Archive: May, 2012
I remember, years before the Iron Curtain fell, being absolutely fascinated with the kids from Soviet...or Soviet bloc countries...who competed in the Olympics. They were so talented, so focused, so disciplined. So unreal. I used to think that if you scratched them, they wouldn't bleed. They'd spark. That was because they had everything taken care of for them by Father State. They didn't need to think, or sweat, or choose.
Watching Nadia Comaneci score a perfect 10 was troubling. Here was a 16 year old girl, my own exact age, who'd just redefined perfection in her field, and her face betrayed nothing. Even her hug with her coach (now HE was an emotional guy) seemed almost perfunctory. This, I thought, is what happens when your life is planned for you. When the social safety net becomes all-encompassing, it strangles the independent soul. I had that same feeling again when I read President Obama's new campaign ad, The Life of Julia. As much of a pampered automaton as Nadia, Julia has her life taken care of from reproductively-independent womb to environmentally-friendly tomb.
Some people think it's wonderful that the government wants to cover us with affectionate (and taxpayer-funded) concern from our earliest moments, to our final breath.
I once taught at a boy’s school, which was an interesting (and lovely) experience. While girls generally get their frustrations out by means of subversive tactics, gathering in cliques and excelling at the double-speak matched only by KGB agents, boys are much less subtle in their approach to conflict.
It’s the difference between John Wayne shooting at the heart, and Marlene Dietrich killing with a look.
Boys tend to be more violent, more physical and yet, more honest in their dealings with adversaries.
Here is what Barack Obama now has to say about same-sex marriage:
“I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue. At a certain point, I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
Normally, I don't really pay attention to what actors and actresses say. I realize they are overly-impressed with themselves, and that much like the infant who is fascinated by his own toe (or the new parent mesmerized by the glory of his perfect poo) they have a tendency to exaggerate the importance of their thoughts.
It's not just stars who do it, of course. Anyone who blogs (mea culpa) has a tendency to think that their every comment is worthy of Alexis de Tocqueville treatment. It's only natural; humility is an acquired virtue in a society where women get attention for teasing their hair, getting drunk and wearing so much makeup they make the late Tammy Faye Baker look minimalist in comparison.
But every now and then, I notice a particularly offensive comment from a particularly offensive source, and it's hard to look away. It's like the proverbial accident; you simply cannot tear your eyes and ears away from the mess.
Giroux is suspended. Okay. The motto for tonight is 'Go out there boys and win one for the Tripper!' (Or Elbow-er, whatever...)
I am not panicking (Giroux.) I am not panicking (Danny.) I am not panicking (Bryz.) I AM NOT PANICKING (KATE!)
There is news that Chen Guangcheng might be leaving China. If that is the case, it is a small victory for those who believe in human dignity.
It is not, however, a true victory for the United States, which has shown itself to be more concerned with diplomacy and less with the principles that are engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
The poor, the sick and the tempest-tossed are now the bargaining chips for nations that care more about economies than they do about justice. The blind lawyer who risked his life by speaking out on behalf of the unborn, and then again by escaping house arrest may be coming to the United States. But if he comes, it won't be because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama stood tall and firm and granted him political asylum.
There is a man in China who is blind, but who sees with a clarity that shames so many 'sighted' Americans. His name is Chen Guangcheng, and he's a self-taught lawyer who has waged a courageous battle against his country's 'one-child' policy.
That policy, which violates every principle of human dignity recognized by the civilized world (to which China does not belong) forces Chinese women to abort any child after their firstborn, doing what some in this country feel is justified: controlling the population in order to conserve our precious and limited natural resources.
The fact that the most precious natural resource we have is our children is irrelevant, or at most annoying, to those who believe that abortion is a fundamental right.