Speculative Fiction #Genres, According to one Jaded #Feminist

Speculative Fiction #Genres, According to one Jaded #Feminist (and two other, actual experts…)

Here are two great sources of info about the overall genre of Speculative Fiction (Spec Fic) and all its subgenres, (also the two main sources of the images, below):
About Speculative Fiction, from blogger/author, Sherry D. Ramsey at http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005; and,
The Difference between Speculative Fiction and Science-Fiction, from SPi Global, at http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/


from http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005

So, you don’t have to go by my jaded, biased, perhaps not entirely fair or accurate descriptions, below.

Also, check out many of the Spec Fic online and hard-copy ‘zines and subscription magazines that publish short stories, plays, graphic novels or excerpts, art, poetry, novellas and announcements, such as: Heliotrope: Online Speculative Fiction Magazine, http://www.heliotropemag.com/

JUST MY OPINIONS, below.

  • Science-Fiction (also known as sci-fi):
    ◙ Stories about what could be or might have been that feature science, tech, weaponry that does not exist (yet); mostly written by men and somewhat invisible women; mostly about men and almost invisible women; if in graphic novel form, the females are scantily clad for no apparent reason, while men are wearing body armor; mostly about men, with one or no female main characters, except to support or be loved by males.
    ◙ If part of a series, “good guys” do not prevail for the long-term but do win in skirmishes, until the end, which can be dystopian (no HEA–Happily Ever After) or partly HEA (at least, for the romantic component).
    ◙ If politically and/or social commentary-oriented, can illustrate the ways our current cultures are harsh (but accurate) regarding racist, species-ist, misogynistic practices and attitudes.
    ◙ Main characters can die, but usually not in the first parts of a series.


    from http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005

  • “Hard” Science-Fiction:
    ◙ Futuristic stories mostly about the male “heroes” (and steroid/testosterone-ridden women, cyborgs and robots) fighting alone or in groups against whom/whatever, using lots of weaponry and spaceships; see above, for costuming; mostly about men, with one or no central female main characters, except to support or be loved by males or inhabit computers.
    ◙ If part of a series, “good guys” do not prevail for the long-term but do win in skirmishes, until the end, which can be dystopian (no HEA–Happily Ever After) or partly HEA (at least, for the romantic component).
    ◙ If dystopian (typically), often includes destruction of one or more planet, victors’ having slaves, horrible classism and race/species discrimination and other awful plot points and outcomes.
    ◙ Main characters can die, but can be reborn into tech creatures. Often, a “space opera” that spans many years/centuries and vast expanses.


    from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/

  • Steam-Punk Fantasy/Science-Fiction:
    ◙ Stories about what might have been or could be, written by both men and women; depicts women in low bodices, wearing corsets, and carrying fans; men have pocket watches, vests, and private (“public” in England) educations or tutors; everything is run by steam engines; characters are mostly Anglo and espouse or resist British/American Anglo upper- and middle-class Victorian values (e.g., either virginal or whorish women, class distinctions, elitist “manners,” rigidly gender-ized clothing); stories are mostly about men, with one or no central female main characters, except to support or be loved by males.
    ◙ If there are GLBT characters, they are usually depicted as deranged/homicidal, stereotypes, and/or objects of ridicule or pity. Rarely has human characters who are not Anglo (so I deliberately included a drawing that has males of color, here).
    ◙ Can include murders and other crimes in which females are the victims or need to be rescued.
    ◙ May not be clear who the “bad” guys are, at first (think, prostitute or crime lord with the “heart of gold”).
    ◙ Main characters cannot die unless already replaced by a successor.


    from https://writingcareer.com/black-power-the-superhero-anthology-is-seeking/

    This anthology, whose prototype cover is above, Black Power: Superheroes of Color, was released last month, February, 2017: https://thenerdsofcolor.org/2017/02/27/black-power-the-superhero-anthology/
    edited by Balogun Ojetade, with a great line-up of authors within it.

    Real cover:

  • Fantasy:
    ◙ Usually set in some pseudo-medieval or -Renaissance, Earth-like setting or Earth’s own possible past or present, but with talking animals, mythical creatures, imaginary creatures (e.g., fairies, gnomes, dwarves, trolls, dragons, giants, ogres, witches, warlocks, wizards); usually includes some kind of magic or pseudo-science mixed with magic; if there are non-human creatures, they are almost always male or overly glamorized females (large breasts, small waists, heavy make-up); could have human shape-shifters who usually become large predators (wolves, bears, lions, panthers, etc.); can have vampires, whose subplots usually include some kind of incapacitation and then sexual assault accompanying the blood-sucking, usually of women by both males and females.
    ◙ Always has “good guys” and “bad guys,” with the “good guys” prevailing in the end.
    ◙ Main characters cannot die unless already replaced by a successor.


    from http://www.sherrydramsey.com/?page_id=1005

  • High Fantasy:
    ◙ Similar to Fantasy, but with more court-like/royal characters and class conflicts/settings; usually some star-crossed royalty romance for the teen or young adult main characters that ends HEA (Happily Ever After); usually has dragons or other mythical creatures centrally featured; for specious reasons, characters often speak in upper-class British accents/styles and/or insert French- or Spanish-sounding words randomly; often heavily laced with sword fights, quests, riddles and other “tests” for the main characters (usually male), which they have to lose at least twice before becoming victorious (“getting the girl” is usually part of their “prize”).
    ◙ Duels are common.
    ◙ Usually HEA (Happily Ever After).
    ◙ Main characters cannot die unless they’re old or can become mythologized and/or unless already replaced by a successor.


    from the cover of Issue 5 of http://www.heliotropemag.com/

  • Urban Fantasy:
    ◙ Similar to Fantasy, but set in decaying cities; usually dystopian/post-apocalyptic; can blend magic with tech, though not as originally or interestingly as the author believes; not enough female characters and frequent fighting among the males; duels are common; cyborgs, androids, political and social tyrants, crime and criminals abound.
    ◙ Only HEA (Happily Ever After) for about 3 “beats,” then more fighting.
    ◙ “Good Guys” can be ethically challenged and compromised frequently.
    ◙ Main characters can die.


    from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/

  • Dark Fantasy:
    ◙ Exactly like one or both of the above Fantasy genres, but with more sex (sometimes BDSM or hard-core porn, here); lots of blood, gore, fighting, elements of Horror, etc.; has conflicts that maim, kill off or otherwise harm the female characters severely, who then need to be rescued (when possible); hauntings, ghosts, evil from other dimensions and realms, summonings gone wrong and other horror-like elements can occur frequently, usually showing the main characters to be idiots; features ominous castles and fortresses a lot.
    ◙ Does not usually go with HEA (Happily Ever After) because the main characters get to be “happy” (have amazing sex and lie around together afterwards) for about 3 “beats” before someone tries to kill one or both of them.
    ◙ Main characters can be cursed, ensorceled and/or die.


