April 10th, 2005

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Frank Rich: A Culture of Death, Not Life

The NYT's Frank Rich puts out culture critiques like nobody else and for months I've been rivited, mainly by the way he pulls all the threads together and makes you see The Horror around us. Today he's got a column about the "culture of death" -- meaning all the deaths, funerals, and apocalypses in mass media lately -- that includes some particularly mind-boggling stuff.

A couple of the eye-poppers:

1) When those leaders, led by the Bush brothers, wallow in this culture, they do a bait-and-switch and claim to be upholding John Paul's vision of a "culture of life." This has to be one of the biggest shams of all time. Yes, these politicians oppose abortion, but the number of abortions has in fact been going down steadily in America under both Republican and Democratic presidents since 1990 - some 40 percent in all. The same cannot be said of American infant fatalities, AIDS cases and war casualties - all up in the George W. Bush years. Meanwhile, potentially lifesaving phenomena like condom-conscious sex education and federally run stem-cell research are in shackles.

2) Though the president of the United States believes that the jury is still out on evolution, John Paul in 1996 officially declared that "fresh knowledge leads to recognition of the theory of evolution as more than just a hypothesis."

Whole article below:

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Leapfrog. v. To jump over in or as if in leapfrog.

I seem to be leapfrogging in both my writing and editing work. I define this is moving on to projects which are further down on my "to list" and meanwhile going slow on things that should be at the top of the list. That or desperately wanting to skip down away from the immediate into the "future" project.

Why do I do this? Because somehow the thing five projects down the line is way more interesting than the thing I want to do. I feel more able to do it. I'm gripped!

Right now I've been trying to get through a manuscript I'm proofing. I'm about half-way through, which is impressive considering houseguests and the fact I got distracted reading The Persian Boy. Still, I'd intended to finish that MS before moving on, but then I got something new, purportedly last on the list, and without even meaning to, I've spent a LOT of time on it (formatting) and have now edited the first five chapters or something. And I wanna do more! Oops. I mean, I'm glad I'm getting something done, but sheesh, the editing muse is fickle!

Meanwhile among the several reasons my writing has stalled this month is the fact I got like 10 ideas last month and all of them are going "Write me! Me! Now! You!" Now I should be doing edits on the chapters of my novel I have so far, since I need to send them somewhere, but no, what do I want to do? A Wraeththu novella, another Wraeththu thing that could also be a novella or at least a long story, plus several original story ideas that are intriguing the hell out of me.

Yet the story I'm supposed to do for Outworlders writing group, with (stupid) theme of "comet"? No clue what to do, no interest. And that has to get done sometime in the next week and a half. I'd wanted to do something actually good for this year's anthology, but as always the whole fact of being forced on my theme ruins it for me. Maybe if I try to work on the novel it will make the comet story demand writing!

The grass is always greener on the other end of the to do list...
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