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The Shearing of Hair Trompf (48)

In what I think is a continuing process of preparing the American people for an even more difficult time, reporters, columnists, and the experts they quote seem to be coalescing around the idea that, now that Herr Trompf has his Attorney General (we’ll see how much Barr is “owned” by T, whose game is to own everybody), Mueller will soon issue his report.  It is also widely thought that there will be more indictments issued between now and M Day.

There is thought that Barr will protect Trompf.  But others point out that Barr is a Bush Republican, and the Bushes loathe T. I’m guessing that Barr will protect the institution of the (Imperial) Presidency, and only incidentally T. Barr and Mueller will enter into conversation, both of them being “Law and Order” Rs who like to believe that they are men of high integrity and advanced civilization.    We’ll see.

Senate Dems say they will fight for release x of the full, unedited, report. Yesterday WaPo published this “open letter” by Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, to his R colleagues—and obviously to the American people:

“This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.

“And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.

“For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.

“But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it.

“I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trum.

“The president has just declared a national emergency to subvert the will of Congress and appropriate billions of dollars for a border wall that Congress has explicitly refused to fund. Whether you support the border wall or oppose it, you should be deeply troubled by the president’s intent to obtain it through a plainly unconstitutional abuse of power.

“To my Republican colleagues: When the president attacked the independence of the Justice Department by intervening in a case in which he is implicated, you did not speak out. When he attacked the press as the enemy of the people, you again were silent. When he targeted the judiciary, labeling judges and decisions he didn’t like as illegitimate, we heard not a word. And now he comes for Congress, the first branch of government, seeking to strip it of its greatest power, that of the purse.

“Many of you have acknowledged your deep misgivings about the president in quiet conversations over the past two years. You have bemoaned his lack of decency, character and integrity. You have deplored his fundamental inability to tell the truth. But for reasons that are all too easy to comprehend, you have chosen to keep your misgivings and your rising alarm private.

“That must end. The time for silent disagreement is over. You must speak out.

“This will require courage. The president is popular among your base, which revels in his vindictive and personal attacks on members of his own party, even giants such as the late senator John McCain. Speaking up risks a primary challenge or accusations of disloyalty. But such acts of independence are the most profound demonstrations of loyalty to country.

“Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III may soon conclude his investigation and report. Depending on what is in that report and what we find in our own investigations, our nation may face an even greater challenge. While I am alarmed at what we have already seen and found of the president’s conduct and that of his campaign, I continue to reserve judgment about what consequences should flow from our eventual findings. I ask you to do the same.

“If we cannot rise to the defense of our democracy now, in the face of a plainly unconstitutional aggrandizement of presidential power, what hope can we have that we will do so with the far greater decisions that could be yet to come?

“Although these times pose unprecedented challenges, we have been through worse. The divisions during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were just as grave and far more deadly. The Depression and World War II were far more consequential. And nothing can compare to the searing experience of the Civil War.

“If Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, could be hopeful that our bonds of affection would be strained but not broken by a war that pitted brother against brother, surely America can come together once more. But as long as we must endure the present trial, history compels us to speak, and act, our conscience, Republicans and Democrats alike.”

We’ll see. 

It seems there are two categories of crimes to be addressed: (1) Abuses of the power of the office of the Presidency (e.g. conspiracy to defraud the United States of America (aka “collusion,”) and obstruction of justice; and (2) illegal activities, (e.g. money laundering and a slew of corrupt business practices). Of course they might intertwine.

[Previous page of this episode.]

Bernie’s In: Early Thoughts

This is a moment of national and global crisis, and we had better conduct our nominating process accordingly—and then vote for the Democratic candidate, whoever that turns out to be.

We have about 20 months in which to widely inform the American people of the Democratic agenda, and persuade them that it’s a great idea.  This is “all hands on deck.”

Oddly enough, Homo sapiens  has reached a point in evolution at which, because of our kind of consciousness, we know that all humans are equally human, and that our shared humanity endows each of us with respect and with certain rights, such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” that cannot be removed from our personhood, no matter what.  In the practice of governance, that means democracy, community, compassion. Fundamentally, that’s what we’re fighting for, against enemies both foreign and domestic, including a fascist Republican Party.

