Sheryl Sandberg, billionaire slave driver.

I find Sheryl Sandberg to be quite repellent – not because she is physically ugly, on the contrary, she is a nice looking woman – but rather because her personality is so ugly.  Given what a scold she is, I am always amazed that she is taken so seriously by so many men.  This fact shakes the good opinion I have of men’s general common sense.  From the Air Force to world economic summits, the men in charge seek her out to gather the misleading pearls that fall from her destructive lips. The woman is COO of a social media site, people!  She did not cure cancer or invent some lifesaving or labor-saving technology.  Why the hell do people think she is some kind of Wise Genius?

Let us consider one of her better-known tidbits of evil wisdom.  Mrs. Sandberg wrote in her book Lean In:

“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.”

I can only conclude that she secretly hates women and wants us to be miserable and unhappy. My advice: do exactly the opposite of anything Mrs. Sandberg advises you to do.  Assume everything she says is the opposite of reality.

Do not date bad boys.  Do not date crazy boys or commitment-phobic boys.  Ever.  And don’t imagine that you will find a man who wants an equal partner “sexier”.  You won’t.

Laura Wood has Sheryl Sandberg’s number:

“WHEN a corporate plutocrat in charge of one of the largest propaganda companies in the world urges people to give their entire lives to their jobs, to “lean in” as she likes to put it, shouldn’t people be just a tad suspicious of her motives? Is it possible that the marginalization of leisure and the family just might be in her interests?

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of bestselling Lean In, has been pushing the gender revolution for years and she gets more and more ridiculous as she goes. Here she is at the recent meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the oligarchy meets to wage psychological warfare against families and nations and to promote the global triumph of the debt-finance system. (Do you believe there is even such a thing as the World Economic Forum!? What chutzpah these people have! Seriously, they can’t even disguise their blatant intentions for world control.) From Sandberg:

“We assign our chores to our children in the United States, and it can be worse in other parts of the world… The boys are taking out the trash, it takes less time than cleaning the dishes and they get bigger allowances. We start out in our homes with these very different expectations and the time spent on these tasks is incredibly important.”

She went on:

It doesn’t stop there: “Mothers will systematically overestimate their sons’ crawling, and underestimate their daughters’.”

I’m sorry to be cynical, but I believe the ridiculousness of these remarks is calculated. It is calculated to get attention and cause discussion and petty strife. Conflict and emotional disagreements keep the people from wondering why the heck anyone is listening to this billionaire slave driver in the first place.

Well, it doesn’t keep me from wondering about it.  I like my job and try to do it well, but I don’t want to be a slave to it.   It’s not my life and my identity – my Lord and my family are my life and my identity.  But without faith, kin, and kith, what is left?  One’s job.  It’s hardly any wonder that Mrs. Sandberg, as part of a tiny and very wealthy elite who benefit by keeping women enslaved to their jobs, wants us to define ourselves in terms of our jobs and gives women terrible advice about dating bad boys and marrying men who want “equal partners” (which in the Sandbergian tongue means men who are ambitious for their wives to lean into their jobs even after marriage and children).  A woman without a family has nothing else to devote herself to besides leaning into her job.  A woman with a money-grubbing “equalist” husband has no choice but to lean into her job.  And these women make Sheryl Sandberg even richer and even more respected by men in power.

 

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“You can do what you want”: transplantism instead of tradition and friends instead of family.

The author of the blog Face to Face sometimes writes about the social trend he calls transplantism, which refers to people who migrate in adulthood to a different state from where they were born and grew up.  It seems to mean not just moving, but moving in order to satisfy some aspect of status-striving. He outlines three types of status-striving: career, lifestyle, and persona.

He has a number of very interesting posts on this subject, but one caught my eye on Thanksgiving evening, as I was relaxing with a cup of coffee just before we left to go out of town overnight, Transplant-ism Breaking Down Large Family Reunions on Thanksgiving.
Read the whole post (it’s brief), but I’ve picked out a quote that I found interesting:

“My memories of Thanksgiving in the ’80s still included most of the extended family, aside from an uncle and his wife who moved Out West awhile ago (my cousins through them were absent, too). For those of my mother’s siblings who stayed in the general region, it was common to see all the aunts and uncles, as well as the cousins, and of course the grandparents on that side. But those get-togethers involved one-way travel times of at most three hours by car for all involved, and usually under two hours. You could travel there and back in the same day, so nobody needed to put you up.

