Saturday, May 2, 2009

Odds and Sods - merry month of May edition

Obviously, my highfalutin plans to blog more often have only haphazardly come into being. (sigh) Old habits die hard, and shorter posts still look weird to me, but I am trying!

As for me, I am such a flake, I routinely can't find files I have just downloaded. Where the hell do they GO? How does that HAPPEN? At such times, I am acutely aware that I most assuredly did not grow up with computers, and was 40 before I owned one myself. (You can bet the 20-year-olds know how to find their downloads!)

(((insert deep old-lady sigh here)))

And while I look for my files, I present you with some excellent Saturday springtime reading:

Redneck Mother is raising chickens! They are SO CUTE! All power to free-range chickens and their tasty eggs (sorry bout that, vegan readers)... Another small step away from factory farming, and Redneck Mother has my deepest respect for going this route.

Wear Clean Draws discusses bell hooks' The Politics of Accountability, and quotes her at length:

When you feel like somebody else is to blame, what do you become? Like if I’m hurt. Like when things go wrong in my life sometimes, I notice lately, I’m always looking for who I can blame. You know like who can I blame. It’s a way for me to move away from my own sense of agency. When looking around for somebody else to put all the responsibility on, then I can be the victim. So what I’m saying is: the more black people were told to see everything as being about white people and the man and what the man is doing to you, the more many of us began to lose our own agency. And think about that versus a culture where my grandfather who was a share cropper, and definitely the white man was on his back, but what I remember about that, when this man would walk through his fields and see his vegetables that he grew, he’d say, “See these vegetables. White men cannot make the sun shine. They cannot control..”

I mean here’s a black man who did not go to school, who did not have an education. But he found a sense of self that transcended the idea of him as a victim. Because he could say “yes white men have power over my life. They exploit and terrorize me, but at the end of the day, there’s a power higher than white men that I can lend my imagination to.”
And I would add, this is one reason why belief in god(s) has such a hold on people. To some, it is a synonym for a higher justice, a higher truth, a higher law--above and beyond unjust earthly authorities that dominate us on a daily basis.

When the atheists sneer at that, it can be experienced by non-privileged believers as endorsing the material world as it is (with oppressive powers intact) and negating the self-preservationist experiences of the oppressed. In practice, this type of atheism is simply Social Darwinism by another name.

It's no accident the "leading atheists" these days are hyper-educated, elitist snobs like Richard Dawkins and (ex-Trotskyist) Christopher Hitchens, while folksy, down-home rationalist-atheism (Mark Twain, Will Rogers) is mostly in the past.


Fascinating discussion about torture at My Private Casbah, highly recommended! Bint writes:

As for those who have loved ones fighting in these wars, if you don't want them to die over there, then it is illogical for you to defend torture, because as long as we are engaging in torture, there will be people who are willing to attack and kill us in return for what we've done. American torture can only lead to tortured Americans.


Your flaky New Age reading for today is The Ancient Future of Servant-Leadership over at Reality Sandwich:

One of the first exercises you do as Buddhist practitioner is to perform generosity. This can manifest in different ways, but when you give something to somebody you begin erasing the boundary between you and the “other.” I recall once gifting an extra guitar that I didn’t need to a stranger, and how I felt a little tear in my eye as the exchange created a true heart connection. The disconnection we normally experience with other people and nature is at the root of all our major problems -- environmental, financial, political, etc. If the universe wants you to serve life, than life will respond in kind once you surrender to it. Thus, the core ethic of any servant-leader is the same as a healer: we are to serve life above all other. Naturally, then, servant-leaders ultimately also support the cause of sustainability, which is the opposite of the culture of death that manifests as our current economic system
It's long, but well worth taking in!


And finally, my favorite kitty-blog (with whom I share a name!) has a SPY! (Warning, you could die from the cute!)

I once had a cat named Zeppo, a Marxist cat (haha) whom I just adored, and who looked a great deal like Harley the spy (see link). Since cats have nine lives, of course, it is entirely possible Harley IS Zeppo... right?

Well, I like to think so. :)


Daisy said...

My brother, Harley, is very proud to be mentioned! He thinks this means he is a real professional spycat now! Thanks for making Harley smile real big!

Meowser said...

And I would add, this is one reason why belief in god(s) has such a hold on people. To some, it is a synonym for a higher justice, a higher truth, a higher law--above and beyond unjust earthly authorities that dominate us on a daily basis.

When the atheists sneer at that, it can be experienced by non-privileged believers as endorsing the material world as it is (with oppressive powers intact) and negating the self-preservationist experiences of the oppressed. In practice, this type of atheism is simply Social Darwinism by another name.
Woah. You are GOOD.

I was trying to figure out what bugged me so much about the "you're just a child who believes in a sky fairy" stuff, besides the fact that it's childish name-calling itself. That's IT.

What someone else believes or doesn't, inasfar as I don't share it, isn't especially relevant to me. But really, that "if you're not an atheist like me, you might as well sign up with the Sarah Palin wing of the Republicans" stuff, that has to go. It's garbage, and elitist garbage at that. (Not to mention that if people had to follow that law to the letter, the Sarah Palin wing of the Republicans would win a lot more elections.)

mikeb302000 said...

