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Sunday, September 30, 2018

THE THREE 'LEGS' OF REAL MANHOOD

I don't know if this administration is one of the last kicks of white male patriarchy, aka white male assholery, or whether it's a serious comeback. I want to believe the former! But in any case, I suggest that such assholery is the absolute negation of what I understand to be REAL manhood. And in this post I'll say a bit about what I understand to be the three legs of the tripod of true manhood.
1) INTEGRITY: Your habit is to speak what you have seen to be true and just. You speak out against bullies and speak out against those who bully others before yourself. If possible, settle the hash of such rotters yourself. But understand having your ignorance be made plain is NOT bullying you; then it befits you to ask questions as to what you may be missing! In NO CASE do you lie to a woman in order to lie with her or try to inebriate her to the same end! And remember: real men apologize if they've done wrong or have made mistakes. It's the overgrown frat BOYS who can't or won't do so! You make a habit of the truth--NEVER of lies!!
2) RESPONSIBILITY. You make a decision and abide the consequences. Real men may and should seek to mitigate the ill effects of a bad decision (especially to others) but don't make excuses--and learn the difference between excuses and real explanation! Acknowledge your part in mistakes without varnish. Again, real men apologize and do what they can to make real amends to others affected by such decisions. You do not build yourself up by tearing down others; rather when you build up others who are struggling you may find you build up yourself as well!
3) COURTESY. Unless someone has already shown his/her assholery already, let your language be civil and courteous to all--to a janitor as to a judge. The flip side of this is making it clear, when faced with assholery, that's what's happening.
A real man does NOT allow his hormones to overrun someone else's stated boundaries but rather is master enough over his hormones even to the point of being able to halt them like braking a car just in time. But if you feel you're being dishonestly 'played with', especially by a girl or woman, civilly take your leave and GO. If they want to know why, tell them. If they still try to snow you, then leave. If they genuinely try to apologize or explain honestly, feel free to reconsider. Otherwise, withdraw! Take differences of race, ethnicity, orientation, etc., in stride and do what you can to bridge such gaps. This is done usually by careful listening and asking of questions with a frank acknowledgement of your own ignorance in the matter at hand.
This may be the beginning of something larger; I don't know if I'll have more to say on this matter, but suffice it for me to say: three things, and only ALL these three things together, make a man out of a boy, overgrown or otherwise: INTEGRITY, RESPONSIBILITY and COURTESY!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

THOUGHTS & SHARINGS ON NONVIOLENCE

This is the first new post published on this site under its new name, L'Ami Du Peuple.
This time I've quite a bit to share and to ask. Allow me to begin by sharing two articles from Daily Kos which I think can have some significant bearing on the issues discussed here:
http://click.actionnetwork....
http://click.actionnetwork....
What looks to me like a sticking-point is when someone else (Nazis, Islamists, Christianist Talibans) declares their dignity and/or destiny fulfillment requires your extirpation and/or extermination. My understanding of the Sermon on the Mount has been shaped in large part by Walter Wink's masterwork, Engaging The Powers. He makes the point how the most 'difficult' parts of that sermon are actually ways to assert one's own human dignity while also respecting that of the other. But when that respect (according to them) mandates your absence from your land and, indeed, from the whole earth, what can one really do but defend oneself? This, by the way, has been the viewpoint of most 'Palestinians' toward Israel, including their leadership, but it's a viewpoint they'll only express in Arabic between themselves and after being as sure as possible that no Western bleeding hearts ('useful idiots' to them) can hear or understand.
On the other hand, that God has placed this dilemma before the Jews can be a wonderful riposte to the 'supersessionist' heresies: this is probably something humanity as a whole needs to learn, and guess who's learning it first? God's original 'pilot group'!
Jesus speaks to us to the extent that we can 'hear' him today; his meanings were and are primarily directed at that first crowd, nearly all of whom were in positions not where someone else's right or dignity demanded their genocide, but one where they endured a thousand daily slights from parents, husbands (let's be brutally honest), upper-class Jews and occupying Romans. The examples Jesus gives are meant as forms of moral jujitsu, where you use your opponent's weight to throw him/her.
Nonviolence of this kind is a way which can and should be used at every stage in fighting injustice short of actual genocide coming at one and one's marked group. But acknowledgement of the oppressor's humanity is a necessary part of it; otherwise it degenerates into a 'mask' for hate-fueled violence. This is why all the 'Palestinian' attempts at 'nonviolence' (at least most of those we hear about) have failed. When either party has no conscience to be touched, nonviolence short-circuits and cannot work.
I don't know if this is part of nonviolence training as yet, but I had an idea for an exercise: to look the adversary squarely in his/her eyes with openness and see what happens. If s/he looks away or 'halts', even for a New York nanosecond, you may have touched something alive in them. Now, it may be you will see death, or nothing alive, in their eyes. That, I think, will be either the sign of one with no conscience or a narcotized or broken one. I don't know even if there is a way to tell one from t'other, much less how to do so. But I guess that's a matter for further study and lots of prayer. God bless and keep you all and I hope I haven't ranted and rambled too much.

