Archive for December, 2007

Knocked Up With People

December 26, 2007

The worlds of presidential politics and teeny-bopper celebrity oddly crossed, recently, when a) the news came out that 16-yr.-old Jamie Lynn Spears, star of some show or other on Nickelodeon that apparently a lot of teen, tween, and pre-teen girls watch, got herself knocked up, and b) surging presidential populist, cheery optimist, former Baptist minister, and champion of religious conservatives Mike Huckabee decided to comment on the upcoming non-virgin birth.

I don’t really have anything to say about this. I just found it . . . odd, and oddly amusing. For the most part, I think it’s just that I doubt this is the kind of thing we need to hear position statements on from our presidential frontrunners. I mean, surely we have larger problems to solve than the fecundity rate of the Spears girls, alarming though it is.

OTOH, Huckabee may not have had much choice. This is exactly the kind of thing — the kind of symbolic issue (no pun intended) — his core supporters get most exercised about. To many of them, Miss Spears’ delicate condition must represent everything wrong with contemporary America: too much celebrity, too much money, too little parental guidance, Hollywood, sex, the “loss of girlhood,” the breakup of the family, etc. All the major “family values” are there. I suppose it can’t help, either, that it was just last year that Keisha Castle-Hughes played the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story, then announced during its release that she, also sixteen, was pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby.

Probably adding salt to the wound is the fact that Spears met her boyfriend at church. As one conservative blogger observed, we live “in a world where meeting your boyfriend at church and having his baby out of wedlock aren’t mutually exclusive propositions.” They never were, as anyone who’s ever spent much time in the church world knows, but now that churches have raised their public/political profile, these things aren’t just spiritual missteps anymore; they’re major PR problems.

That being the case, I’m a bit curious to see how the faithful will react to Huckabee’s comments. He didn’t have a stern word to say. He didn’t connect it to any of the issues I mentioned above. He said he was glad she’d decided to have it and hoped she would raise it in a loving and stable home. I think that’s about right, if one feels the need to comment at all. But I’m not an Evangelical who’s all heated up over “family values” and culture wars and virginity vows and whatnot. I wonder how Huck’s comments will go down with those folks, who are, after all, the engine driving him into the lead in Iowa and elsewhere.

That’s about it. I just found the whole thing odd, and nobody had posted anything in over a week, so I thought I’d ramble a while.

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Wild Blue Yonder

December 17, 2007

104 years ago today, two bicycle mechanics from Dayton Ohio made the first series of heaver than air flights at Kitty hawk, N.C.  Travel hasn’t been the same since.  Four years ago, at the Centennial, I had the honor of standing at the place where it was done.

When you’re stranded in Dallas by American Airlines this holiday season (as I may be before the week is up) you can address your colorful vocabulary towards Orville and Wilbur.  It’s all their fault.

You Voted For Who? WTF?

December 16, 2007

I had a through-the-looking-glass experience last night, y’all. I was reading some old posts from a blog I’ve recently discovered, and it happened.

I came to this blog by way of other blogs who link to her, and I read some of her recent posts, and one in particular made me feel a real kinship with her. I’m always looking for like-minded bloggers — it seems so much more enjoyable to spend my free moments reading about someone else’s kid than about war or poverty — so I bookmarked her. Then last night I went back to the beginning of her blog to catch up, and I ended up staring at the screen, dumbfounded.

This loving, compassionate, articulate woman who wrote so eloquently about why it’s wrong to let your child cry … voted for Bush. Not only that, but she is devoutly Catholic, anti-choice, and did I mention religious?

I know you’re probably all having a big, hearty horse laugh at me right now for being so narrow-minded as to think I could have nothing in common with someone whose politics are different from mine. What can I say, I’ve been running in pretty homogeneous circles of late, not to mention that numerically speaking, most of the conservatives I’ve met have been lacking in both the compassion and intelligence departments.

But once I thought about it for a minute, I realized that this blog experience dovetails perfectly with what I’ve been in the process of learning since I started law school about people who, on paper, share my basic world view. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are not always nice people. In fact, sometimes they are kind of cold, and heartless, and don’t at all treat people in ways that their beliefs indicate that they should. They are sometimes narcissists, put their careers before their loved ones, buy into hierarchies based on class privilege, and are judgmental as all get out. They are not always people with whom I feel any connection at all, and sometimes I find them downright repugnant.

Then there are people like this blogger who are more like me than I ever would have imagined.

What? You mean I actually have to evaluate people as individuals? My shortcuts don’t really work? Oy.

It took me 32 years, two degrees, three jobs, a husband, a baby, and a blog to learn that things aren’t as black and white as they seem. Better late than never?

P.S.  Lest anyone take this too literally, please note that I am making fun of myself.

Fill ‘er up with H2

December 14, 2007

For the environmentally aware among us, I just saw on AOL News that Honda is going to offer for lease ($600/mo) next year a car that is powered by fuel cells, requiring only hydrogen as a fuel. They recently test drove it from Santa Monica out to Malibu, but said that, since there are so many sports cars and high dollar foreign jobs on the PCH that the Fuel Cell car didn’t get a second look. It’s supposed to get 68 miles/kg, which is about three times better than the gasoline model – if you don’t mind the idea of sitting just ahead of a tank of hydrogen stored under 5,000 psi.

Any thoughts on alternative fuel cars, green house gasses, Global Warming (pro or con), melting glaciers, drowning Polar Bears, submerging cities, or any other current gloom and doom predictions?

Whole Milk, Ninety-Seven Pages

December 12, 2007

Are you people hip to this bit of Amazon craziness?

I mean, seriously — 97 pages of reviews for milk? Not 97 reviews, mind you; 97 pages of reviews. The madness! The wackiness! The sheer Pythonesque hijinxery of it!

That Whole Emerging Thing Emerges Again

December 3, 2007

Brian McLaren is guest blogging at TPM this week, in a cooperative effort to educate the latter’s readership on McLaren’s brand of Christianity. Thought some of the hippos and hipporeaders might be interested. His opening post is here.