Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Awareness Of A Better Life: When,Where And Why Not?

         
                As it turns out the month of October is a rather extraordinary one in terms of month long holidays. These holidays are all very special because they celebrate the concept of awareness. Autism,brain tumors,breast cancer,domestic violence,dwarfism,cyber security awareness and LGBT history are just several examples of October's month long holidays so it seems. When I first contemplating this next post it was with the intention of addressing each of these demonstrated concepts privately. After some soul searching and my personal passion for art it became apparent that another approach would be more fitting.

                    One sculpture that fascinates me was by the 1920's Romanian futurist sculpture Constanin Brancusi called Bird In Space-which you'll see above you here. His static image has likely inspired many great works of literary and visual art-due in part to the idea behind it. The sculpture itself was a fine example of representational art. That's because Brancusi didn't sculpt a bird. He sculpted the nature of a bird by interpreting flight. As an futuristically inclined artist myself that concept interested me a great deal. So when thinking of the nature of all of the levels of awareness people are asked to deal with this month it became clear that all of them in fact have a singular nature. And that is going to be the subject of this article: one persons viewpoint on the present nature of human beings around them.

                   In recent weeks there have been long periods of the day where it seems that my body,heart and mind are carrying the metaphoric equivalent of a life sized lead sphere-something so heavy and prone to lose control if ever let lose. At first it seemed like accumulated personal stress. After this same feeling has continued on it's become apparent it goes quite a bit deeper than that. Personally it has to do with the idea of paradox. One of the ways I've been able to maintain a courageous and meaningful presence in life is by the means of eliminating unneeded paradoxes. 2013 has been a very interesting time. Same sex relationships are at last becoming seen as totally natural. Democracy is showing signs of developing further over even local tyrannies. And many people are at last psychologically looking to turn from war to peace.

               This leads to the first paradox within these changes. Something one can notice in their daily life,should they fully open their eyes,is how uncertain and frustrated people have become. Society might be changing for the better. But at the same time that reflects very differently depending on the type of community one lives in. Selfish as it may seem to continually draw mainly from their own experiences,that is all I can effectively do in this regard.  Its actually at the heart of this end of the matter,in fact.  But today I often find myself keeping extremely late hours talking online to friends on the West Coast of America. While I won't speak for all of them,it seems that these social situations produce less needless paradox. And interpersonal conflicts are resolved more productively.

              Of course there's the challenge of democracy itself: everyone has to have a say. Even if that say represents a destructive effect on everyone else. The sad truth is that often these destructive elements in a democracy have the more powerful voices,not to mention more powerful influences. In the end that creates a feeling of great cynicism and lack of interest in people willing to make changes to better themselves and each other. In a nutshell that results in cancer patients not having a cure for their illness,autism still not being fully understood,once loving couples often physically hurting one or the other and even whole groups of people living under a shield of un-addressed invisibility.

             When the rights of any grown human being to love each other and the dawn of peaceful diplomacy with once warring nations are co-existing next to Government shutdowns and continuing gun and racial violence,it can be a very challenging process to see the glass of life as half full,let alone containing anything at all. It sometimes seems like a room filled with people shouting over each other-those not being heard and those not wanting to hear getting nowhere. An LGBT person,someone with Autism,cancer or experiencing domestic violence all have something to say to a society that so often gives lip service to their lot in life. We may have ears to hear and a mouth to speak. But will be lift even a finger to as much as type out a simple article online to emphasize this? In the end,its up to us to not only be aware but be aware of the sometimes conflicting natures of us all. 


                                                    

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schooling,Education And The Difference Between Ignorance And Apathy

                    It needed to happen when it did. In June of last year,this art installation of over 800 empty classroom desks were placed on the lawn of the nations capital to symbolize the drop out rate in America's public schools. Personally? Its an idea I wish I'd followed through on because as with many American's,its crossed my mind on more than one occasion to do something of this sort. Despite what some people might think,I really am a very positive person. That being said even the most positive of people can still be haunted by ghosts of their past. What is about to be said is not a ranting,angry tirade about modern public education. So many people in so many places are already aware of the politics of that. And the difference between ignorance and apathy is implied,not necessarily literal,in this case either.  Its about the reasons that I myself came extremely close to dropping out of school.

                   Before going into this it's important to reinforce: this blog is often self oriented and is an adult (if not profane) topic. Many of the blog posts I've done are sprinkled with references to troubles in school with the local Board Of Education and some of the most severe forms of bullying. Now the time may be ideal to tell this story to hopefully inspire others to bravery of their character and to do so to others as well.  To start with,from the day I entered kindergarten,
something about the atmosphere of everything didn't seem right. While it was exciting to meet other people in my age group,none of them were truly relatable to me. Even from that age it seemed I'd unwittingly entered a world where apathy,a word I didn't even know at that time,was the accepted way to think. Teachers and students seemed to be going through the motions of everything. Often I was inwardly sad about this.
     
                   As time went on there were moments of sometimes extreme happiness. Though I noticed many of them happened off the school grounds. When people are in preadolescence, they are likely no more aware than I was about the actual sociopolitical complexities of what happens around them with cliques and such. And I kept being told this was a normal part of growing up. Heard it all from "toughen up" to "kids can be cruel". No matter how often this viewpoint was reinforced,it somehow seemed less and less reasonable each time it occurred. One thing I remember during my 4th and 5th grade year in particular was me diving headlong into what many described as a fantasy world. It included cartoon characters and people-some fictional. I started having dreams about them. In these dreams and fantasy's,there were friends and adults to handled life events well,cooperated and understood about life.

                    Typical of how many would react to such behavior,many people seemed to assume I was developing a mental disorder. They did everything from coaxing to outright counseling to try to discourage this emphasis on fantasy and enforce the need to deal with reality. What they didn't know then was that to me that fantasy world felt like it was torn and ripped away from me,as if it'd been a second skin. It actually hurt on many levels. I dislike reality around me. And couldn't seem to genuinely change it for the better. Even though there was a world of literature and music that was encouraged,it was out of step with reality again. And now I knew what people called it-being a geek. It does seem unthinkable to see myself that way today-compared literally to a circus sideshow whose act might include sticking rusty nails into their nostrils. 

                  By the summer of 1992 it was almost time for junior high. A member of my family painted a freeing picture of an intellectually stimulating world with a broader social climate that bought my fantasy world of before into reality. It was a beautiful idea. Still is. Yet the moment I arrived I stepped onto the grounds of Garland Street Middle School in September of 1992,it was a shock to my system that even today effects my life. Day after day passed seeing a vision of entropy before my eyes. Young people my own age wandering about-proudly flaunting every manner of dysfunctional pop culture before my eyes-from alternative rock to sports bar culture far beyond their understanding,let alone mine. Minor bullying led to the more severe variety-being beaten physically and one occasion being called a heretic-over a pair of faded jeans. 

