controversies, nostalgia, slut shamers, social media

Partial repost: Let’s keep ’em closed (and covered up), people…

Today’s entry is a partial repost, some of which I originally composed on September 5, 2015. I am reposting part of my blog today, because I feel like being kind of funny, and I’m not in the mood to write about Kevin McCarthy’s ridiculous Speaker of the House vote. I also don’t follow football, so I can’t opine about Dahmer Hamlin. And I’m not quite done with Jamie Lynn’s book… so here goes.

Before I repost what I wrote in 2015, here’s a brief briefing. The repost was based on a 2013 era viral blog post that was written by an Austin, Texas based mom, Kim Hall, who complained about teenaged girls posting pictures of themselves in various stages of undress. It went viral, with many people sharing it, and quite a few people writing snarky rebuttals, about what they considered “slut shaming”. This morning, I’m struck by how innocent we were in 2013, when so many of us were up in arms about pictures of scantily clad girls on Facebook and Instagram. Kim Hall wanted teenaged girls to cover up their bodies if they were going to share photos and videos on social media that her sons might see. Little did she know that a few years later, people would want them to cover up their faces, too. She had no way of knowing about the challenges that teens would face when a novel virus came to town. It’s almost comical…

Anyway, below is my 2015 post. It’s relatively brief by my standards, and most of the links still work.

***Two years ago (in 2013), a woman’s blog post about “slutty” looking teenagers went viral.  The post was called “FYI– If you’re a teenage girl…”  Why am I remembering this?  Because I checked Facebook’s “On this day” app and noticed that I had posted a link to a blogger’s funny rebuttal (I highly recommend reading the snarky rebuttal, which is still up. It’s hilarious!).  The post that had spawned the rebuttal was removed, but not before it was viewed millions of times and shared all over the place.  Indeed, I even responded to the post myself– but my rebuttal is on the old blog… maybe I’ll repost my rebuttal. Why not? 

A couple of days ago, another blogger wrote a post about an entirely different teen related topic.  Her post obliquely referenced the FYI post that has now been deleted but still exists all over the Internet.  Christine Organ writes:

Don’t worry; this isn’t going to be one of those letters. You know the kind. Some well-intentioned and wise adult writes with a just-trying-to-be-helpful shrug about how you should stop doing this or change that. Usually it has something to do with your clothing choices or selfie-taking habits or flirting protocols. Believe me, I’m just as sick of those “letters” as you are.  

Two years later, I’m remembering that post and how it caused such a stir.  An Austin, Texas mom named Kim Hall wrote somewhat eloquently about how she was going to block girls who post inappropriate photos and YouTube videos from her sons’ Facebook pages, because she didn’t want her boys seeing girls in their pajamas without bras, or wrapped in just a towel.  She didn’t want her boys to be unable to “unsee” the sexy teens in their midst, and think of them in a sexual way.  I’ve never been a teenaged boy, but my guess is that it matters little how girls are dressed when boys are at a certain age.  A good stiff breeze can make them think of sex. (I remember Mrs. Hall got in some hot water, too, because her post was originally littered with pictures of her shirtless sons, flexing their muscles in their swimming trunks. People thought that was very hypocritical, and it was! She later reposted it with the boys in street clothes, did some creative editing and rephrasing, and then took the post down altogether.)    

For the record, I don’t necessarily disagree with all of Mrs. Hall’s points.  I don’t like looking at scantily clad girls, either.  However, I think it’s pretty hard (heh heh… I wrote “hard”) to prevent people from seeing those images.  Humans are naturally curious beings and they like to see the forbidden.  So even if Mom scours her sons’ Facebook pages every day, they will probably still see some stuff she doesn’t want them to see.  They may end up with hardened dicks, too.  Perish the thought.

What amazes me is that I had totally forgotten about this incident and was suddenly reminded of it due to another blogger’s oblique mention of it.  I don’t know if she wrote her post about teenaged girls at the swimming pool almost exactly two years later on purpose, but it does seem kind of strange.  

I also wonder if Kim Hall knew that her blog post would take off like it did.  I mean, when she wrote her “open letter” to girls two years ago, did she know that it would be the subject of so many blog rebuttals, Facebook arguments, videos, and online magazine articles?  I wonder why she took it down, too.  It made her kind of famous.  Her blog is still up and was recently updated.  My guess is that she got tired of the attention.  Taking the post down was kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has already gone… but hell, it probably made her feel better.

The overwhelming message I got was that people should keep their legs closed… and their minds closed.  Because sex is bad.  Thinking about sex is bad.  And teenagers in towels are bad.  Especially on Facebook and Instagram.

