Ozarque’s journal (http://www.livejournal.com/users/ozarque/7566.html ) is currently discussing the problem of women’s feeling invisible — and being treated as though they were — as they grow older. I am finding this a fascinating discussion, though I have not experienced it (yet?) myself. But one of the comments today suggested that part of the problem is a lack of empathy among young people, created perhaps — and here is where it impinges on what I was thinking about yesterday — by the shift from reading to TV. TV, the commenter says, is passive. Reading requires you to make some effort, to pay attention. And, by extension, to make an effort of imagination to think about how someone else might feel.
I hadn’t thought about that. It could be true. You can read the whole thing on the page linked above.
Here is one of my own nice, empathetic kids, practicing music. We are getting ready to sing our Mendelssohn trio with our dear friend, Fine Soprano. I’m thrilled because I get a chance to sing a low A. Frankly, I have a very good low A, and not many women do, but I rarely have any chance to sing it. Obviously, this is because I sing classical music. If I had stuck to folk music, I could have just picked my own key. Fine Soprano gets to sing a lot of brilliant stuff above the score. And #2 daughter gets to swoop up and down as the mezzo. We are all pretty jazzed about this trio. Mendelssohn must have liked women to write stuff this enjoyable for us to sing. And perhaps, since it does require you to make an effor to understand and convey what another person felt, singing or playing music might be an exercise in empathy, as reading can be.
#2 daughter, the pianist in the picture, has finished knitting a wonderful evening wrap suggested to us by the good ladies at Handheld http://handheldknitting.com/ . It is basically a long rectangle of stockinette with every fifth stitch dropped, folded in half and sewn up one side. It’s in a gorgeous shade of Brilla with a lurex stripe along the edge. If I can get a snap before she leaves for college, I will post it. She is currently blocking it while Extra Boy and the menfolks of the family watch some bizarre TV show. It seems to be Japanese game shows dubbed with vulgar jokes in English. I am not quite following it, but I’ll bet it will have a deleterious effect on the guys’ empathy levels.