Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Odds and Sods - St Elizabeth of Hungary edition

At left: St Elizabeth of Hungary, traditional holy card.

In the Catholic calendar, today is the Feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary. She exemplifies the time when the lives of saints sounded like fabulous movies by Cecil B. DeMille:

In her short life Elizabeth manifested such great love for the poor and suffering that she has become the patroness of Catholic charities and of the Secular Franciscan Order. The daughter of the King of Hungary, Elizabeth chose a life of penance and asceticism when a life of leisure and luxury could easily have been hers. This choice endeared her in the hearts of the common people throughout Europe.

At the age of 14 Elizabeth was married to Louis of Thuringia (a German principality), whom she deeply loved; she bore three children. Under the spiritual direction of a Franciscan friar, she led a life of prayer, sacrifice and service to the poor and sick. Seeking to become one with the poor, she wore simple clothing. Daily she would take bread to hundreds of the poorest in the land, who came to her gate.

After six years of marriage, her husband died in the Crusades, and she was grief-stricken. Her husband’s family looked upon her as squandering the royal purse, and mistreated her, finally throwing her out of the palace. The return of her husband’s allies from the Crusades resulted in her being reinstated, since her son was legal heir to the throne.

In 1228 Elizabeth joined the Secular Franciscan Order, spending the remaining few years of her life caring for the poor in a hospital which she founded in honor of St. Francis. Elizabeth’s health declined, and she died before her 24th birthday in 1231. Her great popularity resulted in her canonization four years later.
Interestingly, in some iconography she is holding a basket of roses, and in some (as above) she is holding a basket of bread. (Bread and Roses?) Oddly, in the rose-depictions, there are poor people, but in the bread-depictions, she is alone. (?)

Now, do you think she passed out bread or roses to the poor? Hmph.

Yes, I get the symbolism, but still. This is the patron saint of the Secular Franciscans, after all!

They really should let ME run everything Church-related. (Don't you agree?) I'd straighten out the iconography, the doctrine, the personnel issues, you name it.


Some great reading out there! Linkages galore:

Amanda Marcotte has proposed something pretty radical over at Pandagon that has everyone in an uproar. For this reason, attention must be paid. (I am duly impressed when any feminist can garner this kind of reaction, frankly.)

In case you've been living in a cave and haven't heard, right-wing fundie former Myth California, Carrie Prejean, made a sex-video for her boyfriend back in the day, which has now been released to the boy-masses for their ejaculatory pleasure.

Without her consent, of course.

Amanda wonders if this isn't sexual assault:
I agree with Jeff here that it’s about time that we started viewing the release of privately made sexual photographs and videos to anyone other than their intended audience as a form of sexual assault. The motivation to do so is indistinguishable from that as a rapist---using sex as a tool to dominate and humiliate someone, while puffing up your own sense of power---and often the results could be even worse for the victim, because her assault was performed in front of a crowd. And I agree with Jeff that we need to consider Carrie Prejean’s ex-boyfriend the scum of the earth for releasing this video, and it’s true that it’s a case of sex being used against a woman to silence and humiliate her, as she’s claimed.

All that said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with learning something from the fact that this video exists. That the video was released in an act of sexual assault, and should be treated as such. But that doesn’t mean that the act of making the video isn’t something that also matters, when the person who made it is a spokesperson for legally controlling and punishing the sexual behavior of others. I hope we can be nuanced enough about this to see that Prejean is both a victim and a horrible hypocrite. I think it’s important to realize that all these sex scandals involving the moral scolds of society demonstrate that right wingers really do get into being moral scolds because they want to reserve sexual pleasure for themselves while denying it to others. Also, that homobigotry isn’t really about some kind of strict view of human sexuality evenly applied, but that it’s basically just bigotry and attacking people for being in a minority.

Still, I think there’s a lot of clarifying value in thinking of the release of private photos and videos as a form of sexual assault, and thinking of the women in the images as the victims of this assault. Perhaps that will cause anyone who considers publishing these sorts of things to realize that they are participating in a sexual assault if they do so, and will cause them to reconsider. And for anyone applauding a man who releases this stuff, perhaps it will cause you to reconsider.
I am thinking that "sexual assault" may not be the right word. Slander or liable? Do we need a new category for "visual assault"?

Reality TV fans recognize the "blurring" that regularly occurs when Reality-TV-subjects go out for dinner or go shopping; waiters and salesclerks who have not given their permission to be filmed, have their faces blurred, their identities protected. They also blur selected (but not all) paintings, photographs, advertisements in the background of these shows, even logos on T-shirts or baseball caps.

All of these images are "protected"--but a woman who did not consent to show her naughty bits all over the world in a video can not be protected?

What's wrong this picture?

Onyx Lynx linked to a wonderfully thoughtful post titled The Plea of Helplessness, the Refusal of Responsibility, and Today's Progressives (from the blog titled Once Upon a Time...).

