Thursday, December 30, 2010

When Murder Parades as Love

VIRGINIA IRONSIDE: "...if I was a mother of a suffering child, I would be the first to want—I mean, a deeply suffering child—I would be the first to want to put a pillow over its face, and I think that the difference is that my feeling of horror at suffering is much greater than my feeling of, uh, getting rid of a couple of cells, because suffering can go on for years..."
TALK SHOW HOSTESS: "I'm—I'm sorry, I was just about to introduce another guest, but that was a pretty horrifying thing—"
TALK SHOW HOSTESS: "—to say, that you would put a pillow over..."
VIRGINIA IRONSIDE: "Of course I would, if it was a child I really loved and it was in agony. I think any good mother would."

Now, I understand that this video presents an ethical argument similar to that which a family must decide for an elderly or terminally ill patient. Many young people I've come in contact with will say, "If it gets to the point that I am suffering and I can no longer speak or understand, I would want someone to pull the plug." They may change their minds when they get older. In a way, maybe our society of luxury thinks too highly and too selfishly of life in general. However, regardless of the arguments, a baby has not made such a choice any more than it makes the choice to be baptized Catholic.

But that's not the direction I want to take here. The woman above says that she would murder out of love. One can rape out of love, too. You know, the father who "loves his daughter so much" and has a "special relationship with her." You hear about it on the news all the time. Or the woman who falls in "love" with her captor. Is it really love, or is it a defense mechanism against the pain of victimization? And what about the woman who is exceedingly loyal to her abusive, alcoholic, or drug-addicted husband, protecting his reputation left and right? Is it really love if she becomes an enabler instead of doing the truly loving thing, which is standing up and challenging him to change, even if it hurts?

My point is that many things can parade as love and they are not love, no matter how convinced the person is that it is. If it harms the other person or involves sin, it is not love. "Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth." (1 Corinthians 13:6)

One surprisingly weird example of falling in love with a captor is Beauty and the Beast. While there are good messages throughout the movie, the overtone of a perfectly intelligent woman falling in love with her captor just throws me for a loop. Yeah, I guess he does let her go and she comes back on her own volition, but girls do that in real life too, and it's not pretty. The biggest positive I can glean from that movie is that it really took a special kind of girl to love the Beast, and Belle fit those shoes. She was up for the challenge, and that makes her a noble princess.

Another weird example is the millions of English-speaking girls who are being led to believe that an abusive and adulterous relationship between Edward and Bella is "vampire love" and is to be desired. (Also, if you're a girl about the age when you would be reading Twilight, you may want to heed my warning and just skim over or skip the next paragraph.)

This also brings into question our sexual culture. We no longer equate sex with love. We call it a game, as if we can leave a person's house the next morning saying, "Bye, thanks for playing! It was fun!" And no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves that that's true, it still comes to bite us in the butt, doesn't it? Love is no longer a factor. If you're a guy, take one look (not right now, but remember) at porn. Is there any love there? I didn't think so. If you ever tried to do any of that stuff to your wife, you'd probably end up like this guy. And abuse is never love.

But alas. We say we want true love, but true love is just so boring without some sin stirred in the mix, isn't it? We need to seriously rethink what love is in this culture. The last time I read the Ten Commandments, murder was a sin. As was adultery, or coveting your neighbor's wife, etc. The list can go on. Just read into what God's heart is when he makes these rules. You may begin to see a side of God that you never saw before.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

What about you? Can you think of any more examples of things that parade as love but are not love?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yahoo Weather...why do you play pranks on us?

I looked at my phone and this is what I saw for Tampa, FL at noon. Yes, that is a negative sign. Yes, the high is also 70, without a negative sign. (It is also currently 59 degrees in Nokomis where I am.)

Yahoo Weather is either dealing with a bad computer glitch or equipment malfunction, has confused us with Ontario, Canada (the residents of which are leaping for joy because it's 60 degrees outside for them), or they're just trying to be funny. After all, it did get down to 29 a few nights ago (at like 3 am) and people were going crazy covering their plants because of the freeze warning. I admit, it is pretty funny, no matter what the culprit. I first accused my tech-savvy husband of doing some tweaking before he left for work, but apparently his phone said the same thing.

¡Viva la arctica!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emotionality and Locus of Control in Political Discussions

Can someone please explain to me why people get emotional over politics? Why is something so distant from us (since none of us are making the decisions besides voting) so personal? And why do other distant, non-personal things evoke a low level of emotion (say, crocheting, for example) while politics is the only thing that evokes a high level of emotion?

