Category Archives: censorshiop

Natural Art: Breastfeeding

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Lost art sculptures of the Mother Mary, destroyed by the Catholic

Church in the 1600’s have become a part of an art study grant by

a University of Dayton Religious Studies assistant professor. As

someone who loves art, I wondered why religious sculptures of

the beloved Mother Mary would be desecrated? It turns out they

were specifically ones where Mother Mary is breast-feeding the

Baby Jesus. This fascinates me, I will look forward to reading her

research and the 2016 release of her book publication.

The assistant professor, Neomi DeAnda is rediscovering the beauty

in the sculptures that are available in the depiction of this natural

act of providing mother’s milk to Jesus. I like this sentence given,

“Mary, the Mother of God, nurtured her Son to be the Redeemer of

Humankind.” (I inserted capital letters, making the words emphasized

where I felt the reader would take notice.)

Ms. DeAnda’s art grant award of $40,000, is to help her in her research

and a gift of time to study the different sources she will need to find

examples. Her book will be titled, “Theology of Breast Milk:  A Latina

Perspective.” The Louisville Foundation would be where you could go

for any future support of writing about art and literature, possibly of

religious content. “She is pulling together publications, art, personal

narratives, and popular devotions to examine the topic of breast-feeding

in the Bible and throughout church history.” (Source, University of

Dayton, “UD Magazine.”)

I like that Neomi DeAnda gives her reasoning for this subject matter

as important and current to our society today,

“My hope is that it will lead to good discussions about women breast-

feeding today and what it means practically and spiritually.”

My experiences with this were varied, depending on which of my three

children I was breast-feeding. My first baby, oldest daughter Carrie,

was a fussy baby. She had ‘colic,’ according to the pediatrician. I tried

to do this, was able to feed her three times a day and twice during the

nights, until I had to go back to teaching. Then, unfortunately, my milk

seemed to ‘seep out’ or leak when I needed to be nursing her, which was

not easily scheduled. I did have my lunch hour to go across the street,

where my babysitter lived. This was probably her ‘best’ and most filling

time that I accomplished daily. She was born on March 29th, so I ‘hung

in there,’ with my mother-in-law supporting me, until summer break.

Then, I really was able to double up, get her more filled up, which helped

my self-esteem. I managed to nurse Carrie, until she was a little over 6

months old. At the incredible age of 6 months, she absolutely ‘floored’

me!

I went to get her out of her crib after a nap and Carrie was standing up,

holding onto her crib rails. I promptly pushed her back onto her bottom,

saying firmly, “No, not yet!” She continued to do this, crawled to the

coffee table and did the same thing. I have photos to prove this, too.

My Mom said it was ‘paybacks’ since she and Dad have photos of my

doing the very same thing, at six months’ old. Anyway, Carrie was not

able to sit still, lie under my shirt, in public places after that. She was

way to ‘hyper’ or curious. She would ‘sip’ for a little bit, then stop, pull

my shirt up and smile at people. My Dad was used to my doing this,

but I was embarrassed when she did this over the holidays with my

father in law. I started weaning her, although I now know I could have

‘pumped’ and given it to her in a sippy cup. She was using her cup,

instead of a bottle with meals. In the ‘old days,’ I would feed her rice

cereal mixed with pasteurized apple juice for breakfast, mashed sweet

potatoes for lunch, and for dinner, I would put our stew, other foods

into  the food processor and make a ‘dinner’ out of it. We still had a

month of my nursing her at bedtime, before it all dried up.

Anyway, hope that the men who are reading this either skipped it,

recognized their wife or daughter in this, or just plain like to know about

what we women go through, all in the name of Love!

I love my Mom, but she was rather negative about breast-feeding. She

was told by her having eczema, that she should not breast-feed. This did

not help me, since she was using the glucose bottles that they gave me

for Carrie, at the hospital to keep her from crying. This made her tummy

full, which meant she did not suck hard enough, did not stay with it long

enough those first few weeks. Once Mom went home, I was able to do

fairly well, as mentioned back to work… I support this natural way of

feeding your baby, but wish to remind you to check any and all sources

of suggested foods. I found out the ‘hard’ way that babies don’t do well

with onions nor spicy foods! My sister-in-law was for years a La Leche

League leader. She still has women calling her, since she has such a positive

story to share. Good pointers. She was not around, my younger brother had

not met her, when I had my babies.

