rants

Another of those moments.

You know, those “not my finest moments” moments?   I had one of those this morning.

swordswoman
poke poke... with a grin and all

My ex called at 8:23 am.  Which seemed sort of early to me, but forgivably early. It was not like he woke me up or even interrupted breakfast.  He wanted to know if I could send him pictures of the girls.  He has asked for them before and I keep forgetting to send them, but there was something more of an urgency this time.  When pressed he admitted to them actually not being for him, but his brother’s wife is putting together some sort of art project for his mother and wants to have pictures of her grandchildren.  The girls. 

This just set me off into all sorts of internal conniption fits.  First off the ex’s brother barely tolerated me when I was married to the ex and his wife was alternating rude or kind depending on the rest of the company.  I couldn’t figure her out to save my life.  So the fact that neither one of them has initiated the slightest contact with me or my daughters in the past 13 years is not so much a loss.  The other aspect of this is that my ex-mother-in-law, a dear woman who I am rather fond of, has always been more than loving and kind and a grandmother to ALL my children.  The four younger ones included, but his request was specifically for the girls’ pictures so the “thingiemiggiggy” would have all her grandchildren included?!   So, you don’t contact me in 13 years then out of the blue want my older daughters’ pictures to include in some artwork for Christmas  and this request is going to come to me through the ex? 

I made the ex endure a brief tirade about how his brother or his brother’s wife were more than welcome to email me and ask for my children’s pictures if they wanted them.  Which I seriously doubt they will since they haven’t communicated with me in anyway at all for the past 13 years.   (Did I mention it has been 13 years?)  I told the ex that I could lie and tell him that I would send them and then I would put it off and forget about it, but I was going to be slightly better and just say no.  I also mentioned that considering the circumstances I was highly disinclined to go along with this.  Which I suppose is rather small minded of me.  If I was somewhat more generous I would have sent the pictures and not balked at it.  Therefore it wasn’t my finest moment.   It also puts the ex in the rather uncomfortable position of having to tell his brother (or his sister-in-law) that they won’t get the pictures as he doesn’t have them.  The ex is more or less a “people pleaser”.  He likes it when everyone is happy with him and is highly motivated to do things that will keep people happy.

This line of thinking led me to consider the possibility that the ex’s brother’s wife had contacted the ex to ask for the pictures under the assumption that he would have them. Which leads to all sorts of interesting conjectures about the ex and if he had already agreed to send the pictures he didn’t have and what he will say now.   I don’t know.  It certainly brings out that more prickly part of my nature that likes to poke first and apologize later — maybe.  It might be why I like fencing.  I can hit the target efficiently and mercilessly and not have done anything that my conscience can’t approve of.    I don’t particularly like the fact that I am that particular way with the exe’s family.  There is a lot of baggage there that I am in the pleasant position of being able to mostly ignore but every once in a great while I am side swept by them and my own reactions…. I know I have mentioned that I haven’t heard from these people in 13 years.   Phewy.

Blogs I Know · rants

Speaking the same language

 

Valentine of Milan Mourning her Husband, the Duke of Orléans --Fleury-François Richard
Valentine of Milan Mourning her Husband, the Duke of Orléans --Fleury-François Richard

Years ago, back in my college days,  I was very involved with my campus pro-life group.  We were a very small group on a very liberal campus and most of our members were also Campus Crusade for Christ members.  We would have strategies meetings where we spoke about how to approach our fellow students or how to respond when they approached us.  One girl had diligently prepared a list of Bible verses that she felt would be useful.   I found myself in the odd man out position of having to explain that to most of the people on the campus the “Bible says” argument didn’t make and difference.  In fact it hurt more than helped.  It was throwing pearls before swine and all that.