Monday, May 28, 2018

CAMPAIGN ADVICE FOR 2018 AND BEYOND

Chemi Shalev hits on something important today in his 'Chemisphere' briefing, something REALLY important for all us libs and progs: he points out, again, that our Sincere Virtue in opposing the right-wing program that I call Trumpery (it's an actual word; look it the f*** up!) won't gain us victory. Even money from me on that WITH our own positive message getting us there! What we need to get us over the top for real is getting AWAY from that awful pedagogical 'eat-your-veggies' style shared by WAY too many of us!
For an example: I supported Bernie two years ago in the primaries, but that was because of what he wanted to do and I was able to get past his personal style, which can charitably be described, I think (Sorry, Bern!) as 'clunky'. How many actual or possible voters EVER get past the personal style of candidates? We need uncompromising honesty about this!
We need more candidates who take THEMSELVES a lot less seriously. People who can campaign with more than a little personal pizzazz, who can leaven their speeches with interesting-sounding quotes, lyric lines or take-your-pick--people not afraid to laugh at themselves and with the courage to invite their audiences to join with them in doing so!
Yes, we need to take our platform seriously but for victory's sake don't be so dam'...heavy-faced about it. Take a clue or two from 'Scaramouche' as Sabatini wrote him up. Don't hold back on scaring our audiences with, say, the consequences of NOT tackling climate change or inequality further widening! I have at least a few ideas about such dystopian images; feel free to ask about 'em!
And on the same note I'd advise my brethren on the religious Left to, while I hope they preach and, far more importantly, LIVE love of all, to also edge--but ONLY edge--their sermons and speeches with a tongue or two of fire and the same number of whiffs of brimstone. I think it'll be good!
We also need to encourage people to contribute in non-monetary ways. I know I hate that candidates and organizations never stop begging for cash! But it's also important to have people see what they CAN pitch in with. We need to be much more Disraelis than Gladstones here. Less impressing others with OUR purported brilliance and more illumining the brilliance in members of our audiences. At any rate, let there be no more cause for us to wail the lament of Charlie Brown's ever-losing baseball team: "How could we lose? We were so SINCERE!" Puh-LEEZE!
Finally, when we DO need to 'teach', let's do so not in the oh-so-superior style of the most irritating teacher in the school, but in the style of a coach calling his players out for doing less of a good job than they could have done--and expecting that, thus chastised and instructed, they WILL do better!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

GROWING UP

'Grow up!'
How often do men hear this from women (usually not without considerable justification)? Well, now a man is saying the same, especially to the NotAllMen crowd and such as they, not to mention those who actually do harass and threaten women.
I don't choose those two words idly or capriciously, either. I mean them in a very real sense, viz First, I suspect that a lot of the male bile over this comes from men who, as boys, were ruled by women whose 'default' setting towards them included 'do not believe; side with those for whom he makes trouble' or something like that. This is not something of which men speak openly, so I may be starting something.Second, I wonder how many class A p***ks, to use an epithet to which my dad was partial, are now exacting vengeance with the women they threaten and exploit, for being mistreated in that way when they could do nothing about it. In either case, the 'grow up' advice applies. Let it sink in that you really are the grownups now and that the women before you are NOT your (fill in the blanks), nor are they stand-ins for them. You've been subject to abusive power before; why will you mimic what was done to you instead of showing yourself better--yea verily, showing yourself a REAL MAN by using your power wisely, judiciously, and not oppressively?
Twelve years ago, an employee of ours (my late first wife and I) accused me of harassment. There was absolutely NO truth in anything she said and indeed her attraction was to her own sex, which is why my wife had a 'creepy' feeling about her. But she wanted to blame me for my wife's non-response towards her. I was acquitted eleven years ago; the local police were familiar with this woman as a bringer of seriously wacky charges against others. Now let me ask you ladies: all this notwithstanding, how many of you have a 'guilty' default setting toward anyone against whom such charges are brought? Seriously. Take some time answering here; your answers are important.
Nine years ago, my late first wife and I visited a woman with remarkable psycho-spiritual 'sight'. She asked me then, "Why are you still so tied to your ******?" I barely understood the question then; now I know I understand at least a bit more. And that 'guilty' default setting is partly why I feel we ought to teach our boys to never, never, never touch a woman before she touches you and all nonverbal 'signals' be DAMNED--I mean that quite literally! Teach our sons to be masters of their own hormones and make no move from them except if she moves first and does so unmistakably! Even without the ache from my early life that seems like a very good idea; feel free to weigh in on that too.
How about you, brothers? Ready to grow up, or grow further? Let's go together.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

