February 27th, 2006

little review

Poem for Monday

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Octavia Butler has died. This is devastating news, not only to me as a reader and fan but because the one academic article I published was on Butler, a chapter in Utopian and Science Fiction By Women: Worlds of Difference (I also wrote a chapter of my M.A. thesis on Butler and abortion politics). She wasn't very old -- under 60.

On the subject of criticism, here are my greenman_review reviews for Heavy Words Lightly Thrown and Match Point -- if the latter sounds familiar it's because I posted the earliest draft of it here, right after I saw the movie. The rest of What's New is here.

Sunday we went to another of those nightmares known as a Bar-Bat Mitzvah Expo. (It was also a wedding expo but considering the number of people I know personally who I ran into there, whose kids are the same year as my older one, my sense of the crowd is that it was very Mitzvah-heavy.) By the time we left I would have accepted Kali as my personal Destroyer just to get out of this insanity. My kids are good kids -- somewhat materialistic as are nearly all Middle American born and raised kids I know, but the orgy of expectation and all the CRAP (even what was advertising itself as generosity -- pay someone a lot of money for centerpieces to be donated to hospitals and let them make a profit rather than doing it yourself) made me sick. Literally -- there was tons of free food, I had Dippin' Dots and marshmallows in chocolate fountains and I don't even remember what else and I left with indigestion, wanting nothing more than to have my son Bar Mitzvahed in front of his five best friends and the handful of families who are our good friends and none of my parents' friends or expectations. My in-laws would appreciate it anyway and so would everyone in my pagan circle.

I so desperately need a new synagogue and don't know how to break myself and my kids away from this nightmare when it's been consistent for them since early childhood. The thing is that I WANT them to grow up hating a lot of what this synagogue stands for, and noticing the hypocrisy of teaching anonymous tzedakah when we glorify the people who donate piles of money by putting their names on everything from the buildings to the bricks, and I don't know how to teach them to be Jewish in this environment where on a cultural, social and political basis I disagree with so much of what they are being told that it means.

Hmm, I see it is a night for short choppy paragraphs. I couldn't post anything at TrekToday all weekend as the database was screwed up; my editor is having online problems and apparently his domain is down since his mail is bouncing, and I don't know what I am supposed to do about this. Instead of worrying about it I watched the end of Bleak House, which was as wonderful as I expected; I knew most of what was going to happen and did not expect to feel so sorry for Sir Leicester, while I expected to be sorrier for Jarndyce (the chemistry between him and Esther seemed very toned down to me in this one and he gave the impression that he was having second thoughts, not about his feelings but about whether he even wanted a pale imitation of reciprocity which he must have guessed all along was all that she could ever offer him). Ada remains like an innocent child even after she is married and while she is trying to be hard with Esther and Jarndyce -- she's very well cast, it's hard to root against her but it's hard to root for Richard. And Woodcourt seems too good to be true. My kids have watched this entire series with the greatest interest, something I never expected, and summed it up as being about money as the root of all evil...now there's a good lesson! *g*

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Congratulations to Sweden on the hockey medal (my kids are more Swedish than any other single nationality) and I hope I didn't miss too much by missing the closing ceremonies. I had more to say but I am tired and have a dentist appointment in the morning...and then the kids have a half day of school, so I will be busy trying to catch up on work and dealing with them!