At my new job I worked with some women from various eastern European countries. One night while working a graveyard shift putting out new stock I was chatting with one who often took the double-rails of new clothes and put them out. She mentioned that she’d been told repeatedly that she was supposed to empty one double-rail every 30 minutes, which was very hard. I sympathized then thought about the large plastic totes I’d been unloading in home wares; I’d been told once that the quota was actually 15 minutes per tote. I’d rarely if ever unloaded one that fast (I’m lost in Home Wares, as well as “Apothecary” (women’s soaps, cosmetics, and all manner of other needless, unhealthy and environment-destroying feminine bullshit) as they make no sense to me). Of course, this was partly because it was common to have to partially reorganize or re-block (organize into color blocks and product-type blocks) the stock that was already out. But even granted that I’d only had quota mentioned to me one time in the first month of my new job, while a co-worker had had it mentioned to her several times.
I considered that her task was different, but I also considered that on other jobs I’d had the quota, when there was one, was mentioned many times and in great, stressing detail. I’d tried telemarketer jobs for non-profits before where on the second day I made quota before the lunch break then lost the job after lunch when my quota fell (and the training was of course unpaid, and largely based on commission, when and if you managed to get donations from people as charities and non-profits are usually terrible about paying underlings).
This was when it occurred to me that I might be getting a little preferential treatment because I was a college student in the final year of my bachelor’s. My co-worker had no value to the company beyond her ability to do the tasks required at quota speed. I had value to them beyond that.
Within one to two weeks of that night Donald Trump was elected president. While waiting outside the academic dean’s office one day for a meeting one of my professors (who came from a nice background) ran into myself and my friend Hadley, whose family is middle class. He mentioned the election and eventually, as we were all chatting, he said we were exactly the kind of people that most Trump supporters would hate: the liberal, educated intelligentsia. He didn’t notice but I was speechless. I had been considered, called, and accused of being many things throughout my life, but never that.
Since starting college I had always wondered when I would no longer be “working class”; treated as not smart or valuable enough to have my life really be worthwhile, working are exhausting jobs that pay little and have no future while my backbreaking work makes those with lives of leisure even richer. The world of the middle and upper middle classes was a land far from where I’d begun from, in an unfinished cabin in the woods with no formal education. I had just reached the tip of that land; the edge was like the Cliffs of Moher near Galway Bay: a steep and crumbling uphill climb with far to go… but I had arrived. ...
(A personal reflection:)
Since my announcement earlier this year to friends, family, and all that I will no longer be writing, except for college work or to finish up with and close out final ideas and thoughts, some people I know have been supportive, but a few have suggested I’ll write more some day, when I’m old and gray. I’ve said no, actually, I won’t. I genuinely don’t want to.
Honestly, I really didn’t appreciate their trying to shove writing back down my throat after I went to such great efforts to get it out of there in the first place. And I don’t know why people—usually women—feel compelled to try to write other peoples’ lives for them.
My family wanted artistic projects and social issues to be the main focus of our lives. Among my many responses to this was the All Voices books, website, and blog project, opening discussions on NEW ideas about social issues, new potential solutions, new thinking, new debates. But, as stated before, that is not really the path I chose for myself.
Writing has been an incredible journey for me, but one that went on too long. Like a fun carnival ride that goes on until the thrill is long over and then you just feel sick, the night wears on, and you just get to the point where all you want is to go home, get sleep, get up early, eat healthy non-carnival food, and just in general have a major life change. If that didn’t make much sense right there I no longer have to care since I’m not a writer anymore. Anomie is the last book I will ever write [since broken up into essays and put in this blog], and this makes me happy, not sad.
I appreciate those who’ve been supportive of this decision of mine. I no longer love making art and haven’t for quite some time. After getting away from the familial pressure to keep writing there were two men in my life, one after the other, who put pressure on me to keep writing, especially if I could ultimately make money as a travel writer and help support them in their desire to travel for little or no money. This did not go over well with me. The last thing I needed when announcing my decision to leave writing was someone saying I shouldn’t quit it, or wouldn’t—would someday return when… when what? When I suddenly had amnesia and forgot what it felt like to focus on artistic projects and social issues since the age of four or five? Forget 28 years of my life focused on just one thing whether I liked it or not? You know, I just don’t see that happening.
The first time I seriously thought about leaving writing for good was 2012. ...
In all the hysteria about nationalism and its “us and them” indoctrination we lose all sense of appreciating other cultures. To this end, as someone originally from the U.S., I decided to take an active interest in Russian culture and read a little of their poetry. A Russian classmate of mine in college once recommended Mayakovski, Pushkin, Esenin, Block, and Ahmatova just off the top of her head. She was one of the best students in my college; hardworking, grounded, serious, even though when she first arrived she was the youngest student in the college (and at the time the only Russian, though a student who was ethnically half Irish and half Moldovan spoke Russian with her often, and I found the sound of the language entirely pleasant—I honestly don’t know why some people suggest it sounds like Klingon; it sounds strong and soft at the same time, and when Yana from Siberia, near Mongolia, spoke it, it sounded poetic).
We all hear so many stereotypes about other people and their cultures and it is often ignorant or unfounded or wholly biased. Besides that what we hear about the politics of various nations does not necessarily reflect on the average citizens of various countries—and in any event, art of all kinds can transcend such silly human creations as “land borders” and help us all to connect as people on a higher plane.
In my experience Russian have strong and resilient personalities. They work hard, don’t complain, and take life seriously but are able to party, have fun, and enjoy that side of life. I’m always impressed by their work ethic—an excellent personal quality which the West has come to lack in shameful abundance, especially amongst the liberals, who often don’t even bother with their civic duty of voting.
In one class I was in that required watching and properly citing two episodes of Columbo I offered the DVD of it I had at home to Yana to borrow but when another classmate asked if I knew where he could get a copy I lied and said I had no idea; I knew I could trust her to be responsible with the DVD whereas I wouldn’t have trusted most with it. (She returned it promptly and in the same condition was given in.)
So I looked at a little of each poet’s work, and searched for a little biographical information in order to get some personal and historical context for works. I just checked basic sites and came up with the following (and this comes with the obvious caveat that I hold no copyright over the biographical information or the poems themselves, which remain the property of the original writers).
Connecting with other culture sin this way helps to fight racism and other forms of violent ignorance...
Vladimir Mayakovsky was a Russian Soviet poet, playwright, artist, and actor.
During his early, pre-Revolution period leading into 1917, Mayakovsky became renowned as a prominent figure of the Russian Futurist movement; being among the signers of the Futurist manifesto, A Slap in the Face of Public Taste (1913), and authoring poems such as A Cloud in Trousers (1915) and Backbone Flute (1916). Mayakovsky produced a large and diverse body of work during the course of his career: he wrote poems, wrote and directed plays, appeared in films, edited the art journal LEF, and created agitprop posters in support of the Communist Party during the Russian Civil War. Though Mayakovsky's work regularly demonstrated ideological and patriotic support for the ideology of the Communist Party and a strong admiration of Lenin, Mayakovsky's relationship with the Soviet state was always complex and often tumultuous. Mayakovsky often found himself engaged in confrontation with the increasing involvement of the Soviet State in cultural censorship and the development of the State doctrine of Socialist realism. Works that contained criticism or satire of aspects of the Soviet system, such as the poem "Talking With the Taxman About Poetry" (1926), and the plays The Bedbug (1929) and The Bathhouse (1929), were met with scorn by the Soviet state and literary establishment.
In 1930 Mayakovsky committed suicide. Even after death his relationship with the Soviet state remained unsteady. Though Mayakovsky had previously been harshly criticized by Stalinist governmental bodies like RAPP, Joseph Stalin posthumously declared Mayakovsky "the best and the most talented poet of our Soviet epoch.”
To his Own Beloved Self the Author Dedicates
Ponderous. The chimes of a clock.
“Render unto Caesar ... render unto God...”
someone like me to dock?
Where’11 I find a lair?
like the ocean of oceans little,
on the tiptoes of waves I’d rise,
I’d strain, a tide, to caress the moon.
Where to find someone to love
of my size,
the sky too small for her to fit in?
Were I poor
as a multimillionaire,
it’d still be tough.
What’s money for the soul? –
of all the Californias isn’t enough ...
School exists to dumb people down, kill their spirit, and brainwash them out of any and all original or creative thinking. It aims to produce good little brainless widgets for companies to own.
I was originally home-schooled and originally had a very negative view of home-schooling, then I began going to college. I chose to go to college; no family or others forced it on me. I was 29 and had spent years struggling through bad jobs with little pay. I wanted to be able to get better jobs, and to a large extent any jobs at all, as a bachelor’s degree had become the new high school diploma and a high school diploma had become tantamount to being treated as illiterate and unemployable.
I had considered college on and off for years but the bottom line was I had no money for college fees, student debt, or often rent for that matter, and no way to pay rent with the limited loans the U.S. government has on offer. And since no one in my family goes to college I had no one to ask for advice. After moving to Ireland in a rushed marriage, however, I finally had the option to go.
One of my best friends at the time, who knew me through our very liberal, free-thinking church and through shared creative writing groups, was very excited for me and said I would love college. I was surprised when I went and hated it. I kept wondering when I’d have that change of heart and start to love it like she thought I would, but that never happened.
College should be a place of real education; teaching you how to think and not what to think. My mother used to teach us that from the time I was four or five years old by reading us books and newspaper articles then having us discuss them and do point-counterpoint, explaining and defending our opinions. You do a little of that in college but it is mostly just a system of memorizing and regurgitating what the professors say...
In these Times of International Business we need a Global Standard for Driving -and- It's not that Women can't Drive, it's that Men can't Teach
This essay is about some of the problems that come up when a fully-licensed driver from one country moves to another country where they get no credit for being a fully-licensed driver.
Additionally, it talks about many men’s poor attitude towards women driving, which is often largely because of how badly they perform when teaching women to drive.
For the record, I did have one good male driving instructor once, when I was first learning to drive, but by and large men give poor (or no) oral instruction then get audibly mad at you, or even yell at you, which causes you to tense up and perform poorly.
And incidentally, despite the fact men are involved in more violent car crashes than women no one ever suggests that men can’t drive or shouldn’t be trusted to.
I am a fully licensed driver with over 13 years of driving experience in every type of weather, different types of road surfaces and terrain, across thousands of miles… in North America. I’ve usually held an Oregon license but have also had licenses in two other states since U.S. law stipulates that in order to drive legally after taking up residence in another state one has 30 days to pass that state’s theory test, turn in their old license, and receive a new license issued by their new state of residence. Never the less, as a resident—and newly a dual citizen—of Ireland, I get no credit whatsoever for my full U.S. driver’s license and clean driving record. None at all, which is ridiculous.
I would expect a theory test and even a practical driving test just to make sure I can handle driving on the other side of the road. (Actually, after bicycling that way for a few months I was already used to it—which is all the more reason to encourage drivers new to a country where they drive on the opposite side of the road to bicycle first and drive later.)
So I set out to comply with Irish law. They used to be extremely lax about driving standards but since 2011 have brought in many strict European Union driving laws, which have made the roads much safer in the Republic of Ireland (far fewer road deaths; down from being one of the least safe places to drive in the EU to one of the safest—or so I’ve been told; I still see loads of people here driving badly, not knowing who has the right-of-way and nearly ploughing into me on my bicycle because of it, and drivers displaying “L” plates (to indicate that they’re learner drivers) driving alone even though that’s against the law—like in the U.S. they have to have a fully-licensed driver with them).
It’s actually very hard to comply with Irish laws (driving or otherwise) as no one ever knows what they are, they get changed often, and one area—like automobiles—isn’t handled by one bureaucracy (like the Department of Motor Vehicles as in the U.S.) but several different bureaucracies with offices in divergent places within the county you live in...
The idea of a David and Goliath struggle appeals to many, and many love playing the underdog, and being of the counterculture group. This mentality exists throughout groups of activists working for non-profit organizations of many kinds, particularly on the politically left, liberal side of the spectrum. This mentality is often extremely harmful to the causes and utterly counterproductive to actual efficacy when fighting for causes.
The simple fact of the matter is that Big Business is here to stay. No one is going to take down Big Business. Maybe a company here or there will fold, and most likely be bought out and never really disappear anyway, but Big Business is here to stay. And since big businesses like Nike provide millions of jobs worldwide (or has done so since its inception in 1968) and help to keep our global economy up and running, this is probably for the best. Whether it is or isn’t ideal—by whomever’s standards—is irrelevant to the fact that it’s true. And since it’s true it is what we have to deal with. We don’t have to see Big Business as the absolute enemy though, just an existing structure that requires reform. I know many people think they’d like to overthrow Big Business, and some or even many U.S. citizens think they’d like to start a social and political revolution that would perhaps violently overthrow their current governmental system. For them my advice would be to study history so you might actually have some idea of what you’re actually talking about instead of just mouthing off about thing you feel strongly about but don’t really know anything about because you haven’t actually researched it (a practice that’s been painfully common in Western society ever since the Baby Boomer generation, a generation that actually believed sticking flowers in guns would have some sort of effect on police and military force, and that sleeping around with everyone and taking copious amounts of drugs would actually somehow be a good thing for the structure and functioning of our society). If you studied modern history you’d probably change your mind about wanting total revolution or any kind of governmental overthrow (modern history is considered as being from after the Dark or Middle Ages of the 5th to 15th Centuries, after the fall of the Roman Empire, to the modern times; there’s early modern history and late modern history). If you studied modern history you’d study a great deal of colonialism and see what problems happen every time a society experiences massive social upheaval of a change of government; in brief: total chaos, civil wars, mass murders and rapes. For a very modern example, look at Somalia, which hasn’t had a functioning government in years. (Watching the film Blackhawk Down, a dramatization of a true story of a battle from the early 1990’s, would give you an idea of what happens in places with no functioning government. Spoiler alert: a local warlord controls people by starving them out, and many people—natives and U.S. citizens—die horrific, bloody deaths.) That’s just something to consider before moving forwards with any plans of political upheaval or the overthrow of existing institutions. If you still want to do it after that, then at least you won’t be completely uninformed about it.
So, working with the idea of reforming the existing structures we have, instead of fighting against big businesses, activists could approach them about diversifying into new, environmentally-friendly business ventures. For example, they could approach manufacturers of paper products about eventually switching from tree-based paper products to bamboo-based paper products.
Bamboo grows much faster than trees do and could be farmed for paper goods. Paper goods are biodegradable and these goods could include cardboard boxes, cardboard for packaging, stationary papers, printer paper, gift cards, toilet tissue, and much more. There’s a great deal of unused potential with this idea, and whichever company made the switch from tree-based paper products—which support the destruction of irreplaceable eco-systems and releases carbon into an already overtaxed atmosphere—would stand to make a great deal of money from it. And their PR campaign for it would be fantastic. Their pro-company propaganda—and anti-their competitors propaganda, all truthful propaganda in this instance—could make them look like public heroes for the environment, and therefore the security of future generations. They’d also retain a strategic advantage over other companies that might try copy their far more ethical business model by being able to—truthfully—claim they were the first to do it. Companies that become the first to do something always retain an advantage, which is why people often refer to certain types of products by the brand name of whomever made the product first. Examples of this include iPhone for Smartphone, Xerox for copy machine, and Laundromat for a public, coin-operated launderette.
Furthermore, to grow all that bamboo would involve being able to get some farming giant to look into that new business venture—or for the paper products company to go into the farming business. Since vast farming lands would be needed for this venture it could be an opportunity for a company to diversify into the growing Vertical Farming market. (The company Sky Greens is an example of this.)
Vertical farms create the opportunity to essentially stack farmland space, making farming take up far less land space by growing upwards instead of outwards. And since these vertical gardens are enclosed environments it would easier to reduce pesticide use and control contaminated water run-off from these farms...
Social activism is like a club. It gets elitist and people only want to invite certain people to join. Case in point: environmentalists have long seen their cause as a politically Leftist one which automatically dis-included the politically Rightist, as well as the religious, particularly Christians. They have long seen the Rightists and the Christians as their opposites and adversaries. Rightists and Christians often are the adversaries of environmentalists and conservationists, however, this may be in large part due to how Leftists and secularists have treated them. They have not been inclusive, they have not invited these people to join. And they have almost completely ignored the many Christian scientists who know that climate change is a fact. And in America they’ve completely ignored that the biggest conservationist president in U.S. history was Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican who loved hunting big game such as bears, horse riding, and went on safari to Africa for one year, largely with the intent to hunt lions. A truth like Teddy Roosevelt doesn’t fit in with the typical environmentalist narrative of ‘us’ versus ‘them’, even though he very famously founded our national parks system, dedicating bast swaths of land to preservation rather than development because he was a hunter, an outdoorsperson.
A much better approach—unless one plans to overthrow society as we know it and exterminate their enemy, which, besides its ethical problems, historically speaking, has never worked, ever—would be to have an inclusive attitude. To get politically Rightist people, to get hunters and fishers, to get on board with conservation just as Teddy Roosevelt the rough riding bear hunter was. To go so far as to address fans of the hit U.S. TV show Duck Dynasty to care about the environment and conservation efforts by using the (truthful) angle that if we don’t conserve wild lands then eventually there will be no duck hunting grounds or ducks to hunt. This approach hasn’t been taken because people today are far too preoccupied with trying to control and change others and their lifestyles and to mold society to how they think it should be rather than accepting and appreciating differences between human beings who are each leading the type of lifestyle that is right for them.
If we put the same amount of energy into trying to find common ground and work together towards goals based around scientific facts as we do into arguing all the bloody time we could actually get a lot done instead of constantly fighting while actually accomplishing very little—while the world burns and the end date of when we can turn all this around draws ever nearer. Atheist and Christian scientists alike look at the facts and admit that climate change and global warming are a reality. And in one documentary I watched, Years of Living Dangerously, Christians, when talked to about the issue by a Christian scientist who put God and Jesus language into everything she said about global warming, saw the reality of it. It was not hard to bring them on board on the issue once their God was put into the language instead of being left out—a common complaint of modern Christians. Most environmentalists won’t put the Christian god into the language—even to say it like, ‘Christian scientists believe this’—because they don’t want to. It goes against their little unofficial club’s rules. This means that millions of people who might help in the fight against climate change are not being utilized because of ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that may in the end prevent us all from making headway with conservation legislation for so long that we all die here on a burning planet. And Death being the one big equalizer only then will people finally see that there was no ‘us’ and ‘them’, there was only all of humanity, and we all should have worked together.
