Saturday, September 28, 2013


Here's what's running through my head lately. Things tend to get stuck there and run around, chasing each other for days/weeks/months, and I intend to write about them but then I'm not really sure what they're doing wandering around anyway and all that jazz. So here's the short list. I really liked when Mrs. T over at A Plus Effort wrote her "I'd blog about" list a bit ago so you get subjected to mine.

HeLa cell deal reached after years of yucky theft and invasion of privacy
You've heard of Henrietta Lacks whose cancer has been so good at growing that they are the basis for almost all of the cellular research that's happened? African American gal who had a cell sample taken and used without her permission whose family is finally getting some recognition of all the bad stuff that was done and some say in how her genetic material can be used by science. A little bit of justice.

The Things They Carried
This book is one that resounds through my life, probably because I am often packing and unpacking bags and boxes and trying to order the far-too-many things around the house. Or because it's good. Or because it has totally changed how I think about reality. In case you haven't read it, just go read the first of the short stories. It's about soldiers in Vietnam and the first story lists the things they carry, physical and emotional and why for a few things. I find it echoing around in my head pretty often, just a line here or there.

Baby Veronica
Oh the awfulness of this. On the one hand, I'm not so sure that if you can't communicate exactly what he's signing to the father of your unborn child, you get to have any say in what happens to her because it isn't cool to deceive people even if they haven't been supporting you/the pregnancy/anything and that father ought to get another shot. On the other hand, I dislike hijacking Native kids from their families and culture because of whatever. On the third hand I'm heartbroken for the adoptive parents who had this little girl and then didn't and then have her again and what a mess. And beyond that there's the issue of identity and when are you a part of a group and when aren't you and all that complexity.

I think when it comes down to it, I think birth mothers are the boss and that often it should be mostly ok to cut non-supportive birth fathers out of the decision-making process.

Whiteclay NE
We watched the movie The Battle for Whiteclay in one of my classes and I have nightmares about it (the town, not the movie so much itself). It's a really awful and kind of intractable situation. Dry reservation borders Nebraska and this "town" has a couple grocery stores and 4 places that sell beer. Nebraska is afraid to create laws to deal with the problem because it might become a slippery slope and the rest of the state could get over-regulated. Pine Ridge reservation has trouble deciding what to do and has few to no resources to do anything anyway. People die and nothing changes and who knows what is next? The intersection between the colonized and the colonizers who continue to take advantage of those they elbowed into a disadvantage is a really hard place, but it's also good to recognize. It makes me think a lot about a class I took where we read literature written in English from outside the US (India, Jamaica, Africa) and especially Ngugi wa Thiongo from Kenya who writes about the colonization of the mind. In other words, when the colonized get told they are less than the colonizers for generations, the mind gets colonized too and even with nobody around to oppress them, the colonized can't help but react in those ingrained ways of thinking of themselves as not worthy of good things or power over their own lives.

I am done. I hate school so much and I am ready to be done right now. Most of the time. Actually at times I'm really enjoying this semester, just not the setting up rotations part of it. Blech. I'm also getting fed up with things so much faster, like vague questions on exams that we are supposed to read the prof's minds and know were actually more specific (if you mean to ask a specific question, fine, but actually write the specific question then...).


  1. Great post. I hadn't heard about the HeLa cell deal (though I thought the book was intriguing--have you read it?) or about Baby Veronica. Definitely gave me something to think about (not that I lack subjects to ponder). I haven't made it over to the password side of your blog recently to comment, but I promise I will soon.

  2. I think it's great there is a deal on the HeLa cells. Baby Veronica case is messy & heartbreaking, but I think I'm in agreement w/ you. I took a similar class although it was 21st century works in translation. The African novels were haunting.