Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I'm sitting at a computer in the UGA library to address this question:
"Kant and Mill offer very different analyses of moral motivation. For Kant, our motive is the source of moral value, whereas for Mill, motive matters little or nothing as regards the morality of an action. Articulate both of their arguments for the source of moral value and critically examine the relationship between motive and value for both philosophers, articulating what you take to be the right analysis (it need not be either Kant’s or Mill’s)."
Aron and Graham left Athens this morning at 7:30 to visit family in Peachtree City, and I stayed behind intending to work on a take-home test, the first question of which is the one above regarding Kant and Mill. I wish I cared to answer the question regarding the disparities between Mill and Kant vis-a-vis moral motivation. I wish I cared. I really wish I did.

When I think about what has happened in my life during my absence from blogging, three main things occur to me; they are:
  2. A new semester of school started.
  3. Aron did a sociology project on Honey Boo Boo.
I love Graham Lorenzo Hall so much. I feel my love for him in my chest, my head, my hands, my arms. He makes me so happy. When I'm not with him I feel like I should carry around a gallon of milk; at least then my arms wouldn't feel so empty. (Mimi, my only remaining grandparent, my dad's mom, once successfully quit smoking for a week by holding a Bic pen between her fingers instead of a cigarette. She said she felt that her addiction was to the physical feeling of having a cigarette in her hands and not to the chemicals contained in cigarettes. She returned to smoking after that Bic pen week, probably because she didn't want to quit; she wanted to want to quit, like I want to want to work on my take-home test. Mimi seemed to have the capacity to easily quit smoking, but she lacked the motivation. She also probably had access to all the rational reasons in favor of giving up the smoking habit:  she knew that smoking is unhealthy, expensive, stinky and an aggravation to others. What she lacked was the internal fact of being motivated to quit.) It occurred to me to carry around a gallon of milk so that the heavy object in my arms could help trick my heart into thinking it isn't lonely for Graham. Carrying around milk wouldn't trick me entirely. I would never mistake Graham for a gallon of milk or a gallon of milk for Graham; however, when I walk without Graham in my arms, I am always actively feeling amiss. I am always feeling the emptiness of my arms. If I didn't feel the emptiness of my arms, I might not always be actively thinking about the reason they're empty.

It's because Graham is the love of our lives that Aron and I wanted to throw him a big birthday bash. When we shared with family and friends our decision to order an entire keg and an inflatable bounce house for the event, a few people felt the need to point out to us that Graham wouldn't remember his first birthday party. The point, I think, was this:  "Why are you spending so much money and going to so much trouble when Graham won't even be able to reference the memory of having had a first birthday party at all?" My reply to the people who felt the need to make this point was that if I live long enough, there may arrive a day that I don't remember the party either. Of course, the possibility of my one day not remembering is just that:  a possibility. And even if that day does arrive, I will still have had many years of fondly remembering Graham's first birthday party. Graham, on the other hand, won't have even a single year of fondly remembering his first birthday celebration. The party was less than a month ago, and he's probably already forgotten it. So why did we spend so much money and go to so much trouble when Graham won't be able to reference the memory of having had a first birthday party at all? It's an almost indefensible decision, really. All I can say is that Aron and I wanted, as much as it's possible, to spread the joy that we feel over Graham's birth and life, and we could only come up with two ways of doing that:  1.  By letting adults imbibe as much alcohol as they could, and 2.  By letting children play in an inflatable bounce house. The bounce house was a bigger hit even for adults than the keg. Practically every adult played in the inflatable bounce house, and few of them partook in the keg. Lessons learned for Graham's next birthday:  yes to the bounce house; yes to a pony keg.

Before Graham turned one, a new semester of school started. This has by far been the easiest semester of my entire, extended college career. My main source of stress is that I am old as fuck and still an undergraduate. I feel like my classmates are closer to Graham's age than they are to mine; that is undeniably untrue (it's not even close to being true), but that feeling represents my subjective state when I'm sitting in classes:  all my male classmates look like they are wearing bigger versions of clothes I'd dress Graham in. None of my female classmates seem even close to being motherly. They seem like they still need their mothers. They often complain about their mothers. Really, they do.

I decided this semester to lower my expectations of myself as a student, and it's really worked out well. Aron hasn't lowered his expectations of himself. He continues to feel stress about projects and papers, and he spends much more time in the library than I do. He can't stand making anything below an A; his dissatisfaction with B's and below is admirable. He sees where he's going next:  he's going to graduate school. I see where I'm going next:  I'm going to the park (or, during the winter, to the library) with Graham. It's rare for me that I can take the future very seriously. I can't imagine Graham being five:  I can't imagine it for him, I can't imagine it for myself. If I were capable of believing that Graham will one day start school, I might raise my expectations of myself as a student. Because when Graham starts school, I'll need either to start working outside the home or to apply to graduate school.

Aron recently completed a sociology project on Honey Boo Boo. We hadn't previously known anything about her. Aron and I are in general pretty cut off from pop culture:  we never know what songs are popular. I have almost nothing to say about Honey Boo Boo. The something I do want to say about her relates to my blog. In one of my more recent blog updates, I posted a picture of Graham taking a nap:  it was the day he turned nine months old, and he napped naked on top of me. It's not an unusual event, and because it's one of the sweetest things about my life, I shared a picture of it. There's a feature on my blog that allows me to see what Google searches lead to Amy's Sayings, and when I recently consulted that feature I learned that a search for "naked nine year old" lead to the picture of Graham's naked nap on top of me. So someone who wanted to see a naked nine year old instead saw my naked nine-month old.

During his Honey Boo Boo research, Aron watched an interview with Honey Boo Boo's mom in which she was asked if she felt guilty for making her daughter into a sex object. The mother of Honey Boo Boo responded that no one should regard a six-year-old sexually and that if someone did regard Honey Boo Boo that way, it is neither Honey Boo Boo nor Honey Boo Boo's mother's fault. I like that answer. I think it makes sense.

I really ought to stop blogging and start working on my take-home test. It's amazing to me that anyone visits the library to get work done. There are too many books here.