In Which Nami Relates Few Subjects Likely of Interest to Any Other than Herself

— 1 —

Y’know, this is just going to have to become a Weekend Quick-Takes, instead of just Friday, because sometimes I just don’t have the energy after work at the end of the week. It’ll happen Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, though. And my Quick Takes for today are lackluster. Sorry!

— 2 —

It’s weird–I was thinking about some of the k-pop artists I like, and how some of them are actually Korean-American: born in the U.S (or Canada). But singing in Korean pop bands. I thought how interesting it was that they had that opportunity to connect with their ethnic heritage. Which got me thinking about the United States, and how it’s a country of immigrants, the “melting pot,” as we call it. Not that there aren’t Native Americans, and our predecessors did treat them horribly. But the majority of people here are descendants of immigrants.

Thinking about the kpop artists made me kind of want to connect to my ethnic heritage, too: I’m practically German through and through (control-freak tendencies included). But I don’t know much about Germany or German culture, and I find myself having less of an interest in it than I do in, say, more Eastern cultures. It saddens me, because I want to belong somewhere. Being an American I belong in America, but being a Catholic first and foremost, I struggle to live as both, since society would have that both are in opposition to each other. Because of this struggle and the culture that has grown up within my country, I have become increasingly disillusioned and apathetic about it. I suppose I’m less apathetic than I think, because I do want her to improve and become better. I haven’t lost faith that the principles she was founded on were good; but I don’t think that her government is the only one in the world that will work, and I don’t think she’s the best country in the world.

Perhaps that makes me unpatriotic. I just want to a patriot in the way Chesterton describes: that you love your country, truly love her, and want to make her better and the best she can be.

— 3 —

All that thinking led me to thoughts about how being a Catholic I felt I didn’t belong. Very rarely have I felt that I belonged anywhere: I only feel that way with my family and friends and–surprise surprise–my fellow Catholics. Because of my religious beliefs (and my sad ignorance of American history which I am attempting to correct) I don’t feel a sense of kinship with many of my fellow countrymen, don’t feel a sense of belonging with them. But I do know that after I am a Catholic, I am an American.

And what I want to point out (in my rambling way) is that it’s interesting how Americans are descended from those who, for whatever reason, left their homes and created a new home (Chesterton called us a nation of exiles, I think) and how the Church is made up of many different peoples from all over, who know that they truly belong not here on earth but in Heaven. And I’m not saying America is Heaven, far from it. It was just an interesting kind of parallel. Because it’s really God who says

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me

Just like we’re a country of immigrants, we’re a Church of immigrants, of Jews and Gentiles.

— 4 —

Darn it. I can’t think of anything interesting to say. Do you care about me cleaning my room? Probably not. It usually ends up just becoming a horrible mess again anyway, but if I clean it once a week then I don’t end up getting, to misuse a phrase, “life piled on life,” with things just filling my room up so there’s no space to walk.

— 5 —

Umm…I got called a pajama pant lady the other day. I was returning some rentals to the video store. It was late and I was tired so I just wore my pajama pants out, since all I had to do was get out and put the movies in the slot (there’s a two doors into the store, and in the area before you actually enter there’s a slot). A couple was coming out the door as I was returning them, and the guy looks at me, then says to his girlfriend, “Why don’t you ever wear pajama pants?” She replied, “Because whenever I do you tell me I shouldn’t wear them out?”

Since I had finished returning the DVDs, I was pretty much following them out the second door as they continued to argue, dopey grin on my face out of mild embarrassment but even greater amusement. Turns out I was parked right next to them, so the guy said, “See ya around, pajama pant lady! You started an argument!” His girlfriend said something about it not being me who started the argument, started the car, and they left.

It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve had recently, because most times I’m not so obviously the subject of strangers’ conversation.

And I got called pajama pant lady, of all things.

— 6 —

Ah, this is the other thing I actually wanted to talk about!! I’ve decided I want to start a little series of posts about female role models in fiction. I’ll be relying heavily on literature until I can reread some of my favorite contemporary fiction and write about those women. I’m just tired of people insisting that we need “strong” women.

Doctor Who 9 Eyeroll

Ok, so yeah we do need strong women in fiction, but you know what ? We already have strong women, people just don’t notice because they have a ridiculous definition of strength. Being a strong woman doesn’t mean being unfeminine, or modern, or non-traditional, or aggressive, or outgoing, or tomboyish. These sorts of women can be strong, yes, but so can the girly-girls, those with traditional mindsets, those who are more timid and reserved. That’s why I love what we call the “classics” so much because women in these books had strength of character, even though they might have lived in societies where people saw women as inferior or where women were denied freedoms they ought to have had simply because they were women. They lived within the society they lived in, and they were good women, and they were strong. They weren’t perfect–they had flaws, and we can see those flaws and accept that. You don’t celebrate their flaws. You celebrate the fact that they tried to live well in spite of their flaws.

