Love never goes away

I will never stop missing my dad

I read Elizabeth Berg‘s lovely story about her dad’s dementia, I’ll Be Seeing You.

She writes beautifully. There are authors I like because they tell a great story about great characters. Berg does that, but her writing style is also gorgeous. She and Alexander McCall Smith have that gentle tone and these beautiful observations and elevations of the ordinary. They can both write an entire page about someone sipping a cup of tea and looking out of the window and make it lyrical and compelling.

When you combine that beautiful language with a story that so many of us have lived – of watching someone we love suffer in a way that we cannot make better – then you have a tearjerker.


It’s been 23 years, five months, 18 days, three hours, and 20 minutes since my dad died.

I still miss him every single day.

Mr T and I have been going through The 36 Questions That Lead To Love in the NY Times.

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

For me, this question is easy. My photo albums and the stack of letters that my dad wrote to me when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile.

Everything else can be replaced.


My dad did not have dementia. He had cancer – small cell blue non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Thank you Agent Orange.

A family friend, Mr S, had early onset dementia. He would have been – wow – I am just doing the math now – only in his 50s.

He knew he had it. I mean, he had the diagnosis. And he knew it would get worse.

He had one mission.

In his moments of lucidity, which were fewer and fewer, he sat down with his wife, Mrs S, and showed her all their investments. The house and car maintenance schedule. The file with the utility bills.

It’s not that Mrs S was stupid or ignorant – she was not. But they divided duties. She was a nurse and a mom. He was retired from the air force and a dad. They divided the house labor and he did the money stuff. (NB There is not a whole lot of money to manage when your career is in the military.)

His biggest concern was not whining or complaining about his fate but that Mrs S not have a hard time once his mind was completely gone.

Their story makes me think of Flowers for Algernon – the knowing that your mind is deteriorating. What do you do with that time? What do you do while you still can?


My dad was 61 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer.

He thought he had pulled a muscle running a 10K.

My parents were living in Italy at the time. My dad had started a second career, after retiring from the air force, as a teacher. He was teaching seventh grade math and science at the middle school on Sigonella navy base on Sicily.

[Imagine here the long, literally painful story about medevac from Sicily to a US military hospital in Germany to Walter Reed – where Mrs S, who lived in Washington, DC, went to visit him, to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, all of this over Christmas and New Year’s.]

I found out on Christmas Eve, via a phone call, that my dad had cancer.

I saw my dad on New Year’s Eve – the day he arrived there – in the hospital on Lackland.

He looked like he was pregnant with triplets – his kidneys were not pushing out fluids the way they were supposed to.

He tried to smile, but didn’t succeed.

They gave him morphine and he finally slept.


There was an ice storm in Germany and non-essential personnel were told not to go to work at the base.

The people who worked in the lab – the lab that was diagnosing my dad – were considered non-essential.

We waited and waited and waited for a diagnosis.

It took days for us to get it – the stage 4 blue cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Doctors of all kinds came in to see my dad.

The surgeon came twice – once to evaluate, once to tell us that he could not cut out my dad’s cancer.

“It would be like trying to cut out a wet paper towel,” he told us.


They needed to get a tissue sample from his hip bone. The resident, who was about to perform her first bone aspiration, told him that there was not a way to prevent pain for the procedure because it involved bone.

They told him he needed to expose his bottom half.

“I’ll wait in the hallway,” I told him.

Then I heard him whimper.

Then I heard him cry out in pain.

Then he said, “Please come hold my hand.”

“I don’t want to see your penis!” I yelled.

“I don’t care!” he answered. “It hurts! Please – please – hold my hand.”

He squeezed my hand so tightly that it hurt.

If you have never held your father’s hand while he weeps in pain, not even trying to hide his tears, you are a lucky person indeed.


Three days ago, my boyfriend before Mr T, John, would have turned 70. We dated over 20 years ago. I loved him but I couldn’t have lived with him – we were too different in how we did things.

But I loved him.

Three years ago, he died of leukemia.

He was only 67. Sixty seven doesn’t seem so old to me anymore.

I knew he was sick but I didn’t know how sick. I sent him some puzzles to keep busy. I kept meaning to send him some brownies but you know. Things. Things got in the way.

I thought I had time.

I did not have time.

He died before I could send the brownies.

It still bothers me. It bothers me that I didn’t show him how much he actually meant to me and that I still cared about him.


I send brownies any time I can now. Any reason.


My dad was in and out of the hospital in San Antonio for months. He went through chemo.

When he started losing his hair, my mom and I took him outside and shaved it all off, giving him a Mohawk in the process.

He lost probably about 40 pounds with the chemo? He was so thin. We wanted him to eat. He said that a Burger King milkshake sounded good.

I ran out of the hospital, jumped into my car, drove off base, found the nearest Burger King, bought a milkshake, ran back to the hospital and handed it to him.

He wasn’t hungry anymore.

He was supposed to drink Ensure. He had a few sips, then stopped.

“Please, Dad,” I begged. “Drink more.”

“I’m not hungry,” he told me.

“Please.”

He breathed deeply, exhaled, then drank a few drops.

“More, please. Please, Dad. Drink more.”

He drank some more. I kept encouraging him.

He drank more.

Victory! Lots of calories in his skeletal body!

And then –

He threw it all up.

Pink strawberry Ensure.

All over his PJs and his bedding.

All because he wanted to make me happy.


My mom had to go back to Italy to pack up their things and send them to the States. She had found a small apartment near the base. I stayed with my dad while she was gone.

I was trying to read a book.

My dad kept reading out loud to me from his newspaper.

I would listen, say, “Uh huh,” then return to my book.

I just wanted to read my book.

My dad was the first one in his family to go to college. He was not encouraged to go. His dad had a small auto dealership and garage where my dad had worked until he left home to join the Coast Guard. My dad could have stepped into the family business and never left his hometown.

He was a stutterer. He was not encouraged in academics. Still, he went, going to school on the GI Bill.

He majored in Russian history. He read and was curious and took other classes. When I was in junior hight, I helped him study for a test in his geology class. He and my mom took computer programming when I was in high school. He was curious about the world.

I was the first grandchild of 26 – ten of whom are older than I am – to go to college.

When I was admitted to college and got academic scholarships, my father was so proud. He proudly wore the Rice sweatshirt I bought him. I have photos of him wearing it in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt – anywhere he traveled.

“Listen to this!” he said and read me yet another item from the paper.

Didn’t he see I was reading my book?

“I KNOW that, Dad!”

“You always were smarter than me,” he answered in a quiet voice.

Even now, 24 years later, I am flooded with shame at how I treated my dad. That I snapped at him when he was just trying to connect with me – while he was trying to take himself out of his chemo-ravaged body and think about something, anything, that was not cancer.

