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[personal|cancer] What rough Friday slouching toward the weekend waiting to be born - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-15 05:58
Subject: [personal|cancer] What rough Friday slouching toward the weekend waiting to be born
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, california, cancer, child, family, personal, politics, religion, seattle, shellyrae, travel, work
Oi. So my first week of being the Toxic Avenger is drawing to a close. A week ago this morning calendula_witch, shelly_rae and I all trundled off to the infusion center for chemo session one of twelve. As I documented extensively at the time and since, my primary side effects have been fatigue, food issues and digestive issues. It's kind of like having a stomach flu all the time. If my chemo responses stay on this axis, I'll be damned grateful.

Anyway, calendula_witch is back in the WitchNest in San Francisco, where markferrari is visiting. shelly_rae is back at her home in Seattle. scarlettina is here for a few days, keeping track of me. (And I apparently do require some keeping track. Being alone will probably involve a checklist.) She and I are off to Seattle tomorrow to attend a party and spend a bit of time there. I'll visit with shelly_rae on Sunday, then take the train home.

It's been a difficult week in other ways. Day Jobbery is running pretty hot — which is fine, that is what they pay me for — but as I've said to calendula_witch, too many things are happening at once. I've managed to make my exercise goals every day, even with the fatigue, but I've missed my writing goals these past two days. Bobbled a couple of important things in my personal life, in the lessons-learned department, not in the disaster-in-progress department, but still distracting, upsetting and ultimately sobering. Combine that with a pretty thumping parenting fail midweek, and I've been feeling ragged.

Several people have suggested to me that I should cut myself some slack for chemo brain, fatigue and general stress. I refuse to hide behind that. There may come a day when the drugs make me crazy enough for some vile words to be spoken by me, and if that day comes, I'll need the people who know and love the real me to do the knowing and loving. Right now, mild incompetence, poor decision quality, the odd spot of moral cowardice, and the vagaries of parenting a pre-teen are, well, part of my life. One of my cardinal rules is not to make the same mistakes twice. If I do have a fear for chemo in this context, it's that I might wind up doing exactly that. Like Groundhog Day, except with cytotoxic drugs.

I had hoped to have part 2 of the pink unicorn post [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] up this morning, examining some of my own assumptions and errors of thought with respect to the intersection of politics and religion in our culture. I have not managed to do so yet, and won't before the weekend at this point, but I respectfully direct you to the comments thread on the LiveJournal version of that post. Some good stuff there.

Given the ongoing discussion on my blog about religion and politics, I note with full irony Pat Robertson's flatly insane Christianist remarks on the Haiti earthquake. That is the intersection of American religion and American conservatism in full flower, people. From a man with access to presidents and an audience of millions. And it's stark, raving crazy stuff, fully privileged by our media and social discourse. Exactly what I'm talking about. And for my Christian friends who object to me lumping all Christians together when I talk about this stuff, Pat Robertson is one of the people who is Brand Christian in our media and culture. He asserts to speak for all God's believers, not a specific set of conservative-identified Evangelical sects. As far as our news cycle, and millions of American voters, are concerned, that "pact with the Devil" crap is the Christan perspective. I certainly don't see any moderate Christians getting his airplay, or owning his political credibility. (And to be clear, a meditation on the identity politics of religion is going to be part of that next post, when I get it done.)

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farmgirl1146
User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2010-01-15 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Christian is as Christian does.

Liberal Christian, who are probably in the majority in this country, can't get air time period. On FB I posted about UMCOR. They are the anti-Pat Robertson -- who just might be the anti-Christ. BTW, there are probably more United Methodists (UMC) (your moderate to liberal Christian folks) in the USA, well over 8 million, than Southern Baptists, who have a reputation for padding their numbers. Remember that the UMC is only one denomination of left of center religious folks.

World-wide the UMC is huge. A few months after W started the war in Iraq, the world-wide UMC church, representing many millions of people denounced the war. There was no report of this at all. Later Pat Robertson's relief group took in million of dollars for Katrina victims and, I am told, turned over less than 1/2 of donations to Katrina victims months after the fact. FEMA hired the UMCOR to teach them how to be first responders. No news agency mentioned that UMCOR was the first responder in most areas hit by Katrina.

Good fortune with the chemo. I am sending virtual hugs in lieu of real ones.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-01-15 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One of the things I really struggle with is the identity politics of all this. How incumbent is it upon me to distinguish between flavors of Christianity (UMC vs SBC, frex) when the constant messaging in media and politics is "Christian this" and "Christian that" with an almost exclusively right wing flavor, and that flavor often triumphalist and eliminationist. I know the difference, I am paying attention, but the Christian-identified issues, actions and policies in our society almost all stem from the rightward side.

It's analogous to the occasional conservative who takes me to task for lumping conservatives together, usually along the lines of "Bush wasn't a real conservative." My response to that is, hey, y'all voted in a bloc without public dissent or debate for most of my life, and no one was complaining about Bush's alleged lack of conservatism back during the Permanent Majority days. Don't whine to me now.

