garran: (Default)
2010-08-25 12:52 pm

More class stuff

Leaving to Oregon tomorrow morning! Meanwhile, here's some more detailed stuff about the current state of the the Transgressive Sexuality in Science Fiction class, for those who are interested in following that. First here's the finished, or nearly so, reading schedule, divided into 'parts' because it's my class and I can be as pretentious as I want.

Recognisably descended from my original plan. )

Second, a prospective student wrote me a while ago and asked me, among other things, about my vision for the course. I interpreted this as a question about what I wanted to deal with theoretically and went on about it at moderate length, which I reproduce (with minimal editing) here.

A rather obscure discussion I'd like to have about genre and discourse... )
garran: (Default)
2010-08-22 06:53 pm

Undertakings; happiness and the sun

It probably looks like I'm really late posting this month, but I actually just didn't finish any books in July. Lots of other stuff has been going on, though. In particular, my class was approved, I set up a room and a timeslot with the women's studies department, and advertised on facebook and various department mailing lists; as of today, there are ten people registered, which is two more than the minimum to avoid cancellation and includes five people I either don't know or don't know to be taking it. I don't think there's anyone liable to be reading my journal who is a current UBC student, interested in both SF and queer theory, and hasn't already heard about it through other channels, but there are still five spaces left and it's up on the student service centre as WMST 425R. It's in the fall term every Wednesday from 10-1, which is a date I'm very cheerful about, since it means I won't lose any weeks to holidays; there's a brief PDF outline online here, and I'll be posting some more stuff soon.

Joanne left on August 2nd to go to Ontario for a month to see her family there, as she does every year about this time. Before she was gone we made a plan that I would housesit, and also spend the month moving in, so that when she got back we'd be living together, which is in fact what I've been doing. By a fluke of timing she's never gone away while we were actively dating before; I miss her more this time, then, because I have no reason to already be holding back from the possibility of connection. I'm glad we're taking this step toward there not being more such separations after this.

I'll be taking my own trip soon: on Thursday I'm leaving for Oregon, back the 31st (two days before Joanne is home). I will meet Rachel's baby! And reacquaint myself with other aspects of Rachel's local landscape.

Being August, it's sometimes been hot, but this past week the temperature when the sun is out has been exactly right for me, not uncomfortable but warm, breezy and peaceful. When it's a day like that I breathe it in and it buoys me up, and I've been noticing that more the past couple of years, or noticing a change in my relationship to it. To varying degrees during the first two decades of my life I thought of and talked about the weather as something baffling and mystical, something that carried encoded in it aspects I was drawn to, but couldn't figure out. I think now this is because it had this tendency to show me at least the potential to feel happy and grounded, at times -- especially in my childhood -- when I felt very far from having reasons to feel that way. Recently, as I've been able to build up such reasons around myself, it feels good to be out on a nice day in the same way that it did before, but I no longer articulate it to myself as numinous.

Because of the people in it (most especially but not exclusively the two mentioned above) and how they reflect me back to me, because of social institutions like university and Windsor House, because of my theoretical, artistic, and ethical passions, and because most of all I've been able to make and maintain a space of personal safety around these: my life is so much better than it was when I was 10. I suppose this is pretty obvious, but what remarkable corollaries it sometimes has!
garran: (Default)
2010-01-01 02:03 am

December novel-reading, creative work

Happy year! 2010 semiotically speaking has acquired increasingly dystopian associations from a Canadian perspective, but maybe semi-omnipotent aliens will turn Vancouver into a tiny sun. Actually that wouldn't really help.
George R. R. Martin, The Armageddon Rag
CJ Cherryh, Destroyer
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (reread)
CJ Cherryh, Pretender
CJ Cherryh, Deliverer
Sara Ryan, Empress of the World
Somewhere in the middle of the month there I was evidently taken over by the urge to read about Harriet Vane for a while. I had forgotten what a lovely and assured prose stylist Sayers was, particularly in Gaudy Night, which in its own quiet way I think might be one of the best novels of the 20th century. I would like to read it together sometime with Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, with which it has a surprising amount in common (so perhaps it's not surprising that I should like it so much).

