Why lions are awesome!

Lions and tigers, and leopards, oh my!

I had to get that terrible joke out of the way.

I’ve been watching NatGeoWild a lot lately. I may not be a huge animal person, but I have my level of interest. Which has certainly been expanded by the things I’ve been watching.

The channel just had a Big Cats week, so I recorded about ten different programs, which I still haven’t finished watching.

My favorite big cats by far are the lions. Cheetahs and leopards and jaguars are cool. But lions take the grand prize.

I am no professional, but my astute observation after so much research is that lions are unpredictable.

If you have cats of your own (I have three) you probably would agree that cats are often predictable to a retain extent, but constantly do things that puzzle you. Like one of my cats likes being petted only every so often, and only on her head. But sometimes she lets you do more. There’s really no way to know.

Lions are like that times ten. Traditionally we all know them as the king of beasts, but not everyone knows that they are good mothers, protective fathers, and surprisingly affectionate pride members.

Watching the lions and lionesses with each other reminds you of watching a pair of highschoolers with innocent school level crushes, or a new married couple perhaps.

Lions date, did you know that? It’s not exactly how we do it, but when an aspiring male wants to mate with his female of choice, he has to prove himself, usually by bringing her dinner or helping with a catch.

Lions risk their lives to get food, so the lion has to be committed to this idea before he goes for it.

But lions are no easy pickups. Some swatting and growling can be involved before they agree to be mates.

I also think that those who represent lions as only bloodthirsty killers have never actually watched lions alone.

Lions are very territorial, but they still can surprise you.

9 out of 10 times, a lion will chase another lion off, or look out for number one.

But I was watching one story about three different lion prides. One of which was decidedly more fierce and merciless. These lions had some excuse to be, since they had to guard a whole herd of buffalo, whereas most prides don’t rely on just one herd for food. But there was one horrible part where they tortured one unlucky member of a rival pride to death.

It was so sad, the pride the victim was from had to surrender to save her life but in the end they got too dehydrated and had to move on, thought hey waited as long as possible. The mother of the lioness waited the longest.

I started feeling bad at this point, even though it was a lion, and it wasn’t like I knew her or anything.

But it turns out I must not have been the only one. The next day the three prides (one of which stayed out of he fight,) all stared trying to eat the same giraffe, and the merciless lions tried to take another lioness form the competition. This time the lionesses pride didn’t do anything, probably because they had surrendered and figured they were licked.

But then something even the commentator couldn’t explain happened. the other rival pride, the owners of the turf, stepped in and drove the angry lions off. Saving the lionesses life, though she was hurt. The angry pride didn’t dare mess with the actual owneres of the turf. (Kind of like a kid int he cookie jar doesn’t throw a temper tantrum.)

you have to understand, these lions had no real reason to help out. They just wanted these intruders off their land.

My personal thought was they’d seen the killing the day before, and sometimes I think lions just get tired of it. They didn’t want to settle things that way.

And that’s a really human emotion to witness from wild animals.

IT put me in mind of all those cute stories of how animals save lives. Which my sister reminded me of after I shared this story with her. Whatever you might think of cats and dogs, both creatures have been unknown to rescue both each other and humans.

Even wild animals have been known to save humans, for whatever reason. Lions included.

If you have read this far, first thank you; second, you might be wondering why I told all this. It’s not exactly my normal subject matter.

Well, hey, I have other interests. This is my blog , I can do what I want.

But also, I found these lions inspiring, in the way only animals can be. Sometimes it takes an animal to remind us of what it means to be human,

Mercy, compassion, these are the exceptions int he animal kingdom. And animals aren’t evil for that, they do have to survive in am roe basic way than we do.

But that’s exactly why we should realize that if even wild beasts can find some compassion in themselves, it must be an important part of life.

Some lionesses take care of cubs that aren’t there’s even when it’s at risk to themselves. Sometimes the males, classically portrayed as eating off what the girls hunt, actually allow struggling mothers and cubs to share with them.

Lions are a lot of things but they aren’t selfish.

And I think that’s a lesson for us.

For me, watching this was amazing for another reason, because I thought that God made lions, and God is compassionate. If even his wild creations can show mercy, then how much more his intelligent, spiritual ones?

And those are my thoughts for now. Until next time–Natasha.

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Racial Stereotypes and Movies.

You know what I notice when I watch internet reviews? Most of the ones out there are by more…liberal minded youths.

Youths being subjective, some of them are in their thirties.

But they more to the left, if you know what I mean.

I still enjoy their reviews and get something from them, but on certain issues, they always end up disappointing me by taking the opposite stance from what I would.

A common example would be racism in films (by the way it’s a lot easier to see racism in films than in books.)

A lot of the time it’s just pointed out to make a sarcastic joke, and the observation is not based on substantial evidence that the movie was being racist.

Like in old Disney movies.

Maybe, and I say it with reluctance, Walt Disney did have some racist leanings. A lot of people did in the forties and fifties, even those who wouldn’t have identified themselves as for segregation.

But I might point out his movies were probably one of the first, if not the first, to feature ethnic characters in a kid’s film.

Also, I question whether all stereotyping is harmful.

To a kid, the stereotyping is a lot less about color or speech and a lot more about how the character acts. They won’t recognize singing a certain way as a stereotype. They’ll be paying more attention to whether the character is being good or bad.

And that’s why black is associated with evil and white is associated with good.

Before you get all offended (if you’re the type who does.) Let me further explain.

The black vs white thing has nothing to do with race, as much as certain groups of people would like you to believe it does. It’s all about the contrast between darkness and light.

