The Legends and the Myths.

Oh my gosh I feel like it’s been weeks since I posted, sorry, I have big college projects swirling around. BU tI am going to take some time to attend to this today!

Can you tell it’s my first time dealing with finals?

Anyway, I have plenty I could write about. The trick will be picking one thing. I’ve been researching superheroes of all things to write a paper on it.

Professors have come a long way; I imagine if 20 or 30 years ago I suggested superheroes as the subject of a research paper, my professor would have given me a look and said “That’s not a real subject.”

But now, it totally works. And with the Infinity War Craze of the past two weeks, and the subsequent Deadpool 2 craze, what more proof do you need that superheroes are relevant?

I haven’t seen either by the way, but look for a review of the first one sometime in the near future.

Though I think I will still prefer the cinematic inferior Justice League to all this glamour of the Avengers. At heart, I still prefer even a partially good DCU flick, to a saturated MCU one.

Enough about that, the point is, superheroes are difinitely in. And those of us who are not in the swim about them maybe should undertake to know at least a little about what fans are crazy about.

Chances are you know someone who is nuts about superheroes. Likely you know someone who is too nuts about them. IF you’re like me, you don’t buy all the merchandise or see every film in theaters, bu you keep up with the comic books world at least enough to know the context of most of the stories.

I read the original Spiderman comics, which hold up even today, and the Silver Age Superman ones, 50s-60s, and of course the 70s Mr. Miracle. I have yet to find a Wonder Woman comic, but I would love to check that out sometime.

Funny story, I remember getting a Wonder Woman comic from the Library back before I could even read. Actually I think my mom got it just because I was looking at the picture. And I started at the words and really wished I knew what they were saying. But all I got twas the vague idea that she was a kid growing up with her mom.

And I can’t believe I didn’t remember that when I read “Superman and Me” by Sherman Alexie, since he had the same experience with Superman.

I’ve always wanted to find that comic, which I now realize had to be the original one, and read it knowing the words. SO in a strange way, comics have been a part of my reading experience almost from the beginning, and Wonder Woman has intrigued my also.

And my mom was not a superhero person, and still is not except by proxy, since she has to listen to us go on and on about it. My mom is smart, she has learned over the years to take at least a mild interest in everything we get obsessed with so that she preserves her sanity.

Superheroes will always be considered somewhat ridiculous, even by the people who love them. Not because they are ridiculous as a characters, but because the idea of one is just odd to us. A caped costumed character is funny. The whole underwear on the outside thing. By the way, did you know that they looked more like that because men used to wear suspenders that kept their pants up higher? When supers were created, that look would have been more normal and wearing nothing over that are would have been indecent. It’s not about underwear at all.

And yes Wonder Woman wore a swimsuit, but even then there were worse ones.

Still, it’s funny to dress in a flag. The pint is, they aren’t meant to be taken seriously.

That’s why we love them. You don’t have to believe they are real in order to get real ideas and emotions from them.

As I have pointed out to others, superheroes are for those who dream. They are a modern mythology. And I would have to acknowledge this even if I hated them, because there is no getting away from it. They are ubiquitous.

I think I love superheroes more than I care to admit on this blog, but I don’t love them just for their flashy fighting and quippy dialogue, though I enjoy that.

I love them because in nowhere else  in our modern world do I find so many characters held up to a real standard for good. And they challenge us to meet that standard. I love the heart behind many of them, the honest look at hardship that many of the creators had to take in writing them out. Mostly, I love myths.

And I’m a dreamer. Without fail, people who dream that I know, they like superheroes.

People who do not dream don’t, or are at best ambiguous.

I’m not kidding, I know people as old as my dad who like superheroes, but they are dreamers; and I know people who think they’re stupid, they aren’t dreamers. And those who are ambiguous also don’t dream.

IS it possible to be a dreamer without liking supers? I am sure it is. But  I do not think it works the other way. What use are superheroes with their outlandish exploits if you do not wish to accomplish things that seem outlandish to you?

Fairy tales will always be mocked by those who do not secretly wish they were true…even those who do. But as Anne of Green Gables has said, the world needs fairies, it cannot do without them.

All that means is not that we need fairies as a fantastical creature to tell stories about, but that we need fantasy. Which fairies famously represent.