That I could not have been kinder to my dying father.


My mom was three years younger than I am now when she watched her husband die of cancer.


He was back in the hospital. Their stuff was on a ship coming from Italy. The apartment contained rented furniture. My dad had only what they had carried when he was medevaced.

One of those items was his rosary.

My father took great comfort in his faith. The hospital chaplains would come by to see him because he liked talking to all of them, regardless of denomination. He would argue with the Protestants and pray with the Catholics.

One morning, his rosary was gone.

My dad was not a panicker. He was not an angry, dramatic man. He was compliant with the doctors, doing whatever they asked of him. He did not ask much from my mom or my siblings and me. He did not want to be a burden.

But when he reached into the pocket of his robe and didn’t find his rosary, he panicked.

“Oh Dad it will turn up,” I assured him.

“No! No! We have to find it!” he insisted.

He tore at his clothes, open and closed the drawer in the nightstand by his bed, lifted his sheets.

The rosary was nowhere to be found.

“Where is it? Where is it? We have to find it!”

I rolled my eyes and started looking. I was DONE with cancer and stupid stuff.

I looked under the bed.

I looked in the closet.

I looked behind his nightstand.

My mom looked in the bathroom.

She looked behind the bed.

She looked in the cushions of the chair.

We could not find it.

I wanted to stop.

But my dad, who was not a man who insisted, insisted.

Finally, after half an hour of searching, we found it wedged between the foot of the bed and the mattress.

He grabbed it with both hands, holding it close to his chest.

That rosary is now in my nightstand drawer. Every time I see it, I think of my dad.


My dad died eight months after he was diagnosed. I was working in Miami, but flew to the hospital in Wisconsin when my aunt, who is a nurse, called to say that his cancer had returned and he was not going to make it.

When I returned to work two weeks later, the VP of my group stuck his head into my office and offered his condolences.

I burst into tears.

“Oh,” he said. “Were you close?”

Yes.

I still miss my dad.

What if women ran the world?

To quote my grandma Sylvia, We’d all be fat and sassy

Last week, I had a job interview.

Last week, I had a job interview with an amazing woman.

Interviewer: What do people get wrong about you?

Me: They say I’m intimidating. Well, men say it. Women do not.

Interviewer: You mean you are focused and results driven?

Me:

Me:

Me:

Me: Yeah, I am really nosy, which helps, I guess, with getting to know people via Zoom and email. It’s harder when you can’t talk to people in person.

Interviewer: You mean you are curious and engaged?

Me:

Me:

Me:

I keep thinking about our conversation – how she was not willing to let me use pejorative terms to describe myself.

How she isolated the attribute from my sex and described me in a way that many people would describe a man with the exact same characteristics.

How I describe myself in ways that are negative.

How I incorporate the language of the patriarchy to convert that what is positive in a man to that which is negative in a woman.

And I didn’t even see it.


A friend of mine – an engineer – has just been promoted to director level at an engineering company.

“My mom seems angry. I think she is jealous of me,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I think she is angry that I get to have all these opportunities that she did not have.”

Which makes sense.

We have not really come that far. Her mom grew up in a time when women couldn’t even get a credit card in their own name and, in many cases, had to quit their jobs when they got pregnant.


White women have had the right to vote – wait – our right to participate in our democracy has been recognized for only about 100 years in the US and the UK. For Black women, it’s even less time.

[And take everything I say here about women and amplify that by a gajillion for all that has been lost to the world because of slavery.]

And we had to fight for it. Literally fight.

I read Death in Ten Minutes: The Forgotten Life of Radical Suffragette Kitty Marion, by Fern Riddell. The suffragists in England blew up buildings and train stations. They went on hunger strike and were force fed with tubes down their noses. To draw attention to the cause, one woman threw herself in front of the horses at a major race and died of her injuries.


This drawing is from my grandmother’s 8th grade workbook.

What has been lost to the world because women didn’t have a chance?

Against her wishes, my Grandma Helen had to leave school after 8th grade. She said,

I graduated (from 8th grade) in May 1926 and that was the extent of my education.

I would have loved to go on to school, but there were no school busses in those days to take me to Owen 7 1/2 miles away, and my parents could not afford to pay board for someone to keep me.

Before she married, my grandmother, who grew up in northern Wisconsin, worked as a maid in Milwaukee and Chicago. In Chicago, on her day off, she would walk the miles into the city rather than pay for the streetcar so she could use the money to buy chocolate instead.

Which – yeah. Genetics.

When she was 28, she married my grandfather, who also did not get to go past 8th grade, and they had a dairy farm. It’s not the quaint, sweet life many people imagine – the people who say, “I just want to move to the country and have a small farm with some cows and some goats and a garden.”

It’s a hard life that requires that you get up every single morning to milk the cows. Eery single morning. Every single day. Cows wait for nobody. It’s a hard life that consumes all your time, even more back when my grandparents were farming and my grandmother had to line-dry laundry, including diapers for her seven children, and made bread from scratch and canned their food and sewed their clothes.

Grandma and I didn’t have intimate conversations. She didn’t talk about how she felt. I didn’t know what her dreams were. She just got on with things.

She expressed herself through food, showing her love through cooking and baking.

She did have one big hobby – she painted. She took painting classes for years.

I asked her what she would have done if she could have done anything.

“I would have gone to Paris to study art,” she answered.

My grandma was prolific, making hundreds of paintings. This one is a copy of a painting of Segovia my mom bought when we lived in Spain. My grandparents visited us in Spain – the one big vacation they took in their entire lives.

Have you read the book, Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? by Katrine Marçal?

Think about it. It’s always been in the back of your mind, somewhere – the question, “How did all these scientists and artists get anything done? When did they cook? When did they do laundry? How did they get clothes?”

Someone was doing the work.


My grandma Sylvia grew up in Milwaukee. She left school after 8th grade as well.

She was always very proud of her great-aunt Katie. Katie never married. She was the head housekeeper for some rich family in Milwaukee – the boss of several other employees.

Sylvia worked at the Milwaukee Public Library. When she married and moved north with my grandfather, she helped run his business – an auto-repair shop and a gas station. She also volunteered at the library.

When my grandfather died, leaving her a widow in her 50s, she ran the gas station by herself.

She was smart and funny and sassy. When I would go to the grocery store with her, she would buy the National Enquirer, which I found mortifying. She had plastic over her sofa and she was an indifferent cook. She really didn’t care about that stuff. She wore dark red lipstick and had her nails done and she smoked. And she wore pants. Which was not so common back then.


My mom is brilliant. She went to the University of Wisconsin on an academic scholarship, but dropped out her freshman year to get married.

