Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Danny, who was now driving the old Stevens and displaying an active interest in girls, needed a regular income to sustain his racy life style. I had achieved varsity status on the Prospect High basketball team and was looking for new and larger worlds to conquer. Bobby, two years my junior, had not yet exhibited the same restlessness, but soon his strong commercial inclinations would involve him in the general revolt. For the moment, however, our fathers’ firm opposition thwarted all of these noble aspirations.
Then one day Mom stunned us with an altogether unexpected announcement. As we finished our supper and prepared to troop upstairs she informed us, a trifle awkwardly, that there would soon be another place at the table.
“Who’s coming” Bobby asked. “Relatives?”
Mom and Dad exchanged a conspiratorial smile. For a change, Dad’s mood seemed less somber than it had been of late.
“Well, yes,” said mom; “but not the kind you are thinking about.”
Our mouths fell open and for once we were at a loss for words. Danny was approaching sixteen, I was fourteen, and Bobby was twelve.
“You mean a baby?” Danny finally blurted out.
“That’s right,” Mom said, obviously pleased with herself at taking us so completely by surprise. Mom was then forty-two and, by our unenlightened reckoning, light-years beyond the proper — or biologically possible — age for childbearing. Up to that moment the possibility of any further increase in our family had no more entered our minds than had the prospect of entertaining a visitor from outer space.
From that moment this great coming event dominated our every waking thought and overshadowed all other considerations. The spare room was cleared and converted into a nursery. Dad set to work making a crib. We boys were at pains, for once, to spare our mother any undue effort.
For the time being the dolor of the Depression was relieved at our house by the prevailing mood of expectancy. Not a little of the excitement hinged on the question of the newcomer’s sex. Another boy? Our parents looked at each other and paled. Surely, not another boy!
Ten days into the new year of 1934 a healthy, squalling baby girl arrived and settled all the speculation. She was christened Mary Ann and immediately became the center of all our attention.
I’ve come to see the sweet glurgy vague things like “the perfect Mom,” true as they may be, as interlopers for other tidbits of information that might be more helpful, in that they bring the virtue of specificity. Mom’s life could be summed up in just six words: She refused to be a victim. Fate certainly did its best to make her into one, more than her share of times, almost like some mischievous deity was having a joke at her expense. It couldn’t be God doing that, could it? In the years since her passing I’ve come to realize what’s true of her, and is also true of all of us: We would not have learned the things we’ve learned, about how to cope, if life was happy all the time. With her troubles arrived the opportunity to show, to anyone paying attention, that victimhood is an option. You don’t have to accept it. In fact, not-accepting it is the default option.
As the nest emptied, she made a living the way that was typical for empty-nest folk up in Bellingham: Started a business, retail, downtown. Perhaps it is more accurate to say she bought a business and transformed it. “The Paper Crunch” became a fixture and a focal point, if not a profit-powerhouse. Senior student after senior student filed in to get their resumes done, and in so doing learn from the city’s favorite mother-figure what their “studies” classes hadn’t bothered to teach them about becoming employable, or at least, showing the employability on a sheet of paper.
Had the brain tumor not taken her out of the picture, it’s a cinch to see her industry would have been crowded out by Kinko’s and all sorts of other multi-state franchises. But as anyone can attest who’s been thrown in the world of building their own resume, there’s a world of difference between demand and need. She took great pride in taking the time to do the job two different ways: The way the customer told her to do it, and then a second time, the way she thought it would make sense. At pickup time, she relished her little exercise of presenting both. She took great pride in the fact that the customer invariably chose her vision, leaving his own abandoned.
She subscribed to a newsletter for owners of businesses dealing with word processing and secretarial services. One day a letter appeared from another business owner that essentially amounted to a whole lot of bitching about “abusive” customers. In those days, I was in my last year in Bellingham, living in my little piece-of-crap apartment on High Street, getting ready to shake the dust off the town and head to the evil city of Seattle. I was on her staff, getting the computers set up, keeping it all running, figuring out who-broke-what-and-how. I’d say, watching her attend to all the various odds and ends of owning a business that day, Mom managed to concentrate on things maybe for an hour or two. Then she couldn’t take it anymore, because her don’t-be-a-victim switch had been flipped. She wrote the finest rebuttal you ever did see.
