Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Hills Are Alive

with the sound of Anti-Nazi sentiment. I just watched The Sound of Music tonight for the first time in probably 10 years and i gotta say, i was amazed at the amount of political and social commentary that i missed the first few go 'rounds. And about a third of the film. My family taped the movie when it came on tv in about 1990 and there were dozens of scenes that the network had apparantly cut for time's sake--scenes that we saw for the first time tonight when it aired on ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney." I finally came to appreciate several characters that previously had been mentioned only fleetingly in what was merely a story about a governess teaching children to sing. I came to appreciate Frau Schmidt (the maid), the Baroness, Max, and just how much Captain von Trapp really hated the Nazis. And so many more of the scenes made sense! there's a Story to the film, an actual interesting, mature, and stable focus to it that has jack squat to do with deer or tea with or without jam and bread. Turns out that missing hour of film contained the entire pertinent plot. (Did you know its a 3-hour film? Originally it had an intermission. the copy i have can't be more than one and a half hours long. I should torch it for being such a blatant bastardization.) It hits on issues of national identity such as culture and history, pre-WWII concepts of finance and family, treatment of religion by the State, heroism, and despair. All the themes that you'll never hope to pick up on when they cut out everything but the songs! I've just been amazed by this film--it always bored me as a child, but now that I've studied european history for at least five years and seen some of the effects of the Blitz and WWII (to England--slightly different story) personally I can honestly say that I have gained a new appreciation for The Sound of Music.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Was it All a Dream?

You wouldn't think that three months of your life could fly by so quickly, or that you could get back into your old habits and mind-set as expediently as I seem to have. But that's life, i guess. I'm fairly certain that that whole semester in the UK never happened, even though i'm acutely aware that i'll be returning in three weeks and my memories of people and places are still fresh. i'm pretty sure i made it all up in my head. But sweet tea and proper (hot, buttery, inch-thick and airy) biscuits tasted so good, and it felt so wonderful to drive a car--those first few hours after returning to the South were worth savoring. Appreciating all those things that you've always taken for granted.
Amsterdam Schipol (sp?) airport is enormous. Literally the size of Charlotte NC. the runways are occasionally bridges over motorways and i felt compelled to wave at passing drivers as we taxied from our landing site to the place where we eventually disembarked--a full 15 minutes of driving a plane on the ground--and even when we got off there was a shuttlebus waiting for us to take us the last 10 minute drive to the airport proper. insane, i tell you.
Based on my experience with one native, i'm fairly certain that everyone from Scandanavia is absolutely nuts. I sat next to a huge, skinheaded, thick-necked wad of muscle named Bjorn on the flight to Newark. he was very nice and chatty as all get out, and into martial arts, Asian culture, and kid movies. He'd been a fighter and dancer in numerous small films and hopes to one day be in Jet Li-esque movies, and he had a terrible time filling out his immigration forms. The lucky duck was spending 11 days in NYC and then going to Jamaica for a month--don't Europeans have JOBS? all folks ever seem to do over there is hang out and drink. there is no work to speak of because nobody cares to climb the corporate ladder or make more money than they can actually use. American schools tell you that controlled economies and job markets impede ambition and enterprising, but after having been in an area where that's exactly the way things are, all i can say is GOOD. Not being ambitious or having insane goals for how big you want your mansion to be keeps people from working all hours of day and night to try and Be somebody in their careers, to define themselves by their careers. The less time you spend working and "bettering" yourself, the more time you have to hang out with your friends and family and drink and be happy. You can't take the money with you, nor the clothes or the pretentious acquaintances, but if you don't waste all your time working to attain some unreachable and ever-expanding financial goal you can at least have fun while you're here. Capitalism can just suck it. I'm an avid supporter of less working, more living.
It is absolutely freezing in SC. I don't know how its possible--i think you go into a different "Tropic Of" between SC and the UK, but England is considerably warmer than Carolina right now. a full 8 degrees celsius warmer. as in above freezing. Rainy and dismal, to be sure, but warmer.
My mother came in and cleaned my room before i got home, and i've already made a mess of the place. There's dirty laundry and travel documents and cds and even a cat strewn all about the room like a...well i would say hurricane but its really not bad at all, so i guess a small, pleasant breeze came through.
This past Sunday i managed to burn my face...with a spoon. Just goes to show that spoons really aren't as safe as everyone thinks they are.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I don't want to go home

Right now I think the most embarrassing thing in my life is my country. Not my family or my background or the fact that i can't expect to make it far in life as a theatre major, but my country, the Grand Ol' US of A. And its not even for the reasons that, typically, Europe brings up for which to hate us. I don't give a rat's ass about the gas issue or our last four war efforts which we've fumbled--no, I care about what I am.

