Friday, March 30, 2012
My computer has a virus. Not the computer I’m using right now, but my desktop machine, the one with all my working files on it. Alas. I’ve not gotten much done for a while now and its starting to get frustrating.
Apparently this is an interesting sort of virus. The kind my husband can’t really fix, or so it seems. He’s clicking away in there right now, at 12:25 in the morning, and I kind of feel guilty that I’m thinking of going to bed. He’s thought he’s gotten rid of this virus on several occasions, but it just comes back worse than before. Its hiding somewhere, he can’t find the root of the problem. All he can manage is to poke at symptoms, sometimes well hidden symptoms that only someone of his immense geekiness can find. But still he can’t find the cause. He’s like House MD of the computer world. Oooh ah.
It occurs to me that most of what we’re doing in society today is kind of the same thing. We theorize, try out cures based on a mishmash of symptoms and basically poke around without much clue what we’re doing. Don’t like the democrats, vote republican, or the other way around. There’s a lot of rhetoric (not the classical kind, but more the propaganda kind) and not a lot of solutions. There’s a lot of poking ineffectively at symptoms, and very few people who can point to the root of the problem.
And when someone does put their finger on the problem, it is so different from what we have conditioned ourselves to think of as the set menu of options that it seems crazy.
I’m reminded of the VeggieTales episode (because I do have one child who was small when the talking Veggies were cool, before they sold out to big business) where the cucumber proclaims “THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO! I. AM. THAT. HERO!”
The world does need a hero, and aside from the pat answer that Jesus is that hero (he is) we all need to engage in a little more heroic, outside the box heroism, even when it means the danger of failure, looking a little crazy, or actually putting our finger on the painful truth.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Here's a statemetn from the college:
Grinnell College provides gender neutral housing to students for whom traditional, same sex room assignments are not ideal. This may include students who opt to participate in a community where the gender binary is not perpetuated. The College is proud that over 10% of the residence hall rooms are assigned as gender neutral. This option is offered in all areas of campus (and in traditional residence hall rooms, houses, and apartments).
Admitted students (incoming first-years) who prefer a gender neutral living environment should reference this in their Housing Form, which will be filled out on Pioneer Web once you are admitted to the College. If you do, you will be paired with a roommate based on your personal attributes and characteristics, and not specifically by gender.
Returning students who prefer gender neutral housing can contact Andrea Conner or Laura Gogg in Residence Life & Orientation before Room Draw in Spring semester to discuss their needs. Alternately, gender neutral options will be available in the regular Room Draw process, without having to go through any steps to attain these spaces.
Now Grinnell has always been a little, um, cutting edge on the sexuality thing. Apparently neutral locker rooms are also being added to the mix. And I've read that its considered impolite to assume someone's gender is what it appears to be, at least it is considered impolite in Grinnell circles.
So what does this matter to you?
Well, I graduated from Grinnell in 1995. It was a big leap from the Bible Belt to Grinnell, where bisexuality was cool, polyamory was beginning to be accepted. But as soon as I left college I understood that what I saw at Grinnell was what would follow in our culture. Grinnell 1995 looks a lot like USA 2012 (although I suspect most of USA 2012 isn't as familiar with polyamory (take the word apart, poly is many, amor is love... but don't google it).
If my theory holds, the Grinnell of my children's generation (not that I'd send my kids there if tuition money fell in abunance from the sky) is the USA of my grandchildren's. Pay close attention.
No one could have kept the Angican train wreck from happening. And no one will be able to pick up the pieces. God Speed, Archbishop, and fond wishes.
Monday, March 5, 2012
And to all those who support the same.
Sensationalism sells. I get that.
But do not, attempt to pass off your sensationalism as debate, information, or engaging the issues. Exaggeration and emotional manipulation are not information, they are propaganda.
I deeply disagree with Ms. Fluke, the woman Rush Limbaugh insulted on air this week. I have been vocal in my belief that we need to stand by the Roman Catholic Church's freedom not to provide birth control against its teaching and conscience. I have been vocal that abortion is murder and that hormonal birth control can cause spontaneous abortion. I have been vocal that hormonal birth control is harmful to women, increasing the risk for heart disease and some forms of cancer. I have been vocal in my opinion that "the Pill" is harmful to society, drugging women in order to divorce sex from procreation and marriage, thwarting the created order so that sin may abound.
I deeply agree with Ms. Fluke, but that does not make her less human. Dehumanizing words like "slut" and sensationalist assumptions about her personal lifestyle have no place in American media, even that base form of communication known as "talk radio." Rush Limbaugh's rhetoric is indefensible.
And yet, people are out there defending him because they agree with him that Ms. Fluke is mistaken. Instead of respectfully engaging, they prefer to dehumanize her. Instead of listening and evaluating, they blindly accept the repugnant words of the one they think they agree with and openly attack the other.
Anyone trained in classical debate understands that when one resorts to the ad hominem attack, one has already lost the debate. Words like those aired this week were a desperate gasp from one who has already lost. In my house, when my eldest son was little, we taught him the phrase 'treat her like a lady, even when she forgets to act like one' in response to a six year old girl who was desperate to kiss him smack on the face every time she saw him. I'm sure Rush would have a foul word or two for this sort of behavior, but Rush needs to learn the same lesson, treat us like ladies, even when we forget to act like we ought, even when you disagree with our opinions and our political choices.
Just maybe, once in a while, an opponent treated with kindness and genuine attentive listening, might actually become an ally.