This goes way back to the Bible itself, along with plenty of mythologies around the world. Darkness, night, underground, etc, is always representative of evil.

Which is not a coincidence or a chance but a deep truth. In darkness you are blind and you lose your way. That’s how you become evil. In a nutshell.

But light, daytime, open air, they all represent truth and goodness.

And we all know the connection there. Freedom and seeing things clearly leads to happiness and goodness.

Plus most people are afraid of the dark as children and prefer the daylight hours.

That villains are traditionally clothed in black or other dark colors is not a racist thing, nor are references to things looking blacker than before. Context, people, context.

Black characters are not often cast as villains anyway.

Which is also called racist, but I think the white people ought to be more offended over this.

why are we always portrayed as evil maniacs who lie, kill, steal, as if it were nothing?

And if this doesn’t bother you, but black characters not being villains does, you have a problem.

Because that’s basically saying white people can be evil and it’s normal, but black people can be evil and it’s special. It makes them important.

How messed up is that idea on so many levels?

Furthermore, if old movies portrayed black and Asian characters as goofy, quirky, and stereotypical, were they any better to white characters?

Couldn’t the whole tea party thing from Alice in Wonderland be called an English stereotype? Could the white rabbit who’s always in a hurry and kind of a milksop be a stereotype?

Actually all the characters int eh movie are white and very quirky.

But if that’s not the best example, what aobut the princess movies?

The only non white princesses are also ones portrayed as more proactive and hardworking and anti damsel in distress. (Pocahontas, Tiana, and Jasmine.) You can argue all day about how their ethnicity as a whole is portrayed, but aren’t they less helpless and docile than Cinderella and Snow White and Aurora; all European.

And aren’t all the white princesses up till Merida stereotypically man–oriented without any power of their own?

Merida and Elsa are still the only real exceptions to this so far.

Am I saying we should come down on Disney for all this? NO.

I don’t care.

I really don’t need movie characters to tell me what my gender should do or be. I don’t see little boys walking around being princely. (Too bad.) If I like identifying with princesses, it’s because something in the idea of it itself appeals to me. Not because i think that’s the embodiment of what a woman should be.

I would find that thought ridiculous.

And I don’t ask movies to define femininity for me. Wonder Woman is just as feminine to me as Cinderella. Because woman are different, and what we share is hard to capture in one film.

Saying that Cinderella or Wonder Woman are the peak of womanliness is as silly as trying to pick between a t\super smart guy or the tough wrestler guy as the epitome of manliness.

Doesn’t a man need both brains and brawn? Don’t most men fall between those two extremes. Or in some cases, are both. (Hi Batman….and most Superhero men.)

And don’t most women have both a tough and bold side, and a demure and beauty loving side.

For me those two sides are inseparable. I can be bold and appreciate the finer things in life simultaneously.

And any movie that says those are mutually exclusive is idiotic.

Just like any movie that thinks it can accurate portray an entire ethnicity is idiotic.

Here’s the rub.

People are all different. A movie portraying an ethnicity can only portray the most well known parts of it, or the worst parts, or the funniest parts, to get so many people to follow along.

It’s not a movie’s place to define a race. Only to use race as a storytelling tool.

It can’t tell you what you are, and how you live. It’s not able to do that. And no one should ask it too.

That’s not to excuse any film that’s using stereotypes just to put people down and dump on one culture or another. Those films are garbage.

But most films are just trying to tell the story using what the majority is familiar with. And that’s true whether it’s an american film portraying English stereotypes, or a Bollywood film portraying American stereotypes. (It happens.)

Whatever. Can I just focus on the actual message?

Those are my thoughts anyway, until next time–Natasha.

Dual Misconduct

Can we get right into a nitty-gritty topic in this post?

Sexual abuse allegations.

I am not writing about this because of all the stuff on the media about it right now. I didn’t feel the need. I am actually writing about it because of the last episode of a show I’ve been recommending.

In this episode, a female intern gets propositioned and…touched awkwardly…by a male doctor.

You know the drill. She feels this is just a problem women face in the workplace, and if she makes an issue of it, she’ll get labeled a… a whiner, I’ll put it that way. And also difficult.

What struck me about this situation on the show was that the man in question knew that this intern had an…shall we say active sexual life, right there at the hospital, so he thought even though she was acting disinterested, he could persuade her to change her mind.

I refuse to be more explicit then that, you’ve all heard the story already.

Now to be fair, the situation hasn’t been resolved yet, so I can’t say whether the show will do it right or not. But I can say a continuous problem I see with shows that like to tackle this issue.

And that is Feminine Responsibility.

I will not downplay how serious a problem sexual advances can be. Even if they are invited, they are not always appropriate. But when they aren’t invited, it’s worse naturally.

But what about the other side of the coin?

Have you noticed how the women on these shows tend to throw themselves at men…and make advances on them. Invited or not.

The reason they get away with it is because the shows assume every man watching would be totally okay with a woman trying to seduce him. Even if he’s married, or has a significant other.

And of course, a lot of men probably wouldn’t argue that. But there’s a few out there who would be very uncomfortable if such a scenario actually happened. (And in my opinion it happens a lot less than the shows imply.

Which brings me back to the point of responsibility.

I have to tell you all, and without embarrassment, that I’ve never been sexually assaulted in any way, or propositioned.

I’ve never been asked out in a normal way actually.

And you have to understand, I’m not ugly. Everyone tells me I’m very good looking. And I’m not some wierdo who drives men off or anything.

So I think I can say with confidence that there’s no outward reason I’ve escaped this problem other than luck…or something more.

