Saturday, October 18, 2008


old newspapers inside a Williamsburg window, Brooklyn.

i wasn't planning to post today, having no particularly obviously bloggable thoughts in my head...

...but walking up the road to buy my weekend paper, various things which I've been thinking about began to form themselves into little groups, jostling for attention.

I'm not sure if anyone else will see the patterns or whether my saturday-brain will make the connections clear, but I'll throw them out there and hope that you will make more sense of them than I.

(now theres a thought - I could scatter random thoughts, and you could write my blog post for me, in your comments...)

anyway : systems, systemic, systematic....

Since my bad hair day week month number of months, the black toxicity is all grown out or cut off, I have short short hair which I like and my ears are pretty much back to normal.

Except that lately, they have been itching and complaining a little...
Maybe there are still toxins in my system or some evolution has occurred such that my ears are now a first indication of over-tiredness or stress.

The canaries of my immune system.(though hopefully they will never be that yellow)

I've been discussing equality and human rights with students - comparing and contrasting racism and sexism and explaining the concept of hegemony: how prejudice, stereotypes, assumptions and agendas of power can become so absorbed into a system [like a plant absorbing a systemic bug-spray] that they operate from the inside, they seem (to everyone, those with power and those without) only right and natural; obvious and common sense [as the bug-spray permeates roots, stems, leaves, capillaries, becoming part of the plant].

Sometimes i fear that racism and sexism have become resistant, super-strains of bigotry which we will never be rid of.

I dreamed - a little fragment, too-brief snippet of a dream - I was back in the house where I grew up, in my bedroom {i think i was an adult, not child but i'm not sure} putting away toys, especially dolls, old and antique dolls. Some of them I recognised but many I didn't. And my mother was there, just a presence. Thinking of her still brings tears so quickly and the pain doesn't get any less but its part of me now.

I was so angry last night (returning from a great evening out in London with a certain Rambling Woman) to see news headlines that Cameron, our opposition leader, was attacking Gordon Brown over the current economic crisis. Not that I would absolve Brown of all responsibility - he's a politician who has had economic responsibility and power for quite some time, he must carry some responsibility. He has been a key part of the system. But it seems rather obvious that this crisis has to do with assumptions about money, markets, growth, credit, wealth that go way deeper, wider, larger and further back in time than Brown's specific and personal role.

Does Cameron think that we've forgotten Thatcherism?

I know little about economic history or theory, I don't understand why "growth" is assumed to be so good and necessary as a basic and overriding imperative. Growth in wealth and standards of living seems to be so much a concern of those who have no need for any such growth - and the way economic "growth" works seems to be of little help to those who really do need and deserve it. The system seems to demand that we spend and spend - but for whose benefit? It seems to me a good thing that one result of this crisis is that, in the UK, a lot of people who can afford to are paying off bits of their mortgages. This seems not to be seen as such a good thing for "the system".

I've read some articles, leaders etc. suggesting that the scale and seriousness of the situation may be something of a (partial) victory for socialism. I find it hard to be so optimistic. It seems to me that capitalism and consumerism are a hegemony and those with the power to actually change things are those who are most cushioned from the shocks which might jolt the system out of whack...

The postal system is a Good Thing. I've received two lovely postal deliveries from two lovely bloggers and i have myself proceeded a couple of steps in the direction of sending postcards to people. Just because. Just to say hello.

My neighbour at the front door just now with a delivery of water snails* reminded me that I should report to you the presence of frogs in my frog pool. Despite the absence of frogspawn this spring, and no signs of splashing or croaking during early summer, I have witnessed the comings and goings of frogs of various sizes and degrees of shyness.

I know some of you will be pleased by this exciting news, as I was myself - both pleased and excited. And I'm sure there is something which could be said about frogs and water and ecosystems, but i think thats my Saturday quota of thinking all used up now.

*water snails of a different variety {pointy and whelk-shaped, rather than elliptical and flat} from those I already have. I say this in the firm belief that some of you would want to know....