Speaking of Pamela Dean, I read The Empress of the World on her recommendation. There is something about both of the principals being women that breaks down my detached resistance to romantic tropes in a way that's very pleasant. (But the romance in this was not mindless or uncomplicated, and I've kept thinking about it since.)

When Rachel was here I introduced her to cryptic crosswords, which she got good at much more quickly than I did back when I first started. In the process of some incorrect speculation we came up with our own clue, "Editorializes to the trees. (6)"; later I encountered in a published crossword a very similar clue with the same answer, but I like our wording better. It is possible that we are nerds.

I've got out of the habit of linking things I write from this weblog, in part because I write things to link (or for that matter entries from which to link) so relatively rarely these days. But I did write a song and a poem I'm pretty happy with in 2009, so there's no reason not to get around to mentioning them.
garran: (Default)
2009-12-21 11:53 pm

Getting longer for a while

It's been the winter solstice again. I live on a planet with an axial tilt; it is much larger than I but my days are intimately bound up with it.

Rachel and her gentlehusband came to visit and it was lovely and lower-key than usual. She is pregnant, which makes me feel strangely protective. We played board games and watched several movies all of which I enjoyed more than I expected to and ate dinner with old friends of mine who have naturally over time become hers. Once I guessed her Balderdash entry verbatim before it had been read out (the word was 'millimole'; Rachel scribbled for five seconds and slapped it down with a "done", and I said, "I'm just going to assume that Rachel wrote, 'A mole with a thousand legs'." It was basically amazing).

Now she's gone home, though, and others of my people have likewise fled the city; Joanne's gone to Ontario and the new women's studies buddies I know best are off to various American ports of call, some indefinitely. So I am left more of a hermit than I might be, my beard growing relatively long and itchy, checking every day to see if my grades have come in yet (nope). It's nice not to be furiously treading water, though. Also my narrative about this is slightly disrupted by the people still around who invite me to solstice parties I don't quite make it out to.

I have a lot of windows open with short stories I've seen recommended or otherwise becomes interested in, but haven't got around to reading yet. Some of them have been there for months. I still intend to read them all (that's why the windows are still open) but in the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to link to them in the order they appear. Do you feel like reading an arbitrary but not indiscriminate short story? Try one of these: 1 2 3 4 5.
garran: (Default)
2009-05-31 11:32 pm
Entry tags:

April novel-reading (yes, it's late)

This is what happens when I slip about being prompt with these posts; eventually my embarrassment over being late becomes a reason for further procrastination, and then it's the end of the month and it's still not up. I'll fight entropy with the next one, which means you should expect it, uh, tomorrow.
M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 2: The Kingdom on the Waves
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Sharing Knife: Horizon
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Warrior's Apprentice (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Cetaganda (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Brothers In Arms (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Mirror Dance (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory (reread)
Perhaps because I've spent less time treating them as comfort books, I was more impressed with the early Miles books relative to the later ones than I expected this time through. Memory and A Civil Campaign, traditionally my favourites, were too familiar to have as much of an impact, but Mirror Dance, which I've historically paid less attention to, knocked me right over.

Also in April I went to visit Rachel, which was awesome; I've meant to write more about that but right now I'm too tired. Time in Rachel's physical company always reminds me how important time in Rachel's physical company is, and what an absence it is in my usual daily life. Why hasn't living in the future solved this yet?
garran: (Default)
2009-04-10 01:46 pm

March novel-reading

Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea (reread)
Term is over! I thought at the beginning of September that this year would be my last one in school, but I'd underestimated the language requirement, so I'll be coming back next year to take two more courses in Japanese and (since I'm here anyway) the majority of a minor in Women's Studies. I kept putting it off a year when it was time to leave Windsor House, too; at least this time it has more of a plan about it than just cleaving to inertia, an excitement about where I'm at more operative than the fear of where I'm going next.

