From Beast to Blonde

From Beast To Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers

Mariana Warner, 1994

This is an entrancing, multi-layered and as wittily subversive as fairy tales themselves, this beautifully illustrated work explores and illuminates the unfolding history of famous fairy tales and the contexts in which they flourished. It also lifts the curtain on the tellers themselves – from ancient sibyls and old crones to the more modern Angela Carter and, of course, Walt Disney. A brilliant compendium of folklore, fairytales and learning which reveals unexpected links and histories behind some of our oldest and most-loved tales.

Rather than treating the stories as `archetypal’ tales, Marina Warner returns them firmly to their historical context – a context in which small children really were abandoned in the forest during times of famine, where daughters suffered incest in silence, and where the lives of penniless old women were precarious indeed. As she restores the social context that has been airbrushed away since these tales were written down, she reveals them as they were: coded stratagems for survival, triumph, subversion, rebellion. Fairy tales, as she says, have `a generic commitment to justice’.

Notes:

Xantippa, From Old Wives Tale by George Peele says, “A Woman without a Tongue is a Solider without his Weapon.” (13)

Andrew Lange wrote the Fairy Tale Books: Red, Green, Yellow, Blue and Rose

Italo Calvino Fiabe 1956

Charles Perrault 1697

Storks would return in the spring to nest on house chimneys and they came to symbolize birth. Later, parents told children that storks fetched babies from the marshes and brought them to their parents. See 1916 Painting. (54)

Mother Goose. Goose is Aphrodite. Goose became associated with Sex and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.  The Goose Month is the 1 month of Bedrest before Birth. (57)

Women story tellers associated with Storks and Geese (or the Goose).

Then Storks were associated with Doctors or Obygen’s.

Storks also were associated with the industrial revolution as well as they were portrayed as carrying bags of dirty laundry.

Sybl Nurse tells the children the future. (79)

Saint Ann, Dear Nan, Sybls II

German Ana is Grandmother. Ano is Grandfather or Ancestor. Greek Annis is Maternal or Paternal. Latin Anus is an old Unmarried Women. English Nan or Nana for Grandma. Nanny is then a Nurse or Grandmother-Like Role (86)

The Magic of the Cross: Queen of Shebal

“The legends Antoine de La Sale collected appeared in different forms elsewhere: Fazio degli Uberti (d.1367) had written a poem about Simon Magus, in which the wizard travels to the area to dedicate his grimoire to the pagan oracle; Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (d.1464), who became Pope Pius II, first identified Sibilla with the goddess of love, Venus herself.”

Beauty and Beast represents many dichotomies: Innocent and Adulterated, Good and Evil, Love and Self-Hatred, Overcoming Abuse

The Beast is Symbolic of Man’s Inner Beast. Belle is Physically Attractive and Pure of Heart.  Belle is Educated (Alone with Books and Isolated). Magic Rose is Enchanted. It represents the Pure Self.  It is delicate and thorny like the Psyche of The Beast.

Beauty by Robin McKinney, 1978, is  a retelling of the Fairy Tale.  “The rose had opened no wider. It was as though it had been frozen at the moment of its most perfect beauty. Looking at it—its perfume filled the room—I found it easy to believe that this rose would never die.

Beauty as Persephone and Beast as Hades.

 

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Lame Deer Seeker of Visions

Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions

John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erodes

1972

For us Indians everything has a deeper meaning. Whatever we do is somehow connected to our religion.

Indian children are never alone. They are always surrounded by Grandparents, Uncles, Cousins and Relatives of all kinds who fondle the kids, sing to them and tell them stories.

We Indians always say that our kids are our most important possessions, not our cars, our houses, our TV sets. These count for nothings.

White Buffalo woman addressed the women, telling them that it was the work of their hands and the fruit of their wombs which kept the tribe alive. You are mother earth she told them. The task has been given to you is as great as the one given to the great warriors and hunters. Buffalo Woman turned to the children, because they have the understanding beyond their years. Young Indian Children have the right to be treated with the same respect that is shown to grownups.  She turned to the grownups and told them that their children were their greatest possession, that they represented future generations, the life of the people, the circle without end. She told the children to remember this as well and that they were teach their children this when they were grownup.

I was never scolded. Indian kids are handled gently.

Kola means friend in Sioux

The Great Spirit is EVERYWHERE. Sometimes it shows itself through an animal, bird, or some trees and hills.

Grandson, I don’t think they love us more than they love themselves. Some don’t love us at all. ~Grandfather Fox from the 1920s

Maka Tahan Wicasa Wan means I Am A Man of the Earth. Ike Wicasa means that natural humans are free and wild. Cate Ista mean the Eye of the Heart.

For the white man, each blade of grass or spring of grass has a price tag on it. Indians chase the vision. The white man chases the dollar.

The air, the water, the earth—that belongs to everybody. If man wants to survive, he’d better come around to this Indian point of view and the sooner the better.  There isn’t much time to think it over.

If this earth should ever be destroyed, will be by desire—by the lust of pleasure and self-gratification, by greed, the greed for the frogskin.  It will be by people who are mindful only of their own selves, forgetting the wants of others.

Wopila is a thanksgiving for something good that happened to a person.

