Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rape, Gender, Society...

Last night, I couldn't sleep, spent the whole night fuming without really knowing why. I was stuck in this miasma of just...ugh, pissed-offedness. Then, the reason why hit me. Mr. Sexy Christian Guitarist Guy. Just as the words "it's OK" hit the air. I suspect the book triggered feelings of rejection about him which went all the way back in time to my dad. Like a mine field. It makes sense. A good general rule is if there is strong emotion which is either inappropriate to the situation or generally irrational, the problem is really with something else. As Rob Bell says "this" is really about "that." Rejection is one of my deepest wound and I guess, right now, I'm not OK. I'm hurt and disappointed. And this is OK. This too shall pass. 

 Today, in the light of day, examining the issue calmly and sensibly, I came up with an essay which presents my thoughts in a form other than in the form of a verbal raspberry. I still agree with my general thoughts about rape, but I realized that I was also upset about the fact that, at least in my humble, unsubstantiated opinion, men don't seem to care, have an attitude like "you're not over that yet?" or, as you'll see in my essay, blame the "victim" (victim is a horrible, horrible word!). To the men I've known, rape is not a human rights issue so much as just a "woman's rights" issue and thus, irrelevant to them. Which sucks because men can stop rape. Which is what upset me initially last night, apathy and dismissal. Or, the fact that they seem threatened by the fact women, the majority of victims, are so angry about rape, which is perpetrated most often by males. It's understandable that they might get defensive, or personally feel attacked as men, just as I took last night personally. The essay is pretty good and pretty fair so I'll share here: 

Recently, I read an article by a man who compared rape prevention to locking the doors on a house. In his opinion, women could drastically decrease the chance of getting violated sexually by taking the proper precautions. I would agree that, in general, being safe is a wise decision. But, of course, the statistics fly in the face of his premise. As it turns out, avoiding dark alley ways and bad parts of town are not the most effective ways to ensure safety because, according to RAINN, 38% of rapes are committed by friends or acquaintances, 28% percent are committed by intimates (there is an underreported phenomenon of partner rape), and 7% are committed by relatives. Stranger rape is far less common than alarmist images of masked men hiding in the bushes suggest. 

A disproportionate number of rapists are people women trust. 

On the comment section of the article, there was also a discussion about how often alcohol is involved, and how women put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

This is, at best, gas lighting. And, considering the aforementioned statistics, it is also largely irrelevant because, again, rape is often perpetrated by people who have gained the victim’s trust. In no way can this be construed as the woman’s fault. 

This article is just another insidious case of “blaming the victim” (“victim” is a horrible, horrible word); the author of the article presenting the “she was asking for it” fallacy in a more rational disguise. It is not primarily the responsibility of the one raped to “protect” herself, it is primarily the rapists responsibility NOT TO RAPE. If the RAINN statistics are accurate, a woman would potentially have to be on guard at all times, with every man in her life, in all places. Even at home. She might never be raped, but she would probably suffer a heart attack from all the stress.

Besides, if it was a less controversial topic in question, say, murder, few would even think to condemn the victim for her own death; it would be seen as a tragic crime, summarily unacceptable, and the murderer would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

Of course, I think I understand where the writer was coming from. Rape, since the seventies, has been a highly volatile, political issue championed by feminist groups; It is only natural, when any group gets angry, when there is a public outcry, there will be a back lash in its wake. People naturally get defensive. In this case, since women are statistically more likely raped than men (more on this later) and men are statistically more likely to be the rapist, I believe cases of rationalization of the sort mentioned above, men fear they will be demonized, mistrusted, and hated in the public eye (not to mention falsely accused by cunning opportunists who seek to work the system). Or, perhaps, for average decent, good man the idea that anyone else could behave in such ways is incomprehensible. These reasons would explain what seems to me, more willingness in men to deny or down play the serious damage caused by rape and the rage expressed by women over this issue; And, perhaps, why rapists on average spend no more than five years behind bars. 

