Book Reading and Signing

Local Author’s Book Reading and Signing

Jacques Delacroix:

I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography

at Lulu Carpenter’s, the coffee shop,

1545 Pacific Avenue (across from the clock tower)

in Santa Cruz, California (“Silicon Valley Beach”).

Tel: 831 439 9200

Friday September 5th
Time: Six p.m.

I would like all my friends to be there, with or without their checkbooks ( preferably with).

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Book Reading and Signing

Local Author’s Book Reading and Signing

Jacques Delacroix:

I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography

at Lulu Carpenter’s, the coffee shop,

1545 Pacific Avenue (across from the clock tower)

Tel: 439 9200

Friday September 5th at Six p.m.

I would like my friends to come, with or without their check books (preferably with).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Things Also Happen

For months, I had heard a hen singing of its accomplishments in the neighborhood while I was drinking my early coffee. The sound gave me unaccountable glee, although I am mostly a city boy, because I live right downtown Santa Cruz where chickens don’t grow on trees, so to speak. Some evenings ago, I noticed a white hen in the parking lot across the street.

The next morning, the white hen was picking for grubs in my own front yard. I warned my granddaughter who is six to not get excited. First, I pointed out, the city streets are not the kind of place where poultry survive long. Second, I told her, the hen probably has an owner that will claim her. We presented the bird with water and grain anyway.

The child assented readily to the first proposition. She resisted however, the idea of an owner. The hen is lost, she argued; there are many other houses around; the hen came to our house; it did not go to anyone else’s house; it ate our food. The hen chose us. It’s ours! She put a cardboard box in a bush so that the hen could fortify itself against raccoons. It worked, somehow.

The next afternoon, a strange man was in our backyard looking for his chicken. The same evening, we saw the hen walking around on our street again. Chicken aren’t that stupid after all. Since then, members of my family have not had a glimpse of the white hen, on the one hand. On the other hand, there are no white feathers floating around or on the street. We are hopeful.

The visiting hen is not much to look at. If truth be told, her white ass has gone kind of grayish; she does not seem very neat in her personal habits. She is fat enough though. Full of hope, I have christened her “Thanksgiving.” My granddaughter does not know this and she can’t read yet. She calls the white hen “Chocolate.”

A couple of days later, I am waiting in the Toyota lounge while my truck is being serviced. It’s around nine in the morning. I hear strangely loud male voices yelling in the upper floor. After ten minutes about fifteen guys come down the stairs chattering like schoolgirls. They all wear the red polo shirt that is the uniform of Toyota employees. I check the time. Coffee break is still 30 minutes away. The local Toyota dealer/service company gave its employes time off, or an accommodation in their schedules, so they could see the end of some important game on the television upstairs.

I can’t imagine this happening anywhere else and certainly not in France,the foreign country I know best. Not that I am very familiar with French Toyota waiting lounges. I don’t even think they have lounges in France anyway. If they exist, no one there has thought of offering coffee. If they have coffee, I will bet you the coffee table is filthy because cleaning it is “not my job.” In French movies, at least, that kind of workplace would be described as unbearably oppressive. The employees would be shown as sullen, resentful. They would all hate the boss. There would be no game break except if it had been specifically negotiated by a labor union. No labor union would even think of it. Yet Toyota employees in France must be doing pretty much the same work as their Californian counterparts.

Yes, there are national cultures. Often, they don’t correspond to stereotypes concerning them though. Also, they are heavily influenced, even in the short run, by economic conditions that are not difficult to understand, for the most part: No economic growth, persistent high unemployment, no levity, no joviality, pervasive hostility in the air, tense social relations. Soon enough, after only one generation, people don’t know how to live or feel any other way.

The Santa Cruz harbor where I spend much of my time is a financially self-sustaining entity. I am told it receives no, zero tax money. I approve of this, of course. I can’t imagine why the poor would be forced to pay for the leisure of the moderately prosperous, of Silicon Valley millionaires, and of many early-retired deputy-sheriffs, by the way.

Self-sufficiency promotes inventiveness, of course. During the summer, the port authority helps organize rock concerts-plus-barbecues on the beach with the nearby restaurant. I don’t know exactly who does what and who gets what. I am pretty sure the harbor keeps all the parking fees. I would guess that would amount to something like $10,000 a night (just a guess). Beer flows. Hard alcohol is neither sold nor allowed inside the barbecue/concert enclosure but Tequila is available at a “high end” Mexican restaurant only twenty steps away.

