Simone whacked Dexter with a broom until he dropped his cheeping treasure and slunk under the buffet. The cheeper was in rough shape–motionless for two hopeless minutes, then unable to do much beyond the occasional flutter. She searched for the means of its escape, in the end, grabbing a spatula and the real estate section of the Sunday paper.
One wing was askew, and one leg missing, leaving a small, black hole; still, she could not wring its neck. Instead,Simone placed it gently on the patio railingand turned away. She did not watch and wait, tail twitching.
Darlene took her time, reluctant to emerge and discover today’s torture.
Emily poked her head back through the locker room door. “Not bad, Dar. Just indoor soccer.”
Relief. She could run around, pretending to vie for the ball for 45 minutes. She walked across the gym floor and sat one over from her friend; Ms. Stevens always counted by twos when making teams.
Forty-three minutes in, Darlene looked up and froze. The ball veered toward her, struck her head forcefully, and accidentally flew toward the opposing team’s goal. Cheers. For her. And no one noticed her scrimmage vest was on sideways.
After crying uncontrollably for an unspecified amount of time, sit down and talk with your kids about why we have three branches of government.
Pick something small that is annoying—like mismatched Tupperware, or a lost retainer–and throw all of your ire and frustration and hopelessness and devastation in that direction for a while, so you don’t have to think about the greater tragedy at hand.
Hug everyone you can find.
Have a glass of water and a sedative.
Contemplate the stars. Think of things that are true and good and will outlast this calamity.
A few months ago, I wrote a post responding to a video which I failed to embed properly. Apologies. I suppose it was inevitable that Zero to Hero would challenge me to figure out that mess. I went back and fixed the problem–I think.
For my month of blog fine-tuning–c.f., Zero to Hero–I’m supposed to write something which includes embedded media. In honor of this occasion, I have decided to share something that has snagged in the corner of my brain. It is not the usual Bad Parenting fare.
I’m being haunted by a music video.
I find the song mesmerizing. The lyrics are just inscrutable enough to tantalize my imagination. The melody is intoxicating, and the mix is perfect–complicated, well-balanced. What is bugging me is the video itself. I’m still trying to figure out what they were thinking.
The set and arrangement of characters were modeled after what is perhaps Raphael’s best-known painting, a fresco he did at the Vatican called The School of Athens.
This painting supposedly includes “every great Greek philosopher,” which means everyone from Socrates and Plato to Euclid and Pythagoras. I don’t know any contemporary Greek philosophers, but it doesn’t matter: the painting was done in the 16th century, so I’m off the hook.
School of Athens was part of a series that was supposed to illustrate a progression from reason (Western philosophy) to revelation (Christianity), and to show how they worked together–an idea that has been lost in these days of intelligent design vs. evolution.
But what characters has alt-J put in their video? These are not meant to be philosophers. And why did alt-J choose to put this particular cast in dialogue with art history and religion? After a very un-scientific search, the best I could find was an off-hand comment about wanting to set contemporary figures from a “lower socio-economic status” into Raphael’s famous work. Fine. But these are not “poor people,” per se; these are stereotypes from gangster culture: the liquor in a paper bag, throwing dice, ferocious dogs, big earrings, wife beater t-shirts, heavy chains, spandex dresses. I look at pictures of members of the band and wonder: what are these pasty white guys trying to say? Are they trying to offer commentary on class and culture? Or simply show off their liberal arts degrees from Leeds?
The lyrics have not helped illuminate this conundrum:
“Three guns and one goes off
One’s empty, one’s not quick enough
One burn, one red, one grin
Search the graves while the camera spins
Chunks of you will sink down to seals
Blubber rich in mourning, they’ll nosh you up
Yes, they’ll nosh the love away but it’s fair to say
You will still haunt me”
The video makes no sense to me, and borders on offensive. If this is what they think poverty looks like, I find it terribly condescending. Kind of like when Miley pops in a grill and acts out her impression of African Americans. Awkward, at best, but likely much, much worse.
At the same time, I can’t stop listening to the song or watching the video in question, so who am I to judge?
p.s. I did find out where they got the band name. Press alt-J on your keyboard and you’ll get ∆: the triangle that appears in their video and as their logo. Triangles are their favorite shape.
Gone are the days of resolving to “Achieve balance,” and then feeling crappity all year when I can’t do it. This year, I have decided once again to aim low, focusing on short-term, achievable goals. I will make reasonable monthly resolutions, and then emerge victorious. That is my plan.
For January, I’m participating in “Zero to Hero,” the embarrassingly titled 30-day plan for kick-starting or fine-tuning one’s blog. And though it sounds as if I need a cape, I will proceed without one.
For today’s assignment, I was supposed to introduce myself and consider my purpose and content. Well, I thought about it. I blog about everything from teaching to parenting to bad hair cuts to traveling, and I have no intention of narrowing my focus at this time. As for an introduction, I’ve been here a while, so I decided to rewrite my About page. It now reads as follows:
the Oxford comma
other great stuff
Neither a morning person nor a night owl, I can be surprisingly productive between 10 and 2. I am awake for many, many other hours, though–mostly on purpose.
Additional fun facts:
After graduating from Carleton College with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology, I joined Teach for America, continuing to teach and administrate in urban public schools for twelve years. For my first mid-life crisis, I went on leave to study photography at California College of the Arts. I am currently raising two daughters, writing two blogs, teaching and photographing whenever possible.
Also, I am apparently a photo editor for an online magazine. This is exciting and terrifying, but I didn’t include that on the page because I don’t actually believe it yet.
Now. I am expected home in time for the bedtime routine. That is next on my list to achieve.