Tuesday, January 31, 2006
But today, in my less-than-stellar-mood, the cynic in me triumphs. Mrs. King and Mrs. Parks within months of each other. Just at the time the appointment of Samuel Alito and all he stands for slaps many of us in the face.
It as if the death of these beautiful, wonderful, brave women is marking the death of something else...
Thursday, January 26, 2006
You wanna know what I'm thinking? Here's what I'm thinking.
Any one who is reassured by this statement from this man didn't need reassurance.
Oh, they may have longed for affirmation.
They probably wanted validation.
And they definitely need medication. (And you thought Rev. Jackson only had one love-child)
But reassurance? Nah, anyone who is reassured by this was already a resident of the Unsound States of Absurdity.
A sufferer of an Unfounded Sense of Accuracy.
A pitifully Unbalanced Source of Aggravation.
And so damned powerful these days that I'm tempted to bury my head in the sand.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Sad part is: To do that, I had to unplug the modem from 4 to 9 today and give it to my sister.
But I did it! Consider throwing me a party...
Sunday, January 22, 2006
When I grew up, my father was a devoted Steelers fan. Since I am a devoted Daddy's girl, gotta give a shout out!
My best friend's father hails from Pittsburgh and she's a big fan, too. Since I got mad love for that beautiful chick, I gotta give a shout out!
People doubted Ben and Bettis and company. Since I got mad respect for those who prove the ubiquitous "people" wrong, I gotta give a shout out!
OK, now I'm hoarse. Goodbye!
...not that the goal has been achieved. If so, we wouldn't still have to fight so fiercely.
Anyway, I promised a nice post for the Roe v. Wade Anniversary. I did my research. I stared at my pack of ortho and marveled at my clearing complexion. I found out some not-so-nice things about Margaret Sanger and statistics that refuted long held beliefs that "white girls have more abortions than us." And still, I was at a loss of words. And then I thought, I'll tell you a story. About one of my favorite people and how she left me wondering about opportunities and potential deferred.
My Grandmother, A, was born in rural Louisiana in 1924, eventually one of 6 kids. I don't know much about her childhood--I knew two of her siblings, uncles MC and N, and I vaguely remember her mother, to whom I apparently bear a striking resemblance. What I know of A's life begins in 1944 when she and my Granddad, J, had their first son. My dad was number three.
From all accounts, A was one smart cookie. When J, a WWII vet, went back to school at Grambling State, the realities of a growing family meant he had to work , too. So, in the midst of childrearing and meal preparing, A had to complete J's homework regularly. She was particularly strong in math--both college level and that of her school-age children. Probably a factor in why she taught me to play spades and dominos with such skill. Despite (or because of) her sizable family, A had to work outside the home in the low-skill, low-wage "service" jobs characteristic of much of ethnic/racial minority women's paid work.
My point, this brilliant woman--the superior "brain" in her marriage, according to her kids--had 14 kids between 1944 and 1964. Two sets of twins (one set stillborn), at least a couple who had 11 months or less between them, and mostly BOYS (only 3 girls)! I heard someone repeat a self-deprecating joke A made one time--that each time she pulled her clothes off, she got pregnant.
So now that I'm a grown woman, I think about my grandmother in womanly terms. I think of how, despite the fact that she loved all her kids, she must have felt despair when some of her pregnancies were confirmed. I think of how maybe she thought it was unfair that J was able to venture out and get his degree while she stayed behind in so many ways. I think about how she may have absolutely dreaded sex sometimes--hell, I do and I have one kid and a really good ob/gyn. I think about how incredibly tiring it must have been to have children for TWENTY YEARS. I think about how access to effective birth control--both mental/emotional access (in case she felt it was somehow wrong) and literal access--may have changed her life. And I think about what else she could have been--she had the mothering and grandmothering down pat, we all adored her--if she'd had more choices.
In 1990, a month shy of her 66th birthday, A, who had been wracked by a number of illnesses for a number of years, became gravely ill. When it came time to make the decision on whether to sustain her life artificially, her children decided not to. Their major reason? "Mama was tired. Her body was tired." And part of that tiredness--12 confirmed pregnancies. 108 months of unbelievable stress on her small frame.
And, just maybe, a lifetime of wondering what if.
No, don't beg and plead. This is something I must do (sigh).
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Anyway, seems we're starting to see through that ruse. I'm going to try a backlink/trackback on this. But in case I'm unsuccessful go here, to the news blog and search for a post called "about time. "
my nephew and my son just walked into the room to tell me goodbye. they are going, they have decided, to mississippi. why mississippi, you ask? listening to someone talk about david banner, undoubtedly (remind me to discuss their totally age-inappropriate fascination with hip-hop, too). i looked up at them worriedly (i was typing that last rambling post), opened my mouth to warn them about the potential trials and travails of two young black men traveling through mississippi, then snapped it shut.
you see, my son just got a weekly reader that discussed the efforts of mlk, jr. and rosa parks. we read a book about ruby bridges together and he was totally enthralled by the fact that our home church dimmed the lights and sang "we shall overcome" a cappella on sunday, january 15. he's feeling the crm triumphs and he's bold enough to venture into mississippi. so, for today at least, i won't discuss medgar evers and goodman, schwerner, and chaney and the hateful ross barnett and all the other reasons everyone but SNCC thought mississippi was a lost cause. i'll focus on fannie lou hamer and james meredith and even david banner. they'll learn about the rest soon enough.
or maybe, they won't.
