Sunday, February 21, 2016

Home



I'm reading up on the Lanier posts I've missed, and in her review of The Lifegiving Home she says,

"[Describe] the one thing about your place on earth that most speaks 'home' to you"

I'm a bit late in the proceedings to put my thoughts in the comment section, so I'll put them here:

Food. That's it more than anything else, for me. Stepping across the threshold to the rich fragrance of a roast, with carrots and gravy. Or stirring up a potent curry, steaming rice, and having someone walk in and say they could smell it the minute they reached our corner of the block. Tea, well-steeped: offering a cup to someone as soon as they come in; two-handing a steaming mug after school or work while Mama cooks. The kitchen is my home on earth, I think; however much I love and need books in my life, or intelligent conversation. Feeding people is that down-to-earth connection and love that means home to me. Extending and accepting hospitality: whether that's a cup of tea in a tent, or a jar of nutella while I sit on your kitchen counter. Even when I'm not in my own house, cooking, eating, or sharing a cup of tea will always be that moment of home.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

On Girl Power, Hermione, and Watsons

Here's an interesting article I came across yesterday:


I found it very thought-provoking, which I always appreciate: something to mull over during the work day. I need intelligent and opinionated minds to engage with, and take that sharpening wherever I can find it. So, in the spirit of critical-thinking and mindful discussion, I would like to respond to a couple of comments bell hooks made about Hermione. There are principles here that I believe not only affect the fictional character, but have weight in our lives as well. 

Hooks takes issue with Hermione as she grows up, calling her 'passive, and 'frumpy' in the epilogue. But I think it can be argued the other way too. I don't think anyone should say that that woman on the platform is not beautiful, intelligent, and strong. The important thing is that she knows who she is, not that she always comes across perfectly. The truth is, some days you put in a full day's work and then come home to a child who throws up all night. You can't tell me she can't juggle work and family. But you also can't tell me she should come out looking as spotless as ever. Some days are hard. And I think there is great personal power in the fact that she's seeing off her children in a casual setting, but she has the brains to talk down a criminal (or duel him), mediate a debate, and possibly fix the train. I love that.

I would also like to address something hooks said about Hermione's intelligence being put in the service of boy power. For one thing, it was Hermione herself who put her talents in the service of another. That is power. You wouldn't have a problem with a man putting their talents to someone else's use, so why would you have a problem with this? Secondly, the reason Hermione puts herself in that position is not just to help a friend (although that is a worthy cause), but because it was the most expedient means to an end: defeating the greatest enemy of the wizarding world.

One more point: just because someone has remarkable intelligence and talent that shouldn't be demeaned, it does not mean they were meant to lead or even that they want to. Some brilliant minds are Watsons.* They were meant to support other minds, turning the world from a secondary position. It is their superpower. And that should be celebrated as well.

*see: Sherlock Holmes, (and no pun intended, Emma)
(& fwiw I think epilogue-Hermione/Emma looks brilliant)