I once read a Legend Taino, perhaps apocryphal. He said that the world was born of a great pumpkin, broken as a result of two gods fratricidal battle brothers, scattered in slimy hotbed to create the animals, plants, humans ...
Morning (well, it was eleven) of jalogüín surprised me at the mall. One of my puppies needed shirts, other pants, another colored tights to complete your costume for tonight. I, as always happens to me in that space, I wanted many things and yet none, and in the end I went with empty hands because my mental health was more important than whatever that "needed". But my issues of consumer ambivalence are irrelevant, at least not in this paragraph.
What comes to mind is that the mall was full of children dressed and disguised plastic pumpkins in hand, of tricortrí. And in each store were greeted not by their common neighbors if they have any, but by friendly staff from shops, candy bags in hand also. It was early, no one was very tired still, everyone smiled.
And they were lovely boys. Especially the small, often soften enough. I saw a bee who could not have more than a year, in your car, the mother in charge of the pumpkin. A three foot ninja, as threatening as a teddy bear. An iron man still did not speak.
For some reason, however, the tender show gave me one of those flickering sadness that often precede a blog of these. I am very skeptical when I hear arguments like "the past was better", but still .... just occurred to me that yes, it was better when we were out in the neighborhood, when some neighbors gave away sweets and not others, when the "sweet "were all different, and some home made, when a neighbor was wearing a huevazo pot on the balcony ...
No, reader, do not judge me! I do not condone the huevazo and to think that (almost) never threw one. The point is in the constellation of social relations framework that serves as the carnival we have inherited from our second conqueror. On one hand, the neighborhood, which for better or worse have some I do not know what to Gemeinschaft, community, small world about alien (well, we are not innocent, never outside but at least a little more distant) the cold, friísima, amoral market reality and secondly the MALL, quintessential representative of the market itself, space where we know everything that we need, all we necessarily incomplete us all that whispers "buy, if you buy me, you're better, you'll be happier ...", a false promise, moreover, because the finite purchasing power, combined with the desire to possess infinite and the possibilities of things to buy condemn us , inevitably, to dissatisfaction ...
And then there's the sadness that I visit while I smile sweetly the little bee who falls asleep, oblivious to the meanings amiss my mind ponders. Because it's terribly inconvenient, that sadness. It puts me in the awkward position of judging silently adult neighbor. And I reject the view, because I understand. How can you not understand? So, as things stand, and with this heat, it makes perfect sense perhaps the world carry the baby to make your tricortrí to safety and air conditioned mall? Equally reasonable is to buy the costume, semi-disposable, plastic or fiber any style in a department store, ignoring the inner voice that tells us something about Chinese or Chinese or Chinese guy who surely sewed, hurry and poorly paid, or overseas or local landscape where they accumulate hundreds, thousands, millions of costumes like that, almost inevitably turned into garbage and almost immediately and polluting the poor planet, but that is all that makes sense because we get serious who has time to get to sew? That I (not know how to sew and have bought a costume of those) I'm as guilty as anyone: home economics was my only C in school, to the great shame of my poor grandmother, God rest her soul, and work out home, so that the issue of buying costume vs do not even an option ...
But still there is sadness, and just choose to contaminate a little you, the reader, with her. Because that fantasy world that is the mall and growing, yet morbidly nourished, healthy and rotten, slimy contents of the large pumpkin is the relentless cycle of extraction, production, consumption and waste , that world, I do sadness, and share that sadness with each other in the virtual gemeinschaft provides me the platform is at least as legitimate as a conversation about shoes.
Dear Ellen: Some of the best mothers' day presents That Are those kids make for Their mothers With Their own hands. The ones That are not part of the whole going-to-the-mall-in-a-frenzy thing. I met you when i was fifteen, and so I never got to give you the macaroni necklace, or the construction paper card. This year I wanted to "make" you something. I Decided, however I, against the macaroni necklace and "made" you this letter instead.
Tribute to the stepmother:
In practical terms, everyday, the mother is not be particularly appreciated. But the day of his mother figure, symbolically, is exaggerated. Mother's Day is the national day of guilt, of consumption, of frenzy of gratitude and filial love, which fills and atapona asylums, restaurants, cemeteries, and especially shopping centers.
And in that frenzy, at least in the media and in popular discourse, the stepmother is invisible or at best, is a kind of "afterthought" a more or less reasonable facsimile, quasi-maternal character, more like the mother Grandmother that in the hierarchy of loves subsidiaries. Perhaps because of the Brothers Grimm and poisoned apples, the idea of "stepmother" is more related, semantically, with the dark side of family domesticity with the gloss or tender.
