The Culture of Heart Muscle Memory

I recently read a Facebook discussion thread about a sensitive topic. It seemed that someone disagreed with the majority opinion in that conversation. Then many people in the majority zeroed in on the lone dissenter and poked holes in his argument, very … pokedly. There were accusations and assumptions and underlying hostility all around. The thread’s originator even asked the others to back off, but no one really did. The dissenter didn’t respond. By the end of the thread–some 20 comments later–someone observed that he simply took his comments and left the discussion.

I do not know a few things about this discussion:

1. How the dissenter presented his disagreement

Well, I guess that’s the only thing. I’m probably ignoring other things, which shouldn’t matter, because if people were really willing to have a conversation with two perspectives, I would have been able to read the actual opposing opinion.

The dissenter could have been a bona fide jerk. But his withdrawal doesn’t quite indicate that.

It could be that the dissenter’s argument was particularly specious and he felt embarrassed and removed his comments, but since I only have the remaining less kind comments to use as evidence, what other conclusion am I supposed to draw other than “we will marginalize your differing opinions”?

I mean, the prevailing views in this conversation are held by people who already feel marginalized; they are in a distinct minority. They have felt op-/suppressed and question many things about the culture and traditions that helped form their character. They feel vulnerable and scared and insecure. And I guess this particular conversation felt like a safe place for them. And when they felt threatened–maybe by someone who felt just as insecure and vulnerable–instead of reaching for understanding, they pushed away.

What has changed? To oversimplify the idea, what really has changed from feeling that “If you don’t agree with the Church you can just leave” to “If you disagree with my opinion there’s no room for you in this conversation”?

Can someone help me understand?

Another Library Sale or, I Love Sharing Books!

The last one we attended was in October 2011. We weren’t married then. Weird.

We tried giving ourselves a $10 limit–$20 total, but the library had so much good stuff this time. (I must say that I only chose enough books to spend $7.50. SOMEBODY’s restraint needs to be checked. But also take note that I didn’t object too strongly to Reilly’s choices. See below.)

We took inventory of this year’s loot. We picked up a few duplicates of books we already have, but we’re replacing the ugly copies with cooler ones. Also, I’ m sorry about the capitalization. Reilly read the titles to me for me to type quickly, and I didn’t want to have to think about which letters in an author’s name got the capital treatment in addition to spelling the authors correctly. Yes, in other words, I got lazy. But at least I italicized the titles. Know that all titles have conventional capitalization.

Reilly’s shelving the books right now. I’m off to look over a friend’s master’s thesis. This is our relationship.

  1. angelou    maya    i know why the caged bird sings
  2. austen    jane    persuasion
  3. banks    russell    cloudsplitter
  4. bellow    saul    collected stories
  5. benoit    pierre    l’ile verte*
  6. boccaccio    giovanni    the decameron
  7. byatt    a.s.    possession*
  8. chabon    michael    summerland
  9. de maupassant    guy    short stories*
  10. de troyes    chretien    arthurian romances
  11. dillard    annie    an american childhood*
  12. eco    umberto    the name of the rose
  13. enger    leif    peace like a river*
  14. erdrich    louise    beet queen
  15. faulkner    william    collected stories
  16. frazier    charles    cold mountain
  17. gilmour    david    the film club
  18. hardy    thomas    the collective novels, volume 2
  19. hernandez    amado v    rice grains*
  20. irving    john    trying to save piggy sneed
  21. jackson    shirley    come along with me
  22. kingsolver    barbara    pigs in heaven
  23. kingsolver    barbara    the lacuna
  24. kingsolver    barbara    the bean trees
  25. lahira    jhumpa    the namesake
  26. lamott    anne    crooked little heart
  27. lecasble    guillaume    lobster
  28. lehane    dennis    coronado
  29. lessing    doris    the memoirs of a survivor
  30. mann    thomas    the magic mountain
  31. nemirovsky    irene    sweet francaise
  32. oates    joyce carol    we were the mulvaneys
  33. oates    joyce carol    black water
  34. ondaatje    michael    divisadero
  35. ondaatje    michael    the cat’s table
  36. pasternak    boris    doctor zhivago
  37. rousseau    jean-jacques    le contrat social*
  38. saarikoski    pentti    poems*
  39. saramago    jose    seeing
  40. saramago    jose    the double
  41. saramago    jose    the gospel according to jesus christ
  42. smith    zadie     on beauty*
  43. smith    zadie     white teeth*
  44. smith    betty    a tree grows in brooklyn
  45. sontag    susan    volcano lover
  46. thayer hamann    hilary    anthropology of an american girl
  47. twain    mark    a connecticut yankee in king arthur’s court

*Titles I chose.

