Antebellum

dictionary with letter A

Antebellum: Occurring before the American Civil War.

The root word of culture is cult.

Isn’t it amazing that even though we abhor cults for their short-sighted, selfish and often abusive treatment of their members and the world around them, we accept the elongated version of this condition as being a symbol of race, nationality, creed or honor.

I hate culture.

I despise anything that tries to separate us into smaller and smaller units so we can hide behind our forts and peer at one another in horror and disbelief.

Never was this any more evident than in the years just prior to the Civil War. We became convinced that a country which had united itself around principles could still be divided by opinions. It allowed for the pernicious concept of slavery to continue under the guise of maintaining allegiance to a lifestyle which had already proven to be fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

I have to admit that I become nauseous when portions of that thinking and relics from that era–when men were oppressing other men over a bale of cotton–rise up with a bit of whimsy and patriotism to symbolize a deep-rooted respect for what can only be determined to be our national holocaust.

Yes, somewhere along the line, every bit of “culture” has to be measured against ethics, humanity and spirituality, and if it’s found to be lacking, it needs to be abandoned for the common good.

The minute you think something good transpired in the Old South and you unfurl the Stars and Bars, you are also welcoming into the equation a tribute to the industry and ideals that subjugated a race of people.

Certainly there’s plenty wrong with the North, East and West of our nation that needs to be scrutinized. Those living west of the Mississippi are truly the descendants of a lineage which lied to and cheated the American Indian. The prejudice against Italians, Irish, Russians and all immigrants into the country through Ellis Island in New York is also shocking.

But honestly, I don’t see anyone tributing George Armstrong Custer, and those who are so short-sighted that they rejected every nationality that came to our borders are considered, in the history books, to be numbskulls.

Yet for some reason we allow our South to regale its Confederate heroes.

My only statement is that I will not participate in anything that’s antebellum.

Because quite candidly, I am anti-bellum.

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About

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

About: (prep.) on the subject of; concerning.

Finally–a word I can write about that doesn’t tell me what to write about, but instead, allows me the about on which I wish to write.

Since I was a kid I’ve been given topics. Subjects–things that I’m supposed to think about, do or construct a paragraph to explain. It’s limiting!

But now, today, because of the courtesy of the word “about,” I could write ANYTHING on this paper and make a case that I was merely elaborating on the subject to explain the word “about.”

I feel empowered.

I feel completely in control of my own destiny from an artistic sense–not bound by tradition, complication or compulsion–unless you want to consider the compulsion that I might have–to focus “about” something…

It’s a great question: “What is this about?”

You can answer almost anything, since the person asking obviously has no clue. Your response is as good as any.

Matter of fact, the other day I tried it. Somebody was speaking to a friend in line at a restaurant and said, “What do you think all this debate concerning the budget is about?”

There was a brief pause, wherein I leaped through the silence, into the conversation and replied, “Guilt over genocide of the Indians.”

I then turned my back and resumed a dialogue with a nearby friend.

Neither one of the people who had been engaged in this discussion concerning the budget exactly knew what to do. After all, they didn’t know what it was about, therefore leaving themselves wide open for a tangential interpretation. What I succeeded in doing was stifling their involvement. They changed the subject and moved on.

So, since I could write about anything today, what I’ve decided to discuss…

Wait a second. They’re telling me my time is up. I’ve already used too many words.

Shoot. Another blown opportunity. Well, let me sum it up.

Can anybody explain to me why frog legs which have been fried taste a little bit like mush until you put salt on them, and then all they taste like is salt?

Thank you for your time.