Monday, October 18, 2010

Random observations related and unrelated to this blog

It's past midnight and I'm up blogging because I'm a bit too amped up and anxious to sleep just yet. I'll be having bi-lateral (double) mastectomy surgery in about 12 hours, which means I won't be blogging for a good two weeks as my body will be healing and it just won't be physically comfortable for me to be sitting down with my laptop.

I feel like I've really neglected this blog. Granted, back in May when I first disclosed that I had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, I did explain that my blogging on this site would take a backseat to my health issues. And as any regular reader of this blog (are there any of you out there anymore???) knows, my blogging has been very irregular. Which is a shame, because there are certainly many bloggable events that have happened--I mean, there's the midterm elections and all the crazy stuff out there (can anyone say "Paladino"???).

And then there's the musings I've been having about issues of intersectionality, which I have blogged about early last month.

So I guess what I thought I'd leave you all with during my two week hiatus from blogging are a series of random observations and thoughts that I'm having right at this moment (warning: not sure how coherent they will be -- remember, the emphasis is on "random"):

*I saw The Social Network this afternoon and found it to be entertaining, although it failed the Bechdel test and made me cringe at the representation of women, particularly Asian American women. Apparently we are smart and hot and love to give blow jobs to geeky Harvard guys in bathroom stalls (preferably geeky Jewish Harvard guys--they are apparently creating an algorithm for why Asian women hook up with Jewish white guys). Also, apparently mixed-race Asian American women are especially "hot" in the film but also especially silent or nearly silent.

*I think Carl Paladino is an asshole. I think Rachel Maddow does too, even though she doesn't use the phrase "asshole."

*The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee is one of the most beautiful, disturbing, haunting, lyrical, and captivating novels that I've read in recent memory. I could not put it down, even though at moments I was horrified by what I was reading. But I was horrified because these things happened--Lee writes about events that occurred during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria and the Korean war, and lets face it, while he is writing fiction, we KNOW that horrific things have happened during times of war (and during these particular events of the 20th C.). None-the-less, this is a novel that I highly recommend. It is not for the faint of heart. But I'd almost say it's required reading for anyone who cares about great literature and about the state of humanity in the 20th C.

*I wish people would really "think" before they buy all the pink ribbon stuff that is taking over seemingly every piece of merchandising and every major advertisement space in every major women's magazine during the month of October. First of all, just because something has a pink ribbon on it doesn't mean that a substantial percentage (or any percentage at all) will go to a reputable breast cancer charity. Second, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was started in 1985 by Astra Zeneca, a pharmeceutical company that makes tomoxifen, a hormone therapy that many women are put on for breast cancer (I'll be starting my own regimen post-surgery for 5 years). Astra Zeneca is owned by Imperial Chemical -- a company that makes herbicides--ones that have been documented as containing carcinogens that (wait for it...) contribute to cancer (including breast cancer). Third, we are well beyond issues of "awareness"--I mean, I think we all know someone who has breast cancer; after all, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. And the Komen foundation, and others, have done a great job of turning the pink ribbon into a symbol of education. But what we REALLY need is activism--we need to fight for MORE government regulation of clean air and water. We need to hold corporations accountable for their polluting practices. 41% of Americans will develop cancer in their lifetimes and most of it is linked to the environment. While a cure for breast cancer, hell for ALL cancer would be great, what we need is for people not to get cancer in the first place. Fourth, while in terms of sheer #s, breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths for women (only lung cancer kills more women), ovarian cancer is often detected at a much later stage and thus the number of survivors is smaller--and while it's great that breast cancer has gotten so much attention (and resources) we shouldn't let the pink ribbon overshadow other cancers and other diseases impacting women's health (like heart disease).

*Finally, I'm a big Glee fan and loved this bit on last week's show:

That's all she wrote!


skim666 said...

Hi Jen!!! =D

Mommela said...

Been away, didn't read your post yet, but I did want to reach out and wish you well on this latest step to kicking cancer's ass to the curb.

Know that you are still a woman--a vital, *feminine* woman--even if some of the girly-bits are gone. If you're not feeling womanly right now, it'll come back. And it'll be ok. You just may not know what ok is right now, but it'll be ok. Hugs and kisses to you.