As a feminist, I can appreciate the concern of men (Since even the label “feminist” will inevitably bring fire). Judgment volleyed at an entire group because of a few is also injustice, whether it be leveled at men, women, or green headed goat herders. In fact, there is already a politically charged buzz word for it. Prejudice. And, well, prejudice and sexism is part of why I’m writing this essay.  

All this said, however, since articles like the aforementioned are still written, I don’t think, as a society, we understand the gravity of sexual violence. One in six women is sexually assaulted or raped. Furthermore, one in thirty three men is sexually assaulted or raped. Victims are at a significantly elevated risk for depression, PTSD, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal ideation. Of course, the numbers do not even touch the phenomenological, the sense of shame and violation, the inability to trust so commonly reported by “victims.”

To shed the formality of the essayist and be completely honest, even as a third party, without personal experience, the fact that I’ve seen so many people, usually men, dismiss rape as relatively unimportant pisses me off. (It’s also a shame because we, as women, want and need our brothers to stand up with us. Men can help stop rape. See mencanstoprape.org). 

Sexual assault and rape are bad enough. Denial that sexual assault and rape matter, or the subtle implication the victim is really in the wrong, however indirectly, is worse and only compounds the problem. 

The clinical term for this denial is called invalidation. Martha Lineham, creator of Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, writes this: Invalidation has two primary characteristics. First, it tells the individual that she is wrong in both her description and her analyses of her own experiences, particularly in her views of what is causing her own emotions, beliefs, and actions. Second, it attributes her experiences to socially unacceptable characteristics or personality traits. Furthermore, invalidation is linked with self-destructive behavior. A self-injurer, for instance, invalidated as a child, might think her feelings are “wrong”, and punish herself for those “bad” feelings by cutting, burning, or otherwise harming herself. Invalidation has also been implicated in the fragmentation in multiple identity disorder. In the mind of the invalidated, there is insecurity about the integrity of his or her vision, his or her view of the world. 

For the rape victim, her right to sovereignty over her own body has already been compromised by the rapist. The integrity of her vision, the magnitude of her pain, should not also be robbed from her as well by society. I have heard it often said that woman are more likely to blame themselves for the injustices perpetrated against them. Perhaps this is why, according to RAINN, something like only half of sexual assaults and rape go reported and only six percent of rapists see jail time. Women aren’t sure it was “wrong”, or “genuine rape”, or if being manipulated or emotionally battered into having sex counts as sexual violence (it does!). When people, already dealing with  the fallout of sexual violence, have to wonder “Did I really fight him off hard enough” or, “was it my clothing that drove him completely over the edge”, there is something profoundly immoral occurring.  

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Rant on Sexual Violence

Ok, I haven't been this livid in a while; seeing red, breathing fire, the whole bit. It all started with stumbling onto a review for a random book I'd never even read. Something about how males are being endangered in culture...

Agreed, it is pretty terrible how stupid men are portrayed on television and in other forms of media sometimes. And I do have to agree there has been a "trivialization" of men to some extent, or the traits assigned to traditional masculinity, but, honestly, I think it has less to do with misandry and more to do with an awareness of what constitutes mental health. A balance of stereotypical male and female traits is ideal, and the more stereotypical one gets, the more restricted an individual is by norms, the more problems there are. 

I mean, guys are more likely to have substance abuse disorders, to end up in jail, to die by suicide or in accidents. They are not taught to deal with their problems in constructive ways. Women are more likely to have body image issues, to be codependent, to be depressed. They are not taught to stand up for themselves. Each sex has its liabilities. I really think this goes back to where the man was supposed to be this warrior guy and the woman was supposed to be a delicate, demure flower. Men, in culture, are deprived of the power to experience the inner world, and women are just beginning to gain the opportunity to experience the outer world. 

Though, honestly, until men and women are equal, I am not going to be happy. Until women make up more than four percent of CEO's of fortune 500 companies until being compared to a woman is not an insult: "stop acting like a bitch", until the "feminine" aspects of a person are valued as much as the "masculine", I am gonna bitch. 

Oh well. I just really didn't get this book. 

