Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

I call bullshit

Back in Aug I saw another post about National Cancer Survivor Day, "battling" against cancer, "brave" survivors, etc. blah, blah, blah. "Copy and paste, share, if you too know someone touched by cancer." 

Now it's October -  National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  


Just nope.

Don't pink wash it by buying some product.
Don't seek attention for yourself by asking for people to notice that you know someone touched by cancer (hint - we all do, it's not that uncommon).
Don't be condescending and victim blaming by using words like "battle" and "brave". Most cancer patients have many, many days when they don't feel like battling and being brave, and that's OK.

You want to make a difference?

Fork over some bucks to primary research.

Write a letter to your senators and representatives letting them know that you support, and expect them to support, and FUND, fundamental cancer research.

Make a meal for a family currently dealing with this, but ask first if/when it's convenient, and if there are any foods you should avoid - and then actually show up when you said you would.

Ask what they want and need, then listen and follow through - clean a patients house, do some laundry, pull some weeds.

And most of all, remember that people with cancer are just that - PEOPLE who happen to have an illness that every single one of us will have, if we live long enough.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

August's Books

I highly recommend Hillbilly Elegy to anyone interested in the current political climate, class issues, or just a really good memoir.  There was much in this writer's experience that mirrored mine, despite his being a white "hillbilly" and me being a little brown Latina.

A Bolt from the Blue was a quick read, a book group book, one of those that I would have never read on my own. 

Governance and Ministry, well that was just work.  Useful work, but work. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How fair is a high IQ?

A friend posted an article on FB today, The War on Stupid People.

A quick read reveals that the author fears that intelligence is not only an innate and unfair advantage, but that the intelligent are setting up society for their own purposes.

"we have embraced the idea of a meritocracy with few reservations, even treating it as virtuous. That can’t be right. Smart people should feel entitled to make the most of their gift. But they should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth."

Wow!  There's a lot tied up in that closing.  Maybe some day I'll care enough to pick it apart. 

For now I'll share this. 

I think there is far more anti-intellectual bias in the U.S. than otherwise.  Ask any parents who has had to deal with getting services for their gifted child, or just look at the Trump presidential campaign.

Here is the response I wrote on FB

Interesting article. It seems to have a fear based premise (that those who can't keep up are/will be left behind),which would make it appeal to those who are feeling threatened by their own current situation.
It seems to be a bit muddled - mixing education level, socio-economics and intelligence. (While related, those items are discrete.) Also, he doesn't seem to back up most of his statements with data.

Intelligence is a source of power, as is size, as is gender, socio-economic position, race, etc.. some of these things are inherent, and some are social constructs. While we can work to change the culture, do we really want to hinder those who can do great things?
Personally I'm super enjoying watching the Olympics. Even though I will never accomplish such feats, I can appreciate them, and only be a little bit jealous.

But, here is something useful to work with from the article:

"Quibble with the details all you want, but there’s no escaping the conclusion that most Americans aren’t smart enough to do something we are told is an essential step toward succeeding in our new, brain-centric economy—namely, get through four years of college with moderately good grades."

And that's something I think isn't true and this myth needs to be addressed.

We do not all have to have college degrees to be economically successful. In fact, the exorbitant cost of university means that the college educated graduate with more debt, and possibly less income (depending on major and geography) than those who chose a different route.
The culture of valuing white collar work over blue collar work has got to change.

Many people, including plenty of high IQ, do not fair well in a traditional classroom. Not all of us are cut out for college, or desk work. Add to that the fact that we have a looming shortage of necessary tradesworkers (due to an aging generation) and I think we have all the reason in the world to improve our valuation of those who work with their hands, provide necessary services, and contribute to our society.

Contrasting reads:
Harrison Berergon, by Kurt Vonnegut
Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S.
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, by Richard Hofstadter

Monday, August 8, 2016

June and July Books

Jack (The Tale of Frost), by Tony Bertauski

A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

 Not only did I not read much by way of books, I didn't keep track of them.  This is me trying to remember what I read....  crickets... sigh...

I have some excuse...
In June we were traveling for Firelord's second sabbatical.
In July we were back in Colorado, but off to family camp, teen camp, camping camp... and so on. 

I was reminded just last night about why I try to keep up a decent running list of what I've read.  I was remembering a wonderful short story I found in an anthology of time travel stories.  I couldn't remember the ending, and really wanted to read it again.  I also couldn't remember the name of the story, or the name of the author, or the name of the anthology.  Finally, after a few fruitless google searches I found the book: Synchronic, a book I'd received in a World Builders fund raiser box of books a couple of Christmas' ago.  Now that I know what I'm looking for, I have to search the house for the book.

This was the haunting story:
Reset (MeiLin Miranda)
Sandy’s best friend Catherine changed when she turned sixteen. She withdrew from life, and spent all her time drawing pictures of seven children she said would never exist. Thirty-four years later, Sandy finds out why.

I can't even describe how glad I am to know that I have a shot at finding the book at the library, if not somewhere in the house, but I would have found it sooner if I had listed on my blog!

May Books