Rap artist Lil Wayne
“The only way to make a thing lovable is to wildly love it.” –Ann Voskamp
A few weeks ago, I took on social conservatives in a majorly controversial piece about underage dating. Addressing the socio-political group that traditionally esteems marriage and family, I challenged them to rethink their cultural acceptance of those absurd underage “relationships” that aren’t built around the hope of a future marital commitment. Much to my amusement, some of the harshest critics of the piece weren’t aggrieved social conservatives at all, but liberal readers who took issue with my concern for the sanctity of marriage. Unfortunately, they vented to very little purpose, as the piece was not addressed to their kind at all and made no allowances for their disapproval. In order to broaden the scope of the debate, and give these other voices a fit battleground for the war that they must and will have, this new piece is for you, you critics of marriage, you advocates of “free love,” you untethered scoffers at commitment. This one is for you.
I shall begin by stating my case: you should not have painted over those murals.
“I felt bad,” said 17-year-old Liz Bierendy, the artist who designed the murals, “because I didn’t want to offend anyone.” She had designed a mural series that depicted a young man’s evolution from a child into an adult, and the school vice principal had approved her sketches.
You should not have created a controversy over the two little bands of gold at the top of the design.
Pilgrim High School Superintendent Peter Horoschak explained, " Some members of the Pilgrim High School Community suggested that the depiction of a young man's development as displayed may not represent the life experiences of many students at Pilgrim High School.”
But what is it that has hurt your feelings so badly and who are you that your psyches should be so injured by a highschool student’s pencil sketch of two wedding rings?
“Bierendy's mural aside ,” concludes the Huffington Post, in their coverage of the recent Pilgrim High School debacle, “recent reports indicate that the traditional family dynamic is indeed changing.” (Of course, they are by no means setting Bierendy’s mural aside in making this statement – but I digress) “Today, nearly one in four children are born to parents who live together but aren't married, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Are references to healthy eating to be curbed because obesity is on the rise? Most certainly not! The issue here is not that the national family structure is changing and that our conception of family thus must also change, but that some activists have rejected the culture of marital commitment and want it to change and are determined to change it.
Some conservative writers have taken this occasion to play those games with your people that you play with us. Wrote Tina Korbe in a piece for the New York Post,
“My first thought when I read about Bierendy was of the elephant-dung-smeared image of the Virgin Mary that once hung in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. When Christians complained, the common refrain was, ‘What’s the matter? It’s just art.’ One might ask Bierendy’s critics now: ‘What’s the matter? It’s just art.’ ”
But we both know in our heart of hearts that this is not “just art” at all, and that these little word games we play with one another don’t do justice to the enormity of the matter. Korbe’s comparison is logically sound, needless to say, and in a round of good, hard logic we would wipe up the floor with you. But, like the offensive portrayal of the Virgin Mary, the “artwork” at hand is at hand because it hurt somebody in a vulnerable place, hit at them in an unprotected area. What we must figure out is why – why the hostility towards healthy and whole families and hard-loving men and women who stick it out?
The murals came down, in what is perhaps one of the biggest blows that the institution of marriage and the tradition of avowed commitment have ever received in the United States of America. They went back up after a week of bad press and incensed bloggers. But you have done a damage to yourselves that you cannot undo, for you have demonstrated to us that you suffer from an irrational fear of love itself, and that you are remarkably uninformed about how to love.
I shall bow out here and give it to you from one of your own.
He was a dad at fifteen and has four children by three baby-mommas. His dad has “never been in his life,” and he has been arrested on several occasions and has been in the slammer for eight months. In spite of all of this, and in spite of the very ugly nature of most of his music, this artist has remained wildly popular and continues to tops charts. In fact, Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to his awards and nominations. Judging by his lifestyle and the trail of broken things that he has left behind him, Lil Wayne doesn’t love, because he doesn’t ever get beyond himself. But, make no mistake about it: he knows how to love.
