Sprachgefühl

I was telling N something in Russian (well, obviously, it was in Russian since that’s the language we speak to each other). As usual, my delivery was loud and expressive, not to say intense. 

“So they just sat there, all quiet (тихие)!” I concluded. 

“Тихие! Тихие!” Klara suddenly repeated with a perfect pronunciation.

Then she thought for a bit and added, “Га, га, га!” This was a line from the only Russian nursery rhyme I sing to her (because it’s the only one I remember). She had figured out that I was speaking in another language and provided the only response she knew in it. 

On a different note, my crazy hair has come in useful. Klara has known the words “hair clip” and “hair tie” for months and can easily distinguish between the two. She also slaughtered at bath time the other day when she said, “I want lotion, Mamma. No, different lotion, please. Put lotion on tummy.” It’s almost creepy because she’s so small. 

And yes, I feel very vindicated because people used to stare at me like I was going dotty when they saw me address complicated speeches to an infant. Who was right this entire time, huh, suckers, huh? (I don’t mean you, blog readers. I mean the passersby who were freaked out by my behavior.)

Meaningless Activities

With all unhealthy behaviors we engage in, it’s very useful to ask: what does this unhealthy behavior obligate me to do? What does it liberate me from doing? Nobody would engage in unhealthy behaviors if they weren’t rewarding.

I wish people remembered this and started asking themselves: which unpleasant activities do I manage to avoid by reading about what Trump said on Twitter, and what somebody else thinks about what Trump said on Twitter, and what it all means? 

Wouldn’t it be great if people remembered that nothing that anybody says on Twitter has any meaning? The whole purpose of the activity is to say meaningless stuff. There’s no meaning to posting pics of fluffy kitties, is there? It’s just a way to kill time. 

Mobility

This is what the real lack of mobility looks like. In the US, mobility is insanely good, better than anywhere I have seen and can imagine. And I say it as an immigrant who moved to this country with one suitcase and a mountain of debt less than 15 years ago, married an undocumented jobless immigrant, and is at this moment lying in front of a fireplace in a large house, making a list of things to bring to yet another beach vacation in 2 days.

I know it’s fashionable to sigh about how feudal and oppressed we all are but for me that would mean denying my whole life.  

Maybe I should place all posts in Private mode before publishing them because it’s what anybody wants to hear anyways.

Millennial Feminism

A feminist club for the very rich is

awash in millennial pink, with softly lit desks for working, a beauty room for primping, a snack bar with coffees and organic granola, plenty of art, a lactation room and a large library of color-organized books written by and about women.

Of course, the books have to be color-organized because the little airheads will get too confused otherwise. 

The whole thing is financed by the same investors that are funding Goop. 

Read the whole thing, it’s hilarious.

A 2011 Post about Trump as President

Hey, folks, check this out, it’s really curious. As I was browsing the old posts, here is one from early 2011, titled “Donald Trump as a Republican Candidate”. I have no memory whatsoever of having written it. But I like the calm and measured tone that is absent from anybody’s discussion of Trump today. 

Of course, he’s mildly creepy and he has weird hair, but if I had to choose among Republican candidates for president in case Obama loses (which today seems less probable than yesterday), I’d choose Trump. The reason why I think he’d be better than all the other candidates from that party is that he is not a religious fanatic. Better yet, after all the divorce proceedings, casinos and TV shows, he will not be able to sell himself as a religious fanatic. I believe that there is nothing scarier in the world today that religious fanatics of any persuasion.
 
Religious fanaticism today is a symptom of not being able to accept contemporary reality. The hysteria of religious fanatics betrays how confused and lost they are in the world they simply don’t get. Learning to live with the new and constantly changing realities is an impossible proposition for them, so they’d rather the whole planet went to hell in a basket.
 
Trump is obviously not one of these folks. He is the exact opposite. He has found a way to manipulate the existing realities to his own advantage and turn them into opportunities. This is a person who thrives and flourishes in today’s world. I don’t see him buying into the fundamentalist propaganda, not even to win an election.
 
This is a big country with a huge variety of opinion (I think I deserve the right to an occasional platitude, especially on a Monday). If there is a Progressive movement, there has to be a Conservative counterpart. “Audiatur et altera pars” is a principle that I hold near and dear. For the longest time, I’ve been hoping to hear what the Conservative discourse in this country is. However, the Conservative movement in the US has been hijacked by a minority of crazed fundamentalists. There must be intelligent, non-hysterical, educated Conservatives who don’t evoke Jesus, sin and evil every fifteen minutes and who are as comfortable with today’s realities as we are. A candidate like Trump could help such people take back the party. This would be the kind of a Republican party that I would still not support, but at least I’d be able to respect it. Difference of opinion is a great thing, and it’s precisely that which no religious fanaticism can allow to exist. I’m a lot more comfortable with (mind you, not happy about but comfortable with) an administrator who asks me to demonstrate how my existence is profitable to the university than the one who requires that I demonstrate how the teachings of Jesus will be integrated into my course on Spanish grammar (a true story).
 
“But he is a ruthless capitalist who will walk over everybody and everything in search for a profit margin,” people say. That he is. And for many people this is what this entire country is about: being able to do whatever is needed to become rich and assume the risk of failure. A Democrat in office is supposed to make sure that we have some protections in place in case we fail. A Republican’s job is to remove such protections based on a belief that this will make us try harder to win the competition. One can dislike this position but at least it’s based on reason and not on hysterical fanaticism. 

Parenting in Winter

I used to love winter but that was before winter meant having to coax a toddler into a coat, a hat, boots and mittens. It takes forever, especially since I can’t explain why she needs to wear a hat when I don’t. Maybe I need to buy one of those knit Rasta caps and hope it would be spacious enough for my hair. 

The park and the playground are completely empty today because folks around here treat the temperature of a little below freezing like it’s the Apocalypse. But Klara was so happy and energized after an hour-long walk that I’ll keep taking her out even if nobody else comes. 

Also, what’s weird is that whenever kids at the kid gym or wherever approach each other and try to play together, moms immediately sweep in to separate the kids and get them to play in their separate corners or with the children of their friends. It’s like if we didn’t come to the gym or the museum together, something horrible will happen if we let our kids play with the same toy railroad or do a puzzle together. It’s beyond weird. I don’t interfere when Klara approaches other kids and starts playing with them, and the other moms look daggers at me because it seems to be a huge social faux pas.

I don’t get this, folks. It can’t be a class thing because if we all pay the (truly ridiculous) amounts to attend these activities and have the leisure to be there in the middle of the day on a work day, it’s clear we are all at least middle class. So why not let the kids play in peace? Isn’t that the whole point of bringing them to the activity? It’s not like people don’t have all the same toys at home. 

We Are Not Powerless

We can all do something to go back to the time where the Internet was a space for people to express themselves freely instead of self-censoring like it’s the USSR. We have all contributed to the creation of this culture of fear and censorship. And now we can all dismantle the ugly building we have erected because it looks like a self-chosen prison. 

We need to stop using Twitter to fuel our outrage with dishonesty culled out quotes. Every time I have trusted Twitter to inform me, I later discovered I was being shamelessly manipulated by the dishonest right-fighters. I suggest to addicts that they start weaning themselves off the juice. 

We can all reject any outburst by the right-fighters the second we begin to witness one. 

We are not powerless here. It’s not something that is happening outside of our sphere of control. Do you know what most bloggers have moved to Facebook? Because there’s no calling out since it’s just your friends and it’s harder to link and retweet.