                I remember not so vitally the pain I was experiencing,but watching my own family fight tirelessly against the bullying of my supposed peers and the racial bigotry of the school's administration. I felt the need for their help so badly as I was doing horribly in my studies,lacked any particular ambitions besides retreating into a new fantasy world of artistic ventures and tended to talk to my family for hours every day. Now I felt as if I was about to break down and lose it. This wasn't being a kid. This was growing up faster than anyone needs to. Finally I told my mother at least that I couldn't take it and wanted to drop out of school. She knew I wanted an education badly,and she was dead on right. But could no longer bare public school without basically losing my grip on reality.

                 Than a miracle occurred. We discovered this idea of homeschooling. We'd have to report to a certified teacher yearly. And some segments of society came down on me in particular that I'd lose out on the social aspect of public school. Personally seeing how everything has turned out since that time? With peers like that as friends,who needed enemies? There were kinder people out there,and now I could choose them. And in truth my studies and grades improved immeasurably during my homeschooling. Admittedly the events in my final year of public school had drained away much of my ambition. On the other hand,my interest in creative ventures bought many acquaintances in and out of my life who encouraged me in pursuing those visions I had in a productive and healthy way.

                Anyway,that's the story of what happened to me. Adult life of course has presented,and continues to present,both challenges and many barriers that are flat out hard to overcome. People close to me today are often puzzled and even roll their eyes at the notion that two decades later I could still be so deeply effected by...those final four months of 1992 that forever changed my life.
Its even been recently suggested that I myself am a negative person in much the same manner as that 1990's generation of people who once tormented and criticized people like me. My answer to that is that I always play a balancing act between the realism of the world and my own instincts in being a dreamer. Adding to that conundrum is that by definition dreamers are almost always discouraged and disappointed by the realities of even their own existence. 

               To paraphrase the rather philosophical vocal legend Chaka Khan from her own autobiography I'm often forced to ask myself a similar question as she did when she felt let down by life in different ways: what are you contributing? Its a worthwhile question to ask oneself now and then. You can walk around with a dirty look on your face,feeling ashamed because you have so many good ideas locked inside of you. Or you can choose those have to feelings and still do what you have to do anyway-because its the right thing. These are noble words that are not as easy as one might think to say. And all the same they are even more challenging words to live by. Today I wonder one thing above all: were some of those children whom those empty desks on the Capital lawn represent people much like me who perhaps weren't given the same option and advantage I was? Does that make homeschooler's privileged and pampered somehow?

              From the few other people who took another road same as I did,one of the few things I feel completely happy (and lighter) about was saying so long to the public school system. At the same time I include myself among the group of people who,deep down,am hoping that the situations that make public school so negativism that children fell the need to drop out of it will change drastically in my own lifetime. Today the world needs peace,love and understanding more than ever. And exclusionist social cliques,bigotry and bullying doesn't provide the proper education for young people in public school to begin to achieve that goal. Personally I think the world has quite enough hardened,career minded people out of touch with their heart,mind and soul. No church,mosque,temple or synagogue provide instant answers either. Sometimes,to educate ourselves the best way not to be a dropout from society is just being yourself. Even if you cannot easily put it under the heading of a label. Easier said that done? Well,it can be done-truly.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summertime Is Still In The Air!

                 For myriad reasons a feeling of growing melancholia takes a hold of my emotional well-being during this particularly time of year. Used to think that it had to do with the climactic change of seasons. To perhaps overextend a metaphor, that is in the neighborhood but not quite at the front door of the matter. The point begins during Labor Day Weekend roughly and extends through mid September. I will be in public shopping and either on a radio commercial or through somebody at the cash register there will inevitably mention of summer being over.

             Sometimes its not as clear as it once was that most people realize the beginning of the autumnal equinox actually falls on September 21'st-three weeks after the Labor Day holiday weekend. The easiest answer to this would be that the concept of summer being over in the beginning of September is entirely corporate. Most schools are back in session and there seems to be enormous pressure for stores to begin stocking Halloween items to take advantage of holiday sales. These are easily observable to any American-regardless of the boundaries between states. Yet its far from the be all and end all of the story.

               The photograph you see above you was taken less than half a day ago. Through the cameras eyes this is not dissimilar to a photo taken in the same place and location in May,June,July and August. Foliage changes have not emerged to an even adequate degree and the feeling in the air is definitely in the mode of summer. Personally I've grown to loath the almost celebratory tone with which people around me seem to greet the end of the summer season. Summer in the state of Maine is an extremely special time for me. And seems to be for many of those same people who so quickly make mention of the conclusion of the season.

                  One reason for my discontent with such attitudes is that the area of the state I have always lived in has very intense (and often frightening) seasonal contrasts. Someone such as myself feels as a squirrel to a hollow log most of the summer-hiding acorns away for the coming harshness of winter-again metaphorically of course. Another is the more obvious issue of mobility. Barring accident,no weather conditions in the state of Maine would ever cause the cancellation of people's jobs or special events in the summer months the same way..say a 'Nor Easter would.  So why in an area oriented around summer tourism and the seasonal mobility of person would there be such an enormous and temporary embrace of a transitional season to a time of year that creates little but physical hardship for its residence? 

                  There is a saying used heavily by the antiwar and counter-cultural movements of the late 1960's: the personal is political. At least where I live,a very analytical person such as myself probably draws a similarly sociopolitical take on such unusual reactions to seasonal changes. Perhaps people want to find ways to make themselves unhappy. That they've forgotten how to find joy in the embrace of a green oak tree of the petals of a flower in the modern working world. Since winter in what essentially amounts to a Tundra climate would obviously create more physical labor for a person,could be that hoping for such conditions is a sign of merely individual aspirations aimed too low. At any rate,while summer is still with us these are questions worth people pondering.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday The 13th,Awareness Of Our Challenges And The Freedom From Fear

                 Today is an event that only occurs once,or rarely twice,each year. Friday the 13th. An entire series of motion pictures have been named for this day. Its become synonymous across the nation,and many areas of the world, with superstition. One can slice this bread of verbiage however they please. Yet in the end superstition qualifies as one of many words for fear itself. On this particular combination of number and day on the calender its advised by many not to carry an umbrella,walk under ladders,step on cracks and of course allowing a black cat to cross your path. The proceeding week has also been National Autism and Special Education week. Strangely enough,there is an often unseen link between this two subject matters.

