“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.” ~ Poe’s Law (2005)

HRH Queen Elizabeth II in Ascot Purple Net Hat

                    

“It is impossible for an act of Fundamentalism to be made that someone won’t mistake for a parody.” ~ Poe’s Corollary

Since I managed to raise a few hackles with yesterday’s posting of the article “What Republicans Really Want,” I decided to follow up with another brilliant editorial by Mickey Maurer in The Indiana Business Journal. I mean, I’m just about well enough to gather my own thoughts to create a real post, but I figured in the interim, what the hell?

And besides, who knew that I’d find so many great pictures of purple hats . . . I want a purple hat.

“In any fundamentalist group where Poe’s Law applies, a paradox exists where any new person (or idea) sufficiently fundamentalist to be accepted by the group is likely to be so ridiculous that they risk being rejected as a parodist (or parody).” ~ The Poe Paradox which results from an unhealthy level of paranoia

The Indiana We’ve Always Wanted

My fellow Tea Party Republicans, I have an idea. Let’s enact legislation requiring immigrants and homosexuals to wear purple hats. If we are going to treat them differently, we have to know who they are—on sight. Then we can confront someone wearing a purple hat and if he doesn’t speak English, boom, back to Mexico. Likewise homosexuals. We do not want them here, either.

There are no legal challenges to the current law banning same-sex marriages, but the law does not sufficiently set apart and condemn homosexuality. The proposed marriage rights amendment that passed the House and is before the Senate in committee goes a long way. It prohibits not only the union but the other incidences of marriage attached to any unmarried couple.

Under this legislation, homosexuals cannot receive violence protection against assault by their partner, cannot automatically make health care decisions for their partner in an emergency, cannot qualify for partner’s benefits for health insurance or life insurance, cannot share custody of their shared children, and cannot adopt. But the amendment does not go far enough. We need to compel gays to wear purple hats so we can identify them and encourage them to live in San Francisco or Key West, anywhere but our God-protected sacred land.

I confess—this idea is not original. Remember armbands? They have been used to identify the people who are not like us for hundreds of years — before even the Spanish Inquisition or the Aryan Society of Germany. This kind of designation and identification of the objects of righteous wrath has been seen many times before in many variations—and it works.

We cannot be derailed by the moderate Republicans and some Democrats who supported the election of a Republican majority in the Indiana Legislature with the encouragement of the governor in a good-faith effort to effect a sound fiscal policy. Pay no attention when those moderates claim that this well-intentioned effort has unleashed the serpent of prejudice and hatred that may send Indiana reeling economically, socially and morally.

The purple hat legislation will be no ordinary bill. It will go to the core, to the heart, of who we are as Hoosiers. Hoosiers are white, heterosexual, English-speaking, Christian men and women. The purple hat legislation will tell the world that we will not abide anybody that is not just like us. That seems fair. Anybody that does not meet our definition of Hoosier must be penalized and encouraged to leave. Live and let live—but not on the banks of the Wabash.

We have to carefully teach our children. They are not born with the same fine-tuned understanding that we have about what God wants. They are too pure and accepting of their fellow man. That is why you must continue your good work in suppressing attempts to enact school bullying legislation. Our children must be encouraged to harass their undesirable classmates, the kids wearing the little purple beanies.

We could take the time to overcome our ignorance and learn that those with the purple hats are more similar to us than we like to think. Though some have problems with our language or have a different sexual orientation, we may learn that they have ambitions, goals and ideals—that they are human beings who love our country and this state. But why bother? Better to treat them like toxic waste and ship them out.

Why stop with immigrants and homosexuals? With this good idea we can double back and pick up the gypsies and the Jews and the blacks and the Catholics. Well, not the blacks, they do not need a purple hat—after all, they are black.

What difference does it make if we precipitate an economic disaster? Who cares that we will lose opportunity for businesses that may have otherwise considered moving to Indiana and for conventioneers who will undoubtedly revel elsewhere? We may not be as economically viable, but at least Indiana will be ours.