    from http://wallpaper-gallery.net/wallpapers/dark-fantasy-wallpapers.html

  • Horror:
    ◙ Similar to Dark Fantasy or Dystopian Sci-Fi, but with more gore, blood, death, suspense, killing, maiming, scaring, scarring, psychological and physical trauma of all kinds as both the causes/ motivations and outcomes for the characters AND the readers (can you tell I do not read Horror?); often has demons, demonic forces, battles between “good” and “evil” embodied in various physical and spirit bodies.
    ◙ Doesn’t even think about including “Happy” endings, except as punctuation marks between disasters and/or parodies.
    ◙ Main characters can and do die, usually horrifically (pun intended).


    from http://www.spi-global.com/blog/cs-blog/the-difference-between-speculative-fiction-and-science-fiction/

  • Young Adult Speculative Fiction (usually known as YA Spec Fic):
    ◙ Usually dystopian, futuristic Sci-fi or Fantasy; features an abundance of orphans or single-parent-raised main characters; usually has one female for every two male main characters; often includes a plot/characterization that starts with the MC as an undistinguished, low-living, bullied, betrayed, enslaved or harried young person who then experiences the uncovering of special powers or previously unknown importance revealed in the first few chapters.
    ◙ Big on “destiny,” “fate,” “saving the world” and such…really, the MCs are attempting to help only a small number of beings within or a local geographic section of their/”our” world.
    ◙ Can be leaning more toward Fantasy or Sci-fi or blend both.
    ◙ Main characters can die, but usually only within an extended series; most do not.
    NOTE: YA Spec Fic is probably the best source among all Spec Fic subgenres for finding stories that feature people of color, those with disabilities or who are neuro-atypical, queer and other non-mainstream main characters and sidekicks.


image from a guest post by Julia Ember (no relation) on Jamie Kramer’s Books and Ladders blog, http://booksandladders.blogspot.com/2016/06/guestpost-unicorn-tracks-by-julia-ember.html


I told you I was jaded. I am not the only one, by any means. The following quote and analysis (please read entire article; link below) sums up my major complaints perfectly:

[Spec Fic is] not just about shiny, phallic rocket ships populated by deep-in-the-closet Aryan brethren conquering the Final Frontier, people. It’s about different futures, alternate realities, dangerous fantasies. You’d think such places, where dragons dwell, would be heavily populated with equally unusual people, but nope. Looks like everybody important there is white, male, anglophone and straight. Not to mention perfectly healthy physically and mentally.

—penned by Paula R. Stiles, “Diversity in Speculative Fiction,” on http://www.fantasy-magazine.com/non-fiction/articles/diversity-in-speculative-fiction/, from the Dec., 2016 (Issue 60) – People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue [NOTE: “Fantasy Magazine has merged with its sister publication, Lightspeed, so this site will no longer be updated with new content. However, the fiction and interviews you would have found here at Fantasy will now be part of Lightspeed, so please sign up for our newsletter (sent out once or twice a month) to receive updates about the release of new issues of Lightspeed Magazine, news about the magazine, and more.”]
——-Lightspeed Magazine also published, starting in 2014, Queers Destroy… each of the subgenres (Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy), starting with Science-Fiction Special Issues, which you can find out about here: http://www.destroysf.com/queers/
And, on that same page, they have links to their POC [People of Color] Destroy… series of Special Issues for each subgenre (Fantasy, Horror, Fantasy)


2015’s Queers Destroy Science-Fiction cover

—Women are at the forefront of these critiques and do them so well, I have so many to choose from. Here is another, from an interview conducted by Alexandra Alter with N. K. Jemisin [Jemisin was the the first African-American writer and the first woman of color to win a Hugo Award for “best novel” (others have won for short fiction)], “N. K. Jemisin on Diversity in Science-Fiction and Inspiration From Dreams,” published by the New York Times (!?) on https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/books/n-k-jemisin-on-diversity-in-science-fiction-and-inspiration-from-dreams.html?_r=0
Jemisin says she “decided to focus on an oppressive society at the macro scale and what that society does to individuals” in her spec fic novels. Why? Because “a woman of color from an impoverished culture, being brought up among wealthy, privileged white people and having to cope and perform in ways that she has not been raised to do… was obviously drawn from some personal experiences. I do that in everything — explorations of power, identity and belonging.”

—Another great article, “Genrequeer,” by Theodore McCombs at http://www.fictionunbound.com/blog/2016/4/6/genrequeer, offers this excellent insight: “To make space for black achievement and transcendence, speculative fiction lets us change all the rules that should never have been rules in the first place.”


So, there is a lot of hope for increasing diversity, better representation of women and girls, more interesting stories and compelling ways to resolve conflicts than wars and violence in the Spec Fic genre and all its subgenres, with dozens of websites, groups and other resources to help us find them.

Here are some:
—The Black Science Fiction Society: http://www.blacksciencefictionsociety.com


Logo from Black Science Fiction Society website, 2017

—The Speculative Literature Foundation offers “Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants …The two $500 awards support any purpose that writer recipients may choose to benefit their work.”
FMI: http://speculativeliterature.org/ and a resource list of orgs for writers of Spec Fic: http://speculativeliterature.org/writers-resources-2/writers/writers-organizations-2/

African-American Sci-Fi: http://www.africanamericansciencefiction.com/

Latino Spec Fic: http://www.latinospeculativefiction.com/, which published Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy, which “is the first anthology to bring together U.S. Latinos/as who are working in science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres”; edited by Matthew David Goodwin.


Cover of Latino@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy

—Two other not-so-recent anthologies: Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2005), edited by Sheree R. Thomas, and Cosmos Latinos: An Anthology of Science Fiction from Latin America and Spain (2003), edited by Andrea L. Bell and Yolanda Molina-Gavilán, which “showcase African-American and (mostly) Spanish-speaking spec-fic writers, respectively.”

—Check out writers in the sub-category of Afrofuturism, which is defined in Wikipedia: “Afrofuturism addresses themes and concerns of the African diaspora through a technoculture and science-fiction lens, encompassing a range of media and artists with a shared interest in envisioning black futures that stem from Afrodiasporic experiences.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrofuturism

Tracy Mumford, about a year ago, wrote, in: “‘We want to hear new voices’: Diversity in sci-fi and fantasy” for https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/04/05/books-diversity-in-sci-fi-and-fantasy [as part of The Thread newsletter, which I recommend you sign up for right now (on that page)], some great commentary about those topics.
This article also has a great recommended reading list, curated during and prior to 2015, mostly, of diverse writers’ work in spec fic.

—Queer Sci-Fi has so much to offer, now, and via so many sites. Here is one website that may list the majority of them and offers more resources, besides: https://queerscifi.com/


Weigh in, please. I’d love to have great discussions, here, about other elements of Spec Fic and intersectionality (the places that social identities overlap and in which we analyze privilege, oppression and efforts to effect change). What have I left out, got wrong, etc.?

