Tag Archives: fathers

Blogosphere Beware

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Ours is a family of nerds. My mother read me poetry before I was born. My favorite movie growing up was a 1930’s version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My father would explain words to me by breaking them down into their Greek or Latin roots. One of the first things my mother taught me to do was how to sit down at the computer and type out the alphabet. From day one, I have been shaped into a writer by my two English professor parents.

It may be genetic. Both of my parents are excellent writers. My mother makes a living teaching other people how to write. My father writes safety manuals for a large manufacturing company. Any of you who have read his comments on this blog know that he loves to wax eloquent on…well, just about anything.

Heads up: my father is starting a blog.

I’ve been pestering him to begin one for a while. He has no creative outlet, and for a man as busy as he is, I think that if he doesn’t find a creative outlet soon, he might just explode. That, and he can craft brilliant and convincing arguments, something I simply don’t have the spine to do. He has great ideas. A blog could help him put those good ideas out there.

A few months after my initial pesterings and a few half-hearted refusals from him, he asked me to set him up a blog through WordPress.

He’s so excited it’s downright adorable.

His blog will have a slightly (read: exceptionally diverse) different spin than mine. While mine is a blog of lighthearted fluff, his will be a blog of political commentary. If you want a sample of his writing, just read a post I submitted back in January.

In other words—blogosphere and the current administration beware. My father’s got a blog, and he’s not afraid to use it.

If what he writes is responsible for turning the world upside-down for the better, than perhaps I can feel as though I had a part in it. After all, I’m his tech support.

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Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But…

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Hello, friends. No, this is not the World speaking, but Miss R. Rambler speaking in italics. Due to an extreme lack of sleep over the first three days of the week, I went to bed early and slept in late this morning in order to get seven hours of sleep. In other words, I used my blogging time to sleep. Forgive me, but it had to happen—it was either that or collapse from exhaustion and end up taking a nap in my lunchtime salad. So in order to avoid snorting ranch dressing, I gave up today’s official article writing time last night.

Today’s article comes courtesy of my father, Papa Rambler, a frustrated debater and essayist who has a knack for explaining things that otherwise would make no sense. He’s my hero and one of my biggest fans—which works out pretty well, considering I’m one of his.

He left this beautiful explanation of SOPA/PIPA in the comments to yesterday’s post, just like I hoped he would. After I read his reply, I immediately blacked out my site (even though I know I said I probably wouldn’t), because suddenly I found myself wanting to rally around the cause for free speech. For those of you who were wondering what all the fuss was about yesterday, I hope that this explanation will make this clearer:

Tyranny reigns within the heart of everyone, desiring to squelch others’ liberties in order to acquire yet more power, prestige, position, and privilege. Often this tyranny is couched in subtle and disingenuous terms in order to disarm those who might otherwise resist such flagrant arrogations and usurpations.

The mouthpieces for the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry, among the most prominent of those supporting the currently proposed SOPA and PIPA bills, are masterful at such appeals. Consider, for example, the following:

“More than 2.2 million hard-working, middle-class people in all 50 states depend on the entertainment industry for their jobs and many millions more work in other industries that rely on intellectual property,” Michael O’Leary of the Motion Picture Association of America said in a statement. “For all these workers and their families, online content and counterfeiting by these foreign sites mean declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits.”

Oh, what a champion of the Little Guy! What a big heart! What compassion!

What a fraud.

That number–2.2 million–represents approximately 7/10 of 1% of total U.S. population–hardly a significant number. So these besotted power-brokers in the entertainment industry want to use the power of the federal government to shut down broad swaths of the internet–a medium they despise, if the truth be told–on the pretense that they are suffering loss by copyright violation.

Seen another way, the one percent (see above) wants the federal government to punish the 99%. Hmmmm.

Additionally, the supposed sympathy of the Lords of the Entertainment industry smacks of hypocrisy. They have for decades assailed any and all technology that threatens their money stream, from videocassette recorders to compact disk burners. They simply cannot keep up with technology–that is the beauty of freedom. Innovation thrives in the lives and minds of a free people. But those who relish a static world that never challenges their status quo hate such innovations. Whip makers and carriage builders did not welcome the automobile with open arms!

The intent of both SOPA and PIPA, like so many other supposedly high-minded bits of legislation, is to provide the government yet one more tool to stifle individual liberty and to increase the scope of its leviathan-like reach into every facet of the public’s life. Tyrants despise liberty. They want control. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that control. Our founders established a constitutional order designed to exalt the individual and individual liberties (inalienable rights), clearly delineated in the Bill of Rights, and intended to keep the wretched heart of tyrants locked behind the supreme law of the land with its separation of powers and limitations by checks placed by the several states.

Jefferson rightly understood this principal when he wrote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

While I am not yet ready to join the madding crowd marching in the streets, I enjoin all fellow citizens not to fall prey to the subtle arguments being offered by supporters of these two bills. The bills are not necessary (we have laws that allow the pursuit and prosecution of copyright violators); they are not prudent (they cede too much power to too few persons); and they are not in the best interest of individual liberty. While I rarely join in with groups I don’t know, when Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Tumblr (the micro blogger site) and a host of other heavy-hitters in the information world howl in protest on the basis of fundamental liberties, I have to stand and heed–for with Patrick Henry, I too prefer liberty to life. As one of these folks wrote, “If you want an Internet where human rights, free speech and the rule of law are not subordinated to the entertainment industry’s profits, I hope you’ll join us,” (Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing).

In any free society, it is far preferable that a million guilty persons walk free than that one innocent one should be incarcerated. SOPA and PIPA turn that principle on its head by creating a framework to act at the behest of a few well-connected persons to the detriment of the broader society.

These bills must not become law.

 

My Dad, the Teenager

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that little boys remain little boys well into their forties and fifties.

I’m not saying this because I’m a male-bashing, femi-Nazi cat. I’m saying this because every boy, guy, dude, bro, and/or man that I’ve talked to about this has told me the same thing: little boys never grow up.

Even my father, grown-up as I know he is, has repeatedly told me that his maturity level has yet to exceed that of a twelve-year-old. He’s a responsible man who holds a marvelous job and provides for his family like the superhero that he is, while also maintaining the accounts of our church and teaching Sunday school. He discourses brilliantly on politics and modern thought, usually while expertly and attentively steering his polished automobile, and I wish he’d start a blog of his own. He’s a wizard. But at the same time, he goes bonkers over old cars and choo-choo trains, and laughs loudest at the gross little boy humor in animated movies. He loves wild roller-coasters and go-carts—the faster the better. As man as he is, he can be such a boy. And he’ll be the first to admit it.

My roommate Lynn’s father, a venerable professor at Undisclosed University, is fascinated by teenage slang. Now, I don’t endorse this—but he recently learned the term “butt-calling,” or the phenomenon when, unbeknownst to its owner, one’s cell phone dials a contact while sitting in one’s hip pocket. He delights in using this term in everyday conversation. It’s ridiculous, really, to hear a renowned professor of theology and a couple other ologies laughing about making a butt-call. But, as Lynn laughingly explained, he was just being her dad, “the teenager.”

I can’t complain too much. After all, it’s men’s ability to retain a fragment of their childish natures that makes them so appealing to us girls. After all, we’ve all had our weddings, kitchens and children’s soccer schedules figured out since we were three years old. We need men in our lives who’ll make us remember the spontaneity and silliness of childhood to keep us from getting too serious.

But loo jokes and butt-calls? Really, boys? Really?