Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Careful what you ask for

So the other day I sort of implied, or suggested, that I'd like to be tagged for squadratomagico's Eight Wonderments meme, in which you're supposed to list eight things that you wonder about. And Medieval Woman subsequently tagged me. So here goes--sort of a mix between the semi-significant and the extremely insignificant. Enjoy!

1. Why is it that there isn't a more concerted, public effort to make significant changes in US policy and administration? Maybe there is, and I just can't see it from where I am, but as far as I know there hasn't been much in the way of rallies or marches since something like 2003 or '04. There's been a lot of online activism, obviously--as my frequent updates from MoveOn and PFAW remind me--but that's not the same. And so, a related wondering: Is online activism sort of replacing public action and activism? Online activism is obviously not a bad thing, but it's so much easier to sign an online petition and feel like you've "done something" than it is to actually show up at a public event. And while it is doing something, it's doing something in a fairly invisible way, and it's a mode of activism that is denied to a large segment of the population. So I wonder if a) it is the case that online activism is replacing public activism, and b) if there aren't some major drawbacks to that trend.

Of course, it could just be that I'm oblivious and there's plenty of public action going on; that's entirely possible.

2. Why is it that I put off or simply don't do tiny, slightly annoying things that would nonetheless save me significant annoyance in the long run? Like, for example, moving my box fan to the window of the room that I am in rather than always leaving it in the kitchen. True, it's kind of a pain to move the fan because I've got bars on the bedroom and living room windows, but once I've set it up and it's running in the room where I'm working my life is SO MUCH BETTER.

3. Will I ever get a second tattoo? I sometimes try to design them for myself, but I never come up with anything I'm willing to commit to. I got my first one when I was 19, without giving it a great deal of thought beforehand, and I'm glad I did it that way--I probably would've talked myself out of it otherwise. Of course, I also got it in a usually invisible location (the middle of my back), so that's gone a long way towards preventing regret.

4. Since when do children need to be entertained with electronic gadgetry every single minute of the day? I despise the whole DVD-player-in-the-back-of-the-SUV trend, and I promise you, the blogosphere, that I will never succumb to it, no matter how irritating my future children may be. You can hold me to that. Seriously, when I was a kid, we just stared out the windows on long car rides and daydreamed and stuff. I'm sure we whined plenty, too, but I still remember some of my daydreams from those days. I think that that's important. Kids need to learn to entertain themselves, don't they?

5. Is there even a remote chance that I'll finish a draft of my conference paper before the fall semester begins?

6. Why is this kind of thing, that I'm doing right now, called a "meme"? My understanding of memes (which were explained to me a couple of years ago, in a different context) doesn't explain it to my satisfaction. Hence, I will label this post ""meme"", rather than "meme."

7. When did "different than" become an acceptable phrase? And how can I stop its creeping into my own speech?? I try to use only "from," but sometimes "than" just jumps out of my mouth. Curses!

8. What would life have been like if I had gone into the Peace Corps after college, as I originally planned? I got pretty far along in the application process, but there was some holdup with my medical records (nothing wrong with me medically; they just didn't look at my records until more than 6 months after I'd sent them in, at which point they were all expired and needed to be redone, and by then I'd found a job and an apartment and all that). I sometimes regret not sticking with it and going off to Africa, which was where I was headed, but then I certainly wouldn't be exactly here, right now. I'd probably be somewhere equally good (or so I like to think), but I can't even imagine where, or what I'd be doing. Maybe I would've had a much more exciting life. But would I really trade in what I have right now on that kind of gamble? No, I don't think so. Which raises another wondering: Why do we regret anything, if we're happy with our current lives? It's incoherent to want to have done something differently when the only way we can get to our current position is by doing everything exactly the way that we did it, and yet regret seems perfectly natural, in some contexts. Just further evidence of the irrationality of our brains, I guess.

Hmm.... Whom to tag? I think that the following people occasionally read this blog and weren't in the original tagging: Sisyphus, Bardiac, Dr. Virago, and Another Damned Medievalist. Anyone else?


Hilaire said...

Great list! I often wonder about the activism thing, as well. I think that it is a great detriment to progressive politics that, as you suggest, people think that they can simly do a simple online action and that's that. I feel like there was the potential for a real resurgence of effective activism in the late 90s - WTO in Seattle and all that - but something quashed it. That would be a good dissertation project, actually - to figure out what happened at that moment to empty out its potential.

And yes, yes, yes to the kids and electronic stimulation thing!!!!! And the "different than" thing!

squadratomagico said...

Gosh, I wonder all the time about a second tat, too (I just had to use that pun)! I got mine about a year and a half ago, and ever since have been seized for a desire for a second. But I can't find anything else I really want to commit to!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Yay! something to do! I've been so behind on blog reading, but will try to do this over the next couple of days!