Inspired by the mid-term elections, Iris ran an election at our house between myself and Mac. Mac won 2-1, with the girls as a voting block (gotta get a better campaign ad) - and here is what Iris produced in declaration: "Mikol [Michael]! Mikol the Prasdint. Mikol yiey [why] do you think you won. "I think doeth [both] my grols [girls] loved me the moest." Wall cogragyowglaeshins [congratulations - the coolest way to spell congratulations ever]. And we hoep [hope] you are a good prasudint like Odamu [Obama]." It's really fun to read out loud, especially the congratulations part. Can't wait until Iris and I can discuss this book!
Speaking (sort of) of Biblical landscapes: Donna Haraway (phenomenal future science feminist, who rocked everyone's world with ideas of the post-human and the cyborg - i.e. what if technology really does change everything? a question addressed here by two gentlemen I greatly admire) has a fascinating critique of Eden and its prizing of an originary, complete self (and that self being a man, Adam). She argues that if we continue to long for Eden, or the Edenic state of wholeness and innocence, a self unclouded by specific and political identities, we are doomed to fail in ever collapsing the dualisms that social change tries so hard to overcome (think those of the have and have nots of gender, sexuality, race, and class). So what is the alternative? the always already hybrid identities of people who live in a world in which technology (a human invention after all) offers genuine, authentic emotional and political experiences - where your identity (fragmented between its body, its existence in the physical public sphere and its mind, or whatever part of your interacts with the internet) is fluid and unfixed and there is a common framework (the computer, the internet) approximating a common language. She talks about identity not as objects in the world (bodies) but as networks of information. To which a student contributed: "So, Babel except it's not a bad thing?" It's been a Babel-y semester. I looked up Genesis 10, seeking a description of pre-catastrophe Babel, but it's not there, instead, a listing of the generations of the sons of Noah. To ponder further: are we selves working towards a return to an innocent wholeness, or are we selves always already hybrid within complicated knowing identities? I probably ought to ask a kid. Or Adam himself (did he ever feel whole, actually, after the rib was taken? does the search for plenitude go back that far?). Or Hildegard of Bingen, or Catherine of Siena or any number of mystics who lived most of their lives virtually.
We tooled around downtown before meeting up with Mac and touched the Flamingo sculpture by Calder. Oliver's just read the Calder Game (book report!) and so this was pretty terrific. I love how serious he is, how intentionally he touches the steel. The look on Eleanor's face is pretty much the one she had when she told me the other to "outgrow yourself" as I was heading out the door to go teach. Little kids in the big city.
I just like the strange strange expressions on the girls' faces here, at the Brookfield Zoo. Intrigue at the penguin house.
and so finally:
- if you wish to rethink both Leviticus and parenting, please oh please oh please read this piece by Ian Frazer - I never did quite catch my breath I was laughing so hard; Oliver loved the cadence of the language (thereby confirming my increasing suspicion that he was an Old Testament prophet in a past life); Iris kept saying "this makes no sense" (my non-fiction child); and Eleanor said "just like at our house!" an alarming number of times.
- also: in that marvelous time that is the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving break, when respite and recipes shimmer in their fullest potential before you, when your kids are beaming happy with plans for board games and play-doh, when your husband's going to read this awesome piece by Ian Frazer at dinner, when really just for now, but also absolutely, all is well with the world, few things are more fantastic than a sidecar at the cocktail hour and cacio e pepe for dinner. I'm just saying...