Headaches

Two thirty.

Since this morning the Rush song “Witch Hunt” has played in my head, probably for the last few lines of the lyric:

Quick to judge, quick to anger

Slow to understand

Ignorance and prejudice

And fear walk hand in hand

I’ve heard this song be misinterpreted so ridiculously by those with ultra conservative values and attitudes, themselves the very thing the song criticizes. They are the “madmen fed on fear and lies / To beat and burn and kill.” And then I guess they just disregard the conclusion.

But it’s been on my mind for a reason today, as well as my schooldays when life was really pretty happy for me, from ninth grade to graduation from college. Others in my family tend to disparage education, saying that higher ed is impractical and a waste of time. But simultaneously they hotly resent people more knowledgeable than themselves, or just plain more intelligent. I don’t know whether the situation is fair or unfair, or who’s to blame for the inequality of it. What is the origin of inequality among people? And what am I supposed to do about the yawning chasm between me and some of my relatives? The whole thing gives me a headache. For today, I don’t regret that I’m spending Thanksgiving Day by myself with my dog. Fortunately a dog can’t argue with you or spit nails if you utter one fifty cent word. 

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Smell the Slack

Quarter after nine at night.

Apparently some people do get something for nothing in a political system that takes care of the old, sick, and weak. Who am I to disagree or complain, since I benefit from this state of affairs? And who else is going to condemn me or the system for this reality? I should think that my good fortune is the justice of a Higher Power, so I’m going to kiss away the unjust attitudes of the people who don’t see it that way. I say this on behalf of myself and all the seniors and people with disabilities in this country. There’s no blame or shame for getting what we deserve. It’s a failed system where justice is miscarried. For once, it seems to be working okay.

Equity

Nine fifty PM.

I just got done watching the official video for “Pride” by U2. I guess there’s something to be said for icons after all, but I feel that there must be a reason for my de emphasis on pomp and grandeur. Now I think of the former president with a shudder of dread for his egomania, but it’s really a symptom of an American disease. We always want things larger than life to feel entertained and satisfied. But why aren’t we happy with the little things? The media amplifies everything out of proportion without a thought to its impact on the public. We need to be more responsible for what we say.

My dog Aesop is so intelligent that his feelings can be hurt if I say the wrong thing. I told him that he was overweight yesterday, and today he pouted for most of the day and refused the carrot sticks I offered him as snacks. He’s self conscious about his weight! It makes me wonder about his interior monologues: what does he think in his canine tongue? Sometimes I wish I was Dr Doolittle so we could understand each other. Or, like Sigurd in Viking mythology, I could drink the dragon’s blood and be given comprehension of animal speech.

Every living creature deserves to be heard.

Equality

Ten o five.

The wind is really whipping; it just missed me by a half hour. Aesop was very excited because I bought him some doggie chicken strips this morning. He’d been picky about his breakfast and ate it only as an afterthought. I’ve still got the drippy Herb Alpert music in my brain, but to be honest I actually like it. I believe it helps me process some difficult emotions, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right now it’s “The Sea Is My Soil,” with an acoustic guitar that’s slightly out of tune. Besides the sound of the wind it is silent in the house; an occasional car goes roaring on the highway to the north.

Another note on A Connecticut Yankee: no nature means that people are not only free but also they are equal. Jung has said that “nature is aristocratic,” and inequality begins there. But Twain said that if you remove the clothes from everyone, distinctions of social class will disappear and people are all the same. He was probably an early behaviorist, a believer in learning theory. And there’s nothing to prove that either perspective is right or wrong. If everyone started out with the same advantages, then maybe the view of Mark Twain would be correct. Unfortunately, for ethical reasons no one can run that experiment.

Aesop is going to pout now until he gets another treat of chicken strips. Pavlov’s Dog is salivating. 

Should Be versus Is

One o’clock.

I guess I don’t feel very good today, but I still will say what I mean to say, and disregard others who don’t like it. I don’t understand why there are so many Christians in the world currently. It’s like the only option for a belief system anymore, anywhere you go, and frankly it gets on my nerves… My last post at least rang true for a few people. It should do so especially for people without a dime, who are disadvantaged and dumped on by the all time winners in life. Suddenly I think of the novel Native Son, which I haven’t read yet but I probably should. Meanwhile I can read from the Harlem Renaissance books I have on hand and just try to be more open to what the so-called minorities experience.

Two twenty. I found those books on my shelf. Somebody needs to reach out and bridge the gap with people of color now, or else it may never happen again… The sky is smoky white from forest fires. I ought to take a break from the Internet for a little while and pick up a book.

Ten twenty.

