Because it’s too complex and long for a hashtag. Black Lives Matter. Yes All Women. The Mockingjay Lives.

27 Nov

It’s Thanksgiving in the year 2014 (by a certain reckoning) and I live in a world where people behead other people. Seriously! Beheading! I live in a world where women are scared to be women. Where people with darker skin get shot at and killed. Where shooting and killing other people is often considered (and then demonstrated) to be ok.

I want to live in a world where humanity is free to discuss the exciting stories of our times. “Hey! There’s a new Star Wars teaser trailer coming out tomorrow!!” “Star Wars Episode 7: The One Where Han Solo is Old.” “Have you all seen the brilliant Mockingjay (part 1) yet?”

In one corner of my Facebook newsfeed people are discussing how the cops in Boston are pretty good and that being afraid of them doesn’t make too much sense. In another corner a friend of mine posted about their experience peacefully protesting and being forcefully pulled across a barrier and then arrested by Boston police. They’re pretty good though and being afraid of them doesn’t make too much sense. Maybe I read too much Facebook.

We are human beings. We ought to live in a humane world. I like to start from there because it’s the ultimate purpose behind things. The goal isn’t “just” equality. We are human beings. We ought to live in a humane world.

We ought to live in a world where it is never ok to shoot another human being. We ought to live in a world where everyone is encouraged to be who they are and given the support they need. We are human beings. We ought to live in a humane world.

Theoretically, we tell stories because they help us learn and grow. Well told stories can inform us about being human, and about how we can work towards that humane world that we all ought to be living in. I want to talk about the story of The Hunger Games, I don’t want to live it. Heck, the point of telling The Hunger Games is to show us all how to avoid living it.

And yet… here we are.

We ought to live in a humane world. Katniss is a hero because she is deeply human. She is powerfully humane in even the most inhumane and cruel circumstances. She is not a hero because she kills other people. She is not a hero because she can fight well. Indeed, when she fights and kills she becomes less human.

We need more empathy and less fear. We need to remember not just to love our friends and our families, but every human being. Every. Single. One. Even the ones who behave inhumanely.

Happy Thanksgiving. May the odds be ever in our favor, and The Force be with us. Especially since it’s waking up.



12 Mar

iOS 7.1 included CarPlay! Now I can use my iPhone hands-free in my car! As long as it’s one of “select” cars from 2014. It is not.

CarPlay is Apple’s plan for incorporating their software into vehicles, so the big question is whether this is going to be great and work or whether it’s going to be like iTunes on the Motorola ROKR was Apple’s plan for incorporating their software into cell phones. We all know that sucked so massively that it led to Apple taking it all back and making the iPhone instead in a great (and entirely typical of Apple) show of “Fine, we’ll do it ourselves.”

So will Apple eventually design their own iVehicle? I’d love to see it.

Probably won’t though, if only because Tesla is already doing exactly what Apple would do if they were going to manufacture cars.

Of course Apple could buy Tesla…

When It Comes, It Comes Slowly

3 Mar

Managed to watch some of the Academy Awards last night, even though ABC makes it difficult to do so unless you actually pay for cable. Remember paying for cable? When you had to pay a large monthly sum for the privilege of watching commercials on a bunch of channels you probably didn’t care about? Who still does that?

Ellen joked that 12 Years A Slave would win Best Picture because if it didn’t everyone in the Academy would be racist. It won Best Picture.

The Academy Awards used to be segregated.

Lupita won for Best Supporting Actress. This is after she graduated from Hampshire College. These two things probably aren’t related, but it’s neat that I “know” someone who was there. She gave a great speech.

Meanwhile nearly 400 (!) people were arrested for protesting the building of a giant pipe. One of them looks like Chelsea Clinton. It is almost certainly NOT her.

I wish humanity developed faster.

But at least we do develop. Better than stagnation.

Non-Binary Building Blocks

26 Feb

This article about the girl from the 1981 Lego print ad is great. But it’s too simple to state that “children haven’t changed. We have.”  The people making advertisements today are the children that were being advertised to in 1981, so if it wasn’t the advertising that changed them, what did? But that’s not the point. The world has changed.

Lego has changed tremendously in the past few decades. They now have licensed toy lines, video games, TV shows, and a movie. They still sell the generic stuff too, but it’s hard to find. They have a huge number of different product lines, some of which are targeted at old stereotypical gender roles, and these just look awful.


