Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It's Not That Complicated - Chapter 4 - Part Three

This section gets weird. So...very....weird.

Overarching Themes:

To get ready for marriage, sisters should practice being helpmeets to their brothers.

As always, the Botkins include a section that disavows that sisters should be helpmeets to their brothers.

"On one level, your relationship with your brother is one of the closest things you're going to experience to the relationship with your husband.  Obviously, certain things are sacred to the husband-wife relationship (and just to clarify, we're not suggesting that sisters are to be their brothers' helpmeets, or that they have a biblical duty to submit to them)." (pg. 56)
  • This reminds me of the Pearls' child beating book having a section that says "Don't kill your kids or abuse them." The entire rest of the book implies that a good sister should be subordinate to her brothers and that girls should be generally submissive towards boys.
  • I am appreciative that "certain things are sacred to the husband-wife relationship", but I have no idea exactly what the Botkins mean by that.  Sex is clearly off-limits - or did the Botkins need to explain that to their audience?    
"At the beginning of this year, we laid out plans for all the things we were about to do: give our website a makeover, write a book about relationships with boys, read a ton of new books, hone our cooking skills, and so forth.  Our oldest brother, Isaac, also had big plans." (pg. 64)
  • I find their yearly goals underwhelming for a 25 and 23 year-old woman.  
    • They have one real career goal: write a book.  That's a big goal, but the output is this sad little book.
      They have one lightweight career goal: makeover their website.  I don't know if they pulled that off in 2010, but they did do cosmetic changes recently.
    •  The one hobby goal is to read more.  Who knows if that happened?
    • Don't forget the obligatory homemaking goal - be a better cook.  I hate these goals.  Most of them are so pathetic.  I was a solid cook and an excellent baker by age 25 - plus I had a college education and a career.  If they made a goal of being able to make a long-sleeved fitted dress outside of one directional fabric, I would be impressed.
  • Side note: The use of first person plural ("we") for Anna Sophia and Elizabeth is very unnerving to me.  Did the girls have a chance to differentiate personalities or are they treated as an interchangeable unit?
"Isaac had been a student of media, worldview, and cultural analysis for as long as we could remember.  Now he wanted to channel his passion and skills into producing a history-worldview-adventure video series about Egypt.  His lifelong interest in ancient civilizations, video gear, and world politics - things we couldn't always appreciate - were about to be used to accomplish something amazing.  But he couldn't do it on his own.  Right as we were smack in the middle of our own project planning, Isaac (with Dad's blessing and encouragement) proposed that his siblings come on board to man Mission Control while he and his team were on the ground in Egypt.  He was going to need a snazzy website, a full-time research team, and constant web management while he was gone - and then help writing a fully-illustrated cultural history book when he got home." (pg. 64)
  • A "history-worldview-adventure" video series about Egypt is available through the Botkin's website.  I looked into it a bit for this post.  This was supposed to be the first installation of a running series that went all over the world.  It's five years later and no other video series have been released - which is a good thing.
  • Now, the Botkins say that sisters aren't required to be helpmeets to their brothers - but emphasize that women are under their father's supervision until marriage.  Since Geoffrey had given Isaac's project his blessing AND stated that he thought all the kids should help out, I doubt that Anna Sophia and Elizabeth could really refuse to participate in this adventure.
  • In most universes, you run research long before you start filming.  This is an alternate universe, however.

