Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Poem #2

Forgive me if this seems disjointed. It can be difficult to tell ones own story, especially when it didn't 'happen'.

I have a moment.
But no moment stands alone.
Imagine you have fallen, because you stumbled, you tripped.
You fell off the side of the castle. Your fortress. Your family’s.
But you caught yourself. You climbed back up. One step, one handhold, one foothold, one at a time.
Then, as you reached the top, the footholds fell away. Your hand slipped. You hang there by your fingertips.
Don’t worry. Look. You’re friend’s there. You friend will help you up.
That was your fingers breaking under a hard boot. Your heart breaking under a hard smile.
And now…now you can’t catch yourself.
How could you?
How could your friend?
Here is the moment. It is that brief frozen moment in the fall. The one where you decide to let yourself fall. The one where you stop fighting, because you don’t care.
But you don’t freeze there.
You hit the water and cry out from the sharp smack on your back, the ice covering your skin.
And you can’t fight. You already decided. You’ll drown, crying.
Sobbing, gasping down lungfuls of water until you drown.

You wake. It’s bright, so bright. You think it might be someplace good…but the light is blinding, everything hurts…
Not the good place.
Tears well up again. You tried, damn it. You tried.
A sob tears through your chest.
Why? An enemy killing you, that would have been fine…you would have understood.
But not that one. Not the one you’ve loved like family since you were a child.
A curtain is pulled away and the light hurts even more, you whimper in the middle of a sob.
And then you hear your name. Not in anger, not in satisfaction, but almost in reverence. You hear it again, in exultation.
“You’re alive!
“Guys! Guys, guess who woke up!”
That’s the other moment. When you realize it hurts because you’re alive. Because someone cared.
You don’t recognize the one who woke you. Apparently you barely know each other.
It didn’t matter. This one saved you.

Aren’t you going to do anything?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rant: "Well, Yeah, But You're Not Gonna Win That Fight."

One of my teachers actually said that to me. Someone who is meant to be teaching students how to deal with the world actually said that if it looks like you might not win, you should stop trying.

The set-up was that this generation is over-tested. Everyone agreed. Then, to continue the conversation, I said that I thought we were also being given too much homework in elementary school.

(As a brief aside, no one present had any connection to elementary school teachers, so none of this was a personal attack nor could it be construed as such. Well, it could, but you can also say, "Hitler liked puppies!")

She agreed with me that we were over-homeworked. She did not have any reservations there, she just flat-out agreed. Then...well, see title. She said I was not going to win because everyone has always been over-homeworked, in her own words, "Every generation has had seven hours of homework."

I stared at her for a beat. She had just said, in front of her entire classroom, the people under her authority, that she believed something bad should not be stopped because it has been going on for too long. This is a bad idea for two reasons. 1) "Don't fight if the odds are against you" kills just about every major human achievement. Why should we change? Because new ways are, occasionally, better. And the, "It's tradition" argument is always wrong. It may be more efficient, easier, people may be more comfortable...but those are the arguments. Not some random thing about how it was good enough for my thirty-times-great grandfather and so it's good enough for me. 2) If the amount of time the policy has been in place is the thing that is messing people up, then adding more time to the equation is not going to help.

Forget tradition. If someone else has a good idea, listen to it, and if you have time debate, then that's probably a good idea. But the fact that it was good yesterday doesn't mean it's good today. It just means it was good yesterday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

And as She Runs Away

She Fears She Won't Be Followed.

Because no matter what they've done, if they're all you've got...

That's why people will still love abusers. That's why Stockholm's Syndrome exists. Humans are pack animals. Deprive us of a pack, and we'll find one. Deprive us of any part of that pack--even an imagined part--and we'll search to the ends of the earth. Doesn't mean it'll be pretty.

But it doesn't mean it'll be ugly. The same instinct for pack leads us to protect and defend. The same feeling makes you band together with people you never thought you could. The same feeling meant Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, whatever prayed together after the WTC fell.

When what you have is all you've got...


It's amazing what you'll do to keep it.

Musing #5

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Nazi Propaganda

Oh, wow. I think I'd have trouble coming up with a more loaded phrase if I tried.

I am currently taking a history class in which we are studying the buildup to World War II. This includes watching some propaganda films. These are scary, because if I let myself forget what the solution he is talking about is, I want to follow him. I genuinely feel community, family, interdependence and independence blended to make a nation. It's a good feeling, like being back at Girl Scout camp, or on a choir trip.

But that is not what scares me the most by a long shot.

What scares me the most is the people around me who refuse to look at these films as anything but Nazi propaganda. They talk about how stupid these people were to follow, how obvious it is. When asked what makes it obvious, none of them have an answer better than looking offended and/or saying, "So what, you'd follow him?"

If my kids are dying? If I don't know what he's going to do to all those people? If he's turning the economy around, genuinely helping? Oh hell yeah.

The problem with these people is not that they want to do horrible things--a lot of people do. The problem is that dictators like Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler got people to follow them. Especially Hitler. Refusing to admit that those who followed him could be intelligent people, even good people, however rarely, is dooming yourself to repeat these mistakes. Because someone who refuses to believe that someone can be evil without a glaring mark is going to believe that the next charismatic malevolent despot isn't bad. It doesn't matter whether he or she is up to Hitler's level. I hope with all my heart none will be.

If someone is showing old propaganda, it is probably not so you can laugh and feel superior. It is probably so you can look at life through those people's eyes. Refusing to do so is refusing to learn the lesson. And when the lesson is on the Holocaust, it is an important lesson.

(Incidentally, good people can be charismatic, too. Charisma and morality are independent.)

March Madness


Oh, sorry. I've got two honor choirs and a choir trip in four weeks. The other week is testing.

I'll be out for a while, unless a creative mood strikes.


Oh, and it's my birthday month. I'll be in Disneyland for one of the aforementioned choirs.

© 2009-2013 Taylor Hobart