Burning the Hajib

hajibBurning down the cloth house. Have you a shred of a chance of realizing all that you know in your heart are your dreams withheld, stifled, lost? And does this loss, what you have already lost and what will come, does it resonate anywhere? Or do your struggles as women rise and disappear like waves in the ocean, what does one woman matter, in a world you know is Wrong. Misguided, stupid to the core. Could you do better with one little finger than the men you refuse to call, anymore, leaders. And don’t you have to live with the terrible obviousness. Your perfect skill to find the moral balance midst conflict. Isn’t it all a big pissing contest, no more than gang behavior … and aren’t you, as a woman, with your maternal, familial skills, aren’t you the hope of the world?

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No One To Write For

rocky

Today, the U.S. has been fighting two nightmarish wars of destruction on either end of the Greater Middle East, and yet such an essay would, in essence, be almost impossible to write.  There is, in a sense, no one to write it for.  Tom Englehardt.

Almost like a line from Imagine. Except infinitely more sad.
Tom writes this in his introduction to the Nick Turse essay, Publish or Perish; Getting a Read on American War. From which, of course, I draw my own pissed-off conclusions … but I encourage you to read it all. If you can stomach, for example, the Pentagon Reading Lists. Turse writes:

Counterinsurgency is in. War-fighting handbooks are in. Gimmick covers designed for the warzone are in. Analysis about whether to fight such wars, investigation of the true costs of war to those most affected, plans to end bloody costly wars: all definitely out.

And then he takes a look at Sebastion Junger’s War—which is more than I could do—and for all its merits, finds the same old same old:

… perhaps if we stopped celebrating “rough men,” we could all sleep easier.

Isn’t that the center of the world. The world where Ideas seem to have taken a permanent back seat to the accomplishments, the triumph of Rough Men. A world, of course, where the feminine, the broader perspective—where empathy and the essential ability to consider all sides of an ambiguity, have, really, not made a dent. If anything—you will love this—the changing marketplace, wherein women have the opportunities they always dreamed of, has actually, in the long run, diminished the domestic and in the process, women themselves. Their sense of themselves, as meaningful agents in the world. Turns out we didn’t need careers so much as to turn things around. Didn’t happen. Not really. Instead, this has become the commercial world, in which children, at bottom, bite it. Because in Rough World, the shit always flows to the bottom, (no pun intended) to those in no position to resist. A surprising number of women today seem to have no clue how to mother. Have the intuitive sense of a doorknob. Either hover or benignly neglect the children, yes, but have somehow lost touch with the nature of and requirements for responding with active empathy—that is, with the immediate best choice in the ambiguous moment. Now, what would that skill, that kind of thinking, do for this war-bound society? I don’t mean to rag on women. I just thought the Feminine could do something. Besides watching Thought die.

Dammit! Shouted Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan died on February 4, in 2006, on her 85th birthday. Germaine Greer (who knew Germaine Greer was funny) wrote a wonderful memorial at the time, in the Guardian UK

In 1972, Betty and I, and Helvi Sipila of the United Nations, were together in Iran as guests of the Women’s Organisation of Iran, and once again I had difficulty in dissociating myself from Betty, who would usually take over my allotted speaking time as well as her own and inveigh against younger feminists who burned bras and talked dirty.

Continue reading “Dammit! Shouted Betty Friedan”

The Pity, Anyway

Replying to Saturday’s rich harvest of Comments: bmo, clearly you do not live in Berkeley or the San Franscisco Bay Area anywhere, where a phrase like “corporate-generated reality” would draw nothing but a yawn or a pang of nostalgia. No, it’s hard going, being a crackpot nowadays. And remember, I teethed on C. Wright Mills; this conversation is old. Come to California (said in the mellifuous tones of whomever, years ago, said, Come to Jamaica.) (Was it Geoffrey Holder?) (See, the corporation lives like a little yammering spider in my head too.) Continue reading “The Pity, Anyway”

G-L-O-R-I-A

The rest of you net-bunnies are probably too young to get the joke or get excited over this, but I am all stirred up to find a whole article by the Big G, whose every word informed so much of our lives ever after. Women my age. Um, that would be Gloria Steinem. (Remember her? Ya little runts?)

This is like hearing from the Pope! That is, If I gave a damn what some (any) isolated old man says, which I do not, and on principle, be you female or male, neither should you. Continue reading “G-L-O-R-I-A”