I mean, which do you want? Someone whose character you admire even if you don’t agree with them, or weak, selfish types like Bella Swan?

— 7 —

I also have another post on a song. Not, thankfully, a rant like the one I’m working on–more of an analysis. My rant will be out soon, I just want to edit it a bit.

I guess that’s it for now…hopefully next weeks Quick Takes will be a bit more interesting!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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6 comments

  1. medievalotaku · September 7, 2014

    I’d say American Catholics have contributed much to our society, even if their role has often been muted. After all, Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony. One signer of the Declaration of Independence and two of the Constitution were Catholic. One can be sure many Catholics were posted at Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 when Francis Scott Key penned the Star Spangled Banner. And I found this great article on the role of Catholics in the Civil War: http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2011/catholics-and-the-civil-war.html.

    It is true that Protestants have been traditionally suspicious of Catholics and that the current presidential administration is anti-Catholic (anti-Christian in general, really), but I’d say that one cannot ignore the contributions made by Catholics to this country, the history of which we are very much a part. However, I must admit that most history books do not discuss these things very thoroughly. But, even just being an American is somethng to be proud of. Has any other country advanced the cause of liberty as much as the United States?

    I suppose that you won’t be wearing your pajama pants outside for a long while now. One can meet some weird and outspoken strangers!

    • Nami · September 7, 2014

      Ah, certainly, American Catholics have certainly made great contributions, and I see many good things about the U.S. even outside of that. I very much appreciate living here and I don’t think I’d want to live anywhere else long term. I do sometimes wonder how I would have fared in a more collectivist society; I want to understand that sort of thinking more but I’m very entrenched in American individualism (and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just a fact of my growing up =D). I’m inclined to believe that the global perspective we’re taught to have can interfere with our being taught to be appreciate and be proud of our country. I didn’t learn any American history except for a little in 5th grade, a class in 8th grade, and a class in high school. Then I had my Constitution class in college, and that was it.

      I also think I’m just currently overwhelmed by the seriousness of everything going on in our culture right now–my country isn’t bad, but like many countries before it, it is being sorely misled in many areas; and the fact that we don’t hear much about American Catholics historically speaking isn’t particularly helpful as far as encouragement goes. (I might know more personally if history were my area, but I ended up in love with literature instead.) Speaking of which, that piece about the Civil War was really neat! Is there anything more you could recommend about Catholic contributions to U.S. history (and *good* books on U.S. history in general? As I mentioned I know so lamentably little about my own country)?

      I suppose I won’t! Or maybe I will and just start introducing myself to people as “Pajama Pant Lady.” I could trademark that. XD But the funniest thing was I couldn’t tell if the couple’s argument was real or merely playful. It seemed like it could have gone either way.

      • medievalotaku · September 7, 2014

        I should be very amused by more references to the Pajama Pant Lady story! Perhaps, it will be the new name for your blog? 🙂

        American individualism has certainly become a problem nowadays. Mostly because the “American” part has been taken out of the equation. As Hilaire Belloc says, a country’s history makes up part of the fabric of each citizen’s psyche. Americans become less than they should be if they do not understand what it is to be American. But, we see the same thing all around the world: French have forgotten what it is to be French, British to be British, Danes to be Danes, etc. Every man lives for and by himself, which is the unfortunate extreme of individualism. You might say the unfortunate extreme of collectivism is the loss of personality, and the happy medium between individualism and collectivism lies in an individual who knows his roots and his idiosyncrasies.

        Some of the best references to the importance of Catholics in America I’ve found in the Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt. But, one should not be surprised. Roosevelt was very committed to the American ideal and felt that people from all backgrounds can be a great Americans. The same spirit probably runs through his history of the War of 1812, which I have not yet read, and his volumes about the Winning of the West (only read volume one, but I want to finish it one day).

        But, at the moment, I can’t think of other books I’ve read which give as much attention to American Catholics as that autobiography. I discovered two books on Amazon.com which seem to cover the topic in a worthwhile manner: Communion of Immigrants: A History of Catholics in America by James T. Fisher and Catholics in America: A History by Patrick W. Carey. I’ll see if I can get my hands on one or both and write reviews on them.

        But, I suppose Catholics have also made their mark on American literature: Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, and Gene Wolfe come to mind. (I might have mentioned Dashiell Hammett, but he unfortunately became a communist.) Now, Gene Wolfe is an author I’m sure that you’d love to read if you haven’t already!

    • Nami · September 7, 2014

      By the way, how does this new theme look? It’s still kind of wide (is everything going weird-mobile-Tumblr design or something??) but the font seemed a little more manageable. And I made my own header, but I can’t change the font color to make the title more readable >.<

      • medievalotaku · September 7, 2014

        I give it a thumbs up. I especially like the header. It makes the reader say to themselves: “Just how do all these shows and mediums come together?” Very interesting!

        • Nami · September 14, 2014

          Oh good! I’m glad I took the time to make that header then (I might clean it up a bit, I wasn’t sure quite what it would look like at first).

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