## Conspiracies

Okay, I’ll admit I get a kick out of conspiracy theories. Most of them are just humorous consequences of the human need for explanations. However, some of weirdest ones may have a kernel of truth. For example, this cabal of Omega-rich who are, allegedly, guiding politics to the ultimate death of the middle class — or more likely, everyone less wealthy than they are.

Is there an order of Illuminati directing politics and finance from the shadows? I don’t know. However, ever since money was deemed Free Speech, the ultra-rich have, at least periodically, had their way with us. You can tell they’re in charge because the economy tanks.2 Which begs the question: how can Barack Obama be a member of that cabal when, under his administration, the economy recuperated from the disaster of the previous administrations?

Lists of these economic villains vary a little bit, but, as a general rule, they include the most well known of the wealthiest people: Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson, for example. Also, if it fits the theorist list generator’s political agenda, Obama, the Clintons, the elected Bushes, Sarah Palin, nearly every elected president of my lifetime.

My favorite inclusion on this list is Mary Astor (1906-1987), actress and author, who, according to a list on the Ranker website, “is a descendant of the Astor family, who are believed to be one of the most influential families associated with the Illuminati.” Except Mary Astor is the stage name of Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke of Quincy, Illinois, whose parents: a German immigrant, Otto Ludwig Langhanke, and an American mother from Illinois, Helen Marie Vasconcellos, of Portuguese and Irish ancestry, were teachers according to Wikipedia.3 And, according to an article referenced on the Internet Movie Database,4 her father dressed windows for a local store. Hardly fit the bill, do they? On the other hand, Mary Astor Paul, Philadelphia socialite (1889-1950), whose family was nestled in the Astor clan does fit the profile.5 Conspiracy theorists do tend to fall down in the research department.

An ancillary conspiracy states that the head of each family in the basic 300 family Illuminati committee are full-blood reptiles, manipulating us from the shadows.6 They’ve interbred with humans giving us half-breeds with reptilian features who are easily manipulated by their reptilian progenitors. According to theorists, since Biblical times, reptiles have been using humans as chess pieces. They go on to posit, while some humans are half-reptile, all of us have reptilian DNA in our brains which keeps us from using all of our neurological power. Which probably explains the success of modern republicans.
While I did not find an “official” website for reptiles, the Illuminati seem to have one.7 It states: “The selfish pursuit of money is a hollow goal, but the pursuit of the goodness that money can create is one of humanity’s greatest responsibilities.” They go on to say, “Money has no feeling, no voice, and no soul — it’s  a choice between good or evil is decided by those who use it.” A far cry from a terrifying cadre of faceless behemoths in robes with hoods directing from the shadows the destruction of everyone but themselves.

Just because there may not be a cadre of destroyers who would stop at nothing including murder,8 doesn’t mean the most vulnerable members of society are safe. Cries of danger from the far right and other bastions of fascism have been heard here, from as near as Canada and as far as Israel.

A wonderful article called “Not Another Brexit Jeremiad” by Zia Haider Rahman9 posits the silver lining in the Brexit cloud is that it has shed light on the need for national introspection concerning their beliefs and practices in democracy. Sound familiar? Many overly white countries have elected the sort of ultra-conservative governments that legitimize THEM VS US attitudes and actions. So many, that most of them are learning that a majority of their citizens are disgusted by it. Maybe we have our own saving grace in that our elections were manipulated (with or without outside influences) by deceptive politics and selfish politicians. Moreover, in most places, our interim elections reflected a major dissatisfaction with the whole thing — just as so many grassroots voices against Brexit have surfaced.

Most conspiracy theories won’t cut the logic mustard. However, with all of the political rhetoric flying — and make no mistake, politics are just one of the distractions the reptiles are throwing at us — it’s hard not to buy into this one despite its obvious flaws. Nor is the problem right or left, democrat or republican. As Rahman found, in crises like these, parties let you down. I felt his pain.

President Clinton continued the Reagan deregulation helping to legitimize criminal behavior in business. Nancy Pelosi’s response to hate speech against Jews was so inadequate as to give it a pass. Both are good Democrats with social agendas which in the past have strengthened not only society, but also supported the economy by bringing more citizens into it. Deregulation helped pave the way for the DC debacle we’re facing which more and more Republicans are railing against; God only knows where the House resolution will lead.

