Monday, March 28, 2011


Every workday I fein interest in a bunch of things that I'm really not interested in at all. I empathize and sympathize and smile and nod. Some of it is real, and sometimes my mind is somewhere else. I think that I'm a good enough actor that not many people can tell the difference.
Pretending isn't new to any of my current jobs. In every job I have ever had I have had to pretend to be something I am not or to feel something that I do not. Dress codes are a strong example. At many jobs, "extreme hairstyles" are not allowed, and the dress code is split into a dress code for men and a dress code for women, with very specific implied gender roles. I am so strongly opposed to gender roles that I painted my fingernails for my wedding, but I have to comply with the dress code where I work.
I am actually pretty okay with pretending to be something I'm not at work. I suspect that just about everyone does some pretending to do each of our respective jobs. I especially like playing against character, in myself and in others, like Henry Rollins as AJ Weston on Sons of Anarchy. My problem is that changing roles is so difficult. Once we become a lovable character, employers have a hard time imagining us in a different role. The situation is extremely unfortunate because we need to be able to change to be able to grow.
I think we need to change jobs more often. If we don't, we run the risk of becoming what we were only pretending to be.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Procrastination « You Are Not So Smart

Once again I've let a week go by without taking the time to write an article, so I'm going to defer you now to my favorite pop psychology websites, You Are Not So Smart: A Celebration of Self-Delusion, for a 2010 October article about, and titled, "Procrastination." Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Abstinence is Contraception

Something that really gets my goat is how intolerant and unkind people from all walks of life are toward people who have unplanned pregnancies. Since I've been reading Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church's views are on my mind, but this article should be broadly applicable, even if I focus too narrowly.

The Catholic Church has some official doctrines regarding contraception and birth control, such as the Dignitas Personae and its predecessor Donum Vitae. To the Church's credit, they are unexpectedly consistent, condemning all forms of birth control. Even "the Catholic contraceptive," "Natural Family Planning," is frowned upon, though exceptions are made for NFP.

So far, I think we're in pretty reasonable territory. The church wants as many people to experience life as is possible. Our current social, political, and physical boundaries could not contain this kind of population growth, but I'm sure we could find solutions to those problems. I am behind the idea that everyone deserves rights from conception, and I can understand the idea, without necessarily supporting it, that everyone deserves the right to be conceived.

So far so good, right? Unfortunately, the Church also condemns "juridical tolerance of unmarried couples." You know, like Mary & Joseph when she were pregnant with Jesus. I suppose Mary and Joseph had to suffer to test their faith. Even if holiness-inducing-suffering is the reason the Church advocates "juridicial" intolerance, the Church should advocate individual tolerance, acceptance, compassion, and support.

Clearly I'm no expert on Catholic doctrine, but I am knowledgable. As I understand the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, he was intolerant only of intolerance. The Son of Man, as he called himself, was patient with prostitutes and extortionists and impatient with judgmental religious leaders. He famously mouthed off to a jury that was prepared to execute an adulterer. His mother was an unwed, pregnant teenager.

Abstinence, like condoms, hormone pills, and NFP, is contraceptive. By not having sexual intercourse each time the urge arises, we deny potential human beings the chance to be conceived. I say this sincerely.

The Catholic Church views conception as an inalienable right. Personally, I think conception, like most good things, is wonderful in moderation. Either way, a pregnant woman is sacrificing time, energy, and even space in her body for a new person. Regardless of how or why that child was conceived, pregnant women should be cared for and revered, not ostracized and marginalized.

Let's provide extra services for unplanned mothers. Let's give them everything they need for their children to be healthy. Let's honor them for the service they are providing to their children and the world. Let's be tolerant and kind to them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Re: Looking for guys in their 20s

Hi Tracy,

If you still need some thoughts about this, some of mine are here after a quick introduction:

I'll be 25 on Wednesday, and I got married last July.  I graduated college in 2008 with a BS in Cognitive Science.  I have since been rejected by graduate schools 10 times and accepted 0.  My wife was accepted to graduate school once and rejected once; she ended up dropping out of grad school, but she still makes twice as much money as I do and has an almost infinitely more meaningful job.  We're both floundering in ways, going through a "quarter-life crisis" as Hymowitz put it.  I'm part of a creative collective, the Bad Mutha Booboisie, but most of my income comes from being a teller, which is less stimulating than second-grade math homework.

I think for the most part, this Hymowithz is on the money.  I do think, though, that the "rise of women" and the emergence of "guys" is a spurious relationship brought on more by politcoeconomic factors than by social norms.