My second baby, my son “Sweet Baby James” otherwise known to this day

as Jamie, was a great nursing baby. My Mom allowed my mother-in-law to

come for his first weeks of life, while she took Carrie off to my parents’ house

for fun and goofy games with my Dad. The pictures from this time include

Carrie in a paper grocery bag, in a box, in a baby swimming pool and the

bath tub. My parents were ‘lucky’ and had retired at 55 and 58 years young!

Jamie continued nursing until 9 months old which I ended when he used

his teeth and I did not have the heart to squeeze his cheeks or give him a

‘tap’ to stop him from biting. My next baby, Felicia, nursed until over a year

old. She was the most laid back, plumpest little ‘punkin’ dunkin’ you ever

could imagine! I had learned not to feed her solids early, also not to allow

sugar or glucose water bottles to come home from the hospital. I was a ‘pro’

at the art of breast-feeding and was one who became a few of my friends’

coach on the subject. I loved eating dairy products, including yogurt, ice

cream and cottage cheese. I ate a wide variety of vegetables and fruits,

plus I did like chicken, fish and some red meat. I continued to take my

pre-natal vitamins, a plus for baby’s brain power. To this day, if you saw

her baby photographs, you would swear Felicia was the Gerber baby!

The sculptural art of Mother Mary nursing her son, Jesus is such a

wonderful testament for motherhood. In the Catholic faith, Mother Mary

is revered and treasured. I know there are some Christian faiths, I used to

belong to one of the evangelical churches that found it to be a ‘sin’ in such

respectful love of Mother Mary. Somehow, I could not stay with this faith,

because it haunts me, truly does, that this Mother knew she was given the

gift of the Son of God, (in some faiths) and had to also know the pain and

suffering he would face, as he grew up and had to lay down his life on the

cross. If you are Jewish, as my nephew in law is, you still know that Mother

Mary existed, that she did have a son and she did lose her son to this painful

death. Jerry knows this, since the Jewish ones were told this story, just the

fact that he is not considered God’s son is part of their religion.

Everyone I have ever met, who has traveled into other countries, enjoys

and photographs the beautiful, magnificent churches around the world.

It doesn’t matter what you believe, it will always be art. The fact that Neomi

DeAnda is looking into the destruction of art, hoping to uncover more than

a few pieces, in paintings, sculptures and written documents of this special

and natural process of feeding a baby is commendable.

Beginning a Week of Book Banning Awareness

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From September 21st through the 27th, the American Libraries Association has

declared this “Banned Books Week.” They wish to encourage our freedom to read.

The ALA’s slogan for this week is, “Discover What You’re Missing.” I think it is so

important to remind people of how recently we had books destroyed, censored

and banned in our country.

In my opinion, books on any subject are meant to expand our world views. They

open our eyes where we may hold insulated views. Some have been protected,

kept safe and ‘closed off,’ from what is being presented in their community or

‘tribe’ (or family.)There are some who home school, some who don’t believe

in public news, some who wish that all offensive subjects not be mentioned to

or around their children. I respect their freedom to do so and they have valid

concerns. But they must also be careful for ‘what they wish for.’ After having

a protected Catholic roommate my sophomore year in college go, ‘haywire,’

with her sudden freedom. Also, knowing a relative who sent her 3 daughters to

a Christian college, only to have one get married to a Catholic, a Jewish man

and another to live with a man out of wedlock, I think one must be careful

about what kind of life you are presenting to your children and family.

By the way, just so you don’t misunderstand, I felt all three of these choices

were find and acceptable choices. It is just the fact the parents had tried to

prevent this ‘kind of thing,’ from happening, that I mention it at all.

Creating awareness of censorship and banning books may seem ‘foreign’ to

ones in their twenties who may live in a city where this has not recently

happened. Historically, it is no so far in the distant past, as one may think. It

is also part of many cultures’ and countries’ current practices. Awareness of

the dangers in such behavior, burning books, taking black markers and

removing words, opinions, and whole passages of different perspectives is

so important for everyone to recognize.

The definition of ‘ban’ that applies to this practice is defined as to prohibit

especially by legal means or social pressure some form of information.

Censure or condemning through public opinion.

The definition of ‘censor’ is to examine in order to suppress or delete

harmful or dangerous material.

The major problem in both banning and censoring is “Who is doing this?”

Who has the authority to choose what we are able to read, write or talk

about?

The subjects of McCarthyism, Apartheid, Racial Issues and Governmental

Control are the ones that “leap to mind’ and produce a cold hand upon my

heart.

