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The First Rule of understanding the biological implications of BREAKING DAWN is that you don't think about the biological implications of BREAKING DAWN.
I really look forward to this post each week, especially to the blogaround. Even though I don't often comment, I love to read the variety of interests, depth of insight, and plain good writing this community produces.
Froborr: we use after-the-fact rationalizations and before-the-fact imaginary scenarios to construct a self-image, and then this self-image constrains and informs the immediate emotional responses and simple behavioral rubrics that actually determine our actions at the moment of truth. That's ... actually kinda cool. And if I bang it with a mental hammer long enough, can be forced to fit in with my mental paradigm of "relationships as stories." With regard to Renesmee, though, Meyers really cheated on that one. There's no point to even speculating on Bella's parenting style. SPOILERS FOR BREAKING DAWN IF ANYONE CARES s p o i l e r s p a c e First of all, the kid goes from newborn to what, six? -- some age in which she is still adorable yet not constantly dependent, anyways -- in about a month. Second of all, Daddy's telepathic, so there's never any confusion about what she really wants and needs, while Mama's got that whole psychic shield deal, so no worries about parental privacy, either. And then there's Aunt Alice who can predict the outcome of any tricky decision and Uncle Jasper who can manipulate the emotions of anyone if things get out of hand, not to mention incalculable wealth and inexhaustible energy, and it's hard to imagine how anyone could NOT pull off a halfway decent job of raising a child. And finally, the kid's got a whole passel of substitute parents, who are frankly more committed to the role than Bella -- Jacob, of course, with the freaky soulmate connection*, but also Esme, who has been set up as having no function in life but to be a mother, and Rosalie, who has no desire in life but to be a mother, and then whatsisname the OTHER half-vampire, who shows up in the very end, who also makes it clear that he's putting in his claim on the precious widdle moppet... ...heckopete, I don't see why Bella doesn't pack a box of thong underwear and leather whips and drag Edward back to their private island, and just check in on Nessie when she's ready to graduate college. *about which I have a theory (that doesn't involve bunnies) so it doesn't squick me out as badly as some people
I love this article as an after-the-fact analysis, but it does make me wonder about the emphasis placed by pop-parenting self-help books on "adopting your preferred parenting style." ("Breaking / establishing relationship patterns" is a phrase that puzzles me in a similar fashion. It might be a great tool for looking at the general nature of my past; not so useful when it comes to applying to specific present or future situations.) Does anyone ever make the conscious decision that "Hey, I'm going to be controlling / indulgent / responsive / flexible / authoritatian / whatever"? If so, does that determination ever last past the six-month-scream-all-night phase? I'm honestly not trying to be snarky here. A lot of this is introspection that comes from having a daughter graduate from high school (and therefore is, according to tradition, no longer "mine" to parent), and listening to her examine, analyze, and criticize (in the theoretical way, not the snotty teen way) how she was raised. Daughter keeps asking me why we made this or that choice; and I keep saying "I don't know. We threw a lot of parenting spaghetti at the wall, and went with what stuck." (And spouse, to be fair, says "I kept asking myself 'What Would [my] Dad do?' and whatever that was, I did the opposite!") I'm not saying our parenting was random, mind you; we certainly have enough coherence and consistency that our children can predict (and sometimes manipulate, bless their hearts) our reactions remarkably well. But I don't think I've ever articulated a "style" or "philosophy" either to my family or myself. Not everybody here's a parent, of course, but everyone's a child, a friend, many are lovers and partners. Am I an oblivious anomaly? Do most of you consciously adopt or avoid a particular "style" in your relationships?