If you need some more, please feel free to ask.

Jon Clucas


Sent to you by Johnny Baby via Google Reader:


via Tracy Clark-Flory on 3/2/11

…to share their thoughts on the basic argument in this excerpt from “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.” E-mail me: tracy @


Things you can do from here:


Sunday, March 6, 2011

RE: Fw: : A kid got an A+ for this paper

Once again, my inbox provides me with something I can't ignore. Email is on the left, my comments are on the right.

> who got an A+ for this entry
Check out Snopes for the questionable factuality of the attribution.
This entry is totally awesome, if by awesome the author mean terrifying (which (s)he might, but I doubt).
> Since the Pledge of Allegiance
> And
> The Lord's Prayer
> Are not allowed in most
> Public schools anymore
What?  They aren't not allowed anywhere in the USA.  They are not allowed to be required, but they are allowed to be recited.
> Because the word 'God' is mentioned.....  
> A kid in Arizona wrote the attached
The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892, and the word 'God' was added in 1952.  And I'm pretty sure the word 'God' is not in the Lord's Prayer or the problem anyone has with public schools requiring students to recite it.
NEW Public School prayer:  
"New Pledge of Allegiance"  

I'm pretty sure this prayer/pledge is going to be more disrespectful than this performance.
> Now I sit me down in school
> Where praying is against the rule
> For this great nation under God
> Finds mention of Him very odd.
Why is this in rhyming couplets?  Why is this being derived from "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep"?
Praying isn't against "the rule".  Forcing others to pray is against the rules, especially forcing others to pray in a specified way.  God can be mentioned; He cannot be asserted as undeniable.
> If scripture now the class recites,
> It violates the Bill of Rights.
> And anytime my head I bow
> Becomes a Federal matter now.
Scripture could possibly be recited as literature, but to be recited as fact does violate the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment.  Bowing your head is not a problem.  Forcing someone else to bow his/her head is the "Federal matter", since 1791.  It's also been a state-and-local matter since 1925.
> Our hair can be purple, orange or green,  
> That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..  
> The law is specific, the law is precise.  
> Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.  
I have never been in a school that allowed "unnatural" hair colors.  Students were suspended from public schools that I attended for that very offense.  I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that the author does not cite "the law" (s)he references here; I'm pretty sure the author made this law up.
> For praying in a public hall
> Might offend someone with no faith at all..  
> In silence alone we must meditate,
> God's name is prohibited by the state.  
Please stop beating this poor, dead, misinformed horse.  You can pray.  You cannot force someone else to pray your way.  You might be offended by someone telling you that you must pray to Allah or Ganesh or Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Xenu.
> We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,  
> And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...  
Again, I have never been in a public school where profanity is "allowed", and the phrase "dress like freaks" is extremely offensive and insensitive.  I do not know specifically what the author means, but I cannot imagine that phrase meaning anything unoffensive.
> They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.  
> To quote the Good Book makes me liable.
I do not know what this is talking about.  Was there a time in American history that students were allowed to bring guns to school?  I guess that could be true, but why are we talking about guns now?  Back on the dead horse, the Bible isn't banned.  The Bible is also not a textbook, especially a science text.
Liable?  For what?  Libel?
> We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
> And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.   
Like Mary and Joseph!
> It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,  
> We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong..  
What?  I think the author is confused.  I know I am.
"Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." - Jesus (Matthew 7:1-5).  So now I'm really confused.  Is the author arguing for or against biblically taught morality?
> We can get our condoms and birth controls,  
> Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles ..
> But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,  
> No word of God must reach this crowd.  
I am so tired and offended by this prayer/pledge.  Please excuse me while I give the dead horse (and myself) a rest.
> It's scary here I must confess,
> When chaos reigns the school's a mess.  
> So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
> Should I be shot; My soul please take!
Woah!  Surprise twist ending!  I thought the author was mad that guns are allegedly outlawed?  Can we find this student and tutor him/her in logical consistency?
> Amen
> If you aren't ashamed to do this,  Please pass this on..
> Jesus said,  'If you are ashamed of me,  I will be ashamed of you before my Father.'
I really wish we could get some citations from this author.  I am not aware of any biblical reference to Jesus saying any such thing.  The closest reference that I am aware of is St. Paul's second letter to Timothy 1:7-8, "For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God."  That's Paul talking, though, not Jesus.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~AWESOME~~~~~~~~~~Terrifying.

> Not ashamed. Pass this on.

I'm just glad it's finally over!