I’d love to hear from you. I also welcome Guest Bloggers (see my site for Guidelines): http://www.sallyember.com/

#RESIST #FIGHT #NEVERAGAIN #whichsideareyouon #clearandpresentdanger #revolutionisneeded

#RESIST #FIGHT #NEVERAGAIN #whichsideareyouon #clearandpresentdanger #revolutionisneeded

fighting-fascism-is-a-social-duty

— stealing the election
— nominations that are now mostly approved of incompetent, inappropriate, illegal cabinet nominees
— putting Bannon where he does not belong and is not legally allowed to be and keeping him there, undeterred
— closing down/diminishing the power of protective government agencies, like the EPA
— the Jewish cemetery desecrations (now, 3)
— the bomb “threat” phone calls to Jewish community centers (over 40 in the last 5 weeks)
— the Nazi graffiti and online/TV/radio broadcasts demonizing Muslims and Jews (too many to count)
— the burning of mosques, the exclusion of media from the White House,the travel bans
— the “show me your papers” TSA and border patrol demands to random (targeted) people at many airports and exit/entrance points
— the violence against peaceful protesters and the demonizing of protests
— the ICE raids and imprisonment of the ill, the parents, the elderly immigrants
— defunding/discrediting public schools…
— the erosion of civil rights
— the attack on reproductive freedom
— the demonizing of LGBT individuals
and so much more.

These are all test runs, folks. And, so far, they are getting away with it all.

If too many citizens ignore these first 6 weeks of horrific #notmyPresident’s actions, if too many of us get “activism” or “compassion” fatigue, if too many get scared, if the privileged crawl back into private and protected bubbles (only coming out to protest when we personally are affected), the fascists will certainly escalate… and we’re all doomed.

This is the Hitlerian/totalitarian playbook, page by page, unfolding all around us.

I am 62 years old and partly disabled. BUT, I am seriously considering buying boxes of adult diapers, gallons of water and dried food so that I can stay in a long-term sit-in, chaining myself to a government office doorway or stairwell, until these attacks and this fascist regime are DONE.

Or, what? Welcome ideas, here. Petitions, marches, whatever we’re already doing is NOT ENOUGH.

crumpling-the-constitution

Which Celebrities Would Have Gone/Did Go to Virtual/Actual High School with You?

Which Celebrities Would Have Gone/Did Go to Virtual/Actual High School with You?

My cohort includes those born between about 1951 – 1957 (our “high school” had only grades 10, 11, 12 in the building), those who would have been/were in high school in the USA between 1968 – 1972.

Imagine us all in one building during one of my four years: sitting together at the same lunch table, being on the same teams, dancing at proms, singing in choirs, acting in plays, studying together and attending the same classes, sharing bus rides, going to pep rallies and games, getting high together, dating, arguing, ignoring each other and perhaps, remaining friends.

It is entertaining to imagine, isn’t it?

By “celebrities,” I mean that these are people who have:

  • been on the covers of national magazines and/or featured speakers/presenters at national/international events/conferences;
  • won national or international awards or positions of great importance;
  • invented/started something significant;
  • wrote/starred in/produced something significant in the way of art/music/books/movies/plays;
  • achieved a high level of renown in their chosen field;
  • are known by many others as “great” in their field;
  • been stars of series TV shows and/or featured on popular talk shows;
  • are known by and hang out with other celebrities.

These individuals encourage(d) me by their example, inspire and motivate me to be better, dare to dream bigger, do and try things I might not have, and enjoy life more. I am proud to “be” with them on my virtual or actual campus.

First, the famous people whom I know/knew personally:

D. Scott Bassinson, J.D., one of my first serious boyfriends and long-time friend, is an Attorney who has argued at the USA Supreme Court, now a Judge and always, a Musician/Composer. It is due to Scott and his brother, Kevin Bassinson (also a celebrity)’s resignations that I became Ladue High School’s rehearsal and performance accompanist and a professional accompanist for musicals, choruses and performances. http://www.albanyjazz.com/musicians/scottbassinson.html

scottbassinson

Karen S. Raskin Kleiman, MSW, LCSW author of several books, founder of The Postpartum Stress Center, and leading researcher in Postpartum Depression and its treatments (featured on many TV talk shows, including OPRAH, in magazines and websites), was my award-winning partner in Duet Acting, for which we won 4th place for the state of Missouri and first or second in many local and regional competitions in 1971-1972. http://postpartumstress.com/karen-kleiman-msw-lcsw/

Karen Kleiman

Rich Rubin, journalist, playwright, Founder/Producing/Artistic Director, Quince Productions and GayFest! (Philadelphia), was my first piano-playing duet partner under Deborah Rosenblum in the early 1960s, and we graduated from Ladue together in 1972. “Rich Rubin has written about travel for over twenty years now. He’s thrilled to be back in touch with the team behind ManAboutWorld, having been an early contributor to OUT&ABOUT. He has served as travel editor for Genre and is currently Food and Wine editor for Passport Magazine. His stories have appeared in Saveur, Caribbean Travel & Life, Bride’s, Modern Bride, Travel & Leisure, and many other publications. In his copious free time, he is Producing Artistic Director of Quince Productions, which produces Philadelphia’s only LGBT Theater Festival, GayFest!. He serves on the board of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus.” http://www.quinceproductions.com/about.html

R Rubin

Craig Pomranz, singer, recording artist, live cabaret performer, children’s book author of Made by Raffi, was another one of my high school “more than friends” that I’m still in touch with and regard highly. http://craigpomranz.com/

Raffi cover

Dr. Alice Conway, J.D., Ph.D., AB ’76, MA ’79, JD ’83, PhD ’83, is a trained vocalist, fluent in multiple languages (including Braille), and a trusted commercial and employment attorney for Monsanto. She holds four degrees from Washington University and is a committed volunteer and donor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeXcPa4bAV4attorney and philanthropist, blind since aged three, first blind Board Chair of the The St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Alice and I had many classes together in junior and senior high school.

Alice Conway

Dr. Michael Green, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at UMASS Medical Center in Gene Function and Expression, Director of the Cancer Center since 2015, the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, and the McKnight Neuroscience Award and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “Michael R. Green received his MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1981. He was awarded a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship to perform postdoctoral work at Harvard University in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He became a faculty member in that department at Harvard in 1984, where he remained until he joined the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1990. He has been the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, the McKnight Neuroscience Award, and in 1993 was invited to deliver a Harvey Lecture. In 1994, Dr. Green was made an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.” Michael was my second serious high school boyfriend and I went to the first college I attended partly because he was there (sorry, feminists). I knew his little brother, Eric, as well (see below). http://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2015/04/michael-green-appointed-director-of-umass-cancer-center/

Green

Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, recipient of numerous awards and author of many scholarly articles. https://www.genome.gov/27535200/director-eric-d-green-md-phd/

Eric Green

Joel Meyers, longtime sports broadcaster (currently play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association). Joel and I went to school together from Kindergarten through high school, but we weren’t exactly friends. Host of Above The Rim, weekdays from 10-1pm ET, Joel is a multi-time Emmy award-winning broadcaster with over 25 years of experience that includes calling games for both the Lakers and the Spurs on TVas well as the St. Louis baseball Cardinals (our home team). Joel is a graduate of the University of Missouri.

