cultural absurdity, healthy living, real living in a virtual world

The Great American Mind Hack.

Irma’s gone -we’re all fine- and wreaked a bit of havoc on some of our extended family farther north. Except for the loss of power and few trees down, they are all fine as well. Floridians south and west of us took much harder hits, so keep them in your prayers and donate money (or not) to whatever charities you will. I wouldn’t however, suggest large doses of media coverage about this storm’s aftermath. I felt the same way about Harvey and was less much anxious about Irma as a result.

All of this brings me to the point of this post: the great American mind hack. It’s real, it’s relentless, and our only defense is awareness and diligence to maintain a firewall against the hackers. This friends, is not easy. At least it isn’t for me. I have been going into overdrive with this one of late, and I still find myself needing to continuously update my firewall.

I don’t have much to add except for a few excellent links I’ve recently encountered on the subject. The first is an article in which Zuckerberg and company pretty much admit they are all about taking away your privacy AND your anonymity as these are vices which allow you to harbor and express your deepest thoughts uncontested and unmolested. Here’s an teaser from How Sillion Valley is erasing your individuality:

To take another grand theory, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has exclaimed his desire to liberate humanity from phoniness, to end the dishonesty of secrets. “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly,” he has said. “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Of course, that’s both an expression of idealism and an elaborate justification for Facebook’s business model.

In a sphere of anonymous (or at least semi-anonymous) bloggers, that should make you shudder regardless of your ideology. Eponymity for everyone! Which is one of the hundreds of reasons we don’t like Facebook.

In that same vein, this interview with Franklin Foer,  the writer of the first piece, where we see a theme begin to emerge:

And you think we’re being manipulated into giving up our privacy? The book mentions that Silicon Valley libertarianism gets all the attention, but you say that the “collapse of the individual” is actually the guiding ethos. How did you come to that?

To be clear, “Silicon Valley” is a fairly glib and imprecise term, so when I use it, I am referring to its elites, and to its thought leaders, not to the average engineer.

I started just watching every YouTube video I could get of a town hall meeting featuring Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, and so on. I started listening to what they were saying and it wasn’t a lot of screeds against government or celebrations of the heroic individual. What I found was this love of all things social. The network is the most fetishized concept in the valley, and as I listened, I began to think the real danger was the collectivism. They were so obsessed with achieving some sort of new global consciousness, and I found them to be completely immune to all reasonable anxieties about the state of the individual.

If supposed libertarianism is getting too much attention, which attitude do you think we’re not looking at enough?

Monopoly. When you listen to most people in Silicon Valley talk about the network they talk about it as a winner-take-all system. The idea of the network is that you make a bet on the right company and they capture the network and all the other market players disappear. I think that’s a very common way of thinking.

If you listen to the way that people like Larry Page talk about competition, they abhor the idea of competition. They think of it as something that’s almost beneath them. So rather than competing against Apple, or Uber, they would much rather focus on their moonshot ideas and doing something truly transformational, and this replicates language that we’ve heard throughout history.

The last link is a video that Hearth shared with me a few days ago, on which the title of this post is based.  The distinctions he makes betweem pleasure and  happiness, and the result of the conflation of the two and the aggressive marketing of plasure seeking onto the American populace is enlightening. I also appreciated his distinction between marketing and propaganda.

Yeah, yeah, I know none of this is news to most people who read here, but it’s worth a listen because we’ve evolved to the point where technology can provide that dopamine *hit* for many people. I am slightly hesitant to buy into this too much, but only because the word addiction makes me uncomfortable due to its ability to offer cover for people in situations where they really can just dig deep and learn to stop it.

Some food for thought I thought worth passing on.

 

 

Advertisements
cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, wife stuff

Abuse?

I’ma keep this one short and sweet as this blog is quickly morphing into a “Hmmm. Isn’t that interesting?” type of deal. That may be for the best.

I got this tidbit from Dr. Helen in my feed and once again wondered if I am living in a paralel universe:

We’ve all read the articles and blog posts about how to stop yelling at the kids. But for me, my shouting was aimed in a different direction — at my husband.

So I decided to see if applying the same rules about not yelling at my hubby would yield the same benefits as it does with kids.

