Drunk Like Socrates's blog
I was just watching a bit of television, when an ad played, wishing me a "Merry Happy Chrismahannakwanzaakah." I found an article stating that in Britain, displays in three districts would now be called "winter lights" while in a fourth area, locals would be invited to enjoy the "celebrity lights." I do believe the world has gone quite mad with political correctness. What's next, renaming Charles Dickens's classic "A Holiday Carol"? "Frosty the Snowman" being renamed as "Frosty the Snowperson of An Indistinguishable Gender"? (The blog site A Small Victory carries a full list of renamed songs for your personal amusement.)
I experienced a first quite recently- snow. Beautiful, powdery, pristine snow (at least when it's freshly fallen). I did something with my Californian hallmate that may seem silly, but was definitely an amazing experience. We played in the snow.
We threw snowballs, and we made snow angels. We tried to make a snow man, but the snow wouldn't hold together. It was such a great experience. Others have described their first snow in blogs.
I recently watched the movie "Rent." It was spectacular. The movie had me at its opening chords of “Seasons of Love”. I have never seen the stage performance, and was familiar with only that song, but every song was amazing. The music is in a style that definitely appeals to me. With catchy tunes and good lyrics, I am unsurprised that it was such a hit on Broadway. One of my favorites was Angel's song "Today for You, Tomorrow for Me," with Wilson Jermaine Heredia's amazing drum solo.
As I was aimlessly surfing the internet, I stumbled upon something quite interesting from the BBC- a history of the christmas carols "Silent Night and "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
It was quite an interesting read. I found out about an urban legend pertaining to "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The song, so the story goes, was written at a time when Roman Catholic worship was illegal in England. Thus, Catholics had to secretly communicate their faith. "The Twelve Days of Christmas," was meant to communicate the basic beliefs of Catholicism in seemingly innocuous wording.
The Vatican has officially released a document on Tuesday that strongly reinforced its ban on ordaining homosexuals as priests.
The article on CNN.com which covered this story states that the Vatican has said "it would allow those who have "clearly overcome" homosexual tendencies to start the process of becoming a priest." A cardinal, according to the New York Times's coverage of the issue, rejected the contention that the decree was discriminatory.
I celebrated my first Thanskgiving this past Thursday. It was fabulous. My hallmate adopted me for the break, and took me home. It was an experience. Wednesday night was filled with a plethora of preparations, from cutting vegetables to peeling apples and potatoes. Thursday morning was more of the same. But the pièce de résistance was seeing that turkey. That was my first, real turkey. I'd never seen anything like it before except in films and on TV.
Sri Lanka has a new leader- Mahinda Rajapakse. The man who does not agree to sharing power with the Tamils. The Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (or the LTTE) are currently in a shaky ceasefire with the current leader, Chandrika Kumaratunga. (The Tigers control the northern and eastern parts of the country.)
However, the peace may not last with Rajapakse's win. He will not back down on his position, which means that it is highly likely that the day Kumaratunga steps down, the war in Sri Lanka is back on. The opposition, Rane Wickremesinghe, negotiated the cease-fire with the LTTE three years ago. He was seen by many as being in a position to achieve a lasting peace agreement with the Tamils, who make up just over 20 percent of Sir Lanka's 19 million people.
Today, as I was perusing the New York Times, I happened upon an article in the international news section. It was a piece on the France riots. Bernard Accoyer, the parliamentary leader of President Jacques Chirac's Gaullist party, stated that polygamy was one of the causes of the riots. The interior minister also commented on polygamy, suggesting that "polygamy makes it harder for North African Arabs and sub-Saharan Africans to integrate into French life." (as quoted from the article).
I found Zinsser's take on how to write properly (the reading can be found here) quite interesting. But I also feel as if he speaks to a particular audience, and does not encompass everyone in his suggestions for conciseness.
I find Zinsser's suggestions geared more toward students trying to write a good paper and towards academics. He fails to acknowledge that conciseness is not always the correct route to take, in my opinion. For example, when one is trying to evoke an emotion, when one is appealing to people's sentiments, one must feel free to be wordy, to not be concise. Conciseness can become as much of a flaw as wordiness. The point is to be concise without losing the meaning and appeal of what one is trying to say. I feel that quality is what makes the best blogs. However, there is a tendency to become obsessively concise, to turn the meaningful into the barest of skeletons.
i'm pissed off. i feel like that this college, so liberal in some ways is so STIFLING in others. as an international student, i feel perpetually put on display at this school. i feel like the culture clubs at this school are just for display. people want the food, the fun costumes, and the song and dance routine. but no one wants to go deeper than that, nobody cares about the issues, about what MAKES a culture the way it is.