Do I think the military servicemen should have had their letters censored,

for fear of accidentally getting into the hands of our enemies? I would not

wish to make a decision that might cause death or infiltration of the enemy

in times of war.

Do I think that some subjects are ‘gross’ and upsetting to my mind? Yes,

but again, I would not wish to impose my thoughts upon others. I don’t

feel this would be fair or just behavior.

While teaching my first year of middle school, in 1979, I was in a small

town where the principal and the superintendent were from cities. They

said it was important to not feel that parents should dictate how their

students be taught. They made me feel comfortable about approaching

them with topics. Sixth grade Language Arts, along with English, Spelling

and Current Events were part of my instruction responsibilities. We had

team teaching, where the students moved from classroom to classroom.

Once I found out I was expecting my second child (my first miscarriage

had been the year before) I asked when it would be appropriate to tell

the students. We were going to be riding in a bus, in the winter months

to a swimming pool, I would be helping the kids to learn floating and

Life Saving techniques. I would be wearing a maternity bathing suit by

then. They suggested telling the parents in November and I listened to

their more experienced advice. We also were having Sex Ed discussions

in the Science classes. I was a little embarrassed as students would see

my belly expanding, but it turned out they loved getting in a line after

lunch in December to feel the baby move. Then, I would have them put

their heads down, as they rested and listened to the chapter book, “The

Yearling,” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

What books do I think of that have been banned? Without referring to

a list, I imagined “Clockwork Orange,” from my high school readings.

I pictured and remembered that the word, ‘nigger,’ was considered very

controversial and some schools and libraries during the Civil Rights

Movement, mistakenly removed the book, “Huckleberry Finn,” from

their book shelves. The third immediate ‘banned’ book I could think of,

was “The Scarlet Letter.”

Why ban “Clockwork Orange?” Graphic language,  the governmental

control and the futuristic idea of mind control over a criminal. The main

character is injected, I believe if my memory serves me well, with something

that causes him to have pictures of violence and he suffers excruciating pain

from this. Why should we accept this book and not ban it? This is an intriguing

start to a whole new genre of books, which opened our minds to possibilities

and also, made us aware of the dangers of choosing how a criminal should be

punished. Do we have the right to do this? It can also be argued, do we have

the right to kill a man because he killed or committed dangerous acts. Our

legal world, with a ‘jury of our peers,’ makes those kind of powerful judgments.

Why ban “Huckleberry Finn?” I think fear of repercussions and misunderstandings

during a very dangerous, emotional period of our times. We can look at this

rationally, knowing the language was supposed to depict what was acceptable

during Mark Twain’s time. Why accept the book? Because it is an outstanding

story that does cross racial barriers and shows a black man and a young boy in

a fantastic piece of American literature. Their unique friendship and reliance

on each other shows a trust unexpected between two such characters, prior

to Mark Twain’s writing this book.

Why would “The Scarlet Letter,” which has a 19th century woman wearing a

red “A” across her chest be considered censorable? I think some would say

go ahead and promote this book. It holds their own judgments of the situation

on adultery. I am not sure if it is on the banned books list, which I had decided

when I set out to write this, that I would not ‘peek’ at the list until I finished my

opinions or had a chance to ‘editorialize.’ I think it may have been on the list

but would take it off, due to my determination that usually the WOMAN is

given the scarlet letter, not the man who was part of the couple engaged in

adultery. This is an antiquated viewpoint, but sadly this is still held in some

form or other, which is not the time nor place to talk about why this still goes

on.

 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom gets reports and complaints. They usually

get the most “challenges” to freedom from the public wishing to ban books

after the Top 10 Book List is published.

Here are the Top 5 out of a list of Top 10 the OIF received after the 2013 Top Ten

List was published:

1. “Captain Underpants,” by Dav Pilkey.

The complaints were: Offensive language and unsuitable for age group.

2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison.

The complaints were: Offensive language, sexually explicit, violence and unsuitable for age group.

3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian ,” by Sherman Alexie.

The complaints were: Drugs, alcohol, smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James.

The complaints were: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoints, sexually explicit and

unsuitable for age group.

5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.

The complaints were: Religious viewpoints and unsuitable for age group.

Hmm…I would have added violence possibly.

Overall, there are large numbers given on the official website of the Office of Intellectual Freedom

of the population that wish to restrict our reading materials.

