Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Profit is God.

What's the saying, America sneezes and the UK catches the cold?

Listening to the news and hearing the US government continue to negotiate a deal to get themselves out of the situation that they got themselves into in the first place is scary stuff. Fortunately so far, the stock markets over here seem to be relatively stable. I say fortunately, but in reality it doesn't do much to alleviate Mr & Mrs Average's worries.

I am going to use some nice popular cultural references to describe my feelings about this whole situation.

When did we turn into the FUCKING FERENGI!?

This quote is gacked from the interwebz,
"Ferengi culture is so devoted to unregulated capitalism that concepts such as labor unions, sick leave, vacations, or paid overtime for workers are considered abhorrent, because they would interfere with the exploitation of workers. In addition to the Rules, the Ferengi also recognize the five Stages of Acquisition: infatuation, justification, appropriation, obsession, and resale. They value similar traits in other species as well — Earth's Wall Street is regarded with religious reverence by Ferengi, who routinely visit Earth to make pilgrimages to the "holy site" of commerce and business."

Am I so weird that I really don't understand this obsession with money? I don't have a creditcard, and when I did my debt never got out of control (or over £5k for that matter.) All I want is enough money to cover my bills and a little bit more for savings and spending. Yet I am one of Thatcher's Children. Why did I never fall for the all-encompassing greed that we were expected to have? Why is it, when I look at my peers, I am the only one (really) that is interested in more than my plasma screen tv (don't have one), my new as new can be car (don't even have an old one) trampling over others to further my career?

I just don't get it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This is so sweet.

To Autumn - John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Those Barbarians!

I am a big fan of those programmes like Time Team, Meet The Ancestors, Time Watch, most of the UKTV history programmes infact. I find them quite fascinating. Most of the time they are done quite sympathetically, and don't try to pass off the ancients as being these barbaric heathens.

I find it really irritating when programmes make out that our ancestors were savages who went around raping and pillaging. They seem to think that the world they lived in then was full of fear and violence. Who are we trying to kid here? This year alone almost THIRTY children have been murdered by OTHER CHILDREN in London!! What the fuck is going on? Our ancestors aren't the savage barbarians! We are!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A quick simple post

Everyone should read Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

And then think of the state of affairs mixing religion and politics.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fertility at any cost?

What Is Fertility?

1. The state or quality of being fertile.
2. Biology. The ability to produce offspring; power of reproduction: the amazing fertility of rabbits
3. The birth-rate of a population
4. (of soil) the capacity to supply nutrients in proper amounts for plant growth when other factors are favourable.

Fer*til"i*ty\, n. [L. fertilitas: cf. F. fertilit['e].] The state or quality of being fertile or fruitful; fruitfulness; productiveness; fecundity; richness; abundance of resources; fertile invention; quickness; readiness; as, the fertility of soil, or of imagination. "fertility of resource." --E. Everett.
And all her husbandry doth lie on heaps Corrupting in its own fertility. --Shak.
Thy very weeds are beautiful; thy waste More rich than other climes' fertility. --Byron.

In today’s society there seems to be a never-ending quest for fertility. It is the new Holy Grail. But in reality is it really our poisoned chalice? I feel rather uncomfortable writing this since I have two healthy children, and I wonder what my position would be if I was unable to have children, but I still think that we are warping fertility into something that it isn’t, and we will undoubtedly have to deal with the repercussions in years to come.

As scientific methods move forward, it is becoming more and more achievable for women of all ages to conceive. However, whether this is morally the right thing to do is a question we have to ask ourselves. But, and this is a big but, do we have the right then to tell other women what they can do about their own fertility just because of their age? As much the idea of an elderly woman getting pregnant might make us uncomfortable, it is a very slippery road to tell them they can’t. What would be the difference in that and telling someone they can’t have an abortion? If women have the right to control their own bodies, then this includes when and how they have babies.

That said, just because medically something is achievable, this does not necessarily mean it should be normalised. There is more at question here than the rights of a woman to reproduce at any cost. Why do women feel they MUST have children? Hormones aside (although they are an important factor), are we still in a situation where a woman’s worth is based solely on her ability to conceive and bear children? Are we still being pushed into motherhood because it is the “natural” role?

