The young person at the heart of this –see, the linked article at the San Francisco Chronicle — represents a fascinating social phenomenon. An agender person– Eighteen-year-old Sasha Fleischman was named Luke at birth but now does not identify as male or female, goes by Sasha and prefers to be called “they” rather than “he” or “she.” Sorry, it’s too much a mental hassle for me to go to “they” (or ze as some people prefer, I’m not kidding). Sasha anyway was attacked on a bus for wearing a skirt, but generally looking male otherwise. Someone set him on fire. He’s recovering pretty well now (or ze is, if you like).
Being “agender” seems to be a philosophical choice for some, who think gender identity of any sort is societally unhelpful, or something, and others have a kind of psychological state where they just don’t identify with either. Bigender is another name for it. There’s also “non binomial”. I have no objection to the “agender lifestyle choice”. I saw someone like this in Berkeley and assumed they were making a “transcending gender” identity statement. It does seem to me to potentially sort of drain some of the fun out of life–for women who enjoy being feminine, for men who like to look at reasonably feminine women…For drag queens too. I’ve always adored a good drag queen. What’s a drag queen to do with all this going on? And are these people copping an attitude toward transsexuals? “You chose to be a female but you should’ve chosen no choice”?
Is it political correctness gone mad? Or is it a way to defuse the patriarchy or something? The latter–at best. At worst, it might be a kind of passive aggressive social engineering.
Then again I think of the gnostic Gospel of Thomas: Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the Kingdom].”
It could be there are limits to journalism, limits to transparency…It’s all over the news so I’m not adding to the publicity in any significant way–the CIA attempted to recruit (perhaps succeeded in some cases) Guantanamo inmates, so it could release them as sleeper agents implanted in al Qaeda and in the Taliban. There are aspects of the story that make these agents identifiable. To me, reporting on this is really irresponsible. *Choosing* not to make something like this public is not censorship, it’s discretion. It’s a sense of responsibility. But CNN and friends don’t care that now this is revealed, if any of these agents are out there in the field, they’re likely to be taken, tortured, and executed by Jihadists. And who knows what other American agents, American citizens, British agents, and others who might’ve been working with these agents, could be compromised and endangered?
Suppose these agents hadn’t been exposed…they might have obtained intelligence about planned terrorist attacks against the USA and its allies. It goes on and on. This story, in my opinion, should not have been made public.
And consider this: if terrorists have gotten hold of nuclear weapons or have plans to …like plans to seize the nuclear weapons built by Pakistan… these agents might’ve revealed those plans…might’ve saved an American or European city. Millions of lives could be at stake.
It’s possible that the American news media has committed a form of treason.
I part company with vegans when they insist all farm work with animals is slavery. Is it slavery when little birds peck parasites off of hippos? It’s synergy; at its best it can be a kind of cooperation. A flock of sheep, if it’s not used for meat, is protected, given a pleasant place to roam, is sheared every so often and they seem to like being sheared. It’s symbiosis, sometimes, between man and animal.
A horse can carry us, and love its work and its rider if it’s treated well and not over used. Horses are sometimes abused–as at race tracks, or endlessly pulling carts in Central Park–but other horses are often doted over and given lovely, protected lives.
As for cows …It should be possible to create a humane and yet profitable dairy. At my house we don’t eat meat (except select fish) but we do consume some dairy–yet it’s getting hard to justify. It seems that even at organic dairy farms they take away the calves from the cows right away and sell them for veal; they KILL the cows after five years because they’re not able to produce milk anymore and the dairy business can’t afford to take care of non profitable cows. But when I was a boy my aunt and her friends had small dairy businesses, and they didn’t do either thing. If the cow got old they put it out to pasture. But on a large scale that’d be hard to do, profitably. Still if you kept it small enough…I wonder if one could also have an “adopt a cow” thing going where people with some spare pasturage could take in cows past milking age…
I think it could be quite successful on a scaled down “local produce” model…
Anyway, I shall conclude by quoting CJ Cherryh: “Nature is not kind. Certain species have grown up with us, as changed from their original form as we are. If you want them not to be dependent on us even for birthing their young in some species, you are 10,000 years too late with the objection.”
Energy drinks, energy pills. Everyone wants to feel energetic. If we’re healthy we have enough energy but we waste so much we don’t know we have enough, or so it seems to me. As one gets older, it becomes a greater concern, as one feels less energetic. But I find that I’m constantly wasting energy in my body through pointless muscular tension. I’ve always been like that–so has everyone else, really. We’re just unaware of the needless tension we cultivate in ourselves so we don’t know how much energy we’re wasting. (Right, it’s sort of like energy waste and conservation in civilization, but internal, bodily). If I turn my attention toward the needless tension it gradually shuts off and I feel more energetic because I’m no longer squandering my strength. We *need* some tension, of course, or we’d flop over like The Scarecow without his propping stick. But when I observe myself, I see I’m constantly wasting energy on stress tension.
Unnecessary muscular tension, at least in me, usually arises from free floating anxiety. If a fire alarm goes off I’m going to feel a tension response in my body, when I hear the clangor, and that adrenaline release is there for a good reason–but it’s as if a fire alarm has been clanging for most of my life, and I don’t consciously hear it so I don’t realize I can switch it off. I’m unconsciously aware of it–so I get a tension response to that forgotten but incessant alarm bell.
But that emergency, whatever it was, is long over. No need for the alarm at the moment.