Term is not over! I still have finals and papers, and I'm going to go visit Rachel for a week starting the 18th -- that's nothing to do with the term but there's a huge gap between my finals so it's going in there. I'll leave an hour after the end of my Japanese final and come back a couple of days before writing my Metaphysics (which fortunately I'm not at all worried about).
garran: (Default)
2008-02-15 10:10 pm
Entry tags:

Essentially on my way

Every time I find a particularly intractable knot in my shoelaces or something, I'm reminded again of how completely impractical Alexander the Great's solution really is.

I leave for Oregon ridiculously early tomorrow morning, so if you see me around Vancouver before Thursday or so, it is probably an impostor.
garran: (Default)
2008-02-03 11:38 pm
Entry tags:

January novel-reading

First, last minute book report: Ancestral Hamster ([ profile] vegetius) asked me about my mystery-reading habits in the context of the Sayers books, and I only just remembered to answer him.

Short books help me be prolific:
Dorothy L. Sayers, Five Red Herrings
Jo Walton, Ha'penny
Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase
Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must Advertise
Susan Palwick, Shelter
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
Robin McKinley, Dragonhaven
Diana Wynne Jones, Witch Week (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon
Plus I did some of the other kind of short fiction reading. Can anybody point me to a good analytical discussion of Kelly Link by people who like her? (Especially "The Girl Detective", or to a lesser extent "Magic For Beginners".)

Anyway, I have a job, now (working in the warehouse for a clothing store, and the weirdest thing about it is that I'm spending all these hours each week doing something with no connection whatsoever to the rest of my life. I suppose I'm supposed to have got more used to that by this stage), so presumably this month I'm going to have to either cut down on the reading for pleasure or be tremendously irresponsible. I'll let you know which one. It does mean that I can afford to go down to Oregon during my spring break, though, so I am doing that!

Things on the internet:

Is anybody else following Shadow Unit? Here's the on-site explanation, in case you, like me, are likely to be overwhelmed by an in media res website unless you get some out-of-character grounding. Some of the peripheral aspects, like the fictional livejournals, are a little too (simultaneously) twee and disorienting for me, but I have high hopes for this combination of authors.

Rachel found this striking picture, and this one:
...the widow of René de Chalon, prince of Orange, who died in battle in 1544, aged 25, has asked the sculptor Ligier Richier to represent him offering his heart to God, in the condition he now is in, a few years after his death, set against the painted splendour of his former worldly estate.
Also, from a while ago, here is the amazing Bob Dylan interview that made me get his music.

P.S. Sometimes I put in the 'music' field the song that happens to be playing when I'm just about to post, and sometimes I put the song that I've been listening to over and over, more often than every other song combined over the past couple of days. Today is one of the latter cases.
garran: (Default)
2007-06-19 10:42 pm

Various updates

Rachel and Heath came and stayed for (at least parts each of) five days (this is the power of trains -- in reverse!), during which we got what for us is not much sleep at all. We saw lots of people, including _Quinn, and all sans-David of the erstwhile B5 group, and Elise and Marilee, and Rachel's livejournalfriend Nicole; we ate at three different restaurants I am fond of, and omelets at my dad's house, and fish and chips my mother made, and my apple crisp; we climbed the VPL and looked down; we played video games and board games and Rachel and I stayed up late talking nearly every night. It was the first time she's properly visited me, though she's been through the city briefly a couple of times and of course I've often stayed down there, and it was a different sort of wonderful than I expected; I thought it would seem special and exciting, but instead it felt very natural, looking at Rachel together with the things and places I know, like it made perfect unremarkable sense that she would be here instead of a nine-hour journey away.