If women really deal with this so often, and if men like that are really everywhere, maybe we should consider our own behavior also.

And I mean we as a gender, because personally I try to conduct myself like a lady.

Now, no man, ever, should make an advance on a women who clearly says she doesn’t want it. Period.

But…. 

If women really deal with this so often, and if men like that are really everywhere, maybe we should consider our own behavior also.

Just on this show, I see issues with the intern’s jaded attitude.

First of all, she has a reputation clearly. If people know she’s sleeping around with some guy at the hospital, then that says a lot about what she’s willing to do on the job. No body but herself could have given her that rep. It was her choice to do that, the other intern didn’t force himself on her. In fact we see her be the more aggressive one in a different episode.

Again, unrealistic, but if women in real life were to do things like that, and it got around, they would raise certain expectations.

Now, you might say, men could do the same thing without being propositioned by other people at the workplace.

And you would probably be right.

But that’s because women don’t typically go after men the same way men go after them. The women who do get in sexual affairs may not be any less sick and twisted, but they will be in different and often less visible ways.

So, yes, men will do more things we arrest people for. But it doesn’t mean they are always necessarily worse than the women. Not at the heart of it. Sexual misconduct is not always aggressive.

Furthermore, the intern on the show is also known to flirt with other men on staff. By accident maybe, but people will pick up on that.

There is no nice way to say this, if you act like you are easy, people will think you are easy. That’s all there is to it.

See, I believe men, even the sick predators among them, can read women better than we realize. I think that’s why I have always been treated with respect by the opposite sex.

I notice that I, and my sisters and mother, are treated differently by most men than the people we know who are more… morally ambiguous.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t sickos out there who will still come on to us. Sometimes a sick mind takes pleasure in hurting the most innocent of people. But that’s more rare.

The fact is, more predators go for those they perceive as weaker in standards.

And as tired a subject as it is, I think how girls dress is a big part of that.

I think also girls who are less confident, or way too confident, have a certain look in their eye.

And men do too. I can typically tell a gentlemen by the expression on his face and the way he conducts himself around me just in the first time we meet.

Which also suggests that if women are getting a creepy vibe from a man, they need to act on it immediately.

And if they can’t protect themselves, they need to ask for help.

But, they do have responsibility. And also, if they’re job is more important to them than their safety and purity, as this show episode also suggested, then that is a problem.

In that scenario, they are choosing to keep exposing themselves to these advances.

It is no excuse to the men even if that’s the case, the issue should never have to come up at all.

But my point is, we need to make sure we aren’t inviting it either. Think how many female celebrities post provocative pictures of themselves online, or take movie roles that involve doing stuff, they need to realize what they are telling the world.

Anyway, this ran long, so I’m ending it here. Until next time–Natasha.

Propaganda.

Do you know what freaks me out? How I can’t watch anything now without being concerned about propaganda being slipped in.

Seriously, it bugs me.

Well, one person’s propaganda is another person’s truth; or at least it’s what they believe is true.

Propaganda: information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

Originally from a Latin phrase meaning “spreading the faith.”

Obviously propaganda isn’t always bad. Anyone who believes in something will spread it around.

The only problem is when propaganda is spread around under the name of fact.

I could say it is a fact that God exists. But I can’t prove it; and no one can prove He does not exist. It’s a matter of belief (and evidence.)

Evidence is never fact until  it’s been confirmed that your interpretation of the evidence is correct. Like in Legal Cases. Or in a detective novel, a good detective never says who did it until they are certain the evidence is irrefutable. Then the guilty party inevitably does something to prove them right.

All this being said, I guess I have no right to complain about propaganda in media and entertainment. To make a piece of art devoid of propaganda is nearly impossible.

What does bother me is when it’s propaganda I don’t agree with.

I guess the only thing to do would be never to watch anything ever again. But I doubt I could go through life doing that successfully.

Still, isn’t it kind of sick that I can’t watch even children’s shows without worrying about some sexual orientation propaganda being in it.

OF course, I’m realizing that that is widely accepted as fact now. That I’m gong to be seen as a bigot for having a problem with that.

cause that’ always the hide road, isn’t it? Call anyone who disagrees with you a bigot and put a label on them so you can shut them up.k

I won’t say that you can believe whatever you want. The people who say that don’t really mean it.

When was the last time you heard someone say “believe whatever you want” about Racism.

“Yeah, believe on race is better than the other, that’s fine. It’s your personal truth.”

Or what about slavery? Yes, slavery is okay as long as you believe it is.

(Yikes, if someone only read those last two lines I could be really misunderstood.)

Okay then, so not everything is open to personal belief. Clearly Racism is wrong. Slavery is wrong. It’s wrong because we as a society have moved beyond that.

Or was it always wrong? Even when society was practically built around segregation? Or slavery.

Clearly enough, unless humanity is suddenly more enlightened than it ever was, society in general can’t decide right and wrong.

Now, most people would not say society shapes their views. But many of them, if they looked back, would see that the people they grew up around, and the things they watched and read and were taught, are still what they believe now.

People may think it’s even noble to believe what they do. Like believing in homosexuality. It means their open minded, and not biased. Those people would also do well to examine themselves more closely.

Because,whatever the belief is, believing it because it makes you a better person in the eyes of the world is the wrong reason to believe. And I would say that about my own faith too.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house where if you had doubts about the faith, you could express them and not be shamed for it. My mom would tell me we all go through times of doubt. I wouldn’t have to feel like I was the only one who had questions.

By and large, that saved me from believing just to get points. I don’t think anyone is ever completely spared from that temptation, but it’s not what motivates me now.