I started out thinking I’d simply “not yell anymore.” I managed it for a few days, but as all my projects and hobbies tend to go, it wasn’t long until I slid back into old habits.

You can read the entire referenced article here, but I was dumbfounded.

I cannot imagine yelling at my husband, and not just because it’s wrong even though I’d like to think I’ve grown enough to start from there. But I am, to be honest, a little unnerved and…dare I say it? Afraid of it. There. I said it.

This, even though I know he’d rather die than harm me, and he’s not going to start yelling back at me either. What I will experience, to quote something a friend wrote once, is being:

IMMEDIATELY and unpleasantly corrected. So … ahem. Not really an issue. Never has been.

To many people today, this means I am abused; because I tremble slightly at the thought of yelling at a grown man as if he were a little boy. And even though I can’t imagine feeling more loved and cherished in any other circumstance or with any other person.

 

 

 

American identity, cultural absurdity, healthy living, Uncategorized

Don’t watch the news.

I grew up in a house where watching the news to stay informed was considered a mature and reasonable thing for an adult to do. My dad read the paper faithfully every morning, watched the 6 PM news faithfully every evening, and rounded it out with Peter Jennings at 6:30. I am not as faithful about the news as he was, but I always had at least a side eye on what’s happening. However, American news outlets are a one way ticket to CrazyTown.

Abandon American national news media via television or radio. Check local weather online (we live in a hurricane zone and it’s peak season here for the next six weeks, so…). Only read national news twice a week, and world news from non-American sources. Yes, the BBC is a liberal outlet, but it’s still better than ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/MSNBC, etc. And at least with them I can get news on what’s happening in Afghanistan, which I like to stay on top of for familial reasons. Other than that, it’s best to tune out.

Every person I know who seems sane and untouched by the crazy is a person who has no idea what’s happening in the news.

American identity, cultural absurdity

American stupidity is more like it.

This morning during the cool down after our run, our daughter told me about a  singer –Allen Stone– she recently encountered via Spotify. The lyrics to one of his songs follows:

American Privelege

Oh, it doesn’t seem right that I, I was born white
And my seven-stone fight told me they love me each night
I don’t lose sleep for kids sewing my sheets
Or the ones snitching my sneaks, as long as I can buy ’em both cheap

American privilege, is blurring my vision, inherited sickness
American privilege, is blurring my vision, inherited sickness

Everyday I piss money away, I’m the tip of your slave
Just tryna polish this ball and this chain
‘Cause I, I don’t think twice, just keep it out of my sight, oh
Bitch, don’t kill my vibe, no, bitch don’t kill my vibe

American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness
American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness

As long as I stay comfortable
(Cash that paycheck, spend it all)
(Build that house up big and tall)
Break the bank to build the wall
(Robbing Peter to pay Paul)
As long as I stay comfortable
(Robbing Peter to pay Paul)

American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness
American privilege, keeps blurring my vision, inherited sickness

 

She did some recon on this guy after encountering the song and…lo and behold! His dad is a pastor and his mom a nurse. In other words, with such parentage, he probably would’ve been fine no matter what color they were.

Her thoughts:

“I liked his music until this silly song played. He completely missed it when his privilege, as a straight white male, was revoked. Most of what he describes of his life is also my experience. The great life with the happily married parents is likely because he was raised in a Christian home rather than a white one. I’m as privileged -if not more- than he is. Only privileged white people left in America are white women, and that’s because they’re women. “

This current climate is easy to reduce to sound bites and sides but it really is complicated. 

I ran across this guy recently. Despite his misunderstanding of diversity and obvious affinity for BLM (Garvey’s Ghost echoes my thoughts on that movement) he is at least intellectually honest enough to acknowledge that white men are being demonized and denigrated by the liberal media as much as black men have been, even though the genesis and motivations are different.

 

black in a multi-culti world, cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, family life

Friday Frivolities 9

Random points, in no particular order, on the fly:

Consumer PSA: After spending a small fortune -two short years ago!- on what we thought was a very nice stainles steel refrigerator from the company which declares that life is good, the thing started warming a week ago. A technician came out, and declared that we have to wait another week for the part because “life is good’s” refrigerator compressors are going out in kitchens all over town. Apparently, it’s a thing. How, I ask, did we miss this, given our propensity to do research before we buy? It occurs to me that we’ve bought two in 15 years whereas both my husband and I spent two decades in our parents’ house and never saw either of our dads have to buy a new fridge.