Before our white brothers came to civilize us, we had no jails, therefore, we had no criminals. We had no locks or keys, so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse or tipi or blanket—someone gave that to him.  We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things in order to give them away. We had no money and therefore a man’s wealth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law—no attorneys or politics, therefore we couldn’t cheat.  We really were in a bad way before white man came and I don’t know how managed to get along without the basic things, which we are told, are absolutely necessary to civilized society. (Irony or Sarcasm here).

Anything in disharmony with nature is bad art

Richard Erodes said that some of his Indian friends tend to look upon life as a long series of symbolic images forming definite harmonic patterns. They see man not as a separate entity, but as part of the Earth upon which he walks.

There were Sixty Indians who were at Martin Luther King’s speech.

Red, White, Black. These are true colors. We are fascinated with colors for the unity of man—for our white, black and red brothers and sisters.

Let us sit down here, all of us, on the open prairie, where we can’t see a high way or a fence.  Let’s have no blankets to sit on but feet and sit on the ground with our bodies. Let’s sit on the earth that is yielding shrubs as a mattress, experiencing its sharpness and softness.  Let us become like the stones, the plants and the trees. Let us be animals and feel like animals.

Listen to the air. You can hear it, feel it and taste it. Woniya Wonka is the Holy Air.  We sit together and don’t touch, but something is there. We feel it between us—a presence. It is a good way to start thinking about nature and talk about it or to it. Let us talk to the rivers, to the lakes and the wind as our relatives.

You have turned women into housewives and truly fearful creatures. Don’t, don’t don’t! That is crazy!

You live in prisons which you have built for yourselves and call them homes, offices and factories.

American want everything sanitized. No smells. No even the natural smell of men and women.

Your idea of killing is to sit an airplane way above the clouds and press a button and drop bombs and never look below the clouds. That is the odorless, guiltless and sanitized way.  When we kill a Buffalo, we knew what we were doing. We apologized to his spirit and tried to make him understand why we did it—honoring with bones of those who gave their flesh to keep us alive and praying for their return and praying for the life of our brothers and those of the buffalo nation as well as our own people.

To us, life is sacred.

But all animals have power, because the Great Spirit dwells in—even in the tiniest butterfly, even in a flower and even in rock. The modern white man’s ways keep that power from us, dulls it. To come to nature and feel its power is let it help and one needs time and patience for that. You have so little time for contemplation. It is always rush, rush, rush with you. It lessens a person’s life all of that grind—that hurry and scurry.  Our old people say that Indians long ago didn’t have heart problems. They didn’t have cancer. The illnesses they had, they knew how to cure.

During a vision I heard that, “You have love for all that been placed on this earth…You have You are just a human being afraid and weeping, filled with that love. All of nature can fit in there.”

What is life? If you ask a business man, he will tell you that life is a matter of buying and selling things and making money because that is his life from morning to night. The man of ambition will tell you that life is a struggle to achieve fulfillment. For the man who has attained a position of power, who is head of an organization or country, life is full of activity of his own making. For laborers, life is an endless week without rest, it is dirty, miserable and without sufficient food.

In a fight, there is a heightened sense of being alive. We think that struggle in every form is necessary to keep us alive, but you see that kind of living as very destructive.  There is a way of living without that kind of struggle.

Why do we steal? Because society as it is now constructed deprives many people of the necessities of life.  Others steal because it causes excitement.

There is beauty and meaning in life only when the heart is cleansed of the things in the mind—things like useless knowledge.

What is age? It is the number of years you’ve lived.

You see most of us have known love in our hearts. We never look at the stars or delight in the whispering waters. We have never observed the dance of moonlight on a rushing stream or watch the flight of a bird. We have no song in our hearts. We are always occupied. Our mind is always full of schemes and ideas of mankind.

But we have a great sense of privacy, of pretending not to notice. That is very important because we have to make our own privacy where it doesn’t really exist.

The Great Spirit wants people to be different. The Great Spirit is one, yet he is many. And all creatures exist for a purpose.

Wicasa Waka means a man who feels the grief of others.

Man cannot live without mystery. He has a great need for it.

Imagine darkness so intense and so complete that it is almost solid, flowing around you like ink, covering your body like a velvet blanket. Imagine a blackness which cuts you off from the every-day world, which forces you to draw deep into yourself, which makes you see with your heart instead of your eyes. You can’t see, but your eyes are open. You are isolated, but you know that you a part of the Great Spirit, tied with all living things.

Friend. White people use this word lightly. Many of you don’t know what real friendship is.  The young men who vowed Kola to each other would be almost a single person. They shared everything—life and death, pain and joy, the last mouthful of food, even their women. They had be ready at all times to give their lives for each other.

“Time is like space, it grows and shrinks in unexplainable ways. A lifetime of being, learning and understanding pressed together in a few seconds of insight or time standing still and not moving at all, a minute becoming a lifetime. Think what we can do with such a minute.” Says Leonard Crow Dog.

A Ute holy men came back to earth with sacred knowledge. He told everybody “Don’t hurt human beings. Don’t fight. My ghost dance is a dance of peace.”

Not the old ghost dance, not the rolling up of the ancients, but a new spirit, not only among the Indians, but among the whites and blacks too—especially among the young people. It is like raindrops making a tiny brook, many tiny brooks, a stream, and many streams. Making one big river bursting all the dam. Us talking like this—those are some of the raindrops creating the brooks.

Now, not only Indians aren’t the only endangered species. All of human kind is endangered.

There is a light man coming and bringing a new light. It will happen before this century is over. The man who has power will do good things too.