I liked this, in particular:
With regard to every issue of consequence, Obama has embraced and even expanded the policies of the Bush administration that he and the progressives had claimed to profoundly oppose. From preventive detention, to increasingly intrusive surveillance at home, to the influence of "faith-based" activists and their preferred policies, to the continuing occupation of Iraq, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which intentionally and with severe malice aforethought flows into Pakistan and threatens still wider regional destabilization, to continued confrontation with Iran via "crippling sanctions" and indefensible demands made of that country, backed up by the disgusting bullying which endlessly repeats that "all options are on the table" (thus perfectly mimicking Bush's behavior in every respect, all of which Obama and the progressives said they condemned) -- all of it is directly contradictory to what Obama and the progressives had claimed to stand for.

And what is the primary defense they offer for these stances, all of which run counter to what they said they believed in and what they repeatedly indicated they would do once they controlled the executive and legislative branches? Their defense is exactly the same defense offered by the conservatives: they can't help it. This is the best they can do. Forces over which they have no control leave them no alternative.

Those forces may be "the system" itself -- despite the rather consequential fact that they now control all the operative levers of power...
And I have already announced here that I am running for a Green Party office next year. I have jumped ship and no longer have any (genuine) faith in the Democratic party.

This is like, the fifth time (counting local elections) the Dems have totally taken me in with a charismatic, likeable, cool candidate... starting with the very first time I ever voted (for Jimmy Carter).

Check it out, and you might consider jumping ship yourself.

You MUST read Rachel's series on becoming vegetarian. I identified with so much of it: Blocked Vegetarians, Vegetarian Impulses, Bearing the Vegetarian Word, Vegetarian Pet Food, and she also includes a variety of wonderful recipes, to make everything especially excellent.

Great reading, and remember next week (don't worry, I'll remind you again) that the turkey did not do anything to you. Leave him/her alone! Have a NON-VIOLENT Thanksgiving. (Yes, we will revisit this point later, as always.)

I am huge fan of Renee's blog Womanist Musings, because like me, she sees everything as interrelated and connected. I love her polemics and her perspective.

Check out her post titled Obama Bows to Japanese Emperor Akihito:
Bowing to a foreign leader does not make him weak. It is an attempt on his part to curry favour with foreign nations that the US has angered over the last few decades. This bow while showing respect to a different culture, is predicated on the American desire to maintain its globally hegemony. The U.S has no intention of closing Okinawa, or dealing with the mass rapes that have been committed by American soldiers. No matter how diminutive these gestures might make Obama and by default the American people appear, they are token at best. Why make a big deal about a bow when it is clear that the US is still in charge of the unipolar world? Even if Obama were to kiss the feet Emperor Akihito, it would be clear to all the world which of the two men possess real power.
Read it all... in fact, you should be reading Renee every day anyway!

More wonderful wimminz, new to my blogroll: Adoption Survivor, Mnemosyne’s Forgotten Daughter, Acts of Faith in Love & Life!, The Wolf Cave, Asperger Square 8, DQ's Windmill, Carol J. Adams, anti social butterfly (IMHO), and the Queen of Progressive Twittering, Progressive Pam. Welcome All!

Have a look at these great bloggers!

Your official Odds and Sods dose of cute comes from HARLEY, who looks exactly like my legendary and beloved cat from the 70s, Zeppo. As I told Harley's mama, I am sure Harley was Zeppo in one of his previous nine lives.

Harley has a fishing pole now, and is learning manly sports. (The final pic is just TOO CUTE!)

Hope everything is going well with all of you!


Daisy said...

Thanks for the linkie! Harley's chest swelled with pride when I told him he was mentioned here.

sheila said...

Wow, I should so go read Renee's blog. I'm trying hard to avoid political stuff. lol. All these people waking from their coma's after 8 long years makes my head hurt... but hearing the little snippet you included here is a nice refreshment.

Daisy...if you end up ruling the world...can I be VP of something? I'd love to sit and figure out religious symbolism with you...one day.

Sungold said...

Last spring already, when there was a rash of stupid stories about teenagers being prosecuted as child pornographers for sexting, I proposed thinking about the release of another person's erotic pictures as a form of sexual assault. It's not the same as rape, but it definitely is a form of sexual violation. I have experienced sexual imposition (as far as I understand the categories), which is a form of assault, and I would be far more traumatized if someone put sexy pix of me on the Internet.

So I'm really glad if Amanda Marcotte can generate some noise about this. She's got a big readership and maybe the idea can start to percolate out to the larger culture.

misskate said...

Re: St Elizabeth of Hungary and roses. There's a story about her taking bread to the poor and when she is stopped by guards or some such (because they don't recognize her as the queen being all disguised) and they made her open her cloak, the baguettes of bread had changed into roses. This miracle is supposed to show that Elizabeth was favored by Mary.

Anyways, just thought I'd share the story that I heard about it.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Misskate, that is awesome! That is the kind of hagiography that you hear by word of mouth, but when you look it up, they don't explain it. Thanks so much for your comment!

D. said...

Thanks for the link!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the shout-out. :)

That piece by Renee is so enlightening. The extent of American racism sometimes bewilders me...

Mista Jaycee said...

Interesting Take! I would say malicious libel and possible sexual assualt using media if that exists. That part could get hairy!

Dig though, it should be noticed that just cause I seen you nekked doesn't give me the right to tell everybody! Same goes with showing it! But especially for financial benefit!

Dave Dubya said...

My dream is for the sane people of this country to wake up and take control of the Democratic Party the way the fringe has taken the Republican Party.

I can still dream.

iamnotamuse said...

Thank you for the link