We need superheroes in the same way. Whether you are a dreamer or not, you need dreamers. The ones who keep this world afloat.

They are the legends and the myths today, and they keep us linked to older myths and stories. We need that, we need to keep our imaginations alive. And if that looks like a comic spread with some speech bubbles, so be it. I’ll take that over pure realism, that stuff can be soul killing.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

 

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Well behaved women Seldom make history.

Laura Ulrich used the above sentence in her history of unknown puritan women. You may have seen the slightly altered “Well behaved women rarely make history” on anything from a car to a mug to a t-shirt to a book. I read it in a book by a Christian Female Preacher. The Sweet Potato Queens put it into their theme song.

I admit it’s a brilliant quote.

But I  wasn’t surprised to read in Ulrich’s account of the slogan’s impact that it had caused a lot of women to justify the most wild and uncouth behavior.

Bad girls have more fun they say. Kind of like nice guys finish last.

Well I submit to you that nice guys only finish last with women who don’t like nice.

I wouldn’t be one of those. Though I admit I can’t stand tame.

And that’s the thing, I don’t think the term wild is a bad word. I hear it used as if it were bad. Wild is used as synonymous with out of control, crazy, rebellious, and bad behaved.

But in my book, wild just means something is in its natural state. Untamed by man. But it does not mean something is at odds with man.

Wild things can be a gift. The only way to survive in the wilderness is knowing how to live off wild stuff. A wild animal tends to have instincts that a domestic one doesn’t. There is something raw and yet vulnerable about wildness that touches us.

But what about being well behaved? I don’t think being ill behaved is the way to make history, not the kind of history I want to be remembered for. The attitude about this seems to be that as a long as a woman is making history, she is doing something noble and brave, no matter what kind of history she is making. In that way a sex icon is as important as Marie Curie.

I don’t think so. Every one has heard of Helen of Troy, everyone has heard of Joan of Arc. Which do we know more about? Which do we want to be like?

I love famous women, if they are good, and I love empowered women. I just never understood empowered to mean “Do whatever darn thing you want to get attention; talk trash about men; and abandon motherhood.” Come on ladies, is that really what it means? I bet you don’t agree with that idea either.

I think few women really think that’s how to be a real woman. Just as I hope few men think that shooting each other and getting girls knocked up is how to be a real man.

Now just for context, you guys should know I am not the kind of woman who sits back and shuts up by nature. I have been strongly hinted at that I should do this. And I can’t say, after what I’ve been reading about it, that I don’t wonder if I might have been treated differently had I been a man.

It’s hard to picture the same people telling a guy who was as enthusiastic as me to tone it down a notch. When does that ever happen?

I mean, it does happen to my dad, who’s like me in that way. So I guess it does happen to men.

I will say this, I think part of the problem is women who make themselves heard can have a very snooty attitude about it. Like we should listen to them just because they are a woman and outspoken. Funnily enough, don’t you immediately feel more interested in a woman if you hear that she’s outspoken and opinionated.

And also oddly enough, I rarely hear a man described that way. Men stating their opinions forcefully seems to be a given.

A woman who really is outspoken will be whether it’s considered normal or not. Take Katherine from “The Taming of the Shrew” as a fictional example. Women like that won’t shut up no matter how much men shake their heads. And that’s not always a positive.

I know women who will give their opinions when applied to, but they prefer to talk about more personal stuff. A woman has political opinions, sure, she probably has strong ones. She doesn’t let her husband speak for her because she’s afraid, she lets him because it’s not what she likes to talk about.

Women don’t like arguing with their friends. (Though they may like arguing with their husband or their mother.) So they don’t talk about hot topics amongst themselves. It gets too heated. It’s that simple.

I know I don’t bring up hot topics when I want to have fun with people because it’s too explosive. And I know men who don’t care if it is, but I don’t know any women like that.

This isn’t a lack of confidence, it’s just women preferring to bond without conflict. Men bond through conflict.

Not that a woman never can enjoy conflict. I enjoy it. Typically more with men then with women. I consider that to be a thing men bring out in women, for a good reason, strength calls out to strength.

In fact, women want to be part of a man’s world because the man is in it. I don’t care if I just ticked someone off. It’s still true.

How many women say they are independent of men even while saying they’ll beat them at their own game.

