September, 2004, LOS ANGELES - In this age of jet travel, time is shortened, work is intensified, and we cover many bases. We dash from one place to another on varying missions in a very full month. And as usual, September had me on quick trips to New York for a meeting and to Emeryville, California, for a voice-over job. But travel can also transport in time as well as to a place. Last month, I went back to my boyhood.
I traveled to a place called Rohwer in southeast Arkansas where I spent a part of my childhood years. It is a place of memories for me - memories that glow with a golden haze. I remember the lush bayous filled with strange sounds and creepy, crawly creatures. I remember catching pollywogs in a ditch and watching them miraculously sprout legs and eventually turn into frogs. I remember waking up one magical winter morning and discovering everything covered in white - cold, soft snow. I also remember the barbed wire fence that kept me confined in that camp. I traveled back to a time of innocence, a time when I was quite unaware of the devastation that had befallen my parents and 120,000 other Japanese Americans. It was World War II and our crime was that we just happened to "look like the enemy."
A child is incredibly adaptable to the most abnormal of conditions. To me, the tall guard towers and the barbed wire fence that incarcerated my family and me became part of my normal landscape. What would be abnormal in normal times became my normality. It became normal for me to line up three times a day to eat in a noisy mess hall. It became normal for me to go with Daddy to a communal shower and bathe with many men. It became normal for me to go to school in a black, tarpaper-covered barrack. I learned to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag within sight of armed sentries watching over us. I was too young to appreciate the irony as I recited the words, "with liberty and justice for all."
The return to Arkansas was undeniably filled with many emotions - but this time with deeper understanding and an overpowering sense of uplift. The pilgrimage to Rohwer was on the final day of a richly enlightening week in Little Rock, Arkansas. A week-long series of programs called "Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas" was being capped with a long bus caravan that rolled past mile after mile of ripening cotton fields to Camp Rohwer as well as to a second internment camp in Arkansas called Camp Jerome.
The week was awe-inspiring. Over 1,300 people, many of them former internees with their children and grandchildren, had gathered in Little Rock from all over the nation. There were lawyers, educators, historians, politicians, and others from all walks of life. The Japanese American National Museum, working in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock opened eight exhibits in four different venues located throughout the city. The principal exhibits; "America's Concentration Camp" and "Against Their Will: The Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas" are in the Statehouse Convention Center. The stirring story of young Japanese Americans who went from unjust incarceration behind barbed wire fences to fight heroically for the United States are told by three deeply moving exhibits in the Douglas MacArthur Museum of Military History. A handsome and affecting art exhibit of the paintings of Henry Sugimoto, who was incarcerated in both of the two Arkansas camps, can be viewed at the Cox Arts Center and two exhibits on the arts and crafts in the internment camps are at the Fine Arts Building of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Saturday was a one-day symposium composed of twenty-seven sessions with discussions that ranged from democracy to civil rights to military service to historic preservation. For me, the most daunting part of the day's program was the luncheon. President Bill Clinton, the former governor of Arkansas, was on the printed program as our luncheon keynote speaker. As we all knew by that time, his emergency heart surgery in New York had sidelined him from all public activities. I was asked to substitute for him - substitute for the silver tongued former President of the United States! The challenge was as awesome as the honor. I had to rise to the honor.
I began by sharing the heartwarming joy I felt on meeting people I had not seen in decades and of people who remembered me as a little boy but that I - try as I might - could not. I talked of my fond memories of a boyhood in Rohwer. I talked of the stinging irony I felt on seeing the crumbling old monument in the cemetery at Rohwer - a memorial to Japanese American soldiers who went from internment camps to perish in a war fighting for democracy and are now buried at the site of their incarceration. I talked of an invitation I received in the year 2000 from President Clinton to the White House to witness the granting of nineteen medals of honor, the highest military recognition of the nation, to nineteen Japanese American veterans of World War II. Fifty-five years before, at the end of the war, these men had been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest military honor, for their heroic deeds. However, after a review mandated by order of Congress in 1996, it was found that their acts of valor eminently merited the highest honor. Only wartime prejudice had reduced their tribute. Among these extraordinary members of the Greatest Generation receiving the Medal of Honor was the senior U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Senator Daniel Inouye, who lost his right arm on a bloody battlefield in Italy. These men and all the Japanese American veterans of World War II had transformed this nation. They made my America today a reality.
