Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Russians, Man-Buns and Shit-Houses

Russians, Man-Buns and Shit-Houses

I seem to have a wide ranging audience, nationality-wise.  Which I think is cool as “Ice Cube” (who is definitely cool.)

Now,  I watched a documentary the other day about a black British guy, who went to Russia to speak with the Russian version of the Alt-Right.  Or, as we a.k.a. them in the U.S.A. – Nazis (White Supremacists).  Of course, these Russian dudes tried to put on a good show for this black British dude.  A lot of the video footage, however, got photo-bombed by a number of passers-by (also known as a.k.a. – goons).  Lots of guns, which I believe ARE illegal for private citizens in Russia, but they had them anyway.  Mostly though it was knives.

These Russian Nazis (lots of swastikas there too) seemed to have a real thing about knives and knife-fighting.  It was amazing and a bit frightening how rabid these guys were AND the number of women who were in it with the guys.  Not an insignificant number of women.  ** And, all of them were white.  Weird in that the actual country of Russia does have a number of, a very large contingent, of people of the Asian denomination.  Apparently not in Moscow, however.  Moscow seemed to be kind of the Montgomery, Alabama of Russia. 

Then, I watched a news channel where a journalist visited some little city IN Alabama, where trump was like the KING.  Those people, men and women, weren’t that much different in their outlook.  This new strange devolution of human-kind are everywhere.  Now that’s the scary part.  Stupidity, ignorance and cult-inclined lower life forms are really replacing the evolutionary ranks of human vermin.  Sliding right in there where rats and roaches used to be.  Everywhere – not limited to any National Borders, nationality or cultural/religious.  They seem to just want to violently take out everybody who isn’t them.

Solution:  Vote them off the boat? 

I don’t understand man-buns.  If you are a man and you have hair that you can grow in a longish manner, well, good for you.  But that little bun thing ?  Really?  Mostly it’s the older guys, with very thinnish hair, that seem to be going for this look.  Like skinny jeans.  Skinny jeans on women?  No issue with that.  BUT, from a design viewpoint, it just doesn’t work on hipless, buttless men.  It reminds me of the Ford Edsel, a car design that was simply ugly from the start.  It looked like it had a torpedo tube in the grill.  There are some things, I believe, are just stupid from conception.  Unless you shave your legs, skinny jeans have GOT to be uncomfortable.  And the man-bun thing has got to be a hassle to take care of, groom, wash??? 

I don’t get the thing where women always have hair falling in their faces and they have to continuously brush it back behind their ears.  Geezuz, get a scrunchy, or something.  At least when you’re on TV.  That gets so annoying – talk, talk, brush hair behind ear, talk talk, brush hair behind ear, and on and on.  Gawd!!

I would like to be more outraged at the political bullshit that is going on globally, but somehow at my age (which is old), I find the absurdity of it all is too much stress.  At best I only have 20 to 25 years more, in this world (such as it were).  Nobody listens to old people, anyway; unless they are rich and/or powerful.  And then, it’s only fake attention.  Soon as these guys fall asleep, it’s the ole-pillow-over-the-face.  Most likely, since I ride a motorcycle, I won’t see that much of that 20 years or so also, anyway.

Shitholes- Shithouses:  Someone on the news commented that there are american towns and cities that a lot of americans have called shitholes for years.  AND, this is totally true.  I have been in, around, through and even lived in some of these places.  I won’t name them, (well, maybe I will), but they are truly shitholes.  To me, Cleveland was one of those places.  Flat, dirty, the roads are a nightmare of potholes and construction zones that never go away.  Just hated it, BUT there are Clevenites who love their city and are proud as heck of it.  Wouldn’t live anywhere else.

So who’s in charge?  Who’s to say what is a shithole.  To me the whole state of Texas is a shithole.  Fayetteville, Utah, now there is a shithole.  East Los Angeles.  Braintree, Massachusetts.  Orange, New Jersey.  Tacoma, Washington.  Anywhere in the cornbelt. 


