Posts Tagged ‘change’

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Masculinity Without the Abuse of Women

November 12, 2017

via change without force….


The spike in charges by women against men over the past few years regarding alleged sexual improprieties and acts of aggression doesn’t suggest any discovery of new information, but does indicate that more women are finding that they are being listened to more, which in turn encourages others to come forward.

The only downside might be that, thus far, the process has been like the sound of one hand clapping. To generate anything of substance, this needs to be a two handed effort. The time-worn women in white hats, men in black theme may inject energy and drama into the issue, but real substantive change will require something new and different if we hope to do more than just wrestle over power and control. It’s time to move on from the “who did what to whom?” question and work on “So, what do people want, and what steps need to be taken in order to realize those goals?”

Any such goals should be realistic rather than be rigidly tied to idealism driven by social and political forces. That is not to say that ideals shouldn’t guide us, just that they should not dictate the details.

Human beings, like other animals, have an innate nature that is followed whether they are behaving in positive, constructive ways or are being negative and destructive, and everywhere in between. Sometimes, both qualities are expressed simultaneously. Therein may be the challenge: to figure out how to minimize or redirect behaviors and attitudes that threaten to be negative, destructive, or self-contradictory, while favoring and fostering those that are positive and are likely to help the society achieve its goals.

Certain adversarial aspects of the male-female relationship are as old as humanity itself and are rooted in the human nature referred to above. As with all life forms, we are subject to two primary drives: to survive, and to reproduce. Our generally competitive nature is an expression of both, as is our history of violence and conquest that I refer to as the perpetual game of King of the Mountain. The underlying drives may be unlikely to change, and perhaps that is as it should be, but associated behaviors can be changed, and progress has been made over the civilized millennia, as is demonstrated by the evolution of sports as a partial substitute for warfare and other competitive acts of violence.

With the current focus on the historical prevalence of men perpetrating different kinds of sexual aggression and violence against women, I think we need to be cautious not to set our sights on changing those underlying drives, and instead focus on the behavioral responses to them. More realistic, achievable goals should address the ways those drives are specifically manifested in men and in women, and in human beings as a species.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead discovered certain matrilineal cultures among the South Pacific islanders, and some pre-Norman Conquest British societies were said to have had matrilineal systems of succession, but most societies around the globe have been patrilineal. Whether such relationships are desirable within the existing cultures or whether changes will occur will become evident, but changes or the creation of new adaptations will develop through a deeper understanding of ourselves and momentum, not the application of force.

Our cultures have traditionally groomed boys to assume certain roles just as they have groomed girls to assume paths of their own. Those roles weren’t dictated, they developed by way of several influences, including biology, adaptation to circumstances, King of the Mountain, and more. Those roles can change, of course, and most likely will over time, but attempting to effect such changes by force would be self-defeating.

It would be helpful to look at the challenges to be faced by males if they are to foster younger generations that retain the positive aspects of their masculinity, yet are not defined by abuse and dominance over women. We would presently hope for future women to retain their femininity without being sexualized in ways that set them up to be predated upon. The idea is not to do away with sexuality, but to try to develop cultural mores around it that are mutually acceptable and fulfilling for both genders

How does one raise a boy to do the things boys do, develop a positive, nonviolent sense of his sexuality while discouraging a disrespectful or exploitative understanding of women and how he should relate to them?

How does one raise a girl to enjoy the activities of her gender-peers, develop a positive, non-submissive knowledge of her self as a person, with a fulfilling sense of her sexuality, and healthy expectations for herself and any mate or mates with whom she establishes a relationship?

We need to discover what the modern male and modern female desires, need, and expects from different kinds of relationships with members of the opposite sex. Men and women need to think about these things and to come up with new, previously unasked questions that can help them begin the process of creating a culture wherein the concepts of rank, power, and value depend upon factors such as ability and achievement rather than simply as a function of biological gender.

Western cultures currently appear to be experimenting with how we view men and women, maleness and femininity. The processes involved and the eventual outcomes may or may not gibe with the current generations of political correctness, but the undertaking will have to look at prevailing historical gender idealizations, understand the genesis and function of those presentations, and make changes where mutually desirable and possible.

This kind of culture would have the potential for a version of “equality” I think people, especially women, have been seeking. We have been attempting to establish concepts of equity by force, and it seems we have not yet recognized that to be a self-defeating process. If humanity is to successfully create new cultural mores, we must facilitate their evolution, not just try to enforce a prescriptive idea of how things should be according to some committee or temporary political majority.

I think we should try.