Contrast with today, where transplants spend seven or eight hours door-to-door, one-way, and will have to be put up for one or more nights.

There’s another way in which the lifestyle strivers seem to be making things worse. Since they’re foodies, meals are a fashion contest, and fashion corrodes tradition. So why would a foodie want to trek all the way back to family, just to have the same old things for Thanksgiving? They would rather spend Thanksgiving alone and pick up a pre-made dinner from Whole Foods, as long as they put sriracha in the stuffing. That’s something you could post to Facebook for status points — not whatever your non-foodie parents would have prepared.”

I found it interesting because this is a subject I’ve written about a bit myself*.  But I didn’t realize how bad the whole “foodie” and “friends instead of family” thing had gotten, especially among Gen Y and millennials. I even wondered if maybe he was exaggerating a little bit.

We got into the car and when we hit the highway, I settled back and decided to read the news on NPR on my phone.  This was literally the headline article:

How to Put Real Giving into the Friendsgiving Feast:

“Culturally, we’ve seen the rise of Friendsgiving, as young professionals take the opportunity to create the Thanksgiving they want with their friends,” says Clay Dunn, chief communications officer for Share Our Strength, a hunger nonprofit. “You can avoid your Aunt Ina’s terrible cranberry sauce. You can do what you want.”

And as long as you’re reinventing traditions, he says, why not put more emphasis on the “giving” in your feast? That’s the idea that Share Our Strength is pushing this year. It’s asking people to leverage their holiday goodwill by turning their friendly gatherings into fundraising opportunities to fight childhood hunger.

[…] So if the Friendsgiving fundraiser piques your interest, there are plenty of places to look for tips on planning the feast, like here and here. Share Our Strength has resources, including templates for table name cards and a Pinterest board for cooking and decorating inspiration, too.

[…] And if the do-good feeling isn’t enough to motivate you, Dunn says there are prizes. The top fundraiser will get to tour the official Food Network kitchens in New York.

I just had to laugh at how well the guy from Face to Face had described this.  Hey, don’t like the boring cranberry sauce that’s going to be served at your family’s?  Then don’t even bother with that multi-state drive home to see them.  Do what you want, but whatever you do, make sure to earn status points by creating fancy table name cards and signaling how charitable you are by making it a fundraiser for some charity no one’s ever heard.  Of course, there might be a little somethin’ in it for you, you Foodie, you!  How many of your friends have gotten to tour the Food Network kitchens, I ask you!

The sad thing is that these young people are chasing after the lie of modernity that blood is no thicker than water.  It’s not really about with whom you ate Thanksgiving dinner this year so much as it is about the whole ethos of the age, the disconnectedness, rootlessness, and emptiness of individualism (“You can do what you want!”) in place of family, faith, and tradition.

*Here are a few of my posts that are related to this subject:

Thankful for the blood.

I’m in a flurry of cleaning, baking, and cooking, but I did want to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  And this will sound…oh I don’t know, trite?  cliche?…but bear with me please.  What I want to tell you is to stop and just let your heart be filled with gratitude for the family you have, your blood relatives and your in-laws, however imperfect they may be. Yes, everyone says that, but the thing is to truly do it.  And then tell them how much you love them.

On Halloween, a young man at my daughter’s high school, a senior, died in a catastrophic car crash not far from school.  This is a small town and everybody pretty much knows everyone else, so not only the family but the whole community was pretty much devastated.

His obituary read, “[He] lived in Chelsea his entire life.”

My daughter told me that at the candlelight vigil, his sobbing older sister addressed everyone, saying:

“If you guys would do one thing for me: take stock of your life and tell everyone you love them. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Apparently she and her brother had had the typical sort of sibling relationship and didn’t exactly spend much time expressing their love for each other.  She had gone off to college in August and not seen her brother for some time.

And I know how she now feels.

