Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wanted: Career Advice

I think I'm in need of some good career advice. And I'll tell you why. If you were to ask me what I'm looking for in a job, I think the answer would be: "To really connect with people. To bring some kind of happiness, or maybe peace, to people's lives, including mine." This is not to say that I don't want to earn money. I want to feel that I'm independent and not living off other people's charity. I don't want to be poor. I'm even not shy to say that money can buy stuff which can contribute to my happiness. But it turns out that money is a pretty relative thing – there is always someone with more, and there is always someone with less. Lots of people on either side, in fact. And money doesn't seem to be the consistently critical factor determining the level of satisfaction, or happiness, or peace, or lack of restlessness in the lives of the people on either side.

Given that, I have a problem. I see everybody around me, and their dreams. They seem to want to do the GMAT, to study an MBA, or maybe a Masters of Law or something that will make them money. They seem to want to work in high-powered fields where large amounts of money are paid to you in return for sacrificing your every waking second to working and/or thinking/talking/breathing work. [Note: Even as I write this, I note that "everybody" is an absolute misnomer. The vast majority of my friends are not doing the above. Many of them are actually following where their dreams (i.e. not money) are taking them. But the fact that at times like these I seem to blot them out of my thoughts is part of the problem].

To delve a little deeper, I see those people wanting those things, in some cases succeeding, in some cases failing, and I think: "I can do that. I'm smart. I can do the brain stuff that you've got to do to do that." And it's true. I can do the brain stuff. That thing behind my nose (to quote a really good movie I just saw – La science des rêves) works really well with lots of things. And then the guilt kicks in. It derives from the dreaded word "potential". The word appeared many times on my school report card. And it's a scary word. Because having "potential" means that you're not doing the "actual". And not only that, it sets up a presumption that you should be doing the actual, but aren't. And when you don't even know what the actual is, or how you should be doing it, or why, it all turns into a bad feeling.

It's because of this bad feeling that I found myself wasting my day today making an application for a job which I probably (I say probably because, as usual, I don't even have enough information to make an informed decision – but my emotions say probably) don't even want, for a position that I wouldn't know what to do with it if I were to get it, purely because it seems to be the kind of job that I feel like I should want. And then I did sample questions for the GMAT exams, which is all well and good, until you take into account that the sole purpose of those exams is to winnow away inappropriate candidates for studying an MBA program; put that together with the fact that if I ended up doing an MBA, it would contribute absolutely nothing to being anyplace that I actually want or will want to be, and you see how the problem arises yet again. Oh, and I checked out a Masters of Law at Stanford University – it is almost certainly true that Stanford University has a good teaching reputation, but the main reason I'm attracted to studying there is that there are squirrels there (I visited once in my youth, and was amazed to find that squirrels not only genuinely exist, but roam freely on the lawns).

So this is where you, my studio audience comes in. Taking into account that you are a select few, who have made somewhat select life choices, I don't expect objectivity, so fire away. But don't even try to tempt me into academia – I was frightened away from that (along with politics, its not-so-distant cousin) a long time ago.


Friday, November 10, 2006

ושיניתם לבביך

A change of heart is sorely needed.

Today, my fiancee and I attended the amended and contracted Gay Pride March. Well, it was originally a march. As a result of fears and negotiations and security concerns and all the rest of it, it was turned into a static event in an enclosed stadium surrounded on all sides with a wide and sweeping police presence.

The event, itself, was wonderful. It was a pleasure to see so many people who were not prepared to be intimidated, who were prepared to take the risk, and come together to stand up for themselves, their friends or family members, their partners. The drag queen comperes were also funny.

But what was incredible was that the only form of provocation that I could see was of the intellectual and emotional kind.

People seem to have the view that gay & lesbian people are ipso facto naked paedophile nymphomaniacs, who would walk down the main street of Mea Shearim humping haredi children and animals, to the tune of Dana International's Viva La Diva, if they could. It turns out that in practice, the Israeli Gay & Lesbian community are, on the whole, responsible and sympathetic to the sensitivities of other minority groups (of which haredim still are one or more) - and are, moreover, non-violent - and are more interested in having people stop trying to harm them than really anything else.

For me, this was the reason it was important that the March occur in Jerusalem, and this was the reason it was important for me to be there. It is impossible that Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish State, will turn into a hub of theocracy and intolerance. It is impossible that with the Jewish People's experience of vilification and persecution, we will allow minorities to be vilified and persecuted in our midst. Clearly it happens, and more often than we would like to believe. But not on my watch.

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 04, 2006

ושיננתם לבניך

On the same evening that we are commemorating the 11th anniversary of the murder of the former Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, certain haredim are carrying out acts of violence and intimidation against police, journalists and members of the public, over the holding of the annual Gay & Lesbian Pride March in Jerusalem.

It brings to mind all the times I have heard people say that the Palestinians should do something about the murderous acts carried out by their extremists. What the hell are we meant to do? Is it my civil obligation to go out and confront these dangerous criminals in the name of freedom of expression and the fundamental human right to life, family and equality? To form a militia? What have we come to? We live in a democratic state where a bunch of extremist thugs believe that they have the God-given right to throw rocks at citizens driving on the roads, assault police officers, burn tyres, and threaten to throw apples filled with razor blades, on the pretense that they don't want a bunch of people who have carried out acts prohibited in Leviticus to walk together in the streets of the city in which they live. Woe betide all of us when they decide to take up arms against those of us who violate the laws of kashrut, have extra-marital heterosexual relations, or light their stove on Shabbat.

And the police are now deliberating as to whether they will follow the order of the High Court of Justice and permit the march to take place (read, to provide it with adequate protection) or whether to postpone it again or cancel it (read, not to provide it protection). I can't believe that this is even a question. And of course, everyone's calling everyone else Nazis. To be honest, I think we may have bigger problems.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Infrequently Asked Questions

From the Heathrow Airport Security FAQ :

We are transferring bone marrow and stem cells out of the country – can we carry in our hand luggage?

The Anthony Nolan Trust should be notified and they in turn should Fax the details to security.

I need to carry a liquid wig spray. Can I have this in my hand luggage?

You may if the spray has been prescribed by a doctor and your can show your prescription and this matches the pharmaceutical description of the product.