Most of us can quickly and easily reflect on and recall the various different physical or mental traits (good or bad) or anomalies that we’ve genetically inherited. Primarily because 1, they stick out, i.e. they aren’t “the norm” for our background, race, age, species, and yet there they are… flat feet, asthma, back problems or weak discs, being great at sports or music, poor eyesight, high blood pressure, etc etc.
We recognized for thousand of years there was some kind of mysterious magical system at play beneath the surface that predisposed people to these things if someone in their family was also predisposed to it or possessed it, long before we even knew about genes… So, we knew there’s “something” going on.. long before we discovered the genetic code.
We also made inbreeding within the same family against the law pretty early on in our evolution simply because we noticed the results of it often had a “bad” outcome, physical deformities or mental disabilities, etc. Again recognizing that there was something going on beneath the surface that we just hadn’t yet discovered.
We’ve been breeding dogs to our preference for a hundred years, knowing that if we did X to Y we’d end up with an XY eventually, again knowing there was something powerful and mysterious going on that we could harness beneath the surface… and again we didn’t know what it was, had no physical proof we could point to.
But alas now we do. I remember when we / they first cracked the human genome… how historic it seemed. Not that long ago. And now we’ve got tens of thousand of companies both private and public working 24/7 on very specific tasks and ventures, dreams and goals, in order to invent and create and discreate a literally infinite variety of different genetic potentialities in humans, animals, insects, fruits and vegetables.
It’s become as common as any other scientific field, maybe the most expansive scientific field of them all. Because the proof is right there, both on the screen (under the microscope projected onto the computer imaging monitor) AND in the physical manifestation of whatever actions we take in the microscopic genetic world, i.e. the result of our tinkering.
I personally started becoming interested in and then an obsessed student and knowledge hoarder in genetics because it very quickly overtook several other sciences I was already well versed in like civilization history, anthropology, archeology, etc. Before the discovery of genetics, they all suffered from the lack of proof problem, always theoretical. Post genetics, we can easily proof them out. No more need of the theoretical.
One of the most profound aspects of our discovering genetics is it’s reliability factor. Anyone who’s taken a genetic test and seen the results of it is aware of this. And of just how transformative the whole field has become in how we view the world and our species. Now we refer to ourselves in terms of which “generic tribe(s)” someone is of/from — because we knew everybody, every human on earth, at some point stated off being part of some “tribe”, and we’ve used that term for thousands of years.
But as we migrated around the earth for longer and longer periods of time, inter-breeding with people from other tribes, it became more challenging to determine just who someone was or where they fit in. We started using terms like nationality or race or country of birth or religion to categorize ourselves.
But none of those labels made any sense, because they were too surface and didn’t capture who a person really was. Now of course we can just take a test and see exactly which genetic tribe or genotype someone is originally of/from. And it’s usually a healthy dose of several. Those terms now supersede the old terms we used to use like nationality or even race. Being able to pinpoint exactly where and when on the planet a person’s lineage began…. It’s a mind blowing transformation of how we view and understand ourselves and the world.
Of course what fascinates us is the fact that despite how concrete genetics seem to be, there are often certain anomalies where a person doesn’t manifest or exhibit the exact result we predict based on their genetics, certain traits or diseases or skills or tendencies that “should” show up or be there but aren’t. And it boggles the mind still of our best and brightest. The old question returned “how is this possible?” How can X and X not predictably result in XX if everything we know about the genetic code is concrete and true? and once again we are thrown back into the world of having to use language like “prone to” “potential for” “tendency to” instead of “most definitely will”.
Is there just more to the science that we haven’t yet discovered? Or is there something more transpiring that transcends the science? Something like Consciousness…? The smart money would say it’s a little bit of both. Just how much can consciousness affect genetics and genetic outcomes…? That’s the question. Can consciousness completely supersede and unravel reliable predictable genetic outcomes? Can consciousness completely transcend something so seemingly concrete and solid like genetics?
Let me just pull out the rabbit and show it to you without all the drama and theatrics. We currently label the study of consciousness Ontology. It’s a field of study one can major in and become an “expert” in if they want to, though at present it’s as mysterious and theoretical as philosophy or psychology, filled with “maybes” and “what ifs” and “potential to”…. It’s fuzzy math at best. Without the reliability or predictability of math. It’s almost as damn near theoretical as the field we loosely label “Metaphysics”, which at best could be described as “the study of ideas and theories with no scientific foundation”. Harsh, but at present a realistic summation.