WARNING: The following video is graphic and may not be suitable for younger viewers:
Did you catch the wedding rings?
Trayvon Martin, victim of February 26th shooting incident
"What’s special about him is that the newsmakers have latched onto his story, & insist on hashing out every little nano-second of intonation in the small amount of data available"
(Posted by Bryana Joy on April 25, 2012)
On Saturday night a man was beaten up so badly by a mob of African-Americans that he’s in critical condition today. Witnesses say that as the attackers walked away, one of them remarked, “now that’s justice for Trayvon Martin.”
A few days ago, painter Michael D’Antuono sparked outrage with his painting, A Tale of Two Hoodies, which depicts Trayvon Martin as a small child extending a bag of candy to a gun-wielding officer in a KKK mask. Martin’s package of sweets is labeled share size, implying that he’s offering the other to partake of them. The officer is shown aiming his weapon at the infantilized Martin’s skull.
It is not my intention, however, to dwell on any of these rather disturbing incidents, or to analyze the role of celebrity support for Martin in the resulting conflicts, or to point out the fact that President Obama should be expected to make a statement condemning the violence that has occurred in retaliation against George Zimmerman, but to ask the real question, and the one that is not being asked by enough people: what’s so special about Trayvon Martin? And why has his story claimed so much of our lives?
It should be over by now – the public’s fascination with the crime scene and their outrage over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26. It’s been almost two months, after all. And in that time period there have been almost 2000 gun-related homicides in the US. What’s so special about Trayvon Martin?
What’s special about him is that the newsmakers have latched onto his story, and insist on hashing out every little nano-second of intonation in the small amount of data that is available.
As a proud television non-owner, I acquire my understanding of current events through the medium of internet. I have no patience with commercials and I enjoy having the freedom to choose to read about the stories that interest me and that I consider significant, rather than relying on the altruism and qualifications of the talking heads. Consequently, throughout the first month of the duration on the Trayvon Martin saga, although I was cursorily aware of the incident, having read several stories concerning it, I failed to understand what had prompted this one tragic event to skyrocket to the top of trending search-engine terms lists, and to make out of every social network account-owner a fiercely opinionated political enthusiast.
In the last week of March, my eyes were opened when I stayed for several days in the home of some friends who owned a television and ended up watching the brief clip of George Zimmerman entering the police station at least 100 times.
You know the one: he walks into the police station.
And then again. And then again. And then again. And then again. And then again. And all the while some bright-eyed young person in a suit stares straight at the camera and tries to speak animatedly about the month-old story and the skittles and the absence of blood on Zimmerman’s scalp in the 5 seconds of evidence that is available.
But it isn’t like that when you’re seeing it on the screen. When the actual images are flashing before you and the music is playing and the reporters are giving you the run-down in very official-sounding voices, an illusion is spun around the case that makes every solitary viewer feel like his knowledge of the Trayvon Martin story has plugged him into some huge, pulsing organism of national furor. The spin has given viewers the illusion of a cause, of something to stand up for. It has been seized upon by the major media networks not only as an opportunity to promote their particular ideologies, but also to hold the attention of the people of the United States.
The newsmaking establishment has spun us another distraction. Our job as citizens is to figure out what they want to distract us from.
Citizens of the United States, let’s get on it.
An abortion fund named after a....mythological baby-killing demon?
(Posted by Bryana Joy on April 16, 2012)
I engaged recently in a debate with a particularly vehement pro-choice feminist who concluded our argument rather huffily by letting me know that she was going to donate to a certain Lilith Fund as a result of the discussion in which we had expressed our differences of opinion. Appalled to hear that there was such an organization and assuring myself that it couldn’t really be what I thought it was, I immediately looked it up. Sure enough, the Lilith Fund is exactly what I hoped it wouldn’t turn out to be: an abortion assistance fund operating in my home state of Texas.
My horror stemmed from the fact that I had a prior knowledge of the mythological character of Lilith. If you also do, you know what I’m referring to. If you don’t, you can expect to be thoroughly disquieted by what I’m about to tell you.