I talked of the challenges of our democratic ideals. It takes courageous, principled people to struggle to fulfill those ideals. Throughout the history of our nation, injustices were battled by the disenfranchised. African Americans struggled against slavery, then Jim Crow laws, and other discrimination to transform this nation. Women, who were denied any role in leadership, struggled to gain equality and justice and helped to transform this nation. In the history of the American southwest, Latinos had endured a host of injustices but still they struggled to fulfill the ideals of our nation. I talked that day in Little Rock about our democracy as a dynamic work-in-progress. All of us, the great diversity of this land, working in concert as Americans carry out the promise of our American ideals. When I finished, the audience rose up in a standing ovation. That week in Little Rock, Arkansas will forever be an unforgettable benchmark in my life.
The "Life Interrupted" programs that examine a dark chapter of American history were themselves history making. We have profoundly important lessons for our times today to be learned from the exhibits, the symposium, and the pilgrimage. My heartfelt gratitude goes to the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation whose generous support made it possible for us to bring history so relevantly alive.
A great bonus of the trip to Little Rock was a preview peek at the dazzling new William Jefferson Clinton Library and Presidential Center set to open on November 18th. The hard-hat tour of the Clinton library, museum, and school of public service was wonderfully tantalizing. The modern steel and glass building is a sleek symbol of the "bridge to the 21st century" that President Clinton so often spoke about. The sensitively restored old Choctaw Railway Station in a landscaped park, which will house the Clinton School of Public Service, is the very symbol of history brought back into the current of contemporary life. I toured the work-in-progress with a few students working hard on the Grand Opening and Dedication of this newest of Presidential Centers, Mike Eady and Sara Beth Crow. I promised Mike and Sara Beth that I would return to Little Rock for that history-making day in November. I told them I have my own roots in Arkansas.
Conspiracy theories are beliefs that there are covert powers that be changing the course of history for their own benefits. It's how we see the rise of QAnon conspiracies and people storming the capital.
Why do people fall for them? Well some research has looked into the reasons for that.
The Association for Psychological Science published a paper that reviewed some of the research:
"This research suggests that people may be drawn to conspiracy theories when—compared with nonconspiracy explanations—they promise to satisfy important social psychological motives that can be characterized as epistemic (e.g., the desire for understanding, accuracy, and subjective certainty), existential (e.g., the desire for control and security), and social (e.g., the desire to maintain a positive image of the self or group)."
Whatever the motivations may be, we wanted to know which convoluted stories became apart of peoples consciousness enough for them to believe it.
Redditor Lopsided_Confusion57 asked:
"What's the wildest conspiracy theory you fully believe?"
We can't say any of these are true but sometimes it's fun to speculate.
The time traveling cyclist.
"The Australian cyclist Mick Rogers is a time traveler."
"In the 2002 Tour Down Under, Rogers was in a great position in the breakaway and looking to move into the overall race lead but a collision with a motorcycle left his bike out of commission. With the team service car and mechanics way down the road, it looked like Rogers' chances were gone. Then a cycling fan, who just happened to be at that precise point in the road, offered Rogers his bicycle to continue on. The bike also just happened to be the *exact* model of Colnago that Rogers had been riding. It was the correct size, right down to things like the stem and crank lengths. It even had the same pedal system that Rogers was already using, so he could just clip in and be away. He finished that stage and took the race lead, which he held on to all the way to the end for his only career win in his 'home' tour."
"My theory is that in the original timeline, Rogers didn't win the 2002 Tour Down Under. He quit cycling in anger and devoted his life to theoretical physics and solving the problem of time travel just so he could arrange it to leave himself a spare bike where and when he needed it."
"I'm on board for whatever book or screenplay you write."
