We live in such interesting times. This election, more than any one so far, exposes how the denigration of women remains so very entrenched in our culture, not only in the United States, but across the world. I am voting for Hilary Clinton because she is the best qualified candidate for president of our country. Bernie Sanders has some good ideas that I hope will become real policy, such as free college tuition for every American. But Hilary is one person who has consistently fought for my rights, my dignity, my economic equality. And not only that. She has insight and vital experience in foreign policy and national policy that make her singularly qualified for the job. What is all this fuss about insiders? Politics is a complicated and arcane business. We need people who understand the system well enough to make it work for us, the people, people who can best represent our interests. Hilary Clinton is that person.
[The movie Starving the Beast shows how Right-wing lobbyists with power have] dropped any sense that the public university plays a fundamental role in the quality of life in their states, or enhances young people’s understanding of their responsibilities as citizens. They don’t even see “students” anymore, only “customers” or “clients.” They want to steer public universities away from inquiries about the meaning of life, justice, or beauty in this world, which they see as nothing more than “left-liberal” claptrap.
Their “vision” (if one can call it that) is to get rid of academic tenure, phase out the liberal arts and humanities departments, and narrowly focus “education” on the attainment of vocational skills. They apparently want a workforce of trained automatons who toil in silence and never ask big questions or challenge authority as young people are encouraged to do in university settings.
Despite the clear animus of some high profile atheists, those who don’t believe in God are the most tolerant.
There is no end to the men, mostly, who seek to govern women’s bodies, who deny women freedom, agency, and power. Now they want to prevent any woman who MIGHT become pregnant from drinking alcohol, even though there is no solid evidence to support such draconian prohibition.
What do you think?
Martha Nussbaum, a famous philosopher and a woman who has, you might say, “made it,” in the patriarchal halls of philosophy and academe, has this to say to women who would seek justice when famous and powerful men rape them:
Law cannot fix this problem. Famous men standardly get away with sexual harms, and for the most part will continue to do so. They know they are above the law, and they are therefore undeterrable. What can society do? Don’t give actors and athletes such glamor and reputational power. But that won’t happen in the real world. What can women do? Don’t be fooled by glamor. Do not date such men, unless you know them very, very well. Do not go to their homes. Never be alone in a room with them. And if you ignore my sage advice and encounter trouble, move on. Do not let your life get hijacked by an almost certainly futile effort at justice. Focus on your own welfare, and in this case that means: forget the law.
Source: Martha Nussbaum on sexual assault
Do you agree with Jennysaul, below:
Nussbaum draws on her own experiences to discuss sexual assault by powerful men. Her main argument has a deeply depressing conclusion, consisting of advice to women:
Patriarchy governing women’s bodies and minds.
Like many across the country, an investigation in Kansas found that Planned Parenthood was not involved with the illegal sale of fetal tissue.
A lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday by Planned Parenthood accuses anti-choice activists of operating a criminal enterprise in hopes of ending legal abortion.
A North Carolina law requiring doctors who perform abortions after the 16th week of pregnancy to submit ultrasounds to state officials went into effect January 1.
Survey co-authored by Trae Vassallo, who testified in the Ellen Pao case, found that for women in tech and venture capital gender discrimination is common
There’s mounting evidence suggesting that student evaluations of teaching are unreliable. But are these evaluations, commonly referred to as SET, so bad that they’re actually better at gauging students’ gender bias and grade expectations than they are at measuring teaching effectiveness? A new paper argues that’s the case, and that evaluations are biased against female instructors in particular in so many ways that adjusting them for that bias is impossible.
Wonderful people make Guana Cay a place we will remember fondly.
Source: Adventures on Guana Cay
I’m quoting from RH Reality Check, one of the best blogs on the net. Jodi Jacobson, the editor-in-chief, eloquently exposes the hypocrisy of right-wing politicians, such as Ted Cruz:
Last Friday, two civilians and one police officer died and nine others were wounded in a vicious and wholly predictable attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The alleged gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, who used what the New York Times described as an assault-style rifle to blast his way into the health-care facility, reportedly said “no more baby parts” during his arrest.
This would be a direct reference to false and defamatory rhetoric ceaselessly repeated by GOP candidates and the anti-choice movement over the past six months to claim Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal body parts for research, when not a shred of evidence of illegal or unethical activity has been produced.
