February 2012

See, I knew even with my Lent commitment, I would still find plenty to blog about.  Now it’s Michelle Duggar, the wife from the “19 Kids and Counting” reality show, who apparently has been giving lectures with tips for Christian women about how to achieve marriage success.  Here are a few of Michelle’s unsurprising tips:  Being subservient to your husband.  Not criticizing your husband’s mistakes.  Making sure that your looks conform to your husband’s fantasies.  Asking your husband to tell you when you have a resistant spirit.  (Which in my case is completely unnecessary:  my boyfriend and I already know that I have a resistant spirit, haha).

I guess all this leads me to wonder what exactly we define as success.  Is a marriage considered a success because it has lasted for a long time—at any price?  I’ve seen a couple episodes of the 19 Kids show, and Michelle always seemed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown (and I can’t blame her).  Is that success?  I know that I don’t consider having 19 children to be a success.  I realize that people want to have children, but just a couple of kids can be a challenge.  And nineteen?  How do you even know who you are anymore at that point?  And if you’ve lost your identity and don’t know who you are, how are you a success?

Also, I would like to think that a truly successful marriage would be a relationship in which the husband and wife are partners and equals.  But I realize people have different definitions of success, and under this particular definition, whether or not your relationship actually works well for both partners doesn’t appear to hold as much importance.  Again…success??

There, that wasn’t so hard.  I should add that the Duggars have come out as supporters of a certain Presidential candidate who shall not be named…but I didn’t actually blog about him! 

More of Michelle’s tips can be found here:  http://www.radaronline.com/sites/radaronline.com/files/Seven%20Basic%20Needs%20Of%20A%20Husband.pdf

Check out the section about hairstyles and what they should reflect about you–it’s fascinating!



So, it’s Lent.  This is the time of year when, back when I was still a practicing Catholic, I would try to give something up.  I no longer attend church, but am thinking it would still do me good to do a little cutting back in my life.

So I think this year I’m going to give up Rick Santorum for Lent.  I have been obsessively reading, writing blogs and making Facebook posts about Rick Santorum, contraceptives and the Christian right.  All these topics need a break, before I lose my mind.  I’m sure that I am creative enough that I can find other subjects to write about.  While I’m at it, I need to give up Glenn Beck as well.  Glenn can be my bonus sacrifice.

In case I just can’t stop myself from blogging about Santorum—and the temptation will be difficult to resist—I have other Lent options.  Stop working so much damn overtime, so I have more time to blog.  And I can martyr myself with some serious hangovers.  It’s a hard sacrifice, but I may have to be the courageous Christian who is willing to do it.

Anyway, here’s to the official start of my Rick Santorum fast.  I’ll bash him again the minute Easter Sunday starts.

My family recently received an e-mail from relatives in Poland telling us how the “true Polish national identity” is the Catholic one, and going so far as to say that anyone outside that Catholic identity is not only indifferent to the well-being of the country, but might in fact be an evil Commie.  (Sound familiar?)  Being that my parents have for most of their lives been practitioners of Buddhism and yoga, this rubbed them the wrong way.  When my mother tried to suggest that perhaps non-Catholics, atheists, gay and Jewish people should also have a place in Polish society, the relative came back with the pleasant response that he hoped those atheists, gays and Jews would be well served by the euthanasia and abortion they so strongly believed in.

This is a growing movement in Poland right now, and many of our old friends—people who used to be rebels and freethinkers—are more and more often making these kinds of shocking statements to us.  Of course, all I have to do is turn on the right radio station or website here in America and I can hear all about how this is a Christian country and only those who are Christian in the correct way are truly a part of it.  Except that over here this kind of talk will be prefaced by the disclaimer that the talker believes in everyone’s right to have a different opinion or belief…it’s just that those with the different opinion are a “darkness” or a “cancer”.  And a cancer needs to be removed from the body, right?

Is it just me, or does anybody else feel the gathering stormy weather?  That pounding drumbeat of “those who are not like us”?  I suppose that drumbeat is always there, but there are times when it seems to flare up, and right now the tension is building up so tight it feels like the planet needs to clear its sinuses.  Then again, since the sinus-clearing usually entails a world war of some sort, maybe it’s better if we remain clogged.

