Archive for December, 2007

In case you haven’t heard….

Mary’s getting a sibling:



I’m so glad I don’t live in Virginia.

I had an appointment in Virginia today. Let me preface this rant by saying–I did not get lost. For once. I went to Virginia, and I did not at any point get lost. (I overshot two turns, but I knew where I was, and I knew I was overshooting the turns–as evidenced by the foul language that I muttered as I drove by.)

But Virginia sucks. The roads are all named the same three things. The interchanges are impossible and always feature merge lanes that require people to cross multiple lanes of traffic. And the people who live there cannot drive! I am beginning to suspect this is because the entire driving population is composed of people like me, who do not live there and are trying to figure out how the hell to get over four lanes in 50 feet at rush hour, and people who do live there but are driving around and around the city wearing a despairing look that means, “Where the fuck is my house?!”

I have never had so many people cut me off, try to change lanes into the lane I’m in, stop in the middle of the road, and exhibit other antisocial driving behavior ANYWHERE but Virginia. Not even, as I recall, in New York City–possibly because, when we were in NYC, people didn’t really actually MOVE their cars, so there was limited scope for cutting people off.

Anyway, I hate Virginia. And I’m convinced that people only live there because they get so lost that it doesn’t seem worth trying to get back to Maryland or DC–they just buy a house instead because it’s faster.

merry Christmas to Mary

So I finished sewing part of Mary’s Christmas present–from this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

to this:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If you are crazy enough to want to make one of these, here is the tutorial I used:

I cannot even tell you how confusing it was. But I like it now that it’s done and I think Mary will dig it.

no pictures with this post

Because I have realized that Mary has the Dreaded Baby Mullet.

Grow, hair, grow!


Okay, so this is a non-newsy, philosophical post. Consider yourself warned.

So, one of my students said, a couple of semesters ago, in response to another student’s remark about a text, “But isn’t homosexuality a sin?” This was totally not an attempt to start an argument or anything; the student said it like it was totally accepted and everyone believes it. You know, like this:

Student 1: Well, I’m arguing that Song really does love Gallimard and that if society would allow them to be together, they would have been happy.
Student 2: Even though Song lied to Gallimard?
Student 1: I think he only lied because he knew that Gallimard wouldn’t be willing to buck societal conventions in order to date him. Their relationship could have been open and honest and successful in a better society.
Student 2: But isn’t homosexuality a sin?

And I realized something (which I can only now blog about because I can’t really write about current students): while I try to be accepting of other points of view, etc., etc.–I just don’t accept this. I mean, it’s not like it would affect this student’s grade or anything, but it does change my view of the student. Because it’s ignorant. I mean, you can say a lot of things about accepting other points of view and respecting other people’s beliefs, but I don’t respect this. And only today did I realize that I have no obligation to pretend to accept it, any more than I would accept racism in my classroom. The student is wrong. Unfortunately he’s probably wrong because he’s always been taught this, not because he’s a bad person or an intolerant person by nature.

Anyway, the point is, so much for including disclaimers like “No matter what you believe about homosexuality…” in the classroom. I’m not doing it anymore. People who think homosexuality is sinful or bad are wrong. And as a teacher I think it’s my job to make the arguments that support tolerance and increased understanding, not to be politically correct. So much of what you’re taught as a teacher is that you should make your classroom as non-political as possible. Well, screw that. If you can read all of the texts I assigned to those students that semester and still say something so ignorant–without even thinking about it–then the nonpolitical classroom model doesn’t work.

Ordinarily, the things I do to promote tolerance include:
* Allowing ZERO homophobic, racist, sexist, etc., language from my students;
* Gently pointing out that their audiences might be offended by their [intolerant] arguments;
* Assigning readings that support my views and might broaden their perspective.

Well, add to that list–not feeling obligated to be nice or politically correct about idiotic statements like “homosexuality is a sin.” Honestly. A sin is something that hurts another person–abuse, or stealing, or saying mean things. Love–no matter what form it takes–makes the world a better place, not a worse place, and therefore cannot possibly be a sin.