Bread and Roses

Location: Southeastern, United States

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Random Politicsat the end of a long Marxy weekend.

There is one, and exactly one, completely pro-life and anti-choice argument that I feel is morally admissible: abortion is bad because a fetus at whatever stage is a child and its life is therefore sacrosanct.

If people hold this position, this is all they should be allowed to say.

Not, "women get abortions as a way to weasle out of the consequences of promiscuity". (Married women with children get abortions.) Not "abortion providers are immoral bloody money-weasles". (Abortion providers feel that what they are doing is right. If the clinical details of being face-to-fetus with abortion doesn't raise moral qualms in them, all your yelling will not.) Not "legal abortion is medically unsafe" (it isn't).

And one more time, not "that specific woman should have MADE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CHOICES up to this point." I don't think a pro-life legal stance is morally tenable, but a pro- dictating the rest of women's lives too legal stance is unacceptable outside of a totalitarian society. Is your moral stance just pro-life? If you don't spend at least as much time advocating multi-racial adoption, or working in women's shelters, or campaigning in the government and church for complete social supports for single mothers, or providing foster care, then this applies to you: You are JUST pro-live-birth. You care about getting that baby through six to nine months of gestation and making sure it is shoved down the birth canal or surgically removed. FROM NOW ON, I want you to say this. You are rhetorically disallowed from saying that the mother "should just give it up for adoption" or "should go to the church for help" or anything else. What you get to say is: We are very much in favor of the baby gestating all the way and going down the birth canal. That IS ALL.


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Everyone I sat next to in high school is at Yale or Bryn Marr or Brown and I can't manage to write a single flipping paper on Marxist theories of economic development. Even though it's practically my freaking major. Sometimes I distress myself.



While I do try to delete haloscan spam as soon as I find it, I do find it sort of touching that the spam-creators of the universe want to let me know about things as diverse as 'books related to private road construction', 'colon cancer prevention', and 'SXQUL databases'. While the internet thinks I am a middle-aged landowning male, it still looks out for my wellbeing!


Emotional Addenda

1) These parents were not vegan, they were raw foodists. Normal vegans, especially whole-food types, would have been breastfeeding a baby this age, or supplementing with a formula designed to meet a baby's nutritional needs. Reasonable vegans would have fed the older children pasta and nut butters and soy foods and other calorically and nutritionally dense things, along with b-12 supplements. I am not a vegan - in fact, I think raising children you-can't-eat-the-cake-at-the-birthday-party vegan is sort of fascist and wierd - but I used to be, and these people are not vegan, they're crazy. And no they do not have the right to feed their children whatever they want, as the defense is claiming. Starving your children is ethically and legally unacceptable.

2) The campus is full of fuzzy-faced, blond-haired high school ROTC boys today, all of them playing with guns - drill rifles - and marching around. They are very, very young.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

O you who believe! when you go to war in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer.

(Quran 4:94)

I don't. under. stand.

Who are these people? What the hell do they want? No, really, what do they want? Besides a vague goal of a world under Sharia, what? Do they know which people they kidnap? If their goal is to drive the US out of Iraq, why would they kidnap a vigorously anti-US-occupation reporter, in fact, the most anti-war reporter in the English-speaking mainstream press?

I don't get it. I really don't get it. My prayers are with Rory Carroll and his family today.


ETA: He's out and okay.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Como una flor

(can there be too much Os Mutante? Never!)

I can write this entry like I was six years old:

Today I went to campus! And we had pie for lunch and I ate the pie FIRST! And then we sat on the lawn and there were PUPPIES! Lots of puppies! One was named Ginger and sniffed my hand!

Or I could write this entry like I was eighteen years old:

It is really fall now, all light and color and wind. My hands are chapped but my world is big and bright and light. Walking through campus is walking through a river of air and brightness, all red and yellow and brilliant. I love this season. Spring makes me want to take a long nap, but autumn makes me want to be big and bright, to do things, to create things, to be ever more in the world. I have written some stories, for the first time in forever. I love this town. I don't know how I'll ever leave.

