Monday, May 21, 2007

Dave Sim's blogandmail #252 (May 21st, 2007)


Fifteen Impossible Things to Believe Before Breakfast That Make You a Good Feminist

1. A mother who works a full-time job and delegates to strangers the raising of her children eight hours a day, five days a week does just as good a job as a mother who hand-rears her children full time.

2. It makes great sense for the government to pay 10 to 15,000 dollars a year to fund a daycare space for a child so its mother - who pays perhaps 2,000 dollars in taxes - can be a contributing member of society.

3. A woman's doctor has more of a valid claim to participate in the decision to abort a fetus than does the father of that fetus.

4. So long as a woman makes a decision after consulting with her doctor, she is incapable of making an unethical choice.

5. A car with two steering wheels, two gas pedals and two brakes drives more efficiently than a car with one steering wheel, one gas pedal and one brake which is why marriage should always be an equal partnership.

6. It is absolutely necessary for women to be allowed to join or participate fully in any gathering place for men, just as it is absolutely necessary that there be women only environments from which men are excluded.

7. Because it involves taking jobs away from men and giving them to women, affirmative action makes for a fairer and more just society.

8. It is important to have lower physical standards for women firepersons and women policepersons so that, one day, half of all firepersons and policepersons will be women, thus more effectively protecting the safety of the public.

9. Affirmative action at colleges and universities needs to be maintained now that more women than men are being enrolled, in order to keep from giving men an unfair advantage academically.

10. Having ensured that there is no environment for men where women don't belong (see no.6) it is important to have zero tolerance of any expression or action which any woman might regard as sexist to ensure greater freedom for everyone.

11. Only in a society which maintains a level of 95% of alimony and child support being paid by men to women can men and women be considered as equals.

12. An airline stewardess who earned $20,000 a year at the time that she married a baseball player earning $6 million a year is entitled, in the event of a divorce, to $3 million for each year of the marriage and probably more.

13. A man's opinions on how to rear and/or raise a child are invalid because he is not the child's mother. However, his financial obligation is greater because no woman gets pregnant by herself.

14. Disagreeing with any of these statements makes you anti-woman and/or a misogynist.

15. Legislature Seats must be allocated to women and women must be allowed to bypass the democratic winnowing process in order to guarantee female representation and, thereby, make democracy fairer.









People like you and I are zealots. We tend to screw up, not in details, but in not being able to always see the medium-big picture with respect to our place in it. (Oh sure, we love to talk about "society," or "women" or "people" and things like that, and how ostracized and outside of the mainstream we rightly are, but this all too often signifies a giant skip from "this hour of my day, dealing with people around me" to "broad theories about people and society" without stopping to see what benefit our lives are to others, including God, the ultimate Other. What good does praying do for God? It may help us, but it doesn't help Him much. Isaiah chapter 1 is pretty damning on that point. It is pointed out in Job by Elihu that our sin doesn't hurt God, nor our righteousness benefit Him. That's all about us and OUR well-being and wholeness and so on. When we are somewhat whole, what then? Is it all just about us?)

I'm pretty sure you don't want hear this, but I think you're over-thinking it. The way I look at it, I'm only a zealot compared to the degraded society around me. A hundred years ago, no one professing that there is only celibacy and marriage and nothing in between would have been accused of zealotry. It would have been viewed as just plain common sense: goes without saying. Try telling someone in 1850 that maybe homosexuality is normal and maybe we should have a whole different approach to it and you'd be lucky if all you got was a dirty look. That seems to me a sensible response. I don't see myself as being a part of my society or having a "place in it" for that reason. I'll talk about these things here on the Blog & Mail and if you don't want to read it, don't read it. As I've said before elsewhere, I tend to see myself as the lead character in Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. Everyone else is a vampire and I'm the only non-vampire. So when you talk about "this hour of my day, dealing with people around me" well, at any given hour of the day I'm not likely to have people around me. When I do I usually think it's a pretty safe assumption that they're demonically possessed because they have no defence against it and they've chosen to take the incremental logic-of-the-next-step express train into hell. I'm polite and chatty and amiable with everyone that I come across in the course of day-to-day reality but I'm always on my guard for them – or more accurately the ___ which informs or occupies them – to try to take a cheap shot at me. To me, active demonstrable, day-in and day-out faith in God allows you to participate in Him. Anything otherwise and you're outside of Him. I can't hurt Him and I can't help Him. But that doesn't mean that it's "all just about us". It's about our souls which we are about as explicitly familiar with as we are with Him, which is to say not at all. That's where faith comes in: an unshakeable core belief that there are higher concerns which are the core of any wisely-led life and which have to do with the part of us that lives on after we die and that will live after the sun goes nova and incinerates everything we ever knew or thought we knew.

