Tag Archives: anniversary

Roe v. Wade: Celebrating 40 Years

22 Jan

roe40thstampOn January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court finally ruled that women in this country could legally govern their own bodies with the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade.  Sadly, 40 years later, we are witnessing a vicious attack on women’s health with people like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdoch and their ilk working to take full control over women’s bodies.

Another concrete example of recent monstrous misogyny is Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi. His stated goal is to shut down the last clinic in the state that provides safe and legal abortions. On Thursday, Bryant said:

My goal, of course, is to shut it down. Now, we’ll follow the laws. The bill is in the courts now, related to the physicians and their association with a hospital. But, certainly, if I had the power to do so legally, I’d do so tomorrow.

Here we see some serious white male privilege at work. Bryant and all of the anti-choice folk seem far more interested in protecting the fetus while demonstrating complete disdain once the child is born.  Furthermore, we have a serious class issue at hand.  For women of financial resources, the law becomes immaterial, for they can travel someplace to have a safe and legal abortion.  What about women without resources? Why do Bryant and his ilk get to decide what is best for women in our country? Those who are anti-choice should be free to live their own lives according to their beliefs; they do not, however, possess the right to impose their beliefs on others through abusive practices.

The power of the courts to clarify rights and interpret law is vital. We should celebrate significant decisions like Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education. But we live in a participatory democracy and must remain vigilant. On many issues there will be disagreements and those who feel their views should triumph over established rights. As we take time to celebrate great decisions, we must also strive to ensure that the fruits of those decisions remain available to all Americans, regardless of class, location, race, or any other factor.

My Solipsistic Year

12 Aug

The 3 Faces of the Solipsistic Husband

When my husband started this blog a year ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. We were both interested in exploring social networking and online communication and Michael had some observations about the world he wanted to share. We set up a simple blog (Thank you, WordPress!) and he got started. After a couple of weeks, I was so enjoying his posts that I got the urge to write something myself. The rest is history.

While it is very much Michael’s blog and vision, I have enjoyed the opportunities to contribute my thoughts. Over the past year we’ve spent some productive and enjoyable time bouncing ideas off each other and learning about the world around us. Contributing to The Solipsistic Me has noticeably improved the quality of my writing. I’ve also had the chance to apply the research skills I’ve developed as a librarian to different topics and more journalistic inquiries.

To celebrate the first Solipsistic Birthday, I’ve picked ten stories I wrote that I feel best represent my contribution to the blog.

The First Amendment, Hypocrisy, and Bias: Juan Williams as Case Study (Oct. 23): This fairly early post involved a great deal of research and several rewrites to get my words to match my thoughts. It arose from my steadfast defense of free speech and my frustration with people who fail to understand the subtleties of that concept.

Words Matter – or – Why I Won’t Be “Tolerated” (Nov. 18): I had written a handful of short posts about the hypocrisy of homophobia, but this post brought all my threads together in one cohesive piece. Tolerance is never enough when one is discussing common humanity.

Black Friday: Don’t Buy Your Sweater Off the Back of the Poor (Nov. 24): Every holiday season I become more disgusted at the reprehensible “special sales” that start at 4:00 a.m. (or earlier). What horrific consumerism and abuse of workers! Last Thanksgiving I had a platform to voice my dismay in this post.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – Civics Made Practical (Jan. 17): It is important to remember the origins of our national holidays. MLK day isn’t just another day off, it’s a challenge to engage in improving our communities. I really enjoyed researching this piece and finding resources to help our readers volunteer.

A Blow to Censorship: The Comics Code Authority Fades Away (Jan. 22): This post merged my opposition to censorship with my life-long fondness for comic books. I’ve always found the CCA to be oppressive and arbitrary; it was delightful to celebrate its overdue end.

Learning How to Learn: An Homage to My Grandfather (Feb. 14): I used a lot of tissues writing this post. My grandfather was a powerful, positive influence on my life and it was a true pleasure to celebrate him.

The Most Challenged Books of 2010: Proof We Need Our Libraries (Apr. 15): Another anti-censorship post, this time from my perspective as a librarian. I also did a series for Banned Books Week in the fall. This post closed out National Library week and provided a nice overview of the ongoing challenges faced by our libraries.

Oregon Librarians Visit Congress (May 13): A slightly more solipsistic post, this recounted one of the highlights of my career so far, participating in my first National Library Legislative Day. As publicly-funded entities, libraries have complex dependencies on laws and funding from the local to the national level. I appreciated the opportunity to spell out some of the key issues and to celebrate my wonderful colleagues.

Books For Charity or Scam For Profit? (May 22): My personal favorite of my more journalistic stories, this post arose from some local concern about those big blue bins that offer to swallow up second-hand books for charity. I truly enjoyed digging up the truth and raising public awareness. This was also one of my most re-posted stories, which was very gratifying..

Women In Comics: Everything Old Is New Again (Aug. 1): This very recent post is a testament to patience. I had wanted to write about Gail Simone’s Women In Refrigerators project for months but never found the right thesis. One day the critical piece dropped into my lap and the story came together very quickly.

I hope you enjoyed this snapshot of this wonderful world of TSM (and proof of my propensity for subtitles). Regular contributor Lex Kahn has also celebrated the anniversary with his Wednesday Word of the Week and Michael will weigh in as the Editor-in-Chief. It’s been a fun, informative, and engaging year participating in the blog and watching it grow. I look forward to seeing what the next year brings. Big thanks to my wonderful husband for making me a part of his online world, too.