Passing balance now, on the threshold of my own forty, I can think, articulate, and especially thank you that figure, that the day of the mother and the means excluded, has been in my life, and I suspect in many, like me, grew and grew in mixed families today. My stepmother is called Ellen. And it is wonderful. Kitchen better than anyone, and also works, painting, planting, spend time with friends, and exercises. She has a husband, a garden, many students, a son, a daughter, bosom buddies, four dogs and a wildcat. It is never quiet or boring, unless you decide to be still and meditate. His life is rich, and she builds hard and with relish.
It was thanks to her, and almost immediately, I met the sea. I had gone many times to the beach even been in boats, but in my life post-Ellen I heard of sunrises over the water, herons and pelicans flying over the canal, eating pescao, cays, from dinghies and of cucumbers that "we must treat with care, because they are alive." He taught me also that the cookies are best if they leave home oven and eaten still warm, the lettuce and tomato, on their own, not a " salad ", and refrigerators (and lives) are never" full ", there is always something else.
Aboriginal Australians have a "Dreaming", a way of interpreting reality where life and landscapes are marked by features mythical yet solid, that define them. A stone, a hole, a mountain. The same applies to the lives of adolescents: Decades later, adults youth define our path by the "landmarks" of the pieces of clothing and objects defined us in every moment. And in my case, almost all of these have something to do with Ellen. It was she who gave me my first swimsuit adult. Pink romper and Converse tennis ochentoso accompanied by high, too pink, too ochentosos. The bandanas. Rubber yellow shoes. The mean permanent. The tarot cards. The cassette of Pat Benatar. Today continues to set my "Dreaming", now with things like small bags of lettuce, eggplant, peppers, pickles, tomatoes, which she cultivated and are the ultimate healthy addition to my diet.
Ellen has "been there" as much or more than any mother. The graduations, birthdays. A person who has just given birth every woman wants to close - in my two births, brought fruits, creams and magazines, and when visiting home, she used to let me clean the kitchen and food. He slept in an uncomfortable chair and horrible to accompany me in the hospital when my second baby was born. It was a wonderful grandmother to my children and now they are being for my own stepchildren.
And the lessons. Some I have learned, some the'm still learning. He taught me to bring my own avocado and / or lemon to the restaurant. To ignore colds to go alone. A sweeping as instant remedy for boredom and depression. In fact, Ellen acts as if addressing, in general, was the remedy for almost any bad mood or existential-and rightly so. He taught me that in the "madrastitud" and in life, sometimes it's better to wait. That situation, and especially the relationships you can not force. That at the end of the day, the most productive response to the problems we have with other people usually work with oneself, improve oneself, oneself grow. That the "work" should not be the only job. Watch her take time to plant has inspired me to make time to write.
My stepmother is not a facsimile of mother, or a mother with minus, not a plus mother. It's another thing, with the roles and contributions that has negotiated over time, me and life. And today I think, I love and welcome, outside the shopping frenzy and consumption, because it has enriched my life in their own terms and in mine, not that dictate stereotypes and blame, and hopefully last me many, many years. Thank you, Ellen. A hug.Print
A column in the section of the New Day VOICES brings the newspaper today that some time ago is up for discussion, gossip, and whisper: the specter of rising tuition, and the riots that it would generate. The text outlines an argument for increasing enrollment, and proposes some parameters or criteria to guide the increase in question.
This is an old theme, and thorny. On one side are those who think that the cost per credit (about $ 45 for under-graduate students, with an annual adjustment that increases slightly for each incoming class) at the university of the country is too low, and that students should contribute the costs of their education, totaling about $ 500 per credit. On the other side are those who think that the university should be free, and that any cost (and any increase) mercantilizaría something you should not, should not, be good: knowledge, opportunity.
I will not discuss, here, now, the merits of each position, although I suppose it is quite clear that the second I find most sympathetic. I must start that I would live (and build) a country where education, from pre-kindergarten through doctorate, was good and free, where every citizen could receive unfettered economic, quality education as much as you want or endurance. If that is not, at this time, realistic or possible.
And is not that what motivates me to write this entry.
What caught my attention Taboada González column is closure, which reads:
"It must also take into account the income potential of each discipline. I think it is fair to pay education student unless one of accounting, as your earning potential is much lower. "
Not the first time I hear that suggestion. And it seems quite dangerous. Decontextualized, sounds reasonable, with that kind of internal logic that has an excel spreadsheet. But examine it. Making young people pay for their studies, not based on their ability to pay in the present but in which the race would choose, play, and solidifies, the patent and social class differences evident in the "selection" current disciplines . In rice and beans, and always with exceptions, the trend in this is clear: The higher the household income, the greater the likelihood that a young consider a career with greater income potential. Subirles the price precisely those races make it more difficult to access them.
