Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Miles to Go . . .

The Subaru is nearly loaded up and ready for me and Mother to hit the road in the morning.  We have something like a 1,600 mile drive ahead of us.  I've been glad of the peace and quiet here at my parents' house in suburban Houston because I had sort of a mini-meltdown last week.  All that commentary about Stubenville finally got to me, and I got so fed up with patriarchal bullshit that I removed myself from almost all my facebook groups even though these facebook groups were small and filled with people I considered smart and well informed.  The trouble, as I see it, is that men occasionally say the dumbest, most patriarchal things without even realizing they've been inadvertently dumb and patriarchal.   It wouldn't be so bad if they checked themselves and said, "Ooops, sorry."  I have to do that sometimes myself because in reality I'm often a bit of a snob - particularly when it comes to determining if a man is marriage material.  Some might say snobby and mercenary.
Guilty as charged.
But the thing is that I have enough sense to keep that side of myself under wraps unless I'm with my very best girlfriends.   Too frequently, when a woman challenges something a man says because it's patriarchal bullshit - she's told to lighten up, get a sense of humor - whatever.  Generally, I can handle these sort of conversations, but all the emphasis on rape culture lately made me touchy.  It started with Seth MacFarlane and the boobs song at the Oscars and went into hyperdrive with Stubenville - but adding the alarming news coming out of India at the same time, about the Swiss tourist (Al Jazeera, 03.17.2013), and about the girl who jumped out her hotel window to avoid a rapist (Washington Post, 03.19.20130) - well, I had had enough of men pontificating on rape as if they knew more about it than I did.  

I was well aware that my own abuse issues were activated by all the talk of rape, but I had forgotten that seventeen years ago on March 17, I was locked up in the looney bin for suicidal tendencies.  Actually, I consider it a small victory that I had forgotten about the "anniversary" since for years and years, it was kind of a defining moment in my life.  I'm pretty sure I was more agitated than I might have been otherwise because the Four Winds experience was in the back of my mind.  

So it's been nice to have a little retreat here at my parents' house, and I have fully benefitted from turning my attention away from current events.  I'll be interested to see what the Supreme Court has to say about Marriage Equality, but I really don't need any additional information about how fucked up the world is generally.  I think I'm going to get an audio version of Marianne Williamson's A Return to Love and make mother listen to it while we're driving.  I may get something by P. G. Wodehouse.

Or maybe Edith Warton

Or maybe Robertson Davies

Then again, Mother would certainly benefit from Daniel Quinn:

We'll see what turns up at the used book store tonight.


Mr. Charleston said...

Woodehouse is always a winner. Try Alexander McCall Smith. Anything, but the #1 Women's Detective Agency has been his biggest seller. I guarantee your mother, and probably you too, will like it.

jensrealia said...

Have a good roadtrip. I like all your potential audio book choices. I'm really interested in what your Supreme Court has to say about marriage equality too. Having said that, why not try boycotting news for a week? I know, it's hard. I've tried it, accomplished it occasionally). Not much changes in a week anyhow, as much as I wish it every time.

Somebody will tell you what those judges have to say. It's good for a person to boycott news now and then. It doesn't make you 'bad' or misinformed. But it can sometimes set your feet on the ground.

Gail said...

Hey Texas - travel safely. ANd some times it is good to "clean the social network houses"...so ya, pull in and regroup.
Love you girl

Anonymous said...

".....particularly when it comes to determining if a man is marriage material. Some might say snobby and mercenary. Guilty as charged......."

Nolo contendere is it? Are you considering the correct criteria though? Westernised woman are notorious for confusing that which they need with that which they want. Remember, the Patriarchy has been so successful in its incessant manipulation of women that women themselves have internalised 'inseminated' 'wants' and 'needs' that are not at all in their true best interests.
Spot on with the mercenary 'need' bit though, the Patriarchy had nowt to do with that one!

"......but I had forgotten that seventeen years ago on March 17, I was locked up in the looney bin for suicidal tendencies......."

Jeez, those pesky suicidal tendencies. They really put a damper on the Social Season, don't they? If you live through it, you can't help but emerge the stronger for it. Besides folks, once they hear about it, will buy you drinks in Airport bars, like, forever*!

"What dreames may come, When we haue shufflel'd off this mortall coile, Must giue vs pawse."

These urges bubble up now and again in us poets - it's normal for chris' sakes! I think they call it The Sylvia Plath effect

P.G. Wodehouse
You might like this web site then.
Random Wodehouse Quote Server

* Wearing a UN issued 'quasi-military uniform' replete with the celebrated 'Blue Beret' sure helps too.

Anonymous said...

Have a safe trip.

Watch out for those nasty sinkholes y'all are getting down there. I've heard they smell of sulphur - conduits to Hell I suppose.

mac said...

I've been so wrapped up in my own shit, I've been neglecting my own social network BS, too.

