The Sexual Politics of Meat and PETA

June 8, 2008

Carol Adams wrote a good book in 1990 called The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory. While not without its faults (what book is perfect?), I appreciated the way she made connections between oppressions and subjugations, highlighting what is one my key mantras – oppressions and subjugations are related and you can’t just address one without attention to the others (and certainly not at the active exclusion of others). If you could see the small picture on the cover, you would see that it is a woman divided up into “cuts” – and the question written is “What’s your cut?”

A quick summary – women’s bodies are objectified. The bodies of animals who are eaten are objectified – their pain, suffering, life becomes irrelevent to us because they are objects for our consumption, not beings.

But the whole point of this post is an ABHORRENT image that I stumbled-upon this morning from PETA (see below). I know, I know. PETA doing something that angers someone? Upsets them? Being provocative? Even questionable? Not a surprise. But I found it so upsetting that I will be canceling our $10 a month donation to PETA and finding an organization that does work to lessen the suffering of non-humans animals that doesn’t also promote sexism and objectification of women. It isn’t like I didn’t know that they ran sexist ads before, but somehow this was so upsetting to me that it was the last straw.

Because women and cows are alike, right? And you wouldn’t eat a woman so you shouldn’t eat a cow?

House or Buddha?

June 7, 2008

I’ve spent a lot of the last three or five years of my life trying to be more compassionate, more understanding, more mindful, calmer, kinder, more loving, and really pressuring encouraging my partner to do all of this too. I was sort of an obnoxious know-it-all teenager (yes, more so than your average teen) and this started declining after, one morning at church in college, I had an epiphany that I didn’t have to be this intense, that it actually was not good for me, and that the world did not need my intense drama, debate, provoking and proclamations in order to keep moving along and that I might be happier and make more progress toward my goals in life (liberal political stuff, justice, and all that) if I was nice to people instead of lecturing them. (Not that it is terribly relevant here, but my 180 turn toward gentleness and avoidance of conflict probably also had something to do with rejecting a conflict-ridden household growing up, but that is another post). So, I got all into unconditional love, forgiveness, and this ended up morphing into more Buddhist-ish formulations once I finally decided (I think) that I really can’t be a Christian even if I really really want to.

And now enter Gregory House M.D., mean doctor who is cynical, jaded, rude, super-smart, and probably pretty sad, and lonely. I LOVE THIS SHOW. Unreasonably. At first, I thought I loved it like I liked E.R. Interesting relationships, medical drama. And there are things to solve (sort of like Law & Order only medical and less predicable). Or maybe I just liked it because I don’t have a T.V. and it was a show I had seen a few times and sort of got hooked because I really wasn’t watching much else.

But this is not the case. I am drawn to this show. My spirit is drawn to it. I cannot tell if I want to be more like House (more confident, strong, uncaring about what others think about me, super-insightful, more selfish). Or if I want to rescue House (just like I wanted to rescue Will in Good Will Hunting or Joey in fourth grade, or Levi in ninth grade, etc.). Or both. Maybe it is just fun to live vicariously through someone who is pretty much never wrong, and is cold and calculating, but really soft on the inside.

Why post this on my blog, you say? Because it raises actual questions for me about how we might live our lives. I have started but not finished two other posts on this topic that have something to do with how nice is too nice and how mindful and meditative can you be before you are just dull? The Dalai Lama and Thich Naht Hahn are great, but how Buddha-ish do I want to be or should/can I (we) be and how House-ish should we (I) be, just calling people out on things, and not entertaining their mush and drama? Is part of being a good minister (or just human) sometimes not saying, “Oh, and how does that feel to you?” and instead just being like, “Seriously, you need to just get over that.” How much is all my compassion and love and la la la so others will like me and feel cared for by me, and how much of it is really that that is what they truly need?

I will continue to do more research on this by watching as many House episodes as I possibly can. I will report back.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrom Is Not Your Imagination. How about that.

June 5, 2008

The New York Times reports that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome No Longer Seen as ‘Yuppie Flu’.

That’s nice. What would be even nicer is if doctors would listen to patients who have a bunch of really miserable symptoms and assume that they might actually be sick with something even if it isn’t something that they know about, rather than dismissing them as depressed, wimpy, or overly-sensitive.

