Saturday, January 28, 2012

I'm scared - Violence - Not Against Myself - My Family, etc.

I'm watching the movie "Enough" starring Jennifer Lopez. In the movie she is an abused wife - who fights back (in the end).

This movie brings up a lot of feelings within me! I'm not scared of being assaulted. I'm not scared of anyone close to me being beaten.

It is extremely scary to me - to feel within myself a little of the fear that must go through others - who are terrorized by another, usually a former or current partner or other close relative - however it may be for them whether they are or were a boy abused by a parent, an adult woman or man - living in fear of a (former-)partner, they so desperately want to be free of or .....

It is equally scary to recognize that this violence (rape, domestic abuse, stalking, childhood sexual and physical abuse, psychological torture, etc.) is as common as it is and that while there have been decades of efforts to end these types of abuse, they remain fully "accepted" and "acceptable" in today's worlds in so many ways.

When such abuse is rare, then perhaps......

It is scary......

I'd like to really believe that in the not that distant future such violence might be rare like diseases that there are only a few new victims suffering each year, where such violence might be as unacceptable as assassinations of our leaders or most famous citizens are/would be.

I am scared for the world(s) that we live in - where so many things that seem trivial to me are seemingly so much more important based upon the time and energy that is focused upon them - than this terror is.

We can change things for the better! We can do what oft times seems impossible!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Recent Blues Deaths - Sadness - Etta James, Johnny Otis...

I was saddened this morning to learn of the deaths (earlier today) of Etta James and Tuesday of Johnny Otis.

Both of them affected me in many ways over the years. I listened to the Johnny Otis Show on KPFA in Berkeley, CA for quite a few years and enjoyed his eclectic nature and the music that he loved.

There is a beautiful picture of him with his band from the 1950's in NY Times obit at:

Etta James - was simply herself - a wonderful, wonderful singer.

I was also saddened to hear in recent days of the deaths in December, 2011 of Hubert Sumlin - who played so wonderfully with Howlin Wolf for many years.

Finally, though it was last summer when it happened it was sad to hear a few days ago of the death of David Honeyboy Edwards at the age of 96. He sat in with Michael Frank - at the blues party that my first wife and I had featuring the Lonnie Brooks Band in Chicago in 1977.

My blues awakening began at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1970. Many of the remaining stars from that era are in their late 70's or older now. Thankfully - there are still many wonderful performers to see, but it is sad as they increasingly are dying now.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Post-Feminism ???

"Feminism doesn’t have many moves left on the board. Having achieved gender equity long ago, the ultimate goal is the full realization of female supremacy in society. The strategy has not been wholly ineffective. Half our population is now tainted with the original sin of maleness. Men are presumed guilty of inappropriate aggression and nefarious motives in all corners of society, including education, professional life, social interactions with women, and popular culture. We judge healthy male instincts such as competition and desire as moral failings." - January 17, 2012

Gender equity was achieved long ago? In a world where little boys are still scared of and totally looking down upon the concept of being a girl we have gender equity? In a world where far too many young women will try to starve themselves and spend much time trying to look "beautiful" (or more likely "not so bad") hoping to get male attention we have gender equity? In a world where many thoughtful men will do a lot in various situations to try to convince women around them that they will not assault or harass them we have gender equity?

I understand that increasingly there is a dichotomy between college educated young men and women where oft times the women are "driven" and "successful" and the men are more "party driven" and stuck in dealing with the realities that they are Not either "the alpha male" or "the successful alpha male".

I do see a need for us to change what I see as the "original sin of maleness". Life in the United States and elsewhere has changed dramatically at least since the 1960's and we men have oft times been left behind.

We haven't been left behind because of women "doing us wrong" or similar. We have been left behind because we have Not done the difficult work of struggling with each other in significant ways to build a new masculinity which will allow us to be equal partners with women.

Being glued to sports radio and tv and debating sports issues won't help us grow. Exploring how sports can be positive parts of our life may help us grow. Complaining endlessly about women and being focused upon their body parts and similar won't help us grow. Talking with other men about our lives and how we can better relate to women will help us.

Susan Walsh in her blog may be most sincere in wanting to help young women find happy, lasting primary relationships with young men. I fear, though, that her solutions for these women ignore the real problems and in the end blame women for our failures as men.

It isn't easy to move against our socialization and to learn to be whole people, but it is important! Thanks!