Like the online Illuminati say of money u\it is action not in the abstract of opinion that is good or evil. Every religion has true followers, who stay under the radar with their good actions, and usurpers that lie about their own religion to manipulate others. As Flannery O’Connor said, “Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”

Moreover, the problem not only stems from extremism and selfishness, but is also exacerbated by a willingness for citizens to vote against their own interest, to believe rhetoric even when their personal knowledge and experience tells them it’s a lie; the willingness to be so distracted by conspiracies that they vote for politicians who address their fears rather than their problems. Apparently, it’s the reptile in us.

Photo Credits:
The Eye of Providence, or the all-seeing eye of God, seen here on the US$1 bill, has been taken by some to be evidence of a conspiracy involving the founders of the United States and the Illuminati.1[Some say this is not connected to the Illuminati.] Mary Astor in “Meet Me in St. Louis” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Astor Mary Astor Paul https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/182225680/mary-astor-allez Flannery O’Connor from Wikipedia http://www.sjgames.com/illuminati/ Notes: 1.Issitt, Micah; Main, Carlyn (2014). Hidden Religion: The Greatest Mysteries and Symbols of the World’s Religious Beliefs. ABC-CLIO. pp. 47–49. ISBN 978-1-61069-478-0. Via Wikipedia 2.https://judymgoodman.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/sanity/ 3.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Astor 4.https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000802/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm 5.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Astor_Paul 6.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awMdxKB5s1Y 7.https://www.illuminatiofficial.org/ 8.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox3CkNN50EY 9.https://email.nybooks.com/t/y-l-kudrat-tyhruiydjj-y/ 10. Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment ## Serendipity Family Tree Recently, I purchased a DVD of “Cleopatra” with Theda Bara’s picture and name on the cover with other members of the cast of her version. Even after reading that all but 6 minutes had disintegrated and members of the movie industry are praying for a copy will suddenly show up in some obscure attic, I thought I must have gotten lucky. With great anticipation, I cued it up, only to find, despite the claims on the box, the production was by The Helen Gardner Picture Players starring Helen Gardner, herself. Moreover, the photo of Ms. Bara on the cover bears little similarity to Ms. Gardner whatsoever. I was irritated until I read that Gardner was the first actress to form her own production company without the aid of a man. Furthermore, on a visit to prison, she presented an autographed photo of herself to Eugene Debs, known for helping found the Wobblies — which told me a little about her politics. Wanting to know more about Gardner, I found an eponymous website that said a shocking 27% of her nitrate films have survived, a peculiarly high percentage.2 Moreover, her first independent production, “Cleopatra,” was the first full-length feature film ever. To my delight, her granddaughter Dorin Gardner Schumacher has been collecting information about the grandmother she never knew. Obtaining a grant from the Women’s Film Preservation Fund of the New York Women in Film and Television organization, she had the production company’s third independent feature “A Sister to Carmen” restored. Now, she gives talks about her grandmother and exhibits the film. Last year, my cousin once removed Jane Neff Rollins, a professional genealogist3 discovered a newspaper article about my paternal grandmother Lydia announcing that she took first prize in a poetry contest. I realize that does not compare with forming a production company on your own, but it, too, typifies why genealogy has become the rage. Whether it’s an average life with amazing moments (as we all have) or an astounding life with very little time for mundane moments, a particular brand of inspiration lies in hidden history. I find it so easy to imagine Schumacher’s joy learning how much there was to her enigmatic grandmother: Not only was she a famous actress on stage and screen, but she was a pioneering producer, director, writer, and practitioner of many of the film crafts. Also, you can imagine my disappointment—and embarrassment—learning that my distant cousin, Buffalo Bill Cody, beloved through the ages, fought to keep slavery out of his state because he didn’t want nonwhite neighbors4–despite the antislavery sentiments his Quaker father Isaac Cody died for.5 Buffalo Bill bore no racial animosity toward indigenous people or women. He just didn’t want to see African immigrants in his neighborhood. The Princess of Bagdad Historically, women like Gardner were passed over for recognition while the weaknesses of “great” men were ignored. This reality of this white male privilege has led to the myth of the perfect male and a shocking era in US history—an era in which a woman can be verbally battered in public and, whether or not the lies spread about her were believed, too many were willing to accept a man they knew to be fatally flawed rather than face being governed by a qualified, intelligent woman, and an era in which male politicians still sit in judgement on women’s physiology, something they know nothing about, hoping their decisions will shove women back into the shadows. The immeasurable joy of learning about the hidden achievements of our ancestors, both familial and spiritual, will continue to inspire us. Perhaps, next to getting out the vote this year, the best way women have of overcoming the current political bullies is to continue to share the previously suppressed accomplishments of women of the past like Helen Gardner as they are unearthed. 1. Internet Movie dataBase Internet Movie dataBase 2. HelenGardner.org, All the photos of Helen Gardner appear on her website 3. Sherlock Combs Genealogy 4. Buffalo Bill Centennial program, of the Buffalo Bill Museum of the West The family tree graphic came from https://wordpress.com/post/judymgoodman.wordpress.com/608 Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments ## “Biologise” The other morning, the Biomimicry Institute presented a webinar called “Introduction to the Biomimicry Process and Defining Your Challenge” supporting their Biomimicry Global Design Challenge for student teams. The goal of The Biomimicry Global Design Challenge is to mobilize thousands of students and professionals to tackle climate-related challenges using biomimicry, or nature-inspired design. It’s an opportunity for people to experience designing solutions through a new lens as well as a chance to get support to take their innovation to market. Finalist teams compete for the Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s$100,000 Ray of Hope Prize (R). This is the first time challengers can submit videos which can be accessed from this link: https://biomimicry.org/biomimicry-student-design-challenge-finalists/.  Past Ray of Hope Prize winners include a soil restoration solution inspired by hardy alpine plants, and a water management system for urban farmers based on how living systems collect, store and distribute water. Teams can be mentored and have a wonderful resource at the Biometrics Toolbox. It’s a worthwhile event, that I plan to keep an eye on.