I think the only answer to this shithole question is to “bring it on home”.  Lots of parts, along with their peoples, in the U.S. are shitholes and we should just own up to it.  Work on fixing those, before we start casting stones.  If the majority of High Schools in your state are Unaccredited, maybe you should seek out some immigrants, who are literate, and recruit them.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Women

Women

With all the scandals arriving on (in) the news; the scandals involving powerful men forcefully subjugating women, I have been evaluating my own behavior.  As a man, a white man of advanced years, I just felt a little self-reflection might be a good thing.  Maybe it’s something all American (I should only speak for the culture of which I am a part) men should do.

That being said; it should be apparent that I would have a lot of evaluating at my age.  My own mother was a very strong person, everything taken into account.  But, she was a woman of the WW II generation.  She was white, from Idaho and from a very religious family.  My own parents generation were racists (might as well admit it), by contemporary standards they were all pretty sexist.  Feminism was a long way in the future for them and my own mother would have just hated the whole notion.

But then, my mother didn’t take shit from anybody.  She had very strong opinions and was not about to change them.  Which was frustrating for a young developing Progressive Liberal (and feminist as it turns out) man.  It just never occurred to me that girls were any less equal than boys.  Being a straight male, I was totally fascinated by the female and had very strong attractions to getting to know them.  But, it never crossed my mind that girls shouldn’t have every consideration that boys should have.

Truthfully, it never crossed my mind.  And, I do not know why?  During my beer-boozy college days (about two years of that before I got married), I was probably kind of overbearing in my social behavior.  Yeah, I’d have to admit to that.  But, it was also the early days of birth-control, Free Love – too much beer, a war, - just a lot of new stuff going on.  And, women were really beginning to come out of the sexual straight-jackets that had been imposed on them for, like, forever.  Women, young women in the sixties and seventies could be somewhat sexually aggressive in contrast to their own mothers’ generation.

And that, was a head turner.  If I wasn’t masculinally confident and a bit of a bad boy, I couldn’t get any attention at all.  But, I didn’t have enough confidence to be pushy either.  “NO” was good enough for me – forever.  One “NO” and I was off the block, around the corner and gone.  Somehow, if the interest wasn’t obviously mutual, I (honestly) didn’t have the courage to go any further.  (Just being honest.)  It didn’t matter though because I did fall in love, get married and that was that.  But still, while a student, it seemed to me that a LOT of the smart kids did happen to be female. 

I didn’t have much trouble with school, for whatever reason, and tended to be in the good reader group.  Most of the good reader groups, in my schools anyway, were girls.  It would have been impossible to NOT notice that, even as a kid.  In my High School Daze, we had two basic strata; that is the College Bound and the Not College Bound.  The first group was a smaller group.  Still one of the only ways to avoid the Draft, was to get into college.  Now staying out of the Draft, was a real piece of encouragement for males.  So by that time the strata I found myself in, was pretty evenly balanced, genderwise.  Okay, maybe a few more boys than girls, but that was mostly because their parents put their sons education first.  Just the way it was back then. 

Now, in college there were still more men than women, but once again, that was mostly because of the draft (I believe).  In all of the classes I took, I do not remember any noticeable difference in accomplishments or grades.  Maybe, it was the case, but I don’t remember that being the case.  My first Adviser, was a man and he was a jerk.  My second Adviser was a woman just a few years older than I was, but I thought she was really good.  The Chair of the department I was in was a woman and she was wonderful and probably the reason I became reasonably successful in my chosen profession(s).

When I got back from the Viet Nam War, she was one of the only people who respected that, and didn’t socially shit on me.  I owe her a lot. 

Over the years I have worked for many female bosses and supervisors, some were very good and real leaders and some weren’t.  But, gender or sexual harassment never came up in my experience.  I have two daughters and I never expected less from them than I did from my four sons.  Yes, as a Dad (father) I was (and continue to be) … well … rather more protective of my daughters.  But, when it’s cold everybody hauled firewood.  Their mother was, and is, my best friend and life partner.  I do not have the ability to conceive of being other than respectful to any person who approaches me with a good heart.


So my fellow male dudes… maybe that is the thing to remember.  R_E_S_P_E_C_T.

Monday, November 27, 2017

White Heritage?

White Heritage?

Documentaries are a guilty pleasure of mine.  I admit it.  I find nearly everything fascinating – from history to how to make stuff to science to weird science.  So I drift across a documentary about the "KKK” by the “BBC”.  Well, here’s an interesting take – a British view of the American racist.  What can the British do to make sense of this singularly American of Hate Groups, hate groups. 

