Friday, November 16, 2007

Back in Salt Lake

If you are wondering; Coco pooped on the brand new carpet of the home I was visiting in Hamilton, Montana; So, I took her back to Salt Lake where the carpet is 40 years old and has been subject, over the ages, to worse things than puppy poop.

It is sad, Coco was having a lot of fun living in the countryside. Unfortunately, she seems to have developed a taste for dead things found by the side of the road.

Coco, here is a hint: If wild animals didn't eat it; it is probably bad for you. Yes, this adage includes things found in the mulch pile. It is especially true for things found in a mulch pile.

Blodgett CanyonThe goal of this trip was not to take pictures, but I managed to snag a few shots. Here is a short walk up Blodgett Canyon and Fort Missoula. I will be labeling pictures throughout the week. The Year Sum report shows pictures by date.

The reason I take pictures of towns (instead of the scenery around the town--like real photographers do) is that I am trying to build traffic for a collection of community directories. Nobody else links to the directories; so I must.

My sister Connie has a collection of directories (under the banner that focus on Idaho and Montana. We are actually testing two different concepts. The first is a visual pay for inclusion directory. The second is a text only directory.

I am super jealous. When I talk to people in Montana about the goals of the project, I get greeted with interest in the project. When I mention the project to people, I am often rewarded with good conversation.

When I mention the community directory project in Utah, I am usually heaped with scorn and suspicion.

I mention this as I have been thinking about education of late.

Utah is a monoculture. 96% of the people in this state go to the same cookie-cutter public schools. It is a state where pretty much everyone has been indoctrinated with twice heated version of the Dewey's version of the Material Dialectics.

The UEA teaches a philosophy of intolerance where one is expected to conform to the molds dictated by the political class or live as an outcast. The Mormons are bad. The progressives are a thousand times worse.

This philosophy that one must dominate or be dominated reduces people to a base level where they become inhospitable and suspicious of new ideas. The virulent intolerance taught by the UEA creates a fractured society where people set to each others' throats before engaging in discourse.

This thing where 96% of the people go to the same school has created a culture where different perspectives cannot exist in parallel. There is one school with political titans battling for total supremacy over the school.

The result is a mean, snipy rude people who are incapable of talking to each other in a civil manner.

I've only take pictures of the exterior of buildings because, quite frankly, I really don't like the people inside the buildings.

Places where there is a diversity of schools tend to breed cultures where people are more aware of different perspectives and are open to discussing ideas.

Anyway, while wandering through Montana, I met a large number of extremely friendly people. I even found myself questioning why I only take pictures of the exterior of buildings. I was actually invited indoors. That is something that would never happen in Utah. Montana has lower taxes and a much greater diversity in schools.

I happen to love books and bookstores.

I suddenly have an image in my mind of the fat guy who bends the chair at the cash register of King's English. The conversation was quite comical. The guy accidentally made a comparison between Christianity and homosexuality. He then spent ten minutes in an absolutely absurd monologue where he apologized for comparing a group we are supposed to love, homosexuals, to a group that progressives are supposed to hate: the Christians. I really wish I had the monologue recorded.

I've had other bad experiences at The Kings English and Sam Wellers. On the reverse side, I was once tossed out of a bookstore in Saint George simply for mentioning that I read Giant Joshua by the apostate Maurine Whipple.

The only Utah Bookstore that I ever truly loved was a thing called Experienced Books in Sugarhouse. The store was owned by a guy named Keith who truly loved books. His primary concern was the quality of the writing.

While the majority of bookstores in Utah only carry books that support their ideology, Keith had a selection of books with a phenomenal breadth that was challenged only by the University's Library. Even worse, I think he may have read every single book in the store.

Anyway, my trip to Montana was fun. I had about twelve really interesting and friendly conversations with absolute strangers.

You would think that, in a state where 96% of the people went to the same school, people would be friendlier. Yet, I am now of the opinion that this system based on the premise that one must dominate or perish leads to a terse and suspicious character. While societies that openly have different schools of thought and accept that people of different schools might actually see the world differently, tend to become more civil with time.

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