Posts Tagged ‘sexuality’

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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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Left coast borborygmus

October 9, 2014

Yes-yes law_002 [MOUNT]

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The Lexicographers…..

June 21, 2014

and other casters of stone # one….

I have been known to offer uncomplimentary remarks about the Word Police upon occasion, and about how the concepts of manners and courtesy have been blown so far out of proportion that I sometimes wonder if Cotton Mather has been reincarnated as the inspired, inerrant, infallible official Lexicographer for our society. Instead of ordained agents peeking through windows to ensure that everybody has gone to church as required, however, our twenty first century pucker-butts focus on matters of vocabulary to ensure that everyone remains obediently within the Approved Parameters of permissible attitudes, beliefs, and opinions as reflected in their speech. The use of forbidden verbiage is considered prima facie evidence of contemplating forbidden categories of “hate”. While it is permissible to “hate” members of the opposing political party, communists, and asparagus, choosing not to be fond of, or to not even give half a crap about another person for any reason included on the Official List of Politically Incorrect intellectual lawn cookies, and having the audacity to verbalize those sentiments, is nothing short of twenty first century heresy.

We are so hyper vigilant about such matters, that even the designated “good guys” have to use code to report what the designated “bad guys” have said. Remember the “OK” words you were taught to use as a kid when discussing certain appendages and body functions? It’s reminiscent of those days, except instead of such cryptic references as pee pee, number two, and others too silly to mention, we now rely on such camouflage as “The N Word” to say things without actually saying them. In fact, in addition to the example just given, virtually any reference to topics involving race, sexual orientation, or ethnicity must be made with great caution, preferably in code or by squeaky-clean metaphor. At the same time, utterances that would have earned me a soap sandwich as a youth (and did) can now be enjoyed in the raw any night of the week on Prime Time television fare. The iconic “F bomb” still requires a symbolic “beep”, however.

I thought this phenomenon was pretty much a quirk of the United States, but I was wrong.

I enjoy some sports but I don’t love any of them with the appropriately demonstrative, rabid, and noisy intensity expected of the American Male. I did notice and raise my eyebrows, however, when the American soccer team upset the Ghana soccer team recently at a FIFA World Cup Brazil match. In other parts of the world, soccer is a religion, but we tend to express our pathologies of that sort over American style football, basketball, and baseball. So I read the story.

I also noticed the story a few days later when Mexico, having played their own FIFA World Cup matches against Brazil and Camaroon, had become the subject of “disciplinary proceedings” by FIFA because their fans had badmouthed their opponents. Whoa!

So, apparently the cultural aberration of word anxiety is not limited to the USA after all, because FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the local ruling authority in soccer circles), is all puckered to the point of being nearly inside out over the politically, morally, philosophically Incorrrect enthusiasm of Mexican fans during their matches.

It seems the fans, fired up and passionate, as soccer fans are genetically programmed to be, chanted a naughty word en espanol during the usual “talkin’ trash” phases of the games, apparently using the term “puto” in reference to their opponents. “Puto” is impolite, at best, in any Hispanic dialect but roughly translates as “whore” in Mexican Spanish. I chuckled at first, but then it occurred to me that death and dismemberment in the stands has been standard operating procedure in the soccer universe for ages so I wondered at their emulation of United States type behaviors in response to a mere insult.

And then I read FIFA’s official “position” on such matters, namely discrimination.

First of all, since the soccer matches were being played in Brazil where prostitution is legal, I found the complaint to be somewhat incongruous. Heck, in the United States there are more than two and a half times as many people working for the federal government as there are “putos” in Brazil. Secondly, it wasn’t a case of slander or libel because the references were generalized to the nth degree and no direct or personal finger pointing was involved. American football fans have been known to dress up in body paint and weird costumes to loudly encourage their home teams to “slaughter ’em“, but I have yet to hear about any complaints of conspiracy to commit murder.

