Limitations of Identity

This guy is some sort of a genius:

What people admire about Tony [Soprano] isn’t his freedom; that thing you think is freedom is actually  the lack of freedom. His story. His identity– that he has one, an obvious one, a clear one.  Tony Soprano is not free, his behavior is completely tethered to what makes sense for his character.  He acts exactly like Tony Soprano would act.  That’s what people want:  the limitations of that identity: if I know who I am, I know what I am capable of, I know my strengths and my limits, I know how I’d react to unknown dangers.  And I want other people to know this.  If other people know who I am, I wouldn’t have to keep proving myself.  Strike that: I wouldn’t have to prove myself in the first place.

Wow. This is so brilliant and so completely true that I have nothing else to add other than to repeat my “Wow!”

Do read the whole long post because the rest of it is just as amazing. Just one more little quote for you:

Not knowing who I am, not knowing what I am supposed to do next and what I am not supposed to bother doing next– makes us long for characters who know precisely what to do next even if it is the wrong things.  They may be flawed, but they are definite.  They exist.

A standing ovation is in order.

“Borrow From Your Parents!”

The following article would be funny if it weren’t so sad:

“Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business,” Romney told college students in Ohio. The statement is in context of a story where a friend of his borrowed $20,000 from his parents.

I don’t even have any friends with parents who can just lend $20,000 like it’s small change. My friends who are college professors with college age kids would be in stitches if somebody told them to loan this kind of money – that they obviously don’t have – to their children. Where are they supposed to get it from? Take out a second mortgage?

I can just imagine this scene:

“Mom, Dad, I need  $20,000.”

“It’s in my wallet, the one in the brown handbag.”

“Oh, thanks. I’ll give it back when I can.”

“Don’t worry about it, it’s nothing.”

I wonder what percentage of people who listened to this speech find Romney’s advice to be useful and say to themselves, “Shoot, I forgot completely that there is all that money my parents have lying around for me to borrow!”

I understand that a presidential candidate has to be out of touch. It’s among his job qualifications. But shouldn’t he also be just a little bit better at concealing just how out of touch he is?

Dear Fellow WordPress Bloggers!

Recently, it has become difficult for me to leave comments in my own Comments section. I try to leave a comment but the system refuses to accept it and gives me a nasty little zero instead. It appears right under the comment. This doesn’t happen all the time but it happens enough to be hugely annoying. Then, if I still want to leave my comment, I have to go to the actual post and hunt for the place in the thread where I want to leave it.

All of this is hugely annoying and time-consuming. Does this happen to you, too? If so, do you have any ideas why this happens? I’ve tried reloading the page but that doesn’t work. Has anybody found a way to avoid this issue?

If I can’t leave comments from my Comment section, that sucks because I can’t go hunting for each comment I want to answer in the actual thread.

Who Needs a Reason to Hate Ann Romney?

I find it really hilarious how all of the super-duper ultra-progressive Liberals turn into the worst retrogrades in the universe when a chance comes to dump on an enemy. Or his wife. I don’t know how many times in the past couple of days I found the following quote from Ann Romney bandied around self-righteously by people who fail to realize that dumping on Ann Romney for making this particular statement turns them into anti-feminist bigots of the worst caliber:

“I love the fact that there are women out there who don’t have a choice and they must go to work and they still have to raise the kids. Thank goodness that we value those people too. And sometimes life isn’t easy for any of us.”

The following reaction to Ann Romney’s words appeared on the website that hides its contempt of women behind male privilege lists and commands to women as to which of our body parts we should not value:

You know who doesn’t love the fact that there are women (and men) who have no choice but to work, rather than staying home full-time? It’s those women (and men) who have no choice but to work. That’s not something they celebrate; that’s something they lament.

I’m a woman who always had and always will have to work. My sister is such a woman. My husband is such a man. We don’t have a choice to stay home even part-time, let alone full-time. And we in no way “lament” this. We actually do celebrate it, believe it or not.

I love it that I never had a choice to work or not. If I had, I might have given in to my indolence, my laziness, my inertia and deprived myself of the incredible joy my profession gives to me every day. It’s not easy to stay up reading when your peers are dancing in a nightclub. It’s no fun to receive yet another rejection from a journal. And it’s a total drag to have to get out of bed at 6 am to be at the final exam at 8 am, as I will do on Wednesday and Thursday.

Just like many of the people I know, I could have given in to the temptation and said, “Ah, to hell with all this trouble, the recalcitrant students, the mean publishing houses, the colleagues who constantly disagree, the tyranny of the alarm-clock, the annoying administrators, and the daunting tenure requirements.” I want to be honest here, so I won’t pretend that I would have worked nearly as hard if I had millions of dollars in a bank account. I know I wouldn’t have.

And if that happened, I would have never had the same intense intellectual growth as I experience now, I wouldn’t have cried for joy when getting yet another message from a student about how I changed her life, I wouldn’t have felt what it is like to create a comfortable life for myself from scratch, I wouldn’t have experienced making my very first big purchase with the money I made completely on my own, I wouldn’t have the same overwhelming pride in my own achievement as I do know. Hell, I wouldn’t even be with my husband because my passion for my career was the very first thing that attracted him to me.

This is why I absolutely love it that I don’t have a choice and have to go to work tomorrow. You couldn’t pay me enough to get me to become a housewife. Seriously, there isn’t enough money on this planet.

The blogger I linked to betrays his deep-seated envy for Ann Romney when he says that she is “tremendously lucky.” I guess if money is the only thing you value, then, sure enough, she is fortunate. I, however, can’t envy the situation of a person who never had a profession or a career of her own and whose identity is entirely diluted in that of her husband and sons. People only care what she has to say right now because her husband is running for president. On her own, as a separate individual, she interests no one. I have a small audience here on my blog, but at least my readers come here because they are interested in me, not my husband. Never having any meaning or value as a human being in your own right, how sad! I honestly wouldn’t wish this fate on my worst enemy, irrespective of how many millions accompanied it.

Chernobyl’s Grandeur vs Holocaust’s Fetuses

This is how a blogger describes a trip to Northwestern Indiana:

There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn’t worked out well.

Chernobyl-like grandeur? Hadn’t worked out well? So That’s what Chernobyl was? “Something that hadn’t worked out well”?

I’ve been to Gary, Indiana more than once. The area is, indeed, desolate, and the town looks tattered and miserable. If I’m not mistaken, it was a place with the highest per capita murder rate in the US until East St. Louis took the lead in that tragic statistic. It’s like whenever I move to a place, the highest per capita murder rate follows me.

So yes, Gary is miserable. But it’s not Chernobyl. There is nothing “grand” in either of those places. What these towns experienced was tragic in very different ways. And the intellectual laziness that compares Gary to “ain’t-it-grand” Chernobyl, working for a wage in the US to slavery and abortion to the Holocaust is both offensive and stupid.

People who think that these outrageous comparisons make their writing stronger are mistaken. If anything, their writing sounds extremely silly and unconvincing as a result. At first, I was very interested in this blogger’s report about an area of the country I happen to know well. However, the moment I got to Chernobyl metaphors, I lost all interest in anything he has to say. If this blogger is so careless with words, how can I trust that anything he says about Northwestern Indiana is not the product of his love of pretty-sounding verbal flourishes?

I propose that we all leave Chernobyl’s grandeur and Holocausts’s fetuses in peace and talk about the issues we initially proposed to talk about. If you want to describe Gary, Indiana, then, for Pete’s sakes, leave Chernobyl out of it because it is not only offensive to the actual victims of Chernobyl but also extremely counter-productive for you as a writer.