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I Am Not a Bookbinder

Here is my latest post from my other life, my other blog.

Maddy Tree Books

For the last several years I have been making handcrafted books for sale. But I am an imposter. Let me tell you my crafter story.

I was a Painting and Drawing major at Philadelphia College of Art in the late 70’s to early 80’s. I earned my BFA but I left college not confident, energized and inspired but confused, exhausted and dispirited. What would I do with a degree in fine art painting and drawing? I had no idea.

It took years to re-orient myself as an artist, to free myself from head games, and to find what art I would do.

I promptly married my high school/art school sweetheart and we soon began a family. Painting was entirely put aside, and time and space for art was back-burnered.

Back to PCA. Among the long hours of studio classes there were the required electives. One semester I chose a bookbinding…

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Two opposing goals

There are two opposite goals at work.

Protesters exercising their Constitutional rights peacefully, within the law, voicing their objection to a heinous injustice. At the other end of the spectrum are dishonest opportunists wreaking havoc toward  destruction to achieve political agendas.

The first group’s goal is the restoration or establishment of justice, equality, order, lawfullness, peace.

The second is creating chaos in order to bring about a different kind of change, and I ask you: what change comes from violence, fear, destruction,and societal breakdown?

There is a very bright, good thing to be seen here. At least for the first few days, it was encouraging to see that Mr. Floyd’s murder was universally and unequivocally condemned. Everyone just KNEW it was wrong. Everyone was on the same page

Which shows  that we all really believe in justice, compassion and equality. We know evil when we see it and we all agree on that. We long for justice and lawfulness. We’re outraged at its perversion.

(Yes, everyone. Obama and Trump said exactly the same things. Rush had no tolerance on his program for anything but outrage for Mr. Floyd’s murder.)

And nearly everyone was supportive of real protests.

That universality is being drowned out now in favor of same-old-same-old. “F. T.”…black vs white, R vs D…and isn’t obvious by now? If you dont know that there are people who will use every crisis to engineer their political agenda, cynically and without any care for the victims, then you are willingly naive, and probably giving fuel to their fire. Those cynical opportunists may be few, but they are there and we have to be wise to them and make them powerless.

I will even allow that  there are people who are honestly thinking violent protest will bring about good change. They are wrong.  And I’ll assume that sometimes one kind of protest devolves into the other in spite of good intentions. I’ll also assume that there are police reactions which are just as lawless as the original crime.

Given all that, does it really make sense to support the violence and destruction? Or would it make sense to support actions that work toward justice, construction and lawfullness?

Is everything about Orange Man Bad? No! Do not let the good reform that can be achieved devolve into political S.O.P.

Do not take your eyes off George Floyd. It’s about him, and what we can do to bring about justice for him and for others like him. To make sure we become a society that doesn’t tolerate what happened to him — a just society.

That is done by bringing all those complicit to the force of the law. A police department and a city government that tolerated people like those police officers representing the LAW needs to be brought to justice and replaced from the ground up.

Excepting cynical forces sowing destruction and hate— what we ALL want is for the law to be lawful and just, applied equally.

It’s  about bringing about justice, Isn’t it?

Clueless Activism

Whether to weigh in or not. I’m off FB and formerly non-political IG is almost as bad.

I’m frankly nauseated by the torrent of black squares posted by comfortable white women. Wasn’t the goal to step aside so black voices could be heard? All down with that, but let me just post five times that day that I’m muted, and hashtag black lives matter, then replace that hashtag with something else, then another something else, then tell everyone to delete their black squares. Because you’re still shutting black people out.

White people literally could not shut up. But everybody has to know that I think the right things!

Virtue signaling. Paternalism. We don’t need to help black people speak.

White people, shut up! — if you want to let minorities speak. Black people do not need to hear the views of this white woman. Who cares? 

Besides I’d rather do something actual, than something symbolic. And giving money to—you don’t know who —for you don’t really know what purpose — because it has a right sounding name? Do your research. Symbolic, and probably destructive. Dumb.

