Monday, January 31, 2011

so I had to answer a question for a job application

Not so sure that I will get the job after answering honestly......

but I had to post this b/c then I had to cut this down to 1200 characters without spaces


here we go.....

The intersection between race, class, gender, and sexual orientation is the crux of debate regarding opportunity in the United States as well as in the rest of the world. Basic assumptions and cultural mythos normally find their root in the dominant social paradigm of straight white male culture perpetuated through out race and classes difference by media and entertainment.  If one is isolated from the dialogue by language barriers, class issues (limited access to mainstream media) or other “outsider” status, questioning these accepted myths is frequently the result.

Personally, I am a cultural outsider (Finnish/Saami), from the working class, a women and lesbian.  I questions the basic assumption asserted by the US media/political/cultural mainstream that “working hard will get you ahead”.

My analysis of this assertion has three parts:

1.  There is an inference that poor people are lazy. This is a false assertion.  It is an assertion that encourages individual responsibility for socially disproportionate distribution of wealth to avoid any meaningful discussion of class issues.

2.  There is an inference that everyone starts off this “race” for wealth at the same place/footing. No mention is given to silver spoons or inherited millions (or billions) since we are all supposedly receive to our earned potential of “hard work”. Wouldn’t the conversation include issues of accessibility to basic human services provided by a child’s caregiver, ie parent, such as health care and education? These are necessary building blocks to ensure that all children would have an equal starting point for this great “race” toward wealth.

3. There is an inference that wealth is good and what we should strive for it. The definition of the “American Dream” has changed. It is no longer good enough to have a house in suburbia (that is a questionable goal which I shall not address here) but one needs to have a mansion and servants and a personal jet to be “successful”. The new “American Dream” comes straight out of life styles of the rich and famous, not only is this absurd but it is unsustainable. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

abandoned building, banisters, and sustainable communities

so an open question....

what if a group of us took over some of these "abandoned" bank properties and turned them into useful community centers. Adverse possession or just flat out buying them at auction - or making an offer to the bank.

I am thinking that the buildings could be low income housing with the possibility of people purchasing units. Created housing for LGBT elderly or community centers for youth and the arts. Yes, it would take money....something no one seems to have these days, and I am not saying I have the money - but what if we all worked together to create something sustainable out of this mess.

It would take work. It would take some unity of purpose, but it could solve a number of problems. From creating positive spaces for our youth to housing for the low income.  

The banks want to write off these properties. People need homes and positive spaces. What if those things could dovetail into a positive future. People in the neighborhoods could be asked what they want for their area and encourages to participate in the process so they have ownership.

possibilities are there if we can just get away from the greed element

Friday, January 21, 2011

sexual repression, christianity and this great american life

really that should be the title of a book, but this is a blog and I don't have the time today to write a book....

(things to study.....lots and lots of things to study!)

there are several theorist who believe all of our actions are based on sexual desires, I think that is a little extreme, but I do agree that many people in the US sublimate their sexual desires in to other activities. Work, food, drugs, I have seen all of these things and many others (collectors out there) replace the intimate connection for individuals.

 Is this based on the puritanical religious views of many christian groups that were integral to the early development of the United States? Or is it more modern? A side effect of the lack of interpersonal development fostered by "relationships" via the internet and the hyperfocus on techno gadgets such as iphones and other "social" media connective devises.

Other arguments claim that a lack of identifiable social structure leaves many to feel unable to interact "appropriately" as people can not read interpersonal social clues therefore they isolate from our current social structure. There is a chicken or egg element to this argument that I won't go into here, but we could revert back to the hyperfocus on technological interaction as another root cause if the basic lack of identifying social clues.

so this is a short post for people to interact with via their techno gadgets - which is an oddly appropriate forum to be having this discussion within....

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I have a lot to do

There is the class I teach and all the prep time that goes into it. The LLM course I am in the middle of and the volumes of reading as well as writing assignments. I am studying for the bar exam again. I run and trying to keep up on current events can consume a good 2 to 3 hours out of my day. Not to mention this blog...