I did, in fact, finish all my essays on time, and on Monday we went out and, after some confusion, dropped the last two off at UBC. As such, I'm done with school until September; I guess I'd better figure out what I'm doing with the rest of the summer.

The other day I noticed that each of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles corresponds in personality (though not in bandana colour) with one of the four houses at Hogwarts. Leonardo is a brave and forthright leader; Donatello is scholarly and creative; Michelangelo is laid-back, humble and friendly; and Raphael is cunning and cynical. I wonder if anybody has written this fanfic yet?
garran: (Default)
2007-06-03 07:14 pm

May novel-reading / schoolbusy miscellanea

Scanty, scanty:
N. K. Sandars (translator), The Epic of Gilgamesh
C. J. Cherryh, Rider at the Gate
Steven Brust, Orca
The reason the list is so scanty, of course, is that most of my reading time has been taken up by the smaller and more numerous readings I've had for homework. This is also why I've been seen being social and, say, posting to livejournal even less than is my wont; these courses, as I was warned they would be, are intensive enough that two of them are enough to push me way over my usual being-busy threshold, and I've been alternating a lot between periods of swelling panic and brief, breathless periods of feeling after all in control, as long as I don't take my eyes off of anything.

A lot of the panic heretofore has been preemptively aimed at this final part of the (rather short) term, so I'm rather relieved that now I'm here it's looking a lot more feasible than it might have. Of the three important essays I need to at least mostly finish in the next twelve days, one is maybe a third done, and another more than half; it's the third one, which I can't yet begin, that's liable to cause me problems, but getting everything else done in a timely fashion can probably only help. See, that last paper for the literature class is due to be formally assigned on the evening of the 14th, and handed in on the afternoon of the 19th; which would be tight but fine, except that Rachel is coming (!) on the evening of the 15th and departing the late morning of the 19th, so actually it's totally untenable. However! So far, this professor has tended to send us the essay topics the Monday before the Thursday we are formally charged with them, and if that holds true this time than I should just have time to frantically write most of it in the half-week thus afforded. Meanwhile I am trying to be as well-prepared as possible.

(I am very excited that Rachel is coming. So is _Quinn! Coming, I mean, though he might also be excited. I get to show off my city like mad. I'm mostly going to be hogging Rachel, especially given how briefly she's here, but if you want to see us while she is then possibly something can be arranged.)

We Live In The Future Watch: the controversy over whether it's fair (to the other athletes) to let that guy with cybernetic legs compete in the next Olympics. We Have Always Lived In The Future Watch: The last person with an artificial limb to win an Olympic gold medal was in 1904. (I should probably cite the livejournal where I first saw those two facts juxtaposed, but alas, I've forgotten which it was.)

Livejournal's preview function isn't working. I guess I'll have to live dangerously. Edit: Livejournal's post function also isn't working, so if you're seeing this, I've saved the text and tried again later. Edit edit: This is Rachel. I have hijacked Andy's account. Do not try to have me followed. Come alone.

(I can't post, but Rachel can post after logging in as me! The rest of livejournal works fine. What the heck.)
garran: (Default)
2007-03-18 12:42 pm

Better things that have happened lately

I heard back from UBC about my application, so far toward the outer edge of the period within which they said they'd get back that I had meanwhile become quite convinced that I'd made some awful and disqualifying error in submitting it. Since I didn't, it seems very likely now that I'll be in and taking at least a couple of their summer courses in May (which is the term I applied for). They've asked me for official transcripts from Langara and Windsor House; I ordered the former sent, but I guess that I'll have to call them up and explain about Windsor House.

(Dr. Russell suggested I think about trying to get into the honours philosophy program -- as though this whole thing weren't complicated enough! But it's tempting, and I am considering it, though I don't know how feasible it will be given the awkward angle at which I'm approaching the university 'years' system.)

