The above is a map of Washington D.C. (I'm so gosh-darned clever).
This is a picture of a room similar to the one I stayed in. It is important to my non-important story:
Instead of telling you about the horrendous food I ate, how deathly ill I was (I blew my nose so much that I came in to work today lookin' like I got a cocaine nosejob), how I almost got jumped by a line cook for ordering "egg whites only," how I was only in the office a couple hours a day, how I decided not to visit any national monuments nor witness the Immigration protest, how I hate that you can still smoke in bars/restaurants there (my raw nostrils were a burnin' to say the least), and how I got wasted with a couple of my more-reliable colleagues, I'm going to tell you about a stupid statement one of said colleagues made. Oh yeah, I've written about this guy before. He's the one who employs the disgusting drunken mantra containing the quip, "I am the naan and I am the Beyond." (Bonus: Upon second inquiry, he still maintains that it works!).
Anyway, I was telling him and another guy about how cool my hotel room was. (And, it really was cool: leopard print carpets and orange walls in the hallways, red velvet curtains, an old-fashioned refrigerator acting as the mini-bar, Wax lips available for consumption in the mini bar—you know—just in case, lavish pillows, etc...)
My first thought was that it looked like some kind of retro Ethiopian whorehouse. So, naturally, that's what I told them. The naan guy immediately and pointedly asked me: "Why are you sterotyping?"
I replied: "How am I stereotyping?"
Him: "Well, you're being racist."
Me: "Umm - No, I'm actually not. If mentioning the word 'Ethiopian' is offensive to you, then perhaps you're a racist. Calling someone or something 'Ethiopian' is not an insult, it's an unbiased statement of condition."
Me: "Seriously, why is calling something 'Ethiopian' insulting?"
Him: "Nevermind. Nevermind. Nevermind...."
Me: "Do you have something against Ethiopians?"
Him: "No, don't worry about it. Seriously, nevermind."
Anyway, that was about the gist of our short conversation. But, length and depth aside, it caused me to recall a passage from Toby Young's book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. In this book, Young, who's from London, recalls attending Harvard for a 1987 summer journalism program. He goes on to talk about how this was absolutely the worst time to be in America for his purposes, due mainly to the 'political correctness epidemic' that was going around.
To briefly quote him: "The entire student body seemed to be afflicted. The prevailing orthodoxy was that concepts like "truth" and "beauty" had no place in contemporary education. The idea that a person could transcend the influence of his race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status to achieve a kind of bird's-eye view of a subject was completely false."
To further his point: "Universities aren't there to hold up mirrors to students, affirming their identity as women or homosexuals or African-Americans. They're there to challenge them, to teach them that these arbitrary facts about themselves are irrelevant when it comes to answering the most important question of all: How to lead a good life?"
So, I guess all of this is to say that I wasn't describing my hotel as such to the 'naan and beyond' guy to affirm it's identity [Ethiopian]. No, no, no—I was saying it to challenge him, to teach him that this arbitrary fact about the hotel is irrelevant when it comes to answering the most important question of all: How to lead a good life? [Partake in the Wax lips in the mini-bar, you poor sap].
And, so ends my book report.