On the evening of December 4, 2006 my mother called me.  I was irritated with her about something and when we hung up, I didn’t say, “I love you, mom.”

Ask me what the one thing is from life that I would change if I could.

No matter how irritated I am with my children, I try to tell them every day before they leave that I love them.

You may find yourself irritated, annoyed or offended by some family member or another tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner.  Let go of the offense.  Tell them you love them before you leave.  The lie of modernity is that blood is no thicker than water, but that is utter horseshit.

Consumerism, politics, “careers”…it is all meaningless.  What I am truly thankful for is the family that I have by blood and by marriage and for the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for the remission of my – and your – sins.

Kith and kin and Christ – the blood you share with your people and the Blood of the Lamb – are the only things that mean anything.  Do you have these things?

If not, instead of heading out to that door-buster sale for another piece of crap, I entreat you to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.  And then call your mom or your dad  or your kid from whom you’ve been estranged, or whatever relative you have, and tell them you love them.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Life-long marriage is a gift you give your children.

Years ago my husband and I went and saw Adrian Belew from King Crimson play a solo acoustic concert at the Majestic Theater in Detroit.  One of my favorite songs he played was Old Fat Cadillac:

Philip and I were reminiscing about that concert late this evening out on the porch under a full moon.  Both of us are audiophiles – it was one of the first things that drew us to one another beyond just physical attraction all those years ago, just before my twenty-second birthday, and we’ve seen many, many concerts and shows together over the years, giving us fun memories to share...”Remember when we saw Elvis Costello at the Fox and the security guards let us move from the balcony to the front row because we were the only ones dancing?…Remember that time we saw the Dave Brubeck Quartet downtown at the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival?…Remember how much fun we had dancing all night at Frog Island when Buckwheat Zydeco played and then Terrance Simien showed him up?  Remember when…remember when?

Our children love, love, love to hear about the time before they were born, when these two people they call mom and dad were actually young and crazy and romantic and fun.  They can hardly believe it but they love to hear about it.  They will say to me, “Daddy says one time you guys saw the Grateful Dead in Chicago and someone stole your shoes and you had to go to the show the next night with bare feet.  Mom, is that true?”  They are filled with amazement that this person who is always barking commands and warnings about tedious things at them – Brush your teeth! Make your bed! Take your vitamins! Don’t do that foolish thing you were about to do! – used to dance barefoot, eyes closed, transported away by the pure joy of the music.  But I suspect they are also glad we aren’t still those people now.  Children need their parents to be grown ups.

Yet I think it is comforting to children to hear that their parents loved each other, loved just being together, loved having adventures and making a life together, before they ever had children and Serious Jobs and mortgage payments and greying hair.  I’m glad we can give that gift to our kids and that we can give them the gift of our having stayed together even through those times that were hard, when it wasn’t fun and romantic, when we didn’t feel like dancing barefoot together.

We don’t dance so much now; we sit on the porch together at night, my husband smoking, and we look at the stars and remember when.  It’s not crazy and adventurous but it is peaceful and warm.  I have spent well over half my life with him, through incredible highs and some pretty serious lows, and he’s still there and I’m still here and neither of us is going anywhere until one of us finally goes to meet our Lord.

No matter how badly we may have messed up in other areas as parents, at least we can give this to our children, the gift of our marriage, imperfect but permanent for as long as we both shall live.

Know that you are happy.

The rash that had broken out all over my arms finally drove me to the doctor today, who advised me to get rid of our new chicks.  You see, when I had allergy testing done a number of years ago, I reacted to chickens and most other livestock.  I didn’t think touching them would cause me to break out in itchy red welts like this, but it has.  And not only I but also one of our daughters, our little animal lover who has had her hands in the brooder petting and playing with them, feeding them mealworms by hand, everyday…red itchy bumps up and down both her arms, both of us sneezing and uncomfortable. No one else has developed any allergic reactions to them, thankfully.

We moved them to the garage because they aren’t big enough to go outside in a coop yet (and we hadn’t prepared a coop yet, either, though we planned to do it this week).  But my husband talked it through with me, letting me know that this was not going to work because he would not be able to take on the sole care of the grown hens and didn’t think I’d be too happy to have to completely avoid them.   Continue reading

Despite the pressure to complain, there is a way we can be joyful.