Public higher education has historically been a mechanism for social mobility. It has also been one for playing social differences. Do we want to subtract power to the first, and aggravate the second? Do we want to establish a price range that will become another obstacle to the boy or girl who wants to be an engineer / to and coming from a poor family?
I believe not. And I think in the midst of the fiscal crisis through college, special care must be taken. Beware hasty solutions that solve a fiscal problem but aggravate social one. That the measures designed to "save the home" (excuse the expression) not destroy, please. The University of Puerto Rico is the university of the country, and the country is due. What kind of country do we want? I would like one in which work to remove, not to put, obstruction aspirations of disadvantaged populations.Print
At school the world upside down, lead learns to float and cork, to sink. The snakes learn to fly and clouds learn to crawl on the roads. E. Galeano, "Muddled."
Every day I thank the random structure and work here at the University. Even when I fight, even when I'm angry, even when U show me your dark side, I prefer this place to anyone.
But love is not an uncritical exercise. Loving criticize, heard or read someone say (or write) the other day.
I learn through service "Postman" mail on my site that the Department of Humanities, co-sponsored by-none other than-Lockheed Martin will offer seminars-nothing short-of ... ethics.
Of course I should not be surprised, some might say. After all, Lockheed Martin is a familiar, even beloved, in the enclosure. They spend here, recruiting engineers and engineers, especially, but also giving grants for outreach, like this. So what bothers me? Well, I've always been quite uncomfortable to have representatives from Lockheed Martin jumping around, as individuals, not because I have done nothing but because they represent what was once denounced as the military-industrial complex and now, thanks largely to the popularity of the book Naomi Klein , is recognized as a complex of war and disaster ( war and disaster profiteering ).
Lockheed Martin teaching ethics. Same Lockheed Martin of the missiles , the same of the scandals of contracts awarded without any bidding millionaires or competence (and, deluded, competition here thinking it was just the vaunted concept of "free market"), the same who starred and later destruction, irony of ironies, the reconstruction of Iraq into a grotesque illustration of Disaster Capitalism, the same that got too full in the profit and loss business of "interrogating" prisoners of war, the same as investing regularly lobbyists in turn invest regularly in legislators that facilitate or hinder the legislative process at the convenience of the company; arms exporting # 1 in the world, accused of paying large sums to foreign heads of state, maker of some of the most lethal warplanes. Later that.
Here we are talking about "manteníos" to refer to poor government wrong-lives, and meanwhile, Lockheed Martin gets 84% of its profits from the government (ie the taxpayers, the same taxpayers who lost or were threatened its households, wage shares and recently) the United States. Now that's keep.
Is not an ethical giant a company that depends for its enormous profits almost entirely of reproduction of war and / or permanent disaster, and that gives campaign donations and place its executives in positions of power to take just decisions associated with war and permanent disaster? And then, is it not an irony immense, it is that company, and no other, which we sponsor things about ethics?
Oh well. The case is now visiting my university to give ethics workshops. And while we serve as the jury in the Ethics Bowl, Faculty of Business Administration, along with representatives from other corporations like .... Goldman Sachs.
But let Goldman Sachs for part two, or to the comments on this post, because I want to talk about butterflies. In a sad and beautiful passage of his wonderful book Upside Down: The school's world upside down , Galeano makes a story like yours is also all fable, data, and metaphor. It tells us that in 1994, the oil company Chevron, large contaminant in water, air and land California, established a shelter in the grounds of the company to save from extinction a butterfly blue. The shelter cost five thousand dollars a year. The advertising facelift starring Butterfly salvation cost eighty times that ... per minute. Impunity, Galeano reminds us, is a very cheap product.
The story is interesting and is irrelevant for two reasons: First, it demonstrates a common public relations strategy - find a cause sympathetic and "auspiciarla", moved especially effective if the recipient of generosity is in fiscal crisis (our case, precisely), and second, because often these aparatas (I mean companies like Lockheed and Chevron) chosen as "cause sympathetic" precisely the same with your other hand (with your dominant hand) destroy. Thus, Chevron chooses an environmental cause, and Lockheed sponsor chooses "ethics" and "Peace".
Will we, the academics, the college, the butterflies (green) of Lockheed Martin?
He says the New Day "the Department of Labor Secretary Miguel Romero, announced today the creation of 1,040 jobs, through a contract with Walmart."
Apparently it is assumed that it is a good news. Let me glad. It turns out that, as the owner tells me, this implies an "advertisement" of "jobs for laid off."
