Category Archives: politics

Watch Out for the F’ers

The Internet makes all other sources of  information irrelevant. Newspapers are too slow and expensive. Libraries are archaic, also too expensive and slow. Bookstores are dying. Anyway they all provide way more information than we really need. We just need a piece here, a quote there, nothing like the  sustained pieces of writing found in these places.

The only information we need is Fast and Free. Everyone is a writer. Everyone is a commodity and is forced to view commodities across the screen. News spreads faster than fire. News and information riddled with mistakes because it is Fast and Free and that is all that matters. Gross errors become truth or at least cast a shadow over the reality. We crave the attention of search engines.

I am leery of the calls to shut down the old-fashioned ways we find our information. Do this and humanity is fully controlled by governments, corporations, and well-organized  groups.

The information they want you to have is all that you can get. Each Internet search is custom geared to you and what others want you to know. Those with the most money and power get out their message and obscure other messages.

I know people are being groomed to no longer be capable of reading sustained essays or pieces of literature. Who has the time? I guess Candy Crush does win out. All we want are bits and bytes of info, well reviewed by others to highlight what we think we want to know or what others want us to know.

Think about the danger an out-of-control reading person may pose to those that support the F’ers. Anonymous reading is a threat. If you buy a newspaper, no one tracks your eyes online. If you enter a library or bookstore and read a book that is not attached to online scrutiny, your brain is free. You may stumble outside the appropriate point-of-view geared for your consumption by others.

Of course still peruse the Internet. See what’s out there, some of it is very useful. But realize that it is highly manipulated. Think about what you are giving up when you give up control to your sources of news and information. Yes, I know it’s hard to examine vastly different points of view from your own. But it stretches your gray cells and keeps you free. Or is freedom also an archaic concept?

The library may become the last place to go wild.

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Murky Certitudes

Abortion is no different than clipping fingernails. At least that was what my mother and I believed in the early 1970s.

At the time, the debate raged on as to whether to legalize abortion or not. Pro-choice and pro-life were not, as of yet, the labels for opposing movements on this issue.

In 1969, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) organized. I think NARAL sponsored the pro-abortion booth that I volunteered at the State Fairgrounds one year. Among the prized livestock and blue-ribbon winning homemade jams, I passed out this radical literature to the fair-going public. The anti-abortion people had their own booth and ventured near us with their bloody photos of aborted fetuses. We just shrugged and kept on distributing our NARAL pamphlets.

Years later I thought about my carefree stance on abortion. I should have known not to align myself with my mother’s point of view. At times my mother would tell her friends and relatives that she had a right to kill me since she gave birth to me. I was eleven at the time and I protested this proclamation. She told me to shut up since she can say what she wants to say.

If a fetus/baby can be aborted at 8 months, is it murder when the mother kills the baby shortly after its birth? Maybe you can push the issue and kill the kid well after a decade of her life. I had to live with a whole lot of crazy so my brain works in weird ways.

But if a woman’s life is in danger during pregnancy, even a late-term one, the American medical community can and will save the mother’s life before the baby. A reversal of this position would be unwelcomed. If a radical pro-life agenda is capable of eliminating all abortions, I’d be working in a booth at the fairgrounds again.

The very liberal and very conservative in this country are disingenuous. They can’t talk to each other and only want to divide and humiliate each other. You can be against abortion, but don’t chase women back into dangerous back-alley abortions. You can be for abortion, but don’t be so flippant about the gut-wrenching feelings others have on the issue.

Today the medical community keeps formerly unviable fetuses alive. But desperate women will seek out abortions legal or not for a number of personal reasons. Compassion must encircle this difficult topic. A safe abortion is far more than a clipped nail, but sadly it is necessary and I hope as rare as possible.

Snow in the Summer

DAILY PROMPT
That Stings!
Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/that-stings/

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That last book was “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk. His books give me a glimpse into a land and culture that I am blind to and gives me inklings of understanding.

“Snow” explores the author’s country of Turkey. His land has been and is at the crossroads of the east and west where a complex pull of secular and religious ideologies struggle for power.

The whole book had a scorpion effect on me, but I remember a particular bite and sting in Chapter 32, “I Have Two Souls Inside My Body.”

In this chapter Ka,the main character, writes a poem that speaks of a “. . . sadness of a city forgotten by the outside world and banished from history.” He imagines that he is in a Hollywood movie, the image of the earth spinning pans in, the camera moves closer until you see only one country — Turkey — with its surrounding seas, Istanbul, trees. and laundry, until the film stops at Ka’s own bedroom window.

I received a bit of a jolt when the camera settled in on a location several thousand of miles away from my personal view of the same Hollywood movie. My earth stops spinning on the Great Lakes, Detroit, a Ford motor plant, a birdbath. This may be my American egocentrism at work here, but it is probably a natural vision most people go to in their minds.

I love to read books that take me out of my skin and for a second puts me in another’s place. To me this is better than physical travel. Travel may take you to tourist spots and remove you from controversial images or people. Your mind can take you more places. I prefer Dickinson’s room to Melville’s open seas.

Mrs. Feminist

Women of my age have long ago adopted the term “Ms.” as a preferable courtesy title for a woman. Calling a married woman “Mrs.” seems archaic and somewhat derogatory. This puts an end to defining a woman by her marital status. “Ms. Magazine” hammered home this idea since it was first published in 1972.