My thoughts are a little scattered this morning.***

Now, on to my fresh post…

This morning, I noticed that someone in Alabama hit a post I wrote in late June 2020. It was about face masks and the totally nuts– over-the-top– reaction a lot of people on social media were having to COVID-19. At the time I wrote that post, I was feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and hopeless about the future. I was giving serious thought to getting rid of Facebook… a notion I’ve had a bunch of times over the years. It was mainly because I felt inundated with the prospect of a bleak, dystopian world, post COVID. I was tired of all of the annoying, sanctimonious preaching being done by all of the Google experts on social media. In 2020, COVID was very scary, but so was the public’s polarized reaction to it. I was genuinely feeling a bit crazed by it. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

In the post someone hit today, I noted that I expected face masks to be a temporary measure. Fortunately, my predictions and expectations regarding the pandemic have mostly come to pass. Even here in uptight, but stoic, Germany, people have calmed down a lot about COVID. I was afraid that we would all be forced back into masks this winter, but that hasn’t come to pass. Masks are still required on most buses and trains, although Bavaria– which had the strictest regulations for a long time– recently dispensed with them on local trains. The masks are no longer needed on flights. They are still required in any medical office, including veterinary offices. But, I suspect, they will eventually be phased out, even though COVID is still a problem and there are new mutations. Life has mostly gotten back to normal, and that is a really good thing. Thank GOD.

I guess the one message I take from reading my post about face masks, before reading about a mom who was concerned about her sons seeing girls in towels and braless in pajamas on social media, is that our battles have a way of changing. There was a time, not so long ago, that people were all upset about a woman admonishing girls about being too “sexy” online and asking them to cover their bodies. That was what a whole lot of people were thinking and talking about, blissfully unaware that they would soon be angry about people not wanting to cover their faces. And there was a time, not so long ago, when the topic of the day was face masks, and how we not only needed to cover our bodies, but we also needed to cover our faces… forever. How very depressing. I’m glad most of us have moved on from that idea, at least for now.

In 2015, Donald Trump was still just a very rich and famous guy talking about running for office. No one had ever heard of COVID-19. The idea of wearing a face mask in public was just for germ avoidant freaks. In 2023, we’re all older, wiser, and wearier. I’d say most of us lost some innocence.

Just for shits and giggles, I went to see if Kim Hall is still blogging. It looks like she still is. Her blog was updated within the past few months, anyway. It appears that she’s a dedicated conservative Christian, and lately, her posts seem to be about the evils of allowing transgender teenagers to access treatment that would allow them to transition. She writes about how devastating it is when some of these folks wind up “de-transitioning”. To be honest, I don’t know much about how many people decide to de-transition. It’s not a subject I spend a lot of time researching. Apparently, Kim Hall is upset about it. I see in the summer of 2020, she posted about the “hysteria” over COVID, and how God has “lovingly” numbered our days. So we all might as well simmer down… those were not her actual words, but I think it was kind of the attitude she imparted. I don’t think we were in disagreement about that, based on what I wrote in 2020, although my reasoning has a lot less to do with God’s plan and more to do with how extreme reactions often do more harm than good.

Anyway… Kim Hall is probably better at blogging than I am. She has a Facebook following of about 11,000, while I recently took down my Facebook page for this blog. So what do I know? 😉 Looks like her kids are pretty much grown now, too, so that means she doesn’t have to concern herself with what they see on Facebook anymore. See? Battles change all the time!

And, what the hell… I think I’ll repost my 2013 commentary about Kim Hall’s post. Stay tuned.

 

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disasters, dogs, Ex, music

“I was a fool to care”…

We’re back from our few days of whimsy in France, capped off by a concert by James Taylor. We came home last night from the show to find that Arran made a big mess. First, there was a pile of crap on the rug. I cleaned that up, as Bill discovered the mess he left in the basement, after breaking through the flimsy barrier Bill tried to erect. We keep some food in the basement, because like most German houses, this house lacks a proper pantry.

Arran got into noodles, old taco shells, chocolate drink mix (which he didn’t seem to get much of, thankfully), and graham crackers. There was chewed up cardboard and plastic everywhere, as well as drink powder, smashed pasta, and other assorted debris that we cleaned up at 11:00pm. Then, I discovered a pee spot on the same rug Arran has designated his own private indoor Klo (German for potty). I don’t know why, but he always chooses my favorite rugs to befoul. The funny thing is, it appeared that Noyzi had nothing whatsoever to do with the mischief making. He was in his bed when we got home, apparently long asleep. He saw me, wagged his tail, and asked for a belly rub.