Surely I could choose to be insecure about my crochet skills and thus be emotional over crocheting, but I don't. Yet I have all the power in the world with my yarn and crochet hook to determine the outcome of my work. I have far less power in the realm of, say, foreign policy, besides voting for the people who I think would do the best job. Perhaps this is the difference: I do have power over my crochet work, but I have very little control over the world. Could it be that people get emotional over politics because they feel like they have a small locus of control? Is obsession with emotional debate (as opposed to intellectual debate), where people are insecure about what they are saying and feel the need to attack others' viewpoints and sharing of information, somehow related to depression? Or are people simply just very easily offended and insecure due to the perpetual moral decay of society?

Insecurity seems to be the only answer, and it may or may not be connected with a feeling of powerlessness over the world. But is our locus of control related to our feeling of emotional security? For sure! People with a higher locus of control tend to be happier, feel more successful, and are apparently less easily offended than people with a smaller feeling of control over their world.

But does a feeling of control necessarily have to correlate with actual control? No. I do my part by voting and being informed, but I can't make the world the way I want it to be. Moreover, I can't help it that there exist people in the world who disagree with me. In college I am surrounded by people with the opposite viewpoint, and I am probably more healthy for it. I don't need people to back me up in order to say what I think. I don't need to remove this blog post if it gets a hundred comments on it unless I think that someone is actually being hurt in some way. On the flip side, if someone is being hurt in some way (say, spiritually), I will be careful about what I say, even if I perceive it to be emotionally neutral.

It is just very difficult for me to read emotion if someone writes less than a paragraph, and that goes for anything on Facebook or Twitter or anything over the Internet. Sometimes you simply don't know that a person is emotional—or more so, what emotion they are feeling and why—unless you can see their facial expressions, hear their tone of voice, and pick up on their body and eye language, unless they state it outright in a longer discourse, and that goes for anything, not just politics. It just gets magnified in this issue, not because people are more emotional over politics than they are over other things, but because I assume emotional neutrality. In my mind, we're talking about politics: the writings of journalists, the speeches, opinions, and actions of our leaders, perhaps history, etc., and no one in their right mind would engage in a discussion which could cause them to feel personally compromised. That is their risk.

Perhaps it's that I take a much more intellectual approach to the study of politics and political culture than the average college student or young adult. My reaction to these commenters is this: Get a HOLD on yourself before you decide to comment. We're not talking about personal business; we're talking about the things we've read and learned of late. It's fun. You should try it. I hate seeing people miserable...I really do. Please be mature enough not to bring others down with you.

This post will probably be edited soon as it was written impromptu and stream of consciousness. I hope it makes sense. More so, I hope it's rational. And neutral.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Security Breach: Body of 16 y/o boy apparently fell from wheel well of plane

When the mangled body of a high school student from North Carolina was found in Milton, Massachusetts, a suburb outside Boston, no one knew what to think.

Originally, authorities assumed homicide, but nothing explained how 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale would have made it almost 900 miles from home less than 24 hours from when he was last seen at 1 am on November 15th.

An explanation that seemed odd at first has turned out to be the truth. Apparently this suburb is directly underneath the place where planes let down their landing gear before landing at Logan Airport in Boston. He had apparently snuck past outside airport security and stowed away in the left wheel well. Hand prints were found from where he climbed in.

It is more likely that he died from lack of oxygen and sub-zero temperatures than from the fall. As evidence of the cold, a card resembling a hotel swipe card was found, finely shattered.

Experts found his shirt and shoes far apart from his body, and identified the found items as being points below the flight path.

Autopsy reveals no cause of death aside from the obvious trauma from the fall.

What a CRAZY news story. Read via The New York Times (best article), or via (contains multiple links).

I will also join the chorus of all the people asking, how did a kid sneak past the most intense security we've ever had, if it's so effective? Is it even worth saying, what if it was someone who had a bomb? Meanwhile, psychologists are outraged that TSA agents are now coaxing children into pat-downs by calling it a "game," potentially grooming them for cooperation with sexual predators in the future, who often use the same tactic. There is also a push towards a rule against TSA agents touching childrens' genitals, as they are often confused as to why an adult is doing so.

Minneapolis Metrodome Collapses Under Snow

The Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN collapsed around 5 am on Sunday morning, December 12th. No one was hurt, but rumor has it that if you look closely, you can see a golf cart quickly hightailing the heck out of there.

Glad we don't have to deal with snow in Florida! Yikes!