People are beginning to file out when I pass by. Whole families with small children. The kids learn to dance in the sand at sunset. There are many more young and not so young adults , of course. I would bet most of them are single, originally single and single again. How do I know, you ask? Well, the women are all almost dressed up, by which I mean undressed. Lots and even acres of cleavage in the evening southerly breathe, also, freshly shampooed hair, not so natural on a beach. There are enough good scents to overcome the sweet smell of Marie-Jeanne. (Hey, this is Santa Cruz, after all!)

Most of the women look shiny; as always, for some reason, the young Mexican-American girls shine the brightest. No, I don’t believe the young women spruce up for one another. They are doing it to try to catch a man, that all important fashion accessory, or to switch from the current one to a better model. or, at least, they hope to torture a few male strangers. That’s hardwired, no point in denying it anymore. This is not the 70s!

During the concert itself, everybody dances with everybody. It’s true that it’s made easy by the fact that many dance alone in thoroughly narcissistic self-absorption. The crowd is not only multipled-aged, it would be described as “multi-ethnic” or multi-racial by any conscientious Left-Democrats. Off the top of my head, I would say that’s the crowd is 40% Mexican- American, 40% white, with a sprinkling of everybody else. There are only handful of African-Americans because Santa Cruz County is a white and brown affair (in every sense of he word).

The so-called “whites” are no a homogenous group at all. Many are the rich, retired, single type. At the concert, I would say that about half of the whites are “Oakies.” I describe Oakies somewhere else on this blog. Anywhere else but California, they would be called “rednecks” except that the word “Oakie” is not as negative. Personally, I feel no contempt for Oakies. Over the years, I learned more from them that I did from my colleagues in academia. The main thing about them is that they never, never graduate from college although they may attend classes at the community college. I can tell Oakies before they speak. (Remember that I am a distinguished social scientist.) I will just give you a hint: When a woman wear tight jeans and the thought fails to cross your mind that she shouldn’t, she is almost certainly an Oakie.

Now, here you have it: The sun, rock-and-roll, music, booze, lots and lots of testosterone-poisoned younger people, racial divisions. It should be a powder-keg according to the tired, plaintive, obsolete liberal narrative of unrelenting misery , injustice and racial discrimination. It’s not. There has not been a single ugly incident in more than four hours the concert lasted. The people who file past me are all in a good mood; they are smiling and laughing; they are polite to one another. Something’s wrong here!

Posted in Cultural Studies | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Overpopulation that Won’t Be.

A friendly acquaintance – who keeps the best Facebook I know – recently called me a “soothsayer.” That hurt! Her intention was to scum me out for throwing the cold cloth of skepticism over her apparent concern for overpopulation. I had opined that the world population will begin to decline around 2050.

It wasn’t difficult to opine. I am not a demographer by training but gross demographic projections are not difficult to understand. Again, it’s not mysterious. Here is my try at explaining world population growth until only about 2050.

The number of births in the next thirty years or so is completely constrained by the number of women of child-bearing age now. We have a very good idea of what that number is already. In most alternative scenarios but one (see below) there will be even fewer women of child-bearing age than expected. And, yes, you got it, the number of men does not matter much. That’s because even a very few courageous, determined males can accomplish prodigious wonders in the area of procreation. The more women in that age range, the more births.

How many children any woman will have in her lifetime depends mostly on two things plus one. First, the higher the age at marriage, the fewer children. Second the more educated the woman the fewer the children. Lower the age at marriage and take girls out of school, and you will see more births. Make marriage later and keep girls in school and you will have fewer births per woman on average. For the past fifty years, world trends have been later age at marriage and more education for girls. (But see below.)

Finally (“plus one”), everywhere in the world, a high degree of urbanization reduces the number of births per women. Women in the cities have fewer children than their own cousins in rural areas.

These three factors together are enough to predict very well, to forecast, future population growth. They have been use successfully to forecast slower population growth in such diverse countries as Egypt and Mexico. Of course, practically all the European countries’ and Japan’s populations are decreasing, have been for a long time. The major exception is France where a large immigration from poorer countries is combined with a lavish welfare expenditures to support child rearing. The combination sustains the French birth rate above replacement rate. This means that left to their own devices and to men of their own origin, French women whose grandparents were all born in France don’t contribute enough children to replace themselves and their male breeders.

Using this simple, understandable model based on things that are easy to measure, demographers have been predicting a reversal of global population numbers sometimes around 2050.