The cognitive dissonance of feminism: Thinking about the Google guy and the fallout from his so-called manifesto. I am still occasionally struck by how stupid feminism is. That it is inherently misogynistic. Rather than accepting women’s differences from men as just that, and worth celebrating, they themselves view femininity as weakness. They then project their own neuroticism and insecurity with their femininity onto those who dare say out loud that women are indeed different from men. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad, and wasn’t ruining countless numbers of lives and psyches.

Post commencement thoughts: We graduated our twins from college recently. I know there are readers who have all kinds of *issues* with that, but whatever. I trust my man’s judgment implicitly on this one. More than that, I agree. I was taking some mental notes at both commencement exercises.

At the first ceremony there were roughly 1200 graduates. Around 40 of the roughly 170 black graduates were black men (yes, I was counting). I’m fairly certain at least three of those were gay.

At the second commencement there were roughly 1500 graduates. I wasn’t quite as attentive to the numbers, but I would estimate nearly 250 black graduates, with approximately 100 black men and that was because the second group of colleges were heavy with areas of study that more male oriented fiels of study. They also handed out roughly 30 doctorates in computer science and engineering. With the exception of two candidates, EVERY announced candidate was of Asian or Middle Eastern descent. Make of that what you will…

We’ll start our new school year on Monday:  I think we’re all ready for it. The kids are very excited about their new classes in te Classical program we enrolled them in. Depite the sticker shock, it doesn’t really equate to less work for me. Just more help, and it’s help I’m glad to get. This despite the fact that I have to get ready to read -along with our 11-yer-old- a lot of book not previously in my reading queue. Among them (not an exhaustive list):

  • Captains Courageous, which she has already been assigned to begin reading before classes start next week.
  • The Samurai’s Tale
  • The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom
  • The Three Musketeers

Pretty sure there are very few middle schoolers (whether privately or public schooled) being challenged to read great literature. Like I said, we’re excited. There are lots of fun, challenging, and enriching things on tap for the school year. Now, to get us out of this summer fluidity and restore some structure…

Have any of you started your new school years yet? I suspect the northerners who read here can’t even begin to imagine school starting weeks before Labor Day.

Have a good weekend!

 

 

 

cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

In defense of echo chambers.

Got your attention, huh?

This really isn’t a defense of echo chambers. Perhaps it is, but not the way echo chambers are commonly referenced. After only a week of serious winnowing, I almost immediately recognized a more consistent and prolonged state of peace in my mind and heart.

This is off the cuff, and I’m not going to spend time editing it, so bear with me and use your stellar intellects to fill the things that should go without saying. I know that’s sometimes hard in 2017 America, but just try. Really hard.

It is commonly accepted as a virtue in American life to be willing to have our assumptions challenged and hear other points of view. To the extent that we are willing to do that, no matter how destructive the form in which these challenge and viewpoints are offered, we are considered “reasonable”, “tolerant”, and “open” to other points of view.

In general, I am a big fan of hearing other points of view. I think it’s good to evaluate ourselves, our actions, and our ways of thinking rather than assume that we’re all good all the time or that nothing about us needs to change. This morning, however, I had a light bulb moment and realized that it’s one thing to be open to examining other points of view. That is a good thing.

It’s an altogether different thing to engage in repeated dialogue with people who have starkly different points of view from you, who disdain your perspective and whose perspective you equally disrespect.

So for example, if I want to read a thoughtful critique of another sister’s view point on marriage and family order or birth control, it is best for me to do that with the intent to read it, walk away from it and examine it without engaging in a dialog with her about it. In other words, I can read Christian feminist Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, consider her perspective (with which I still vehemently disagree even after reading the book) and walk away with my soul unscathed by a knock down drag out debate on some Internet forum.

