Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Feature, not a Bug

The battle over NC HB-2 continues. This week some 40 pastors took public stands in favor of the bill, and one of the original Greensboro Sit-in participants said he didn't get arrested for "those people." If you look carefully into the far mists you can just make out the Kochs, driving the wedge deeper and deeper. One aspect of the bill hasn't been mentioned much (because so much is so evil about it): the rank paternalism of our elected representatives here in NC. This has been remedied:

Dear Creepy Heterosexual Men Guarding Our Bathrooms
Heather Lynn·Thursday, May 19, 2016, facebook

From Reddit, By Kasey Rose-Hodge

Dear creepy heterosexual men guarding our bathrooms,
My entire life, I've been told to fear you in one way or another. I've been told to cover my body as to not distract you in school, to cover my body to help avoid unwanted advances or comments, to cover my body as to not tempt you to sexually assault me, to reject your unwanted advances politely as to not anger you. I've been taught to never walk alone at night, to hold my keys in my fist while walking in parking lots, to check the backseat of my car, to not drink too much because you might take advantage of me. I've been told what I should and shouldn't do with my body as to not jeopardize my relationships with you.

I've been warned not to emasculate you, to let "boys be boys", to protect your fragile ego and to not tread on your even more fragile masculinity. I've been taught to keep my emotions in check, to let you be the unit of measure for how much emotion is appropriate and to adjust my emotions accordingly. I've been taught that you're allowed to categorize women into mothers/sisters/girlfriends/wives/daughters but any woman outside of your protected categories is fair game.

So to those of you who think you're being helpful by "protecting" me and my fellow women, you're like a shark sitting in the Lifeguard chair. I wasn't uncomfortable until you showed up at the pool and the only potential predator I see is you.

Your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters don't need you to walk them to the bathroom for safety. Your fathers, brothers, friends and sons need to walk themselves away from their own double standards. Women are sexually harassed and sexually assaulted on school campuses, on the street, at their jobs, on the Internet, in their own homes, in ANY public place. And it has been excused or ignored for so long because of what you and I are taught from the first years of our interactions with each other: You, as a male, are not accountable for your own actions. It's MY responsibility, as a female, to not "provoke" you. But then you get to Knight-In-Shining-Armor your way through life for those in your protected categories and I am expected to applaud you. Why the outrage now over bathrooms? Why aren't you outraged every single day?

If you're telling me that there are high volumes of boys and men out there, in schools or in general, who are just waiting for a "loop hole" to sexually assault girls and women, we have bigger problems on our hands than bathrooms. The first problem would be your apparent lack of knowledge of how often it happens OUTSIDE of bathrooms, with no "loop holes" needed. This isn't about Transgender bathroom access. This is about you not trusting the boys and men in your communities and/or fearing that they're all secretly predators. Why do you have this fear? How many fathers have panicked when their daughters started dating because they "know how teenaged boys can be because they used to be one"? How many times have girls been warned "boys are only after one thing"? A mother can bring her young son into the women's restroom and that's fine but a father bringing his young daughter into the men's restroom is disturbing because men are assumed to be predators and "little girls" shouldn't be exposed to that.

So instead of picking up your sword and heading to Target or the girls' locker room to defend our "rights", why don't you start somewhere that could actually make a difference? Challenge your children's schools to end sexist dress codes and dress codes that sexualize girls as young as age 5. Advocate for proper (or any) sex education classes in all public schools by a certain grade level. Focus more on teaching your sons not to rape vs teaching your daughters how to avoid being raped. Stop asking "How would you feel if that was your mother or sister?" It shouldn't take the comparison to clue you in to what's right or wrong. Question why you're more worried about your daughter being around men than your son being around women in bathrooms and dressing rooms. Stop walking by Victoria's Secret with no problem but covering your son's eyes if a woman is breastfeeding in public. Stop treating your daughter's body as some fortress you're sworn to protect as if that's all she's got to offer the world.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

One of Those 6 Degree Things

[Photo by Chris Felver/Getty Images]

One of the last gigs I played with the Red Clay Ramblers was down in Wilmington, NC, at the branch of UNC they got there. We opened for Emmylou Harris, which we all felt was a pretty big deal. We played well, her show was excellent. This was back when Rodney Crowell was in her band. A long time later on I studied up on Townes Van Zandt, and like anybody with brains I was blown away by how good a writer he was. In the process of reading about him I realized that I'd seen him once, at a little joint out at the edge of Chapel Hill called the Star Point. I think he might have been pretty wasted, and I might have actually walked out on the show. I've seen film of him at a place we played quite a bit, the Down Home Pickin' Parlor in Johnson City, TN. He was sure drunk that show. The big break he got was Hag and Nelson covering "Pancho and Lefty," which is one of a whole lot of great songs he wrote. He'd introduce "Pancho and Lefty" by saying, "now here's a medley of my hit."

One of Townes great friends was Guy Clark. There's some good film of Guy talking about Townes, in a very good documentary about Townes' too short life. Another musician we ran into off and on back in the road days was Jay Unger. He's a terrific fiddler, and I'd lobbied for him to replace me in the Ramblers when I left, in '81. Nothing against the guy who ended up with the job, Clay Buckner. He's done a real good job riding the rails with the "Blurs, Inc." I never met Guy. Wish I had.

I read just a little while ago that Guy Clark has died. Lawyers Guns and Money blog was on the story immediately, and posted a video of Clark playing "The Randall Knife." I went over to youtube and found this one--a duet with Emmylou, plus Jay Unger playing fiddle. The song is "about" Rodney Crowell's father. These guys are dropping like flies this year.

For more:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tonya Harding For Veep

Ms Jones has come out for Mr. Trump. Ms Harding can take both Ms Jones and Mr. Trump. Easily. What a debate it would be.

The bout is worth watching a few times. It shows something about Ms Jones character. The poor lady can't help but be a victim. Consider that she and Harding are wearing all sorts of protective gear. This isn't like a Rousey fight. It's true that Harding is surely more fit, and as a trained Olympic athlete has a much more powerful will to win. You can see at the start of the third round that Harding is almost apologizing, for a second. There's a little shrug when she looks at Jones. "It's my job," she's suggesting, "not personal." Jones, on the other hand, is incapable of standing up to Harding's attack. Over and over, one punch and she turns away and runs, or hides behind the referee. It reminds me of the time I took lessons in uprighting a sea kayak from inside the boat. You had to turn over, then spin yourself upright again. In the process you had to be upside down, underwater, with a boat attached to your ass. I could never do it, and I knew full well that it was a terrific life-saving skill I needed if I was going to venture out in big water around Ocracoke Island. When I went under I immediately exited the boat. It was not exactly a conscious decision. It was immediate fear driving me.

This is what we're watching in Paula Jones' responses to Harding's attacks. Every time, she can't help herself. Fear wins. She can't help herself.

Now what's the implication of that? Well for one thing, it makes President Bill Clinton's advances much more in the vein of an imbalance of power situation. And here's the facts, from the Washington Post:

President Clinton reached an out-of-court settlement with Paula Jones yesterday, agreeing to pay her $850,000 to drop the sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the worst political crisis of his career and only the third presidential impeachment inquiry in American history. [Peter Baker, 11/14/98, WaPo]

It's not an argument for Trump, by the way, just for clarity. A whole lot of lies were generated and published about the Clintons, while they were in office. Like the bank speaking fees, the settlement isn't a lie.