Venus and Jupiter are dancing in the west about sunset time these evenings, and though they were long gone by the time Koko and I hit the road this morning, we were treated to another lovely show of sun-flushed clouds in hues of coral, pink, lavender and yellow.
As we approached my neighbor Andy, Koko stood on her back legs, front legs waving in delight, and he remarked that no one greeted him quite so warmly as Koko.
Just imagine how the world would be if people showed their enthusiasm like that, I said. Yes, he agreed, but then think about what would happen when we approached people we didn’t like and started growling.
Ah, the niceties of so-called civilized behavior, where one hides one’s true feelings beneath a veneer of politeness in an attempt not to offend.
Of course, some folks let it all hang out, among them former Star-Bulletin reporter Tony Sommer, who is lately trying to make hay and even scores with his book “KPD Blue,” a poorly researched and highly editorialized rehash of old news billed as a political expose.
In an email to blogger Andy Parx, it became clear why Tony's tenure in this place was so miserable. His take on the recent Council elections and committee organizations reeks of the white man’s burden still shouldered by the neo missionaries who come to Kauai to try and save the poor locals from themselves, and then give up in disgust when the ingrates fail to realize what’s good for them. He wrote:
But, the fact is, the Kauai County government REALLY does represent the majority on Kauai. They REALLY are much more like Asing and Carvalho (Dumb and Duymber) than like us haoles.
And that's why there is no hope for that place.
It really is about race (or at least provincialism).
After espousing that most Kauai locals are “pretty ignorant” and the “smart, ambitious ones all left for Honolulu or the mainland,” he went on to say he would love to be a guest on blogger Katy Rose’s KKCR talk show, discussing “racism [presumably not his own] and brown privilege as it exists on Kauai.”
“What brown privilege?” asked farmer Jerry when I met him on the road and dished the dirt on Tony. “You mean living on the beach for free because you no more one house?”
Tony went on to write:
The majority on Kauai don't want "change in society." They want it to stay just the way it was about 50 years ago. That's their "perceived set of interests." They don't care about your "sincerity, empathy and commitment." They just want you to, as they like to put it: "Go back where you came from."
Tony, whose grousing is most likely based in the unpleasant discovery that, as Katy put it, “his skin color doesn't automatically gain him a place of privilege in social interactions in Hawaii,” did finally take the hint and went back to America – Arizona, to be exact — where he no doubt finds plenty of opportunity to entertain his notions of superiority in a place he describes as “a bit primitive.”
Unfortunately, Tony's attitudes are shared by too many others in America's colonies. They all might be able to learn something by watching a fascinating video interview — posted on Katy’s blog — where Angela Davis speaks quite eloquently on racism, capitalism and prison abolition.
And while I’m on the subject of smug attitudes that irk me, Advertiser reporter Derrick DePledge last week reviewed the “Superferry Chronicles” in which he disses the book in part because:
The central theory — so far unproven and denied by Superferry executives — is that Superferry is a military prototype designed to help shipbuilder Austal USA win lucrative defense contracts.
I’m not quite sure why Derrick feels that Superferry executives, who are prone to lies and exaggerations, should be trusted. But despite his refusal to even entertain the notion of this central theory — perhaps because he didn’t think of it himself — evidence to prove it continues to mount.
The most recent little nugget is contained in an Air Force Times article reprinted — well after blogs, including this one, had already broken the story — in his very own newspaper about Austal winning the Joint High Speed Vessel contract.
The article reports:
The contract to build up to 10 Joint High Speed Vessels, or JHSVs, is worth $1.6 billion if all the initial options are exercised.
Unofficially, the program could grow to more than twice that — Pentagon planners are said to be revising upward the number of JHSVs they want to buy, perhaps to as many as 25 ships.”
It goes on to state that the design is based on Austal’s WestPac Express, which was leased to the Marine Corps at Okinawa, then notes that the new JHSVs must meet other requirements:
The ships are to remain operational in Sea State 3 and able to survive Sea State 7.
And where do they regularly have seas that are that rough? You got it, right here in Hawaii, where the Superferry has spent the last year bucking through big Barf-o-Meter waves, showing Austal exactly what does, and doesn’t, work with its design.
But no, there’s nothing to that military prototype theory. Nothing at all.