Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Culture of Perpetual Offense

We’ve become a culture that’s perpetually offended at something and, what’s worse, we’re proud of this trait. Being offended has become the modern ideal of sensibility, perhaps, or a heightened sentimental morality. In tandem with this is the new pursuit of en masse public shaming on the internet. Public shaming is nothing new; however, the illogical mental rioting on a world-wide platform is.

To be honest, I’m tired of it all. In fact, I’m ready to be done with the game. And, yes, it was a game to me at one time, one that allowed me to slake off annoyance. Take homeschooling, for example. I’ve been doing it for years. I used to endure the shaming–what else was I going to do?–until one fine day a teacher asked me why I chose to homeschool and I, without hesitation, told her I was primarily motivated by my intense hatred for school teachers. Yes, that was the reason I gave, which was in complete opposition to the usual response of studies show that homeschooled children excel academically…. I had allowed myself to become offended over the years, which, in turn, came out as a shame response directed at her, the evil teacher. This offense-shaming response pattern doesn’t often rear its head in my soul, as I’m not the most excitable person. I have my trigger points, though, just as everybody does. Go ahead: tell a blonde joke and see what happens.

It’s obvious that there is a defensive reactionary mode mixed in with this offense-shaming cause and effect. For years, I defended my reasons for homeschooling, as if my carefully worded responses could change a naysayer’s mind. In the Christian circles, I’ve banged my head against the wall in my attempts to defend womanhood against black and white conceits, which often come in these kinds of capitalized slogans of foregone conclusions: All Women Are Like That. That was useless. More recently, owing to the unfortunate Zimmerman case, I’ve found myself in defense mode against accusations of whiteness, against people who claim that white people should feel guilty simply for being white, for harboring unconscious or conscious privilege and racism, and for being born into a country that at one time was involved in the slave trade. Even though I’m a Yank, far away from southern politics, who was born in 1973 (thereby missing out on the peak of the Civil Rights Movement), I’m expected to join in the collective guilt. Or I will be shamed.

And don’t get me started on politics. I’m a white, female, Christian libertarian, which means I’m not allowed to have a defensive. I’m screwed from the get-go and will be shamed into silence because libertarians are mean corporate fascists who want all the money for themselves while everybody else goes hungry and doesn’t have health care.

Ah, fuck it. Yeah, that’s right. Fuck it. Go ahead and be offended by my language. You’re allowed. This is, after all, the Culture of Perpetual Offense. But I’ve made a very important decision. I will no longer allow myself to wallow in the guilt and shame, having realized how unproductive it is. Likewise, I will no longer allow myself to be offended, and not because I’ve turned cynical and lost all my Holy Idealism. I was never idealistic about being a libertarian, anyway; it simply seemed logical to my weak feminine mind (Remember? AWALT). Logic and politics don’t really go hand in hand, though, unless one considers a small minority that masks its crimes by using the ideology of the existing political system to be logical…hmm…wait a second. I have to go think that one through. All right, I’m done thinking. It’s not that I’m cynical. I’m just done with being offended.


Thursday: a Hint of Pain and a Subtle Fragrance of Rain

Here I am, after another sleepless night, with a swollen hand. On Tuesday, a tiny red ant bit me while I was weeding around the pumpkin patch. After the rabbits climbed over or dug under my garden fence and decimated my garden, the pumpkin patch was all I had left (I would assume they dug under, even though the kids and I piled rocks all around the base). And even that patch isn’t very large. The remaining four plants are the squashes that the nasty bunnies didn’t eat as tasty sprouts. It’s obvious the animal and insect world is out to get me. I mean, really–since when do rabbits rip out and carry off tomato plants?! Sixteen of them!!

One bitty ant, and my hand swelled up like a red balloon. On Wednesday, I woke to a mind filled with ideas for my Oso novella, but the pain of typing distracted me. I couldn’t concentrate. I forced myself to focus, anyway, and tried to write a scene in which Oso pulls out the bourbon to cope with his parents visiting. However, I realized I knew nothing about bourbon. Even if I researched the subject, I wouldn’t understand the nuanced differences between brands. I wouldn’t know what kind a stingy, entrepreneurial man would choose to spend his money on. So I asked a man I remembered as being a bourbon-crazy blogger. He answered me here: Nate Mail: Bourbon Matching. He’s very much the poet. It’s an enlightening answer, to say the least. Obviously, he gets the personality type.

As I said, here I am. It’s Thursday, and my hand is still swollen. My thumbnail throbs like I pounded it with a hammer. But I have work to do. My children are at camp, no doubt enjoying the July rain. How can I not work? I’m very curious about this bourbon–its poetic qualities might erase the pain in my hand. On the other hand (typing with it, anyway), due to a general lack of sleep the last several nights, any alcohol might knock me out. And it’s not yet eight in the morning. Aside from that, I can’t afford good bourbon. I’ll have to wait for evening to settle for my usual red, which is currently a California Cabernet. It’s a simple, yet complex wine with hints of cinnamon and blackberries. See? I have a super-taster, too. Normally, I wouldn’t use the term settle when referring to wine. It’s just that hard alcohols are better for inflammation-induced pain–brandy is the best, and I could wax poetic about that. But I’ll spare you.


The Dunciad of My Mind

And, here, my friends, is the end of all things, writ large at the end of Pope’s Dunciad:

See Mystery to Mathematics fly!

In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.

Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,

And unawares Morality expires.

Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;

Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!

Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restored;

Light dies before thy uncreating word:

Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;

And universal darkness buries all.

Considering that the goddess has already extinguished the world’s lights, it’s no wonder people are turning giddy. Instead of religion triumphing through burning bushes which speak truth from the very fire of God, Pope’s religion hides its sacred fires when faced with the darkness of dull-wittedness. In turn, this extinguishes the fire that once spurred men to act morally. Reasoning and philosophy are cold; their embers no longer glow with the light of humanity. God has fled from the likes of this dark goddess–the ugly witch of dullness. Human knowledge leads to nothingness. Once men deny the creator, then there is no creation.

The goddess of dullness destroys all of these: truth, art, and religion. Worse still, the goddess has transformed herself into the great Muse, thereby supplanting poetical inspiration with darkness and death. Who is this goddess, and why do flowers crumble at her footfall rather than bloom at her fertile steps?

I would like to ask Pope, but I can’t because he wrote this three-hundred years ago. We’ve been uncreated, though. This I understand. The end to everything touched humanity and then stealthily exited through a side door, leaving us none the wiser.


Projects, Projects

I’m currently pounding out a project in order to add to the avalanche of e-books being published. It will be a novella made up of the Oso and Julia shorts I originally edited wrote for this blog (mistake, writing too quickly). I plan to edit and add to these (mostly) unedited short stories. Why am I so fascinated with Oso, you ask? Why must I torture Julia by writing her into more excerpts? Ah, well, that’s a good question. I both love and hate my own aggressive nature in the same way I love and hate the character of Oso.

When I’m done with this elegant novella composed of patchwork pieces, I’ll continue editing the sequel to Anna and the Dragon. Yes, there is a sequel. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but here I go again. I wrote it two years ago, now, in the space of about a month. The protagonist is Anna and Franklin’s daughter, Rosemary, who has broken vocal chords and is mute, but can hear everything. The plot, once I’m done with it, will revolve around maps. Yes, those marvelous creations of cartographers.

I’ll try to write some random goofiness from time to time on my blog. But, honestly, I’ve got projects, people. I ought to make some diagrams and charts to map out my progress. I might. I might. Everything is all about maps, charts, and completion. This is it. If I can’t pull off great feats now, I never will.