 

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Brat politics…

November 14, 2016

practice-preachc-mounted_001_zpssdaztmrz

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Grammar Nutzi moment…..

May 16, 2013

I’m sorry…….

no, I’m not…….

Maybe it’s because we seem to be in such a hurry these days, ala the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland fame, but I’ve noticed a tendency for some people to speak in half sentences. Communication by its very nature requires that the listener attempt to decode the sounds made and body language displayed by the speaker, arriving at some understanding of the information so transmitted. When the message is conveyed by little more than a few grunts and a raised eyebrow, however, it’s difficult to take the speaker, let alone his information, seriously. I mean, if he/she is that bored with what he/she is about to say, so am I, before he even allegedly says it.

Could it be the height of arrogance to presume that one is so imbued with native brilliance that all one must do to amaze the masses is open ones mouth, exhale a couple of cc’s of stale air through the larynx, and initiate a body twitch? Of course it is. The resident oxymoron is that the least among us might do the same thing with a simple fart. In fact, the methodology is remarkably similar.

Languages do change and adapt with the passage of time, as do cultures and societies. I would like to think such changes are orderly and rational processes, but they are not. Therefore, when I suspect that I am living on the leftovers of a turn of phrase teetering on the brink of extinction without yet understanding the cues of its mutant replacement, I can’t help but wonder whether I am being exposed to some great Shakespearian Shift or just plain stupidity.

Born a few decades earlier or later and the Bard would have been a Bore. To his great favor, however, he arrived just in time to exploit the migration from Middle English to Early Modern English, as well as a deflation in the cultural currency previously enjoyed by the French language imported by the Normans a few centuries before. He so mastered the art of boldly intermixing contexts, meanings, and the words intended to convey those qualities in all three that he was rewarded handsomely for his insults and obscenities which audiences took as poetry and praise. They were all of the above.

Today, however, I have a hard time seeing any evolutionary parallel in some of the Rap crap and digitally influenced terms and concepts taking up airspace. When I hear somebody rattle off “Y’ know whut I’m sayin’, bro…?” five times in a ten word sentence, the only honest reply would be “I haven’t a clue…

There is an old phrase used for introducing a subjective comment about some issue to follow, but a crucial piece of the structure seems to have been left on the bus somewhere and hasn’t been seen since. Even worse, that doesn’t seem to bother anyone, except, perhaps, me.

Old style, one might hear something like:
“As far as the weather is concerned, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

However, in recent years that perfectly clear sentence has been gelded into:
“As far as the weather, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Isn’t that kind of like running into an old friend and saying “Hey! How the heck are?

That drives me bananas……..y’ know whut I’m sayin’…..?

 

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Letting go……

March 10, 2013

of smooching the glutes of humanity’s knuckle draggers….

Every parent knows that one of the hardest things to do is to let go. In fact, parents don’t have a franchise on that very human resistance to change, but it may be the easiest to identify with for most people. People cry when their toddler takes his first step. We like to call them “tears of joy”, but, in truth there is sadness in them as well. There is a grieving of the never-to-be-seen-again infancy.

Sometimes, resistance to change isn’t that romantic and just represents bull headedness, or is a case of sticking with the admittedly dysfunctional M.O. instead of risking the highly likely to be more functional but scary UNKNOWN.

I was thinking about that this morning after I read an Op-Ed piece in the Sunday paper. Of course, so much these days is about the surplus of debt and the shortfall of income. It seems as if just about everybody has an opinion, just about nobody has a solution, and those who do are shouted down as “idiots” by those who don’t. I’m guilty. I admit it.

The quibbler in me strains to break free, however, and throw my non-committal “observations” out there like a slab of bloody meat tossed to the lions for them to hiss and slap over.

It occurs to me that letting go and grieving are processes not limited to individuals. Families do it, communities do it, and by extension, nations do it. Yet, as the world and the circumstances it experiences change, we resist certain changes within our own way of doing business.

The editorial column was in response to a collective question rumbling in the background for so many:

If we are so broke, why do we continue to give away billions to countries that don’t even like us?

Our new Secretary of State John Kerry, for example, just made a bee-line to Egypt where he pirouetted and sprinkled a quarter of a million scented US Rose Petals at the feet of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization of zealots who pray five times a day for their benefactors to drop dead.

Our international circumstances today are ridiculously similar to the stage upon which the Barbary Wars of our earliest years as an independent nation were spawned, with the notable exception that some 215 years later we are a formidable world power rather than the skinny new kid on the block. We have grown in so many ways, but in others have not. The Muslim extremists of the Middle East haven’t changed a bit, on the other hand. They still use their Holy Book to justify virtually any barbaric sub-human act they wish to commit on the grounds that they are Licensed to Kill, by Allah himself, anybody on the planet who does not do exactly as they are told by the honchos of the religion. Kind of like the Mafia.