Though I think it was only the day before it was presented that I heard about it, it’s been an eventful two days. I’m not even sure where I found it — or even where it might have found me! Still, it was fascinating to learn about the process of designing a biomimicry project and I was very caught up in it until the presenter Megan Schuknecht, director of design challenges, focused on the challenge. Then, I thought, “my mind doesn’t work that way, I’d better split.” As I reviewed my notes, I realized my mind does not work that way only in technology, science, or, if we must go there, mathematics.

However, the global design process spiral illustrated in the webinar, despite vocabulary differences, is too similar to the process of organizing novel writing. Schuknecht delineated the stages of designing a project as: Define, “biologise,” discover, abstract, emulate, and Evaluate Fitness, all of which spirals around iteration. In the process, the definition stage is designing the right questions to aid in research. The questions should not be so generic that research becomes inefficient or so limiting, that the teams may miss more obscure fixes. Nor should they be so broad that research becomes unmanageable. Good design questions might begin “how might we…” In biomimicry, “how can we . . .” means “how does nature. . ..”

In writing, we set our goals often through questions like those in a character sheet. Plot usually stems from character. So when authors “biologise,” they are observing human nature. In the discovery phase, biomimicry practitioners focus on what they call “stakeholders,” acknowledging that fixing a problem in New York City would require different thinking than the same problem in a small town in upstate New York. When authors “biologise,” they are observing human nature. In the discovery phase, biomimicry practitioners focus on what they call “stakeholders,” acknowledging that fixing a problem in New York City would require different thinking than the same problem in a village bordering a rainforest.

Taking it a little further, do the concepts of Main Character, setting, goal, and conflict fit into that model as easily for you as they do for me? Perhaps connections, however tenuous, can also be made between abstract and summary, emulating nature and representing the truths of human behavior, evaluating fitness and revision, as well as iterations and drafts.

