Tag Archives: purpose

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.

However:

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?

What, drawn, and talk of peace!?

15 Oct

Recently the President of the United States of America won the Nobel Peace Prize. You probably heard.

I read and saw many responses (Garrison Keilor’s, for example) talking of “the republicans” or “conservatives” as if they are a unified group that exists for the sole purpose of hating the current president. They are not. They are individual people. I read and saw many responses referring to what “some people” think and say without naming or identifying these people in any way. Most of the things I saw and read ended with a viewpoint, a takeaway, so that I would know what to think and feel about the President’s award. We are all individuals.

Let’s talk to each other and not about each other.

The purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize, as written by Alfred Nobel in his will, is to honor “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

The winner of the prize, if there is to be one (the prize statutes say that if there is no suitable living candidate, the prize is not awarded that year), is determined by (again, per Nobel’s will) “a committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Storting.”

So all emotional responses aside, what happened was this: Five people (chairman Thorbjorn Jagland, Kaci Kullmann Five, Sissel Marie Rønbeck, Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, and Ågot Valle) in Norway decided that, out of 205 nominees, nobody had done more to be a “champion of peace” this past year than Barack Obama.

In response, Republican chairman Michael Steele said that “It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain – President Obama won’t be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action.”

It’s a response I don’t understand. What is the value of such a response? What is the purpose of it?

It seems to say that Michael Steele doesn’t feel the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the right person. He feels it was undeserved, but neglects to suggest who did deserve it. He also feels that Americans agree with him, although I’m an American and I do not (Nor, it seems, does John McCain, who says that “Americans are always pleased” when their President is awarded. I guess he knows different Americans than his party’s chairperson?).

Michael Steele, you’re a human being, so I can talk to you directly. I can ask you, because I do not understand, what is the purpose of responding in this way? What is the value? Is anything positive accomplished? The purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize is to honor people who champion peace. The purpose of this response seems to be the opposite.

Look, I’m not saying it’s unfair to feel like, perhaps, someone who had accomplished more (if there were such a person) would be more deserving. That’s true, and it’s a sentiment that Obama himself agrees with. “Let me be clear,” he said, “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.” He went on to say that he felt he didn’t deserve it, but that he accepted it as a call to action.

The purpose of the Nobel Peace Prize is to honor champions of peace. It’s a good purpose. It’s a purpose fulfilled by the 2009 award. Feeling proud as an American, feeling hope that we are moving humanity towards a more non-violent world, helps to fulfill that purpose. Anything that can be done to further that purpose is good for humanity. Why do anything less?