A good question to ask yourself is “If I was the last person on Earth who believed what I do, would I still believe it?”

Any real faith would say “Yes.” Because real faith is not based on other people, or on what you see around you, but on what you don’t see and still know.

The reason I believe in God is because I have experienced things with God that I never experienced with people. People never gave me deep peace, or true joy, but when I became a Christian, I had those things.

You could never convince that was in my head, I’ve been in my head too long to think there’s any peace or joy to be gotten from there. (Some of you know what I’m talking about.)

Only God could explain me finding things I never could find in the world. There has to be something outside the world that can provide those things.

And when you believe that, you have real faith.

Which is not to say everyone who believes that is on the right track, but they are at least being real, and that’s the point all truth starts from.

We all need to be real. We need to admit that some things that ate accepted as fact have never been proven. We need to admit that till we’ve really been tested on something, we don’t know if we really believe it.

Someday you will be called upon to choose a side. It may seem like there’s only one side to be on when it happens, but there are always two. There is always another option. And all of us should decide now which we’re gong to pick.

And stick to our guns. Propaganda or no.

(Propaganda helped me come to my faith, but it was not the thing that drove me to it. There’s a difference from having something beat into your head until you believe it, and actually facing your demons and recognizing them for the first time.)

Until next time–Natasha.

(The cover photo is not intended as a direct crack at Hinduism, it was just the most religious example I had.)

 

Getting Connected.

I recently told you all about learning ASL, okay time to confess:

I have been watching ASL videos almost nonstop the past three weeks. I’m talking about every single day.

And those of you ho have tried to learn a new language know, it can make your head ache.

But when you do it that much, you will either have so much in your head it can’t compute, or if you’re like me and already are partially familiar with ASL, you will start thinking, breathing, even dreaming in  sign language.

There will be moments when instead of spoken words coming first, sings will come to your mind.

You won’t be able to sing without using motions.

yeah, someone out there knows what I mean.

Or, in my other language of study, Spanish. Sometimes I voice things in Spanish. I do have to think about it and the grammar.

Probably everyone knows about the effects of having a second or third language. One thing I’m particularly proud of is being able to sign while speaking Spanish. Or even another language. So long as I thoroughly know what the other words mean, I can sign it too.

But actually that’s not so difficult. Other Signers have talked about being able to speak two languages at once. The hard part is singing and talking, not really what language you’re talking in.

I know talking about this isn’t my typical subject matter, but it is something I’m interested in, and I think other folks are interested too.

Actually there’s  a growing interest in deaf culture. A lot of young people ware interested in it.

I’m fortunate to have discovered some good YouTube channels and  a Deaf Center not too far from where I live, but for years I had neither of these. (One of the Channels has only been around for a couple year to begin with, I started learning before then.)

Deaf people no longer consider their lack of hearing to be a disability, but most hearing people do. And many even treat deaf people like they’re stupid. Or make fun of sign language.

Even I have heard the jokes about knowing sign language…followed by getting the finger. I mean, seriously?

What’s worse is that I found out to be an interpreter you need five years of training at least, and that is for legal or medical signing.

I can’t sign legal or medical terms extensively, I don’t know how I would learn that unless I got involved with some program for it. It’s not everyday speech for the most part. (I mean, deaf people talk about that stuff of course, but they wouldn’t to someone they didn’t know well anyway, most people don’t do that.)

I am more interested in interpreting at a Church, or some other organization that would be less formal and involve more friendly interaction. But when I was assessed, I was assessed only on  News/political and medical categories. (Plus speed and accuracy, which I did poorly.) Naturally I hadn’t studied either of those much.

As important as those things are, there’s everyday situations that I would probably learn to handle a lot more quickly and would come up a lot more often. What I’m not sure of is if interpreters are used for that.

So you see, I know very little myself about the culture.

But since I’ve been studying it more, I’m convinced the gap does need to be bridged.

A lot of the Deaf are convinced that the Hearing community can’t understand them, and that overall it doesn’t want too. In my experience that’s not always the case, but I have limited experience.

A person like me, who has no deaf family and has not been to school and studied ASL there, and who is still interested, is rare. There are not many who just want to learn without having any personal contact with  the deaf world.

I’m unique in that way.

For me it started with the language and then eventually I started being more interested in the speakers of the language.

Anyway, here’s the thing about the cultural difference:

What I hate is when people assume I can’t possibly understand them because I was raised differently. It always makes me determined to understand.

The way I see it, I don’t know what it’s like to be deaf, or blind, or even Hispanic. It’s true, that’s not my culture.

And they don’t know what it’s like to be me, in my culture. No one knows what’s it’s like to be me, except me.

So it is silly to say that having the ability to hear or not hear puts any more of a barrier between people than just having different lives and backgrounds always does.

What I feel, only I know. I and God. What they feel, only they know.

My point is that we’re all human, I happen to believe that humans beings can understand each other as much as they wish to. They just don’t usually wish to. And that goes for any relationship under any circumstances.

If anything, being bilingual will help you appreciate someone’s choice to try to communicate with you at all, instead of being resigned to awkward silence.

I have a feeling we all have had that experience  too many times for comfort.

I would rather not be put in a box. I would rather not have anyone assume I feel one way because I’m hearing; because I’m white; because I’m middle class (barely’) because I’m young; because I’m a Millennial; because I’m a Christian; because I’m a conservative; because I’m from a two-parent home; because I’m homeschooled.

All these things shape who I am. Only one of them defines it. (You can guess which.)

No one should assume I think a certain way or feel a certain way until they know me beyond the labels. No one should put me in a box.

