Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some Things Off My Chest (Not hair!)

I'm going to have to bullet point this, since I'm supposed to be grading, but man, I'm going to implode if I don't rant. So here goes:

  • I'm watching the documentary about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I'm horrified. It highlights two important truths: the lives of women were clearly expendable (evidenced by the acquittal of the owners) and anybody who thinks that we should just rely on capitalism to protect the interest of anyone except business owners clearly thinks that it wasn't so bad to be trapped on the 9th floor of a building where workers were denied union protections and stuffed into overcrowded rooms with no sprinklers and few exits.

  • That brings me to The Donald. I can hardly breathe because his EGO is taking up all the air. Seriously, dude? Let's start with "the blacks." As I might have mentioned before, I know lots of black folk. Perhaps with the exception of the people on Trump's show, I can't think of any who think he's great. Especially after that bassackward comment. News flash: people who use the phrase "the blacks" are no friends of the Negroes. And as for your "thoughts" on my President: I spit on your "thoughts". That's all I have to say about that. Wait, no. I also call BS on your academic "concerns"--there are enough smart and talented people of color that nobody has to pick the duds as so-called affirmative action babies. Nevertheless, can black folk finally have the right to be awesomely above average or perfectly average, just like white folk? Seriously. The people who are placing him at the top of polls must be the same people who are obsessed with the royal wedding. (Thanks GEW for giving me a nudge!--I'd love to hear what you think I'd say!)

  • Okay, fine. Kate Middleton's dress was gorgeous. She looked like a full grown woman in love. A wedding gets me every time!

Okay. Now maybe I don't have to take this out on these research papers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thoughts not quite related to Easter

  • Okay, fine. I'm about half way through The Help and, well, it's getting better. I'm kind of, almost interested. Oh, and I've found some African American women who do actually like it. Some people might think that this means I was wrong, but it doesn't, okay?

  • It's near the semester's end and the sentence "I just want to talk to you about my grade" rings through the hallway outside the department office doors.

  • Again, who are the people who are seriously interested in the royal wedding? I think journalists are insisting that Americans want to know so that they can take a trip themselves.

  • Trying again to relay the resurrection story to my children. I thought it would be more and more difficult as they grew older and understood more, but they absorb it and are less freaked out by it than I thought. That makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fifteen Random Things Meme

So, here's my response to Inktopia's meme. I'm supposed to tell fifteen random things about me. Here goes:

1. I want television to be my scholarly niche.

2. I've never kept a plant alive for more than six months or so.

3. It would make me really happy if my house were organized like a kindergarten class room.

4. I don't like to have the food on my plate touching.

5. I also generally don't eat the last bite or two of a dish. It's usually mushy and undesireable by the end of the meal.

6. I really, really wish I were a native speaker of another language.

7. When I was a little girl, I tried Pepsi and milk, just like Laverne from "Laverne and Shirley"; it actually wasn't bad.

8. I don't like wine all that much, but I think wine glasses are so pretty.

9. I think biscuits and molasses are divine.

10. Flowy skirts are one of my favorite things to wear.

11. I thought Pinky Tuskadaro (which I have probably misspelled) was the coolest name ever.

12. One day, I want to pack a bag, go to the airport, and pick a destination.

13. Should I have a third baby?! (I know that's not a fact, but it's on my mind)

14. I'm in the process of trying to change my diet to see if I can control these dadblasted migraines. Last month I eliminated pork and beef completely. This month I'm reducing sugar. It's the hardest. Haven't yet decided what I'll change next month.

15. I want a house with a porch.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Too annoyed for words

As you might have been able to tell, I am too annoyed for words. So I'm just going to link another blogger's link. Over at Professor Like Substance, there's a succinct post and an awesome link to "The Daily Show" highlighting the ridiculousness of political bull stinky. I wish I could remember which show I was watching--I'm too irritated to go check the DVR--but some ultraconservative, um, person, actually argued that the reason not to fund Planned Parenthood was not because the money went to pay for abortions. No, he argued that when money goes to the non-abortion services, the other money is free to fund abortions. What kind of jacked up ideology is this? "I don't want my money to pay for something I don't believe in AND I want to stop other people's money from paying for it, too." Who is this freaking controlling? Why does that make any sense? We are talking about a legal, medical issue here. That's not even to mention that this link of "thinking" suggests that having women die from cervical cancer from lack of screenings is preferable to having any women access abortions. So, should I be asking how can I prevent other people's money from buying guns? I just--I mean . . . arrrgggghhh!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Help Me!

I'm trying, again, to read The Help. I started it a while ago, then put it down because it was getting on my nerves. I've picked it up again, but I'm struggling. Seriously. I know I should be keeping up with what's happening in the world of contemporary literature. Maybe I will have occasion to teach this book at some point in my life. But I'm struggling. Seriously. The first problem is the way dialogue is presented. Despite the "pitch perfect voices" promised by the book jacket, I keep wondering if this writer has ever actually talked to anyone in the actual Southern region. Of America. More than that, have any of those people been black? I mean, I've met and talked to a few (!) black folk in my life. I've listened to myself speak. I've talked to my grandparents. They've been black their whole lives. None of those people use the be verb the way it's written here. It's random and weird. And, while many people--all people--in the South run their words together, nobody I know says, "I'm on" when they mean "I'm going to." You know what it sounds like in my ear? "I'mma" or I'm gon" or I'm gonna" but never "I'm on." I have to translate for myself every time I read it. This dialogue issue is what made me put the book down in the first place. But now I have another problem. A white character is relaying her observations of the maid's home. She describes modest decor, then notices that the only picture there is of some white child who used to be in the care of the domestic. Really? Again, I have to check this against my own observations. As a very young child, I was cared for by an older woman who had been a domestic. In fact, I think she still worked for the family on occasion during that time. I was in her house nearly every day. You know how many pictures I saw of herself, her husband, family members, church friends, and, heck, pictures of me?! Lots. You know how many I saw of the family she worked for? None. And she's not the only woman I know who worked as a domestic at some point in her life, but the story is the same. They didn't come home with somebody else's children on their minds. You know why? Because she was not in love with those people. They were not her family. I mean, how many pictures of your boss do you have in your house? It seems to me that this book is going in the direction of big ole, wide-hipped mammies (which is how nearly every black woman is described) who just love them some rosy-cheeked white chillun mo' than life itself, and just hope they'll be lucky enough to get hooked up to some good white folk. My eyebrow is raised. I remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird when I was in elementary school and just falling in love with the language and characters. Scout was such a spitfire, and I liked to imagine myself that way. I immediately recognized Calpurnia, especially in the scene when Scout goes to church with her. I could practically place myself right in that scene. But in this novel, I don't know who these people are. Perhaps the author does, since she's being sued. I didn't grow up in the 1950s, but things move slowly down here, so it hasn't changed so much that I don't even recognize the people. Sheesh! I pride myself on being Southern, but this book is making me itch. *I'm not sure why my paragraph breaks won't show up, but I haven't been able to fix it. Sorry!