theatokos: (Default)
I'm feeling really disillusioned and a bit despairing this morning. Part of it is reading the news and following, even loosely, politics, particularly American politics. Part of it is the ongoing conversation with my cousin. It's like the conversation with my cousin is the microcosm of the macrocosm that is the news. Basically, people are stupid. People don't think. I'm pretty stupid and don't think in many areas of my life, so I'm not off the hook. My only saving grace is that I can think critically. I'm certainly no less judgmental than most, and maybe only a tad bit more compassionate, but this is a relatively recent development.

I am winding down the conversation with cousin. There's only so much a person can say. If a person doesn't have sound reasoning skills what can you do? And it's way too much work to read through his atrociously written responses. I am disappointed. Because my cousin is a Nice Guy, and I always liked him. But really, he's a sexist. Of course, he doesn't think he is, but he is. He doesn't see the consequences of his lines of reason. He has no excuse, either. It makes me think I'll never make it as a university professor. How do those of you who teach handle it? Do you cling to those students who are brilliant and/or really really try? I'm afraid my low bullshit tolerance will cause me to be rude and demeaning to the idiots. Teaching singing seems sooooo much easier.

I don't think that my cousin is all that unique. I think a lot of people are like him. For a variety of reasons. I recognize that I have a considerable position of privilege that I can sit around and study to such an advanced degree and challenge the status quo. There are a lot of people who have to work longer hours than I do, who have various other circumstances that prevent the navel-gazing I spend much of my time doing. But I also know that it's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. The powers that be offer us tastes of power and privilege in hopes that we won't challenge them any further. I find this glaringly obvious in feminist politics (and I don't mean political politics only). If I am officially Sexy then I'll go a hell of lot further than if I am not. Sarah Palin is a great example of this.

And then there's just plain ol' politics. Not that I ever thought Obama was the second coming, but I am officially over his administration. We had loads of hope in the beginning, but I've seen no change at all. Just standard Democrat politics. And the recent hoo-ha over the Sherrod firing is disgusting. Instead of really discussing race, it was knee-jerk political correctness. I am no longer convinced that America as a nation can have a debate about anything. It is nothing but sound bites, sensationalism, and status quo rhethoric. Fox News and their hosts are the worst of the worst. I am embarrassed that those entertainers get airspace called 'news' and I am appalled that millions of people (some of them I know to be very nice!) consider that actual reasoning and debate. Where did our critical thinking skills go?? And the 'liberal' media is only a teeny-tiny fraction better. Their bias is veiled but its there. And most people don't seem to worry about this. Most people will eat up anything that's delivered from 'on high'.

I'm tired of xenophobia masquerading as patriotism. Britain, though more moderate than the US in many ways, definitely has its share of racist xenophobes running around. If I hear any more 'mosque at ground zero' nonsense I think I'll hurt some one. (It's not a mosque, it's not at ground zero.) I'm tired of people who don't question the justice system and assume that because 'justice' is in the title it is, actually, just. Basically, I don't think I can handle the masses anymore. Even though I'm getting a little bored here in bucolic west Wales, maybe I can just convince my thinking, creative friends to come join me in a commune?

I'm ready for the anarcho-feminist revolution now. Thanks.

(But not all is lost. It's not raining this morning and I found out this morning, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bravenewcentury that Avatar:the Last Airbender is getting a series sequel. I will die of the squee and of anticipation. Gotta focus on the little things. Also, my son is deadly cute, and deadly whingey this morning, and covered in corn flakes.)
theatokos: (Default)
I've been having a long and interesting discussion about religion with a distant cousin. I make no claims to have any of the answers, though I do spend damn near all my waking hours engaged in religious thinking in some capacity or another. What's KILLING me is his inability to reason, while all the time trying to convince me that he's too logical and I'm too emotional. Now, I am very emotional: I get passionate, yes, sir. But in my engagement with him I've been very even handed, perhaps too even. But his refusal to understand that in the world of religion X *and* Y need to be considered not incompatible Truths but simultaneous truths, has me coming off as emotional to him. It's not out of some namby-pamby love-fest that I say this. It's because after practicing and studying religions and spending time with people who believe differently than I do, to assume that only Jesus is THE God is to basically tell 4.5 billion other people to fuck off and die. It's not saying Jesus is MY God, but Jesus is THE God. I know the vast majority of Christians don't see it that way, but that's how it is.