I read a blog post recently about this WaPo article Why don’t dads complain about parenthood like moms do?  The authoress of the article complains about the fact that men are doing more childcare but aren’t complaining about it enough.  The blog post about the article calls this miserly feminist ugliness, and I mostly agree, but what the blog author might not realize (I don’t know if his commenters realize it or not, as I don’t have time to read blog comments anymore) is the pressure that women get from other women to complain about their husbands and children.  It’s not limited to feminists by any means, even though some feminists have perfected bitter complaining to an art form.

For an example of what I mean, consider this story Patrice Lewis from Rural Revolution shared several years ago:

“Now contrast this happy family with a news article that came out last week in which a mother called her children the “biggest regret” of her life. “[L]ike parasites, both my children would continue to take from me and give nothing meaningful back in return,” she says […]

This reminds me of an experience I had when I was pregnant with Older Daughter. Don and I spent a weekend as vendors at a craft show. In my excitement about the baby, I mentioned to many people that I was pregnant.

Toward the end of the day, the woman in the next booth turned to me and said, “So. I hear you’re pregnant.”

“Yes,” I replied proudly. “The baby is due in December.”

“You’re going to hate it,” she said flatly.

Startled, I replied, “Excuse me?”

“You’ll hate it. Believe me, I have six kids, and I hate them all.”

For the next half hour, as I slumped lower in my chair, she poured poison into my ear about how awful motherhood is. By the time she was done, I was crying.”

Instead of complaining, Patrice was filled with joy (and if you read Patrice’s blog, you know she’s hardly a woman who sugarcoats how hard of work life is), hence the poison that the other woman felt the need to pour into her ear. Any woman who shows too much joy in her husband and children will face this at some point; the pressure put on women by other women to complain and criticize their husbands, children, and family can be intense, as the WaPo article demonstrates.

Personally, I’ve experienced just about every situation at one time or another – working full-time, working part-time, being at home full-time, homeschooling, having my children in a Christian school, and now finally living somewhere where we feel okay about having the kids in the local public schools (because they are small, rural, and Christian-friendly; we even go to church with some of our children’s teachers).  And what I’ve found is that I’m tempted to complain just about as much in any one situation as I am in another. Sometimes I’ve complained because I had a legitimate need for help – for example, I had to ask my mother-in-law to come stay with us for several days this week because I just couldn’t keep up while my husband was out of town – but other times I was jes’ bitchin’.

Deciding to focus on gratitude for even having a family to serve is what has worked best for me in quashing my feminine tendency to complain about whatever situation I’m in and whatever people I’m around.  Because really, if women aren’t complaining about their children and husbands, they’ll just tend to complain about their co-workers and bosses. Of course, most men complain too (yes, they really do, despite the saints and martyrs routine some men spout), but men don’t pressure other men to complain the way women tend to do.

If I have any useful advice at all to offer my fellow woman here, it would be this: don’t complain about your family – not your husband, not your children, and not your extended kin – nor about doing your duty to them, and do your best to ignore the pressure other women place on you to be a bitter, grumbling complainer. There is no need to be fakey-fakey-everything-is-awesome! about it; it’s okay to acknowledge the reality that your duty may be hard and heavy in a particular season, it’s even okay to say, “I really need help because I am overburdened right now.” It’s okay to admit that sometimes certain family members (hey, teenagers, I’m lookin’ at you here) can be quite, shall we say, irksome.

No matter. They are yours, your very own people!  How blessed, how very blessed, we are to have our own kin!  There is hardly a greater joy than our own highly imperfect but infinitely dear kin and kith. If we love them well and look for the joy in serving them, surely, surely God will sustain us and bless our families!

…may the righteous be glad
    and rejoice before God;
    may they be happy and joyful.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
 God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

From Psalm 68

Or if you prefer, be encouraged by this gorgeous old Maria McKee song, my favorite lines from which are these:

Tell me why wasn’t I more grateful?
Why wasn’t I more grateful?
Why wasn’t I, why wasn’t I more grateful
When life was sweet, when life was sweet?