Arran has always done this kind of stuff, given an opportunity, but the steroid meds he takes make him even hungrier and more determined than ever. Fortunately, he seems to be suffering no ill effects today. Bill usually does a very obsessive job of “beagle proofing” before we go out anywhere. He takes everything up from under the counter and puts the stuff in the bathroom or on top of the counter. And he makes a point of putting the most dangerous stuff in cupboards or high shelves.

Arran tried very hard to make up with me after trashing the basement and befouling my rug.

Unfortunately, we had forgotten about some stuff in the basement that’s been there awhile. We don’t have a door to stop Arran from going down there, though we do use a baby gate. He managed to push past it, even though Bill parked a crate of beer behind it. I guess we’re going to have to build a wall… or maybe invest in a Schrank (portable cupboard). It’s a good thing I don’t go out that often.

In spite of his raid on our dry goods, Arran seems to be fine today. He slept through the night and eagerly ate his breakfast. He could tell I was pissed at him last night, and snuggled next to me, because obviously he couldn’t help himself. Poor guy. We got the bills for his last four chemo treatments. They came to about 445 euros. Added to the first bill, which was under 300 euros, I can still say that German chemo for dogs is very reasonably priced. And even though Arran is naughtier than ever, it’s restored him to his old self… at least temporarily. So, we’ll take it and try to enjoy him, even though he really can be a little shit sometimes. But then, that’s part of his charm.

Now, to address today’s blog post title…

As I mentioned last night, Bill and I saw James Taylor perform. This show was originally supposed to happen in February 2022, but COVID numbers were too high at that time, so it was postponed until November 8. Then, James got COVID and had to cancel several shows. Luckily, Frankfurt wasn’t cancelled, but it was postponed. So we went last night and had a really good time. I see from Setlist.fm that James cut a few songs from the show– songs he did in Stuttgart, which was the last show he did before he got sick. Still, it was an excellent concert, and we were happy with the songs he did perform. There was no need for him to do more, especially since I could see that he was probably still a little fatigued from COVID. He still seemed a little pale and shaky to me, but it didn’t stop him from singing, playing, and jumping around the stage like a younger man. And as a fan since, at least, the late 70s, I left the concert hall very satisfied. I was particularly impressed that he took the time to sign a lot of stuff for his fans. I chose not to try for an autograph myself, but I enjoyed seeing how happy he made some of the other concertgoers. James Taylor obviously loves what he does, and that is a joy to see. He’s a lucky man, but we are just as lucky to witness him doing what he was obviously born to do.

One song James didn’t play was one from the 70s called “I Was a Fool to Care”. This song, from Gorilla, an album he released in 1975, was performed at a show in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2015. He looks a bit haler in the video below…

Here, he has a full band. Last night was a more pared down production, but I was in the second row, which was a great experience.

This song is about unrequited love– a man realizes that the woman he loves is not really worthy of his love. She lies and cheats. He’s heard about it through the grapevine, but brushed the warnings aside, even though she’s not a good person. He loves her anyway, even though it’s obvious she’s a liar who is using him, playing him for a fool. I’m not in a situation like that. Thankfully, I managed to find a good partner, and we love and trust each other. However, we both came with baggage… and that includes people on either side of our families who probably aren’t worth so much of our love and attention. It’s hard, though, not to care, if you are naturally a caring, decent person. Or even if you care about other people’s opinions of you…

Recently, I wrote about how my husband’s former wife has “targeted” his stepmother for financial “assistance”. I first noticed it (this time) in the spring. I write “this time” in parentheses, because Ex has a history of using people. She has used Bill’s stepmother repeatedly. In the past, nothing has really been done about it, because Ex has a way of shell-shocking people into being silent. However, we have been on the receiving end of complaints about how ungrateful and unkind Ex is. We have seen, personally, how she has used Bill’s father and stepmother for money and material goods, as well as manipulative tools/flying monkeys against her victims. And now, since he reconnected with his daughter, we’ve heard that this shit has been ongoing with a number of victims, some of whom are elderly and/or infirm.

At least one of the things Ex has been accused of doing is a felony. If she was to be caught and prosecuted, she could be heavily fined and/or spend several years in prison. Ex’s husband works in healthcare, and she has had elderly relatives living with her. She also has two children in the home who have different levels of autism, for whom she receives money from the state. I don’t know if either of them take medication, but I do know that at least one of the elderly relatives was prescribed opiates. And Ex allegedly helped herself to them, which is illegal and potentially dangerous.

