Movie, TV series, and book reviews; personal memories; political and social commentary; mental health wisdom; spiritual and philosophical musings; my own creative endeavors, such as drawings and paintings.
I sympathize with the sentiment behind all the postings on Facebook and Instagram of naked Greek, Roman, and Italian statues with penises imagery, including those purposefully photoshopped in support of drag queens and intersex people. (Ancient hermaphroditic statues actually exist and those are great to see posted on those two platforms as well.) Such surges in suppression of art and gender expression are age-old and tiresome.
(Photo of a statue of Priapus, found in the House of the Vettii, Pompeii.)
With the increasing fascist overreach of the state government in Florida and similar moves with the authoring and enacting of discriminatory, civil rights restriction laws in other Southern states, I do wonder about eventual attempts at secession from the Union. Doing so would be unquestionably tumultuous and hurtful for assorted vulnerable groups, such as Black people, gays, trans folx, and others who reside in those states, not to mention generally economically cataclysmic. However, the aggressive direction of Florida becoming a more nationalistic, authoritarian run state is alarming. I don’t see other sections of the country, such as New England (and certainly not Massachusetts, where I reside) and California, going in that direction. How are these differently run states supposed to harmoniously operate cheek to jowl together under the same umbrella sovereignty? If the federal government becomes led by Trump or DeSantis, or someone else ideologically like them, will the more Blue, democratically-oriented states just go along? The cultural-governmental tensions are growing before our eyes. Either authoritarianism will need to be contained or the U.S.A. seems headed for some kind of deeper splitting along geographical-ideological lines.
The parallels of Eastern Europe, namely the Balkans and their historical divisions (most recently the former Yugoslavia becoming the handful of countries it now is), come to mind for me. From a far distance, without getting into the enormous details of differences between Eastern Europe and the U.S.A., what I see in both of these regions is a strain occurring along major cultural, ethnic differences.
The right wing extremist congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene recently spoke in the House of Representatives of secession. She was soon widely judged for speaking of this. However, as much as I do not like or respect Rep. Greene and wish she would be expelled from her post, I do wonder just how much she was speaking aloud the sentiments of many in her own constituency and beyond. I am not familiar with a recent, large survey of U.S. citizens and their thoughts on secession. But, it is remarkable how this topic keeps coming up in public discourse more often in recent years, even if it continues to get stridently dismissed. It concerns me how the idea continues to be brought up anyway.
Pragmatically speaking, does the U.S.A. need to become a smaller group of sovereign countries, governed in different ways according to their cultural majorities? Is this the direction things are going whether one agrees or not that there is such a “need?” I am all for unity while respecting diversity and even enjoying it, but a lot of people do not seem to be thinking and acting this way. I’m just not sure if many of those minds can be changed, even if doing so is a worthwhile, valiant effort. White supremacy needs to be quelled, and urgently, but how? I don’t think education alone will achieve this.
Will progressive activism, including efforts to enfranchise as many voters as possible to then vote, stabilize the country? I hold some cautious hope, for now. But, how long will that overall approach consistently work? Can we depend on a critical mass of Millennials and Gen Zs, perhaps especially the latter, to stabilize governments on both federal and state levels? Will economic shifts, such as those towards a fairer, less extreme distribution of wealth, happen soon enough as a major part of this stabilization process? (Corporate oligarchs are benefitting from these cultural divisions between and among us middle and lower income folks.)
As a child growing up in California, my very left leaning former step/foster mother told me on more than one occasion that she thought the U.S. was too big and would fare better being divided into at least a few countries. It was too large and unwieldy to govern. I’m sure she explained with more details, but I can’t remember exactly what those were. These days, I wonder if she was on to something.
These are not fully formed, particularly researched thoughts, but, for now, there they are. I am left feeling very concerned about the future of America.
When I’m not busy as a psychotherapist, I enjoy observing and writing about aspects of pop culture, especially those in movies and television/streaming series, though sometimes in books as well. I reflect upon beauty and meaning that can be found in those media.
