Compassion fatigue (crossposted with Yemen Blog)

I caught a bit of an interview on NPR today. Terri Gross was interviewing a former Episcopal minister (also a woman) and the ex-minister was talking about how she noticed “compassion fatigue” when she got out of the ministering business. It was a huge load off of her, and she didn’t even realize that she had it!

I identified with that. Not so much with compassion, but with some other things while I was in Yemen. It occurs to me that while I was there, I was always trying to be the model American and the model Christian. For many of the locals, I was the only one of either that they had ever met, and I might be the only one they ever meet. I was always conscious of having to set an example. I felt that if I did something to upset them or offend them they would most likely generalize that experience to include all Americans and Christians.

After a while, it became routine for me, but it was always there. When I got back, I knew I had to recuperate, but I couldn’t really put my finger on what I was recuperating from. I think a big part of it was getting used to not sticking out anymore. I’m just another guy here, I’m not the Christian, the American, I’m just another person… The anonymity is really nice, all the pressure is gone. I don’t think I realized what kind of strain that put on me until I got used to the idea that I wouldn’t have to be an example any more. It was a huge weight off of me, and I feel much better because of it.

Some studio work

I continue to dig through the archives… Here’s a type of work I did in school but really haven’t done since. Working in a studio is a lot of fun, it’s a totally different type of workflow. The models hated working with me, I would give them very little direction. I usually found the best expressions and poses when they were bored to tears. I got some decent shots, but I rarely got people to sit for me more than once… Anyway, as usual, you can find them here.


We have met the enemy and he is us…

Along with Doonsbury and Peanuts, Pogo is the definition of comic art. Walt Kelly was a master political satirist and artist. His strip, Pogo, ran for 3 or 4 decades and was perhaps the pinnacle of the comic art form. He is especially famous for his take on the dealings of the House Un-American activities committee. Unfortunately, the strip stopped in the 70’s so many people aren’t as familiar with it as some of the others. If you’ve never seen or read any of the strips, you can go here to get a taste for the humor and art that the strip represented. With any luck, Fantagraphics will get the total collection off the ground so we can appreciate this treasure of American literature that way it should be.


My favorite negative ad.

Despite everyone’s supposed dislike of negative ads, they can be instructive. My current favorite one is from the RNC. In it, they detail how in bed Obama was with both Fannie and Freddie. It talks about how he supported them and how this whole financial collapse is due to people like him.

Of course the RNC can’t trumpet McCain too much. Here’s my favorite part… You see, McCain may not have accepted as much money from Fannie and Freddie as Obama did, but he has his own skeletons to worry about. McCain was, of course, a star in the whole Keating five messiness. The RNC is walking a fine line and hoping that people’s memories don’t go back that far. God, politics is dirty…

Job stuff

I’ve been looking around and trying to figure out what I want to do. I had mentioned before that I’d like to go to Turkey in the spring. I’ll do that too, unless of course I can find a job that I like before then… Starting a regular life has some appeal, but it has to pay decently and it has to be something I enjoy. I have some applications out, we’ll see what happens…

Great, now Syria….

Bush is only in power for a little longer, did he have to go and piss off Syria? There are already a lot of countries that won’t allow Americans in because of our foreign policy, is Syria going to be next? How on earth am I going to get to Damascus now?

What? There was more than my travel plans at stake in that? Pssh, what could be so important? I kid….

New Apple laptops

My father got a new laptop the other day. He has FINALLY gotten a Mac, now all I need to do is get mom switched over and I’ll have my computer troubleshooting life taken care of… Anyway, I moaned and groaned a bit about the new macbooks because they dropped the firewire port off of them. I still don’t like that, but my father had never heard of firewire, so the new one was fine for him.

I gotta say, the new macbooks are pretty sweet. I shouldn’t really be surprised, Apple keeps doing this and it should be expected by now… It is noticeably zipper than mine despite having the same clock speed and amount of RAM. There have been enough improvements that the overall speed has noticeably improved. I didn’t really care about the new manufacturing process, but the result really is nice. This is the first computer I’ve felt that I like to touch, the aluminum has a very nice tactile feel to it. The screen is nice and bright, and the keyboard is fine. I do like the trakpad, I already miss some of the multi-touch features. In short, I imagine that I will end up owning one of these sooner or later. I’ll get around the firewire limitation somehow (damn you Steve Jobs). I didn’t think my computer was all that bad until I used the new one…

He also got an internet thingy for his computer. Since he’s out in the sticks, cable and DSL were out of the question. Satellite is just too expensive. This thing uses the phone company’s network, a 3g one I suppose. It’s not bad. It’s not quite up to a cable modem type of speed, but it is a huge improvement over the dial up he was on before. So those of you out of reach of cable modems might want to look into this, it’s an easy way to get into the 21st century…

Are churches "feminine?"

I was chatting with my friend Dana last night and I mentioned that I was going to start going to a book club in an Episcopal church. She said, “Good, we need more men.” By “we” she meant the Episcopal church. I’m not going to become one BTW.

I’ve never felt right being in church and I’ve never figured out the appeal. I’m not alone either, churches are predominantly attended by females. Would you believe mother’s day is the day with the highest attendance? Not Easter, not Christmas, mother’s day… It seems that that is the one day that women can reliably drag their husbands off to church.

I wonder why this is? I mean, I don’t know why anyone goes to church, but why are more women drawn to it than men? Is there something inherently feminine about church? Or is there something that inherently appeals to women? I don’t really know, think I’ll do a little digging around and se if anyone has any theories. But first of all, I have to get some sort of idea as to why people go to church in the first place…

Another ridiculous Obama ad

I just saw another Obama campaign ad talking about jobs shipped overseas. This one laments that workers in the Carolinas the sewed the American flag had their jobs sent overseas. They lost not only their jobs, but their “dignity” as well.

Where to start? OK, first of all, those people were either going to lose their jobs to increased mechanization or outsourcing. Odds are that the investment in new machinery was too expensive, so the company could either outsource the labor, or go out of business. Would Obama rather have had the company go under? The idea that we can force companies to keep employees when it is not viable and not to have any bad consequences is naive and comical…

Second of all, and this may be what gets me more wound up, is since when are companies responsible for the “dignity” of their workers? More importantly, since when is the federal government responsible? This has to be one of the more obvious examples of the government overstepping it’s bounds. Dignity is up to the individual, not their employers and certainly not the government. I wish that there was at least the suggestion that the government cannot do certain things let alone hint that there are things that it shouldn’t do….