Thursday, August 8, 2019

Rantings on Boycotts, Reading Lists, Japan and Tourism

So Mika Brzezinski, co-anchor of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, is boycotting Equinox, SoulCycle and Hudson Yards because Stephen Ross, one of the investors in the projects, is a big-time Trump supporter and is hosting a fundraiser for his re-election in the Hamptons Friday night. 

Really!?! Have we sunk so low in our ability to think for ourselves that we need media celebrities to promote their actions to generate outrage among the masses? It is regrettable we have made newscasters, if indeed Mika fits that identification, into role models upon whose actions we cling (probably because the media is in cahoots with each other to promote their members’ importance). 

I doubt all the newscasts on all broadcast and cable stations have an aggregate audience anywhere near what Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley had 50 years ago. My point is we are imbuing in today’s news personalities status beyond their reach, influence they don’t deserve. 

If we choose to boycott companies whose leaders or silent partners are not to our liking because of their politics, employment practices or social/religious beliefs, many of us wouldn’t shop Walmart or any other store, let alone Amazon, we wouldn’t buy cars or gasoline, log onto Facebook or Twitter, or eat in Chick-fil-A (rated the favorite fast food restaurant by the American Customer Satisfaction Index for the fourth consecutive year). 

Grow up, America. Make up your own mind.

Reading Lists: Brooklyn College is my alma mater. I’m used to getting mail from it, usually fundraising solicitations. So I was bemused to open an email from the school’s Office of the Provost that began, “Dear Faculty,”.  Apparently I have not submitted my “textbook information to the Brooklyn College Online Bookstore” and Fall classes begin in less than three weeks.

Okay, the bottom of the email notes in really small type, “You are receiving this email because you are a member of the Brooklyn College alumni community.” So, I’m on a mailing list. 

Maybe that’s also the reason theteachersnetwork is now following me on Instagram. I’d like to think musings on my blog, Facebook and Twitter provide some educational insight, and my past does include after school Jewish instruction in a Far Rockaway children’s home when I was in college; in-car driver’s ed instruction after I retired from Chain Store Age; volunteer help at the English as Second Language study hall at White Plains High School; and one-to-one sessions with foreign students as part of the Conversation Partners program at Westchester Community College. 

But, no, I never had a formal teaching position, so why Brooklyn College wants my reading list for a course I am not giving is beyond me. 

Update from March 14, 2011: More than a quarter century ago I provided reflections on my family’s visit to Japan, including the following: 

“Japanese women craved more fulfillment and independence. They deferred marriage for careers and, frankly, because the men were immature. The men had four passions: sumo wrestling, playing pachinko (a vertical pinball game), reading comic books and drinking. Delaying marriage contributed to the country’s negative birth rate.

“Women’s status was so stunted that even if the highest executive at a meeting was female she was still expected to serve tea to all the men. Men did not defer to women, or children, when entering an elevator. They would push Gilda, Dan and Ellie aside to scramble in first.”

A recent article in The New York Times affirmed the choices women were making in deferring marriage, sometimes forever, and the impact their decisions are having on the economy ( 

Stay Away: In the wake of recent mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy, several foreign countries and Amnesty International are warning tourists about the dangers of visiting the United States. They’re advising travelers to stay away from crowded areas. 

Which leads me to ask, why bother coming to America is you’re going to limit your visit to desolate parts of North Dakota or Utah?