Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Barbie v Superman

We live in a very confused society.

That’s not exactly news, but the media is going on about it anyway. They’re not saying, “We live in a very confused society”, but they’re reporting on it, and the things I’m reading say to me that “We live in a very confused society.”

A while ago, there was a big hue and cry about the Barbie doll. Feminists were quite upset that the dolls were indoctrinating young women with the idea that if they didn’t have big boobs, thin waists, and empty heads, they weren’t valuable. They went on and on about how her proportions (especially if they were to be considered in scale) were creating much of the bad body images that girls were going through. It was like the Barbie doll was single-handedly responsible for all the Bulimia and Anorexia in the country.

I heard some women tell us men that we had it easy. We didn’t have to live up to such an unattainable standard.

Got news for you, sister. We have an even higher standard, one even tougher than a triple-D chest. We got Superman.

You thing you’ve got troubles squeezing into a bikini? We’re supposed to be faster than bullets, strong enough to stop speeding trains with our bare hands, and leap over tall buildings in a single bound! Last I checked, Barbie never flew to the moon or used X-ray vision.

…Talk about unattainable…

Well, like always, I’ve got a song about it. You can find it at markhansen.iuma.com


By Mark Hansen

I wanna be your superman
Wear a red cape and everything
Come to your rescue and make a stand
I wanna be your superman

I wanna jump in the air and fly
Every time you’re in trouble
I wanna carry you in my hand
I wanna be your superman

But I am not your superman
And yet you love me as I am
So I’ll just do the best I can
So I can be your superman

I try to help around the house
Play with the kids do the laundry
Try to cook soup from a can
So I can be your superman

Monday morning I’m at my job
Friday night I’m exhausted
Didn’t quite go as I had planned
Not much of a superman

And I know you are doing your best, too
And feeling like you’re fighting for air
And through it all I hope you can see
You’re like Wonder Woman to me

Mark Hansen

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Kilroy Was Here?

Does anyone remember the Styx Album “Kilroy” a while back? It was their attempt at a concept album. As an artistic creation, it failed miserably, mainly because it lacked any real depth. It did bring a couple of hits, including “Mr Roboto”.

Part of its problem was it’s lame story line. Rock music has been outlawed, and the album tells the struggle of a musician named Kilroy to rally the youth of the nation to rebel and listen to rock again.

Part of the problem with the story line is the totally unbelievable premise that popular music would be outlawed. I mean, get real…

Well, last night I saw something that was quite chilling.

I was watching a documentary on PBS about Pakistan. It turns out that, particularly in the northern provinces, some of the more fundamental mullahs are starting to run the cities, and they’ve been banning not only popular music, but music entirely! CD store shelves are empty. Market places that used to flourish with musicians are devoid.

The mullahs are succeeding in repressing the music even though they have no civic authority to do so. The president of Pakistan has spoken publicly against the bans.

But in the meantime, musicians are being shunned, and occasionally arrested and beaten. “Singing has no place in Islam” one mullah said in an interview.

One of them, the focus of the documentary isn’t sitting down, though. He’s the lead guitarist for a band called “Junoon”. The documentary followed him around as he met with people on the streets, teachers in muslim schools that supported the ban, and even with some of the mullahs themselves.

What it all comes down to is the same sort of inter-sect bickering that has been going on at various levels in the Christian world for centuries. Moslems of all variations are at odds across the muslim world. Some are militant, some are peaceful. Some value strict adherence to law, while others prize personal communion with God.

Each one is calling the other infidel and trying to use the political systems to enforce their own style of Islam onto others.

Like I said, this is all nothing new. Christians have been doing this sort of thing for years, too.

I never thought I would see it happen, though, that music itself would be silenced. In the New Testament, Jesus said that if the people went quiet, the stones would cry out…

Mark Hansen

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Top 20

Book Magazine recently released a list of the twenty books that changed America. Among their list was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (credited by Abraham Lincoln as the book that started the Civil War), “The Communist Manifesto” (For good or bad, it had a tremendous impact on America), as well as “Atlas Shrugged”, and “Common Sense”.

The surprise for me came from seeing the Book of Mormon on the list. Now, I’m not at all surprised that it SHOULD be on the list. I’ve known of it’s impact on US history for years. But, I was surprised that a secular organization would recognize the impact of a religious book. Especially of a Mormon religious book.

For a long time, I’ve felt it’s personal impact. I’ve received insights, inspiration, and clarity through it’s verses. Comfort, peace, and understanding. All that good stuff that a religious book is supposed to bring.

