Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Guess What, I've Been Having a Life

So this is how the non-bloggy half lives.

I have been thinking a bit lately about whether I'm becoming addicted to the computer and to blogging in particular, both reading and posting. I don't think it's a problem, except the other day I failed to get to the post office before closing time because I was on-line, and isn't that one of the warning signs? When it starts interfering with your life? That's not a hobby, that's an obsession.

Anyway, lately I've been doing some actual activities, instead of just reading about them, and not for the purpose of blogging about them afterwards (even though I'm doing that now--the motivation is different).

For example, two baseball games in two days! A local college is hosting a tournament, which means multiple games per day for 10 days. Sunday was a day game, yesterday was a night game, and it was so lovely to be outdoors in the nice weather, listening to the ping of the bats (college teams use metal bats, which I loathe) and the noise of the crowd. C.S. was at his own ballgames in Toronto and we kept each other posted via text and cellphone.

Another example: I went to book group last week and it was a hoot, as usual. I talked a friend into joining and this was her first meeting. She told me later she felt like she had been dropped into a play, because all the other members are such character types. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it's true. We have the reserved, erudite Englishman. We have the gruff, opinionated Archie Bunker sort. We have the mousy, soft-spoken librarian and the loud, theatrical Mae West type, and so on.

"Archie" was the leader this time and insisted that we spend the entire first hour simply reading various long passages from the work out loud, in sequence, without any discussion permitted until the second hour. He actually put us on a timer!

We all chafed under this restriction (as you might imagine!), but no one wanted to be a big enough jerk to say, "Forget this stuff, I'm not doing it!" After all, we take turns as the leader and he deserved his chance to lead in the way he wanted . . . even if we hated every moment. Hey, we're opinionated, but we're polite, too.

We read a selection from Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, all about the theory, purposes and methods of the penal system, and an hour of discussion was not nearly long enough to cover everything. We probably could have spent the whole hour on whether punishment directed at the body (execution as spectacle, drawing and quartering, hot lead, etc.) is a more or less frightening or inhumane an exercise of government power than the "mind control" practiced by punishments aimed at reforming the character of the criminal. I'm not in favor of torture, but when you start talking about the government practicing character reform you risk getting into George Orwell, Big Brother, 1984 territory. Good stuff for discussion!

So you can see we didn't have enough time, plus there was the added stress of having to squelch the very thing that makes book group wonderful: the animated discussion of the passages by smart people who have different perspectives.

Next time "Archie" leads I will be "voting with my feet" and doing something else that night. If there's no baseball available, maybe I'll stay home and blog.

2 comments:

  1. I've never actually gone to a book club meeting...sounds like they are fun, some of time.

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  2. You are so right. I imagine there are as many good, bad and in-between groups as there are personality types!

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