Monday, June 02, 2008

Falling off the edge of happiness

What I look like on the computer to Dova
The headless blogger as photographed by her 4-year-old daughter.

I may give the impression that I'm a super mom who is always happy, with-it and positive. But in reality, small perturbations can upset the equilibrium and send me into a funk. Most of the time, I can talk myself out of it ("Snap out of it, you idiot!") and a lot of the time I am just too busy to wallow in self-pity. I know, being depressed is valid condition, but I can't get past the feeling of it being a self-absorbed indulgence. Three day weekends often bring this about, as I'm apparently sensitive to shifts in daily schedule and the pressure to spend quality time with the kids.

I heard this Radio Lab episode on Deception, and learned that the power of self-deception makes us more successful and happier people. The ones who are more realistic tend to be more cynical and depressed. Which means that for the most part, I'm just deluding myself into being happy. There's a nice happy thought!

People who have self-deception often block out the painful truths about the world around them. In my non-deceptive state, I also heard this NPR story about the unspeakable horrors at the schools during the moments after the Sichuan earthquake. I was riding my bike and it affected me so deeply, my throat clenched up and I could barely breathe. And I know first hand the corruption that exists in China, which led to deliberately shoddy construction, and ultimately to the deaths of so many children. I just wish I could shut my eyes, send my money along to the relief efforts (please click and donate) and not feel the pain of all those parents.

I'm still glad that I was finalist in the Father's Day Photo Contest, but it appears that it is way too easy to cheat for anyone who has copious amounts of time (see my comment on the post). So I'll have to stop thinking about it and tell people not to bother voting.

Finally, this flaming session also put me over the edge as apparently I have very thin skin and am overly-sensitive. I was compelled to leave a comment on this episode of the Daily Breakfast (podcast from a Catholic priest from the Netherlands). A woman from New England called in to rally support against dangerous legislation that would threaten the institution of marriage. She didn't say it specifically, but it was obvious that she was talking about gay marriage. I was shocked by her self-righteous language and insinuations. I don't necessarily consider myself a die-hard liberal, but apparently I am too liberal for the audience of this show. I've recommended this podcast many times in the past, but now it has definitely been knocked out of the favorite spot. I can't even listen to it on the bike anymore because I wouldn't be able to fast forward through offensive listener feedback. If I ever become deluded into considering becoming a Catholic, I'll just come back to this post and see what an open and inclusive community these so-called religious people are (officially no chance in hell now, if that wasn't clear). I still stand by Father Roderick and his great podcasts, but his listeners suck. I will never join him on UStream so that I won't have to deal with these people. And I've also left his Facebook group, unfriended any listeners and deleted their wall posts (oh yeah, that'll show them - not!). Here's the transcript of the flaming comments.

Angela
Father Roderick,
I have been a faithful listener from the days of the Catholic Insider and I’ve listened to every one of your Daily Breakfast shows. The first feedback on marriage completely offended me as a non-Catholic. So much so that I felt physically ill and thought of unsubscribing to the show. I realize that you do not necessarily support the views of all your listeners and you did not add anything to those totally bigoted remarks. In your show notes, you added “Catholic” marriage as opposed to the legal institution of marriage that this woman was trying to “protect”. I did manage to set these intolerant comments aside and finish listening to this show. The later feedback on Mike’s pants was the best funniest feedback that I’ve heard so it was worth it. I will have to learn to fast forward through listener comments that try to force reactionary conservative views on people. I am rarely offended by people except in extreme cases. This happened to me once before with the Daily Breakfast years ago when one caller said that all of Hollywood was full of immoral degenerates. Again, you simply played the feedback and did not add anything afterwards, which I appreciate. I would prefer that you don’t play feedback that would be considered offensive to people outside of the Catholic faith. Thank you.

Terry
We would prefer people outside the Catholic faith not do things that we would consider offensive. But what you gonna do?
Jim
Thanks for sharing Angela…and let me run this by you Terry.
My take is we would prefer people (inside the Catholc faith and outside the Catholic faith) not do things that we consider offensive. The Golden Rule.
Driving down the road of life requires a series of minor corrections with the steering wheel. If people don’t receive (and give) good input, the minor corrections with the steering wheel that are needed can’t be made.
Plan A…
We want people (Catholics and Non-Catholics) to let us know when we are doing something that may be offensive to them because many times we may not be aware that our actions are causing offense. If someone points a bad habit or poor behavior out to you, thank them for letting you know.
Conversely, we need to do our best to share with others when we find their actions and behavior offensive in case they too didn’t realize their behavior is offensive. This could be as simple as leaving the mobile phone in the car.
Chances are good that once an offender realizes their actions are offensive, they will realize they have reached the limit and will do their best to refrain from the actions in the future. (Most Catholics and Non-Catholics want to be good neighbors.) The Golden Rule.
If Plan A doesn’t work, we can always escalate to Plan B and Plan C…but let’s hope Plan A works.
__________

In the case of certain Hollywood Directors/Producers working on big budget projects that are offensive and are intentionally designed to attack Catholics/Christians…Plan A and The Golden Rule clearly don’t work with them as they undertake their offensive projects targeting Christians/Catholics.
So what do you think this Hollywood Director believes about The Golden Rule? Should they be surprised that Catholics/Christians vocalize and object to their choice of project content.
The problem isn’t with the movie industry, it’s with a small part of the movie industry that produces offensive content and/or sacrifices the mental health of young actors and actresses that are vulnerable to the perceived glamour of the Hollywood fringes that have money and a camera but not much else.
Angela
Thank you for your consideration of my comments. I don’t believe that Fr. Roderick intends for the audience of this show to be strictly Catholic. I feel that feedback which includes negative generalizations against a group (which is called discrimination) or forcing religious agenda onto government policy are not in line with the tone of this show. I realize that this may be more of a problem with me than any of the other listeners who like to gobble up such propaganda, so I will be more liberal in my use of the fast forward button.
Jeff
Angela–
- You seem to assert that an attitude of “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is discrimination. Please provide supporting evidence for this assertion.
- You seem to be in favor of forcing an ATHEISTIC agenda onto government policy. Are you then in favor of removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance? Or removing “In God We Trust” from US currency?
Terry
There, a nice considered response to us reactionary listeners who gobble up propaganda - which, of course, could not possibly be a negative generalization because that would be called discrimination.
Jim
Jeff,
You are projecting a lot onto Angela.
I’m not picking that up from Angela’s comments.
I agree with Angela that this show can appeal to more people than just Catholics.
And this is a great place for non-Catholics and Catholics to come together to learn more about each other and enjoy each others thoughts and interests.
I would be curious to learn more about what details in the marriage discussion offended Angela. … and Angela, you may want to be careful how you use the word bigot and intolerant….
Angela
The legal institution of marriage is all about money, estate and benefits. This is different from the religious institution of marriage. I do not believe legal marriages needs to be limited to man and woman couples. Sure, ban them from getting married in your churches. But having same sex marriage does not necessarily make society crumble. Since I am doomed to be flamed in these comments, this will my last entry.

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