Yesterday I was reading about the British televised “Right to Die”  documentary depicting a the death of a man, Craig Ewert,  suffering from motor neurone disease who traveled to Switzerland to end his life there.   Switzerland of all places, the place where even plants might have rights, gives the green light to assisting the destruction of human life.  There seems to be some irony there.   Every dandelion is worthy of protection, but our fellow human being can be killed and that is ok.  I watched the short video clip over at HotAir and read the comment associated with the article.  Many of the comments that support assisted suicide ran to the typical “keep your archaic religious beliefs out of my life.”  This was put out pretty much before anyone even started quoting those useful Bible verses.  The anticipation was that there is no argument outside of the Bible that would deny the individual the right to have their doctors or loved ones help them kill themselves.   Much in the same way that the pro-elective-abortion bumper sticker demands: “keep your rosaries off my ovaries”.  Kind of nonsensical when you think about it, but the intention is clear.

When talking about moral issues there is a large group that will immediately turn off when someone starts in with the “God says” lines.   I am certainly not saying that religion or religious thought and expression shouldn’t be included in the public debate, but the reality is that arguments presented from a religious point of view are arguments what will not persuade  people who are not already convinced in God’s sovereignty. In a humanistic and media driven world we have to have arguments that are honest and powerful to counter propaganda like this video. But we need arguements that don’t lean on the Bible for their sense and substance.

Watching the “Right to Die” video I was touch by two things.  The first is that Mr Ewert’s choices were limited by fear:   “If I go through with it, I have death,”  Mr. Ewert said. “If I don’t go through with it, my choice is essentially to suffer and to inflict suffering on my family, and then die.   Possibly in a way that is considerably more stressful and painful than this way.”  The other thing that got to me was that Mr Ewert’s statement seemed to hold a great deal of personal guilt in it.  He was concerned not just about his own death, but on the suffering he would cause his family.  While these are completely understandable fears and concerns as a society we should all look at them as more horrific than the disease Mr. Ewert suffered from. 

 Mr Ewert and his wife look like nice loving people.  The kind that you would be happy to see move in next door.  Mrs Ewert is certainly not a monster trying to rid herself of a burdensome invalid.  Mr Ewert expresses the same concerns most of us have when looking at ageing or disease only with a more immediate prospect of the most unpleasant case.  You have to feel for them as they say goodbye in the little, comfortable flat with the sunny windows and beautiful music as the scene slowly fades to black and you hear the Dignitas operative whispered “He’s gone” and his wife’s  “He’s gone” in response. 

In contrast the terminal care doctor is shown reviewing the very moving video in a dark suit and a dark room complete with red back lighting.  A very ominous view with the Dr being almost dismissive in his assertion that Mr Ewert needent have gone through with taking his own life.  This brief nod to the anti-euthanasia sentiment is quickly followed by scenes (presumably) from Mr Ewert’s memorial while the voice over speaks about the legal tangles that could follow British citizens home if they accompany loved ones to that peaceful little death apartment in Switzerland.

There is something very broken about our society.  I really worry that “nice” videos of people peacefully drifting off to sleep while listening to their favorite music masks a very real horror.  Social acceptance of assisted suicide opens up a Pandora’s box of “what ifs”.  The way countries like Switzerland have been addressing these issues is less than comforting but when the public is exposed to these “soft core snuff films” the acceptance will rise.  But when faced with the real horrors of disease and relatively pleasant pictures the propagandists of the media present about euthanasia it is going to be an up hill battle with the wells of faith and moral ethics already having been poisoned. 

There are good arguments that what changed in our society is the way we view life.  We need to throw off the utilitarian view and love life more fully.   We need to build a culture of life.  That oft stated Catholic phrase has real meaning especially in the “hard cases”.  When life is loved fully death need no be feared, and being a “burden” or incapacitated shouldn’t even come into play.  The fear that drove Mr Ewert to death should be viewed as nothing less than a tragedy.  We need to embrace a new ethic, one which truly honors the inalienable right to life.

