Friday, March 23, 2012

Various & Sundry: the "What is WRONG with people?" edition

As I look over what I've compiled during the week, things seem mostly to have taken a fairly serious turn. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want  something lighthearted, skip to the video at the end.

Trayvon Martin. Can there be a more appalling tale out there? Ta-Nehisi Coates has been posting something daily about what's being said and done, but I think the most...I don't know if "helpful" is the right word, but illuminating, perhaps, was this larger picture piece of the Stand Your Ground law that allows people to use lethal force when feeling--feeling--threatened. Trayvon Martin is not the only person to be killed because of this law. Unbelievable.

Again going to a larger picture, the Kony2012 video inspired Teju Cole's reflections on the White Savior Industrial Complex, which is very much worth your read.  Here's the key take-away:
What innocent heroes don't always understand is that they play a useful role for people who have much more cynical motives. The White Savior Industrial Complex is a valve for releasing the unbearable pressures that build in a system built on pillage. We can participate in the economic destruction of Haiti over long years, but when the earthquake strikes it feels good to send $10 each to the rescue fund. I have no opposition, in principle, to such donations (I frequently make them myself), but we must do such things only with awareness of what else is involved. If we are going to interfere in the lives of others, a little due diligence is a minimum requirement.
Preach it.

I haven't had much to say about rhetoric recently, though I've been thinking about it.  I was struck by this article that talks about how changing the rhetoric on the "War on Islam" changed the narrative.  Am I happy about our current military engagements? By no means.  But I still think Saletan has a point when he says,
Bin Laden wanted a religious war. Bush and Obama refused to let him have it. At the end of his life, isolated by left-wing drone strikes and marked for death by PC commandos, this was Bin Laden’s chief lament. And that, Sen. Santorum, is why you don’t call it a war on radical Islam: because choosing your words carefully is part of winning the war.
Another time, I may (or may not) have something to say about how we use the word "war" to score rhetorical points--the War on Women vs. the War on Religion being a prime example. But while I'm pondering that, I am also still incredulous about Rachel Held Evans' report that her publisher wouldn't let her use the word...vagina in her book "because we have to sell it to Christian bookstores, which apparently have a thing against vaginas." This and more astonishing info in her post on Scattered Thoughts on my Life in the Christian "Industry".  Infuriating! The vagina is a body part! Not a dirty word, for God's sake!

OK, I'm calmer now.

All that being said, I am glad to report that baseball season is coming, and that right soon. So with all that is wrong with the world, please just take a moment to enjoy this nifty bat trick.

And remember it's spring. So that's good.

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