Hyphenate this!

June 28, 2008

Another thing I don’t get – why, in this day and age, are women still changing their last names when they get married?

Historically, women changed their names upon marriage to reflect a change of ownership: women were considered property of their fathers until they became the property of their husbands.  Clearly (or hopefully!) we don’t live in such times any longer, with the exception of some pockets of ultra-conservative religious wing-nuts.

So why do so many women still do this? Without question? Is it because it’s what their mothers did, and they don’t want to seem like some sort of femi-nazi? Is it at the request of their husbands, or parents or in-laws, who require this familial homogeny? Is it because these women won’t know how to name their children? Or, more likely, it’s just another one of those “things that people do” that are never questioned, never held up to any amount of scrutiny or inquiry.

(On a side, trivial note, speaking of names – Frank Zappa and his wife named one of their sons Dweezil, but the hospital refused to put this name on the birth certificate, which instead was issued to read “Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa”. When Dweezil was 7, his parents asked him what he wanted his “real” name to be, at which point, of course, he chose the name he knew – the name his parents chose – and a new birth certificate was legally issued. I highly recommend Zappa by Barry Miles for this and many more fascinating details about Frank’s wild life.)

You can also read an interesting (and old) article by Katie Roiphe about this very topic that you can find here.

As the name of my blog has suggested all along, this topic is one of many on a long list of things which should be doubted, questioned, and reexamined. I’d love to hear from married women who opted for this choice, and to hear their reasoning for it.

My passion for a healthy diet is about as passionate as my atheism, and yet, I’ve barely written of it here.

There is a specific issue I wish to address, and perhaps you faithful readers can offer your opinions on the matter.

First of all, I should say that I am a vegan – no meat, dairy, poultry, fish, eggs. I also do not eat any simple sugars – cane sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, etc. etc. (Read Sugar Blues by William Dufty.) No, I don’t listen to Victory Records bands or wear Earth Crisis or PETA hoodies. My philosophy is: I eat what I’m willing to kill. I am willing to pluck a carrot from the ground; I am unwilling to pluck a chicken.

My dilemma, however, is this: I buy organic exclusively. Yes, it does cost more – but I feel that it’s worth it to know that I’m not eating pesticides. I also strongly believe in buying, for example, an organic broccoli from the grocery store, which was trucked to that store from California (I live in New England) rather than buying a “conventionally” grown (sprayed) broccoli from the farm stand down the street.

I’ve taken hell for this from some environmentalists, who say my support of organic farming is actually harming the planet, due to long distances over which the handful of large organic farms need to ship their produce.

I say this: if I continue to support organic farming as fervently as I do and have, and as long as I remain vocal to the local farm stand about my feelings (“you know, if you didn’t spray your food, I’d buy my groceries here”), then demand will only increase for organic foods. And I also say that if I don’t take the best care of my own self – which, in my opinion, includes eating organic foods – then I won’t be able to live a long and healthy life, and that’s gotta count for something.

What d’y’all think?

Some guy, calling himself “Vissarion“, who used to be a traffic cop, is now holed up on a commune in Siberia (and has been, ironically, since the fall of the communist bloc and people were left with a gaping hole in their lives that they needed desperately to fill with some sort of direction and meaning – think there’s a connection?) with a bunch of other Kool-Aid drinking wackos, claiming to be the Messiah.

So, we’ve seen all this sort of megalomania before. (Religion tends to be quite a fertile breeding ground for such nonsense.)

What I’d honestly like to hear from the religious folks is this: Since you all believe that Jesus will, indeed, come again, my question is simply this – how will you know when this has happened? Or how do you know that is hasn’t already happened? These folks in Siberia certainly think he’s the real McCoy. Sure, we may all point and snicker, believers and non-believers alike – but what if it’s all true, and this guy in Siberia really is the Second Coming of Christ? Or, worse yet, what if you already missed Second Coming? What if Jesus already did come back, but was born prematurely and then died, or was stillborn, or was involved in a gruesome car accident when he was a child, or got beaten to death by bullies in grade school? With billions of humans on this planet, it would be easy to miss something.

I did something nice for an old lady the other night, and she turned and said, “Thank you, and god bless you!”

No matter the circumstance – after a sneeze, after a kind word or deed, whatever – I just cringe whenever anybody says these words to me. I can’t help it! It’s an involuntary response. God bless you is just “one of those things you say”, left over from the days of the bubonic plague. But, instead of saying, “Don’t pester me with all that voodoo god believing bullshit”, all I could do was smile and offer a sweet and spineless, “You’re welcome.”

As much as people irritate me with their constant whining and wastefulness and needing to maintain and inflate their precious little egos, I actually have a rather soft spot for my fellow human mammals, and there is this small part of me that believes that, yes, if we could just stand around in a circle and sing Kum Ba Yah, then everything would be just hunky-dory. (I guess some of my highest ideals are still dangling by a thread.)

Don’t worry – I’m not getting all “foo-foo” on you infidels. I am just thinking: Do I really need to be full of dissent and anger all the time? I mean, so what if she believes in a 24/7 surveying celestial father figure who presumably has the power to rid the world of suffering and yet, for all the claims of his benevolence, has repeatedly withheld said power? I held the door for an old lady, she thanked me quite sincerely, it was a nice human Hallmark-card-material moment. In that moment, I could forgive her for being religious and superstitious – she was just being really nice, just as I had been.


Then, moments later, I read an article about “abstinence-only” education in public schools and I got pissed off all over again. Heh. Go figure.

…but he loves you!

June 21, 2008

Thanks, Digital Dregs, for this one. Couldn’t say this any better myself. Classic!!