Monday, August 31, 2009

HOLY MOLE

HOLY MOLE: Another week, another mystifyingly shallow look at issues from the local newspaper’s editorial board which, we found out this week is comprised of editors Nathan Eagle, Michael Levine and publisher Mark Lewis.

But the content this time has raised not just our hackles but those of Joan Conrow and even Katy Rose who, despite a move back to the mainland to complete her education, has started up a new blog on local issues called, as the now-ubiquitous bumper sticker says, “No Forget Fo’ Go Home”.

Which were the precisely the words shouted during a recent local vs. tourist incident according to the editorial.

As Katy succinctly describes it, the editorial expresses the distinctly mainland- and implicitly extortionate- view of things, telling us all to:

Play nice, children. Be nice to haole tourists, because your survival depends on it.

The article tells the tale of a hapless tourist who refused to pick up a hitch-hiker, and was then called "haole," which sent him crying all the way back to vanilla suburbs, USA, where he joined the swelling ranks of injured white people who have had their vacations ruined by being called names.

The editorial bemoans what “bad publicity” this is for our tourism industry, with all the distinct tin ear for the roots of the incident that a malahini or their local sycophantic supplicants can muster.

The editorial expresses perhaps the attitude that typifies the source of the rage many local people feel, with one of those “if rape is inevitable sit back and enjoy it” type of rants we hear from rich haoles with a western sense of American privilege and entitlement, borne of a wealth-worshipping, individualist culture.

Like it or not, Kaua`i remains exceedingly dependent on a struggling tourism industry to drive its economy and keep its people off of the unemployment rolls and in their homes.

Ah, it’s “like it or lump it” time, eh?

We all know the type. He doesn’t just come over and snap up a bunch of ag land for his McMansion, he isn’t just smug about his “right” to be here because his country “stole, fair and square” the sovereignty of the islands, but he takes every opportunity to let everyone know how much of a bastard he is.

Usually most have enough sense to spew their hate anonymously. Just take a look at all the no-name comments at Conrow’s blog where, though moderation is now in force, a few of these ass-wipes are for some reason still allowed to glom onto Joan’s readership and spew their smug sense of entitlement via anti-kanaka, anti-local-culture rants.

Here’s one from today:

The editorial is right. So what if someone has money for a vacation here - or if you don't enough much money to make yourself happy - be nice anyway! Life is too short.

Here’s a few more just from the past week that are typical whenever Joan writes passionately about the hewa haumia of stolen kanaka maoli rights and the illegal overthrow, annexation and statehood.

--Whine, whine, whine... More "native Hawaiians" feel comfortable and thankful that they are part of the USA than those who don't. There will never be a groundswell of majority opinion otherwise. Dream on, though. It's a free country you live in, after all, and a pretty good welfare system to most of those "disaffected masses".

--Do you really think that if the American masses knew the truth, that it would make any difference?...If so, that's a delusion even greater than a hope for an independent Hawaii.

--Hawaii is a state and will never, ever be allowed to be anything else. Most everybody's OK with that, too.

--So, rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic if it makes you happy, deludes you that such changes are "meaningful" and "progressive" and serve "social justice"...ie, makes you happy. I'll just sit here in my first class seat and await the destruction.

Despite the fact that the comments are always “I” this and “me” that they are smart enough to hide exactly who “I” is. But that isn’t necessarily the case for the streams of ugly Americans who are blown in with the tide of daily jets.

Just sit one of these types down at the Tahiti Nui bar, put a few drinks in everyone and see how long before someone cracks ‘em one.

Does anyone wonder why when they amble up to a bar and start in with the “ya know what they ought to do” rants about how dumb the local people are because they didn’t bend over for a resort on the beach or a Superferry spitting thousands of extra cars or about how “they don’t know what’s good for them- they ought to be thanking us.”

The newspaper tries to depict it as some kind of abstraction saying:

Some are chalking such verbal and physical attacks up to incensed idiots simply taking their personal frustrations — with the dire financial outlook or the dilution of Hawaiian culture in a sea of Johnny-come-latelys — out on the nearest target. Others feel they are being wrongfully blamed for the current state of affairs here.

