Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jim Wallace, Prejudice, Overprotective Parents, and Greg

1. Reminded to remember the white rabbit.  I don't think I'd ever forget that, and especially not right after Easter.

2. Read article about Christian leaders in Australia speaking out against what Jim Wallace said regarding homosexuals and Islam.  I'm glad to see this. In cases like this, silence often looks like agreement.

Bill Crews, the minister from the Uniting Church in Sydney said, It’s so sad that people who should know better have to use ANZAC DAY to pick on people they don’t like. It’s unchristian in the extreme.


3. Started watching video from the article, with Jim Wallace defending himself.   It's shocking to me.   He's so...aggravating.  He's not sorry for what he said.  Instead of acting apologetic and ashamed, he tries to prove that his viewpoint is acceptable by many people.

He says he didn't slur gays and Muslims.  Really?  How is that so?

I can't believe this guy.  He uses his father's war experiences to defend his offensive Tweet. Oh, see. MY dad fought in the war so I can say whatever offensive thing I want.

Wallace puts most of the blame, not on his offensive ill-timed Tweet, but on the awful people who dared to read the Tweet and speak out against it. I do agree that sometimes people write/say something innocent, and it's blown out of proportion, or misinterpreted.  But with this Jim Wallace thing, I personally don't feel it's the case.

He keeps talking about someone named Stephanie Rice, and how she was treated horribly for using the word "faggot" on Twitter. What happened there?

4. Read article about Stephanie Rice. She said, Suck on that faggots.  It's hard to know by that whether she's anti-gay or just ignorant.  I used to have this Australian email-pal.  Our friendship has faded unfortunately, but it was great while it lasted.  Anyway, she once wrote something anti-semitic in her email.  I forgot what it was exactly.  It was something about being cheap. She probably said something like, I'm such a Jew when I shop.    It was a bit awkward.  I gently let her know I was Jewish, trying to be light about it.   I don't think she was bothered by that at all.  I don't think she was anti-Jewish.  But she probably didn't know many Jews, and she probably hung out with people who casually use the word Jew as an insult.

Stephanie Rice might be against homosexuals, or she might just see the word "faggot" as a general insult.  

It's also hard to know whether she cried in public because she felt guilty for what she said; or if she cried because she lost a sponsorship with Jaguar.   I might give her the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a little bit of both.  

5. Read article about gay swimmer friend of Stephanie Rice defending her.  Matthew Mitcham pretty much says what I said.  Some people when they use that language don't realise they are causing offence. But it is an issue for a lot of gay people, who get quite upset about it because they have spent so long trying to change people's mentality about these things.   

I disagree with Mitcham though when he says, I know she's not homophobic because we are good friends.

You can be homophobic, and still have gay friends.  You can even be gay yourself and homophobic.  I'm Jewish and sometimes anti-semitic.  And being friends or associated with me does not prove that you're not anti-semitic.  It does prove that you're not all hateful about it.  There's levels of prejudice.   The highest would probably be hating a group so much that you seek out to kill them. Below that you have those who refuse to associate with the particular group, but they wouldn't go as far as killing or harming the people.  

Then there're those who will associate with people from the group, maybe even be friends with them.  But they still cling to stereotypes and/or they support forms of discrimination against the group.  The lowest form of prejudice is the subconscious stuff that you don't want to have, but you do anyway.   I think we all have it to some extent, and in most cases it's probably harmless.  It's like me wishing all gay dads would be like Cam on Modern Family.  Or it's like those people who tell me they love Jews.  Really?  Are you serious?  You love all of us?  WHY????    We're all a bit different, and not all of us are that great.   I did use to love all Australians, just for having the adorable accent.    Uh...but....no.   That didn't last too long.  

6. Read Cazzie's post about visiting Hall's Gap.   I was interested, because we're planning to go there.   It's about three days since I've made our plans, and miraculously I haven't changed them yet.    Fortunately, Cazzie didn't say anything to make me regret choosing Hall's Gap.   She actually made it sound quite nice.   I'm looking forward to going there.   

7. Read article about humans euthanizing a dingo because it attacked a three-year-old child.   Some people feel this was wrong.  I might agree with them. I don't know.  I don't think a wild animal should be euthanized after one incident, especially if we're not sure the animal is completely to blame.    

Some people are blaming the parents of the child because they weren't properly supervising her.   The child is three, so she would probably need a lot of supervision. But how much supervision is expected.  Did her parents let her totally go off on her own, and had no idea where she was?   That might be a bit irresponsible.  Or it could be that they weren't overprotective like some of us parents, and let her roam a bit out of arm's reach.  Maybe she went the wrong way, and before they knew what was happening, a dingo came over and attacked?  Are the parents to blame then?  I don't think really think so. We could protect our children more carefully by being in arm's reach every moment of their day, but that might drive them insane.