It’s hard to be a scholarship student with no money for fun.

“I didn’t even have a dime to buy a cup of coffee,” she told me once.

My mom is super smart and artistic and creative – and has looked her entire life to find outlets for her talents.

If she had been able to finish college, I am pretty sure she would have ended up one of the first female CEOs of a Fortune 100 company.

When I was junior high, she started studying photography.

My mom has always had a good eye.

She learned to develop film and make her own prints. She built a darkroom at our house.

When I was in high school, she took computer programming classes. She got an associate’s degree in computer science. When I hear people talking about how older women don’t understand technology, I roll my eyes. My mom programmed in Fortran and COBOL.

Like my grandmother, my mom is an excellent baker.

She started a bakery business out of our house. People would call and ask when she was baking again. They couldn’t wait for the next batch of bread, of kuchen, of coffeecake.

Then she started researching family history.

In the past 20 years or so, she has written – sheesh, I can’t even count them – five? six? detailed, meticulously researched, beautifully illustrated books about our family.

She has interviewed primary sources, transcribing hours and hours of conversations. She has found and restored photos. She has dug into immigration records, birth certificates, certificates of naturalization.

Now she is creating in another way. She gardens. She is a volunteer gardener at her church and a guerilla gardener in her neighborhood, ruthlessly weeding the common areas and planting flowers because the HOA won’t do it right and hire gardeners.


In her wonderful book More Work for Mother, Ruth Cowan shows how technology for homemaking tasks has made life easier for men but has not eased the burden for women. Indeed, in some cases, it has increased it. Women do more work at home than men do.

And it’s not because we are better suited for it, as one man suggested when he informed a friend of mine that their daughter’s diaper had leaked and there was poop on the floor.

“Well clean it up,” my friend said.

“But – you’re so much better at it!” he replied.

Women are not better than men at cleaning poop off the floor.


What if all that brainpower and energy – my two grandmothers, my mom – had been directed toward curing cancer? Solving hunger? (World hunger, not grandchild hunger. My grandmothers solved that one.) Eradicating disease? Developing art museums and parks and children’s programs? Inventing new products? Running the symphony?

It’s not that their efforts were wasted. Our society could not function without these women. They provide a tremendous amount of unpaid labor. They do the things that keep the wheels greased for the rest of us.

My grandma Helen volunteered at her church. She made sure her nephew with schizophrenia was fed after the nephew’s mother, my grandmother’s sister, died. Her gardens – both vegetable and flower – were works of art admired by all. Her paintings hung in the local bank.

(I once had to cash a check at that bank. I asked what ID they wanted from me and the teller said, “Oh I don’t need anything. You’re Helen’s granddaughter, right?”)

My grandma Sylvia volunteered at her library.

My mom has been a Brownie troop leader, a soccer coach (when she didn’t even know how to play soccer – but my city started a soccer league for girls and I joined and she coached my team), a Sunday school teacher.

These women make our lives – our communities – better. They are the unsung heroes of society.


A friend wrote on facebook that her son’s orthodontist can’t give after school appointments to all his patients because of “working moms.”

Because it’s so beyond the pale that a father might be expected to take time off from work to take his child to the orthodontist?


Women have been and are, for the most part, the ones making these sacrifices.

What would the world look like today if my grandmothers had been able to pursue more education?

Would my grandmother’s art be exhibited in museums?

Would my mom be retired from leading the company that found a cure for cancer?

Would my grandma Sylvia have created a convenience store empire? (Not that the world needs that – so perhaps this one is not such a loss.)

How much better would the world be if everyone’s talents were recognized?

UX Review: Female Adult Human

Bad design, bad functionality, 0 stars out of 10

Overview

We find the body of a female adult human (“Woman”) to be, sadly, very poorly designed and unfit for purpose.

We do not recommend Woman.

Usability review

Temperature

Woman is cold all the time, except at night when she is trying to sleep, which is when she has hot flashes.

Woman’s temperature is completely incompatible with the average temperature settings of most public spaces and common spaces.

The poor design of Woman means that her body, especially her arms and legs, requires the covering provided by clothes to stay warm. However, because clothes lack these features, Woman is always cold.

Size

Woman does not fit into most clothing and when she does fit, she often does not fit into clothing of that size but in a different brand. Woman’s inconsistent size and shape makes her unsuitable for clothing.

Height/leg length

Woman’s average height is completely inadequate. She cannot reach the items on the higher shelves without the help of assistive devices, such as stools, ladders, and Man, meaning she is incapable of acting independently. She is unfit for use in the standard kitchen, where shelves are often located near the ceiling.

Her legs are not long enough to operate a car properly, requiring adjustments to the seat and destroying the careful esthetic engineers have designed for the full automotive experience.

She does not fit well into public spaces such as benches, gym equipment, and seats on public transportation. For public transit, not only are her upper legs too short for her to have her feet on the ground whilst also having her back against the seat, but she carries too many items, such as her External Storage Devices, Groceries, and Children, to fit on the floor in front of her.

She uses the space directly in front of her seat to place her legs (and her items and her children), which means less space for Man in the next seat, whose spread legs are constrained by the unfair boundary created by Woman’s legs.

Storage

Woman lacks storage space. She is forced to carry external storage, which is often cumbersome, requires its own storage when Woman is out in public, and can be stolen.

Her internal storage is inconvenient and limited.

“The rioters were hypnotized by antifa temptresses who hid psychoactive drugs in their vaginas,” said Lindell. “If you look at the video, many of the rioters had crazed looks in their eyes.”

Mike Lindell, MyPillow CEO

Voice

Woman’s voice is too high and often shrill.

In addition, she uses it too frequently.

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, on Wednesday said women have an “annoying” tendency to make meetings run unnecessarily long in comments that he sought to retract Thursday.

Speaking to members of the Japanese Olympic Committee with reporters present, Mori said “board of directors meetings with many women take a lot of time.”

“When you increase the number of female executive members, if their speaking time isn’t restricted to a certain extent, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” he said, as told by an Agence France-Presse translation of an Asahi Shimbun story.

“Women are competitive,” Mori added. “When one person raises a hand, others think they need to speak up as well. That’s why everyone speaks.”

Washington Post

Patience

We do find Woman to be exceptionally good at Waiting.

Accessibility review

Urination

A major design flaw appears with the urination function. Not only does Woman have to pee frequently, she has to do so sitting down, or, at the least, squatting, which means it is very difficult for her to perform the pipi rustique, as Man, a far better designed body, does.

Woman is forced to use public toilets when not in her home, which constrains her travel and daily activities, as public toilets are not readily available and why should they be?