And that goes for deaf, blind, special needs, and any other thing you can think of.

It’s not what category I’m in but how I act and believe that will make me what I am.

And that transcends any disability and any difference that’s only on the surface.

So, that waxed very poetical towards the end, but I think I made my point. Until next time–Natasha.

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Awkward grace.

For King and Country.

I try to stay away from a lot of political stuff on this blog. I don’t want to become centered on that.

But I have some thoughts on what’s been going on recently in America. What with this kneeling business and all. And other stuff.

If you live in a different country you may not have heard about the sports players kneeling for the national Anthem as a protest against Racism.

I don’t know if the Constitution forbids that, I don’t remember anything about that when I read it, so I can’t exactly say what they did was unconstitutional.

And I also wouldn’t say disloyalty to your Government is always a bad thing.

Hold on a minute, let me explain:

I would not call the German’s who tried to help the Jews or bend the rules slightly for honest people wrong for not following the system.

I would  not call the Chinese who resist the Communist Revolution wrong.

I would not call it wrong to refuse to lie, kill, steal, or otherwise sin even if your Government told you to.

I would call that the Appeal to Authority thought fallacy, and it it not only stupid, but dangerous. (As all stupidity is after a point.)

I think you are never wrong to do the right thing, as Mark Twain said.

With that in mind, why do I think this taking a knee stuff is not right?

I will admit that the players themselves are probably thinking of it as a good thing and not intentionally trying to be disloyal to the country; or, if they are, they are not aware of why it should be otherwise.

If that sounds condescending, then I’m sorry. Because the only alternative is to think they are intentionally giving the finger to every person in this country who respects it.

I don’t think even that absolute patriotism is an admirable thing. It leads to blindness usually.

Also, I will confess that I’ve seldom ever felt really proud to be an American. I love the ideals this country was built on, but I am only ashamed of the ideals it is turning towards now.

So, I can understand why these players may be having difficulty in feeling kinship with their country.

But I am appalled at how many News Channels and talk shows are lauding this kind of response.

I don’t like the knee bending because I find it immature and insolent at the same time.

It may be kind of weird to pledge allegiance to a flag, or to show honor to a piece of cloth. But the flag is a symbol. Like a crucifix. People shouldn’t go around pledging their hearts to a little wooden figurine, but there is sometimes an inspiring power in physical representations of invisible truths.

The pledge of allegiance equates the flag with the Republic “for which it stands.”

If you diss the flag, you are not dissing racism, you are dissing the Republic.

The flag stands for the American way. Which has nothing, and I repeat nothing, to do with Racism. One way or the other. You won’t find Racism in the Constitution. Or the Declaration of Independence. Or Common Sense. Or the Federalist papers. (That I know of.)

Further more, the Bill of Rights can be amended, so even if Racism had originally been a part of our Constitutional principles, it has long been removed.

I’d like to ask all of those players if they have read the Constitution.

But one might make the point that it doesn’t matter what the Documents say, so long as the Country as a whole is still Racist.

Tell that to Fredrick Douglass; he quoted the Declaration, he claimed his constitutional rights.

But still another question I have is how dissing the flag is supposed to do anything about racism?

What are you protesting really? Racism or America?

Whew! I am getting worked up.

But from a rational standpoint, I still don’t see how it helps their cause.

I do note that most of if not all of these players seemed to be African American.

If they really feel so concerned about racism–these poor, discriminated against professional National Foot Ball league players… of whom at least half are African American–then why waste time making people angry over the flag? Why not form a group and start changing things where Racism actually is? Because it’s not in the NFL.

National heroes like them cold have a lot of influence around inter city gang members, and the underprivileged kid in the ghettos, where Racism take thousands of lives, probably yearly.

What makes me really angry is that these players, and the people supporting them, aren’t going by facts, realities, or statistics. They aren’t going to the places where this stuff actually happens and finding out the real reality. They aren’t interviewing anyone with other viewpoints than what makes theirs sound more real.

Have any of them read the books I have read that actually deal with racism and black lives being at risk? Have they watched documentations? Have they heard stories other than cover stories (which are usually tweaked,) have they talked to African American’s who aren’t democrats to see if they all feel discriminated against too?

No.

Where are the people protesting that Ben Carson should have won to keep up the trend of black presidents?

Well, Ben Carson is a conservative. He doesn’t feel discriminated against.

That is what it boils down to. None of this is based in reality. The News Network is not reality.

What’s really fake is the idea that bending a knee to the flag can do anything except incite anger. Does it inspire anything but more resentment and more hatred in people’s hearts? On both sides of the debate.

I can’t tell these player what to do mainly because I can’t speak to them directly at all. I can’t tell anyone who approved them what to do either.

I don’t think the liberal media is going to read this post. And if they did, they wouldn’t listen.

That being said, I do not expect to change the minds of the people who are determined to think this is okay.

What I do hope is that if someone is not bent on one perspective or the other, they’ll consider mine.

I won’t say the Conservatives are handling this in the best way either.

To me it’s not about the party, it’s about the principle. I believe in respect and honor, and compassion, and mercy, and justice.

That’s why I don’t condone ignoring all of those things in order to show the world that as far as you’re concerned, you’re country can go to pot.

But I run the risk of overstating my point, so I’ll stop here. Until next time–Natasha.

 

Wish Fulfillment.

I’ve been rereading “Pride and Prejudice” for the umpteenth time.

I am not one of those Austen-land level fans (though I’d totally spend a week at an English manor wearing Empire Waist dresses and having tea.) But I have to appreciate the brilliance behind that book as much as the next person.