Here’s my incendiary take. You may not want to read it.

If protests were honestly against systemic violence toward black people, they would be protesting outside Planned Parenthood facilities, which  kills 3 times more black children than other children, and locates its clinics overwhelmingly in minority communities. PPFA is committing a genocide against African Americans every single day.

A Quick Guide for the Atheist for the Necessity of a Good God

There is no legitimate moral claim without an acknowledgment of God. Here is a proof.

Do you believe that there is any act which is wrong? Wrong or evil without any doubt? Objectively wrong?

If no, then you can never, ever object to any act no matter how heinous, inhumane, or cruel. For all our sakes, I hope you didn’t say no.

If your answer is yes, you have confirmed the objective existence of a moral law, a full code of right and wrong, good and evil.

A moral law requires that there is a moral law-giver.

Yes, it does. Here’s why:

The moral law at no point seems as though it evolved from a random or amoral process.

When we examine the moral law at any point, we find that it has certain characteristics and lacks others. It is purposeful or systematic, not random. It pushes us toward self sacrifice and interest in others well-being. Morally, it compels us to choose the more selfless and less safe options.

It derives from a mind rather than from a mindless process.

The mind it derives from has clear preferences. It loves love and hates hate. It strongly prefers that we behave toward other human beings with things like kindness, love, mercy, and justice.

How do I justify that claim?

Let’s  go back to your agreement that there are some things that are just wrong. When we look inside ourselves for that sense of right and wrong, we find that there are innate, intrinsic convictions. Those convictions tell us to be kind, not cruel. To be fair, not unjust. To respect other people, not victimize or dismiss them.

It’s  not that we succeed in behaving according to those convictions, but that we all know they are there, that they do not change, and that we ought to obey them.

So where are we? We believe that there is an objective moral code. We find it inside ourselves and we hold everyone else accountable to it as well. We see that the moral code necessarily has a source which is a mind with sentience and preferences.

That code of preferences about our behavior, or its source, seems even to hold some authority over our moral choices.

We are now talking about a personal being with a mind and perfect, consistent moral goodness.




Pro-Choice is Not The Virtuous Choice

OK, so let’s get down to fundamentals. If you are pro-choice, your argument is founded on an assumption of higher moral standing. You are fighting for rights, you are taking the high road, you aren’t one of those who want to control women, etc. You are more virtuous, and you signal that fact all you can.

But you are not more virtuous. In fact, your position has no virtue at all.

The prochoice position depends on dehumanizing or otherwise negating the worth of other human beings. Those human beings are the most helpless and innocent there are.

The pro-choice position depends on then advocating for their deaths!

It is all about death. Destruction. Hopelessness. Victimization. Elitism. The advocacy of privilege. The strong imposing their power over the weak. Manipulation. Disenfranchisement. Injustice.

That is my premise, as it ought to be the pro-life movement’s premise. Before you pivot/deflect to: “What about the women’s rights?” please deal with this fundamental question first.

Now please defend your pro-death position.

Mary Had a Baby

This advent season, I am noticing my attention being drawn again and again, to this aspect of the Incarnation: Mary had a baby.

On Christmas Day, we are actually celebrating a birth, and someone giving birth.

Without enshrining the birth-giver in some sort of semi-deification, we can appreciate her amazing gift, her faithful will; but we should also note the physical sacrifice. Many factions of our socio-political advisors would like to dismiss that notice. Giving birth is default for the hopelessly un-elite. Childbearing is not for the elite, unless it be once or twice, and the offspring be carefully planned and artfully curated.

All the Christian world, those faithful and still those antagonistic, when they celebrate the holiday,  are celebrating a woman giving life to her child. And I admit I am enjoying that.

But for Mary it was a gritty, painful night of anguish just preceded by ninety miles travel on a donkey. Birthing a baby with only a husband for help. In a stable. In an unfamiliar town far from home.

Her location and travel compelled by the iron will of a government for the purpose of reducing her, her husband, and her infant to three numbers in a mass of subjects. In this, that government failed.