Thursday, March 13, 2008

Istanbul Musings

Outside of the grand bazaar here in Istanbul are hundreds and hundreds of textile shops. Entire stores that sell only zippers of every style and size next to stores that sell cords and string next to yet another selling buttons and clasps. My favorite of these shops though, was the one selling designer labels. Not designer labeled goods mind you - just the labels rolled like raffle tickets – you want to turn that $1.98 T-shirt into a $35 piece of couture just snip a Calvin Klein tag off the roll and sew it into the back of the neckline.

On our drive out to the school we visited yesterday we chatted with a fellow presenter from the conference about language. Specifically we were talking about the current USA administration’s misuse, Orwellian abuse really, of titles for their policies. "The Clean Air Act" which actually allows business to pollute more, "No Child Left Behind" which puts giant text book corporations in front of students, "The Patriot Act" eroding the civil rights our original patriots fought for. Woe begotten is the voice that dare speak against such misuses – that siren will be first decried as a traitor then as a lunatic.

Freedoms of speech – use it or lose it. That’s part of our mission – to help young folks find their voices, to gain confidence in the sound of their ideals vibrating across their larynxes and to understand the tricks of the trade used by the wordsmiths of those who may not have their best interests in mind. Don’t always believe the labels – check the stitching around the sleeve.

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