Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's getting closer...

My partner has reiterated, when speaking about fashion, that if all of a sudden, showing one's left breast became fashionable, most (he used to say all) women would begin wearing tops that kept the left breast exposed. Well, we're getting closer to that.... I just saw that shaving off one's eyebrows completely off is becoming the new avante-garde look.

Now I thought it was freaky enough when I was a child that one of the neighborhood mothers plucked her eyebrows out and then penciled them back on. I know that in China and I think Japan, it used to be a sign of beauty to have a face like an egg, completely devoid of hair. I believe the article also mentions Queen Elizabeth the First who had a breakdown and completely removed all of her hair (at least the hair that could be seen, I'm not so much of a historian that I can speak to the rest).

I'm not mentioning this because I give a rat's half-eaten ass about fashion or trends. The connection that I made is the one in the socialist handbook wherein the populace is continuously distracted by the bizarre and where things are made to move so quickly that people are kept in sensory overload. In a world where men are being gelded by society (please see this article at American Thinker) and women are also made to look androgenous, where children are now 'choosing their gender', there is a spiral downward in our society as a whole. As with raising children, there needs to be context, there needs to be stability, there needs to be some sort of boundary. Our world and society are ceasing to provide any kind of structure and chaos is the result.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yeah, what she said....

Chicago Boyz has an interesting blog post this morning. It can be found here. I disagree in that I think that the modern US educational system has so often told each person that they are a 'special snowflake' that it has exacerbated the notion that people are more deserving of, well, anything, than anyone else but that they also deserve to have it handed to them instead of work or strive for it.

It has created a generation of narcissists and the attitude of "I deserve more because I am better than all those around me" has contributed to the breakdown of the social contract.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Understatement, thy name is Academe

Got an email this morning on my work account. One of my coworkers sent an email saying that their laptop was "missing" from their office. This is the third laptop to 'go missing' in the last three months. Is there a particular reason WHY they can't say that some dirty dog, probably one of the weekend cleaning crew, STOLE the frickin' laptops out of locked offices, in locked buildings, over the weekend?!?!?!?!?

My boss, who is a very nice lady from a foreign country (not American born) thinks that the thefts are justified because the 'workers are so oppressed and underpaid' so that gives them license to take our stuff. These are the same workers, who I don't think have swept my floor since I got my new office nine months ago, who have been seen playing football up and down the hall blasting the tvs that are used for news and business during the week, and stealing candy bars for different clubs' fundraisers. I should be so oppressed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Insidious Borg

Something of which I have been accused since moving north of the Mason-Dixon line (again) is that my speech is not direct enough (for example: 'the garbage is full' rather than 'could you please take out the garbage?').

I realized today that my turns of phrase are the product of a dual attack--living for several years in the South, where NOTHING is direct, and working in academe, where no one can take a stand, unless is it the accepted party-line, whatever that might be. I was reading Ms. Mentor in the Chronicle of Higher Ed and she gave a list of possible phrases and their meanings for colleagues who left or were demoted and it hit me like a bolt from the blue--I've been borged--assimilated into the indirect, euphemism-driven life of academia. Some of those examples used by Ms. Mentor are:

"If Eddie were a suddenly demoted administrator, you'd say he had decided to "spend more time with his family" or "devote himself to research and teaching." If he were a sexual harasser who'd been told to leave the campus, the official line would be something like, "He's pursuing other opportunities."
I'm hoping that realizing part of the cause can lead towards a cure. But this leads my train of thought to another issue that I discussed in a previous post. The problem of having academics in positions of power, such as the Presidency. If the accepted practice in academia is to refer to the fact that a sexual harasser or predator is now "pursuing other opportunities" (and it is, I've seen it--the horrifying part is that the 'other opportunities' are other potential victims), then how can any academic face any issue head-on??

In a world where 'those who can't, teach', what kind of savvy can such a person bring to the national and international stages?? Now I've also seen academic in-fighting (so much energy goes into winning so little) and it's nasty, but not the type of nasty that will translate into any 'street-smart' tactics (like how the Russians made Obama look like a complete fool with the chair trick).

I've had enough experience outside academe, I'm no longer living in the South, AND I have a non-academic partner so I can be deprogrammed, but I don't see that happening for others.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Do kids have to do this anymore??

In order to officially graduate from middle school (or the 8th grade) I had to stand in front of the class and recite the Preamble to the US Constitution. Granted that was a bijillion years ago, but do students have to do this anymore?? I guess I need to check with various and sundry nieces and nephews. All I know is that this got me through it (singing) and if they don't have to do it anymore, it should be required once again. If you have a good teacher and you actually walk through it, it gives as good a base as anything on what it is to be a citizen of the United States and may instill somewhat of an appreciation for the extraordinary life we have here.

