12 December 2007

Wherein my head explodes and I have to crawl back into bed

An Iowa Republican has introduced a bill that would legislate the importance of Christmas.

As Space Cowboy says, if Christianity and Christmas are so all important to a majority of people in the world, why do we need the reminder? Do we really need Congress to acknowledge that Christianity is one of the great religions of the world? Maybe I could make some heads explode by reminding people that Christmas does not necessarily fall on Jesus' birthday, and that our Christmas traditions are derived from the pagan celebration of Saturnalia in an attempt to allow early Christians to celebrate their faith free of persecution. You know, back when Christians were actually persecuted.

As an atheist, I have every reason to believe people like myself are persecuted every day. However, I'm not whining to Congress to get atheism recognized through legislation, although that doesn't seem like a bad idea at this point.

11 December 2007

A bad week to be female

This week brings to my attention two horrific stories about brutal gang rape. Have a barf-bag ready.

First up, a judge in Australia has ruled that a 10-year-old aboriginal girl "probably agreed" to have sex with the nine men who brutally gang raped her. No punishment for the rapists. And she's standing by her decision. You know, just to show everyone that women can be misogynists, too! Honestly, I don't see how anyone with a shred of intelligence and/or empathy could possibly come to the conclusion that a 10-year-old could possibly know what was going on in a situation like group sex. This was not group sex, this was a gang rape. Men don't "have sex" with little girls; they rape them. I'm sure some relativists would argue that Australian aboriginal culture is vastly different from Western culture and that we have no business going in and telling them how to live life. And for the most part, I agree. Until people start getting hurt, such as the case with female genital mutilation. There are absolutes in this world, people. And little girls should not be getting raped just because their culture condones it. It still isn't right.

Next, Jamie Leigh Jones was working for KBR in Iraq when she was drugged, then gang raped and assaulted by her coworkers. If that weren't brutal enough, KBR (yup, that KBR) locked her up in a shipping crate, denied her medical care, and told her that if she said anything that she would lose her job. She finally convinced a guard to lend his cell phone so she could call her father back in Texas, who set in motion the rescue of Jones by the US Embassy. What really gets me is that the prosecutor (I know, I know, he's the good guy, but still) in this case claims that KBR had fostered a "boys will be boys" atmosphere that allowed the rape to happen. My problem is, why do we still chuckle and shrug our shoulders whenever someone uses the phrase "boys will be boys" in these situations? How about "boys will be sociopaths" or "boys will be criminals", which is much closer to the truth? But clearly, KBR had created an atmosphere of lawlessness and misogyny, which, when mixed in with the violence of war and occupation, created a perfect storm to allow this to happen.

Just goes to show you that womens' bodies are still acceptable cannon fodder in the war for dominance.

I weep for these two.

06 December 2007

More Like "Puke" Presents

So, there's this new trend called "push presents" that I learned about via Jezebel. Basically, a man gives his baby-mama an expensive piece of jewelry for birthing "his" child.

Gag me with a spoon.

I understand that the idea behind this is that the father doesn't have to go through nine months of weight gain, bodily distortion, stomach problems, incontinence, swollen hands and feet, mood swings, blah blah blah, so he shows his appreciation by throwing an expensive bauble into the mix. First off, women who don't want to bear children shouldn't be doing it, and second, isn't it a little stupid to spend money on jewelry when you're going to have expensive medical bills followed by the huge expense of raising a child?

Here's my idea of an awesome "push present" (and really, who thought up that godawful term?): how about the baby-daddy support you during pregnancy by not drinking, eating healthy, taking up some slack around the house while you're miserable. And then after the baby comes, take an equal share in childcare? That would be so much better than a damn ring.

02 December 2007

Enjoy the Silence? Please?

I'm really late getting to this Salon post, but I've been out of town and I'm just now getting caught up on my blog reading. Having a cold allows you to catch up on your reading. The article came at a very appropriate time of year: the holiday season. The article is about a movement in Britain, called No Music Day. As the graphic will show you, for one day no music is played, and we forget how pervasive background music has become in our everyday lives.

I am a music lover. I've played piano, cello, violin. I've been a classical ballet dancer, which requires a certain musical ear and appreciation. I love all types of music, and can even appreciate the art in tunes I don't particularly like. I am a music lover. But at this time of year the music that fills out everyday lives starts to make me a little stabby.

I used to love Christmas music, even though I'm not a religious person. To me, they used to symbolize an exciting time of year filled with friends, family, homecomings, good food, and gift-giving. The first time I'd hear a holiday tune in a store or on the radio, my heart jumped a bit at the anticipation of the holidays, that it was finally here. Then one Christmas after college I worked part time in retail to make some extra money. And I now have a strong aversion to holiday music. Working eight hour days listening to the same hour-long loop of Christmas music started making me a bit delirious. At night, while trying to fall asleep, I couldn't get the music out of my head. As I approached the shop for my shifts, I could hear the music wafting out of the front doors, and I would fill with dread.

Now, everywhere I go, I hear that dreadful noise, and it just puts me in a bad mood. I realize that this is a personal issue, but I've also noticed that just about everyone I know feels the same. Christmas music is no longer special or exciting, it's almost a hassle you must put up with for the last two (3? 4? Do I hear 6?) months of the year. I guess I'm just a scrooge. But this is something that needs to be examined more closely. In the name of consumerism, we have cheapened one of humanity's greatest artforms: music.