Oh my word it’s Friday.
I blogged a couple of times at Stand Firm this week and forgot to come over and link it all. Here is Sunday’s post, and yesterday’s, and here is a podcast I did recently with Melanie on the death of pets. It’s been hard to get up the gusto about blogging so I’m trying to shake things up a little. Why don’t I just stop blogging, you may wonder. Well, I have somehow made all other writing weirdly dependent on blogging. It’s like a warm-up. When I don’t do it, I don’t really do anything, so that’s too bad. I seriously hope this isn’t the dissolution of all things.
I know this isn’t of uppermost significance in world affairs, but we still haven’t named the kitten. We tried out Albert and it just didn’t stick. Then we tried out Breadon, also Humphry. Yesterday I started calling him Napoleon.
I know he doesn’t really need a name, but Small Cat is getting cumbersome and soon he will be bigger than Big Cat.
We are starting school for real and true on Monday, long after the rest of the entire country. It’s going to be epic–5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and, as I have already mentioned, the Community Child. I’m so glad she started before all the rest of us. Still, I hope I survive. I’m not actively “teaching” much of anything, it’s mostly the dizzying array of social schedules, technological hassles, and relentless essay writing and exam taking. I thought maybe I was about to have my best life now, which was me writing for the whole morning every morning and puttering around doing housework and correcting everyone’s bad writing in the afternoon and going to bed at 8, but it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. It will probably be more like me trying to make sure all the children are actually doing whatever they’re supposed to be doing, feeling guilty about all the deadlines I’m missing, rushing everyone around in the car in the afternoons, running back to try to do a last bit of work before collapsing into bed at midnight. In fact, it might be even worse than having a thousand toddlers, which is what the early part of parenting felt like. Oh Well.
Ivan Illich points out that “work” is now consciously divided between wage-earning work, and what he calls (in a book of the same title) “shadow work,” the enormous amount of human activity around wage-earning that is now cut off from the immediate reward of subsistence, and increasingly becomes coded as a liability. For instance, the work of the housewife is necessary to take care of the man who “leaves the home” in order to acquire the wages to provide for a home in the first place. But the “home” is increasingly a center of consumption rather than production. The work of the housewife, in a world less heavily dependent on wages, just was the work of living, and was done alongside a close-by husband. Children were necessary both to aid with one’s subsistence, but also to care for one’s self in later life (just as it would likewise be ordinary to care for one’s own parents). But in our era, all of this “costs money” and is coded as a liability that one may elect to refuse or to take up, or simply outsource. Formerly, subsistence often depended on establishing a household. Now, the larger the household, the larger the “liability.” In this context, “going to work” is the thing that one does outside the household to sustain the consumption patterns inside a household. Illich points out that many languages still do not have an equivalent of the English “work” in the sense of some reified thing that one “goes to” five days a week. He also points out that much of the tension between genders in the 20th century should be read against the backdrop of recent economic innovation rather than any classical gender arrangement.
I’m having to read another book much like J&JW and Barr’s Biblical Womanhood and am finding it so so interesting that the narrative has settled, if one may say that, around the specious argument that White Evangelicals have invented a form of bigoted misogynist racism that didn’t exist in humanity’s pure mythic past. Like, before 1980, everyone was totally on their way to embracing gay marriage, but it was only the wicked Moral Majority that stopped all the moral and ethical progress. It cannot possibly be, as is my theory supported by, well, a perfectly reasonable reading of history, that Christians mostly are continuing to live in the now arid river bed of Western theological discourse, even while most of the water has flowed off some spectacular cliff, and that it’s not because of bigotry, but because even though conversant in the philosophical categories of today, yet because they believe in objective truth and stuff like that, they are not going to change their minds just because a lot of people shout at them. Which is to say, if you’re looking for interesting writing to try to make sense of the world as it is now, it is the true Christians who provide rich and helpful descriptions of the lay of the land, and not propagandists masquerading as historians.
Really delighted that the New York Times published this piece by KSP. Especially this bit:
In America, of all the pregnancies that don’t end in miscarriage, nearly one in five is aborted; this is a society in which things are wildly off track. A world like this, spun by forces that lead to that many lives being undone, doesn’t happen by chance. It takes all of us. It takes a village to make abortion seem like the best choice.
I have managed not to pay any money to the NYTimes for my whole life but was forced to fork over 4 dollars a month recently because I ran out of free articles and still need to cite some stuff for my death of pets piece. And now my child has to be able to read articles here and there, so there go our few pennies. I mean, I believe in paying people for their work, so I guess it’s fine. They make it easier to pay up when they post reasonable pieces from other points of view. Maybe there is a God!
Not related to that at all, but I thought I had better pass on an important discovery I made. My children are always begging for, of all things, Cauliflower Soup, the creamy kind, and I never feel like making it because it means buying whacking great heads of cauliflower, chopping it all up, boiling it all down and and and. But then I wondered if it wouldn’t work to use packages of that Aldi Frozen Riced Cauliflower and by gum, it’s actually better. I used four packets, finely chopped four onions, used a lot of bullion, some cream, and blended it all with my immersion blender when it was soft enough. So Creamy. What do you know, when you know better, you can do better!
And now, if you will excuse me, I had better go take a long fast walk in my new red exercising shoes. Go check out more takes!