If you’re trying to beat the men, you’re not exactly independent of them. You have to have someone to beat.

It also backhandedly admits that men have done a lot of amazing things. And I think men have every right to keep dong amazing things. I get a real kick of beating men at stuff. But I don’t grudge them their right to win also.

I think the wild side of men is what stirs up the wild side of women. I see it all the time, women sneak into men’s conferences, women read books about what men should be like just to know what to look for, women like movies that are geared for men. (I liked Braveheart. Most women who saw it did.)

That’s not because women are weak. It’s because women are smart. We know there’s something for us in both worlds. And if men are smart, they’ll pay attention to what women like too. I don’t begrudge a man the enjoyment of a few chick flicks , some of them are meaningful stories.

Some men enjoy more feminine dominated stuff. That’s okay. In the end, it’s not what you do but the way that you do it that shows the differences between people and between genders.

I win like a girl, because I am one.

Until next time–Natasha.

Language Barriers.

Sometimes courage is not slowing down long enough for fear to catch you.

And sometime courage is staying still long enough for peace to catch up with you.

But I’d say the first one is my motto today. I woke up feeling achy, but upon getting up I felt better, and I’ve learned that my stress symptoms increase when I’m inactive. Inactivity can be just as hard o your body as hyperactivity.

So with that in mind, I want to switch subjects.

Some of you who’ve been reading my college posts know that I’m studying Language. Specifically English and ASL. (Guess which is harder.)

A few of my older followers probably remember that I went on a mission trip two years ago (almost three) to Cambodia, and there I learned a bit of Khmer.

Khmer (pronounced Ka-mai) is not an easy language to learn by rote. You have to hear it, and in my opinion you have to hear it spoken in real settings. My attempts to learn more of it since haven’t panned out well. I need a tutor I bet.

My ASL teacher wanted us to journal on a movie we watched in class about. Audism is a new term, probably not i most dictionaries, that refers to discrimination based on one’s ability to hear.

It’s a real thing. But it seems to bother people the most when their own families won’t include them in conversation by interpreting for them.

Welcome to my world, I would say. I’ve been frustrated many times over the years by being left out of conversations. I wish I could blame it on being deaf but all I can attribute it to is being young and not having common ground.

I guess being deaf makes it hard to have common ground and that’s the sting. Even if they did, they can’t talk about it.

But the problem between people of different languages isn’t really lack of knowledge. It’s a lack of heart.

Very profound things can be communicated between people who speak different languages. We’ve heard that love doesn’t need a language. It’s true. In Cambodia, the people were very welcoming and nice to us even though we couldn’t understand more than a few things they said. We didn’t need to to understand good will.

I’d venture to say the trouble between different groups of people isn’t about language or skin color, it’s about suspicion.

Remember when I talked about strangers? How we wish we could connect with them?

Oftentimes we build walls around ourselves so that we won’t have to deal with strangers as people. The don’t challenge us, we don’t feel guilty.

And that’s the real reason behind slavery I think. Slavery has happened many times between people of the same race by the way, just different divisions. Sometimes it’s not even between tribes, it can be between classes. They don’t talk about that when they teach kids that America is evil for having slaves.

Yes it was evil a lot of the time, but America is not the exception in any way except that it fought a war over it. You look far back enough into almost nay country and you’ll fine slavery. Often not between different races.

We don’t have to look different to make strangers of each other.

We don’t have to look the same to believe we’re kindred.

To be open to new and different ways is to be open to life. Life is constantly changing. People who recognize this are more likely to accept each other, I think. There is n o point in trying to live in a certain time while the rest of the world moves on.

And coming from a home-schooler raised to believe that the old ways are better, that’s a big concession.

I believe they are better. They were healthier, more in line with natural law. But I don’t believe you change the world by staying in the past. The world won’t stay with you. Solutions always lie ahead of us.

True brotherhood between nations always begins, and always will, with the laying aside of suspicions. The willingness to see each other as part of the same family. Just different looking and different sounding. (Heck some of us have that in our immediate family. I’m not exactly like anyone else in mine, my sister even observed that it’s hard to place who I look like.)

Suspicion is the killer of phileo love (friendship/brotherly love.)  You remember that part of Pocahontas? “They’re different form us, therefore they an’t be trusted.” But what led to that? Immediate suspicion.