Spring is progressing; it's raining a lot, but warmer, and when the sun does appear it is wonderfully moderate and fresh-smelling. The cherry trees have blossomed but not bloomed, or maybe the other way around, but anyway I mean that the flowers are colourfully in evidence but still demurely closed. Formal spring begins with the equinox, the perfectly balanced day, which is Wednesday (on the equator, where all days are so balanced and the seasons understood very differently, the sun will reach zenith). (Can you tell that I'm having fun in Astronomy?) Around here, because of daylight savings, that twelve-hour day's sunrise will be at 7 AM, its sunset at 7 PM, and its noonday sun at 1 PM! As weird as that is, though, when the light is still there in the evening I can never but consider whomever came up with it to be the most marvellous sort of Promethean thief.

Today being the 18th, it is clear not only that Wednesday is the 21st but that Friday was the 16th of March, which is one of my personal anniversaries -- or rather twice-personal, by which I mean that it is celebrated by twice as many people as it were by me alone. Specifically, it is the seventh anniversary of the time that I looked over through the window of the car next to ours in a parking lot off the I-5 in Oregon and unexpectedly met the eyes of a waving red haired 13-year-old, which was the first time Rachel and I had ever seen each other in the moving, present flesh. I'm not sure how we got to be marking and celebrating this, except that I guess the date stuck in both our minds. (Also, I delivered a time-delayed '0th anniversary' joke at the time.) Sometimes one of us will do something especially and premeditatedly affectionate for it, and sometimes, as this year, I'll just go through my day periodically noticing what the date is, and smiling unbidden whenever I do.

My sister is interning at the North Shore News, which is the culmination of her time in the Langara journalism program. So far she has had something like 8 stories in the paper, at least one of which was on the front page, and has conducted a couple of those "man on the street" polls (like The Onion parodies), with names, photographs and encapsulated opinions of people she met walking down Lonsdale. Right now I understand that she's working on a story about the local vandal who has cut holes in certain people's hedges. I've been seeing the North Shore News around all my life, but I've never read it, so for me, opening it and finding Tess there is almost like she was in there all along, if I had thought to look.

At Karen's birthday party at the Elephant House last Sunday, I saw Keely for the first time in ages (and then I saw her again the next night, after B5). She told me about how she is planning to bike from Vancouver down to Mexico with these guys, in May, to help raise money for the implementation of those moneylending systems designed by the fellow who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. She suggested that it would be cool if people put the word out about the project, so here I am doing that to the best of my ability.

Elise has a gig today, but although I am tempted to go watch I have some homework I really ought to do. Dear Elise: I hope it goes awesome even though I am not there.
garran: (Default)
2007-01-28 04:00 pm

Check me out, I am posting

When I was down at Rachel's this time, she taught me how to brush my hair starting with the tangles at the bottom, and working my way up, which is much, much faster and more effective than the way I'd been doing it heretofore. I have to assume that this has been an established part of human hairbrushing technology for hundreds if not thousands of years, so I find it entertaining that I had long hair for more than a decade before I found out about it; what comes, I suppose, of descending from short-haired people!

Man, January is almost over. I answered Brendan a while ago about The Pinhoe Egg and Slave Day, and I've been taking classes for about three weeks now. Metaphysics is fun in the expected Philosophy way, as well as containing a majority of people I've either been in philosophy classes with before or recognize because I've often seen them about the halls. This seems very thematically appropriate for my last semester.

As you may recall, I eventually after a fair deal of consideration chose a section of English with an unknown professor, entirely because it was going to read Le Guin's The Dispossessed. I arrived on the first day of class to find that that professor had fallen victim to some unspecified misfortune, and that his classes had been taken over by one of the other professors in the department -- who brought with her an entirely different syllabus. So much for making decisions! Perhaps it was a little lazy, anyway, to try to keep so to studying books I already love, although I would like to take an English class focused on SF sooner or later. Meanwhile the revised class is adequately interesting, although I'm noticing a strange trend in the English classes I've taken so far of treating the students like we're younger and less, hm, trustworthy, than most of college has assumed -- a strange mixture of academic rigidity and intellectual tentativeness.

