Friday, January 11, 2013

Various & Sundry: Starting with National Hot Tea Month and ending with sloths

Let's see what's been piling up during the week that I'm bursting to share with one and all.

First things first: January is National Hot Tea Month. Well, to be honest, every month is National Hot Tea Month, as far as I'm concerned, so I don't have any special celebrations planned. I did think that these tea pods were pretty cute, though.

See how the tag is a little origami boat so it floats on the tea water?
What? Too precious for you? Fine.

How about a website that helps you plan your living wills and stuff? That real enough for you? It's called Get Your Shit Together.

I don't have all my shit together, but I did get my flu shot today, thanks in part to this old post of mine about passing the peace without spreading the flu. I kept noticing it coming up in the stats as people look for what to do in the midst of the flu outbreak. I've added a brief update, based on the comments that were made. I wish there were a perfect solution - or no flu.

After going to the meeting on Wednesday about how Washington plans to reduce gun violence, I was drawn to two articles focused on the NRA: this article traces the fairly recent history of the NRA's connection to fighting for the interests of the firearm industry as opposed to gun owners; while this article suggests the White House may just ignore the NRA. I'd be fine with that.

Lance Mannion has been writing Miserable Thoughts about Les Mis and tying them to our contemporary culture, politics, and religion. I thought his post about the character of the Bishop of Digne was particularly spectacular. Truly, I hope you'll read it. Here's how it ends:
Conservative Christian leaders are quick to tell us that every hurricane, terrorist attack, and school shooting is an angry God’s will. He’s punishing us for abortion, feminism, secularism, “the homosexual agenda,” etc. But he never punishes us for our greed and our lack of charity. We’re punished for allowing gay couples to get married but not for letting children go hungry and old people freeze or swelter to death or sick people to go without medicine or a doctor’s care.

God is always punishing us for not being mean enough to each other and ourselves and never for not doing a good enough job of loving one another.
I'd never heard it put that way. His Fifth Miserable Thought on Jalvert the Republican (French, not American) is also fantastic.

This long reflection on how we need to ask ourselves questions when we consume media was eye-opening to me. I had never thought of the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast as an abuse-apologist narrative. Now, I will not be able to see it as anything but.
I get that it’s hard to see something you love get lambasted, or tarred with a brush you’d rather not think about, or called bad names. I get that it feels like things are being ruined, like people are looking for things to hate, like people are taking things too seriously.

But consuming media critically is a skill, and in an age where media is more prevalent than ever before, it’s a skill worth having. It’s a skill worth having because you are going to continue to be exposed to media, and it is going to continue to attempt to manipulate you. It’s a skill worth having because it makes it less difficult to see people talking shit about things you like, not more. It’s a skill worth having because some of the shit being taught en masse by media is horrible scary damaging shit, and maybe you don’t think you’ve learned that horrible scary damaging shit, and maybe you don’t think you’re susceptible to that horrible scary damaging shit, and honestly? Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re not. I don’t know you. But I know that a classroom full of average southern Ohio state school students went silent in horror at the full realization of what Beauty and the Beast teaches kids too young to know better.
On a lighter note, I admire the chutzpah of the man who claimed he was driving legally in the carpool lane with two people because he had Articles of Incorporation in the passenger seat. Corporations are people, my friends.

And finally, because it's been a long week, slow down with some true facts about sloths.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Still thinking through the religious, political, emotional, and historical implications of Les Mis myself. Here are two things I've read that I've liked:

Charles Walton, "The Missing Half of Les Mis: The Film's Pessimistic View of Revolution ... and Ours," from a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, online here:

Susanna Betzel, "No, It's Not Actually the French Revolution: Les Misérables and History," a post on the Historical Fiction Authors Cooperative blog about Historical Fiction E-Books, on-line here: