The Vacation that Never Was

I guess Will the Stones Change Hands will have to wait. Sorry, Blue Lyon. I just don’t have time right now, but I am tucking it away and will get around to it sooner or later, especially if the topic of Iran heats up again. I think it’s going to be all Michael all the time for the next few days.

Right now I am in the process of moving, AGAIN! Crap, weren’t we just here last year? Yes, I believe I blogged our move last year. This time, hopefully, it’s for a while. I am finally going to realize my life-long dream of becoming a farm wife. Not really. Tee hee.

Seriously, we are moving out, out, out to the country, where I always did want to live. Been a city-girl all my life, growing up in Houston, Texas and moving to Louisville, Kentucky as a tweenager, where I resided for 20 years before making the jump across the Ohio River to southern Indiana. It’s still the “Greater Louisville Metro area,” though. This time we’re moving 20 more minutes out, to a tiny spot on the map called Borden. My husband’s family hails from there, and we’re going back to help care for his 85 year old grandfather. “Grandpa” is a former Marine who saw action in the South Pacific, which was the only time he’s ever lived away from Borden. He’s in fine health, but he’s getting up there in age, and we want to make sure he stays healthy and is well cared for to the end. Since Mr. Peacock is a nurse, it just made sense.

So even though I’m on “vacation” for a week, I’m afraid I won’t get the rest I need, or the time to write I want. Maybe I’ll be able to steal a few hours here or there, but I think that’s ambitious considering all the work we still have to do. Anyway, just wanted you to know that I was still alive out here.

MORE Critical Thinking About Iran

Bad logicI really try to maintain a fair point of view, and I’ve learned a thing or two this last year about the value (or worthlessness) of critically attacking hard-working, earnest people who I often agree with, but who simply make a logical error. So I want to preface this post by saying I am not attacking Riverdaughter, who I have respect for. But I’d like to call attention to some errors in her logic in some of her recent posts on Iran.

What bothers me most about her recent rhetoric is her insistence that the people in the streets of Iran are analogous to PUMAs. Here’s her quote from this morning’s post:

Put aside the politicians for a moment.  The people of Iran seem to be taking on this task themselves for their own reasons.  It’s clear that they do not trust their government and they want a new one.  They want their votes to count.  They don’t want the facsimile of a government by the people without the actuality of their votes having meaning.  Those of us who lost our votes during last year’s primary can sympathize.  When your leaders can disregard your vote, they don’t have to listen to you or represent you.  They can run the country any way they please.  You are no longer master of your own fate.  This really has nothing to do with Ahamadinejad or Moussavi.  This is about a people taking back their rights to rule themselves.  Good Luck to them, our PUMA brothers and sisters in Iran.

Our PUMA brothers and sisters in Iran, she says. Nevermind that the picture of the woman she posted on her blog (and which Dr. Socks posted on her blog this morning) is the only woman I’ve seen at these protests. Nevermind that the sea of protesters broadcast on our own warped news channels, channels which we know try to sell us daily a bogus bill of goods, that sea is all male as far as the eye can determine.

But that picture is not really my issue, I just thought I’d mention that it wouldn’t be above the particular madness of our own media to try to provoke support from feminist quarters here to build support for what the U.S. wants to happen. And a picture is worth 1,000 words.

What bothers me most about this assertion that young, male, city-dwelling Iranians are like PUMAs is that one has to make a lot of assumptions and leaps in faith to get there. First of all, we have no idea what has happened in Iran. What we do know is that our media has an agenda, and so does the U.S. Government: Obama let the cat out of the bag before the election was ever finished in Iran that he wanted a change. We know that that agenda is in line with the what our own previous administration (you recall Bush, I’m sure) also wanted to see happen. We also know we can’t trust the media, or Obama or the Bush administration. So my first question is: Why is RD so urgently jumping on their agenda? Continue reading

Critically Thinking ABout Iran

I really don’t have time, but I really had to share this article with my readers.  The article, posted on Politico, was written by a husband and wife team who have a long history of working on affairs concerning the Middle East.  Flint Leverette is currently a professor at Penn State, and works for The New America Foundation, and Hillary Mann Leverette is the CEO of STRATEGA. Do yourself a favor and head over post haste. You can always come back for my commentary.

I don’t know a great deal about Iran, but I do know more than your average American because I make it my business to be more aware than your average American. I mean, come on, the standard is now so low, it doesn’t even require that much work. All you have to do is know something not related to a reality TV show or fast food. Of course I digress, but hey, I’m in a pissy mood. So frickin’ what.