Catholic stuff · My world · rants

Working With Blinders On

40 years and a couple weeks since Humanae Vitae was written and so much of society, secular and not, just seems to not “get it”.  One of the “better” pieces is here – at least John L. Allen isn’t actively condemning the church, but the comments that follow it are close to rabid.  If you do a Google search on the news for “Humanae Vitae” you will find a slew of folks opining about how out of step, out of touch or just down right evil Rome is to hang on to this out modded teaching.  Yes, the blinders are firmly on.    What they miss is how much of the heart of the Catholic Church, the young families and the college aged Catholics are pretty firmly behind the Church on this.   The assumption seems to be if you don’t buy into the cultural norm of what sex is and means then you must be nuts (or brain washed, or have a really awful sex life).    But I do not see that as the case.

From where I sit there isn’t a lot to be said FOR the pill.  So you can have sex anytime you want.  But do you want to?  Sure you can put off child bearing or artificially space your children, but is that really a good thing?   If marriages were stronger, children were happier, rape was less frequent,  motherhood was respected, young women were judged on their minds and character instead of their beauty I might think that the “pro-birth-control” people at least had a point.  But this isn’t the case.  All of these things have become worse since the pill was introduced not better.   The media doesn’t even seem to think about this all as related and society doesn’t seem to question the conventional “wisdom” at all, they tighten up the blinders and tut tut the Pope and talk about the backward Catholics that follow the teachings of Rome as being out of step with reality.    Personally I sort of like being counter cultural.

Catholic stuff · rants

Brilliant.

Rachel Evans and Amber Pike are giddy as little school girls because they get to tell Catholic pilgrims about ABC.  Because all those Catholics traveling to Sydney must be unaware of the existence of condoms and really need these two to provide them with education about it while they pose for pictures.  Is it so easy to grow up and be completely unaware of these things?  Do these ladies assume that Catholics by and large are an ignorant bunch who miss a lot of stuff in society, despite having the ability to book plane travel and manage to get themselves all the way to Australia, the pilgrims have somehow failed to notice the nearly ubiquitous use of artificial birth control?  Surely no one would actually make the conscious decision to follow Catholic teaching when there is the wonderful  pro-birth-control folks out there teaching the new Gospel, saying:  (to the Pope) “get real and allow people to discover their sexuality and practise with condoms”  and contriving new “commandments”.  Good thing such do-gooders as Ms Evans and Ms Pike exist to annoy people with their sanctimonious little selves.  

You can read more about this story here.

Blogs I Know · Catholic stuff · My world · rants

What a weird, sad, little person.

OK, I have a question for you: what might an associate professor at the University of Minnesota and a depressed and slightly delusional, 15 year old girl, who fancies herself a witch, have in common?  They BOTH want to desecrate the Eucharist… only the professor doesn’t have the balls to get the Host himself and instead asks his blog readers to do that part for him.   I know I am rather late to this story, but I just have to say something.  Paul Myers, it is too bad he can’t see what he is doing.  His illogical bigotryis showing and it is quite sad.  He could disagree that the Host is sacred, he could even say that from the top of the bell tower if he liked, or publish it on his blog.  But when he does something he knows will be inflammatory and offensive to a great number of people he is showing his disdain for the feelings and humanity of those people.  He is saying that he doesn’t just disagree with them but he has no respect for them or their beliefs and opinions.  That steps across the line from discourse and disagreement into bigotry.  

St Tarcisius

 

It is obvious that the genius professor hasn’t a clue about how people of faith think (and yes we can and do think).  You will not show the world how the Eucharist is nothing but a cracker no matter what you do to it.   Drop it in the Cuisinart, tack it to your cork board, burn it, crumble it… do what you will.  Christ and his followers have endured physical torment and even death for that little cracker.  St Tarcisius, at twelve, died rather than let his friends have the Eucharist and he is one of many and just a boy at that.  You aren’t exactly going to prove that it has no power by showing to the world the power it has by creating a furor over whatever it is you plan to do.  Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face.