Astronomy is pretty awesome in a bunch of specific Astronomy ways I didn't quite know how to expect. Here are some of the awesome things we do in Astronomy:

  • We talk about the night sky in ways that are fascinatingly anachronistic -- for instance, we speak as though the stars were affixed to a rotating 'celestial sphere' -- which feels very Steampunk to me.

  • Sometimes we get laser pointers, which we use to point at where various stars would be if the room were the sky. We tend to sort of swarm; most of them will be clustered pretty close to the right place, but there are always a few outliers wavering nervously around the edges, so that, while they're clearly part of the general effort to point, they also wouldn't seem to be anywhere near it if no one else were up there. One of the laser pointers instead of a dot projects a large shape of the Eiffel Tower, which was apparently a prank of a previous term's class (the professor is French).

  • We watch slightly corny Discovery Channel-style movies about the makeup and behaviour of celestial objects (one each for the sun and the moon, so far), which leave me feeling surprisingly but powerfully peaceful, like I'm exactly the right size in scale.

  • Once she gave us grids and had us colour in the boxes based on charts of sunspot activity, so that we could see the patterns over years. (They sort of make eleven-year-long arrowheads.) The general joke is that they've misunderstood what type of 'arts students' we are, but actually that was a lot of fun.
garran: (Default)
2007-01-01 10:04 pm
Entry tags:

December novel reading/Jovial foolishness

I am at Rachel's house and Rachel is next to me. That is the power of trains.

Here is Rachel: "Andy doesn't like animal crackers! Why not, yo?"

Why not, indeed. Meanwhile, I read some books last month. Perhaps everybody has seen enough of these posts by now that I don't need to rephrase my assumptions and expectations?
Ken MacLeod, Learning the World
Steven Brust, The Paths of the Dead
Steven Brust, The Lord of Castle Black
Steven Brust, Sethra Lavode
C.J. Cherryh, Chanur's Legacy
Roger Zelazny, Isle of the Dead
Diana Wynne Jones, The Pinhoe Egg
Tim Powers, Declare
Rob Thomas, Slave Day
Rachelagain: "I like animal crackers."

The year is new! I am still at Rachel's house. (Her Monmouth house, so technically, as she reminds me inaudibly to livejournal, her parents'.) All right, then. I should post this before the book-stuff is overwhelmed by nonsense.
garran: (Default)
2006-12-28 11:32 pm
Entry tags:


Ha ha, I've been forgetting to write in my livejournal again. I'm not sure if it's that keeping my experimental commitment to the book posts is making me feel like my weblog doesn't need any extra attention, or if I'm just being a public-internet-hermit, like I sometimes am, and if I didn't have that obligation I wouldn't write anything at all; I suspect the latter. Hopefully it will break soon.

Anyway, dear livejournal: I am going to Rachel's! I get back the night of the 3rd.
garran: (Default)
2005-11-20 11:46 pm
Entry tags:

...and all the things I will

I am home from Rachel's wedding; J. is headed home from same. (We parted ways in Portland.) He and Rachel's friend Kathryn ([ profile] armedwithanoboe) were very pleasantly useful in distracting my from my usual return-trip train-desolation; after they were gone, I (among other things) began to work on this entry in my notebook. Now although I am sleepy I will attempt to type it up and complete it.