One of the premises of the book (it is said) is that boys are getting a raw deal in schools because teachers are assigning more "female books", books which deal with themes like depression (which, hullo, is not even an exclusively "female" issue. boys, instead of getting weepy or present irritability and aggression) and body image issues (anorexia and bulimia are less common among males, but not unheard of); something else was mentioned how it's not fair to force boys, naturally aggressive and restless, to sit down for hours on end in school. (Never mind that for most of American history---No, for most of HISTORY---MEN have been the scholars, the "men of letters." Not the women. I mean, with this author's logic how the hell did Mark Twain sit down to write his genius smart ass work? How did male pianists like Bach or Mozart sit down to compose?) 

Anyway, this part is not what pissed me off.  (Gender roles blah blah blah.)

What pissed me off was the book was the disregard for victims of sex crime. 

The review said something about how unfair it is to force men to sit through sexual harassment and rape seminars. And how unfair it is that law abiding men have to go compulsorily. Never mind women have to attend compulsorily too. 

According to RAINN statistics, one in six women and one in thirty three men will be sexually assaulted/raped. That is a lot of people. Who do you think perpetrates these crimes? Men (AND, YES, ALSO WOMEN) who might very well be forced to attend sexual violence seminars. You know why innocent men have to go? Because no one can predict who is and is not capable of sexual harassment/assault/rape on sight. If you wouldn't hurt someone else, what's the big deal in having to sit through something like that? Someone else might be spared the emotional distress of being violated because of them. 

Granted, it could be argued someone who would rape or assault might be too far gone for a seminar to help. But, I'm not all that sure. Interestingly enough, unlike pedophilia which is a notoriously difficult mental disorder to treat, rapists are not considered to have a mental disorder. They're considered, well, just rapists. And, anyone with even a perfunctory knowledge of psychology can tell you, rape is not about sex, but power. I wonder if at least suggesting this idea to people wouldn't make some kind of difference, suggesting a new paradigm through which to view relationships with others. The way I understand it, rapists can disengage from their victim, and objectify them for the sake of some sick sense of pleasure.

I really don't think rapists and law abiding men who would be upset about a stupid seminar alike really realize how devastating sexual violence can be, or any kind of violence can be for that matter. It can fuck you up for a long time. 

Prose Poem?

Nature requires no description, no speech whatsoever; an exquisite seascape does not need to borrow my voice, it has its own; though, it is necessary for me volunteer my language anyway, to edit my ego into the iconography of beauty. 

Tonight, I stole out onto the deck for a quick smoke before bed, but found myself, instead, unmoving, arrested by a night scene. All day, the wind had been threatening storm, had been ripping at the ocean. All day, I sat in the house, unthinking, intentionally unaware that a miracle of grace roared outside the window. 

If the universe had a breath, I thought, the ebb and wave on the shore would be it; its pulse and vital sign the noisy collapsing of white caps. 

On the horizon, the dark sea and dark sky were cleft only by the visible light of two ships trawling. There, where the two planes converged, I sensed something like the focal point of infinity, and with it, an irresistible gravity drawing out my soul. Something about the darkness, the ambiguity of forms, accomplishes this; when there is little light to distinguish shapes, it is easy to imagine the rest of the power and glory forever and ever, amen. 

I stood for an hour, dizzy, head spun, at the immensity of the horizon; the immensity of whatever forever truly is. 

The sea knows much more of God than I will ever hope to. Hallelujah.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

La Vie En Rose

God is such a cunning fellow, with the email correspondence with that guy on OKcupid coming with perfect divine kairos. He appeared out of nowhere, a divine emissary, just like Daryl did when I was with Wade. So far, the connection to Ben has been little more than a device to further plot, to bring me where I should have been all along. And, well, even though he hasn't written me back and though he seems, by his silence, uninterested (he's just not that into you!) I can sincerely say that this is OK. Or, at least, it will be. I refuse to let his silence send me spiraling into another pity party, "no one will ever love me" because this is blatantly untrue. 