I love the redneck mother raising chickens. Away from factory farming, that's the thing.

sheila said...

((insert ANOTHER old lady sigh)) lol. Same here. I can't find things I save, download, whatever. I use the stupid search button like crazy over here.

Hope ya find your stuff!

CrackerLilo said...

It's funny, but I just came back last week after two and a half months off Blogger, and vowed this afternoon to post more concisely and frequently! Must be something around us.

I think there's also a real movement towards seeing what we can grow for ourselves. I have herbs, tomatoes, and peppers starting to grow outside. There are some new farmers in my urban farming cooperative (where, as my wife sourly observes, I pay for a box half-filled with vegetables we only tolerate. I'm becoming a more creative cook, too.) My brother, who is an agriculture major, has filled his apartment balcony with plants grown in old two-liter bottles with the tops sawed off and convinced his complex to start a community garden. It's a cool thing.

The atheist leaders are like the Christian leaders in the media--bossy, self-appointed blowhards. I just don't see Hitchenses and Dawkinses in real life very often. I far more often see people like my wife who teaches martial arts and decided to drop her "fake it until I make it" approach to faith after 9/11. People like my brother, who think the world's too wild and random to account for a God. People like my SIL, who simply doesn't care. I wonder what it would sound like if ordinary Americans publicly admitted what was on their minds, without an agenda to change others.

petpluto said...

(You can bet the 20-year-olds know how to find their downloads!)I'm a twenty-three year old who frequently loses her downloads!

Luckily (or unluckily, actually) that only happens at work when I'm on the PC. My mac and I get along a lot better, because things normally go right to my desktop and not in any random folders I didn't know existed.

Lisa A. said...

Hi Daisy,

New here. I enjoy your blog, but usually just lurk. I wanted to thank you, though, for your comments on "sneering" atheists. I, myself, am a non-observant, but spiritual Jew (if that any makes sense). I don't feel comfortable mentioning that often because I've noticed that on many left-leaning blogs, there are a lot of atheists who are pretty smug in the belief that there beliefs are right, while any kind of religious belief is dismissed as ignorance.

I recently decided to stop visiting another feminist blog because I had a run-in with some with trolls who were trashing Judaism for being incompatible with feminism (which, in my opinion, it's not, though it's still evolving). They didn't made any real argument for this, instead spouting ignorant opinions without any evidence. These atheists felt very comfortable describing it as "infantile", "silly, and, my favorite, "anti-intellectual". Several people jumped in to agree. As usual, moderation was non-existent, so I made a poor attempt at defending my religion, but my defense was pretty bad because I was upset.

As much as I used to enjoy reading feminist/liberal blogs, I'm starting to think it's not worth it if it means putting up with bigotry.

P.S. I saw the whole "blow up" at Feminist Critics. I give you credit for holding your own and putting up with them as long as you did.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Lisa, welcome, and thanks so much for your comment! And Meowser, you are so sweet! Thank you for your kind compliments.

Cracker, I missed you! I was thinking last night about Mark Twain and Will Rogers and how everyone knew they were atheists and accepted them anyway, and in a far more conservative era, too. I think it was because they were like "members of the family"--rather as the people you describe. No fancy arguments, just common sense. (Much more effective than the "I know better than you do" approach!)

Judging these men objectively, you can also see they were careful to blame "religion" as an institution, not individuals, unless they were criticizing specific preachers saying especially dumb things. And they carefully equated religious authority to governmental and class authority, always. They saw these systems as inter-related, as HL Mencken also did... although Mencken could be much nastier (and was antisemitic and hated southerners) --he also got away with his contentious atheism in heartland newspapers during a very conservative time period. You can hardly imagine funny, folksy atheist characters like this on the national scene now. The bourgeois intellectuals have colonized atheism.

And you know what? Atheism is the poorer for it.

yellowdog granny said...

we had a cat when all 3 of the kids were still living at home ..they named it FC for fucking she was the biggest pain in the ass known to cathood..

ArrogantWorm said...

"(You can bet the 20-year-olds know how to find their downloads!)"

Eh, I constantly lose my downloads while my fathers' 45-ish and he rules his computer with an iron fist. I had to save my music file location in notepad, so whenever I send songs I can look it up, copy/paste it and pick a song.

If you go to Start, then My Recent Documents, you can find whatever you downloaded 'recently' in the list, click on it then type the addy in notepad and save. not the greatest, but it works okay. Images here either go to desktop or off into the ether =/

~Macarena~ said...

When I switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox, the latter asked where I wanted my downloads to go. That's how I learned that, if you don't designate a folder, your computer probably places each download in a newly created folder with computer-generated, long-ass names, possibly in C:\WINDOWS\Temp\Temporary Internet Files. If you recall the file names, you may be able to find them by searching your C:\ drive computer.

John Powers said...

I wanted to alert you to a link to an argument with PZ Myers helpfully summarized here.

DaisyDeadhead said...

John, thanks so much! Enjoyed reading this! (Also, the Pluto chapter of Unscientific America, was great reading also.)

I've decided PZ Myers and Pat Robertson really do deserve each other.