Nevertheless, killing somebody and hurting their feelings are different animals here in the USA, as they apparently have become in the world of international soccer as well. I was amazed at the FIFA statement about “discrimination”:

“FIFA takes a firm, zero-tolerance stance against any form of discrimination and racism and this is enshrined in the FIFA Statutes in article 3 which stipulates that: ‘Discrimination of any kind against a Country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion’.”

Holy cow! (with apologies to agnostic bovines) Their parameters for allegations of discrimination or racism don’t leave much wiggle room for suggesting to someone that you don’t have so much as the same favorite ice cream flavor they have, or that you simply don’t like them, unless one plays dumb and claims the negative emotion arose spontaneously and for no reason whatsoever.

This morning I noticed another report about the globally popular World Cup competition. It seems Mexican fans once again disturbed the fabric of the universe, this time by casting aspersions on the masculinity of the opposing team’s goalie. The “offending” word was not revealed, but I’d bet pesos to tacos I know what it was, because I once tried out a newly acquired piece of vocabulary on my Cuban friend Rufino when I was in college down in Florida back in the sixties and I was lucky to escape with my life.

Considering FIFA’s dictatorial approach to vocabularies, attitudes, beliefs, opinions, shoe sizes, and favorite vegetables of anyone aspiring to play soccer on their turf, a similar scenario played out today would have Rufino calling his lawyer and a half dozen bureaucracies, with litigation and court mandated atonements in mind, instead of chasing my scared little butt across campus and off through the palmettos by moonlight with rearranging my facial furniture in mind.

As with similar situations here at home, I question references to discrimination and racism as they are meant in the present day sense. We’re not talking about “back of the bus” mandates or any of the other “Jim Crow” laws of the pre-nineteen sixties here. We’re not talking about blatant refusals to employ, to admit to schools, or neighborhoods where one cannot purchase a home. We’re not talking about lynching and beating incidents. Essentially, what began as a campaign to correct some egregious wrongs and denials of the rights declared by the Constitution to apply to all citizens, has mutated from a Civil Rights movement to the establishment of an authority to monitor proscribed words and behaviors which may be construed to imply a mindset of concrete plans to commit vile acts if not so monitored.

Bad news, ladies and gentlemen. It has always been a quirk of reality that some people just don’t like some other people, for various reasons, which may or may not make sense, and I strongly suspect that this is never going to change. People have taken turns practicing behaviors ranging from protruding tongues to genocide in an effort to dictate universalism or to act out our genetically mandated sense of territorialism seemingly forever. It never works out. The underdogs eventually manage to come up with a few sharp sticks and some throwing stones of their own, and they do the role reversal thing. That doesn’t work out either. The only opportunity for a real change of course is enjoyed by the faction already on top and therefore having no reason or desire to change.

 

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Pharmaceutical pill pushers…..

June 6, 2014

think people are dumber than dirt….

Americans have become so germophobic and obsessed with taking pills to do everything but decide what pill to take that the immune system must be nearing extinction. I’m glad my grandson is allowed to jump in mud and play with bugs.

I plan on dying from old age or paybacks rather than from paranoia, from allergies to air, or from choking on pills. So far, so good.

I remember early television, back when it was “live” and an unfortunate, unscripted, epithet in response to a falling backdrop would be heard by one and all, and some lady in an apron would brag on a box of laundry soap, or some man in a fedora would demonstrate the enjoyment of a Chesterfield. “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” has been replaced by some macho cowboy getting his horse trailer stuck in the mud and thinking about Viagra, though I haven’t the slightest idea what one has to do with the other and I don’t think I want to know. Once the cartoons are done, the commercial fare switches from cookies and toys to all of the different potions, pills, and poppycock one is supposed to educate his or her doctor about to see if it might be right for me, even though it may cause my ears to grow testicles, ruin major vital organs, or, in rare cases, kill me. The Pharmaceutical companies and advertising industry play around with human psychology like I used to play around with incompatible chemicals and minor explosive devices, and virtually everybody over 50 is presumed to be dumber than bread, or at best too stupid to remember that a couple of Aspirin, a daub of Vicks in a pot of hot water on the stove, or a spoonful of that terrible tasting concoction Mom brewed up would accomplish most of the stuff one is supposed to act exceptionally knowledgeable about with somebody who spent 15 years in college learning everything there is to know about how the human body works. I spent 4 years in college learning how to drink beer, and I’m supposed to condescendingly lecture him about organic chemistry and neurobiology? And pay him $160 for 15 minutes of his time for the privilege of doing so? Color me suspicious, but exactly who is this shtick supposed to benefit, Me? The doctor? Excuse my Anglo Saxon derivative, but:

