Both Halves of the Whole Are Necessary

6

November 23, 2019-

The practice of chivalry has long taken a bad rap.  For this, I blame the degeneration of the once noble art into infantilization, then misogyny.  What was a system for honouring all that women did for the good of the world, became a means to dominance.

As the old saw goes, “When the worm turns, we all turn.”  It’s been masculinity’s time to take some hits, in the name of a level playing field.  The point of overkill appears to have been reached, about ten years ago.

Both genders can claim a plethora of contributions to the well-being and advancement of society, and of civilization.   There are men and women of distinction, in just about every field of endeavour that comes to mind.  Due to a long-standing system of such things as the disparity in salary between men and women, for the same work and the false equivalence, “whataboutism”, that gets raised, every time lingering issues of misogyny are raised, the temptation to take even more away from men is understandable.

Gender, itself, owing to both the frequent imbalance of gender-determining hormones, in all too many people, has been under a degree of attack.  This is not the fault of anyone who has a greater degree of testosterone compared to estrogen, or vice versa.  There are likely a good many causes of the imbalance, from genetic modification of food and drink to pollutants in the air and water.

However, I digress.  The fact that I was born male, am very happy to remain male and am physically attracted only to women does not need to be renegotiated.  I can be, and am, friends with a fair number of gay men and transgender people.   That, and the fact that I once cried easily, has never had anything to do with my gender identity.

Jordan Peterson’s eleventh rule for life is, essentially, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”    The legitimate achievements of men, those on which a man did NOT piggy-back on the work of a woman, need not be minimized. (There are certainly plenty of the piggy-backed cases.)

Indeed, there is often a tendency for people to not know where to stop, when correcting a past wrong.  The misunderstood term, microaggression,, has been offered as a reason for excess revisionism in history and for an overage of caution in determining a proper course of action.  Microaggression is essentially between  individuals, and is best sorted out, at that level.

Dr. Peterson carries this to the achievements of Western European/North American society.  Certainly, there is much about the “Western civilization” to admire, which is a large part of why it has been so universally emulated.  There is also much that needs correction, and some of the answers to our issues may be found in examining other societies.

In essence, then, no community can long exist, successfully, without equal contributions by BOTH women and men.  In addition, no society can thrive on one set of social practices alone.

Likability is Contagious

12

November 7, 2019-

When I was a child, I was not “picked” for a team until last, most of the time, because of my relative lack of  coordination.  I was, however, not an unpopular person, mainly because everyone was welcome in my yard, and in my sandbox.  The disputes I had with some neighbourhood kids were never permanent.  I was taught that I was not the center of the Universe.

Jordan Peterson entitles his fifth rule for life “Don’t Let Your Kids Behave in A Way That Makes You Dislike Them”.  He notes that many parents vehemently deny that they could ever dislike their children.  I was not one of those.  When our son did something that was distasteful or reprehensible, I thought to myself that it would be remiss of me, as a father, to gloss over it.  So, I corrected him and established the lesson, that what his mother and I found unlikable, other people would also be inclined to take umbrage.

In seeing what he did that was unlikable, I also had to face myself, and look to see if I was also behaving the same way.  Penny was good at making me take account for my flaws, and vice versa.  We helped one another shed a fair amount of baggage, and after her passing, I had to shed a lot more-sometimes with the unwanted help of online critics but most often with my one-on-one self-critiques.

Today, he is largely a self-starter, and has weathered quite a few storms-many of which were not of his own making.  He has many friends and has found a wonderful woman, with whom to build a life.  None of this would have happened, had he been saddled with laissez-faire parents and absent extended family.  Penny’s parents were present, every step of the way, and my siblings took their avuncular duties seriously.

Dr. Peterson has thus encapsulated the need of the human being for constructive criticism, as well as praise, when it is warranted; that we innately have a need for boundaries to be set, as a way to know that we are in a safe environment.  There is no finer gift that a parent can bestow upon a child.

The Hallowed Eve

4

October 31, 2019-

The last day of October has been many things, over the years.  It is the birthday of one of my best friends, in boyhood.  Haven’t seen him for many years, but he’s still alive and well, and almost a month my senior.