Of course,there are many other factors that influence population growth. Almost all of them reduce it. Together, they would have the effect of lowering world population before 2050.

There are presently no forces – except one – that would reverse the trend toward a smaller global population. The one exception is Islamism whose program involves lowering the age of marriage for women and limiting girls’ education. (See above.)

When specialists agree without any acrimony on a model that is easy to understand, based on a small number of variables and these variables are straightforwardly constructed from readily available, good-quality data, you have an issue not much worth worrying about. You can worry instead about the horrible forthcoming destruction caused by global warming about which 97% (or is it 98%?) of scientists agree although none is able to explain it with any clarity. (See my postings.)

Of course, you are also free to consider the world unbearably overpopulated today, already, because of a formidable drop in infant mortality, because of slowly but steadily growing longevity, in spite of the fact that the world produces enough food for everybody on it. You might even decide that population density is too high for simple comfort. That would be in spite of the fact that you could easily house the whole world population within the state of California at a normal America suburban density. (Don’t take my word for it, do the long division yourself.)

I am not a soothsayer, Carol. I try to stay informed. I read good stuff. ( Personal note: That includes Skeptic magazine, thanks to you!) I am extremely skeptical of all apocalyptic predictions. In my lifetime, I have witnessed almost only improvements. You should read my book . (I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography, available on Amazon and from me at iusedtobefrench@gmail.com)

Oops, the ingrate! Of course, Carol, you are already reading it! Thank you very much.

Posted in Socio-Political Essays | Leave a comment

This Made Me Blush! A Splendid and All-Too-Kind Review of “I Used to Be French”

This review made me blush but it’s my duty to publicize it. It’s by an American artist and sociologist who lives in Japan: “Jacques Delacroix’ ‘I Used to Be French’

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Un Autre Jeune Noir Tue! (Mis a Jour)

Il y a une douzaine de jours, un policier blanc tuait un jeune Noir desarme dans une petite ville americaine. (SVP, ne dites pas la “police americaine”, cela n’existe pas.)

Donc?

The Shooting of One More Black Man: What’s Wrong With Us?

Une mise a jour pour mes camarades francophones. Dans le systeme judiciaire americain, un homicide est presque toujours affaire locale dont la resolution ne depend en aucune facon de l’administration federale. Quand le president Obama declare quoi que ce soit a ce sujet, c’est du pur guignol politique. C’est, dans ce cas, pour rameuter les Democrate blancs decus par la perfomance de leur parti sous sa houlette. (Les Noirs voteront Democrate a 90% de toutes manieres.)

La recente visite du Ministre federal de la justice, Mr Holder, elle, est du cinema. L’homicide en question n’est pas de son ressort du tout sauf dans le mesure ou il comporterait une violation des droits civiques (etroitement definis) de la victime. Le fait meme de l’homicide demeure entierement dans la juridiction des autorites locales (qui s’en occupent en ce moment-meme; le processus a commence). Le visite de Mr Holder etait d’autant plus superflue que quarante (40) agents du FBI travaillaient deja sur cette affaire. (Le FBI fait partie du ministere federal de la justice.)

Je vous dit tout cela car on raconte beaucoup de conneries dans les presses francophones, par mechancete d’abord, par honnete et profonde ignorance servie par une etonnante paresse, d’autre part.

Posted in Commentaires politiques en Francais | Leave a comment

The Shooting of One More Young Black Man: What’s Wrong With Us?

I am an American by choice. It’s possible that this fact allows me to keep my eyes wider open to this country’s race history than is possible for Americans by birth. I am quite sure none of my ancestors owned slaves; I am sure none stopped a person of any race from eating lunch at the public counter. I am not affirming this, just speculating forcefully. This does not protect me from the collective sort of guilt that comes from supporting a polity that descends directly from the oppressor polity of yesteryear. At any rate, I am one of those Americans who believe that America never really closed the book on the two and half centuries of atrocities that was black slavery, nor on the century of injustice that was legal segregation and systematic persecution of blacks, of black males, especially.

One of my WASP friends says that 500,000 white men’s deaths in the Civil War was a sufficient price to pay for the ill-treatment of the past. I don’t think it fixed the problems left behind by this ill-treatment. As a conservative, I believe that good things and bad things happen through the family. It seems self-evident to me: When people are not allowed to form normal families, bad behavior gets transmitted through the generations until something virtuous intervenes to break the chain. For one hundred, two hundred years, you ask? Why, yes.

