Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunday at the Spinning Wheel

A basket of handspun wolf/dog hair sits at my feet. The yarn is thick and fluffy, almost like mohair. The fiber appears to be completely bright white, but while spinning, I noticed black hairs evenly interspersed throughout. I've begun plying the balls of yarn together to get a stronger yarn to warp my loom.

Plying goes much faster than spinning, but even after spending 3-4 hours at it Sunday, the basket is stil 2/3 full.

While my modest Ashford wheel spun round and round, my mind was occupied with possible topics for student papers. I found myself creating sample thesis statements on issues I believe are important, but which most of my young students seem to shrug off.

I may be an old woman, a grandmother with a degenerating skeleton, but I am still capable of moral outrage, the same outrage at injustice I felt when I was 20 attending Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War rallies in NYC in the explosive 1960s. I am amazed at the complacency of the young. Has computer technology completely anesthesized them?

What would my younger students do with some of these working theses:

1. If we refuse to torture prisoners, we set a positive example for the world.
2. It's ok to torture prisoners if they aren't US citizens.
3. Waterboarding is/isn't torture.
4. Torture does not fit most Americans' vision of what it means to be American.
5. Historically, torture is Medieval punishment for heretics and witches, not a tool for an Enlightened, progressive culture.
6. Torturing prisoners puts Americans in the same category as Inquisitors and the KGB.
7. Torture rarely reaps desired results and may actually cause more harm than good.
8. They do it to us, so it's ok to do it to them.

Heavy stuff, eh?

Here are some other thesis possibilities:

1. A large portion of personal survival skills (gardening, animal husbandry, spinning/weaving, cooking, pottery, etc.) humans have developed over millennia have been taken over by machines causing the cultural devaluation of their necessity, rendering them as "merely hobbies."
2. When that giant electric plug in the sky is pulled out forever, will we know how to feed and clothe ourselves?
2. Wealth is always achieved on the backs of an (sometimes invisible) underclass.
3. Americans have given up beauty and personal satisfaction for the sake of convenience.
4. Words like "fast," "convenient," "easier," are benefits listed for many electronic products, but perhaps we also give up something important when we use them.

I'd say I had a pretty productive weekend at the wheel.

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