The documentary "Born into Brothels" was screened last thursday for diversity week. I would like to state that Zana Briski, the director of this documentary, has grossly misrepresented the red light district of Sonagachi, Calcutta, India. She portrays the community with a protestant, crusader ethic of "prostitution is evil and we must save the children by removing them from this den of sin." Rather than work within any cultural and religious boundaries, she takes a typically western approach and steam rollers right over them. She puts the children into boarding schools, which they run away from- what child wants to be separated from his or her family? She also does NOT state that not all of the children's parents are engaged in illegitimate activities. Her ethics are questionable as she put hidden cameras in the brothel houses to take intimate moments. No consent forms or other documentation exists that she was permitted to do these things. What she does NOT mention is the level of organisation in the community. The HIV/AIDS rate of Sonagachi is 7%, the lowest in any red light community in the country. 600,000 sex workers are represented in a union. The community itself is one with a high level of security for the children growing up there. Briski censors out the well-known story of the Sonagachi sex workers' efforts to gain democratic rights, notably the legalisation of their profession- and of their growing success in securing rights.
I recently read Judge Hatchet's blog on dress codes, and it got me reminiscing and reflecting. At my old school, it was free dress till the end of my freshman year in high school, when the dreaded uniform was implemented. There was an uproar at the announcement- how could the administration do such a thing! Our freedoms were being threatened! Petitions were passed around, talks were held, l'esprit de la revolution filled the air. I stayed silent in all the chaos, for as a student who was often picked on for not really giving a damn what i wore, the uniform was a minor blessing in disguise. Now, no longer could anyone accuse me of dressing poorly, or being slovenly. (i wasn't, i just enjoyed being comfortable.) Those students who flaunted their brand names the most were the ones who cried foul the loudest. I felt that the uniform was so helpful in eliminating alot of boundaries between students, because nobody can tell your monetary status when everyone is dressed the same.
I love this blog, i think it's amazing, but i have a problem. I have no idea what to post about. Everytime i get on the website, i'm like "ok, post something meaningful, post something that will make people think." but quite frankly, i just don't feel like writing something thought provoking today, and i'd just like to talk about a few things going on in my personal life.
First of all, i was newly made an aunt 8 months ago! My nieces are ADORABLE. They're my cousin's twin daughters, and i adore them already even though i haven't officially met them yet. They live in San Francisco, and i plan to get my parents to let me go at the beginning of summer. I love kids. I'd love to be a mother someday. All my friends tell me how mothering i am, because i constantly feed people and i'm always taking care of everyone. Being a mother, for me, would be amazing.
Angela Merkel, the leader of the Christian Democrats, is most probably going to be the first female chancellor of Germany. (Girl power!) In a blog post (which can be found here) about relations between Germany and Poland, the Christian Democrats are optimistic that with right wing parties in power in both Germany and Poland, it could lead to better German-Polish relations.
According to this article (which can be found here), Afghanistan's opium trade could become legal. The study that the article speaks of reccomended the legalisation of opium, and then channeling the product into manufacturing legal painkillers. Afghanistan produces 87% of the world's opium, and has a $2.7 billion annual profit from the illegal heroin trade, which also happens to be the fastest growing sector in Afghanistan. And even if they "channel" opium into making pain killers, it's still going to end up on the streets and in the illegal narcotic trade. Legalisation could just make it easier.
oh my god, i just watched mike jittlov's "the wizard of speed and time." it was AMAZING. for the synopsis, go to www.fast-rewind.com/wizardspeedtime.htm. and if you can, FIND THIS MOVIE AND RENT IT. it's BRILLIANT. one of those 80s cult classics. i laughed my ass off through it.
