Speaking in Code

“I just can’t give any more, sorry.” But of course he can. He just doesn’t want to. By saying “can’t” instead of “won’t”, however, he appears powerless and thus absolves himself of responsibility; as a result, we don’t even consider the matter of blame.

“That’s not gonna happen.” Okay. So informed, we move on. But in most cases, the accurate, honest, statement would have been “I don’t think that’s gonna happen” or “I don’t want that to happen.” By presenting an opinion as fact, the speaker has diverted our attention from evidence and reasons. Why don’t you think that’s going to happen? Why don’t you want that to happen? Read the rest of this entry »

Every day in every way …

Every day in every way the world is getting better and better.  Yeah right.

Well why isn’t it?  Every day there’s a whole new batch of young adults just chafing at the bit to change the world.  What happens?

They become parents.

So first, Read the rest of this entry »

A Fun Run

I happened to experience once upon a time to a provocative juxtaposition: I watched the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, with Kenyans in the lead of course, just after I saw the news about a famine in east Africa, in particular, in Kenya.

So it occurred to me that Read the rest of this entry »

Games for Girls (Seriously? In 2012?)

Okay, so I went to bored.com, clicked on Games, then clicked on Girls.

Mostly because I was irritated that there even was a separate section for Girls (and surprised there wasn’t a separate section for Blacks)—alongside Popular, Animations, Stickman, Shooting, Escape, Puzzle, Action, Skill, Walkthru’s, Mobile, and More. Why do girls need a separate section? Are they not interested in any of the other sections? Are none of the other sections ‘for’ them?

Anyway, so what do I find when I click on the Girls tab? This:

Sugar and Spice and everything Girl! Play celebrity, dress-up, cooking, sports, and puzzle games designed just for little ladies young and old alike! Like to run restaurants? Become a princess? Go on a hot date with the boy of your dreams? It’s all here!

Seriously? In 2012?

I’m a girl, or at least female-bodied, and I have to say I’m very interested in Action. Specifically, Shooting. Failing that, Escape.

Combining Family and Career

People say that women can’t have, can’t combine, a family and a career, that it’s having family responsibilities that keeps them from advancement – the inability to work late or on weekends, the tendency to need time off to tend to kids…

I’m not so sure.  I’ve never had such competing obligations, and I don’t have a career.  I think the family thing is a red herring.  Women just don’t get hired into career-track jobs nearly as often as men, and when they do, they don’t get advanced.  (And not because their family responsibilities get in the way.)

In fact, it might be an advantage to be a mother, because you’re seen as more adult then, you’re seen as an authority.  Certainly one carries oneself with more authority, I notice that a lot: as soon as someone becomes a parent, the authority they are to their kids spills over, and they start acting like they know everything with everyone, like they have a right to tell everyone what to do.  It’s especially obvious with women because it’s the first time they have, or are seen to have, authority. Women without kids aren’t grown up yet, they aren’t granted any sort of authority, certainly no position of responsibility.  It’s as if becoming a parent proves you can be responsible.

But of course it does no such thing: witness the very many irresponsible parents; indeed, becoming a parent in the first place is, for many, due to irresponsibility.  And, of course, there are many other ways of demonstrating responsibility.

Trust – the movie

I’m so bloody sick and tired of men who assume center stage is for them.  The way the movie ends, and most of the way it plays out, it’s about the dad, about how he can’t deal with his failure to protect his daughter.

Mom’s not quite so important, apparently, despite her greater empathy with the whole experience: not only is she too beating herself up over her failure as a parent, for, after all, she’s as much the girl’s parent, but also she must surely be saying to herself ‘It could’ve been me — at 13.’

And that’s what the movie’s really about.  The real story, Read the rest of this entry »

A New Three-Strike Law

There are over 2 million people in prison. Each week, there’s another thousand.  We pay for their housing, food, medical care, education – about $30,000 per year per prisoner.

So I propose a new three-strike law: first crime, you get rehab (maybe it was truly an accident; maybe you’ll change your mind about stuff; maybe you’ll grow up); second crime, you get imprisoned (okay, this is punishment, pure and simple, because if that’s what it takes – ); third crime, you get exiled – you get kicked out. Read the rest of this entry »

Walking Alone in a Park at Night

In a rape trial, that the woman was walking alone in a park at night has been considered relevant – presumably it’s a mitigating circumstance: the accused can be excused for thinking she wanted it if she was walking alone in a park at night.

What!?  Why? Why is it that a woman walking alone in a park at night is understood – by men – to be implying consent to sex with any and all men?

Are parks designated sex zones?  I suppose in a sense they are.  Lovers often meet there for clandestine encounters.  Yeah, for consensual clandestine encounters.

Okay, but parks at night are also popular mugging zones, perhaps because of the poor lighting which makes escape easier in the event they are policed.  Okay, but a woman walking alone in a park at night is more at risk for rape than for purse-snatching.

So why is a woman walking alone – ah, is that it?  A woman unaccompanied by a man is unowned?  Up for grabs?  Literally?

Being There

I recently read a lament about work attitudes, about how more and more people seem to think that just being there is enough, that their paycheque is for putting in time rather than for actually doing anything, let alone for doing a good anything, that people feel no guilt about the mistakes they make, nor do they feel any desire to do better.

I’d like to offer some comments in defense, or at least in explanation, of that position.  Read the rest of this entry »

Making Kids with AIDS

What has been glaringly absent in news stories about children with AIDS in Africa is comment about why there are so many children with AIDS.  “We are going down,” a woman says, “Theft will go up, rape all over will be high.  People –  ”  Wait a minute.  Back up.  “Rape all over will be high”?  And that’s just one more unfortunate circumstance beyond their control, is it?  What, as in ‘boys will be boys’?

Excuse me, but when someone knowingly infects another person with a fatal disease, he’s killing her.  And if someone takes away someone else’s right to life, I say he forfeits his own.  And not only is the HIV-infected rapist guilty of murdering the woman he rapes, he’s guilty of murdering in advance the child he creates (whether he himself is HIV-infected or whether he rapes an HIV-infected woman).  There’s something incredibly sick about knowingly creating a human being that will die, slowly and painfully, because you have created it.

So, the solution?  Drugs, yes.  But the kind vets use when they put an animal down.  (Or, if mere prevention rather than justice is the goal, castration.  At the very least, vasectomy.)  I mean, let’s have some accountability here!  Those 20,000 kids with AIDS didn’t just appear in a pumpkin patch one morning.  Someone made them.  With a conscious, chosen, deliberate act.