Froborr: I think what I found triggering was that it felt to me like you were setting yourself up as an impartial adjudicator in the debate, while clearly strongly favoring one side. Froborr, I do not want to dogpile on you. But I think it only fair that this characterization of Kit's posts rather baffled me. The reason is, if there's anyone around here who has "appeaser" tendencies, it's me. I *hate* confrontation; I have been thoroughly socialized into the framework of "Nice girls don't speak up", and since I had never been taught how to defend myself safely and effectively, I tend to simmer and steam until I blow up, scattering shrapnel to the winds. I kept thinking that it's better for everyone if I just bite it back, relying on passive aggressive snark if I need to vent. In the past few years, I have learned a LOT from this community about how to stand up for myself and others in an assertive but healthy way. Many many posters have contributed to this development, but I have always seen Kit as a role model in courtesy, reasonableness, but always being prepared with bluntness when it was called for. Maybe it's a sign of just how far I have internalized my desire to avoid conflict; but seeing Kit described as some sort of "Stealth Appeaser", hiding behind a false cloak of impartiality, is nothing short of astonishing. If the only way that we can discuss this issue is to wear t-shirts* proclaiming our "allegiances" up front, I'm kinda stuck on what color I should adopt. *glances at t-shirt I am in Real Life currently wearing. It says "READ RESPONSIBLY". Oh, dear.
@Coleslaw -- while I personally prefer the "look" of blockquotes to italics when quoting, there are three problems, that usually lead to me using italics: a) italics are more immediately obvious when the quotation is long b) the italics tag takes significantly less keystrokes, which is an advantage not to be belittled with arthritic fingers c) the italics tag is less vulnerable to typos (I don't know how many times I've typed "blocquote") Of course, I don't think blockquotes have ever taken over an entire page. Basically, I see nothing wrong with encouraging blockquotes, but I'd be reluctant to require them.
Toggle Commented May 27, 2011 on Board Business, May 26 2011 at The Slacktiverse
There is no British accent! You mean English! :-p Nope, I meant "cartoon British". The accent that some USians adopt when they want to sound "posh" and sounds rather like a tin-eared ten-year-old imitating a mishmash of John Cleese and Thurston Howell III.
@Tonio -- the first time I heard of Mad Cow disease, I kept thinking of psychedelic cattle with hypnotic powers and cartoon British accents. Too much Teen Titans growing up?
I am rather charmed the idea of Stern Looking, because as a mother that's the chief weapon in my arsenal -- what my children call "The Mommy Look of DOOM". (I don't know if all mothers have it -- mine sure did -- and I suppose fathers and aunts and interested neighbors may have their own version as well. My father didn't, and hapaxSpouse is a notorious softie where his children are concerned) HOWEVER -- I'm not anybody's mother here (you may all thank your respective deities and the workings of random chance), and I suspect that adopting such a nomenclature might be ineffective on those who really need it. However, I have no objection to anyone trying it out as a personal or community experiment. If nothing else, being told : "That thing you said calls for a Stern Look for **-ism from me" isn't likely to trigger anyone, and may be unexpected enough to cause the thoughtless and clueless to stop in their tracks and inquire further.
<-- Look! I found my seahorse! [curls tail happily] I think that title of the post is even more applicable to the US with its (ostensible) two-party system. After the 2008 elections, with the Democrats in control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency, a lot of the party's progressive base who worked their tails off (including me) believed that a lot of our agenda would be addressed: getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan, closing Gitmo, comprehensive health care reform, repealing the Patriot Act, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, etc. We feel furious and betrayed. And that feeling contributed to party losses in 2010. Meanwhile, the Republican successes in 2010 owed much to their Tea Party wing, with *its* double base of libertarians and social conservatives. The Republicans are trying to avoid the Democrat mistake by satisfying this base(s): but unfortunately the policies of the two, while frequently in concert ("Defund Planned Parenthood!") just as frequently conflict ("Restore DADT!") and in many cases really torque off the general voting public (Thank you, Paul Ryan!)
Oh crud. Quick clarification -- Heretical Voice, that parody wasn't meant to be a jab aimed at you, since you are obviously grappling thoughtfully with these issues. It's just the combination of your nick, the seasonal ear-worm, and the latest round of concern-troll-derailment getting mixed up in my backbrain. Consider the second part of the post my more sober response to your very reasonable question.
