Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Tolerance

"Tolerance" doesn't guarantee "acceptance" any more than "legal" guarantees "ethical." I see "tolerance" as a smile over gritted teeth, while "acceptance" is a relaxed smile and a nod. I see "tolerance" as a euphemism for "I'll pretend to like you if you pretend to like me." I see "acceptance" as a heartfelt "It's so nice to know you and learn from you."

To tolerate someone is to put up with them. To accept them is to connect with them.

We need to abandon "tolerance" as a loosely disguised term for politically correct civility; a phony, self-righteous word for people who wish to appear open-minded and loving to their fellow human beings; and an erroneous synonym for acceptance. We need to use words honestly.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lyrics from My Newest Song, "Breathe"

A song by Susan L. Lipson, Copyright September 2010

Some days every stranger seems familiar
And yet when I smile at you, I get a blank stare in return.
You see walls between us,
Such illusions, such delusions, such intrusions
That prevent us from connecting.
And yet when you think about us scientifically,
How can we be strangers when we share the air we breathe?

I breathe you
So to deceive you
Is like lying to myself.
I breathe you
So to relieve you
is like comforting myself.
I breathe you
So to conceive of you
as one with me is true…

For how can we be strangers
When we intimately share
The air that we both breathe;
Exchanging each breath from birth to death,
So what are ‘strangers’ when we all share air….

I breathe you
So to believe you
Is like trusting in myself.
I breathe you
So to retrieve you
Is like rescuing myself.
I breathe you
So to receive from you
Is giving back as well….

BRIDGE REPEATS, followed by an instrumental, bringing it down to opening melody:

Walls dissolve between us when we really wish to see;
How can we be strangers when we share the air we breathe?

Please let me know if you like the lyrics. I've recorded this a capella on an mp3, but I plan record to add instrumental accompaniment soon, once I can lure my accompanists back from their college lives for a school break. If you want to hear it when it's done, let me know....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Music of Language

In Italy a few weeks ago, as I listened to the musical cadence of spoken Italian, I imagined notes on a staff: three or four on the same line of each measure, then one longer note jumping to the top of the staff, followed by a final note on the same line as the initial three notes. Every sentence, even the most mundane, sounds like a melody in Italia....

"Ba-BA ba BAAAA ba," bleets the Italian sheep before supplying the milk for the creamy balls of wet mozzarella hiding beneath the freshest basil leaves and sugary tomato slices.

"Please, signOOOOra, allow me to HEEEELP you," insists the fawning sales clerk in the Limoncello store, pouring shots of lemony liqueur for anyone, regardless of age, who checks out the beautiful cello-shaped bottles filled with yellow syrup that warms the throat and stomach on the way down.

"One pomoDOOOORa pizza--si, signOOORA?" asks the waiter in Naples, who believes that his meter-long pizza outclasses all other pizzas simply because pizza was invented in Naples.

Yes, even I, asking the basest question, "Where is the toilet/restroom?", feel compelled to imitate the cadence of the Italian musical phrase: "Do-ve la toi-LEHEHEHEH-te?" My kids smirk. They say I imitate everyone with an accent when I talk to them. I argue that if I DO imitate a foreigner, I have shown a sincere form of flattery, to show respect for the foreigner, not a desire to poke fun at him/her.
When in Rome...