Likewise the Catholic Church, who in the name of abortion opposition threw their lot in with the Evangelicals 30 or 40 years ago. Once upon a time Catholics stood for social justice, education and a number of other things. Today their brand is about institutional sheltering of pedophiles and persecuting pregnant women. Why is it up to me to make the distinction now for people who spent years going along for the ride when the going looked good?
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e_bourne
User: e_bourne
Date: 2010-01-15 15:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You have made mistakes, so congratulations on being human. They are survivable. The child likely will not remember hers in a month. The other, a lesson learned and we move on.

We are crazy when it comes to religion. I remain baffled. Probably my own failure of imagination.
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Elizabeth Coleman
User: criada
Date: 2010-01-15 15:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wonder if one of the causes of a lack of non-annoying Christians in the media is that, in order to be a good (potentially non-annoying) Christian, you need to not flaunt your relgion. Jesus said so in the Bible.

That said, I'm sure Jesus would do perfectly fine in our media-driven days, and if anyone asked him why Haiti was struck by an earthquake, he would have given a perfectly mind-tripping response to those bait-laying pharisees. The existence of Pat Robertson probably should be considered a reason for a moderate to bravely speak out.
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daveraines
User: daveraines
Date: 2010-01-15 16:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I started out as a Christian television producer. My employers started a local program specifically to counterbalance Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, etc. One of the things we noticed was that every time a telegenic spokesperson for the United Methodist Church emerged, either the media or the church itself would push them back down; or ignore them to death.

I think the church was anxious about the amount of influence that gathers around charismatic TV hosts. And who knows, maybe they were right to worry. But it makes it hard to be represented well in the media.

I like your statement about Jesus. He's supposed to be present in the Body of Christ, so maybe he can still trip a few minds.
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When life gives you lemmings...
User: danjite
Date: 2010-01-15 18:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As far as our news cycle, and millions of American voters, are concerned, that "pact with the Devil" crap is the Christan perspective:

In being the one who gets the press, Robertson also winds up being represented to a great extent as the US perspective to those outside of the US.

In a very real way, Rupert Murdoch contrals news access for half the people n earth. When Robertson or any USian is a loud jackass, it is reported widely and left for viewers to decide whether it is a US majority view or not. Most viewers outside the US are as discriminating in their digestion of news pap as those inside the US.

So, while I know (and have gone to Church with and gone to pro-choice protests with) good American Christians and understand it is the whack jobs "Christers" who get all the press and so far as the world is concerned, represent US Christian opinion.

Does "turning the other cheek" have to mean submission to the forces of evil? I dunno. But the branding problem is a crisis.

Edited at 2010-01-15 06:09 pm (UTC)
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daveraines
User: daveraines
Date: 2010-01-15 18:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>> the branding problem is a crisis

It is. One way to view the problem: (a) we depend on what the marketers call "word of mouth" to establish our "brand"; and (b) fifty years ago we learned to keep our mouths shut, and continue that practice to this day. Because nice people, liberal people, don't talk religion with other people.

>> turning the other cheek... evil

That's another mistake we've allowed to proliferate, though maybe not to the same extent. When St. Matthew says "do not resist an evildoer," it would be better translated "do not resist violently" (see Walter Wink's writing on The Powers). As you noted yesterday - translation does matter! (And according to Wink, "turning the other cheek" is a strategy of nonviolent resistance; I won't bore folk with the details.)

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-01-15 18:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Y'know, being cr*p sometimes is okay for everyone, in every circumstances. Being good to yourself includes letting that happen occasionally. (Otherwise, of course, you would become perfect and thus insufferable and we would have to stop commenting...)
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martianmooncrab
User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2010-01-15 20:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Pat Robertson is one of the people who is Brand Christian in our media and culture.

..when he talks about Cleansings, I keep thinking he is constipated a lot.

Once he gets rid of those pesky non-xian types, then he will really get to work taking out the heretics, burning their godless churches and whatnot.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2010-01-15 21:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Geez, all this Religion Talk when your most important comment was then take the train home.

Have a pleasant time in Seattle and enjoy the train. And thank you for riding Amtrak Cascades Service.
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User: ex_camillea
Date: 2010-01-15 21:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking of you.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-01-16 00:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you. :)
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Paul Haines
User: paulhaines
Date: 2010-01-16 02:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
cut yourself some slack, man! eventually you'll have to, but you'll be so much more used to it and know how to handle it all.
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2010-01-16 03:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
While it might not be the chemo, you're still under an unfathomable amount of stress. I do believe you're doing the best you can. I also understand the desire to hold yourself to a higher standard and, while not a bad thing, it can add to your stress levels. Try to be a forgiving of yourself. It's okay not to want to make the same mistake again, but it's also okay to make mistakes. The thing that distinguishes you in this is when you admit you've made a mistake and are genuinely sorry. As much as you try to prevent it, hese things happen, it's the way we handle them that is important. It's hard, but try to lean on the people who love you. They want to be there for you as you've no doubt been there for them in their times of need or will be (as they well know). Take a deep breath and let go of the small stuff.
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2010-01-16 03:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Once again, my self-proofreading blindness rears its ugly head.
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