As I write this post, I’m remembering that around the time she was bugging SMIL, Ex was also talking about getting a dog for her son. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t cause too much alarm… except that dogs can be exploited for drugs, too. As I was looking up laws where Ex lives, I ran across a 2017 article from the Washington Post about people who use their pets to get prescription meds. I don’t see a gift option for this article, so below are a few excerpts:

Last year in Virginia, a dog owner took his boxer to six veterinarians to get anti-anxiety pills and painkillers for his own use before he was caught, according to Fairfax County police, who said the owner was eventually charged with prescription fraud.

In Kentucky in 2014, a woman was accused of cutting her golden retriever twice with a razor so she could get drugs. And in the early 2000s, a man in Ohio allegedly taught his dog to cough on cue so the owner could get hydrocodone.

Such cases are believed to be rare, but authorities are working to cut off the supply of abused drugs. The Fairfax County Police Department recently published a brochure showing veterinarians how to spot a “vet shopper.”

The clues include: new patients bringing in seriously injured animals, requesting certain medications by name, seeking early refills of prescriptions and claiming that medications had been lost or stolen.

The Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine issued emergency regulations in June limiting the duration of prescriptions that may be ordered for controlled substances. A vet may provide a seven-day supply and a seven-day refill only after reevaluating the animal.

For chronic conditions, the vet may prescribe an opioid for six months but must see and reevaluate the animal before prescribing more.

I absolutely do think Ex is capable of this kind of fuckery. I’d like to think she isn’t– as she comes across as a very nice, reasonable person online, or at least that is the image she tries very hard to project. But again, I know people who know her, and I’ve seen the literal scars she’s left on Bill. I don’t know if she’s abused anyone else in the way she abused my husband, but I do know that people close to her have been burned. She continues to do this stuff, though, because people allow it. It’s easier to look the other way than call the cops.

Some people seem to think there’s nothing we can do about this situation. As I have mentioned more than once, I totally disagree. However, I don’t think I’m the one who should make the report, because I’m not the one who has seen the evidence firsthand. Moreover, SMIL and I don’t have much of a relationship. From the beginning of my marriage to her stepson, she has treated me like a homewrecking interloper. I am neither of those things; however, I am also not a doormat. So I don’t get too close to her, because frankly, I don’t have to, and I don’t really want to. SMIL isn’t my responsibility. Frankly, I find her immature, manipulative, and disrespectful. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care what happens to her. It also doesn’t mean that I never hear from other people who do have a close relationship to her and love her very much. I don’t want to see SMIL being victimized. She isn’t malevolent; she’s just very insecure. And I know that she is loved by many people.

Personally, I think it’s time legal action was taken, but I also know it’s not my call to make. So maybe I am a “fool to care”. Why waste time even thinking about this? It’s not my problem, and some people already seem to think I’m a heartless bitch, anyway. I can’t win, so I might as well do whatever causes me less grief. But because I’m not actually a heartless bitch, I do write about it, which seems to make some people feel like they need to conflate their experiences with ours. These are different people in different states, and what worked or didn’t work for some people might or might not work in this situation. Moreover, it’s just not helpful to tell someone who is concerned about a problem that nothing can be done. Especially when you don’t actually know any of the people involved.

I understand that sometimes, people do this because they’re frustrated, or they tried to do something in a similar situation and were dissatisfied with the results. There’s every chance that the same thing might happen in this situation. Or, maybe it won’t. Or maybe nothing will happen. Anyway, I just don’t think being dismissive or skeptical is useful. I just fear that at some point, what Ex does is eventually going to be egregious enough that someone will be forced to take some action. There could even be a tragedy involved. And if something tragic happens, it’s highly likely that people will wonder why no one ever said or did anything about Ex before the issues managed to get to that point.

We can’t win, can we. So maybe we really are fools to care. Or maybe I am… because it’s not really my problem. So, I think I’m going to write on my travel blog… and then go read more of Michael Cohen’s latest book.

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music, politicians, politics

MAGA meltdowns are hilarious… and don’t tell James Taylor what to do!