Already, as in 2016, we are being attacked with a sustained, social media, disinformation (smear) campaign, whose purpose is to divide, dispirit, and conquer.  We must not cooperate with the aggressors. Rather, we must take positive actions to maintain our unity of purpose, keep our spirits soaring, and win.

For the author and for moi-même (your umble narrator) at this early point, trying to decide which Dem we most want for our Presidential candidate comes down to two main considerations (granted that, if we do the work required, which we will, we’re going to put a Dem in the White House):  (1) Which Dem most represents our positions on the main issues? and (2) Does the opportunity to have our first woman President outweigh other considerations?

At this point, we agree on both:  (1) Bernie, and (2) quite possibly.  But now is the time for process, and frankly we all deserve the pleasure of some months of seeing our many good Dems present democracy and our agenda to America.

So, to explore (1):

Bernie is the only candidate who signs his communications, “In Solidarity.”  For the author, whose ass was once saved by his union, that means a lot.  (Sherrod Brown has also been a champion of Labor.  Biden too, but he’s not near the top of my list.)  For myself:  Bernie is a Democratic Socialist.  I’m a Democratic Socialist. I want a DS in the White House (instead of a DF).  Waxing metaphorical, let’s get the plastiques industry out of bottle making.

Bernie sets the bar very high, as did Hillary, on the issues, record, and character. Either he will emerge as our strongest candidate, or the person who bests him will be equally strong or stronger, and will be well tested and practiced.

In 2016, B accurately and clearly identified the list of problems facing us, and the magnitude of those problems, starting with global warming and wealth obscenity. Those problems and the solutions that he proposed have become central to the Dem Party.  (That service, by itself, should get B a welcome into the primaries.)  And here’s a take on his foreign policy vision (strengthened since 2016).

I want Bernie in the campaign, for the strength of his vision and his voice, that will help get our issues and positions out, and will take media air away from T.

But it’s not just that.  More:  B knows that class struggle against the obesely wealthy is absolutely required in order to solve our problems, including sexism and racism!  And he says so, right out there.  The entrenched financial powers must be disempowered.  Wealth must be taken from them.  

B knows and says that Big Change is absolutely required, and that political change of that magnitude X can only happen if masses of people stand up and insist on it.  I’ll have trouble supporting a candidate (i.e. I’d vote Dem, but sadly) who isn’t right there with Bernie on that.  

Repeat: change of that magnitude, by means of power of that magnitude.  

(2)  Now, it may be that putting a woman into thePresidency would, in itself, be change of that magnitude; and it may be that only masses of women can actually get Big Change done.  That might be the key to marshalling the class struggle that will be required for solving global warming and parasitical wealth.  In witch case, I want a mass-supported woman President, all the more so.

For the author et moi, as in 2016, the issue of gender is very very big (I’ll restrain myself from saying “huge”), probably the biggest of all.  It comes near to eclipsing every other planet, to the point of not being able to weigh them on the same scales.  

The author voted for Hillary (as you know, dear reader, narrators were not yet enfranchised, or I would have); we want a woman Pres.  To my mind, however B must be bested on the issues, the problems and likely solutions.  If he is, probably it will be a Progressive woman who does it.  If I think it’s a tie, my vote goes to the woman, affirmatively, because she’s a woman (incl. trans).

(3)  A Bernie Automatic Disqualification?  It’s my impression that some Dems can not support B because they believe that he caused H to lose.  I doubt that he did.  To begin with, she didn’t lose.  The people elected her President.  But not in WI, MI, PA, by approx 80,000 votes, which made it possible for the EC, that institution of the slave owning aristocracy, to give the presidency to a racist Republican catastrophe.  I’ve seen no reason to think that any of those 80,000 T voters was a B supporter.  B supporters saw very clearly who T was, and voted against him. Some B supporters (women and men) were so strongly against the Clintons that they could not bring themselves to vote for H.  In 2008 there were Dems who supported someone other than a Clinton, for that reason.  (And this isn’t about not “liking” H, its about being repulsed by Clinton Republican-lite.)  I strongly suspect that some B supporters in WI, MI, PA voted for Stein, as a vote against H as well as against T (who surely would not reach 270 EC votes).  Mistake, but not because of B.