It's possible to reasonably disagree on what constitutes [bigotry]ism. Or, at least, I'd think it should be. There's a voice in the wilderness crying, a joke from poster bold: "Prepare for subversive humor , that dares the weak to scold! The privileged shall be exalted, the women taught their place; It's okay for me to say this, since I don't see sex or race!" Sorry, that's just been stuck in my head, it being the third week of Advent and all. But really, I think that the Baptist's call, and the Song of Mary, pretty much sum it up as a general rule. When in doubt, I should ask myself: does this joke scatter the proud in the conceit of their hearts? Does it pull down the mighty from their thrones? Does it exalt the humble and meek? Does it fill the hungry with good things, while sending the rich empty away? If I can honestly answer "yes" to these questions, then I think I'm probably safe.
Among that film's problems are a failure to understand that there are times when blindness to suspect classes is a bad thing. This got mixed up with a conversation on another page (or was it thread?) and now I really wanna see a gender-swapped version of MIRACLE ON MORGAN'S CREEK.
Canadians are... not obviously anything that I'm aware of. Do people in other countries have a clearer stereotype of us? What with the insane popularity of HETALIA: AXIS POWERS with the teens around here, apparently the stereotype of Canada is being invisible, forgotten, and left out. (However, Tim Horton's doughnuts are very very good.) :-(
Having it be personal also carries the unfortunate implication that justice is only important when you know the people. A police officer, PI, or other professional should care, period. And even an amateur sleuth might. That is one of my favourite things about Lord Peter. About how thoroughly, utterly, to-the-bone offended he was by the act of murder. Oh, whoever was wondering up there? Annulment does not render children of a marriage illegitimate in the Roman Catholic church. No, there is no logical reason for it. It's because to say otherwise is unthinkably cruel, even for canon lawyers.
I'm surely not the only fan of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" around here, am I? (I've even been a contestant and everything -- although I'm still waiting to get Carl Kasell's voice on my home answering machine, pout) Anyways, last week Dick Van Dyke was the "Not My Job" guest, and he in fact apologized for his dreadful accent in "Mary Poppins". His (joking) explanation was that his voice coach was an Irishman with a grudge...
So get off my ass and stop beggging for my attention. Very good, Mr. Carshall. THIS is how you do "butthurt".
On a not-unrelated note, it's probably worth pointing out that seeing a movie relatively soon after it comes out is a kind of privilege. Not much of one. Even in the dark days Before the Internet, I saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on the day it opened, second showing. Guess what all the people coming out of the *first* showing were shouting as they passed us waiting in line?
@Thorny -- I can't disagree with your response to the parables; you're in good company. You would be hard pressed to find ANY parable or saying of Jesus that didn't violate the "natural sense of justice" in the ears of his listeners, that didn't "describe a world completely alien to our reality." This would lead one naturally to the hypothesis that the major message of Jesus that these things -- our intuitive sense of fairness, the way our world works are wrong. That what we think of as "fair" is actual *selfish*; that our world is not, in fact, actually *working*. That there is another way -- a counter-intuitive way, a topsy turvy way, an obviously insane way, a way that all our instincts and laws and reason viscerally scream "NO IT WON'T WORK WE'LL ONLY GET SCREWED YOU'RE GONNA GET US ALL KILLED JUST WAIT AND SEE!!!" And *this* way, Jesus insists, is the way to build the Kingdom of Heaven. I can't blame anyone who rejects this as irrational, distasteful, unworkable, repugnant. The leap of faith required leaves me at times questioning my sanity, let alone my good judgment. It does distress me at times, however, that so many of my co-religionists keep trying to candy-coat this Jesus, and pretend that his hard and radical challenge to everything we know and believe were milky little moral aesops for children.
Anyone been following the Juan Williams case? While I don't know if he should have been fired, I do object to the campaign to him into a conservative martyr. I was finally able to pledge to my local NPR station again, after a hiatus of several years. Of course, I only pledged half my previous level, since I still hear Maura Liarson "reporting" regularly. (When I informed the nice pledge-taker of my reasoning, she laughed and said "We'll check back at the Spring fundraiser. Keeping my fingers crossed...)
