Thursday, 8 March 2012

On This International Women's Day

Here are just a few things that I choose to commemorate on this the 101st International Women's Day.

  • On this International Women's Day I celebrate the fact that my Judaism is inclusive of all voices male and female, together in study, song, and prayer. My Judaism doesn't believe that women should be relegated to the back of the bus. It believes that women and girls should be able to safely walk to school and work without being accosted by vile slurs or stones thrown in their direction. My Judaism believes that women belong in the public square, the military, in advertisements, and celebrating their heritage at the Western Wall. On this International Women's Day I stand with IRAC and The Women of the Wall.
  • On this International Women's Day I choose to celebrate the work and accomplishments of Margaret Sanger, Dr.Henry Morgentaler, Jane Roe, Dr. George Tiller, and all of those faceless and nameless who have struggled in the name of women's reproductive freedoms.
  • On this International Women's Day I decry all those who scream "slut" and "prostitute" whenever a woman is deemed too sexual or for wanting to control her own sexuality. I shudder at the double standard that allows a man to be a "player" but a labels a woman a "whore".
  • On this International Women's Day I stand with the women of Afghanistan. From the Wall Street Journal. "A government-appointed council of 150 leading Muslim clerics last week urged the strict application of a conservative and literalist interpretation of Islamic law regarding women. The council said Afghan law should require women to wear the veil and forbid them from mixing with men in the work place or traveling without a male chaperone. "Men are fundamental and women are secondary," the Ulama Council said in a statement on Friday, according to a translation by the Afghanistan Analysts Network. President Hamid Karzai published the statement on his web site, fueling speculation that he backed the conservative clerics' position." On this International Women's Day I stand in support of ten years of women's rights and freedoms and oppose any aid that would shove them back into the closet.
  • On this International Women's Day I celebrate that women come in all colours, all shapes, all sizes, and all are beautiful. 
  • On this International Women's Day I remember those who died simply because they were women.
  • On this International Women's Day I celebrate those women who are scholars and teachers, entrepreneurs and engineers, singers, poets, politicians, or public speaker. I am in awe of the doctors, scientists, lawyers, and entertainers. I honour the stay at home moms and those mothers that work outside of the home alike. On this International Women's Day I pay tribute to us all.
  • On this International Women's Day I think of my role models-the women in my life-who have encouraged me either by word or by deed, to be the free-thinking, opinionated woman I am today.
  • On this International Women's Day that coincides with the festival of Purim, I am Vashti. 
I urge you to add your own. 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Random Thoughts for a Random Day

It has been a strangely quiet and eerily lazy day. While I attempt to keep myself occupied in one location, events elsewhere are causing my mind to wander. With that strangeness fully implanted in all of your subconsciouses, here are just a few of the bizarre notions that have taken over my cerebral cortex in a grotesque attempt at diversion.

1. Two weeks after the hardware was given out in Hollywood, it is almost impossible to find an Oscar winning or nominated film playing at any mainstream theatre down here in South Florida. Instead we are inundated with mediocrity complete with forgettable titles such as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and Safe House. The new Lorax on steroids is playing at 3 separate theatres in the same complex. All the while, television and print ads are touting "the first blockbuster of 2012". It just might be me, but I wonder if Hollywood went back to making movies rather than trying to create blockbusters, if the artistic value of the modern film might be taken more seriously.

2. In the wake of the Rush Limbaugh "non-apology" apology to the women of the world, it got me thinking once again as to why it is so difficult for so many to say the words "I'm sorry" with true conviction. According to Tom Jacobs writing at Miller-McCune, these types of apologies tend not to play well. He cites a 2008 article by Zohar Kampf.
One type of pseudo-apology downplays the transgressor’s degree of responsibility. Kampf identifies five variations on this theme, noting that a wrongdoer can: 1) apologize while undermining the claim that he offended someone; 2) apologize for the outcome but not for the act; 3) apologize for the style but not for the essence; 4) apologize for a specific component of the offense but not for the entire occurrence; and 5) apologize while using syntactic and lexical means to downgrade his responsibility.” The latter category includes referring to an offensive action as a “mistake,” which effectively minimizes guilt.

I recently heard somebody say (I'm sorry, the exact person escapes me) that if one uses the words "if" or "then" in their supposed mea culpas, it is not a true expression of remorse. For example: any apology that begins with this poorly chosen phrase, "If my words or actions offended anybody, then....." cannot be true repentance. Keep this in mind the next time you are the one in line to apologize.

3. I took a slice out of my right heel yesterday when the leg of an old metal chair came down awkwardly onto the side of my foot. Not only has it been incredibly painful to take each and every step, but it is extraordinarily difficult to bandage and keep wrapped due to the odd placement of the cut. I am walking with a sort of out turned pigeon gait limp. The good news? My stalled workout routine which has been dormant for weeks due to a lingering cold and asthma after-effects, has once again been put out onto another short hiatus. I really am starting to wonder if my myriad of ailments over the past few weeks have been accidental or purposeful happenstance designed to keep me off of the torture devices of the gym. It's going to really hurt when I finally get back into it. Karma's way of punishing me for laziness.

4. Purim. Great baked goods, wonderful shtick, booze (if you're into that sort of thing), transvestitism ( if you're into that sort of thing), and the worst Jewish music ever written. Sorry to all of my friends and colleagues in the industry. We need to do better when it comes to Purim. Musically-it kind of sucks!!

5. I think that I will end on a philosophical note. I posted this on Facebook this weekend. "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything You gave me'."-Erma Bombeck.

It has been that kind that kind of a weekend.