Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Assimilation American Style

The mess in France has been interpreted as a failure of assimilation. French Muslims have believed in the French model of individual integration through citizenship but feel cheated because of their social and economic exclusion. They may become French citizens but they will never be “of French stock.”

My critical opinions (of France and many other entities) have been criticized by one of our anonymous readers (See comments about “Cognitive Dissonance” 11/4/05).

What I find disquieting in this and many of your other postings is their vitriolic tone. We would all be far better off with a greater measure of acceptance of, interest in and wonder at what makes us all so different from one another. May I suggest more time spent on more tolerant, constructive ideas rather than simply berating others.

I appreciate and seriously consider all the comments that I receive. The quick answer is that I enjoy the use of sharp speech rather than pussyfooting around.

Still, as a gesture of tolerance, I offer this piece about the assimilation of Finnegan the squirrel. (Thanks to Lee Lama)

For about as long as she can remember, Debby Cantlon says, friends and strangers have brought her animals in need. So it wasn't much of a surprise when someone asked her if she'd care for a newborn squirrel found at the base of a tree.

Debby, who plans to release Finnegan the squirrel back into the wild, bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her house. Cantlon, who has cancer, says rescuing injured animals is therapeutic for her.

When Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself with an unlikely nurse's aide: her pregnant Papillon, Mademoiselle Giselle.

Finnegan was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies. Cantlon and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel's cage - twice - to her own bedside before she gave birth. Cantlon was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out - and the inter-species bonding began.

Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups.

Now, Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his "siblings" in a mosh pit of puppies, rolling atop their bodies and sinking in deeply for a nap. Finnegan and his new litter mates, five Papillion puppies, get along together as if they were meant to.

Isn't that nice?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your speech isn't all that sharp. I guess its all relative.

I just read another of Josh Cohen's incoherent diatribes in the Penn news and am going to cancel my subscription.


2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vitriolic means "bitterly scathing; caustic" and has little to do with "sharp speech". Further more tolerant, constructive ideas have nothing to do with dogs nursing squirrels.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Misguided tolerance got France into the mess they are in now!

Furthermore, I enjoyed the story of Finnegan the squirrel very much!
It just demonstrates that for equality to work, both sides must participate. Separate but equal does not work.


12:28 PM  

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