Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Was It Even For, Then?

Beware! There be spoilers below!

Hunger Game Trilogy spoilers!

I'm serious, y'all.

She's serious, humans.

I was seriously unhappy with the ending of this otherwise electrifying series.

Stop now if you don't want to know!

1.Prim’s death.
Prim was the reason for the entire series. Katniss did everything for Prim. So that Prim could be free, so Prim could live without fear, so Prim could determine her own fate in the world and not be subjected to the whims of those in power. More on this in a moment.

2.The aftermath of the assassination of Coin.

The reason Katniss did this was obvious. The Capital District represented the horrors of plutocracy: the very few controlling all the resources and using poverty and fear to control those providing the labor for utilizing those resources. The people in the other districts were too afraid to speak out, to rise up, they just went about their routines, trying to keep themselves and their families afloat. Even the people of District One, who had a cozy relationship with the Capitol, were being used for their willingness to oppress others for the opportunity to not be as mistreated as the other Districts.

District 13 at first seems like a wonderful haven to the people of the other Districts, after years of starvation and fear. They are safe, there is enough food. But it is a benign sort of totalitarian government. There is no real freedom.

Katniss’ assassination of Coin (she knew Snow was going to die soon anyway, so her execution of him would have been an empty gesture) was because she realized that trading one form of oppression for another wasn’t the answer. The people of the Districts, after so much suffering and death and bravery should be free to choose their own path. That is why she did it. Because that was what she wanted for Prim.

But the narrative of the book never explains that. Instead, Katniss is whisked away, drugged into a coma while she is pronounced “insane” by an unseen court. She is then sent away to do nothing for the rest of her life.

If Prim had to die, then all of Katniss’ hopes and dreams for Prim – freedom, safety, self determination – should have been transferred to the people of the Districts. Katniss should have stood up and stood strong for Prim, in her memory. To send Katniss away was to make Prim’s death for nothing. Nothing.

To create such a strong female character and then have her collapse (permanently) into helplessness was a slap in the face to those who followed the story, who cheered for Katniss, who tried to draw some of her strength into our own lives.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Great!

I'm a great aunt again. Welcome Kensley!

Congrats Sarah and Steve!

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Grand!

I'm a granny again!

His name is Neeko. He is a 9 year old rescue (turned in to the shelter by divorcing parents). Made a little tear come to my eye to think this poor little guy had a home, then got sent to cat jail, but now has a second chance.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hey, Hey, Hey, Good Bye

No, not to KOTK, not yet anyways.

To the state of South Carolina.

No, not yet either. But getting closer.

People ask me why. Charleston is one of the most gorgeous places on the earth, why would you want to leave?

Have you seen and/or read The Help?

Okay, you know how the white women were always talking smack about the black women right in front of them, not even thinking about it or even caring about it?

That's how I'm made to feel almost every day in the lovely state of South Carolina. Almost anytime I venture out of my home, at some social gathering, at the workplace (although more rarely now that I have pointed it out to them), in the grocery store, in a doctor's waiting room, I am treated the way the black women in the movie/book were (are).

Because my skin is white. Because my hair is gray. Because I am middle aged. Because I reside in the South.

I have had my very core beliefs denigrated, attacked and vilified.

To my face.

And the people who do that simply EXPECT that I agree with them.

Or if I don't, too bad, I shouldn't be one of those people any ways.

I just want to live where there is some respect. Where you don't just expect that everyone agrees with you merely by the fact that they look like you or live near you.

That's all. I'm tired be being called names.

So tired that I can't even defend myself anymore. It's not even worth it. So I smile, detach myself from the conversation and walk away.

But your vile, poisonous words are still ringing in my ears.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Shout out to The Other Janet for bringing these sweet babies to my attention! Normal girls get all crazy for dress shoes, I'm a sucker for tennies.

Thor approved.

I am SO wearing these to work tomorrow night!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Boy, Oh, Boy

A little while back, Jason and I went to see the Charleston premiere of the documentary, Miss Representation.

You can read about it here.

Near the bottom, I mention that I liked it because it touched on the problems that boys face in the dehumanization of women and the way they are socialized and expected to act.

This was played out quite painfully in a movie theater this weekend.