I don’t effing think so!

Either something terrible has happened to the human genome during the past ten or fifteen years, or the Snake Oil Salesmen of nineteenth century notoriety were spontaneously resurrected recently and are mesmerizing people in droves, because millions of men have (allegedly) tried, and now supposedly depend on, one of two Miracle Potions to get their groove on. In the commercial spots of Let’s Pretend Land, the droopy Don Juans are typically represented by hairy meatlockers looking more like NFL draft candidates than second stringers from the Fred Flaccid Tiddlywinks team.

One has to wonder how the hell mankind made it out of the primordial ooze, sometimes keeping vast harems properly entertained, and sometimes cranking out families larger than the towns they lived in, without Pfizer and Lilly to hold their hands, so to speak. Even with no personal experience with the now indispensible poontang pills, I can confidently state that the stuff doesn’t work anyway. I mean, just look at the commercials!

  • 1-The moment is right…..(what, they have a pamphlet about that now? “Arousal for Dummies“?).

  • 2-The guy with the chin like an I-beam pops That Pill.

  • 3-The guy with the chin like an I-beam does the old wink-wink at his life-mate, his date, or the Ten on the next barstool.

  • 4-Wait for it……

  • 5-They take a bath, paint the living room, set up a tent on the beach…….yadda yadda yadda

Wuz it good fer yoo?”

Look, I wasn’t born yesterday, or under a cabbage leaf, nor was I conceived in a bathtub, to the best of my knowledge.

When my remaining hair, including the crap hanging out of my ears, requires the use of a brush, I go to a barber and pay him to cut it. I don’t tell him how to do his job or try to sell him the latest stinkum. When my denture broke while enthusiastically working on a peppermint, I went to someone who specializes in such things. However, when they handed me a “form” the size of “War and Peace” to fill with the details about every cell in my body and wanted to do everything but a pre-emptive autopsy and fix my denture, I bought a $3 tube of Super Glue and did the job myself.

Otherwise, when my body engages in annoying or unfamiliar behaviors, and I can’t fix it myself, I seek professional medical intervention. I don’t tell my cardiologist how to cross his T’s and dot his I’s, I didn’t guide my surgeon’s hand while he rearranged the furniture, and I have no interest in trying to do my own colonoscopy.

Listen up, pharmaceutical industry, and your enabling bedfellows in Washington, about the only things I am qualified to tell my doctor are “yes”, “no“, and “ouch.” If you want him to know about your product, pay a “Detail Man” to shower him with fishing trips, booze, nifty ball point pens, and tons of free samples like back in the good old days when he could say “get the hell out of my office,” instead of “Request permission to think, Sir…

So, to all of the smiling phony doctors, pharmacists, half naked super models, emasculated testosterone factories, et al, I say “get the hell off my TV“…….

 

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Aging gracefully, one skin-tag at a time

August 16, 2013

Aging gracefully, one skin-tag at a time

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Barrel of monkeys be damned…..

March 5, 2013

People are more fun….

As a child, I thought it was a riot to watch a spider frantically spinning a web in the garden, or neighborhood dogs mating on some little old lady’s front lawn on a Sunday afternoon. As an adult, I find people and our own behavior far more intriguing.

We live in a wonderfully bizarre world.