Joel Meyers

Fran(ces) Ginsberg, Opera Singer (deceased) with the New York City and Spanish operas before her death several years ago sang in our high school’s Chorale (select show choir) and annual musicals. I accompanied her solos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Ginsberg

Fran ginsberg

And, of course, my brother, Dr. Jonathan D. Fleischmann, M.D., MMS, FACS,

jonathan
a urological oncologist who has created/patented medications, usages and surgical techniques in his field for decades. “Dr. Fleischmann received undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from Brown University. During residency training at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, he was a National Kidney Foundation Fellow specializing in kidney cancer research. Between 1985 and 1992, he was on faculty at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, during which time he was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In 1992, he joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine faculty as the chief of service at the Weiler Hospital division and director of urologic oncology. In 1997, he entered private practice in the Bronx and has maintained a continuing interest in specialized cancer care, particularly of the prostate, kidney and bladder. He has privileges at Montefiore Medical Center Hospitals, Westchester Square Medical Center, Calvary and Morningside House.” https://www.google.com/patents/US5145859

Want to see more about some of these Ladue alums and more? In 2012 (the year of my 40th high school reunion), Ladue held its 60th “Distinguished Alumni” Awards Ceremony and it is on YouTube: http://bit.ly/10vTEaP

From Camp Hawthorn (the St. Louis Jewish Community Center Association’s Missouri Ozarks overnight camp, until 1969):

Sheldon Mirowitz (also from Ladue Schools), soloist musician, producer/arranger and sideman, professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and conductor/arranger of the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (which tours!), film and TV composer, winner of awards at the Sundance Film Festival and other accolades for his music, including three Emmy nominations and one Peabody Award. I met Sheldon in 8th grade at camp and then we we re-met in high school and have been friends ever since. https://www.berklee.edu/news/berklee-silent-film-orchestra-has-secret-weapon

Sheldon

Chuck Blitz, became independently wealthy in the first dot.com boom and turned that to opportunities to be a philanthropist, environmentalist, social/environmental activist, particularly in the Santa Barbara, CA, area; with Ram Dass and the White Lotus Foundation, he has been doing ecological, social community and world service—SEVA—programs and yoga teacher training), and recently, he is an author http://biography-ebooks.com///693266/five-years-in-five-months. I went to camp with Chuck; his sister, Judy (“Jay”) was my first counselor, but he and Glenn Savan were/are my brother, Jon’s, age, so we weren’t really friends.

Glenn Savan, (deceased in 2002), author of White Palace, a semi-autobiographical novel turned into the film in 1987, starring James Spader in Glenn’s role and Susan Sarandon as the love interest, using the local “White Castle” hamburger joints as the setting. I knew Glenn from camp, but we weren’t exactly friends. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/17/arts/glenn-savan-49-the-author-of-white-palace.html

White Palace

Colleges and New England living (University of Wisconsin/Madison and University of Bridgeport/Connecticut (undergrad) and University of Massachusetts/Amherst (graduate)

Dr. Rahima Wade, Ph.D. (deceased, 2012), almost single-handedly brought “service learning” into public schools in the 1990’s. She also introduced me to the idea of returning to school as a parent of young children and we both attended UMASS/Amherst at the same time. I first met her in Keene, NH, since we belonged to several of the same community groups. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/recorder/obituary.aspx?pid=156772652

Rahima

Dr. Mary Kalantzis, Ph.D. http://education.illinois.edu/faculty-finder (b 1949, so an “age outlier,” really, but I include her because of her husband, Dr. Bill Cope, Ph.D. (b. 1957) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Cope_(academic) . Both are Professors, authors/researchers in Multicultural Education and Workplace Diversity globally. I met them when Mary came to Keene State College in New Hampshire as a Fulbright Scholar from Australia in 1990-91 with her husband and colleague/co-writer, Bill, and son, Philip. I traveled with my then-partner to visit them in Australia in 1996. Mary and Bill are now at the University of Illinois/Champagne, where she has been the Dean of the College of Education, until recently.

Mary and Bill

Dr. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., best-selling author, speaker, medical clairvoyant, teacher. I met Caroline in 1983 in New Hampshire and we became close friends, seeing each other almost weekly until she moved to back to Chicago in 1992. Since then, we stayed in touch, sporadically, but she travels internationally and is unusually busy even when she “lands” somewhere. She mentions me and our friendship in several of her books’ dedications/acknowledgements. https://www.myss.com/

caroline_sitting

Other notables from the Antioch/New England Graduate School in Keene, NH: Faculty members/authors/ researchers, David Sobel, Rick (Youst) van der Poll,

From Camp Med-O-Lark (in Washington, ME)

Bari K. Willerford, actor in the National Deaf Theatre and star of MathNet children’s TV show on PBS as well as continuing to appear in many other TV series, movies (American Gangster) and TV episodes. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0929780/bio

Bari

Allegra Broughton and Sam Page, singers/songwriters, musicians, founders of Solid Air, members of The Wild Catahoulas, also play/have played in many other duos and bands. Solid Air has many great CDs available. http://www.solidairmusic.com/bio.html

Solid Air

Dennis Hadley, musician, singer, member of The Hot Frittatas, The Wild Catahoulas, also plays/has played in many other duos and bands, including Gator Nation. Legally blind since birth, Dennis is one of the best accordion players and enthusiastic vocalists in northern California. http://www.gatornationband.com/about/about.html

Dennis

From Chagdud Gonpa, my Buddhist Community (Sangha):

My teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (born Alwyn Fischel, known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (born Lisa Leghorn, known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars. They and I were students of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche before his passing in 2002.
Iron Knot Ranch, on the border of Arizona and New Mexico near Duncan, AZ, is led by Lama Shenphen: http://ironknot.org/about-iron-knot-ranch/
Lama Drimed teaches in California and Oregon and works from his home in the Bay Area, guiding students.

CTR

Among our sangha members whom I know personally are several authors, but only one is in my cohort, that I know of: photographer/teacher, Cary Groner. http://www.carygroner.com/

Exiles-210

Now, all of these (still living) celebs can brag that they know ME!

Next, the celebs I only know from afar:
Athletes I paid attention to and admired…
Chris Evert (whose brand of tennis shoes I wore proudly during the years they were available, which coincided with the years I played tennis, myself, albeit mediocrely.