I think we are moving in a circle, or maybe a spiral, going higher each time, but still returning to the same point. We are moving closer to nature again. I feel it, you feel it.

If you want to go to the New Earth, you have to make an arrow, it has to be straight. It has to be perfect and that arrow, that’s yourself and you have to be straight, be on the good side.

You are an artist and therefore, can look beyond what is peddled to us as reality. You were confused by the white man’s religion as we were. When, as a boy, you spent hours in the crotch of a tree or when you felt more at home with the animals than the people that it was kind of a vision quest. Maybe it wasn’t much, but it was something. If you are also picking up odd and ends shaped pebbles or fossils, saying that you do because it pleasure you, but I know that deep inside you that there must be an awareness of the powers of the rock, of the spirits inside them, otherwise you would not pick them and fondle them like you. Your coming here to read this was no accident either…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Think On These Things

Think on These Things

By Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1964

Self-Knowledge comes when you observe yourself in a relationship with your situation, you teachers are all those around you. It comes when you observe the manner of another, his gestures, the way he talks, his contempt or fluttering and your response to it. It comes when you watch everything in you and about you see yourself as you are.

Life is an extraordinary mystery—not the mystery in books that people talk about—but a mystery that one has to discover for one’s self.

How can we realize the truth in our lives? So, if you want to discover the truth in that vital process that is your own life, you will have to inquire deeply into all these things: you will have to give your mind and heart to it. You will have to think independently and clearly without prejudice…

Now why do you get angry? Because you don’t want to be hurt, which is a normal human demand for survival. You feel you should not be used, crushed, or destroyed by an individual, a government or society. When someone slaps you, you feel hurt. First of all, anger is a natural response to avoid being hurt. Why should anybody exploit you? So, in order to not be hurt, you protect yourself. You begin to develop a defense and barriers. Inwardly, you build a wall around yourself by not being open, therefor, you are incapable of exploration of feeling. You say that anger is very bad and you condemn it and other feelings; so gradually you become empty. You have no strong feelings at all.

But happiness is not something you can seek; it is a byproduct. If you pursue happiness, it will have no meaning. Happiness comes invited.

Keep An Open Mind: If you have no prejudice bias, if you are open, then everything around you becomes extraordinarily interesting and tremendously alive.

You Cannot Learn From A Book: You and I must understand ourselves and we can only do that when we are fully alive, very alert, watchful and observant, taking interest in everything around us. Then we shall have a discourse in what it is really is to be happy.

Most people are unhappy and they are because there is no love in their hearts.  Love will arise in your hearts when you have no barriers in your heart and when we meet other people you will not judge him.

What is important is to be inwardly very simple, which is to have a mind NOT clogged with beliefs, with numerable wants, for only such  a mind is that is simple is capable of real thinking, exploration and discovery.

What is Education? Why do we go to School? Is it merely in order to pass examinations and get a job? Or is it the function of education to prepare us while we are young to understand the process of life? Having a job and earning one’s livelihood is necessary—but that isn’t all.  Are we being educated just for a job or occupation? Life is not meant to be just about a job. Life is something extraordinarily profound. It is a great mystery, a vast realm in which we function as human beings. If merely prepare ourselves to earn a livelihood, we shall miss the point in life. The point in life is to understand that life and life is much more important than preparing for exams and becoming proficient in math, physics or whatever you will.

And so what does life mean? Is not life an extraordinary thing? The birds, the flowers, the flourishing trees, the heavens, the stars, the rivers and the fish in those rivers? All this life. Life is meditation.  Life is what we call religion and it is also the subtle and the hidden things of the mind.  The ambitions, the passion, the fears, the fulfillments and the anxieties. All this and more is life.  But we generally only prepare ourselves to understand a small corner of it.  We pass certain examinations.  Find a job, get married and have children and become more like machines seems to be all we are prepared for.  We remain fearful, anxious and frightened of life.  So it is the function of education to help us understand the process of life

Do You Know What Intelligence Is? It is the capacity to think freely without fear or formula. So you begin to discover for yourself what is real and true.  Because if you are frightened you’ll never be intelligent.  (Getting over fear or facing your fear is intelligence, I might rephrase or add here).

The world is torn by conflicting beliefs, by caste and by class, by stupidity and by cruelty.  And this is the world you are being educated to fit into.

Life itself is your teacher.  You learn from EVERYTHING. You are in state of constant learning.

The importance of finding out WHAT to do is relatively new in society.

Sir, anything truly revolutionary is created by those who see what is true and are not only willing to live according to the truth, but to discover that freedom demands freedom from tradition and all fears.

Only he who has love, he who abandons himself—forgets himself completely, and thereby brings about the state of creative beauty.

There is an inward beauty only when you feel love for all people and all things of the earth and with that love comes consideration, watchfulness and patience.

But to acquire a technique or develop a capacity without paying attention to the inner state brings about ugliness and chaos in the world. If we awaken creative beauty inwardly, it expresses itself outwardly, and then there is order instead of chaos.

If your parents really loved you they would see to it that you had no cause to fear, that you were healthy and happy human beings, they would see that there was no war, no poverty in the world….It is because parents truly do not love their children that there are wars  and that there are rich and poor…If parents were really concerned about their children, there would be transformations overnight. We would have a different kind of education and different kinds of homes and a world without war.

You are a prisoner of dos and don’ts. Where there is fear, there is no joy and no creativity.