I wasn't created to "not do wrong." I wasn't created either to "do as thou wilt." I was created to live, to be, to do good, to make a (good) difference. I believe in a God who expects me to be and live certain things in specific ways that others aren't asked or equipped to. If telling a troubled woman "your life is more or less what you have made it" is a good thing to do, I will do it. If I am completely right in that judgement, however, but I really think that it isn't going to help, then I'll likely not bother doing that.

Well, I think we're ALL "equipped to" repent: it's the highest calling of the free will God gave us. All you have to do is to stop being silly and repent. You can roll around on the ground and weep and cry and pound your little fists like a complete drama queen or you can just, you know, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and repent. The society I live in is pretty much 100% opposed to repentance but, to me, that doesn't mean that I don't fundamentally believe that everyone isn't "asked or equipped to" do so. It just means I live in a society that has chosen to be singularly stupid about it.

I cited "your life is more or less what you have made it" as an appropriate response to a harlot. You were the one who presented me with the hypothetical circumstance of addressing a harlot and what I would say to her. There really aren't any circumstances where I would address a harlot any more than the lead character in I Am Legend would have considered going out and having a chat with the vampires after sundown so it was a stretch to answer your question. Likewise, a harlot would be about as likely to ask me a question as the moon is likely to be made of green cheese. Harlots, in my experience, only talk to and only listen to other harlots. They reinforce each other that there is no choice open to them but degrees of harlotry. I would consider calling a harlot "a troubled woman", as you do here, an example of incrementalism. A harlot is a harlot and there really isn't much to say to them (as our great grandfathers and great grandmothers would have known without it having to be said) and you do them no favour in my view by joining them in the delusion that they're "troubled" when the actual problem is that they're chosen evil over good and are belligerently waiting for someone to argue with them about it. Because virtually all women in Western society, in one sense or another have chosen to live in the villages they have built up between the choice of celibacy and the choice of marriage those villages are their carve-in-stone frames of reference "This is where I live, this is who I am" and, as a result, I don't think there is anything sensible that can be said to them that they could either grasp or accept or otherwise make use of. They live in one or more of the degraded villages and they're only interested in talking about the other villages.

As a teacher, I don't present ideas like "grace" to kids in class because I'm going to change their life views for them (I'm not). I toss these ideas into the mix if they were part of the thinking of an author (like Shakespeare) these kids are wrestling with understanding, and they grew up with no knowledge of said concept, as they've never encountered it before (for example it's pretty tough going to read Lord of the Flies in grade 10 without ever having heard of Freudian personality theory, or the doctrine of original sin that Golding probably had in mind, or to study Macbeth or Arthurian myths with no concept of what it meant to believe that a king held the whole kingdom together by divine right).