OPEN LETTER TO KIM JONG-UN

Sir,

I don't know whether you and our current 'president' are playing some sort of juvenile game of 'chicken' or whether you'd really rather deliberately destroy our country and, with it, the whole earth. Either you believe your own propaganda (rather like the Great Orange Cheeto in the White House) or you know that the 'nuclear winter' which would follow a nuclear war (and we only learned this during your young lifetime) would mean nearly all surviving life on the planet would starve to death! Is this why you've decided you'd rather be able to destroy our country than negotiate?
Mr. Trump does not represent most of the people; through an anomaly of our Constitution (an anomaly overdue for abolition) he won with fewer actual votes than Mrs. Clinton--but I'm sure you know this too. In any case, none of us like seeing any new nuclear power but, if you can convince more of our people that you can be trusted (me, for openers) we can be convinced to live with that if you are prepared to be other than a rogue power!
This is not a plea; we are all free people and we sue for peace before no one, especially not our own leaders, let alone those of other countries! I just wonder if you're as irrational as Trump or whether that's what you want him and his subordinates to believe. If you're more rational, I promise not to tell them. I hope and believe the pair of you are trying to convince each other that you are biocidal little madmen, but I can tell you dam' few of we who watch and pray are enjoying the show! I certainly am not! If you show me you are rational, I shall be immensely relieved but will not tell the media, at least not till this becomes academic--and you shall see me keep my word!
I am no one in particular: I am a man in my early sixties with a wife and no children, although we do have three dogs and a cat as pets which we cherish, as well as friends and other relations not as close as children would be. So you can see I haven't much personal stake in seeing life continue beyond our own lifetimes. But sometimes we look at our pets and I think of all the innocent animals who we'd be vaporizing, starving in nuclear winter and God only knows what else--and the thought of inflicting such harm on all those innocent creatures is too much for a plain, small man like myself. I have some acquaintance with history, geography, literature and language as well and I'm still open to learning. As we say in my language, I take what both my government and the mainstream media tell us with a fairly liberal amount of salt.
I humbly ask you, young sir, to consider these things if you haven't already and to seek other ways which will enable negotiations to recommence between your country, my country, the PRC, the ROK, Japan and probably Russia as the main actors in northeast Asia. And whatever you tell me to convince me of your rationality, I shall keep it to myself for the foreseeable future.

