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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “August 13, 2017”

Matchstick House

When I was little, I had a matchstick house that I really loved. And then a boy called Misha who was a little sociopath destroyed it. And I plastered the super sticky Soviet version of Play-Doh (called plastilin) on his hair, and he had to have his hair shaved off because it was famous for never coming out of one’s hair. It was Soviet, which means aimed at causing the most aggravation.

I’m not exaggerating Misha’s sociopathy. He was notorious for torturing kittens in high school, burning them alive for fun. And in adulthood he became a career criminal. His mom was seriously mentally unstable, so it’s not surprising.

I told N this story once, and he remembered and started searching until he found this matchstick house on eBay and bought it for me. It’s pretty sturdy, too, so no sociopathic boy can destroy it, even if I were in the mood to have one over. Which I’m obviously not. It was years ago that I told N this story.

Yes, it’s yet another post about N’s and mine annoying cuteness. 

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A Great Link on the Opioid Epidemic

A really, really good interview on the opioid epidemic with Dr. Gabor Maté, a specialist from Vancouver who knows what he’s talking about. This is extremely refreshing because people tend to say a lot of silly stuff about substance abuse. 

Smoking, drug addiction, alcoholism – these are a result of early childhood trauma. You need to look at the parents and the early parenting environment of addicts to figure out what’s happening. When an addict picks up a pill, a bottle, a cigarette or a syringe, he’s not making a lifestyle choice. He’s putting a bandaid on a bleeding wound. It hurts more not to do it than to do it. Trying to convince people not to be in extreme pain by using logical arguments is insane behavior. 

Character Flaws vs Ideology

After watching the news, I’m not liking the narrative that is formed around the events in Charlottesville. You don’t need decency, courage or compassion to denounce neo-Nazis and feel deeply disgusted by them. 

You know what you need?

Not to be a neo-Nazi. That’s all. 

People who avoid denouncing neo-Nazis are not doing it because they are lacking in courage or empathy. They are sympathizers. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. It’s not a character flaw, it’s a system of beliefs. 

It’s wrong and dangerous to psychologize this and move it to the realm of character flaws from the realm of political sympathies. 

It’s Not a Car Crash

It’s not “a deadly car crash in Charlottesville”* it’s an act of terror in Charlottesville at the hands of a domestic terrorist organization.

The equivocation would be understandable if we’d never seen this before. But terrorists have been using vehicles to mow down people for a while. 

I hate hate hate it when people mince words and fear naming what they can very clearly see. It’s not “violence and hate” that caused the riots. Specific people, neo-Nazi terrorists, did it. How convenient to present it all as a result of impersonal and hence uncontrollable forces. Hate didn’t pick up a torch and didn’t yell Nazi slogans, you know. Cars don’t kill people. People kill people.

* Heard 2 minutes ago on MSNBC, repeated 3 times.

Oblivious

Yesterday we took Klara to a little girl’s birthday party. It was great, we all had a fantastic time. The hosts were so thoughtful that they even provided bug spray for the guests who have a tendency to attract mosquitoes. I’m the favorite person of mosquitoes everywhere, so I doused myself with the spray. 

As I enjoyed the party, I noticed that there was this intolerable, cloyingly sweet stench that followed me everywhere.

“These are great people,” I thought. “But God, what a stench! Why do they make it smell so bad?”

I tried discovering the source of the odor but the stench was everywhere I went and it was of equal intensity in every room and on all sides of the house. (I’m very sensitive to smell, so it was worth the effort to explore). It was only when I grabbed the bug spray bottle to put a second layer of protection on myself when I realized the painfully obvious: the source of the stench was me, the only person who’d used the stinky bug spray. 

A similar story happened to me in our campus parking lot that has very narrow rows and requires that you make sharp turns. Whenever I drove in or out of the lot, I’d hear somebody’s car emit a loud screech. 

“It’s so weird that the freak with the screechy car should come to campus and leave at the same time as I do,” I thought. “He must have the same teaching schedule.”

Then I came to campus on a Saturday and heard the familiar screech. 

“Wow,” I thought, “the screechy fellow is here again! At the same time as me! What a coincidence!” 

It literally took me a whole semester to begin to suspect that I might be the source of the screeching noise. 

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