In addition, Woman is often accompanied by Children, Elderly Persons, and Disabled Persons who also need to use the toilet. But public toilets, when available, are often small and have room for only one person in the stall. There is not room for Woman’s External Storage Devices, Children, or other persons Woman might need to help.

Listening

We do find Woman to be exceptionally good at Listening, which also includes Praising for Ordinary Tasks. The design of “Two Ears One Mouth” is suitable for Man’s purposes, which is to have someone to Appreciate the Wisdom of What He Says When He Wants to Say It.

Technical review

Woman requires far more maintenance than Man.

Plumbing

The plumbing system for Woman needs at the minimum, annual medical attention, and breaks easily.

Even in its healthy state, Woman’s plumbing needs prophylactic attention to prevent more serious Woman Conditions, such as pregnancy. The prophylaxis itself can cause health problems, such as blood clots, strokes, and death.

Woman needs expensive materials to accommodate menstruation, which in Woman who have not reached menopause, occurs monthly. These materials are not always available in public toilets and must be carried on Woman’s person or in her External Storage Device, Just In Case. In addition, the facilities for discarding these materials are also often not available.

Aging

Woman ages. Her hair grays and her skin wrinkles and her skin loses its elasticity. These features are most unattractive.

In addition, as Woman ages, she Cares Less and Confronts Men More. Highly undesirable.

Recommendations

  • Increase Woman’s temperature so she is not cold
  • Adjust Woman’s extremities so she does not need to cover them with clothing to stay warm
  • Design Woman in one or only a few basic sizes so she will fit into available clothes
  • Change Woman’s urination stance to standing so she can use World As Designed
  • Remove Children, Persons Using Wheelchairs, and Elderly Persons from the world so Woman does not have to help them urinate
  • Lower Woman’s voice
  • Eliminate Woman’s plumbing
  • Eliminate the Menstruation feature
  • Stop the aging function, or, if that’s not possible, require hair dye, plastic surgery, and a muzzle

Additional reading

No Place to Go, Lezlie Lowe

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Caroline Criado Perez

At last he is useful for something

Ceci n’est pas une toilet brush

Buy it here.

I saw this image (above) on twitter and it reminded me of this story.

When I was a Peace Corps volunteer, I had a cleaning lady. It was mostly because I discovered I did not want to spend my Saturdays washing my clothes by hand in the tub. I was willing to pay someone else cold, hard cash to wash my clothes by hand in the tub.

Nope. Laundromat was not an option. There were none in my town. There were laundry services, but that required I drop off my dirty clothes and retrieve them days later. I didn’t have enough clothes to run two tranches.

There were drawbacks, of course, to the “washing the clothes by hand by rubbing them against a rough board” approach. Have you ever had threadbare clothes?

You know how when your jeans get so worn out that you can see the white cross threads? The point right before there’s a big hole and you need to patch them?

Now apply that to your underwear and your socks.

That is threadbare. My clothes all got threadbare.

Anyhow. My roommate and I hired a cleaning lady because we did not want to wash our own clothes. And as long as she was going to be in the house, we might as well have her clean the house.


BTW, we paid her four times the going rate and paid her even when we were on vacation and she didn’t need to come to the house. We did not want to be colonialist exploiters.


I was home sick one day and was watching Marisol work.

I saw her kneeling next to the toilet, scrubbing it by hand.

Her hand was in the toilet. Even though there was a toilet brush behind the toilet. She was cleaning the toilet with a hand brush.

Why was she cleaning the toilet with a hand brush?

How odd. 

Marisol, I called. I didn’t realize you brought your own cleaning supplies.

I don’t, she answered.

Then where did you get the brush that you’re using?

This? she asked, as she looked at the brush. 

Oh, this is from under the kitchen sink.

From under the kitchen sink.

Marisol, I said slowly. That’s the brush I use to scrub vegetables.

Oh! she replied cheerfully. Well, I’ll put it back, then.

No, I told her. That’s OK. I’m not going to be using it for vegetables any more.

And I didn’t.

By the way, I have not been seriously sick since then. Just saying. It takes work to build an immune system.

(But I don’t know if I am protected against COVID. So I stay at home and wear a mask when I go out.)

What Women Want

Hint: It’s not a photo of your penis. Or anyone’s penis.

New York Mets general manager Jared Porter sent explicit, unsolicited texts and images to a female reporter in 2016, culminating with a picture of an erect, naked penis, according to a copy of the text history obtained by ESPN.

ESPN.com

Men.

Relationship advice.

This is not how to attract a woman.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.


Porter acknowledged texting with the woman. He initially said he had not sent any pictures of himself. When told the exchanges show he had sent selfies and other pictures, he said that “the more explicit ones are not of me. Those are like, kinda like joke-stock images.”

ESPN.com
  1. WAIT THERE ARE JOKE STOCK IMAGES OF PENISES?

2. He thought the fact that it wasn’t actually his own penis made it OK?


How To Attract A Woman 101

  1. Women do not want to see a photo of your genitalia.
  2. Women especially do not want to see a photo of your genitalia if they have never seen your genitalia in person.

I realize I may not speak for all women #NotAllWomen, but I can tell you that I speak for me and never once in my entire life have I thought, “You know what I want right now? I want a man I am not even dating – a professional connection – to send me a photo of a penis.”

And – I am going out on a limb here, but I am going to say it, I bet that there is not a single woman anywhere in the world who has mused to herself as she is just trying to do her job, “If only that professional contact I have met only a few times would send me a photo of a penis. It doesn’t have to be his penis – any penis will do.”

(See: Sleeping Your Way To The Top.)


Wait – I cannot let this go

I wanted to write something light and funny about the proper way to attract a woman, but I am getting really angry reading the entire story.

The woman, meanwhile, returned to her home country and left the journalism industry altogether. She now works in finance.

While she said the fallout of the texts from Porter wasn’t the sole reason for leaving the industry, it caused her to think about her future — and how remaining around baseball long term was simply untenable.

“It would be a lie to say similar occurrences hadn’t happened to me in [my home country],” she said. “It’s a male-dominated industry. But it was a tipping point for me. I started to ask myself, ‘Why do I have to put myself through these situations to earn a living?'”

ESPN.com

You know what? I will leave it to you to read the entire story and get angry for yourselves. I don’t need to dissect this. This is still the water we swim in. I am going to return to Relationship Coaching.


How to Attract A Woman 101

Course overview

In this class, you will learn proven techniques to get the (positive) attention of the women you want to date!

Follow along with our simple strategies that will first of all, keep you from breaking the law and/or losing your job during your pursuit of your feminine ideal.

Learn how Hollywood has lied to you – that stalking the Object of Your Affection Who Is Otherwise Unknown To You does not usually win in the end.