Your legislative representatives are going to love this idea. Soon we will have the Indiana we have all been hoping and praying for.•

__________

Maurer is a shareholder in IBJ Corp., which owns Indianapolis Business Journal.  His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to mmaurer@ibj.com.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ana Jonson, “We Are”

Reflections on Hope (part 2)

 Reynard 8-2009

 Fox by Brett Sutcliffe (August 18, 2009)

The Possibility of Hope

Maybe im still searchin
But I dont know what it means
All the fires of destruction are still
Burnin’ in my dreams*
 

Corn Queue Henry County Indiana Julayne
Corn Queue, Henry County, Indiana, by Julayne from When Worlds Collide

I’ve sat down at this “add new post” page for the past four nights. I’ve sat, waited, and then closed the page. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say; more, it’s that my mind seems to be in recovery mode still after so long away from this forum that gives me a voice, as if I’m in the same room with a long lost friend, and we are still in those first few moments of awkardness, when there are a million things to say, but none of them seem to be the right way in which to begin again.

I love this blog. I appreciate the people who stop by just to read and even more, those who leave comments and words of encouragement. I love being part of a bigger blogging community, filled with people who sent me messages over the past three weeks, letting me know that they were out there if I needed them, that they would wait for me to come back.

But my last post was so full of despair that it actually left a physical pain in my heart. To put into words all of the bigger things that have happened over the last two to three years somehow makes it more real, and therefore, that much harder to reconcile.

That post also did something else to me: It made me a bit nauseous. It smacked of poor, pitiful me, and far too much navel-gazing. So let me just pause here to apologize for being so maudlin. Admittedly, though, wearing a virtual hairshirt every once in a while does seem to help.

But time to move on.

I wanna come in from the cold

Tree Frog at Rest
Tree Frog at Rest by L. Liwag

Last night, as I sat here, I heard the wonderful chirrups of the tree frogs in the backyard, and then as I was walking through the dining room, I looked out in the backyard and noticed that a strap on the pool was vibrating. A tree frog was inside the little tunnel, and every time he sang, the strap vibrated.

He was too far inside his shelter to get a picture, but I could see his small green body peeking out. Unfortunately, my invasion of his space made him cease his calls for a bit, but in about half an hour, I could hear him again.

And make myself renewed again

Uncle Melchors Trumpet Flower
Uncle Melchor's Trumpet Flowers

My uncle’s funeral was Saturday. He never regained consciousness. I wanted badly to go to the funeral, but the family lives almost 800 miles away in Florida, and this just isn’t the best time to rent a vehicle and get a hotel room.

So I stayed in touch by telephone. My aunt, who retired only last year, told me that all of the people who used to be in her department came over one day and did her yard. What a wonderful gesture. My uncle loved his yard and would send me pictures of his flower gardens when they came into bloom.

To hear about people who cared, taking the time to care for one of the things that he so enjoyed made me smile. A happy remembrance.

It takes strength to live this way

Tillie Happiness b&w
Tillie Happiness

Today, I braved the brightness of the sun to play ball with Tillie and Shakes in the pool. I think that I must have done a good job because both of them are sound asleep.

Tillie is a ball hog. The only way that I could get her to release the ball in her mouth was to tease her with the other tennis ball. Wanting both, she would drop one while I threw the other ball, and then I would throw the ball that Tillie dropped for Shakes to retrieve. Quite a complicated system for a simple game of water tennis.

I found myself relaxing, though, and just enjoying the moment—something that I do too rarely. I didn’t think about anything of consequence, and I just focused on exercising the dogs and looking at the birds flying overhead.

The same old madness every day

Captain Corey
Happy Birthday Corey

Tomorrow is Corey’s birthday. He is none too happy. It’s all well and good for me to try to point out to him that he is hardly old, but he doesn’t hear me. I know old. He isn’t old.

When I told him to go ahead and flirt with someone while he was at Costco, he said that he couldn’t because he was losing his hair. What bollocks. He has a head of beautiful, healthy hair, and he is losing a few hairs a day in the shower, undoubtedly because of the stress. My husband is too funny.

We won’t be doing too much of anything to celebrate this week, but with any luck, maybe we can have sushi sometime soon.

I wanna kick these blues away  

On other fronts, Brett is trying to gear up mentally for the school year. It looks as if they have set up his schedule for him to go every other day, which is wonderful.

I’m hoping the day off between class days will allow him to rejuvenate and to feel less pressure. If this works out well, he should miss less school and be able to stay more caught up with his work.

I’m very grateful that the head of the program at his school, as well as his guidance counselor are working with us and trying to come up with a way in which Brett can succeed this year.