You who are fairly well to do, why don’t you revolt? Not as a communist or a socialist, but revolt against the whole system of society? You can afford to do so. Why don’t you use your intelligence to find out what is true and create a new society? The poor are not going to revolt because they don’t have the energy or the time to think—he is wholly occupied. But you who have leisure and have intelligence, why don’t you revolt?  Why not find out what is a right society, a true society and a new civilization?  If it does not begin with you, it will not begin with the poor.

You see most of us have not this spirit or this urge to break through, to find out, and it is this spirit that is important.

As I have told you, if you watch your own mind, it is all there.  But have you ever thought what would happen if you did not name a feeling? You try it. The next time you are angry, don’t call it anger.  Just be aware of the feeling without giving it a name and see what happens.

So the Indian Culture is somewhat different from the European culture, but underneath the movement is the same. This movement may express itself differently in America because the demands are different.

It is not a great tragedy that almost all of us are concerned without how to fit into society or how to form it.

Laziness is not wrong. Listen intentionally and you will here. You must be watchful and observant.  You must have knowledge to communicate it.

To Revolt within a society in order to make it a little better is to bring about certain reforms. So there is a vast difference between the actin of a creative revolution and the revolution or mutiny in society.

Never stop asking questions or you will be dead.

But what matters is not the pleasure or the pain, but rather it is to be in a communication with everything. It is to be sensitive both to the ugly and the beautiful.

Inward Beauty that gives grace, an exquisite gentleness to outward movement.

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Red And Orange Narcissus

May 21, 2017 Red and Orange Narcissus

Narcissism is named after the Greek Myth of Narcissus. Narcissus saw his own reflection in a pool and died because he refused to leave the pool.  Poor Echo fell in love with him, but he couldn’t recognize her call because he kept hearing his own voice.  When he died, he was transformed into the Narcissus Flower.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders classifies Narcissism as a personality trait. However, they classify the illness as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Most who suffer from NPD or Megalomania will not seek help. It is only when they suffer from depression due to rejection that they will reach out for help.  NPD is characterized by persistent grandiosity, excessive need for admiration, a disdain and lack of empathy for others. NPD is not to be mistaken for a healthy self-confidence.  People with true self confidence will not have a fragile ego nor will they exhibit an intolerance to criticism.  Jung believed that Narcissism and an Inflated Ego were due to a damaged ego-self axis in childhood.

Most recently, it seems that rampant Narcissism is due to kids being raised in self-esteem program that make them feel special and perfect no matter if they win or lose and no matter if they pass or fail.  Self-esteem based on nothing has created a society of selfish and spoiled young adults.

It is this same entitled society that is obsessed with fame, wealth and power that elected Donald Trump. Trump is the physical manifestation of our nationwide illness. Trump was born into money, but that wasn’t good enough. He quickly became a regular character in the media. Soon he had his own reality show. Then we moved onto to running for the most powerful position in the world—the President of the USA.  However, running a country turned out to be a lot different than running a company.  He views himself as a CEO who can do whatever the hell he wants.  The reality is, despite recent erosions, some checks and balances still remain.

The thought was that a business man might make the US more profitable. A business man might be able to eliminate all that bureaucratic BS. But what many people failed to realize is that that same bureaucratic BS has prevented any one person from grabbing all the power and money available to the US Government.  Sure, things have been stuck for a while. However, Tyranny is NOT the answer.

And now—less than six months after he took office—things are falling apart. Trump has repeatedly show a blatant disrespect for how things are done. His disregard for protocol would have gotten him fired from any other job most likely.  But far too many people are willing to overlook his disregard. In fact, they are applauding him for doing things his own way.

But there are two major things that have unfolded recently. First, was the firing of FBI Director of the FBI. Trump does have a right to fire him, however, it appears as if he fired him because Comey was investigating Trump’s ties to Russia.  He essentially fired Comey for doing his job. But Trump didn’t want to look bad and didn’t want the pressure of being investigated. If the Memo confirming the reason for Comey’s firing can be validated, then Trump is responsible for obstructing justice.  That is an impeachable offense.

Although Trump claims he’d planned to fire Obama’s appointed Director all along, the timing is highly suspicious.  Trump constantly contradicts himself, which makes it difficult to believe a word he has said.

Then a story was leaked to the NY Times or The Washington Post, I forget which.  Anyway, the story claimed that Trump revealed classified information to Russian Diplomats when he met with them last week. He did invite the Russian Media to cover the meeting, but not US media, which is kind of suspicious.  Interestingly, the left and right have very different takes on it. Trump supporters claim that he has the right to declassify files. The left is quick to point out that he has the right, that he didn’t actually declassify anything.  Again, he didn’t follow protocol. Depending on the information he shared, there could be a case against him for treason.  While many dismiss this action, I wonder why it is okay for President to do something that an FBI Agent or CIA agent would be severely punished for.

All of these possible punishable offenses seem to point toward a partnership with Russia. The theory is that the Trump Campaign took money from the Russians and that Trump’s staff members allowed the Russian’s access to their information and computers so that they could manipulate the election.  It is thought that they sabotaged Hillary Clinton’s Campaign to put Trump in office as their puppet.  Putin and Trump both deny this, of course.  Still, the two of them seem to be pretty friendly and Putin has mentioned that he was happy Trump won.