Anxiously,
Brian S. Meadows
anglohebraicus@gmail.com

Monday, September 18, 2017

TO DEFEND, STRENGTHEN & EXTEND

Democracy, so the Founders wrote, is always a generation away from being extinguished. And in my threescore years and one, I'd say they are being borne out.
I don't know whether democracy has had such a combination of internal and external threats against it since the 1930s (I tend to worry more about the internal ones) but I think some words about what we want to defend and extend in our country and indeed our civilization as a whole are in order.
First and foremost: democracy. What I mean here is 1) the ability of ever more citizens to have their voices heard and at least registered in the national, provincial, local councils. 2) While this does not and should not mean that my ignorant 'feeling' is as valid as your expertise on (fill in the blank), I do have the right to expect you to be able to express your knowledge in language I can understand. If the great nuclear physicist Lord Rutherford expressed doubt about the utility of any idea which couldn't be put into language which the most ignorant among us can understand, who are any of us to argue that point? I also think that, when a speaker can't or won't pull themselves away from their professional jargon, let's put up our flimflam alerts. 3) It has to include a wealth ceiling for individuals, families and corporations. Without economic democracy, political democracy will be vitiated into being meaningless.
Second: diversity. Not for its own sake (nor are all cultures 'equal' by any means, though whatever healths each has do deserve respect) but because, however much we know, we can always learn infinitely more. And we can always learn new things from just about anyone regardless of wealth or education. Nor does this mean we do not vigorously assimilate new arrivals into our societies. And not digesting the idea of religious liberty (NOT 'toleration'; see 'The Rights of Man' for further distinction) ought to be seen as a disqualification for entry into our societies. Ditto for freedom of speech and the press.
I wrote that all cultures are not equal. While I stick to this, I should also say any cultural superiority is NEVER due to superior DNA as such! One thing which DOES give a culture superiority is its openness to new genetic material, though. Anyone who knows anything about dogs knows that it's the 'mixed' breeds--that is, the mutts---who live longer and more vigorously than do any purebreds. In the Arab/Muslim world, first cousins have married each other for fourteen centuries. I strongly suspect this, and the dying of innovation and ijtihad and the loss of scientific primacy, are strongly connected!
Not to mention all the hereditary afflictions of royalty and nobility. Thereby one is deposed and the other declines into no-ability! We also need to relearn the art of vigorous yet civil debate to defend what we hold dear for our societies and our civilization.
Last is a trait which seems quite special: a growing intolerance of hypocrisy. But as we hunt hypocrisies, never mind the 'uniforms'--be they outfits, real or purported (cockroach-in-hijab, my sights are fixed on you!) skin tones or whatever. No, pay attention to the behavior patterns. In a conflict which looks intractable, ask these questions: who's willing to share power and land and other resources and who insists on ruling the whole show or they'll ruin it all? Who holds on tighter to 'intangibles'--that is, to purported 'honor' or 'prestige'? And who says (or has said in the recent past) that equality with their adversary would be UNIMAGINABLY SHAMING AND DEGRADING? I can think of two examples right off the bat: one is seen here and the other in the Middle East.
Whoever says the above and shows, underneath all their attempts to hide and camouflage them, such behavior patterns can NOT be our friends and must be the enemies of both our societies and of our civilization--however much they may look and sound like 'us'! Indeed, the smarter they are, the more they'll put on just that gambit!
PS. Spiritual truths will never have quite the same 'shape' for any two of us. Beware especially of ALL those who insist that the same shape or labels are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! It's not God's people that goose-step in lock-step, but the other guy's troops! OK, I'm done, so feel free to sigh with relief!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

ISRAEL: PAST AND FUTURE GLORY


I think back to how the times of kings David and Solomon are, by large numbers of Jews, still considered Israel's 'glory days'. Then I start to ask myself: did David or Solomon ever have such hospitals, laboratories, green fields and greenhouses as does Israel today, not to mention their water-management technology which is light-years ahead of almost anyone else on earth, ESPECIALLY Israel's neighbors? Was that long-past Israel appropriately hospitable to the poor and the stranger and the non-Israelite among them? If the story of Rehoboam's succession to his father is accurate, there can be no doubt that today's Israel makes it plenty easier for the ordinary Moshe and/or Rivka to register discontent with the government--a government which can always be voted out and exchanged for another, without violence, at the next election!
As I contemplate today's Israel and compare it with ancient Israel, it seems to me that the times of David and Solomon might be better described as the days of Israel's INITIAL glory. Based on the Israel I see today, I believe that God has such glory in store for Israel that, beside it, the Israel of David and Solomon will be as a flickering candle beside a high-wattage floodlight! And NO, real peace with the neighbors will not mark its beginning! Not as long as most of those neighbors still look on Israel with the same malevolence as struggling peckerwoodies looked on both the Greenwood section of Tulsa and upon Rosewood in Florida! (For those who don't know of these things, go google them and be illumined!)
But what I think will bring Israel closer to such glory is making it a less hospitable place for billionaires and more so for the working poor and its middle class, together with the marvelous variety of ecosystems that flourish in that little space! Let there be more and better provenance for the poor and needy and may fewer Israelis be uncertain of their next meal! If Scripture tells the truth (and I believe it does) will not such measures bring Israel's next great glory closer? I believe it will! Make equal rights for ALL Israelis more of a daily reality; Israelis themselves know far better than I do what needs to be done to push that along--so I excuse myself from that debate.
We (I mean all of the West) also need to back up Israel in 1) its strengthening of ties with sub-Saharan Africa, including and perhaps especially the peoples who have shown themselves to be connections of the House of Israel and 2) administering sharp correction to ostensibly religiously-inspired attempts at murder or to set off Shoah II. Because for us in this respect, Israel is still very much our canary in the coal mine. What has happened in Israel we are now seeing in our own countries!
But above all, such aggression should never terrorize us to the extent that we forget who we are--an alliance of FREE peoples, open to admitting those who really do want to join us as equals and show that by their individual and collective actions. This is why I think Turkey ought to be suspended from NATO until and unless it re-secularizes itself!
I believe Israel still is God's 'pilot light' for the nations and that, when this twilight struggle is won as I believe it will be if we stay true to ourselves, Israel will stand in glory and be known for its light! So let us all take heart, do all we can and march on--to greater glory than has yet been known!!