Thursday, August 17, 2006

Right or left

As my wife was leaving a store in town, she overheard a woman asking directions from the assistant. "As you leave the store take a left," she said.

The woman followed my wife from the store and approached her as they both reached the street. "Can you tell me which way is left," she said, "I'm not very good on left or right."

It puts me in mind of children's shoes marked with a big L or R so that they would know the difference.

Of course the Japanese have difficulties with their Ls and Rs; there is no such sound in Japanese so when they learn English they get them mixed up.

When I went to Japan for the first time I learned how to count to 99 in Japanese. It goes: Itchy, knee, sun, she, go, run, hitch, hutch, queue, Jew. Form there you just put the didgets together: Jew-itchy, Jew-Knee, Jew-run ... and so-on until you get to queue-Jew-queue. I've forgotten what 100 is. Of course, this is just what the words sound like, I'm not sure whether you can transcribe Japanese into English characters, or if you can, how to spell them.

The other remarkable thing was to hear a japanese lecturer talking about leukemia research, only on his slide he had spelled it Reukemia Lesearch.

Don't ever get operated on by a Japanese surgeon lest he mistake your L kidney from your R kidney.

It seems to me that politicians are getting their left and right mixed up. Of course American politics is divided between a right wing party and a very right wing party, but in England the conservatives are supposed to be right wing and the Labor party, left wing. But things are confused. We have Tony Blair, a Labor politician as George Bush's closest ally. In England he is often called Bush's poodle, but that is unfair. I tend to think of him as Bush's more articulate brother. Many of his policies are very similar to Margaret Thatcher, indeed, when he was elected Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher was heard to refer to him as her spiritual heir.

On the other wing we have David Cameron, the new leader of the Conservative party. His new policy document stresses green issues and public services. He seems further to the left than new Labor.

Perhaps the left/right divide has had its day, and the dividion that is now important is between libertarian and authoritarian.


Anonymous said...

Your post reminds me of a book I was looking at today but have not yet read. It is called, "The Myth of a Christian Nation, How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church" by Greg Boyd. He is an author of several books and a pastor at a mega-church near my home. He's not afraid of confronting controversial issues!
I think you might also like "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith", by Rob Bell. For that book I needed to get through the first chapter to appreciate it.
Love your blog, Dr. Hamblin!

Liz W.
Minnesota, USA

Jim McVey said...

Left and Right, here in America while driving we make a Left and or a Right. The consequence is the country is littered with Left and Right turns. There are many of them in Washington DC.
Then there are driving signs No Turn On Red, this is a left over from the McCarthy era no doubt. Usually you can Right Turn On Red.

I am confused by the political jargon. He is left of center, where is Center and what is it the middle of, we need a Party Positioning System. But that would take another
committee. One more committee just might sink either party.
There should be published by each party a Left Right and Center Chart for the various party beliefs. Of course that could run into innumerable charts each one requiring a committee to decide it’s correctness.
The whole system reminds me of Jimmy Durante’s song “First You Say You Will Then You Won’t”

By the time something is decided and agreed it has to be amended because it has taken too long in committee. There is too much lag in modern day politics.

Anonymous said...

America has a right-wing party, and a very right-wing party?

Let me tell you honestly, the democrat party is as left wing as they come. Is Howard Dean a conservative? Is Nancy Pelosi a conservative?

You couldn't be more wrong.

Perhaps another biographical film is in order.

What was that biopic on C.S. Lewis? Have you seen that one?

Terry Hamblin said...


There are two versions available from Amazon.

The well known 1993 version starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, but there is also a 1987 BBC version starring Joss Ackland and Claire Bloom.

You may think that the Democrats are left wing, but remember George Galloway is a British MP who was a member of Old Labour and he is one of many in the old party who now are part of New Labour. Many currently in power, including John Reid and Jack Straw, were once communists.

I don't believe the Democrats had a clause in their constitution that demanded the means of production should be taken into public ownership. Before Tony Blair took over that was what the Labor party required.

Tony Blair and David Cameron are like two peas in a pod. Both wish to occupy the center ground.

Anonymous said...

Only a right-wing ideologue would not believe that the Democratic party is in fact right-wing - at least at the federal level. That would go against everything that you are told to believe in the far-right media landscape of modern-American, corporate-consolidated and controlled "journalism".

Without the Dems help - no Iraq.
Without the Dems help - no gutting bankruptcy protections.
Without the Dems help - no free trade policies.
Without the Dems help - no tax avoidance for the rich.
The Dems would sell out social security if they thought the party would survive afterwards.
Fundamental differences like freedom to choose, secularism, separation of church & state, right to privacy - these dont define anything but progressive values. The DSC denies these beliefs at every opportunity. The Dems are great at beating themselves - they have come to believe that the only numbers that matter have a $ sign in front of them - a well-worn Republican trait.

Someone above mentions two Dems - Dean and what? Like I couldnt find a moderate Repub or two? There is a trend coinciding with the advent of the DSC to be more conservative. Campaign finance reform insured a move towards more corporate money - previously not the Dems primary source of funds (they were largely funded by wealthy individuals). When the Dems moved right, the Repubs moved further right and that's how we get the neo-cons (or the "crazies" as former Reagan administration officials called them.)

Anonymous said...

Reukemia Lesearch! Ha!
IS this real? I would have giggled through the whole presentation!

I sat through two presentations (months apart) biting my toungue as the presenter's name was very close to (Father) Guido Sarducci,of Sat. Night Live fame. The presenters accent an voice were spot on to the character, and I the hardest time staying focised.

Life is funny!