Now that this hellish cycle (more an ! than a .) has passed, there are more important things at hand than staying sane: classes, success, trying to get poetry published, and building friendships/close relationships. There are things to do, people to love. I am sick of pretending to be Juliet, and believing that romantic love is, in Rufus Wainwright's lyricism, "the copious prize." I suspect this yen for romance is nothing more than the cleverly disguised attempt of my body to find another dopamine producing addiction. This is never the right reason to get into a relationship, it's "usery"; for God shutting this door to me, I can muster up at least a little gratitude. 

Though, to be honest, while this is "OK" and I know that God knows what He's doing, it would have been nice to have a guy around; It would be nice to have an opportunity build a healthy, respectful relationship with a guy and to also shed the stupid, unfair stereotypes of men as horndogs and/or shallow dolts. I have to be careful to remind myself that Mr. Progressive Christian Guitarist Guy is not insulting me personally. And that, well, on paper, it's good to know that what I'm looking for could conceivably exist.

This rest of the week has been such a high, and it's slowly sinking in that really huge things have happened. First, there is a fledgling relationship forming with my dad, and then, I am realizing my ability for assertiveness, especially with R. It hasn't been perfect, the walls are still high and fear is still there but at least, steps have been made and change is coming. God has seemed intensely close, and I'm getting to know Him better. Once, He "told me" obedience in breaking up with R is simply "remaining in His love." It is true, doing the right thing removes shame and self-blame and enables me to get closer to Jesus, "look Him in the eye."

This weekend was good, too. The family went to Nag's Head and we all sat around at the beach house, eating and talking. Gretchen and I got into a long conversation about religion and politics, and with her, unlike with assorted other ideologists in the family, it didn't devolve into a dramatic pissing contest. The one-on-one was really good because my family was beginning to trigger me, as a group, you know.

And. Oh my goodness. At night the ocean is beautiful. On Saturday night, I stole outside for a smoke at three a.m until six when Aunt Barbara woke up and opened the door (which was locked me out from the outside). For three hours, I watched the horizon cleft into dark ocean and dark sky. The wind was up so the ocean was loud, a roaring thing. The only light was from two ships "passing in the night." It was transcendent, watching my soul and night converge in the distance; knowing God is  "in here" for sure is nice, but becoming aware he is also "out there" is astounding when you've forgotten. "The skies declare the glory of God." The scene was an icon, a mirror, and a door. It spawned some poetry and some major gratitude in me.

Who knew getting locked out could be so amazing?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pinch Me!

Granted, the Graham Greene references have been copious in my blogging lately because he's been a project in one of my classes. However, there is so much I relate to with the guy and his work, especially the catholic trilogy: the agnostic nature of his faith, his struggles with morality/his lapsed catholicism, his complex characters and his bipolar disorder (which imho explains the rest of his problems). Sarah Miles is something of a mentor, especially with my history of unwise relational attachments...Today, I ended my own "affair". And, got my dad back. And, my heart. All in one day. It'll be difficult to put into words. It began this morning, and the prayers of my mother and I. This weekend, I decided I would put an end to this "affair" and would also give my dad a letter explaining the anger I had towards him. This morning, my brother was worried about getting through his entire lesson plan while dad was feeling sick. My mom and I prayed first for Lucas, that his day would go like he needed it to go. Then, we prayed, at nine a.m. that dad would feel better before getting my letter. We then prayed I might have the strength to go through with the break-up, and that R and I would not be alone together in the dorm. Because, well, when we're alone, stuff happens. Inevitably.

Today, this love thing was extremely easy. Conversations were rich, full, and real. And I wasn't holding back and I wasn't afraid! Then, R told me she's commuting for a while, her parents want her home. We didn't spend the night alone in this room here together! 

Then, when R and I were finally out of ear shot, with an hour before her mom picked her up, I looked her in the eye, to her face this time, and told her that I want to be with a boy. It was o.k., an amazing feat for someone seemingly unable to confront anyone, and rarely that honestly.

Then, I called my mom's cell phone, cowardly avoiding the home phone lest my dad answer instead. She didn't answer the cell, so I called the house phone. Guess who picked up? On this day, who else? Soon, my dad was apologizing and almost crying, saying he would make it up to me, would fix it, and that we would be friends.

