as late doctor Oliver Sachs spent a career exploring and relaying. “It is so geared to one’s proprioception, one’s movements and postures, that it responds almost like part of one’s own body. Bike and rider become a single, indivisible entity; it is very much like riding a horse. A car cannot become part of one in quite the same way.”

Within epidemic deficiencies of magnesium, niacin and vitamin D, little wonder you run into few smarter than you. Lack of oxygen to brain causes dementia. Frequent gentle exercise and proper diet do boost mood and lead to tolerance necessary to coexist in a crowded world. Bicycling can fill half of this bill. But breeding, budget, current events, traumas, and upbringing also incite and inspire behavior. Some can’t pay to eat much else than 4 for $1 boiled ramen bricks or canned tomato soup. Fresh vegetables and lean meats cost more than other items sold at markets and what majority can afford. Poverty forces consumption of empty calories from fast food, pasta and potatoes. Combine with birth defects, sleep deficits, substance abuse, and suffering that urgency for earning imposes, one shouldn't doubt these detriments affect cooperation, judgment, reason, and socialization.

New season begun, get up and go glow of vernal dawns arrives on cue as if a clue to renew. People associate bicycling with wellness. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion shows 2 images of bicyclists to the exclusion of all else under "Our Initiatives" for adults and children. They evaluated myriad approaches and maintain cycling and walking are both popular and safe compared to, for example, organized sports. For subscribers New York Times published a free guide on lowering carbon footprint. If past articles are any indication, self propulsion doesn't bear mention. Some would argue that what individuals do doesn't rate, since profit motivated businesses easily negate. Human beings outnumber business entities 165,000:1; only together will issues be addressed.

Surmised a doctor by those who don’t personally know despite repeated denial, Labann descended from same West European roots considered by bigots to be the dominant race, except has a vampire hairline, especially toward end of a hairy long winter of trying to stay warm, remnant of some East European genes on paternal grandmother's side. Didn’t donate DNA for ancestry to be approximated and later used as evidence of crime, but may have Asian or Native genes as well. Did pursue a premedical track as an undergraduate, and do work in health sector, but unqualified to give any advice or treat illnesses. Films favor Anglo-Saxon monsters, not so midgets or natives, a practice called racist and damned as white privilege.

Bicyclists must sometimes abide but seldom welcome white rain in April, white reign presumption, or willful prejudice from wherever it comes. More than once rode in hail, rain, sleet and snow, but wouldn’t call it preferable. Bullies label anyone a snowflake who doesn’t share their selfish biases and smash/snatch sensibilities. Nod to Tolkien for imagining little people as heroes who did what no great power could against the gravest evil, but also for warning how war will ensnare earth’s entire population. Greatness recognizes how everyone contributes. Pettiness picks disparities and thereby pits combatants.

Black rise, red resurgence, yellow peril? Among races white percentage has always been low. Only 11.4% are Europeans, 3% fewer than Africans. Asians make up 60.3% of inhabitants. Twice as many Mongoloids of East Asia including Chinese join nearly thrice as many native races in North Africa, South/West Asia, and South Pacific Islands along with aboriginal Australians. Southern Italians descended from both Africans and Europeans. Romans were once planet's most cosmopolitan people. Black 1.3 billion equals about 20% of world's total population, so outnumber whites, however you choose to define. Aryan Nation would have you believe they belong to an exclusive sovereignty and white supremacy makes sense, when races who outnumber this minority on a global scale did all the heavy lifting. Slavery has been abolished. Civilization runs better without it. Women, more than half of world population, can be entrepreneurs, hold jobs, outcompete men, run for office, and vote based on gender. Really, human is the only race.

Mark Horst, Boys on Bicycles No. 1, Oil on Canvas—For me, painting is a practice of seeing the world as it is—rather than how I’d like it to be or how I think it should be… pay attention to rhythms and patterns and shapes and colors and emotions and gestures—all these gifts surrounding me.

Apartheid persisted in South Africa for almost 5 decades until Mandela took steps to overcome it. Next year marks 25 years since securing freedom from 146 patently unfair, race restrictive laws. Equality for black, Indian, mixed and native people has dispelled fears upon which this policy was founded and sold. Yet anywhere today you can barely discuss race without inflaming resentment and inviting retaliation.

Recent Oscar winner Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro, dir., 2017) precisely illustrates these points. When officials treat newly discovered creature with xenophobic cruelty, it lashes back with equivalent violence. When maid shows loving care, it responds with life saving transformation. But how do you measure intention? Beasts present ferocity for self defense. Some eat family members. Best of relations can get too intense. Tolerance has bilateral limits. Balance, compromise, not appeasement, saves lives and smoothes settlement.

Director Kathryn Bigelow's historical film Detroit debuted on the 50th anniversary of Algiers Motel Incident and dramatizes race riots of mid-1960's. Depicts that 1st thing stolen when looting began was a bicycle, despite fact that everyone seems to be smoking and stealing cartons of cigarettes, too. Because deemed indispensable, alcohol, bicycles, drugs and tobacco serve as currency when civil order collapses. Motown music did much to obtain civil rights as amateur artists struck it big in concerts and recordings. Reveals how desperate ruling class became once freedom extended to all, but not even close to con artists, robo-callers, and telemarketers, urged by example of relentless hucksters and politicians, who indiscriminately plague email and voice messages even if you never answer.

Angry white gangs have staged a comeback in opposition of Afro, Asian, Latin and Russian rivals. Easy to gather hate groups through any excuse: hair length, kind of tattoos, original neighborhood, school attended, skin shade, or whatnot. Note that each, rather than extremes, exist on a continuum of varying degrees, levels, and moves. Everyone unique, you’re more alike than different, but too many figure you’ll take pride and torment others based on categories someone else concocts, particularly religions. Being beaten and tortured leads to Stockholm Syndrome where victim joins oppressor, so science doesn’t always make logical sense. Those who blindly do the same become only a pawn in their game, a polarized puppet without free will and ultimately to blame.

Today was Jackie Robinson Day, when 71 years ago #42 first broke Major League Baseball's ban on players of color, with all proceeds from games going to his namesake foundation. Tomorrow locally is Frost Free Day, after which residents can expect blossoms to swell, leaves to form, and warmth to spread. Should instead represent an end to dominant ice and resurgence of impartiality. Some will celebrate 75th anniversary of Bicycle Day on 19 April 2018. Earth Day arrives on Friday, 20 April 2018, as good a reason as any to go outside and grasp belonging by taking a bike ride. Honest to goodness earth awareness acknowledges social fairness. Mankind constitutes a facet of nature at odds with itself. You don’t have to join blindly, waste alongside, or wrestle with devils. Those who tread lightly learn how little they need. Bike-to-Work Day follows on Friday, 18 May 2018, always the 3rd Friday in May. Even if you’re retired or unemployed, why not take a spin? Going by bike celebrates one’s continued vitality.

'Twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon… this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [intellect] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? Obliged to you for hearing me… ain’t got nothing more to say. Abolitionist and Suffragette Sojourner Truth, “Ain't I A Woman?” 1851 Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio