Archive for the social commentary Category

SOUR GRAPES OF WRATH

Posted in social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by kimmy

Have you noticed what sour grapes people have become?  Just when you’re bursting with happy news, they’re ready with a needle.  When you’ve arranged for a lovely family get-together, someone decides to air their dirty laundry at the table.  When you’re enjoying a beautiful day at the park, some nimrod parks his Escalade, turns up the sub-woofers and lets loose a blue streak of profanity when you ask him to lower the volume.

It would be easy to follow suit and lose your temper, but what would you gain?  The satisfaction of telling off an idiot who doesn’t care what you have to say anyway?  Why blow your cool?  Sacrificing your peace of mind for a battle that cannot be won is pointless.

Why not kick back and enjoy the show?  Cranky people can be highly amusing.  They are so caught up in their reality that they have no idea of what’s going on… like the Three Stooges without the musical track.  

I have often wondered if their nasty bravado is only a façade designed to conceal an insecure nature.  As long as they are huffing, complaining, whining, sulking, bitching, screaming, demanding and threatening, no one will notice what wimps they are.

Of course it’s difficult to remember that when they are in the throes of a hard-core meltdown.  However, it’s only a strategy and one that you are not obligated to play.  In fact, refusing to play along usually sets them off most spiritedly.  It’s quite an experience watching faces turn red and poison spew from mouths that moments before were pledging solidarity.  And the funniest thing of all is that they have no clue how obnoxious and ultimately repelling they are.  They actually believe their strong-arm behavior keeps the herd together.

Who wants to hang out with a mean-spirited foulmouth?  Nobody.  That’s why, in the end, all sour grapes turn to vinegar.

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APOCALYPSO

Posted in rants, social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2010 by kimmy

Why the secrecy?  Why don’t they just line us up and shoot us, throw us in mass graves, raid our homes and bank accounts and be done with it?  There really isn’t any need for formality; we all know that we’re at the mercy of monolithic corporations.  Pretending that we have feelings and rights just makes it worse.

Of course once we’re all dead and all the world’s resources safely tucked away, there will be nobody to wait their tables.  Or mow their grass, watch their addled-brained children, sew their couture fashions or buy their wasteful products. 

Slave labor… now there’s an idea.  Don’t think it hasn’t been discussed in the boardroom at Haliburton.  They’re just trying to frame it in such a way that we’ll actually ask them for the shackles and thank them when they turn the key. 

It’s not preposterous; it’s happening now.

YOU allow elected officials to turn over millions of tax dollars to private business.  YOU allow representatives to wage war in foreign countries.  YOU permit off-shore drilling and deforestation.  YOU refuse to vote out incumbents.  YOU turn a blind eye to misdeeds provided YOU are not inconvenienced.  And now YOU are appalled by the physical and fiscal disasters that pock-mark the world.  What did YOU expect, the return of Eden? 

The world is not run by charitable foundations.  It’s time to turn off the Barney tape that’s been endlessly playing and distracting you from behaving like an adult, and assume responsibility.  That is… if it’s not already too late.  Those who have been busy profiting while we slept are unlikely to graciously withdraw.    The only safety measures they are truly interested in are the ones that keep money flowing… to them.  

There will be no clean-up, no compensation to those adversely affected.  Those funds will be tied up in litigation for years… another safety contingency designed with corporate interest in mind.  We will however be treated to expensive media blitzes full of pacifying sounds and colors, à la Barney and Friends, which will lull us back into collective stupor and free them to conduct business as usual. 

Don’t weep for the ocean and its living creatures; weep for yourself and your inaction.  The mess you see without reflects the mess within.

PASSIONATE LADY, GIVE UP YOUR VOWS

Posted in social commentary, women, writing with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2010 by kimmy

Indulge in what’s before you.  The only limitations are those you place upon yourself.

You’ve played the game well, but it didn’t yield the promised results.  You did what you were told, obeyed the rules of society and kept a low profile.  It was all sawdust in the end.

And you blamed yourself for years.  If only you had worked a little harder, sacrificed a little more, ruminated a little less…

But you forgot that you were partnered in the dance, not whirling around solo.  You weren’t expected to carry the load for another.

If you hadn’t been absorbed in redressing the imbalance, you would have learned the corrections were not yours to make.

Instead, you saw only your own shortcomings and vowed never to visit them upon an innocent again.

But their inactions are not those of innocence.  And withholding your participation is needless.

Live your life without apology, lady and forget about fixing the ruin of others.  Save your own city.

GRACE… THE FINAL FRONTIER

Posted in musings, social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2010 by kimmy

 

Her eyes were glistening.  “I don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

I gave her a hug and she clung to me, clutching onto the hair at my nape as would a frightened child.  “I just wish I could make sense of all this.”