It is also the day when people on a fixed income start raiding their investments and usually bring the stock market  down, just a tad.  The holiday spending period thus begins.

For many, though, it’s a day of putting on costumes, of various levels of sophistication, from the white sheet with eye, nose and mouth slots cut out to the ten-foot T-Rex robo-suit.  In recent years, I would sit outside my apartment, at a  card table, with glowing jack o’lantern and bags of candy.  Four or five people would stop and get a handful of treats.  Most candy, though, ended up either being shared or being tossed.

Tonight, I left the place dark and went over to American Legion Post 6, where an organized party was in play, in a warm building with a modest buffet for those helping to give out treats.  About 120 people, of various ages and costumes, showed up and were delighted to have treats in their bags and a cup of hot chocolate, or coffee for the adults.  Two brought their costumed dogs, but alas, biscuits were not among our treats.  About fifteen people who were invited in, declined, saying that they were afraid it was a government trap.  Such are the times in which we live.

Nevertheless, there is much more to be said for helping out at a safe, organized Trick or Treat than sitting alone in the cold, looking as if I was begging for people to come by the table.

Equity/Equivalence

4

October 27, 2019- 

There is no inherent tie, between being in touch with femininity and emasculation.

On a visit to one of my best friends, here in Home Base, I enjoyed another of her unfailingly fine meals, followed by plenty of food for thought.  The fare, this evening, included a thorough look at the effects of  excessive social policing on the male psyche.

I am a fairly sensitive soul, who notices people’s feelings and reactions to their surroundings.  As such. weighing my words and actions has been a much higher priority, in my life, especially these past ten years.  Yes, I have had relapses, during the low water marks of grieving and recovery, not so many years ago.  Said friend has had much to do with the movement away from that low state, as has my personal faith.

I thoroughly enjoy the company of peaceful people, especially of women who have arrived at a state of personal peace.  The higher goals of one’s existence are far more achievable, when one is not pre-occupied with a set of self-conscious, other-imposed expectations.

All this underscores that emasculation,  depriving boys and men of their pursuit of meaning, in the name of gender equivalence, is the source of  much of the violence and aimless behaviour, which we see increasing in some quarters of the populace.  It cuts across all sectors of society, and its fingers may be found in the areas of drug abuse, domestic violence, unemployability, and general listlessness.

Emasculation does NOT proceed from giving women and girls the wherewithal to process their goals and pursue their dreams.  It does derive, though, from making gender equity a societal seesaw.  When Penny was alive, there was no time when her pursuits meant that mine did not matter, and vice versa.  My son’s dreams and goals matter no less than do those of my daughter-in-law, and vice versa.

Equity of opportunity and encouragement under the law does not mean equivalence of function, any more than any group of men or women must all do the same things.

Jordan Peterson calls for less political correctness, in the overall course of civic life.  To the extent that one group does not actively work to diminish another, I see his point.  I don’t really believe that there are all that many women who wish to emasculate the men and boys in their lives.  There is, though, an urgency that people attend to those who feel cut off from their hopes and dreams- regardless of the social inequality that led society to turn aside from their needs.  Again, gender equity is NOT a social seesaw.

 

I Care Not; I Care

4

October 25, 2019-

The year,  of which I thought as a pinnacle,

when it was approaching,

now seems a plateau of focus,

as it begins to recede,

into the alpine mists of history.

Here and now have become

more urgent.

Past is  a glimmer,

whose lessons impact

the present stage.

Future is “that time”

of promises,

which only I

can bring to fruition.

Twenty-twenty

appears in my

mind’s eye,

like yin and yang.

In the heat of the now,

I care not for the culture

which glorifies drug use.

The mantra,

“This is better than crack!”,

is the cackling of the ignorant.

I care not for the powers

that pretend to be,

sending their tanks,

flame throwers and

armor-piercing bullets,

against unwitting defenders

of freedom.

I care not for the puppet masters,

who order the innocent

to stand down,

to step aside,

that the purveyors

of death,

may present their wares,

to the foolish and

the deluded.