Another? I want to offer a painful thought, and I hope I’m wrong.  A few months back, in the DKos  comments, there was one, by a woman if her name and photo can be taken as indicative, who vowed that she will never vote for a “finger waving old man.”  Okay, so he and I are old, no problem.  But “finger waving” (which he does, and I don’t find it appealing either) made me wonder, I say wonder, if there are women voters who simply can not “like” B (who opposed H, preventing us from electing H, our first woman President) because he reminds them of the entire constant weight of male-domination in their lives (everybody’s lives), and maybe, here’s where it gets tricky, of a particular dominating male in their life.  A frightened Zeus, perhaps, or even a Saturn, or a Hercules wannabe. (Here’s a similar thought about not “liking” Hillary).  If I’m simply out of my gourd about that, please say so.  (I’ll happily assume that you, dear reader, like the DKos commenter, are not a Russian, Saudi, or Israeli robot.)

The thing is, I’ve spent many decades (along with millions of Americans) combating American prejudice and discrimination (it’s been a learning process) on the basis of sex/gender, color, place of origin, religion, age, or whatever.  People are deeply deeply hurt by such ignorance and malice.  They might have to protect themselves by lashing out or at least turning their backs.  But I can’t feel okay about a categorical, stereotyping attack on any person among our candidates (or the RP’s).

I simply do not have time left for that.  And yes this is an impatience that comes with old age.  Just think how much of it B is feeling at this point in his life.  (And it is a feeling, as well as an emotion—giving it at least twice the productive potential.)

Other than that, I plan to enjoy the process of seeing which woman candidate most takes my preference, and/or the author’s (I suspect we’ll have some discussion over this), away from Bernie.  And I’ll enjoy watching the Rs squirm and Herr Trompf blow his gasket.

Dreams: House, Trees, Dogs, Fish

(1)  Variation on the recurrent image of ruined or unfinished house that I own and must restore or repair:  I was in the living room of my house, with a sense of my family there.  The style of this house was “modern” or “contemporary,” spacious and open, with predominantly earth tones.  This house was essentially finished, but there were some small remodeling touches that I could do, to make it even more enjoyable.  I had hired a designer-builder, who was there talking to us about those changes.  Very relaxed, comfortable.

(2) This dream did not involve the restore-repair motif; but it involved trees, and there are generally trees in the yards of my houses.  Often in those dreams, the view of the house is mainly from the outside, and often the trees are big and old (sometimes very big and very old). This dream started inside the house, again with a sense of my family present.  But I went in and out of the house, because I was planting a tree in the side yard.  On that side I could see the neighbors’ house and yard, and their daughter and son were playing close to my house.  The daughter was maybe 12 and her brother 8.  They were singing and laughing.  I could hear them from inside my house, but when I looked out the window I found that an angle in the house design prevented me from seeing them.  I went outside again, not seeing them but finding that my tree had grown wonderfully.  It was a flowering species, budding with the early spring, and was now about 15 feet tall.  As I walked around the house and into the back yard I discovered a new tree there too, which seemingly sprang up as I rounded the corner. It was a birch, with white bark and reddening branches.  Both trees were quite fresh and beautiful.  The neighbors’ dog saw me and wanted to join me, but it was tied to their back porch.  But my own dog came and joined me for a walk in the grass. (I believe the dog is my major totemic animal. An image appearance, for instance, in the poem “Large and Floppy,” on this page.)

Now, you might ask, what does this page have to do with the plot line or the current national emergency? I’m the narrator, so I should know. I’ll give it some thought.