                    From my own personal research it seems the origins of this Friday the 13th superstition is based on 19th century Christian mythology having to do with the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. On the surface it might seem like the stereotypical "fear of god" ethic. Under the surface is perhaps a linkage to something I experienced last night as I was creating my latest painting. I was listening to a song by a band named Mutiny,for those not in the know a spin-off of George Clinton's P-Funk  musical collective,called "Thee Funky Prez". Musically I liked what I heard of it. Suddenly this very intrusive rapper came into the song out of nowhere. I've heard this before and never been bothered. On this night I saw ghosts-flashed before my eyes and mind as an intense barrage of thoughts and memories.


                       What I saw in this dizzying mental flashback was much like someone changing the channels of a TV too fast. News about race riots in LA,the deaths of Kurt Cobain,Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls,the child abuse charges against Michael Jackson-someone known before hand mainly as an extremely charitable man with an all encompassing passion for children's rights. There were thoughts of ghoulish people in white makeup-maybe latch key kids discouraged with life and developing an obsession with death. These were all events I remember witnessing and living through in reality during the mid/early 1990's. A very strange type of generational post traumatic stress. 


                  For a few seconds I could feel the pure,unadulterated fear of someone who was convinced they'd seen an actual ghost. It was like being kicked in the head not by anxiety,but a sudden pacification bought on by fright. Of not being able to confront what I saw. I turned off the music,spoke to a kind friend on Facebook and the feeling faded. I began to have a realization this morning. The world in which we live is facing much change for the better. A change towards celebrating diversity of self for its own sake. A change towards embracing life rather than death,understanding rather than killing. 


                 Yet faced with the very embodiment of humanity's greatest desires for peace and harmony,many are retreating backward towards unusable older modes of thinking-reacting to the positive new changes seemingly as I did to hearing that song. So not only do I not understand the nature of my own fears. But have equally little understanding of why so many people would be afraid of something unquestionably good? Perhaps it goes back to the fears I had of seeing people during my adolescence put such strong emphasis on exploring mainly the darker aspect of their psyche: superstition and death as a lifestyle choice. 


                   Another thought occurred to me regarding this total embrace and almost passion for fear. When I was growing up I was very mistakenly placed into a special education class for behaviorally challenged children-mainly because I had trouble making friends. No braggadocio intended but it never bothered me too much that I was more imaginative and intellectual than anyone else in that class. What was bothersome was a couple of the students extreme behavioral reactions to their inability to accomplish their school work. One student would scream,back into the corner and hurl heavy objects at anyone who approached. 


              Two things would happen in such cases: either the teacher would call an "emergency recess" similar to that of a court proceeding or I would personally employ the old cold war duck and cover method to keep physically safe from this school room assault. Without a doubt this was fear uncut on all sides. Fear on the part of the protagonist for his perceived lack of ability,as well as his fear of being called on it. It was the other students fear of his reaction. And it was fear of the teachers and principle of not being able to do a great deal to handle the situation. Discipline would have no effect,neither would the PTA. Pure adrenaline rushes on the part of a troubled preteen student proved to be totally beyond reasoning.


              That represents the linkage of fear of a changing world so many desire and the challenges of helping developing young minds in special education to handle a social climate that all these years later still seems to have all odds against them. Though stated in a broader context the great American composer Duke Ellington,during his acceptance of a special lifetime achievement award from then President Nixon,spoke of "freedom from fear"-both within and without Ellington's own context an enormously profound statement. People who place value in the wrong things know what about themselves. Yet they keep doing whatever it is that troubles them. 


              People would rather move to a new location,change their job or even leave behind their friends and loved ones than to change those aspects within themselves that are the real source of their concerns. At times when they cannot place themselves in their group and changes seem to come so thick and fast,such people often become extremely suggestible. Even in cases where a sociopolitically powerful figure offers positive and long term change. They will tend to seek out those who are more like shifty social engineers who can offer instant satisfaction,instant answers and all things in the short term. Someone who prescribes an instant cure for their emotional ills. Someone to tell them what is wrong and what can be done to right it. A snake oil salesmen for the soul. 


          And as for the one presenting positive long term change? Well,especially if they look or sound unfamiliar they'll be almost completely rejected. So it all feeds on itself. The embrace of religious and political systems that encourage people to live in fear,the rejection by many of positive figures such as President Obama. We may all want that "freedom from fear" as part of our lives. Yet many of our actions contradict those desires. It often ends up more satisfying to this seemingly twisted ethic to worry about..say stepping on a crack on a day like this than delighting in a triumphant embrace of peace somewhere,anywhere in the world. So if people desire to achieve that freedom from fear,perhaps they'd be well advised to take a longer and harder look into the sources of these fears that so preoccupy their hearts and mind.


             


                

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Man's Inhumanity To Woman,Child,Animal And Other Living Things

     It's been nearly a months time since I've written anything on this particular blog. The reasoning behind this is that there didn't seem to be much that could be offered into the conversational pool that hadn't already been said. Outside of writers block,that might be the other key motivating factor in people's inability to offer consistent prose to the public. That also goes into the idea that sometimes a person has so much to say,nothing is able to come out. Well it would seem the inspiration for translating these thoughts eloquently in this particular case came from a Facebook comment thread in which I participated in earlier. Likely there are elements that have been illustrated in other articles here. But for this occasion I'll blend new commentary with what was stated in that Facebook thread to make better sense of it all.

               When news broke out about tensions involving chemical weapons in Syria,memories of last years holiday tension revolving around the Sandy Hook school shooting immediately came to mind. Considering the general attitude of hostility around me-everywhere from in the grocery store to say,a receptionist at a doctors office it does seem important to reinforce a certain point with perhaps greater moral authority which many find all too easy to evoke through religious righteousness but very difficult to find within themselves. Personally,and in this situation it comes down to this: I don't approve of war or the military as it is,there is another way to handle this Syria issue and I don't blame President Obama at all.

                  The president is under enormous pressure from what the majority of people know to be a government with an prevalent Military Industrial back-round-which actually has resemblances to Stalinist Russia in many ways: a governing body who begins treating citizens badly for the sake of an idea. Many people still pledge allegiance to a flag in a militaristic manner. Many also rely on pure propaganda-insisting one side is right and the other is wrong. In the end both sides of a given conflict are doing the exact same thing. Differences in political organization and leadership not withstanding? Human beings may not all be alike culturally. But the majority of them deal with interpersonal and armed conflict in a very similar manner. 

             Some might even cynically argue its humanity's indignation about our social and religious ideologies that define our very character. Still facts are facts: the last war we engaged in as a nation resulted in America becoming a morally and socially decaying society. Almost everyone are aware things have to be changed. Yet they are often too locked down into unwieldy social attitudes-just about any "ism" you could name. Today society seems to function much like a schoolyard-bitterly divided into it's own separate schools. There' democracy,conservatism, libertarianism,socialism,humanism,atheism,totalitarianism,spiritualism. You'll find a plethora of them just about everywhere you go in fact. 

