Telling Stories:

Stories we tell.  All of you were very insightful about narratives we tell.  I edited Telling Stories Out of Court for Cornell’s University Press, though I knew nothing of Landrieu’s analysis, as some students shared and discussed, indicating too that narratives exist everywhere, including finance and law. Indeed, Telling Stories Out of Court was a follow-up book to Voices from the Edge that got so much play and helped me launch not only Writing Politics at the GC, which the University of Michigan wanted to copy (my PS advisors voted against me helping, so I did not help them create a similar program) because there are nothing but stories where power resides — like in law and with money (think Trump).

Telling Stories was dedicated to both my sons, who had been critical of Voices.  They were too young, but I told them the methodology here was about people who faced discrimination — in this book it was as a PwD (person with a disability), whereas with Telling Stories I limited it only to my own experience of Title VII discrimination against women in the workplace.  

I had others tell the stories that, first with Voices, I set to law; and then with Stories another person more familiar with Title VII wrote, having won the battle to reverse Cornell’s discrimination against her for being a woman seeking tenure at the ILR school.

My sons teased me about the first book when I showed them the fan mail and got the conference behind in English and the law school at Ohio State. They said, “Mom don’t dedicate this book to us, unless it means you’ll be the next J. K. Rowling.”   We all laughed at that one.

But when it came to Telling Stories, at first it was too raw.  My first husband ran off with his subject, as some are wont to say.  The only difference in the rather trite or tawdry narrative after 23 years of being together was that he traded up, and by up I mean older.   She had older children and was a grandma.  Our sons were just 7 and 9, and trilingual, since their Dad, being white blue-eyed Dutch, never spoke a word of English to them. He banned all media — English was out there.  So they were raised watching the same Disney “crap,” just dubbed in Dutch or German. 

My own mother thought our sons sounded so or too Anti-American.  But then if you overheard them with their friends, they never spoke of going to Holland or summers I took them to Germany, where they could be the only Americans in the German youth camp that took two cheap trips to the Alps per year (four hours from their “earth parents’” apartment in Stuttgart).

No, my sons wanted to belong in each state and society and so were very very careful not to let one life bleed into the next for fear of rejection.  The American camp in New Jersey cost so much more than the one in the Alps that I could only afford to send them to one 9 day stint there, giving me time to run around to the EU to do research on how Europeans view Americans.

After he ran off with socialite Fariba Amini she had Fariba’s wedding photos.pages  to prove the wedding to all  in the United States and Iran, but our sons.  (Their German “earth parents” found the wedding photos and called me asking me to asking why the American family court system didn’t think this might be hurtful to our young sons.  New Jersey family court said no.)

They got married, before the ink was dry on the divorce (he wrote the Property Settlement Agreement and had initially suggested I might not want to be so humiliated so I could say there was no other woman).  The mediator flipped out that our sons then 8 and 10 or so were excluded when other children were included. 

The very rules of mediation he explained to both of us (no yelling, take out pictures of our sons, hold hands, light a candle — no candle but all the rest we did).  When the mediator walked by me down the hall to go tell the judge medation failed, he sidled up next to me and told me to tell my lawyer this University of Delaware Matthee DP.docx should go to a therapist.  I looked at him like how “funny.”  How can any court impose therapy? Let alone on someone who didn’t think to invite his young sons to his wedding. The mediator dismissed me and I watched my former partner show pictures and yell obscenities about me as he showed Fariba’s wedding photos.pages. At least he didn’t or jump up and down about our boys (who I determined were safe every other weekend with him.)

Over forty frivolous lawsuits later (which are now ended since there is no more chance to sue me as I’m out of family court jurisdiction), and three tri-state TROs (Temporary Restraining Orders) for cyberstalking later, I’m free. Family court couldn’t be bothered saying hurtful wedding photos should be scrubbed, and every judge they sure as heck would reward me and my sons, who still see them to this day — but at least I am out of ear shot or cyber-shot, or am I? J

While not a younger woman, she was a wealthy woman, a socialite — so they could live on love.  In fact, her former husband, a very wealthy Persian in Import/Exports, gave her alimony after her marriage and babysat our sons, being 7 and 9, as long as they would play with their son (who played violent, and sexually violent video games — this was hard to hear “get in the ditch bi***h”).