The Lilith Fund website proclaims on the About Us tab,
Who is Lilith? Lilith was the first woman created by God, as Adam's wife and equal. Because Lilith refused to be subservient or submissive, she was sent away from Eden. Today Lilith is the feminist icon of the free-spirited, strong woman.
Unfortunately, this little statement offers about as much truth regarding the legends of Lilith as a computer salesman who tells you that Windows Vista is a great operating system because it lets you put a Weather Channel gadget on your desktop. The computer salesman would be right about the weather gadget, but entirely wrong about the conclusion he drew from it, having only related a small portion of the relevant facts. The same is true of the mythological character of Lilith.
As it turns out, Lilith was – how to put this delicately? – a cannibalistic, child-killing demon and vampire. Odd that an abortion fund would want to name themselves after a legendary creature with those traits, right? Let’s do a little research of our own and take a look at some examples of Lilith in mythology. Wikipedia says,
Lilith is a character in Jewish mythology, developed earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be related to a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts… The Assyrian lilitû were said to prey upon children and women and were described as associated with lions, storms, desert, and disease.
That’s not exactly a mascot I would pick for anything, much less an abortion-related business, but to each his own, I guess. Here’s another morsel of nastiness.
Lamashtû was a very similar Mesopotamian demon to Lilitû, and Lilith seems to have inherited many of Lamashtû's myths. Many incantations against her mention her status as a daughter of heaven and her exercising her free will over infants…Unlike her demonic peers, Lamashtû was not instructed by the gods to do her malevolence; she did it on her own accord. She was believed to seduce men, harm pregnant women, mothers, and neonates, kill foliage, and drink blood and was a cause of disease, sickness, and death.
A “neonate,” in case you were wondering, is a newborn baby.
Are you growing progressively confused as to why anybody would wish for their non-profit to be associated with the term Lilith? Me too. Interestingly enough, the Lilith Fund doesn’t seem to find its rather disgusting origins embarrassing. LifeSiteNews says,
On its Facebook page earlier [last] year, [the Lilith Fund] eerily invited fans to express their devotion to abortion by posting the phrase “I am meeting Lilith” as their status, “if you have had an abortion or know someone who’s had an abortion.”
Let’s take a look at one last depiction of Lilith.
According to Siegmund Hurwitz, the Talmudic Lilith is connected with the Greek Lamia, who likewise governed a class of child-stealing lamia-demons. Lamia bore the title "child killer" and was feared for her malevolence, like Lilith. She has different conflicting origins and is described as having a human upper body from the waist up and a serpentine body from the waist down…grief caused Lamia to turn into a monster that took revenge on mothers by stealing their children and devouring them. Lamia had a vicious sexual appetite that matched her cannibalistic appetite for children. She was notorious for being a vampiric spirit and loved sucking men’s blood.
Earlier this week, a chilling photograph of a dead baby aborted at nine months was circulated on the web. The child, a victim of a forced abortion under China’s one-child policy, is shown submerged in a tub of water and may have been born alive. It has caused a global stir, as readers everywhere have expressed outrage, and reports indicate that the kerfuffle has been particularly overwhelming in China. Tragically, the travesty of forced abortion in China is only the extreme end of a shocking human rights violation that occurs every day in our own nation. No matter how you look at it, abortion is a horrible procedure to contemplate and indisputably stops a beating heart. Perhaps it is fitting that the mascot of the industry should be a bestial, child-strangling demon. All I know is that if this mystical Lilith entity is the icon of so-called “free-spirited, strong women,” I want no part of that clique.
Are politicians buying your vote with money and elaborate voter analysis programs or winning it with a display of consistent standards and ethics?
(Posted by Bryana Joy on April o3, 2012)
“To defeat Barack Obama, Republicans can’t nominate a candidate who relies on outspending his opponents 7-1,” said Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich earlier this week, referring to rival Mitt Romney who overwhelmingly won the Illinois primary on March 20th. Indeed, the Associated Press reported that Romney and his allies outspent Santorum and his backers by $3.5 million to $500,000, an advantage of 7-1.