Update 2-18:  Fish?  Okay then, for readers who tend to the pessimistic, or perhaps realistic, as well as the relevant, here’s one from early this morning:  Like when I was a kid, I was in a row boat on a lake, fishing, with (vaguely) my father.  We were just dropping our lines in for the first time (here it’s not like then, because then we used cane poles, but in the dream I held the line in my hands and just dropped the baited hook over the side).  I immediately felt a couple of “bumps,” which of course was promising.  It seemed that the deeper I fished, the more likely I was to find the big fish, so I let the line go on down, almost to the bottom.  Sure enough, I immediately felt a tug and knew that a large fish had taken the hook.  I pulled in up.  When its head hung just above the surface, just below my hands, seeming to stare right into my eyes, we saw that it was very big, several times the diameter on my arm, and probably very long.  Its mouth was wide open, having “swallowed the hook,” with my line, which was an old-fashioned clothes line (before plastic), extending deep into it. Its teeth were very big and sharp. 

It looked like it might turn out to be a small alligator, or a big eel.  Clearly it was dangerous.

While I held it dangling there, we talked about whether to try to bring it into the boat.  I could imagine how I would do that, lifting it as I stood up, and swinging it into the bottom of the boat.  But (1) it would be dangerous when it got there, and (2) very possibly I would lose my balance and fall into the lake. We decided that having that “fish” to take home was not worth the risk.  So I let go of the line, and let the fish slide back into the water. My last thoughts were that probably it would die, having that hook and rope in it, and that there were things in the water (small fish, bacteria) that would be happy to eat its moldering flesh. [By sheer good luck, found this in my email immediately after writing that last sentence and posting. Maybe this dream is optimistic, realistic, and relevant, after all.]

[Contents page to episode, “Dreams.”]

Revenge of the Archetypes: Woman

—This page is dedicated to the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, “mother of five and grandmother of nine,” Speaker of the U S House of Representatives, and to all women elected to public office in 2018

But this page has some painful content, as well as some triumphant and hopeful.

(1) The Idea:  Not only do we (espec men) “objectify” women, imagining that a person is just one more thing, to be used for its owner’s satisfaction (compare slavery), we (near all of us)  “psychologize” women as Woman, imagining that individual female persons are images—i.e. imaginary, psychological imaginative conceptions that express, and carry the power of our deepest emotional fantasies of pleasure and pain (compare slavery).

As we conceive our images, and then literalize them (i.e. imagine they are literal realities, actually physical, autonomous objects, not images), we depersonalize and dehumanize real individual humans, as if they are robots and/or moving pictures on a screen in front of our eyes.  In this way, with regard to women, we (mostly men but also some women, such as Sarah Sanders and Melania Trump) Trompf ourselves into thinking that we have nothing to fear, we are in control, in this “best of all possible worlds,” which is the imaginary universe of our sick imagination.  When Trompf, with women as with his wall, thinks his image of Woman is the fact of a woman (any woman, every woman), he gets grabbed and owned by his image.  When the image is an archetypal pattern of imagination, and he abuses it in his emotional life, that is, he is incapable of reflectively imagining it, as image, thereby informing himself with an analyzable complex of feelings, it’s going to shake him every witch way.

(2) To explore the things and images of this physical and fantastically constructed world, and the extent to which, in this part of our culture, it is well nigh impossible for a man to have a thought of a woman who is just an individual human person-thing (as men think men are), not an object become image become object, I’ll offer some amplification:      

Let’s begin with the beginning, the Way, the Source:

Something, evolved from chaos, existed before heaven and earth. It is without sound or substance, is independent and immutable, all-pervading without undermining anything.  Think of it as the mother of the universe.

I do not know its name but call it Tao.  Forced to describe it I would call it Great. The Great flows  constantly and is therefore far-reaching, which means that it returns to its source. [(my bold)]

The Great Mother.  Rainfall, valleys, streams, vast green forests flowing with creatures.  Mother Earth.  The triune: Mother Eve, Mother Demeter, Mother Mary.  All under assault by powerful males:  gods, high priests, popes.

Helpmate. Homemaker.  Handmaid (and see the video in this article). Ho.

A vessel, bowl, cup, chalice  (or the blade [**] that slices Beauty into either Heavenly Aphrodite or Aphrodite Voluptatis).  War-wise Athena.  Wonder Woman.  Man-freezing Medusa. That b/witch.  And so many more. 

