Targets and stray arrows

3 01 2009

The Dawn Chorus linked to this story in the (Australian) Courier-Mail, ‘Economic decline sees return of 1950s housewife.’ An (apparent) DIY sensibility toward food and clothing = housewifery!

That’s right, girls and boys, any turning away from corporate culture means a return to those mystical 1950s gender roles. After all, MEN certainly couldn’t be interested in gardening, cooking, or sewing, could they?

After all, the poll embedded in the story asks: Where should a woman’s place be?

Possible answers: In the home; in the workplace; both; wherever she wants.

Ha. Now, about man’s place. . . .

_____

C.’s blog is finally up and running. I’d been nagging and trying not to nag her into getting this sucker going, not least because I’m looking forward to our conversations and arguments.

SoundofRain.net

Check it out. I’m expecting brilliance. (But no pressure, C.)

_____

Reconnected with an old friend/colleague from my FelineCity days. Ct. works at a university in Ontario, and writes on nationalism (among other matters).

It is directly a result of her arguments in favor of some versions of nationalism that has caused me to rethink my absolutist stance against it. I’m still a skeptic, but Ct.’s observations that nationalism isn’t always exclusionary or aggressive (and that, sometimes, even when it is, it has its purposes) has intruded in and unsettled my thoughts over the years.

So I’m glad she’s back. A friend who can calmly unsettle you is a good thing!

_____

I never read blogs before I started writing my own. I have my regulars now (some of which—the political ones, natch—send me into a ditch screaming), but I still poke around, looking for something to catch me.

Admittedly, this is partly out of self-interest: I’d like it if others would be willing to be caught by me.

But it’s not all calculation, given that I find sites I truly enjoy. Mo at The DailySnark cracks me up, and I’ve just started reading bandnerdtx.

Should I overreach and say that this approach justifies my avidity for messiness? That a mix of motives can itself increase hybridity, leading one ever further into. . . .

Okay, okay, I’ll save me huffin’ an’ puffin’ fer another day.

_____

Struck by silence. Still in the midst of Tremlett’s Ghosts of Spain, and he makes much of both silence and forgetting. (They are not, of course, the same thing, and the holding of one’s tongue can, in some circumstances, lead to the preservation of memory. But I’ll save that for another time.)

I tend to think well of silence, seeing it (among other things) as a refuge from authority. I’m a terrible liar, but even I, of the endless words, knows how—and when—to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes silence is the only defense one has.

Of course, silence can also be self-defeating. Silence while in a therapist’s office, for example, tends to work against the purpose of therapy. Still, my determination to hold my tongue did lead me quickly to end one budding therapeutic relationship:

I was in college, self-destructive, and, uh, encouraged by the dean’s office at BigTenU to seek therapy. So I saw one person, N., who I quite liked but couldn’t afford. She recommended J., a resident. It was not a good match. J. had a very clear sense of how therapy should work, and that included the iron-clad rule that the client start every session. Not a word from her until I spoke. And when she did speak, she tended to repeat what I just said. So I became less and less willing to speak. I would sit silently five, ten, minutes, watching her shift in her seat, in full-concentration mode, waiting. By the last session (four or five, I think), I said nothing for almost thirty minutes. I looked at the plant.

Did I mention that she was recording the session to discuss later with her supervisor?

I returned to N. and worked with her. I was a terrible client, alternately trying to help and sabotaging my self, but I did talk.

Anyway. Silence can work as self-preservation, as I think it did with J., but I would also use it as, if not precisely a weapon, then a shield, in therapy with both N. and K. These were good therapists, and I did myself no favors in withholding information from them. Even so, N. and K. were smart enough not to get into a battle of wills with me about it: they knew the silence was for me to overcome.

Of course, authority figures often consider silence as a threat. Why not profess one’s allegiances—unless you have something to hide? Some dictators are more than happy with silence—keep the populace scared and alone—but others hear treason in the quiet. I’m about to start reading Orlando Figes’s The Whisperers, about life in the Stalinist USSR. I have a hunch Stalin feared everything.

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4 responses

3 01 2009
blithe

May I just point out that the Courier Mail is Brisbane’s tabloid newspaper — that is, a tabloid of a provincial city in a conservative state (Queensland) that is only just beginning to shake off the dust of decades of authoritarian government? A year or so ago, it dropped its pretensions to seriousness and went from a broadsheet to a tabloid format and has never looked back. Can you work out that I don’t read it? And I live here.

Also from Christmas to the end of January no one here works who can avoid it. Parliament is in recess, public servants are trying to get a tan, academics are theoretically catching up on research and the papers are full of fluff pieces by people too junior to get leave.

I went and looked at the article online and was offended (actually not offended because it was such a bad article that it rendered itself inoffensive). Talk about the “silly season.”

My take on it is that most women I know here are smart enough to pick and choose what they want in life. Those who bake, garden and crochet may also run federal organisations and some of those who are “stay-at-home” mums, don’t ever garden or cook a meal.

Just a few scattered thoughts on a hazy Sunday afternoon.

Keep warm!

3 01 2009
blithe

Oops, Ms Beats, can you delete the first copy? I tried to edit it and it posted twice.

Blithe

4 01 2009
absurdbeats

Done.

And thanks for the heads-up regarding the Courier-Mail. Is it, by any chance, owned by ol’ Rupert Murdoch?

I was more amused than offended by the piece, largely because it was so stupid. In any case, the comments on the piece were far more sensible than the article itself.

But I did really like the poll.

5 01 2009
blithe

Yes the Courier-Mail is one of Rupert’s fine publications. I haven’t had a chance to look at the poll yet — school holidays, Mr Blithe out of town, impending insanity…the usual.

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