Let me share some of my favorite moments:

One of my all-time favorite stories in the book is the conversion of Zeezrom. This guy is a snake, but he gets bitten by the Spirit, and his conversion is complete. He witnesses the destruction of hundreds of believers by fire, and wracked with guilt flees to another city. There, he lays on his sickbed, tormented by fever and repentance. Finally, he hears that Alma and Amulek are still alive, and sends for them.

“And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation?

”And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.

”And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.

”And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.”

Another favorite of mine is commonly referred to as “Nephi’s Psalm”. It’s a beautiful passage where Nephi both celebrates the visions and blessings that the Lord has sent him, and mourns his own unworthiness. Boy, I can relate. I mean, I’ve never had visions like Nephi, but I’ve been blessed, and yet, I’m not worthy, either…

“Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

“And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

”My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.

“He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.

”And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.

”O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

”Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.”

Mark Hansen

Monday, July 07, 2003

The Flag

I used to have mixed feelings about the American Flag. I don’t any more.

I used to be upset because the flag didn’t stand for the country any more. Various political parties and groups were claiming it as their own. Instead of representing a wonderfully diverse and beautiful nation, people were trying to make it represent what THEY believed.

Conservatives made it stand for kicking terrorist’s butts and military might.

Extremists made it stand for hatred in the name of “racial purity”

Liberals made us want to feel ashamed of it, suppressing the majority culture in the name of elevating minorities, instead of elevating ALL cultures.

Well, I’m taking it back!

When I fly my flag on the various holidays, I’ve decided that I no longer care how other people might interpret that. I’m not going to let that get in the way of my patriotism.

To me it stands for:

1—A chance for anyone from anywhere to take charge of his or her life and make a difference. That by shedding the label of “victim” one can rise above and become successful. THAT’s freedom.

2—A place where I can worship God how I want to, and I can allow anyone else the same privilege.

3—A place where I have a voice in the government, as long as I make the effort to make that voice heard. Apathy was never intended to be an excuse for bad government.

4—A place where you can have a voice in the government, even if your voice clashes with mine. We can BOTH make our voices heard.

5—A place where the government changes hands every 4-8 years, not in bloody revolution, but in a peaceful, constitutional transfer.

6—That in spite of all of the flaws in our world, our government, and our system, I’d still rather live here than anywhere else.

THAT’s what patriotism is to me.

THAT’s what my flag means to me.

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Do It!

I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants today, and a scripture struck me.

It was in section 24, verse 18: “And thou shalt take no purse nor scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the church shall give unto thee in the very hour what thou needest for food and for raiment, and for shoes and for money, and for scrip.”

Here the Lord was talking to Joseph and especially to Oliver, and he’s telling them how to do their missionary treks. In fact, in this particular section, he’s also telling them that they need to go into temporary seclusion because of the persecution of the saints.

So, this verse has that specific, historical application.

But Nephi says we’re supposed to “Liken the scriptures unto ourselves.” So I was thinking how this applied to me.

And it’s talking about faith.

I mean, sometimes in life it’s important to plan and prepare and to know what’s happening every step of the way. To have it all spelled out and worked out.

And at other times, it’s necessary to fly blind. To just do it, and to trust the Lord to provide what you’ll need as you go.

But that’s scary.

I’m sure that Nephi, when we went back into Jerusalem, was nervous. “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” (1 Ne 4:6)

There are lots of aspects of my life that are running this way. I’m not sure where my work will lead me. I don’t know how to be a good parent. I don’t even know how a song will turn out when I start it.

But sometimes ya just gotta do it.

Mark Hansen

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

More Thoughts for Bev

There have been a few people who have written back to me requesting an update on my Mother-in-Law Bev. For those that don’t want to dig back through the archives, she’s the one with pancreatic cancer.

She’s doing OK for now. She’s mostly in bed, but she’s been back from the hospital for months, now. She’s done a couple of rounds of chemo, and she seems to be taking life in stride. She’s already outlived the predictions of the doctors.

This whole experience has changed our relationship. I’m sad to say that I used to take her and her husband for granted. They loved having our kids over, so Brendon, especially, would sometimes be over there 3-4 times a week. But they can’t handle that kind of action and energy now. He’s a 5-year-old… C’mon!

It was sure nice to have built-in babysitters.

We get over for short visits about twice a week, now.

And I feel bad about that. Sometimes I felt like I took advantage of the situation, and wasn’t as appreciative as I should have been. They are wonderfully giving people.

Anyway, if anyone wants to send her an email now, they can send it to me and I’ll hand-deliver it!

Mark Hansen


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