Well, I'm right with you on that one. When I was in public school we started each day with a student reading a chapter from the Bible followed by the singing of "God Save the Queen". There I think you have a good foundation for the rest of a public school student's day. My point was less about changing their life views than the fact that education today -- because it is founded exclusively in secular conceits – not only doesn't but can't add up to anything. If you start with the Bible as the foundation and "God Save the Queen" as a foundation then each thing you learn can be fitted onto the foundation. The question attached to each piece of learning after that was "where does this brick go?" The British Empire was the British Empire because everyone was walking around with roughly the same metaphorical edifice in their minds and hearts and souls founded on the Bible and "God Save the Queen". Until you understand what the Bible is and what "God Save the Queen" is where are you going to put Shakespeare? At age four you put him with "writers" and at age seven you put him with "evil, ignorant patriarchal men". At age ten you put him with "latent homosexuals in denial". There's no foundation and you just keep putting the brick in different spots to suit feminist prejudices. Sometimes you put him on top of William Golding and sometimes you put William Golding on top of him. Mostly you just ignore Shakespeare and William Golding and find a way to change the subject to "God Save Margaret Atwood" and from there to "Margaret Atwood Chooses Not to Save God".

Freudian personality theory or Macbeth or Arthurian myths would all come a distant second to feminism. Freud was wrong because he was a man, Macbeth was wrong because he was a man, King Arthur was wrong because there are plenty of myths about Queens that are infinitely more important than any myth about any king. I would assume that in Canada it would be illegal to even raise the subject of "divine right" unless you immediately cut off its head, put a garlic clove in its mouth and put a stake through its heart.

You don't seem to have a concept of the present benefits and responsibilities of grace that I can relate to or understand (I'm somewhat into Paul's thoughts on this). For me, personally, it really is about accepting what grace is already given to me today (health, some money, work, Canadian birth, the kindness of strangers), and then trying to live a life that demonstrates gratitude for it and putting it to good use. Your comments on the subject (that I have read, anyway) have all focused upon future grace (on Judgement Day, not on Thursday) and on trying now to be more worthy of grace then. I don't relate much to that, but obviously, it's your exam you're writing, as you say, and we're making opposite u-turns away from opposite past lives. To be fair, your prayer is full of gratitude for many things, though your discussion of grace in response to my points differs from the Pauline one that I get so much out of.

All I can do is to repeat my opinions. It seems obvious to me that the point is Judgement Day, until then any and all choices as far as I can see are strictly hypothetical. I can understand and identify with Pauline theory to the extent that it attempts to convey the Immensity of God and His Works in our lives, that God is So High Up and So Far Away from us that it really requires that all of the Significant Reaching Out is done by Him. We're blind and ineffectual. We don't KNOW where to reach or how to reach. I tend to see reliance on that fact to be an excuse not to reach and to have a fundamental faith that you can just stumble along and God will fill in all of the blanks for you that you missed. I see Pauline grace in its degraded modern form as the source of what I see as an almost universal belief among Christians that they don't believe in a God who is cruel. They can only have faith in a God who grades everyone against the curve and a metaphorical soccer league where everyone gets a trophy at the end.

If someone asked my advice – as people do – my advice is always the same. You are better served believing in a very strict God than in a very lenient God. If God turns out to be lenient and you believe Him to be strict then you have overachieved and attained to excellence in His eyes. On the other hand if you believe Him to be lenient and He turns out to be strict, you are up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle. On the former hand, "Many are called, few are chosen." And, as I see it, on the latter hand, "there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." I think a lot of that wailing will be coming from Pauline devotees and will be along the lines of "You're Cruel and I Hate You!" It's in the nature of people like that to always blame others (even God) for their own shortcomings and bad choices. You can no more talk to them successfully than you can talk to a harlot successfully.

Thanks for writing. Communication of this kind is, to some degree, what you make it. It can be more than chewing gum. Sometimes the air inside one's own head can get a bit stale. Good to have some canaries in now and again, though sometimes they shit everywhere.

Well, I printed and responded to every word of your letter so at least that's something. Of course I'm now on page 62 of roughly eighteen days of Blog & Mails so I expect that Sandeep will be laughing derisively as he downloads this batch onto a disk to e-mail to Jeff.

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