A Serious Day

Cinquecento

(Uno) 1. Remembering how grateful I am that I had the opportunity to be educated. John Wood thinks everyone should have that option and he is working to put basic libraries in places where illiteracy is highest. In the article, Kristof quotes Wood saying: “Our 50-year goal is to reverse the notion that any child can be told ‘you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and so you will not get educated.’ That idea belongs on the scrapheap of human history.”

(Due) 2. Grateful that one piece of my education was taking three years to think about how we as a society created, maintain, apply and interpret the law. It was the most challenging three years of my life and of course the end was much different than anticipated. The end of Kim Kardashian’s wedding was much different than anticipated, too. Columnist Nicholas Kristof continues to rant about how the $10 million she spent on her wedding could have been better used to fund his pet projects (very worthwhile projects).

He says this on his Facebook wall:
“Maybe I’m picking too much on Kim Kardashian, but The Washington Post notes that her wedding money could have paid for an education for 257,152 girls, or nearly 2 million newborn care kits to save babies’ lives, or 360,000 goats to help families earn a living, or 450,000 mosquito nets to save lives from malaria: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/kim-kardashian-nick-kristof-and-a-cambodian-school/2011/11/01/gIQAdWa6cM_blog.html . I’m traveling in Vietnam and Cambodia right now, and I see kids desperate for an education but having to drop out for want of a few dollars. That’s why a $10 million wedding (that lasted 72 days) offends me so. Grrr. And now I’m going to get off my high horse and hang out with inspiring Cambodian kids.”

I see his point, yet part of me recognizes that at least she was spending the money and that probably helped a lot of people in the wedding industry keep their jobs this year. Okay, so the wedding industry is not such a sympathetic industry as Kristof’s causes, but they are people, too.

To his credit, he applauds Kardashian for donating her gifts, this is also from his Facebook wall:
The Wash Post reports that Kim Kardashian will donate her wedding gifts and money to charity: wapo.st/w1ujEj I’m glad. It would be nice if popular culture set more of an example of altruism and less of narcissism. Your thoughts?

Kim Kardashian, Nick Kristof and a Cambodian school
http://www.washingtonpost.com
Should Kim Kardashian have paid for a school instead of a wedding?

I really, really like what Kristof does in this world. I admire him to the nth degree. Yet, there is a part of me that cringes every time anybody tries to tell someone else what they should have done with their resources. It is like a little libertarian lives somewhere deep inside of me! I guess it is just the part of me who says “live and let live.” Especially when it comes to somebody trying to find love in life. Who among us hasn’t made an embarrassing blunder when it comes to matters of love? Don’t get me wrong, I tell people what to do and what they should have done all the time – and I cringe at myself, too.

(Tre) 3. Using the perspective and analytical skills acquired during said education (and life) to think about the case of a man sentenced to life in prison without parole for possession of child pornography. You can read about it here. I am really divided on how to determine proportional punishment for child porn crimes. I truly believe that when a child is molested, the molester has stolen that child’s life. Yes, the child lives, but never in the same way. Is it proportional to punish a molester by taking away his or her life? What about someone who pays to watch the molester?

(Quattro) 4. Picking Dave up from the airport! He was away for work all week and it is wonderful to have him home again!

(Cinque) 5. Nocciolato chocolate bar we found at the supermarket (IperCoop). Gianduja Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts – right in English on one side of the bar. Well, they were giving out samples and I dove in headfirst. Gianduja is chocolate mixed with hazelnuts (typically as a paste, up to 30%). So, it is hazelnut/chocolate with whole hazelnuts? Sign me up! It’s delicious.

Cento
I think I used enough words in my Kim Kardashian and child pornography discussions above, so I will leave you with a few images of the ceramic tiles that were on the walls of the apartment where we stayed in Pitigliano, Tuscano (Tuscany). They were really groovy and I spent a lot of time getting lost in thought as I stared at them.

Ciao, tutti!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “A Serious Day

  1. Re: Kim Kardashian… her income is just a reflection on the values of our society at large. It’s the same reason why teachers, police officers and other public servants scrape by on a pittance while “professional” athletes make millions. While I understand and respect his desire to rant and rave about it, it’s really just boosting her publicity.

    I agree with you about not telling individuals what to do with their resources. Paradoxical: though I don’t agree with the way society heaps finances on people who do so little with it, I also don’t think I have the right to dictate how someone uses their funds…

    I suppose what’s more sad is that I’ve become fatalistic about it. It’s the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the work like Kristaf’s is done by 20 percent of the people. It’s probably always going to be that way.

    • I don’t think the 80/20 rule is so fatalistic. So what? I’d rather be in the 20 any day of the week. 🙂

      Yea, I think about the financial reward system of our society and shake my head, too. And, in the next moment I think “hey – I AM part of this society, how am I using what little economic power I have to support the values I believe in?” – this self-challenge has led to my quasi-vegatarianism, avoidance of major corporations, etc – um, yea, but then my family income is primarily Navy, so, that’s like a big corporation…it’s complicated, right? And so it is for everyone – hence my sincere attempts not to judge other’s spending choices. It is a struggle to make choices I believe in, though.

  2. Katie T

    I am a bit biased here because I think Nicholas Kristof is a really great human being. He has opened a lot of eyes and initiated a lot of action with his writing about the situations he investigates firsthand. I just recently read his book Half the Sky and was very moved by it. It is easy to lose perspective about how a lot of the world lives and the real problems so many face, so I find it refreshing to see a reminder and a reality check in a very overblown “reality” moment like the Kim Kardashian wedding debacle. I don’t think people need to tell other people how they HAVE to spend their money, but it is certainly worthwhile to offer up some possibilities about how one COULD spend one’s money in a meaningful way, especially when it seems as though they are just tossing it around left and right on completely superfluous items.

    • I understand your bias and I hesitated even having those thoughts! Ha ha. I think I agree with Damsel, though, every mention of KK is just boosting her publicity.

      Then again, NK needs to keep himself publicized in order to spread his word, so maybe he gained X many more readers who stumbled across his article when they were searching for KK wedding stuff. This kind of reasoning is why I have a hard time criticizing his approach to showing what could have been done with the money. But, on a gut check level, it just feels wrong to nit-pick something that, while seemingly predictable and obviously a shallow marriage on some level, was still probably based on a person’s desire to create a family and a partner. It is such a basic human need that my sympathy overwhelms my opinions. I’m a softie in so many ways!

  3. Zina

    Thanks for pointing out the NYT article.

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