The Loop; Introvert Power; Last Night’s Desperate Housewives Episode

I have two good quotes for today, as well as some thoughts on last night’s Desperate Housewives:

1.  Rachel Held Evans had some good Sunday Superlatives yesterday.  One of them was Brett McCracken’s In Praise of Being Out of the Loop.  McCracken says:

“I desire to be more out of the loop. I want to go a day without knowing what the Twitterverse is talking about. I want to let trending topics come and go without ever knowing they happened. I want to be like Marilyn Hagerty, who didn’t know (or care) that for the rest of the world, Olive Garden was ‘old news.’ I don’t want to care about something just because it’s hot right now and everyone is talking about it; I want to care about something because it is interesting, important, worth thinking about. I don’t want to blog, tweet, or talk about things I haven’t mulled over or wrestled with first. I want to resist the idol of quick-to-the-draw commentary.”

I love Olive Garden myself: the salad, the breadsticks, the pasta, the breadsticks!

2.  In the comments section under Rachel’s post, Dan from Georgia linked to a CNN article about introverts, which states:

“Our culture is biased against quiet and reserved people, but introverts are responsible for some of humanity’s greatest achievements — from Steve Wozniak’s invention of the Apple computer to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. And these introverts did what they did not in spite of their temperaments — but because of them.”

3.  Last night on Desperate Housewives, there was Mike Delfino’s funeral.  I was reminded of reasons why I (and probably so many other Desperate Housewives viewers) like Mike.  There’s his down-to-earth quality, the fact that he tried to help people, and how the mistakes he made in his life (i.e., drug addiction) made him into a fairly non-judgmental person.  As Julie (Susan’s daughter) noted, Mike wasn’t much of a reader.  But I loved Mike’s description of heaven to his son, M.J.: eating delicious hamburgers with the people you love more than anything in the world, fishing, cheering at a ballgame, etc.

Something else that I appreciated about last night’s episode was that I got to see some old faces, by which I mean, not faces that looked elderly, but rather past characters who were killed off: Carlos’ Ma-MA Solis and Rex Van der Kamp.

I am confused by one thing: Where did Tom meet Lynette?  I remember an episode from a while back that said that they met at work, and it showed a flashback of Lynette getting into an elevator where Tom was.  Last night’s episode coincided with that story—-though Tom and Lynette looked different in last night’s episode from how they looked in the flashback of Tom and Lynette meeting at work, for, in the flashback I’m thinking of, they look like they always look, whereas, in last night’s episode, they looked more 70′s-ish.

But I also got the impression that there was a version of the story that said that Tom and Lynette dated in college.  Does anyone else remember anything to that effect?

Meier on the Resurrection of Lazarus (in the Parable and John 11)

In my write-up today on volume 2 of John Meier’s A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, I will write some about the relationship between the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:20-31, and Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus in John 11.  I will not cover every single point that Meier makes about this issue, but only what I consider to be the highlights.

Meier disagrees with the view of some scholars that the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man somehow influenced or gave rise to the story in John 11 about Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus.  On first sight, such a view is tempting because there do appear to be similarities between the two: both discuss the resurrection of a man named Lazarus, and both hold that Lazarus’ resurrection will fail to convince certain people to repent (i.e., Lazarus’ brothers in the Parable, and the Jewish leaders who want to kill Jesus in John 11).   

But Meier disagrees, for at least two reasons.  One, there are many Jews in John 11 who do believe in Jesus on account of Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus.  And, second, Meier regards the part of the Parable about Lazarus rising from the dead to be secondary—-something that Luke added to the Parable—-for it reflects Lukan terminology.  Originally, according to Meier (if I’m understanding him correctly), the Parable was a typical stock story about the exaltation of the poor and the debasement of the rich in the afterlife.  A first century C.E. parable in Egyptian demotic, for example, talks about a rich man who “is tormented in the next world while a poor man is honored” (page 826), and such a theme also appears in rabbinic literature.  (But Meier also says that the part of the Parable about someone rising from the dead in order to warn people reflects a motif in Near Eastern folklore.)  Meier does not think it plausible that a redactional addition to a Parable would “influence or give rise” to the Johannine story, especially since Luke was writing roughly when John was active (the end of the first century C.E.).