It’s no secret that the GOP, now fully co-opted by what was once a radical Christian fringe, long ago set its sights on destroying access to reproductive health care in the United States. With callous disregard to the effects on the nearly three million a year who receive primary reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood clinics, the right has made a religious crusade of efforts to shutter Planned Parenthood, persistently threatening to shut down the entire U.S. government in an effort to do so. State legislatures and governors throughout the country have voted to strip funding from family planning and other forms of reproductive health care, destroying an essential keystone of public health. And an entire industry now exists devoted to, among other things, manufacturing lies about abortion and contraception; passing laws to reduce access to abortion care and make criminals of doctors and patients; picketing clinics; harassing and threatening providers and patients; and denying women medically accurate information.
In this environment, heated rhetoric about abortion providers is only one lit match away from a raging forest fire of hatred and violence culminating in unstable people taking matters into their own hands.
Dream time: November 20, 2015, before sunrise
Dream location: Parrot Cay, near Hopetown, Abacos, Bahamas.
I had gotten very sick, and started to draw the windows of my former client, where there were tiny porcelain figurines of girls and animals and much smaller little tea cups that I myself had made with a flourish of my paintbrush–two dimensional becoming three. While painting I find myself clinging to the building, twenty or thirty stories up in the air, and nearly fainting from terror.
My former client opens and window and brings me in to her rooms which are filled with books in English and German, rare and valuable books, and enormous, elaborate porcelain trees and flowers. The decor is fanciful, bohemian, educated, and shabby. I feel at home here. I have arrived very sick, deeply distressed, depressed, nearly hysterical with weeping. A psychiatric nurse is called, who thinks I’m going to throw myself out the window, which is nonsense. But I am sick, far gone into what some might call madness. I am not mad, I have fallen into a kind of ego sickness, attachment, samsara.
My sorrow is more acute than my client’s, and she does what she can to heal me. I sign up for some kind of ashram, a retreat that I bike to, far out in the tropics. I walk the path into the forest. It leads down, down, and, strangely, into my former client’s apartment. I find her dressed in scarlet, Tibetan silks. She is the doorkeeper.
She leads me to a circular stairway that plunges perilously to deeper floors of rooms, where I meet children laughing and playing, women basking in sunlight and water, teachers. I retreat, fleeing back up to my client’s rooms, where she tends to me, dresses me, feeds me, until I am strong enough to return to the floors beneath her.
I know I must go, that this retreat down and within, will help me, but I have come late. I have paid dearly for this retreat, and worry that I have missed too much, that the teachers there will not allow me to start. I will lose my investment, a heavy price. I attend some meditation lessons and attempt to blend in, in vain. My former client works here, too, and helps me to find my way.
I cannot find the guru I need, the teacher who will listen to my complaints and point out the cure. Slowly I learn that I must listen to myself, hear and feel the sadnesses within, the terrors, the abysses. Only by embracing what I fear to know about myself, can I heal and grow stronger. Only by surrendering to the darkness can I experience the dawn breaking within.
