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press 1 for xenophobia

I have been getting pretty interested in politics lately. I find myself thinking a lot about why different political groups support different things, what the historical motivations for those things has been, and why different coalitions between groups have formed. If I ever get a chance I'd like to try to make a post about how I see the different political groups and what kinds of things I associate with each.

As a part of this newfound interest, I decided to go read some of the platforms for different political parties. The most humorous thing I've found so far is on the Republican Party's website, describing their stance on National Security. Part of their stated platform is to "encourage" immigrants to learn English. Encourage is a pretty vague word, which could mean anything from something good (helping them adapt to our culture and be able to get along without being able to understand anyone), to something in between, to something really bad (forcing everyone to speak english, or forcing companies to only use english in any public interactions). While they probably mean something somewhere in between, they also included this music video right next to the text describing their platform, which indicates to *me* that they may mean something very bad by it. The name of the video is "Press 1 for English" and I find it incredibly scary and offensive:



(from http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/NationalSecurity.htm)

Basically, the singer in this music video is so outraged that she has to literally "lift her finger" to press the button "1" at the beginning of a message left by some company (who obviously has non-english speaking customers who are paying just as much as the english speaking customers to use the service) that instead of having to do this she would rather ask whole communities of people to stop speaking their native language and spend years learning to speak her language. I guess they don't usually have Native American languages on there anyway, but does she not remember that the English were immigrants originally too? They just expect the people who were living here first and still speaking their language to give it up and convert to the language of the imperialists? I guess I'm not surprised that they made the video, but I am outraged that the GOP decided to display it prominently on their website. What an awesome monument to American laziness and nationalism this song is... and how proud and boastful of our laziness we are! Again, I find it scary and offensive... but I also admit to finding it incredibly humorous and entertaining.

Oh, and one more interesting thing about this video... if you look closely at 3:08 minutes in, there is a giant American flag in the background, with a Christian cross superimposed behind the blue square where the white stars are. Hmmmm. Apparently, the immigrants should go ahead and learn our religion too, not just our language... is that going to be on the platform in another 4 years? I would suggest someone make a parody video called "Press 1 for Christian" but I'm too afraid that the Republicans will actually take it as a serious idea.

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Comments

newtvillage
Dec. 19th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
Another point about the "voice prompt" is that our companies are becoming more and more global every day. Who's to say that the caller is even calling *from* the United States? Is she saying that the system should check her caller ID before offering her other language options, or that U.S. companies should never do business with foreign countries?
spoonless
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Oh, good point! I'm surprised nobody else brought that up.

And I just remembered that Karen mentioned your facial recognition circuitry can be prone to a high error rate. Given that, and the fact that I radically change my appearance often, maybe I should mention that this is Jeff.

And if you have friends only entries, I would enjoy reading them if you don't mind adding me back.

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