Links about the 1990s to Count Down to the Bon Jovi Concert in One Week

I don’t even remember when or where I heard about the concert. Months ago. It was meant to be; I had to go.

  • Wednesday, April 17
  • 7pm
  • Energy Solutions Arena
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

Some friends and I bought tickets, and all that’s left is for us to get mullets.

They probably think I’m not serious. I don’t understand how they could think that.

The ’90s meant junior high and high school. Starting college. Making friends faster than I normally did. Weird college experiences. Not the best fashion there ever was. I loved everything about that time. I remember hearing all about the Crying Game before Trig/Analyt in Ms. Marlette’s classroom. Because of that experience I have never felt the need to watch the movie.

It’s so great that I have maintained most of my ’90s friendships. Just last week at the grocery store I ran into a freshman floormate from BYU. I still keep up with friends from my hometown where I graduated from high school. Those folks are even more beautiful and passionate versions of themselves. The decade and our gang helped each other evolve. world now may be so very full of suck, but we’re still doing our best.

I mean, fine. We listened to artists like Counting Crows, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, The Offspring, Sting, Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories, Radiohead, and R.E.M., but hello? We also listened to Boyz 2 Men, Madonna, Ace of Base, Wilson Phillips, and Bon Jovi. Garth Brooks. Martina McBride. Fresh Prince. All the once embarrassing stuff that holds so much nostalgic value for me now. I listened to the soft rock my mom loved. I got into a lot of oldies developed an affinity for live jazz and classical. The group I grew up with soaked it all up.

To commemorate next week’s event, I’ve looked up a few links to get people reminiscing about the ’90s.

The Most Important TV Couples from the ’90s

What ’90s Kids Can Relate To

I Hate When Dawson Cries about First World Problems

On a More Serious Note. Thanks Again, Onion

So I can’t even begin to tell you how fun this concert will be. Sure, Bon Jovi has a new record and is on tour to promote it. But he definitely knows that everyone wants him to sing his old stuff.

I wonder if he misses it.

This Seems Interesting

A few weeks ago I was doing some research for my freelance blogging gig and I came upon a non-profit organization called 10×10 whose mission intrigued me. Here’s a draft of what I wrote about the NPO:

The Influence of 10×10: Educate Girls, Change the World

In August 2012, Forbes magazine published an article about the five most powerful women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. The author of the article is Holly Gordon, the executive director and executive producer of the social campaign, 10X10: Educate Girls, Change the World. Her organization and website set an example for others who want to increase social awareness for educating women throughout the world.

About 10X10

According to the website, 10X10 is a social movement that uses many social media channels. It is also a feature film called “Girl Rising” that encourages using “the power of storytelling and the leverage of strategic partnerships to deliver a single message: educating girls in developing nations will change the world.”

10X10’s mission statement is ambitious, but not impossible. It instills hope and inspires action. Holly Gordon firmly believes that “educated girls dramatically improve the well-being of their families, their communities, and their countries.” These girls develop into women who can powerfully impact their societies by helping to change conditions that lead to terrorism and by reducing:

  • poverty
  • child mortality
  • population growth
  • HIV infection rates
  • corruption

Film Influence

Award winning directors and other creative have collaborated to produce “Girl Rising.” 10X10 works with progressive non-profit organizations, celebrities, political leaders, corporations and concerned citizens “to build a global movement to demand equal opportunity for girls.”

Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins directs the film, whichtells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers.” Nine actresses narrate the film: Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Freida Pinto, Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Chloe Moretz, Priyanka Chopra and Alicia Keys.

You can watch the full trailer and check for local screenings at the 10X10 website. For additional information you can also visit the film’s website.

