Sunday, October 25, 2009

You Can Only Speak For Yourself

The faint scent of ginger still hangs in the air. I made a quasi-Asian soup with shrimp, cabbage, carrot and ginger for dinner tonight. The Spouse watches a dark mystery from Sweden.
My own mind mulls over tonight's "60 Minutes" interview with Tyler Perry, my newest creative hero. His independent studio near Atlanta brings his TV shows and movies to the world. He's written several plays as well as helping his alter ego Madea hit the best seller list. Instead of the extremes of the socioeconomic spectrum, Tyler's vision was to bring the stories of working class African Americans to the screen and stage. After being rejected by Hollywood and lambasted by some as setting the stereotypes back to the Amos and Andy era, he financed his projects with his own money and the rest is history.
Granted, I'm Caucasian, and I don't tote a gun as does Madea in the clips that I've seen. But there are times when faith and your own inner strength are about all you have to go on. That I can relate to. Caregiving for crazy relatives? Been there, done that, have the T-shirt in several colors. 
I thought tonight of the times when I sat through movies or abandoned books that were "should" reads because of telling women's stories, and feeling an utter lack of resonance with them, such as the movie version of "Under the Tuscan Sun," which had been dumbed down into a syrupy mess bearing little resemblance to the book whatsoever. "Sex and the City?" I am not into shoes; I have been married to The Spouse for over 20 years. It had nothing to do with my life. Well, the episode where a boyfriend's Brittany demolished a $300 shoe, I found that entertaining. And the movie "American Psycho" being described as "feminist?" No, I don't think describing a serial killer's mental processes has anything to do with the reality of a woman's life.  I think it's called male bashing, which is divisive and not very helpful.
The more personal a writer or an artist gets, the more he or she touches on the heart of human experience. The more a writer or artist acts as if they give voice to other members of their demographic group, the more his or her arrogance separates them.
Gloria Steinem once said that the personal is political. Maybe if we spoke for ourselves, spoke out about our own stories without presuming to tell someone else's story, the voices would blend into the soundtrack for the revolution.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why Are We Giving Balloon Dad What He Wants?

Unless you've been in a cave the last week, you, too have been bombarded with the over coverage of the Balloon Family. You know, the family who wants to have a reality show so badly that they are willing to risk their kids' lives? The father who cooked up a stunt that culminated in launching several aircraft and damaging a farmer's wheat crop? Yeah, them.
As speculation and conjecture flew about like the extraterrestrials Mr. Heene believes in flew about, the question of what constitutes justice in this case came up. A fellow dog walker I chat with at our park probably came up with the best idea yet: slap a lien on the house for the cost of the air search and rescue, have him pay restitution to the farmer for damage done to the wheat,  
and move on.
He's right. Not just because of his background in aviation, but because it's just common sense. No one would concoct something like this unless they wanted the publicity. That's exactly what Balloon Dad's received: attention. Ignoring him would be a greater punishment than the six years in prison and half-million dollar fines he's facing right now. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pick Myself Up, Dust Myself Off, And Start All Over Again

What is my purpose? What gives my life meaning? What gets me up in the morning, other than Orion banging his head on my side of the bed to tell me he wants breakfast? Those questions rooted in existential angst found their way into many morning walks this summer. 
The answer, for now, is resurrecting a newsletter that I used to do called Swan and Iris. Its mission: to support readers in creating authentic lives of spirit, substance and serenity. We'll be looking at topics from a spiritually progressive, solution-oriented, tolerant point of view.
It won't be all serious, though. We'll be celebrating alternative and indie arts, pets, encouraging creativity, and cooking. 
Now, Gentle Readers, if you'll excuse me, I have to climb back on the horse.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who Cares?

Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that Joy Behar had asked a guest on her show if she thought Secretary of Health and Human Services Janet Napoliano was gay. Even after Ms. Napoliano has repeatedly denied it, the stories and whispers still circulate.

My questions are: 1. Regardless of her orientation, Ms. N. has done a pretty good job so far. Who cares about her orientation or preferences? She's a compassionate woman who will continue to bring favor to this administration.
2. Why would Joy Behar even bring this up? So what? 

I'd like to believe that speculation about someone's intimate preferences would be left in the halls of junior high. I guess not.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The News Cruise for the Morning

Two stories popped out at me. The first was the ongoing saga  of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews.  Should you have been hiding under a rock the last few weeks, she was taped in the nude through a hotel room door's peephole. The police have a suspect in custody. Said suspect not only allegedly taped Ms. Andrews, but 30 other women as well according to "Today."
Contrast that with the Huffington Post ( 
One of this morning's bloggers wrote a post about an American woman of South American descent whose mutilated nude body was found a mile from her relatives' home in a small village. She had apparantly been stalked.  Local law enforcement not only dropped the case, but told her grieving parents that they would have to pay for the investigation. No help from the Secretary of State's office, either.
Not to take away from Ms. Andrews' trauma, but why is it that stories involving the blond and the glamourous trump the stories about the commonplace? The victim in the latter had returned to her family's village to work with economically disadvantaged children.
Someone please explain.