A Toast! To the Dead

UPDATE: Upon further inspection, it appears the Blanca DeBree blog is actually a blog that mocks conservative bloggers? Either they are so crazy now that I cannot distinguish them from satirical bloggers or I was just momentarily blinded to sarcasm. Anyway, the moral of the story is find out the premise of a webpage before you make any comments on it.

My reply is still valid; like I said, it's the sort of post that a radical right-wing pundit would write.

And now the original post:

This idiotic post, then my reply: It is usually at this time of year that bloggers, television, and print come up with lists of all the people we have lost this year. While these memorial lists are interesting and provide context for the year in which we lived, we at the Blanca DeBree Blog believe it is more important to single out those we have lost, who were neither famous nor infamous.

It is with great pride we bring you those we have lost this year, whom you may not have known.

Felicity Nessbaum 1931 – 2009 — Mrs. Nessbaum was a teacher, wife, and avid gardener. Although she often scared neighborhood children with her 75 cats, she was a loving soul. She was killed earlier this year when one of Obama’s Death Panels decided she was too old to live.

Charles Kartmann 1927 – 2009 — Mr. Kartmann was an amateur ham radio operator and veteran of the Korean War. He was decorated with the Bronze Star and a survivor of the Chosun Battle. He was also a lifelong worker on the Pennsylvania Railroad, before it was killed off by Richard Nixon. Mr. Kartmann died this year, because he was denied health care due to exercise freaks who were stressing the system.

Victoria Alexander 1954 – 2009 — Miss Alexander was a nurse and semi-professional golfer. She earned her masters degree later in life, and was proud mother of two Cambodian children she adopted. Miss Alexander died due to shortages in the health care system brought about by giving more people access to care.

Craig Nielson 1972 – 2009 — Mr. Nielson was the youngest of five children and a new lawyer and husband. He graduated from Northwestern University just three years ago, but was already a promising member of the bar. Mr. Nielson died waiting for treatment because his hospital emergency ward was clogged with illegal Mexicans.

These were just a few of the brave souls we lost this year due to the Democrats, Obama, and health care.

-Blanca DeBree

...And I said...

You're so right, Blanca! We should remember the lives of those who weren't rich or famous.

We should remember all the women who died this year because they didn't have enough money to travel and get an abortion, so they had to resort to illegal methods.

We should remember the prisoners who died this year while serving an absurdly long sentence for drug possession.

We should remember all the children who died because of birth defects caused by our pollution and desecration of the environment.

We should remember all of our neighbors to the south who lost their lives due to our free trade policies and border police.

We should remember all the soldiers that have died this year-no matter what country they were from. As a matter of fact, the civilians too; I don't buy that we're only killing 32 at a time, whatever the official story is.

We should remember the children who were neglected by their parents and died while they were waiting on God/Allah/Jehovah to heal them.

We should remember the homeless who died on park benches, at bus stations, and on sidewalks across America because they weren't "hardworking" or "motivated" enough to get shelter and food. Or maybe they were just the victim of circumstances. No, that couldn't be! Everyone has the same opportunites in America! That's why women only make 78% as much as men in comparable positions, same-sex couples can only get married in a handful of states, and schools get more racially segregated every year. We're TOTALLY equal!

Okay, Ms. DeBree. You don't like the Democrats' idea for health care. In that case, what's your idea? Because last time I checked, the Republicans didn't have one that is going to help ANYONE other than wealthy white people.



Existential Story; Or, What Does Taylor Swift Have To Do With Martin Buber?

Martin Buber, the Austrian philosopher, is best known for his I and Thou theory. In it, he explains that human existence is a constant series of encounters, and that all of them fall into the category of I-Thou (interacting with another living thing, equal to yourself) or I-It (interacting with an inanimate object, inferior to yourself). An I-Thou relationship has no particular structure and no particular content. You could have such a relationship with a lover, a cat, a tree. What is important is that you and your companion are approaching each other without preconceived notions; you are encountering their true, authentic self, and they are also encountering your authentic self.

The opposite of the I-Thou relationship is an I-It relationship, in which two living beings don't actually meet. You could be talking to someone right now, but if you are thinking of them as an object or an idea, you're not really talking to them. Instead, you are communicating with a mental representation of that person in your own head. Anytime you approach a living being with the sole purpose of using or experiencing them, you have failed to have a meaningful encounter with anyone but yourself.

The general public tends to see celebrities as some sort of distant Other, a being from another world, sent to inform and entertain us. We watch morning television interviews, read tabloids, listen to music, and watch movies, all hoping to get a little closer to these Others. Sometimes, we even feel like we really know them. But we don't. Even if we spoke to them personally, we've built them up so much that we will try to relate to their public image, rather than their private persona. And on that note, let's discuss Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift has been getting quite a bit of attention from feminist bloggers, such as Amanda Hess , Sady Doyle, Alyssa Rosenberg, and Kate Harding. Some of it is positive ("mature and lovely songwriting) and some of it is very negative (see any of Sady Doyle's over-capitalized sentences). But why so much analysis of a person who I personally find to be light and non-controversial?

It's because everyone sees her as a symbol. The Christian Right sees her as a blessed paragon of virtue, sent to battle Miley, Britney, Gaga, and the rest of the party girls (I think Lady Gaga is in an entirely different class than those first two, but that's a topic for another day). Music snobs see her as yet another terrible pop/country artist, polluting the airwaves with saccharine acoustic guitar. And angry feminists see her as a Barbie doll, bent on dragging us back to the 50's.

I think all of that is ridiculous. She's a 19 year old girl. Yes, technically she is an adult, but in an age where it's considered reasonable to live at home when you are 24, that doesn't mean much. I feel that her refusal to act older than she is, is refreshing. She writes about topics that are meaningful and important to herself and to her audience (which is pre-teen and teen girls) and there is nothing wrong with that.

You do, of course, have the right to call her whatever you want, but I don't think that you should say things about people-and celebrities ARE people-that you would not say to their face. And if you would call a (from all accounts, incredibly nice) young lady a "cartoonishly innocent and pure, white-dress-wearing, blonde blue-eyed white girl thing" to her cute little face? Well, then you really ARE a bitch. And not in an empowered way.


NAMBLA Members
Circle I Limbo

Creationists, Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

General asshats, Militant Vegans
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Circle IV Rolling Weights

Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

Osama bin Laden, Jerry Falwell
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

PETA Members
Circle VII Burning Sands

Bernie Madoff
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

The Pope
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell


We Find Our Heroine At the Brink of a Grand Adventure

Subnormality is a pretty excellent comic. If you've never read it before, you should check it out. The latest strip totally sums up the wonderful variety of human nature.

It also excellently sets the tone of my blog, which is going to be a patchwork of interests and opinions. I'm not going to say much about my personal life; this isn't Twitter or Facebook and there's no need for "I went to the mall today..." posts.