Comey, if you remember, was the one who brought up the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s personal server and the lack of security in sending the email that she did. (Also disregarding protocol).  Comey made a statement and then everyone moved on. Then he made another statement right before the election, which Hillary and the Democrats blame for her losing the election.  It is possible that Comey didn’t know he was being played. It is also possible that Russia had nothing to do with it. Comey sabotaging both Hillary and Trump doesn’t make sense though.  Comey appears to have no clear agenda of his own, which makes me think he was being manipulated by someone, somewhere.

Anyway, the media has had a field day. I’ve tried to remain objective. It is difficult to do because most articles are either Left Leaning or Right Leaning. They either defend Trump or seek to crucify him.

The truth is Trump does exhibit all the signs of a Narcissist and very little would surprise me at this point. Even still, the investigation is ongoing and we don’t have all the answers yet.  We can’t assume anything.  That is the beauty of the USA—innocent until proven guilty. However, it doesn’t bode well that there has been an independent committee appointed to finish the investigation. And it doesn’t bode well that the facts just don’t add up either.

As I researched recent events, several historical figures kept popping up. Richard Nixon and Watergate have frequently been compared to what is happening.  This whole thing has been dubbed “Russiangate” by the press.  The thing is, Nixon resigned with much shame and embarrassment.  Trump would NEVER resign.

Journalists bring up Bill Clinton’s impeachment as well. He merely lied about having sex with Monica Lewinsky—a Whitehouse intern.  Still, Republicans began impeachment procedures.  The House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton in 1998.  Without the majority supporting the impeachment in the Senate, Clinton was not removed from office.

Andrew Johnson was the only other President to have impeachment charges brought against him in 1861. However, he was not removed from office either.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to fire the President.

Reaching back even further, we have the emperor Nero of Rome. He ruled from 54 to 68 AD. Nero was something of a celebrity back then. He was a poet, musician and charioteer who liked to make public appearances. He was a favorite of the poor, but the middle class and upper class hated him for raising taxes and spending extravagantly.  Various people, mostly from his own court, plotted against him.  Eventually, he was ousted from office and fled. Historians generally viewed him as a cruel tyrant.  Those who hated him started the rumor that he fiddled while Rome burned. The violin wasn’t invented until the 10th Century, so it couldn’t have a violin. It was more likely a lyre.  He could have very well played lyre while Rome burned during the great fire in July of 64 AD.  The fire lasted six days and destroyed most of the city. Rebuilding was costly and Rome never really recovered. Christians, who were prosecuted under Nero, blamed him for the fire, but Nero blamed the Christians. We may never know the truth.

I think perhaps Nero is the most relevant, but others have gone so far as to compare him to Hitler. And while there is no evidence that Trump has systematically murdered a particular group of people, the comparison is not totally unfounded. Hitler spoke to the German common man. After their defeat during WWI, the Germans were looking for a chance in leadership and policy. The German people were not seeking to elect the sociopath that they ended up with. He was charismatic and great at telling people exactly what they wanted to hear. Many good citizens were fooled by him and deeply ashamed by his actions once he took over.  Hitler was left unchecked not only by Germany, but by the world until it was too late.

The truth is people see the USA, and Trump in particular, as a big bully. The rest of the world hasn’t liked the USA, not for a long time. (At least since the 1980s). If we don’t do something to reign Trump in, then some else will. Probably North Korea. There is reason to fear for we stand at the edge of great precipice. Who knows how it will play out, but it causes me great anxiety these days because there is a great potential for tragedy and downright catastrophe.

 

 

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GenMe

Generation Me

Jean M Twenge, 2006

Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled and more miserable than before.

Millennials, Net Generation, iGeneration, GenMe. Gen X are born in the 1960s and 1970s. GenMe was born in the 1980s to 2000s.  (6)

Chapter 1: You Don’t Need Approval: The Decline of Social Rules

Do Your Own Thing (23)

Who Cares What You Are Thinking (26)

Question Authority.  Students now question their teachers about everything—including Grammar. They believe themselves equal to their teachers (29)

Don Tapscoa wrote Growing Up Digital. Mentions the DWM or Dead White Man’s Canon in Literature.

Parents don’t try to parent. They want to be their kid’s friend. (30)

Weddings are no longer traditional (31) Interracial marriages are not a big deal to this new generation.

Churches and other Communities are out. The Individual is In. (32)

And those individuals feel free to confess their feelings to the world on the internet. TMI means Too Much Information. (37)

Generation Direct. Honesty vs Politeness. Believes in Authentic or Core Self. (39).

Profanity is on the rise. Not just HBO with R-Rated movies any more. (40)

Chapter 2: An Army of One: ME

Whitney Houston’s song “Greatest Love of All.”  The Offspring song “Self-Esteem.”

1970s books on Self-Esteem. Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne Dryer.

Boomers and their Journey into themselves—Self-Fulfillment and Growth Rhetoric (46)

1967 saw 68% of Freshman in college who wanted to develop a meaningful philosophy. Now in 2004, only 42% of Freshman wanted to develop a meaningful philosophy.

Boomers were in Uncharted Territory. GenMe gets directions from Yahoo or Google Maps. (49)

Conquering Your Quarter Life Crisis or How To Make Yourself Happy.

Advice for the “Self”  Just Be Yourself, Believe In Yourself, Express Yourself, Be Honest With Yourself, Love Yourself, Stand Up For Yourself. (50).