"Wait, so if Rogers motivation to find ways for time travelling was losing 2002 race, and if he won, then Rogers never found time travelling and our time line is forever devoid of genius like Rogers who would have found time travelling and attended Hawkins party."
"Yep, exactly. Our timeline is stuck with boring old Mick Rogers, 2002 TDU winner and 3x World Time Trial Champion while some other, much cooler, party timeline gets Mick Rogers, the second coming of Einstein. He probably even cures Covid for them."
The best money making stunt.
"Information is leaked from a studio about an upcoming project that p*sses off the fan base. The studio will then change things to keep the fans happy. The conspiracy is the original leak was just a lie to drum up free publicity for the project."
"This made me think of the Sonic movie. No way in hell were they going to make Sonic look that bad. Put out a fake trailer with him lookin all scary, everyone is talking about it. Wala. Take a bit to say you're fixing his look, put out a new trailer. You just drummed up tons of publicity since people are now following the story."
"I have mixed thoughts to that one."
"I mean 'No way in hell were they going to make him look like that.' Buddy have you seen the cash-grab BS that Hollywood has pulled off before? Hell, when was there a movie based off a game that wasn't exactly as bad as that Sonic looked?"
"I will admit that they may have done that as a publicity stunt, but I also admit that they could have thought it looked fine."
"Have you seen … CATS?"
"100% of the population believes that Putin has had people killed for political reasons but only a very small percentage of Americans believe that American politicians would ever do so."
"I mean, there's a reason the joke/saying is, 'The highest award a journalist can receive is being assassinated by the CIA.' There's probably been a handful who may've found out one too many things on the elites, and then had an accident before they could publish their findings."
"Ohhhh boy then south american journalists in the 60s-80s have been awarded way too much."
"MLK was literally murdered by the government."
"Lots of Black Panthers were too."
'"As part of the larger COINTELPRO operation, the FBI was determined to prevent any improvement in the effectiveness of the BPP leadership. The FBI orchestrated an armed raid with the Chicago police and State Attorney on Hampton's Chicago apartment.'"
"Quote from the Wikipedia article on Fred Hampton."
Conspiracies for the conspiracies to cover up the conspiracies.
"The CIA creates conspiracy theories to provide cover for the real conspiracies."
"It's actually kind of scary how smug anti-conspiracy discourse is used to derail actual conversations. A moment that chipped my faith in humanity just a little was when I was arguing with some people about Guatemala in 1954 and people denied my version of events happened 'because it's a conspiracy.'"
"Like no the parties involved admitted to it."
"If you don't know what I'm talking about and are from the USA you should have a google. But, basically the USA destroyed a democracy because it made a corporation sad."
"What's worse is when people will talk about how corrupt insert what politicians they don't like are, but then when you mention something that is actually confirmed to have happened, they pull the conspiracy theory card and act as if the idea people in power don't want to secure further power for themselves."
"We have been conditioned to think like that from since we started school though (I guess that's my submission for this ask post)."
"I think I remember reading about some CIA agents AMA. Someone asked him the question, 'What's the point of area 51?' The answer was, 'To keep your attention away from area 50 and 52.'"
"Obviously not an exact quote, but the idea of it has always stuck with me."
Extinct animals not actually being extinct for preservation.
"I think it is entirely plausible that the Thylacine still exists in the depths of the Australian mainland and the government knows it."
"It wouldn't be that crazy for misguided scientists to have moved or released a few in the late 1800s. Once the animal went extinct, they certainly couldn't reveal the existence of the mainland population lest poachers and local farmers destroy it. They also may have realized how significant the liability was for releasing large predators into farmland."
"Folks have found hair and scat samples that may be from the animal, but the university lab results always come back and say they are nonsense. That's probably the truth, but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the government was strong-arming them into reporting BS results. TBH if I was a conservation scientist it wouldn't take much convincing for me to fake a negative test."
Robert 'Curt' Borton Jr.
"I believe in a LOT of really boring conspiracies. Stuff like. 'This person was about to expose corporate/government corruption, and then died suspiciously.'"