Women that say that they don’t want to have children are still often seen as abnormal. Often they are told, “ah well, you will change your mind eventually”, or “Well, don’t leave it too late”. Is a non-maternal woman such an anathema? Where is the freedom to find fertility in other forms? Why is fertility in its other forms considered to be inferior? So many questions that need answering.

We need to move forward and accept fertility in all its forms, whether it is the biological child, or another worthwhile endeavour. We must not alienate either woman, the one that wants a baby outside of “normal” ideas, or the woman who doesn’t want a child at all.

Feminism for all?

Feminism For All?

There is an argument that Feminism is only for white, middle-class, university educated young women. That only those with money and education can have the capacity to question the status quo of patriarchy. That Feminism is some kind of hobby or pastime for women who have nothing better to do, and who don’t live in the real world and have to deal with what “normal” women deal with.

Undoubtedly, many women come to Feminism via a university education, especially when faced with the delightful subject of sexual, textual politics, but I feel that this misses a much bigger issue. Feminism deals with so many important aspects of what is wrong with today’s society, and in particular these issues that impact the lives of all women. Poverty, Education, Health, to name only a few, are important and relevant concerns for all women, but are young, white, middle-class, graduate women the only ones discussing them? If they are the only ones discussing them, then why isn’t everyone?

I also take issue with the presumption that Feminists now are young, middle-class, white graduates. At 35, I don’t consider myself to be that old, but I am not that young either. I am certainly not middle-class, growing up in Edmonton, North London. My parents were working class, and although now my mother is in a professional job (teaching), it was through hard work and perseverance, not privilege. I did go to university though, but so did most of my non middle-class peers from my comprehensive school. And in case you are wondering, I am not officially white, since my paternal Grandfather came from Bangladesh.

This presumption that you can put all Feminists into the same bracket is at best limiting, and at worst, playing into the patriarchal tactic of dismissing something as unimportant because they are all the same.

Let me ask some questions;
· Do you think that single mothers are not the reason for all society’s ills?
· Do you think that women have rights over their own bodies?
· Do you think that everyone deserves the best education, healthcare and opportunities?
· Do you think that everyone has the right to walk down the street without fear of attack?
· Do you think that everyone has the right to love as they wish?

If you answer yes to those questions, then you are a Feminist. It is that simple. Feminism isn’t about subjugating men in some kind of matriarchal revenge. It is about the sexual and political equality and recognition of all people and their rights.

It worries me a great deal that Feminism has become disjointed and something to be sneered at. If a woman says they are a Feminist, then they are looked at as something a bit odd. There are people that say that Feminism isn’t necessary anymore, that women are equal, the fight has already been won. (!) There are those that say Feminism is all about man hating. I personally feel that these people are completely missing the big picture.

How do we get Feminism back into mainstream life as something relevant to all people? How do we teach the next generations of women AND men that Feminism isn’t gender specific and that patriarchy hurts us all? These are questions I ask myself, and will continue to do so.

TBC probably

Friday, September 19, 2008

The obligatory introduction post...

Introductory posts always leave me a bit cold. I never know what to say, and really no-one cares that much. People want the interesting anecdotes and wry observations, not the reasons behind another new blog. However, I will give it my best go, and hopefully something interesting might come to light.

Who am I? Well, apparently to some of the other mums at the school gates, I am the prim and proper one, the quiet one who doesn't swear. Needless to say, these women don't really know me that well. I am the slightly overtired mother of two beautiful children, who are completely fantastic and adorable, and have driven me ever-so-slightly round the bend. I am married to a decent bloke. He is one of the best example of what a man should be that I have ever come across, so I am pretty glad that I married him. I am the daughter of an intelligant and hardworking mother, and a troubled father. I am a Pagan Witch, who follows no particular creed or tradition. My politics are very liberal and green, however I do find deliberate ignorance and arrogance very offensive.

What do I want? I do have other blogs elsewhere, but sometimes I want to get my thought of different issues down "on paper". Hopefully they won't just be a pile of wiffle and might hold something of interest.

If anyone ever reads this, hopefully they will get something from it...