Friday, June 19, 2015

Minds, Hearts and Sores

Santa Monica, March 2014

The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it.
Sri Nisargadatta

I'm sorry, I could never keep my fingers off a sore.
Maggie the Cat, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

That quote by an Indian wiseman/swami came to me over the last couple of days as I drove about the shitty, and I couldn't remember why until I realized that I had posted it along with some meandering prose prompted by the last time I'd seen a Confederate flag flying. That was March of 2014, in Santa Monica, and here's the post that went with it. Go back and read it, and be sure not to miss the comments.

I don't know what else to think about, to tell you the truth. Both my boys have asked me what I think of the whole thing that happened in Charleston. They have the swagger of the teenager, the rebellious I hate this country, don't you? need for affirmation, and I just don't know what to say.


  1. Well, as Kathleen used to say- at least when you see that flag, you know what you're dealing with. Assholes.
    I think this country can go one way or another. I have no idea which one way it will go. I just know that in my life I will not tolerate any racist comments. Or homophobic comments. Or people-who-are-challenged comments.
    I got no reason to let these things go by.
    Nor will I.

  2. I like what Fred Rogers had to say about tragedies like this...look for the good people, there are always good people who respond with caring and love. Yes, plenty of asshats out there, AND plenty of good souls. When I was an angry teen, I hated this country and I came close to self-destructing because of it. I saw things very black and white. They never are. I think this is something that is learned over the years.

  3. I like Tara's comment. The extremists always make the news because, well, they're extreme -- but most people aren't, and I like to think that nearly all of us are relatively sensible and see the insanity in such violence and needless provocation.

  4. I completely agree that racist comments should never be allowed to just go by. I went back and read the post and Annie D.'s comments. It seemed to me that she was not quite understanding when she first posted and then it became clearer to her. She was invited by another commenter to explain further, which she did. And then you jumped all over her. Rightly so, possibly. From reading her comments, it seems she came to your blog because her son has epilepsy and she was reaching out, desperate. What she got was jumped all over. I completely agree that the confederate flag thing is horrifying and actually incomprehensible to me. I fear greatly for my friend's two Ethiopian grandchildren living in Olympia, especially the 12 year old boy. I also know that people's perceptions don't change when someone jumps all over them - I have certainly had to continue learning that. Angry intellectual superiority feels great when I do it but really, I don't ever convince anyone that way. I hesitate to even make these comments because I kind of fear being jumped all over (as much as one can fear typed comments on a blog). To be crystal clear: Annie D. was misguided. Do I think she deserved to be attacked when it seems she came to your blog for support and was invited to further comment? I don't.
    - Karen

    1. Thanks, Karen, for your always thoughtful words. I'm sorry that you feel at all intimidated by typing that out. I've never noticed that before about you, and you've left some pretty provocative ones before! In any case, I'll cry mea culpa for being sharp-tongued and self-righteous at times, and it's a characteristic that I'm painfully aware of and working on. However, I have to disagree with you that Annie Dru was "attacked" and "jumped on" by myself or other readers. I think this very sensitive subject deserves no nuance, and her original suggestion was that it did. It's my opinion that the Confederate Flag is only flown by those that Grady Doctor so eloquently and honestly stated were people meaning it as a sort of "fuck you" thing. As far as "angry intellectual superiority" -- well, I get what you're saying, but to me there are certain things that one can be justifiably angry about and one of those is the flaunting of a stupid flag. When I wrote that post and answered Annie Dru's comments, I wasn't trying to "convince" her of anything. That wasn't the purpose of the blog. I agree with you that some of the responses to her more gentle interpretation were harsh, but nowhere was she personally attacked. As far as her visiting my blog for support, I took that comment to mean that was why she read my blog and that she was unhappy to find a controversial post that had nothing to do with disability or epilepsy. I'm not sure she came to my blog for support, as you said, and then was roundly attacked. She hardly appeared desperate, and I thought her comments were incredibly brave and thoughtful. I also thought she was wrong in drawing the conclusion that it didn't behoove me to paint a certain kind of people as mean and stupid, especially as the parent of a disabled child. I disagreed with her quite vehemently. In any case, I think the whole exchange is a sort of microcosm of the larger "debate," and I'm really tired of it being a debate, to tell you the truth. If that's angry, intellectual superiority, then I'm fine with being so. Please continue to come here and comment as I value and love all discussion, even testy ones!



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