In a very short period of time though, in our lifetime, the study of consciousness will be moved to the field of particle physics. Because that’s where it actually belongs. Once we begin to see and study and explore consciousness through the lens of particle physics, we will break open the mysteries of it and the theoretical nature of it will start to fall away and lead us into more predictable and reliable outcomes that can be tested and proved.
When combined with various tests and studies in other areas of particle physics and in genetics…. Well, that’s going to be the golden ticket. That new field that gets created will be as powerful and profound as the discovery of genetics itself has been
This caught my eye… it’s a fascinating exploration. But I wasn’t sure I had anything valuable to add, until I read what Sir Richard Knight said when he mentioned creativity in the context of the role edges and bridges of consciousness may have.
Despite how esoteric and ivory tower the subject matter may seem from the outside, it is something Princess Little Tree and I discuss quite a bit in our day to day lives, because it’s such a major aspect of our family’s shared life together.m; creativity that is.
I (tend to) write between 5-10 songs a week on average, sometimes 2-3 a day, On occasion, once or twice a year, it’ll be 0 songs for a few weeks because I’ll deliberately relay to Higher Self/Awareness/Source/The Force that I’m taking a much needed break from songwriting… “No songs for a while please,” I’ll announce loudly into the air to no one in particular, “I am taking a few days off.”
Most people don’t realize how completely immersive, pervasive and all encompassing songwriting is in a persons life if that’s their job or profession or their primary passion and raison d’être. If we were attempt to express it in a way that’s remotely relatable to the average person, imagine you have “a job” that never had a start date — you’ve been doing that same job since you can remember, you work at that job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at all hours of the day or night all year round no matter what may be happening in your personal life. There are no paid vacation days, no time off for the holidays, no impending end to the job or retirement to look forward to in the future.
You were born a songwriter, started doing it since you can remember, and your soul’s purpose in this life incarnation is to write, create, record and release out into the world as many songs as is humanly possible without burning out or killing yourself from overwork stress or exhaustion in the process. In addition every one of the songs you write, no matter how many you write, are supposed to be brilliant works of undeniable genius, and at the same time big hits, ridiculously well known and popular, even though these two things rarely mean the same thing. No pressure at all.
I’ll admit it’s one of those things that even after 30 years still boggles the mind, witnessing it transpire all the time, living inside of that, having no idea how it it works, or where it comes from, contemplating it….
“Write songs” is a loose term here, since “I” dont actually “do” much. More of a passenger.
But just the other day when discussing it, right after we had observed a new song come out of nowhere and get completed within an hour or so — the event is akin to being on the road just driving along in your car and then BAM out of nowhere you see a giant tornado which picks you and your whole car up whether you want it to or not, lifts you miles up into the air and spins you around for an hour or two and then drops you back down on the road and you’re once again driving along as if nothing happened, except NOW there’s this new song in the world…
After one such event the other day one of us made a comment that they had decided the mechanics of this mysterious supernatural-seeming process we witness all the time came from living, being, existing 24/7 in this dreamy alternative state, or at least leaving a wormhole open to it at all times, where you’re living totally completely on the razors edge EDGE of (this) “reality” all the time.
Personally speaking Im not sure I ever “jump” as Richard referred to in his comment. That is an “action” that implies too much deliberateness… It is much more like suddenly falling than jumping…. Falling off the edge of THIS reality into an infinitely vast alternative universe outside of this one… One minute you’re “here/now” and then suddenly you disappear, you’re not you, you’re not here, you’re not now, you’re not what we would call conscious… you’re off in some other world just free-falling and flowing along with this new song that’s appeared out of nowhere. It is NOT a state of UNawareness. It’s just unawareness of this world.
I actually sought out and actively used the Avatar tools specifically to get more deliberate control of being that way and try to hone it in a bit, because it doesn’t lend itself to a healthy stable or secure life. Especially if you’re so far out there all the time that you’re not even aware that you’re so far out there… which I wasn’t; until i took Avatar. Learning about Attention and Will and Living Deliberately from the Avatar Courses saved my life. No way I would have made it this long in this life form, living like that — so casually care-freely unaware of reality.
