Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday.

Okay, so yesterday I totally cheated and posted some lame randomness. It has been just kinda yucky lately, lots of people with sad news, rain and changing weather -- both of which give me headaches, from mold allergies and migraines from rising barometric pressure.

To make up for it, I have several things to comment on today...

A rant. This morning I was listening to the radio, and they said that while the HIV rate had been dropping in an African country in the 90's, it went back up during the Bush administration because the focus shifted from encouraging condom use to encouraging abstinence. I so do not understand this. Why should the United States' puritanical and uptight values be forced on to other countries? People are literally dying because this administration has chosen the fundamentalist idiot nutcase idea that sex is unnatural and nasty and must be hidden.

Abstinence only is dangerous and wrong. My son was supposed to get abstinence only sex ed last year (his junior year), and I seriously considered opting him out of it because I have seen too much evidence that abstinence only education uses wrong information, that it can send the message that sex is bad, that it is an unhealthy attitude toward sex. Turns out that his teacher thinks abstinence only is the wrong way to go, so she taught other stuff anyway.

I just completely cannot comprehend how anyone could possibly care that somebody else is having sex (somebody so completely and wholly unconnected to them -- we are talking about Africans here.). How can these people, these abstinence only people, be so unbelievably uptight about sex that they feel the need to meddle in the sex lives of people thousands of miles away? This mindset -- the mindset that says "everyone should adhere to my personal beliefs and value system" -- that mindset is so foreign to me. I really wish someone could explain how an African having sex outside marriage, or a college student sleeping with her boyfriend, or a woman in another state having an abortion, can impact and be so important to these people. How can it matter that fertilized eggs that will never be used for invitro are used instead in legitimate medical research that can improve the lives of all?

It's not enough for me that they think these things are wrong or immoral or against God's will. I think the music of Neil Diamond is a crime against humanity, and yet I only think that means I don't listen to it, not that no one should be allowed to listen to it. (Okay, I am using a silly answer there, because I don't think there are many behaviors that are completely wrong, and not already illegal...I mean, I don't think people should beat their kids, but that's against the law. Here's the best I can come up with -- I hate being drunk, I hate that feeling, so that means I don't drink enough to get drunk, but it does not mean I think no one should get drunk. I don't particularly enjoy hanging out with drunken people, but that means I avoid that situation, not that I try to force others to avoid drunkenness. )

edit=> by drunkenness I mean those who are completely hammered, not just feeling good. I have been in groups where the entire purpose of drinking was to get drunk, and I find people who are really drunk can be tedious. I myself drink, just not to the point of hammerized. I am a control freak -- I hate that high drunk out of control feeling. It makes me paranoid, and I hate feeling paranoid. I did not mean to make sweeping generalizations about drunkenness, which is what I did. I just meant that there are certain people who are ucky when drunk, and thus I can choose to avoid being around them when they are, but I cannot try to force them not to drink. Even if it's for their own good. Probably clear as mud...

/end rant...

And now for something completely different...My brother-in-law visited my husband in Alaska this past weekend, and took a couple of really cool photos...I hope Sean doesn't mind that I share them here...






Somebody feeds the eagles meat scraps from a butcher's on Sundays. I love raptors and eagles and hawks, so I am really looking forward to seeing this in person. I love seeing eagles and hawks soaring above the desert, and I am glad I don't have to give that up in the move to Alaska.

And to completely change the subject again, my kids and I watched Top Gear on BBC America the other night. It was so funny we were laughing til we cried.




They are making stretch limos out of regular cars -- a Fiat Panda in one case...(A Panda is a little tiny cheap hatchback). If nothing else, skip to about 4.5 minutes in, when they start cutting their cars in two (and setting them on fire, a little bit...) We are definitely now big fans of the show.




18 comments:

  1. Oh. I am so thrilled that you get top gear.. Woot.. and the same programme as well.. Yay.. seriously funny stuff..

    As for the abstinence stuff.what a load of crap.. I think you must be my twin.. except that I am a drinker.. My mother is A Neil Diamond Nut so I have had more than enough of hot august nights..hehehehe

    hope that you are feeling better soon Julie.. cheers Kim :)

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  2. I edited my post because I realized I wasn't very clear...I drink. I love margaritas and beer and wine. I just am such a control freak that drunkenness and being high makes me paranoid. Which makes I really hate...