I squeezed her tight for a moment, then held her at arms’ length.  She had a hard time making eye contact.  “There are no answers, sweetie,” I said, more sure of that truth than ever before.   “It just is.”

She looked at the ground, puzzled, not wanting to give up hope that she would discover the perfect answer to her question.  I recognized this resistance because at one time, I shared it.  I also knew if she continued in the same vein that only frustration would result.

“If you look out here,” I said with a wide gesture to the porch and garden beyond, “you’ll find nothing.  It’s a trap for the senses.”

She looked toward the garden and I knew what she was thinking.  How could you lump my beautiful garden, so full of life, with pain?

I wished I had a better response.  “There is beauty in the world, but there is horror, too.”

As if anyone needed a reminder of that.  She shrugged her shoulders in agreement and busied herself picking off dead leaves from a potted palm, as if a constant might be found within one of them.

“Don’t bother,” I said.  “You’ll never find one.  If you’re looking for truth, it’s not here.”

As I drove away, I wondered if her doubt had infected me.  Maybe she was right.  Was there something important out there that I missed, or was I just distracted again?  Had all my years of study been in vain?

I thought about the miserable state of the world, the pointless suffering, the waste.  Don’t we have a responsibility to correct it?  Or should we retreat inside the bubble of our practice and detach from it all?  When does detachment become indifference?

Was I just as coldly disinterested in outcomes as the killers, marauders, and exploiters of the world?  Why wasn’t I out picketing gas stations or harvesting produce from an organic plot?  Where was my heart, my compassion?  Did I leave them outside the door, just as countless souls do before they enter the boardroom?

I almost felt like driving my car off a bridge.

Until I remembered why I began… the pain.   A suffocating stabbing pain that won’t relent.  And cannot stop because it’s inextricably linked to my desire for change.  

It starts with judgment, looking upon an event or person and deciding it’s bad and needs correction.  Correction triggers anxiety, for nobody really knows if a wrong will ever be righted.  Anxiety leads to anger, anger to despair and before long, one is stuck in a mire of self-created pain.

It’s only when one is unattached to outcome that she can clearly see what can or should be done.  Until then, action is only a knee-jerk response to sensory stimuli and emotional bias.

We’ve been told to do the right thing.  But until you get out of your own way and permit grace to show you what that thing is, you will only contribute to the problem.

SNAKEBITTEN

Posted in flash fiction, love, social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by kimmy

“You probably won’t believe me, but I loved a man once,” she said, taking a delicate sip of coffee.  She held the cup thoughtfully for a moment before replacing it on the table.  “A ne’er-do-well with hypnotic eyes and a poetic soul.”

“Aren’t they all?”  Disinterest was harder to affect than I thought.

“Poetic?  No.  It’s a rare man who gives himself to art,” she said with a sad smile.  “The price is too high.”

I listened, trying to appear nonchalant.  The truth was she talked so infrequently about her personal life that curiosity was getting the best of me.  I felt like a gaper. 

“Uh… price?”  What could be more glorious than sacrificing one’s self on the altar of creative expression?

“It’s a jealous mistress, you know,” she said with a nod.  “Doesn’t leave much for a real one.”

“I guess you’re speaking from experience,” I said, stating the obvious.  Suddenly I felt a stab of panic.  Would she take offense and clam up? 

“Yes,” she said, looking me straight in the eye. “It was hard-won.”

Green eyes.  I had assumed they were blue.  But then again, they were usually shaded by dark lenses.  “What happened to him?” I asked, hoping she’d turn down the high beams and stare off into the distance again.

She didn’t.  “He pursued me relentlessly,” she answered, boring two holes into my brain.   “And then one day, quite abruptly, he disappeared forever.”

I slid to the edge of my chair, half-expecting the story to take a mysterious turn.  There were so many odd rumors circulating about her that if he had actually dematerialized, I wouldn’t have been surprised.   “He left town?”

The question seemed to surprise her.  “No, he’s still here,” she said quietly, ” in the same house he’s lived in for years.”

I felt a little disappointed.  Maybe this was no strange abduction tale after all.  “But you said he was gone.”

She smiled serenely.  “He is gone.”

I wasn’t accustomed to being stymied.  “But that doesn’t make any sense.”

“Love seldom makes sense,” she laughed.  “It will take you beyond yourself.  Whether you can maintain the expansion is the challenge.”

“I’m guessing he didn’t.”

She shook her head.  “No, he didn’t, but I’m content to have it so.”

I thought perhaps she really did merit those odd rumors.  “Most people might grieve instead.”

