Rock Bottom

unknown Let the Games begin!  As a nation, the United States (yes, all the states) of America (the continent we share with Canada and Central America), we have hit rock bottom — or very close to it. Here are the Headlines: Kavanaugh (a.k.a. “the Trigger”); Democrats take Midterms; and 2020 goes to . . . the Democratic nominee, of course. Social movements against Trump are NOW thriving.  Two cheers for that. P.S. I was sorry I missed my U.S. Capitol Page High School Reunion.  I’m not going to share the graduation date, haha.

Chuck (Grassley) called my mom……

Representative (now Senator) Chuck Grassley called my mother when I was 18 years old.  Why?  I had just graduated from the Capitol Page School, with the nation’s highest-paid teachers in terms of money per student, with a 99.999999% graduation rate not just from high school but from some of the best universities in our nation.  I ratted the school out for the inferior instruction it offered.*  Congressman Grassley said my mother should be proud of me for being a whistleblower — and I guess he knew what I had weathered.  I don’t know. A good friend of mine says he is evil.  She is a litigator and understands how Grassley is gaslighting Professor Christine Blasey Ford.  I agree — what could I say other than “he called my mother”?  But to be honest, when he called my mother, she was not impressed, as I remember.  Only impressed enough to relay the quick call.  I didn’t think a thing about it until I spoke with my litigator friend (why would I?) — he became a Senator, and while he supports whistleblowers, they are largely the ones who whistle the Republican tune.  Look what he’s doing to Ford now! When it came time for college, most of my relatives faced a choice — the farm (Stanford) versus the city (Berkeley).  For me, the choice was not the farm versus the city.  My mom wanted me to go to a small women’s liberal-arts school, preferably the one she had attended, not one of those Seven Sisters schools.  Not only the Sister schools were excluded; my mom was also down on the Ivies, even though my ancestor helped start one — a proFESSor of religion, no less, helped found Brown University by proFESSing religion at the Hopewell Academy, which later moved to Rhode Island (Anabaptist country). No one was going to the East Coast Establishment. Meanwhile, Stanford — where they ruined women, I was told — and anything east of Los Angeles were out.  So I came home, back West to California, as was appropriate.  My mother managed to get me/allow me (she had no control, since I was writing my own applications far from home) to go to an all-male college that was turning co-ed.  Now that was no fun -— or was it fun?  Actually, I enjoyed it.  It had been Claremont Men’s College, and after coeducation they found a donor whose name began with M, and it became Claremont McKenna College, preserving the CMC acronym. But first they had to deal with the GCO Club — Get Cunts Out — of diehard misogynists.  Seems kinda like the club that Brett Kavanagh would join — or was that only in high school? Why won’t he allow the FBI to do a full investigation, anyhow?  Why does he want to enter the Supreme Court with a rapist cloud over his head?  After all, Clarence Thomas didn’t even speak in court for over a decade, knowing how little credibility he had/has.  Who made the last phone call to Anita — his wife, no less?  Wasn’t that bizarre?  My only guess would be she got hammered one night and is still mad about how Clarence cheated on her — or didn’t tell her the full story that she knows/suspects, and that’s about his predilection for pornography. —————– * I ratted them out despite being threatened in front of the whole school for maligning a 150-year-old institution, since I was the rat “going” over there — the Doorkeeper’s Door — and complaining that we weren’t getting enough education.  All the House of Representatives pages followed the few Senate pages’ problem — that pages could no longer go to school from 6:00 to 9:00, but instead from 6:00 to 6:30 or 7:00, including the breakfast break.  Then they reduced our classes to five, but we still only got as far as roll call before leaving.  I was in school, yet I was learning absolutely nothing, and the principal’s and vice principal’s defense was — anyway, full circle.  I ratted them out.  I was not the first or the last, and it was under Speaker of the House John Boehner that they got rid of House pages in 2011.

All Above the Fold

It’s easy to pick upon the vulnerable and the weak, who are disproportionately women, children, and persons with disabilities. It’s so cheap, tacky, and tawdry that only a leader like Conquistador Loot-and-Pillage Donald J. Trump could stoop that low.

For our convenience, the New York Times puts it all above today’s front-page fold.

All we can do is document the horrors in his dismantling health care, in blaming the Dominicans for hurricanes or for not controlling climates, and in re-urbanizing drug addiction that started in the suburbs.

And finally, we can also ascribe this leadership to another faceless collective culprit — the 50 white men who live in a 50-mile radius of San Francisco, who try to control even more of our lives as their algorithms impact our society, our politics, and our economies.

