Random Musings

The Myth of the Assimilating Immigrant, Speaking English, and Eroding Americana

Discussions about immigration are funny. They tend to focus on the same small handful of heartfelt pleas; arguments about losing our culture, griping that immigrants don’t learn the language (“the language” being English), and the idea that immigrants of the past used to come here and work hard to assimilate themselves into American culture. As we’re about to discover, that last part is largely a myth. First, a word on the language. The United States has no official language. Never has. As immigration has increased from non-European countries, there have also been increasing calls for a national language, thus far to no avail. Some individual states do, 32 of them in all, but not the United States itself. Our documents are written in English, and…
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BREAKING: exclusive transcript of Donald Trump’s meeting with President Obama!

As everyone knows, President-elect Donald Trump met with President Obama today to discuss the transition and get that complicated ball rolling. The meeting happened behind closed doors, but thanks to some inside connections with a few journalist friends inside the Beltway, I was able to procure a transcript. Enjoy: OBAMA: Mr. President-elect, welcome to the White House. I’m glad you could join us today and hope we can make this transition of power be as smooth as possible. TRUMP: It’s good to be here. So good. Good like you wouldn’t believe. I just know that I am going to be sick of how good it is, that’s how good it’s going to be. OBAMA: The transition can be difficult. There is a lot of work…
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How I almost forgot why I write (and how I got back on track)

It’s easy to lose sight of why you write. For about two years now, I’ve worked full-time as a freelance writer and social media marketer, penning corporate blogs, articles for SEO specialists, the occasional news story, website copy, and whatever else people will pay me to write. I’ve done freelance work on the side for many years, but that switch in autumn 2014 was a big plunge into icy cold water. It hasn’t always been easy. The money mostly sucks, the workload is hot and cold, the guilt can be crushing, people often don’t want to pay you or they will try to scam you, you have to operate like a small business (which is antithetical to why you write in the first place), and…
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The clock is ticking. I’m going to die. Dammit.

Not too long ago, I was hanging with a good friend a mine. It was the usual hanging out thing, which in my world means sitting on your hemorrhoids, drinking beer, and talking bad about puppies. He’s 82. Christ! 82! I can’t even imagine what that is like (but I’m starting to be able to). Anyway, we’re having a beer and watching other friends do manual labor. As we relax, he tells me a story about a phone call his wife got. Their house got destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It has since been rebuilt, but some dudes called or something and tried to get her to sign up for some bullshit I only half paid attention to (because that’s what friends do). Some kind of…
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Is there still an interest in Hurricane Sandy survival stories?

The title question is a legitimate question, and one I want an answer to for legit, tangible reasons. It’s not just because I have a personal experience with the storm, though as this video taken from my bedroom window will tell you, I do: It is not because I lived it — LOADS of people did, and a great many had far, far worse experiences than I did — but because I devoted a lot of time to talking to people and writing about their experiences, and I’d like to see that material see the light of day. Years ago, I wrote a feature for the Philly Weekly about my Sandy experience that ended up winning second place in the 2014 Keystone Press Awards. Cool(ish). (Second place…
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