Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

  • Maybe I change my mind about being on "The View". I just thought about what I'd look like when I hear nerve-grating assertions that kill my brain cells. As my students keep telling me, my face immediately tells whatever I'm thinking when people talk to me. Can you imagine? Of course, "The View" can still call me for a guest spot.
  • I just saw a teaser for "Jeopardy" that set up the game as a sports event. What if we really did have that much fanfare for an intellectual exercise?
  • In the continuing saga of television in our house, we recently watched the episode of "Little House on the Prairie" when Charles loses a bunch of money because something happens with the bank. They had planned to pay off a charge account at the Olsen's store, wanting both to release themselves from debt and to give the finger to Harriet Olsen and her self-righteous elitism. When Nellie mimics her mother's stinky attitude (saying that Charles stinks from working with the horses) Laura repeats her father: "Hard-working people only smell bad to people who have nothing else to do but stick their noses in the air."
  • Know what else I love, love, love? After Laura repeats her father's sentiment, she says, "And Nellie Olsen, every time you stick your nose in the air around me, it's gonna get punched!" That girl has spunk!
  • And one more thing: where is this appreciation for the dignity of work--all kinds of work--now? I hear words like "work ethic" being thrown around a lot, but it too often sounds like Harriet Olsen is saying them.
  • Okay, one more: I'm watching the episode when Laura and Mary first go to school (don't look at the time stamp--the children are in school, so I'm . . . previewing it for them) and Nellie snidely calls them "country girls" aloud in class. Ms. Beadle gives her a sharp look but doesn't say anything. I had a flashback of when a boy told me, loudly and in front of everyone, to "go back to Africa"; the teacher in that class also didn't do much more than give him a look.
  • The Baby Boy told his father a secret last night that he didn't want to share with me. I was so pleased that I was able to get him to tell me, too, although it took about 20 minutes of gentle prodding about how secrets are not good and he could always tell mommy anything and I wanted to know all about what he's thinking. He started and stopped several times, then finally whispered in my ear that all of the children thought the teacher's new hairstyle was really, really pretty; he thought so, too. I felt all fuzzy that he trusted me with his secret crush on his teacher.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Linking Love--Heartbreaking and Necessary

A minister at a church I used to attend always said that he didn't want the church to spend time and energy doing things that other local people were already doing well. In that spirit, I want to call a little more attention to this beautifully written and powerful post over at Racialicious about rape culture. It just breaks my heart, but it has to be said. It reminds me, again, to be vigilant about the way I raise my son. And makes me wonder what in the world my female students must be experiencing.

I'm going to go find some happy reading on the internet now . . .

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting Religion

So, I heard a report this morning that Jay-Z has had a come-to-Jesus moment about the "B-word"; since having his newborn daughter, he's decided that he should stop calling women b--ch in his music. I'm going to go ahead and assume that he's not going to use the word in his conversation either (although I could still use some convincing on this point). Isn't that nice?

Of course, the news reporter asked, "If he's not using the b-word, what is he going to call his wife?" It was, of course, a joking play on Beyonce's name, but I thought it was actually an appropriate comment. If he loves his wife, why in the world did it not occur to him to stop calling women b--ch before now? Isn't she somebody's daughter? Couldn't he see womanhood in his wife and conclude that using that word was a bad idea? He says he won't allow anyone to disrespect his precious daughter. Lovely. 'Cause all those other women? They're not anybody's daughter. That's why it's okay to call them out of their names. Right?

I started to think, well, maybe he's getting older and maturing. That's happened to other rappers. Age brings a clarity that was missing before. But then, I thought, "Isn't he, like, old?" Well, old for a rapper. Even accounting for boys' alleged lag in maturity, he should have gotten it together by now.

Then, I started to think, well, everyone is changed in fundamental ways by having a child. They see the world through new ideas. They take fewer chances. They pay more attention. But then, I thought, "Don't you just write a book about your life?" Didn't that process offer some opportunity for self-reflection? And have you been deaf for the last twenty years? Thoughtful, bright, culturally aware people have been making the case for hip-hop to censor itself, especially with regard to its sexism and misogyny. Even accounting for new-parent epiphanies, he should have engaged this debate before.

In short, I'm not impressed by this epiphany. I think it's as silly as naming your child after your favorite color.

Monday, January 16, 2012

King Day

The Babydoll this morning: "The Baby Boy just broke his toy on Dr. Luther King Day." I've been trying to encourage non-violence all morning, but I'm not sure they're getting it. :)

Thank you Martin and Coretta!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Few Random Things

  • In my quest to have my children watch quality television, I have successfully hooked them into "Little House on the Prairie." We stumbled on the movie that began the series, and it is freaking fascinating. It's filled with danger (wolves and snow and fire!) and joy (a peppermint stick for Christmas!) and mystery (will Jack the dog find them after crossing the river?). We watched half last night and the children asked to watch the rest as soon as they woke this morning. And the bonus is that they see the thousands of chores that the Laura and her sisters have to do and it makes their chores pale in comparison. Yay!
  • I'm also surprised at how unlikeable both Charles and Caroline are. They are much more gruff than in the series and Caroline's disdain for Native Americans is not nice, to say the least.
  • It only now occurs to me that this story happens at the same historical moment as the play Flyin' West about black female homesteaders. Both are about the government's "opening" of Kansas to anyone who could survive settling it.
  • I've also roped the children into falling in entertainment love with "The Cosby Show" and they can't get enough. And my son is in love with Clair; she "looks pretty" he says.
  • During one single commercial break during the "Little House" movie there were three ads about weight loss. What in the world?