Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So Long

Elizabeth Taylor died today. Many women of my generation considered her to be the most beautiful woman who ever lived. With her violet eyes, double thick lashes, jet black hair, perfect skin and at one time perfect figure, she held the Twentieth Century mesmerized as she lived a creative life of independence, passion and joy on her own terms. Taylor wasn’t like her colleagues – Monroe, Mansfield, Dee – she was not a celluloid reflection trying to live in the real world. She was a whole person and a damn serious actress with three academy award nominations and two academy awards, not to mention the BAFTA and the Golden Globe to prove it.

This morning I was watching some puppy on MSNBC attempting to report the news and talking about Taylor. He did not mention her humanitarian work, academy and other awards, or her great movies like "Butterfield 8" and "Cleopatra," but by the Goddess he was quick to mention her prescription drug and alcohol abuse which took place years and years ago.

We are people who love to watch our fellow humans twist on the noose of humiliation. We are sadistic and petty little voyeurs with a taste for the salacious. It seems to make us feel better to know that someone else is miserable and in peril. The media and our political culture feed this for monetary gain and political advantage. They don’t much give a damn what they say about anybody. What isn’t covered by Freedom of the Press, is covered by Freedom of Speech and the beat goes on. So, praise God and pass the Inquirer, Taylor is dead and that ought to give some of us fresh meat for many a day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Bad Old Days

John Boehner is a pig. Eric Cantor is a pig. In fact all of the Republican House members are pigs. They go oinking through the Halls of Congress trying to turn back the clock on Women’s Rights. However, the real criminals are the women who enable them – like Michele Bachman and Virginia Foxx. These two eunuchs are content to consign American women to the 1950’s. They must not think that this will ever affect them, their daughters or granddaughters. They must not realize that if it were 1950 neither of them would be in office. Clearly, they don’t understand that they are not just threatening the rights of women, they are threatening their dignity.

Those of us who remember the 50’s look back on a time when women were little more than chattel. They were owned body and soul by the significant men in their families; their work undervalued, their appearance overvalued, their opinions dismissed, their economic security doled out to them in nickels and dimes, their obedience compelled. In other words, they were children. This regression on the part of our rightwing lawmakers isn’t just about the availability of safe abortions or equal pay for equal work. It is about returning to a toxic and pervasive social paradigm that rendered half the human race powerless and subservient.

Whenever I think of the 1950’s I think of the actress Sandra Dee. She was the preferred feminine image of the day – a soft, fluffy kitten with a lovely face and body and a sweet willingness to please. Indeed, she was a perpetual child, just what the era demanded, and on some level expected to remain sixteen for the rest of her life. When she married, had a child of her own and was deemed more or less past her prime as an actress it must have been horrific for her. You see the kitten never became a cat with proper claws. Dee began to drink, and her drinking ruined her marriage. After her husband left, her drinking escalated. When he died in the early seventies she sunk into chronic alcoholism. I have to wonder if in her isolation and drunkenness she ever came to realize the madness of a world that demanded women view themselves exclusively through the eyes of other people.

The tragedy of Sandra Dee is not unique. It is in part the product of stereotyping, marginalizing, forcing people to draw their self-image from someone else’s consciousness. This can only be done to people who don’t enjoy parity in a society. The Suffragettes gave us the vote. The Feminists gave us access to our souls and the right to define our future on our own terms. Sandra Dee didn’t have these things – most women didn’t in the 50’s.

The feminist reality and the rights of women were hard won by those of us who fought the war. I am old now and battle scared. Like a lot of people who have many fewer years to live then they have lived I see with precision the tapestry of existence. If one thread is cut in the weave all the others are weakened accordingly. If the rights of Labor are compromised in Wisconsin, then Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Rights of Gay and Lesbian People grow systemically fragile in turn. I doubt that the myopic pigs, criminals and their assorted appendages around the country have a clue nor give a damn what they are doing when they disturb the delicate fabric of Freedom that so many men and women have stitch together. Just as Bachmann and Foxx haven’t a clue nor give a damn when they aid their male colleagues in forcing women back to a time of physical, intellectual and spiritual oppression.

Elected officials of either party who are afflicted with this level of stupidity or apathy aren’t fit to govern. Not only are they unworthy of representing a free people in a free state, but they are to our very democracy as AIDS is to the human lymphatic system.

The rose featured above is “Rainbows End.” She is a miniature landscape rose that glows golden in the sunlight. I put it here in honor of Sandra Dee and all the women whose chains prevented them from following their rainbow to its end.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Whoring of America

Henry James wrote: “We work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have, our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task …” James was speaking of art, but he could have been speaking of anything today. We are all living in the New Dark Ages, doing what we can, giving what we have, our passion is the truth and finding it is our task. By the Goddess it is not easy. Between the media gone round the bend on trivia - Sheen, Lohan, blah, blah, blah - and a political establishment with a greater than ever vested interest in keeping the American People in the dark, it seems that the Dark Ages have come back around to collect us with all the trappings of greed, tyranny, scapegoating, religious zealotry and repression aimed at a Working Class some of whom are only too willing to accept it.