It’s been kind of a lazy morning here at Chez knotty… Bill and I had a bit of a “lie in” this morning, even though the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. We were both kind of tired. I woke up early, but then had no problem dozing after doing my morning routine. Arran’s constant ass licking is what finally got me out of bed. Sorry… it’s gross, but it’s the truth. We humans will never know the obvious pleasure dogs get from that particular habit, will we? Well, at least those of us who lack flexibility…

I’ve been enjoying the news for a change, especially the headlines that scream about the Democrats keeping control of the Senate. I love the fact that election deniers, by and large, are being voted out of office. It gives me some much needed hope for the future, and maybe the reassuring knowledge that Republicans got taken down a peg. It’s entertaining to see Lindsey Graham about to burst into tears as he whines about Herschel Walker, too. It’s so obvious that Walker is nothing more than a political pawn for Georgia Republicans. He is not suited to be a politician, and getting him to run is an insult to people of color in Georgia.

Wahhhhh!

I like what Jamal Bryant had to say about Mr. Walker…

I love this! We don’t need a walker, we need a runner…

It’s very entertaining to watch people melting down over the humiliating, history making poor showing by Republicans in the midterms. Trump has ruined the Republican Party, and it’s going to take some doing to fix this. I have said it before that I’m really not a staunch liberal at all, but the MAGA version of the Republican Party is just not going to be a winning strategy. Unfortunately for the Republicans, they got into bed with a notorious malignant narcissist, and he is not going to stop until he’s dead or so disabled he can’t function. I hope they enjoy the bed they made, teaming up with “Trumpty Dumpty”, who probably acted like an ass at his daughter, Tiffany’s, wedding yesterday.

Speaking of beds… It seems that James Taylor has really needed to be in one for the past week. He finally got COVID-19, and was required to isolate and rest. He’s been on a European tour for months, and it is now coming to its conclusion. But thanks to COVID, last week, he had to cancel his shows in Zurich, Berlin, Antwerp, and now, Randers, Denmark. He initially postponed his shows in Zurich and Frankfurt, and he managed to reschedule the Frankfurt show for this Saturday night (the 19th). The other shows, sadly, had to be cancelled, as I guess the halls they were scheduled for were already booked, and James may be booked for other dates.

Bill and I have tickets for the Frankfurt show. We’re looking forward to it, even though we already had plans to be in France. If he’s well enough to perform on Saturday, we will come home early to see James play. I figure he knows what he’s capable of doing. He’s 74 years old, and of sound mind. He doesn’t need my advice on anything, especially regarding his health and career.

You’d think his fans and followers of his Facebook page would respect James’s judgment, too. After all, these cancellations aren’t just about disappointing fans and losing revenue. They also affect a lot of rank and file people with jobs. From the people in James’s band, to the venue operators, to restaurant and hotel owners, a lot of people are hoping for the show to go on. This isn’t just because it’s a showbiz adage, and James loves to perform. It’s because many people are depending on the show to go on because their livelihoods are at stake.

However… with every new announcement of a concert cancellation, more and more people are chiming in about what they think James should be doing. Lots of people have posted that he should just cancel the rest of the tour and go home to his own bed. Some are even posting as if they’re giving him permission. I find that especially funny, since some of the people giving him permission to cancel are folks who already got a chance to see him this year. I’ve seen a few people leaving advice for James… or even sharing their own stories about COVID recovery, and predicting that James will (or won’t) recover in a similar way.

Personally, I think the most appropriate message to leave for James is one that wishes him a speedy recovery. He obviously hates to cancel his shows, and has said as much in a video he posted on Facebook and Instagram, as he walked around Lake Zurich. That video was posted a few days ago, and he looked and sounded pretty good– not as if he’s on death’s door. He’s had excellent and competent care by (probably) Swiss physicians. If one is going to get sick, Switzerland is a pretty damned good place to do it, especially if one is wealthy, as James is. So I think he’s going to be okay… and he can decide what the best course of action is for his health, and the good of his band.

I did see one very angry comment from an American servicemember (or retiree) living near Kaiserslautern. This guy, who was apparently himself a musician, was fuming that the show was postponed again, and commented that James should find someone to “sit in” with him, so the show could go on. At the time that he made that comment, it wasn’t known that it was James who had COVID. He went off about how “wealthy musicians” took money from regular folks, only to cancel or postpone. Lots of people piled on to tell him what a “jerk” he is. I could understand his frustration, although having been a JT fan for so many years, I know very well that he loves to perform. I know he wouldn’t have called off the shows unless he had a really good reason.