Jane Austen loves the Cinderella story. Poor girl attracts rich man with her charms of sense and character, and they eventually live happily ever after.

Even if a lot of the ending does seem like wish fulfillment, it’s the best kind of wish fulfillment. We all know how it should end, and in books if no where else, endings ought to be what should have happened, at least 90% of the time.

I had no problem with wish fulfillment endings before I started watching movie reviews on YouTube. Then I was introduced to how critical my generation tends to be.

And the one who aren’t critical seem to blindly like whatever movie panders to them, be it good or bad.

I would not be the one to say we should all just drop our differences and get along because sometimes there are legitimate points on both ends of the spectrum.

Too much criticism renders anyone, but especially a youth, cynical.

No criticism at all renders anyone gullible and empty headed about art.

Wish fulfillment is one of the main things that gets complained about.

“Oh that was convenient.” “She is such a Mary Sue.” “This ending makes no sense at all.”

My problem more often is that I feel that the movie provides its happy ending just to avoid making people angry, and doesn’t bother to work it out so that it’s convincing.

Heck, all the difference between a good ending and a bad one can be made with just the actors. In book form that’s a little harder to pull off.

But my question is what is so wrong with wish fulfillment anyway?

Don’t we all want to get what we wish for? Isn’t that how we define a wish?

On what planet then do we complain about getting what we wanted?

On Planet Earth of course.

I guess people only complain when the fulfillment was what someone else wished for, not them.

I can’t argue with that myself. I certainly prefer endings I wanted, but there have been times when a different ending works out well and I have to admit that.

But in life, many of us just want to get what we want.

Though to be honest, I wonder if most young people know what they want now. The ones I know don’t seem to have more than a vague idea. I know I only have bits and pieces. Even older folks don’t seem to have a clue what they want.

If you went up to ten different people and asked them “What do you want? I mean really want? More than anything else in the world?” Most of them would give you either a stupid answer that they clearly didn’t think through, or possibly a blank look and a shrug.

For example. If you were to say the next iPhone, that would be a stupid answer. You want other things more than that, even if you don’t know it.

You would be amazed at how few people know what they really believe, but even fewer know what they want.

There are some tried and true answers to the question. All of us want love, in some form or other. We all want meaning. We all want to be important to someone.

Notice that those three elements primarily make up Happy Endings.

Then there are our more specific dreams.

Lot’s of young people have dreams now, very diverse dreams. Many of them even have the drive to fulfill those dreams. Oddly enough, no one is calling this Wish Fulfillment.

Even though we all know from Cinderella that a dream is a wish your heart makes.

I was annoyed by the song after a certain point, but I think she’s right about that.

It really is isn’t it? Your heart has a wish to do something, that becomes your dream.

For many of us it’s been a long time since we had a dream.

We find a place in life and in line that we can make work, and it suits us to a degree, and it’s fairly safe because we know  a lot about it, and that’s where we decide to stay.

For some of us our comfort can even be in pushing ourselves to new degrees of excellence, provided it’s excellence in an area we feel we have a shot in.

But Pride and Prejudice might show us this, that it’s only when we find our perceptions turned upside down and inside out that we begin to finally see our way clear to what we should be.

Maybe it’s when we’re cornered and have to face up to our own flaws that we start to find a way to push past them.

I had such an experience recently, more then one as it so happens. I have more coming I am positive.

If I might wax philosophical, I think that Happy Endings are what we prefer because we are meant to have them.

I think that we have to work towards them, as Sabrina Carpenter sings in “The Middle of Starting Over.”

I think also that they come to us.

In every human life I believe there is an intertwining of the results of our own choices, and the events caused by a higher power.

The Bible says we partner with God. I’d have to say the evidence points that way.

Wish Fulfillment is not a bad thing when it is born out of someone becoming the kind of person who wishes for the right things, and a belief that righteousness is, in the end, rewarded.

Jane Austen’s books would all be examples of such a blending of ideas.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.

Breaking it down.

“[M]an has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong or stark or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.”
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

If you haven’t read this book, read it. It is devilishly insightful. (Ha ha.)

I thought I’d follow up on my Your God will be My God post with a post delving a bit more into the why behind the matter.

It’s true that many of the youth of today have no real idea of what it means to believe in something.

But it might be less obvious why that is.

Everyone has their own theory. But the funny thing is, even one person has so many different causes for it that you’ll here the same man blame the government, the school systems, the church, the parents, and the youths themselves, all in the course of one or two conversations on the subject.

So ladies and gents, I am here today to simplify this mess as best as I can. I believe you can narrow every single problem down to three basic causes.

But first let me define what problems I mean a bit more:

I am referring to the moral ambiguity or just plain confusion of the younger generations.

I am referring to the spinelessness of the older generations in general to stand against this tide.

I am referring to the blind adherence to the principals of society that many people exhibit.

I am referring to the unbelievable corruption of the authorities of said society.

There now, I hop that’s enough to intrigue everyone.

First of all, as Lewis points out in the above, youth now (and then when he wrote it) hear scores of different worldviews presented to them. Often the worldviews are blended into each other so that they are barely distinguishable. Every one declares their personal worldview to be true. The youth is often not given any measuring stick to go by, and so remains confused and unable to stick to any one thing.

But what has changed in the past sixty years is that now, many people will not even try to compel the youth to believe in what they themselves believe in. Instead they will say “whatever works for you.”

This philosophy is fed to the youth from every imaginable source, including their parents and all too often the church, so if they meet someone who thinks that’s a load of crap, they think that person is the odd one out, never realizing that in terms of history, they are the oddballs. (Every homeschooler’s experience.)