I was joking with someone about all the mail piled up on the table by our front door, that I like to leave it for the identity thieves, so I can be non-identified. It’s a spirituality joke, like the Zen master in the hamburger joint, “Make me one with everything.” I do work, inwardly, on non-identification a lot, but the term does lend itself to misunderstanding. Some people might think it means a detachment to such an extent that one has no feelings, one becomes a sort of emotional drone. But no. I like what a rinpoche said (Laurie Anderson was mulling this one over), “The trick is to be able to feel sadness without being sad.”
The underlying idea is that the true self feels it, but it doesn’t identify with it–only a lower, false self identifies subjectively to the point of being carried away. The real self can pick and choose *where* to let itself be carried away…and how far.
It shouldn’t matter to us what war a veteran fought in–or risked fighting in, if they served between wars. It doesn’t matter if they were in a ship, or in a base far from the action. The Iraq war was not a popular one, and for good reason, but every vet who served there should be appreciated on Veteran’s Day–and should get VA help and a good chance at a job after their service. Same goes for Vietnam vets and Korean War vets of course. Veteran’s Day is for them as much as for World War One or WWII vets. They didn’t make the policy; they were simply told, this is where you can serve your country in the military. And so they did. About 5000 service personnel lost their lives there. Some who survived were maimed; they lost limbs or had other egregious injuries; many suffer from PTSD, also an injury. Same goes for the war in Afghanistan, however you feel about it, or any other war, any type of military service. If they served, we’re grateful for their service. Coast Guardsmen, too, by the way, serve their country in uniform, often risking their lives to save others. They’re also part of the line of defense should we be at risk of invasion. . .
This way! Over here! No, over here! I’m behind this rock! Oh just come around it and see…no, no, I’m not, I swear–I’m not naked. I’m dressed. Come on, this way…yes, down this path…watch out for the bear droppings…I did tell you to watch for it…This way…slippery here….be careful! Come on, ’round here…! This way! Come along! Here, over here! I’m in plain view, behind this shrub…up this path…oh stop whining, it’s not that steep…here, let me help you up…I’ll get you a bandaid for that later…okay, this way…jump over this…I said jump OVER it! We’ll get you a towel…when we get there. Through here. Yes there’s light in here…somewhere…no, no, it’s not going to collapse, these timbers have been standing a hundred years, why would the mine collapse now? Don’t touch that! Come on, this way…up this ladder…well it didn’t break when I was climbing it…here, let me help you up…yes, you see, we’re coming out on top of the hill now! Don’t step in that hole, you…oh dear. Are you okay? Hello? Can you hear me? I’ll get a rope…I have one here in case anyone steps in that hole…come on, up the rope…I’ll get you some salve for those blisters on your hands later. That’s it! Now, this way! Through here! You see? Great, isn’t it? Oh wait, this isn’t it. I think it’s this way. No, I’m sure now. Come on…oh come on, it’s just a little farther. Follow me! Just…follow me!
A good many people make childishly grandiose assumptions about Presidents; and many seem senescently forgetful about the failings and limitations of past Presidents. It’s foolish to suppose that the President, ANY President, is aware of every spying practice going on in the vast, complex, probably paranoically bloated U.S. intelligence community, especially practices established during a previous Presidency, which intelligence services won’t mention if they don’t have to as they don’t want to give anything up. A President gets some intel reports but, naturally, not all intel reports. Right, the NSA thing; the spying on Merkel and so on…
If you’ve ever considered the sheer hugeness of the State Department and its network of embassies–and the extent of its military defense affiliations–then you will not be likely to suppose that any President knows *everything* about that network or those affiliations–or that they’re in on the thing instantly when there’s any discussion of danger to an embassy, since embassies are at constant risk in today’s world. Right, Benghazi…
A President keeps numerous plates in the air. Obama himself had to deal with many crises, like the BP spill, and so on. An administration has to triage information for the President; they have to prioritize it. And–Presidents have to delegate. They have to trust other people with the development of government websites. . .
A President works in overall patterns; mostly a President works in generalities, and *sometimes* in specific details. Grown ups know this. Many commentators who don’t seem to know it, do actually know it–but they get more time on TV and they get more ink if they pretend not to know it…
This book, DOYLE AFTER DEATH, my new novel, is available TODAY in ebook format. The publisher is HarperCollins, for their Witness imprint.
If you’re a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and want to know what happened to him after death (in fiction anyhow), why here’s the book for you.
Read a free sample at Barnes & Noble!
I know it’s now out in ebook format because I just bought it via Amazon and looked at it on this laptop. (Yes, I could’ve gotten that download free, but that would mean waiting for them to send me some special code, and I wanted to see it.) The ebook is only $2.99! (Promotional, don’t you know.) Seems nicely organized.
Available here for Kindle …and also available from Barnes and Noble for Nook, and elsewhere.
The mass market paperback appears to be coming out in about one month, in November and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon, BN.com, or just about any brick-and-mortar bookstore that carries mass market paperbacks.
I saw a video on youtube of Obama singing the Communist Internationale while alternately chanting Muslim prayers and then making the devil sign with his hands and muttering hail Satan and then exactly every 666 seconds fist bumping passing black power radicals. He stopped this process to answer the phone for a minute to say, “Yes, kill that person who was at my birth in Kenya…and be sure to finish building the concentration camps for Christians…oh, have you arranged to have the last guns siezed? Good. Now look, make sure that those useless environmental regulations are imposed on everyone! We want to destroy as many jobs as we can. Good, fine…Okay talk to you later—wait, I just remembered. The chips to be injected into Obamacare recipients…they’re ready? Did you be sure to put the sign of Satan on them, microscopically? Good, good. Hail the New World Order! Bye!” Then he hung up and went back to singing the Communist Internationale and chanting Muslim prayers. But of COURSE the liberal media removed the video. Or possibly the CIA took it down.