In any case, with Telling Stories Out of Court being too explicit (that I would tell the facts of infidelity, garnish wages, when he sued my lawyer (who was later Katie Holmes’s law firm when she sued Tom Cruise for divorce)).  One son hated my narrative and the other one loved it.  With the book being dedicated to him, one told me to get it out of his room, the other put it up on his bookshelf and even more so, read the book that preceded our divorce very slowly while in college. This book, Bodies in Revolt, he kept and keeps telling me creates an ethic. 

In realty I was only re-articulating an existing ethic, the Three Musketeers, all for one and one for all, the only difference was that the different — those with physical disabilities got to lead the way as they were agents saboteurs.  Now this book didn’t get so much fan mail, nor did it lead to Writing Politics, I found that Pw/outD don’t like to think, or don’t think, let alone regard PwD as having not only any power or agent provocateur powers, but they don’t even think PwD have fun.  (How silly is that?  Blind man’s bluff, Wheelchair wheelie, I just crashed my pedal assist bike, which is more akin to a wheelchair for me, and survived having crashed into a pedestrian listening to music so loudly she moved right as I called right and so it was a hell of a crash.

All this sharing is to say that whenever there is power there is narrative.  Whenever there is conquest, there are stories.  Even better (or worse) this is why we have national stories, and national characters, and  when other nations don’t like us or at least don’t trust us as Pew Stats about U.S. falling.pdf  now tell us. Don’t you think we will reinvent another story?  The Current blog.pages certainly did.

Repub “Hypo-Crits”

Hypo: a large animal that is ugly and looks like an American politician or a SLAM or SCAM — a “role model” (taken from MTP, allowing GOP from Wyoming to speak and allows him to keep propagating).

Hypo-cratic is not to be confused with Hippocratic oath — or is it?  Hippo is not a hypo. Or maybe Hippo-publican — the Equality State has a few too many of those.  Time for a new animal symbol for these forgetful elephants?

Gun Toting Patsy

Hypo-crasy is similar to fake crazy behavior, though in American English they say crasy in a Patsy Cline-like drawl.  Try singing it:  “Crasy, I’m crasy, American People,” A euphemism for the few people in the United States who vote.  Even more “crasy” is the Senate hypocrit from Wyoming that “Meet the Press” Chuck Todd was too weak to contain in his shallow pool. Guess the so-called neutral journal can’t deal with SCAMs.

We look to our mothers to save us from injustice and distress | Opinion

We look to our mothers to save us from injustice and distress | Opinion

BY JANE CAPUTI, Special Contributor, Heretical Thought author of Call Your “Mutha'”: A Deliberately Dirty-Minded Manifesto for the Earth Mother in the Anthropocene

JUNE 23, 2020 03:08 PM , UPDATED JUNE 23, 2020 03:52 PM

In times of greatest extremity, people cry out for their mothers. George Floyd, while being tortured and then killed by a white policeman, called out “Mama.” Hearing this, many instantly wept in recognition, as this calling to the mother touched on the universal experience of infant helplessness, need for care and the hope for succor and intervention.

In her remarkable poem “Weather,” Claudia Rankine notes that the ongoing uprisings responding to systemic racism, police brutality and a gamut of related injustices are a continuing continuation of that crying out to a mother. This call is for the restoration of values of community, reciprocity, sharing, equity, caring, fairness, nourishment, love and continuance, which are very different from those of a father-first or patriarchal culture.

Patriarchal values include authority, dominance, punishment and violent enforcement. These manifest broadly in the national symbolic father figure, Donald Trump. The 45th president stands his ground as a proudly unmasked proponent of white and male supremacy. His followers cheer the rule of someone with “balls” — tough, straight, manly and white, evincing a will to hurt, and with a sure sense of his own impunity. Trump famously bragged that if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, he would get away with it. I doubt he was thinking of that “someone” as being anyone like himself or his family.