The British will bang each up pretty good over soccer teams, but Americans go right for the jugular with race.  Break it down, in much of Europe there can be found large numbers of Black persons, primarily originally from African nations.  In some cases, as in Britain, these persons are third, fourth or even longer generational immigrants.  They arrived in those Europeans countries escaping war, oppression or as sought after labor pools. 

The American take on this is Slavery.  While, as of today, the actual connection via slavery, as American citizens is minimal.  Not insignificant, mind you, but a larger proportion of Black Americans came here long after slavery was abolished and no actual member of their heritage was every in any way connected to it.  Still after a number of years being in America, that connection is socially assumed and often even taken up as what was a real connection.  If they happen to be racially Black, that is.

As far as I am aware, ONLY in the U.S.A. is slavery tied, automatically, to race – and that race is Black; a.k.a. African-American.  Even though a very large per centage have no actual hereditary ties to Africa – in any way.  Except in regards to proven Anthropology, that EVERY human being can be traced back to the African Savanna.

So these KKKers are grasping, ranting on about their White Heritage.  Mostly these citizens are from what is called The South in America.  The states that made up the Confederacy and were those that went to war against those opposing slavery over the cause of slavery.  In reality that is pretty much it for the vast majority of White Americans.    Oh, some White Americans will go on about how their families came from Italy or England or Germany or Denmark, etc. and whatever …  They will try to give themselves what they see as a uniqueness amongst the conglomerate of being white-ish. 

In terms of real heritage there is nothing White Americans can cling to, other than grasping on to some designation that truly only applies to distant relatives that most likely didn’t speak English.  Being a race – just any ole race, doesn’t automatically bring forward a “Heritage”.  It sounds a bit hypocritical, but to be a Black person (in particular) just immediately staples the post-it note of slavery to your forehead.  And the notion of slave immediately denotes “less than”.  This is tough one to get over.

So rather than say, “Our Southern American White Heritage”, which would, by historical fact, tie them to traitorous slave owners, they say, “Our White Heritage”.  Which, using simple Aristotelian Logic, says, “Our family are bigots.  We have been bigots for generations.  We will honor that ignorant bigotry forever!  Damnit!”. 
Rather than admit that, in America, in reality, there isn’t any real “White Heritage”.  You’re apparently derived from a mostly Caucasian Racial line, that may be mostly a fact – but, that’s not a heritage either.  It’s simply a DNA designation.

Most Americans who are more than four or five generations deep in this country, have such a hodge-podge of racial bloodlines that even claiming a “race” is a pretty mixed bags of mere assumptions.  So, addressing the KKKers, you can wave your flags of hatred and spout your ignorant slogans and all that; march with smudgy torches, but don’t claim any righteousness based on Heritage.  Because, you ain’t got none.  And DO NOT try to drag all the other White folks, like me, into your bag of shit.

My skin is white, but I have no clue as to what my Heritage is.  I just know that my heritage is most definitely NOT in any way connected to yours.



Saturday, November 11, 2017

Speaking Up – Me Two

Speaking Up – Me Two

The Alchemy of Karma

Okay – “The times they are a’ changin’” – (Bob Dylan circa; a long time ago).  I was just reading bulletins from several very high-profile female Legislators, in addition to all the female actors.  Harassment!  Sexual Harassment!   Of course, this is a very important and long-time needed concern.  Totally legitimate.  Courageous and brave.  Needed to happen.

What these high-profile people have begun to include in their messages, is that it is time for men to speak up.  … ! …  I, as an old man, sincerely don’t see much of that happening.  And, I have found, so often in life, even if you might have a different angle on a topic, such as this, that is so HOT!  You can be totally crucified!!  Yes, if you say, “Well, what about this, or that?”  If it is not in complete and total agreement with whatever justifiable cause is involved, you are tarred, feathered and set adrift on a log, in a raging river, just above the falls.

But, as I am in complete agreement with what these women are saying, I just have to make a couple of points.  First – there are millenniums (sp- thousands) of years of tracked and trained-in behaviors, culturally imprinted expectations.  For my own part, my own mother was a terrible homophobe.  She had very deliberate notions of what men did and what women did – or were supposed to do.  And, her homophobia was really weird and disjointed.  She loved several movie stars and musical performers that everybody knew were gay, except her, and she would never accept it!  So for my own behavior, as a young boy and young man, was definitely tracked.  Any shade of femininity was seen as bad, very bad.  And, treated as such with a good dose of ridicule.