You know, both the Native Americans and the White men were already determined to think that their ways were the only way and that they had nothing to learn from anyone else. Both of them. Is it any wonder that they were immediately suspicious of each other? While Pocahontas both in the true history and in the movie represented those of us who think we have something to learn from each other.

I will never be convinced that my religion is not the correct one, but what I like about mine is that it allows me to recognize wisdom in other cultures. There is no culture without it’s own revelation of God that it understand better then others.

Americans understand freedom, for example. Jews understand holiness. I think many Asian cultures understand the flow of the spiritual into art and lifestyle better then we do. I think the Native Americans understood a lot about the way God speaks through nature.

The list goes on.

And that’s not exclusive of course. It’s just a sample.

Language is a gap between people, but in God’s mysterious ways, He was made it one of the most powerful ways to bridge the gap between people, if we approach it humbly and with love and patience.

A lantern in our hands.

I just read another great book titled “A lantern in her hand.” This isn’t a review of it, but I want to credit the book with inspiring this post.

The book is, as it turned out, about love. And I am a sucker for any story where love is the focus and the savior as it were. I say sucker, but I don’t believe it’s really naive to think so.

Love gets a bad rap when it comes to making it the saving grace of a story, but I would wonder what else is better?

So I have a question to put to you, viewers, what makes life worth while? I mean, what makes anything we do important?

You see the main character of the book has dreams to be an artist, a singer, a painter, and an author. She wants to put something fine into the world. As a modern woman (or man) we can all empathize. Almost all of us aspire to greatness at one point in our lives, whatever we may settle for later, and movies and popular stories have certainly helped drive it into our heads that any life that doesn’t change the world is common and ordinary.

I personally relate. I think I tend to see life as wasted when you aren’t doing something big.

The point this book made is that being a mother and a wife is a big thing.

Now, to even suggest that motherhood might be enough of an aspiration is resented by most women.

I won’t say I haven’t seen it that way myself, but I know better.

It’s not that motherhood is all a woman is good for. That’s not it. The point is that what is done in love is done well.

If someone dreams big dreams, it’s a good thing, but they have no failed in life if at the end of it, they fulfilled different dreams.

Some women dream of doing big things, and also of being mothers. Is it a failure if they fulfilled the latter, and fall short of the former.

What if it’s not wrong when a parent’s dream of the finer things is fulfilled int heir children’s lives?

It seems hard on the parents. But if there’s one thing the age of pioneers and pilgrims should have taught us it’s that one generation has to light the lamp, or the lantern, and dare to dream, even if they will never see the completion of the dream. Because sometimes one lifetime isn’t long enough for us.

Back in the Bible when folks lived to be 900 years old, they could have all lived to see their dreams fulfilled, but maybe now that our lives are shorter, we have to learn to be more content with less.

That’s not bad, I think on the contrary a shorter life leaves less time to get too comfortable in this old world. Which isn’t where we all belong.

I guess I’m rethinking my goals. I still hope to make an impact on the world, but if I end up in some corner of the globe with a small circle of friends and family to take care of and help and inspire, my life won’t be wasted. If I only get tot ell my stories to my children they are still worth telling.

Some parents, like the father in “Little Britches” and Casper Ten Boom from the writings of Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding place; and In my Father’s House.) shine out most in when they leave behind in their children.

The Bible knew that parents are reflected in their children, not always, not every time, but often. I think today we’ve lost that.

Actually, we’re ashamed of it. We hate being like our parents because we feel it makes us less ourselves.

But the truth is, humanity is interconnected. When I went to Cambodia, I felt a common bond with the people there who couldn’t even speak English, it had nothing to do with how similar our lives or personalities were, but in that we’re all human. WE all share certain things.

In spending a few days in their lives, I expanded mine. For I became a part of theirs, and they a part of mine. I don’t mean that they influence what I do over here a whole lot, but there is a connection.

It’s hard to describe, some people have already hit upon the idea that humanity is all connected with each other, and I believe it’s true.

Even more so in families. We are a part of each other.

I believe strongly that we are all unique. But sharing our traits with others doesn’t take away from that. I resemble both my parents according to some people, but I don’t look exactly like either of them simply because I resemble both.