             Now there are sadistic dictators in places such as Syria who will do unconscionable things. What is difficult to understand is why so many aren't able to see this as a mere symptom of a much larger problem. We claim to protect other countries from such tyranny's as chemical warfare. But considering our repulsively prejudiced attitudes towards immigration, is it not ourselves we're really protecting? Are we in fact morally superior to the countries whose tyranny we rail out against? Basically its time for the American people to discontinue behaving like preadolescenct boys at recess-hitting and bullying each other over an inconsequential material object such as a toy or a baseball bat. 

              No governmental system that denies the soul can be. One cannot create the person by merely creating the environment. That is why Communism and fascism were inherently flawed. And why America themselves face similar flaws today. Perhaps it comes down to misunderstandings of the entire masculine ethic,and further more than the masculine ethic is what is pushing society forward. An observation was made to me earlier today that,generally,a man who is still a heavy substance abuser may be more likely to try to hide such behavior from his family. Where a man who has recovered and grown beyond such behaviors may discuss them more readily and with great candor. Since the President is a caring family man who clearly loves and cares for his children and future generations,it's appropriate he take a firmer stance against world militarism/totalitarianism and set a new course for America and the world away from tyranny-of any sort and any kind.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Technophobia And Our Relationship With The Modern World

                          Several months ago I wrote an article on this blog about some human being's purely sentimental attachment to older technology versus newer developments. As with its detractors,my own opinions modern "digi-tech" is based almost entirely on individual observation. I personally try at least to make an effort not to let bias lead the way in my thoughts and feelings. Now I'm not saying to pump myself up to appear superior in heart and mind to anyone else. But only to illustrate a thought process that took much time and effort to develop. And that more people would be wise to...well at least try to try. What I am writing about today again comes from personal experience. And it is not about modern technology and our reluctance to it. But rather about the more extreme end of this spectrum:fear of technology,apparently known as technophobia. And there's a personal story to illustrate this too.

                   Nine years ago my family purchased a Sony CMT-NEZ3 mini home stereo system. As with most such devices of the time it could play both standard CD's and MP3 discs,and it had a built in digital radio turner. But the main selling point to them is that even in 2005 it was one of the few systems they could find with a cassette player/recorder. As is typical of Sony products up through today apparently,the CD is held down with a black spindle that within the last year or so has come loose. It takes sometimes ten attempts at taking the CD in and out of the player in order to get it to play. Otherwise,the device clicks and continues to say "no disc". Yet its not broken in any serious sense: merely looseness clearly observable in the black spindle mechanism. Recently however,this has started to create a problem for me personally.

                     When I do my acrylic canvas painting some nights,I listen to music. Its all part of personal stress objectification in this particular case. In the last couple of weeks or so,I have noticed how the complicated process of repeating the same operation to try to get the device to play the CD has gotten me to the point where this entire fiasco was creating the exact level of stress my painting/music situation is supposed to help prevent. Down to the point where on some occasions I decided it might be appropriate not to even paint the given night. Tried another solution in my moms old yellow Sony boombox from 2000. However it has the same exact spindle,and of course the results were the same. In the end the solution was simple: plug my portable CD player into a surge protector with portable speakers. Worked like a charm in lieu of a better system. Still it was an important revelation for me.

                        Why would someone such as myself whose learned so much in the past decade about re-arranging life to prevent tension loose my temper on a device that doesn't care how I feel about it? It bought to mind another possible reason towards people's fear of technology outside their sentimental attachment to only that which they've known. Could be that a lot of people's fear and frustration at modern technology comes both from their lack of ability to understand it, but their irritation at the over zealous attitudes of the technologies developers. I've come to a conclusion that a lot of the new and less then adequate technologies-such as digital television and some lower end laptop computers,are developed by eager beaver type technicians who are perhaps so fascinated with their own inventions they neglect practicality to the everyday people. I think if humanism joined forces more with futurism,technology's performance would seriously improve. And therefore so would fear of it.

                

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It Happened On A Sunny Morning 68 Years Ago-A Tribute To The Hibakusha

                 
                    It was 8:15 in the morning in a city on the coast of Japan. It was a beautiful and sunny August 6'th. The year was 1945. Most of the other cities in Japan had been bombed by Allied aircraft and the people of this city started to realize that their city,so far untouched,might have been saved aside for a reason. So many people had their heads covered outside. Being the typical morning commuting hour, people were going to their jobs in and around the city. Soldiers stationed their were preparing for their training operations on the parade grounds. Children were going to school. Families were enjoying peaceful breakfasts in their homes-mothers,fathers and their children. One of these families saw this blinding white flash,brighter than a thousand suns,burst into the window. Than an Earthquake like shot blew them through the house as it flew about. And  some of them were knocked unconscious by the force of the blast.

                    When this family opened their eyes to look around them,they saw the city was now a smoldering inferno-blanketed by thick black smoke and fire. Around them were charcoal black figures-burnt to a crisp where they stood. There were charcoal black figures walking too-aimlessly in all directions with their shredded skin hanging off their outstretched arms. They pegged for water. Someone in the family tried to give them some out of a water pump. And the people died right after. Those who survived flung themselves into the river to escape the intense heat. As they piled up on one another,some of them drowned. Then these survivors looked up and felt raindrops falling. They started drinking the rain,which they noticed was black like oil. Black rain was falling from the sky. All around them,people still walking on the streets started to fall one by one,side by side and pass away.

                        For the next few days soldiers mounted rescue operations in this city. By then the same thing had happened to another nearby city. Within the next few weeks many more people died. And something strange started to happen. Other people who should've been getting better came down with an unknown illness. Their hair started to fall out of their heads. They became extremely weak and docile. Purple spots started to appear on their bodies. They threw up large amounts of black liquid and also started dying. Conversations with them revealed that these people were close to the ground zero where this flash had appeared-such as the people who had drunk the black rain.  Today years have passed since these events. This city has been rebuilt. And some of the people have survived. But all of them have had to live with ongoing health conditions such as deformed body parts,organ failures and an extremely high cancer rate. Survivors of this are known as Hibakusha-meaning Explosion Afflicted People.

                        As much as it sounds like a nightmare inducing horror movie,what you just heard was true. And the name of the first city is happened in was Hiroshima. No matter how we slice it, this was the first and only nuclear war ever conducted by any nation. People have debated the politics of dropping the first atomic bomb in war since the day it happened. And there doesn't seem to be any solid resolution as of yet at this point. Many have died during war since. Children and families in many parts of the world. Even victims of terrorist attacks such as 9/11. However I'd personally like to ask anyone who is debating with someone about the abolition of nuclear weapons to think about stories such as the one you've just heard. Think about the children who burned to death. Think about all the families destroyed by radiation poisoning from things like the black rain. And despite who cruel some people can be, think about if this is something you'd really wish on even your worst enemies.

