December 1, 2004


Category: Personal — Biella @ 3:11 pm

The massive trail of deadlines are over… I really give big props to folks who can churn out articles on demand. Maybe not props, I just downright envy them and want to steal their props. I am just not a pressure cooker writer. Too much of my thinking comes out via writing and thus slow simmering and re-writes are nearly always a must for me.

Next quarter I will be doing less writing and more teaching as I am instructing my own course on hackers, ethics and politics. I will post the syllabus once I do a little rearranging but here are some of the books and articles we will be reading. We won’t cover all of them as some are remnants from a similar course I taught in the summer of 2001 but it is good to have them all there, one click away.

I feel like my battery is dead and am looking forward to the break. My computer also “feels” like it is dying as it sponteanously shuts off. Disconcerting as it is, the idea of a new computer that is more portable than my own is really exciting. Any good suggestsions for a laptop that is under $ 1500, has a batterly life of at least 3.5 hrs, and weighs under 5 pounds?

Otherwise I can finally take a small breather. Last night I went to see Rabbit Proof Fence which is about as heart-tearing and grueling of a movie as you can get. Based on a true story, it is about three aborigine girls who trek by themselves over 9000 miles in Australia to return home after being forcibly removed by the morally righteous Australian state. Nothing like a story of wrethched colonialism to warm your heart before heading home to see your own ailing mom who you have not seen in a year….

The story is remarkable and remarkably unique. The government gave themselves the right under the good ol law to remove “half-caste” kids from their mothers. Just like that and worse until 1970. These kids are called the Lost Generation. The well worn banner of burden was the justifying trope of what was nothing short of ongoing violence even if blood was rarely shed. Pain, after all, comes in many guises.

It is hard to relate only because it seems quite unfathomable, the pain so boundless. Even with my mother’s still here, just the fact that she is no longer my mother in the way she once was, is painful enough. Her ageing is expected to some degree whereas having your children snatched away is just out of the moral order of things.

When you are a child , you are quite dependent on others. But as kids we lack consciousness of this so that this dependence brings with it only warmth and comfort. Later on, after years and years of being independent or a caretaker, you eventually become dependent again but this time you have a consciousness about it, as well as a wealth of experience that tells you in fact you should be autonomous. It sets things up for quite a bit of psychological havoc, a lot of grief, and tragedy especially in Western liberal societies in which we internalize the cult of the individual. And worse is that we (at least the standard, out of the package, middle class solution), are mal-equipped to deal with the elderly. A mobile, fast paced society does not work well for the slow and the aged. So we parcel them off, sequester them in rationalized institutions of care where it is easier on the family but is that really any source of comfort for us or them?

Who knows, I could be wrong and hope I am. For all I know those old age homes are a bundle of joyus fun, where folks get to play pool, drink beer, and hang out with friends….

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