The same patriarchal values are manifestly operative in the death of George Floyd. The white policeman killed Floyd in full view of others. He must have known that a young woman was recording him. Nonetheless, he probably expected impunity as his birthright and because he was an official enforcer of the hierarchy.

By contrasting mother-associated values to those of the patriarchal father, I am not setting up a binary opposition. Nor am I asserting that all mothers evince these qualities and values. Rather, I am describing a realizable ideal whereby the mother is not only a birth giver, but someone of any sex and gender who takes it as their calling to love, teach, help, lead, feed, console, protect, guide, decide and create family and community. This understanding of mothers and mothering power is common to human heritage and evident in many cultures, including Pueblo Native peoples and Black and Latinx trans and queer communities.

Mothers and their children are specifically endangered in the system that long has disregarded Black lives. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted a disastrous effect of pollution and climate change on Black mothers and babies. Environmental racism enforces a reality where Black people live disproportionately in air-polluted areas. That, coupled with higher temperatures, puts pregnant women at risk of delivering premature, underweight or stillborn babies. Environmental injustices are the responsibility of the mostly white father figures who control world finance, corporations and militaries. Too often, it is just business as usual to exploit and poison peoples’ air, water, land, labor and natural resources. This, just as surely as a knee to the neck, chokes out life.

The assault against mothers extends outward to the planet, whose ancient and still telling name is Mother Earth. The conjoined philosophical, spiritual and practical meanings of that appellation is that all of us (human and non-human) issue from a common source, are connected, mutually interdependent and essentially equal — worthy of love, respect, care, safety and living in conditions that allow flourishing. This is the same message of all social justice movements.

The crisis of injustice — including racial, environmental, and sex- and gender-based — is all at once personal, community and planetary. As the righteous global uprisings demanding an end to systemic racism make clear, the time is now for a collective call to the mother. Mama. Call her. Act in her name.

Jane Caputi is the author of Call Your “Mutha’”: A Deliberately Dirty-Minded Manifesto for the Earth Mother in the Anthropocene, published by Oxford University Press, 2020 in the Heretical Thought series, edited by Ruth O’Brien

Looking For Wildlife in All the Wrong Places

Getting away from it all (i.e. the GOP). Or are we looking for GOP game two years early. We’re scouts. No Dick Cheney here. And more importantly no shotgun to kill quails or shoot your friends in the face. This requires a bit of history. I remember laughing with the New Yorkers’ “about town” piece by Larissa Macfarquhar on shooting your friends in the face etiquette. Let’s hope Anti-Presidency President Trump doesn’t shoot Pence figuratively of course next week. I’d replace him, if I were him, to add a little jolt to their party.

Bound West Three Years Ago

Eugenics 101 more than a centennial earlier, now that we’ve Eugenics.2.o under Anti-Presidency President Trump. Visiting Yellowstone brought back all the memories about how many presidents, let alone social movement leaders from Teddy Roosevelt to Oliver Wendall Holmes (Buck v. Bell, “Three generations of imbeciles is enough” in 1927 and Margaret Sanger of Planned Parent (sterilize the poor immigrants) to Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story – Yellow Wall Paper pitting progressive to radical white women against women of all colors.

Buying and reading “Alice Roosevelt Longgworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker” by Stacy Cordery got me thinking about how her bitterness was reserved not for eugenics but her father on a personal level. Surprise, surprise TR and his New Nationalism were reminiscent of the Anti-Presidency President Trump. Trump’s new nationalism is a bit scarier. While his neglect of Alice reveals his sexism, misogyny and “tough” love which is really code for hating all those who are weak – and not privileged (i.e. SLAMs, SCAMs and SLIMs) Indeed Mary Trump gives evidence of her Uncle Donald’s perversity since in the way he treated his mom, who broke bones all the times, spent alot of it in a hospital bed in their house and in hospitals shows where all his ugly neos and isms come from. Teddy, at least, got his own body in shape. Is this better, I wonder?