Ich glaube, daß fast alle unsere Traurigkeiten Momente der Spannung sind, die wir als Lähmung empfinden, weil wir unsere befremdeten Gefühle nicht mehr leben hören. Weil wir mit dem Fremden, das bei uns eingetreten ist, allein sind, weil uns alles Vertraute und Gewohnte für einen Augenblick fortgenommen ist; weil wir mitten in einem Übergang stehen, wo wir nicht stehen bleiben können. Darum geht die Traurigkeit auch vorüber: das Neue in uns, das Hinzugekommene, ist in unser Herz eingetreten, ist in seine innerste Kammer gegangen und ist auch dort nicht mehr, – ist schon im Blut. Und wir erfahren nicht, was es war. Man könnte uns leicht glauben machen, es sei nichts geschehen, und doch haben wir uns verwandelt, wie ein Haus sich verwandelt, in welches ein Gast eingetreten ist. Wir können nicht sagen, wer gekommen ist, wir werden es vielleicht nie wissen, aber es sprechen viele Anzeichen dafür, daß die Zukunft in solcher Weise in uns eintritt, um sich in uns zu verwandeln, lange bevor sie geschieht. Und darum ist es so wichtig, einsam und aufmerksam zu sein, wenn man traurig ist: weil der scheinbar ereignislose und starre Augenblick, da unsere Zukunft uns betritt, dem Leben so viel näher steht als jener andere laute und zufällige Zeitpunkt, da sie uns, wie von außen her, geschieht.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, Briefe an einem jungen Dichter, Franz Xaver Kappus. Borgeby gård, Flädie, Schweden,
am 12. August 1904
is the worst of maladies. It rips your heart out and leaves you breathless, exhausted, wasted, denuded. Your skin comes off and all your nerves get exposed, and you weep for no reason that you can explain to anyone, and no one cares, anyway. Depression makes you irritable and cranky and bad-tempered with everyone you know. The smallest things get under your skin, which isn’t there, so the smallest thing gets under your nerves and rubs them with salt so that you feel like screaming. There that, the endless and incomprehensible desire to scream your head off and, failing that, which you do, of course, because you fail at everything, you collapse into crying and self-loathing. Depression chains you to your bed or your chair or your corner, and if you manage to get up and walk around depressed, the chains drag and mossy anchors drag you back. You think about drowning. You long for death, to sink into the muck, the brown brownness of it, to bury your face into its dirty mess, your own dirty mess of self. You argue and blame and shout at people and feel furious with them for not understanding and stopping to throw their arms around you, kiss you, and hold you until the tears stop. The tears you fear will never end. But depression makes you monstrous and no one wants to kiss or hold a monster, so you carry on behaving monstrously, miserably alone, misunderstood, mistaken, misplaced, missed. Me miserable, which way I fly infinite wrath and infinite despair. You think you are going insane. You don’t trust yourself. You have no one but yourself to trust and so you fall into the lower deep that devours you. Depression confuses the mind and wrings the hands, it stammers the mouth and removes choices. It unfurls the mind against itself and dissolves the skeleton, hunches the back against the stairs uncomfortably. No comfort in the mind shut down and the body broken. They call depression a disorder. It is disorganized, chaotic, stormy, an attack, a tornado, a tidal wave of sadness, and it hurts. It burns the eyes, scorches the throat, stops up the nose and ears and painfully overstimulates every nerve in the body while simultaneously deadening everything, so that you move, if you can move, through the world muffled, muted, deafened, dulled, retarded, defeated, deflated. It washes you up on unfamiliar shores, it abandons you, wrecks you, dashes you, destroys you. Do not underestimate this affliction.
My partner, Ryan, and I recently bought a boat named Sophia, which means Wisdom, and we are both very wisely deciding to spend the next few years sailing this vessel around the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Cruising these waters is something we have always wanted to do, and we decided to go now that we are in our mid-fifties and still agile enough to move around. For stories about our adventures aboard Sophia, please go to sophiasailing.com.
Sophia (σοφία) is the name of the goddess and creator who appears in the Bible as the co-founder of the universe.
In Proverbs 8, Wisdom speaks:
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him:
The Greek noun sophia is the translation of “wisdom” in the Greek Septuagint for Hebrew חכמות, Ḥokmot or chokma. Plato taught that philosophy is the friend (philo) of wisdom (sophy). To create, to do or know anything, one requires wisdom, which Plato regarded as something beyond mere human inventions and constructions. Hildegard von Bingen, the great medieval mystic and composer, regarded Sophia, or Sapientia, in Latin, as the divine, undying source of existence. In Hinduism, the goddess Durga,mother of all things, is also believed to be outside of time. These ancient concepts of wisdom are not unlike Buddhist notions of the dharma, or the way, as a knowing that cannot be expressed in words, an awareness of what is that comes through meditation.
Below, Karen Clark sings Hildegard’s beautiful hymn to Sapientia:
O virtus Sapientie
|O virtus Sapientie,
que circuiens circuisti,
in una via que habet vitam,
tres alas habens,
quarum una in altum volat
et altera de terra sudat
et tercia undique volat.
Laus tibi sit, sicut te decet, O Sapientia.
|O Wisdom’s energy!
Whirling, you encircle
and everything embrace
in the single way of life.
Three wings you have:
one soars above into the heights,
one from the earth exudes,
and all about now flies the third.
Praise be to you, as is your due, O Wisdom.
Latin collated from the transcription of Beverly Lomer and the edition of Barbara Newman; translation by Nathaniel M. Campbell.