At this point in my exploration of the pattern of imagination imaged by Woman, i.e., woman as an imaginal figure, I would list words from the Trompfian American vocabulary of male dominance fantasy, the supposed “locker room talk,” the p-, c-, and b- words, and more.  Locker up!  For the full force of the sick imagination in action we would speak those words aloud (and they are just words, as I was thinking about the N-word, back on Aug 28, 2015); it’s the sick, unreflective emotive imagination, gone social, plus desire to dominate and control, that fuels them into perversions of the stereotypic imaginal; but I’ve made that point once and we don’t need the pain of making it again.

Then images from the male cult fantasies: that imperative of enacting The Virgin and/or The Great Whore.  All that binary blaming of the victim, like blaming Persephone for being raped by her uncle and made Queen of the Underworld (at age what? 9? 12?).  Then Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and the stone throwers.

And now, there it is again, that film footage of the righteous mob of men in Afghanistan, stoning to death the woman standing in a shallow pit.  Their religion of dry, barren, mountain deserts. Honor killings.  “Lock her up!”

Rather a young woman smiling freely as willow leaves flashing in the sunlit breeze.  Or water lilies, bathers, standing with their feet firmly in the muck, arms spread across the water, faces glowing. But then there’s Pan peeking through the bushes at the nymphs.  Like Ephialtes, a nightmare.  Rape as a weapon, in war and not.  Pleasure women.  19 virgins waiting at the door of Paradise

The accused, foolish, weak, and traitorous mother of a naïve prince, and Ophelia wading into the fast flowing stream.  Virginia Woolf.  No room for a female genius.

Job’s long-suffering wife.  A wife wraps herself in cellophane—or was it shrink-wrap, to greet her husband, come home at last from the office.  Penelope.  Judith with her sharp knife in the night. Kali.  Salome.  Tiny dancer.

Damsel in Distress! Calling Knight in Shining Armor/Amour!  For my generation of boys and girls there was Disney’s Snow White and the Wicked Queen, heartless stepmother calling for a heart as proof of death.  Sleeping Beauty.  Wendy and Tinker Bell.  Then she’s Goodwitch or she’s Badwitch.

Menstrual blood. Then blood of birthing. Bloody noses.  Knife and razor blade slashes.  Gun shot wounds.  Bomb blasts.

This page could go on for ages.  Which pretty much makes my point.  Dear reader, please add your ownpersons, things, images, plots.

I’ve forgotten a lot of things that once would have come more readily to mind. But I can’t think of much that is more horrendous than what some men, because they were men/Man, have done to women because they were women/Woman (maybe the indiscriminant violence of nuclear warfare—a guy thing?).   

Then there are things that I know of, but simply don’t want on a page in this novel.

It’s not hard to see how dreadfully wrong our culture is.  How sick.  Ah, the psychopathologies of American democracy.

(3) To fantasize just a bit, myself:  What if Persephone, seeing her uncle come raging, had told him to go fuck himself, and screamed so loud that the village came running to protect her?  Well, gods are much more powerful than villages; but at least that would have made a different archetype.  Archetypes do evolve, even images of the gods and their complexes.  Maybe we are beginning to modify this one.  (In Larks! for instance, winter isn’t a grief-stricken Mother, wandering from village to village, sharing her wisdom and being cared for by the local mothers and elderly women, until her husband can’t take it any longer and shouts, “Will you stifle that?!  Alright already, I’ll make a deal with my brother. I’ll get the kid back.”)

(4) So finally, about Herr Trompf: check his fantasy image of women at the unwalled border, bound with duct tape and smuggled into sex slavery by coyotes (I mean seriously, here’s some good reporting about it).  Project much?

Are Americans no longer able to perceive how remarkably sick he is?  Ah, for the good old days of “PC,” the progressive civility that cowed the sexists and racists into keeping their filth to themselves.

Well, we’ve made a good start of enacting payback with our women candidates and voters, with their insistent diversity of person.

What is the archetypal pattern and image for that?