Baby Boomers: Self-Fulfillment, Journey Searching, Change the World, Protest Groups, Spirituality and the Philosophy of Life

GenMe: Fun, There, Follow Your Dreams, TV and Internet, Practicality, Things, Feeling Good About Yourself. (51)

Self Esteem now in Curriculum at School. Damaging? (53)

The Myth of Self-Esteem by John Hewitt.  He says Self Esteem is now feeling good about yourself for no particular good reason.  Self-Esteem has become more important than performance. (56).

Promoting “Individual” spellers, not correct spellers in order to promote self-esteem. (61)

“This basically means we aren’t expecting the kids to learn anything,” (65)

Kids can’t take criticism. (64)

Research shows that when people with high self-esteem are criticized, they become unfriendly, rude and uncooperative—even toward people who had nothing to do with the criticism. (65).

High Esteem doesn’t create high grades.  High Grades create High Self-Esteem. High Esteem doesn’t prevent teen pregnancies either. (65).

Self-Esteem is a result or outcome—not a cause. Negative feelings can be a motivator (66).

“Self-Esteem without basis encourages laziness rather than hard work.”

Jennifer Crocker, a psychologist says, “True self confidence come from honoring your talents and learning things—not being told you are great because you exist.” (67).

The Practice of not correcting mistakes, avoiding better grades and discouraging competition is also misguided.”  Encourage kids to keep trying even if they do poorly or fail. Self Esteem is not equal to self-control.

Narcissism focuses on the self and there is a lack of empathy for others. They feel entitled to special privileges and feel superior to others. (68)

Self Esteem should promote a solid relationship with others. Most programs are raising narcissists rather than kids with good self-esteems. (69).

Chapter 3: You Can Be Anything You Want To Be

The Ambitious Generation by Barbara Schneider and David Stevens talks about Misaligned Ambitions.  (78)

Young people think they will get advanced degrees and make a lot of money, but they often don’t. (79)

Most Modern movies fall into 4 Categories

  • Believe In Yourself because You Can Do Anything
  • Love Conquers All
  • We Are All Alike Underneath
  • Good People Always Win

You must love yourself before you can love others is the popular sentiment, but Twenge disagrees with this notion. (90)

Tattoos, Nose Piercings and God-Knows Where Piercings are done to be different and show that one is an individual and expressing themselves. (94)

Extending adolescence beyond all previous generations, GenMe says adulthood begins at 30 years old. (97)

Average Marriage is 27 for men and 25 for women.  It seems the 20s are a time for GenMe to be Selfish. (98).

Childless couples are happier. Satisfaction goes down after GenX and GenMe has kids. (99)

Outcomes of the focus on the self is the appearance of self-obsession. (99)

Chapter 4: The Age of Anxiety (And Depression and Loneliness) Generation Stressed. 

But shouldn’t we all be happier now? And expect more out of life? Expectations of a good life are crushed in teens and young adults.  This leads to disappointment and Depression. (109)

Junkfood-like interaction online instead of healthy one-on-one interaction.  Now we have cuddle parties that are nonsexual and co-ed instead. (110)

The Starter Marriage by Pamela Paul.  Couples are now divorcing after only a couple of years of marriage.  But living alone is costly. See The Cost of Living by Barry Schwartz. (112-115)

The sadness of being alone is often the flipside of freedom and putting ourselves first. (115)

Stress in getting into College and getting Jobs.  (116)

The New Economics.  Housing costs have risen steadily, while minimum wage has stayed the same. We have a debt for diploma society now. (120).

See Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenrich. People often pay 50% or more of their income for housing alone. (124).

We’re screwed not matter what we do. It is a cruel joke on this Generation. (134)

Dangers and Threats are all over. See The Culture of Fear by Barry Glassner (135) And The American Paradox by David Myers.

Yeah Right: The Belief That There Is No Point In Even Trying. Generation Whatever. Generation is full of Young Cynics. (137).

Boomers believe that by taking part in political and social affairs that the people can take control. They believe with effort that we can wipe out corruption. The Average Citizen can influence the government.   Now, GenX and GenMe believe that the world is run by a few people in power and there is not much that they can do about it. Getting a good job depends on being at the right place at the right time. Who gets to be boss depends on who is lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. (139)

“Butt its not my fault!” cries GenMe. (140)

GenMe lost hope in our ability to make choices. If we see ourselves as independent individuals why are we increasingly blaming others when things go wrong? If we fail the test then we are told to still feel good about ourselves and blame the teachers for the unfair test. (147)

Being an American means never to say you’re an idiot” says James Poniewozik in his article Amber Waves of Self Esteem. (Time Magazine about The Weakest Link TV Show.)  (148)

Rock Stars, Actors and Actresses are our Gods and Goddesses (149)

We are taught how special we are, but not how unfair life can be.

Victim Mentality. “Nation of Victims” by Charles Sykes.  See also GenX Goes to College by Peter Sacks. (150)

Chapter 6: Generation Prude Meets Generation Crude

Waiting for Marriage? Are you kidding? Late 1960s the average age teens lost their virginity was 18. By the 1990s the age had dropped to 15.  (163).

Law and Order SUV episode, someone commented, “Only Ugly People Actually Date.” (168)

These days teens and young adults get fall down drunk, hook up and then are like “Oops, I did it again.”  (As in having sex with an ex.)

Snuffelupgus—everyone knows something, but you deny it.