"But if you want to go for a more intense one, Robert Borton, who I just learnt about, takes the cake. tl;dr guy disappears in Vietnam and really strange sh*T happens to his family."
"This guy, Robert 'Curt' Borton Jr. turns 19 in 1965, he goes to fight in Vietnam. He lands in 1966 and vanishes 19 days into his deployment alongside 3 other soldiers."
"In 1976, two guys approach his dad and claimed to work for the Department of Defense. They asked him to sign a letter that would change his sons status from 'Missing in action' to 'Killed in action' and he refused. Arguing the military would not confront people in public to sign documents. However, in the following weeks he was approached again by these two guys in public places and eventually signed it out of fear. He later received money for doing so."
"His sister then claims that every time they've seen Curt's official files, the entries keep changing, and his sister claims her phone was being wiretapped. A cousin believes that everyone was being watched, claiming that he was followed to work several times and that two men would follow him from his home to his company and then back. After this went on for a month, he decided to confront them, but they denied following him. After that, for about a month, he was not followed."
"The family is convinced Curt was part of a secret government operation that brought him from Vietnam into the United States. Diane believes that he has tried to contact her and other family members on multiple occasions. She claims that she has talked to a man who is a "secret returnee" and that they are allowed to come back to the United States, as long as they do not contact their families. She believes that this was done because the U.S. government had already claimed that all of the living POWs had been brought home; since they were still left behind, they could not become known to the public."
We may never fully know if any of these are true. Given the track record and history of most governments in the world, maybe some of these aren't so far fetched.
Only you can decide what you believe or not.
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I hate ghosts, even if it's Casper. My life is already stressful enough. I don't need to creeped out by spirits from the beyond. Shouldn't they be resting and basking in the glow of the great beyond instead of menacing the rest of us?
The paranormal seems to be consistently in unrest, which sounds like death isn't any more fun or tranquil than life. So much for something to look forward to.
Some ghosts just like to scare it up. It's not always like "Ghosthunters" the show.
Redditor u/Murky-Increase4705 wanted to hear about all the times we've faced some hauntings that left us shook, by asking:
Reddit, what are your creepy encounters with something that you are convinced was paranormal?
I can't definitively say I've come face to face with the spirits. But I have had some unsettling feelings in the dark. Shadows are just shadows sometimes, but who can be sure.
I hear it...Nbc Wings GIF by HULUGiphy
"I was helping my dad clean my grandma's house after she passed and I went in and was trying to find a song in my phone and before I could I heard a cough plain as day come from down the hallway where her room was. She died of lung and throat cancer it was pretty crazy."
"When I was 5 I remember getting home from my grandpa's birthday party. For context my mom was pregnant with my brother at the time, so my parents had already bought his crib. I woke up in the middle of the night to find a women in a white dress and long black hair standing over my brother's crib. I managed to wake up my dad so he could take me to the bathroom. When I got back it was still there. It was only until morning when it disappeared. Every now and then I see a glance of what I assume is that thing running past the backyard."
"My best friend and his wife had moved to a new apartment. I came over to visit a few times, and each time I'd see the motion of a cat in my peripheral vision. Not the image of a cat, but a sense of how a cat moves. Anyway, one day I finally cracked some joke about the ghost cat in the place and his wife was instantly saying "See! See! I told you we had a ghost cat!"
"I worked graveyard shift in a dementia ward for 4 years and it was anything but quiet. I was working with a nurse one night when we both heard a resident say "excuse me." We looked around and no-one was there. I checked on the resident in question and she was fast asleep in her own room. Many of us also experienced someone whistling in the ward late at night and one nurse even managed to catch a video of it happening. It was unnerving to say the least."
"I once saw someone short walk by me in my house. They walked into the laundry room which only has one way in. I walked into it behind them and they where gone. I thought it was my little brother but I went to his room and he was asleep. I still have no clue what that was."
Now was everyone here positive they were sober? Just asking. Those are certainly spooky moments. I'd like some video footage please. Continue...