Women in thongs complain indignantly about being treated as sex objects; square-jawed icons of masculinity tout erectile dysfunction potions and testosterone boosters. People from coast to coast wax passionately about the dangers of distracted driving, yet drool over the car ads on TV featuring how well the focus of that particular 30 seconds of prime time can slalom down a mountain of switchbacks or power slide in a cloud of dust through a chandelier mysteriously hanging in the middle of a desert.

And virtually everybody demands laws to restrict what others do from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn, while at the same time insisting their own favorite vices be left alone and that those who think otherwise should mind their own business.

 

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I’m a senior citizen….

April 17, 2012

….but I take showers; taking a bath in a field is for wimps…

I’m a “senior citizen”, which means I receive a discount at the donut shop without asking. That may be nice from a cash-flow perspective, but it doesn’t do much for my ego. Sometimes, just to be a schmuck, I give the kid in the paper hat a pained glare and swear I don’t qualify. It’s kind of a kick to see which ones have the stones to call my bluff and which ones look around for Mom or someone to fix it.

Like it or not though, I DO qualify, so I make the best of it by looking for things that are funny about the process of rusting and falling apart like my old pick up truck. In fact, that’s what I tell people, that I’m starting to rust, make funny noises, and have things fall off just like my truck did before it….I can’t talk about it. Very sad. Of course, some of the noises aren’t very funny under certain circumstances. At least, that’s what I’m told.

From the daily scoop on my computer and in the morning paper, I keep up with the news, rumors, and inevitable replacement of the previous day’s latest great technological breakthrough with whatever Walmart will sell out of by morning.

From the comfort of my rocking chair on the porch, I contemplate the universe as I know it, throw peanuts to the squirrels, and watch the tireless neighborhood kids practice the skills they will need to conquer the world, or at least to survive its rather capricious meanderings through time. They’re amazing and annoying at the same time.

Those steering the ship right now, too young to think about retirement yet but too old to get away with referring to themselves as young go-getters on the way up anymore, are up against some interesting challenges already and don’t quite seem to know how to proceed. Check out their marketing behavior for some hints.

Tuned in to the fact that the boomers are starting to retire and will soon carpet the world with grey hair, today’s media barkers hawk arthritis medications, Life-Alert transmitters, and nursing home packages around the clock. Nobody sells laundry soap any more. It’s crazy. On the one hand they blow off about increased life spans and on the other they pummel us with all of the accoutrements one would need out in the pasture of doom.

Out of eight back-to-back TV commercials, six of them will be for some medicine, salve, or balm we allegedly can’t live without, or some other product from Hypochondriacland. The funny thing is, the current retirement crowd has already been around the block and knows the drill, so we’re not likely to be sucked in as much as they’d like us to be. Those following in our tracks, however, if they can keep up that is, poor wimps, will be so paranoid by the time they can retire that they’ll be checking into mausoleums instead of condos on the golf course.

Speaking of pastures, to drop back a bit, what’s the deal with all of these people sitting in bath tubs out in the middle of a field because they did a few ED pills? First of all, the young men in those ads look like they’re oozing testosterone, and they don’t even have ear hair yet! Good grief, where are their fathers…..?…..probably down at the beach shopping the bikini mall in their stead.

The market minders don’t know what they are doing. If they want our money, they should blow in our ears and convince us that, in spite of rumors to the contrary, we really are as vital and indestructible as we were back in the day instead of pushing all the woe is me crap. That’s going to backfire on them; already has, if they believe their own shtick. If their plan is to tap into our legitimate aches and pains and sell us on a dozen or so others we hadn’t thought of yet so they can reap the largess of our Medicare coverage, they might want to think again since they are the ones that will be stuck with the bill. Talk about dumb!

And when they start to shift into focusing on padding their own soon-to-be-enjoyed nests, which we all do…..human nature, you know….. it may dawn on them that they are a minority. What an interesting turn of events. Imagine all of these trembling, paranoid, pill-popping folks sitting in their pastoral bathtubs….while we, their elders, are getting chucked out of McDonalds for being rowdy, or down at the beach checking out all those 85 year old chickee-poos in their yellow polka-dot bikinis.

 

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