Gingrich’s remark showcases an inevitable aspect of the election process: our votes are up for auction and the highest bidder gets them. Sadly, he doesn’t always have to offer payment in the form of results, credentials, policies, or history. And he doesn’t always have to offer it to us. More often than not, the lucky buyer who walks away with the prized purchase of our votes has not given us anything at all, but has shelled out his funds on advertising, analysis, traveling and staffing costs. I can’t help but feel that we’re getting the raw end of the deal.
Gingrich’s insightful comment does not, of course, signify that his campaign has decided to take a principled stand against exorbitant spending, but merely that his synapses are still firing quickly enough to turn out those characteristically witty comebacks which were responsible for his short-lived surge in the polls late last year. When reports came in last month that big-money Republican donor Sheldon Adelson was expected to give $10 million to Gingrich’s Super PAC, the media networks were all abuzz with predictions that the new funds would shake up the primary race and give the former House Speaker a dramatic rise in the polls. This story serves to illustrate the fact that the pecuniary nature of elections is well-known generally and not frowned upon by our society.
There is another metaphor that aptly describes the means by which political hopefuls manipulate their voting blocs: we are the potential buyers and they are the products that are up for sale. Their number one focus is on selling themselves to us, and, in order to do that, they invest heavily in elaborate analysis programs that they use to plumb the quagmire of public opinion. One very disturbing example of this is Romney’s New Hampshire modus operandi as catalogued in this hard-hitting piece by the LA Times.
“Romney's operatives paired the voter data with several hundred thousand paid and volunteer calls. They knew his sweet spot was among older, higher-income voters — those with annual household incomes of between $75,000 and $150,000 and with upscale interests like gourmet cooking. He was particularly appealing to older women and did best — as they knew from 2008 — among self-identified Republicans. They also knew that Romney, a father of five sons, held particular appeal for voters whose consumer preferences showed a focus on children and family-centered activities. That knowledge guided the $1.3 million that Romney spent on television ads in New Hampshire, which focused heavily on his four-decade marriage and family values, as well as his business background.
Most important, the Romney team was able to weed out voters unlikely to support him — allowing it to steer away from socially conservative voters whose affinity for church or Bible interests, for example, suggested they might be a tougher target for a Mormon candidate.”
In a video that went viral across the web on Wednesday, Eric Fehrnstrom, a top aide for the Romney campaign, explained that taking conservative positions during the primary that may upset the liberal media is no problem for Mitt Romney. “Everything changes,” Fehrnstrom told CNN. “It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
During President Obama’s meeting Monday with outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Obama let fall an appalling statement, unaware that his mic was still on.
“ On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Medvedev at the end of their 90-minute meeting, apparently referring to incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Medvedev replied, “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…”
“This is my last election,” said Obama. “After my election, I have more flexibility.”
The Russian leader responded, “I understand. I transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Needless to say, when the biggest concern faced by a candidate is how he might best sell himself to the public, trifles like principles, ethics and standards are almost foreordained to fall by the wayside. Rather, the sum of the candidate’s energies will be devoted to probing the interests of his voting bloc and catering to them through advertisements and statements carefully crafted to hit them in their most vulnerable places. We shouldn’t be surprised if this preoccupation with public opinion causes those in the limelight of politics to stumble around a bit, on occasion. Or to be forced to cede major talking points when polls show that a large number of voters have changed their minds about something.
Should politicians put a cap on their campaign spending and stop using in-depth analysis programs like those utilized by the Romney campaign? Perhaps. But those are unrealistic goals, to say the least. What we must do as citizens is make ourselves aware of the fact that we are being played “like violins,” (to steal a phrase from Hamlet) and that, in elections, as in all other business transactions, the byword is caveat emptor: buyer beware! (First posted at The College Conservative)