Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Don't Know WHAT to Call This

I don't know why, but I can't stop thinking about a stupid football player. While driving to New Hampshire last week for a reading, I caught the tail end of an NPR discussion about Ben Roethlisberger, who was recently suspended from the Pittsburgh Steelers after being accused of raping a woman in a nightclub bathroom. Although Roethlisber wasn't charged with a crime, he was suspended for six games. The suspension will cost him almost 3 million of his 102 million dollar contract. The nature of the NPR discussion was about whether or not this was an appropriate punishment. I don't pay much attention to sporting events and the whole deal, but I was surprised by how few women called in. Most of the men who called in thought he should be suspended only when charged with a crime. One man noted that the Steelers, for whatever reason, has more women fans in the NFL than any other team and that Roethlisberger's conduct wasn't fair to them. (Thank you, sir!) By the way, the woman in question is underage. By the way, this rape allegation is Roethlisberger's second in a nine-month period.

While listening, I couldn't help but think about Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. I'm not sure why exactly. I wondered what she is up to, what her life is like. A man accused of sexually harassing his co-worker becomes a supreme court justice. (Working for Monsanto wasn't bad enough! And of all the porn out there, Long Dong Silver? Please.) It's frightening how crimes against women are still seen as petty, pettier if the men involved are high profile public figures. It's interesting the football player apologized to his team, his family, his fans, but not to the woman accusing him of rape or her family.

How long do you think girls get to be daughters? Sons are always sons somehow. Boys will be boys. But girls never get to be girls, do they? My guess is that girls are daughters until they're 8. What's yours?

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Was Trying So Hard to Be Cool My Butt Got Wet

Whew. That was a close call. Earlier last month, the old man wanted to go to Iceland to see the volcano erupt. He had seen the volcano years before with his family; there is a very beautiful photograph of it hanging by my desk. I'm looking at it right now. Reports about the eruption were pretty mild. His sister lives in London and we thought about meeting her over by the volcano. (In Europe, it's actually affordable to fly. Why is that? Do airplane companies consider their customers to be real people? I don't understand). I hate to be a stick in the mud or a bump on a pickle, but I said no to seeing the eruption. You may have read that the eruption is far greater than what was expected and clouds have halted some travel in Europe. The old man is quite the adventure seeker, which is why I live in sin with him, but I am very glad I said no to this request.

I hate being the old lady who says no. Reminds me too much of my family. One of the last adventures the old man took me on was night kayaking in the ocean, to see bio-luminating lichen or algae. It can only be seen ten days each year and requires a full moon. I was trying so hard to be cool about the whole thing, but in the darkness I couldn't control the kayak, which was an open sea kayak. (Open sea kayaks aren't the cute, snugly kind that you sit inside. They are like plastic cocoons and easy to maneuver). I felt totally exposed and unhappy. Water splashed me from all sides and I rammed an empty, parked, scary boat. Then I thought, this is a scene from Jaws, and started to cry. Actually, I think I may have been wailing. I was crying to hard that I really couldn't see where I was going. I hated that I was such a baby about the whole thing. We went to dinner afterwards and I ate soup. I wanted to eat the soup with my hands.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stick This Up Your Life and Leave It There

Before New Year's I started reading Roberto Bolano's 2666. It is by far one of my favorite books. As you may know, it is a novel compiled by five books. I think he wanted them to be published separately, but he died before it was released.

I have just started the fifth book and have half a mind to start the whole thing over, from book one. I've read varying posts about it, like this one on Exoskeleton. I've been reading the book for so long that I'd forgotten about the artist who cut off his hand. I would like to never be done with this book. (I felt the same way about Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, which never should've ended). What am I going to do with myself when it ends, huh? What will I think about then?

As a weird, weird, painful aside, let me tell you about something from 2666. I can't remember when or where this happens in the book, but I know two characters discuss the Medusa story. One of them talks about how Medusa was different than the other Gorgon sisters because she was mortal. Her mortality creates Pegasus (right?) and stops a sea monster from eating a beautiful virgin. Medusa is set apart from her sisters because she will die. Since the 13th anniversary of my sister's death recently passed, I can't help but wonder why Medusa's sisters thought less of the one they would lose. Anyway, 2666 is definitely one of those books you'll finish reading, but you'll never be done with it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Were Doing What You Thought You Were Doing

Are you looking for summer shoes? Why don't you buy some Toms? Every pair you buy, they give a pair of shoes to someone who needs them. Toms also sponsored a day without shoes day, but I'm too tender.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Devil Don't Change

A gym I like to go to has an interesting health and fitness blog and one of the gym's owners blogged about a group called Corporate Accountability International. They are going after McDonald's mascot, Ronald McDonald. McDonald's use of the clown gets children hooked on unhealthy food for the rest of their lives. I was pretty irked when I first heard about the campaign against the clown. When is censorship ever the answer? Most advertising is inappropriate for everyone; if it's not exploiting women's bodies, it's exploiting something else. (I'm still so surprised every time I see a commercial for cleaning products sold by women for women).

What does Ronald's retirement accomplish exactly? Will the clown's absence change the fact that McDonld's uses airplanes and helicopters to scout out schools they can put new restaurants by? Will schools stop selling fast food because the clown is gone? Will everyone become aware of unsafe slaughterhouse practices used to fulfill McDonald's meat orders? Will more people become aware of the disparagement in wages between the average McDonald's employee and the CEO?

I'm really getting tired of the witch hunts that never seem to address complication. Do you really think you're protecting your kids by going after some evil that will easily be replaced by another evil? If your kids aren't eating at McDonald's, are they really at home reading books and eating carrots? Do these parents think their kids won't eat at McDonald's because the clown is gone? I know children who eat at McDonald's because that's what their parents had time to feed them and in some cases, that's what their parents could afford to feed them. Is it Ronald's fault that school kids can't identify what a tomato or broccoli looks like, but can identify a chicken nugget?

I've had conversations like this before where people respond with, "My kids. I've got to protect my kids." I agree. We all want to protect something greater than ourselves: each other. I don't want unhealthy products to be foisted onto children, but why not talk to them about horrible business practices and how companies are trying to market to them? Kids are actually smarter than you think. And the thing about kids is that they're so much more willing to change their habits when they learn about stuff. Why not create a list of companies with good business practices? Fun for the whole family!

For the record, I think Corporate Accountability International is a great thing and admire that they're going after McDonald's. I just wish our conversations about this stuff was, well, a conversation.