Especially in this toxic political environment, biomimicry is becoming not only more difficult, but much more essential. Just like contests for new and unpublished authors, competitions like “Biomimicry Global Design Challenge” nurture critical thinking, help train students and scientists to face overwhelming issues with intelligence and creativity, and insure that we will never run out of the kind of new ideas that keep humans alive.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

## “a bucket full of gold”

This afternood I’ve been watching—and rewatching— “A Child’s Garden of Poetry.” If you’re looking for a way to spend a quiet Saturday, I recommend this HBO/Poetry Foundation presentation. Listening to children between seven- and eleven-years-old talk about the artistry and appeal of poetry, reading their own poetry or that of Shakespear, Yates, or multilingual Haiku (among others) is a spiritual experience.

The children speak with excitement, authentic understanding and emotion, intelligence and an enviable maturity, not only about the art of reading poetry about the craft writing it with an equal understanding of style, imagery and charging a poem with feeling. A master class in poetry.

## William McGonagall, a morality play

Yes, I know the poems of Scots poet William Topaz McGonagall pale compared to the likes of William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Glenda Bailey-Mershon, Susanna Lang, Adam Wyeth, and Christine Swanberg (and thousands more). However, in being immortalized as “the worst poet in British history,” he’s gotten half a bad rap.

According to Wikipedia: “The chief criticisms [of his poems] are that he is deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly.” Moreover, “Scholars argue that his inappropriate rhythms, weak vocabulary, and ill-advised imagery combine to make his work amongst the most unintentionally amusing dramatic poetry in the English language.”

I think they have missed the point. Okay, so he’s the Ed Wood of poetry. Ed Wood, burdened with the retrospective honorific “The World’s Worst Director,” had a decent story sense. Starting with the same synopses, a competent director could have made film history.  Wood was just a lousy filmmaker.

Like Wood, McGonagall toiled in the wrong genre. Wikipedia went on to say, “His work is in a long tradition of narrative ballads and verse written and published about great events and tragedies, and widely circulated among the local population as handbills. In an age before radio and television, their voice was one way of communicating important news to an avid public.” An indication of his acute story sense, “Ode to the Queen on her Jubilee Year,” “The Wreck of the Steamer London While on Her Way to Australia,” “Grace Darling or the Wreck of the ‘Forfarshire’,” and his most renowned poem “The Tay Bridge Disaster” show, from his choice of subject, his sense of drama. His choices of content in multiple works concerning news events illustrate his understanding of what readers like.

Moreover, poems about death and funerals, history, moral issues, and temperance show his concern and understanding of the human condition. Still, to most, his subject matter gets lost in the doggerel.

McGonagall’s epic poetry is a clear admonition against letting form overpower content; it did not want for emotion—overstated perhaps—but his editorial perspective was clear. In  “An Ode to the Queen on her Jubilee Year,” some of his imagery is clear and precise. However, rhyme and meter were everything to him, overshadowing his love for his sovereign.  Perhaps “The Tay Bridge Disaster” lacks more than it offers, but it illustrates his ability to recognize a good story. The soul of a storyteller with no ability to tell the story with clarity and the drama it deserves is nothing short of tragedy.

Even Wood had his moments. Maybe the best part of “Glen or Glenda,” overrun with such detailed narration in place of visual imagery, was his wistful, though slightly overplayed performance as the hapless main character regarding his cross-dressed reflection in a store window. Though he sports movie star good-looks, he’s generally not a great actor, this moment reveals just how much the project meant to him. This film before its time, in the hands of a competent filmmaker, could have been so much better than even Wood thought it was.

A flying saucer is seen flying above the graveyard in “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”

The plot of “Plan 9,” earth at risk from alien solar weaponry — even with the zombie connection, could have been literature under the sure hand of a James Whale. Wood, too, had a nasty tendency to let the worlds he built rule rather than serve the story and its actors.  Fine literature is crowded with examples of setting as a supporting character.

Unlike Wood, McGonagall faced the worst mockery and scorn during his lifetime, but chose to view criticism as a product of those who did not understand his great work. In some cases, especially in the letter of rejection Queen Victoria sent when he applied to be poet laureate of England, he took the criticism as great praise.  In the film “The Great McGonagall” [1975, with Spike Milligan as McGonagall and Peter Sellars as Queen Victoria, directed by Joseph McGrath], all the adult males were portrayed in broad parody. The college students who egged McGonagall on exchanged infantile expressions of amusement the moment he looked away. If the essence of acting is truly immersion into the truth of the character, one wishes to ask the actress who played Mrs. McGonagall [Julia Foster], what is it like to be the only sane adult in the room? [I suppose we could ask that of Hillary Clinton, too.] Wood passed away long before the jeers revved up to epic proportion, but he chose to view that which he faced when he was alive in much the same way McGonagall did.