                     


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Life As An 8 O'Clock Person In A 5 O'Clock World

                During the information age of digi-tech and internet being more and more a part of our day to day lives,its not difficult for someone in my age group to have noticed major changes in how people access different media.  From the ages of 16 to 30 people born in the late 70's and early 80's have witnessed the transition from encyclopedia sets to personalized online wiki's, from petroleum guzzling SUV's to gas/electric hybrid cars. However one thing that hasn't changed much is people's confusion in meeting up to the demands to humanity's own creation of time. Workers and those travelling to appointments are still alternately condemned for being too late and too early for them. And since not every single clock on this planet is in precise sync with each other, the notion of being "on time" is actually pretty ludicrous. Speaking for myself again at the risk of sounding egotistical perhaps, there's another more personal side of this I am facing as I write this in fact.

                It is almost 1AM here now. I am not ready to go to sleep by a long shot and have a dental appointment tomorrow at 11AM. I chose that. However I will not necessarily be emotionally ready. Whatever my personal situation, it all comes down to the fact I am simply a night owl. That is not any revelation. More than half the population of major metropolitan areas the world over fit into that category-from New York City to London.  These cities have small and large business and services who cater to those who live and work by the light of the moon. When  treated by family to a 30th birthday vacation to Clearwater,Florida several years back I couldn't help but noticing the proliferation of night time businesses open for both. tourists and residence-some nearly 24 hours a day. It wasn't actually until returning for that entertaining and enlightening visit that something finally registered with me that had always been right under my nose.

               A good example of this occurred this past weekend. While on another family summer day trip we all thought of stopping at the colorfully tranquil Thuya Gardens in the Northeast Harbor area of Acadia following a picnic and walk around Schoodic Point. After taking a rather bumpy side road to go there, we checked a map in the glove compartment that said the gardens closed at 4:30PM. And this during the summer months. Maine,especially the coastal areas are dependent mostly on tourism during the warmer months. This gave me credence to look around and notice that on weekends,the most likely time for tourist traffic most business in the Acadia National Park area are closed down before the sun sets. Even many public restroom facilities. Its hard to imagine in a society with such variant schedules,the need for more employment hours by people of all ages and primarily the fact it is now the 21st century that such outmoded conditions of time could still exist in an area such as this.

              Within the past couple of years I've become more and more enthralled with Doctor Who, a television program that presents the idea that some aspects of time are fixed and must remain untouched, whereas other moments of time are totally flexible and can be altered. In the show its often referred to as "wibbly wobbly,timey wimey". Even though there are many who have accused me of sleeping half the day away over the years, don't most of us now live a "wibbly wobbly,timey wimey" kind of life? The "5 O'Clock World" the song talks about doesn't seem to be very viable today. Understanding rural oriented societies such as Maine intent on keeping its old traditions, perhaps some such traditions are not fixed points in time. And need to be appropriately changed. And not just to accommodate me personally: I am not alone. There are many people who want more hours at work, visitors who need more services-all on different time schedules  In the modern world, every place should be open to both those who rise with the roosters and those who live by the indigo skies after the dusk shine.

          

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July In America And The Question Of Patriotism

               One of the major sociological questions asked by the baby boomer and many succeeding American generations is the question of what is patriotism and what isn't. If someone were to ask me the question, I'd have so much to say. At the same time their is a mild faux Zen philosophy gripping many Americans even now,probably as an unseen form of self denial. And that is the "less is more" conversational ethic. Cannot tell you how many times that's been imparted to me in terms of my own mode of conversation. Without any patronizing on my part I'm going to give that "less is more" idea a genuine try in this particular blog. Especially since it will be the last before a self imposed three week vacation from blogging. So without further adieu, I will get to the point of this brief but hopefully enlightening blog.

           2013 is officially halfway through itself. And the nation of America is taking a long hard look at itself after years of purposing to be the greatest country on the entire Earth.  The  American public's attitudes towards President Obama,as he is continuing to support positive and humanistic social change,as well as that towards the young men who perpetrated the tragic Boston Marathon Massacre in April shows that sadly racism and prejudice of all sorts remain a hidden American epidemic. Same goes for sexism,with many political changes counter to ethnic minorities and women have been put into place this year as well. Yet at the same time,even as the debate on firearms continues the extremely anti humanist DOMA was defeated this year-less than a week from this writing in fact.

             This particular fourth of July showcases to me an interesting time to be an American. The beginnings of correction for social problems that have plagued the nation,even if too many people choose not to see them as problems at all, are finally underway. There remains the possibility of sociopolitical decisions unworkable in the present American society of being continually maintained by those few remaining people so frightened by change they'd just assume see a bad thing last forever. Yet for the first time in many many years, decades actually the age of cynicism and quietly enforced uncaring is beginning to fade from peoples hearts and minds. And as intolerance,both religiously and politically continues to wither fast with age the possibility exists for Americans to at last treat all other Americans as free people capable of fully pursuing happiness.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pride And Victory For All LGBTQ Individuals In An Entire Nation On The Verge Of Extremely Positive Change!

               To conclude this months series of blogs regarding LGBTQ Pride, there seems to be almost too much to explain. Nationwide history was made this weekend. Only under a decade ago, Proposition 8 allowed for same sex marriage rights to be ripped away from citizens of the state of California. This week the supreme court officially ruled DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) as unconstitutional. This of course overturned California's Prop 8. While this closes the door to another ugly prejudice in a nation always preaching equality, two more major issues were decided on in Washington-one an important minority voting clause that was remanded and the other successful citizenship reform for immigrants. This is two major steps forward with only one major step back for American justice. And while not perfect by any means, it is a major start.

                 In an interesting way, these events paralelled a very fullfilling pride month for me personally. Knowing full well that I would spend that month writing blogs about my views on different LGBTQ related issues, I also found myself getting far more involved with local Pride festivities in my area than I ever had. Last summer was the first time I marched in a Pride parade. And this year would be my second. What happened was the local Pride organization decided to try a special Art Walk that would include painting,
photography spoken word and dance the Thursday before the parade. I decided to participate by submitting three of my paintings for display: two of which were portraits of famous LGBTQ historical activists Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk. So the best way I feel to present this blog is as a written diary of sorts about my experiences in this historical several days for the LGBTQ community.

