Here’s the thing: If you’re using the holiday season to go out of your way to be an asshole to someone, believer or non-believer, you’re doing it wrong, and I wish you would stop. That’s not a war, it’s a slap fight and it’s embarrassing. As a non-believer, when someone says “Merry Christmas” to me, I say “Merry Christmas” back, because generally speaking I understand that what “Merry Christmas” means in this context is “I am offering you good will in a way I know how,” and I appreciate that sentiment. Left to my own devices, I use “Happy holidays” because I know a lot of people who aren’t Christians (or at least Christmas-centered) and that seems the best way to express my own good will; the vast majority of people get what I’m doing and appreciate that sentiment too.
I think most people get the idea that regardless of religion or lack thereof, we’ve designated this time of year as the one where we make an effort to be decent to each other. Accept it. Welcome it. Live it, in the best way you know how. Be tolerant and gracious when others share this sentiment in a way different than you would. Look for what they’re saying means, not just the words they use to say it. It would be a fine way to have everyone enjoy the season.
“It’s Okay to be Neither,” By Melissa Bollow Tempel
Alie arrived at our 1st-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got in line for art, and I noticed that she still had not removed her hood. When we arrived at the art room, I said: “Allie, I’m not playing. It’s time for art. The rule is no hoods or hats in school.”
She looked up with tears in her eyes and I realized there was something wrong. Her classmates went into the art room and we moved to the art storage area so her classmates wouldn’t hear our conversation. I softened my tone and asked her if she’d like to tell me what was wrong.
“My ponytail,” she cried.
“Can I see?” I asked.
She nodded and pulled down her hood. Allie’s braids had come undone overnight and there hadn’t been time to redo them in the morning, so they had to be put back in a ponytail. It was high up on the back of her head like those of many girls in our class, but I could see that to Allie it just felt wrong. With Allie’s permission, I took the elastic out and re-braided her hair so it could hang down.
“How’s that?” I asked.
She smiled. “Good,” she said and skipped off to join her friends in art.
President George W. Bush claimed that his office had the inherent power to detain anyone he chose, for as long as he chose, without a trial; to authorize the torture of prisoners; and to spy on Americans without a warrant. President Obama came into office pledging his dedication to the rule of law and to reversing the Bush-era policies. He has fallen far short.
¶ Mr. Obama refused to entertain any investigation of the abuses of power under his predecessor, and he has been far too willing to adopt Mr. Bush’s extravagant claims of national secrets to prevent any courthouse accountability for those abuses. This week, he is poised to sign into law terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law. ¶ The measures, contained in the annual military budget bill, will strip the F.B.I., federal prosecutors and federal courts of all or most of their power to arrest and prosecute terrorists and hand it off to the military, which has made clear that it doesn’t want the job. The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial. The bill, championed by Republicans in the House and Senate, was attached to the military budget bill to make it harder for Mr. Obama to veto it.
¶ Nearly every top American official with knowledge and experience spoke out against the provisions, including the attorney general, the defense secretary, the chief of the F.B.I., the secretary of state, and the leaders of intelligence agencies. And, for weeks, the White House vowed that Mr. Obama would veto the military budget if the provisions were left in. On Wednesday, the White House reversed field, declaring that the bill had been improved enough for the president to sign it now that it had passed the Senate.
¶ This is a complete political cave-in, one that reinforces the impression of a fumbling presidency.
This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide. You can see very clearly two kinds of people. On one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find … themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. Then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. … they mean to develop intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than when they graduated.
Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.
Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? … Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”
Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe … life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.
Ever since Joss Whedon’s space western was canceled back in 2003, its fans — at first, a relatively small contingent, but as time and DVD sales grew, so did the ranks swell — have wondered what could possibly rescue it from the tightly clenched jaws of death. And until now, nothing could….
The recent illustrations of Siri, the iPhone 4S voice-recognition based assistant, failing to provide information to users about abortion, birth control, help after rape and help with domestic violence has gotten a lot of notice. Yesterday’s post with screenshots…
“But when a saga popular with pre-adolescent girls peaks romantically on a night that leaves the heroine to wake up covered with bruises in the shape of her husband’s hands — and when that heroine then spends the morning explaining to her husband that she’s incredibly happy even though he injured her, and that it’s not his fault because she understands he couldn’t help it in light of the depth of his passion — that’s profoundly irresponsible.”—
Critics of Occupy Wall Street have a transparent objective: They want to persuade blue collar whites and ordinary middle class Americans to turn on the movement for cultural reasons — because its optics offend these voters’ cultural instincts — even if they broadly agree with its general principles and critique of what’s gone wrong.
This dovetails with a quote from John Cole I recently posted here (to much rending of garments and clutching of pearls from the very people he’s talking about):
“The greatest hoax of the last couple of decades has been the ability of the right wing to co-opt members of the struggling lower middle class and lower class and pretend they speak for them while enacting policies that enable the super-rich. They’ve used wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion and the baby Jeebus to alienate folks from their own economic interests, feeding them a steady diet of hatred of minorites, the educated, science, and, well, reality to create a voting block of people so guided by hatred of the ‘other’ that they would crawl over broken glass to cut their nose off to spite their face.”
I posted that quote from Cole on my G+, and the self-identified conservatives are livid about it. I don’t mean this as an attack on self-identified conservatives at all. I quote it because it breaks my heart.
And not that it matters, but the same thing can largely be said of Democrats since the election of 2000. I strongly believe that if Obama and the Democrats had behaved like the populists they claimed to be when they had majorities in both houses of congress, and actually done something to hold these Wall Street criminals accountable, #OWS wouldn’t be necessary.
Now we just have to hope that the #OWS protests capture enough attention for long enough to force the Democrats (because you can be damn sure it won’t be the GOP) to enact laws and policies that actually address and correct the things we’ve all been begging them to listen to for about ten years.
This is how a movement gets started, and it doesn’t end quickly or cleanly.
And it isn’t the job of the protesters to write the damn laws; that’s the job of the Congress, who need to work for The People instead of The Lobbyists.
There’s an old saying that scouts are there to do good! Clean up parks! Help old people cross the street! How about a Girl Scout helping you fix your computer? Or explain sunscreen? Or do your taxes? Okay, maybe they won’t be doing that last one, but Financial Literacy is just one of the new badges that Girl Scouts can earn now that they’ve given their badge system a big overhaul. Some of the traditional badges will remain, but new emphasis is giving girls the chance to earn their stripes in business, science, and technology. (Even the beauty badges are taking a more intellectual turn, and that’s just awesome.)
So for the final installment of my “New DC” reboots, I thought I’d take a look at Batman and friends. In some ways these are probably the least drastic of my redesigns (Batman’s been handled better than a lot…