For Meier, what could have happened was that the Parable was influenced by a pre-Gospel version of the story in John 11.  That’s why the poor man is called “Lazarus” in the Parable.  Originally, Meier maintains, the poor man in the story was anonymous, as are all of the characters in the parables of Luke’s Gospel.  But he was later called “Lazarus”, presumably on account of the similarities between a later stage of the Parable and John 11. 

It appears that Meier believes that there is greater likelihood that the Johannine story would influence the Parable, rather than that a small addition to the Parable would influence the Johannine story.  Perhaps that’s because he considers the Johannine story to have been more prominent and well-known than a mere redactional addition to the Parable.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Susan Faludi, Backlash 18

In my latest reading of Susan Faludi’s 1991 book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, Faludi was critiquing therapist Robin Norwood.  The name doesn’t ring any bells to me, but the reason that Faludi’s critique intrigued me so much was that Norwood had an Alcoholics Anonymous sort of model to help women deal with difficult husbands—-a program that included reliance on a higher power, sharing in meetings one person at a time (with no cross-talk allowed), trying to see where one is at fault rather than just blaming other people, etc.

Faludi disagrees with much of this.  She thinks that women should find power inside of themselves rather than just relying on a higher power, and that women should share with men the problems that they have with them rather than passively trying to cope with the relationship.  And Faludi expresses her issues with the rule against cross-talk in meetings: she states on page 348 that this is not real sharing since people cannot comment on each other’s problems, and that “the women seem more like children in a sandbox, engaged in parallel play.”

I do not know how Norwood’s groups worked.  In most twelve-step recovery groups, however, many people have sponsors, who can share with sponsees their experience, strength, and hope and hopefully provide some guidance.  That’s quite different from parallel play.  At the same time, my understanding is that sponsors are technically not supposed to tell sponsees what to do, but rather to share their own experience, strength, and hope with sponsees and then allow the sponsees to make their own decisions.

I somewhat like the set-up of no cross-talk being allowed.  I hate social situations in which I am trying to speak, and one or more know-it-all is quick to respond with his or her opinion about what I should do or how I should think, without really listening to me.  THAT, in my opinion, is not true sharing.

Should people in general share with others what it is about them that is problematic?  I think that there’s a time and a place for that.  Faludi presents examples of horrible husbands of some of the women in Norwood’s groups—-husbands who got angry with their wives over the slightest thing.  I think that there may be a place for divorce in that situation.  At the same time, I do admire women who try to cope with difficult husbands and seek their strength in a higher power through their ordeal.  That’s not to say that every woman should do that, in every situation.  When a husband is abusive, for example, a woman should probably be strong and find some way to leave rather than timidly enduring the abuse.

On lesser issues, I think that women should share with their husbands their concerns about what the husband does that annoys them, but they should not expect to change their husbands.  In my opinion, there should be a middle ground between not being assertive at all and expecting the rest of the world to conform to our desires.

Something else that interested me about Faludi’s discussion of Norwood was that Norwood ended up putting herself in a sort of solitary confinement, by living in a remote cottage, away from human contact.  I think that Norwood may have come out of exile (at least slightly) since 1991, however, for this says that she has written books for 2008.

I apologize if my tone in this post is bossy—-as if I have any authority at all to tell people what to do.  I’m just expressing my opinion, for what it’s worth.  I find value in both what Norwood is saying, and also in Faludi’s critique.  And I say this in terms of my own life, for what both say about women can probably apply to men, too: I myself wonder how to deal with difficult people, when to be assertive, when not to be, etc.

Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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