“Most would rather mourn all experience than celebrate it,” she said, leaning forward.

“Loss of love doesn’t inspire celebration,” I said, thinking about my own brushes with it.

“Then you’ve missed the whole point,” she said slowly.  “Love isn’t ours to possess, but only to give away.  Be happy that it bit you at all.”

PINK FLAMINGOS

Posted in social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2010 by kimmy

My neighbor has pink flamingos in her yard.  Not the feathery kind, but the plastic version stalking through the grass on thin metal spikes.  They’ve faded somewhat, looking a bit forlorn on her tidy Midwestern lawn.  And when I passed by yesterday, I swear they were crying out.

I shrugged it off.  Why would ersatz birds seek attention?   I continued down the street, thinking about the consequences of lawn decorations coming to life, wondering if they would seek revenge on their keepers, shredding them with sun-bleached plastic beaks and demanding better habitat than the Chem-lawn poisoned grasses that have etched holes in their aluminum legs. 

Would they laugh at us, prissy suburbanites hellbent on killing every living thing and replacing them with petro-chemical copies?  What would they think about lawn deer, lawn jockeys, plastic squirrels and chipmunks, garden gnomes and whirlygigs occupying the space that was once held by their living representatives?

As I mulled the possibilities, I crossed over the ditch that lamely passes for a creek in these parts.  How many of them crisscrossed this former wetland, draining off the land for eager Dutch farmers?  I remember the smell of their onion and cabbage fields in the summer air of my youth.  Now the fields are gone, replaced by tract housing and pest-free yards.  All the snakes, turtles, fox, beaver, racoon, songbirds and deer are crammed into tiny strips of land that border the waterways and interstates.

And I have been part of the great industrialization, the enormous paving-over of the land and its inhabitants.  Fifty plus years of having my way without any thought to the beings that share my space.

It made me feel ashamed.

Am I so special that all things must make way?  Is my species entitled to mastery over the earth because God declared it so, or does guilt make us seek justification? 

I wondered about the hierarchy of life that had been the mainstay of my Presbyterian upbringing.  Was human life really more valuable than the humble creatures that struggle without complaint to survive?  Have we misconstrued their silence as evidence of soullessness?  Or is their apparent lack of senience the reason we grant ourselves license to behave as gluttons.

What does it mean to have dominion over the earth and its creatures?  Stewardship?  Mastery?  I thought about the origin of the word dominus and what time and perception have done to it.   With lordship comes immense responsibility, not just entitlement.  A king might have first pick of money and resources but he does so because he is servant to his people, and in theory so busy with the task that he cannot look after himself.  

Strange how we remember only the perks and not the burdens of the office.  A master who has forgotten to shepherd because he is occupied taking the best for himself is no master, but a blight.

SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN

Posted in social commentary, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2010 by kimmy

Children bicker and fight without thought to consequence.  Presumably adults intervene in their squabbles and endeavor to teach them tolerance and responsibility.  As any parent or teacher knows, it’s a lesson that has to be constantly reinforced because selfish impulses are strong and don’t easily yield to new habits.

Yet adults persevere because it is their duty to apprentice the young.  Without learned self-control, the world would be overrun with the violently impulsive, making cooperation a very difficult thing.

Even after years of patient tutoring, a child might reject curbing and dream of escape.  When I’m 18, I’m going to do what I want!  He sees his apprenticeship as limitation, the lessons as frustration and his custodians as wardens.  He doesn’t yet realize how fragile our lives are, how dependent we are upon each other and the earth.

Not many people had the good fortune to be reared by perfect parents.  Maybe lessons were heavy-handed and delivered thoughtlessly, but that does not change the outcome.  Grabbing the cookie jar and keeping it all to one’s self is kids’ stuff, not that of grown men and women who know better.

Juvenile behavior is almost expected from those adults who fared poorly in childhood.  Lack of education, role models and privilege are usually blamed for subsequent inability to live peaceably.  Their numbers may be large, but their crimes relatively petty compared to those who have had every advantage.  What excuse have they?

They have none.  They were not obliged by want, discrimination or ignorance to bend the rules.  They bend them because it suits them.  And because no warden, real or imagined, will make them answer for their actions. 

Essentially they remain children, fighting over weapons and resources just as toys and candy, oblivious to consequence and angry when thwarted.   The question is, do we suffer them gladly or stand together against them?   A neighborhood bully is difficult enough to manage, but what about civil and economic ones?  Governments that are run by zealots or sellouts?  Giant multinationals?  Are they above the laws of society and free to behave like preschoolers running amok?

If you cannot trust a toddler with the cookie jar, it’s no safer in the hands of an older toddler.  Once the jar is broken, he will expect YOU to clean up the mess.