It just seems to me that if the Bible is a holy book from which we are to learn lessons about this life and the hereafter it either needed to be less context specific or updated a bit more often. Well, in all fairness, it seems a bit much to expect EVERY parable to address EVERY concern for EVERYONE in ALL TIME. But ... Jesus did emphasize, many many times, in so many words (NOT in parables) the precedence of "found / created families" over families by blood. Most explicitly that I can think of -- Matthew 12. A message far, far more shocking and offensive to his contemporary hearers than anything I can think of in the parables. And with that, I wave goodnight to my found brothers and sisters here -- two glasses of very good port and I'm not as young as I used to be.
@Lori: Xrrcvat fgevpgyl gb Onvyrl, ntnva: Gur bayl guvat gur sngure pbhyq pubbfr jnf jurgure gb pbagvahr gb gerng uvf fbaf NF uvf fbaf (naq jvgu rkgenbeqvanel sbeornenapr naq trarebfvgl -- n cngevnepu qvq ABG eha, qvq ABG yrnir gur ubhfr gb ovq uvf puvyqera ragre, qvq abg bssre hc uvf bja ebor, rgp.) Be ur pbhyq pubbfr gb npprcg gurve grezf, naq gerng gurz nf uverq rzcyblrrf. Jryy, ur qvq vg sbe bar bs gurz. V nz nsenvq V qba'g haqrefgnaq guvf. Gur sngure nqqerffrq obgu puvyqera guebhtubhg nf uvf fbaf. Ur pnzr bhg gb vaivgr gurz obgu gb gur srnfg. Vg jnf gur ryqre fba jub rkcyvpvgyl ershfrq gb ersre gb uvf sngure be oebgure ol uvf gvgyr, jub ersreerq gb uvzfrys nf n "fynir" bs gur ubhfr, jub rffragvnyyl qrznaqrq jntrf sbe uvf jbex ba uvf bja svryqf, jub qvfgvathvfurq orgjrra gur pbzzhavgl va trareny naq "zl sevraqf". Onvyrl qvfphffrf gur qrgnvyf bs gur srnfg ng rkunhfgvir yratgu, ohg onfvpnyyl, gur jnl guvatf jrer qrfpevorq, gur cnegl jnf abg haqrejnl, ohg fgvyy va cercnengvba. Fb onpx va gur qnl zhfvp naq qnapvat jrer cneg bs gur cerc sbe gur cnegl? Gb dhbgr sebz Onvyrl, c. 193: "Gur pnys vf abg ebnfgrq ba n fcvg ohg phg vagb frpgvbaf naq onxrq va oernq biraf. Boivbhfyl, zbfg bs vg jvyy unir gb or gvzrq gb or ernql sbe gur rneyl riravat, jura gur zra erghea sebz gur svryqf. Jura fbzr bs vg vf pbbxrq, gur zhfvp fgnegf. ... Gurer vf ab sbezny, "bssvpvny" ortvaavat. Crbcyr pbzr, fvat, qnapr, qevax jvar, ... gnyx, rng, tb bhg, pbzr onpx naq fb sbegu. Gur zhfvp qbrf abg fgneg nsgre gur zrny ohg orsber vg." (Pvgngvbaf naq shegure qrgnvyf phg va gur ryyvcfrf) Gur "freinag" gur ryqre oebgure gnyxrq gb jnf cebonoyl n zvfgenafyngvba, naq pbhyq or orggre qrfpevorq, va pbagrzcbenel grezf, nf "arvtuobeubbq xvq unatvat nebhaq." Vg frrzf gb zr gung gur vffhr vf abg jurgure gur crefba gur ryqre oebgure gnyxrq gb vf n freinag be n arvtuobe be n gnyxvat tbng. Vg'f gung vg'f abg uvf sngure. (fubeg fhzznel bs c. 194-5) Gur fba, hcba erghea sebz gur svryqf, jbhyq unir orra rkcrpgrq gb tb vagb gur ubhfr gb frr jung jnf tbvat ba, naq gnxr ba gur qhgvrf rkcrpgrq bs n fba bs gur ubhfrubyq. (Guvf vf jurer ur jbhyq rapbhagre n freinag, jub jbhyq xabj nobhg gur cercnengvbaf bs gur srnfg.) Gur fba qbrf abg rira ragre gur ubhfr. Vafgrnq ur vagreebtngrf bar bs gur xvqf unatvat nebhaq bhgfvqr, cerfhznoyl gurer yrneavat gur qrgnvyf bs uvf oebgure'f orunivbe. c. 195 "Vs gur byqre fba