I don’t typically write about this subject because I agree with the right of a woman to choose what happens to her body. My agreement should not be understood to mean I’m in solidarity with all pro-choice talking points, in point of fact, much of them I find quite illogical and rather self-serving of it’s proponents.
… vengeance alone is not a justifiable reason to kill, and we should not shape laws based on our initial reactions to tragedies or on our baser emotions. We do not, after all, call for the torture of those who torture, the rape of rapists, or the act of stealing from thieves. We realize that “an eye for an eye” may not be a policy in which we wish to take part.
For me, small towns were the stuff of parental folklore, the proverbial “…place where even squares can have a ball.” My lot was that of Washington DC (arguably the center of the political universe), that is until I was 12 years old; two years after dad passed away mom moved all four of us (older sister and brother, me and a younger sister) to live with her mother in the land of lumberjacks, small town taverns and abandoned mills… Eatonville Washingotn.
Political operatives and ideologues know how to push our buttons. They know what turns off our critical thinking and keeps us glued to a message, perspective, or screen. They’ve know this for a long time (see sidebar). But our technology exacerbates their effects on and power over us. It allows us to sink ever deeper into information silos — mutually exclusive realities — that are designed to keep us inside by making us fear and loathe what is outside. It allows and encourages us to strike out from them at our perceived enemies at an instant. And it keeps this process going 24/7, every single day of our lives.
Given enough fear and bitterness, people will lash out at anything just to try and make it stop. And they will justify it by projecting their fears and unhappiness on anyone who fits the momentary need. But, as the Roman poet Horace once observed, et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum (“once sent forth, a word flies on, unable to be recalled”). The same goes for forwards, posts, and Facebook: once we hit “send” or “share,” it’s too late to prevent the damage we cause to people who take us at our word. And, at some point, that damage can’t be undone. Eventually, we will find ourselves alone, in our own silo, with little but bile and rancid ideas to live on.
My first response to the J.Crew media outcry was to marshal the troops and charge into action on the side of childhood queerness. I posted the original article on Facebook and waited for the comments from like-minded friends to come pouring in. One friend fulfilled my bloodlust heartily, calling any outcry against the pink polish “ridiculous” and demanding the J. Crew designers purposely paint all of the nails of all boys —and even the men!— in their ads just to drive the political point home. We’re so progressive, I thought, we can’t be wrong.
Famous last words, right?
I thought that Classics would give me a way to explore the history of ideas and culture like one might explore a city like Rome or Istanbul: layers replacing layers, each new stratum utilizing, covering up, or rediscovering some of the rubble of what went before, each a hybrid of old and new. But finally, underneath it all, there would be relatively solid ground. Instead, I found a Venice: a city floating on pilings driven deep down into the unstable muck, its foundations slowly shifting and buckling, a stubborn and tragic testament to all that is both wonderful and wretched in humanity.
Sure, we would like to believe that those neatly wrapped packages of meat that we buy at the grocery store come from well-treated and humanely slaughtered animals. And even that the eggs we buy come from equally well-treated hens. Sadly, however, this is simply not the case. I will not detail all the abuses that regularly take place on chicken farms and in slaughterhouses here, but I will attest to the fact that most animals raised for food or eggs live in horrendous conditions and are slaughtered in ways that cause them great suffering, tremendous fear, and slow, tortuous deaths. If you do not believe me, just do the research.