Perhaps I am more cognizant as I am getting older. The husband said last night, “I still can’t believe we have three kids out of college. Where did the time go?” Things like that certainly give one pause about the importance of how she spends her time. I don’t even mind acknowledging that I am getting older because I have not -for the most part anyway- wasted my life.

It is simply healthier to have the lion’s share of our discussions on love, life, and even politics, with those who will encourage us in the values we truly believe are right. Echo chambers -particularly of the Christian variety- serve a distinct purpose.

If and when I engage in dialog with someone whom I disagree for any reason other than to truly understand or offer something to think about for the purpose of trying to help that person from a place of love rather than snobby, smug superiority, I am better off not bothering. To just keep my thoughts- and my fingers- to myself.

American identity, cultural absurdity, Humility is important

America: One big fun house mirror.

President Trump’s latest undignified, poor impulse control theatrics has the media trotting out the “beneath the dignity of the office” line. Indeed, before i heard any news report, I even used the words: “That is so undignified”.

All it took however, was one good cup of coffee and clarity took hold. This is who we are, and by we I mean collective America; undignified, impulse driven, show boating, shameless, and daring anyone to confront our right to do what we want, when we want, and how we want. Of course we elected a president who does exactly the same.

One would certainly hope that by 70 years of age, a bit of maturity would kick in, yet I am reminded of one of my stepmother’s cardinal sayings: “Wisdom done not come from age, wisdom comes from God.”

That a media and corporate complex which relentlessly pushes exactly this type of emotion-driven, flesh-fueled approach to life would start to yell “undignified” when the man the people they service elected behaves in precisely the way they prescribe and reward crystallizes how distorted our self- images are. It’s as if we’re surrounded by fun house mirrors with no sense of how the behavior we condemn is part and parcel of American life.

This is occurring as I am reading books that touch on these themes as well. One of them is very recently published, and I have been dissecting and writing on it chapter by chapter.

The next installment includes a chapter on how unbecoming, unchaste, and embarrassing behavior is the new normal as a direct result of the current technology. The Anthony Weiner incident is used as a prime example, which speaks for itself.

For every person who understands full well that their antics are on display, there are others who find themselves having their naivete and sense of intimacy betrayed by people they thought they could trust. In a sane world, most people would refrain if only for fear of public shame, but that no longer exists either.

The other book, Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch, was published in 1978, and yet somehow, with no knowledge of what life would be like in 2017 he tapped into the pulse of what we see today. America has been headed for this, complete with a nutty, no holds barred, undignified commander in chief for quite some time.

The president’s antics are simply an extension of the way many Americans live their lives and share their thoughts; unfiltered and without reservations for all the world to see. The pause button has been disabled until after the fact and when it’s too late.

So pardon me if once again, I find my outrage meter mysteriously on the fritz at the latest round of American pearl clutching. My ironic humor meter, however, is working just fine and we got a good laugh this morning here at our house.

cultural absurdity, just for fun, Living with other believers, real living in a virtual world

The bliss of ignorance in a world of pots projecting and kettles kvetching.

This is a reboot of the conversation on faith that wrestles. The first post is here.

Projection is as much a part of being human as breathing. We all do it, since we cannot help viewing things through the lens of our experiences. However, as we grow up, and particularly as we grow spiritually the desire, followed by the skill to temper that impulse, should grow as well.

This culture however, offers us every opportunity to spend our entire lives projecting our issues onto other people, judging, and engaging in smug, self-righteous finger pointing while neglecting to confront sin in our own lives. The Internet exacerbates this tendency for obvious reasons. I don’t want to park here yet, although I will return to this point. When our older girls were young I told them often:

“Respect others’ right to be different from you.”

General principles of right and wrong are one thing. Expecting that to translate into the same look for others as it does for you means you’ve overstepped your boundaries. To the extent that you need to pick someone apart over the insignificant, it reveals discomfort with yourself, your choices, and your life, regardless of claims to the contrary..

With our younger children I find a different lesson emerging more often and it’s very helpful that it can be quoted verbatim from the pages of Scripture. Paul admonishes those who judge others for the very things that they themselves do:

in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

To use a well known colloquialism: The pot calling the kettle black may annoy me, but more than that, it annoys God.

