Friday, April 1, 2011

Invasive Species, Fools, Rosaleen Norton, and Pagans

1. Found out the model shown in the anorexia-article that I linked to died at the age of 28.  My friend and I were wondering what had happened to her, so I looked it up.  

2. Read Sarah Hanson-Young's editorial about Julia Gillard's comments.  It made me feel sick inside...not towards Sarah Hanson-Young, but at what Julia Gillard said.  It's just so incredibly rude to insinuate that certain Australians (Greens) do not represent Australia.  I hate when people have the idea that THEIR values and culture are the true values and culture of a country.  All countries are made up of a variety of people with a variety of values. Just because your values are not in the majority, it shouldn't mean you don't count.  And as Sarah Hanson-Young points out in her editorial, Green Party values are not rare in Australia.

3. Decided that it's awful when someone says something rude and unbelievable on April Fool's Day, but they're not joking.

Maybe Julia Gillard was joking?  I doubt it, but I can't help but fall prey to wishful thinking.

4. Decided it doesn't matter if a view is popular or not.  It matters whether the view is one that causes good or harm.  Let's say almost everyone in the world decided red-haired people were the spawns of the devil.  If five of my friends and I felt this was wrong, and spoke out against the slaughtering of red-haired people, would we be in the wrong?

Homosexuality is becoming more and more accepted by cultures around the world.  But it doesn't mean that homosexuality has become more okay throughout the last few decades.  It's always been okay.  It's just most people were too dense to realize that.

A minority value is not necessarily a wrong value, just as a majority value is not necessarily a right value.  

And yes, I know.  It's all a matter of opinion.  Regardless of popularity, what I see as a righteous value could be seen as an immoral value by others.

5. Dealt with feelings of guilt over committing mass murder.  I drowned a bunch of ants...likely fire ants.   I feel so conflicted about it.   They're definitely a nuisance.  I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a good idea to let them go on populating themselves without some kind of resistance.  But see when I say that, I sound like some kind of alien overlord contemplating the fate of earthlings.

Anyway, the ants are in our garden, off to the side.   I considered ignoring them; take the route of coexistence.  But then I thought that might be a bit irresponsible.  So I poured pool water over them.   After I did that, I felt guilty and wondered if I had done the wrong thing.

Animal ethics are so confusing.  The other day I read something about Queenslanders slaughtering cane toads.   I understand the reasoning behind it; but it's still sad.  If we think of animals as being inanimate objects, we can feel less guilty. Killing a cane toad is then no different than crunching a soda can and putting it in the recycling bin. But animals DO feel pain.  They do suffer.

I'd like to think that ants are mindless drones, but what if they're not? What if they have individual personalities?

I don't know.  My rational mind is saying that I probably did the right thing by killing the aunts, but I still feel sad about it.  

6. Saw article about Asian bee invasion in Australia.  Maybe reading this will make me feel less guilty about killing the ants.  I think fire ants are an invasive species in Texas.  Yeah.   I found a website which lists invasive animals and plants.  Fire ants are included.  The only thing is....I could have killed ants that were NOT an invasive species.   It's really hard for me to know which ant is which.

Anyway, from what I already knew and what I just read on various sites, pouring pool water was probably not the most effective eradication method. Some of the ants will drown, but the rest will just move...probably to a place that causes double the irritation.    

7. Read the bee invasion article.  Some folks are calling the bees cane toads with wings.  They might wipe out the European bees.  Would European bees not be an invasive species?   Maybe they're imported?  I guess being imported doesn't necessarily mean a species is invasive.

8. Read fun website that had descriptions of famous Australian April Fool's Day jokes.   My favorites are Google's gDay Mate technology, and the regulation of Yum Cha cats.   I also like the metric time joke.  I read about it this morning from Iwasn'tbloggedyesterday.

9. Read article about a movie set in Perth that was filmed in Adelaide.  Why?  The movie takes place in the 1980's, and Adelaide has kept it's 1980's style more than Perth. I guess Perth looks too modernized.  That kind of makes me feel better about choosing to go to Adelaide or Hobart rather than Perth. I prefer old buildings over modernized skyscrapers. 