Discover how you don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get a woman to like you!

Stay out of jail, keep your job and your reputation, and have a happy relationship all with our easy, proven Love Strategies(TM). You can do it!


Case Study #1

My friend Susan was entranced with a man we had just met at a party.

“I think he likes me!” she said.

I laughed. “Susan, he’s gay!”

“What?” she asked. “How do you know that?”

“Well, first of all, he said he would like to spank Al Gore, which was a dead giveaway. But second, do you remember when he asked what you thought about something? And then waited for your answer? And listened to what you had to say?”

She nodded.

“Straight men don’t do that. Or they rarely do that.”

#NotAllMen I KNOW.


How to Attract A Woman 101

What Not To Do

In this class, we will review a few things not to do. Although you may have seen these techniques used in fiction, they are not usually effective in real life.

  • Do not send her a photo of your genitalia.
  • Do not show up unannounced at her job
  • Do not have sex with her mother, then show up at her wedding and expect her to run away with you
  • Although it pains me so, so much to say this, because I adored Lloyd Dobler, do not show up at her house with a boombox and blast a song to her.
  • Wait. I’m taking that one back. If you are already dating and you love each other and her dad is trying to keep you apart because he thinks you don’t have anything to offer his daughter because your dream is to be a kickboxer, then you have my permission to show up at her house with your boombox and play “In Your Eyes,” one of the best songs ever.
  • Do not send her a photo of your genitalia.
  • Do not send her a photo of your genitalia.
  • Do not send her a photo of another man’s genitalia.
  • Do. Not. Send. Photos. Of. Genitalia.

How to Attract A Woman 101

What To Do, Part 1

In this class, we will discuss new strategies that you may not have considered. These are proven strategies, based on research with actual women, that impress women. If you are interested in reaching your goal – spending time with the woman of your dreams, these are tested, effective ways to get to that goal.

But before we start, there is a major caveat:

Do not try these with women at work. Women at work are off limits. For all practical and romantic purposes, the women you work with and encounter in your professional capacity are robots.

These techniques are for women you meet outside of work.

  • If you have just met the woman and she is not clearly trying to get away, ask for her opinion about a current event. Then – and this is the hard part, so you will want to practice with a trusted friend, Listen to the answer.
  • Let me repeat – do not send her photos of your genitalia or the genitalia of anyone else.

Let’s break into pairs and practice. Everyone get a partner. After you ask your question, you will need to press your lips together and keep them together for at least one minute. Time yourselves.

Then, while your lips are pressed together, focus on your partner’s face. Up. Up. Not the boobs. The face. What are the words coming out of your partner’s mouth?

Repeat the words back to your partner. This is not necessarily something you will do with the Object of Your Affection, but it’s a technique to learn to listen to the words someone else is saying.

This will be very difficult, but will get easier with practice. Practice at home with your roommate, your pet, or your mom.

Good class! I’ll see you next week!


How to Attract A Woman 101

What To Do, Part 2

In today’s class, we are going to learn about techniques that are best employed once you already have a relationship or maybe are even married.

Yes! Even in marriage, we need to continue to impress our partners!

But first, a reminder.

Do not send her photos of your genitalia. Or of someone else’s genitalia.

I cannot stress this enough.

No dick pix. Ever.

OK. Now it’s time for us to review some more advanced techniques for engaging the positive attention of the Object of Your Affection.

I know you want to do something dramatic, like send a photo.

Or save her from a burning building.

(Do not set a building on fire so you can rescue her.)

Instead, focus on everyday things that can make her life easier.

What do I mean by this?

  • Vacuum.
  • Wash the dishes.
  • Do the laundry.
  • Take out the trash.
  • Replace the burned-out lightbulb.
  • Make the bed.
  • Complete any household task that you think that women should be in charge of.

And here is the key. You have to do it without ASKING FOR AND EXPECTING CREDIT. Specifically,

  • Do it without being asked.
  • Do it without announcing you have done it.
  • Do it without any expectation of recognition or praise.

Let’s break into pairs and practice. Pick a partner and then each of you, do a simple task in this room – put some books away, pick up a piece of trash, and then – and I know this will be really hard, say nothing.

That’s right.

Say. Nothing.

Your homework is to pick one task a day – a task you usually do not perform, and do it. Do not draw attention to it. Do not ask for praise or recognition. Just do it.

If you are not living with the Object of Your Affection, then repeat the homework from Part 1, which is to ask her opinion and then listen to the answer. This can be done over the phone.


How to Attract A Woman, Graduate Seminar

Advanced Strategies To Regain Love After You Have Stupidly Broken Up With The Object Of Your Affection

In this seminar, we will address how to get her back.

That is, if you break up with a woman but then realize you do indeed want to be with her, you need to be very careful about your approach.

Let’s start with a case study of how not to do it. Read this study below – Case study #2 – and then let’s discuss what you think our friend did wrong.

Case study #2

Boris, in Paris, and Natasha, in the US, dated for nine months. This was a long-distance relationship, but they did travel together in France for a week and Boris traveled to the US frequently for work and would see Natasha then.

For Boris’ birthday, Natasha found a rare, single-batch American bourbon that he could not get in Europe, where he lived. She called five different liquor stores to see if they carried it, drove across town to buy it, and then carefully transported it from the US to France when she went to see Boris. (Plus it cost $50. For one bottle. Of booze.)

For Natasha’s birthday, Boris rubbed his hands in glee and said repeatedly, “Just wait until you see what I got you!”

Natasha expected something Big. A rare European chocolate? A sweater hand knit from the fur of white kittens? A weekend in London?

Boris sent Natasha an e-card.

Yes.

An e-card.

And nothing else.

So.

Then Boris broke up with Natasha, telling her he was not ready for a commitment.

Natasha moved on.

Months later, Boris emailed Natasha. He had to come to the US for work and wanted to see her. Natasha needed to let him know ASAP because there was only one cheap ticket left on the weekend flight.

Natasha, who cannot bear Not To Know and who Hates A Mystery, said sure whatever.

They met at the most expensive restaurant Natasha could find.

(Boris hated to be separated from a penny.)

Here is a summary of the conversation:

Boris: I am getting married.

Natasha: That’s great! To whom?

Boris: You know her.

Natasha: ???????

Boris: It’s YOU!

Natasha: ??????

Boris: I want to have children. I want to start a dynasty.

Natasha: ??????



For your homework, please write a 1,200 word essay on what Boris did wrong and what he could have done differently.

We will discuss next week.

BTW, Natasha did not marry Boris.

