We bought our Offspring a little backyard pool a few months ago, as a Christmas present, and yesterday was the first really warm day since Christmas when we could use it. So I spend most of the day watching them while worrying that someone would drown. It’s exhausting (although the good news is, nobody drowned). Today is going to be hot again, so I’ll be taking them to the beach, so I can watch them and worry that someone will drown, but with a different backdrop. Ah, summer with children who are yet too young to be able to swim properly! What joy.
While I worry, enjoy some links…
It took me a while to read this, not just because it’s longform, but because I wasn’t familiar with many of the links, and I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I agreed with what the author was saying. Long though it might be, I think the general point is valid. Being offended is a bit like an addiction, or an expectation, now. Instead of wondering what else could be behind the story, we jump on the bandwagon of outrage, and to that end, most publications–even heretofore respected stalwarts of journalism–deliver what they know will ‘sell’.
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As much as I worry about the way in which powerful nations are able to negotiate with less powerful ones, and the unbalanced nature of those negotiations, I’ll admit I’m also slightly amused at the reactions of Western nations to China’s presence in Africa. What short memories we have, considering the European colonialist occupations of past centuries. At the very least, these negotiations are exactly that: negotiations. As the Namibian president points out, they are really none of our business. Any pretense that our concern is for the well-being of African nations is simply a veiled (if justified) fear of China’s growing power and influence.
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I think I’ve said before that I have a copy of Mein Kampf (in English–my German’s pretty good, but that level of weird, unsubstantiated logic is probably best read in my native English so that I don’t misunderstand what’s already difficult to follow), and I always thought it a shame that Germany had banned the book, given that in my experience, Germans learn a lot about the lead up to WWII and the atrocities which occurred before, during, and afterwards. So I’m pleased that now the copyright has expired, an annotated version will be printed, because, as Rabbi Schmuley Boteach argues, evil does thrive in shadows, and especially given the resurgence of extreme right wing politics in Germany and many other parts of the world, it’s more important than ever that we should remind ourselves of the past.
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Finally, a post about how much is too much, when including others’s stories in your own writing. I understand this challenge, particularly because there is a tendency for writers (especially, perhaps, women writers?) to draw heavily on their personal experiences in essays and articles. So many others overshare–so there is the concern that one will appear aloof or unrelatable, if one doesn’t talk about one’s problems… or in this case, the problems of a friend. In the end, I’ve opted to err on the side of caution when writing on my blog or sending work away for publication. Anything I want to write about, but which might be sensitive, is written only for me. I might use some of the ideas later, but I suppose I’m too private a person to be able to comfortably expose my life in this way, and I can’t help thinking there is a responsibility of writers to consider that others’ stories are not always there for the taking. They might be shared simply as part of a friendship, which should ultimately be respected.