Moff's Law, the Bible, Clouds, Freelance Writing, and Surgery

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I just checked, and it turns out that I have not lost a SINGLE subscriber/follower to this blog, in spite of my repeated absent phases. This can only mean that most people don't clean out their Google Readers as frequently as I do, or that you've all been waiting with bated breath to see if/when I would return to blogging.

Your patience has been rewarded. For today, at least. Below, you will find some observations I've had lately, inter-spliced with pretty but unrelated images.

(image source)

Yesterday, in my habit of bounding from website to website to see what I can see, I came across this excellent statement called Moff's Law. I'm not sure it's a law so much as a well-stated pet peeve, in response to people who dislike analysis of books/movies/music/art of any kind and say, "Why can't you just enjoy the thing instead of analyzing it?" That kind of question really bothers me, but I've never been able to articulate why very well. I found the "law" here at Autostraddle and will include an excerpt for your convenience:

'Of all the varieties of irritating comment out there, the absolute most annoying has to be “Why can’t you just watch the movie for what it is??? Why can’t you just enjoy it? Why do you have to analyze it???” ... First of all, when we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is. Because that is one of the things about art, be it highbrow, lowbrow, mainstream, or avant-garde: Some sort of thought went into its making — even if the thought was, “I’m going to do this as thoughtlessly as possible”! — and as a result, some sort of thought can be gotten from its reception. ... Now, that doesn’t mean you have to think about a work of art. I don’t know anyone who thinks every work they encounter ought to only be enjoyed through conscious, active analysis — or if I do, they’re pretty annoying themselves. And I know many people who prefer not to think about much of what they consume, and with them I have no argument. I also have no argument with people who disagree with another person’s thoughts about a work of art. That should go without saying. ... when you go out of your way to suggest that people should be thinking less — that not using one’s capacity for reason is an admirable position to take, and one that should be actively advocated — you are not saying anything particularly intelligent. And unless you live on a parallel version of Earth where too many people are thinking too deeply and critically about the world around them and what’s going on in their own heads, you’re not helping anything; on the contrary, you’re acting as an advocate for entropy.'

Well said, Moff. "When we analyze art, when we look for deeper meaning in it, we are enjoying it for what it is." In some moments, all you want to say about a movie or a book is that you liked it or you didn't. But when you've got more time and inclination, it's a nice mental exercise to look for metaphors, seek out the symbolism, make connections, and reflect on why you liked it or didn't. Some people will just roll their eyes and scoff when you do this, acting like you're an over-educated snob for having a multi-sentence reaction to something. This? It bugs. Don't be like that.

(image source)

If you go here, you'll see a detailed and stunning chart of contradictions that appear in the King James Version of the Bible. It's a pretty startling image, and all the claimed contradictions are explained at the bottom of the chart for simplicity's sake. Now, I'm not sharing this to stir up controversy. I love me some good Bible verses and routinely find myself inspired by what I read in those pages. That said, I'm puzzled by the school of thought that teaches a total lack of error in the Bible, that favors literal interpretations of every passage, and this chart I've shared sums up why I feel that puzzlement.

(image source)

My internet friend Heather wrote recently about letting go of guilt, and she shared a great quote that got her thinking about this topic in the first place. Part of that quote:

"We can retain our self-conscious personalities while at the same time becoming aware of our inner selves. To do this we must first rid ourselves of the unnatural emotions of fear, shame, and guilt, for they are like clouds preventing us from seeing who we are and what we're capable of doing."

That imagery of the clouds is really poignant to me. Have you ever gone on a flight during a really cloudy day? While you're checking in at the airport and waiting on the jetway, it's all gray and perhaps rainy. After you get going, though, the plane cuts through the clouds, and you see. There's the sun and the cool shapes on the top of the clouds, all this stuff that always existed but was just hidden because you were underneath a thick covering. Maybe fear/shame/guilt do the same thing -- make us believe in a false reality, one where the sun has disappeared and we're bad people.

(image source)

So, Seattle. We spent a good five days there and got a sense of where in the area we might want to live. Craig did job-seeking type things and had some success. It looks like this show is really getting on the road! When friends and fam learn that we're moving to the Northwest, a somewhat common reaction is a concern over the weather. But it's so cloudy and rainy! So depressing! How will you stand that? According to Wikipedia, fountain of knowledge that it is, Seattle itself is actually not as sopping wet as everyone imagines. And anyway, I know a week's time there isn't a huge frame of reference, but for whatever it's worth: the weather while we were there was perfect. A little drizzly, mostly sunny, bouts of breeziness, and a great temperature. So I'm at least not worried about that part of moving.

There are two main areas that are still uncertain, and they're biggies: job(s) and an apartment for us to live in. It would be easiest if the job part got figured out first, and Craig's making good progress. My job situation is more flexible, it seems, because I can keep my current job for a short while after moving to Seattle. I've actually been thinking of trying my hand at freelance writing. This link is giving me some stuff to think about on that front. There are some skills required by freelance writing that I don't have in my metaphorical toolbelt, but I'm gonna look at it a different way:

There are some skills required by freelance writing that I'd really like to develop. See how I flipped that?

(that bunny is praying! image source)

Personal news: I'm getting surgery on July 11th. Me. I've never had surgery of any kind, not even of the dental variety. I've never had stitches or a broken bone, never had an IV, never been under local or general anesthesia.

This surgery will be pretty mild as such things go -- I'll be under general anesthesia, but the surgery itself should only take about 40 minutes and I'll go home the same day. However, since the work being done is in a tender lady-place (read: my vagina), the recovery might be rough. There will be very little walking for about two weeks, but sitting will hurt as well. I'll try to go easy on the pain meds, but no promises there.

The timing of this is surgery somewhat poor, with the move and everything. However, I've been dealing with this problem for years now, and if something can cure it, then bring it on, no matter the inconvenience.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my Goodness Sara!!!

    So much is going on in your life right now! I am so excited for you and Craig. Moving to a new place offers so many possibilities and its fun to experience new things and meet new people. And your surgery! I'm so happy you found something that might help and I'm glad I will be around at that time to possibly help out :)

    As for your other thoughts, I absolutely loved them! I mean, what would the point even be to art if we weren't allowed to analyze it? And the cloud analogy is genius! Thank you for sharing.

    <3 Naomi


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