Some people want and want and want what they don’t have
‘Til it keeps ’em awake at night in their bed just twitchin’
Some people like to complain about every little thing
Some folks just never stop bitchin’

I had a good man, I took him for granted
And now I surely, surely, surely, surely miss him
Wasn’t it enough? wasn’t it, wasn’t it enough?…

Why wasn’t I, why wasn’t I?
And it keeps me wonderin’ what might’ve been
Keeps me wonderin’ what might’ve been, yeah
To the Lord more grateful

When it comes to urban farming and renewal, “left” and “right” are mostly useless political terms.

Recently I attended a lunch hour talk given by Drew Philp, a young man who is a fellow University of Michigan alum, a journalist, a home renovator, a teacher, and an all-around renaissance millennial man. His talk was based on an article he wrote last year which was published on BuzzFeed entitled Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500:

After college, as my friends left Michigan for better opportunities, I was determined to help fix this broken, chaotic city by building my own home in the middle of it. I was 23 years old.

Being the young, idealistic, U of M educated sort, I’d say Mr. Philp probably considers himself fairly liberal, whereas I consider myself an orthospherian sort of reactionary. Nevertheless, I found much to admire in this young man and had a brief, interesting chat with him about urban farming after his talk. He told me that Detroiters he knows have had their goats taken away due to Michigan’s recently-passed (and signed by our Republican governor) regulations denying Right-to-Farm protections to small scale farming in urban and suburban areas (i.e. your backyard chickens are no longer protected by Right-to-Farm laws; also, see this interesting article: Right to Farm protection denied for Michigan farmer’s goats, greenhouse).

He also wrote about an incident that exemplifies something I too have noticed:

One of the [United States Social Forum] events I did see was a march staged by professional protest coordinators who had come in from California opposing Detroit’s trash incinerator, the largest in the United States. It’s located in Poletown. We have an asthma hospitalization rate three times the national average. If you would like an inside look at Detroit’s Third-World level of corruption, a good place to start is the incinerator. You can safely say there is a culture of corruption in your city when the top two politicians, including a former mayor and city council president pro tem, have been, or are currently in, prison for corruption, racketeering, and the like. One former city councilwoman allegedly requested a bribe including 17 pounds of sausages.

The protest would march down Detroit’s main thoroughfare and past the incinerator, presumably raising holy hell and sticking it to the man. They needed a place to stage the making of the props — hundreds of spray-painted sunflower pickets, miniature incinerators, signs. One of my well-meaning neighbors offered The Yes Farm, an abandoned apothecary where we occasionally staged art and music shows.

I guess no one saw the irony in cutting down real pine trees to make fake sunflowers. Or that a protest to demand clean air would use so much aerosol spray paint. But the real irony came when the Social Forum was over and it was time for the out-of-towners to leave for the next protest.

“What are you going to do with all this stuff?” we asked.

“Why don’t you just recycle it?” they said.

“Where?”

They left it all in The Yes Farm and split, leaving it for us to deal with. Now we had another pile of trash to clean up and nowhere for it to go. So while they were gallivanting off to the next good deed, that shit went into the incinerator and into our lungs.

Gee, annoying liberal white people, thanks for adding to the pollution of Detroit’s air. Image source

Our Republican governor had no problem removing Right to Farm protection from small scale urban farmers, and Democrats and other leftists have no common sense and are not only useless but actively make things worse, as Drew’s protest march anecdote demonstrates.

I don’t know the answer, but there’s got to be another way. The left and right – conservative and liberal – ideologies in this country are not serving us well. Conservatives have sold their souls to capitalism and liberals have sold their souls to debauchery and destruction, but both sides seem to love the rebellion against kith and kin that democracy always seems to bring wherever it lands.

What I admire about young men like Drew Philps is that they have become relatively apolitical; they no longer seem to trust that the government will necessarily make wise decisions, and they aren’t waiting around for government and capitalism to solve everyone’s problems. Drew told us at the talk that most of them try to stay off local government radar because it just ends up causing headaches and they just want to get stuff done. They don’t want to govern, they don’t want to march, they don’t want to protest.  They want to work, they want to build and rebuild, they want to plant and grow.