Unfortunately, Eamonn was not able to start fall semester, as I had feared. Even if we had come up with the funds, we don’t have a second vehicle at the moment, and the fate of Izziethe Trooper is uncertain at best.

I feel really terrible that we weren’t able to get everything together in time, and to make matters worse, my ex called me up last week and cursed at me for three minutes for not getting the financial aid taken care of. It was a short conversation that ended with me saying something along the likes of, “If you’re so freaking concerned, why don’t you do something about it.”

Talking to a brick wallHis (my ex’s) reasoning that I needed to take care of everything and was falling down on the job was that his schedule is so full, and if that my computer was broken, why didn’t I go to library or something to use a computer? My pointing out that the financial aid was just one part of the equation didn’t matter. When I tried to tell him that even with the tuition taken care of, there was still no vehicle.

He actually asked me what happened to the Trooper, this after I had a conversation with him over two weeks ago about the Trooper dying on the way to Ohio. That’s the problem with trying to have rational conversations with someone who has an alcohol problem: You never know their condition when you tell them something important, and then they claim they were “never informed.”

Of course, I thought of a really good rejoinder after the nasty conversation ended: He lost the right to speak to me when he moved out of the house . . . This from the man who never took a day off to take any of the kids to the doctor. I did it because somehow I let him drill into me that it was easier for me to take a day from work.

Then I thought about it for a minute. He should have never had the right to speak to me that way. Why did I give him that right? Too often, verbal abuse isn’t recognized, even by its victims.

I wanna learn to live again . . . 

Butch Edentons Sunset
Sunset by Butch Edenton

Which brings me back to the subject of this post: the possibility of hope. I won’t pretend that Corey and I have a perfect relationship, but we have a really good relationship, and he doesn’t verbally abuse me. He doesn’t belittle me for my weird habits, and he loves me, imperfections and all. As do I him. Immensely.

Life has sucked lately, a lot. We run into walls, and we seem just cannot seem to get a break. But as I have been reminded of all too much with the loss of my uncle, we live in minutes and hours, not days and years.

I will make certain that Eamonn is ready for college next semester. I will take extra care to watch out for Brett’s signals that he is overwhelmed. I will enjoy the joy that my animals bring me.

I will remember to tell Corey that I really do appreciate everything that he does for me, even something as small but caring as making sure that I have Pepsi in the house. And I will appreciate the fact that I have a partner in life who could belittle me if that were his way, but it is not. His way is to tell me that he loves me every day of my life, to lie to me when I ask if I look fat, to tell me the truth when I ask about my writing, and to love and care for Eamonn and Brett unstintingly, including taking both of them to the doctor more times than I can count.

They are my shelter, my comfort, my great joy, and my peace of mind. With them, I really need nothing more.

Shantih, Shantih, Shantih.

Thank you for allowing me to be self-absorbed and for your kind words. But thank you more for continuing to visit here, for reading my words, and through your own words and beautiful images, for reminding me of all of the good and wonderful things in this world, one of which is this poem by one of my favorite writers, Langston Hughes.

Goodbye Uncle Melchor.

More later. Peace.

*Lyrics from “Dark Road,” by Annie Lennox

Mother to Son

by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Some Thoughts on George Sand and Collecting Shells at Kitty Hawk

“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved” ~ George Sand

“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.”

Amandine Aurore Lucile Dupin, first known as Aurore, better known as George Sand is one of my favorite literary figures, not so much for what she wrote, but more for who she was and what she did. For one thing, she had an affair with Frederic Chopin, my favorite composer. But more than that, she did pretty much whatever she wanted to do, which, for a Baroness in the mid 19th century, was quite a feat. Although she resisted the label feminist, Sand’s actions, both deliberate and chance, were quite out of character for her time and her station in life.

die_junge_george_sand
A Young George Sand

Sand left her first husband, the Baron Casimir Dudevant, by whom she had two children. However, it was not this separation that gained her notoriety. Sand was fond of dressing in men’s clothing, which she found to be more comfortable than the restrictive clothing that was fashionable for women at the time. In her heavy pants and jackets, she went where she pleased, places where women were often not allowed such as restricted libraries and museums. Waiters were often confused and did not know whether to address Sand as a man or a woman. Sand also openly smoked cigars and cigarettes, another societal custom reserved for men.