Exhale

Let’s start building the country we want to be

I want people to complain how our military, including the Coast Guard, is a big fat waste of money because sailors spend time goofing off when they are stationed at Guam. I want that instead of seeing Washington DC full of National Guard protecting the capitol from the president. From. The. President.

On Inauguration Day, Mr T woke up and shouted from the bedroom:

“Did he start a war last night?”

And I had to look at the newspaper because I wasn’t sure what the answer was.

Today – now that Joe Biden is president and Kamala Harris is vice president, I am pretty sure I can answer, “No!” without even checking.


Years ago, I worked with a guy who had come to the US for school from India and never went home.

I asked why he didn’t want to live in India.

“Because here, I can be who I want to be,” he answered. “My destiny is not based on who my family is. And I want that for my daughters, too.”


I also worked with a man who had grown up in East Germany. He and his wife were living in the States for the duration of the multi-year project.

We were nearing the end of the project.

His wife was pregnant.

He was adamant that his child would be born in the US.

“I want my child to be an American,” he said. “Even if we have to return to Germany. My child will be American.”


We have always been the land of dreams. It’s time to make those dreams a reality.

I leave you with Chef Jose Andres, also an immigrant who dreamed of America when he was a child.

Remember the Alamo?

Remember when white people defended white supremacy and slavery?

Someone told Trump that the 11,780 votes he tried to get the Georgia Secretary of State to lie about were in the basement at the Alamo. (BTW, what Trump did in that case is a crime, just in case you’re keeping track. I hope the State of Georgia prosecutes.)

I was talking to a German friend about – well, everything.

She was horrified at what was happening in the US and wanted to know how it could happen here.

Which is a fair question.

But then you look at Chile, which went from democracy to dictatorship in the blink of an eye. And you look at Spain, which was making the transition from monarchy to democracy but got sidelined. Argentina has alternated between democracy and dictatorship.

It can happen anywhere.

But that’s not really what we’re taught, is it?

When my friend was a girl, she was taught that Hitler happened because Germans were uniquely bad. It was a shock to her to learn, when she was older, that other countries had dictators.

When I was a girl, I was taught that Americans were uniquely good. “Manifest Destiny” (presented uncritically) and all that.

It was a shock to me to learn, as an adult, about the internment camps in WWII and the genocide of the Native Americans and systemic racism.

Thank goodness the curriculum has changed and that students in the US are now being taught something closer to the truth. I haven’t seen their history books, but I know from friends that their children are being taught, for instance, about the Civil Rights movement.


Remember the Alamo?

What were they fighting for?

What were you taught?

I was taught, in Mr Bale’s 7th grade Texas history class at Mackenzie Junior High in Lubbock, Texas, that the Texians were fighting for Freedom from the mean Mexicans.

Know what they were really fighting for?

Slavery.

Mexico had outlawed slavery.

The Texians wanted to keep it.

All of the combatants inside the Alamo during the 1836 battle knew that they were fighting for the institution of slavery, as surely as they knew they were fighting for Mexican land. James Bowie, a slave trader and smuggler who William C. Davis says was “easily the largest land swindler of his era,” had arrived in Texas in 1830 with 109 enslaved people. 

Remember the Alamo for What it Really Represents, Ruben Cordova

I attended James Bowie Elementary School in Lubbock, Texas.

They closed the school last year, but not because of the name. Bowie is still being lauded.

Bowie Elementary School, located at 2902 Chicago Avenue, will be closed in June 2019. Bowie Elementary was first opened in 1964 and was named in honor of Texas Revolutionary war hero Jim Bowie.

KFYO news

Full story here.

I’m not sure where this fits in this post, but in 1989, my high school computer science teacher was assassinated by Manuel Noriega’s forces in Panama.

Panama was a dictatorship under Omar Torrijos when I lived there, nine years before Mr Dragseth was murdered. We knew not to mess around with the Panamanian police. We knew to be careful.

But when I was living there, on a US military base, where, I admit, I was sheltered, I don’t remember hearing about people being disappeared and murdered.

At least, about Americans being disappeared and murdered. I don’t know if it’s because it wasn’t happening or because it was happening and I didn’t know. We got our news from the Miami Herald, copies of which were flown to the base every day.

It’s easy to ignore these things when they don’t affect you directly.

(Also, I was in high school, so all I cared about was that the Canal negotiations led to frequent bomb scares at school, which meant we got to leave the classrooms and hang out outdoors with our friends.)

But – the leadership of the United States knew what was going on. They knew we were in bed with a dictator.

And they wanted to control the canal.

Shrug. Whaddya gonna do?

(I honestly don’t have an answer to that. Strategically, the Panama Canal is essential. What do we do to ensure we have access?)


I asked my mom what she remembered about when we were in Spain – if it was known that there were political prisoners and were or had been concentration camps.

She answered, “They MIGHT have been, but there was never any discussion about it to my knowledge. We were warned not to mess with the Guardia Civil.”

But the US government knew that Spain had not had free elections since before WWII. That’s always a clue.

And yet.


Did you know that the Native Americans did not get the right to vote – by federal law – until 1924?

That wasn’t even enough. Voting is regulated also at the state level. Utah was the last state, in 1962, to grant voting rights to Native Americans.

I know this not because I was taught in school but because Mr T and I went to the History Colorado Center in Denver a few years ago when we were visiting my mom. This information was part of an exhibit about Native Americans who had served in WWI.


My friend said there is a French philosopher who says that there is always a boomerang reaction to any kind of political and social progress. I don’t know who she’s talking about and when I google, I find only references to Michel Foucault and I am way too lazy to dive into postmodernism.

But it makes intuitive sense – we had a Black president and we thought finally we can get past our racism but nope.

Trump got elected and told the racists (yes I know not all 2016 Trump voters were racist – but man if you voted for him in 2020, you own the racism and the anti-Semitism and the anti-everything. You own it) that is was OK to be a racist. He told people it was OK to be a Nazi.

During the insurrection, rioters surrounded and threatened a Black man.

They promptly found one: another Black man, passing through on his bicycle. He wore Lycra exercise gear and looked perplexed by what was happening on the streets. He said nothing to anybody, but “Black Lives Matter” was written in small letters on his helmet. The Proud Boys surrounded him. Pointing at some officers watching from a few feet away, a man in a bulletproof vest, carrying a cane, said, “They’re here now, but eventually they won’t be. And we’re gonna take this country back—believe that shit. Fuck Black Lives Matter.” Before walking off, he added, “What y’all need to do is take your sorry asses to the ghetto.”

Among the Insurrectionists, The New Yorker

I hope every single person involved in the January 6 insurrection is caught, tried, and imprisoned.

I hope Trump is escorted out of the White House in handcuffs.