Cathy Rigby and Olga Korbut, who inspired me to become a gymnast, but injuries sidelined me in 10th grade. Oh, well.

Mark Spitz, a great swimmer( before Michael Phelps was even born!).

Dorothy Hamill (figure skater, actor), , who inspired millions to skate.

Theatre/Music Folks I noticed all along, whom I wish(ed) I could have (had) lunch with at least once… (culled from this list, first, from “my” class, 1953 & 1954 birth years starting on these pages: http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1954 and http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1953 ), then from 1952 http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1952, and 1955 http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1955, http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1956, http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1951, and http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1957

These are listed alphabetically by first name, but I considered grouping them by “lunch table,” according to what combos would make for great conversations with/around me….Cool idea, huh? YOU do it!

Adam Arkin
Al Franken
Al Roker
Alfre Woodard
Alfred Molina
Amy Heckerling
Amy Irving
Andy Garcia
Angela Cartwright
Anjelica Huston
Annette O’Toole
Annie Lennox
Annie Potts
Barry Williams
Bill Maher
Bill Nye
Bill Paxton
Bill Pullman
Billy Idol
Bo Derek
Bob Saget
Bonnie Tyler
Bruce Hornsby
Bruce Willis
Callie Khouri
Carol Kane
Caroline Kennedy
Carrie Fisher
Catherine O’Hara
Chaka Khan
Charlaine Harris
Cheryl Ladd
Chris Carter
Chris Cooper
Chris Noth
Chrissie Hynde
Christine Baranski
Christopher McDonald
Christopher Reeve
Corbin Bernsen
Crystal Gayle
Cyndi Lauper
Dan Aykroyd
Dana Delaney
Daniel Day-Lewis
David E. Kelley
David Morse
David Sedaris
Debby Boone\
Debra Winger
Delta Burke
Dennis Quaid
Denzel Washington
Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Drake Hogestyn
Ellen Barkin
Ellen Greene
Elvis Costello
Eric Roberts
Eve Ensler
Frances Fisher
Frances McDormand
Freddie Prinze
Gary Cole
Gary Sinise
Geena Davis
Geoffrey Rush
Glenne Headley
Gloria Estefan
Griffin Dunne
Harry Hamlin
Harvey Fierstein
Howard Stern
Imelda Staunton
Isabella Rossellini
J.K. Simmons
Jackie Chan
Jane Kaczmarek
Jane Seymour
Jay North
Jean Passanante
Jean Smart
Jeff Daniels
Jeff Goldblum
Jerry Seinfield
Jim Belushi
Jimmy Smits
Joan Allen
John Goodman
John Mellancamp
John Travolta
John Turturro
Jon Lovitz
Jonathan Frakes
Judith Ivey
Judy Davis
Julie Taymor
Karen Allen
Kate Burton
Kate Capshaw
Kate Mulgrew
Kathleen Turner
Kathy Najimy
Katie Couric
Kelly McGillis
Kelsey Grammer
Ken Burns
Ken Olin
Kenny G
Kevin Costner
Kevin Pollack
Kim Bassinger
Kim Catrall
Kirstie Alley
Kurt Russell
Laura Branigan
Laura Innes
Lauren Koslow
Lena Olin
LeVar Burton
Liam Neeson
Lisa Niemi
Lori Singer
Lucie Arnaz
Luther Vandross
Lyle Lovett
Lynda Carter
Lynn Whitfield
Mandy Patinkin
Margo Martindale
Marilu Henner
Marina Sirtis
Mark Hamill
Mark Harmon
Marta Kauffman
Mary McDonnell
Mary Steenburgen
Matt Lauer
Maureen McCormick
Mel Harris
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Mayron
Melissa Manchester
Michael Bolton
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Keaton
Michael Moore
Miguel Sandoval
Mimi Rogers
Nancy Cartwright
Nathan Lane
Nicholas Guest
Olivia Hussey
Oprah Winfrey
Orson Scott Card
Pam Dawber
Pamela Sue Martin
Parker Stevenson
Pat Benatar
Patricia Hearst
Patricia Kalember
Patricia Richardson
Patricia Wettig
Patrick Swayze
Patty Smyth
Paul Reiser
Peter Gallagher
Phil Collins
Pierce Brosnan
Reba McEntire
Rene Russo
Richard Kind
Richard Schiff
Richard Thomas
Rick Moranis
Rita Rudner
Rita Wilson
Robby Benson
Robert Gossett
Robin Williams
Ron Howard
Roseanne Barr
S. Epatha Merkerson
Sandra Bernhard
Scott Bakula
Sela Ward
Shari Belafonte
Spike Lee
Stellan Skarsgard
Stephen Fry
Sting
Susan Dey
Thomas Newman
Tim Allen
Tim Daly
Tim Gunn
Timothy Bottoms
Timothy Busfield
Tom Hanks
Tony Shalhoub
Tovah Feldshuh
Treat Williams
Vanna White
Wendy Crewson
Whoopi Goldberg
William Petersen
Yanni
Yvonne Elliman

And, some age “outliers” I would invite to my high school cafeteria table (or beg to go to theirs…):
Holly Hunter (b 1958)
Jamie Lee Curtis (b 1958)
Cybill Shepherd (b 1950)
Billy Joel (b 1949)
Jessica Lange (b 1949)
Meryl Streep (b 1949)
Sigourney Weaver (b 1949)
Sissy Spacek (b 1949)
(WOW! Look at the class of 1949!)

I love the idea of running into these folks from my cohort in some virtual hallways, study halls, parking lots, playing fields, locker rooms and classrooms of “our” high school, getting together for a class reunion (45th is coming up for me this year), and being able to chat with them (even if they’ve already passed).

Who are in YOUR cohort?

#justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen

It is with great sadness and anger that I have heard about (and read a few of) the disgusting responses on social media. These remarks have been cruelly and ignorantly denigrating and re-traumatizing sexual assault survivors.

maxresdefault
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDLVDzaw2vc

I noticed that whatever details a survivor provided, some creeps decided to question, argue, judge or condemn, doubting and despising her for reporting her experiences.

I call BULLSHIT.

bullshit-pile
from http://Canstockphoto.com

Is anyone unclear on this concept? Really?

sa-definition
from Human Response Network

Give them nothing to respond to except a number, I say. Then, where is the argument?

#justyournumber (mine is a countable 46, but decidedly higher) allows survivors to report our sexual assaults, molestations, public exposures, sexual coercions, rapes, and any other kinds of private or public sexual threats, to be counted. No arguing.

Then, I thought, what about locations or one or two salient facts? Let’s provide those lucky enough to have no or low numbers or anyone else who is interested with some context. We need more people to begin to grasp the breadth of the problem.

By the way, when you read my or anyone’s list, imagine trying to “report” these incidents: to whom? with what results?