Mostly I am more self motivated than most. I don't really need a drill sergeant or anyone else standing over me. I study because I actually like to learn. I find learning new material and facts fascinating, my motivation is something new anything really.....

but I have been having a difficult week.

there is the repetitiveness of doing MBEs (multiple choice questions for the Bar exam) and the daunting task of reading patent law treaties between European countries but there is something more base about my seeming apathy. Somehow I have to learn to care about money.

There I said it.

I don't care about money. I am told by my family that I never did from a very young age. I am not saying that I am some altruistic saint. I just never placed much of a value on stuff. I like beautiful things but ownership of anything was always intellectually problematic stemming from a world view that all things have an innate essence even if they are not self aware. This lack of monitory motivation has been problematic in some ways interacting in this modern capitalistic society.

I am convinced it isn't a negative way to look at the world. Maybe I just have to shift to a more taking care of myself value - but I am not clear how to do that.

It is an issue I shall have to revisit over time and find a way to shift the view of things. I enjoy work and working, I just need to demand more value from others for my work tome.product. I guess that begins with me placing a higher value on myself.

Friday, January 14, 2011

if I were a rich man

Somewhere in my upbringing I learned or more likely assimilated a distrust for the very wealthy. Not for the new millionaires or the upper middle class, but for the "old money" the people who have had and expect to have.

People who earned their money the old fashioned was - they inherited it.

These are the robber barons, the landed gentry that came here as second sons and became founding fathers. Some of them had very liberal views of politics and intelligence, some not so much, but they all viewed this new land as an opportunity for more and better than the old country.

Now it could be my working class background showing or it could be the fact that we are living in a time when the gab between wealthy and other is getting obscenely huge - Mount Everest huge. The size of an Ed Reed hit huge. Dolly Parton, you know what, huge.  (yeah voice...) It is disheartening to most "average" (read getting poor) Americans that all their hard work is just digging them deeper into debt.'s_wealthiest_is_getting_more_savage

The republicans and most Americans like to think that if you work hard, pay your taxes and save a little, you too can buy the American Dream. Which, of course, is having a home, a nice future for your kids in a safe neighborhood with a nice car and a golden retriever or maybe a labradoodle.

New flash: this just isn't happening anymore!

What is worse for the republicans and maybe America as a whole is that people are starting to wake up from the illusion. They are beginning to see that isn't just koolaid being served up, but foreclosures, unemployment and repossessions as a lovely dash of arsenic.

Now in the defense of people still sipping the "koolaid"; of course we want to believe this fairytale. It gives us some semblance of control over our lives. If we can't get "ahead" no matter what we do because there isn't really anymore to go around after the top 1% take their 45% of the gross national product, then why should I go to work. Why should I stay on this treadmill? Why should I stay a cog in the machinery that keeps the rich getting richer?

After all I could just marry a wealthy man or win a fortune in a game.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

confessions of an agist...

Yes I am an agist...

The sight of taunt young flesh and perfect features illicitness this thought:


Here is the true prejudice, youth is not very smart.

Now I don't mean they are all stupid like a box of rocks, just the vast majority have no life experience to speak of and think they know EVERYTHING.
Yes, this stems from an assumption that older people have examined life, been knocked about a bit and no longer view the planet as revolving around them.  But my experience has proven my prejudice to be true for the most part.

Granted there are older individuals out there who have managed to get to an advanced stage of life and avoid any sort of inner examination - to bad for them - and again - BORING!

To quote Socrates, "an unexamined life is not worth living" (yes someone said it before Madonna)  which to our current society that is star obsessed, entertainment based and generally outwardly focussed for validation or happiness, is a radical concept for many. No wonder people are so unhappy as they hit 40 or even 30 not many will have obtained the pat on the head from society that they are seeking.

Secret Number 1: Validation

The great lie being sold to so many is that validation comes form outside. Most people are just not paying attention to you, it isn't that they don't care about you; it is just that they don't care about you. Really. People are too busy managing their own rat race to stop and give you that 'atta boy' you are desperately seeking. So do yourself a favor and acknowledge yourself.

Stop looking outside for validation.