Sand enjoyed flouting society’s traditions, and abhorred the double-standards for men and women: ” . . . people think it very natural and pardonable to trifle with what is most sacred when dealing with women: women do not count in the social or moral order. I solemnly vow–and this is the first glimmer of courage and ambition in my life!–that I shall raise woman from her abject position, both through my self and my writing”  (Sand writing in a letter to Frederic Girerd, 1837).

Sand enjoyed affairs with many lovers, including Jules Sandeau, with whom she collaborated on some writing projects and from whom she adopted her pen name, George Sand. Other lovers included Alfred de Musset, a poet and dramatist; Jean Pierre Félicien Mallefille, a novelist and playwright; Chopin of course, and she corresponded with Gustave Flaubert. Sand also had an affair with the Parisian actress Marie Dorval, and in correspondence identifies Dorval as her one true love.

Sand was known as temperamental, bitchy, hard to get along with, a terrible mother, moody, loving, possessive, spirited, and ahead of her time. Sand was a prolific writer, producing several short stories, eighty novels, including Indiana and Lélia, and twenty plays. Lélia is often considered to be one of her most important works. Written in the first person, the character delves into deep introspection, eventually coming to lose respect for the men and society in which she lives, as well as losing her beliefs in love and god.

Sand is often considered to be the most gifted female writer of the 19th century, breaking new ground for women, especially in the area of writing novels:

“The world will know and understand me someday.
But if that day does not arrive, it does not greatly matter.
I shall have opened the way for other women.”

Unfortunately, Sand’s popularity did not extend much beyond her lifetime. Her books were overshadowed by her male counerparts: Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas. And Sand is best remembered as the female writer who wore men’s clothes and smoked cigars.

“Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.”

magic-hour-403
Magic Hour

A few posts ago, I wrote about how Corey and the boys and I used to go the the Outer Banks for day trips. Well, I thought that I had written a poem on one of our first trips down there together, and I had. I found it, and I thought that I would post it as a companion to my piece on George Sand since she was such a believer in being in love, even though she never had much success in long-term relationships.

Collecting Shells on the Beach at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

 

As we stand together at the shore,

searching for stones

and the smallest of shells,

the outgoing tide pulls the sand

from beneath our feet,

steals our balance,

shifts our perceptions

of what we believe we know.

I catch you watching me,

although you pretend to see

something beyond my shoulder, past

the waves. You comment idly

about the warmth of the water,

the hurried race of the sandpipers against the tide,

the tiny crabs that scuttle past your toes.

I smile inwardly

at your forced air of nonchalance,

for I recognize the charade

for what it belies:

Shades of fear that tug at your heart,

tell you, too soon, too soon.

But I am unafraid,

for I already perceive

what your casual comments cannot conceal.

 

I have not really come to this place,

where salt water meets solid sand

to sift through the sea’s detritus

for nature’s hidden pearls.

I am here to watch the sun

dip low in the western sky,

to catch the striations

of the rays’ pinks and reds

as they are absorbed by your eyes.

I want to see my reflection

bathed in rich ruby hues,

as I would have you see me,

sensuous and aglow,

so that you will know,

so that you will attend what your heart tries

in earnest to hold at bay.

I want to tell you what I know to be true,

but you must arrive at this epiphany on your own.

 

This denial is futile—

You cannot stem what cannot be contained.

 

I was once told

that in the seconds before the sun

gives way to the moon,

in that coming twilight

Ondine arises from the waves,

and casts her magical net on the waters,

hoping to capture her one true love.

And those unaware of what they have seen

will be kindred souls,

mated throughout eternity.

 

I watch the final band of crimson

dip low on the horizon

and I feel the warmth of your hand

as you lay it gently on my back.

Perhaps, at last, you too

have heard the seduction of the sea nymph’s song.

It is not too soon to heed the call.

The enchantment surrounds us,

dances on the tips of the waves

and pulsates in the air about us.

I think about the legend,

and whether the magic is real.

I pray the sea revealed her soul mate

to Ondine, in the mists of the gloaming

as I have discovered mine,

here, among the pebbles and the shells.

 

July 19, 2001

 

As always, all original work posted here is copyright protected.  Thanks for visiting, and please feel free to comment. More later. Peace