#justyournumbers is now joined by #wherewhatwhowhen

46
—30+ assaults by “family friends,” teachers and family members, starting at age 5, including a step-uncle who was a teacher. This man assaulted me (at age 10) in his classroom after school while my grandmother and his father (her second husband) were talking in the hallway outside the classroom. Our 6th-grade teacher, Ken Weber (long dead), at Central School in Olivette, Missouri, molested almost every girl in my class whose breasts had begun to develop by “dropping” paper clips, chalk or pencils down the fronts of our blouses and retrieving them with his own hand. As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin/Madison, all the female students were required to strip down to our underwear and pose for “posture pictures” during our Physical Education “exam.” I later found out that these questionably obtained “soft porn” shots were circulated, sold and posted in multiple locations for many decades;

—3 assaults on a bus (2 public exposures and 1 molestation), all while in my pre-teen/teen years. One very large young adult who was one of my “campers” had Down’s Syndrome. When he molested me by trapping me in the aisle of the bus (he was 6′ tall and about 225 pounds to my 5’1″ and 120 pounds) and mashing his hands all over my breasts, the older counselor told me “he couldn’t help it” and not to yell at him, but just to “push him away and go sit down.” This was in 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri;

—2 assaults/maulings while walking in daylight in public spaces on a college campus. One was a teen on a bicycle who grabbed my breast, squeezed hard, laughed and rode away; I was in my 30s. I DID go to the “campus police” who practically laughed and didn’t even write down my report. This was at Yale University in the 1980s (I was there attending a professional conference).

—3 molestations/assaults by employers/supervisors, starting in college and continuing through my young adult years. While working in Food Service in the dorms’ cafeteria as part of my Work-Study financial aid program at the University of Wisconsin/Madison in 1972, a supervisor trapped me in the storage area, assaulted and tried to rape me. I managed to kick him in the groin and get away. I never went back to that job and had to find another one;

—3 sexual coercions involving drugs in private homes at parties, by high school peers;

—5 sexual assaults by “dates” (whom I did not date again) who grabbed/fingered me without asking before I even knew they were going to do that, starting in my early twenties and spanning into my late 50s, in cars, private homes, an outdoor party, a beach.

There were also uncountable male psychopaths, strangers who felt entitled to engage in assaults on my body via random ass-grabbing, “accidental brush-bys” and other groping and sexual attacks, including making kissing or sucking sounds, while I rode on public transportation vehicles or stood in waiting areas and hallways in various USA cities, throughout my teen and young adult years.

Some jerks repeatedly yell out horrible, horrendous street harassment comments, known unaffectionately as “cat-calls,” most accompanied by graphic gestures, pseudo-sexual sound-effects along with vulgar and completely offensive language whenever any female happens to be in sight of them by being on a sidewalk or an urban construction site’s walkway. These are also too numerous to track, occurring throughout my life until quite recently (I am now 62).

wednesday-asking-about-cat-calls
from https://dev.theodysseyonline.com/when-the-cat-calls-dont-answer

Send respect, healing, caring and compassion to all survivors and shut the disrespectful morons up completely.

Add your stories or number or both on your social media of choice: #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen

Another tale of terrible customer service from #YouTube: Why do we allow it?

Some of you may know that #YouTube “flagged” and “removed” CHANGES conversations between authors‘s 51st Episode’s title and description for what would have been my upcoming Hangout On Air (HOA) live video three weeks ago and

changes-theme-image_3

By the way:

Watch conversations with my previous *CHANGES* guests any time: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq
Learn more about and get yourself or recommend someone to be scheduled as a guest: https://sallyember.com/changes-videocasts-by-sally-ember-ed-d/

But, wait: it gets worse! YouTube then suspended my livestreaming privileges, funneling me into what could have been a three-month-long “appeal” period, FOR NO REASON. YouTube’s ridiculous ‘bots claimed I violated their Terms of Service with a Copyright Violation (completely false).

screenshot-48

screenshot-49

That was called my “first strike.” Apparently, if a creator gets three of these, YouTube’s insane ‘bots summarily shut down the creator’s account, permanently.

I finally heard back from YouTube, after complaining on Twitter and elsewhere for three days straight and seeking advice on YouTube and HOA fora for 3 weeks. I received a notice that I am no longer “suspended,” but (see below) it displays horrible customer service.

I am flummoxed and need advice. Please weigh in!

I was advised before publishing this post to “let it go” because “YouTube has over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute” and can’t possible vet it all with humans. And, to let it go because “nothing I say will change anything.”

Wow! YouTube/Google has BILLIONS of dollars and can’t hire enough staff to run their sites properly? Boo hoo. Hire more people, Google! You can afford it. Better than alienating your customers, if you care (obviously, they do not!).

Both hinted at possible retaliation if I made any noise.

Screw that. I’m a make-noise kind of person.

So, my major complaints are these:

1) This YouTube “team member” who wrote this mostly form-letter email offered:
—no apology
—no explanation of what the “violation” was presumed to have been consisting of
—no way to tell why my set-up actually got flagged
—no information on how to prevent getting flagged in the future, and
—no statement of YouTube’s clearing my account of “strikes.”

But, I checked, and there are now no strikes!

screenshot-52

2) This entire fiasco was all YouTube’s fault: I never violated any Terms of Service! But, they still inserted their standard, not-so-subtle, victim-blaming paragraph in this email.

Because this was THEIR MISTAKE, why do they not remorsefully announce that they are removing this bogus “first strike” from my creator’s account tally? They DID do this….

bad-youtube

3) But, contrary to the wording of this email, below:
—there WAS NO CONTENT TO BE FLAGGED
—this video never streamed, therefore
—there was nothing to be “taken down,” BUT
—my original title and description exist, but with no video and no way to re-activate it that I can see!

screenshot-53

4) How (and with what) did anyone (human or ‘bot) “review my video”?? For what?

5) And, how do I set it up (again) and have it work, this time?

Apparently, since this happened as I was attempting to complete and save my set-up page, this unstreamed video was flagged for its title and description, during set-up! However, I used almost the exact same wording I have used for the previous 50 Episodes of my talk show, CHANGES conversations between authors, as before. Even if it had streamed, there is no “copyright” violation possible. Each Episode is always just I and one author talking about our own work and general topics. period.

6) How can YouTube be run by crazed ‘bots and idiotic, irresponsible humans who apparently have a policy to “shoot first, ask questions never”? Why do they have a policy and process that presumes guilt and offers no timely recourse or explanation when they are wrong.

presumed-guilty

Why do we users/creators put up with this?

7) And, given all the problems HOA hosts/users have been having with the new (since 9/12/16) YouTube-only-HOAs as detailed in a Google+ tech group I subscribe to, I’m reluctant even to try to set up this or any Episode any time soon.

You decide if I’m overreacting and how best I should respond. Send your comments to this website http://www.sallyember.com/blog on this post or email your suggestions directly to me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com Advice welcomed, because I am steaming mad and likely to do/write things I regret all over social media right now. Thanks!

