The self sufficiency of my kids when I am out of commission never fails to amaze me. Today for instance, I am just starting to get over a hellacious ear infection (yesterday Grant had to take the day off while I got an emergency ENT appointment - the whole side of my face was swollen, I couldn't chew, and there was puss coming out of my ear). I've been kind of lazy and out of it since I got up, lazing about reading in my room. I walked out to get food to take with my antibiotics, and I found:
-Jake and Elise painting on the deck, surrounded by cups of water, paper towels, and other supplies
-Ananda at the computer desk playing Taylor Swift videos as she works on her new story
-Aaron in his room showing Isaac his caterpillar habitats and explaining what kind of butterflies they're going to be and what sort of food they need
Yesterday I became educated on the bizarre ICP subculture of juggalos. If you have no idea what they are, this is the four page article I read
. The comments, the lyrics scattered throughout - the Graigslist ads linked on other sites
. I really do not know where to begin. It seems to be a massive growing "family" throughout the midwest, centered around Detroit. Relatives are united by wearing clown paint on their faces (toddlers included), drinking some store brand soda called Faygo - which they're credited with keeping in business (as well as spraying innocent bystanders with supersoakers full of it), and yelling "WOOP WOOP!!" a lot. When they're not speaking in gangsta rap lyrics. Their gathering has events like oil wrestling, a BEACH BOYS BARBECUE, and helicopter rides. Oh, and 15,000 attendees, many of which are actively bartering things for titties (really). Then I saw the newest Insane Clown Posse video
, for the song "Miracles" which is...uh...A BIT OF A DEPARTURE from their previous work, to say the least. An entertaining mix of extreme profanity, ignorant slang and spritual wonder, all from a couple of guys in clown makeup who are known for singing about stabbing someone to death while looking at some titties...they fly through space and oceans in this one, and ride on a tower, and feature their kids, all the while urging us to look around and see the magic. "Fucking rainbows, wow!"
Ever since seeing this, I am conflicted. The SNL parody is funny, but not as funny as the actual video. The number of sites and response videos attempting to explain that none of the things ICP are claiming are "miracles" (rainbows, magnets, giraffes) actually are is kinda intense. They're all like, uh, you idiots, every single things you are listing is perfectly scientifically explainable, none of it is a "miracle". And ICP kind of do themselves in saying something along the lines of "Fuck scientists, they just piss me off" in the song. BUT!!
Now I am in this uncomfortable and embarrassing position of feeling like, ok, ICP is generally really gross, and these hoardes of white trash that gather to beat each others' asses, get high and litter for 5 day long underage orgies are pretty HORRIFYING...so maybe it's good if there is a bit of depth and awe and general gratitude introduced into that crowd by their idols.
Like, ok, I don't think they ever got mocked or linked to the degree they are now when it was all about murder and objectification. If they can reach the "juggalo" crowd (shudder) by speaking their language with an actual song about being positive and stopping to think, well damn. I'm just not irony-laden or hipster enough to talk any real shit about that.
ALSO. All these obviously-far-more-educated-people who are like, "Rainbows are not miracles, they're simple refractions of light and moisture, it's called a spectrum" and "your kids looking like you is not a miracle, it's basic genetics, haven't you heard of heredity".
DO I REALLY HAVE TO SIDE WITH THE FREAKING INSANE CLOWN POSSE ON AN ISSUE?!?!
It is my overwhelming
belief that science and miracles can be THE SAME THINGS...His sperm meets her egg equals...another person? There is more than just cell division in between sex and birth. Something bigger than what we understand or can see under a microscope is going down to result in a new, independent consciousness. You might not believe in souls, but I don't see how you can't believe there is a lot more than we understand and some of it really does seem miraculous
, if in a more "common vernacular" than "websters" sort of way.
This is actually something I think about a lot - how my faith has never been challenged by science and I don't understand why science is "enough" for anyone. The big bang theory, ok, that's how it happened - why did that get set in motion? What was there before it? Mostly, why does science explain things thoroughly enough to placate so many intelligent people? To me it has always just opened up more questions, and/or pointed to a vast unknown. That my kids, who all look like me, are sitting on the deck looking at a full-arch, brightly vivid rainbow is a lot of genetics and refraction but it's also awe-inspiring and miraculous in a whole other way that is not just misplaced semantics. I would rather experience or be around childlike wonder than jaded cynism any day of the week.
Anyway. Whenever I see really insular, WACK, loyalty-driven replacement families (gangs, cults, the juggalos) it makes me feel sad that so many people are raised without actual loving families to fill that natural void we all have for a place to belong. And it makes me wonder about the degree to which we are biologically programmed to be a part of something - a religion, a culture, a handed-down trade; something larger than we are that we are born into, raised within, identify with and are validated by. Modern American youth, by and large, don't have much religion, or culture, or tradition, and are drifting and alone.