    My MIL loves Neil Diamond. But my hatred of Neil started before I ever met her. Something about his voice just ugh.

    I cannot stand the puritanical attitude of this country. People are so hyper about nudity and sex. This country embraces violence but a nipple being seen on tv is a huge issue and damaging to our precious and apparently very fragile psyches. Sheesh.

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  3. You have struck to the core of the reason that the Evangelical Christian
    Right that controls the Republican Party is probably the most dangerous an unforgivable group of zealous bigots ever to foist their morals on the American people and the rest of the world. Thank goodness that we have the opportunity to change our government every 4 years, and that we're forced to every 8. And now we're forced to.

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  4. Hey, Lou -- yeah, I am not fond of fanatics of any stripe, but I find the evangelical zealots to be particularly scary...and I am so relieved that it seems they will be losing their control over American policy.

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  5. Sweet Caroline. Bah bah bah. Good times never felt so....

    Oh...sorry.

    A thousand cheers to you on your big rant. I still think I'm having a weird existential/psychotic break from reality crises and that you are me or I am you and we are me and we are all together...sorry - Beatles detour. Did you ever read my anti-stairs post? It speaks to the same thing really. Just because ***I*** can't walk the stairs then surely no one should be able to walk stairs.

    I have this friend that would not let her son look at pictures someone took of statues in a museum because they showed cherubim with their penises exposed. Give me a freakin' break. NOT PENISES!!! For shame. Repent. Sing Neil Diamond songs for eternity!!

    :)

    You're so awesome. Or I am. Or we are. Kim up there too!

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  6. I saw the same article and thought the same exact thing. It's disgusting, really, in addition to being complete nonsense. Sadly, you cannot even argue intelligently against these people because their God/Jesus/Allah/Holy Peanut Butter Sandwich on Toast That Speaks Aloud will always be stronger to them than your common sense.

    I love it when you rant!

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  7. I agree, the whole abstinence is a load of crap! People are going to have sex no matter what so contraception should be available to EVERYONE.

    I wouldn't want someone who doesn't know me able to make decisions on my behalf.

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  8. Thank you all for your comments, except of course Tasina, who may or may not actually exist but if she does quoted the Diamond. Which is a shunning offense in my eyes.

    If my neighbor chooses to marry his dog and have an affair with the pool boy, the only way it affects me is if he leaves his wife out in the backyard all night and her barking keeps me up. But some yahoo in Alabama apparently thinks that what I do or my neighbor does (actually, I have very nice neighbors, I think) is the yahoo's business. Idiot.

    Tasina -- I do not understand the squeamishness about penises and nipples. It all goes back to the idea that naked = sex. Which is an unhealthy attitude I think, and so much more work than naked = well, naked, and you can be naked without being sexual. It's a lot more work to being naked if you are always naked + sexual. Again, sheesh.

    Maggie -- yeah, their God trumps all. Which I think is part of it -- they don't have to be bothered to think for themselves if they can just parrot their religion's strictures. Must be a lot of cognitive dissonance, though, thinking people should not do whatever while they themselves are happily doing that same thing.

    Veronica -- I personally think high school health offices should have condoms available. But some think that would be encouraging teenagers to have sex. Like teenagers would never have sex if we didn't offer them contraceptives...

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  9. Anonymous6:58 AM

    How sad for you, that you find sex cheap, when it is beautiful and should be kept sacred. This attitude is why we have unwed mothers and gangs. The children have no fathers, because people do as they please there are no rules. It's all about feeling good with reckless abandon to what is right. You must be a complete hedonist.

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  10. Wow you got flamed. By an anonymous person - how brave of them. Let's see...you spoke your mind and put your name and thoughts out there and this person comes and insults you and doesn't have the cojones to sign their name. So let's define courage. Julie being honest and open and thoughtful....or anonymous person who has to hide their ignorance and narrow mind? I pick Julie.

    Personally, I did not see that you consider sex to be cheap. I think you consider sex to be natural and healthy and normal and human.

