Two Left Feet


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Thursday, February 27, 2003

[Jean]

An Open Letter to Toni Smith

Dear Ms. Smith,

I just heard that you've been turning away from the flag during the national anthem to protest "the inequalities that are embedded into the American system" and "the war America will soon be entering."

I've also heard that you've been the target of quite a bit of hateful words and actions. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry to hear that, and I thank you for your bravery. Our country seems to have gone even more crazy than usual. I hope that our leaders will listen to people like you.

Sincerely,
Jean


Saturday, February 22, 2003

[Simon]

For, as thou urgest justice, be assur’d / Thou shalt have justice...

In my Global Politics of Human Rights class this week, we watched a film about the indigenous tribes in Ecuador and their dealings with oil companies. The film included commentary from a consultant to the U.S. oil industry, in which he maintained that of course the surface of the indigenous people's land belonged to them, but the subsoil belonged to the government of Ecuador. Needless to say, I was a bit flabbergasted by this statement. While I assume this is true legally, don't you have to drill through the surface to get to the subsoil? And mightn't this disturb said surface just a bit? It made me think of the pound of flesh in The Merchant of Venice. Thus, Shakespeare, revised for this consultant:

Por. A gallon of that same land's oil is thine:

The court awards it, and the law doth give it.

Shy. Most rightful judge!

Por. And you must drill this oil from off his land:

The law allows it, and the court awards it.

Shy. Most learned judge! A sentence! come, prepare!

Por. Tarry a little: there is something else.

This bond doth give thee here no jot of soil;

The words expressly are ‘a gallon of oil:’

Then take thy bond, take thou thy gallon of oil;

But, in the drilling it, if thou dost disturb

One grain of Huaorani soil, thy lands and goods

Are, by the laws of the world, confiscate

Unto the people of the world.

(IV, i, 299-312; http://www.bartleby.com/70/1941.html)

I admit the punishment is a bit harsh, but I think the sentiment is valid.



[Jean]

One more thing, and then bed...

Q: Why don't dogs make good dancers?

A: Because they have two left feet!



[Jean]

Dropping like flies

Jan Gavenciak, a student at UNC, died Wednesday in an apparent suicide. As horrific as this news is, I am more disturbed by the fact that if his death was in fact a suicide, he was the third student at UNC to take his or her own life in the past month.

According to the Jed Foundation, "The overall rate of completed suicide among college students is roughly 7.5 per 100,000, making it the second leading cause of death within that cohort."

It is against all of the rules of statistics to extrapolate data from a small data set, but just for the purposes of comparison, consider that the suicide rate for the past month at UNC has been about 12.5 per 100,000, or 167% of the average rate.

The stress of college life at UNC could be one factor behind the suicides. On the UNC Discussion Forum, one student pointed out that UNC is where "your best has never been good enough, since 1793." Most colleges work their students hard, however, and it would be hard to prove that education at UNC is any more stressful than at other institutions.

The current state of the world might have something to do with the deaths as well. Many people I know have at least some desire to leave the country, if not take their own lives.

More likely, this cluster of recent deaths indicates nothing more than unfortunate coincidences. Still, it's enough to make one pause.


Tuesday, February 18, 2003

[Jean]

He hasn't got a clue...

For some reason, I frequently encounter advice on how to trick women into falling in love with you, at least long enough for a hot night of passion. Still, I'm rather amazed by the vemonous attack on feminism and women in general in this piece of advice:

Men, in general, have been p-whipped and brainwashed by the male-bashing media into thinking that they have to apologize for being men.

For instance, check out the plot line of half the books on Oprah's Book Club list over the last few years. The main female characters are victims of various forms of abuse, and the main male characters are the perpetrators. It's an astonishingly predominant theme that runs through a preponderance of the novels on her list.

....

Take a close, objective look at the commercials on television. Men are frequently portrayed as inept dunces and incompetent losers. In advertising land, men are sloppy and selfish. They're incapable of taking care of themselves when they're sick. They're forgetful of anniversaries and birthdays. They're dysfunctionally obsessed with sports. They're untrustworthy creatures who don't deserve common courtesy. To whom are these ads catering? Women, of course. To you psych majors: The female controls the purse strings in the home.