Map of Unitarian Universalist Churches?

June 5, 2008

Does anyone know if there is a google map (or some other map) of UU churches around the country? It would be even cooler it if could be done with different points – red ones for over 1000 members, blue ones for 500-999, green for 200-499, black for 100-199, purple for under 50-99, and orange for under 50. The colors, of course, don’t mean anything – I was just thinking for people who want to see a lay of the land (and who want to pick cities to apply for jobs in based on the presence of a UU church) it could be helpful. Maybe I will try to do one if one doesn’t already exist. Right, I’ll do that with all my spare time. But, seriously, maybe gradually as something to amuse myself with when I need a break. A procrastination tool, if you will. As long as one doesn’t already exist.

Sex and the City Movie Review (or Reflections)

June 4, 2008

(This has spoilers so don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.)

Well, my hopes were not high. A good, smart show rarely makes a good smart movie.

My review is not super-different from the ones you have already read: if you already like the show and long for more of it, then, of course, there is some fun to the movie. I have watched about half the episodes of the show somewhat out of order while visiting my most wonderful friend (and the benefactor of this blog) in DC. The first season I thought Carrie was a spoiled brat and why would I watch such a shallow show. But, as things moved along (and I got a bit older), I thought the writing got better, the characters were richer, the friendship was wonderful, and the story lines were mostly realistic-ish, while still fun and not too realistic to be boring.

Which brings me to my huge complaint about the movie. The story lines were just not good. (This is where the spoilers come in and this mostly for people who have already seen it.) First, Miranda, my favorite, is a smart reasonable woman. What in the hell was that about Steve having sex one time with someone else, feeling TERRIBLE about it, begging for forgiveness, and Miranda is just like “nope, that’s it, I’m outta here.” I’m sorry, but that is absurd. Maybe for some traditional couple who based everything on the sanctity of marriage and monogamy, leaving so surely and quickly would make sense, but for Miranda? Clearly her friends thought it was not smart either. There was not enough explanation as to why she would be so clear-cut about the whole thing. The four friends hardly even talked about it. It was Stevehadanaffair and I’mmovingout and thatisthat. And there was maybe, two minutes of talking about it. It was not believable. It was unreasonable. It was not very Miranda like. If I would ever be so dramatic and over-reacting, I would hope my friends would be more clear about how unreasonable I was being and better encourage me to weigh all the issues at hand.

Problem two is the cancellation of the fancy Big-Carrie wedding. He barely get’s out the words, “I can’t do this,” or something like that and then rather than taking a few minutes to reassure him, she drops the phone, freaks out, and leaves. I know. This is sort of classic Carrie, but again, just too absurd to base a whole freaking movie on. It would have taken two minutes of her talking him down for him to come into the wedding – and it would have taken only a little effort on the part of her friends to remind her of this instead of running out the door immediately and then supporting her when she attacked him with the flowers. I know. It is not nice if your future husband has cold feet, especially given the long history. But to throw away a life with someone over this? No follow-up. No nothing?

Third, Miranda’s little statement to Big at the rehearsal dinner – not wise. But, for Carrie to turn this into “You ruined my marriage”? Again, this falls outside the “realistic but still fun” category into the “we had to think of a plot for the movie and this is what we could come up with” category. I know Carrie can be dramatic. Spoiled and unreasonable. Yes. She could have reasonably been upset with Miranda rather than throw a stupid fit and claim that this is what ruined her marriage. In and of itself, I guess this sliver could have been boarder-line slightly unrealistic but still believable. But mixed with all the other “doesn’t really make good sense” stuff, it was just one more thing that didn’t fit – it wasn’t the women I knew and loved. It was a goofy movie version of them.

And this last point is sort of minor, but seriously, if they were all about diversity, could they maybe have picked the only person of color in the whole move not to be Carrie’s assistant? Are there not any other roles for black people besides that of assistant? I thought Jennifer Hudson did a stellar job. But I would have liked her to be something other than a helper.

Gosh, I sound super-jaded and mean about the movie, don’t I? I don’t mean to be. Here is the thing – I didn’t expect it to be good. So it is okay. I mean, it is hard to make a good tv show into a movie. I happily hold onto those lovely tv episodes of rich, silly, funny, poignant moments of friendship and love and complexity and I am quite happy with that.