The Importance of being Earnest

James Lewis over at American Thinker has a great piece on the problem of having an 'intellectual' in the White House. One of the best quotes, IMNSHO, is the following when Lewis is discussing Putin and Obama:
"What guys like Putin get out of this unbelievable fakery is that we have another Jimmy Carter in the White House -- but with a much better fantasy life. He'll probably try to drink Obama under the table, because how can O say no? He has to be perfect at everything, and Putin likes ego games. He brought along his big black Dalmatians to scare the daylights out of Angela Merkel. It was straight intimidation, just like A'jad likes to do. Put a KGB poisoner against a slick Chicago hustler, and guess who wins."

Juxtapose Lewis' commentary with this
article from the New York Times by Ross Douthat about Sarah Palin, and I think we get a pretty good idea about what kind of person the United States really needs in the White House. And I quote:
"Palin’s popularity has as much to do with class as it does with ideology. In this sense, she really is the perfect foil for Barack Obama. Our president represents the meritocratic ideal — that anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story. But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard."
I think that both authors have some similar points, even though they've come at them from completely different points of view as well as article thesis. The Elite-aratti feel that having an Ivy Leaguer in the White House is a good idea, because that person will espouse the rhetoric with which they are the most comfortable. But, and this point has been made to me quite often and I've seen it with my own eyes quite often, that the academics and intellectuals (and I use that term loosely) have absolutely no common sense and no idea about how the real world works in regards to their theories about HOW the world should work. It is a truism that 'those who can, do; those who can't, teach." We don't need someone who purports to read Urdu and Pushkin and changes his message to pander to a specific audience (I still remember the religion and guns speech that Obama made on the Left Coast). We need someone with practical experience and someone who will say what they mean, all of the time, regardless of their audience. In times like these, we can't have a 'leader' who shifts in the breeze, we need someone who will stand firm and who will make a stand.

If our representatives and 'leaders' will not stand firm, if they will not fulfill their offices by actually representing their constituencies, then it is up to the American people to remind them of their duties or else remove them from the positions that they are abusing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

You know it's just one of those days when....

Got a call from a friend today. Her husband has mentioned the 'd' word. When someone says that 'we should talk about maybe getting divorced' then you know that in their mind, they're already set on it. Once that word is on the table, there really doesn't seem to be much else to do. She described his behavior--he has been a dickweed for the last month or so--she can't put her foot right. She finally got to the point where she said 'your behavior is hurting me and making me unhappy', which she had every right to say. And the discussion led to the above.

All I know is that she's my friend and she's hurting. I don't know enough about the inner workings of her marriage of the last ten years to understand more. All I know is that the love of one person can't make it happen, it's got to be both people wanting to work together. There's no magick spell or working that can make it happen (I could go into the magickal logistics but it would be too confusing-suffice to say, all of those kiddie books to the contrary, can't work, especially long-term).

It's a gift of the Gods that lets us love so completely and that we have the free Will to do so. Love as Thou Wilt. But why can't love make things better? It's what makes the world go 'round but what happens when the world gets in the way? Why can't there be anything good and pure and true--Perfect Love and Perfect Trust not as a goal but as a reality?? Maybe it's the romantic in me, but I have to believe it's possible, difficult maybe, but always worth the shot.

In any case, right now, hearing the pain in my friend's voice as her ten year marriage is over, it totally sucks ass.

Tea (Party) for Two....

I attended a Tea Party this weekend. It was rainy, it was the afternoon of the Fourth of July, and most of the speakers were long winded. The best speakers were two young men--they rambled a bit but kept things short, to the point, and relevant. Around three hundred people showed up, despite the timing and the weather. It was important to be there, it was important to stand up and be counted (and I'm certain that we were). None of the local media bothered to show--maybe had burgers on the grill they were scared would burn. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This does my heart good

Via Bookworm Room: A woman was pulled from the Des Moines river below a dam by a construction worker hooked to a crane.

A quote from the rescuer, Jason Oglesbee: "They just harnessed me up and dipped me down in the water and I grabbed her and the crane drug her to the boat and that's it," Oglesbee said. "What are you going to do if she's like that? It's no big deal. The whole crew did it."

When asked if he volunteered to be rigged to the crane, Oglesbee said he just happened to be wearing the harness. Joe Lowe operated the crane that suspended Oglesbee above the water.

The regular rescue folks were unable to get close to her so these guys just jumped in and did what had to be done. Gives me some hope....