Culture, Els' Rabbit Trails, Links worth a look

Rabbit Trail Through the Deep, Deep Woods: MLK Reflections.

Rabbit trails are categorization of posts which are not directly related to reading or book reviews. I believe the post I am re-posting today is in fact, highly related to education and its evolution in the developed West. However, recognizing the controversial nature of what I am posting, I decided fair warning was in order here.

This post is being ripped and republished in its entirety from Garvey’s Ghost*. It is probably the most concise and accurate representation of the farce that took place during the March for Life over the weekend leading up to the celebration of MLK Day.

Reflections On A King Day

I haven’t written anything for King Day for a long time because generally speaking I have come to the conclusion that the people talking about King and his legacy, particularly the “I Have A Dream” speech, don’t really believe in it. Today’s meditation will be an example of this hypocrisy.

During last week’s March for Life a group of mostly white, Catholic, MAGA hat wearing students took a trip to DC to participate. At the end of the trip, while they were waiting for their school bus they were verbally accosted by some “Black Hebrew Israelites” who among other things called them the result of incest and told one black student to “Get Out”. That was a reference to the flick where white people bid on black people’s bodies in order to live longer (and in some cases fulfill alleged sexual fantasies of white women).

The student made famous by the widely circulated video said that in response they decided to do their school cheers. At that point a group of Native American people who had also been doing some sort of protest decided to move towards the boys while beating their drums. One of them got right into the face of one of the MAGA hat shod student and banged his drum directly in his face. During that time the Native American told the student to “go back to Europe”.

When news of this broke, it was the Catholic school boys who were vilified and lied on as aggressors. Media personalities, left and right piled on about how those boys were the epitome of White Supremacy being inculcated in the next generation. How they had no respect for elders, etc. ad-nausea. As a result the families have been doxxed and received death threats. Even the school buckled and threw their students under the bus rather than at minimum saying that they were investigating and had nothing to say until all the evidence was in.

It is fitting that such an event happened so close to MLK day. Because it highlights the turnabout in racial actions that has happened in America since at least late 2015. Whereas in the past it was black people trying to go about their day without being harassed we are at a point where non-whites can harass whites (particularly males) with near impunity. And of course with these being children, that is the new low. As indicated it’s not just race. Gillette recently released an advertisement that insults men (who presumably are the target customers). The APA released a paper saying that masculinity is toxic. Etcetera. Etcetera. Et…cetera.

Going back to the kids though. Some are thinking that simply being a Trump supporter or wearing a MAGA hat is insulting and indicative of bad character in and of itself. Of course this is no different than saying a black kid in a hoodie must be a criminal but that’s another topic, eh? In the video, those MAGA wearing students showed more character and restraint than the people who were against them. If that hatred of all things Trump makes one fail to notice that, then maybe the real “hater” or hate filled person is looking right at you in the mirror. Take today to think on that.

 

 

*My agreement with a blogger or commentator on one or more issues does not constitute full agreement with that blogger or commentator on all issues. Please do not assume otherwise. Thank You.

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Els' Rabbit Trails, Links worth a look, style

El’s rabbit trails: On rooms without walls

Throughout this month, I have been reading, and only reading, books related to Florida history. Nothing else. While I find the subject endlessly fascinating and educational, I don’t expect that my readership is interested in endless reviews of books recounting various aspects of the native peoples, discovery and trajectory of all things Florida. There are exceptions of course, such as the story of Joseph Clark, which is well worth sharing regardless of geography.

Rather than allow this little spot to languish for another week or more, by which time I hope to have completed a non-Florida education book, I thought I’d share some thoughts on a recent article from the links worth a look page.

Citylab.com makes the case for rooms. Specifically, they delve into the trend of open floor plans which tend to be designed with the entry, kitchen and living room connected without walls. Because our home has an open floor plan  (and vaulted ceilings which I fell for before I considered having to paint them), this article piqued my curiosity.

If someone asked me five years ago whether or not I thought the open floor plan would still be popular, I would have said no. Domestic architecture seemed to be taking a turn toward the rustic. Today, “Farmhouse” and “Craftsman” modern designs, hearkening back to the American vernacular tradition (complete with shiplap walls), are a tour-de-force.

But I would have been wrong. Although these houses bring all the exterior trappings of beloved vernacular houses of the past, they do not extend that to the interior plans. In fact, the open concepts from the oversized houses of the pre-recession era have only gotten more open.

Much has been written about the open floor plan: how it came to be, why it is bad (or good), whether it should or shouldn’t be applied to existing housing. The open floor plan as we currently understand it—an entry-kitchen-dining-living combination that avoids any kind of structural separation between uses—is only a few decades old. Prior to the last 25 years, an “open floor plan” meant a living configuration without doors; now the term has come to mean a living configuration without walls. I will refer to the latter from now on as an “open concept,” in order to differentiate it from a traditional open floor plan.

There are times when I really enjoy our open floor plan. We entertain four to five times a year (birthday parties, holidays, and the occasional small dinner party). On those occasions, when every part of the house is tidy and spotless, and engaging with several guests and family members in different places from the central hub of the kitchen is easier, I thoroughly enjoy the open concept. It’s utilitarian for the purposes of entertaining.

There are other times, however, when having walls separating one or more of those rooms from another would be convenient. Our home is lived in all day, every day. There are meals prepared in the kitchen three times a day and kids educated at the kitchen table. Books, paper, pencils, experiments, and the paraphernalia of life dots the landscape of our home on a regular basis. No amount of anal obsession with keeping things clean is going to lead me to the nirvana of a perpetually company ready house. There are days when a mess kitchen might come in handy:

In a recent essay in The Atlantic, Ian Bogost described a new luxury concept called the “mess kitchen”—a second kitchen out of sight from the main kitchen and the rest of the open plan. He cited it to demonstrate why the open floor plan and its rhetoric around “entertaining” have reached new levels of absurdity. However, to me, the mess kitchen offers hope for a transitional period where open spaces may become closed again.

On normal days if someone drops by, the open concept feels inconvenient. It also means that I have to embrace the reality that very few people are judging my home as harshly as I am. In fact quite recently someone came over for an appointment I’d forgotten about and while I was having an internal crisis about the state of my house, they said, “You guys have a great house. Your family room looks like a great place to hang out and watch a movie.” Failing homemaker fire extinguished.

Our house is our home, for better or worse, and I do love it. If we ever decide to leave it, perhaps I can revisit the decision to choose an open floor plan. I do wonder however, if this trend will hold or if sometime in the near future, walls will make a comeback. After all, our house was built 25 years ago.

 

Els' Rabbit Trails, Links worth a look, Uncategorized

Rabbit Trail: July’s links worth a look.

There is a page on this blog dedicated to links I’ve found here and there which I think are worth sharing, but are not related to books, reading, and education. They are categorized by month and I update them as I run across them, adding to the list as I go.

As a general rule, I have no desire to use this blog as a discussion point for things that people tend to get overly animated about, but since I made the links a part of the blog, I decided that at the end of every month I’d open a reminder thread so that my readers know the links are there.

So consider this El’s PSA that there are a lot of interesting, informative, and educational items on the Links Worth a Look page.