Jason and I went to see the movie Chronicle. (His choice, but better than I expected it to be.) Behind me to my left was a family that included a boy who was, oh, I'm bad at this - older than 11, younger than 14.

There were two scenes in the movie where the boy immediately and verbally proclaimed his stress.

The first, one male character who has always been an outsider with few friends asks his male cousin, "Do you like me?"

Now, he meant it as, are you my friend because you like me or is it a family obligation.

The boy sitting behind me, immediately said, "ooooohh, gross, god," and made some noises of disgust. Those retching, shuddering sounds played out through the entire scene.

Immediately. He put no context into the question. Do you like me meant sex and ew, that meant he might be perceived as gay and so this threat to masculinity must be immediately and unequivocally rejected. Verbally so there was no doubt that he was not gay by the implication of his silence.

The second scene, the three main characters are doing something dangerous and one almost gets killed, but is saved by another. In his exuberance, the saved teen is jumping around, hugging the savior, telling him, "I love you, man!".

The boy sitting behind me, again, immediately upon the first hug, began to verbally reject what he was seeing. When the saved boy began kissing the savior on the cheek - in an obvious, over-the-top bit of playacting - the poor boy's mother had to shush him, he couldn't emotionally handle the scene.

So, where did he learn this behavior? It is not normal. It is not normal that the mere mention of "like" or any other emotional connection between two men is immediately interpreted as "gay".

And can that poor boy sitting behind me ever tell a friend, I love you? Or will his emotional life be cut in half? Only allowed to express feelings of caring to females?

The objectification of women in the media, the vicious attacks against women in positions of power are harmful to women.

But the portrayal of men as consumers of women harms them also.

So, when you are navigating the world of media and educating your daughters, don't forget to look at what those images on the screen are teaching your sons.

Monday, February 06, 2012


Random kitten pictures because I've been slack.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Recently, the American people spoke up about SOPA. It was a bad bill, harmful to many and people flooded their Senators with phone calls, emails, and internet social media sites were buzzing.

The bill was removed.

Then, the Komen Foundation removed funding from Planned Parenthood under a thinly disguised "new policy" that somehow only applied to PP and not several other corporations who were under investigation also.

The people called bullshit and flooded Komen with phone calls, emails and the social media sites went crazy with support for Planned Parenthood.

The funding was reinstated.

Now, a group called One Million Moms has demanded that JC Penney fire Ellen Degeneres as their spokesperson because she is gay. Penney's, to it's credit, immediately told them NO.

Finally, a company that stands up to bullies.

Penney's has received emails and phone calls thanking them for their stand. Social media is buzzing.

Do you feel your power, people?

A few clicks on your computer. A simple phone call. Your voice is heard.

Don't be silent. Don't say your lone voice won't make a difference. That's the idea we've been fed to make us feel powerless, to make us believe we can't make change.

But the past few weeks have shown us that we can.

Drown out the bullies. Speak out!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I'm Just Trying to Walk Here

A while ago, a nurse who works with us had a baby girl. She and her husband were keeping the name secret until it could be announced to the gathering family. The next night when I came back to work, I asked what it was. Elizabeth.

I said, "I thought they would chose a Biblical name since her big brother's name is from the Bible."

Another nurse said, "How is Elizabeth a Biblical name?"

I laughed and explained to her then said, "How is that I, the nursery pagan, know this, but you, a professed Christian, do not?"

She laughed about it but another nurse asked me what I meant by pagan.

The nurse I was laughing with said, "Janet's an atheist."

And I cringed and said, "No, I am a non-theist."

I got the usual grilling: Aren't you afraid? Of what? Of going to hell? No. What about the Bible? What about it? It's been proven that it is the true word of God. Has it?

I don't call myself an atheist because there is a fallacy within the construct of the word. Without God. This implies that there is a god, but the person chooses not to follow/believe in that god.

I do not believe that there is a omniscient ethereal being watching over every aspect of every human beings life.

I do believe that some pretty astute and compassionate philosophers have constructed pathways to guide us on our life journeys.

If your path includes a god, that's cool. Mine doesn't. Why can't that be cool with you?

This is what it comes down to: we all just want to have a life where we can love, be loved, feel safe and contribute something worthwhile.

So just let me walk here. I'm not hurting anybody.