it is important to keep in mind that there is a growing faction of the black community that is growing tired of their votes being taken for granted by Democratic politicians. We understand that they are not intentionally prejudiced and that many of their ideas and policies will elevate all of us. However, it is essential for them to speak out on their position about the growing crisis that is extra-judicial killings of black men and women on the streets of our country. If they “get it”, that it is a crisis, then they need to be saying so in no uncertain terms and not broadcasting their ignorance of the crisis by falling back on “all lives matter” or some other ignorant misinterpretation of “black lives matter”. There is a huge problem when citizens can be killed with impunity by state and national forces. And yes, Republicans need to hear the message as well, but it’s got to start with those ears who profess to have some concern about social justice. If you’re not black or brown, I hope you will act in whatever way you can now, so that when the victims of extra-judicial killings are at some point white people, no one will be able to say, “See it had to start happening to white people before it was taken seriously”
I just finished listening to “Best Of The Left” podcast episode #921 about Bruce Jenner’s recent interview / announcement that he is transgender and has “the soul of a woman”. One of the reasons I’m glad that I listen to “Best Of The Left” is because it’s often a source of news that I miss somehow. And apparently this was a big event that I had no idea was happening. It is reported that the program had 18 million viewers.
I think I agree with the general direction of the commentary that BOTL included in this episode, in that I think that there’s a lot of potential good that could come out of such a public figure coming out as transgender. Jenner is admired by many as a great olympic athlete and one would hope that his case can help erase the stereotype that “masculinity” has some sort of relationship with athletic ability or talent. In fact, one comment regarding Jenner, masculinity, and athleticism inspired me to share my thoughts. That comment was a clip of a right wing commentator lamenting on what the world has come to when an iconic hero like Jenner falls prey to some sort of sickness that causes him to question his gender.
It reminded me of a psycho-social theory that I have about misogyny. I have trouble understanding why there is misogyny, given that I think women are amazing beings and one of the greatest gifts of the universe. So I’ve put a lot of thought into trying to figure out misogyny and its origins. I think it comes down to perceived weakness and bias against weakness. I think that for so many years of human history, the physical strength and aggressiveness of men was necessary to survival and as a result, a bias developed towards men being in charge. Women and children were expected to obey and curry the favor of men in order to survive and gain access to resources. This state of affairs was then enshrined into various philosophies and integrated into the structure of society. Any man acting “like a woman” either in the sense of dress and/or mannerisms is then seen to be foolishly giving up his (obviously superior) position of strength. Such a person is not respected and is considered to be worthy of derision.
Men “acting like women” include gay men of course, because “obviously” only women are attracted to men (don’t forget the oversimplification necessary to maintain current power structures) so they are not to be respected either. Any women acting “like men” therefore, do not know their “place”. They haven’t earned the right to be powerful and so are to be derided. Thus you have hateful terms like “femi-nazi” used to deride women who dare to assert their equality and to demand fair treatment.
Our planet and our species is in transition at the moment. We are moving away from times in which physical strength is most important and into one in which emotional intelligence and imagination will be our survival tools. At the risk of seeming sexist myself, I will freely say that women are way ahead of us men on these skills. We have a lot to learn from women. So let’s put aside all these insecurities and biases and do us all a favor and just listen and learn.
After an amazing weekend full of fun, creative expression, and friendship, I’m in full “splash down” mode. The rocket, having ascended to the highest of heights, now does what it must do in a no-spaceport and no anti-gravity world – end its journey with a plunge into cold water.
Tonight I had a terrible experience dealing with a local restaurant “Lucky 7 Chinese” and whereas bad customer service is always annoying, this incident stuck with me for hours. Ren questioned me about why I think the effects of the conflict lasted so long. I had no answer for her and I still don’t fully have an answer as to why, but I’m recognizing that I typically go through a kind of crash whenever our trips end, especially the music jams. I typically go into a malaise the night of our return and after I’ve unloaded the car. And it seems that the more emotionally open I was and the greater the depth of feeling I experienced during the trip, the more intense that malaise is.
After employing some various forms of attitudinal adjustment, I realized the only cure for my “splash down” that had a real chance for success was to engage in creative expression, with some real emotional risk to it and some depth. So that’s why I’m writing this now.
The good news is that it is working. My anger and malaise is starting to lift as I tap this out on my keyboard. Connecting with my higher self seems to have left my lower self with less of a reason to hang on to it’s very immediate sense of fairness. Perspective has been forced.
The more painful news is the wake up call that I’m not and haven’t been living with my channel open. I’ve spent most of the time in my life, preparing to open my channel, to finally come out with my expression. All that supposed preparation has done nothing to further finding my own unique voice and certainly has taken crucial time away from my honing my craft. That was evident this weekend as I sang in a performance with a fellow musician at the Second Life Mid-Atlantic Jam. I sang a James Taylor song while the other musician accompanied me on guitar. It felt good at the time and after the performance I got lots of compliments on my singing. But later, while watching the video, I realized that he was actually good at what he was doing. He was an accomplished musician and while I’m decent, I’m certainly not an accomplished singer or musician.
I look at his life and the way he lives it and I can see that he lives keeping his channel open. He and others like him, make their lives as close to their ideal vision as they can, working in other responsibilities and jobs in order to support that life. I have been much more highly focused on responsibilities and other jobs and then squeezing in as much creative time as I could around the edges.
That must change.
Now the balance in terms of time spent on one versus the other may not end up being all that different in the end, but what will make the difference is my attitude and approach. If I wake up with the thought, “I am an artist and I will do what it takes to create today” and work in other responsibilities as necessary, then I am living the life of an artist right then and there. I can’t let fear stop me any more.
There’s really no point in waiting any longer to live as an artist. In art, the prep is the work.
I’ve been given gifts. I must recognize this truth and respect the gifts, not squander them.