You have no idea how miraculous this is for him to say things like that, to say that he's sorry. You have no idea how long I've needed to hear the words that he said today. It's hurt so long that words can't even come close to touching at the bone. 

I was able to express anger!

And, even to make it more amazing, he said he began to feel better physically right around the time we were praying for him. And Lucas' day when just as good as mine, smooth with the kids. 

This is un-fricking-believable.

And He loves so much. Even still. Even now.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fear and Trembling

Tomorrow, I cut the umbilical cord (curled with my teeth against my knees/scratching at my consciousness/like a bitch/with flees--Ani D). I come out of a six month long coma. Actually, a twenty something year coma. I have to both give my dad the letter, which will break his heart, and break up with R, which will break her heart. Tomorrow, I also go back to classes in which I shot myself in the foot and will have to tell my professor(s) that for three weeks I was tired. Not sick, just physically tired. For no good reason except, well, being female.

UGH, the curse. 

However, the good news is that everything will be out in the open after tomorrow.

The years I hid my anger at my dad will be uncovered and exposed; along with it, I'm sure, broken pieces of my heart that were scattered. At least with time. Part of the problem, it's been said, for those who have been molested, is the secrecy; the shame at being an "accomplice", yes; but also, the stress of keeping it together. Being the "good little girl". Not making waves. Not hurting somebody at one's own expense.

This type of deception, self-destructive compliance, has been the problem for me. Even though I was never molested. I was hurt badly and was forced to hide the pain and stuff the pain and try to forget about the pain. So much now, half the time, I'll start crying for no reason with no clue why. It seems crazy on the outside, and I want to tell people, (god forbid anyone else is around) there is a good reason for this. Or, it was good at one time. Every shadow is cast by something...

Giving dad the note will be the first step toward open and honest relationships, and the expulsion of this freaking shame; (which will hopefully help me in classes, what with the holy terror I feel with my professors.) Also, clearing away the months of wild ambivalence about loving R will help this as well.

Coming clean. To quote, well, you know who, "the truth will set you free."

Before now, it has been a struggle to believe this itself is true, and life has been mired in compromise, enmeshed in compromise. And, compromise is worse than death. In the Bible, Jesus talks about not being ashamed of Him. In a weird way, I think this was for our sake more than His honor. Because being strong and standing up for what you believe is always more liberating; certainly more liberating than capitulating to things one knows in her soul are wrong. Hiding. Lying. Running away. 

The marks of the slow murder of the soul. I should know. 

Right now, I'm scared shitless.

I'm terrified, honestly, at having to face this stuff; this incredibly real stuff, instead of being able to retreat into hiding or fantasy. The Vyvase isn't helping the situation right now, is making me shaky and nervous. 

Last night, Tommie came by and at first, it was really cool. We talked about Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao and even Jim Jones. But then, my dad and he started talking, and the poor guy got lectured to death, I'm not sure if dad overheard us discussing communism, Tommie's new paramour, though it certainly felt like it with his intensity. Karen Horney would say my dad's insistence was "arbitrary rightness." Then, my mother, Tommie and I had a shot of Goldshlager (and I hadn't eaten). This was my first mistake, because then, my mouth started going faster than the mental filter could shut me the freak up. The second mistake was inviting him to hang out at Wesleyan sometime.

I sense a problem brewing. Tommie stayed until nine, even though his girlfriend kept calling him to come over. Instead, he stayed, saying that he didn't feel like going anywhere and we talked Trotsky and Hinduism. He repeatedly said me he was so happy to see me, hugged me many times, and at one point, cried in my arms(!). Like the old days. He says he and his girlfriend fight a lot, and were at the verge of a break up at one point. And, there were "looks", looking too long, too often. Looks too intimate between friends. 

This morning, I woke up feeling dirty, and, honestly, a little used. Like he needed me to be something I can't; like he needed someone to act as confidant when he should have talked to his girlfriend instead, should have cried in her arms. Maybe even that he's interested again. My inner light is screaming: RUN! DANGER! DANGER!

I'm not even out of this relationship, though he doesn't know about this one. (One which will undoubtedly have a scathingly bitter end.) If he even so much as flirts with, I will buy mace, I swear. 