The common misconception about arranged marriages is that the couple has no choice. However, this is untrue. Whole families are involved in considering the best options and in helping to achieve what is wanted. This is particularly fitting in South Asian social systems, which place high value on the way in which the extended family work together, and ensures that there is family support and shared expectations which contribute to the longevity of the marriage. It is not just two people starting a new family, but rather the joining of two families. The expectations when entering into such an arrangement are very different and more realistic. The basis of the relationship is mutual respect, rather than the abstract notion of love. One widely believed theory is that arranged marriages are more successful than love marriages because, in arranged marriages, there is no illusion of love to begin with. There is a shared idea that the marriage will work because these two people are going to make it work. Sadly, in the United States, where arranged marriage is looked upon with shock and horror, nearly two and a half million marriages and one million divorces took place in the year 2000, making the divorce rate 40%. In comparison, the divorce rate in India is only 5 to 10%, and 95% of the marriages are arranged.
Arranged marriage. The two words that are the greatest fear of many, male and female. It is often associated with the worst form of entrapment, and the horror stories don’t change our opinions. Today, in the so-called western world, there is a stigma associated with arranged marriages, which are seen as a typically south Asian tradition. Arranged marriages are considered an insult to the very nature of marriage- at least according to western ideals. Most of the marriages of my parents’ generation, and those of the generation before them, were arranged. This is because they wanted for their children what they were so lucky to have- a family support system unlike any other. Arranged marriages are incredibly successful and more often so than the idealized “love match,” particularly in South Asian societies.
i was reading the international herald tribune online today, and i found an interesting editorial, which can be found here. the author, kristof, criticises president bush's wimpy position on genocide. i agree with the author that it is incomprehensible how bush can be so soft on the issue of genocide, particularly (to quote kristof) "when his political base- the religious right - has been one of the groups leading the campaign against genocide in Darfur."
ok, i know people are sick and tired of blogs about katrina, but i received this recently from a friend. it's a really interesting comparison between the flooding in new orleans and the flooding that happened this summer in mumbai, india. i thought it was too good to not post up here. here it is:
>inches of rain in new orleans due to hurricane katrina... 18
>inches of rain in mumbai (July 26th).... 37.1
I read the paper by Kathy Gill, called "How can we measure the influence of the blogosphere?" (You can find it here.) I didn't find Gill's work as compelling as I had hoped it would be. In "measuring" the influence of the blogosphere, she uses both quantitative and qualitative analyses, which I thought was good. The problem I had with her paper was that, after stating in her title "How can we measure," she only covers how we DO measure. I thought she would present a new way to show how we can measure the influence of the blogosphere. Because of her title, I expected her to. It was kind of disappointing.
i added the PostSecret blog site to the aggregator. people anonymously send their secrets, written on postcards, to this particular mailing add in maryland, and the guy who runs the site scans them and puts them up on the blog.
i added it because, even though it's not a traditional blog, when i see it, it makes me feel like i'm not alone. because everyone has secrets.
okay, i would just like to state this for the record. KATRINA WAS NOT A MONSOON. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MONSOONS. i have heard at least 10 people state that Katrina "was totally a monsoon!" HELL NO. it was an awful, tragic disaster, but it was not a monsoon. another thing is that countries which DO experience monsoons are perfectly able to manage this kind of flooding for days, like the mumbai floods in india which basically drowned the city and lasted for nearly a month in june-july.
today i read an article in the herald tribune (http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/09/07/news/india.php) about how PM blair is trying to urge closer trade ties between europe and india. i just wanted to laugh and laugh and laugh. considering that britain's foreign policy just before 1947 (the year of india's independance) considered the country "the indian problem," i just saw that as extremely ironic. when britain pulled out of india, they completely collapsed the economy. it has taken over 50 years to get it back to any kind of strength. blair stated that "The rest of the world has got to enter into the right and equal partnership with India for mutual benefit, and that's what's happening." i thought it was just hilarious how britain, after not giving one single droplet of shit about us for so long, is now falling all over themselves to get in on the booming indian economy.
when i think about it, there are alot of communities to which i belong. my family is one such community. another is this college. my dorm is a community as well. when i'm involved in a play, i become part of the cast and crew community.
i guess a community is a group where those involved have something in common. to me, these communities are linked in my mind because i am a part of all of them. i know that sounds quite self centred, but that is how i personally link them. it does not mean that that is how they are linked.
i have always been part of communities that are like alternate families. in drama, for example, we become so close as the production goes on. in a very short time, i have gotten to know quite a few of my dorm mates, enough to call some of them my friends. my dorm is like a family, where we all take care of each other, feed each other, use each other's laundry detergent, and even do laundry together. i really feel like being in bryn mawr is also like being in an alternate family, where you get to know so many people, and where you can really call professors friends once you get to know them. i love the smallness of the college for this very reason.