I spent a few months in Stubenville back in the late 8os and early 90s (we called it Stupidville back then, too). The town is as bad as you might imagine it to be. I feel for the poor girl (any female in that region). The reactions of the locals, in support of the rapists, is incomprehensible.

And, Tricia, I apologize for any macho patriarchal bullshit I may have, and most likely will in the future, perpetrated.

Celebrate your 17th anniversary. The world is, certainly, a better place with You in it. You are loved.

PENolan said...

mac, there's something endearing about apologetic machismo ;)

Jen and Gail - I remain on the news boycott. Mom and I are safely in NYC and focused on feathering my little nest. It's delightful.

Mr. C - the dang used book store didn't have anything I wanted at all whatsoever. But I'm picking up Alexander McCall Smith at the first opportunity. I trust you implicitly when it comes to literature.

SR - I'm pretty sure I've figured out my best interests through trial and error, and from listening to my Granny the 'Ho. I may have to dash out and find a blue beret, however. I believe the Canadians wore a snazzy model in the Olympics some years ago

Anonymous said...

".....I'm pretty sure I've figured out my best interests through trial and error, and from listening to my Granny the 'Ho....."

I think this is how we all get by; trial and error.
Careful with Grannies though; my granny, on me pa's side, was a crimson-haired Irish Unionist - yeah, that's right, a fecking Prod! I can still hear her dulcet tones exclaim whenever I reach for an Granny Smith, "Now you make sure you wash that apple. You never know if some dirty Catholic could have picked it."

O tempora!
O mores!

Susan Partlan said...

The rape epidemic makes my blood boil.

Turning attention away from current events is a really good idea.

I've read and enjoyed every book Robertson Davies wrote.

Cali said...

Here we are playing catch up with the blog entries again.

I could be wrong but I suspect that the surge in rapes isn't really a surge at all, it's just that it's getting more press. It pisses the hell outta me, too.

I guess you can tell I've limited my own social network interactions. It just gets to be too damn much sometimes. Checking in a couple of times each week is enough I think. It's just too damn easy to distract yourself with misspelled quotes, thoughts or notions layered over clip art images and photos of cute LOL cats, puppies and kittens. TIME SUCK.

PENolan said...

I absolutely agree that rapes themselves haven't increased - and it's a good thing that this generation of young women are pushing back against Rape Culture. But it still messes with your head.
I haven't paid much attention to the Boston bombing stuff at all because the little I know is so distressing. I get it that the suspects needed to be apprehended, but I worry when the cops put a whole city under virtual martial law to shoot the shit out of some guy hiding in a back yard boat. When you consider all the people in Gitmo who have been wrongfully imprisoned - and the way the US justifies killing so many innocent people with drones - and the whole "America - FUCK YEAH" way people reacted to Bin Laden's killing: It looks like we're infinitely more interested in vengeance and public relations than Justice and due process.
It's bad enough out there without bringing that shit into your living room on Facebook

Cali said...

I agree with your assessment of the Boston incidents of the last two weeks. The thing on the top of my list right now is how fast the idea of doing something differently in the way we deal with guns went up in smoke. Damn the NRA, anyway.

Look, my Dad was a marksman (sniper) in the Marines. I appreciate the second amendment in a way most of those blowhards never will. People should be able to protect their families. I've lived in a couple of places off the grid and so far from help it would have had to have been summoned psychically-- and THEN it would have taken a cop an hour to get there, if he could even figure out where to go in the first damn place. I mean, we were a full 30 minute drive from the paved ROAD. Owning a gun in that sort of place is a necessity. Not that I have a problem with someone like you owning a gun, either. But here's my little nitpick: when the founding fathers wrote in that "little" amendment they were thinking about muskets for jeebus' sake! They couldn't have begun to imagine the kinds of weapons the gun nuts think it is their right to own-- or the kind of damage they can, and DO, wreak on the human body. Nor could they have imagined the kind of overwhelming pressure that is exerted on our psyches just by having to compete in such over-population as we have now.

We don't need semi-automatic weapons. We don't need magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. If one can't stop an intruder who means us harm in 10 shots, well, 25 or 100 isn't going to be enough, either.

Some of those second amendment whackos actually think they should be allowed to own surface to air missiles, fer crap sakes!

Part of their reasoning is always that we need to be able to form militias to oust illegal or unwanted government. Well, guess what? Near as I can tell, we've been operating with an illegal government since January 20th, 2001! We lost what few rights that remained when that illegal government passed the "Patriots' Act." (Worst misnomer ever, eh?)

Not only that, but IF anyone ever actually DID try to overthrow the government, those "unarmed" drones flying over this nation RIGHT NOW will blast those militia idiots clean off Pennsylvania Avenue. Their families would be lucky if they got back as much as a wedding ring! A hundred or even a thousand semiautomatic rifles with giant clips isn't going to make a damn bit of difference. Nor would that surface to air missile 'cuz you can't see a drone coming. But if you accidentally do you better bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

And people wonder why I'm cynical. HA!

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