I don't know how I would write this entry being twenty, though. That's probably one of those questions.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Or I could just move to a tropical climate.


Let's face it, the mission is noble but Dov Charney is a narcissistic dickwad and the American Apparel website is full of (Suicide Girls era hipster porn (link is to the controversy, not the nakie pictures). My opinion on porn is neutral when it's not all in my face, but sometimes I want to buy a t-shirt sans objectification, you know what I mean?


Patagonia and the epoch of the $45 t-shirt
Mail order from the UK (oh that'll be fun and cost-effective)
Transfer to somewhere with a better thrift-store (always thrift-store one income bracket up from yourself! I've said it before and I'll say it again!)
Cave in and admit that this stuff looks great on me and lasts forever. I have a Gap tshirt I bought at a Boston thrift store in 2000 that I've been wearing once a week all winter since then. It still looks, if not new, about a season old.

I am a clothes snob; I expect to shop rarely, spend a bit more than I should, and wear things until they are literally falling apart. But my last three Ecosport longsleeves are in their last throes. I have mended up the pinholes where the sleeves are pulling apart at the stitching three or four times. Internet, advise me.


Thursday, October 13, 2005

And They Will Call Me SeƱora Whiney

Earlier this week, from the Land of Cranky:

Krispy Kreme, You Are Not My Friend

This morning I ate half a Krispy Kreme doughnut for the first time in upwards of four months. Between shaking like a junkie, watching all my vision narrow to a single point, and taking over my development class in a sugar-induced frenzy to explain how IBM believes in the tragedy of the commons - which they do - I am starting to think that one day I will be found living under an overpass in a filthy nest of Karamel Kreme Krunch boxes. OR I COULD JUST AVOID DOUGHNUTS.

I Refuse to Blame My Pants

I have been living in Fat Girl Land lately. I am to the point where I try not to sit next to thinner people, and cultivate a deep and burning resentment of people who, say, can go around eating cookies and still have a discernable jawline. I have also taken to eating peanut butter with a spoon. I realize I am but a tourist, not a permanent resident, until the scale says I'm more than, say, four pounds different away from skinny. It is all in my head, no doubt. (At the same time, this thing with the peanut butter, that has to stop.)

Today, Still in the Land of Cranky

Also, I am allergic to my dormitory, over the weekend I 1) was stranded in Yadkinville with an incompatible fellow traveler for six hours 2) was forced to listen to Rancid for about eight 3) Got an F on a paper I thought was, failure-wise, more of a B-minus.

Whining: a Meta-Analysis, With a Startling Change from Jovial to Reflective

I am cursed with a slightly better-than-average liking for pattern analysis. While this is in some ways fun - I know how the movie will end far earlier than other people would ever want to - it also means I tend to characterize things as trends that will drastically affect the future. (This is also inherited. My father, for instance, will punctuate an argument on where to properly dispose of seed-bearing weeds with a pronouncement that GOOD ANTHROPOLOGISTS ARE NOT SO STUBBORN and maybe I should seek a different field, such as that of Official Pain in the Ass. My father likes me and thinks of this as fulfilling his duty of moral education.) This can, however, be problematic when I, say, have a headache, a bad day, and a paper on which my professor wrote "Child, why do you DO things like this?" in big red letters. The healthy thing to do would be to take an aspirin, wash my face, and set about rewriting the paper. The healthy thing to do is not to crawl into bed to stay, convinced that this illustrates a deep-seated intellectual/moral flaw which will tarnish my entire future. If a consistant theme must really be found, that theme could most likely be stated "Papers written the morning they are due, without reference to the assignment sheet, for notoriously hard-grading professors seldom work out very well."


How are you all? Well, I hope?


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Return After Long Absence

I am not so sad. I would love to live a life of nine decades in good-hearted, good-humored pursuit of my cause, with a spouse who was in all ways my equal and a happy family and a day job that I enjoyed and was good at. Joe Straley was a wonderful man, and I want to write more about him, but what I most want is to keep him in my thoughts and feel out what the world is like without him in it.

I also want to talk about normal things. So I'm going to do that.

