I don’t know if this conversation is more depressing because of its sheer inanity or because of the complete lack of broader social view among the average commuter on the bus.
Background: My Metro Area is about to experience some public transit cutbacks because the Transit Agency in our area has been historically mismanaged as well as chronically underfunded by the state. People are starting to get worried and concerned about what this will mean for their commutes. I don’t want to make it seem as though I am making light of those concerns. Instead, I am commenting on how little people know about the actual circumstances that are leading to the transit cutback, leading to their concerns.
Scene: Three women get on my bus, headed to a commuter rail station, heading home at the end of the day. After some conversation about increasing costs of everything and the looming inconvenience of transit cutbacks, the following exchange occurs:
Woman 1: You know, I think all these downtown businesses should move out of the city, into the suburbs, and stick it to [Transit Agency].
Woman 2: Yeah! Stick it to [the mayor] and [Transit Agency].
Woman 3: If they’d just all move out to the suburbs, we could just drive to work.
There are so many things wrong with all of these statements. The first just doesn’t make sense. Businesses moving out of downtown won’t affect [Transit Agency] at all, except to relieve some of the congestion on buses and trains. That could actually have a net positive effect on [Transit Agency].
The second statement—the part about the mayor—is accurate. Businesses moving out of downtown would hurt the mayor, or the city government, by depriving him/it of tax revenue. So, OK. I’m not sure why sticking it to the mayor is the way to go, though, since the big funding problem here is at the state, not municipal, level.
The third statement I just find ridiculous. Yes, all the businesses downtown could move out to the suburbs and everyone could drive. That’s absolutely true. Except, of course, that those of us without cars wouldn’t have a way to get to work. And, of course, that would have its own repercussions—quicker degradation of highways, increased wear and tear on individual vehicles and more money spent on gasoline, and, of course, massively increased congestion on all the highways circling the city.
As I listened to their conversation—the part of it preceding this little bit—I was mentally shaking my head. They seemed so much like my family, complaining (as we all do) about all kinds of rising costs, about cumulative inconveniences that make our lives more difficult, every day. ((One interesting thing, though: they were talking about increased phone bills, and one insisted to the others that they should never cancel the add-on line-protection service on their home telephones. She had just had a problem with her line, and the telephone company came out and fixed it for free, when it would have cost $350. She’s been paying that fee for 15 years, and it’s $4 a month. Guess what? She’s paid for that repair twice over! I couldn’t help but do the quick math in my head right then and there.)) But that final snippet of conversation was different. It really drove home that people will blame whoever is most visible—in this case, [Transit Agency] and, I suppose, the mayor. And that is the crux of this particular problem. [Transit Agency] has been encouraging people to contact their state legislators, but that message is apparently not sinking in. This is not something [Transit Agency] can fix on its own. It doesn’t have the money and it needs more from the state. There’s a trade-off there, of course: if you don’t want higher taxes, don’t push the state to give [Transit Agency] more money. But accept that the consequence is that your bus service will probably get cancelled.
Because I largely agree with Dorf on Dumbledore’s sexuality.
I don’t think Dumbledore isn’t gay; it’s just that I don’t care. Harry Potter has never been about the inner lives of the adults he’s surrounded by. Sure, we get flashes of that—as when Mrs. Weasley faces the Boggart—but otherwise, it’s just not relevant. And it is particularly irrelevant when it comes to Dumbledore, who took great pains to separate himself and his own history with Voldemort from Harry and Harry’s experience with Voldemort.
So, while I respect Ms. Rowling’s declaration, I don’t necessarily buy it. I don’t disbelieve her—I just don’t buy that Dumbledore, as written from Day One, was always conceived as a gay character. I think Ms. Rowling has looked at what she wrote—and maybe looked at it a few years ago as she was wrapping up the series—and thought, Huh. Dumbledore could be gay. Much like writers of fanfic did after Deathly Hallows. (I hear the Dumbledore-Grindewald pairing was quite popular in fanfic.)
So maybe I’m really a textualist. If it’s in the text, solidly and without question, then it’s there, part of the canon. It has to fit in the four corners of the text, so to speak. Dumbledore’s sexuality never appears in the four corners of the text. Ever. He could be gay, he could be straight, he could be asexual, completely wrapped up in his work. There’s just no evidence anywhere in the books that Dumbledore has a sexual life. It’s just not in the character. Sure, Ms. Rowling and her readers can look beyond the text and explore her characters and their lives—inner, outer, and sexual. But that’s not canon.
Ooh boy! If you are interested in employment law or discrimination law, this is right up your alley.
I’ll be interested to see how this shakes out in the legal profession. Good thing for the law firms that it wasn’t a court decision, for what that’s worth.
There’s just too much to post about today.
The thing a lot of people are writing about is the horrific incidents at Virginia Tech. But it’s too awful for me to really speak or write about it yet. I’m still processing.
Because of that, all the other things I’d thought about posting through the day seem sort of silly. Maybe I’ll be back up for it tomorrow.
This is the most ridiculous thing I have EVER heard. Because pretty much NO place is far enough from children such that a registered sex offender could live there, the state is SANCTIONING and MONITORING the offenders’ residence UNDER A ****ING BRIDGE.
Sexual offenses, particularly against children, are heinous, to be sure. But offenders are still people and shouldn’t be FORCED to live under a BRIDGE! Isn’t this a pretty clear example of a Due Process violation? Does the government have a compelling enough interest to allow it to deprive free men of the ability to sleep indoors?
I mean, gah.