So, I ask, why are we still paying tribute to keep the animals happy? People LOVE their dogs, yet don’t pamper them as much as America pampers her foes. The strongest argument anyone seems capable of piecing together as justification for this bizarre behavior, including the ordinarily erudite columnist, is that, if we don’t continue, “it could be worse” .

How do I say this in language that would be permissible in the average elementary classroom? I can’t. Sequester the kids in the gymnasium while I let it fly in the janitor’s closet or something.

We used to have an inspiring little jingle that started off: “From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli…..” , and the last I knew it was still in the Top Forty, …..but our actions tend to suggest the lyrics may have been tweaked a bit.

I think it’s time we made a conscious decision to LET GO of our old habit of buying friends and work on improving the way we practice the principles we have come to rattle off with the emotional investment of a ten year old obediently reciting the times tables or the parts of speech.

It would be NICE if the Grand Poohbah of Habhoop would marry only one wife, she at least being older than twelve, and stop abusing his trained snakes, blowing up our real estate, and generally being a global pain in the ass. Kissing stern sheets of our antagonists didn’t work 215 years ago and it isn’t working today. Tomorrow isn’t looking too hot, either.

I don’t know about you, but if my kids acted like that, I’d take away their allowance…..not RAISE IT and beg them to accept more.

 

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Necessities of life…..

February 8, 2013

new and improved giant economy size version….

For post-Boomers, the digital age is Life as it Should Be, but for many pre-Boomers, early Boomers, as well as those in their “Mature” seniority, it can be a strange, strange world indeed. Admittedly, I am a pre-Boomer and a technology clutz.

My uncle had a preserved section of pig skin that his father-in-law had owned. It was from the belly, obviously a nipple, and he called it the “hind teat”. It was a tradition to award it to those coming in last during any competition or just for the hell of it. In recognition of my dismal digital age IQ, I would probably possess it in perpetuity were it, and my uncle, still on the sunny side of the lawn.

Things are changing too fast for me, or faster than I care to scramble in order to wolf down benefits of the latest Widget before it is rendered Old Hat by the next “generation” of whatever it is the Widget in question happens to be. My “phone” actually makes telephone calls and that’s about it. Every once in awhile I’ll mistakenly apply pressure to some button or another when taking it out of my pocket, and experience a brief rush of low level panic as I try to figure out what function I have just activated and how to undo it.

My only area of at least minimal competence would be that little corner of my universe occupied by my computer, an antiquated desktop model with a pathetic 4 gigs of RAM and a 350 gig hard drive. Dark Ages fer sure, dude.

So, I was reading the morning paper, another Pleistocene relic, and the lead editorial was talking about the idea of the FCC opening the floodgates a tad and unleashing free wireless access to the masses. The internet, the piece seemed to declare, has evolved to join food, shelter, transportation, education, medical care, designer jeans, cell phones, and Crayolas as Necessities of Life and therefore should be henceforth provided “free”, compliments of the Federal Government.

The Necessities of Life keep being redefined and it’s hard to keep up. My understanding has always been that if one has a reasonable amount of edible nutrients in his stomach with an acceptable level of regularity, shelter that keeps most of the rain out, wearables to maintain body heat and dignity, and the desire to spend more time on one’s feet than on one’s stern sheets, one could survive and thrive. How well one would survive and thrive would depend on how much one contributed to the process, not on how loudly one screeched. One was perfectly free to play the “It’s my ass and I’ll sit on it if I want to” game if one so chose, but it was pretty much understood that manicures and color TV were not part of the package.

It’s a tough question. I realize that, like it or not, the cyber-dimension is the printing press of the twenty first century and society must adapt. But with so many things of tradition, as well as of principle, being supplanted so rapidly by so many new things and new principles in the name of such concepts safety, fairness, equity, and “Why Johnny Can’t Should Have Designer Sneakers and a New Smart-Phone”, I find myself waiting for the inevitable collision. With the federal government annexing so many responsibilities formerly owned by the populace, along with the authority and power to carry them out “efficiently”, when will some genius figure out that that the usual and customary definitions of Freedom and Liberty are passé and no longer fit the modern world?

Has Big Government and its entourage of suckling sycophants been hiding my late uncle’s family tradition all along, planning to hand us all, collectively of course, Hind Teat, just as soon as they get all of their ducks, and statutes, in a row?

 

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