Apathy, Society, and Working Myself Up to Caring

I can’t remember the last time I wrote anything good. My mind is like a sieve. I’m bored at work. I’m bored with politics and I’m bored with religion. All I want to do is take a nap most days. I’m just tired of everything. I think I could probably go work for Despair, Inc. and make a decent wage. So what’s wrong with me? My husband and I are in a good place now that the last of our grown children has moved out of the house. We are enjoying the privacy and space. I’ve visited Hungary this year with my son and that was a wonderful trip. I’ve been reading more books lately so that’s good. Yet, I can’t muster any enthusiasm for commentary about topics that used to incense me. Now I just don’t care. I figure, why should I blog if I have nothing to say? Why should I blog if a thousand other people are writing the same things? Is this what getting older is like? You lose your passion, your drive? I’ve even reconciled with my “spiritual in-laws” just for something to do! It doesn’t mean I care about religion, it just means I want to connect on some level.

I know some will suggest I’m depressed, but I honestly don’t think that’s it. I don’t despair of life, but of ideas. Does anyone suffer from that? It’s definitely not a chemical thing, I know that. Perhaps I am stripping all the non-essentials out of my life. That includes non-essential beliefs and non-essential relationships. I’ve even managed to get rid of hundreds of books in my library that at one time enthused me, but now I know I will never read. Earlier in my life this would have been unthinkable; like giving away my children. Books are valuable and precious, I thought. Yet, they too disappoint more often than not. Before, I would read anything. Now I do not waste my time if the first chapter doesn’t interest me. Sad coming from a Literature major. I’ve watched a lot more films lately since we started subscribing to Netflix. Those are temporarily satisfying as well.

In the religion department, no one is saying anything new and many (including me) are rehashing old stories and arguing about old news. In fact, most people are spouting the same old nonsense or arguing about who has the better argument because frankly no one wants to admit to being at an impasse. Pop evangelical Christian magazines, especially for women, are still writing about the same things the secular world writes about; weight, beauty, romance, and sex as if that’s all women are thinking about and that’s all women should concern themselves with. I don’t know WHY I read them, except for amusement. They opine about their own husband’s porn habit, feeling all betrayed and ashamed and never once thinking that perhaps women can produce and enjoy porn with their husbands and that sometimes sharing erotica together can save rather than destroy a marriage. Oh, but no good Christian woman would ever do that! Only slutty ones do that. They tell us how fat we are and how God loves us but hates our fat and our gluttonous ways, yet they never even THINK that God just may hate skinny women as well perhaps for being stingy and prideful about their looks? How about this: “God” could care less what size jeans I wear. My outsides do not reflect my insides. How about the unique concept that my weight is none of your business except when you’re in my face about it? How about that I’m fat (by your standards not mine) and I live my life without being depressed and as obsessed with food as the weight challenged seem to think we are. I’m tired of others policing my behavior in the name of “God.” Each “dilemma” presented in these types of magazines is presented as an either/or issue as if all problems can be solved by simple solutions. How about they are not problems for anyone at all but the God obsessed?

Another Christian bugaboo is homosexuality. These magazines also tell us that the worst thing that can happen to anyone is to have a gay family member and praying to change them is going to be a lifelong and long-term goal, so you’d best start praying now. After all, it is taught in Christian circles that your son or daughter is gay because of something you did! (Notice the agenda behind NARTH) Remember overbearing mothers and weak fathers create gay sons. So, does it logically follow that overbearing fathers and weak mothers create gay daughters? What about the other siblings? Shouldn’t they be gay too? They grew up in the same household after all. In Christians circles, if you have a gay son or daughter you are always at fault. End of story. Others say different things. Regardless of the facts, most only want to hear their own side of the story. I’m sick of both sides of the argument. I just want everyone to stop arguing about sexuality between consenting adults. Personally, I no longer care how people become anything. People are who they are. Trying to find “causes” is pretty useless unless it’s geared toward discovering why we have serial killers, pedophiles, and sociopaths. Perhaps that’s where science can better be put to good use. How people have sex between consenting adults is of no concern to me.

More than anything lately, I continually wonder why millions of people feel the need to tell millions of other people what to do and how to live their lives. I mean, besides the money motive for being controversial and selling your story, what’s in it for them? In politics the nanny state is in full swing. Each party thinks it knows what’s best for everyone. Some democrats have a new messiah complete with hagiographic photos and some republicans are too busy condemning abortion and gay marriage to care about the economy. Why is it that the SAME ISSUES come up again and again? BORING! No wonder I’m apathetic! Religionists claim God has absolute requirements and standards for living, but for millenia, no one has come to a consensus about what these absolutes are. They can’t even come to a consensus about what “God” is! God is immanent or God is transcendent or God is a Father or God is a Mother. Jesus is God. Krishna is God. You are God. You can’t define God apparently and win. And you certainly can’t define God or dare to even approach defining religion if you are a woman! What a no-no. I mean, the audacity!