I also recently reminded them how strongly God hates our complaining, using Numbers 21 as an example. We err when we presume upon the grace we have been freely given and use it as an excuse to live a life without intention, ignoring the “minute” sins we engage in daily. Sins which we condemn in others and yet excuse in ourselves. Everywhere you look, listen and read, our culture is full of this. Complaining is the most ubiquitous.

Women complain about men complaining about women. Men complain about women who complain about men. Whites complain about blacks who complain about whites while both complain about Hispanics. Democrats complain about Republicans complaining about Democrats. Communists and Alternative Righters complain about them both. News articles and programs are speculation masquerading as facts. OpEds are mistaken for news, and we are constantly invited to point and stare at personal train wrecks made news which in years’ past we were able to live blissfully unaware.

Whole forums and platforms are chiefly dedicated to picking apart and condemning others for their views, lifestyles and choices. On and on they go. The most ironic and catchy title is one called ‘Get Off My Internets.” Christians, who should know better, have increasingly joined the fray.

I’ve made a pretty big push over the last couple of months to eliminate these kinds of things from my life, but as I noted before, old habits die hard, and it’s very hard to un-know something once you know it. None of this is to say that it is wrong to commiserate online or offer commentary on controversial topics. I have no intention of fully withdrawing.

It is, however, becoming increasingly obvious to me how much happier are the people who live blissfully ignorant; not only of news which they can do nothing about, but without a care in the world with regard to anyone but Christ’s opinion -along with those they are truly accountable to- about what they do, what they think, and how or whether they express it.

It’s one thing to understand clearly and without wavering that stealing is wrong, that lying is wrong, that divorce is bad, or that murder is evil. It’s also wise to be willing to acknowledge that not all choices are equal regardless of circumstance. These are things that we should encourage one another in so that we all come to a fuller measure of faith. Too often however, we use the worldly maxim “public knowledge means fair game” to allow ourselves a wide berth in condemning others without ever once stopping to consider how we might feel if we were in their shoes.

All of this points to something we neglect to consider. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so too do our spirits. Absent the spiritual sustenance we need to think on the Beautiful, the intellectual stimulation we need to think on the True, and physical challenge required to keep us actively productive, we’re left with nothing more than spiritual death, mental junk, and physical atrophy.

This approach to life outside of eternal matters and minding our own business is greatly underrated:

don't know don't care

 

cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, Uncategorized

Wonder Woman fails as an empowering feminist trope.

At least it does in my opinion.

We were a family of four for most of the weekend and our twins wanted to see the new Wonder Woman flick. I was curious about it more than anything, and Benevolent Dictator went along in the interest of togetherness. He was tired, needed a nap, and slept (literally) through half the film.  Of course he has been known to doze during films he attends solely because his girls desire his proximity. This is no way offends us.

But I digress.

One would assume, given the feminist hype and press surrounding this film, that it’s a patriarchy crushing, glass ceiling shattering romp to make the suffragettes turn to one another in their graves and fist bump. One would be wrong. If there was ever a film which exemplifies the idea of feminists grasping at straws for evidence of an empowered woman, this is it.

Oh yeah..spoiler alert.

Despite the reports of grown women crying with joy during Wonder Woman’s fight scenes, there really is nothing novel here. Wonder woman is hardly a new character after all, and there have been other movies with strong, kick butt, human women in the leading roles. Those films were mostly far fetched drivel which received less commerical hype, but at least they fulfill the empowered woman trope.

How does the stellar fighting ability of the female progeny of Hippolyta, Queen of the [mythical] Amazons and Zeus, King of the [mythical] Greek gods in any way translate into something an average girls can aspire to? A goddess is portrayed as powerful.  Perhaps I am missing something because I left the theater telling my husband, “I didn’t get it”.

Despite The Guardian’s going on about Wonder Woman’s questionable sexual orientation, the central theme of her awakening is the love story between her and Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine. The only slight hint of anything resembling what this article implied was Diana Prince’s revelation that her sexual education (acquired through books on her island homeland) revealed that men while men are vital for procreation, they are not necessarily needed for pleasure. This is human sexuality 101, not female empowerment.