"We girls realized that jumping on board would mean jumping into a whole new world: his world.  We had our hesitations; for one thing, we had other plans, and for another, ancient and modern Egypt wasn't really our thing.  But we agreed.  We postponed all of our own things and plans.  And then the wild rumpus began.  We needed to learn Photoshop and basic HTML, and had to write briefings on subjects like Islamic architecture and ancient Egyptian medicine.  All of us had to work around the clock, marketing, managing the live broadcasts, writing articles and designing headers.  And then the real work began - writing content for the book, on everything from biblical chronology to French mysticism to Shariah law to pagan death rituals to evolutionary history-revision to pyramid-building theories (in which we discovered that aliens didn't do it.)" (pg. 64)
  • In real life, you find helpers/coworkers who have an interest in the subject.  Dragging your siblings who have no real interest in Egypt into your "worldview" project is bad, bad planning and practice.
  • I would expected them to learn basic HTML when making their website originally.
  • In my experience, people become experts by either focusing on a narrow topic intensely OR a broad topic for a long period of time.  For example, I studied the evolutionary history of plant anatomy of tropical ferns in Puerto Rico for one year in my Masters program.  When I switched labs, I studied the effects of project-based learning in a sustainability class on student learning.  With that background, I am very skeptical that any two people could become truly knowledgeable in "Biblical chronology, French mysticism, Shariah Law, pagan death rituals, evolutionary history-revision and pyramid building" in less than one year. 
  • If the Botkin Sisters did this much on the project, why didn't either of them receive authorship of the book?
  • Side note: I reject "evolutionary history-revision" both as a topic and an area of study.
  • The "aliens didn't do it" was the only funny portion of the whole book.  I don't know if it was meant to be humorous, but I did laugh.
"We didn't do it because we believed we had a biblical duty to submit to Isaac, or to be his junior helpmeets.  We also didn't do it because we particularly (initially) cared about proving that aliens didn't build the pyramids.  We did this because we particularly cared about Isaac.  Isaac was about to take a big step, a bold risk, a fearless stand, and we didn't want to miss that for the world! If Isaac was going to stand inside Islam's oldest university and call Muhammad a false prophet, and denounce Statism in front of the pillars at Karnak, we wanted to be on his home team." (pg. 65)
  • Based on the website "Navigating History", I feel it was more like a bunch of young men living out their boyhood dream of making a film.  My brother and his friends did something similar a few years before Isaac and friends did by making an action-adventure movie one summer..  My brother's film was pretty good - and probably had a much lower budget than the Botkin film did.
  • Normally, I'd be insulted by Isaac's plans to insult Islam, but....the Botkin family is so messed up that this isn't going to get any traction.  Heck, the family is pretty much surviving on CNC-plastic gun accessories manufactured by the brothers at the behest of the youngest brother's website T-Rex Arms.
Follow our advice.  The advice worked for our sisters-in-law.


"[Audri] once told us, "I don't think that I could get married anytime soon, because I don't think I'm ready for that kind of relationship. (...) Her concern was a realistic and humble one- that she spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and practically didn't have enough to offer yet.  (...) But for Audri, her gauge of "readiness" came down to how prepared she was to sacrifice herself to the Lord fully through this relationship, and not what she was ready to receive. (pg. 55)"
  • Audri was 19 when she said this to the Botkin Sisters.  I felt the same way when I was 19 since I was just starting college, hadn't started a career and didn't feel like I was ready to get married.
  • According to the Botkins Sisters blog, Audri got engaged to Ben at age 19.  So....did Audri have a change of heart?  Was Audri trying to keep the Sisters out of her personal business?  Was this entire conversation made up?  Did the Botkin Sisters forget to match stories between their blog and the book?  
"Both of the new Botkin girls, Audri and Nadia, had been great favorites with our family, and all of our brothers, back before there was anything in the air.  They were exactly the kind of girls that the boys appreciated as friends - edifying, stimulating and sisterly, to a rare degree.  They knew just how to be with men.  And they had begun by learning to be stellar sisters to their own brothers.  Both Audri and Nadia had proven in their families that they knew what it means to have a relationship, to love sacrificially, and to be a counselor and confidant to a man.  And that's where it needs to start." (pg. 70)
  • The "Egypt" project may have one good outcome: Nadia Noor was a worker on the project.  She married David Botkin later the same year.  Perhaps this was all a way that David and Nadia were allowed to spend time together.....

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