But that’s where the second problem comes in. The older generations may not even totally believe that philosophy, but they are afraid to go against it because a lot of major power sources in the world are busy promoting this idea. Unfortunately, often the courageous men or women who dare to oppose are shut down by said sources, sometimes they are shut down by their own friends or fellow workers.

This explains why people blindly go along with this stuff. And why the most corrupt individuals are the ones who rise to power in this sick system.

But I can break it down more than that.

This is nothing new. The root cause of all this is the same thing: Sin.

Sin comes in three parts. There’s the sin of the individual, the sin of the world at large, and the sin of the devil. And I mean what he causes specifically.

It might sound nuts to blame the devil, but if you can’t accept that, then think of it as the reason why sin keeps getting worse. Something is constantly causing new ways for people to be corrupt, call it what you will, you can’t deny that things get worse over time.

The sin of the individual in this case is that every human being is selfish, and every human being tends to think more of themselves then they should. IT is all too easy for people to be lazy about what they believe. Pluralism is not popular because it is wise, peaceful, or inducing to happiness; it’s popular because it’s convenient and easy. A get out of jail-free card.

The sin of the world is that as a whole, people tend to act in the worst ways. Peer pressure, mob mentality, you know the drill. Sometimes that’s not the case, but whenever a lot of people get upset, sooner or later some of them will let their emotions get the better of reason.

And that stems back to individual sin.

And then all you need is some misguided or misguiding leader to step up and you get a whole movement going which could be pure idiocy. Often it turns to pure evil. (Holocausts, the reign of terror, the after effects of the Civil War and Civil Rights movement.)

Messed up people create messed up societies which choose messed up leaders, and so the cycle goes till a righteous generation chooses to end it.

But this generation is being robbed of the ability to even figure out what righteousness is.

The thing is, Pluralism is spoken of like its a fact. But it’s a belief. By its own philosophy, it has no more credit than any other morality.

But it keeps its followers blind to its own contradictions. They stay that way because of sin.

But there is hope.

One thing pluralism cannot change is that some people do instinctively know that right and wrong are real. And these people may yet see through the deception.

But it would help if more of us could help them see that the deception exists.

Not wanting our beliefs challenged is an old human flaw, if it even is a flaw. (I think it’s really just a twisted version of a very healthy wish for stability.) But we need them to be.

And by the way, there is a cure for the sin problem. It’s Jesus.

Those are my thoughts on this for now, until next time–Natasha.

Your God will be my God.

You know what the most important question anyone can ask you is? What do you believe?

I think we undervalue this question now. Everyone has an opinion, but no one has to be affected by it anymore. Our opinions are just floating around on the breeze.

Funnily enough, that used to be how we’d define not having any beliefs.

I feel like if one of the heroes of even two centuries ago (or even one) was to come back alive and see how we think now, they wold be incredulous.

They would be disgusted with out lack of backbone.

Now that is not everyone, I understand; but here’s the thing, this pluralism has become like the flu, it sneaks up on you and breaks in new ways that aren’t always recognizable as what it is.

I would venture to say that a lot of young people and plenty of older ones are believing in pluralism without even being aware of it.

Here’s why I think this:

I’ve complained before of how young people will just shrug when it comes to moral issues. You know the drill, if it gets too difficult for them, they just say “Well everyone’s entitled to their opinion.” They say it automatically without thinking about it. And they will defend that position up until they or you are too frustrated to keep talking, but they will never stop to think they might be defending something that has no basis in reality.

I don’t blame them for the nonsense that they are taught, I blame them for being unwilling to question it. Not that that’s anything new. People have always been that way and it is just more obvious now than it used to be.

The thing is, I hear this from christian youth as often as non-christian. I am always surprised that they can shrug off the problems with certain movies and music and lifestyles as being “that person’s choice” or “what they believe.”

Then it hit me: The thing I have never considered is that the youth of today think that Christianity is their religion because they personally believe it. Not because it is superior to any other in of itself.

I really think this is it, and with other religions than Christianity too.

Nowadays it is almost nationally accepted that people believe what works for them, because it works for them, and not because it is fact.

Now you can disagree about facts all day long, and someone is sure to be nearer the truth than the other, but neither may have it totally correct. That is a legitimate debate and one that can be given more or less credit based on observation.

But if observation itself is reduced to a matter of personal taste, then what are we left with? Nothing but flimsy opinions that have no real foundation.

It is actually inconceivable to many youth that there could be One Right Belief. And if you say you think there is, they will get frustrated at you from being so stubbornly opinionated.

If it’s true that people believe what suits them best, why do we have martyrs? Why do we have zealots and radicals?

Do you think radical Islam is the religion that best suits the needs of most of the people who believe it? Or is it just what their taught and never allowed to question? They may very well fervently believe it. But that doesn’t make it true.

Pluralism is destroying a lot of people’s souls, they believe it, does it follow that it’s good for them?

Has it been good for the country overall? Or any country that’s fallen into it?

The answer, if you look at statistics and not at the Media, is no. A resounding no.

I would venture to say this country has never been worse off than it is now.

The people in this country have no respect for it anymore. People on both the left and right end of the spectrum.

I can’t say I exactly blame all of them. Our country has been divided so long it’s no longer debatable. (It’s about the only thing both sides agree upon.) The truth is, when there are no absolute values, then there can be no healthy country. There is no way to keep people in order who can’t tell right from wrong. even criminals used to know they were criminals. Now they will defend thier actions as not wrong but just freedom of expression. OR just them not bieng able to control themselves becuase of how messed up they are.