                First thing I did on the day that DOMA was defeated was attend a screening of a film called Gen Silent, a documentary discussing the stories of several LGBTQ seniors and the difficulties they still face with prejudice and health care. Betsy Smith, a major leader in the local LGBTQ community introduced the film announcing the defeat of DOMA to a round of applause-including from myself. The second thing I did was attend the Art Walk the next  night. It was a magnificent event. Seeing my paintings professionally displayed for the first time,talking to other art lovers about them. I visiting many other artists at different locations in downtown Bangor-one of whom was a singer whom I indirectly helped promote via a Facebook friend. There was also a complimentary tango lesson at the end of the evening. This was something I'd never done before. Hearing one has natural rhythm is very esteem boosting indeed for anyone.

               Third thing I did was attend the Pride parade of course. I was a bit nervous with rain and possible lightening storms in the forecast  Happily the rain held out enough for the parade and the festivities. Myself and someone I have very strong feelings were given the opportunity to hold up the pride flag for all to see. I gave victory/peace signs with my hand to the cheering crowd. Once we got to the festivities, different speakers from the head of EqualityMaine, the Bridge Alliance and a minister from the local Unitarian Church spoke about how vital and entrenched LGBTQ rights have become in our local town law. After that I was asked by a reporter for the local newspaper to have my picture taken and make a comment on video for a story they were running about the Pride festival.

              With all the delight and joy of the Pride Festival, the announcers made it very clear that coming up was the 29th anniversary of the murder of a homosexual man named Charlie Howard in the city of Bangor. There is a memorial in town we were all encouraged to visit. Today I didn't have a chance. But I fully intend to. I am firmly of the opinion that in order for human rights to advance in any way, its appropriate that humans continue to regard all the events of our past-positive and negative not as an anchor rooting us forever to the past, but rather as a peaceful guardian and protector as we all continue on our unique and uncertain individual and societal journeys through this thing called life. And this week I can thank the United States Of America for defeating DOMA and making this a week to truly celebrating human love,tolerance and understanding.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Homosexuality Across The World Wide Web

               After its launching in the mid 1990's, the internet was almost instantly stereotyped as a global pornography network. Much of this was based on the mediums extremely open and free spirit. Within that nearly two decades time the internet has grown from a noisy and difficult to use medium into something that is part of our daily lives. Of course I am using it to write this as we speak. In the here and now the internet is similarly serving LGBTQ people in a similar fashion that the minstrel show did with African American's over a century earlier: almost as a form of cyber burlesque in which both "gay" and "straight" people can understand,and misunderstand one another.

         My own personal experience with LGBTQ related media on the web was through Gay.com,the oldest LGBTQ related website available that started as a chat room before I was on the internet at all. By the time of my own use of the sight, it was providing news and information for socially aware homosexuals and was the first place where I heard the term LGBTQ in the first place. Over the course of time Gay.com has returned somewhat to its status as a chat oriented website-with its news and information area something one has to look a bit harder for.


        However the same difficulties facing homosexuals offline have found their way online. Even universal social media sites such as Facebook have a tendency to become all too easy a forum for homosexual people,often those discontent with their own lives, to create difficulty for other homosexual people who they should be all measures be supportive of. This negative behavior,based on my own experience,runs the gamut from idol ignorance of said people's daily site posts to out and out verbal harassment. 


        Personally, my own personal use of the internet in terms of LGBTQ issues have to do with exactly what I am doing now: online activism that is positively executed through blogging and comments I make on sociopolitical oriented memes on social networks that I'm involved in. There are a whole group of people who are still convinced the internet is nothing like real life,and nothing on it has a lasting effect on the world. Especially in cases such as with LGBTQ people and groups, the internet is real life. It tells real stories-some nice,others that have been warped into cheapness such as hookup sites such as Manhunt and WardZero. As with anything,the internet will make a good or bad difference depending on what one does with it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The LGBTQ Cinematic Experience- The Door To The Celluloid Closet That's Now Fully Open

                             In 1981 Vito Russo (above), activist and once organizer for the Gay Activists Alliance,who had began creating dances and movie nights as an alternative to the Mob owned gay bars of the period,published a text called The Celluloid Closet. Of course Mr.Russo is no longer with us. However his prose, and the excellent documentary film from 1996 that it inspired has got me to think how homosexuality in cinema has evolved just as generationally as homosexuals themselves have in terms of their relationship to the world. As the late Tony Curtis coined in that documentary, film tends to be how the contemporary American continues to learn about the society around them. And as Vito Russo pointed out told straight people how to think about gay people, and gay people what to think about themselves.

                              To be frank I am not as well versed in the entire spectrum of LGBTQ cinema over the years. However so much has happened in the gay community, even the name to which it is now referred to, during my lifetime. Before I could even talk,for example there was a film  released that did something that is actually still fairly daring by presenting homosexuality as an act of love. It was called Making Love,starring Michael Ontkean and Harry Hamlin. This was released at a time so early in the AIDS epidemic that the disease didn't yet have a name. And spoke of two adult men finding love between each other in the post Stonewall era. I didn't see this film until my late adolescence-presented to me in a sociological context at that particular time.

                           During the early 1990s there was a sudden boom of films that celebrated the culture of cross dressing. These were also shown to me at a time when I started meeting the first homosexuals I ever know. A couple grown men who were acquaintances of my parents. These men were decent and fatherly types and generally treated me like a younger brother or a son. One of these cross dressing themed films was Priscilla Queen of The Desert,which revolved around a trio of cross dressers from three different generations going on a tour together in the Australian outback and the adventures they encounter. It told the same kind of well rounded and human stories I was then experiencing at the time with the first gay men I had a chance to formerly be aware of.

                          Interestingly enough,one of the biggest changes I've known with homosexual actors or actress's is how they are presented in films. When Ellen DeGeneres and singer/actress KD Lang first came out during the 1990's, their film roles were generally limited to "gay cinema"-such as  Salmonberries for KD and If These Walls Could Talk 2 for Ellen. The same went for Harvey Fierstein in his transition from theater to film. In today's world openly homosexual actors even such as Sir Ian McKlellen of Lord Of The Rings fame and Zachary Quinto, who portrays Spock in JJ Abrams Star Trek films can now enjoy the freedom of selecting any roles they wish and remain comfortably out of the closet.

                             Not only has gay cinema become integrated into mainstream cinema but another visual media has picked up on it: television. Even during the 1990's,outside Ellen's famous coming out on her own comedy series, homosexuals were almost non existent on television. After this came a major change in that when Will & Grace premiered in the late 90's and featured two fully integrated homosexual characters in the main cast. Now with prime time dramas such as Modern Family,as the celluloid closet has opened into the perverbial digital age bedroom a persons sexuality is slowly becoming far less the taboo it was not so long ago. So this proves Tony Curtis dead on right about cinema having an enormous influence-positive and negative on the outlook of people.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Generational Evolution Of Gay,Lesbian & Transgendere'd Individuals

               As many Americans are now aware the month of June is LGBTQ Pride month. Five months later is a far lesser known celebration of LGBTQ history in October. This difference in knowledge in fact points to part of the topic of this blog. With the great emphasis modern American society puts on media/celebrity focus over the more human experience of social consciousness, its only natural that a level of celebration involving a great deal of newsworthy events such as Pride month would take presidents over another month celebrating knowledge and education. On the other hand I do consider myself a very hopeful person, even though some see me as the opposite when I point out what should be an obvious truth. Without sounding the least bit cynical,however its likely there is a way (for me anyway) to combine the two very different ethics here,anyway.