One thing we cannot do is allow ourselves to be fooled by the relative calm.  After all, Western Europe in the 20th century was a very polite, civilized society as well, wasn’t it?  For now we still smile at each other on the train and give each other the fake “I’m doing great!”  In a moment of real crisis, how quickly could that turn into “You are the problem and you need to go”?  It has happened over and over again.

Maybe those times of horror are part of a strange birthing process by which our species grows.  Hey, I have the right to delude myself as much as anyone else.  All I know is that no matter where you go, you will always meet that group of people which needs to hold on to some type of dogma to be secure.  And I have met those people both on the right and the left, by the way.  I’m from Poland, so I’ve dealt with real Commies, not the bugaboo ones that conservatives invent over here.  No matter which side the true believers are on, they are bound by one common quality:  they can’t handle it when someone else thinks differently from them.  It rocks their world too much.  They lash out against it.  Under certain circumstances, they even kill.

And no matter which time we live in, it is the duty of those of us who don’t have a closed mind to stop them from doing so.  It may be a struggle which never ends.  And probably one I’m not strong enough for.

Okay, I have to admit it, I was underwhelmed by Madonna’s halftime show performance (I ignored the whole football game part of the event).  Yes, I’m going to critique the Goddess of Pop, and I’m sure I’ll get struck down by lightning for it.  I’m all for living your life to the fullest at any age, but Madonna seemed slightly pathetic trying to pretend that she is still twenty.  She was having trouble with her dance moves and high kicks, looked very stiff, and a little ludicrous when trying to be provocative.

To me this underscores the problem with today’s music world.  In the old days of music, a singer Madonna’s age would probably not have come out hopping around in a short skirt and trying to do synchronized dance routines.  She would have made an entrance in an elegant dress and then knocked everyone in the audience out with…amazing singing.  I know, what a concept.  But Madonna’s voice has never been that great.  To her credit, even fewer of the singers of today’s generation seem to be able to sing at all.  (And yes, I realize I sound like a grumpy old woman writing this.  Oh well.)  I know Beyonce and Adele have genuine talent and will still be performing years from now, but what will Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj do when they’re older?  That’s the problem with relying on a superficial shell of sexiness to market yourself—once that is gone, there might be nothing left.

Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter.  The Super Bowl apparently hit one of the highest activity levels ever for tweeting about a live event, including during Madonna’s performance.  So the audience doesn’t really pay attention.  They’re too busy multitasking and commenting about what they’re watching. 

Also, I have to give Madonna kudos for her “World Peace” message at the end of the performance.  Since that’s something we all want and stuff.  If it stops the war with Iran from happening, I’ll reverse my entire negative review.

I still wish Cee-Lo would have done the halftime show, though.

Here’s what really sucks about the Komen Foundation’s decision to cease their support of Planned Parenthood:  it forces women to take sides in a political conflict they don’t want to be in.  I have supported the breast cancer cause in the past and would like to continue to do so, without all this…excess baggage.  Most women would.  We all oppose breast cancer, no matter which side of the aisle we’re on.

Part of me says this shouldn’t matter.  The Komen leadership has a right to its own views and the cause of finding a cure is so important we should be able to transcend our differences.

But another part of me says this is just a small piece of a larger battle.  The Komen Foundation decided to withdraw its Planned Parenthood funding after getting consistent pressure from pro-life groups.  I can’t help but think that the effort to put us all in a time machine and take us back to the bad old days has been accelerating lately.  Rep. Cliff Stearns’ right-wing witch hunt against Planned Parenthood is one symptom of this.  State governments have been proposing a slew of anti-abortion bills, and we have Presidential candidates in the running who don’t even think the Pill was such a great idea in the first place.

So I think many of us feel we have no choice but to stand up against this—before it gets even worse.  Hence the head of Los Angeles County’s chapter of the Komen Foundation resigning, and the many protest posts to be found on Facebook.  The Komen Foundation is losing support from many women, and it is doing this damage to itself—unnecessarily.

I would love to be able to continue to wear the pink ribbon, and to have it stand just for that, pink and the fight against breast cancer.  But I suppose it’s a sign of the times:  our nation is so divided right now that even the most innocent cause is no longer innocent.