Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Agony and the...wait, that's not right...

Study: Cannibals Usually Dine Alone
(Yeah, but do they start out dining alone, or does it just...kinda...END UP that way?)

This world is crazy. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Virginia Tech shootings just verifies it for me once more.

Thirty people dead. More wounded. The gunman didn't even have the courage to live after what he'd done. He was a student at VTech...he was angry at life and other things, and lashed out.

The only thing was, his anger at life cost other people their lives. It cost families and friends the companionship of their loved ones. It cost other students their feelings of safety and sanctuary within their surroundings. It cost a good school their own feelings of security...what can Virginia Tech do to make students, faculty and staff feel safe again?

It could make other Asian students victims of blanket assumptions and hate crimes JUST BECAUSE THE GUNMAN WAS ASIAN.

The arguments for and against gun control will rage loudly once again, pitting people against each other.

One good thing that's come of this...and it's a small thing...my friend DD called his teenage daughter yesterday just to hear her voice and make sure she was OK.

Let me hear from you, readers...how many of you were prompted to check in with loved ones just to make sure all was well with them after this tragedy? Did you have friends/family at Virginia Tech? How do you feel about what's raging on right now in our society?

How many of you are keeping the families of the departed in your "good thoughts file"?

I'm trying to. I hope I can keep up the momentum.


Also, for some reason, an anonymous commenter is being a total pukehead on Jules' site. I hope they leave her alone soon. She's got enough on her plate without some cowardly schmuck putting her down. If you're reading this, "anonymous", you can kiss my fat a$$.


More stress, please? Yes, thank you...

Doug and I are currently separated and trying to think things through about the relationship. Keep us in your good thoughts files, please...


Today's running theme has to do with religion and weirdness (not necessarily in that order). I consider myself an average religious person...sometimes devout, sometimes not.

I know that with mental illness, religion can be quite the issue indeed. I'm cautious at times about what I do so I don't give the impression that I'm off my meds and spiraling upwards or downwards. You hear news stories about many folks that suffer from mental illness saying God told them to do this or that.

This modern world of ours is a cavalcade of weirdness anyway, and when belief systems are thrown into the hopper, it makes for newsworthy stuff. For some, it's a possible argument for atheism. For others, they cling to their faith all the more, saying that this behavior is an anomaly.

So first up...a "Huh?" award.
I'm not sure if I can name an actual recipient for this award for fear of reprisal. Let's just award the whole group, shall we?

Recipient: Nameless effigy burners in India
Reason: Richard Gere smooched Shilpa Shetty in public several times.

To quote the article:

Richard Gere's repeated kisses on the cheeks of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty in an event to promote AIDS awareness sparked protests in India on Monday with demonstrators burning effigies of the actors.

Groups of men burned and kicked effigies of the actors in protests across India, including in the northern Indian cities of New Delhi, Kanpur, Meerut and Varanasi as well as in the central city of Indore.

Some called for the actors' deaths. Others wanted public apologies.

One word applies here...YIKES.

Protestors even stormed the set of Shetty's latest project in Mumbai, India in protest. Yeah, that's right..."stormed" is the verb the press has used. Not a word I necessarily like hearing in connection with someone's workplace (especially in light of all that's happened), but there ya go.

Judge's comments:

1. OK...according to pop culture knowledge, Gere is supposed to be aware of stuff like this, right? I mean, he's been an activist for, like, a gazillion years. If that's the case, wouldn't he be clued in on the fact that PDA in India isn't cool?

Yeah, the truck drivers liked it, but that's only a small part of the picture, folks. It's one thing for someone to call you a jerk and it's another thing to be BURNED IN EFFIGY. You know what that means, right? That means they're just burning a mannequin because you're not there and if you WERE there, they'd be burning YOU.