My nursing student daughter-in-law wears a necklace with the letters “Mrs.” on it. Her good friend gave her a pillow with the words Mr. and Mrs. emblazoned across it. She also took my son’s last name as her own.

A very smart young woman I know became a nurse practitioner. Her professors told her to go to medical school because she could definitely handle it. She said no. She wanted to have a family and did not want the intense work schedule of most doctors. She felt passionate about working in the medical field, but she wanted a better balance between her work hours and her personal life. She married, had a child,  and is happy to use her husband’s last name. Mrs. doesn’t seem to offend her.

Conversely, another smart young woman I know wanted to become a doctor and her advisors told her to go into nursing instead. She ignored them and she became a medical doctor at the age of 25 while graduating in the top 2% of her class.  When she got married she took her husband’s last name. Not even a hyphen connects her to her former last name.

Is it contradictory for a woman to pursue a profession and still call herself a Mrs.?  Are millennial women enjoying the fruits of the feminist movement while reverting to some patriarchal mindsets?

Maybe the feminism of Camille Paglia is winning here. Camille is an academic that attacks academia. She is a lesbian that doesn’t get along with lesbians. Her opinions often veer toward Harold Bloom.

In her wild and complicated book, “Sexual Personae,” she writes:

One of feminism’s irritating reflexes is its fashionable disdain for “patriarchal society,” to which nothing good is ever attributed. But it is patriarchal society that has freed me as a woman. It is capitalism that has given me the leisure to sit at this desk writing this book. Let us stop being small-minded about men and freely acknowledge what treasures their obsessiveness has poured into culture.

You may disagree with Paglia, but exposure to her ideas won’t hurt you. I prefer to move freely along the political spectrum and pick and modify ideas of all sorts. Reading and thinking are the some of the most enjoyable and useful activities a human can pursue.

I’ll keep using Ms., but the Mrs. title doesn’t offend me. Does it offend you?

Down With Islam, Long Live Islam

Howard Dean told us that Muslim terrorists are not Muslim. That is probably news to them. Instead Dean calls these people a cult.

In this version of doublespeak, pedophile Catholic priests are not Catholic, they are a cult. Yet the world reviles pedophilia in the Catholic church as a horrific part of the whole, in fact, as a powerful representation of this whole.

Too much misrepresentation of the truth today passes for truth. We have lost the ability to use judgement and logic. Our language and thought processes are meant to trick us.

“Arabic activists” call themselves Muslim. Take their word for it. Why try to pigeonhole them into something else?

Call out the crap as you see it.

The Division of Islam

A few years ago, I communicated with an Islamic blogger about the division between our cultures. I timidly asked if there can be any coming together, middle ground where we can live in peace. He said, I’m sorry, no.

About 15 years ago, an Iranian woman said that the West should get all the Christians out of Iran and kill the rest. My husband and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing.

But they are your people. You don’t understand, kill them.

How can you say that? You don’t understand their mentality.

Everyone? You don’t understand, there is no other way.

So, anyone, is there another way? Is the most we can hope for is the word Sorry before the  bullet hits the head?

All I know is that worrying about backlash against the Islamic community is moving down my list of concerns.

Word Crimes

Rosencrantz: What are you playing at?
Guildenstern: Words, words. They’re all we have to go on.
           Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

She chastised me because I used a word. She told me a person cannot be Oriental, since it is degrading. I was out of the loop, I did not know. The preferred word is Asian, a person can be an Asian.

What’s in a word? It helps us communicate and limits our communication at the same time. It can be artificial, complex and ever-changing. There is heaven and hell in those words. Take pleasure in its playfulness and beauty. Find frustration when communication fails.

In Latin, orient simply means east. That was the origin of the word and the end of it became insulting. Evidently people from Asia don’t call themselves Oriental, and it’s best to call people the name that they prefer. I learned that calling a person Oriental is an antiquated term that calls to mind a time when Western peoples viewed Asians in a subordinate way.

So Asian or Asian-American is preferred. And so is African-American. Say Native-American instead of American Indian. An Indian is actually an Asian. We end up chasing our tails.

This whole idea of hyphenating Americans is a bit odd to me since hyphenation carries its own inherent flaws.

The word America is named after Amerigo Vespucci. An Italian explorer, Amerigo stumbled upon what is now part of Brazil. An early mapmaker decided to name this part of the world America after this Amerigo guy and plunked that label onto his map. Soon other mapmakers started to label the lands north of Brazil as America also. So by chance, the continents were called North and South America.

So where does this leave hyphenated Americans? You give up the words like Oriental and Black in exchange for the name of a dead-white man that poked his nose into an indigenous population beyond his own borders. I don’t see a vast improvement. Other words such as black, white, red, and yellow also fail to accurately describe human beings.

The West creates more word crimes than anyone else. Through a modern political lens, Western civilization has a name, and that name is evil. The word and the land America may find itself in jeopardy.

Native-Americans crossed into the the Americas about 25,000 years ago; relative newcomers to this land since humans first appeared on the planet about 160,000 years ago in East Africa.

In more realistic terms, we are all East Africans that have wandered far across the globe. A politically correct analysis: We torment the rest of the animal and plant kingdoms, and tamper with the climate and the earth’s crust. All of humanity is the real evil in this world view. Paradise was lost when humans entered the scene.

The world and the words in it are not perfect and never will be. Can’t we just relax and enjoy our discourse and disagreements without a call to self-flagellation? Do the best we can, do no purposeful harm, and move on. That’s all we have to go on. Go peacefully.