It makes you wonder, if this is what the film makers really wanted to convey, why Diana Prince and Steve Trevor spend a night together as a pivotal moment when their love is “sealed”, given that they were not married and procreation was not the intended aim. If she does not believe men are necessary for pleasure, and she does not want a child, what is the point of their union? It just smacked of more grasping at straws in an attempt to give professional SIW the nod they demand from Warner Brothers and DC Comics.

There are the obligatory scenes to reveal what ife was like for women in government and military settings at the dawn of the 20th century. Again, no new ground was tilled here, and it was nothing that you don’t see in any number of movies set in the early half of the 20th century.

The denoument, however, is where the feminist trope really breaks down. As Diana Prince/Wonder Woman comes to terms with the reality of human nature, she has a choice to make about who she wants to be in this complex human world. It isn’t her personal convictions or strength which drive her to make the right decision.

Rather, the audience gets to go back with her through memories of her moments with Steve, the wisdom he imparted to her, and the love he shared with her before heroically sacrificing himself to save the lives of thousands of people and instigate a moment so pivotal it turns the war toward it’s much needed end. In other words, it was the love a good (not to mention well above average) man which saves Diana from the despair that threatened to overtake her as she comes to terms with human corruption.

Like I said before, as celebratory feminist characters go, this one falls far short. They’d have done better to revamp Thelma and Louise with younger actresses.

Lest I am understood, and for those who don’t know, I have a healthy disdain for feminism and no desire to sit through a film which celebrates the notion of women empowered apart from men because girl power. As such, I was rather pleased that this movie is not at all what the left leaning press portrayed it to be.

The film itself was pretty well done. From an artistic standpoint, the visuals were nice and according to my comic book loving daughter, it stayed true to the original character. Gal Gadot is stunning, as any actress playing Wonder Woman would have to be.

The love scene between Diana Prince and Steve Trevor was reminiscent of the way it was done in eras of more propriety.  In other words, even though you know what happened, you weren’t subjected to the assault of having to watch it.

There is one scene where Chris Pine is 80% naked (not a sex scene, but still). Be warned if you’re tempted to take younger children because it’s a super hero film. DC Comics films are usually edgier than Marvel films anyway as a general rule.

If you’re looking for girl power you’ll find plenty of it, but it’s tempered. Diana Prince gushes over babies, relishes the taste of ice cream, and falls madly in love with a handsome hero. While she may not need him for physical protection,  Wonder Woman is not portrayed as a strong independent woman who don’t need no man.

I was reminded of fight scenes where one fighter taunts another with the question: “Is that all you’ve got?”

American identity, Common sense, cultural absurdity, Humility is important

Commitment as long as it works for you isn’t commitment.

During a very edifying time with a friend, we got on to the subject of the innate problem most Americans, including Christians, have with commitment. We weren’t discussing marriage.  Although there is certainly an argument to be made even on that subject, there have been (literally) no divorces in the relatively large circle of families we have been blessed to have fellowship with over the past five years. A couple of close scrapes, but they weathered the storms and came out on the other side, usually happier it seemed. So no, this isn’t about marriage commitments.

It’s about the kinds of commitments that make a viable Christian community over the long haul possible, but which no one -myself included- really want to commit to. At some point the needs of my family, my kids’ education, or my perspective may change in a way that continued commitment to that community won’t work for me anymore. By won’t work, I mean become inconvenient, not comforting, non-affirming, or in some other way fail to add measurable benefit to my life as needs dictate at that time.

The freedom to go for the gold, forge our own paths, rebel against “tyranny” and maximize our potential are what it means to be an American. There are few things in life worth giving up that kind of autonomy for, so in order to spare ourselves the messiness of disentangling from one thing to seamlessly move on to another, we resist committing to anything. Then we wonder why there is no depth of Christian community nor sufficient support, socialization, and connections between believers so that our young people aren’t floundering when it’s time to find a good job, Christian social lives, or a suitable Christian mate. Or why some of them have already determined that family life is not worth the risks or the sacrifices. It’s because we’ve set a poor example.

This admonishment is as much for me as anyone else. After all my impressive rhetoric (according to my friend), when she proposed that I might be the perfect person to fill a particular role, my immediate response was, ” I don’t know, [Carol]. That’s a big commitment!”

…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.