I have spend considerable time in Jewish communities and developing friendships with both cultural and religious Jews (which doesn't make me an expert, merely informed to some degree), I have never ever had a Jew tell me that their God was THE God and boy I'd be a lot better off if I argreed. If I want to join their party, many would welcome me (many would not, since I'm not ethnically Jewish), but the Jewish people are content to worship their god and go on their merry way. They don't need to convince the rest of the world of their religious superiority. I would love to know if the Jewish world sees their God as THE God, or merely as THEIR God - that's a huge difference.

I'm really fed up with the mainstream idea that logic means there can only be one big-T Truth. I fear that modern Western schooling has ruined the brains of generations who were taught to find Right Answers - there can be only One! - rather than to develop arguments and think critically. Unless you are in the hard sciences, there is rarely One Answer. I think this is why academics are stereotyped as elitists: because it's very difficult to talk with people for whom there is only One Right Answer. If I had to talk with people like my cousin (who's a Nice Guy) regularly I think my head would explode. This is why people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin give America/politics/conservatives/Christianity such a bad name, because they don't reason. At all. Cuz reasoning and arguing is some Lefty Agenda out to confuse the Average Joe. Of course it confuses the Average Joe - because they went to school where there was only one right answer!! (Excuse me while I go stab out my eyes in the corner.)

I'm starting to wonder if there isn't some religious causation here. In the Protestant Christian world (which makes up the vast majority of America) there is one sacred text - the Bible. It is entirely correct. It is The Right Answer. Everything must be squared with it. There is One God. The Bible says X, so X it is. There is no tradition of critical engagement. No tradition of wrestling or questioning. No understanding that the Bible is a sacred text that grew up in certain times and places and is relevant to certain people. One billion Hindus grew up in a different time, place and culture with different sacred texts? Well, fuck them. They're Wrong. How mind-bogglingly ignorant and arrogant is it that?? Oh, says my cousin, truth is truth. Gahhhhh! Religion is not a hard science! The same rules do not apply as when we determine, say, that the earth rotates around sun.

I wonder too if perhaps (stereotypically) more Jews go into academia because of their tradition with engaging with texts. The Jewish tradition has a long and rich tradition of arguing and engaging with their sacred texts and teachers - Midrash and Talmud come immediately to mind. Perhaps there is less of a need for One Right Answer, and therefore the world of academia, where it's not about Right Answers but more about better and worse arguments, comes more naturally?*

I don't know. All I know right now is that mainstream reasoning seems to be dying a slow, disgraced death. Many people considered themselves religiously well educated if they made it through 5 years of Sunday school. It makes me want to hide under the bed and weep. Or just hole up with other people who can think, like the elitist I am.

*[livejournal.com profile] hraffntinna and [livejournal.com profile] msmidge please smack me upside the head if I'm full of shit.
theatokos: (Default)
Feminism: totally relevant. Theology: can be totally relevant. Christianity: certain parts and strains of it can be very relevant. But a lot of times, when I look through the journal articles out there and the books that get published, I just shake my head and think "What the hell does this have to do with anything? Who cares anymore?" Do we really need yet another Protestant take on the Gospel of Matthew? I'm going to say no. I think for my own motivation I need to figure out a way to make my own arcane studies relevant to the greater world or risk boring myself with inanity.
theatokos: (Default)
I hate Twilight with every fiber of my being. I know there are several of you out there that love it. I have already posted in depth about my loathing of Twilight, so I won't go into it again. But Facebook is riddled with "squee" over the latest film. I have completely restrained myself and I have not commented on other people's posts. No need to acid rain on their parades.

But AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! I HATE TWILIGHT.


I am SO happy that there is no movie theatre here and no one is talking about. Except on Facebook.

I read it

Apr. 11th, 2009 09:52 pm
theatokos: (Default)
On Thursday, I had the morning to myself. I went for a walk to a nearby cafe - just to get out of the house like I used to. When the used book store across the street opened, I decided I would read Twilight only if they had a copy, right then, used. Two gentlemen were working at the store. The one shelving books said they were entirely out of all the Twilight books used. "But," said the man behind the counter, "we just got all these in, let me check the stacks." At the bottom of stack number two was a copy of Twilight. I handed over my $6 and, voila.

Two days later, done. Below are my thoughts.
Read more... )

Argh

Apr. 8th, 2009 05:45 pm
theatokos: (Default)
My sister has in essence challenged me to read the book if I am going to be so outspoken against Twilight. She claims that the movie is worse than the book, and the book isn't as heinous as the movie in all the ways I loathe it.