I wasn’t trying to write about social issues, or add to this blog, at this point, especially given that since I began college (in my late 20’s) I’ve come to see how hard it actually is to research and get to really know any issue or group. However, some of my recent work to simply better-educate and inform myself is very topical right now.
I wound up posting about it to friends of mine…
“As you may have noticed, I try to be fairly middle-of-the-road and pragmatic rather than partisan about social and political issues (not saying I'm inherently successful at this, I'm saying I try). Currently I'm looking into the liberal assertion that no gun owners, especially white male gun owners, have stopped any crimes in the past 10 years. So far, my research seems to be saying that that's actually a lie. If so, it would mean I can't trust the liberals to not lie anymore than I can trust the conservatives to not lie. (They've made assertions such as that Switzerland requires all citizens to have guns, which isn't true, and that Honduras banned citizens from having guns which isn't true.)
I think we're all getting caught up reacting to memes, shock articles, etc. that promote of pre-existing views but that we're not researching for ourselves to see what we're being exposed to is actually true and what isn't.
Long story short: Every Needs to Think for Themselves, and frankly not trust the interests of any group, even those they're a member of and/ or have supported for years.
Please do your own research people, be informed, and think for yourselves. (Anyone who won't frankly shouldn't be allowed to vote.) Thanks.” (Facebook post of mine.)
One Facebook friend and fellow college student (though in her 40’s, getting a second degree) responded by saying the “good guy with the gun” is an image that is shoved down our throats but very rarely ever happens. But mass shootings are an almost daily occurrence in the U.S.
“The point to me here is that if a popular meme and other things say it NEVER happens and it actually does than liberals (traditionally more my side politically) are lying to me as much as conservatives. Besides that what I'm finding so far is that actual experts on things like Criminology, gun violence, and many types of crime statistics in various countries around the world are saying stricter gun laws do very little, especially since criminals get illegal guns. What does work is making a society more of a community, bringing family...
It’s quite noticeable that as people get older they acquire a confidence in their own opinions that may or may not be warranted, not unlike the youthful self-assuredness that many teenagers experience around the age of 16 (which, incidentally, accordingly to my Astrologically-inclined mother is some Saturn or Capricorn influence that comes at that age—a sort of false old wisdom).
As an example, I rented a room from and lived with a friend who’s from the Baby Boomer generation. He was concerned about rent being late and gave me what he thought was helpful advice about job-hunting but was actually condescending and completely out of touch with the modern times. When I told him about all the e-mails I’d sent and online applications I’d done while looking for work he spoke of going into a place and talking to the manager; I said if you did that anywhere these days (or for about the past 15 years) they referred you to their paper application, or later their online application, or in-store electronic kiosk application. No one got to talk to managers anymore. He talked to me—very politely but totally ignorantly—in a way that suggested he thought I was a lazy child who didn’t really want to find a job. In truth I’d been looking for work diligently for about three or four months at that point, and I was 28 and had been working since I left home, so I really didn’t appreciate being talked to like that. There simply weren’t any jobs. And all the old recruitment agencies like Manpower had gone from general places that would give you temp work to places that would only take college-educated office professionals.
When he was in his 20’s it was the 1970’s. There were some economic strains but the economy was, by and large, strong. There were many manufacturing jobs that hadn’t been outsourced overseas yet, the dollar was stronger, rents were cheaper, cars were cheaper. People could actually work at a minimum wage job and put themselves through college...
Represent All Women, including the childless-by-choice, and our experiences.
Foster an attitude of Accepting Men, and their positive and negative experiences with women.
Promote a pro-choice/ pro-life alliance and other solutions to move away from all the pointless fighting in society.
Unite political Leftists and Rightists in a common struggle against environmental destruction.
Promote tolerance related to ethnicity, race, nationality, religious affiliation (or lack thereof), (biological) sex or gender (identity), and other differences, such as social class or physical ability or disability, and bring awareness to the validity of bisexuality, with a focus on moving society forwards, in one place.
Voice opinions from the working class--the majority and the backbone of society, who rarely get a voice.
Arguments are not sought, only discussions, and to challenge the reader to think critically and form their own opinions.
Written by an author of several books.