The bitter north winter wind blows from the North Pole stopped by nothing but a few strands of rusty barbed wire. . .

    (Post edited 2:30 p.m. CST day of posting, and 6:10 p.m. on Thanksgiving)

    It was mighty cold last night. 19 degrees fahrenheit when I woke up this morning. I gotta get a better heater or a 3rd blanket.

    Today is my last day of classes! (WOOPWOOP!) One more session with the Professor of Contracts and then it is over. . . hahaha, no the fun really begins now, but at least there will be no new material to fit into my outlines.

    On another note, I am bothered a bit by what I said last night about politics and hopelessness of it all. I don’t want to harbor bitterness and anger against anyone. It is so hard not to though. I catch myself becoming a reverse-dittohead, saying mean things, and feeling all smug, and yet I’m doing the very same thing that I mock ditto heads for, just reversing the targets of derision. That’s not cool. —

    (Since I wrote this I got a comment on those remarks. To read the comment and my reply click here. I do want to say here that my earlier post on politics was imprecise and poorly worded. To clarify, I do not believe that people who voted in the last election were apathetic and stupid IF they voted. I might not agree with their choices, but that’s life in a democracy. BUT, the people who did not and will not vote are both apathetic and stupid.

    So anyway… I don’t know what I’m trying to say. Politics is such a nasty yet compelling thing.

    But talking about politics and social concerns around the world, a friend sent me an NY Times op-ed piece by Salman Rushdie: No More Fanaticism as Usual. I very much agree with him, except on one account… the Miss World pageant controvery, riots, etc. were a big mess, much more so than what he said. While I very much appreciate the women who pulled out of the contest to protest the Nigerian Muslim-law execution by stoning of a woman convicted of adultery, those women’s credibility as protestors was next to zero among the Nigerian public and especially the Muslim leaders in Nigeria. (Let me stop for a moment, please don’t read this as saying that the Muslim rioters were justified in any form or fashion. Even if holding the Miss World Pageant in Nigeria was wrong, that is NEVER an excuse to comitt acts of violence. Rushdie is right on calling Western Muslim leaders on the carpet for missing this point.) To Muslims and for that matter, many people in the world, beauty pageants are offensive. I am probably not as much against them as some (just because I have friends who have participated in various way in such pageants) but at best they are a western phenomenon that is seen as being a destablizing element in many countries, especially when they work to undermine traditional ideals of beauty.

    I think the tension here is one hand Rushdie is right… fundamentalist Islam is a messed up social phenomenon that keeps a good chunk of the world’s population in oppression, especially women. Hopefully maybe the youth of these nations (especially in Iran which has made so many positive changes in recent years) can overturn these forces in time, but if their efforts are defeated things look very bleak. — BTW, this is a tangent, but Iraq is not a fundamentalist Islamic nation. It is more accurately a nominally-Islamic totalitarian regime. Saddam Hussein is not a super Muslim by any stretch of the imagination.

    But at the same time, the modern Western global corporate culture is also problematic. It often destroys traditional family structures around the world, and isolates people from their communities, from nature, from the means to grow their own food, and it destroys local culture. Certainly there are postives as well (increased educational opportunities, financial prosperity, convenience, etc.), but I think it is still not a good trade.

    I personally do not think that we are stuck with only a fundametalist view or a globalist view (I’ve heard this called the choice between “McWorld and Jihad” by Tom Sine, a speaker at C-stone last year.) I think there needs to be a third way, a gentle revolution of the spirit.