Secret Number 2: Personal

Here is something that, if you can manage it, will make your life a thousand times better. Stop taking it personal.

By "it" I mean all your daily interaction with other people. Understand that most humans are caught up in their own lives. They are paying attention to themselves and their goals, if they cut you off in traffic or bump into you on a street, don't take it personally. How could it be personal if this person doesn't even know you?

Seriously apply this to the people in your life, you will be amazed at the results. When someone you love yells at you, wait, count to 5 and think about what is going on in their lives. Is this reaction about you?

Sometimes the reaction is about you, but maybe the reaction or tone isn't. Try to remember that they are going through their life and that will have an effect on their interactions with you. If you love them why not give them the benefit of the doubt and diffuse instead of infuse with escalation.

I look into the mirror today and I see the hard fought inner examination on my face. It is a face I might be attracted to if it weren't mine and maybe if I smiled a touch easier. But lessons learned hopefully show in my interactions with others as much as around my eyes.

I'll leave you today quote that I keep striving toward:

«I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer.» — Colette

Sunday, January 9, 2011

the shootings in Arizona

Keith Obermann said it perfectly, violence has no place in our rhetoric. Violence has no place in our society but it is here, everywhere, pervasive from our sport to our movies to now it seems our politics.  We can hold politicians and talking head accountable for their inflammatory speech designed to silence opponents or garner higher ratings, but if this individual truly has mental issues, as is being inferred by news outlets, there is another issue to be addressed:

Why if he is known by authorities to be violent and mentally unstable is he unsupervised and free to obtain a gun in our community?

In the United State conservatives have used the idea of individual freedom and due process to castrate the mental health systems' ability to hospitalize all but the most violently insane; even upon the statement by an individual that they are violent or suicidal. In the past month I know of two individuals with a  diagnosis of mental illness who actively sought hospitalization for violent and suicidal thoughts and/or impulses who were held for 6 and 12 hours respectively then released.

Did the hospital believe that they were mentally fit?


Neither have insurance and couldn't provide a method of payment for treatment.

This all comes back to the healthcare debate.

My position is that healthcare is a basic human right, like freedom of speech or the right to assemble. As an advanced society we have a responsibility to take care of our citizens and that means providing for their physical well-being as well as protecting their personal freedoms. After all, if someone is mentally unstable how are they going to hold a job that is going to provide medical benefits to them. This is both about providing healthcare to everyone and protecting public health both physical and mental.

Yes, there can be and have been issues of accountability at mental hospitals both in the admittance of patients and the retention of individuals, but past abuses call for better procedures and oversight not denial of treatment.  The stigmatism and fear of mental illness needs to be addressed much like the hysteria around diseases such as cancer and AIDs benefited from active educational campaigns.

Todays pharmacology, while not perfect, offers greater opportunities for stability to those facing the challenges of mental illness, but treatment is key. Alienation and refusal of treatment for lack of an ability to pay is just unconscionable.  Health care, like education, fire prevention and police services, is a basic social services, none of these should be about profit margins.

Yet, conservatives want to make healthcare about privilege. The privilege of having a job that can afford to provide individuals with health care, but really it is about profit margins that the healthcare industry has been able to build on the illness of the American people. To that I say shame, profit on illness is reprehensible.  The United States needs to overhaul its healthcare system and join modern societies in caring for all of its people by providing not just individual liberties but physical and mental health care.

The very tragic irony here is that Representative Gifford may have been targeted for her support of the Health Care Bill that might provide mental health care for her assailant.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

poly scale

I think this is a brilliant post:

The lovely and talented Steven posted this in his comments on this blog a few days ago and I just got to reading it. Of course it makes sense that people's monogamy index would be on a continuum much like their sexual identity and that these are not fixed points on a line but fluid, mutable and changing as time and  individual growth develops the human personality.

I don't know the definition put on such a continuum but I would be on the poly end of the scale.

Friday, January 7, 2011

defining love within relationship

Let me start by saying I do believe in love.