                 One of the main inspirations in my even writing internet blogs in order to enrich the minds of those who read them-friends,acquaintances or otherwise came from a very unique history book that changed my life. Still amazes me how certain levels of literature can do that. This book is William Strauss and Neil Howe's Generations. Its referred to it very often in the blogs I've written. Mr. Strauss and Mr. Howe have actually named and cataloged every American generation from the 16th century and even dared to anticipate the future-making it a very unique and mentally stimulating text. In the context of the levels of generational categorization language these two authors have used in the text, I believe it will help to understand the generation evolution of the LGBTQ community in the last century.


                 To begin with there are the Lost Generation,the last to be born in the 19th century and the GI Generation-spanning from about 1901 through 1922. During this time anyone who was a homosexual,male or female,were considered in American to be mentally ill and had no rights whatsoever in society. These generations also saw combat in two world wars. After the first there was the roaring 20's, a time when some American cities began to develop a homosexual underground in bohemian communities. While amass in the first major wave of homosexual literature/plays from Radcliffe Hall,Tennessee Williams,Langston Hughes and Gertrude Stein this generation of homosexuals largely saw themselves as living a specific lifestyle. They generally had no sense of person or pride in who they were-behaving much like secretive criminals as society demanded of them.


               Probably the most interesting of generations in any context is the Silent Generation,born between 1925 and 1942 primarily. This was the generation of the early rock n roll musicians. Not to mention that of the major political icons of the 1960's counter culture such as Martin Luther King Jr,Robert Kennedy,Malcolm X,Jerry Rubin and Abby Hoffman.  It was also after the post WW2 years that homosexual activism,a then radically new concept was born. Members of the GI Generation such as Harry Hay and Bayard Rustin began new forms of social activism such as the former individual forming the Mattachine Society,publishers of the very first American gay/lesbian magazines One and Mattachine Review. As exemplified in the work of a very prominent Silent Generation literary figure Allen Ginsberg in a McCarthy-era trial regarding his famous poem Howl,filled with openly homosexual imagery this era saw the very first stirrings of what we now know as gay pride.


               The well documented baby boomers were of course the first generation to bring the idea of gay pride into the open. After the infamous Stonewall Riots in NYC in 1969, this was a generation of homosexuals that were tired of being seen as an embarrassment to society. They were strongly allied to those of the Silent Generation before them, who started gay activism going a decade earlier. In 1974 it was the assertion of this generation through early Pride organizations such as Gay Liberation Front that homosexuality was not a sickness and,as illustrated in the previous generations Kinsey report, represented an enormous part of the American population. This generation saw the emergence of the first out homosexual politician in Harvey Milk,city supervisor of San Francisco whose assassination actually made him into a martyr for the burgeoning gay pride movement. 


             What is now referred to as Generation X had to contend with something of a retreat from gay pride during the early 1980s with the frightening emergence of HIV/AIDS in society. This of course was at first touted by the Christian right wing,emerging in the late 70's in Harvey Milk's time,as being somehow a punishment by "God" for the "perverted lifestyle choice" of homosexuals. The modern day conception of homophobia as being based in the Christian right wing began most strong during this era.  Towards the end of the decade,however the activist culture of the previous two decades re-emerged as younger baby boomers and first generation X'rs mobilized themselves in vocal AIDS activist groups such as Act Up and by the early 90's Queer Nation. Gradually over the course of the 1990's celebrities such as Elton John,Ellen DeGeneres,KD Lang and Rose O'Donnell trickled out of the closet as the AIDS tragedy made homosexuals take a longer look at themselves.


             That brings us up to today,still very much in the early years of the new millennium.  Now the generation born in the late 80's and early 90's called the Millennial generation are facing a very technologically inclined age-where the internet,cellular telephones and microchip based devices are the mainstream. In their  rising adulthood they faced something Generation X didn't have to:a highly controversial "war on terror" that drained resources and created a very dismal career prospect for them. For the first time in decades,more young people have been returning home to live with family. And with modern science people are living longer. So while same sex marriage is finally becoming the law of the land Millennial,X,boomer,Silent and some centenarian GI's are still very much alive in life and politics-bringing many contradictory arguments on same sex relationships and many other things to the table-to such an enormous degree that many people are turning completely off to social activism amid the overwhelming amount of information now available.


               All American generations have their own cycles. This involves people from each individual generation behaving rather differently in their childhood,adolescence,rising adulthood, middle age and finally elder-hood. In today's highly conflicted sociopolitical atmosphere, those with an open mind are beginning to see that while LGBTQ Pride as its now called is widely celebrated and accepted often as a part of nature as opposed to a deviant subculture of ones choosing, the way in which it is often celebrated is antithetical to the concept of pride itself. Because such celebrations are often run by people belonging to generations who are still used to being "closeted" as the saying goes, Pride festivals and parades still often consist of young and flamboyant homosexuals who naively assume being who they are means they are more like the opposite sex,and an older homosexuals who converse with others of their age group in shadowy corners.  In my own personal opinion, the future of the LGBTQ generation cycle will need to be about resolving these social conflicts to create a totally functional sense of community.

             
     
                  

          


               

              

                 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day And Modern Children With Two Fathers

                What do you see when you look at this photo? These are not brothers, a father and grandfather or uncles or cousins. These men are both fathers,and these are their three children. This is a social concept that would've been unthinkable when even those of my generation were growing up. Thankfully we are likely the last American generation of homosexual men who will ever have to question whether or not we will be able to ever be parents. Personally I've never felt any particular desire to be fruitful and multiply. It is not based on selfishness of any sort, more on doubts about proficiency as a father figure to a young and growing human being. But this blog isn't about me. It's a tribute to all of the two fathers out there on this Fathers Day.

                 Until this time I have never actually known any same sex fathers before. But I have known a number of gay men who have kids and cherish them perhaps to an even more vital degree than heterosexual fathers. All of them were at one time (or are still in one case) married to a woman and have one or more special needs children-in both cases living with autism. Another that I know actually has a homosexual son of his own who is currently engaged to a man at present time. The other is a divorcee who is involved in a same sex relationship but has a grown daughter. These men alternately have a unique appreciation of fatherhood yet are alienating to other perspective male relationships having lied their way through a heterosexual one to produce children during a far less tolerant era.