I'm a woman. I'm a girl. I'm a citizen of a country that has chosen to hold that against me. A country in which a man was re-elected because he shared the views of the people, and what the people want is repression. The American people have spoken and they have declared that my Body, that which is Me, is not mine to govern. That if something undesirable occurs to it--such as its becoming a host to a parasitic cell--that it is not my place to remove it on my own terms. That I am under some form of obligation to it, and if it ruins my life, so be it. I'm not the important one here--the cell is.

By law of nature, two people are required in order for this cell to exist. Yet on account of someone losing a bet i'm sure, the cell will only reside in the body of a woman. Thus the woman is landed with full responsibility for it--and if she doesn't want to put up with that well just too bad, she should have thought first before having fun. The male contributor to the production of this cell, conversely, is held to no real obligation to it, and is actually encouraged by society and government to have fun with as many women as he can. As it is most likely that when the woman doesn't want the cell, the man doesn't want the cell--or the woman, for that matter--we encounter the issue at hand.

Politicians elected by the American people want to do away with the right of a woman to choose whether or not to carry this cell. Some of the more vehement of them want all women who opt not to to be tried and executed for murder. Smart. Real smart. Kill a woman for what her body has probably done on numerous occasions without even letting her know.

Yep--its true. Fertilized eggs are rejected by female bodies every day, simply because the Body, not the Mind of the Woman, doesn't want it. Its not a miscarriage, its not a stillborn--its not a baby. Its a fertilized egg that didn't work out. Its not a tragedy, its nothing to get upset over, and it is not, by any stretch of the word, murder. Its nature. If we can understand this as a choice of the body of a woman, what's to say her mind can't make the same choice?

Women of all cultures have been using a wide variety of means to prevent childbirth since there was such a thing as sex. Drugs, herbs, dances, prayers, and unfortunately even pokey objects have all been utilized to make sure that a new life is not brought into the world. If a woman doesn't want to have a baby, chances are she'll do everything in her power and then some to make sure she doesn't.

Outlawing abortion is not going to prevent it or reduce the number of abortions in a year. It will, however, lead to an increase in women who use the at-home coathanger method and the number of women who die on account of it. The fetus will be destroyed either way. Some religious fanatics/politicians would call this justified. I call them a bunch of sadists. Why force a woman to endanger or take her own life for something that HER BODY DOES ON ITS OWN?

- - -

I recently heard on the BBC that a growing number of southern chemists refuse to dispense contraceptives such as the pill for religious reasons, stating that they found this a crime against life (or as one memorable Texan yokel put it on the daily show "i just cant participate in taking the life of an innocent human being.") In that mindset, every time I menstruate naturally--or worse, don't get laid--i'm killing a baby. By Not being pregnant, I am killing those precious demi-cells in my ovaries as they slip unfertilized from my body every month and, according to desired anti-abortionist politics, I should be executed.

Does Anyone Else notice a trend in American politics that favor exclusively CHRISTIAN MALES? Everyone else's rights are forfeit to their self-inflating agenda. Men have full license to do what they will to their own bodies, but they don't want us to. I'm personally offended, as every woman should be. If the Christians take away our rights to our BODIES, they're taking away our rights to EVERYTHING. Women's lib will be a fond memory, but can be safely ignored just like other temporary uprisings from minority groups. We get the death sentence for removing an unwanted pregnancy? That sounds downright Biblical--you know, that age in which women didn't have rights and the stars were glued to the sky. If women can't be entrusted with the administration of our own bodies, how can we be trusted with the administration of the nation? We shouldn't be allowed to VOTE. Hell, if we might choose to fix a problem in a way that someone doesn't agree with, how might we fix problems in the workplace? We shouldn't be allowed to have JOBS. Similar arguments can be made for education, licensing, and the right to wear pants or show our faces in public.

Feminism is dead if we choose not to stand up for ourselves against this. This is not about the right of DNA to become life--it is about repression of women. Don't let anyone convince you to stand for it, for you are standing against yourself.