The fact of Rachel's marriage is too big to fit in my head all at once; I catch occasional glimpses, but for the most part I have to focus on some smaller detail in relative isolation. This makes it difficult to properly talk about. In which I try anyway. Has its own unnumbered list. )

The wedding was, of course, only the climactic culmination of J.'s west coast visit, the previous week of which was spent in my own fair city. The brevity of the daylight hours and the obligation of my schooling kept us from ranging about Vancouver as much as I would have liked, but we did accomplish some things, which I shall present in approximately chronological order.
Here is the J. section. Also includes birthday stuff. )

Probably that's the end of this entry. I have some other things to write about; watch the walls.
garran: (Default)
2005-04-17 04:26 pm

(no subject)

When I visited Rachel the last time, or maybe the time before, I followed her around her high school and we attended a class on American Politics and Government, where the group discussed a proposal to lower the Oregonian voting age to 16. I was rather fascinated by how dismissive the students were, even though they would many of them be among the so empowered! The general feeling was that high school students are not responsible enough to vote; they would squander it, they would misuse it, they would vote for jokes and vote while drunk and generally make a mockery of the nation.

The professor agreed that it's true that many people do seem to vote irresponsibly; he related an anecdote about how many housewives who were polled at the time remarked that they were voting for Kennedy because he was so charming and good-looking. The class seemed only to take this as reinforcement; did we really want to see this trend exacerbated? But it seems to me (although I didn't say so at the time, both because I was an outsider and because it took me a while to work it out) that they had spectacularly missed the lesson of the story. Nobody in the room, I suspect, would even have conceived of suggesting that the vote be taken away from women because some of them were foolish about it; why is the standard different for minors? The thing is, if you do believe in the traditional standard of democratic equality - that each person gets one vote - then you have to live by that; you can't go around saying that people you think are stupid can't have it. Part of what you get is the right to treat your vote in a way that appalls other people, if you choose. That 16-year-olds may be, by and large, a goofy bunch (which I think is a perception which is both exaggerated and self-fulfilling) is not a compelling argument here.

I'm thinking about this especially lately because Seth David Schoen wrote something typically fascinating about ideological differences within libertarianism, and he talks a bit about the rights of children:
... I have said for years (from since when I was a radical libertarian) that families and the status of children are one of the deepest sources of paradox and internal conflict in libertarianism, and in other kinds of political thought that aspire to radicalism.

Partly, I think this is because most people have experience being somebody's child and being in some kind of family, and they have ideas and attitudes about family that they learned from that experience, and sometimes in opposition to that experience, prior to and apart from any kind of political ideal. So you can see oddities like people who are otherwise radical advocates of free expression -- "for adults" -- simply assuming that children have no independent rights to free speech or access to information.

When we were talking about Kant, in Philosophy class, we spent a lot of time on his most troubling aspects (for example, the assertion that one should not lie even to save a life, which prompted Abby to deem him 'a nutball'), but I did find one of his basic arguments very attractive - that we ought to consider people as ends, rather than means, and to treat the goals of others, and the reasoning of others, with as much respect as our own. This is only considered to apply, though, to our dealings with what Kant calls rational moral agents; one can hardly respect the reason of someone who doesn't have the capacity for it. When we came to this in class, Dale (our professor) remarked briefly that Kant had not really addressed the case of children, who, arguably, begin without rationality, but later achieve it. My own feeling would be that childhood is a sort of a moral larval stage - it's true that there are some decisions and responsibilities for which one is not yet equipped, but on the other hand, this is the time of learning to make those judgements, and so one should hardly be shielded from them entire. A certain degree of preliminary rational respect is warranted; a certain degree of freedom and autonomy, to teach you the moves. (cf. My ideological fondness for systems of education which emphasize self-determination.)

It is so difficult to try to quantify when a person is mature enough to make informed and autonomous decisions, and especially to try to do so universally. On the theory that it ought to be a conscious personal choice, Rachel's church won't baptise anyone under eight; I wonder how many Mormons would support giving eight-year-olds the right to vote?
garran: (Default)
2005-03-23 01:04 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

This is about the time that, in the autumn, I thought there was a good chance that Rachel might be here.

It's actually probably a good thing she wasn't, when that essay was extant. Even so, the thought is wistful.

It's been nearly a year since I've seen her.
garran: (Default)
2005-03-16 02:21 pm

(no subject)

Right. No more time to stall.

At least it's an auspicious date.