Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

This blog is being completely infiltrated by my school assignments. Thats my disclaimer. We are also embarking upon Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which I have written about before. Thats my other disclaimer.

Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt is an essay written by Jean Kilbourne. It documents a recent history of sexism and blatant oppression and objectification of women in the media; in advertising, specifically. For instance, an ad for shaving gel depicts a picture of a nice looking man on the left with the word “heartbreak” under his photo and a razor on the right with the phrase, “soap and water shave”. The enlarged and catchy text is where the essay derives its title, “Two Ways A Woman Can Get Hurt”. The article suggests that a man = inevitable pain for women, comparative of a bad shaving job which also inevitably inflicts physical injury. The implications of this advertisement are huge and multifaceted…the fact that so many of these sexist dominated ads are for products that invariably subject women to male superiority and preference is telling in and of itself. Alcohol is strongly implicated in (although not responsible for) many assault cases with female victims and male batterers, and is marketed by heavy sexism. Shaving products? Really? While women have historically made valiant attempts to rid themselves of bodily hair, one might question, why? Why the effort? The cost? At this point in time, I believe it is safe to say, there is a standard of beauty and it includes hairless women. One must not offend the men that hold women to that standard.

I find the aforementioned image illuminating. We live in a society that is heavy with heterosexual priviledge and gender entitlements. Of course advertising reflects that. I also don’t think that any of us can expect corporate media to advocate peace in the way of freedom from the oppression of society and domestic violence and sexual assault and whatever it looks like to specific people who might not include themselves as victims under these labels.

And…if you live in Homer or thereabouts, you should definitely attend Stand Up For Peace which is one step towards cultivating awareness of the problems to which we seek solutions.

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My favorite books…of those I read this year…A List:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino
The Way of Ignorance by Wendell Berry
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Elliz Katz
Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de St Exupery
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Of The Farm by John Updike
Autumn and Winter by Gerda Muller (also on Judah’s list of favorites)
Equus by Peter Shaffer
Alaska Gardening Guide by Ann D. Roberts

This is sort of a ridiculous list, because several of these books I read over and over and they will always be amongst my favorites, but how can I not include them when I love them so much? And these authors? Such contributions! I can’t even begin to describe how they have shaped my own thought processes and considerations on the world and that within it.

I feel delighted to have discovered Gerda Muller and her lovely collection of children’s books centered around the changing seasons. I can hardly wait for Spring and Summer respectively, when Judah and I shall begin to read those with much anticipated frequency.

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The Days…

And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough

And life goes by like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass.

Ezra Pound

An old and dearly loved poem.

We have had such a pleasant summer in countless ways, and I always love the changing of seasons. It is Autumn in Homer and soon to be Winter.

Perhaps with the shorter days; the rain and imminent snow and inevitably inclement weather, I’ll be spending more time indoors…giving more frequency to blog updates.

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The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century is just an article that I feel like is worth reading. Worthwhile reading: everyone could use more of that.

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Book Club!

I have been contemplating for months now, how the addition of a Book Club would be such a welcome thing in my life. I do love to read. Beyond that, I think that I could certainly use some regular stimulation and if I have to organize a book club to bring about something potentially stimulating, so be it.

The thing is, I have such an enjoyable life. I have a very happy little family and a fulfilling job and some great friends. I anticipate summer to be complete with loads of fun and productivity and physical exertion. All such needed things. However, while so perfect in many ways, gardening is not necessarily mentally stimulating (for me). I have a hilarious and wonderful time with Judah, daily, and while she does cause me to think deeply about new things, she has yet to spring forth with stimulating questions or insight about the world. I think this is only because she has not yet begun to speak. I believe she is an old soul and full of wisdom and good humor. It’s interesting though, because the thing that Judah does cause me to ponder and ask myself on a daily basis is the question of how much dirt is it possible and unharmful for one to eat? I realize that unharmful is not a word. But at what point does unharmful become harmful in the world of consuming mouthfuls of dirt?

I digress. This illustrates where I am coming from though; a place where I cannot seem to wrap my mind around the antics of babies, but at the same time feel a deep need for attempts to contemplate “greater” things.

All of these thoughts came together to remind me of an author whose work I have absolutely loved for a myriad of reasons. The reason that I love best is that when I read his stories, I feel like he is articulating concepts that are inherent to who I am, but have not yet articulated for myself. I have often felt that reading these books gives me a better understanding of myself. This is a very narcissistic view for me to hold and I’m sure Italo Calvino would be highly insulted.

The point is however, I’m starting a book club and I’m quite excited. We shall have to wait and see if it will exceed or at least meet all of my lofty expectations.

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