To this day, it’s the only time I saw genuine anger come through a piece of written phrasing, without completely destroying it. No, she did not manage to keep her emotions out. Yes, she did get her point across. I’m sure there are people walking around who’d be able to read it, and not pick up on the message; there are people walking around who might work at staying confused. But for those who are ready, willing and able to pick up on it, she got the job done. The point was made: Victimhood is a choice. So, “life” says you are a loser, you think you’re a winner — that’s the beginning of a disagreement, not the end of one. Man up. Tolerate this thing, conquer that thing — keep a cool head about you so you can tell which is which. This is a paraphrase, not of the rebuttal itself, but of her outlook on life itself. After she spoke her piece, and it got written up in the next issue, it was clear to me why she was literally shaking with anger before she made the time to sit down & get it off her chest. This is a very special kind of aggravation in the human adventure, duplicated nowhere else: Those who’ve gone through the exercise of winning in the unwinnable, seeing others resign themselves to defeat and victimhood, trying to figure out when & if they should say something.
It’s a real shame nobody kept a copy of what she wrote there. I didn’t realize it at the time, but now that she’s twenty years clocked out, that’s the Mary Ann Freeberg I remember: Check your sense of perspective when the battle seems lost. If life’s just handing you a big of crap, and you’ve been cornered and it’s just your job to stand there and take it now, well then that doesn’t mean a damn thing except that you’re looking at it all wrong. Find another way to case out the situation. It’s there, just look harder. You’ll find it.
Mom always considered herself a feminist. But then, even during her lifetime the movement was making itself victim-friendly and this led to some occasional conflict, similar to what I saw in the case of that whiny secretarial-services letter. It was a different world back then, the victimhood was not such a central plank of the feminist movement compared to the way we see it today. When it was there, she handled it the way she handled everything else: Take what you like, and leave the rest. It’s interesting to ponder what she would think of feminism today. Mom left just as things were getting really polarized, during Bill Clinton’s first two months in office. Since the summer of ’91, when they found what had been growing in her skull, nobody had too much time to think about how our nation’s culture was being transformed. So the significance of Bill Clinton’s rising was mostly lost on us. Some of us were aware of it, consciously, but we didn’t have the freak-out space left over on our emotional tabletop to really ponder where it was going.
In 2013, feminism is really nothing more than complaining about victimhood. She would not have the luxury of taking what she liked & leaving the rest, as I saw her do in the 1970′s and 1980′s. In this century, when a feminist is saying something, it means the feminist has found something the feminist hates and is inviting a bunch of other feminists to gather around and help her hate it, because it’s just further evidence of the patriarchy keeping them all down. All other pillars of the platform have been lost entirely, or relegated to window dressing for recruiting. Equal pay? You’re either fixing it or you aren’t, and if you’re fixing it we should see the end of the seventy-cents-to-the-dollar cliche after the passage of some amount of time. What kind of “feminism” thinks about abortion rights, really? Abortion is how you keep from becoming a mother. And gay marriage? That’s how you keep from being a wife. Mother. Wife. After all feminism has had to say, those are still the two most important roles for a woman in our society…today’s “feminism” seems mostly preoccupied in narrowing down those two roles, because it likes to wallow in victimhood. It should be called “anti-feminism,” when you think about it. It seeks to replace femininity with victimhood.
How would Mom handle that? I envision that she would concentrate on more productive things just as long as she possibly could, and then, hands shaking from the strain, I think after a few hours she’d lose it. Then she’d write something, angry, and it would be wonderful and amazing. People would read it and say one of two things: “I knew that, but I couldn’t find a way to say it articulately, thank you so much”…and…”I knew that, and I don’t like it, we’ve got to make sure this never sees the light of day because this woman is taking away our victimhood.”
And that’s a good example for us all to follow. We should all labor long and hard at this. Deprive them of their victimhood. Drag it out of reach of their desperate, flailing hands, like a drug from a druggie. It would be a kindness. Victimhood is no livelihood.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.