This may end up being the shortest blog post I have ever written. It started as a thing I said on Facebook that turned out to be way more controversial than I had expected. So I sat down and tried to explain my reasoning. I searched for facts and statistics to back up my point. I tried several different ways of organizing my argument…but I give up. Everything I tried felt stupid, like I was trying to prove that Copernicus was right or that gravity is a thing. So let me just spell it out for you. Why do I think you are probably a little bit racist is you think laziness is the main reason people are poor? Here. Have a syllogism:
1. People are poor mostly because they are lazy.
2. People of color are generally poorer than white people.
3. Therefore, people of color are generally lazier than white people.
There. That is the logic behind your belief. Go repent now.
Where have I been? I promise that these hands have not been idle. The short answer is that I have been writing. I have been chipping away at long delayed projects, which means that this blog, which I love a lot, has taken a back seat to other things that I love a lot.
The truth is that I am over-committed. But unlike a lot of people, my problem is not that I can’t say “No.” It’s that I say, “YES!!!” Enthusiastically! Joyfully! If I don’t want to do something, I will politely bow out. There is just not a lot that I do not want to do. What’s worse, when I do anything, I believe that I have to give it 110%. I have never been good at half-assing anything.
But lately I have realized that if I want to do anything well, then I cannot do everything. I have been doing too much, and I need to sort my life out a bit. Really. I’m not trying to be dramatic or anything. I just feel like I owe you an explanation. I’ve been quiet because I need to think, and I appreciate your patience as I stay quiet just a little bit longer.
Have you ever been working feverishly to finish a paper only to be held up by that one quote you read on that one page in some book? I do not normally ever do “productivity” type posts, but I think this is relevant to anyone out there who considers herself a scholar (paid or otherwise). I have experimented with different note-taking systems over the years, with varying degrees of success. I am not talking about detailed reactions to a passage. I have used word processors, and now Evernote, for that. But Evernote is too clunky to be a quick-reference system. What I wanted was a way to search and sort by particular words, phrases, and topics when I write. Most importantly, I want to be able to find them in the book later.
Enter Google Forms! It allows you to create an online form, like a survey. But I have used it a bit like an “app” on my smartphone. That way, I take quick notes on the go and (because I am anal retentive) keep track of my reading each day. All of my entries are recorded on a spreadsheet that I can export, search, and sort for writing.
Happy Santa Claus Day! We Americans derive our Santa Claus from immigrants’ celebrations of St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6). (I have heard that we call him Santa Claus because we misheard how Italians pronounced “Santo Nicholas;” I don’t know if that is true, but it’s as good a story as any.) St. Nicholas was a fourth century bishop in Turkey. A couple of legends make him the patron saint of children and sailors, but in our house he is the patron saint of gift giving.
Jesus said that we should give so that our left hand does not know what our right hand is doing,
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:4).
I announced last month that I would be taking a short hiatus from the blog because I learned that some of the heat I occasionally get has been singeing other people. (You can read the full post here.) I was planning on a much shorter break, but I got bogged down with an essay I was submitting for an academic journal. Over the course of what turned into a month, I did learn some lessons. Continue reading “Lessons from Silence: Culture-Wars Orthodoxy”