 

 

The funny thing that someone in my life mentioned about censorship, I am

not quite sure who, but he asked this thought-provoking question:

What book has many adult themes within its pages, including adultery,

fornication and murdering one’s family members, but is considered

‘acceptable’ by those who wish to forbid and censor books?

(The Bible, he answered.)

What books came to mind, when I first started this post, that may be on past

banned books lists?

 

Nelson Mandela’s quotation seems apropos:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.”

 

Revolutionary Music Found in Movie

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While thoroughly laughing at some of the outrageous comedic complications

to be found in the British movie, “Pirate Radio,” I wondered why this movie,

was ‘panned’ and didn’t make it. Originally released as, “The Boat that Rocked,”

it was a fictitious story about the BBC being rather rigid in the choices of music,

they promoted and allowed on their channel. The ones who were ‘forced’ into

the ships floating in the Sound, have the music British teenagers really wanted

to hear! There are scenes where nurses and doctors are listening in, on their

‘night shifts,’ along with parents who had strictly forbidden their youth to listen

to this ‘trash’ and other derogatory labels given to ‘rock and roll.’

Kenneth Brannaugh portrays a very strict BBC broadcasting boss, who is trying

to use his authority to promote censorship over the ‘air waves.’ While the crazy

characters on board the ship, are sending radio ‘shock waves’ of rock and roll

music out into the English atmosphere. They  look like they are having a ball!

The gorgeous January Jones, is in a short part of the movie, as the “Duchess,”

while the main character is Tom Sturgess’ young teen, sent off to his godfather’s

domain, as a so-called “punishment” for being too wild in school.

After the movie, my Mom told my brother and I that she never could get why

parents were so upset over the lyrics, rhythm and movement that washed

over the musical industry during the period that this movie takes place in.

She mentioned the literary period where there was revolutionary thoughts,

along with the 50’s less serious musical and expressionary embodiment of

the “Beatniks.” She summed this up, coherently in this thought:

“Every generation has its rebels, who think they are totally original. While

their deterrents are ones who feel that their oppositional views will create

revolution.”

I have to remind you of why Mom is so open-minded, just in case you are

a ‘new’ reader or visitor to my blog. My Mom taught 30 years of high school.

She found the students that were repressed by authoritarian parents were

the first ones that showed rebellion, like the age old views on “P.K.’s” or

Preacher’s Kids.

My brother, Randy, while discussing the soundtrack, somehow got on to

the subject of how there are main stream artists, bands and singing groups

that go beyond their ‘comfort zones.’

His examples were eclectic and unexpected. An example of a vegetable song,

which may not have been drug-induced but sounds like it was:

“Smiley Smile,” by the Beach Boys! It is part of that same driving and catchy

album, “Good Vibrations” is on. I had never heard it! Loved it, due to its quite

unique sound.

Using synthesizers, combined with real instruments led us to YouTube, to

also pursue a group with a “genius,” in Randy’s mind and ‘ears.’ Have you ever

listened to the group, Craftwork? Gary Anderson’s “Heroes and Villains,” is

plain awesome!

The intriguing movie, that inspired a musical conversation about the “Beatniks”

by my Mom and my brother, Randy’s random musings, has great performances

from some ‘quirky’ actors, including the late, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and one

of my favorites, (from “Love Actually” and other British films) Bill Nighy. The

screenwriter is the one who came up with, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

If you haven’t time to watch the movie, please check out the soundtrack. Lots of

popular songs can be found here, along with the sixties and seventies connection.

I enjoyed the way England received the harder styled rock and roll, showing

young people gathered in front of televisions there on the “Other side of the

Pond,” teen-aged girls shrieking and teen boys, hiding below their blankets,

trying to listen to the ‘pirated’ songs played on a boat.

A true page out of history that is enjoyable from beginning to the end! You may

need to include a brew, ale or wine to get in the humorous proper frame of mind.

If you are not a drinker, be prepared for absolute silliness, some rather risqué

scenes, included.

You may enjoy actual footage of DJ Robbie Dale, who was aboard the “Mi Amigo”

boat, captured by the film makers, Mike Hodges and Paddy Searle.

I cannot imagine a time when the Hollies and the Rolling Stones, among others

were considered so inflammatory and controversial!

Who would have imagined these ‘renegades’ would most of them have been

‘knighted’ by the Queen?!

 

Do you know a band who sang something you normally would not hear them sing?

They may have ‘stretched’ to encompass a different musical genre and out of their

“comfort zone?”

Were there any songs(or groups) your parents ‘forbade’ you to listen to?