Correspondent ďThe RockĒ points out that the ďfirst they came for the JewsĒ poem I quoted in my last post was written by the Reverend Martin Niemoller which is a good example of religious belief as a positive and noble thing. Despite the Rockís egregious confusion of the proper terms of address for Protestant and Catholic clergy, he brings up a very good point. As the previous post noted, one of the major issues was the hindering of a Christian denomination attempting to communicate a progressive message, and I alluded to my own Catholic education as having shaped many of my progressive values. The perception of a right-wing monopoly on God is something that needs to be addressedÖWITH FIRE RAINING DOWN UPON THEM! See, that was some satire there. Since homophobia was the topic at hand, itís worth pointing out that some of the most violently antigay people, Iíve ever met, including the always entertaining Uncle Gerry, havenít claimed to be Christian at all. They just hated those fucking faggots. So anyone who thinks religion is the source of all the evil in the world has some more looking to do. Weíd find some reason to hate each other one way or another.
Religion doesnít create good or evil, it merely promotes a context for the one, and an excuse for the other.
I write for my office newsletter. Itís not lame like the stereotypical office newsletter, itís pretty good, if for no other reason than I write for it. Iíve never posted any of my pieces for it here because I figure itís pretty inside stuff, but this month I did something pretty accessible. My friend Jacob and I sit down with a different member of the staff (usually a high ranking one for some reason, the powerful people like to read about themselves) and interview them, asking about their lives as well as their jobs, then we cut and paste their answers so that they will be entertaining. This time we happened to interview a very entertaining person, who I think youíll find interesting even if you donít know him:
Christmas with Deshawn!
(Contains no reference to Christmas)
This month, we held court with the beguiling VZ Wireless Project Leader Deshawn Jones
CAEL Courier: So letís hear about your background, Deshawn. You were born in England right?
Deshawn: I was. My mom was an Indian girl who was living in England. And itís a really funny story how she met my dad, my dad was an African-American soldier, he was in the Air Force, from Oklahoma, anyway, my mom was living in England with her friend Joy. And one day Joy went into town or something and she asked my mom if she wanted to get her anything and my mom just said, ďOh, bring me back a handsome GI.Ē, and they laughed but then Joy got on the train and she saw my dad there, on his way to see another girl actually, and Joy started talking to him and as a joke, she actually did bring him back to my mom, and then it wasnít a joke anymore. Lucky for me huh?
CC: And for all of us. Thatís just adorable. Thatís romantic comedy screenplay stuff there.
D: Yeah, disgusting isnít it? We moved to Colorado after that.
CC: Itís certainly an interesting number of places to have been.
D: Isnít it? Itís kind of a peculiar mix to have in your background you know, being black and Indian. Most people of mixed race in America are black and white, and there are a lot of them. But there arenít many of me. Sometimes I find myself looking at people I see on the street and kind of wonderingÖĒCould he beÖis he like me?Ē
CC: So what was your youth like?
D: Oh, pretty typical I guess. I was always kind of a class clown, I guess youíre not surprised by that. Itís funny, in high school I got a ďBest Joke TellerĒ award but I donít think I ever told a single joke. I was really talented in the sciences, like chemistry and math and things like that. I was in the top 5 % of the country on the ACS Organic Chemistry test so for a while I thought I might do something with that. A friend of mine was going to pharmacy school so I thought, ďWhy not do thatĒ? But I only lasted two semesters at that before I dropped out. I guess I never had much of a clear direction. Iím just kinda blowiní in the wind you know? Like aÖpopsicle stick floating down the river. But Iím not really bothered by that as I guess I should be. Then in í99 I moved to Chicago. I was really into improv comedy for awhile and this was the place to do that. I started working for the Select temping agency and in 2001 they referred me here and Iíve been here since then.
CC: What do you like about CAEL?
D: Oh the usual stuff. Itís a great collection of people, interesting work. And itís a job where you feel like youíre doing something good. Youíre not clubbing baby seals.
CC: I think everyone considers you a great source of fun and humor in the office.
D: Yeah, Iím kind of the court jester figure. The office wacky guy. Somebody has to do it right?
CC: Right, but youíre unusually good at it.
D: Iím never really sure, you know, sometimes I say something wacky in meetings, especially manager meetings, and everyone laughs but I always wonder if everyone just doesnít want me to shut up. I think people laughÖpeople laugh when theyíre uncomfortable and I think also to pretend theyíre having a better time than they are.
CC: Thatís a fairly dark point of view isnít it?
D: You found my secret. I donít know, Iíve always been wacky. Itís just the way I am. I guess I had a wacky dad, itís always been my sense of humor. I like to mess with people. Everywhere. Like telemarketers. Sometimes I scare them. My outlook on life can be pretty dark but I try to see things in a positive light, people arenít perfect but itís great to watch them, to watch them doing their best in life. I like making people laugh. I extract a lot of pleasure from the little things. I think thatís where real happiness is. This is kind ofÖbut I really like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz at the end, you know how he was on this quest to find a heart and the Wizard says something, I canít remember exactly but he says something to him like ďThe proof of a manís heart is what his friends think of him.Ē And I really like that. The Wizard of Oz was a smart guy. Itís how he got to be the Wizard.