My world · rants

I don’t want to grow up so fast.


William Bouguereau — L’Orage

Now, dear readers, hang on to something good and sturdy -yes, your desk might do – and prepare yourself for a shock.  I have just read an article that really astonished me.  “We don’t want to grow up so fast, say ‘stressed’ girls”  Really?  You mean our daughters just might not be prepared to fend off sexual advances at 12 and deal with the pressure to look like a model from a glamor magazine at 11?  Who knew???  Wow!  I am just floored.  I wouldn’t have ever guess that.  /end sarcasm.

Seriously, I am glad to see the media actually reporting on this, even though there have been books written on the topic for decades.   Even South Park pointed this out to us.  Girls aren’t ready to be women… that is why they are girls.  They aren’t even ready to be teenagers.  This whole concept of the “tween” seems to me to be just a sly way of marketing more mature items to girls giving them the idea that they aren’t “girls” they should be “Tweens”.   

FromWiki:Tween is a neologism and marketing term, especially in the West, which means roughly the same thing as preteen. It is a portmanteau of between and teen. The age range of tweens in generally considered to be eight to twelve years of age. Marketers describe the driving psychographic motivation of this group as desperately wanting to be a teen, but not about to stop being a kid.I encourage you to read the article.  Why we need to have a study to tell us that this society as a whole is placing way too much pressure on girls is a bit of a mystery to me, but at least one more article is out there with some sense.  Now if parents will listen to the research in stead of the marketing something might improve.

Blogs I Know · My world · rants

Et Tu Strawberry Shortcake?

Tell me this isn’t so — Strawberry shortcake is getting “sexed-up”.  Over at Woman Honor Thyself Angel puts her special touch to the story (do read it the pictures alone are worth the click), personally I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. 

 Why not go all the way and put all little childrens’ dolls in halter tops and short shorts while wer’e at it eh?She musn’t have freckles, or be pudgy. Uh uh. Her figure must be svelte and her skin- silky smooth.
Tighter clothes, longer hair, and of course……….. a smaller nose.
Every single female, no matter how young or what she represents- must be sexualized.

Replacing her pet cat with a cell phone? Now, that’s priceless.
After all what good is a purely innocent “childlike” figure anyway?
So, where’s her bare midriff shirt and belly ring?..Or do those accessories cost extra?

 I have written over and over about how difficult it is to raise a daughter to be modest and innocent in today’s world.  I am not even talking about my teenager.  Even shopping for clothing for my six year old requires bringing the mental eye-bleach along to deal with the “Please molest my seven year old” clothing selection.   And it isn’t as though the secular world isn’t catching on.


“Popular?…but these are our girls!”

Normally I am not a big fan of South Park,  but I saw this segment over on Hot Air and I think it says a lot about the popular culture when even the popular culture is picking up on the fact that there should be something really wrong with the way young girls are marketed to. (content warning: this is South Park the language is pretty offensive and please don’t click on it if your kids are around) The spot is also very insightful when it comes to the reasons parents fall into purchasing things for their daughters that they wouldn’t normally.   Peer pressure overrules common sense.

Quick run down for those who don’t want to watch it.  (Content warning here too)

  A new store has opened in the mall and little Wendy is disturbed.  She goes to her parents and tells them that she is concerned about “the role models young women have in today’s society”  and that “Lewdness and shallowness are being exalted while intellectualism is looked down upon”.   Her father is unmoved until Wendy declares that she is going to go buy herself a thong.  At this point Mr Testaburger takes Wendy to the mall to protest the  new store called “Stupid, spoiled whore”.   When he gets there he is confronted by the other mothers who offer their excuses for buying the store’s merchandise.  “It’s the trend, she will be unpopular if I don’t”,  “Why is it ok for men to be whores but not women?”, “I think it is empowering for them.”  At the end the mothers and slutty store girls convince Mr Testaburger of his chauvinist ways and he vows to buy Wendy whatever she wants so she can be the “Most spoiled, stupidest whore of them all.” 