The concept of love or positive energy is what I think of as Goddess/God (why must a higher power have a gender?). There is no doubt of the powerful feelings that babies illicit from their mother and from others in their family and social groupings. There are many people that I love because of the relationships that I have developed with them over time, they include family, friends, and lovers. These people live all over the planet, are of varied ages, genders and identifications, but in some way we have connected so that I extend the hand of community to them.

 Love creates feelings of loyalty and protection towards those in my community. It also projects a desire of happiness and success for them. What that looks like theirs to define, my ideas of happiness and success are egocentric therefore do not apply to those I love. People must define for themselves what their life desires are and how to attain them, that is the joy and sorrow of living.

Occasionally I fine someone that illicit stronger physical desires. People I want to share intimate experiences with, not necessarily sexual but intimate. These are the people that would fall into the category of partner, possible marriage material if I were of that inclination, or to coin a socially common term. These people are rare; they are similarly situated to my family and friends being of diverse backgrounds but there is stronger draw, society would call it romantic love.

I don't like societal definition of romantic love.  The definition has too many assumptions on the part of the players and creates barriers to communication - a key component to honest interaction with another human. Romantic love in our society is an evolution of courtly love, an entertainment form of the upper class and nobility that was developed in the middles ages.

While courtly love seemed to have clearly defined rules at its height, like any game of telephone play over a few centuries, the details and rules today are muddled.  Now people are left to interpret from popular culture what the "rules" are for intimate relationships. There are a few set defaults but only two that are hard and fast to a majority of people; dyad and monogamy.

One issue is that I don't want society to define how I relate to other people. I have never liked tightly laced boxes for individuals. The phrase never judge a book by its cover comes to mind... one must actually interact with people before you truly know anything about them.  Humans are unique, that is why it is so exciting to get to know someone.

Another issue for me is the dyadic preference our society places on relationships and monogamy which attempts to limit the individual experience of intimacy and love over a lifetime .

There is so much more to write - however I come up against my self-imposed time limit for the day. To the books!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"It is most unwise for people in love to marry.” George Bernard Shaw

a wise man once said....

Amid the fight for gay marriage and soaring divorce rates comes the question

Does anyone even know what marriage was for as they are touting a return to family values?

Marriage was an institution developed to create stable economic support for women to raise children (read hunter/farmer), this devolved into males owning the women that they married and the children produced out of that marriage.  It stratified society further by stigmatizing those individuals born out of wedlock (bastards) and the women that born them (pick a name and there are many for "loose" women)

Marriages were an economic force. Marriage was arranged for the benefit of the micro-society. It was not just the upper classes that arranged unions - what do you think all that traditional asking for the daughter's hand in marriage is all about. Villages conferred about what was a good match  - girls were sold off, apprentices and other desirable additions to the community were paid for through dowery tradition. Dowery could pay to a male to take a wife or be paid by the groom to his future wife's family. Either way young people were viewed as asserts to be negotiated for to the family or communities over all fiscal well being.

People married "forever" because:

  •   People didn't live as long especially women (40 anyone - over that hill meant at death door)
  •   Marriage wasn't based on compatibility, love or happiness - it was a union based on economics
  •   Marriages were the basis of your clans wellbeing, it was about the groups survival, leaving your  marriage was a social excommunication.  

So fast forward a century, because we aren't that far removed from arranged marriages and economics driving the pairing of breeding couples. Now marriage is supposed to be about love and romance...which is a social myth perpetuated by Hollywood and entertainment.

Love and Marriage

That will be addressed next time as I have to get back to work.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


And creating something new....I was told at a party the other day that I scared a very cute gay man because I want to do so much....

I have this odd feeling I might have been benjamin franklin in a past life as I want to take on all the issues of the day. It is odd to be a generalist in a world full of specialist. Frequently I think we lose sight of so much because  everyone only sees through their prism of expertise. Does anyone see the big picture any more - does anyone want to see the big picture?

Well occasionally I get a wild hair and think I need to jot down some of what is rattling around in my mind, so I have a little (ok huge) notebook now, not that I really think many people are interested....tho sometimes I am amusing....

and my bloody 'U' key is malfunctioning.....might need to run to the mac store