When the news came out that James was the one who was sick, fans went freaking nuts! Some even lectured everybody about wearing masks and getting vaccinated. I just don’t see the point of those kinds of posts, especially now. This is apparently James’s first go with COVID, so he’s done pretty well to stay healthy. He even said in his video that he felt guilty for not being “more careful”, although he quickly added that he didn’t think he could have been more careful than he was. The sad reality is, COVID is very contagious, and most of us are going to get it no matter what. And a lot of us are tired of the lectures from the sanctimonious and self-righteous. So I say, just shut up and let the man play, if he’s up to it. If he’s not, he knows what to do. He doesn’t need your advice or input… but I’m sure he’d appreciate good healing vibes. Because even if it wasn’t obvious that James loves to play shows, he primarily does this for the money. So just STFU and let him do his job. 😉 (Yes, I have authority issues.)

That being said… if he can’t play Frankfurt after all, it’s not such a bad thing to spend another night in France, as we planned…

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healthcare, music, narcissists, politicians

Some people have to experience things personally to understand…

Well, today was the day we were long awaiting, but has already turned out to be disappointing. No, I don’t just mean because it’s Election Day in the United States. That is probably going to be quite a shitshow, because it seems that the United States is firmly polarized as to which direction people want our government to go. It really is distressing to see how many people are so divided over concepts like a woman’s right to make private healthcare decisions and the economy. It’s also sad to see how many truly ignorant, unkind, and unempathic people there are in the United States. We have lots of “nice” people there… but it’s really nothing but a show, isn’t it? MAGA idiots have no empathy for anyone, nor are they long on intelligence or insight.

I’m really starting to dislike them.

Over the past few days, I’ve read several heartbreaking stories from women in Texas who needed to terminate their pregnancies, not because they were careless, but because of catastrophic things going wrong. In the two most recent cases I read about, one four months pregnant woman was advised to terminate because her developing baby boy’s kidneys had failed to develop, and upon further testing it was discovered that he had other fatal conditions that were slowly killing him inside her womb. In that case, the mother ended up flying to New York for an abortion, because doctors in Texas were not allowed to help her in that way without risking legal ramifications.

In the other case, a woman was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix and would inevitably lose the baby girl she had long anticipated. Prior to 2021, her doctors in Texas could have helped her before she became seriously ill with the sepsis that almost killed her, and forced her to spend several days in the ICU. But thanks to Greg Abbott’s barbaric anti abortion law, she had to wait until she was “sick enough” for help. She almost died, and she may never be able to conceive again, due to scarring left by the infections. She has to undergo surgeries and other procedures to repair the damage wrought by willfully incompetent medical care in Texas. How is this happening in 2022? I hope she sues the ever loving fuck out of the hospital and the state for medical malpractice. I hope she sues Greg Abbott, too.

Try to point out these cases to the MAGA morons, though, and you’ll read and hear nothing but bullshit rhetoric about how abortion is “murder”. They pull fake statistics out of their asses, and talk about babies being “dismembered”. They say that 95% of pregnancies don’t involve these kind of catastrophic situations. And, amazingly, these folks– most of whom are MEN– say that the women must be lying, because the law allows medical professionals to help women who need abortions to save their lives. While that may technically be true, I have read multiple stories of pregnant women experiencing complications who were told to wait until they got very sick, even though the physicians know damned well what will happen to them. It’s obvious malpractice. I think the only way this will change is if women die, and lawsuits happen… particularly if the women are young, thin, beautiful, socially prominent, and middle or upper class. Only then can we hope to vote out misogynistic bastards like Greg Abbott and his ilk. Abbott and the rest of the MAGA crowd don’t care about women.

Last night, I tried to explain this to one man who was writing about women “murdering” their babies, and he obviously couldn’t deal with the edification. My guess is that he’s a very narrow minded person with a tiny dick who can’t stand a woman confronting his views. So, after I set him straight again, I told him I hoped none of the female loved ones in his life ever need life saving medical care in Texas when they’re pregnant. Then I wished him a “good one”.

Naturally, because he’s a misogynistic MAGA male, he responded to me, even though I made it clear I was done with the conversation. I didn’t read his response, because he’s made it abundantly obvious what kind of a horrible, ignorant person he is. I know I sound angry in this paragraph, but my initial comment to him was not written in anger. I was sincerely trying to point out the fact that all women of childbearing age are at risk in Texas, because of these laws. It’s not just women who got pregnant and don’t want to be. It’s also women who desperately want their babies, but will suffer health consequences if they don’t terminate. At the time I made my comment, I hoped that he at least cares about the women of childbearing age in his family. But, I guess he doesn’t. Maybe he just needs this issue to affect his loved ones personally, before the significance of completely banning abortion will be clear to him. Maybe one of his female loved ones needs a bonafide brush with death, or severe illness, before the truth about how dangerous these bans are finally knocks him in the head. And I hope he’s the one who has to pay the medical bills, too.

