Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our adversion to "profanity"

I was reading a book about language today, and came across a very interesting concept. The book did not discuss this in detail, and I was unable to come across any reliable internet sources to read further, so I will be left on my own to think about this one:

Is our aversion to profanity simply a well-ingrained superstition?

Different cultures deal with profanity differently, and in those cultures different things are considered vulgar or profane.

What I could determine, simply by the definition of "profane" is that it is an old word and definitely religious in origin.

Could it be that we should sit back and think about why we think certain things are profane? What do we think will happen to us? I am talking about more than what we think our friends, co-workers, or family might say behind our back... Is there a bigger fear that we have about saying certain things? Are we like the old believers in Greek mythology, thinking that we will be struck by lightening?

I am interested to hear other thoughts on this issue.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This post is dedicated to all of those American women who frown sympathetically when the conversation turns to the Muslim women in Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia.  You know what I'm talking about, when someone says that "at least we have it better than they do."  

Well, yes, we do have it better than they do, in certain ways.  However - not to burst your bubble - I would like to point out that we are not quite as "liberated" as we would like to think we are.  We are foolish for not seeing the hypocrisy, as obvious as it is.

There are tons of reasons I can point out, but here is one case:

Yes, the virgin who sells her virginity online for millions of dollars.  This post is not about her, nor the Australian pervert who bought it.  It IS about the American society that finds this interesting.  It IS about the talk shows where people debate whether she really is a virgin or not.

My dear ladies, this is not much different than a dowry being paid to a family for a daughter's VIRGIN hand in marriage.  The "community" still gossips about whether she really was a virgin or not.  The only difference is in this case, the daughter gets the money and doesn't have to stay with the smelly old guy.

Most of us are still stuck in the 1700's, whether we would like to admit it or not.  We fool ourselves into thinking that things have changed, but they have not changed as much as we think they have.   Women still talk about other women who are more sexually liberated as whores, but yet men are valued for their conquests.  What's new?  What's old?   

More on this subject later...  I have plenty more to say.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Are Children's Lives Really Harder?

This post is inspired by an article today on the BBC, entitled "Selfish Adults 'Damage Childhood' ".  The article cites a study that concludes, among many other observations, that children have more difficult lives than they had in the past.  

I suspect that British society is similar enough to American society that I can make some basic comparisons without sounding ridiculous.   But first, let me just say, that this sounds like a pile of baloney!

My children, for example, have it MUCH easier in many ways than I did growing up.  Our society overprotects them.  They can't play outside without direct adult supervision.  Instead, they are surrounded by  vast seas of computers, game consoles, books and toys.  Our middle class lifestyle, like most Western households, affords them a comfortable supply of decent clothes to wear.  They are also fortunate enough to have musical instruments to play and access to quality instruction.  In addition, they go to a public school (with no cost), where they have an arguable sufficient education.  Finally, there are extra activities such as Boy Scouts, Chorus, etc...

They don't have to walk to school in the snow, worry about where dinner is coming from tonight, wonder if they will make it to work on time, worry about their boss being angry with them for not working fast enough, etc...  

Have any of you ever read David Copperfield?  Well, if you have then you know that kids these days have it much easier than they did in the 1800's (i.e. not having to get jobs at 8 years old).   There are many, many children in developing countries that still live in conditions not unlike those of David Copperfield.  

Let's get some perspective!