The sad thing is I have heard these sort of lame excuses from parents I know.  They buy whatever is “in” so their daughters can be popular.  They give in to their girl’s manipulations to have the latest thing.  They feel that somehow if their daughters are liberated and confident in their sexuality that this will make them stronger and more independent women.   I have even been told that since I shelter my children and don’t allow them to partake in all the pop culture trends that as teens they are destined to explode in uncontrolled rebellion and hate me for making them “different”.  So far we are still waiting for our teenage daughter to become the hateful,  rebellious teen…. *tick, tick tick*,  any day now I am sure.

What is the point of making Strawberry Shortcake thinner, with no freckles, bigger eyes, longer hair – more sensual?  Why get rid of her kitty and give her a cell phone?  To make money obviously.   Make her more “up to date”, something that young girls will be more drawn to and sadly parents will buy it, girls will play with the dolls, want the toy cell phone, the pajamas and the t-shirts.   If parents didn’t buy them stores wouldn’t stock them.  It isn’t just some soul-less, moral-less corporation selling this crap to our kids parents have to take responsibility first for protecting their children from innocence shattering things.

While it may seem like a toy changing to a more “updated” look is trivial it is just one more drop in an overflowing bucket.  Nothing in an of itself, but as a cultural trend it is killing the self-esteem, self-image, innocence, happiness – not to mention endangering to morality of our daughters.  And the worst part is that we have gotten to the point where this is “no big deal”.  These girls who are going to grow up and be wives and mothers, and women you work with.   Do you really want them thinking that having the perfect figure and snazzy wardrobe are what they should be  judging themselves and other woman on?

 

 

rants

Religious Rights, Parential Rights and crazy cultists


Photo by Ruben D. Luevano.

Up to now I have tried to remain very reserved in my response to the FLDS child custody cases in Texas.   The idea that the state can mossy on into a religious enclave and on the phoned-in, unverified report, of one girl being abused at the hands of her husband take away over 400 children from their parents frightens me.   Just the idea that the state would say that based only on the families proximity to one another and shared faith that all those children were in imminent danger of abuse is madness.   Fortunately the Texas courts seem to be agreeing that the state overstepped its authority.  It really surprises me that so many people seem to disagree.  There seems to be an undercurrent that the state shouldn’t wait until “something happens” to one of these children before they take them from their parents.

I agree with the emotional appeal of protecting children and the idea that the state has to wait until someone gets hurt before stepping in means that a child must in fact be hurt before the state can do anything, but that is the very basis of our law.  We don’t punish people for something they might do in the future.  You don’t take a woman’s baby girl away from her because in 14 years the mother might help push the girl into some plural marriage.  And at the root of this argument is really religious bigotry. Since the parents are wacky cultists, brain-washed into believing that they are going to hell if they aren’t in on the whole 50 year-old-man wedding his 14 year-old niece thing their parental rights don’t count as much.  That is dangerous to all of us.  Who knows when the definition of “wacky” is going to include not using birth-control or homeschooling?   

My friend Allison over at Westward Wagons Ho! poses the following questions:

How does this jive with the teen pregnancy rate in our country? How does this line up with teen girls of the same age being able to have abortions without their parents knowledge? I don’t get it.The country is moving toward recognition of several variations of “marriage”, but polygamy is not one of them, apparently. If gay marriage is OK, why is polygamy (I’m assuming between adults) still illegal?

“Get your religion out of my Laws” a bumper sticker says. But why is it that we still hold to some morals but not others.

 

Personally I was at first asking the same question about why, as a society, we allow — even encourage– young teens to explore their sexuality, but at the same time have an official Texas-sized, State-child-protective-agency, freak-out over girls the same age getting married and having babies.  Then it occurred to me.  Our culture has done such a through job of separating sex from parenthood that most people can’t mentally or emotionally draw a line from the point A of sex to the point B of motherhood.  Since sex has been divorced from motherhood kids having sex is seen as almost ‘playtime’ in some circles and Planned Parenthood’s website calls foreplay and everything short of vaginal intercourse “sex play”.  