Most of us are at a disadvantage. We grew up in a society that valued treating people with respect. Some say the turnabout started with the republican’s who jeered President Obama during a State of the Union address. Certainly, that started bringing out latent racism pushed underground by an ad campaign during the Civil Rights Movement. Others say it started with Newt Gingrich taking his daughters to visit their mother, who was recovering from cancer surgery and brought along divorce papers for her to sign. Both of those incidents were somewhat isolated in a world where most people were still acting respectfully even if it was a mask.

Okay, so Americans have a history of pecking parties, but the majority have always shunned scapegoating. They saw those that took after individuals based on race or religion as evil.

Now that it’s all around us, it’s much harder for those just trying to survive to rise above the bullshit. In this age of terrible republican role models, we are bombarded with disrespect in the form of mockery, execration, easily identified falsehoods, total disregard for more than two-thirds of voters, leaders so terrified of women they needed to remove all our effective medical and physical protections and literally silence the smartest women, vilification of not just those less fortunate, but those who exhibit concern for them, among other abominations. All of which has opened the old wounds and given some permission to behave badly. Even kindergarten students are mimicking disrespect. Yet worst of all is the reverence for money akin to worship that gives a glamorous aura to the so-called “role models.” Certainly, oligarchy has proven harmful to the economy, and the deeper issue kakistocracy is an unspeakable frustration. Still, the normalizing of mockery, xenophobia, lying, and disregard for frailty — all in the name of a religion the majority “leaders” know absolutely nothing about — far more tragic than a voiceless poet.

Notes:
Photo credits all go back to Wikipedia as does the video of “Plan 9 from Outer Space;”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McGonagall
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Wood
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tay_Bridge_disaster
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Victoria

## Characters

[1]

When I first wrote this for the Jane’s Stories blog, I’d seen two fairly new movies that I’d missed when they were in first run.  I don’t get to the theater very often, mostly because of the economy. However, on occasion, I will splurge. Something with Judi Dench promises good character-based stories[2]. For another example, the last Harry Potter broke open my moth-infested purse. Yes, of course, I saw all of the others first run. However, when the first couple were released, I was still able to practice the worst of my financial habits: multiple viewings in the first week!

[3]

[4]

The economy is only a small part of self-imposed banishment from soda-sticky floors and popcorn underfoot like sand on the beach. My taste in movies has become rather rigid and, at some point, I lost the confidence I once had in the production of the American cinematic story — comedies particularly. For a while, despite “knowing what I liked,” I was convinced that all the truly great films had been released before I was born.

[4]

[6]

Though I still question some of the choices filmmakers have made based on the assumption that the primary audience for film today is males 18-25 years of age, I will admit films are growing up again. Okay, so my memory of the “old days” is a bit convenient. Though I won’t waste any time with them, thanks to Turner Classic Movies, I’ve seen some dang silly movies made during Hollywood’s “Golden Era,” though primarily that was a time when character-driven plots ruled. Even the studio logos had personality! What I most remember is that my high school years were pockmarked by the likes of “Beach” and “Carry On” movies. The “Carry On” films were part of Britain’s adolescence: driven by slapstick, sexual humor. Beach movies were driven by music and an assumption of sex — neither of which filled my bill at that time.

[7]

The two films that began to change my mind each gave me a rather rude shock. Since the ’80s, American romantic comedies had been aimed at a much younger crowd. We were facing a new crop of actors and a new social sensibility. Though some of them were enjoyable, few were my idea of a great film, “Wings of Desire”  was labelled “too talky” and made into a Romantic Comedy called “City of Angels.”  “Wings of Desire” relies primarily on two things: what two angels bear witness to and brilliant cinematography; yet it is still a very personal story of an angel who chooses mortality.

[=]

“City of Angels”  moved the setting from post war Germany to present day Los Angeles, cast Meg Ryan, Nicholas Cage (two of my favorites) and gave the ending tragic overtones, unlike “Wings of Desire” which acknowledged a tragic past while looking forward to an uplifted future. A clear indication that Hollywood and I were of different mind sets.