ragref gur ubhfr, ur vf ng yrnfg frra gb ubva gur snzvyl ... Vs ur jnagf gb svtug jvgu uvf sngure bire gur jnl uvf oebgure jnf erprvirq, ur fubhyq svefg ragre gur ubhfr naq shysvy uvf ebyr nf wbvag ubfg.... Engure gur byqre fba pubbfrf gb uhzvyvngr uvf sngure choyvpyl ol dhneeryyvat juvyr gur thrfgf ner cerfrag." (Ybat qvterffvba bs rknzcyrf bs cnenyyry vafhygf va Zvqqyr Rnfgrea naq Nenovp yvgrengher) Ng guvf cbvag, gur sngure ntnva pbzrf bhg bs gur ubhfr gb zrrg uvf fba. "Sbe gur frpbaq gvzr va bar qnl, gur sngure tbrf qbja naq bhg bs gur ubhfr bssrevat va choyvp uhzvyvngvba n qrzbafgengvba bs harkcrpgrq ybir.... Gur sngure pbzrf bhg gb ragerng, abg gb fpbyq be erohxr, nf vf rkcrpgrq." V'z abg fnlvat gung gurer znl abg or fbzr onpx fgbel gung jbhyq znxr gur byqre fba'f orunivbe nalguvat ohg na havzntvanoyl rtertvbhf vafhyg. V nz fnlvat gung, sbe gur nhqvrapr sbe jubz guvf fgbel jnf pbzcbfrq, gurer vf abg nalguvat va gur grkg gb whfgvsl vg. I am not quarrelling with your understanding of the story. I am trying to provide, from the best source I know, the connotations of the story in the ears of its immediate intended audience. I think the same approach is appropriate whether one is looking at NT parables, Shakespearian plays, or the LB books. The meaning *I* *personally* draw from this story, as well as those others, are quite different from this original intent as well, I assure you. But I think that both are fair and worth taking seriously.
Part II: Ntnva, jurgure be abg rvgure fba unf yrtvgvzngr tebhaqf gb gerng gurve sngure va guvf jnl vf abg fgngrq va gur grkg. Svefg praghel Whqrn jbhyq abg or noyr gb pbaprvir bs nal orunivbe whfgvslvat gung fbaf gerng gurve sngure va guvf jnl. (Nyy gur rkgrag yrtny grkgf bs fhpu n cer-qrngu qvfcbfvgvba bs vaurevgnapr ner ragveryl ng gur sngure'f vafgvtngvba, hfhnyyl va beqre gb cebgrpg gur puvyqera'f evtugf hcba gur sngure'f znxvat n frpbaq zneevntr.) Jura gur sngure fnlf "Rirelguvat V unir vf lbhef," ur vf abg znxvat n fgngrzrag bs uvf trarebfvgl. Ur vf fgngvat naq ernssvezvat gur ryqre'f yrtny fgnghf naq evtugf. Juvyr gur sngure pbagebyf gur pheerag hfr bs gur cebcregl (juvpu svryq gb cynag jvgu jung, jung gb pbbx sbe qvaare.) Ur PNAABG qvfcbffrff gur ryqre va snibe bs gur lbhatre. Gur bayl guvat gur sngure pbhyq pubbfr jnf jurgure gb pbagvahr gb gerng uvf fbaf NF uvf fbaf (naq jvgu rkgenbeqvanel sbeornenapr naq trarebfvgl -- n cngevnepu qvq ABG eha, qvq ABG yrnir gur ubhfr gb ovq uvf puvyqera ragre, qvq abg bssre hc uvf bja ebor, rgp.) Be ur pbhyq pubbfr gb npprcg gurve grezf, naq gerng gurz nf uverq rzcyblrrf. Gur bayl pubvpr gur fbaf unq jnf jurgure gb npprcg gur sngure'f bssre gb erfgber gur snzvyvny eryngvbafuvc. Gur lbhatre fba qvq. Gur ryqre'f pbzcynvag fcrpvsvpnyyl erwrpgf guvf erpbapvyvngvba. Vg vf yrsg qryvorengryl nzovthbhf nf gb jung uvf erfcbafr gb uvf sngure'f frpbaq ragerngl jvyy or. @ Ybev: "Gur guvat vf, vg pbhyq nyfb or gur lbhatre fba fvzcyl xarj jung ur'q unir gb fnl va beqre gb trg n ubg zrny naq n qrprag wbo." Ntnva, nppbeqvat gb Onvyrl, gung'f rknpgyl jung gur lbhatre fba jnf fnlvat. Uvf bssre gb orpbzr n uverq zna jnf na rkgrafvba bs xrrcvat gur eryngvbafuvc