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  11. To the anonymous flamer, much of the reason we have unwed mothers and gangs is because of the portion of our society that insists that we not teach our teens about sex along with teaching about and helping to make available effective birth control. Yes, abstinence would be better for 8 million reasons, and it's worth teaching along side of the rest of the sex education while being realistic about what happens. When people who could benefit from contraception either do not have proper education or decent access to it due to either money or shame, we wind up with the unfortunate situation of people having babies they do not want. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes the kids wind up in gangs. It's sad, and I'd love it if every child born was wanted and had two parents with enough common sense and just enough money to raise the kid. With proper birth control and education, we'd come a lot closer to that goal. It's so very, very much easier to sit on a religious high horse looking down on society and flaming people without being realistic. I find that far more disgusting than sex out of wedlock. Also, just because a person sees what goes on and wants every baby to be one that's wanted doesn't mean that the person doesn't believe that sex is a beautiful and sacred thing in his or her own life. Assuming things about a person that don't necessarily logically follow and flaming a blog anonymously instead of standing up and presenting a logical argument is cowardly. I believe in treating people right, loving my bloggy neighbor, and all that other golden rule stuff.

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  12. I've come into this late, but great rant, Julie.

    Back in 2004, when I was reading Blogging of a President, I opined that the abstinence and abortion issues were central for fundamentalist religous/political groups because of a basic numbers game.

    The more little ones you have, the more voters you have in a generation. I think it is why "state control" over reproductive issues is important to them, because they can further solidify where they are strong. If it was federal control (you notice the consitutional amendment thing doesn't get much traction) then everybody would have reduced birth rates.

    Early churches, especially minor sects, understood this. I'm certain that is why the polygamy stuff was in the initial LDS handbook but was taken out later, after their numbers had grown sufficiently, that they were no longer a "guerilla" church.

    I also think that the fundamentalist approach to reproduction is why we've seen a massive rise in fundamentalism world wide. More converts. I don't recall worldwide Islam being such a "force" 40 years ago, even though all the same countries were involved.

    Of course, if the American Fundamentalist/Conservative coalition really have an "evil" agenda, maybe they want the growth of HIV/AIDS in the third world, to (to quote Dickens) "reduce the surplus population." I hope not.

    OK, I've taken off my tin foil hat, now. As long as I can make sure that California doesn't slip into the ocean, I'll be OK.

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  13. what's wrong with expecting people to do what's right? Are we really that morally bankrupt?

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  14. Well, hey, anonymous...nice of you to speak up. I think you are completely full of crap, but you know, speak up anyway. That's your right. I understand that you are so repressed you can't enjoy sex and thus must lash out at those who have a healthier attitude. So, knock yourself out.

    And what Tasina and Maggie said. Thanks, Maggie and Tasina.

    Rip -- yeah, I think the numbers game plays into it for the leadership, and so many of these fundamentalists are completely unable to think for themselves that they can advocate completely contradictory ideas.

    And while I would not go so far as to suggest that reducing the surplus population was part of some plan, I am sure that there are those who consider it to be a bonus.

    Gina -- You are the perfect example of my point. Why is it you think you should be the world's moral compass? What I do and what I teach and allow my children to do has absolutely nothing to do with you.

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  15. Gina - how can we expect people to "do what's right" if we don't give them complete information?? And who gets to decide what is right. How is it EVER morally bankrupt to educate people and allow them to make rational choices for their OWN lives, rather than impose/force behavior?

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  16. Gina and anon -- I understand your impulse. It's so icky when people behave in ways you find morally repugnant, yucky, wrong, bad...Life would be so much safer and less messy if everyone could just follow your moral compass.

    But. The only thing you have the right to control is your body, your mind, your principles, your belief systems. You have every right to tell me I am a hedonist (damn, that cracks me up every time I think of it) and morally bankrupt, but you don't have the right to do anything about it. You have no right to demand that everyone conform to your world view.

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  17. Anonymous8:56 PM

    Julie - I'm gonna tell Mom you're a hedonist and morally bankrupt. She's going to be so excited that one of us broke out of the reserved Norwegian thing!

    M

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  18. Yeah, sis, I am gonna have a t shirt made.

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