Here is YouTube’s “you may now get out of jail” email, unedited:

Hey Sally,

I’m reaching out on behalf of the YouTube Creator Support team to connect regarding your live streaming issue.

It looks as though live streaming was disabled due to some of your content being flagged and taken down. We count on our community members to know our Community Guidelines and to flag content they believe violates them. We review all flagged content quickly, and if we find that a video does violate the guidelines, we remove it. Occasionally, a video flagged by users or identified by our team is mistakenly taken down. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, including restoring videos or channels that had been removed. In this case, we were able to review your video and get it reinstated, as well as reinstated your live streaming capabilities!

Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention and should you ever have any additional questions or issues, please feel free to reach out the Creator Support team here.

Take care,
TEAM MEMBER’s name withheld
Partner Operations Manager
creator-support@youtube.com

What #Issues are/were YOU are the “Right” side of?

Being on the “right” side of so many issues, for his/herstory, is exhausting but satisfying.

So, VOTE and make your voices heard in EVERY election, especially local ones.

voting-matters

Why?

First, they call us crazy.

Then, they say we’re “conspiracy nuts” (a less vague variation on “crazy”) because, of course, our government/ those priests/ the leaders of whatever institution can’t all be lying or wrong…

Next, “popular” opinion starts to sway because FACTS are on our side, but most people aren’t persuaded, yet.

So, the media starts to report that maybe, just maybe, we “outliers” and “extremists” could be correct.

The media’s hesitancy is paid for by the politicians and corporations who are promoting the other side/maintaining the status quo, so most still say we’re “unpatriotic,” or “angry,” or (when we are women) “bitches,” and when we are not white, “terrorists.”

Then, more FACTS on our side emerge, having actually (oh, horrors! so shocking!) been suppressed, denied, lied about and otherwise hidden from public view prior to having been irrevocably exposed, usually (now) by a hacker (or, in the olden days, by a brave reporter or other whistleblower who often ended up dead or imprisoned, as hackers do, now).

Then, lawsuits and riots and protests and demonstrations are occurring regularly, still mostly not covered or not covered accurately by the media. And, we are still RIGHT and now we are WINNING.

Finally, usually a long time before “popular opinion” completey changes, a few brave and prescient lawmakers create bills which pass into laws, or the majority of the Supreme Court happens to agree on a sane and rational decision (for a change), so laws force change. Slowly, and not without detractors, protestors, idiots and others who NOW are the “crazies” and “terrorists,’ society moves ahead.

AND (whew!), many dead bodies and ruined lives later, we “win.”

Yippee.

Then, see how they all relate? “Intersectionality” is the understanding that one oppression /one injustice links to many others—perhaps ALL others.

intersectionality

Add to my list of issues you are/have been on the “right” side of, here in the comments on my site: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

I WAS/AM WE ARE/WERE RIGHT ABOUT THESE ISSUES:

Pro Voting Rights and Access to Honest and Fair Elections for all

which goes with

Anti Dakota Access Pipeline

dap-protests

which goes with
Pro Environment = Pro Clean Air; Clean Water; Pro Arable Land; Anti Pesticides; Anti Poisons and Pollutants; Anti GMOs and Seeds Stealing; Recognizing Climate Change as REAL; Pro Organic/Healthy Foods, Medicines, Hygiene products, Household cleaners, etc.; Anti Vaccinations (until properly vetted and proven more beneficial than harmful); Anti Chemotherapy (until proven more beneficial than harmful)

and

Pro Alternative Energies/ Less reliance on oil/gasoline

and

Anti Fracking

and

Pro Green Burials and Cremations

and

Pro Green Housing/Offices

and

Pro Electric Cars

and

Pro better Public Transportation

which also go with

Pro Natives’/ Indigenous Peoples’ Freedom and Autonomy in the West and other countries/continents

and

Pro Black Lives Matter (and, no: it is NOT the same as “All Lives Matter,” so stop saying that!)

black-lives-matter

which goes with

Pro Civil Rights for all = Anti Racism

and

Anti Imperialism

and

Pro Freedom for Tibet

and

Anti Colonialism

and

Anti Apartheid

and

Anti Royal Rule/ Dynasties everywhere

and

Pro Palestinian Independence (if nonviolent)

and

Anti Israeli and Palestinian violence

and

Anti Sharia Law

which go with

Anti Imprisonment according to Race/Economic Status and the “Three Strikes” Laws

and

Anti The School-to-Prison Pipeline

school-to-prison-pipeline

and

Civil Rights also goes with

Pro Access = ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) = Anti Disabilities discrimination

and

Pro Marriage Equality

and

Pro Affirmative Action = Anti Racism/ Anti Classism / Anti Religious Discrimination

and

Pro Human Rights and Anti Human Rights Violators

and

Pro Women’s Right to Choose/Reproductive Rights of all kinds (birth control, women’s health check-ups, Planned Parenthood Clinics, abortions

and

Pro Single-Payer, Government-Sponsored Health Care for All

and

Anti Genital Mutilation of both males and females (“circumcision”)

and

Pro Women’s autonomy (access to individual credit, access to all types of work, equal pay, etc.) = Anti Sexism

and

Pro Regulation and Monitoring of Sex Workers /Legalization of Prostitution

and

Anti Weight Loss drugs and industries

and

Anti Brassieres/Bras unless necessary for sports/exercise and comfort purposes

ill-fitting-bras-symptoms Symptoms of Ill-Fitting Bras

and

Anti Make-up/Cosmetics (except for costuming/theatrical and fun purposes)

and

Anti High Heels

and

Anti Cosmetic surgery

and

Anti “Welfare Reform”

and

Anti “Right to Work”

right-to-work-is-wrong_issuebanner

and

Pro Affordable Day Care

and

Pro Free and Equal Public Education, from Pre-School through Community and state College levels

and

Anti Sexual Harassment

and

Anti Domestic Violence and “women as property” of husbands/men

and

Anti Child Abuse/Child Labor and “children as property of adults”

and

Anti Sexualization of Children

Pro Legalization of all recreational drugs, particularly marijuana

which goes with

Anti Addiction demonization and “treatment” industry

Anti War (all of them) and Pro Peace

peace-movement

which goes with

Anti Nuclear power plants and weapons

and

Anti Weapons proliferation

Anti Corporate greed and malfeasance, including “Citizen’s United” law

which goes with

Pro better Banks’ Monitoring and better Regulations and Enforcement

and

Pro Wall Street’s Monitoring and better Regulations and Enforcement

and

Pro Transparency

Pro Meditation

which goes with

Pro Emotional Intelligence

and

Pro Music and Arts Education

and

Pro Recess and Physical Education for Youth

and

Pro Science Education (especially for girls/women and minorities)

occupy-everything

Patriotism Kills: 50 Reasons Why and When I Stopped Being “Patriotic”

Patriotism Kills: 50 Reasons Why and When I Stopped Being “Patriotic”

I was born and raised here in the midwest USA. My grandparents were all born in this country (in Louisville, Kentucky and St. Louis, Missouri), My great-grandparents immigrated here to escape discrimination, pogroms and other ongoing (endlessly ongoing) European persecution of Jews to come to the USA in the late 1800s.