ba n ohfvarff, engure guna n snzvyvny yriry. Uvf "ercragrapr", fhpu nf vg jnf, jnf va npprcgvat gur sngure'f hapbaqvgvbany qrpynengvba bs fba-fuvc, erfgbevat naq urnyvat gur snzvyvny eryngvbafuvc. @ ZnqT -- gur ryqre oebgure jnf va gur svryqf orpnhfr gurl jrer *uvf* svryqf. Onvyrl qvfphffrf gur qrgnvyf bs gur srnfg ng rkunhfgvir yratgu, ohg onfvpnyyl, gur jnl guvatf jrer qrfpevorq, gur cnegl jnf abg haqrejnl, ohg fgvyy va cercnengvba. Gur "freinag" gur ryqre oebgure gnyxrq gb jnf cebonoyl n zvfgenafyngvba, naq pbhyq or orggre qrfpevorq, va pbagrzcbenel grezf, nf "arvtuobeubbq xvq unatvat nebhaq." Onvyrl nyfb nethrf gung gur ryqre oebgure'f neeviny jnf qrfpevorq va fhpu n jnl va beqre gb frg hc n qryvorengr cnenyyry -- va rnpu pnfr, gur sngure jrag bhg gb srgpu gur fba, na haurneq bs oernpu bs qrpbehz naq fgnghf. ----- Once again, let me say that I am not arguing here that there is a CORRECT interpretation. In a very different situation, I got involved in quite a dispute with Kit Whitfield about the extent to which a story "belongs" to an author once it is "released into the wild", as it were. Since I argued quite strongly there that a story is an equal collaboration between an author and a reader, it would be hypocritical of me to argue otherwise, just because I have a certain reverence for the Author of this one. But just as it would be quite legitimate to point out to potential readers that, say, the word "Bareback" has quite a different connotation in the UK than it does in the US, I think it legitimate to look at the context and connotations of this story to the audience to whom it was immediately addressed.
Because this discussion made me go re-read this chapter in the book I alluded to earlier (Kenneth Bailey, POET & PEASANT), I'm going to expand on a couple of points. ROT13 for those who really don't want to see all this: Juvyr guvf cnenoyr pna or frra nf n thvqr gb uhzna orunivbe, nf jryy nf n qrfpevcgvba bs Tbq'f eryngvbafuvc gb uhznaf, vg vfa'g ernyyl nobhg "sbetvirarff" fb zhpu nf "chggvat bhe eryngvbafuvcf va gur evtug pbagrkg." Nsgre ybbxvat ng gur eryrinag Zvfuanu naq pbagrzcbenel qbphzragf nobhg vaurevgnapr, Onvyrl nethrf (pbaivapvatyl gb zr) gung gurer vf ab jnl gb ybbx ng guvf cnenoyr rkprcg nf n pbzcnevfba orgjrra gerngvat crbcyr nf snzvyl (snguref, fbaf, naq oebguref) naq gerngvat crbcyr nf pbagenpghny ohfvarff cnegaref (rzcyblrrf, znfgref, freinagf, fynirf). Ur nethrf gung Wrfhf rkcyvpvgyl cebzbgrf gur sbezre naq pbaqrzaf gur ynggre, naq vzcyvpvgyl nterrf guebhtu uvf nanylfvf. Gur vqrn bs gbkvp snzvyl eryngvbafuvcf fvzcyl jnfa'g ninvynoyr va gung gvzr naq cynpr. (Gung qbrfa'g zrna gung vg qvqa'g unccra gura, qbrfa'g unccra abj, naq crbcyr fubhyqa'g oevat gurve bja rkcrevraprf bs vg gb gurve erfcbafr guvf cnenoyr. Vg qbrf fgebatyl fhttrfg gung fhpu n ernqvat vf rkgreany, engure guna vagevafvp gb gur grkg). Gur fgbel bcraf jvgu gur lbhatrfg fba rkcyvpvgyl nfxvat sbe na nygrengvba va uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu uvf snzvyl naq pbzzhavgl. Ur vf nfxvat gb or ab ybatre pbafvqrerq n fba be nf n angvir bs gung cynpr (pbairegvat uvf funer vagb pnfu), juvpu pbhyq bayl or