When your mother ridicules you, when you are a child, you remember it.  My father never cared, or seemed to care.  He loved jokes and humor and could really shed the tears when his heart was moved.  He never tried to hide his emotions when they were strong.  What I mean here is I was raised, tracked, into a strong sense of what was manly and what was girly.  And, I was not allowed to be anyway kind of girly.  But, I was allowed to show emotion under extreme circumstances.  Many young boys and men do not get that.  Succinctly, there is no balance in their lives from their earliest days.

So – let’s just say a young man is raised in a manner without balance.  He’s not attractive, as men go (I guess).  All his youth, he does not attract girls or women (or men if he is gay).  In fact he is seen as kind of a social looser and treated that way.  However, he is smart, clever and, unknown to most, very very talented.  Time passes, maybe he’s almost thirty before he has his first sexual experience.  Maybe also, by this time he has really been successful in some way.  Made a whole big chunk of money and moved into a position of huge influence, very quickly.

Everybody, men and women, are attracted to money, fame and success.  Whether business or entertainment or the entertainment business, there is crushing competition.  And, here he is, the big looser, at the top of the food chain (all of a sudden).  Suddenly he’s got more friends than he can manage.  He says “jump!” and dozens of people all jump and keep jumping until he tells them to stop.  And, during the period of cultural history when this is occurring, there do not seem to be rules, or anyone with enough position or courage to keep his behavior proper and moral, well … he goes way off the rails. 

Soon he’s not just telling people to jump! , he’s telling, he’s demanding them to do things that are simply wrong, immoral and, worse yet, demeaning.  He has, through the alchemy of karma gone from a quiet, maybe a nice guy, looser, to his wildest dream of a superhero (in his own mind).  There are dozens of persons, who suddenly are willing to do anything he asks them to do.  Persons, who previously would have recoiled in disgust from any advance he made, are now his playthings.  AND then, there are those who are in his circle of life, job or distant social community, who might have to work with him – for him – that are just not interested in him in any other way than what is required by that job, or social connection.

He has never learned to know the difference, to spot the difference, let alone accept that difference.  Part of his simple-minded make-up is getting even.  NONE  of any of this justifies his abusive behavior and when the hammer falls on him because of actions he has committed, well … once again that’s the alchemy of karma.  “What goes around comes around.”  And, what happens to these persons should be a life lesson for others.  Life and career destroyed, maybe even some incarceration time.  The big payback and “payback is a bitch”. 

The cancer comes back to the act of bullying.  Those in a position to override the decent behavior expected of all of us, do so.  Over and over again.  It often, historically, takes a wave of serfs to overwhelm the oligarchy of a few – and, most often, there is heavy bloodshed. 

Every citizen in every country has, most often, very strong identity expectations placed on them and yet times change.  Sometimes times change so dramatically that everything, everything, gets hugely out of whack.  What was not only acceptable in one generation, but encouraged, is totally unacceptable and even contemptible in the very next generation.  What was accepted as just a bump, or mole, in one generation is discovered, by the next generation, to actually be one of those cancers.

I would say you can cure cancer with treatment and medication, sometimes very dire and seriously dehumanizing treatments, but you can cure it.  It is done thousands of times a day, around the world.  You can also stop cancer – with a strategically placed bullet.  Simple morality would indicate that the former is the first choice.  Immorality would choose the second.  And, what we have here overall is not just a matter of the powerful using their power to take immoral advantage over the less powerful.  In one instance.  That is sexually.  Which is where the oo-waa stigma, “can’t talk about it” is off course.

It occurs to me, that, as a culture (maybe even a species) we are going through the treatment to cure a cancer.  It is painful, it is somewhat dehumanizing for the perpetrators, and more so for the brave victims who come forward.  However, if we do do our best to hold onto our best moral intentions, we can -?- find a cure and implement it.


{Author’s note: I realize this piece kind of wanders around a bit.  I’ll work on it and maybe get to a better solution, conclusion at a later time (?).