There is no seventhly.

I shall go and look for a relevant photo to post with this.
Or not.


tut-tut said...

Well, here it's socialism and a bad thing when health care is under consideration to be nationalized, but it's not when the banking industry is. We are in a mess here with consumerism, capitalism, crooked politics. It's frightening and I don't like it one bit.

But then, there are always the frogs to contemplate . . .

R.L. Bourges said...

I like this randomness. Has me thinking in all kinds of directions - specially secondly.

re economic system: I'm no expert but the whole problem is the system's premises. There is no way to reform it and, although some off-the-wall economists may be coming up with new economic theories out there, nobody has yet latched on to them big time. So long as the system sort-of works, those for whom it sort-of-works won't throw it out, will they?

Glad to hear about the frogs. Although living as I do in a frog-rich enclave, you need only give out a shout, letty, and I'll see if the postal services between our two countries will oblige :-)

Enjoy your Saturday! (and best to those early warning devices on each side of your head.)

Dumdad said...

Forget the financial crisis, hurray for the frogs!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I read somewhere that racism is inherent in the human race and that best way of dealing with it was to acknowledge that and then move forward from there.

As for frogs... we, excitingly, found a rare and endangered baby leopard toadlet in our pool last week. He's been moved to the pond - but I suspect may have been guzzled by the ever present heron who clearly has neither clue nor care about endangered species.

Akelamalu said...

Don't talk to me about politicians - they are all a waste of space! Great news about the frogs. :)

goatman said...

I have to agree with your proposition, on thought twoly, that bigotry and hatred seem to be a systemic disease with no antidote available. And it is continued through the offspring in many cases, so it is a self-sustaining exponentially- growing prejudice.
Every once in awhile though a person sees the light, usually through a life-changing extreme event or realization. We must take heart in those possibilities.

I would like your recipie for the elderberry syrup if it's not too much trouble. Sounds good and the maple stuff is way expensive.

One more thought: Have you read the Atwood short story where her cat gets raptured up into heaven? I think it's in the book "The Tent" and is typical "her".
Have a drifty sunday.

Barbara said...

Well, for having nothing to say, you certainly gave us a lot of food for thought! We here in the US are experiencing a lot of evidence of the super strains of bigotry as we try to elect our first black President. I sometimes wonder if there's any hope that we can breed that out in successive generations or whether it is so much a part of these persons' being that it's like DNA.

I would actually much rather think about frogs. They are so cute and so innocent as they just hop around.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

ending on seventhly...rhymes with heavenly and this is quite pleasant.

it is ironic that mccain (who I will call mcnasty - which incidently was his nickname in high school) is trying to attack obama by using the dreaded (to some, but not to me) S word in his attacks (socialism) - mcnasty is a third generation military brat and current double or maybe even triple dipper on the government dole - there is no group in the u.s.a. who has reaped the benefits of socialized systems more than dependents and members of the u.s. military and members of congress .... having been a navy brat for the first 18 yrs of my life, I know of what I speak! one would only wish that the 'every person' in the u.s. had the type of retirement and health care package that people in the military or congress have!

isn't it strange that to folks like mcnasty, helping poor and/or middle class people (and I mean those who's income is less than 100,000/yr with social programs is 'socialism' but giving trillions of dollars to the military-industrial complex, bailing out corporations and floating assistance to ceo's is not.... hummm.

ah, I best stop this comment as I do feel a BIG rant is coming on...perhaps thinking of frogs would be better for my blood pressure and over all health!

oh, by the way, what color is your hair these days? glad the ears are doing better although are still some sort of indicator of tireness or ears have been alarms for years - ear today, gone tomorrow??

Trac said...

Wow! You thought all that while popping up the road for a paper? :O)

I certainly haven't forgotten Thatcherism!

(I haven't forgotten how nice your hair looked black either)

But I am trying to forget scary frogs.

Steve said...