Now contrary to the opinion of some of my former nursing students, I was not present for the first Dark Ages. So I have no personal knowledge of the political or economic climate. However, I have a pretty good idea of what is going on today. Our political institutions have become conclaves of whores. I am not talking about prostitutes; they work for a living – no matter how shabby or pathetic that living might be. Our politicians on the other hand peddle their influence, power, principles and integrity so they won’t have to work at all and can serve for life. Unfortunately this is a bipartisan occupation and is prevalent in all the halls of power across the country. Accordingly our body politic is always open for business. They sell women’s rights, civil rights, worker’s rights, children’s rights. They sell God. That’s a big one; unless it is the God of the Muslims then they sell hate, bigotry, cruelty and a free flowing fear and stupidity. It is past time that we began to call these people what they are. They are not leaders, public servants, elected representatives, men and women of the people, they are WHORES.

Of course all of this is largely facilitated by our nearly brain dead media that itself is open for business 24/7 and when not selling nonsense, tomfoolery, and celebrity flimflam is out-and-out lying. Take for instance this morning. I was listening to MSNBC (although I am beginning to wonder why anymore) and a man who calls himselve a White House correspondent, told a young anchor man that there had not been a revolution in this country since the Republicans took the House. Giving the man the benefit of the doubt perhaps he can’t spell Wisconsin or has never seen a map of the United States. Then again it could be that he has spent so much time in the Beltway that his cerebral cortex has shrunk. In any case, I looked everywhere for this man – Twitter, MSNBC, Google, Yahoo. I wanted to enlighten him; I couldn’t find him. Maybe there is a reason he hides.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Glimpse into the Shadows

When did our public servants, our elected officials, become our superiors? When did our legislators, supposedly accountable to the electorate, become ruling nobility with the same contempt for the working men and women who put them in office as Louie XVI’s court had for the French peasantry of his day? This isn’t just about the moral invalids in the Republican held U.S. House, but about governors and state and municipal leaders. It is the modus operandi of the New Right to denigrate and demonize the American people - particularly the Working Middle Class and their children, the Poor and their children, the Elderly, the Disabled, the Unemployed, Wounded Veterans and Women of almost every class. We are slobs, parasites and destroyers of the American Dream. What they can’t or won’t do for themselves they fear-trip their troglodytes into doing for them – example, the Tea Party mess during the health care debate. They project a belief that as members of a newly minted aristocracy they will never have to face us at the ballot box again.

There can be no question that a perverse calculus is at work - a Machiavellian and highly organized movement designed and driven by a first-rate mind. I believe there is a single intelligence orchestrating all of this because of the precision and seamlessness of the process we are seeing. I believe it is a man’s intellect owing to the demonstrated fact that from John Boehner to the most obscure Republican city council person in the smallest city in America these people, male and female, suffer from advanced misogyny and profound penis envy.

It is not the brainpower of that bloated buffoon in New Jersey or the Dog Faced Boy in Wisconsin. It isn’t the mental apparatus of the Koch brothers at play – they are bankers, appendages like the Tea Party Movement which couldn’t organize a trip to the toilet without their money. It is inconceivable that this acuity and mental power could belong to one of the aphid-like sub-literates who infest the legislative process across this land with an overwhelming need to see women die at the hands of butcher abortionists while they nonchalantly promote gun violence through countless sins of legislative omission. All of this is diversion, akin to several shows going on simultaneously under one of P.T. Barnum’s Big Tops. The ringmaster, the man who would be king draws back and lurks in the darkness like the ghost of Hamlet’s father. He may be hidden away on Wall Street or in some great corporation. Perhaps he is buried deep in the Republican Party Machine. Of one thing I am certain – we have never seen him.

Call me paranoid or just plain crazy, but this is the only explanation that I can find for how every political rummy, dimwit, nimrod, dull knife and numb nuts in the Republican Party got into office and is pursuing a flawless agenda that none of them are smart enough to conceive, direct or pursue on their own. This is the only explanation I can find for why these same politicians spit in the face of their voters at every possible opportunity showing no respect for our franchise or power. Do they anticipate a time when we will have neither, or do they just think, à la Bush, that this is the best path to reelection because reminiscent of physically abused children we will come to protect our abusers out of terror?

In the works of Shakespeare three of his darkest plays involve agents plotting behind the scenes. The three Witch in Macbeth, Iago in Othello and of course the ghost in Hamlet. Nefarious or not their machinations enable total destruction. The moral of these brooding tales is wake the hell up. Had Macbeth heeded the warnings of the three Witches, had Othello paid more attention to Iago’s behavior, had Hamlet made a damn decision of his own one way or the other, these anecdotes would have ended very differently.

The American people must wake up. The warnings are all around us. The behavior of our so-called leaders is increasingly deviant, arrogantly corrupt and growing more threatening every day. The American people need to make a decision about what is important to them – the future of our government and country or J Lo’s underwear, the Super Bowl and our innumerable toys? The question becomes while we are watching the celebrity de jour biodegrade what pseudo patriot, false prophet or budding dictator dismantles our liberties behind our back?