Reflectionsghost library GIFGiphy
"I was up at 3am when I was maybe 7 or 8. I looked out the window and saw a woman in a white dress run across my yard. I could see through her. She was transparent like the reflections on the window."
"So, my work place is haunted. I was having a really crap day, and as a cleaner, it's normal that me and my co worker will be the only ones left at night. So I was standing on the second floor, leaning on the banister for the stair case, when I heard this male voice say in my ear "you alright?" Clear as day. I turned around so fast and nobody was there and it scared the hell out of me."
"I remember as a young kid I usually use to sit in my bed and watch tv with my room door open while the adjacent guest bedroom next to mine would always have the door shut. I always remember seeing that door fully open and close by itself multiple times a day very slowly and gently. Never really bothered me much now that I think about it… but there were other creepier experiences I had in the same house that made me feel uncomfortable like I was being watched."
"I went to the Betsy Ross House as a really little kid in the early 90s. Normal house but I was confused why the tour guide never talked about the woman on the chair crying at the edge of the bed in Betsy Ross's bedroom. So I asked about it. No one else saw the woman at the edge of the bed. I figured it was just a wax museum since there was a wax statue of a man in uniform rolling bullets in the basement."
"Years later, I was looking at haunted Philadelphia tours to go on with a friend and the Betsy Ross House was on it. I was like "woah! I was there!" and looked into it some more. Turns out there is a woman at the end of the bed crying and a uniformed man in the basement that people have reported seeing. There is no way that 8 year old me would have known about either of these things."
hello kitty...hello kitty lol GIF by Animation Domination High-DefGiphy
"I had this hello kitty Balloon In my bed room, it had a string and weight on it. So it was late, I had the lights on just Sitting on my bed. The Balloon turns, faces my door, slowly floats into my hallway and turns and floats into my sister's room. To this day I am scared of balloons."
They are among us and they like Hello Kitty. I'm probably rattling the paranormal cages and they'll come for me next, but I'm ready. I feel like this thread has prepared me.
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The past year brought about much anxiety and it's been a challenge to find the light in what has felt like perpetual darkness.
"What gives you genuine happiness?"
Food brings people together, and that combination brings much happiness for these Redditors.
"Plenty of my favorite food eaten together with fam."
"Harvesting fruits/veggies from plants which I grew myself and then gifting the harvest to others. I love to grow blueberries and hope I will have lots next year."
Compliments To The Chef
"Seeing people enjoy food that I cooked, especially seeing my fiancee smile while she eats my from-scratch chocolate chip cookies."
The Little Things
"It's difficult to tell the difference between genuine happiness and enough distraction. Food, like video games or playing the piano, makes me joyful while I'm eating it. I believe that the things that make me truly happy are the ones that happen infrequently, if at all, and are beyond of my control, such as being complimented or receiving physical contact."
Being alone with our thoughts can be comforting.
Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
"Being outside with no people around. Live in a city and I get up super early and just walk around before everyone else is out. Best part of my day."
In Between Consciousness
"I think it may be the only time I am ever genuinely happy when I am in that state of going to sleep where I think, but at the same time I am neither asleep nor awake. It feels like I am entirely detached from the physical world; free of fear, and pain."
"Don't try heroin."
"I've noticed that some things can make you so happy that they make you happy before (anticipation) and after (reminiscing) you've done them."
Being with loved ones, both humans and pets, can be the very definition of happiness.
"Weekend mornings sitting on the couch curled up with my husband and cat, both of us reading a book. It feels like quality time even though we aren't talking. Just a lot of peace."
"Your comment made me imagine a cat sitting on a couch, reading a book, wearing reading glasses and that made me really happy."
Hide And Seek
"Watching my cat get stuck somewhere stupid, then yelling for help. The best place so far was in a cabinet over the stove."
Our Inner Comedian
"When I manage to make my friends day by making them laugh. I honestly get so happy when they are happy."
What Brings Joy To Others
"I really love to hear about other people's hobbies/passions/interests. It never fails to make me smile."
"Equally, my hobbies/passions/interests make me happy."
I'm a kid at heart.