I figure that, whatever happens, I’ll be okay with it. I’m too old to have a brilliant future ahead of me. Glory seeking isn’t important to me anyway. Pandemic be hanged, we have to get along with each other and try to do good. When you see something that is absolutely wrong, shouldn’t you do something to try to fix it? Divided we fall, like the systems of an organism. If one system fails, then the whole body dies, because of interdependence. This is a thing everyone should feel intuitively. Sometimes it takes a review, like going over our facts of math and science. The reality is often ugly, yet we know what is right and what needs to be done to make it more beautiful, closer to the Ideal. It’s the difference between descriptive and prescriptive: the facts just sit there, while the truth wants to make them better… 

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

But for a little color
I could repaint the spectrum’s laser light 
Repair the hues to make them right
But for a shade of purple
I could weight the earth and heaven
Equalize the golden and the brazen

As swallows from the flue
Fly the roads behind the sky
In lavender amber West
A love letter from Avalon appears
On the fleeting gliding wing
Or does it come instead from old Lucretius?

The gilded and the pauper
The penniless and proper
Will balance with the reconciling sun
When the letter to Apollo
Is delivered by the swallow
And riches measured are to everyone 

Sanctuary

Eleven o’clock.

I’m having a lousy morning. I hear more and more people mouth off about sexual morality, the attitudes they learn from a literal interpretation of the Bible. Where would these people be without the Bible to do their thinking for them? I wish this ancient and dated book didn’t exist. I doubt if my sister even knows what language the New Testament is written in… Oh well, I just have to keep living and fighting for my right to a place in this world. I walk around the house and say to myself, This is not my house and this is not my life. I’m not in charge of my life. Instead, it is controlled by intruders… Stupid people get up in arms for stupid reasons. LGBTQ is the new political bone of contention, after the old one of abortion. A voice in my head says very simply, I want to go home. Home would be a place of safety and sanctuary, of comfort and security. But the house I inhabit feels nothing like that. If I could fast forward my life to the very end, maybe I would do this and get it over with.

Noon. I remember the article in Equality magazine about Rev. Fred Phelps, the demonstrator against human rights, with a photo of him holding a sign saying, “God Hates Fags.”

Obviously I feel very strongly on this topic. I also sympathize with Jewish people for what they have to go through. I will go ahead and publish this post, and damn the torpedoes. 

Our Way: a Letter

Sometimes I wish I’d taken Ancient Greek at the university, but that might have been over the top. As it was, I got to take Aristotle in the philosophy department with a good old Jewish professor. One of my favorite terms in school was winter 1989. I was 22 years old and taking, besides Aristotle, Literature of the Renaissance and a psychology survey course. The English class was great, although I skipped a lot of the reading assignments. We studied Sir Philip Sidney, and I still want to sit down with The Old Arcadia and absorb the whole thing. I wrote papers on Thomas More’s Utopia and Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella. Also we read John Lyly and Mary Wroth, and of course Shakespeare’s sonnet series.

The same winter we had a great dumping of snow in Eugene, but classes still were not canceled. My dad and I rode the bus up to the Campus on a day or two (he was the fiscal officer of the psychology department for twenty years) and on a Friday morning I remember being on the bus with other students. One of them was a music major girl who was busy sight reading a composition from a book. Her name was Dunia, and she’d been the girlfriend of a drummer I’d known. She didn’t recognize me. The afternoon of that day Dad and I waited at the bus stop a long time. My writing assignment was due Monday, on Thomas More, so I was rather preoccupied. On the bus again, we picked up two guys I remembered from grade school, Ron and David. They’d been playing in the snow together and asked each other if they were cold. I felt awkward because David probably knew me, but we said nothing. My education had divided us into different social classes, and even though we went to the same high school, I’d never seen them around. It happened with my nephews as well: we attended North Eugene together, but due to the differences in our coursework, our paths never crossed. I loosely belonged to the academic elite that took AP classes and tended to disregard those in a lower stratum of the school.

Thinking about that now, it was an awful circumstance to undergo for all of us. My nephews really resented me, and our families divided even more deeply as it was clear that I would go to college while they were stuck with manual labor. There’s a lesson in here somewhere, perhaps an epiphany for me: pride leads to a fall. And yet the school system is set up that way. I remember the insane amount of pressure that was applied to us students who supposedly had a promising future. I also recall a few students who objected to the whole situation, renouncing the opportunity to take AP English, and then sort of coasting out the year with less stress, but retaining their humanity and their sanity. And for that reason, I have to respect their decision. After all, look at what happened to me under all that pressure and stress. Was it really worth it even to graduate from college? And what is the quality that gives people dignity when all is said and done? Maybe with Sinatra we can sing that we did it our way.

President; a Poem

President

The lunacy presides in through my window

The full and pregnant orb of off white chalk

Is governor of all the gore we know

The fiery protests blazing in the dark

Such madness questing for equality

Or is the madness really crazy? Mark

Another definition of the moon:

Cool calculation, reason that reflects

True sunlight. And some cultures have the phrase,

“As beautiful as the moon.” Which view is right

Is likely both, depending on your sight