Yes, I am talking about reparations. Why not? The unspoken notion that coming to this land of opportunity in chains vs elbowing one’s way aboard an immigrant ship amounts to a small difference is stupid and morally bankrupt. The people who want to lead peaceful and productive lives in this country will not have the moral high ground until these monstrous historical injustices are righted, once, for good. In the meantime police officers and other officials don’t know whether they should act according to what their reason tells them or in some other, ill-defined away.

All this to talk about the protests, the riots, and the lootings in Ferguson Missouri where a police officer shot an unarmed young black man to death ten days ago.

This is one situation where rationality, judgment is needed. First things first. Many police agencies in the country seem to be operating under fudgy guidelines about using firearms on citizens. That’s intolerable. Police violence and, possibly, even more so, the pervasive threat of police violence are not trivial matters. The fear of those we hire to protect us undermines severely the pursuit of happiness, one of he foundations of our society. In a period when crime by criminals has been decreasing steadily in our society at large, there is zero excuse for criminal behavior by our police, Even tolerance for accidental shootings is too broad.

Uniform law enforcement dogma in this country should be strictly that officers do not discharge their weapons except to protect lives, their own included. The threat should be unambiguous. Yes. officers would die. I know that this sounds callous but it’s their job to risk death in the street, like soldiers. It’s not a bad job overall. I doubt there would be trouble recruiting for it under narrower strictures for firing on civilians. Law enforcement officers should know every time they fire on someone that they are probably losing their job. Life against job; it’s not a bad bargain.

By the way, my father who was a Paris cop told me something I never forgot when I was 14 and he was reading law in preparation for a promotion exam. He said that cops who don’t have the option of using force become better cops, that they find alternative ways to win confrontations with the bad guys.
(He passed the exam; thank you for asking.)

Is it likely that police officers throughout this country are more likely -other things being equal – to shoot at a black suspect than at a black suspect? I would guess so. The second day of protest in Ferguson turned into looting. A young black man dies, others get a mountain bike, their sisters get platform shoes. (I watched looting scenes on MSNBC; all the looters shown were black.) The victim of this particular shooting was a hoodlum, a large hoodlum. (The same video that shows that he did not rob a shop minutes before he was killed shows him manhandling the diminutive shopkeeper.) The weekend following the Ferguson shooting seven young black men were shot to death in Chicago. They were shot by other young black men of course, as is almost always the case. Police officers operate under the impression that African-Americans are more likely to be criminal – and, by extension, more dangerous than whites. Go figure!

Digression: A month ago, I spotted four young black men on my street trying to hot wire an old classic American car. The car was in some disrepair. The young men wore full ghetto outfit. It’s a rare thing in white-and-brown Santa Cruz. Here, one only sees pale imitation of ghetto dress on downtown whiggers on skateboards. UC students who are black wear normal semi-hippie outfits, like everyone else. I called the police. It turns out, it was their car that would not start the natural way. Did I jump the gun, (so to speak)? Did I profile racially? What would you have done? And, incidentally, I would not know how to hot wire a car. Do you?

As completely expected, the national media, almost universally liberal, is camping in Ferguson day and night. They are clinging to an exhausted, obsolete narrative of injustice for which they have no substitute. The liberals’ lack of liberal imagination is striking. They are helped by the usual racial and misery pimps and extortionists from outside the town. The old civil rights aristocracy is humming along, terrified that one in their own midst will start speaking aloud about black social dysfunctions. The television commentator Juan Williams, a black man, does it all the time but he is not part of this aristocracy; he is a marginal figure; he can be ignored, so far. The total amount of intellectual cowardice in the coverage of the Ferguson shooting is overwhelming. It’s overwhelming on issues of race in today’s America in general.

Yes, young black men often act as if they felt disenfranchised. They are, I think. Black spokespersons have been railing for thirty years or more about police not looking like the “community” they police. In general, I think the idea that black cops are more likely than white cops to defuse problems involving African-Americans seems reasonable. It does although the veteran black state police officer put in charge of keeping order in Ferguson after a few days did a piss-poor job of it. The liberal press pointed out that Ferguson Missouri population is 2/3 black. It makes me wonder why the town’s black population did not use its large majority to vote out the white municipality and to create an all-black (or nearly all-black ) police force a long time ago. No one, not one, in the media has wanted to raise that simple, self-evident question. We are still not talking clearly in this nation when racial matters are involved.

Posted in Current Events | 20 Comments