Marketing towards children has become ever more sexualized and targeting an ever younger audience.  Pre-teens once referred to as children are now called “tweens”.  We force our children to grow up too quickly and too sexualized and then go batty when young women of 16 or 17 show up on TV in prairie schooner dresses with their babies in their arms.  Buy your 12 year old a thong and put your 13 year old on the pill and take your 14 year old down to the abortion clinic and you are realistic if not hip.  Marry your 15 year old off to some old coot and you are committing child abuse. 

Now please don’t get me wrong.  I am NOT saying that teen girls being married to old men (or at all) are a good thing.  I certainly wouldn’t marry off my daughter to anyone.  I am not even arguing the merits of polygamy, teen marriage or arranged marriages.  Morally I absolutely think the whole thing is awful and terrible.  But I don’t think objectively it is really any worse than the way millions of parents in America (don’t) parent their daughters.   But I really don’t think this is as much about sex as it is about motherhood.  The freaking out is happening because these teen girls are having babies.  Sex is play, motherhood is serious adult business in our society.

A similar thing can be said about redefining marriage.  The definition has already been altered.  Marriage has lost its procreative definition.  It isn’t about building a family and raising children. Marriage is about self and mutual gratification.  That is why divorce is seen as “no big deal” if your main reason for marriage is personal happiness what possible incentive is there to sticking through tough times?  And if marriage is seen has a way to personal happiness (happily ever after) what possible argument could there be against extending it to everyone who wants it in whatever configuration they desire?

The easiest person to condemn is the one we understand the least, the one we have the least in common with.  When I was a college freshman on of my roommates was a Muslim girl from Tunisia.  She was absolutely appalled that my father would allow me to date un-chaperoned.  In her world the only fathers who would allow such a thing were drunkards or just didn’t care about their girls.  It would be disgraceful.  I think she actually felt sorry for me at first because my parents obviously didn’t really love me enough to protect me.  I was puzzled by this at first until I was able to process that  her upbringing and reality were very different than mine. 

It is very easy to look at these religious nuts in their frumpy hair and antiquated dresses and condemn them on every level while excusing the moms who let their young teen daughters pop on the high heals, belly shirts and smear on the makeup to troll the mall.  The reality is a bit more complex. 

 

 

 

Blogs I Know · My world · rants

You don’t deserve to live, kid


Australian Broadcasting Corporation & Film Victoria’s “Planet Slayer”

I was reading over at the Random Yak and saw this little gemPlanet Slayer  what is that?  The claims that you will “Get the dirt on greenhouse without the guilt trips. No lectures. No multinational-bashing (well, maybe a little…). Just fun and games and the answers to all your enviro-dilemas.”  yummm, yeah.  Fun games like “Prof. Schpinkee’s Greenhouse Caluclator” Where you can “find out when you should die!” based on your “carbon consumption”.  What joy! How fun!.  I should have lived to the ripe old age of 15 and our friendly Yak is reporting that she should have offed herself at about 3 in order to save the planet from her glutinous, carbon-pigging lifestyle.  No guild trips?  Really?

Fun · My world · OMG it isn't that bad · rants

“Every Sandwich Tells a Story”

But Subway won’t will let kids tell theirs if they are in a home school.

I heard about this in an email and was all set to be up in arms about it until I read that the grand prize was $5000 worth of athletic equipment for the child’s school.  I don’t think we really could make good use of the athletic equipment, at least not 5k worth.  That said, sure Subway could have worded the ad sensibly and more sensitively or even allowed the homeschooled students to designate an elementary school to benefit, but  I don’t think this was meant as a slight against homeschoolers.