...

But the mother of all feminists gave into a strong man. Yes Toby, the Feministas are, of course, raving hypocrites. Just look at the mating choices of one of their Founding Mothers, Gloria Steinem. She made a career out of ranting and railing against the Patriarchy and once dismissed marriage as an institution that "destroys relationships."

Yet whom did she choose for her husband when she decided to become a first-time bride at the age of 66? A wealthy and powerful international entrepreneur, David Bale.

....

Attempting to justify the betrayal of her own principles, Steinem told her minions on her wedding day, "I'm happy, surprised and one day will write about it, but for now, I hope this proves what feminists have always said, that feminism is about the ability to choose what's right at each time of our lives."

...

The Reality Factor says that when the chickens come home to roost, even the most hard-core Amazonian Feminista has a deep-seated need for a strong man who will take control (unless she's a lesbian).

In fact, the more hard-core she is, the more masculine and dominating a man she'll tend to pick for her partner. Why? Because it's the only way she can feel feminine. Deep down, she wants someone who will set limits for her and say "No" once in awhile. Only an extra tough dude can make a tough woman feel girlish.

When a man cheats on his girlfriend or wife, he is labeled by womenfolk as a creep and a user. When a woman cheats on her man, she's often seen as a victim who was compelled to do it only because she needed to free herself from a bad relationship and discover her deepest, unfulfilled needs. He's a total jerk while she's on a journey of self-expression and self-discovery. (Imagine a guy getting away with such an excuse!)

...

The double standard that reigns supreme in the arena of sexual politics is the following. Women: good. Men: guilty until proven innocent.

Yes, it's all very real and it's all very annoying and disconcerting. Still, we can be thankful for talk radio and the Internet. Those are two places where you'll find that men can consistently get an even break.

So... what's a guy to do? How do you deal with all this adversity when you're out and about in the world, just trying to do your job and find a mate?

Realize that you never need to apologize for being a man. You don't have to buy into the "party line" that a man is a user and abuser until he proves that he's not. You don't need to feel guilty about your sexuality. Being a man is a noble and virtuous thing. Study "The System" and become a confident man of high integrity who walks tall.

Avoid any woman who has a chip on her shoulder and an ax to grind. There are plenty out there who don't hate men and who appreciate and respect a man who makes no apologies for his masculinity.

Ugghh.

UPDATE: For the entire article, click here.






Thursday, February 13, 2003

[Jean]

Simon and I both took the "How Republican Are You?" quiz, and we got the same results:
Saint

Interestingly enough, we got the same results for the "Which Donnie Darko Character Are You?" quiz, too. We're both Donnie Darko. I guess that makes us the saintly tools of giant scary bunnies.


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

[Jean]

Local Students Making Clean Energy a Reality

CHAPEL HILL – Students at the University of North Carolina made history yesterday as they overwhelmingly approved a referendum that will make UNC the first university in the Southeast to obtain some of its power from renewable energy sources. The proponents of the referendum were ecstatic at the news, which they say will reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions while establishing UNC as a leader in environmentally friendly energy use.

The passage of the referendum, approved by a margin of three to one, will result in an increase in student fees of four dollars per semester. Beginning in 2004, a committee appointed by Student Congress will oversee the spending of the money levied by this increase, which could total as much as $300,000 per year.

One proposed project is the purchase and installation of solar thermal panels for the roof of the science complex currently under construction.

Other institutions, including Swarthmore College and the University of Colorado at Boulder, have established renewable energy programs similar to the one proposed at UNC. According to Cindy Shea, UNC’s Sustainability Coordinator, renewable energy programs at universities in Pennsylvania “drive the wind energy market” in that state.

Members of the UNC Green Energy Campaign hope to spark a clean energy trend close to home. “Given UNC’s reputation and its position of leadership in our community,” explains campaign member Collin Lee, “we hope that if our university begins using clean, sustainable energy, other institutions will follow suit.”