I’m tired of comparing apples to oranges, of reading about applying band-aid solutions to complex issues, of listening to blowhards tell us what’s good for us about life, sex, food, houses, relationships, you name it. It’s the “Dr. Phil-ization” of American culture and it’s about time we stopped listening to others about what they think of how we live our lives. So, momentarily anyway, I’ve worked myself out of my apathy. 🙂


Who’s The Mole?

Ok, I love television shows and I really like a few choice reality TV shows. I’m a big Survivor and Amazing Race fan. I can’t miss Dancing With the Stars and I even gave Real Housewives of Orange County a try before I gave up on their dense obsession with their own looks and money. I’ve watch (semi-faithfully) shows like Iron Chef America, Ace of Cakes, and Miami Ink, and LA Ink. I love Ghost Hunters (and yes, I know they could be fake!). It doesn’t matter how scripted they may be, I love the strategy people employ to win games involving other people who may be just as devious as they are. It’s like life in a microcosm. 🙂 Others are just downright fun to watch.

Since I’m always on the lookout for good shows during the summer because all my old standbys have had their season finales, I thought I’d try The Mole. I’d never seen this show before and it looked like a cross between all three of my favorites (I’m including the short-lived Treasure Hunters from two summers ago in this lot). Unfortunately, I must be really obtuse or something cause I did NOT get the strategy of it at all. I get that someone’s being paid to lie and sabotage everyone else’s game. I get that you are supposed to figure out who the mole is, but what I don’t get is the way they single people out to run the game for everyone else. What does this do? Who cares how Marci divided up those who would get real money or fake? What in Zeus’ name would that reveal? And what’s with the dumb quiz at the end? All that does is single out who you already thought was the mole to begin with. That’s not news! I don’t know. I may give it one more look-see next week, but right now it has none of the conniving of Survivor and none of the fun of finding clues to move on to the next level, but all the annoyance of people with no personality. I might have to keep looking for a fun summer replacement show. Although Mad Men starts soon and even The Closer is premiering soon!! Woohoo!

From the Sacred to the Mundane

Man I already know who should win Season 6 of Dancing With the Stars:

And this is only her SECOND dance! I don’t care what anyone says behind the scenes, being a figure skater may mean you’re more graceful, but it does not mean you can learn ballroom dancing, which is a whole other sport right there. It’s time a woman wins the big trophy ball!

No Stomach For TV Tripe

boredom.jpgSheesh am I bored with the news! And TV in general. Sure, I’m watching my shows religiously; Supernatural, Survivor: Micronesia, Project Runway, Ghost Hunters International, and The New Adventures of Old Christine. (ok, a woman’s tripe is another’s foie gras) But, the news is a vast wasteland of “he said/she said.” YAWN. The Academy Awards are more masturbatory than enlightening, considering nobody actually sees the movies that come out in December because a) they are only for Oscar consumption, and b) they are cultural elitist propaganda and claptrap meant to make political statements most of the time.

I really cannot muster enough interest in anything right now but reading the latest Greg Iles book and playing my addictive computer game Bookworm. Work is the same old, same old. The only thing new is the trip I’m taking to Hungary (the fatherland) with my son in April. My unknown father came to America following the ’56 Communist takeover of Hungary. He quickly married my mother, fathered 3 girls a year apart from each other, and promptly left without a word. I don’t care about finding the man, but I do care about heritage and this trip will answer (or maybe not) a lot of questions for me. If not, at least it’ll be something new! Ok, I’m trudging off to plug myself into the worker bee slot now. See ya’.

Harry Potter, “Tell Me You Love Me,” and My Conscience

I haven’t written for a few days. There’s nothing much to say it seems. I’ve been trying to finish the latest Harry Potter book. I’ve read all of them (Book 5 being my LEAST favorite). This last book was about 250 pages too long, but a decent read. Sometimes the characters are a little stereotypical or one-dimensional, but hey, it’s a book for children, not rocket science. (I’m sure I’m going to incur some wrath for that remark, oh well). The most interesting character in any of the novels is Severus Snape and he isn’t really given any amount of space in the books at all, except this last one. The juicy Alan Rickman plays him in the movies and it’s only the actors involved that keep me watching those. But all in all, the series is not worth the attention some fundie Christians have given to it. There’s no Wicca in it and practically no serious magic presented at all. We have a few Latin phrases used as spells and even these don’t change over time. Nothing new is added and nothing is explained. It’s a take it, leave it narration. But anybody who reads this to learn about witchcraft or any kind of magic is missing the whole point anyway. Magic is merely the backdrop for a novel about good vs. evil, which, besides the bildungsroman motif, is the most common myth incorporated into fiction, film, etc. Well, anyway, I’ve finished it. So there.