Eventually I found a healthy balance. Between living completely on the edge or way off and past the edges, and being able to deliberately use my Will to focus my Attention to come back to “regular people reality” when i decide i want or need to. Which i think is really important if you want to stay alive in this physical form, and also be a good spouse, parent, child, friend, etc to others.
The bridges… need to contemplate more… I’m assuming based on reading other comments here and feeling into them is that the bridges get created from our deliberately deciding to use our Will, focus our attention, get deliberate and be Source. Suddenly a bridge appears. Or more accurately we create a bridge.
So yes, you’ve checked out 100% as far as others are concerned who are still in the here-now watching you, wondering if you’re ever coming back… But, and this is a BIG but, one need bear in mind none of this is too deliberate; I’ve been this way since I can remember, and until I discovered the Avatar Courses it was a very scary unsafe dangerous way of living…. I actually sought out and actively used the Avatar tools specifically to get more deliberate control of being that way, because it doesn’t lend itself to a healthy stable or secure life. Especially if you’re so far out there all the time that you’re not even aware you are that way… which I wasn’t.
Learning about Attention, the Will and Living Deliberately from the Avatar Courses saved my life in my opinion. No way I would have made it this long in this life form, living like that — so casually carefreely unaware of reality. Eventually I found a healthy balance. I can deliberately focus my attention now to come back to “regular people reality” when i decide i want or need to. Which i think is important if you want to stay alive in physical form.
My biggest fear for many years was that learning to do anything deliberately would compromise the random chaotic flow of our creativity and impede my ability to continue to be a prolific songwriter. But it didn’t. If anything it helped it, because I was suddenly able to more deliberately control the process… a little. I was still, am still, a willing victim of the sudden appearance of songs in my head. And no matter what time day or night they come or where I am at the time, I am immediately a slave to them in that moment. I never say no to one. I do not put off starting one or completing it once they appear. That becomes my immediate and sole priority. Learning to use my attention and will actually helps me move through the process faster and with more deliberateness.
Bouncing back and forth between not being present and not paying attention at all, essential for writing a song, to leaping back into the mind, getting present and paying attention, essential for finishing a song.
Dearest Avatar friends, This morning, while participating in this “morning prayer group” thing on Zoom that started about 2 years ago with the onset of Covid and just kept growing and growing, I kept having this recurring thought: “what if we as Avatars approached our day to day lives with the same amount of commitment to participating as this morning prayer group does…? Imagine the possibilities…!”
I started to feel excitement inside.
Let me say for the record, since we all know each other from various Avatar Courses and that’s our particular connection point, that I’m not what one would call religious in any way, which admittedly does create a rather peculiar and surreal, if not downright controversial experience for everyone in this prayer group at times whenever we end up in more social conversations.
Everyone else who participates IS religious, grew up religious, believes or at least “has faith” in all the various tenets of some “religion”, and they take it very seriously. It’s serious reality to them. Whereas with me, I sincerely don’t get how anyone could say they think any of the ideas propagated by the thousands of manmade religions throughout human history hold any truth at all with a straight face. It all seems downright farcical to me, as I’m sure it does to anyone who has even the slightest knowledge of history and how these different religions originated.
But that comes with two caveats: one, I do and frankly always have had an intuitive feel and sense of something larger than us that seems to exist in our universe… a larger more all encompassing presence or consciousness that everyone can tap into, feel and connect with. The Tao if you will. A divine presence. Source. The Force. The Divine. Some kind of permanent pervasive energy that exists both outside of us and yet within us all at the same time. So I’m always interested in exploring that. Going deeper into it. To see what transpires….
Two, prayer in and of itself most likely didn’t start off as a religious practice in our slow and steady evolution as a species… even though it’s been co-opted by the major religions now, and commingled with ideologies like “worship” etc., In reality prayer is just another word for and form of focused attention on one particular thing, idea, thought or no-thought, with a variety of different goals… freeing or clearing the mind in order to transcend consciousness and experience pure awareness for a moment or two; or to connect with some kind of higher power within consciousness or pure awareness; or to seek comfort and serenity in times of trauma worry or stress; or to harness enough free attention particles in order to deliberately create something preferred for ourselves or someone else or the world or the environment around us….