Being ill recently with Covid-19 and then recovering from it completely has boosted my confidence in my (over fifty years old) body’s strength, and my sense of confidence overall. I have long been a believer in Nietzsche’s axiom that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, even if this may not be immediate or takes a while to become evident. I had some scary moments around thinking I was not going to get well anytime soon, that I may be left somehow medically weakened. If that had been the case, I would have committed myself to finding the strengthening of my spirit somehow. Learning while living is a route towards strength, since knowledge, whether gained from books and/or life experience, is power.
Food for thought: Is it wrong to bring up famous artists’ and humanitarians’ foibles? MLK, Jr. and JFK were notorious womanizers. The poet Wallace Stevens and writer Virginia Woolf were racist pro-colonialists. Gandhi tyrannized his wife and children. Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote the masterpiece novel THE MISTS OF AVALON, allowed her husband to sexually abuse their children. Mother Theresa schmoozed with dictators without challenging their committing of cruelties. The list goes ever on. Ultimately, no famous person was truly a saint. For many, they were far from being so. But, sometimes I feel more readily neutral and able to still engage with the contributions of a person more easily than another’s. It all depends, case by case. However, I generally can and do eventually get to a place of appreciating someone’s work regardless of the individual’s shortcomings in their lifetime. That all said, I don’t think any messengers conveying the wrongdoings of a famous contributor to society should be shamed or vilified. It is important to learn from the mistakes of others so as not to repeat them.
Random thoughts: if there exist as many universes as there are possibilities, which has been postulated elsewhere, perhaps every living type of creature on Earth has a world somewhere that they dominate, like us humans do here. Also, I have wondered if every idea ever conceived already exists somewhere else in the great beyond. Maybe Plato was onto something with his ideal representations theory, or whatever it’s properly called.
I understand how the term “old” is subjective for many and age being viewed as “just a number.” But, I think it’s healthy and important to reclaim “old” as not meaning something to feel afraid and/or ashamed of. It seems many people believe old to mean one is definitely about to croak and/or rendered irrelevant. Neither is true. And those who are ageist can be educated, if they’re open, or otherwise left alone to isolate in their ageism. Technically, I’m middle aged but, if I’m fortunate enough, I’ll manage to grow old. At that point in time, I intend to celebrate living into old age, whenever that happens to be. Growing older and wiser is the track I’m on, which includes being committed to staying healthy as best I can for as long as possible. Celebrating life every day is important, and not just when you’re young. My quality of life has only improved with age. I wish that to be the case for everyone.
More and more, I especially enjoy the beauty of people well over forty, i.e., those in my age group, and even older. Beautiful youths and thirty-somethings are starting to feel like people I view caring about as if I were their older relative and/or mentor. Beauty shows up in so many ways and it’s been a fascinating evolution for me to grow more open to noticing how and where this value manifests in people and the world at large. This has been an internal perspective shift that’s hard to put into words. Interesting.
Colonization, among other things, is mass predation. Over-predation by humans is a core problem. Peaceful, reciprocal coexistence is a worthwhile alternative, even if achieving this may seem impossible. I live to be a part of such a vision, even if I never see it manifest much in my lifetime.
I started abusing alcohol on a steady basis late in life, a few months after turning fifty, to be precise. This coincided with finally “making it.” My husband and I had just bought our own condo. and I was a few years into having my own successful private psychotherapy practice. It all came together, including living near a vibrant town center with a lovely bar and restaurant where I’d hang out with some colleagues and even made a few new friends. For almost five years, I was riding this gravy train of “making it,” lubricated along with wine and mixed drinks, especially on weekends but on my one day off during the week too. In my own way, I was luxuriating after years of having less, believing, a lot of that time, that I didn’t deserve much. I’ve since learned, after letting go of drinking (now over a year ago), that, often in many instances, less is actually more. No alcohol has meant more health and well-being for me and my husband. And there are so many other ways to meet each day in celebration of having “made it.”
Here’s to everyone who’s alive and meeting each day. You’re here. You made it this far and, to those I actually know and like, I’m so glad we’re friends, family, and/or somehow associates in life. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!