In good news, however, I messaged some guy on Okcupid who has potential. He's a Christian, but on the liberal side; he likes music and Kierkegaard, and is sometimes "completely broken by the moon." That line alone, coupled with his apparently strong faith, was enough to seriously pique my interest. When he wrote back, he sounded really happy to hear from me. Even if we only become friends, it would be really cool to get to know him. At the very least, it would be cool to talk religion, music, and Kierkegaard. At the very most...


Actually, lately, I've broken a feminist no-no and prayed to find a guy. All the anger has come to a head, the rejection, mistrust. Now, clear it's not "men" but "man", a very specific man, I've decided to dig my heart out of storage. 

I asked God for a good, Christian. One who is preferably indie enough to appreciate subculture but is also grounded in faith; someone kind, compassionate, smart, etc... This one, well, has potential. 

Prayer has to work better than other things since, the tortured longing thing hasn't been working. And, the attempted Julieteeism with that other musician went terribly bad, I mean, the guy was terrified of the wheelchair, as evidenced by excessive kindness. Online, hopefully, the wheels will be less distracting. I just messaged him again, three or four days late, under duress. I scared myself, thinking I'd procrastinate and never reply.

I REFUSE to pass up this risk, to hide out of fear. It's time to try. With everything. And trust that in the end, all shall will be well.

"A trusting life won't topple."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things I've Been Thinking About Lately...

(same day, different post to break up unbearably long chunks of reading for the ADD...)

The Phone:

and my phone phobia. I was wondering if, in a twisted way, the phone (a modern "convenience") itself is a failure because it facilitates isolation. On the phone, you cannot see nor touch the person your talking to. And, (I think) experts say, a lot of communication is nonverbal. Much is said with a glance, a touch on the arm, a reassuring smile. On the phone, two people become disembodied voices and you lose much of the human aspects in interaction. A study done in 2004 found that people reported three times the isolation than in 1985; What if the popularity of the phone is a symptom of this growing isolation? It might make it easier for one to objectify others, separates person and voice and being? Less face-to-face time? 


In my novel, there is a scenario involving an unethical romance and though it is nowhere as terrible as that in Lolita, it still brings little lo to mind. It's disturbed me, lately, that a writer would treat a story like this for it's own sake; as Nabokov has said, he just wanted to get inside Humbert Humbert's head. Granted, literature generally shouldn't have to moralize (and thus, becomes propaganda) but, at the same time, it's disturbing to think a middle aged man sat down to write this story "just because." Why do that one to oneself? And, well, others too, who will be fascinated by the "monster" and will engage in literary rubbernecking...

And, this on an unrelated note; Somehow, now, a sexually precocious young girl is called a "Lolita" even though, in the original story, Dolores Haze is a young girl victimized by a middle aged pedophile. How did we flip the script and lay the responsibility of  "seduction" into the lap of the twelve year old girl? It might be comparing apples and oranges, but this seems another insidious tentacle of sexism or, at least, "blaming the victim". Somehow, if it's involving sex, we still blame the girl, even unintentionally, by excusing the man. He is, after all, only a man and at the mercy of his own desires. (of course, pedophilia has been shown to be an notoriously difficult disorder to treat...) It must be the girl at fault here...

One Hour Photo:

a creepy movie. Granted, Sy wasn't right. But, did anyone else really identify with, have sympathy for, Sy Parrish?  At the end,  he confesses he was abused by his father and, suggested by the sparse, washed out cinematography, the wounding was only compounded by a cold, alienating consumer culture. The limbic systems of the isolated, I would image, are less regulated by human company and are "off". His is a catch-22: you can't be normal until you're with other people but, you can't be around other people until you're normal. The way I see it, the poor guy never had a chance.

I Heart Huckabees:

Existential detectives!?! 

'nuff said.