I am getting really obsessed with this movie. The book sounds incredible. I do think it's ironic how the author starts the book with an explanation of how any movie about war ever made, no matter how pacifist in sentiment, is still essentially war porn to some kid in the midwest who's going to enlist. And now his book is being made into a war movie, a war movie that I think seeks to be The War Movie of Our Time.

At the same time, it sure is timely, isn't it.

Other Movies I Have Seen:

Yes, I watch Firefly.

In fact, I saw the movie on opening night, surrounded by the kind of college kids whose ability to get girlfriends both inspires and frightens me. If ever there were a group of guys who were quintessentially in my league, these are they, scraggly beards, trench coats, and all.

I didn't like the movie. Kaylee whined all the time; all the female actresses had lost too much weight, the editing was choppy, etc. And they ::spoilered:: ::spoilerspoilered::! Also, it didn't stick as closely to the beautifully done space-western tone of the series as I'd like, and the movie actually managed less grandiosity with its big screen as the series pilot accomplished in the same time on the small screen. Nonetheless, it had interesting plot points, good one-liners, and made the poor, non-geeky friend I'd dragged with me laugh. So perhaps one thumb up.

I Heart Me Some Southern Ladies

I am very interested in my family's Southernness. It's a typical-ish story; we were Real Somebodies at some point in history, but my great-grandfather lost the estate and became an agronomist; my grandfather married a tobacco sharecropper's daughter who'd put herself through nursing school, and my father married a divorced Yankee. We have fallen pretty far from grace and connections, I daresay; my brother does still stand to inherit some dented silver flatware and some big heavy furniture, but that may be because he's the only boy of his generation for a couple of removes and people were getting desperate.

I have lived in the South for more than half of my lifetime, but I always find myself worrying that I'm not Southern enough. I put sugar in my grits; I have never in my life eaten a gravy biscuit. My politics are not a problem - red states are not much older than I am - but my inability to throw around Scripture is. (I am working on the Scripture. My favorite line in the Bible is "Joseph spake unto his brothers, but they knew him not." I use that one more than you'd think.

I am particularly concerned by my lack of good Southern manners.

There are, of course, ways to acquire good Southern manners by throwing away big handfuls of money, and even if we had been money-throwing types, I would have hated all of them. I would not have lived through Cotillion. I did briefly consider finishing school, last year, after a meeting where I realized the flawless Southern manners are politically invaluable. My mother forbid me to ask my aunt to set me up with such an institution; my aunt is, in fact, Old Money and was the sort of lady who stabbed her children in the elbows with a fork to enforce good posture.

It turns out I needed none of these drastic measures; what I needed was to work the early morning shift with Appalachian cafeteria ladies. These are the women with the puffy hair who call you honey-baby-doll when asking which vegetable you're wanting. They get up early in the morning to serve breakfast to the athletic teams, who are full of boys from the Eastern Part of State who tip their hats before talking to you (the hat tip has degenerated into a sort of brim-fidget, but it's there) and have very specific needs as regards to their grits. (Scrambled eggs under the grits, gravy sort of over one corner, bacon crumbled on top like, thank you ma'am. And so on.) By the time I finish this job, my manners will be impeccible, and I will call total strangers honey-lamb.

Yes I Do Take Geneology Way Too Seriously

Everyone with my last name, spelled the same, is descended from one guy named Dennis. I have a relative running for Texas state senate as a crazy libertarian who looks just like me. I am related to a lot of Southern-perky round-chinned blond women. I am related to a lot of southerners who are not the least bit blond - a famous basketball coach at a black college pre-integration, for instance - but look like me around the eyes. I know for a fact that one branch of the family is third-generation Puerto Rican. This all matters a great deal to me. Family is important; family is maybe the most important. Family is how my life is situated in history, in culture, in the world. Family is how I got to be who I am, and whatever power I have in the world comes strongly from being part of my people. That's the important thing. I am free, but I am not a free agent.

This post has gotten long - it's been accruing over several days while I decide whether or not to republish - so I'm just going to stop now and upload. I hope you all have been well, and I will talk to you and the internet again in a few more days.