Characters: The pastor of my growing, predominantly black, conservative Baptist church here in Houston and me:
Pastor (smugly): You know, Elle, since you're such a supporter of women's reproductive freedom, I think I should point out that one of you heroines, Margaret Sanger, had ties to the eugenics movement.
Elle (feigns ignorance): Really?
Pastor (waving his hand dismissively): Yes. I figured, being a little woman and all, you'd ignored or missed that in your studies. An important fact, but not your fault that you can't discriminate between important and not. That's why I advocate that you young sisters stay in your place.
Pastor: So, you see, you were troubled that Houston's Planned Parenthoods didn't have enough funding this past year to offer services on a sliding scale. In reality, why should you care about that organization? Given its history with Sanger, the racist.
Elle: Mmm. Well, Pastor, Planned Parenthood offers more than birth control and abortion. There's the STD testing-
Pastor (holds up a hand to silence Elle): Not an issue if people wouldn't have sex! Total abstinence for all but married, straight couples is a worthwhile and achievable goal.
Elle: But Pastor, married people get STDs-
Pastor: The adulterers!
Elle (sighs, but refrains from asking about the health of the non-cheating partner. smiles as she thinks of something else): So, Pastor, you're saying that I should rebuff Planned Parenthood because it may have a racist history?
Pastor (smiles patiently): Yes, sweetheart (or darling or honey or baby).
Elle: I'll renounce support of them when you give up the Mercedes S500 the church gave you.
Pastor (frowns): I know your mind struggles with rational connections and logic--and really, it's not your fault--but Pastor doesn't see the connection.
Elle (sweetly sarcastic): Pastor, would you say that the Holocaust was, in some small way, a racist tragedy?
Elle: Well, Mercedes-Benz used Jewish slave labor during the Holocaust. So, even a woman could argue that the company may be troubled by a racist history. And since we're rebuffing...
Pastor: Now, wait a minute, young woman-
Elle: And Pastor, you just said how proud you were to be an American and truly, we all are. But when this country was being conceived, people like us were considered 3/5 of a person and involved in a racially-based slave system. So, I could go further and say our country is troubled by a racist history.
Elle (coughs, steps away from the smoke emanating from Pastor's nose): So if we're discrediting and disassociating ourselves from every country, organization and person that may have a racist history-
Elle's words are lost as always savvy Pastor turns to shake another member's hand.
Characters: A white, conservative friend (I have no idea how or why he and I clicked) who wants to remain nameless on my blog (can't imagine why :-) and me:
Friend (mockingly): Surely, you, Elle, goddess of renouncing racists, isn't going to continue your support of Sanger. That might make you (gasps) a hypocrite.
Elle: I will continue to support her work, Friend. Besides, I know you aren't talking. Remember when that professor asked us if Joseph Conrad and the characters in Heart of Darkness were really racists or if they were-
Friend: -just accepting the prevailing notions and conventions of their time and I said it was the latter? Yes, I remember. You didn't speak to me for 2 weeks.
Elle: Uh-huh. And remember when I said I was troubled by presidents who said things like "Birth of a Nation" was like "writing history with lightning" (Woodrow Wilson) or that he understood why white Southerners didn't want their daughters in school with "big black bucks" (Eisenhower) or began their campaigns in places in Mississippi not all that troubled by its history as the deathplace of civil rights workers? You said-
Friend: -they were products of their times. I still believe that. Doesn't change what they offered to American society.
Elle gives him a pointed look. Friend sighs.
Friend: Fine. But you're still a hypocrite.
Elle: But an honest one.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Anyway, I'm all for improving and rebuilding our communties (part of what Mayor Nagin suggested), but did a call for revitalization have to be accompanied by the rest of that?
Funny, I never saw the Nagin-Robertson resemblance.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
it was my first time traveling that far north on I 45. i went to huntsville as an undergrad and that's been about it. i think i've been to dallas 4 times in my life--one of 'em was a layover at DFW--and i've always come from louisiana on I 20. i made a lot of observations along the way:
1. there's too much "big" stuff- i hate water towers, cell towers, really big tvs, large waving flags, etc. that damn statue of sam houston in huntsville almost sent me into cardiac arrest. and then, closer to dallas, there's a drive-in theater and you can see those big old, looming screens from the freeway. with images flashing on them! like judgment day and God is replaying scenes from your pitiful life... well, anyway, my skin crawled in earnest. there was also a tall, uneven fence, some water towers, what looked like a huge oil derrick, and just shit thrown up to freak out mental cases like me. and did i mention that statue? ugh!