Parents these days are pulled in two directions. There are those who want us to watch our child every minute of the day because danger's are all around us. Then there are those who call us helicopter parents because we don't give our children enough freedom.

I think my parents are still a bit freaked out that I allow Jack to go up to the cabin alone at the lake house.   It's about a two minute walk from the house.  Never mind that at Jack's age, I was roaming around the neighborhood by myself.  I do get scared sometimes.   I'll admit it. What if Jack is walking to the cabin, and someone comes by for a visit?  What if they're not expecting a child to be walking and they speed through the driveway?  What if Jack gets stung by a wasp on his way over and has a severe allergic reaction? What if he trips and hits his head?  What if he falls down the stairs?   Bad things could happen, and it does terrify me.   But I figure if I can't let my nine year old go to a cabin alone on a gated property, how in the world will I ever let him learn to drive when he's a teenager?    We have to give our kids freedom, even though there IS some risk.  And then if you're paranoid like me, you give them 15-20 minutes of freedom, and then you go check on them.

8. Read article about a man being attacked by a crocodile. See? Even when children grow up, they can still encounter dangerous things.

9.  Read article about woman being bitten by a snake.  Australia, you're doing a fantastic job of living up to your stereotype of being full of dangerous creatures.  Seriously though.  I hope all the injured humans recover from their injuries.  And also, let's not forget what is the most dangerous animal on the planet.    

10. Read article about Nicole Kidman.  I avoided it at first because the headlines made me think it was going to be ridiculous.  As a teenager, Kidman was insecure over her looks.  She was too tall and too skinny.  Blah, blah, blah.   How can you complain about being tall and skinny?   I'd love to be tall and skinny.  But then I read the article.   She was 5 ft 10 inches when she was 13.   That really IS tall.  Wow.  Yeah.  I can see how that would be noticeable, and why it would make a teenager feel self-conscious.

The funny thing is the article has it written as 5 ft 10 inches, and it's coming from the Sydney Morning Herald.  Why are they using those measurements?   I would think they'd be doing the metric thing.

From the article, Kidman seems like someone I'd like, at least back when she was a teen.   She chose drama classes over the beach on weekends.  That's a little bit like me.  I chose to stay home and write novels rather than go out to parties.  She steered clear of drugs and alcohol.  That's like me. I wonder if she still avoids that stuff.  I still do.

Kidman is not like me in that she's one of those people who eats and eats, but stays skinny.   If I want to be skinny, I have to obsessively count calories and exercise almost all day.  It's hard to know though.  Some people really do eat a lot, and can't gain weight.  Other people have creative definitions of eating a lot.  Oh my God!  I totally splurged today.   I ate half a brownie.   I'm such a pig.   In my world, pigging out is eating half of the BATCH of brownies.  

11. Read some of the bitchy comments people left about Nicole Kidman and her self-conscious teen years.   The basic idea is she shouldn't complain.  She's beautiful.  Other teenagers had/have much worse things to worry about. That's true.  I read a book a few months ago about a teenager who was severely disfigured from a fire.  Her problems are much worse than someone who's a bit tall.

However, I think most teens are self-conscious about their bodies.  They think they're ugly.  They're too short.  They're too tall.  Their boobs are too big.  Their boobs are too small.  I hated my body as a teen and young adult.  My back was/is slightly curved, and I've always had a bit of a stomach.   If I'm bloated, I look pregnant.   But now I look at photos of myself when I was about 18-30, and think why didn't I appreciate my beauty back then?  This will sound vain, but I do think I was beautiful at that age.  But I didn't know that until much later.   Maybe that's good though, because if I thought I was pretty I'd probably be even more vain than I already am.  

12. Realized I might be wrong.   I went to go find a photo to prove my youthful beauty.  And in most of the photos I'm seeing, I look like a total dork.  These are from my teen years though. Maybe my beauty years came later.

Ah!  Here's one that I like.   I look a bit like a witch, but that's okay.   I like witches.  

I'm the one on the left.   My sisters are next to me, and Grandma Goldie is on the right.

Now compare me there (back in my college days) to me today.  

Actually, that picture isn't half as bad as the other ones I took today and deleted.

I've been taking lots of photos of myself.  Why?  My dad took photos of me this weekend, and I look awful.  I was annoyed because he took 16 photos of my sister, and only 4 of me.  If he took sixteen of me, there'd be more of a chance one of them wouldn't make me look awful.  My sister is absolutely adorable.  He could have taken just one photo of her, and it would have been perfect.  She looks good in 99.5% of photos that are taken of her. I look good in about 5% of photos taken of me.  

Anyway, I started taking photos of my vain self to see if I had lost all my physical beauty.  Of course, I still have TONS of inner beauty, and that's what's most important.  Right?