But many if not most of these incidents are the stuff of real, personal, immediate and premeditated provocations.

And worst of all is when they get in your face and then ask “what happened to the Aloha spirit”.

As the editorial ironically put it:

Why can’t we heap aloha on everyone instead of hurling insults at strangers? Why can’t we pick friends instead of fights?...

Reach out to a visitor as you would your neighbor. Offer some useful information without divulging favorite local secrets. When a friend or family member treats another person — any person — harshly or unfairly, step up and tell them to knock it off. That type of regrettable behavior demeans us all

We wouldn’t want to tell “bwana tourista” to knock it off would we? We’re used to being demeaned so what’s one more?

“Why can’t we heap aloha on everyone?” Oh- you must mean the Kauai Visitors Bureau produced bumper-sticker-kine aloha- the one that reads “Aloha- it’s Kauai’s Spirit”.

When akamai island people see that they read “Plantation- it’s Kauai’s Mentality”.

The fact is that these fat blobs of privilege that blew in from the pan-Pacific plastic patch wouldn’t know aloha if it stung ‘em like a jellyfish.

Aloha is when you see a mango tree in someone’s yard and you knock on the door and ask if you can have one from the ground and they not only come out with the picker and pluck you a bag of the bes’ kine- from the tree in the back- but they invite you in for dinner and probably let you marry their daughter.

But aloha is also when you march into the yard and try to take fruit without asking and the same people come out of the house and chase you down the road with shotguns a-blazin’.

The root of aloha is respect. It isn’t about cleaning tourists’ toilets with your tongue for minimum wage and smiling as you say “thank you sir- can I have another?”.

And aloha, like respect is earned.

5 comments:

Choke Chain said...

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Choke Chain said...

Some truth, heavy dose of Parxist BS.

Katy Rose made it quite clear she was leaving over economics, not to pursue more education:

"But there was a moment there, during the recent building boom, when work was steady and we actually had a savings account for the first time. A job offer on Kaua'i made it possible for my husband to earn the best money of his life as a carpenter, and gave us an opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful places we'd ever seen. But now we're back to our old no-account life, with bill collectors calling several times a day, and our clearest option an imminent move back to my home town."

Tourists/immigrants bad. Can't make a living without them. Tough to balance the equation to the satisfaction of absolutists.

Katy said...

Andy is not incorrect, thank you very much. Though I imagine he left out mention of my financial circumstances out of common courtesy, it is true that I am attending community college in an effort to finish my long-neglected BA degree.

I also don't feel that I am a victim of a decrease in tourism, if that was your implication. Rather, I see all working and landless people as subject to physical and geographical upsets when we have no effective control over the means of production.

The equation you propose (tourism vs. starvation) is one that was pre-defined by those with control over capital. My view is that we can define and propose entirely new equations, and that we are only limited by our imagination. "Another world is possible" as they say.

Choke Chain said...

You live in a dream world it seems. Lots of grand phrases but very little in the way of concrete proposals. Dreams are nice, but at some point you have to do more than fingerpaint.

Why resort to extreme language? You use "starvation", not me. There's no doubt Kauai could have a subsistence economy, but would even a plurality want that life back? Which is my point. Kauai would look much like Micronesia without the influx of cash from tourism and development. Kauai has little to nothing the rest of the world needs other than nice beaches to lay on and interesting mountains to explore. Anything we grow can be grown cheaper elsewhere closer to a market.

Now you might prefer that Kauai, but you can't pretend the influx of others is what made your stay in Kauai possible. No influx, no building boom. No carpentry job for the main breadwinner. Also witness the number of Kauai born that had to move to LV just to keep employed after the Iniki boom/collapse. When the building trades or tourism goes quiet here, the economy hollows out fast. The plantation era was a a false economy only held up by inflated sugar prices. Looking back at that is another false picture.

Good luck with college. My intent was not to rub salt in any wounds or wish you ill. But merely to point out the Fox-like spin that is the Parxist Monotony.

Choke Chain said...

ps -- one of the most effective ways to lie is to tell less than the whole truth. So while Andy is "not incorrect", neither was he entirely honest. But that's the stock in trade of the yellow press.