People are like those math problems where you have to figure out how many different way you can arrange the numbers. Only our numbers are limitless and we all have our own special part.

But what we share is, when you think about it, what enables us to love each other.

That’s why there’s so much hate now over he areas of racial tension both in America and all over the globe. It’s because the politicians are focusing on our differences. We should enjoy our differences, and I do, but inflaming them makes them more important than they really are.

Just like in any family where the parents or children puts too much emphasis on being alike or unlike each other. It’s just not important enough to fight over. (I mean of course, to ever begin to fight over. If one side is being unfair about it, I do think sometimes it has to be fought out.)

I might be white, privileged, young, and geeky, but it’s never bothered the people around me, no matter what their background is, and why should it?

To bring it back to the idea of accomplishment, I think the big things are kind of life the differences between people. Important, but not more important then things like love, wisdom, and nurturing and protecting and dreaming.

A wise man leaveth an inheritance for his children, the Bible says. And it’s no shame if in your whole life, what you accomplish benefits someone else more than you, some might even call that selfless living.

Until next time–Natasha.img_1549-4

In defense of Orison Scott Card.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I need to take a look in the mirror.

I was on YouTube the other day and I discovered there’s been some controversy over Ender’s Game, the movie and book, because the author Orison Scott Card is against homosexuality.

Now I’m not at all surprised that he made a lot of people mad with that, but what does bug me is the eye-roll and sarcastic tone that accompany these people who were talking about it.

They imply that Card’s fatal flaw is this, and you have to take it or leave it, but they never seem to entertain for a second the idea that maybe Card has a good reason for what he thinks. No, he’s just a Mormon blindly following his doctrine.

Because obviously an intelligent man who could write a best selling book and have it made into a hit movie has no basis for his beliefs…right?

Ugh. I guess he could, but I’d hope not.

Now the truth is, I don’t like Card either. For widely different reasons that I’m surprised no one else is mentioning. I hated both the movie, and the sequel/parallel series Ender’s Shadow.

I have actually never hated a book more then that one.

But whatever my opinions are of his writing, I wouldn’t say the man is stupid or even conventional. Among other Mormons he has quite a few who are dubious about him.

But I should try to be fair here. If I were in the place of the people criticizing his beliefs, and I thought homosexuality was normal, then he would seem archaic to me.

But here’s the thing, I can’t actually just change my beliefs on a dime.

You see, contrary to what the country at large seems to think now, I don’t find it rational to change your beliefs just to match the times. Not every “new” discovery can be trusted. Not all theories are justified and proven. And a lot of what is dubbed science is based on what people want to think is true.

Back when the country looked down on homosexuals, the AIDS crisis was seen as God’s judgment. And as incurable, untreatable, or else too much trouble to fix. The people got what they deserved, in the majority’s mind.

I think it would be a mistake to rule out God as the cause, but it also would be a mistake to assume he caused it. Either way, I believe in helping people.

It’s not like if a gay person was drowning you’d refuse a life-vest because of your worldview. Right?

Well, that’s how I see it.

But there is a line. We can’t pretend it’s not there.

Just because the country now holds the opposite view of homosexuality doesn’t mean any actual facts about it have changed. It proves nothing.

But I suspect those who are attacking Card, or rolling their eyes, don’t care about facts or proof. Their self-avowed thinking is that you should let people do whatever they want and ignore it if you don’t like it.

Which sounds good for about two seconds until you apply it to just about any crime you can think of.

My point is not that these people are evil. But that they need to check their logic. IF we dismiss everything as dependent only on our point of view, then what becomes of things like protecting ourselves from criminals? Or from each other. How do we stop children from doing stupid things?

The reason this bothers me so much is not because I have a political axe to  grind. It is because I don’t like how we shield ourselves from truly learning and seeking out truth by these phrases and attitudes that really mean nothing.

If a hater was to claim Card was a hater himself, but have no basis other than that it’s accepted that homosexuality is normal and good, then that person has no real grounds except their own opinion.

But what about the non-hater? The person who feels uncomfortable with Card’s beliefs, but still thinks he’s a good writer.

Which category I fall into by the way, since I loathed the ideas in his books, but I won’t deny he draws you into the story…in a bad way.