vagrecergrq nf n erwrpgvba bs uvf sngure naq ubzr va gur zbfg rkgerzr, ivbyrag grezf. Uvf ernfbaf sbe qbvat fb ner abg fgngrq. Gur qvivfvba bs gur rfgngr yrtnyyl PBHYQ ABG UNIR UNCCRARQ jvgubhg gur ryqre fba'f pbafrag. Ur jnf shyyl pbzcyvpvg va fnlvat "Sngure, V jvfu lbh qrnq", naq erchqvngvat gur eryngvbafuvc bs n fba. Gurer ernyyl vfa'g n tbbq zbqrea nanybt sbe guvf fvghngvba, ohg gur pybfrfg V pna guvax bs vf n puvyq tbvat gb uvf cneragf naq fnlvat, "V ungr guvf snzvyl naq rirelguvat vg fgnaqf sbe. V jnag lbh gb chg nyy lbhe nffrgf vagb n gehfg naq unaq vg bire gb hf xvqf. Byqre Oeb' jvyy ohl bhg zl funerf, naq V pna funxr gur qhfg bs guvf cynpr bss zl srrg sberire. Zrnajuvyr, l'nyy pna or gehfgrrf naq yvir bss gur vapbzr, hagvy lbh qb hf nyy n snibe naq qvr." Naq gur byqre oebgure fnlf, "Lrnu, fbhaqf tbbq gb zr, gbb." (Huge wall o'text broken in two to make Typepad happy)
@chris the cynic: Kenneth Bailey, in his POET & PEASANT spends an entire chapter putting this parable (which he calls, interestingly, "The Parable of the Two Lost Sons") into the context of contemporary Jewish law, Mishnah commentary, Middle Eastern cultural traditions, and eschatological expectations. It's terribly dense reading, and not very graceful, but in regard to your questions -- a)the youngest son's request for his "share" of the inheritance, and the conversion of it into cash, were both shocking actions, literally asking his father to die, and rejecting his entire community. The elder son's acquiescence in this disposition was almost equally shocking. b) Once the split was made, the property and goods belonged to the eldest son. The produce from them, however, still belonged to the living father. (Sort of. It's complicated.) c) To come back and be accepted back in the household as a "hired man" was in many ways less humiliating to the younger son than to be accepted back as a son. It would have allowed him to avoid starving without being technically being reintegrated into the community or household, to "earn" his own livelihood by his own merit from the father's control (the produce of the land) without being reconciled to the brother (who owned the real property.) d) The elder son's speech indicates also an attitude that he viewed the relationships as mercantile, rather than familiar -- that he saw himself as a "slave" rather than the "owner" of the property, because his father retained the right of disposition ("you never gave me a kid"), the reference to the younger wasting "your" money, the refusal to call the father and brother by relationship names, the distinction between "my friends" and the community -- all of which indicate a not so subtle implication that he considers the relationship permanently broken and wishes his father dead. Within this context, the absence of HIS response to the father's invitation back into a familial (rather than a business) relationship is especially significant. There is a LOT more to it than this quick summary -- I very much recommend Bailey to anyone interested in the contemporary context of many of the NT parables. (Not commenting on the meaning of any of this. Just trying to answer the question)