[ * Sohaku Ogata, “A Zen Interpretation of The Tao Tê Ching,” 25, by Lao Tsu, in Ogata, Zen for the West (Dial Press, 1959).  Another trans:  Something mysteriously formed, / Bornbefore heaven and earth. / In the silence and the void, / Standing alone and unchanging, ever present and unchanging, / Ever present and in motion. / Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things. / I do not know its name. / Call it Tao. / For lack of a better word I call it great. trans Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English (Vintage 1972).

**Don’t miss Riane Eisler, The Chalice & the Blade:  Our History, Our Future (1987).]  

The Shearing of Hair Trompf (47)

1-25-19  Mueller will out.  But in the meantime, Dems are taking Malcolm’s advice to tell it like it is.  Speaker Pelosi remarks, in all seriousness, that Putin must have something, “political, personal, or financial” on Trompf. 

Dem pres candidates are beginning what will be a tsunami of flooding the airwaves with the truth about T and his Rs, and with big ideas for making the country livable again (inclu Make America Green Again—being from the Midwest, I have grown to hate seed caps, but I would wear a green one with “MAGA” on it).

Sarah Kendzior, testifying on MSNBC, must be excerpted at length:  

Of course Trump is susceptible to blackmail! That’s why he’s surrounded himself with a lawyer goon squad for 40 years.

The company Trump has kept includes the American mafia, the Russian mafia, arms traders, pedophiles, money launderers, other white collar criminals…

Honestly, the idea of Trump having consensual sex is kind of a novelty, given that he’s been accused of sexual assault or rape by over sixteen people.

2-11 Portrait of Stone/Corsi/Trump, and import of Stone/Corsi to investigation, by Toobin (Nyer) and Jurecic (Atlan). 2-15 At the heart of the Mueller investigation into “collusion,” it’s now known that Manafort met with Kilimnik in 2016 prob on topics of Russia helping T campaign (M prob gave K significant polling data) and T would back R on Ukraine. In addition a judge has found that Manafort lied to Mueller, violating plea deal. In particular, the court found that Manafort lied about his contacts with Kilimnik both during and after the election. Manafort was also found to have lied about “a payment that was routed through a pro-Trump political action committee to cover his legal bills, and about information relevant to another undisclosed investigation underway at the Justice Department.”  Rubin (WaPo). T has downsized the efforts to thwart Rus interference in 2020 election. Hayden (DKos). House Dems will erase T redline by investigating T’s finances, e.g. taxes, and banking (Rubin) (Ignatius).

2-16 “In documents submitted to the U.S. district court, the special counsel’s office detailed some of the evidence against Roger Stone, acknowledging for the first time they possess direct communications between Stone and Russian operatives known collectively as Guccifer 2.0, as well as WikiLeaks.” (Peck, ThnkProg ).

2-17 Marshall (TPM ): Judge Jackson’s argument, reasoning is notable. The false claims were not cases where Manafort forget something, or couldn’t remember or misremembered something. They weren’t even cases where he simply denied something. In most cases he made a concerted effort to create an alternative factual narrative which was not consistent with the evidence. Often he concocted multiple ones. As Jackson noted, this pattern (creating an alternative and detailed factual narratives) is almost certainly evidence of intentional deception rather than poor memory or confusion. As she puts it on page 10: “My concern isn’t with non-answers or simply denials, but times he affirmatively advanced a detailed alternative story that was inconsistent with the facts.”

2-20 A review by Sumner (DKos) of where the investigation stands now (incl poss indictments soon).

[Previous page of this episode. Next page.]

Dream: Trying It On

or Sartor Resartus

You know how you can do something so much that you dream about it?  Like Frost picking apples; or you work like hell on a second language, and that night, voilà!  I’ve been thinking a lot about sex and gender, in America in general and in Larks!  Et voilà:

Just before I woke up, about an hour ago—I took time to make coffee—at the end of a good sleep, I (it was me), went into a department store to buy some clothes.  I went to the Women’s Clothing section and started looking.  A young woman clerk came over to help me search, very pleasantly.  Another clerk, on the periphery, was also quite pleasant. Good job.  I felt very comfortable shopping.

