Friday, August 3, 2007

The Biggest Obstacle in Getting to Nashville is Nashville

Out of the past 36 hours of my life, I have spent roughly 1/3 of them on the interstate. I have gone from Memphis to Spring Hill via I-40, then highway 100, then highway 50, picking up 412, around to the travesty of farmland growing houses where my mother now resides, then I-65 on up to Nashville where my sister and I proceeded to sit in traffic for an hour or more, and further up 65 through Loiusville to Columbus, Indiana, and then west of highway 46 to get to another Nashville in Indiana for a family reunion (of sorts). I have a couple of observations.

First, the malicious part of me (that bit that will keep me rotating about the wheel of samsara for a while longer), hopes that the individual responsible for the design of the interstates in Nashville, TN has to spend eternity trying to get through the city during rush hour.

Second, every time now I feel less than charitable about Rhodes, I shall remind myself that professors from back in the Southwestern days are partially responsible for there not being interstates plowing through the middle of Memphis. Which makes Memphis so incredibly superior Nashville (which it is anyway). I shall bless them. And perhaps this shall make me feel better about the current admins.

Third, everyone commuting in and out of cities by way of cars is extremely dysfunctional. I knew this before, but the traffic reminded me. So, everyone in America, listen to me (because you should, you know, I have so, so credentials) stop living in suburbs. Oh, and how about some functional public transportation? Sound good, maybe?

I have no idea what's in Nashville, Indiana. We shall see. I'm expecting something like Hohenwald, but I shall perhaps be pleasantly suprised.

Ugh...too much car time. And, oh, lovely, my sister just found a spider in the hotel bed. Murr....

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Forget Bambi, Save the Fish...

So, maybe my emotions are a bit screwy this week.

I'm not at all bothered by the concept of offing deer because they are gnawing at crops. I think fish are tasty, and I'm not bothered by the concept of fishing. But...then I watched this video.

And, I'm sitting here, about to cry, because that little fish is flopping about piteously. The poor little fish! What kind of sick person drops a fish on the floor and then sits there filming it close up as it dies slowly? That's just . . . cruel. I mean, a decomposing fish would one thing. I take pictures of roadkill all the time in various states of decomposition because I'm somewhat fascinated by it. But, but . . . there's no reason!

I'm going to go try to sleep now.


If I had superpowers, I would use them to take vengeance upon those who are rude to drive-thru cashiers. Cause that's just low.

And by superpowers, I think I want to be an alchemist. Because I just watched half an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist -- the first half of which is a pretty good anime, and the mange is still awesome. ("But I can't bring people back from the dead. It's not a pretty sight -- I don't like doing it!") *Continues to be geeky, but kills the TV because Inuyasha does not qualify as anything but rather annoying.*

Monday, July 30, 2007

Think About the Women? Are You Mad?

Why would we think about the women?

There's a video of anti-abortion demonstrators currently in the 'net spotlight. It considered of several women at a protest being asked, if abortion were made illegal, what they think the penalty should should for a woman who obtains an abortion.

I have mixed responses after watching it. First, I disagree with the comment made at Dark Christianity that for the women in the video the debate surrounding abortion "boils down to: sluts get abortions." The protesters interviewed do not display any real malice to the women who are having abortions. They express that they believe it is a sinful act and murder, but that's not actually malice. (Pre-emptively: I'm sure many a video wherein anti-abortion protesters display actual malice could be found on YouTube. This one, however, does not.) These women, and I would venture to say the average person of the anti-abortion persuasion, do not see themselves as doing damage to women. They see themselves as trying to help babies. The women hardly register in their minds at all. They see a potential baby -- not the pregnant woman. There are problems with that -- I'll get there, give me a minute -- but it's far different from painting all anti-abortion advocates as malicious individuals out to make the lives of women everywhere miserable. Besides, seeing them as malicious gets us nowhere as far as figuring out how to respond is concerned.

Anna Quindlen has an excellent editorial on the matter. She points out that sustaining the calls to outlaw abortion require "ignoring or infantilizing women, turning them into "victims" of their own free will." While the women interviewed don't display malice towards other women, they do display disregard for or an unawareness of women as full human beings. The exclusive focus on the potential child and the repeated mantra of: we're here for the babies reveals that their viewpoint simply ignores the potential effects on the women involved. Of course, they don't see that anyone could suffer from outlawing abortion -- in that world view there just aren't any female-bodied persons to suffer. (Ironic, isn't it, how many women espouse that view.)

This video does display a vast amount of ignorance on the part anti-abortion advocates interviewed. One young woman apparently thinks that if abortion were made illegal very few women would seek to obtain illegal abortions. This is a belief based in fantasy. Abortions will continue underground as it did prior to being legalized. More women will die from botched abortions. More lives and potential lives both will be lost. Such a belief can only be sustained by serious gaps in one's knowledge of history. So I suggest that the debate be taught. Let's talk about the number of women who died, or who were rendered sterile, by a botched back alley abortion. Sure, legal abortions aren't perfectly safe -- it's still either a medical or surgical procedure with risks -- but legal abortions are eons ahead of back alley methods and the suggests of old wives tales. Stop only framing the debate in terms of choice. Should abortion be legal, women will still choose to have abortions, and more people will suffer. Frame it in terms of the human sufferings. Give voice to the stories of women who have suffered because abortion was illegal. Insist that the living, breathing, independent woman (and not the potential human life) be the subject of the debate.

And perhaps, the non-malicious anti-abortion advocates will be forced to stop ignoring the women and see the suffering they would cause. Maybe, I can always be optimistic every now and then . . . right? Maybe?