Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Weed the People and Wednesday Afternoon Thoughts

I'm cranky today.

Does the sun ask itself, "Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?" No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, "What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?" No, it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, "Am I as big as suns in other galaxies?" No, it burns, it shines.

Andrea Dworkin

What's really bugging me of late are the people who claim that moderation is the ticket out of the clusterfuck that we find ourselves. Other words and expressions and phrases are coming to the middle, reaching across the aisle, being respectful, both sides are guilty. Etc. I cry bullshit. I agree that heinous people are everywhere, but people aren't building Maxine Waters' inspired bombs and sending them to Republican leaders. Yes, a Republican congressman was shot at a baseball game, but I and the many "liberals" I know deplore gun violence whether it's directed toward people on the left or people on the right. People on the right, though, cling to their "right" to "bear arms," to "protect their families."  I have zero interest in tolerating this mindset or even respecting it. I maintain that anti-Semitic and racist violence, while always present, is increasing due to right-wing/Republican/Trumpian rhetoric. I see idiots from my high school class arguing with some of the smartest people in my high school class about how fantastic Trump is doing, how the economy is booming. I have no interest in understanding their views anymore. I can barely talk to members of my own family who support the POSPOTUS or who still call themselves Republicans, much less any person not in my family who espouses these views or who supports the Republican party and their president.

I told you I was cranky.

It's not about me, though, is it? It's about all of us or the rest of us. We've got to vote the Republicans out.

Other thoughts: I'm reading Rebecca Traister's new book on women's anger. It's called Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger. Here's a bit that I just read:

Now, I was worried and consumed with anxiety about what’s happening nationally, but in terms of my own general health, having had the opportunity to write, think, and take seriously not just my own anger, but other women’s anger, was the most salutary experience I’ve ever had in my life. I slept better, I ate better, I wanted to exercise. I was clear-headed. So I am very much in favor of the expression of rage, and getting to a world in which the expression of rage can just be a regular part of the full human range of emotions and thoughts that women have.

However, I am also aware of the fact that that experience was very much the product of a very particular circumstance. I was being paid to do that. That’s not possible for a lot of women who do get punished, right? They get called hysterical, they get taken less seriously. They pay tolls in their personal relationships. So I don’t want to exhort anybody, like, “Go and be your mad self.” If you’re in a position where you can, please do, because we do need to hear from more women who are angry and able to be angry without fear that being angry is going to result in a materially damaging repercussion for them. However, the thing you can do, if you are not in a position to express your anger yourself, is to take the anger of other women seriously, because that’s the part we have to change, not just individual behavior—what we have to change is the way that the world receives women’s anger. That’s about the broader reality that it’s not taken seriously, it’s not considered valid, it’s considered often disqualifying. And the way we can contribute to that individually is by asking women, “Why are you angry, what makes you angry?” and then listening to their responses. This goes especially, I think, for white women and women of privilege. We need to all practice taking women’s anger and women’s rage more seriously, being curious about it, being interested in it. And considering what it’s telling us about the world, about ourselves, about inequality. 

I'm holding one of my literary food salons on Friday night to discuss this book. I've got a wonderful group of women coming, and I plan to make a feast for them and facilitate a great discussion about women and anger. No men signed up this time. I changed the name of the salon from Books & Bakes to Eat Your Words. What do you think?

And, finally, last night I attended the Los Angeles premiere of a new documentary produced by Ricki Lake and featuring the stories of families with children who've used cannabis medicine to treat vicious cancers. My beloved Dr. Bonni Goldstein plays a prominent part of the documentary, as well as some other significant doctors and researchers in the world. It's called Weed the People, and I highly recommend it. Reader, being on the frontline of this revolution is just -- wild.

Keep on burning. Keep on shining.


  1. Wow. You are a light unto this world. Thank you.

  2. Why aren't women allowed to be angry? Who decided this? Why did we accept it?

    And me, I'm fucking angry! I'm angry that a stupid, ignorant, self centered, amoral man get's to spew hate every single fucking day and he's allowed to do this in a public forum. It makes me sick to my stomach daily.

  3. I love this. Anger is essential. It is the spark that ignites the revolution. Without it, we just have hopeless resignation. So yes, let our anger burn. It is fuel. Thank you. And I love Eat Your Words. It's perfect.

  4. I have trouble with anger, both my own and other people's. I've never been comfortable with it, and I've never (or rarely) found it motivating. But I recognize that's my own failing and I certainly understand why people (particularly women) are angry now! I sort of WISH I was better at allowing myself to be angry. My tendency is exactly what you're deploring -- to seek the middle, the common ground, to be a peacemaker. Is that a bad thing? I don't know. I'm afraid where we'll wind up if we DON'T find commonalities, but at the same time, I think we have to resist the racism and sexism and all the other -isms and phobias that are absolutely wrong. Wishy-washy, I know.

    1. I don’t think peace-making is a bad thing at all — and finding the middle ground is understandable, except when there isn’t one! I found that article compelling —

  5. Oh what I wouldn't give to be at one of your salons! I believe that one day, it will happen.

    I, like Steve, have trouble with anger. It wasn't a safe emotion in the house I grew up in, and since leaving my parents home, when I've displayed anger I've been told I 'have issues'. But I love Martha Beck's words about anger, about how it's necessary, how it tells us when someone has crossed our boundaries.

  6. I have a lot of anger. But a lot of it is displaced. In other words, it isn't righteous anger. And i wish i could better control my displaced anger because it has wrecked relationships and my anger at me hurts me. I think we need to take responsibility for when our displaced anger hurts other people.

    1. Thanks for your heart-felt comment. Struggle with one’s anger is ongoing, isn’t it? I know it has been in my life. I don’t know whether you’re male or female, but female anger has long been suppressed — and it’s sticky and difficult to unwind it’s complexity.

    2. Thank you. I am female and yes very complex. I suspect if i were a man, the anger would be more acceptable.



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