There is not much room for hope when the vulnerable lie between the leadership of Trump and the techno-testosterone-y-geeks who do not just see people as targets to prey upon but target all people by dehumanizing them as 0’s and 1’s.

Bodies in Thought

Why do we study a woman’s every move? Some women can speak, and some women cannot speak. Or if these women dare to speak when they shouldn’t, we see how they say nothing. Their generic bland words convey a static form of silence.

Husband by their side, they shake their heads in agreement, as all the while their bodies are screaming no. Their bodies betray their words, undercutting their veracity.

Picture Mommy on the steps of her house, smiling to her 3-year-old son who is frightened by the noise of his father’s rising anger, indicative of pending violence. She’s says Daddy’s not mad, Mommy’s okay. She smiles. But the terror behind her smile reveals her lie.  She convinces no one, and her son associates smiles with lies and terror.

I had a teacher like this, the only teacher I remember from elementary school. Mr. T smiled and spoke softly when he was mad, and he would hurl abusive insults at anyone who disturbed classroom peace.  Whereas I can’t remember one of the “yellers,” as we called the female teachers who expressed their anger.  Expressing their anger was direct.  No mixed-up signals, no ambiguous social cues.  Unpleasant . . . it was true.

The most an abused woman can do is sneakily shout for help.  Melania certainly did with her highly interpreted wrist-flick rejection of Trump.   You have to watch it 5 or 6 times, but it’s there.

And of course there is the infamous happy/sad façade or the creepy or skin-crawling meme of Melania at her husband’s 2017 Inauguration.   No mistaking that face.

Whether it is Melania’s wrist or her quick frown-of-relief smile we all see, what we see is real, albeit subjective.

Crazy counternarratives can be spun, for sure. These narratives will be heard in captions by those in their part of the polarized political valley. But these narratives will be twisted and counterintuitive. Bodies are visceral. Bodies express feeling more freely than words. The difference between recoiling and rejecting someone’s spontaneous touch is immense. We don’t need words to know something strange is going on. The movement requires explanation. The movement is significant.

So if politics includes bodies in movement, not just words, how can we read American Political Thought that does not cover bodies of thought, but only words — let alone published words from eras when white men with property had a monopoly?

There are no bodies in thought. Yet bodies moving in emotional reaction can be pegged as triggers.




Fox’s Ailes Is Better at Chasing . . .

imgres   TellingStories   imgres

Here’s a picture that won’t surprise you. By picture, I mean read the lawsuit. A sample: “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you would have been good and better and I would have been good and better.”

What I mean by “better” is more effective in hiring, targeting, harassing, and then firing their loyal women announcers (who undoubtedly don’t believe in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, protecting them from discrimination, until it “suits” them).

Chris Christie’s Revenge – Angry White Males without their Doughnuts

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.01.51 PM  I saw something exceptional yesterday.

Not since I was in Switzerland — on my way to Unterwasser — have I seen an all-white, male, middle-aged road crew.  And I saw it in New Jersey, no less — not just New Jersey, but the Plainfields.  North Plainfield, Plainfield, and Watchung are divided by Highway 22.  It’s hard to find the bridge over the highway that literally separates wealthy Watchung from the largely poor, demographically diverse Plainfields (South Plainfield is more prosperous).

Together, North Plainfield and Plainfield are about three-quarters non-white, and Watchung is the mirror opposite — three-quarters white. Or put it this way, South Plainfield and Watchung have T R U M P signs in their front yards, whereas the Plainfields do not (with the exception again, of South Plainfield)

The Plainfields’ poverty rate seems unremarkable without putting it in statewide context.  New Jersey is the wealthiest state in the nation; it beats Connecticut.  Yet in this wealthy state are some of the poorest cities in the nation, including Camden and Plainfield.  In Plainfield, even the building where Planned Parenthood is housed is marked “for sale.”

Plainfield, what is more, is home to a historic Quaker house museum and a Unitarian congregation, with the relatively new kid on the block, so to speak, being one of the many physical homes across the nation of #BlackLivesMatter.

Why does it matter that the municipal work crew I saw was all white, middle-aged men?  Because as jobs diminish and municipal public-works jobs are even more difficult to find, connections, favors, and favoritism must matter even more.

So this got me thinking, why all of a sudden are municipal public-works road jobs (possibly; this is an unfounded social science hypothesis, after all, an observation) going to what is demographically categorized as, or the embodiment of, Trump supporters? Or put more plainly, why all the signs in the border town South Plainfield –- even the wealthy Watchung did not have that many T- R- U- M -P* signs.


*The spaced out letters work well we all have vision problems in middle age. The lettering reads like a general practitioner’s eye-exam.