The Truth about Catching Up 2/10/02

Happy New Year!


After what may be the longest period of time between Truths on record, I have returned. After two months, one might have thought I would have fallen so far behind I might not catch up. Fortunately, this is not so--as the world was kind enough to slow down for a bit and let me get my bearings. Aside from Enron, I return to find the world pretty much as I left it.

I do, however, return to find two questions in my mailbox. Let's dig them out, shall we?

Mrs. Steele,

Hi, I am 13 and I am a fan of Keanu Reeves. My favorite movie is Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure and anyway my friend and I was wondering what kind of dad do you think Keanu would be? Would he be strict? My dad is too strict and I think if Keanu was my dad he would let me do what I wanted and when I wanted and my friend says he would be more strict than my dad. I say NO WAY!

Signed, Missy

Mrs. Steele has been a little busy lately, but let's see if we can bug her for an answer. After all, she hasn't written a Truth for us for quite some time, and I think she's overdue.

And now, for the Triumphant Return of Mrs. Steele!


Wow! Was that great, or what? I have goosebumps on my goosebumps!

I think that reply taught us all an important lesson about overextending ourselves. When we're directing two shows and moving into a new apartment at the same time, some things are going to be neglected. And when the Truth is neglected, the world suffers.

That lesson got deeper than I expected it to.

Missy, the answer to your question is that your father must love you very much to be 'too strict.' All good parents are too strict. It's much easier to be lax, and let your kids do whatever they want. Someday, when you're older and not in prison, you'll thank your father for being strict.

I don't know what kind of parent Keanu would be. He's a lazy actor, but he might not be a lazy parent--and if he wasn't I'm sure he'd do just fine.

I'd be willing to call that a Truth for the day, but there's more in the mailbox that needs to be addressed. In fact, this follows the same theme as the last one.

hi i really like your site em.....originsl is the word im looking for well i have a question that i hope you can answer. could you tell me if tupacs children are gona follow in their fathers footsteps and get into the music biz?

Tupac's children going into the music business. Hmm. I think I'll borrow my wife's answer on this one.


There. Glad we settled that one too--and all in one, productive day.

One more thing to address before I go back into hibernation for the winter--and that's a response from a southern reader on the subject of the Confederate Flag. There are actually two parts to this one.

First, he sent me this:

Question: I am sorry, I usually don't write things like this and bother people but unfortunately I stumbled across your truth about the confederate flag article. I just want to know why you think that the confederate flag is such a bad thing. Do you know what it really stands for? Usually most attackers of the flag are either motivated by historical ignorance or pure unadultered malice toward the South and its people. Im not calling you ignorant or anything and I am not blaming you for anything but if you will just listen to me and not ignore this message maybe you wil realize that the war was not over slavery. I live in South Carolina and I wish the flag was still on top of the State House...not because I am racist, I am not racist. People are taught in schools that a reason for the war was slavery, which is completely false (and I can prove that)and I can't blame peope for being taught that, I was taught that too. It is when you actually look into the true history of the war!
that you see why the South rebelled and the true meaning behind the flag. I hope you read this and if you don't agree with me or have questions or maybe want to know a litte me back I am interested in seeing if you are maybe interested in what I have said, thanks

Signed, Chris

So, I emailed him back. I am interested in hearing why non-racists respect the Confederate Flag. And, here's his response ...

First off thanks for answering me. I am glad to see that you are interested. The confederate flag does not "mean" slavery. In fact slavery wasn't even an issue until Abraham Lincoln made it one. Lincoln knew that freeing the slaves would put the South in a tight spot. The plantations would not be able to produce the goods needed for the war. Lincoln also hoped that a slave uprising would occur. A thousand torches in slaves hands would have ended the war because the soldiers would have come back to protect their families. The slaves in the South simply didn't uprise. In fact many blacks wore grey and fought along side their masters. Here are a few facts that I find interesting: General Robert E. Lee, the famed Confederate general inherited slaves and directly freed them before the war even started. General Grant, the Union general actually kept his sl! aves AFTER the war was over and said "good help is hard to find". Just to give you an idea of Lincolns motives: In March of 1861 Lincoln proposed a thirteenth amendment to the constitution which stated "No amendment shall be made to the constituiton which will authorize or give congress the power to interfere with any state with the domestic institutions thereof, inlcuding a person's held labor or service by laws of said state." In other words Lincoln said that if the South accepts this thirteenth amendment then it can forever keep the slaves. If the South wanted to keep the slaves and nothing else, then a shot never would have been fired and the South could have simply accepted the amendment. Congress passed this resolution in July of 1861. The resolution says this, " The war is waged by the government of the United States not in the spirit of conquest or subjugation, nor for the purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or institutions of the states, but to defe! nd and protect the Union." Congress said the war is not about slavery and so did Lincoln. I could give you several more quotes from Lincoln saying how he didn't want to free the slaves and if he could save the Union without doing it then he would. If you want them ask and I'll give them to you. Now I am not at all saying that what Lincoln said was right. I think that slavery is wrong in every shape and form and I wish it never happened. But you can't blame the South and stereotype us. Slaves were legal in this country for 224 years, since 1771. Not one slave was ever brought into this country by a southern ship. All northern ships brought blacks back to this country. Of those 224 years, four years is how long slaves were under the confederate flag. So who really is to blame? Again, slaves being under a flag for 3 hours is wrong but I am jsut trying to give you a picture of how things went on. I have to go and I have more I can tell you so I'll give you a link to one of m! y favorite interviews and you tell me what you think about what I have said and what the article says. I appreciate the fact that you are listening to me and I hope I can give you a better understanding of how we feel down here. Click here to read the article <>

True, his response could probably benefit from some paragraph breaks--but he gets his point across, and he's extremely nice about it considering how harsh I was with the Confederate Flag. I even read the attached article--which is about a black man who also defends the Confederate Flag.

Here's the problem.

Many years ago, the Swastika was a symbol standing for Teutonic Pride, for a nation who felt their country was being overrun by outsiders. Jews were at the top of their list, but the Jews weren't alone on that list. Gypsies were on that list, too. And let's not forget that to many Germans, the Swastika didn't even mean that. It was a way to get into the In Crowd--a way to associate with the powerful political leaders of the time. Schindler himself (you know, the guy from Schindler's List?) was a member of the Nazi Party.

But what does the Swastika stand for today? Teutonic Pride? No. The Swastika stands for six million murdered Jews. If memory serves, six million is actually less than half of the people who died in concentration camps at the time (isn't the figure something like fifteen million?), but that's beside the point. The Swastika now stands for racism in general. Ask anyone who has one tattooed on his person.

The same holds true of the Confederate Flag. By and large, people don't display the Confederate Flag as a symbol of love. They display the Confederate Flag as a symbol of hatred.

Granted, there's still that .01% that displays the flag to try to change its image. Personally, I think their time could be better spent. The meaning of this image will never change, just as the meaning of the Swastika will never change. And what will be achieved if we do manage to change the image of this symbol? Would this change the minds of the racists? Nope. They'd laser off those Confederate Flags and find some other hate-symbol to adorn themselves with. If changing the meaning of the Confederate Flag would actually accomplish anything, I'd be all for it. But it won't. It's like changing the name of the Washington Redskins--the battle will get a few people's names in the newspapers, but nothing will change once that battle is won.

And that's just the way it is.

Although I am mighty curious why anyone would fight to keep the name 'Redskins' for their football team. Isn't their time and money better spent?

Makes no fuckin' sense to me.