And sadly, even in the Church, many people don’t actually believe in Christianity in full.

The very basis of Christianity is that there is one God. He decides what’s right and wrong. Either we are for him, or we are against him. There is no gray area. There is no middle ground. There is no thin line between Him and the Evil One. No, the line is a huge chasm. The difference is whether you fall into it or not.

People can reject this view. But if they say they believe it, they better realize that means the cannot believe anything else. If something contradicts the Bible, it’s out.

I say this because it is something millennials really don’t understand about faith. Faith involves loyalty to one person or one group of people. It means their enemy is your enemy, their friend is your friend.

Ruth understood this. She knew that if she went with Naomi it meant she could no longer worship a pagan god. “Your people will be my people, your God will be my God, where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” She told her.

One last thing: I do not say that every young christian who has pluralism mixed up with their faith is damned. I think many of them are sincere and godly in other ways and don’t realize the contradiction in their theology. I would even say their own souls may not be in danger.

But the problem is, other peoples’ are. Everyone’s soul is in danger when it has no rock to hold onto.

So here’s to the faithful ones who still are holding on to absolute truth. You’re not alone.

–Natasha.

 

 

 

 

How to recognize a weasel–part two.

This is not really a continuation of my Beauty and the Beast review, it’s more a commentary on films in general.

I said when I reviewed The Hunger Games that the movie was trying to make you think it was good, but it really had no strong message.

It turns out there’s a lot of that going around. I just saw La La Land and it was the same thing. It seemed good because it was trying to be like an old fashioned romance, but it totally lacked morals. I’m actually surprised that many good people thought it was great.

I get why, I wanted to like it. But I kept waiting for a moment where the characters did something I could really admire, but they didn’t.

I think my Grandmother thinks I’m just predisposed to dislike every movie that recently (in the last five years) came out.

But I liked “Hidden Figures” and “The Intern.” And heck, I like “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I liked the new Cinderella movie.

I’m not impossible to please.

I am hard to please. I missed the memo when pleasing the more difficult audience suddenly became not what movie writers were supposed to go for.

Which is not to say I should just get to say any movie is bad because I personally didn’t like it. I didn’t like Hacksaw Ridge over much, but it’s not a bad movie. Some things are just taste.

But some aren’t. Like caring what a movie is actually trying to say. And if it’s not trying to say anything, then it’s smoke and mirrors, because no one can come up with a decent creation if they don’t have a goal in mind.

My sister is a painter and drawer, she never paints a picture of nothing in particular. I know some artists do to express freedom, but even they are trying to express something. I write, I never write a story or  post about nothing. My other sibling crafts, she never makes nothing in particular.

Whether you’re a good or bad artist, you can’t be an artist without a goal or a point in mind.

And a film without a real point is just trimmings and trappings over a bare framework.

But we’ve gotten really good at those trimmings.

We have realistic looking CGI to the point where most of us have seen more vibrant landscapes on TV than we have in real life.

We have actors who can be airbrushed to perfection.

We have locations to die for, almost.

We have surroud sound. We have cool scores. We have promotional ads!

What we don’t seem to have is stories. Everyone is talking about how unoriginal Hollywood is getting. I guess the directors figure if you can’t make up a new idea, you have to dress up an old one.

But lest we be too copycat-ish, we’ll throw out all the old morals the plot used to entail. Let’s have more sex, shooting, explosions, and dumb throwaway lines that will become t-shirts and memes and be forgotten a few years hence. That’s what people want to see.

Well, unfortunately, I’m starting to wonder if that is what people want to see.

I can still remember the feeling I used to get when I finished watching a really good movie. I felt braver, better, and like life was more beautiful because of that film’s ideas. I felt like I had a glimpse into something I wouldn’t normally see or think about. Every now and then I get that feeling again.

But not form these big hits that have recently come out. They just don’t do it for me. I could look every recent superhero film I’ve seen in the eyes and tell it “The Incredibles was still better than you.” And forget the romantic comedies.

Well, I digress.

I read in one book that since the Fall we’ve gotten really good at covering up our shame with fig leaves Whether they be ordinary fig leaves or designer fig leaves.

Or as Shakespeare put it “All that glitters is not gold.”

Shakespeare tells us that if we are “young in limb, in judgement old,” we will not stake our happiness on things that are shiny and seem valuable on the surface, but inside contain dead men’s bones. (Merchant of Venice.)

The fig leaves represent the way we try to cover up our shame. And our current shame as a culture is how little we understand right and wrong. A lot of us feel confused about a lot of things, so we cover it up by making movies and other things that sound good, and sound profound, but if we were to really examine them they would be as fragile as leaves and one yank would destroy the facade.

The words of Shakespeare warn us not to value things that are dead inside just because they satisfy our senses.

I look for life in a movie. Some movies are just too foolish, others are deliberate garbage, others are the result of poor writing.

We need to be able to tell, because if we can’t, we’ll admire all the wrong things. And you can’t admire garbage on a screen, and then appreciate gold in real life.

Let’s just say that anyone who takes fool’s gold for the real thing will never recognize actual gold when they see it. They don’t look the same when you’ve seen both.

And can I just point out that the people who are telling us it doesn’t matter and to just enjoy the garbage are usually the ones making it… don’t you think they have a slight agenda?

I’m basically giving you all permission to dislike popular films for good reasons. And to like good films with all the enthusiasm the youth are showing for the bad ones. That’s where the “young in limb” part comes in.

Wisdom and Passion are the two great helpers of life, and they have to be forged the right way.

That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.