I have not read most of the big 19th — century novels that people consider “essential,” nor most of the 20th-century ones for that matter. But this does not embarrass me. There are many films to see, many friends to visit, many walks to take, many playlists to assemble and many favorite books to reread. Life’s too short for anxious score-keeping. Also, my grandmother is illiterate, and she’s one of the best people I know. Reading is a deep personal consolation for me, but other things console, too.Teju Cole, in response to the question, “What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?” (via ethiopienne)
Paul Ryan, former running mate of Mitt Romney and still Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st district, spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday. He elaborated on his
war view on the poor. Paul Krugman quotes two striking passages. First, on dignity:
“The left is making a big mistake,” Ryan predicted. “What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. People don’t just want a life of comfort. They want a life of dignity, they want a life of self determination.”
I’m sure poor people want a life of dignity, so maybe not shame them for having to accept assistance to fulfill the most basic needs? Sure, many people (who mostly can afford more) call Kraft Mac & Cheese a “comfort food” but that doesn’t make feeding yourself on such cheep basics a “life of comfort.”
Thanks to his wife’s money and good tax-payer funded pay as a Representative, Ryan’s stomach is quite full, yet I’m not so sure about his soul. He has this to say about free lunches at school for children:
“He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids,” he continued. “He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
First off, there are a lot of things kids don’t want in one moment that are reasonable and help them in the mid- to long-term. Like math.
The anecdote is terrible. One reason for the kid’s feeling could be the shaming of poor people by politicians like Rep. Ryan that is handed down via the parents to the boy’s class mates, who continue shaming, bullying him for needing assistance. Another reason might be that the child, growing up in an extremely materialist society, has learned that love is expressed through material things, and feel unloved because his guardian can’t afford material tokens of affection. Maybe his parents really have issues, and do not show love towards their child.
It all sounds like a solution must lie in helping both the exemplary kid and parent. There are myriad ways to go about this (better wages for the parents, teaching that love mustn’t only be expressed through material, strategies against bullying, better assistance for struggling families, family therapy ..) but taking away what little the kid has isn’t one of them.
You don’t magically start floating when someone pulls away the security net, Representative Ryan. You fall further down.
Update: Turns out the anecdote was bullshit anyway, further showing he’s the worst.
What Do Dress Codes Say About Girls’ Bodies? (via becauseiamawoman)
The concern for overly exposed young bodies may be well-intentioned. With society fetishizing girls at younger and younger ages, girls are instructed to self-objectify and see themselves as sexual objects, something to be looked at. A laundry list of problems can come from obsessing over one’s appearance: eating disorders, depression, low self-worth. Who wouldn’t want to spare her daughter from these struggles?
But these dress codes fall short of being legitimately helpful. What we fail to consider when enforcing restrictions on skirt-length and the tightness of pants is the girls themselves—not just their clothes, but their thoughts, emotions, budding sexuality and self-image.
Instead, these restrictions are executed with distracted boys in mind, casting girls as inherent sexual threats needing to be tamed. Dress restrictions in schools contribute to the very problem they aim to solve: the objectification of young girls. When you tell a girl what to wear (or force her to cover up with an oversized T-shirt), you control her body. When you control a girl’s body—even if it is ostensibly for her “own good”—you take away her agency. You tell her that her body is not her own.
When you deem a girl’s dress “inappropriate,” you’re also telling her, “Because your body may distract boys, your body is inappropriate. Cover it up.” You recontextualize her body; she now exists through the male gaze.
There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.
Just discovered this banger from Camilla Sparksss (“the fantasy ego” of Barbara Lehnhoff, Peter Kernel, a Swiss-Canadian art punk band I love.) Her new “album For You The Wild” releases April 7th.
Any commentary to daily events in this region is purely coincidental. Or not. I’ll decide when I enter the real world.