Posted by: patenttranslator | August 1, 2018

It Makes No Sense to March in Protest on a Cul-de-Sac

My silly post today was inspired by a comment on Facebook in which an American poster said in an international forum something like this (I could not find the comment anymore so this is just what I remember from it):

“I have been in Spain for only one week, but so many people are telling me that what we are seeing in America is the beginning of Fascism, and that people should be marching in the streets to stop it. They lived under Franco for a very long time and they know what they are talking about”.

But it’s hard to march in the streets in America.

Unlike in the old continent of Europe, in the United States, we only have actual streets where it would make sense to march in the downtowns of a few old cities like New York or San Francisco. So that’s where most marching takes place, to the extent that it does.

In old Europe people can march in protest in the streets of their pedestrian-friendly old cities to demand to get something back for having to pay high taxes (which is called “socialism” in America), or to demand democratic elections where they can actually choose from several different parties the party they think will represent them best, instead of being forced to participate in the “lesser-of-two-evils scam” that we have here.

In most of this country, we have suburbia consisting of “gated communities” guarded by armed personnel protecting the affluent ruling class, and “subdivisions” full of “quiet cul-de-sacs” for the rest of us.

The cul-de-sacs are not suitable for marching because they are closed off at one end. It does not make sense to march in a circular, dead-end street where people never go unless they happens to live there.

Suburban houses located on cul-de-sacs are particularly prized among what is left of the middle class because they are perceived as giving people “more privacy”, which means that neighbors don’t really come into contact with each other much if at all, except when they walk their dogs on the sidewalks of the subdivisions, often talking excitedly on the phone. In addition to streets with no exits, the privacy is also enhanced with big front yards and big back yards, putting even more space between neighbors who really prefer not to come into eye contact with each other.

As a young person living in Europe, I always said “hello” if I met an older person who happened to be a neighbor because my mother told me that not to do so would be impolite. Children and teenagers living in America’s subdivision pretend not to see their older neighbors. I am not sure what their mothers tell them about older people, if anything.

The front yard in particular is mostly just a major hassle for the suburbia inhabitants because there is so much grass on it and people have to water it and mow large spaces containing nothing but green or dying grass on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to being highly environmentally unfriendly, the gasoline-powered mowers are also very noisy and smelly. But since everybody wants to have a big front yard and most people have to work long hours during the week, on top of an hour or two wasted in commute on clogged highways, the cul-de-sacs and other streets in the subdivisions are on the weekends as noisy as the traffic on highways.

For some reason, the term “cul-de-sac” has no equivalent in English and it is thus available only in French, like quite a few other words or phrases that are originally French, such as bon apétit, touché, or cherchez la femme.

My theory is that the term “cul-de-sac” was not translated into English so that people would not think too much about what the term means. The French words, whose exact meaning is probably understood by very few people, look much better printed on real estate brochures than “dead-end street”, don’t they?

The Japanese love to introduce foreign words from other languages into their beautiful, colorful and complicated language. There are many Japanese words originating in foreign languages including German, Dutch and Portuguese (for historical reasons), but especially in English. These words are in Japanese called “gairaigo”( 外来語), which literally means “words that came from outside”, usually translated as loan words).

But they went ahead and translated the term “cul-de-sac” into their own language as “fukuromichi” (袋道), or literally a “bag street”. So unlike in America, most people in Japan do understand that fukuromichi means a dead-end street and that there is no exit from such a road. When you’re stuck in a bag, you’d better get the hell out, or you’ll be stuck there for the rest of your pathetic life living in a bag that has no exit, just like there is no exit from Hotel California.

The subdivisions are connected by highways where you can’t march either because it would be both dangerous and illegal, and now people can hardly even drive there because, unlike a few years ago, they are charged new tolls based on what is called “public-private partnership projects”.

Not just the political system in which two wings of the same good old money party put on a jolly good show very roughly approximating a democratic process during elections, but even the infrastructure on the ground is thus becoming more and more suitable for a new era of fascism, more properly defined as “corporatism”, or merging of corporate and state power (which could be also described as a “public-private partnership project”).

If the moral depravity of ripping crying children who can’t even speak yet from the arms of their mothers and making five-year-old kids defend themselves in court proceedings against judges in their sixties, who are so ably and valiantly protecting the state from these kids in a court, is not barbaric fascism, then I really don’t know what fascism means.

It’s clear to me that marching in circle on our cul-de-sacs and voting for one of the two parties that are so far still allowed here, mostly because it makes almost no difference which one is nominally in power, is not going to stop fascism.

So, I would like to ask people in Spain, France, Italy, Poland and other countries in the old continent of Europe where people can still march in the now obsolete streets of their cities to demand change when they get really angry at what their governments are doing to them, what should we do here in the United States to get back to a more democratic system, which I think was the original idea behind “a more perfect union”, given that here we are stuck in a bag that is closed off on one end?


  1. Well, frankly, as a Spanish, I don’t have the answer to your question. But regarding the comment on Facebook that you mention in your post about the beginning of Fascism, I can assure you that in Spain we still have not seen the end of it, judging by, and just as an example, the opposition or the irate reaction that the intent to remove Franco’s remains from a Monument to Fascism, aka “El Valle de los Caídos” has awakened in Spain among quite a lot of people. So, we should also be marching more vehemently against it instead of seeing the splinter in someone else’s eye!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really LOVE Hotel California. Always have. Thanks for that and good luck!


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