Well, I'm not going to keep taking photos of myself to prove my point.  I'll just post one of my scary lake house weekend photos.  

There you go.   That's good proof of my fading beauty.  By the way, we're doing Passover in that photo. You can see the Jewish grape juice, and on my plate is something called Charoset.  

Anyway, I know I shouldn't worry about what I look like.  It doesn't matter really.  Tomorrow I could be attacked by a dog and lose half my face in the battle. I'll look at the picture above and scold myself for not appreciating my intact face enough.  

13. Talked with Jack about expensive jewelry, and had sudden idea of selling my engagement ring for the Australia trip.  I haven't worn it in years, and the lack of it on my fingers does not detract from my marriage to Tim.   It's just sitting there on a shelf.   Now for the first time I'm regretting we didn't spend the usual amount on the ring.  It could have paid for our airfare.  My ring will probably pay for only 3 nights in a cabin at a holiday park.     

I started thinking though that maybe I should save the ring—not for sentimental reasons or to pass down to future generations.  I'm still reading that book about the Holocaust; The Prosperous Thief.    One of the endangered Jewish characters is facing the fact that she might need to sell her mother's jewelry.  There may come a horrible time in our lives where I need to sell that ring for food. That's a bit pessimistic of me though.  And we probably have other things we could sell—such as our house.  

14. Googled my blog and found my blog posts on other blogs.  It's a bit disturbing. They DO link to my blog, but if you don't notice and follow the link, it looks like the blog post was written by the person who created the other blog.  

I see some blogs have excerpts from the beginning of my blog, and then tell the readers to go to my blog to read the rest.  That's awesome.  I'm thankful for that.

The more I think about it, the more angry I get.  These people who are copying my blog post do give subtle credit to me by linking to my blog.  But why would people need to go to my blog if they can read the whole thing on this other blog?   I feel a bit exploited because I think these are the types of blogs that exist to sell advertising space.   I would feel flattered that someone wants to use my work, even in an unethical way.  But I think it's some type of automatic crawler. 

15. Read disturbing scenes about the Holocaust in The Prosperous Thief.    I've read horrible things about the Holocaust before.  I don't know I how I managed to do that and still cling to the idea that most people were basically good at heart.  Maybe I thought evil existed, but only in extreme brainwashing type situations.  Now I know that such evil is all around us.  The cruelty and brutality of the Nazi guards in the camp reminds me of the McDonalds story from the other day.   A transgender woman was attacked by two teenagers. A few people tried to help her, and that's beautiful.   Other people (including some McDonald's employees) laughed and cheered for the bullies.

It's so sad that people can be this cruel.  We can't all be heroes like the elderly women who stepped in and tried to stop the fight.   I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do that.   I'd probably just call the police, or run out of there, terrified.  But it's bad enough to be a quiet bystander.  It's disgusting and inexcusable to be a participating bystander.

16. Started looking at a fantastic Sydney architecture page.  I've probably been to it before, but I'm not sure.  It's VERY comprehensive and detailed.   I'm wondering if I want to read everything, or just look at the photos and basic information.   Maybe I'll just do the latter, unless I have particular interest in a building.

17. Learned that the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park is considered to be Art Deco.  Well, it's Inter-War Art Deco.  I thought that alluded to the fact that it was a war memorial, but it's a type of architecture.   I'm guessing it means it was a style popular in-between the two world wars.    

18. Impressed by The Great Synagogue in Sydney.  Why?  Because it's great. And I don't think it's ugly like most synagogues.   Most synagogues tend to use a type of architecture that's not pleasing to my eyes.

19. Learned about Australia Square Tower.  From 1967-1975, it was Australia's tallest building.   It's a bit roundish, which is kind of cool.  It once had a revolving restaurant.  Or maybe it still has it?

20. Learned that the restaurant is still there.  It's called The Summit

By the way, revolving restaurants are highly dangerous if a koala breaks into the premises.

21. Learned about Sydney Town Hall.   It's a gorgeous building.  I don't know if I ever noticed it.  I wasn't really into architecture the last time we were in Sydney.  

The land the Sydney Town Hall occupies used to be a burial ground.  The Sydney architecture website says that between 1792 and 1820, about 2000 bodies were buried there.  They weren't buried deep enough, and supposedly the place smelled bad.  

22. Watched Jack build a block building with Greg.  He's our friend that I talk a lot about on my blog  We hung out with him in Sydney in 2007.  He came over from New Zealand, where he was living at the time.  Now he's back to being an American. 

Here's a photo with Greg that used to be featured on my blog.  

Greg is the one who taught us to take photos of ourselves by holding the camera in front of you.  So now we take the photos a lot and we call them Greg Morris photos.    '

This is Greg at the playground near Bondi Beach.   He's wild and dangerous.   

And here we are in the cold Bondi water.