As Avatars we understand perhaps better than anyone else the power of deliberately focused attention to create shift and transform reality. So the idea of prayer as a practice fascinates me. Regardless of religion, I dont see or feel any harm in prayer. Opposite. I see it as a noble goal, an intriguing ontological experiment from a scientific perspective… rather than a religious practice. The idea of committing to this experiment on a daily basis, again similar to meditation or even using the Avatar tools, is intriguing. A fascinating way to explore its possibilities and see what might transpire.
So…. This morning prayer group I speak of literally started out as a kind of survival or connection practice due to those sudden Covid lockdowns and the fear and unknowns associated with all of us suddenly faced with a mysterious global pandemic we knew nothing about. The future became very realistically uncertain for all of us in every corner of the world. A 5-10 minute gathering to “pray” with others, whether we even knew them or not, seemed an appropriate and beneficial idea.
The entire experience, done online over some kind of multi-person video service like Zoom or Skype etc. only lasts about ten minutes. That’s it. But every day Monday to Friday like clockwork. And not only has it not stopped after almost two years now, the attendance keeps growing. People from all over the US, many in different time zones. Everyone finds a way to show up for it. No matter where they are in the world or what “time” it is.
Consistency is the key to it I’ve noticed. No matter what happens to be “happening” in everybody’s day to day lives, or in the world at that particular moment, everyone finds a way to log into this thing. They might be out jogging, or at a parent’s house who just passed away, or in the car or on the subway, or just getting out of the shower (seriously), or still locked down in their home, by themselves or with a few family members….
But there they are, logged into Zoom, prepared to pray or meditate or at least listen for ten minutes; and then on with their day.
It’s been very educational for me, from a consciousness and cultural exploration perspective. It’s a fascinating little societal anomaly, this odd comittment people have to attend. But why?
As a longtime Avatar, we’ve tried a variety of different things through the years to try to encourage or grow “community” among all the Avatars all over the world, to increase connection, add consistency and (most excitingly perhaps) explore the possibilities of gathering the consciousness of many Avatars together at the exact same time to focus their attention on any one thing in order to create something(s).
Though at the same time, the tools themselves encourage a life deliberately lived, dependent on no one but one’s self. And that’s one of the most important and powerful aspects of awakening to the knowledge in the Avatar materials — suddenly not needing something or someone outside of one’s self in order to feel better or self improve or become more successful or happier or become enlightened or transcend….
For me there was enormous power in discovering this inherent ability we all possessed as a species but just never knew about because at some point we stopped passing it on to ourselves and generations that came afterwards. It was very freeing, liberating, empowering. Awakening to the reality that it was we who possessed all the answers and power to change shift transform create and discreate our individual and shared realities. Mind blowing really. As each of you already know.
But what about the power of community, connection with others, the potential for bigger reality shifts through working together, through harnessing the power of many working together toward one reality…?
In NYC we had a long-running Avatar Wizards group that met once a month. Going back about 15 years now. It went on for years. Because of its consistency and reliability, it really did foster a sense of community and for a few years got 25-40 people together from a rather large geographical area every month without fail. I can now say, looking back having had the experience, that it was an empowering experience, as well as a heart warming and comforting human connection and community experience as well.
My interest in sharing this with you all is in what could be achieved, in consciousness, and in each person’s day to day lives, and in the broader world that we live in and share with billions of others, if we as Avatars made that same kind of commitment to “regular practice”, just as this strange little morning prayer group i referenced earlier does..? Not a daily thing. But perhaps weekly, or monthly…
Consistency and reliability seem to be key. Those factors, consistency and reliability, come from commitment and dedication. Commitment and dedication come from a shared belief in the overarching mission or goal or perceived value or benefit, by at least one or two or more people.
I definitely feel a deep sense of perceived value and benefit from the regular practice of using the avatar tools; even just from regular reminders of the knowledge base that comes from re-reading and studying the materials.
So next up would be some kind of commitment to do or practice “something”. The kind of commitment that leads to the creation of something consistent and reliable for self and others. For whatever reason, it almost doesn’t seem to matter WHAT “it” is, if it is reliably consistent, people will tune in or participate in it. THAT is a mind blowing realization.
If a small group started that practice, freely permitted other like-minded folks to participate whenever they wanted to and invited others to do the same, the materials being studied more, the knowledge and insights being explored and digested more, the practice and using of the tools happening more, and more consistently…. imagine the possibilities.
