Why Asia?

We are Glenn and Carol Webb. We are retired academics, now living in Palm Desert, CA, in the place shown just above our picture. We have spent most of our lives studying Asia, with Kyoto, Japan as our port of call. This blog consists primarily of essays, written by me, Glenn Taylor Webb, with the input of my wife, Carol St. John Webb. I began writing most of these essays just before we retired. Some have been published, some not. Most were first presented as lectures.

Our lives were changed by what what we experienced living in two cultures. The different ways of thinking about almost everything in Japan (and Asia in general) made us examine some of our fundamental views of life. As a history professor I had to keep a certain distance between historical events and their effects. But at this stage in my life (I'm 75) I feel like sharing with friends the impact that Japan today has had on my family as well as myself. I'm still writing things down. So take a look and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010



It occurs to me that the story of the Good Samaritan is an effective parable about America today.  Samaritans in ancient Jewish history were (and still are, the few that remain) outcastes.  The fact that the writer of Luke chose to preface the word Samaritan with “good” is appropriate, because Jews never saw a good Samaritan.  That is why the ostensibly good Jews, the priests and Levites, who walked along a country road, did nothing to help the Samaritan who lay raped and pillaged at the side of the road. The lesson of the parable, as presented by Jesus, is to chastise orthodox Jews for not being able to help a person because their religion deemed such people unworthy. 

As a modern parable, I see the lesson this way:  President Obama and people who now bear the label “liberal” have been raped and pillaged by the conservatives in the GWB (last letter standing for a word rhyming with “tush”) camp.  The priests and Levites in this analogy are so certain of their religion and politics that they have lost sight of human compassion, the hallmark of their religion, i.e., Christianity.   Judging by the large number of objections my comments in “Great Depression Babies” elicited, I would say my interpretation of this old parable, while effective, will bring me more misery.  Let me just say that anyone who is against a healthcare plan that will bring comfort to people who cannot afford health insurance is conservative only in the way that the Gospels find despicable.   

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