Since when did a career serving your community become a bad thing? I have always thought of it as being honorable. Thank you Former Secretary of Labor Reich for hitting the nail on the head with your commentary provided in the link below. You saved me a lot of typing. Kudos!
Archive for January 5th, 2011
I wrote a couple of months ago about the controversy over vaccines and whether they cause autism. That controversy was started in large part by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, whose study has since been retracted from the medical journal where it was first published and who has lost his medical license in the last year.
Today, CNN reports:
A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an “elaborate fraud” that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.
An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.
This isn’t a surprise but it is good to get to the bottom of what happened. If the accusations are true that Wakefield falsified results in order to make money, he is a loathsome human being. Because of him, children have fallen ill because their parents were afraid to vaccinate them, and families coping with autism were given false hope that vaccines might be to blame. When will money stop being such a powerful incentive to do harm to others?
Two items of interest to book lovers (of which I am one) caught my eye yesterday. First was the news that NewSouth Books is set to release a new edition of “Huckleberry Finn” wherein every instance of “nigger” is replaced by “slave.” (Publisher tinkers with Twain)
I have no love for contemporary uses of the n-word, which frequently appears in rap and hip-hop songs, but it helps date “Huck Finn” to a particular time and place in history. I’m not even sure if I’d consider this political correctness so much as censorship. As a reader on CNN.com put it, “This book is a reflection of the time in history in which it was written. To change the language is to change its history. It should be left as it is.” Another reason it should be left alone is that “slave” and “nigger” are not interchangeable; they don’t mean exactly the same thing.
The other piece that caught my eye was “Why my e-reader will never replace my bookshelf.” One of the points that Amy Preiser makes is that bookcases are good ways to start conversation. I can attest to this. One of the first places I look upon entering a home is to the bookcase to see if there are any books that I have in common with the resident.
So I agree with Preiser. Although I had the chance to become familiar with the Kindle over Christmas, it didn’t entice me to buy one for myself, as I had been afraid it might. I’m still too attached to the feel of pages between my fingers and the sight of familiar friends on my shelves.
If you have seen the Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast,” you might remember a scene in which the Beast presents Belle with the most glorious library imaginable. Having that kind of collection would be heaven on Earth for me. As it is, I have a humble goal of lining one room with bookcases and installing a comfy chair when I eventually buy a house. I have thousands of books, starting from kids’ books I read in elementary school, that I would love to display. Right now I have two large bookcases and two small ones filled with books, and many more packed away in boxes, waiting for the day when they can see sunlight.
My mother will celebrate her 85th birthday next month. She was fortunate to grow up as part of the first full generation of women that had the right to vote and for whom career opportunities were starting to expand beyond the previous limitation of teachers, secretaries, nurses, and sales clerks. Honestly, while growing up, I never thought of her as a trailblazer, but now with the benefit of hindsight, I am quite proud of her accomplishments. Among them are:
• Co-founder of the Indiana University chapter of the Alpha Phi sorority.
• Graduate of Indiana University shortly after the conclusion of World War II.
• Started her business career as a secretary at a large corporation, but later she co-founded and was a partner in a women-owned antique business that operated successfully for more than two decades.
• Volunteered at a rehabilitation center several times per week for many years.
• Active member of many other community organizations in central Indiana.
• Board member of a family foundation. • Wife of my father for 40+ years and of my stepfather for 15 years and counting.
• Mother of two sons and grandmother of five grandchildren.
My mother had a good role model on how to be a trailblazer in her own mother. My grandmother lost both of her parents before she was 15, but attended college at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State) in the late 1910s and partnered with my grandfather for nearly 50 years in operating a very successful trailer and equipment rental business in central Indiana.
Often, we tend to think of trailblazers as those who are nationally recognized leaders or who are founders in their field of endeavor. While this is certainly true, it overlooks the fact that each and every one of uscan be a trailblazer in our own way. We may not get the notoriety, press, or the hoopla, but we can make a difference and serve as a role model for others. For each time one of us tries something completely new or different, each time one of us rethinks and revises our pre- conceived notions, each time one of us breaks out of the mold, or each time one of us challenges the norms, we have become a trailblazer.
I am proud to say both my mother and grandmother have been role models for other women. They were successful during a time in our nation’s history when women did not have the range of educational and professional opportunities available today. One could only imagine what they might have done if their choices had been on par with men when they were growing up.
The song “Twilight Galaxy” by the Canadian band Metric expresses the importance of not being pigeon-holed into the preset mold that society expects of you very aptly in the following lyrics:
“Did they tell you
You should grow up
When you wanted to dream
Did they warn you
Better shape up
If you want to succeed
I’m higher than high
Lower than deep
I’m doing it wrong