What Does It Make Me?

If I believe that people who work hard, persevere, never give up, and believe in themselves will always come out winning in the end and achieve success, does that make me an optimist? A realist? A conservative? Or simply annoying?

Sex Education in Quebec

A guy from the AIDS foundation just told us that sex ed has been removed from Quebecois schools. As a result, two thirds of high schoolers in the province think there is a cure for AIDS. This is very disturbing to me. This is such a progressive place but all of a sudden there is no sex ed in schools. How is this even possible?

Different Reactions to the Blog

“You have a great blog,” my ultra-polite Peruvian brother-in-law tells me. “The only thing is that you are sometimes very harsh on the commenters. Of course, they really deserve it but wow, you are harsh. It’s all their own fault, of course. I think.”

“The only complaint I have about the blog,” says my sister who is so outspoken and opinionated that I seem like a total wallflower by her side, “is that you are too nice and acquiescent with the commenters. What’s up with the endless ‘yes, you are right’, ‘exactly’ and ‘I agree’? That’s just boring.”

“You have great commenters on your blog,” my father says. “Thanks to them I discovered that there are many true intellectuals in the US.”

Apologies and Expressions of Gratitude

Dear readers and fellow bloggers,

As you might already kow, I am now visiting my family in Canada. I made the mistake of not bringing my netbook with me, and as a result, I can’t be as effective as a blogger as I normally am. For one, there are many typos in my posts and especially comments, for which I apologize. Blogging from an iPad makes correcting typos a horrible drag.

Also, I haven’t been able to visit my favorite blogs and comment on them. I only visit the blog of the scholar who is reviewing my manuscript to analyze his posts obsessively for hints at the poor quality of my writing. Because every post ever written has to be about me, of course. Crazy, I know.

I try to post and answer comments as much as I can. I can’t do it as often as I would have liked to but I still read every single one on my cell phone. Sometimes, the phone refuses to cooperate and I can’t respond to comments.

Thank you all for stickng by the blog in spite of all this and making this week the most successful one for the blog so far. The last time I went on vacation, the number of visits to he blg dropped, which caused me anxiety and abandonment issues. 🙂

Women and Violence

In the discussion that followed my post on Charlie Manson’s cult (sorry, I still can’t add links to my posts, but you can find it easily in the list of the most popular posts in the right-hand panel), people concentrated on the death penalty issue. This is understandable since it is a complex and divisive subject. I wanted, however, to draw everybody’s attention to the fact that the female murderers are treated far less severely than the man who was not even present when the murders in question were committed and whose only crime consisted of telling the women to kill.

In her book The Dead End Feminism, Elisabeth Badinter discusses how difficult it is to conduct any research that demonstrates that women are as capable of violence as men. It disturbs our narrative of women as vicims and damsels in distress who never inflict violence but always suffer from it. Badinter mentions the research on female Nazis who committed unspeakale crimes during the Holocaust. She also discusses the contribution of women to the Rwandan genocide. Such research, says Badinter, is always ignored in the academic community of the Western Europe and the US. This was surprising to me since the post-war literature of Ukraine and Russia is filled with the images of depraved female SS-members. I had no idea that people still needed to be convinced that the Holocaust was not created by men alone.

Blaming the Internet

The discussion of the London riots has moved into the ever-boring and extremely predictable terrain of blaming the Twitter. One boring pundit after another tells us how the riots either would not have happened or would have caused a lot less damage had the Internet not interfered.

This is the trick that lazy minds love the most nowadays. No matter what happens, let’s blame the bloggers, the Twitterers, and the Facebookers. The reasons for this are clear: the traditional journalists are losing the competition with the free sources of information online and it makes them rabid.

I have been reading this really great novel called The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar. The book was really impressive until its last thrid where the author launched into the same old tired anti-blogging rant. Tobar is a professional journalist and his resentment towards bloggers overpowered his talent as a fiction writer.

An Interesting Commenter

Comments that readers leave on this blog appear on my Dashboard in inverted order: the most recent comment (irrespective of the thread where it appeared) is at the top of the page, the second most recent is a little lower down, and so on.

So I’m reading the comments that have accumulated while I was away from the computer. Eventually, I come across a very interesting comment. I can’t say I agree with it completely but it surely betrays an original way of looking at things. I’m curious about the identity of this new, interesting commenter. And then I discover that the comment was left by me yesterday. 🙂