Tuesday, December 20, 2016

On Lies, Bullying, and America’s Greatness: “the true horror of lost status” | the becoming radical

On Lies, Bullying, and America’s Greatness: “the true horror of lost status” | the becoming radical:

On Lies, Bullying, and America’s Greatness: “the true horror of lost status”

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When Nora experiences her existential epiphany and decides to be no longer a doll in Torvald Helmer’s house, it is Torvald’s response that has always fascinated me.
“Oh, you think and talk like a heedless child,” Torvald responds before becoming desperate: “But can’t we live here like brother and sister–?”
A Norwegian playwright dramatizing well over a century ago the sexism and misogyny inherent in social norms such as marriage—what could this possibly have to do with the U.S. in 2016?
Torvald, in fact, is a dramatization of what Toni Morrison recognizes in the rise of Trumplandia; Morrison’s confrontation of racism speaks as well to sexism: “These sacrifices, made by supposedly tough white men, who are prepared to abandon their humanity out of fear of black men and women, suggest the true horror of lost status.”
We see in Torvald the embodiment of “the true horror of lost status.”
Teaching A Doll’s House was challenging in the rural conservative South, but so was asking my students to confront Thomas Jefferson, whose letters reveal a past president of the U.S. who rejected:
The immaculate conception of Jesus, His deification, the creation of the world by Him, His miraculous powers, His resurrection and visible ascension, His corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, etc. (letter to William Short, 31 October 1819) [1]
These central beliefs of Christians, Jefferson labeled “artificial systems,” and my students were usually stunned because their upbringing had mostly idealized the Founding Fathers as traditional Christians who formed the U.S. as a Christian nation.
The general public is often as misinformed about presidential elections, which have historically been nasty. Jefferson was often vilified in his presidential campaigns, but we can imagine that he could have never been On Lies, Bullying, and America’s Greatness: “the true horror of lost status” | the becoming radical:


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