I hope the racist Trumpers who weren’t at the insurrection – and I am talking about my former vet, my dentist (looking for a new one), other well-educated, well-off people I know, crawl back under their rocks.

And I hope we now have a boomerang back to decency.

And that we can work together to eliminate systemic racism and make this country the beacon of freedom and equality and the country of good people we want it to be. The country we promised we could be.

We are not special

I grew up in countries run by dictators. I thought we were special. We’re not.

Life can be shockingly normal under totalitarianism – if you are completely ignorant and/or complicit. This is me at seven, when we lived in Spain. Franco was in power. I didn’t know. I was seven.

Is it too soon to say, “I told you so” to all the Trump supporters?

Was a year ago, when he told his buddies about covid so they could buy stock in companies that make body bags but didn’t tell the American public so we could protect ourselves, too soon?

Was five years ago, when he bragged about grabbing them by the pussy, too soon?

Are you cultists who have supported him ready to admit that maybe – maybe you were wrong?

That “Orange Man Bad” is actually – bad?


I TOLD YOU MONTHS AGO THAT TRUMP FELT LIKE A DICTATOR.

I told you this felt like Spain under Franco. That this felt like Panama under Torrijos. That this felt like Chile after Pinochet.


At least when Pinochet was in power, we didn’t have any rapes.

Wistful and completely deluded Chilean woman, missing the Pinochet dictatorship

Newsflash: Protesting to stop police brutality – to stop the police from killing Black people for the crimes of

  • selling loose cigarettes on the street
  • sleeping on a park bench in the middle of the day
  • sleeping in a car at a city park at 3 a.m.
  • being in the wrong house when a warrant is executed
  • having a broken tailight
  • passing a counterfeit $20 bill
  • etc
  • etc
  • etc

is not the same as attempting to overthrow a legitimately-elected government. So stop with the “but both sides” shit right now.

Oh. And also?

BLM protestors did not erect a gallows so they could hang the vice president of the United States.

They did not murder a policeman by bashing his head in with a fire extinguisher.

They did not smear their feces on the floors and walls of the US Capitol building.


Number of persons arrested out of a group of 50 for violating curfew in one night in my neighborhood during a BLM protest: 8

Arrest rate: 16%

Number of persons arrested while they were storming the Capitol, breaking windows, and stealing government property: 0

Number of persons arrested since: 40ish?

Arrest rate: 40/thousands = a lot less than 16%


Mr T and I just started watching, The Dictator’s Playbook.

The only thing that saved us this time (and I don’t think we are out of the woods yet) is that one of the essential factors for a dictatorship to succeed is that the elites have to support the dictator.

Trump is a vile, vulgar idiot whom the educated elite do not want at their parties.

But the pretenders to the throne who follow him? They have legitimate degrees from prestigious universities. They are educated. They have the proper pedigrees.

We have to stop them before they get to the White House.


One of my college professors would have us cast Shakespeare’s plays for a movie.

When we read Othello, he asked whom we would cast as Iago.

We wanted an actor who wasn’t conventionally physically attractive – we suggested Danny DeVito.

Our professor laughed.

“No,” he said. “That’s lazy. It’s lazy to cast someone unattractive as the evil character. Evil is not ugly. Evil is not unattractive. Evil does not announce itself. If it did, it couldn’t seduce anyone. Evil is beautiful and seductive. I would cast Robert Redford as Iago.”

Whoever made this movie about the attempted overthrow of American democracy was lazy. She cast Trump in the role of villain. She cast evil that announced itself.

Next time, this movie will be made by someone smarter.


After Cambodia, Spain has the most bodies buried in mass graves in the world.

Mr T and I did not know that until we watched the Franco episode of The Dictator’s Playbook.

Think about that.

You knew about Cambodia. You knew about the Killing Fields.

But did you know about the wholesale slaughter – including the slaughter of civilians – in Spain during the Spanish Civil War?

I did not.

Did you know that Spain had a gulag?

I did not.

Did you know that Spain had concentration camps?

I did not.

And it didn’t occur to me because – look at Spain! It’s a democracy! It’s a developed western country!

It can happen anywhere.

It could happen here.


Chilean friend: My dad died of a heart attack. We couldn’t take him to the hospital or call an ambulance.

Me: Why couldn’t you take him to the hospital?

Friend, giving me a look of “duh”: Because it was after curfew!


Trump was banned from twitter.

This is not censorship. This is not a violation of his free-speech rights.

This is the market, responding to a market problem.


This is not 1984.

These criminals who stormed the Capitol building are not George Orwell.

If they would read anything other than parler, they might know that George Orwell actually went to Spain to fight against Franco, who was attempting to overthrow a –

What do we call it?

A LEGITIMATELY-ELECTED GOVERNMENT.


And for those who need to hear it – Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not going to turn this country into a communist dictatorship. FFS, people. Read a F*ing book and learn some history.


We are not special.

“Actually, I like the way I look”

When was the last time you heard a woman say those words?

I hate being on camera. I hate having my photo taken. I always have.
I am the one covering my face. The woman next to me is a sculptor who was sailing around the world with her husband, loving her life and probably not worrying about the stupid things I worry about.

I have been thinking about this post and what to write for a few weeks, ever since I read the first essay in Laura Lippman’s new book, My Life As A Villainess.

In that essay, she talks about being told she had a potbelly when she was a little girl. She talks about trying to lose the potbelly.

She says,

Every girl remembers her first diet. Usually, it’s her mother’s.

My Life As A Villainess, Laura Lippman

I remember my first diet.

I remember my mother’s diets.

I feel like I have been dieting almost since I was born. I feel like my entire life has been about depriving myself of what I enjoy so that my body somehow does not bother other people or bother me.

She remembers the time a man told her,

If you lost twenty pounds, you would be a knockout.

My Life As A Villainess, Laura Lippman

In college, a guy who saw me in my underwear while we were making out – I kind of liked him and he was in love with my roommate, Anita, and I guess I was the next best thing because she had a boyfriend and even if she hadn’t had a boyfriend, wouldn’t have gone out with him, told me,

You’d be really cute if you lost some weight.

She talks about the diets that so many of us have followed.

She talks about men who disagree with her telling her they don’t want to have sex with her.

Because of course that is the ultimate insult. Isn’t that all we women want? For all men to want us?

She decides no, screw them.

She decides not to diet.

She decides not to criticize her body. How she looks.

No.

Better.

She decides to like how she looks.

Stop waiting. Stop entrusting praise to others, especially to sad deluded men who think our bodies are theirs to judge. It is not the trolls or the blunt dance teachers or even our partners who get to tell us we are beautiful. No one can lift us up until we choose to leap.

