30 November, 2010

Driving Men Crazy

Tuesdays With Another

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?

Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman?

I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman?

I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.
by Sojourner Truth   
Delivered in 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio   

28 November, 2010

A Fistful Of Titles

Do you want the truth? Can you handle the truth?

I have been asked by one of my newer readers about the titles I attach to my posts - whether those posts be essays, images, or quotes. To that person, the titles seemed familiar - yet somehow a little random. They couldn't quite figure it out.

They aren't, and it's become something of an intellectual game for me. With only a single exception, each of the roughly 100 titles used so far begins with a movie title - which I then change in some fashion.

Those changes usually reflect minor tweaks of the original title - an added word or the substitution of a rhyming word. Sometimes the number of syllables is important to me, and on other occasions it's the rhythm of the phrase or the first letter of a word. If the change is too large (such that no one would recognize the movie title behind my title), then I look for another.

That's not to say the selected movie titles are always obvious to everyone, but once you know that there is a game behind the titles, the movies start to become more conspicuous. I wouldn't be honest, however, if I didn't admit that part of the game for me has been to see if and when folks would notice. And who might notice.

I did have one reader ask me if I ever used a title from a movie whose theme or plot related directly to the theme of my post. There is no good reason why I might not, but when that has almost happened (and it has), the title usually works for my post without any changes to it. I see less creative exercise in that, and therefore, it is less enjoyable for me.

What happens more often is there is a movie title that works for my post without any alteration - sometimes really well - even though the movie's content is unrelated. That's a greater temptation and frustrating, but to use the title unchanged would mean being unfaithful to my original concept.

The success of my title tweaking varies. Some titles are far better than others, and there are a few with which I am very pleased. Some, to be candid, are simply too much of a stretch. There may come a day, of course, when I have depleted the catalog of easily usable titles - although given the number of movies released each year, that is hard to imagine. Or ... I may simply tire of the game.

For now, however, the game is afoot.

By the way, can you find the one title that is not a movie title?


24 November, 2010

Once Upon A Time In The Andes

Wednesdays Without Words

Mortarless Walls and Waterworks at Machu Picchu, c. 1450
Digital photograph. ©Amy Elizabeth Brown, 2004.
Used with permission.

16 November, 2010

The Wayland Identity

Tuesdays With Another

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies;

who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity;

who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another;

who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements;

who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy;

whose deed follows his word;

who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own;

and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.
-- John Walter Wayland, 1899        
While a graduate student at        
the University of Virginia            

Long misattributed to John Paul Jones (above)