1. Glad the hair has grown out. What a relief, I'm sure!

2. Yay frogs!

3. I don't understand "growth" either. Economists are all insistent that if our economy isn't growing, it's dying. But nothing can grow forever, can it? I can see why backsliding is bad, but can't we just reach a static point where we're producing and consuming the optimum level of goods and services?

Chick said...

That's a lot of is...I love that frogs find you...I put in a pond in my garden & had to stock it with goldfish...but the frogs just showed up to the party (like magic)...& I love seeing them come back each spring.

Lynne said...

My mind has been having random disconnected thoughts too. But I haven't managed to put them down on "paper" just yet.

I think that if people are fed a diet of racism and sexism from the time they are born they will grow up thinking it's normal and by then it's very hard to turn them around. Sad.

Hurray for the frogs! How exciting!

I feel your pain regarding your mum. :( Sometimes I still think I can just pick up the phone and call mine. Then I realize I can't.

Glad to hear your ears are nearly back to normal. What an awful thing to have to go through but glad it's over.


Reya Mellicker said...

What a lovely dream - putting away the dolls is like putting away the past, some kind of idealized past? Cut off the old hair, remember the "real" past (Margaret Thatcher? Bloody hell!) not just the romanticized past when Men were Men and Women were Polite and Stayed in the Kitchen.

Your ears are still itching? Maybe it's because your readers are talking about how marvelous you are. I at least LOVE the way you think.

Greetings to the amphibians! And love to you.

Queenie said...

Croak to hear about the frogs. Politics bah! humbug........

Queenie said...

Croak to hear about the frogs. Politics bah! humbug........

Coffee Messiah said...

8thly, nice thoughtful post.

Sometimes it rains thoughts and it may have been pouring in this case! ; )

Remember, the froggy went a courtin'!
Burl Ives

lettuce said...

pretty messy over here too Tut-tut... Well, not so pretty at all really

french frogs, rlb. i wonder how they'd get on in my part of london?

hurray indeed dumdad!

Vanilla, a leopard toadlet - i must google and see a picture! those herons, eh? tch

up with frogs, Akelamalu, down with politicians

goatman I haven't read it, thanks for the tip. i want to read more of her short stories - also her poetry. (twas quite nice and drifty thanks)

barbara, its hard to be hopeful sometimes. Frogs do help.

kimy it makes me spitting mad too. So you have canary ears too? :) The hair is its mid-mousey-quite a bit of grey normal now.

oh trac :( i'm sure they don't mean to be scarey.

steve, your no.3 really gets me - why not indeed? things really have got way out of whack...

chick I love that too - where theres water... My frog pool is too tiny for fish but i have plans for a larger pond too ...

lynne it is sad and scary how it becomes part of the system - including the human system

reya, there are bits of the past to be firmly put away and forgotten (though i don't know, maybe forgetting thatcher wouldn't be such a good thing...) and others i want to hold firmly onto. [and thankyou :o) ]

queenie, croak bah humbug indeed

CM it was a bit of a shower there. so, maybe thats where froggy was all summer, uh-huh

Trac said...

Yes they do!

Otherwise they wouldnt jump out at you in the dark on purpose.

When I lived in Charlton, they were always doing that. After several near heart attacks, I kind of went off them a bit.

Pod said...

hurrah for the frogs!
(don't let the canaries scare 'em!)

Pod said...

ps. i understand growth rather well
pfff tee hee
snigger snigger

ArtSparker said...

2, I see it differently, that is, racism/sexism (Oh, and homophobia, that's a popluar one in the U.S.A.) are convenient receptacles to put fear of the other. If we had an invasion from Mars, you'd see National Brotherhood Week all the time here.
4, Growth, interesting how busiess steals a word to describe a process in nature, and of course economic growth is not QUITE so straightforwad. It's hysterical to me how the government continuously panics over the lack of consumer spending in an economic downturn while simultaneously throwing up its hands in horror at the amount of credit card debt people are racking up (latest I saw was $17,000)
6, Lovely about the frogs because they are not doing so well here in Yellowstone National Park