10. Noticed that some people don't like April Fool's Day as much as I do.  Perhaps it's like Phoebe Cates in Gremlins, and something traumatic happened to them.   One of my Facebook friends acted very annoyed when someone suggested she play a joke on her kids. I promise you it was nothing cruel.  It was actually very harmless and sweet.   Then other people seemed very angry and upset with a Harry Potter joke.   I thought it was funny.  

Some jokes would upset me.  I think one of the worst would be ones in which someone gives me good news, I get all excited, and then they say April Fool's.  That might make me angry. If someone gave me horrible news, and then said April Fool's, I'd probably be so relieved, I couldn't be too angry.  But I'd probably think the person was a bit sick.   An example would be if someone says they had cancer or someone said there's been another earthquake. That wouldn't be funny.  

11. Read an art blog entry on Rosaleen Norton, the Witch of Queen's Cross.   The blogger says, In her time she was portrayed as the epitome of wickedness. This was a facade she was quite happy to flaunt to the public and media,  loving to shock conservative minds.  I admire that, maybe because I'm capable of doing such things myself.   Maybe I shouldn't say I admire it.   I should say I can relate to it.  I forgot what happened, exactly,  but one day I was with my cousin and her husband.   Somehow Wicca entered the conversation, and my cousin and cousin-in-law acted very disgusted with someone who was Wiccan. They were judgmental...prejudice.   I blurted out that I was a witch. Or something like that.  I shouldn't have done that, because I hate lying.   But to be fair, I HAD been reading a Wiccan book that weekend; and I was actually considering being a witch/Wiccan person.  And if I was forced to choose a religion, I would probably choose Wicca.   So, maybe we can say it's not a lie, and instead, a stretching of the truth.  

Norton was seen as awful, partly because she produced provocative pieces of art using Pagan symbols and characters.  Okay, but it's fine for Christians to paint graphic pictures of a man nailed to a cross?

What I'm getting from reading this is Norton was one of those people who are crucified by the press for being different. Instead of fighting the rumors and accusations, she embraced them and played the part.   

12. Found an Australian Pagan Awareness website.  They have a list of Pagan friendly businesses.   That's pretty cool.   From the look of the businesses listed, I think it's more about being Pagan-oriented than Pagan-friendly.  

This page of their site says that Satanism is NOT linked under the umbrella term of Paganism.  Why?  Because Satan falls under the Jewish-Christian-Islam umbrella.  It's part of THEIR philosophy.

Why do people associate Satan with Pagans?  The website gives the answer.    The main reason witches are associated with the Devil in popular culture is that in the 12th Century the Catholic Church gave descriptions of Satan that closely resembled pagan nature gods such as Pan, Herne and Cernunnos – the horns, the cloven feet, etc. This was intended to (quite literally) demonise the indigenous spiritual traditions of Europe that Christianity was attempting to eradicate. 

I like the website.  It reminds me WHY I see Paganism as my favorite religion. I guess I sort have am Pagan.   They say you can be atheist, which I assume would not be the same atheism where people don't believe in the supernatural.  I believe in the supernatural, but I don't believe in a god or gods.   I believe in a higher power, and if people want to classify that as God...fine.   But I see this higher power as a force, like gravity or the wind.  I don't see it as something that has a personality.

13. Read Josh Frydenberg's first speech to Parliament.  Even though he's a Liberal, his speech didn't annoy me too much.   I like what he says here.  I want to see an Australia that is safe and secure. I want to see an Australia where the only relevant consideration is the content of a person’s character. I want to see an Australia where families are valued and encouraged. I want to see an Australia where each citizen has the opportunity to be the best that they can be.

And what he says here gives me something to think about.  The equality which Liberals seek in a society is the equality of opportunity, not the other kind of equality—the equality of outcomes. It seems to me that these two notions of equality reflect the fundamental fault lines between us and the members opposite.  I can agree with that to a point.  The problem is the government can't provide equal opportunities.  You can't give everyone equal amounts of intelligence and talent.  You can't guarantee that every child is born to parents willing and capable of loving them; and providing what the child needs.  You can't guarantee that people are born into the ethnicities, gender, culture, sexual orientation, etc. that will lessen their chance of facing bigotry and discrimination.