I am still a Texas voter. Bill and I sent our ballots weeks ago. We both voted straight blue. I know we aren’t the only ones, but I fear that Texas is full of stupid MAGA creeps who love Trump more than they do the women in their lives. And they aren’t bright enough to understand that the economy isn’t completely controlled by the president, nor is inflation an issue that only affects Americans. They also want to conflate abortion with COVID vaccines. The sheer stupidity of it really makes me sick. There was a time not so long ago that the two main parties in the United States weren’t THAT different. At least the candidates were, on the surface, basically decent and respectable. But Donald Trump has ruined the Republican Party. I only hope that his influence causes them to eat each other alive.

Anyway… that’s about all I want to say about the election. I truly am mostly worried about women’s rights to make private healthcare decisions and their ability to access timely abortions whenever they want or need them. I think it’s very important on many levels. I wouldn’t want to bring a baby into the world as it is today. Fortunately, it’s not an issue for me anymore. I won’t be having any babies. I always wanted kids, but now I thank God my family line will die with me. And the more this dystopian version of the United States, and the world, persists, the more I hope I can peace out of here sooner, rather than later. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I avoid seeing doctors myself.

Now, onto the reason why today is already disappointing. We were supposed to see James Taylor perform tonight. Bill and I have second row seats. Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon, last night’s and tonight’s shows were postponed, because someone in the band got COVID. This concert was originally supposed to happen in February 2022, but that show was also postponed due to COVID– that time, because the illness as a whole was too prevalent. This time, it’s because someone in the band is sick. Bill just got over COVID himself, so I can see why this happened. It still sucks. I’m not as upset about it as some people are, though. I think a lot of people are just totally over COVID and everything that goes with it, even though people are still getting sick. If we still lived in Stuttgart, we would have seen James. That show, which happened on Saturday night, did go on as planned.

It’s probably just as well that the show won’t go on tonight, because we didn’t get much sleep last night. Arran kept getting up, wanting food, needing to pee, and drinking water. He got up three times early this morning. I know Bill is going to be really tired this evening, so it’s probably better that we’ll be home this evening. Hopefully, James won’t reschedule the concert for when we’re in France next week. I doubt that will happen, though, since his shows next week are in Scandinavia. I can’t see him bringing his band and all that goes with it down here for shows in Zurich and Frankfurt for a couple of days next week. The funny thing is, now Arran is curled up in bed, sleeping. Why he can suddenly sleep after we’re up is a mystery. We do love him, and this is a temporary thing… Soon enough, we’ll be missing him. Bill will be especially heartbroken.

Anyway… I hold out some hope that more people will vote for decency than money. Because if they vote for money, they’ll find out that once those people are in power, their money will soon no longer be their money. MAGA leaders don’t want to see ordinary people with any money. They like to keep as many regular people down as possible. Not allowing women access to abortions or birth control is one way of keeping them down. Frankly, I think it would serve these male MAGA assholes right if women just stopped having sex with them. They should just be forced to exclusively masturbate from now on.

Sorry… that’s crass, but I’m tired and feeling a bit pessimistic. Hopefully, things will improve as the day wears on… but I ain’t gonna hold my breath.

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book reviews, politics, Trump

A review of The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal, by Mary Trump

In August 2020, when the world was still in the desperate throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Donald Trump was still the POTUS, I read and reviewed his niece, Mary Trump’s, book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. I remember feeling vindicated as I read her words about her uncle, Donald Trump, whom I had correctly identified as a malignant narcissist or sociopath. Mary Trump wrote about what it was like to grow up in the Trump family, and how much she suffered, even though she was a member of a very wealthy, powerful, and celebrated clan. Unlike her uncle, Mary Trump is a basically normal person with an excellent intellect and a fully functioning id and superego. Mary’s first book was very interesting, but it was also terrifying. At the time I read it, I was genuinely frightened of what was going to happen if Trump won in 2020. Thankfully, that is not what came to pass, in spite of Trump’s relentless and nonsensical insistence that the presidential election was stolen from him.

I liked Mary Trump’s first book, so when she published her second book, The Reckoning: Our Nation’s Trauma and Finding a Way to Heal in August 2021, I was quick to download it. It’s taken me a year to finally read Mary Trump’s book, because it kept getting supplanted by other books. This morning, I finished it; it was a refreshingly short read, long on history and theories as to how the United States finds itself in the horribly polarized, angry, unhinged state it is in right now. Some of The Reckoning was uncomfortable to read, as Mary Trump unflinchingly writes of how Black people were treated before and during the Civil War era, as well as in the decades that followed it. She reminds her readers that slavery officially ended in 1865, but the persecution of Black people has continued since then, and only in very recent years have people of color had a chance to succeed in the country they helped build against their wills.