Now that’s a noble goal. A potentiality that absolutely intrigues and fascinates me. Just we in this tiny little group live in 6 different countries. That is so random and yet cool. Based on the time zones, we as a group basically encircle the entire globe.
I propose that when each of us get a chance to contemplate it, let’s share what day(s) and time(s) we think might work best for us to do something…. Weekends keep popping up for me, that might “work best”…. But then I keep remembering that those morning prayer group Zooms take place at 8am on weekdays, which seems crazy considering most people have 9-5 jobs on weekdays. It goes to show that when the perceived benefit is strong enough, no normally idealized limitation of the “real world” will hold people back from committing to and doing something.
We already know that attention out, on making the world a better place, is a little known secret path to self improvement and making our own lives a better place. We also know the opposite is true: attention on self, a deliberate unselfish commitment to being the best we can be as individuals is a little known secret path to making the outside world a better place.
What if we did both? Simultaneously. Not limited to one in any moment in the typical binary fashion of going from one extreme to the other the way we as people tend to usually do — in one period working wholeheartedly on self and our own personal lives, then in a sudden “revelation” of guilt over how selfish we’ve been we jump to the other side and sacrifice everything in our personal lives for some bigger world transforming volunteer activity or cause… we all know the drill and how it plays out….
What if instead we do it more elegantly..? Every moment of every day is dedicated to taking care of self, as good stewards taking full responsibility for self and family and friends and community, knowing this is how healthy societies and civilizations thrive, but at the same time we commit to regular shared group gatherings and activities toward bigger goals with the intention to focus our collective attention on making the outside world we live in a better place? And we do it with dedication and commitment, creating a reliable stable reference point that in time is so dependable that it’s downright predictable.
From here the real question, the exciting next question , is what do we want to create? What changes and improvements do we want to see in the world? To start lead captain or lend ourselves to? I can think of many. And I dare say that inherent in the question is an understanding that the answer is not limited to just one.
Professor Scott Galloway recently published an essay about how difficult it is for men in today’s world to make friends, with some accompanying tips. We’ve been hearing about this issue for several years now, in bits and pieces… it has remained just beneath the surface of society’s more popular and topical current affairs speak since the anomaly was first observed.
We can note that the topic and all of its ramifications have been largely ignored to date in societal public discourse to make room for other topics perceived more popular valuable or important.
There are obvious reasons for this of course. With the recent advent of movements such as MeToo, Black Lives Matters, LGBTQ equality, LatinX, Immigration and even the longstanding Women’s Reproductive Rights movement, men, especially white straight men, have not only been made to seem a secondary consideration in modern society compared to these more pressing issues, they’ve also taken on the role of being the original and primary problem and cause that created the need for these movements in the first place.
Put in simpler terms, men are the problem. For everything and all that ails us as a collective society, men are the root cause. Say it out in a group or mention it on social media and you’ll see nodding approval as if it’s a given, or read angry tirades in agreement about how selfish greedy heartless self serving and evil men are; simply by the very nature that they were born men.
We also witness confirmation of this fact based on two more of the many overlooked side effects of this ongoing trend…. One of them being how younger generations of men, Gen Z and Millenials especially, have learned to present themselves out in the world as soft, harmless, and effeminate.
Gone are the days where a young man attempts to go out into the world and display his strength or resolve, toughness or courage, confidence, boldness or competitive ambition, or anything remotely once associated with masculinity. They have an intuitive knowing from growing up during the last 20 years that to express or display any traditional traits associated with being “manly” may lead to instant shunning by the world around them. And to anyone, young or old, man woman or somewhere in between, that’s a terrifying thought.
Now we witness younger generations of men deliberately dressing and acting to downplay their masculinity. As if they’re trying to hide the fact that they’re men. And forget about manliness. That’s become so taboo that it isn’t even a thought. Even masculinity feels dangerous to own or utter aloud.
We also see it in how men are portrayed in contemporary art and entertainment.
And indeed from a historical perspective this glaringly appears to be the case. We all know the history — although to be fair and historically accurate it has never truly been a purely “white men” problem. That’s a deeply short sighted viewpoint considering that human civilization, and it’s history, as we currently define it, started in the region of earth known as Mesopotamia — modern day Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey — approximately six to eight thousand years ago. And the various different tribal groups that occupied this area and fought each other for dominance over it were not what we call “white” or “Caucasian”. “White” came thousands of years later.