[9]

Suddenly while in the library, I tripped over “Hysteria” and Dragonheart” (Universal Pictures 1996.)  For those of you who missed it,  “Hysteria” was a feminist romantic comedy set in the Victorian era, illustrating the invention of the British personal vibrator. Very funny and very scary, this film focuses on a doctor with the temerity to challenge the managing physician on the hospital’s blatant lack of concern for sanitary conditions. When fired, he ends up working for a physician whose primary clientele were women suffering from “Hysteria” and requiring a proper wank from a licensed physician[10]. The other unignorable character is his new employer’s daughter, an outspoken, free-spirited feminist who runs a clinic for working women. Okay, sex is still a Hollywood staple and no red state politician will ever be able to change that — especially when two strong characters of opposite sex lead the story unerringly forward — three, if you count the vibrator.

[10]

People have been telling me to see “DragonHeart” for years. And I’m extremely glad I finally listened to them. It’s a love story, not necessarily between the male and female leads — both worthy characters themselves — but between the last Dragon slayer and the last Dragon. You know, a buddy picture. While the female lead was a strong, capable person, she didn’t have as much action as, say, Snow White in “Snow White and the Huntsman[11],”  as the director, Rob Cohen pointed out in the commentary, she was “the moral compass” of the film. Indispensable, unlike so many of Hollywood’s so called “Heroines.”

[12]

Both “Hysteria” and “DragonHeart” gave me hope for a better cinematic future here. Yet, it’s still a fact that when films spring from a book, a previous movie, or some other “published” inspiration, they become something different, whether or not they stay faithful to the source. We, as writers, need to be aware of that. Books, stories, and stage plays have limited authorship. By it’s very nature, films have many “authors,” producer(s), director(s), writers(s) [I’ve seen as many as twelve screen credits for “writer” in one film], cinematographers, as well as crafts people: effects, make-up, and hair artists, not to mention couturiers. Writing for film requires a very laid back attitude toward collaboration.

[13]

Notes:
[1]RKO’s legacy includes classic films like “Citizen Kane,” “King Kong,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and a plethora of sources for memorable characters.
[2] Yes, that includes the Bond film: Skyfall (Eon Productions 2012)
[3]Judy Dench
[4]Harry Potter’s Dobby, a free elf who knew the meaning of loyalty.
[5]The “Carry On” movies were British favorites from the late fifties through the seventies.
[6]The “Beach” moves were the standard for teenage angst in the sixties.
[7]Wim Wenders‘ “Wings of Desire,” (Road Movies Filmproduktion 1987); Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, and Peter Falk as another fallen angel.
[8]]City of AngelsNicholas CageMeg RyanAndre Braugher, and Dennis Franz in the Peter Falk character, directed by Brad Silberling.
[9]”Hysteria“ (Forthcoming Films 2011) Hugh DancyMaggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathon PryceRupert Everett; Director: Tanya Wexler. The DVD extras include excerpts from a documentary about the history of the female orgasm.
[10] While the film takes dramatic and comedic license with history, sexual stimulation was the standard practice for “Hysteria.”
[11]DragonHeart (Roth Films 2012); Dennis Quaid, Dina MeyerSean Connery; Director: Rob Cohen[11]
[12]Snow White and the Huntsman: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth. Director: Rupert Sanders
[13]Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer known for it’s extravagant musicals.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

## Cranky Women 2

Originally posted August 11, 2014, reviewed and revised in light of the current political climate

Stalwart Women.

In his blog entry “Understanding Angry Old White Men” of August 10, 2014, my friend Dr. Gerald Stein stated: “Males pass through a stage of feeling almost invulnerable and immortal, at least on occasion. They rush to fight wars, compete for mates, and try to climb higher than others. Women perform a selection of these tasks, but few teenaged girls believe themselves indestructible.”1   I recommend that all adults, regardless of age or gender. read his entire article.

Although the thrust of his insightful article captured the human condition, pointing to the physiology of age and the effect of retirement on his defense mechanisms as the source of rage in men of advancing years, Gerry makes rather broad assertions about women which may not hold up.