Well, my solution was to to read them. But if you enjoyed it…still don’t read it, please.

But if they are determined, then the only thing they can do is accept that Card has reasons for what he thinks. Now if they are good or bad, I can’t even say. You can believe the right thing for the wrong reason. And the wrong thing for the right reason.

In the end it’s up to the person what they’ll tolerate.

But anyone could have pointed that out.

I guess my defense of Card is that his beliefs don’t have to be popular to have merit. Popular beliefs rarely have real merit. Because if everyone believes something, it’s generally been too twisted around to have real weight.

Believing the earth is round has no weight now, because it’s no longer in controversy.

I just wish that the myth that some beliefs are unimportant would get debunked. Plenty of beliefs are stupid, but the stupider it is, the more important it is. Because beliefs matter. They change the world.

We can roll our eyes, but we are in denial if we think it won’t make a difference how we handle this problem.

I care what Card believes because I know it’s important, especially considering how many people he influences.

If you’re reading this you must care a little bit about what I believe. And I obviously about what you believe.

Frankly, we couldn’t have much of a conversation if we didn’t.

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

 

Half the Sky.

This is a break in style for me, because “Half the sky.” is a book, not a movie.

Though if they make a documentary of it, I wouldn’t  be surprised.

This book is about turning the oppression of women around the world into opportunity for them.

As you know if you’ve been following me for some time, I am no feminist. I am also no activist. Not in the cultural sense of either term. But I would not let my political positions keep me from recognizing important issues.

Though the writers of this book do take a more Post-modernist/socialist approach to aiding women then I do.

But I won’t be blinded by the fact that we disagree on stuff. It doesn’t take away from how amazing this book is.

I have to say for its type, the book is brilliant. Normally books about world issues are kind of a dull read, not many people find facts and ideas all that interesting in nonfiction.

But this book is different. All the issues, from sex trafficking, to maternal mortality, to honor killings and rape, are presented through stories of real women. Most of whom beat the odds and went on to lead amazing lives, Some did not; but on the whole the stories were very inspiring. They all pointed to education as the common catalyst for a women’s empowerment.

I don’t think empowerment is as big an issue in the USA as it is just about every where else except Europe and a few wiser countries in the other continents. We complain when we don’t get paid a certain wage, or when we don’t have a lot of representatives in a certain field, but in most places it’s rare for women to have any say in any field. Even in how they raise their children or run their household.

It is not all the men’s fault either. Women are for some reason a lot more apt to hold themselves down then men are. Men tend to push the envelope, maybe it’s part of their nature; women tend to work with what they have. But what they have can be just about nothing.

With that in mind, this book is important. It’s important to now what’s going on in the world. Not every dirt has to be dug up, granted, but I don’t think issues that take the lives and rights of millions and millions of girls each year are minor or ignorable.

The book said that these issues get labeled as “women’s issues” and so they are put low on the priority list. And there is some truth in that. At least, when was the last time you heard mass rape and honor killings covered on the news? I hear about terrorist attacks far more often.

And that’s not wrong by any means. But I do think if women spent less time talking about clothes and makeup and stupid life tips on the air, and more time focusing on real world issues, it might get out there.

While I am not for making the government fund aid programs (it’s impractical) I am so for aiding programs by private citizens. The fact is those programs do better anyway. People connect more with individuals then with the UN or any other agency.

The book backs up it’s individual stories with research that is put in simple and easy to follow ways, and also  concise. The book is 250 pages long.

It’s not a short read, not for me anyway, but it’s better digested. One or two chapters at a time is about all you would need to get the most out of it.

So if you want to better educate yourself, definitely read this book.

Until next time–Natasha.

 

The Christian Movie Atheist.

So, at risk of talking about something no one else is going to know about, let me bring up God’s Not Dead.

It made a big splash in the Christian movie industry. The movie is about a college student, among other characters, who refuses to write the words God Is Dead, for a college exercise.

I’m not reviewing the movie here. I just want to talk about how it portrayed atheists.

I’ve seen both Christians and atheists review the film and complain that the atheist was unrealistic. That there aren’t that many people out there who are out to get Christians. They don’t have an agenda against people of faith.

Is that true?

Well, these same sources have heard people say that it really happens, but they refuse to believe it.

