Tuesday, February 12, 2013


SCATTERED THOUGHTS not worth a whole blog.  At least now.  Maybe.

Every major problem is connected to so many other sub-components and peripherals that it’s impossible to consider them all.  Therefore, necessarily, one has to grab the situation where it’s possible  (the first decision is figuring that out), do something (what CAN you do?), and see what happens.  (Pay close attention.)  This is true of everything: priests who abuse kids, global warming, diabetic diet, how to manage cats, writing blogs.

Helping is so much complicated by the problem of WHO is being helped?  Does defining yourself as a helper help you yourself?  Are you crushing and dominating?  Are you turning away from help or helping?  Are you losing boundaries?

What IS sexual molestation anyway?  Full-on rape or physical damage or invasion is obvious.  What about hugs that are a little too tight, that last a little too long?  What about resting a hand on a shoulder, squeezing or pushing?  When I was in high school, men on crowded buses used to covertly pat me on the bottom.  Was that abuse?   I have never worked in any office where no man ever swatted me on the bottom with a file folder.  Is that abuse?  (I tried it once: patted a man on his bottom.  He didn’t notice.  Must’ve had something in his hip pocket.  I didn’t get any buzz out of it.)

Sometimes there is no way to help.  Not to dramatize frustration, but it does seem like a secondary effect of the original bad thing one is trying to help, a derived trauma.  Witnessing and testifying are two practical responses, but where does a person find the strength and focus to do that except by loving the suffering person, and what if the victims just won’t allow that?  What if they feel compromised by it?

Once in a while the consciousness-raising about some issue becomes unbearable.  One can feel like a fool for being so wrong, so disconnected, such a child.  What do you do with those kinds of feelings?  They seem wormy, illegitimate, unworthy -- when feeling worthy is one of the motivations of helping the stigmatized in the first place.

People just wear out and there’s nothing to do about it.  Might be age, might be dialysis, might be cancer treatment, might be drugs, might be emotional erosion.  Let them go?  Yeah, I think let them go.  But how to bear it?

Over and over, no matter what the issue, Native Americans are rarely noted.  They come somewhere after “Asians.”  Some people will insist that everyone born on the American continents are "Native" Americans.  So I try to remember to say “indigenous” but half the Blackfeet tribe lives off the rez, usually in big cities.  Are they indigenous?  Autochthonous?  Aboriginal?  (They use that word in Canada and Australia.)  Mostly, unless they have feathers and braids, no one notices them.

Why do I keep messing around in all this drama and trauma?  To witness the occasional brilliance and courage of victims seems important, but am I just making myself feel important and “sensitive?”   What good does it do them?  Am I just escaping boredom?

So much hinges on the quality of the writing I produce, but judging the quality of writing is a very elusive thing.  It happens in the space between two people which is something impalpable, real as it is.  It’s kind of a vibe, a music.  

This new fashionable public dynamic of demanding to know the real truth about writing or data or international diplomacy or whatever baffles me.  (Example: “Three Cups of Tea.”) It seems to be an upper-middle-class entitlement -- or so they think -- and closely related to consumerism:  is this good value for my money, is this medicine effective, will this battery give me the amount of time listed for it?  A constant wariness and a willingness to severely punish, an evident enjoyment of the whole law process as though life were a police procedural.   So much is trivia, like sitting in a movie and criticizing the cowboy gear as not right for the period.

I don’t say much about HIV-AIDS.  This is not because I don’t care but because I’m not exactly qualified to have an opinion.  For years now I’ve watched and listened from a distance to a community far, far away.    People I grew to know and love have died.  Well, they have around here, too.  Those faraway people are boys and young men.  So are the ones around here.  The ones around here usually die of violence and drinking, not AIDS.  In the end it’s sort of the same thing.  If they were bovine, they’d be made steers for steaks.  We eat them.  It seems to be a domesticating thing, an editing, that used to be imposed by the wild natural forces against hunters and warriors.  They are extra bees, unnecessary once the queen is inseminated.  No wonder they hate and fear females.

But that’s bullshit.  Male humans after they have started an infant are still needed to guide, protect and nourish mother and child.  They need to love him.  Anyway, a human being who is 21 is on the verge of a new kind of birth: the ability to be an instrument in the great cultural symphony of civilization, the architecture of living beings.  To abort a young man at that age is as much a crime as to abort a fetus. 

http://www.michaelmacklive.com   This is about a play devised from real life sexual abuse -- a dialogue between the real life victim and the real abusing priest.  So this guy is brilliant, educated, able to find financing for shows, and he has the contacts to get good reviews, and etc.   Why is the audience applauding and praising such a production?   What good is it to the rez kid out on the fringes of nobody-wants-you?  Can I even imagine one of our street people going to one of our priests who molested him long ago (assuming there was such an event, such a person) and demanding to discuss it onstage?  Um.  Yeah, I think I can!  What would be the consequences?   I can’t imagine.

Is there any place at all for the earnest person who wants to at least TRY to be ideal?  Can anyone get past the attempts to DEFINE the ideal?  Probably not.  But somehow, bad as it is to send young people into war, it seems to me worse to let them drift into meaninglessness simply because there is no mitigation, no place to rest except streets, no families except gangs, no treatment for injury and illness acquired from being “in harm’s way”.  

Still -- though there’s no comfort in this thought for the bipolar sufferers -- there cannot be highs without lows, there cannot be birth without death, there cannot be food without shit, and life is a constant process of going up and down, side-to-side, testing the limits of the process that is “living.”  Unless a maturing person acknowledges both sides of that boundary -- both the stream of life and the stone shore of death --  they can’t find the meaning they need. Sometimes the real heroism of life is the steady, wearing-down treadmill of day-to-day interaction with oneself and others.  You know -- matching socks. 

So I write a lot.

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