If in fact, women are the tougher sex, able to survive natural childbirth, “are better sports and, ironically, superior at ‘manning-up’ to the depredations of time,1” it must be a function of what society expects of them. A staple “joke” in modern sitcoms, is set up by the man stating a decision appears not to be thought out very well and each time the woman states a cogent opinion, the man responds with increasing dismissiveness until she finally utters, no matter how calmly she speaks, the kernel of truth that cannot be argued away, he shouts “I can’t discuss this with an irrational woman.” Both men and women laugh; most men because they believe the description of women; women recognize the behavior of men. Still, it’s not really funny that a dismissive attitude toward women is an integral part of our culture.

As for women being “superior at ‘manning up’ to the depredations of age,” we have developed a multizillion dollar cosmetics industry and long ago learned that complaining about something like effects of age, more often than not, fell on deaf male ears; if we were heard, we were subjected to degrading baby-talk or demoralizing vitriol. The point is, women are not “manning up,” but giving in: spending time, effort, and remarkably large sums on cosmetics, fashion, and elective surgery, just to fulfill society’s only expectation for women: to attract a man.

Though the women who are now sixty years and older have been counseled, often from birth, to lay back, be good little girls, play with dolls rather than water guns, hold their tongues, and restrict their thoughts and aspirations, some women have been blessed with the type of personality that allowed them to blaze trails through jungles of testosterone, regardless of the roles their mothers modeled for them. Still, we’re not out of the woods yet. To wit, the Verizon commercial2 reminding parents that daughters really do listen to them when they give messages that essentially tell them to flush their potential down the toilet.
And, I can’t help thinking that familial abuse –so distressingly prevalent – figures into any tendency to feel vulnerable more than the accident of gender. “In 1940, [Carney] Landis published his findings in two related studies, the first of 153 ‘normal’ women and the second of 142 psychiatric patients, reporting that 24% of these subjects reported being sexually abused as children. Later in 1956, Landis expanded the study to 1,800 college students, discovering that 35% of the females . . . had been sexually abused at an early age.”3 The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Statistics estimates that nearly two of every three female victims of violence were related to or knew their attacker and in 92% of all domestic violence incidents, crimes are committed by men against women.4 According to “RAINN” these days, 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. Can you imagine how much more were kept as tortuous secrets in the 40s and 50s5  — by men as well as women.

Without these influences, females might well think of themselves as indestructible. In fact, sometimes you just need to look at some of the self-destructive activities some women of all ages participated in before we were put in the position of having to unite, fighting for our very lives. Maybe now, we really do feel as immortal as our male counterparts did in their youth. Clearly, the male in the White House and his minions must be feeling particularly mortal these days. Why else would they need to eviscerate everyone else to feel successful?

Now, the ultra male, white supremacist administration wants to bomb women back to the stone age. To be fair, they are screwing up everyone, stripping the safeguards that protect the environment, keep the workplace safe, and help workers support themselves. Not to mention making good education for the masses harder to find.

We’re not better at accepting anything, we’ve just been annealed to the ravages of age — and males.

***

Photo Credits:
A montage of women who led the way: Left to right from top: Sappho, Venus, Joan of Arc, Eva Perón, Marie Curie, Indira Gandhi, Venus of Willendorf, Wangari Maathai, Mother Teresa, Grace Hopper, Mamechiho a Geisha, a Tibetan farmer, Marilyn Monroe, Oprah Winfrey, Aung San Suu Kyi, Josephine Baker, Isis, the Queen of Sheba, Elizabeth I, a Quechua mother. Sourced from Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women
The girl from the Verizon Commercial
President Trump’s Misogynistic Hit Squad discussing the Future Of Women’s Health Care, sourced from many Facebook memes.
Notes:
1. Dr. Gerald Stein: – “Blogging About Psychotherapy from Chicago”; http://drgeraldstein.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/understanding-angry-old-white-men
2. Verizon Commercial 2014 “Inspire Her Mind”

3. Cynthia Crosson-Tower, Confronting Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse, Thousand Oaks, California : SAGE Publications, Inc., 2015
4. From the U.S. Dept. of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Violence against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report, January 1994.”
5. Rape Abuse & Incest National Network https://rainn.org/statistics

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