Graham Greene:

according to an acrimonious article written by an angry Catholic, Graham Greene was a closeted bisexual, adulterous, alcoholic atheist who did not die in a state of grace. (His behavior is not excused by a bipolar diagnosis, and yet, the diagnosis makes sense) If all this is true, I love Greene's lapsed Catholic ass. He may have been a sinner, but if you read any of his work, it is obvious he also grappled with the meanings behind things. (See I Heart Huckabees)

I Heart Graham Greene.

Babies Cry in the Womb...

After 28 weeks a study suggests. And our bodies oxidize. 

We cry before we are born. And rust afterward.

Oh, the poetry implicit in natural processes. It's as beautiful as it is sad. 

Tonight is so odd. I feel off kilter, the day littered with friends and old flames drifting through again. Last night, Rachel and I stuffed ourselves with challuh bread, Coldstone, macaroni and cheese (Yum!). Today, Tommie called, then Cindy came over. I feel weird being alone now. And even weirder being thrust back into human company.

Tommie, it turns out, is a card carrying communist now. Literally. Card carrying. And, as I type, my dad is yelling at his TV about a "damn commie marxist socialist" character from a movie during the Mccarthy era. Redundant, maybe. Uncalled for, definitely. 

Tommie is no villain, passionate about universal health care and peace and compassion. It's refreshing. I mean, when it comes to Republicans the kid is cynical as they come, but when you mention Che, his voice gets higher and he asserts, in so many words, "change is coming" and "we can fix the world."

I'm not ready to join the "reds", or the "pinkos", or "whatever derogatory moniker is currently assigned" to communists and their sympathizers but it's refreshing to hear someone who doesn't equate "capitalism with godliness"; That "cynical-dog-eat-dog, may-the-best, most-well-fed-rich-white-guy-buy-it, system (er, I mean, win system)". As far as I'm concerned, being republican is scarily close to being a fatalist. "If we care for people, we'll get screwed over. Let's privatize it." (Never mind that 30% of those on welfare are children!)

Communism has had it's problems, obviously. What system hasn't? But, it really bugs me that those so enamored of our "democracy" conveniently forget that it hasn't been a rosy past. For one, our "democratic" forefathers meant "freedom for all men"; i.e, sola penisium. lol. Rights were originally only conferred to rich, land owning men (the white was implicit here); those with personal stakes in the governing. Oh, the endless possibilities for feminist critique here. Now, the same people so in love with dead white men cry: "freedom (to screw up) for every (wo)man" ... This might explain why being "capitalist" also means one must also be racist, classist, or sexist. Don't tell me I'm using gross generalities here. I know. It's unfair. 

Really, though, how many communist leaning folks would you find in the KKK? 

But, eh, live and let live. (Until the uprising of the proletariat, hehe.)

And, as a white, middle class female I'm part of the problem, my life pervaded by a commercialism. Every time I buy anything from Wal-mart or Target or whenever spend an extra dollar for something unnecessary. I feel glutted on the dime and dollar, what with my precious ipod, cigarettes, and reverse classism. The only thing I've ever known of want is for the immaterial; and really, those living in abject poverty never get the luxury of having existential crises. 

Live and let live, I guess. And if possible, lend a hand?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Tomorrow, R and I are having shabbat. Granted, it's Thursday (sabbath meal is Friday), neither of us are Jewish, and she probably should hate me but we're still drinking Manischewitz and breaking challuh bread together. Actually, with these past few months of silence (mine) it seems an perfect way to engage one another in the "Story" and in our friendship's troubled subplot.

This morning she shows up at the front door, crying, asking why I do not pick up the phone, why we have not spoken in months. Why, at times, I am cold as ice and others, happy and eager to see her. 


I remember the exact moment the telephone became a feared and hated object; it was the moment Mark and I started the slow fade, after Liz and our two year fade. After the Badawi fiasco of 2001. Somewhere, in that constellation of moments (just moments that seem too banal to impact anything at all!) is the fear of abandonment. I am so tired of this self-inflicted exile. 

Why? Because.

Love hurts. It always has and always will; these days loneliness seems superior to the agony implicit in love...
It is good she came, that she cried and showed me to my face how I've hurt her.  She said: "you have such an open heart but something's fucked up in it..." 

Yup, it's stuck in relationalimbo...