I found a working-day casual three-piece, of skirt, blouse, and waist-length jacket, very nice, and the clerk took me over to the “dressing room” (of course there weren’t quotation marks in the dream).  Actually it wasn’t the usual kind of area, it was a regular display/sales subsection of the store that wasn’t currently open, and was in fact unlighted.  She left me to “try it on.”  She turned on the lights while closing the door behind her. As I was beginning to “change,” a boy came in, 11 or 12 years old.  He sat on a stool and we talked while I continued.  His father came in and joined our conversation, which was pleasant and interesting.  I wish I could remember what we talked about.  Nope.  I finished dressing and was looking in the mirror, trying to decide whether I liked the outfit well enough to buy it, when the clerk came back, to see how I was doing.  She helped me consider it.

I was ambivalent about it.  The cut of the outfit was good, and the style was attractive, although a bit passé and probably a bit young for me.  The color was nice enough, an easy beige, but I thought that I could get something in a color that I liked even more—frankly something more colorful and vibrant.  Also, the “fit” of this particular article wasn’t quite comfortable; it was slightly tight, making me appear awkward.  No doubt it came in larger sizes.  But all in all this piece did not seem to be “me.”

Still, I had not entirely “made up” (oh my, Ellison: “we must make up our faces and make up our minds”) my mind about it when I woke up and realized what a wonderful dream I had just been dreaming.

Throughout the dream, we were all clearly aware, but it was not a big deal (so to speak), that I was anatomically male, and that I typically dressed in a male style. This shopping excursion was, for all of us, exploratory of what sex (although not sexuality) and especially gender are about, exploratory as my recent thinking and narrating has been. I was puzzled, puzzling my way through (the others were just happily going about their lives, going with the flow).

Now here’s something, it seems to me, given this particular dream content, in the light of my recent reading of Damasio [*].  Conventionally, I could ask about the emotional tone of the dream.  But it seems to me that this dream had both an “emotional tone” and a “feeling tone.”  They were concordant:  pleasantly inquisitive, in the company of some  “helpful souls.”  Damasio proposes that we have “emotions,” which are physical states (e.g. chemical, muscular), and, arising from those but distinct, as we proceed through consciousness and extended consciousness, we have “feelings” (sort of more brainy-electrical, as I understand it—if barely) which are reflective responses to our emotions.  Obviously we need those in order to live more intelligently and healthfully in the world as the world has become for us, as what we have collectively imagined it into being for us, perhaps.  I’m thinking (bouncing off Coleridge) that our imagination includes both emotions and feelings, as well as sensations, analytical reasoning, and unconscious intuitive processing.  A healthy imagination requires all of those, in order to function realistically and thereby healthfully.  In our culture, in many ways we try to short-circuit them.  And we have short circuited individuals, some of whom achieve positions of extraordinary power in the various hierarchies. Gender is a short circuit.

[ * The Feeling of What Happens:  Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness(1999).]

Stacey Abrams

Welcome to the Revolution.  The Resistance is behind us and democracy won.  Now we must press our advantage, to win the revolutionary struggle.  Things will get harder.  Wealth, ownership of the robotic means of production, climate.

A very important part of the revolution is visual, and it will be televised.  Just look at the State of the Union:  orange (“copperhead”) Trompf, Republican legislators in block male racialism,  Democratic women legislators, including the Speaker of the House, high fiving and clapbacking in liberation white, and Stacey Abrams (in a red dress, btw). The most important Statement about the state of the Union that Abrams and the Democratic Party made was: she standing there, being her black woman self.  Surely that declaration was heard by everyone who was looking, everywhere in America and everywhere else.

And the Abrams Response was excellent.

(“Copperhead” was the term for northerners who supported the Confederacy.)

I want to repeat: As opposed to those dark psychopathologies of our democracy, especially sexism, racism, and aristocracy, the selection, by the leadership of the Democratic Party, of Abrams to give this response to the R pr*sident, was a revolutionary action.  It sealed our recent gains in the extension of liberal democracy.  Within the D Party itself, it moved the “overton window” to the left. There is no going back.

What a magnificent contribution to the plot.