2. i think there's water along the way- i don't know, it was dark, but there was fog rising off something, and if there's one thing i can't stand, it's driving over water. i can deal with the bridges--like going to new orleans from either houston or from north louisiana or that bridge they used to have over the ouachita when you drove into monroe. i don't like them, i imagine plunging to my death, but i can deal with them. but driving over water that's almost even with the freeway? oh my God! that is a result of two things: driving to galveston ONE TIME as an undergrad and a recurring nightmare in which i simply drive into a body of water at the end of a road and alligators (or crocodiles--i don't know the difference even in my nightmares) get my ass. i always wake up before they snap into me, thank God. but that's a real phobia of mine-- i even have dreams in which someone lets a crocogator into my house and it corners me in my bedroom.
3. where the hell is the city? - true, it was 11 pm, but i didn't even get lost (like i still do in downtown houston)! i saw the signs saying dallas-35 miles, 32 miles, 26 miles, and still no vast display of urbanization. i mean, i'm not the city expert, but when i'm coming from home back to houston, you're "in the city" 50 miles before you're "in the city." maybe dallas's urban sprawl isn't southbound on 45. maybe it's east bound on 20. i vaguely remember being more impressed coming from that direction. of course, anything is more impressive when you're coming from podunk, la.
4. apparently, there's a different culture up there - aside from the brutal assault on words that end in -ere. a few miles outside of dallas, i saw a sign that said "national security threat" and i thought, god, what HAS osama done now?! but as my eyes scrolled downward, the sign said "report illegal workers" and "the job you save may be your own." i hate that i didn't memorize the toll-free number. is it just me? is that sign not a wee bit offensive? is this really a national security issue? IMHO, it'd be a bigger security issue for some of us if immigrants didn't take these jobs. i mean, come on! despite the fact that he got called out, vicente fox had a point about the kinds of jobs "illegal" workers take. some of them are the nuts-and-bolts work required to sustain this country and few of our spoiled asses want those!
needless to say, barring an emergency, i won't be traveling to dallas on 45 anytime soon.
at least not until they consider moving Mr. Houston back from the roadway a bit. but could you imagine that head looming over some trees and the body obscured?
i need a drink!
actually, i'm itching all over, period. but that's another subject.
and i promise c, a, t, and m (my dissertater group) that i will not read it and use it as an excuse to procrastinate before i turn in my next chapter.
not that i need an excuse to procrastinate...
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Like pointing out that Mr. Alito is against one person, one vote.
And, that, in 15 years on the bench, during which numerous cases of racial discrimination in hiring/employment came before him, he never once, NOT ONE TIME, ruled with the plaintiff.
Oh, and he has no problem with making it harder for people to prove cases of sex and/or disabilty discrimination either.
Yes, I'm taking secret boyfriend at his word. I love him, after all.
And I'm going right now to read more about Samuel Alito so when I do write the blog entry protesting his ass, I can do it with confidence, knowledge, and facts--the last two of which wouldn't be necessary if I was a conservative writer but...
In the meantime, check out http://www.bushvchoice.com/ if, like I was, you're content to lambaste Alito on his anti-choice stance alone. I'll be saving the Alito blog for January 22, I suppose, the Blog for Choice Day.
Trust me, it'll be worth waiting for!
Friday, January 06, 2006
Now, after that cheerful summary, I suggest you go see it for yourself.
I mean, the whole war over Christmas and now, this? It reminds me of growing up and being taught never to question God and then hearing the pastor of my current church saying, "Question Him! You think your puny questions are a match for His wisdom?" I was shocked--to be honest, I always questioned Him in the back of my mind about myriad things--but to find a pastor validating my very human nature? Amazing.
And so, I'm turning that question on the defenders of Christmas and the boycotters of "Daniel." Do you think Jesus is threatened by this? By any of our puny little human endeavors? As Christians, isn't there infinitely more important work you can undertake? If you're a Christian, shouldn't one of your primary beliefs be that Jesus can handle his own? Despite the persecution complex some of us have developed and seem intent on making others see, it isn't like Jesus and his followers haven't weathered far harsher times and places than 21st century, majority Christian, filthy rich America. If you feel the need to remain ever vigilant, visit one of the surprising number of Christian persecution websites and start a campaign to defend Christianity in the always-a-prime-target Middle East.
But back to "The Book of Daniel." The producers say their show is not a mockery or "satirization" of Jesus, that He will be portrayed as a spiritual guide. They also say--and hold onto your seats for this crazy, irrational thought--that people should wait to see the show before making judgments.
But let's envision the worst case scenario. Let's say that "Daniel" proves to be nothing more than a jab at Christ and Christians, a joke at our expense. Let's say we find it too offensive for words. And then, let's say, we simply watch something else. Let's say we put our money where our mouths are and assume that Jesus can outlive and outlast one puny TV show. I think He just might manage to emerge unscathed.
And for the Pat Robertson devotees, don't worry. The Bible quite clearly states in Galatians, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. If the creators of "Daniel" go too far, there's no telling what kind of hurricanes and brain surgeries God may have in store for them.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
but, alas, it's just a draft, and a soon-to-be-due one at that. and, since my advisor's other brilliant PhD student is meeting with her and turning in work, i need to get my ass on the ball.