Watching HBO on Sunday night has just gotten very interesting. A new series premiered called Tell Me You Love Me. Jane Alexander, a marriage therapist, seems to me to be a focal point around which several couples revolve. All are in various stages of married life: the soon to be newlyweds, the long married with kids, the childless but seeking fertility couple, and finally the long, long married elder couple. Let’s just say right now that it is a sexually explicit show. Yet, this is not something to be protested or sullied by pietistic puritans itching for a boycott in order to make them feel like they are doing something legitimate. It’s an HONEST look at the sex lives and loves of married couples. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and certainly nothing to get prurient about. But, like any show about the sex lives of married couple, it shows…well…sex. Some will call it porn, but porn is nothing like this. Porn is stylized, blown up, Barbie and Ken doll sex with overblown genitals and boobs and phalluses that in no way resemble real human beings. It’s Kabuki-theater for the imaginatively challenged. No, this show is “real” sex as real couples no doubt live it (or without it as the case may be) every day of their lives. I was a little taken aback at first by the graphic nature, but then I thought, “Thank you!” First, thank you HBO, for treating me like an adult who can handle such material, and second, thank you for not pulling any punches in what you show us. Every married couple, I think, will find themselves depicted in this program. Hey for the cost of HBO, it’s free therapy!

Last, but not least, I’ve been making my way slowly through the book Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman and am more and more convinced that there is no such thing as a “true” text of scripture, let alone an inerrant scripture or a “verbally inspired” scripture. There ain’t no such animal. It’s all verbal and doctrinal gymnastics to keep the faithful ignorant. I think that’s precisely the dirty, little secret of textual critics or anyone else who’s been to a university not tainted by religious bias and committed to honest inquiry. There is no “text” of scripture at all, but several letters, treatises, gospels, and other bits and pieces that were chosen randomly by a bishop here or another teacher there according to their whims at the time. No women were allowed to choose the texts, even though women were apostles and prophets as well. God no more orchestrated the gathering of these bits and pieces together than Zeus orchestrated the gathering of all of his children from several different mothers for a family reunion of the gods in ancient Greece. Of course, I always knew this from my own studies. Ehrman just solidified it for me.

Ehrman began his career as a conservative Moody Bible College graduate who, after working his way to a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, realized that what he was taught as an ultra-conservative fundamentalist Christian just didn’t jibe with the facts. In fact, the tossing about of texts, the castigating of those of differing opinions, and the fighting over words went on from the very beginning of Christianity. This was no seamless growth of a new movement, with faithful martyrs, or wonderful conversion stories. From the beginning NO ONE AGREED on how the church should be organized, which texts were considered authoritative, or what the mission of the church was. Many claimed they knew, or had a sanction from God to have the right opinion, but they were no different than anyone else. Jon is right when he writes, “The reason the christian church is failing it’s mission is because it can’t agree on what the word “christian” means, what the word “church” means, or what is its actual “mission.” In fact, a cursory read of any history of Christianity will clearly show that Christians have been disagreeing since the death of Jesus, hardly a sign that God is directing it and a sure sign that it’s of human origin (as is everything else in the world). I’ve believed for some time now that we create the mythologies that help us cope with the world. Mine is a mix that works for me. Fundies call this the “cafeteria approach” which I see nothing wrong with. I’d much rather take that approach than the approach I call “here’s your dinner and you’d better eat all those damn peas or I’ll kick your ass six ways to Sunday!” approach. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with believing anything that helps me move with love through the world. For me, as long as you harm none, live and let live, and leave a small footprint on the planet, you can believe pretty much anything you want! If the fundie God wants to send me to hell for that, so be it. I’ve lived according to my conscience.

The Only News Worth Talking About Right Now

You guessed it! Fall TV! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!

Premiers of shows I watch:

Supernatural 4: Yes it’ll be back October 4, Thursdays at 8 p.m.!

Dancing With the Stars 5: September 24, Mondays at 7 p.m. (all Central times)

Survivor: China: September 20, Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Amazing Race 12: Delayed until mid-season

Ghost Hunters 4: October premier, Wednesdays, 9 p.m. (Don’t forget the 6 hour LIVE Halloween event)
The New Adventures of Old Christine: Apparently the asshats at CBS are not renewing this funny show. Must be the same naval-gazng execs that canceled Deadwood and Carnivale on HBO.

Two and a Half Men: September 24, Mondays at 8 p.m. (I may boycott CBS on Monday nights just for canceling Old Christine).

Eureka: Has already started on the SciFi Channel. Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (You really should give this quiet little show a try).

Shows finishing up their truncated or split season runs in the next couple of weeks:

Dr. Who, The Closer, Mad Men, The First 48 (can you believe the people at HBO turned DOWN Mad Men?????? Are they insane? Apparently)

New shows that look promising:

Torchwood (on BBC America. I’m a sucker for sci-fi or X-Files wannabes)

Help the ASPCA!

Oh my God, I saw this ad for the ASPCA on TV and I started bawling like a baby! Watching it again elicits the same response. I have rescued several kitties in my lifetime. In fact I just rescued one a little over a month ago. To me there is no reason whatsoever to harm such innocent creatures as animals. Absolutely none. Anyone who can harm them or neglect them or abuse them is without conscience and is seriously mentally ill!