I feel grateful that my ancestors, four of whom I knew as a child, were allowed to enter this country. Being here as a “native” gave me many of the privileges of a white, educated Jewish girl born in 1954.

Why and when did I stop being “patriotic” (ever notice how that rhymes with “idiotic”)? I get teary when Barbra Streisand sings “America, the Beautiful” because I want to feel good about being an American. But, I cannot and have not since 1967.

My conclusion then and only strengthened since then: Patriotism kills.

Here are the first 50 reasons I cannot be patriotic as a USA citizen.

oscar-wilde-patriotism-quotes-patriotism-is-the-virtue-of-the

1) Because Richard Nixon. Nixon and his gang of criminals began to do their dirty work when I was 13 and he resigned in the middle of my undergrad college years. How could I grow up “patriotic” after that?

2) Because Vietnam and all wars. Since World War II—which the USA entered far too late and then did more damage than good in Japan—the USA has had NO BUSINESS being in ANY wars, anywhere, yet we have not had even 2 years without being involved in “military actions.” Disgusting.

Bertrand Russell patriotism

3) Because JFK. He was an over-privileged, drug-addicted, adulterous war-monger who has been glorified beyond belief after his death.

4) Because MLK, Jr. A great leader, murdered.

MLK mug shot

5) Because Malcolm X. Another great leader, murdered.

malcolm X

6) Because Karen Silkwood. Another great leader, murdered.

7) Because the ERA. The defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment (remember that, anyone?)

8) Because government dysfunction and greed. The bought-out FDA and the bribed EPA and the absurdly stupid Dept of Education and the bribed, lying and bought-out Dept of Energy and all the other “cabinet” and “government” departments that do the OPPOSITES of their stated jobs.

9) Because slavery. Should never have and still exists: check out today’s private prisons.

10) Because racism. Is worse than ever in many places and we export it.

11) Because health care. Still no national health care with universal payer for everyone.

12) Because maternal and infant mortality Rates are too high.

13) Because most school lunches. Are horrible.

14) Because deception by government. The “wars” on poverty, drugs, terrorism and whatever else made everything 100 times worse.

15) Because broken promises. Too many to list.

16) Because dishonorable leaders. Many leaders (elected, appointed and volunteer) lie. Then, they personally and financially benefit, and so do their cronies, families and friends.

John Irving on patriotism

17) Because Monica Lewinsky. Sex is sex. Lying is lying.

18) Because Vince Foster. Murdered by greed, political gain and selfishness.

19) Because veterans. I see too many body bags, amputees and PTSD sufferers from wars that enrich only a few and do nothing good for anyone else, ever. Enlistees and draftees are constantly lied to so that impoverished/uneducated people (mostly Black and Latino) are shamed and machismo-ed into serving.

20) Because secularism. “God” should never have been added to our money, Pledge of Allegiance and other statements, and public meetings should NOT open with “prayers.”

21) Because Christians. Many still insist that this is a “Christian” nation. Christmas and New Year’s Day are national holidays but no other religion’s holy days have those designations in the USA.

22) Because the military-industrial takeover of the world. Led by USA-owned companies and military.

RoyOnNationalism

23) Because Guantanamo. Never helped, never should have existed, and still does.

24) Because Leonard Pelletier Should never have been and is still in prison.

25) Because UC Berkeley. All the protesters are/were RIGHT.

26) Because Lawrence Livermore Labs. Bombs. More bombs.

27) Because Monsanto, Dow, Dupont. Liars, polluters, killers.

28) Because union-busting. Should never have been made legal.

29) Because coal mine owners. Kill miners daily.

30) Because nuclear power plants. Never were and still aren’t safe.

nuclear power
image from http://kractivist.wordpress.com

31) Because transit. We waited over 50 years to have electric and solar cars and they’re still not prevalent. Mass transit in most areas is non-existent or insufficient.

32) Because bees and food. We never needed or should have allowed our land and food to be poisoned. (see Monsanto, etc.)

33) Because Planned Parenthood. Constantly being targeted for doing GOOD.

34) Because health. Autism and cancers are on the rise (see Monsanto, etc.). Vaccinations do kill and maim children and many are ineffective at prevention as well.

35) Because big pharma and others lied. Especially about marijuana and tobacco. Cures exist for cancer but we aren’t provided them. We are overcharged for ALL medications.

36) Because inequality. I grew up in Missouri under “Jim Crow” racist segregation and inequality/discrimination laws. That we have to have civil rights’, gay rights’, disability rights’, sexual harassment cases, domestic violence shelters, rape shield and other “movements” to get common decency in this country to be legalized and people STILL don’t adhere to the laws is terrible.

37) Because sexism. Still everywhere. Must have feminism.

3 waves of feminism

38) Because the children and youth. Child abuse and rape, incest and child molestation horrors in addition to murders perpetrated by teachers, parents, step- and foster parents, group home and youth detention center staff, religious leaders and politicians that are STILL being uncovered/discovered even though MANY knew about each and every incident. Runaways are almost always first abused, then become criminalized/imprisoned youth.

39) Because the environment. This country has many beautiful places that are being ruined by greed, selfishness and short-sightedness.

40) Because Native Americans.If you need me to explain, you’re on the wrong blog.

41) Because Election Fraud in the last five presidential and who knows how many other elections and especially during this current primary season.

42) Because Dick Cheney. If you need me to explain, you’re on the wrong blog, still.

43) Because Clarence Thomas. How was he ever and still on the Supreme Court?

44) Because Anita Hill. We all should have believed her. I did.

Anita_Hill

45) Because Dr. Jocelyn Elders. She was right. About everything, especially how healthy it is to masturbate and that abstinence-only “sex ed” is not “education” and does not work.

46) Because Bill Cosby. People are still protecting this monster.

47) Because freedom. The USA had such great promise and potential and has squandered almost all of it.

48) Because Nestle’s. Still killing children worldwide by promoting feeding infants formula over breastfeeding.

49) Because Palestine. USA is on the wrong side of this one, too. MUST be a two-state solution, but can’t negotiate with terrorists. Trouble is, they’re ALL terrorists, now.

50) Because 9/11. Was not what we’ve been told. First responders are dying/have died and money “for them” has not reached them or their families. Bush’s planes flew Bin Laden’s family out of the USA. Trade Towers did not fall due only to being hit by one airplane each. The lies go on and on.

9-11 is a fraud
from http://www.bollyn.com

Remember: DISSENT is patriotism at its best.

Dissent is patriotic