First Time I confirmed that indeed, the intention is there, and cites Romero:
"In order to join forces and promote economic development on the island, the Department of Labor through its component agency, the Council of Human Resources and Occupational Development (CDORH), delegated to the enterprise funds Walmart de Puerto Rico by agreement, with the aim of creating real opportunities for jobs for all persons displaced and want to re-enter the working world, "said Romero."
Perhaps it is indeed good news. After all, the only jobs posted after massive dumped in Puerto Rico government employees were in the building industry, causing many to wonder how exactly the industry absorb type laid off staff management, clerical and bureaucratic.
Walmart to the rescue! Now laid off may work charging nothing less than to ten or fifteen cents above the minimum hourly wage in Sam's, Walmart, and Friend, who continue, says the story, "growing", and therefore absorb at 1,040 unemployed, 60% of them full-time, other part-time. All that for the trifle of three million pesos of "subsidy" of WIA.
Three million grant .. add to it the least visible subsidy, or above, health insurance and other benefits that the state must continue to pay, at least for the 40% that is part-time ... Good business, this. Not for the employee, sure work hard, charge little, have little or no benefit and may not unionarse ever (courtesy of the successful "Walmart model" ) but for the corporation, which has somehow managed to get him jobs subsidiasen evidently intended to create by investing in the construction of new stores.
Puerto Rico, Paradise: Where people buy a lot and buy at Walmart because it's cheap and the kids are short, where there is much unemployed willing to work thirty hours a week at times unpredictable and no benefits and accept that this is defined as a "part -time ", which pay low taxes and many repatriated profits, and where to complete, you subsidize wages, already low in itself.
Walmart, the company : The gross income that exceeds that of some countries, which faces one of the biggest class suits in the U.S., wage discrimination, which has become famous for firing employees proactively to prevent unions , which if it were a country, it would be number seven on trade relations with China , from where it gets many of the products it sells, which has generated resistance and later, resentment , for taking small businesses (yes, those that pushed farther end of the day the local economy, pay taxes and reinvest in the country) who could not compete with the low prices that low wages, both in the store and in the factories where they get their products, can offer. Walmart, our partner, our "partner" for the development económico.Cuatro ten richest Americans are of the Walton family , the family that still owns 40% of the shares of the company.
Some time ago commentators self-identified as "middle class" thundered on facebook and online press subtitulaban against "Guimas" and "manteníos" "of village" because it would receive a fixed rate of light.
So you kept against corporations, who thunders?Print
A few days ago talking to my students about the paradox of beauty. The for anyone, but especially for women. We refer to the myth of beauty, a notion coined by Naomi Wolf and referred to the existence of unrealistic beauty standards, reinforced by the increasingly marketing (and more expensive, and more sophisticated) routes to reach a beauty ... unattainable. We said that is the impossibility of that beauty which makes it very powerful in terms of commodification, because it opens up infinite space for creating products that "help" the poor women, all inevitably imperfect, to approach the goal.
The everyday examples of the beauty myth abound: Mannequins unusually thin, and faceless, spying on us from the windows, the samples received by dressing models are size "zero", a size mathematically absurd because it involves not inexistence smallness; miraculous ointments Alchemy is a billion dollar industry, and in a world where doctors are scarce, cosmetic plastic surgery are the order of the day. The same post-industrial commercial logic that harasses us junk food also gives us the mascara, strap, gym and fataché.
Shortly after class, a student sent me a video that despite being in itself a marketing tool a particular product brand, well illustrates how remote is this false ideal of beauty:
The video is useful (thanks to Karla for sharing) because it shows clearly two levels of "forgery" in this to sell us the myth of beauty. First, the model is made up, coiffed, and arranged to look like another. Later, your photo is manipulated to achieve a representation of the beauty that is anything but "natural".
The modification of an image using photoshop (or equivalent) involves the manipulation of both the image or photo as vulnerable minds of potential consumers. Another type of handling, equally interesting, is the use and modification of medical arsenal to correct "defects" in the fashion physical. Trying to reach the unreachable, not only do we roast and painted hair and skin, but we put a knife to eyelids, nose, thighs, breasts, sweet potatoes and bellies, sometimes to enlarge and others to shrink.
A few days ago alerted me to the existence of a bouncing ball product, Latisse , is called, and its spokesperson Brooke Shields adorns this "post". If you are not happy with the length and density of your lashes, and not have to go work using mascara, but can slather this liquid, which contains a chemical know, on your eyelid and voila - thick and healthy lashes. Sure it may become red, irritated or darken your skin, or cause itching or conjunctivitis, and not to mention the unknown side effects under the haste with which we have to throw all drug to market, but no matter. Everything for beauty, and now even your doctor is pointing in that quest.Print