Chapter 7: The Equality Revolution: Minorities, Women, Gays and Lesbians

Chris Colin’s book What Really Happened to the Class of 93

There is Less Racism and Sexism than before.  There are also more involved fathers. (197)

More tolerance of Gays and Lesbians than before, but prejudice is still a problem. (211)

Higher Self Esteem, but more Depression in GenMe.  More free and equal, but more cynical generation.  They have bigger dreams, but have a difficult time making them come true. (212)

Where Do We Go From Here? We need to ditch The Self Esteem Movement and the Unrealistic Aphorism.

It is not who you are, but what you do that defines you ~Batman Begins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 Reasons Why

April 28, 2017 Thirteen Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why is a Novel by Jay Asher. It came out in 2007.  Netflix released it as a 13 Episode Series on March 21, 2017. Since then, it has created much controversy.  While many critics have praised it, parents and psychologists have voiced concerns that it glamorizes suicide.

I decided to watch it on Saturday April 22nd. I continued to binge watch it Sunday and Monday.  Though I found it difficult to watch sometimes, I felt compelled to continue—much like Clay listening to Hannah’s tapes.  I even cried several times while watching the last couple of episodes.

My initial reaction was emotional. I realized the show had its flaws, but overall it felt like a fairly accurate portrayal. I identified with Hannah’s loneliness, isolation, and her lack of control. I got it. I got how she felt and why she did what she did.  I’ve been there.  It seems like a lot of the criticism comes from those who have never experienced these things themselves.  There is a fear, I think, that somehow suicide is contagious.  Or maybe it is just the fear that suicidal people are too fragile to handle the truth or handle reality.  I don’t know.

Honestly, I haven’t seen too many books, TV shows and movies on Suicide. And those that do deal with it are often from the point of view around the person. We rarely get an in depth look into the mind who commits act.  Even 13 Reasons does this to some extent.  Luckily, we get some of Hannah’s thoughts and experiences through the tapes.

The problem is we don’t get a clear picture of how she internalizes these events. We don’t hear her negative scripts running in her mind. Each of the reasons would have made her think that she was worthless or that she was somehow at fault. Depressed people tend to think of themselves as freaks or fuck-ups.  They don’t see their true value.  Their perception of things is distorted.

However, that doesn’t mean we should blame Hannah for being stupid or selfish. Hannah was bright and did care about others. But each time she felt invisible—each time she was cast aside—those negative voices in her head grew louder. Eventually those voices overwhelmed any sense of logic reality that might have given her proper prospective.

Her decision to go to Bryce’s Party was picked on as being a particularly stupid choice. No one in their right mind would have gone—or stayed once they realized whose house it was at least.  That is the point though. Hannah wasn’t in her right mind.  Her desire for punishment, even subconsciously, lured her there. It was as if she needed a reason to say, “Yep, this world sucks. I am so done with it.”  And Bryce gave her that reason.

Certainly, she didn’t realize this consciously.  But much of our actions are driven by unconscious fears and desires. It isn’t until much later that we are able to reflect and realize why we might have made the choice that we did.  Hannah never had the time process it—to grieve, to heal and to reflect.  She acted rashly.

As for the Revenge Fantasy, well, I just don’t see it.  Hannah had a desire to be heard. She didn’t feel that she could do it in person though. Interactions with her former friends, foes and flames were next to impossible for her.  Her tapes are her way of being heard. Her death is her way of taking control.  It is Tony and Clay who feel compelled to take action for her. Hannah wanted everybody to hear and understand, but I don’t think she intended for them to suffer at her hands. Bryce is the only one who truly deserved punishment and some part of Hannah knew that I think.

If Hannah wanted revenge, there would have been better ways to do it. She could have framed Bryce for death or faked her death and came back. There are any number of scenarios that make better revenge fantasies than this one.

Depression is anger turned inward. Hannah had shouldered all the responsibility herself and it was just too much for her to bear alone. The tapes were an effort to lift some of that weight—to get rid of the burden she bore hidden away inside.

Murder, on the other hand, is anger turned outward. Instead of taking responsibility for their actions—the person blames everyone else.  School shootings and mass murders are caused by the same anger as suicide. The only difference is the direction in which the anger flowed. Hannah killed herself—not her schoolmates. If she had wanted revenge, she would have killed them first and then herself later, if at all.

The trouble is, who do we blame for these tragedies? Some blame the victim and others blame society. No one wants the responsibility, but the truth is we are all responsible. Only when we realize this can we change things.  That was message of 13 Reasons Why and that is a message I can get behind.

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The Age of American Unreason

The Age of American Unreason

By Susan Jacoby, 2009

Jacoby writes about anti-intellectualism in America. She was inspired by the book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter, which was published in 1963.

Jacoby points out that more than half of the founding fathers of this country were college educated. And Benjamin Franklin was largely self-educated and incredibly intelligent despite not being college educated.  In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense, which was a huge influence on the ideas that shaped our government.

Then, in the early 1800s, Anti-Intellectualism crept into our culture. There was a backlash against Paine coming from the ultra-conservative religious right. The debate between Science and Religion took hold.

Slowly, things shifted and by the 1870s-1890s, the wealth of the United States allowed for more opportunities.  During the “Gilded Age” lectures were seen both as educational and entertaining. The Literacy Rate rose as libraries and museums were funded, built and available to the general population.  Publishers of books were able to print cheap copies of books, thus landing more books into the hands of the American public.