I care not,

for those who

cry foul,

at being told

that an infant

has the right

to life,

the right

to be adopted,

instead of killed.

I care not,

for those who

start wildfires,

in the hopes

of returning later,

and building

cookie-cutter,

gentrified living resorts,

affordable only to

the favoured few.

I care,

for the struggling,

for the lost children,

kept in a prison box,

with no resources,

save the cement floor,

which they share,

with hundreds,

and with their reluctant

guards,

who are themselves

pariahs.

I care for those

who are beaten,

chased down,

hunted like animals

and then,

treated like filth,

by the jurists,

who look first

at the well-being

of those

who beat, menace

and hunt the innocent,

like so much prey.

I care for those

who have given

their all,

and end up

as footnotes,

in the journals

of narcissists.

Give us your tired,

poor, innocent,

that we may find room

in our hearts and

in our diminishing spaces.

 

 

Dear Greta

8

September 24, 2019-

Dear Greta,

I have listened to your brief remarks at the United Nations, yesterday.  They were cogent, as far as they went.  There is much work to be done, by all generations.  There is much to be done, by every nation.  I admire and honour your courage, in speaking before such a vast assemblage.  The concerns, the welfare, of young people are concerns of mine. I am also proud of you for seeing Asperger’s Syndrome, which I share, as a groundswell of strength

Now, let us go beyond the general expression of outrage, knowing that such is common to youth, as my own generation showed, in the 1960’s and ’70’s.  It only holds the world’s attention for a fleeting period.

Your work can only bear fruit if the steps followed are specific, succinct, bulleted or numbered.  Your arguments deserve to be outlined, in clear form.  Your arguments, in a field as fraught with emotion as climate, deserve to be understood, by ally and opponent, alike.  Your arguments cannot be “Pie in the Sky”.  Take your time, in formulating them.

I love the people of each of the rising generations, passionately.  Having taken your side, in conversations with more hidebound members of my own generation, I must caution you, as to what they see.  There is a sizable group, among the survivors of World War II, among Baby Boomers and among Generation X, which conflates the activism of young people today, with Hitler Youth and the Red Guards of mid-Twentieth Century China.  They see you as being dupes of well-heeled figures on the Far Left. They see you as not coming forward with your own thoughts.  They see you as brainwashed.

I have reminded such people that we, both in North America and in Europe, rebelled against political corruption, as teens and as  young adults.  Time passed, and the lure of career, success, money led all too many away from ideals.  Do not let that happen to you!  Read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, if you’ve not already done so.  Learn of the insidious power of corruption.  If you have sponsors who are wealthy, keep an eye on them and know their motives.  If they are sincerely concerned about climate change, you will know soon enough.  If their agenda is control, you must recognize that, too.

Know, and be sensitive to, the fears of the average wage earners and of those on fixed incomes.  One of the drawbacks of the Green New Deal is that it has not engaged the broad Middle Class, or the the elders who are on fixed incomes.  These people can be, and are, all too easily susceptible to the fear-mongering of those whose agenda is at variance with your own.

People can be told that, if a climate change mitigation is followed, the Stock Market will crash, and their savings accounts will crash along with it.  Too many of us elders are woefully uneducated about finance.  The wire-pullers are, even now, threatening to push for a “Bear Market”, so as to maintain control over those on fixed incomes.  Such balderdash is all too easily believed, by those who are struggling to live within their means.  Study your history, and you will see that the same tactics were used by the Fascists, in 1920’s and 1930’s Europe.  There is indeed a significant body of evidence that the economic Crash of 1929 was the work of those jockeying for control of the masses.

So, learn your finance, as well.  Using that knowledge,  plan steps that are incremental, that are focused and realizable.  Whatever you do, do not let yourself stray all over the place, especially in response to scattershot criticism-a favourite tool of political extremists on both ends of the spectrum.

Stay the course, my friend, and make sure it is YOUR course-not the hidden agenda of those who do not have your best interests at heart.  Stay fierce, and stay focused!