Mary Trump rightfully points out that American high schoolers are not taught enough about American history. What they are taught is the “white” perspective of American history, and now that people are insisting that more of the whole truth is taught, many white people are fighting to prevent it from happening. Trump explains that every white person is born with inherent privilege, simply for having white skin. However, she also mentions poor white people, who also suffer due to classism that also exists in our society, and the mistaken belief that sharing resources means having less for themselves. And she reminds readers that there are many people who, consciously or unconsciously, are doing all they can to maintain things the way they’ve always been. Her uncle, after all, won the highest election on his platform, “Make America Great Again”, having never before held public office. Lots of people in the United States are terrified of evolving into a nation that plays on more level ground for everyone. Below are a couple of key quotes from Mary Trump’s book that really summed up things nicely, in my view:

I remember when I was an English major at Longwood University (then Longwood College), my advisor gave me a hard time because I didn’t want to take a Shakespeare class. Instead, I was interested in the Women’s Literature and African American Literature courses that were being offered. I thought I would be more interested in the subject matter, having already been exposed to Shakespeare in high school and college. Good ol’ Dr. Stinson, who also used to tease me about all the music classes I insisted on taking for fun, sighed and signed me up for both classes. I took both courses during the same semester, and got a huge dose of studying lesser known books by women and people of color.

I didn’t do particularly well in either of the lit courses; because to be honest, I was kind of a lazy English major. I wanted to write things, not read and analyze literature. But I learned new things in spite of myself. Both courses exposed me to works written by Black authors, Black women’s writings, as well as slave narratives, which were bits of history that had been withheld from me in the years leading up to college. I now believe that high school students should read at least one slave narrative. The subject matter is tough, but it definitely inspires empathy and a broadened perspective from writers who should get a lot more recognition.

I mention my college experience and the attitude surrounding the importance of Shakespeare, because Mary Trump repeatedly explains that most Americans have a poor understanding of history. And today, in high schools across the country, there are legislators, school boards, and parents who are lambasting against “Critical Race Theory” being taught in schools, and trying desperately to suppress the truth about America’s past. I never thought I’d see the day when so many school systems were being pressured to ban certain books, and teachers, already overworked and underpaid, were being forced to catalog their libraries and submit them to scrutiny by third parties. I was heartened to see the outraged response to one Tennessee school district’s decision to ban Art Spiegelman’s excellent graphic novel, Maus. I had not read that book myself, before it made the news. But because Maus was in the news, I decided to read the book. It was life changing. I now know that simply by writing a few blog posts about Maus, I helped inspire other people to read the book.

Mary Trump’s comments were unpleasant to read at times. She states outright that it’s “impossible” to be a white person who grew up in the United States and not be racist. She’s probably right, although I hesitate to use words like “all, every, or impossible”, because experience has shown me that there are almost always exceptions to every rule. And given the family that raised her and what her family spawned, I was caught between disbelief that she was making such a statement, and relief that she could acknowledge racism in a way that was surprisingly humble.

I also found this book a little bit depressing and hopeless. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge problems. That’s the first step in correcting them. It’s important to atone for wrongs committed. That’s the best way to promote healing. BUT… she makes the problem seem so entrenched and deep seated that fixing it seems extremely difficult. It won’t happen in my lifetime, although the more optimistic side of me acknowledges that in my 50 years, there’s already been some substantial progress made. I was born in an era when things were a lot more “black and white”, so to speak. It wasn’t uncommon to hear people casually toss around the “n word”, for instance, especially on television. But that progress is hindered, because of Trump’s uprising and the many emboldened racists who are desperately trying to stop progress, and resorting to cheating and violence to get what they want.

Anyway… The Reckoning offers a lot of food for thought. It’s a short book, and easy to read. Mary Trump’s writing is engaging and informative. Maybe some readers will be uncomfortable, or even offended, by her comments. Some people might have trouble believing that someone with her background can have true empathy for the downtrodden; she is a Trump, after all. But in spite of that, I found Mary Trump’s commentary steeped in truth, and eye-opening. I think this is a good book. But don’t come to it looking for dirt on Donald Trump. She wrote about him in her first book, and The Reckoning is about a different topic entirely. The Reckoning isn’t about Trump; it’s about what led us to Trump. And it offers an important warning to us all to open our eyes and our minds and vote accordingly… or else.

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