Remarkable is the way commenters refused to see what the mother's motive was for ironing her daughter's breasts, even though she stated explicitly that she did not want her daughter getting pregnant because then she, the mother, would have another child to bring up, and she didn't feel she could manage. To her, a pubescent daughter was like a bomb ready to go off, and a widespread and condoned cultural practice offered her a temporary solution. She was clearly exercising what rights she had, by the means at her disposal. Telling her she was doing a wrong and evil thing would not have stopped her.
This woman has few rights outside her family, but she has a lot of power over her children. Here, as in most places, children have no rights, especially girl children, who are regarded as family servants who had better not get pregnant and bring more babies into the world to create more work for their own mothers.
So much for sainted motherhood and universal love! We women are not creatures purely of good "instincts" just because we inhabit female bodies. Essentialist arguments about motherhood can't explain the widespread cruelty many mothers subject their children to.
This goes back to the question that the anthropologist Nancy-Scheper-Hughes asks over and over: what kind of species are we and why do we treat each other the way we do? You can say it's poverty, racism, lack of education, sexism and on and on but still the essential mystery remains. I think we have to think these things through while, as Naomi would surely add, working to eliminate injustice.
1. If one song were to describe my life, what song would it be?
I don't know. I have lived so long, and there are so many songs. Songs of youth and songs of experience. Songs of shoes and ships and sealing wax/of cabbages and kings. It's hard to know who "I" am right now. Isn't identity an illusion? Maybe after I stop reading postmodern theory I will be able to answer this question.
2. Which item of clothing do I wear most?
Denim shorts and a t-shirt or blouse. Most of the time it's too warm around here for jeans. But that is just to cover the external shell. The "real me" wears other things or nothing. But am I real? Is anything real? What about the Ding an sich? Is that the thing in itself or the thing on itself? I do not know.
3. What's for dinner?
Food!! Well, this is a subject I can really get my teeth into. Tonight we are going to the Seaside Restaurant with a group of friends. The Seaside does not cater to tourists and does not get rave reviews from them, particularly. So we always go with an "insider" friend. Before we even sit down they are loading the table with seared ahi, escargot, calamari: everything perfect! We will eat, drink, and be merry. For we know full well that tomorrow we may not be around!
4. Last thing I bought?
Aside from groceries, a new four in one printer, fax, scanner, copy machine. I can hardly wait for it to be delivered! Oh, and a pair of Birkenstock plastic shoes. Oh, and a couple of new swimsuits and a dress. Oh and all the newspapers and books I am downloading onto my Kindle. And downloads onto my Shuffle of works by Lou Harrison and Robert Ian Winston. Why I am just a regular old consumer! There goes my cred as a person of the people.
5.What am I listening to?
"Taliban Dances" by Robert Ian Winsten. Podcast here. Somebody put up a simply awful video based on the "Taliban Dances." Do not watch it. Anyway, if you think classical music is dead, think again. Winsten is amazing!!
6.Favorite holiday spot?
Kalani Oceanside Retreat. Clothing poolside optional. Enjoy the latest piercings, tattoos and other modes of bodily modification. Food great, accommodations simple and adequate. No TV, no cell phone service. Ahhh. I'm not one for massages and yoga classes, but they have those too.
7. Reading right now?
Judith Butler: Gender Trouble.Why am I reading this? Because it is there. In my Kindle. It's a slog, kind of like climbing a mountain for the view from the top. Interspersing this with various newspapers downloaded onto my Kindle.
8. Favorite film?
I have terrible taste in films and do not want to answer this question. But I enjoyed "Mars Attacks" a lot. And National Lampoon's "Vacation." We're on our way to Wally World!
9. What was I thinking just now?
I like being in my vog free office with the air conditioning on and softly humming to itself and will not emerge until the trade winds come up-- hence the time to do this questionnaire!
10. First spring thing?
Well, when I lived on the Mainland it was going on long walks and hikes. We have seasons here that are subtler. For us, it's when the plumeria and poincianas blossom out and it gets a little too hot and humid in the middle of the day.
11. Funniest thing:
Things my kids (when they were kids) and grandkids say and do. I'm a fool for kid humor.
12. My hero?
Martin Luther King
13. Share some wisdom:
Once in a philosophy class I pondered this statement: The end of everything is the beginning of nothing. I have not found the explanation yet. (Sound of one hand clapping
14. If I were a tree?
I would be my avocado. Consider the avocado in my backyard: it toils not, neither does it spin, and yet we had two of its fruit in our salad yesterday!
15. Fictional characters that have made a great impression on me?
Jane Eyre, of course, Martha Quest, Heathcliff, Emma, Jo (Little Women), and many others.
16. Words to describe me:
Still alive, not bad!
17. What is it about the Internet?
The internet provides brain food. The first time I saw that little Netscape icon rolling along, way back when, I (the "I" I was then, of course) said to myself, "This will change my life." And it did. By now I am aware of all Internet traditions. (See below.)
Note: I'm not tagging anyone for a meme, Lydia, because once I did that and was rewarded with a withering blast of hostility, completely unexpected, from a blogger that I thought would think this sort of thing was fun. I did not understand how valuable her time was, I guess.
So is it OK if I put in a hot link to your site? I note that on your comments you don't link directly. I took the goddess question out, because I, alas, am no goddess!
Update: Fixed broken link and linked to Lydia (see above).
Much better. We had a wonderful swim in the perfect water at RIchardson Beach on Hilo Bay. The Bay is that little notch in the white area on the right (east) side of the map.