I don't teach my kids in absolutes, really - I say, "Christians believe" and "I believe" and I teach a lot of opposing views and give them a generally wide girth of space to make their own decisions within the framework of knowing their parents think x, y and z are the truth and are encouraging them to participate.
But I SEE them searching for absolutes, sometimes. For black and white. They are frustrated by gray areas, less secure in universal tolerance when what they are looking to me for is guidelines for living and it confuses me at times. Is that just human nature, to try to seek out a side to be on and be right on that side? And if so, is that something we'll never conquer, or something we are gonna be over in a few generations?
Sometimes I think it's weird that I actually read news articles of some sort most every day, I'm usually in the middle of a book, I THINK about psychology and neurology...all the time...and I talk to Grant, Shaun, Laura and Dama about things I'm thinking about constantly. But I rarely write here about things I'm thinking about. I write about what's happening in our lives, but not what's going on in my head. I love other peoples' blogs about philosophical ideas, moral quandries and hypothetical situations, but I think I just get that out in conversation. And emails, where my links usually end up. Part of this is because I don't have the time or energy to expend on debates and following up on the links others will inevitably send me to, and part of it is because my lj time is really limited and so in general I'd rather archive than bs if I have to choose. Then I get a day like today where the combination of deep inner ear swelling, throbbing head, fever, very strong antibiotics (750 mg Levaquin, WHAT, this is what I was taking when I was sent home after sepsis...), and heavy alternating-every-2-hour doses of Tylenol and Motrin has got me feeling fuzzy-brained and incapacitated and so what else do I have to do but lounge around blogging about hoohaw.
Speaking of hoohaw, another thing I've been pondering is the sort of paradox some atheists must find themselves in at times. What I mean is that on the one side, if religion really does improve some peoples' lives and make society better overall, then it should, logically, be encouraged - atheists should even see the perks of signing on! Social network, safety net, comforting ideas about the afterlife, explanations for the previously unexplained, someone in charge and keeping track, being loved and heard even when alone...but on the other side, one cannot really make an intellectual decision to believe
based on pros and cons. Belief is primarily a feeling, and most hardcore atheists I know are also very steadfast about siding with TRUTH above all else, so to consciously steep yourself in some sort of blind sheep denial as a way to enhance your happiness or success would seem totally
unacceptable. Like a real betrayal to yourself and reality. I know two atheists who say that they think all religion is crap, a balm for society's ills, opium for the masses, etc, but - necessary
. Basically, better Christians and Muslims and Jews and so on than Juggalos. "People need their crutches." I can't help but feel this is an almost unedurably superior attitude, it reminds me of my pothead, unemployed stepfather spouting off between episodes of Star Trek about how everyone else was headed for the meat grinder...but whatever ;) The rest of the atheists I know seem to exude more of a baffled irritation at the faithful around them for buying
such a load of horseshit, and think that in the interest of the previously mentioned importance of Truth above all else that everybody needs to WAKE UP. Hopefully within our childrens' lifetime.
I feel a lot more empathy for the second group of people because I also have a great love for and loyalty to Truth for the sake of itself. I think it's wrong to lie to children to spare their feelings or to spouses to avoid a fight or even ON THE INTERNET because it's anonymous. As with anything "natural" (which I know not everyone finds valuable or preferable, but I do), I also feel there is an inherent value to truth and honesty (which I think can mean slightly different things here - one an intangible part of reality and the other a way to express ourselves).
BUT! I have experienced enough deeply moving and overwhelming situations, "signs", feelings and so forth, all reinforced by history, observing the world around me and other peoples' experiences, that I have become convinced my faith is part of Truth. And so my committment to truth for the sake of itself drives me to confess this online, even when I know lots of skeptical and frustrated atheists (or Pagans, or agnostics, or "cultural Jews" - or devoutly Jewish people...) who I respect as awesome people are watching, and it kinda embarrasses me.
Such a circuitous maze :p
-I'm going to get back to my book (The Weight of Heaven
, some fiction about a liberal, agnostic Ann Arbor couple who's only child dies and they take a job transfer to India to get away from every memory of him, but are still struggling to save their marriage...just amongst a totally different culture and with a lot more guilt for being privileged white people than they used to have)
-I'm trying to take it really easy today and get better...tonight and tomorrow night I have to put a lot of energy and time into finishing the last of Annie's presents. Tomorrow-daytime I have to get A and A new dance shoes and take them to a mandatory rehearsal. Sunday is Ananda's tea party (limitless cooking and cleaning all morning to prepare for the afternoon) and Aaron's show (packing him lunch and dinner and 2 changes of costume and getting him to Lincoln Rd and back).
-maybe I'll take a walk with whoever wants to come in a little while
-definitely think it's time for more motrin, this neverending pain is wearing. me. down.
-this shit is in "my good ear". ARGH. I am going to be deaf by the time I'm like 35 at this rate!