Do I do it? Is it worth my time? It's some pretty awful writing. Will my brain melt? Those of you who have read the book and seen the movie, are they sufficiently different that my analysis might be tempered or in any way altered if I read the book?
theatokos: (Default)
I am putting this behind a cut, because I am about to let fall some motherfucking rain on this Twilight parade.

Commence building your ark )
theatokos: (Default)
(one handed typing here)

Go Fug Yourself summed it up like this:
So, after careful consideration of approximately three minutes, I've decided Twilight would work a lot better for me on ice. Think about it: Pairs figure skating, much like the book itself, is all about melodrama, separation and reunion, and invading each others' personal space in a sexually unsatisfying way. All of Edward's condescending yearning and stalking would be way more fun if he were doing it while flitting about the rink in puffy shirts and tight trousers, tossing off triple Axels of romantic angst and throwing Bella into the air before catching her with one hand (subtext: "You must not love me BUT I LOVE YOU but stay away BUT NOT TOO FAR AWAY let me stare at you NO I MUSTN'T but I will LET ME TOE-LOOP MY FEELINGS don't look at me EXCEPT DO I am dangerous TIME TO SPARKLE"). Meanwhile, boring Bella, who in the text generally just repeats herself ad nauseum about how Edward's face/chest/voice/muscles/eyes/lips/piano talent/strength/secret macrame projects are more beautiful and perfect than anything in the human realm, could spend the rest of the time enacting a metaphor for her inner monologue by spinning over and over again until Edward rescues her from herself. Throw in some multicolored spotlights and the whole thing is practically begging for an Olympic ice-skating duo to reinterpret it at the Vancouver 2010 games.


It all makes perfect sense now.
theatokos: (Default)
I want more babies. Two weeks after bringing B home I was already thinking about when to have the next one. Bennett is the easiest baby ever and I think it might be slightly false advertising. He's chill, can be taken anywhere and sleeps through the night. I realize I have been spoiled by the baby gods, but I accept this as making up for that month in the NICU.

A big dilemma for me has been about spacing. Three years apart? Less than two? What if I really truly do want three kids? Adam asked me a very clarifying question: do I really want to be pregnant again? Oh boy. Nope. Not right now. Sure don't want to be pregnant. We agreed that when I can think about being pregnant without a sigh of resignation or weary dismay, then we'll think about getting pregnant again.

***
Last week I got an email from some one vaguely in my social circle. In some ways she was saying "I support you in your call to have a child" but she mostly was granting us permission to breed "as long as you don't have more than two." She has problems with children; she thinks the world needs fewer humans, more animals and plants.

The world does need fewer stupid people. (And fewer greedy, ignorant, mean people, too.)

I realized I used to think this way too (short of people needing my blessings on their reproductive choices). Now, though, I think that a family of 10 could conceivably live much gentler on the earth than a family of 3. Think of all those 2.5 kid families out there, commuting in their SUVs, lawns with pesticides and wasteful water uses, eating fast food, not recycling, buying loads of stuff, etc etc. Those people have a much heavier footprint than a family growing their own produce, cloth diapering, not owning a car, etc etc.

My issues with large families stem from an inherent distrust of the patriarchal construct usually associated with religions and cultures that encourage lots of children. But they aren't the devil in and of themselves. I wish my family was bigger.
theatokos: (Default)
I can't stand those infant headbands for baby girls. Loathe loathe loathe.
theatokos: (Default)
On my way to work (yes, I am at work today!), I saw two guys on the bus. Both looked anywhere between 16-19. Both were little hipsters. Both were quite indie-trendy. But one, were it not for his ipod, looked like 1987 personified. From head to toe:
-faux shag/mullet hair cut
-large thin framed red sunglasses (these do not look good on anyone! ack!)
-new wave t-shirt (couldn't read it from my vantage point)
-super skinny black jeans PEGGED (oh god, why??)
-and the icing on the cake? white KEDS

Holy goodness.

Of course, I have become a dowdy nursing mother, still wearing her "coolest" maternity jeans, wearing ill-fitting bras, in need of a lip and brow wax. Eesh. What little style I had has been killed dead. If only I managed to hang on to my junior high wardrobe, I'd be rockin'.... white Esprit bag, keds, swatch watches, and acid washed jeans anyone?

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