Conditions are not so good for other parts of the Island, though. That's the problem: either we get it or they get it in Kona, although it's usually them. Looking at some further information about sulfur dioxide in our air, I discover that it is not at extremely high levels, usually, and not a danger to health for most people. Asthmatics and people with heart trouble would want to be careful. And I do wonder about the long term effects on the many many kids that people have been having here lately. I could not believe the numbers of the kids at the beach. Haven't seen that for years, anywhere. 2008 was the biggest birth year in absolute numbers in this country since 1958! That's a lot of kids in a much more crowded country.
Vog is bad, but we know how to live with it. I hope our new renter can adapt.Vog does make for pretty light effects at sunrise. Over in Kona, they have had it like this and worse since the early 80's and I don't think it's too troubling to most people, health wise. Besides, once we get out of this unusual weather pattern and back to the steady trades, it will go away. I'd be worried about long term effects on children's health, though. I'd probably leave if I had small children. We did have a brilliant and beautiful afternoon on Monday and went ocean swimming. It felt so good to be in the water, riding the waves.
Noami is put out at how non-activist her circle of elderbloggers is, so I've been mulling that over. Our thinking about old age is two dimensional and simplistic. Dr. Robert N. Butler, a gerontologist, discusses old age from many vantage points in his book,The Longevity Revolution. * Masses of old people started segregating themselves in the 70's in this country, when social conditions were so frightening, robbery and assault were rife, and when elderly people were objects of contempt even moreso than now. Young white people were off on a toot and Blacks had become incompliant, which is why we had to import all those Mexicans and other kindly third worlders to look after our elders.
Out of control Boomers simply overwhelmed the culture, and their needs and demands caused the frightened, angry and embarrassed elderly to retreat into retirement communities and other segregated living arrangements. These elderly have left us with a legacy of negative stereotypes about old people, especially old white people. There was a huge generation gap between those born before 1930 and the post WW II generation, and too few of us, relatively, born during the Depression years to provide some sort of mediation between these two culturally very different groups.
Janus like, I look both ways, understanding the Boomers but also sympathizing with the previous generation. Terry and I enjoyed that brief period of stability before the vast changes of the 60's and 70's that yet provided a lot of freedom to the enterprising young. In the 1950's and early 60's places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York could be Paradise for young people. Susan Sontag is emblematic of our cohort of intellectual young people of that time. We were more stable than the Hippies who, arriving later on the scene, struck us as juvenile. Sex, drugs, rock and roll! NOT a very well thought out life plan! Hope I die before I get old! And yet, still around. Oh dear.
It is most ironic to see the Boomers getting old. They do not seem to be very happy about it. Above all, they are not as well fixed financially as their elders.
*Which I read on my Kindle, of course. I am reading much more and much better these days thanks to Kindle!
Here is the Satellite map web site.It tells us what we are enduring. The air is smoky and vile smelling. We are seriously thinking about getting a sulfur scrubber machine, such as they have up at the prison. This is about as bad as it's ever been. Doldrum type wind conditions, several times as much volcanic emissions as we have had in the past. Old timers tell us it was even worse in the 50's. The poor dog is wheezing and snoring after his walk. Well, hunker down and get through it, that's how it is sometimes.
Think of it. For decades, white men have known they've received favored, front-of-the-line positions in jobs, education and the benefits of a race- conscious society.
Without having to compete with minorities or women, any white man, no matter what his qualifications, had a head start. All he needed was membership in the favored race and sex.
The knowledge that maids, porters, garbage collectors, unemployed teenagers and cotton pickers were suspicious of their credentials took a heavy psychic toll on white American males. Some even chose to remain unemployed rather than take a job or a place in a prestigious university solely because of their race.
''How would you feel,'' one said, ''if everyone knew you had your job just because you were white?''
These feelings of inadequacy began to return during the Reagan years. Some white men adopted a victim complex, blaming the Federal Government and the courts for mistreating them. Last year's Supreme Court decisions were the final straw.
The Court made it harder for minorities to sue against white privilege and harder for women to litigate employment rules that discriminated against them. It guaranteed a return to favored status for white males.
''It's all I can take,'' a white investment banker said. ''I'm sure my gardener was laughing at me as I drove into town this morning. Then the waiter at the club had a funny smirk on his face. I've had it, I tell you!'' the anguished Anglo-Saxon mourned.
It's just terrible what those poor folks have to put up with, isn't it? I'm sure they should be delighted that we have a Black President. But Buchanan, at any rate, does not seem to be too happy about it.
More: Naomi links to this great post and discussion from Pandagon. Opponents are describing Sotomayor as "empathetic." That's white person code for the Latina who will take care of your kids and old relatives. She will even clean your house. Having no higher purpose in life and due to low intelligence no ability to think abstractly but having a kind heart she will be delighted to put her own life aside to meet your obligations to others for you. And having humble tastes, she will of course be willing to accept a low salary and a few sops here and there to make her feel better. Thanks, Maria.* You are wonderful. Not like those scary black folks who have gotten above their station. Here is a present for your kids that you are raising so well, considering you are a single mom and all.**
White men of a certain type have nothing against others, as long as they are in their place and doing what is expected of them to keep life rolling merrily along for rich white men and those who toady to them.
*When called on calling Sonia Sotomayor "Maria," Huckabee said something like, well aren't they all named Maria?
**Some fool said she was a single mom, quite a trick, since she has no children. But aren't all Latinas single moms?