Wednesday Word of the Week: August 10

10 Aug

This week’s word is: ANNIVERSARY

the date on which an event occurred in some previous year (or the celebration of it)

This week is the first anniversary of the founding of The Solipsistic Me. This is one of the best of the small-press blogs and I am privileged to be a part of its community. The founder, editor, and heart of TSM is Michael Hulshof-Schmidt, a model of integrity, wisdom, and compassion. (He’s also a witty and insightful writer. What a package!)

Michael invited me to look back over the time I’ve been involved with the blog (first as a commenter, then as an occasional contributor, then as a columnist). I am more than happy to comply with this wish and to celebrate this wonderful bright spot on the Internet.

First, as requested by Michael, a look at what I consider to be my best contributions to TSM.

  1. FAMILY – In only my second Wednesday Word of the Week, I felt like I captured something important and stayed true to the heart of TSM with this post. My biological family has seen a lot of upheaval recently, and this post captures how I feel about all of the types of family and their interconnected value.
  2. HISTORY – This is my favorite of the “words matter, you fools” posts that I have written. Taking shots at Sarah Palin is a bit too easy, perhaps, but this post applies to so many who believe they can twist reality to fit their views and needs.
  3. KNOWLEDGE – One of the posts whose structure and content merged best together, this expresses my frustration with the over-abundance of noise and the lack of understanding in the digital age.

I have to include a sentimental favorite to wrap up this list. I had more fun creating the somewhat silly but information-packed ALPHABET post than any other. It doesn’t have the same kind of insight as some of my better work, perhaps, but I love it for the special wonder that it is.

Mine is but one small brush contributing to the grand canvas of The Solipsistic Me. I would like to fully celebrate this anniversary by looking at what I consider the top ten accomplishments of the past year.

BIGOT

a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own

HERO

a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; someone who fights for a cause

The regular features of Bigot and Hero of the Week are insightful overviews of key issues and people, often things that are overlooked by the mainstream media. Even when the recipient is a well-known figure, TSM manages to provide a fresh perspective. A great example (and one of Michael’s finest pieces of writing) was the closing feature for LGBTQ History Month celebrating Albus Dumbledore.

COMMUNITY

a group of people who live together in the same place; the feeling that you belong to a group and that this is a good thing

This post used the delightful Britcom Jam and Jerusalem (a.k.a. Clatterford) to highlight the ways we are all connected and the importance of mutual support and care. It inspired me not only to watch the television program but to write a WWW about charity after the Japanese tsunami.

BOYCOTT

a group’s refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest against its policies

TSM takes a strong stand on corporate responsibility. Michael has done wonderful work in highlighting companies whose business practices merit our discretion. I chose the series on Target because of the many ups and downs in the story.

OBSTINANCE

resolute adherence to your own ideas or desires

The Solipsistic Me also highlights the willful rejection of facts so often practiced by the right wing. Many stories contain elements of this important and disturbing trend. I am particularly fond of I Will Not Be Bothered With Facts or the Truth, a stern indictment of many facets of this behavior. A magnificent overview is the calling out of the Querulous Quartet and their ilk for inventing “facts.” I am particularly fond of this post because it refers to the posts that first attracted me to TSM.

INCLUSION

the belief that all people should feel that they are included in society, even if they lack some advantages

Michael’s dedication to ensuring rights for everyone is a singular constant on TSM. This thread of social justice includes calling out weaknesses and room for improvement wherever they occur. As a member of the LGBTQ community himself, he refuses to let his peers ignore their own opportunities to improve. I was particularly struck by his magnificent series on transgender issues and this piece (written by his husband, Robert) about the challenges faced by bisexuals.

INVOLVEMENT

the act of sharing in the activities of a group

Another facet of TSM is that the contributors don’t simply write about the world; they engage in it. Michael’s piece on his experience lobbying with Planned Parenthood is strong journalism, a clear call to action, and proof that he lives his ideals.

RESPONSIBILITY

a moral duty to behave in a particular way

When Michael learned that his alma mater, Oglethorpe University, was hosting a lecture by a notorious pseudo-intellectual conservative, he took action. He held the University responsible, spoke to the parties involved, and engaged the community through this powerful post on TSM. In the interests of journalistic integrity, he also had two correspondents write pieces about the lecture to ensure a complete picture. This dedication to the whole truth is an important hallmark of this blog.

GREED

excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves

One of my all-time favorites is Robert’s searing indictment of corporate irresponsibility, the delightfully titled We the Corporations, In Order to Form a More Perfect Profit.

CONTINUTITY

the property of a continuous and connected period of time

Proving that good thing can indeed last, one of Michael’s finest posts was written just last week. The insightful Bombing of Hiroshima: Lessons We Have Yet to Learn asks important questions about where we are headed as a nation and provides clear examples of history offering us the opportunity to avoid that deadly path.

What wondrous works have come from this blog! Where will it lead us next? I am honored to be a small part of this community and am more than pleased to celebrate some of its many highlights.

Solipsistic? Ironically, perhaps, but not at heart. I say rather

involving or affecting everyone in the world

UNIVERSAL.

Happy birthday to The Solipsistic Me.

All definitions courtesy of Macmillan Dictionary Online

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