                 Even though its been a quarter century since Heather Has Two Mommies was pulled out of America's public school's Rainbow curriculum, there has generally been somewhat more acceptance in society of two female parents as opposed to male ones. Many view all women has having a naturally sensation and maternal instinct that lends itself far better to child rearing. But in a time when even heterosexual men are playing the roles of stay at home fathers, that role reversal has helped open most people's hearts to same sex male parenting. While there is still a religious segment who will likely forever champion the idea that homosexuals are adopting children as a method of "recruitment" into what they view as a perverted lifestyle choice rather than a given, the fact that a recent yahoo! news story stating that the first confirmed studies that children from same sex families seem at present rather more tolerant and better adjusted in social life than some others tells a very different story that speaks for itself.


   

Friday, June 14, 2013

Transsexualism-Nature,Choice And Lack Of Choice

                                Even among homosexuals the topic of transsexualism is rather controversial. There are still some of the opinion that such people are only emulating what they feel society expects from them-that homosexual men and women are emotionally more like the opposite sex and must appear in kind. The result of this,once known as "camping it up" has resulting in cross-dressing  Call it masquerading or drag, its a self conscious parody of heterosexual stereotypes. This is essentially a form of caberet theater that has both evolved and de-evolved down the generations-its social rules depending largely on the mental maturity level of those involved in the activity. Such people might actually demean those who don't need to cross dress to feel good about themselves. As hateful as this sound, such a person is making a conscientious choice. And not the majority of cross-dressers are not homosexual. 

                             Of course there are those who do not have a choice. These are men and women who have feelings all their lives that they feel more like the opposite sex physically and emotionally. This is known as transsexualism.  Again a transsexual person may still be attracted to members of the opposite sex,but end up having a medical operation to become the opposite sex to themselves. Recently many celebrity transsexuals such as Chas ('ne Chastity) Bono have bought this more squarely into the public eye. In many chases,a transsexual person will start out as a cross dresser-only to find themselves in therapy in order to get a sex change when they realize who they are. I personally have seen this happen to a number of people I know. Especially if their family and friends are intolerant, this can be a very painful process for such people even today. Sadly in some cases in history,the matter of a sexual change wasn't one of choice. But rather thrust upon an individual.

                            One recent example of this that I just recently learned about was  shot  putter Heidi Krieger-shown above. A 1980's era athlete in communist East Germany, from the age of 16 Heidi became unknowingly involved in the states athletic "doping program" and was given massive amounts of anabolic steroids-without her knowing what said "mystery pills" were outside of being told they would improve her performance as an athlete. Two years later, she had begun developing male characteristics. These became so prominent that in 1997, almost a decade after the collapse of the Berlin wall, did Heidi have a sex change operation and is currently known as Andreas-also shown above. Even though he claims he always did have some transsexual feelings beforehand, Andreas  now maintains that he was at a critical point in life as an adolescent where his female genes were still in a state of flux due to puberty. And the steroids given to him changed his physical sexuality from female to male.


                             The name once used to refer to homosexuals sociologically was the gay community. Over time and with much changes in political correctness that term has been expanded into the LGBTQ community-the "T" of course standing for transsexual. That probably has a lot to do with the realization among the majority of people that not every person who cross dressers or has a complete sex change is necessarily a homosexual. At the same time those homosexuals who only feel psychologically fit if they are wearing a dress and are not truly transsexual might want to take some time to reflect on the plight of someone such as Heidi/Andres Krieger, who willingly had a sex change but due to the environment she came up inevitably had to do so only because of being an unknowing  Guinea Pig for someone else. The question of ones physical sexuality is strongly linked with ones self absurdness. Its important a person knows who they are before being too sure if they really do feel like a member of the opposite sex trapped in the wrong body, or if they merely dislike themselves because of the sex they were born with.


                                   

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered/Questioning Cultural Futurism

          Only a few short days ago a friend of mine from Portland Oregon were discussing the previous blog I wrote here regarding the decaying nature of the gay bar as an important mainstay for the LGBTQ community. He made a suggestion that pointed I was not alone in my views on the subject. He came up with what may in fact still be a fairly radical idea-a  totally chemical free LGBTQ community. His suggestion was broad and daring in scope. A soda fountain-my suggestion of also serving Vitamin water. A dance floor that played a huge variety of music from rock,jazz,funk and a more diverse variety of EDM type music-with the possibility of live bands. Also an adjunct gymnasium and book store with a bakery that would serve tea rather than coffee. I find myself asking does such a place exist? And if it doesn't,than why not.
              
         Perhaps if something even remotely like this does exist,it might be in major cities where the gay bar is becoming passe. On the other hand, the pretense of such a chemical free gay/lesbian center might run into difficulties in more rural areas based on a conversation I had with another acquaintance recently. After asking this person if they were attending their local Pride festival this year, he said that he wasn't because he doesn't feel comfortable with his perceived segregation of Pride parades-and feels similarly about black history month festivities. Its an interesting game people play with themselves isn't it? The need for privacy mingled with a hunger for community and brotherhood. So many people these more rural areas seem to want it both. And that probably goes right along with how they would perceive such a facility coming into their community. Of course there are other matters on a more personal level.
                 
             One of the appeals of a small town gay bar probably has a lot to do with a long standing love of inexpensive liqueur. Undoubtedly alcohol is one of the worlds most popular drugs,so much so that many don't consider it to be a drug at all. Since the LGBTQ community have long been oppressed from even discussing their lack of civil rights, inebriation has allowed for many of them to speak openly of their feelings and concerns. This of course poses problems when either such expression leads to physical conflicts or the further abuse of very dangerous illegal drugs.  I am frankly surprised that the government didn't put similar restrictions in the past on gay people drinking alcohol as they did on African American's taking cocaine in the early 20th century because the cultural perception is similar in both cases: that there is a "class" of people in society who can control themselves and a "class" who cannot.
                    
           Another topic I discussed in a blog was technological futurism, of the type heavily propagandized by Cold War era America during  the JFK era "new frontier" of the early 1960's. In terms of human beings and their treatment of each other, we all live in a world where a degree of sociological futurism might be the order of the day. That would probably embody itself in a form of secular humanism-a genuine from free of the brutality and despotic behavior of the socialist/communist political systems of yore who used the idea of humanism as pure and dishonest rhetoric. By taking their egos out of a pattern of self pitying,self destructive and irresponsible behavior and into positive and genuinely freeing forms of social interaction such as healthy exercise and literacy as indicated in my friends idea which inspired this, than the LGBTQ community would be leading the way in general human futurism and,rather than be seen (and see themselves) as a pariah on society contribute perhaps the most positively to its continual development.