Then World War I came along. Afterward, there was a wave of interest in Socialism and Communism.  Intellectuals embraced these ideas, but because they were the ideas of our enemies, intellectuals were deemed unpatriotic.  If Intellectuals didn’t support American Capitalism and Democracy, then they were turned into unfavorable or undesirable. Sometimes they were even considered a threat—treasonous even.

By the 1950s, Liberals tried to distance themselves from Communism.  One could be a Communist Liberal or Non-Communist Liberal. Though being a Liberal was looked down upon, being a Communist was something that could get you arrested during the McCarthy Era.  The McCarthy hunt for Communists in America has often been compared to the Salem Witch Trials.

It was during this time that culture was divided into High Brow, Middle Brow and Low Brow.  High Brow reading might include the likes of Virginia Woolf and other Literary Classics. The Middle Brow became a combination of Literary and Bestseller.  The Middle Brow Book-of-the-Month Club included such authors as Howard Fast, Irving Stone, J D Salinger, Phillip Roth, Willa Cather and Richard Wright.  Though the Book-of-the-Month Club peaked in the 1950s, it began in 1926 and ran into the 1960s.

The 1960s is often known as the De-Mythologizing Decade. Allan Bloom’s book The Closing of The American Mind talks about the changes in education during this time. College was now available not to just the rich or elite, but to the working class as well. Many soldiers utilized that GI Bill.  Women were also encourage to go to college, but not because they could find a career and make a living. No, they were told it was good for them to be able to educate their children once they got married and had them.

Although there were students who were Far Left Liberals and students who protested the war in Vietnam during the 60s, they made of the minority of the student body in colleges.  Right Wing administrators sought to squash the protests. There Campus Crusades held by Bill Bright and others to encourage “proper” behavior.  Many college students were, in fact, Conservative Christians.  By 1968 the Republican Party was mostly made up of Conservative Christians.  Richard Nixon acknowledged this and ran his platform accordingly.

Pop Culture dominated the 1960s. Pop music and an obsession with television and movies also surged during this time. Different Generations often wore different clothing, but by the 1970s, parents and children were all dressed in jeans. Jacoby mentions a trip to Russia that she took in the 60s. Pop Culture didn’t exist there like it did here. Everything was serious and the mainstream music was still classical.

Regan was elected in the 80s. He declared that America was “God’s Country” and began us on a path to a Theocracy despite the Founding Father’s idea of the Separation of Church and State.  While it okay to be Christian and practice that Faith, it is not the only religion of the United States.  People tend to forget that Christianity is only one of many embraced by the Constitution and its Amendments.

Today was deal with Junk Media and Junk Science and Junk Thought. Jacoby gives a number of examples what she considers to be popular ideas not validated by Science.  There is the idea that Girl Brains and Boy Brains work very differently for one. Jacoby mentions Cristina Hoff Summer’s book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Men. She also talks about the Anti-Vaccination movement because of the idea it causes Autism. There is also the controversy surrounding people who deny Climate Change.

The worst culprit of Unreason is the Fundamental Christian movement. Jacoby names Pat Robert’s 700 Club, The Left Behind Series and those who would deny Evolution as examples of religion being unreasonable. The Literal Interpretation of the Bible flies in the face of modern day science and all that is considered “reasonable.” The mainstream media is so Christian that they suppress authors like Richard Dawkins, who is a stout atheist.

One of the largest problems is the prevalence of Television and the Internet in every American home. We are all distracted by so-called Reality TV. Since the 1950s people have read less and watched TV more, which is a large part of the reason America has been “dumbed down.”

TV, Radio and the Internet have also allowed people like Ann Coulter and Don Imus to be given an outlet to their views and opinions. And while the idea of free speech is good, it is downright tragic that their views include prejudice and racial slurs that they utter in public.  Imus called black women, “Nappy Headed Hos” and Ann Coulter called Muslims “Rag Heads.”

In fact, American’s use of the English Language is downright shameful. We are way too casual and use too much slang.  Calling everyone “Folks” instead people and calling soldiers “Troops” is not just lazy.  It shows a blatant disregard proper English as well.

Jacoby points to the American President as an example of Anti-Intellectualism. Americans don’t want a President that is too different from them. Though Clinton was highly educated, he came from a working class background. His Southern Charm played down his actual intelligence in the public eye. George W Bush has repeatedly been shown as not too bright in the media, when he was fairly intelligent.

Americans are not so Ethno-Centric that they refuse to learn a second language. They assume that people in other countries will learn English. We don’t stop to think that it is only respectful to make an effort to try and learn about other cultures and other languages. Most countries boast a large bi-lingual population, but not us—not the US.  If we promoted intelligence, then perhaps we would also promote the learning of other languages as well.

Sadly, 25% of people polled believed that Christianity was our “National” Religion, which it isn’t. 42% of those polled believed that English is the “National” Language as well. It isn’t. And 40% of those polled didn’t have a clear understanding of the role of the Supreme Court, which is to interpret the Constitution. In fact, 98% of those polled couldn’t name the Supreme Court Justice.  It seems we don’t even understand our own history or system of government. Way too many people forget about the very important idea of the Separation of Church of State.

Jacoby offers no real solution to our current problem, but she does feel that supporting intellect, education, creativity and curiosity are the keys to ending our current Dark Age.

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