17.4.07

A car-crash world

Seems like the world is getting crazier and crazier (although Doug asks, "How much of this will really matter at this time next year?"). The problem is, it should matter.
  • It should matter that during the tragedy at Virginia Tech we were glued to the television, listening to the inanities the newsreaders spewed. One actually had the insanity to ask a student how it felt to be in a place that had just undergone the worst school shooting in America. How many complained about the crassness of that question? How many of those at the school winced and asked the cameras to leave them to their grief?

  • It should matter what happened to Kathy Sierra. Civility in public discourse is needed Heck, civility in public life is needed. Without it, what do we have?

  • It should matter that hypocrisy is all around and few are crying out against it. Many have blogged about the Imus Incident (personal favorite posts can be found here, here here and here), and what he said was wrong. Did the punishment fit the crime? Only if we also go after the rappers (despite their so-called defense), and Al Sharpton, and all others that engage in this sort of speech.

  • It should matter that my students aren't careful or concerned about their privacy, and that they don't care that what they post may be mean, vengeful or defaming of someone else. This should matter most of all, because if we don't start here, what hope do we have for our future?
Sorry doesn't seem strong enough, yet that's what we're treated to again and again.

Watching a car crash can be addictive. Watching a slow car chase can be mesmerizing. It's time to snap out of our national trance.

16.4.07

Notable Quotes

No -- it isn't as odd as it seems. For this is the way of it:
Either you must be exactly like all the others. Or you must be completely different from them -- as Hugo is.

You musn't ever be nearly like everyone else. As Josephine is.

Something tells Josephine this is how it is. Even if she doesn't understand it
-- Martha Gripe, Hugo and Josephine

8.4.07

Meeting Musings

Today's Meeting was small (five adults, three very young children). And it was cold (52o when I walked in). But still, the warmth of the people made up for the lack of heat and filled the space.

About midway through Meeting, one person stood and mentioned that there's an odd synergy this week: it's the Jewish Passover, and Easter for both Eastern and Western Christians. This was perhaps a sign that we were all, in some sense, following the same path and that peace between faiths was possible. Then, looking outside the Meetinghouse window, they noticed three deer. These deer had hidden themselves in the woods, and had only just - briefly - made themselves known. Sort of like peace itself.

2.4.07

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Not bad, given all the upheaval from the move: 48 books this quarter!

Biography
  • On Hitler's Mountain, Irmgard Hunt; fascinating look at a girl growing up during the Nazi era, literally in Hitler's backyard

Children's/Young Adult


Fiction/Literature


Mystery

Reference
  • Dare To Repair, Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet, Thing Two's idea of a housewarming present... no tools, though
  • An incomplete education, Judy Jones, absolutely embarrassing, the things I don't know!

1.4.07

Meeting Musings

Today was my first Meeting at Amawalk. Unlike last time, there are many Meetings around to choose from; I think this one and I will be a good fit.

It's an old building, heated by wood stoves (I've been warned that the bathroom is outside and unheated!). This lead to an interesting moment, when about halfway through the Meeting someone had to tend the stoves. I started thinking about how this is very like what happens during worship: the fires need to be built, and tended, and sometimes there's a fiercely hot flame and other times there's a warmth and still other's have more of an afterglow. Elders (or pastors or whatever you call your clergy) help tend the flame, ensuring the sparks don't set a fire or that the warmth doesn't die out.

Very a propos for Holy Week, isn't it?

What draws me to this Meeting was a deliberation we had during Meeting for Business. There had been a vigil during which names of those that have died in Iraq were read out - a process of several hours - and two members were moved to write a letter to Senator Clinton asking why she didn't feel obliged to account for her vote "approving" the war. The Newsletter Editor wondered if this was appropriate for inclusion in the newsletter.

In my previous Meeting, the sentiment would have been "of course". No discussion. The assumption would have been that everyone in the Meeting was opposed to the war, opposed to Senator Clinton's stance, and that this letter spoke to all our conditions. Here, the sentiment was "does it speak for all of us?". Perhaps not all opposed the war. Perhaps not all felt owed an explanation. Perhaps it came close to endorsing another candidate (one person mentioned that we assume we know that Barak Obama would have voted against the resolution, but that he could have just as easily voted for the resolution: it's moot, because he wasn't there).

What a wonderful, reasoned deliberation. And what an introduction to a new Meeting.