ANYway, yesterday Mr. Peacock and I did the modern day equivalent of staying in bed with the Sunday paper, by which I mean we gathered ’round the computer, ate french toast,  and consumed article after article on Iran. We got up to speed on what was going down pretty fast, and it soon was obvious that few actually knew what was going on, or even could go on. Article after article I had the same questions, all of which are addressed in the article I linked to above.

See, there are conventions for critical thinking, and those conventions include gathering a diverse range of opinions and asking questions, after which the critical thinker comes to his or her own conclusion. Here’s some fodder from the article for your own critical thinking:

Without any evidence, many U.S. politicians and “Iran experts” have dismissed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection Friday, with 62.6 percent of the vote, as fraud.

They ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad’s 62.6 percent of the vote in this year’s election is essentially the same as the 61.69 percent he received in the final count of the 2005 presidential when he trounced former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. The shock of the “Iran experts” over Friday’s results is entirely self-generated, based on their preferred assumptions and wishful thinking.

These are the first two paragraphs in the article, and they lay it all out. What the media is reporting is unsupported and biased, not fact-based at all. After reading these two paragraphs, I wondered why these two writers weren’t writing for the NYT, but then I remembered the NYT does not exist to inform readers of the truth; it exists to confound and confuse them. They wouldn’t print something this honest if Sulzberger’s left testicle were riding on it. Continue reading

Failure is Foreved

I thought I’d share with readers this series of photos I shared via PowerPoint with my students today in a lecture on the importance of spelling conventions. Title Slide: You might never write another paper, but you might get a tattoo. They also got to read this poem. They loved it. Enjoy!

Tattoo Typos

A_renaline junkie.

A_renaline junkie.

Are YOU talking to ME?

Are YOU talking to ME?

So jealous!

So jealous!

It’s not the cards you’re dealt in life…it’s whether you can spell them!

It’s not the cards you’re dealt in life…it’s whether you can spell them!

Continue reading

Practical Feminism, Vol. I

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat, or a prostitute.

~Rebecca West

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once famously declared of obscenity that, while he could not define it, he could reefcertainly identify it. Such is the case with feminism today, and, as the West quote above clearly articulates, for a very long time. Rebecca West was one of those women for whom the realization of the goals of the First Wave supplied opportunity. She was part of a Golden Wave that followed passage of certain laws in America and England (West was British) that finally granted women the right to vote. Of course I’ve digressed again, as is my style, because Stewart and West aren’t my focus. The quotes from them, however, do segue nicely with my thesis that if women are to make progress, they must take a practical approach. This includes an awareness of how certain systems operate, and an eye for how cultural change happens. There is no one right way to create the world in which we want to live, but it behooves us to be smart about creating it.

In my Composition classroom, I have my students practice their research skills on the first day by creating a research scavenger hunt for them. The first ten questions are always timely for the month; for example, this month I asked them to tell me what Juneteenth was. In the final section, I ask them to identify certain kinds of articles and summarize them. Putting information in your own words is a crucial skill to learn in a Composition class. I always find the student responses interesting, especially when a student includes their own opinion, which they are not supposed to do. It’s really in the mistakes, the anomalies, and the disruption of systems wherein one can find evidence of real, dynamic change.

This month I found an extraordinary example of feminism in a student response. This student was commenting on the fallout from the Brandon Marshall case of violence against his girlfriend (an issue that has come up for him time and time again). She also commented that she thought the treatment of this man compared to Michael Vick was insane. You may recall Vick as the Atlanta Falcons player whose career was ruined over dog-fight events held at one of his properties. Her point was clear and startlingly true: our culture values dogs over women. That is a feminist statement, and I knew it when I saw it. She, however, was and remains ignorant of her own feminist leanings. I have not broken the news to her that she was a closet feminist. If I am good at what I do—and I am—I won’t need to; she’ll begin to adopt some of my language and consider the point of view that I will present without my ever consciously telling her how she should think or what she should think.

There is also a new young female teacher at our school, and I found evidence of feminism in her recently as well. This 24 year old woman, we’ll call her Ms. Mimosa, has never really encountered a woman like me. Her ideas of feminism included staying as far away from it as she could, even as she was perfectly aware of many of the issues that women face. We have become friend in the smoking area (doh! I so need to quit!), and I have been myself. I talk about what I talk about here and in every part of my life (though I admit to being soft on Obama in public discussions, but that’s a whole n’other blog post). Ms. Mimosa’s idea of feminism before she met me was the traditional media-driven view of trench-coat wearing hairy-legged women who hated men. Because of my confidence and because I report honestly and my purpose is clear, this woman is beginning to understand how she is really a closet feminist. I enjoy watching her jaw drop as my ideas register on her face. She’s very cute and very smart, and most importantly, reachable. There’s our practical approach: an understanding of audience. Continue reading