1. Lego has always sold kits that come with instructions that are basically just snap-together models.

2. Lego still sells building sets that do not come with instructions and are just a bunch of pieces.

Look, so you understand where I’m coming from: I want a world where everyone is free to be who they are. That means they do not feel any pressure to be anything that they are not. There’s a lot of negatives in that sentence, but the point is that I want the world to be a place where a person can grow up without feeling cultural, physical, or any other kind of pressure to conform to any sort of standard in regards to who they are. Everyone is unique, and that complexity is what makes us human. If we as a whole can embrace that complexity, humanity will be powerful (and peaceful). I want that.

So in as much as pushing for a fluid non-gender binary world is a step in that direction, I am all for it (by all means, go ahead and petition the White House). But I do not understand what the purpose of “gender” would be in such a world.

If “gender” (a thing not related to biological sex) is fluid and limitless, what’s the point of it? What is its purpose?

Neverending Watchmen

12 May

I’ve figured out the similarity between the movie adaptations of The Neverending Story and Watchmen.

One of life’s big mysteries solved.

Here’s the deal.  If you saw either movie before reading the book, you probably liked the movie.  If you saw either movie after reading the book, you probably think it’s a pretty bad adaptation.  This is because both books are, at least in part, about the fact that they are books.  The movies can’t do that without somehow being about the fact that they are both movies – but the stories don’t work for that.  They are native to their format.

Beyond Our Wildest Dreams?

21 Mar

I’ve just finished reading “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams” by Susan and Kenneth Webb (so says the cover anyways, it reads like it was all written by Susan).  It promises “the story of the Farm and Wilderness camps” and it’s a memoir written for the 50th anniversary of said camps (which was in 1989 – the year before I started going).  It really made me wish there were a longer and more in-depth history of the place in some form.  There was a lot in it that I didn’t know – details about the Catamount bell that keeps time for Timberlake, or the origin of Flying Cloud – but it wasn’t written to be a history.

My overall impression from the writing is that Ken and Susan had this vision of a camp that was the absolute perfect vision for the time and place so it was impossible for them to not succeed.  There were so many points in the story where they were both sure they were thwarted only to have some miracle swoop in and rescue them (and the camps), it’s almost a thriller of a novel.  It’s also an indication that they held the correct truth for the land where Farm and Wilderness now exists.  Everywhere they went to talk about their vision, or their camp (and later, multiple camps) the response was always a profound relief and appreciation.  It makes me miss them, and I never knew them.

They had such a powerful compassion for their vision and such strong convictions for how things ought to be that things had no choice but to become that way.  Reading the memoir makes me both miss camp powerfully and be sad again at how far from Ken and Susan’s vision they seem to have strayed.  Farm and Wilderness was never anti-anything, and it certainly never had to be “anti-racist.”  Farm and Wilderness lived and grew through the Civil Rights Movement and it was an unsung hero at the forefront of Civil Rights.  Ken and Susan ignored bomb threats to travel south and try to recruit campers.  They admitted their first african american camper after the camps were “full” and despite the fact that half of their paying clients were southerners and left them after they did so.  They had convictions and they stuck to them.  They believed in Quaker ideals, they believed the human body to be a miracle and “God’s greatest gift.”   If they had ever noticed a decline in the number of campers participating in suitless swimming they would have tried to figure out where they had gone wrong in teaching this.  They never apologized for these beliefs.  They never consented that they might be wrong about them.

They never allowed anyone to doubt them, because they were right.

 I’m also surprised to learn how strong (and due to whom) the connection between the contra dance world and Farm and Wilderness used to be.  It saddens me that the camps do not dance as much as they used to.  I learned to dance at camp and it’s possible I wouldn’t be in the community I am in now if I hadn’t.

The world is always changing, and businesses (and particularly businesses which educate children) have to be always changing as well, but some core truths remain the same.  They ought not to be compromised, and they ought to always be taught.

Hunger Games Fandom Is Odd

13 Aug

So I guess I want to go left or right then, yes?

Look, I like The Hunger Games.  It’s a great series.  It is not about a happy place.  There is no reason to fantasize about actually going there.  Why would you ever want to do that?  Do you really want to live in a world where you might have to eat your cat?  Or kill your sister?  Or be killed by your lover?  The whole point of the series is how inhumane and awful the whole of Panem is.

Maybe this sign is a warning.  “Turn Back” it says.

Also, which direction to Camp Half-Blood?