The Ethics of Looking, Part 3

A shorter post than usual — Wednesday is choir night, after all.

I’m following up on previous musings regarding the topic-cluster of domestic violence, NFL culture, media news vultures and Ray and Janay Rice. Here are parts 1 (soapbox mode) and 2 (my own complicity).

Let’s call Part 3, “When ethics cause inconvenience; or: walking the walk.

Apparently, John Stewart had some very insightful, incisive and funny things to say on The Daily Show last week about how the NFL handled Ray Rice’s February assault on his wife (then fiancee) — or, one could say, how they didn’t handle the incident.

I wouldn’t know. Or at least, I wouldn’t know past the 30-second mark, ‘cos that’s when the first frame from TMZ showed up.*

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The Three F’s

The Day 2 challenge for Blogging 101 is about editing your blog title and tag line. To me, it’s an additive exercise to yesterday’s “who am I and why am I writing” meditation — now just taken that one next step of distilling that mission statement to its essence in order to create a title and tagline that, to quote the assignment, “give visitors context and help them decide to stick around.”

Obviously, being as I am already 5 years and/or 6 months into the game, I have a well-established blog title,* and it’s one I’m not eager to change. The question of tagline, though, is wide open for consideration, and I’m happy to talk about both these elements after the jump.

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In Medias Manifesto

Because I have decided that 5 hours of sleep per weeknight is just too much of a luxury, I have decided to enroll in another challenge over at WordPress’s Blogging U. Blogging 101 is intended for individuals right in the start-up phases of bloggy creation. This invitation to register articulates the deliverables in this fashion:

On Day 30, you’ll have six (or more!) published posts and a handful of drafts, a customized theme that reflects your personality, a small but growing audience, a good grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new online friends.

So, considering that I first founded JALC some 5 years ago, and revived it more than 6 months ago, I am either well behind the times or way ahead of the game on this one. Still, I think it’ll be a good exercise for me.

I’ve been in recent conversations about the value of design thinking, and the ways that taking the time to step back and question your automatic habits and questions can be a good way to unlock a more intentional creativity. I see the Blogging 101 container as a way for me to foster that sort of intentionality here on JALC.

So, here we go…

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Self-Care as an Expression of Privilege

On some axis of consideration or other, I had a more productive weekend than last. Less TV time, a bit more in-the-house puttering (laundry!) and out-of-the-house errand-running (haircut!).

There was even a bit of time carved for self-care. Not through using Mr. Mezzo’s birthday present — the time for that will come soon enough (at least, one hopes it will) — but through a appointment Mr. and I already had on the books to try out one of the local massage studios. From our comparing of notes, it seems as if both practitioners had a good energy and level of expertise, and we like the ambience of the place. In the spirit of being a little bit more regular in the practice of self-care, I’m wondering if I can budget my time and dollars so that I can go back every 3 or 4 weeks for regular sessions.

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Self-Care as a Political and Spiritual Act

I had a birthday not so very many days ago. Mr. Mezzo had rather the thoughtful and aspirational gift for me: a bathtub tray. You know, one of those things that allows you to have a glass of beverage (wine, water, pick your poison) and a book propped up while soaking in the tub?

My unfolding internal study of this object and its meaningfulness to me is, if nothing else, a nice capsule example of the ways I am — for better or for worse — so often deep in the study of my life, even down to its tiniest details.

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Many Hands Make Light(er) Work

I am usually able to sustain a pace of approximately one essay per day here on JALC. Certainly, I have fantasies of writing lots more than that: sometimes those fantasies express themselves in the desire to write shorter or faster posts — which is probably obvious, considering the number of times I (falsely) promise at a post’s outset to write something quick. Usually, though, these fantasies take the shape of the “megamillions dream” — the notion of suddenly, magically having enough financial resource that I could stop working for other people’s companies and instead write all day.  The interesting thing, as I’ve been studying these fantasies, is that I’m not in any self-delusion about the writing being quick and effortless.

i_poop_rainbowsI can’t find it now, but I remember reading some snarky-brilliant quote once about how “everyone wants to have written a novel, but very few people actually want to do the work of writing said novel.” I get that writing take work. Between research, drafting, outlining, writing, editing, and posting, I usually spend between 2-3 hours per night here on JALC. So I’m not imagining that essays will magically spring from my typing fingers like unicorns shitting rainbows. However, the thought of having 10-12 hours a day I could devote to those tasks, and the idea of what I could produce in that sort of space? I cannot deny it’s a seductive notion.

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The Ethics of Looking, Part 2

660px-J.P._Losman_tackled_in_the_end_zone_by_Ty_Warren_2006-09-10I mentioned recently that I’m a sports fan. I grew up watching Pittsburgh Steelers games on TV with my Dad, and then as the Bill Belichick era commenced, added the Pats to my regular Sunday rooting roster. I’m not the number crunching, stats analyzing, fantasy football-playing kind of fan, but I know my linebacker from my running back, and I can get passionate enough during a game to yell at the television set — as if my voice will magically fly through the ether to affect play in favor of whichever team I have labeled to be “the good guys.”

I mention all of this because I am still wondering about the ethics of what we choose to watch — only this time, I don’t have the benefit of getting all up on my morally superior soapbox like I did last night. Tonight, I am contemplating my own complicity in supporting the NFL’s culture of violence and misogyny.

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