Monthly Archives: July 2010

Note to self:


I grew this

Thank you, that is all.

What she said:

I’ve been following the whole mess that is the Shirley Sherrod resignation/firing over her NAACP speech, and there’s definitely a post in there about the importance of context and good will.  Needless to say, it’s been entertaining to watch the coverage of the story on various news networks.

Last night, apparently Bill O’Reilly took a shot at Rachel, and I LOVE LOVE her response to him — check it out:

When you got all ‘kick your network’s butt’ and ‘madam’ on me, you weren’t really trying to tout your network’s ratings. You were trying to take the attention off of me saying that your network, Fox News, continually crusades on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans, which Fox News most certainly does for a political purpose, even if it upends the lives of individuals like Shirley Sherrod, even as it frays the fabric of the nation, and even as it makes the American dream more of a dream and less of a promise… but even if no one watches us at all, except for my mom and my girlfriend and people who forgot to turn off the TV after Keith, you are still wrong on what really matters, and that would be the facts, Your Highness.

So dad, if you’re reading this post, this week illustrates for you why I don’t trust Fox News. Any “news” organization that has such a hateful ideology isn’t worth my remote click.

Fight for the right to blaspheme

“These ideas offended, but they changed the world. Without the free exchange of ideas, progress is impossible.”

CFI’s Campaign for Free Expression.

Alas, poor blog.

I’m sorry that this space has been pretty barren over the last few weeks.   My excuses, in bullet form:

  • Twitter and Facebook make it super easy for me to post quickie links of stories that I used to blog about here
  • SUMMER! and sunshine make it hard to sit in front of a computer screen for long stretches
  • taking care of a toddler is not as easy or fun as it looks
  • I’ve had some pretty traumatic interpersonal stuff go down over the last few weeks, which put me in a bit of a funk (thankfully I’m on the other side of it. I think.)
  • my Blackberry makes it easier for me to micro-post on the go, but who wants to peck out a longish post on that thing?
  • been busy planning the 1st annual Freethinker Family Camp (you should come!)
  • I’m teaching a night class these days
  • my garden! (which is rocking, I must say)
  • I’ve been reading a lot more this summer — mostly escapist fiction.  I’m nearly finished the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson
  • set up a new Meetup group: Café Apostate — come join us former fundies turned heretics
  • Busy with various Saskatoon summer-y activities: berry picking, festivals, park dates, etc.  Gotta stock up before winter!

So there ya go. I do have some posts a’brewing in my head, and hopefully I’ll find some time to get them out here to cyberspace.  Until then, feel free to online stalk me on Twitter and Facebook in the meantime.

Why I like to argue

(and it’s not just because I’m disagreeable)

I’m very vocal in my affection for Rachel Maddow.  I love how impassioned she’s been in covering the BP oil spill, I love how she’s social-justice minded, and I love how she doesn’t sink down to the lowest-denominator when covering the gong-show antics of Republicans these days (though there’s no shortage of material available).

One of the ways that Rachel is different from Keith Olbermann is how she doesn’t just take the easy cheap-shot when covering some of the wackier news of conservatives.  She takes a bigger picture approach, and it’s one that leaves the viewer (me!) in a place where I feel challenged and educated, not just entertained for a cheap laugh (a la “worst person in the world” clips, etc).

Last week offered one of those moments for me.  Maddow was covering the Sharron Angle interviews in Nevada — a little background: if you’re looking for wingnut Republican, Angle pretty much fits the bill in her platform stances.  But rather than just stringing together a bunch of clips that would just illustrate how silly this candidate is, Rachel took another approach, and made a commentary of why it’s important to open up conversations with people who you don’t necessarily agree with.  Here’s some of what Rachel said:

But when Sharron Angle‘s political career ended last night on local television in Nevada, it was a perfect case study in what happens if you don‘t ever talk to people with whom you disagree.  Because here is the thing – when your positions are never questioned, you‘re never forced to develop strong logic to back them up.  When your arguments are never challenged, you don‘t ever have to improve them.  You don‘t ever have to cast out arguments of yours that don‘t make sense or learn how to deal with evidence that appears to contradict your conclusions.

That‘s why I regret that we don‘t have more conservatives on this show.  Because I do have a point of view, of course, but I like talking with people with whom I disagree, both because it is fun and selfishly because it makes my arguments better. [my emphasis] link

Here’s the clip from the show:

While Rachel was talking in the context of politics, I can take what she’s said and apply it to other areas of discussion/debate that I love to take part in — including conversations on religion.

I once had a friend who never understood the merits of a good argument.  One night another good friend and I were duke-ing it out over the cinematic worth of The Hurt Locker (she hated it, I liked it), and for some in the room with us, they were quite upset to see how impassioned each of us were in our position.  But we weren’t “fighting;” we were seriously discussing our positions — and afterward, we learned more about each other in the process (not to mention the fact I got to gloat over all the Academy Awards the film eventually won).

It’s for these reasons that I enjoy opening myself up to all the untouchable subjects of conversation (read: politics and religion) — namely, because I like to be challenged just as much as I like to challenge.  It’s just a shame that many people today would rather surround themselves with ideological clones, rather than opening themselves up for debate.

Four years’ worth of Canada Days!

Where’d my baby go?