So really, while I do consider Gere "hot" and I would not look askance at him smoochin' me all over, I'm not in India. I'm here in the good ol' US of A, where folks can smooch and grope each other all the time. Why didn't he get clued in? Aren't there folks who make a living researching all these social customs and advising what's proper and what's not within a culture? I would think there would be. Hmmm...I smell another Rancho Sudiegirl cottage industry.

2. Here is Shetty's account of what happened and her concerns:

But Shetty, the winner of the "Celebrity Big Brother" reality TV show in Britain this year, said the reaction to the kiss made India look "regressive."

"I admit it went a little overboard but that was not the intention," she said to a crowd of journalists and protesters that had besieged her film set in Mumbai on Monday evening.

"He did not do anything obscene," she said of Gere, adding that they had since spoken on the phone. "He apologized to me and told me to tell the media that he apologized."

She said Gere was only re-enacting his moves from the film "Shall We Dance" to entertain the audience and communicate in a Bollywood style as he did not speak Hindi.

I have to say that I concur with her. "Regressive" is the best qualifier. Let's face it...the world is changing, and India is keeping up in many respects.

But this is one of the quirks about religious belief on the part of the individual that I find annoying...people believe what they believe. You can't change that, only the individual can.

If someone makes a faux pas regarding disrespect of others' religion, what IS the right thing to do? Isn't the goal to educate others on what's proper and respectful, as opposed to representing your anger by enacting the process of BURNING SOMEONE ALIVE?

And in that same vein, shouldn't a progressive world view be understood as, "OK, we don't do things like this but this guy doesn't know that so let's cut him a smidge of slack"? I mean, come on. It's not exclusive to India and the Hindi religion. Every religious path, at one time or another, has problems of this nature.

It ALMOST makes one stop believing in anything except cottage cheese.

NEXT: I call this one "The Preacher's Wife and the Nigerian Spam Scam".

The case against Mary Winkler is in court right now, and there are two theories behind the murder.

The first one: the husband was abusive, and she was ready to confront him about an issue with their one year old daughter when the shooting actually took place.

The second one (and this threw me for a loop): The prosecution states that both husband and wife got caught up in one of those Nigerian get rich quick schemes that are spammed to anyone that has an e-mail account. The wife was "kiting" checks from one bank account to another and got caught doing it. The bank was trying to handle things internally but it all went kaflooey.

Both theories also make me sad. Why?

The first one implies that all was not well in the parsonage. It implies that the preacher may not actually listen to the words he passes to others. It shows flaws that the congregation may not be able to handle if presented with the truth of the situation.

The second theory shows that there is a definite issue with the ministry and wages of said occupation. I admire people that enter the ministry with that knowledge, yet go ahead and do it anyway. It shows devotion to doing work for a higher power and not worrying about material rewards.

But there is a flip side. The disparity between what a minister does and how much they make doing it can be quite sad. Churches depend so much on giving (and I know I don't give what I could/should), and it's a vicious circle. The ministry staff needs to make money to do what they're supposed to do for the church, but the members of the church need to sustain the ministry through donations and tithing, right? What happens when the members don't give?

Both situations show that the preacher's wife - even though she had to present the image of being "together" for the sake of her husband and the church - had nowhere to turn when things got ugly. I know it would throw ME for a loop if I found out my pastor's wife was being abused BY MY PASTOR. (Thank God that's not the case in my church, but not all churches can say the same.)

I mean, this is the pastor's SPOUSE here...she has to bear burdens for the congregation just as much as the pastor does. It's the same if a pastor is female...her spouse is held to a high standard by association alone.

Both situations also show that churches need to create some kind of wellness network for their clergy to show that they can support these leaders in terms of money and other resources (counseling, legal, etc). Maybe this shooting wouldn't have happened if one or both of them had someone THEY could lean on when circumstances got bad.

So there's no right answer, is there?

I think I'm going to save my last little snippet for tomorrow. Something tells me it'll be good to have it on a Wednesday.

Sudiegirl the slightly dispirited but still darned loveable.