Here’s my position on using such atheist stereotypes, if such a thing exists, in movies; It might work for one film, maybe even for God’s Not Dead. But it does not work for every christian film and it does give some films a false sense of importance. Christianity should be more important from a personal standpoint then from the persecution standpoint. Christians get persecuted; so do Jews; so do Muslims I imagine; that’s not what makes a faith important, relevant, or true.

But, nor would I say those stereotypes are never true. There is a reason they exist. Christians have their faults, but they rarely make things like that up. It’s based on things that have happened, and do happen still.

I personally knew a girl who went to a non-christian highschool, and her teacher of biology told the students up front not to talk about any religious opinion that differed from his own, that being evolution.

That’s what he said, and I doubt this girl would have exaggerated that, she didn’t seem the type to me.

For further evidence, I have heard other people tell stories of how their teachers would mock them and try to discredit their faith. It’s never happen to me, naturally because I’ve never had a nonchristian teacher.

 

Very few atheists I know would get offended if you mentioned your faith to them just in passing. But when it comes to making a point, atheists and christians are equally likely to get riled up.

And Atheists are capable of having an agenda against people of faith. (It was called the 3rd Reich.) There’s a new book out called Faith vs Fact which is described as using the “clear-eyed, rational methodology of a world class scientist [to dismantle] every claim to explaining the physical world that religion proposes” and my favorite part “irrefutably demonstrates the grave harm that mistaking faith for fact can inflict on individuals and on our planet.” (Bargain Books catalog.)

Assuming this accurately depicts how the author of this book feels, it really is almost as cartoony as a movie version of it would be.

I don’t mean to come down on this author. I don’t doubt they probably have some real reasons to be concerned. Faith is a powerful thing, and when it is misdirected, or founded on shaky premises, it is dangerous. Maybe even to the planet.

Bu-u-ut, that doesn’t mean the way they put this wasn’t insulting to any religious person’s intelligence. It also doesn’t mean that religion based explanations for how the world works are all unfounded. Plenty of them have a good scientific basis.

The flood of Noah for example. There’s hundreds of evidences for it in the earth. And if the Flood happened, it gives the Bible a bit more credence.

The bible also lines up with science on issues like the earth being round, light being a moving thing, and life being in blood. All stuff we know now, but at one time people didn’t understand.

So it might be fair to wonder if the Bible, or any other religious texts, could be right again. Maybe whoever wrote it knew what they were talking about.

Why are religious texts immediately discredited as reliable sources of information? I don’t assume that just because someone is an atheist they have no grasp of accurate science, if their bias doesn’t prevent them from being right, why should a religious bias?

In fact if it comes to that, bias really has nothing to do with whether your’re right or wrong, fact will stand for itself. Bias only effects what facts you’ll admit.

I don’t know what religion the person who wrote the above book is concerned about.But probably Christianity. It’s rarely any other religion. (Do you see a lot of books trying to discredit Buddhism?)

If so, then I wonder why they think having a faith based view of the physical world is somehow dangerous to it?

I wonder what people are so afraid of that they won’t let creationism be talked of in classrooms?

Basically I find both the view that Anti-Theists don’t exist, and the view that all atheists are anti-theists to be extreme. One is naive, the other is paranoid.

Many many people hate the bible, many hate God and hate Christians.

Many are indifferent.

But a Christian can never be sure they are safe from that sort of hatred. And we shouldn’t be. It’s always been so.

But I don’t want to seem like I’m making atheists the bad guys here. I will admit Christian can be bullies, they can use their religion like a weapon, and they can be just as adamant about going after people who don’t believe as they do.

It’s a sad fact of human nature that we cannot believe anything strongly without being tempted to hate those who dsiagree.

But, I don’t go so far as to say we should all be less passionate. Passion is a good thing. And I also don’t think  Christians should never speak up for their faith. Sometimes, as Wonder Woman would say, it’s not about what other people do or say (deserve) but about what you yourself believe. A person has to stand up for their convictions or they will never know if they are real.

I won’t be glib and say we all just need to try to understand each other better. WE actually can’t. We’re too different.

But we do need to treat each other like human beings. I think both sides should keep that in mind when we’re debunking the opposition. That’s all I’m saying,

until next time–Natasha.

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.

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.