So it's not surprising that going to a Disney park as an adult brings out the inner kid in me.
Having grown up in Southern California, I get nostalgic about all my trips to Disneyland with my family and friends.
Eventually, I got a job there in entertainment, where I've made lifelong friends and grew as a performer.
My glee quadruples when I bring friends who've never been to a Disney park before and I see the excitement on their faces.
And what brings me pure joy is hearing from these first-time visitors that, after a long day of running around for 12+ hours, they tell me they had the "best day ever."
Walt, you did a good thing.
A lot of talk going on about women's bodies, isn't there?
Not necessarily with women front and center as part of the conversation, unfortunately.
One of the main talking points against these bans and laws being placed on women's bodies is the idea that it would never happen to a man. "If men could get pregnant, there'd be free abortions tomorrow," is a slogan thrown around quite a bit online. Is that true?
Let's ask them.
Men of Reddit, would you take a male contraceptive pill if it was readily available? Why/Why not?
Genuinely, you might find yourself surprised at how many men are willing and ready to do their part in controlling what goes on during contraception.
Click, Click...No Boom.
"Yes. Makes more sense to unload the gun than shoot at a bulletproof vest."
"Without a doubt. I hate the idea of a vasectomy...nervous about the procedure. But I'd 100% take a male contraceptive pill"
Both Parties Are Making A Choice
"Yes. I world prefer both genders have birth control and that both are actively using it to give the best possible chance of no accidental pregnancies."
What Have Women Been Going Through?
"Honestly I would because I hate the fact how it f-cks with my girlfriend's body. And I rather deal with it than her"
"Absolutely ruins my day when I think about what a hormonal disaster the implant has been for her. It doesn't even bother her that much, but why should she have to deal with any of it at all? Saving up for a vasectomy so it can all just be done with."
Some men are not for a male contraceptive.
Hear them out.
"Think I'd probably still rely on rubbers. Shooting a load without one and relying on it being blanks... I'd be too paranoid about it"
"Rubbers will still help against things OTHER than pregnancy too - so, wearing them is still a good idea"
Wait, What Day Of The Week Is It?
"Oh yes 100%. The only reason I'd be hesitant is i'm very likely to forget"
"Yeah my ex couldn't even remember to buy condoms so not sure I would trust him with a pill. I also wouldn't trust myself with it either, hence the condoms :D"
What's It Doing To Me?
"If it had the same side-effect as the female one and affected my mood or my libido? F-ck no."
"Not all methods have that effect on women. There are literally hundreds of contraception, it's finding the best one for your body."
"I imagine that if men were taking contraception there would be triple the research into making sure you guys were A-OK"
It's All In The Conversation
"Personally, I wouldn't take it. The pill messes with your hormones and that's why I don't expect a woman to take it and also, that's why I don't want to take it."
"If she does, because she wants to - ok. If she doesn't, because she doesn't want to - ok, too."
"If I happen to hook up with someone, I'll wear a condom, because pregnancy isn't the only thing to prevent."
"If I am in a relationship and my gf tells me that she doesn't want to take the pill (anymore), I don't have any right to argue with her and that's why I'll wear a condom."
"I don't care if it "doesn't feel so good" - for me, the best thing about sex is the shared intimacy."
However, really, it's the man in all of us that wouldn't mind shouldering some responsibility in the child-baring years of our lives. Cheers to that.
So Long As It's A Unity Effort
"Yes, I have this theory that every man's phone alarm would go off at the same time at the bar, and we would raise our bc pill in the air to cheers all taking it at the same time"
Why Make Them Do Something You're Not Willing To Do?
"Abso-f-cking-lutely YES a million times yes!!!"
"Straight away, it would be a d*ck move if I expected my girlfriend to take stuff if I'm not willing to"
...Is That Pun Or...?
"Yes! My wife has been carrying the burden of birth control for 11 years now. Lots of pain, discomfort and other effects over the years, its time men can share the load."
We won't know what the future brings. Science at this point makes it feel like anything is possible, so in the next century? Who can say?
Be ready, men. It's our turn, next.
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