….Consider…saying those dangerous, forbidden words out loud. Pick any of the sentences I have peppered throughout this piece, knowing how subversive they are for someone who is sixty: I am a knockout. They totally want to have sex with me. I’m gorgeous. I look great.

Do you know how hard those words were to type, how often I flinched? But I wrote them, I say them without a flicker of irony, and go figure, I’m finally beginning to believe them.

My Life As A Villainess, Laura Lippman

And that’s the part that makes me gasp.

Because even though I think I am good at not talking about dieting and weight and trying to steer conversations away from that, I do not like how I look.

(And even though I don’t talk about dieting or weight, I still think about it. All. The. Time.)

I do not like how I look.

And I talk about it.

I talk about my teeth and my eyes – how I like wearing a mask because it covers my teeth and how my eyes are puffy.

My eyes are puffy because I eat really good food that I have cooked. I am a really really good cook yet I am concerned about what I eat because of how it makes me look.

I hate how I look. I hate more than my teeth and my eyes. I hate it all.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way.

Caitlin Moran likes how she looks, too.

I stand in front of the mirror and look at myself in it, naked. Through some mad quirk of fate, I am a middle-aged woman with a nonperfect body who still, nonetheless, likes her own body.

More Than A Woman, Caitlin Moran

The idea that it’s OK for a woman to say she likes her looks –

Wait.

That it’s OK for a woman not just to say she likes her looks but to actually like her looks?

Doesn’t that mean she is conceited?

Are we even allowed? This is not our culture. This is not how we are supposed to be. This is not what our culture of ads for plastic surgery and makeup and photoshopped women tells us.

We are not supposed to accept ourselves as we are.

And yet. Laura Lippman flips off the patriarchy.

I thump the culture on the chest, push back, and say one of the most infuriating things a woman can ever say: Actually, I like the way I look.

My Life As A Villainess, Laura Lippman

Whoa. How dare she! How dare she?

How dare we women take the power away from men to define whether we are attractive or not?

How dare we take the power away from other women?

And I am including myself in that statement – I used to think about how the Miss Americas came from the south and my conclusion was that the women in the Northeast just weren’t that pretty.

It took me a while to realize that nope, women in the Northeast are more concerned with more important things than how they look.

I was wrong, Northeastern Women, and I apologize.

And – if women stopped thinking about our weight and our looks, what would we do with all that time?

What if we used that energy to fight injustice?

What if we used that energy to seize political power?

What if we used that energy to change the world?

Or even, you know – just to be happy?

When I asked her how she was going to celebrate her fifth birthday , my beautiful smart confident granddaughter (Mr T brought his two stepdaughters with him when I married him and they are lovely and smart and beautiful and I am so lucky), told me, “I am going to be happy.”

Maybe her generation will get it right?

I want that for them. I want that for us.

When you discover you don’t know anything and what you thought you knew is all wrong

Isn’t this the theme of 2020?

A suffragist.
Source: Independent Australia

Last night, Mr T and I watched The Vote, about women’s suffrage.

All I knew before we started was that 100 years ago, women in the US won the right to vote and blah blah blah.

I did not know women had been arrested.

I did not know that women had been beaten.

I did not know that women had been force fed in jail, tubes shoved down their throats against their will.

I did not know about the sabatoge.

I did not know about the bombs.

I did not know about the hunger strikes.

I did not know about the awful racism in the suffrage movement – that many white women did not want to ally with Black women.


I didn’t know so many things.


I did not know until I was out of college that the US had put US citizens of Japanese ancestry in prison camps during WWII. Had stolen their property. Had treated them horribly.

I did not know how brutally and unfairly Native Americans were treated. And are still treated.

And of course I did not know about all the systemic racism, past and present. I have talked about that before, but I have not talked about how angry I am that I learned none of this in school.

Why wasn’t this part of the history curriculum when I was in school?

Why were we not taught about any of this – racism, lynching, internment camps, sexism, genocide – in school?

Yeah I know that’s a stupid question.

It’s for the same reason that in 7th grade Texas history, we were taught that the Mexicans were bad and the Texans were noble at the Alamo.

We were not taught the part that one of the reasons the Texans were fighting for independence was because Mexico had abolished slavery and the Texans wanted to keep slavery.

Regardless, the Alamo is beautiful now.

Fighting for independence from oppression is one thing.

Fighting to oppress is another.


It would be kind of like if the Confederacy had won the war and students were taught that Robert E Lee was noble and there were high schools named after him and there were statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and military bases were named after Confederate generals and ordinary people named their little boys “Jefferson Dav—

Wait.

The Confederacy lost the war but those things still happened.

WTF?

How did we ever get to the point where we glorify the losers from a war they fought to maintain slavery?

How did we get to the point where there are people in the US who think it’s OK to fly the flag of the Confederacy, a nation that the US defeated in war, a group of traitors who tried to secede from the US to start their own country for the sole purpose of maintaining the morally indefensible practice of enslaving other human beings?

At least they get it right in the Civil War burying grounds.

Wait.

At least they get it right at Shiloh. I just googled and discovered that there are Confederate dead buried at Arlington? And apparently recognized?

At Shiloh, the Confederate dead are in their own section that the US Parks Service does not maintain.

I asked a ranger about it and he answered that yeah, they were enemy soldiers and I realized OF COURSE.

Why should the US pay to maintain the graves of traitors?

Shiloh

How are we ever supposed to understand our history if we are lied to?


Let me get to my point, which is,

We have to stop teaching the myths and teach the truth.

If we don’t know our true history, how are we ever supposed to reach the ideals on which this country was founded?

We need to know that the founders’ intentions really weren’t for everyone.

(That doesn’t mean we are going to stick with their intentions – this is not the place for originalism.)

We need to know that when they said “all men are created equal,” they really meant all white men, not all human beings of every color.

We need to know how people who were not white men of property were treated.

We need to know that we, as a country, have done horrible things.

We need to figure out how to apologize for these things and make it right with the people who have suffered.

We need to figure out how to make it better in the future.


I am angry that I was not taught these things in school, but I am also angry at myself for not learning on my own.

So that’s what I’m doing now. I am reading and watching and trying to understand.

These are the books and DVDs on my shelf now.

  • The Vote
  • Ain’t I a woman : Black women and feminism, bell hooks
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Assata: A Biography, Assata Shakur
  • Caste, Isabel Wilkerson
  • They were her property : white women as slave owners in the American South, Stephanie Jones-Rogers
  • Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde
  • John Lewis: Get In The Way
  • Mama Flora’s Famiy, Alex Haley
  • Dying of whiteness : how the politics of racial resentment is killing America’s heartland, Jonathan Metzl

What should I add to this list? What else should I do?