Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nicolas Cage Did Not Read The "Consent Clause"

Dear readers,

Have you ever watched "The Lifetime Channel For Women?" Well, don't do it unless you want to start believing every man on the planet abuses women or that women all want to sleep with their students. Don't do it in general because the network makes all human beings look evil which is something I refuse to believe.

Last night Nicolas Cage was charged with domestic abuse for grabbing his wife's arm. According to reports, he was certain their temporary domicile was at a location she was wandering away from and he tried to steer her in the right direction. Why is this abuse? Have we as a society gone overboard in our definition of abuse? Cage was reported to be banging on vehicles in a drunken stupor. This makes a more sensible charge of say property destruction or malicious mischief. The abuse charge seems absurd.

Seriously, though, can we yell at one another or touch one another anymore or is this going to become a chargable offense? I don't think we have enough jail space to contain everyone guilty of yelling. It's true that yelling is not nice and not something one ought to resort to as a commmunication technique, but is it abuse? What exactly is abuse anymore?

At the now defunct Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio the issue of touching became actual policy in 1993. Students agreed to a "consent clause" according to writer Jennie Rosenbaum at The Daily Pennsylvanian. Her article "That Would Be Telling" describes the "consent clause" as one in which people had to verbally agree to each physical or sexual interaction regardless of who initiates it. This just ruins all old movies for me! Can you imagine "Casablanca" with dialog including, "Is it okay if I touch your arm now? May I now press your lips to my lips? Can I also wrap my arms around your waist while touching your lips?" My God! I would never have watched the film!

The Antioch issue was more likely about liability issues for administrators than students. Abuse is hitting, raping, tying someone up, and a host of other unsavory events. If we water down the definition, aren't we discounting all the real victims of abuse? Have we as a society gone haywire? Will verbal documents not be sufficient? People, the world is spinning mad. -Alison Whiteman

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bizarre Random Find In Tacoma

This note about Trypanosomiasis or Chagas disease was on the ground on Fawcett Street in Tacoma on April 8, 2011. Obviously I do not own a very good camera or you would be able to read it. Please read on.

I picked this note up as I often do because the world contains interesting and randomly discarded things like notes, envelopes, court papers, love notes, etc. I wish I had thought of doing this before the creators at http://www.foundmagazine.com/. The publishers of this web site have the market fully cornered. The site explains the idea to collect and record all this accumulated information began when founder Davy went out to his car and found a note under the windshield. The note was intended for a man named Mario and begins as a standard breakup letter but ends with "please text me." They found the mixture of anger and hopefulness in that note interesting and so began their publication.

My find today was odd. It obviously comes from a card catalog at from which once was at The Public Health Service however it does not note in what city. The dewey decimal references a publication about Trypanosomiasis or Chagas Disease printed in 1976. Carlos Chagas was a physician in Brazil who noticed many patients exhibiting strange symptoms that sometimes resulted in death. Chagas, an infectologist, determined the illness was caused by a parasitic tropical disease spread by insects, blood transfusions, organ transplants and from mothers to their fetuses. If treated early with antiparasitic drugs, the disease can be stopped. Four to eight weeks after being infected, if a patient enters an acute stage it cannot be cured.

Sixty to eighty percent of people infected with the parasite never become symptomatic, though they can carry and spread the disease. Chagas Disease is mainly found in Mexico, Central America and in the southern United States.

I cannot read the handwriting on this card clearly. Whoever took this card from the catalog was supposed to call a person named Gordy. I don't think this is at all related to Chagas Disease. Someone really needed to write a note and I guess all they could find for scrap paper was this card. The tragedy is the person may have forgotten because the reminder was dropped on the ground. It is impossible to know when the call was supposed to have happened. I hope Gordy is okay. -Alison Whiteman