Full Moon Thirteenth

7

September 13, 2019-

Some topsy turvy day, this.

The work day was filled with

love and laughter.

Children with Downs syndrome

bring this about.

A crowded room,

at a ribbon cutting,

with children running about,

fully in joy and exuberance,

was better than any nap.

Another request for assistance,

from one of the most vicious people

I’ve ever known,

popped the balloon of joy.

It’s what that dark spirit does.

Am I a lesser soul,

for not putting myself at her disposal?

Prayers and chanting brought me back

to a place of light.

The power and fortitude of youth

imparts strength to those who

may be worn down, just a bit.

All in all, this Full Moon

Friday the Thirteenth

ended on a bright note.

Thus Mom Still Says

8

September 10, 2019-

Mom turned ninety-one, and doesn’t care who knows it.  She’s earned the right to think, do and eat whatever she wants.  That’s my opinion, anyway.  In our conversation, this morning, she gave me two thumbs up, for taking the joyful, positive view of life, which is mine, most of the time.  She expects me to keep on caring for myself, not depending on anyone else-for which I’m grateful.  My mother has lost none of her fire and spunk.

I woke this morning, to a report that a 13-year-old girl was sent home for wearing one comfortable outfit that was deemed “distracting for boys” ( I saw the outfit, and as a former school administrator, who held the line against bare midriffs and mid-thigh shorts, I think it was overkill, on the part of the school).  Her father brought a second outfit, which the Principal also found objectionable.  He took his daughter home, then launched a campaign to revisit the dress code.  Good for him; there are many men who still don’t take enough interest in the healthy self-concept of their children, especially of their daughters.

Body shaming has been with us for a long time-both against people of size and of slenderness.  Children are also sexualized, far too soon and far too often.  The father, in this case, pointed out that his child doesn’t flirt with her male classmates; she just wants to be a kid, and be comfortable, in 90-degree heat.  I heartily agree, as does my mother, who raised us boys to not dwell on a girl’s, or woman’s, physical attributes-one way or another.  My sister was always held in high regard, and was taught to think well of herself.  She has passed that on to her own daughters, and granddaughters.

I took a healthy lunch, this noon, at a local cafe (Ms. Natural’s) that thrives on its salubrious menu.  I was one of two men in the place, which was packed with mostly young women, all of whom take care of themselves and carry themselves with dignity and grace.  This is what I wish, for everyone, especially for those who have been kept in a dark emotional space, for far too long.

Mom wants that, also.  I hope she’s around, to reiterate the point, for several years to come.

Our House, Tonight

2

August 23, 2019-

It was Shayna’s house, tonight,

filling the air with empowerment,

and hope, for women of all ages.

Bringing the fire of the Russian steppes,

by way of Long Beach,

she made the heart of Prescott soar.

It was Dea’s house, tonight,

filling the room with dance,

and joy, to everyone who came and went.

Bringing the love of the ages,

through the grace of her aunts,

she made the spirits of

at least five Levels

of the Universe,

shine with delight.

It was my house, tonight,

sipping a cold brew coffee,

sitting  at a high-top table,

keeping a quiet place,

for one and all

to stand nearby,

to dance in bliss,

to collect thoughts,

to feel a warm safety.

The Raven was our house, tonight.

 

 

Back In The Saddle

2

August 22, 2019-

I got in a full-day’s work today, after five months’ hiatus.  Of course, there hasn’t been a lot of idleness during that time, but I have missing being around children and youth, on  a regular basis, nipping at my consciousness.

Today went very well.  The few who wanted to mess around, didn’t meet with much success.  I am long past the point where I let mischief get to me.  On the other hand, I don’t let it spread.  The rules of the day are set by the regular teacher, so the parameters are already in place.

Children and teens know this is how things work, and those with whom I interact are quite relieved that I am not here to be a slacker.  Simply put, this brief period of my presence in their lives needs to be of support for their broader plans, hopes and dreams, and of deterrence to the obstacles, both self-induced and put in place by others, that would derail those broader plans.

My goal:  To be of maximum support, to each young person who comes into a room where I am working.