Web Influence

Through strong and wide-reaching website hosting, people around the world can access 10X10’s message. Large corporations realize the power of their contribution and are talking about their own influence to further 10X10’s cause. Rural and obscure villages can even use the website to increase their awareness of the potential of their girls.

The organization has a goal of one billion impressions and a million actions from people around the world. This kind of virality will encourage policy changes in various countries worldwide. 10×10 strives to work with policy leaders to impact global institutions and hopefully sway world governments to implement and enforce laws and policies “that ensure every girl has an equal opportunity to fulfill her full potential.”

10×10 works with organizations with a proven reputation for educating girls. In a professional symbiosis, 10X10 and the organizations promote each other. The institutions tell each other’s stories and help to encourage donations for programs “that help girls get into and stay in school.”

In addition to promoting the film, the website has educational videos, a link for making donations, and a blog with regular updates. Readers can also spread the news of 10X10 by email subscribing to updates and by linking to the website on their favorite social media channels.

With rapid and widespread dissemination of 10X10’s goals, Holly Gordon’s vision of educating girls worldwide will come true. If more people become involved and believe that educating girls can change the world, more people will take action. The girls will believe in themselves, take positive action in their communities, and the world will become a better place.

Then last week I received an invitation on facebook to reserve tickets for a possible screening in Provo. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, as I have wanted to see the film for a few weeks now. In order make the screening happen, at least  100 people have to make reservations. As of this writing, only 14 have reserved tickets.

If you’re in the Provo/Orem area and want to see a film about important global issues, make reservations now. Seriously, you have about 8 hours. It’s for a good cause.

ETA: The Orem screening fell through. We now have 5 days to make the Salt Lake City Screening happen. Do it.

During Spring Break

Reilly’s spring break was this past week, and I also didn’t have to work. So, we partied.

Ikea

Tuesday morning we wandered around the entire showroom at Ikea. We talked about improvements we could make to our living space. We recently renewed the lease on our apartment, so we decided to try to create cozy home feelings instead of being poised to move at any second. We purchased a few things and reorganized a bit. I admit that watching a lot of HGTV helps motivate with home projects. That can be bad and good at the same time.

Bridal Veil Falls

Wednesday morning we decided to “hike” Bridal Veil Falls. Utah County offers a ton of easy nearby trails, and the weather permitted us to go and explore the area. We didn’t climb the trail close to the falls, but we stayed on the low path and took pictures and had a picnic and watched people. We also noticed some foreign-sounding accents, which was cool and made me glad that world travelers can enjoy Utah.

More pictures if you click the photo below.

Yay, falling water!

Natural History Museum

Wednesday evening we met with Reilly’s sister at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City. The museum rests on the east foothills, which provides a fantastic view of the city. We started from the fifth floor and worked our way down. The building runs on solar power and the lighting doesn’t waste energy and the exhibits display lots of information about Utah’s natural history. There were displays about climate change and evolution. Sometimes Utah participates in science, which is refreshing.

Solar panels

My shoes!

Are they always smiling?

Luther

We finished the BBC series this week. Two very intense seasons so far. We started about a month ago and then we decided to watch all the episodes. The first season has six episodes, and the second season has four. It actually didn’t take too long.

BYU Museum of Art

Thursday afternoon we visited the heroes exhibit (which has now ended) at the BYU Museum of Art. Last week my friend Bridgette presented a paper at the “We Could Be Heroes” Symposium (which I’m very sad I couldn’t attend); my friend Annie had a display at that exhibit. Thanks, cool friends, for being so cool.

One we finished at the museum, we got the heck off BYU campus.

Kidding. Mostly.

Temple

Friday morning we attended a session at the Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork. The temple is a gorgeous building, and the crowded parking lot indicates that it’s constantly busy.

Basketball

Friday evening we met with some friends at the Orem Rec Center to play basketball, which means we shot around for a long time until we played a few rounds of lightning/elimination/speed and then shot around some more.

General Conference

What an uplifting way to end our week-long party. Except we also watched the season premiere of Mad Men. So there’s that.

Now

Since BYU doesn’t have a spring break, this past week felt like a vacation. I enjoyed spending it with Reilly.