But yes, from the very beginning, MEN of various colors and races have ruled governed conquered and over-lorded since the advent of recorded history, always at the expense of women and any “minorities” in whatever geographical region or timeline we can look back on. It just wasn’t always “white” men. That’s a more recent trend in the larger scope of human history.
Now with that said, over the last 2300 years of that history, white men have been the primary victimizer of seemingly everybody else in the human population, a fact that has rendered men in today’s world toxic; any kind of concern or empathy toward men is now a thorny subject, problematic at best, or more accurately a stigma to be avoided at all costs in the grand scheme of righting the wrongs of the last 8,000 years.
Men, especially white straight men, in todays western societies are in a funky place. On the one hand they still run and control almost everything, from governments to big business, from the worlds largest churches and religions to banking and finance, art and entertainment, from the commodities that fuel the world to the secret societies that power the world.
Yet at the same time, they have become a hated and despised breed of human, the scapegoat for everything that is wrong with humanity and planet earth. And because of this fact the average white straight male walks around feeling horrible about himself. Just automatically. Not because they’ve done or not done anything. But just because. Most of the time it isn’t even conscious. Especially for those who’ve grown up in this environment over the last ten to fifteen years.
Even for those who are older and grew up in a different world entirely where white straight men could do no wrong. That narrative has changed so much, been flipped upside down and smashed on its head, that it would be impossible for any white straight male not to be aware of the heavy burden of animosity and discrimination that is being dumped on them on a constant basis. And accompanying it, as Galloway alludes to in his latest article, is a deep sense of shame, guilt, fear, isolation, loneliness, self loathing, drunkenness, drug abuse and higher suicide rates.
The tweet of the article did get a few of us talking about the subject. Albeit through more tweets and comments. Not an ideal place to converse or debate, but workable.
I replied, “Oddly this is not something we experience in the music industry; even from way back in the local days to now, it’s never been a thing. We do not find that we feel isolated or find it hard to make friends or difficult to reach out to each other. But I do notice it with guys outside of the various art and entertainment circles. Not sure what or why it is exactly…”
Dan Munro of Forbes magazine commented, “Ed FWIW: Music is often targeting a performance – and it’s often rehearsed and then performed w/ others (either in attendance or a live audience).By definition a “connected” activity.That connection is hard to establish/maintain – especially as we age. “Social” media isn’t it.”
“I was thinking a similar thing the last hour or so,” i said a bit later. “The way we artists and musicians started out in our early teens playing & hanging every day with ANY other guy or gal who cud play an instrument or sing or make a flyer or book shows or do promo, fix guitars, run audio or lighting or anything else that contributed to brining music to the masses….
It didn’t matter who what where or when we were coming from… we just became friends from wanting to play music together. From there we got to know each other. And no matter how different we may have been from one another on the surface, or socioeconomically, there was always this strong nearly sacred bond of music and music making that kept us friends… Never really thought about this before….” I said.
Dan: “Music is a very connected activity. Sports has some of that – and there are other hobbies/social activities that can create equally strong bonds …… BUT … “social” media has worked to divide and isolate us all. COVID didn’t help. So for “adult” men, friendship is harder.”
Now what Dan was saying made more sense to me. I’ve been hearing it more and more from guy friends I have who aren’t immersed in the arts or entertainment or activism worlds. And I said as much to Scott and Dan.
“I must admit I have heard this from a LOT of guy friends over the last 7 years or so… Definitely a trend. Various men complaining about loneliness isolation depression, almost always accompanied by “things not being what they used to be” where u cud just give a guy a call & go get a drink. There’s now a strange new trend hiding in men that compels them to feel more reluctant or resistant or afraid to open up and talk honestly with one another. But also with women… On the one hand, we live sleep and breathe to gain the attention and admiration of the femme; everything we do is in some small part at least based on our desire to attract women — and based on everything we know, they feel the same way. And yet we’re keenly aware of the pariah we’ve become in society at large just for being men in the first place.
And with gay men…, forget about it, most white straight men have no idea how to relate to or communicate with gay men. They/we can feel the judgement and criticism aimed our way from a hundred yards away. When encountering gay men, we as straight men, just by the fact itself, are made aware that there exists a general idea that we are rude crude sloppy ill mannered clumsy poorly dressed have no taste or fashion sense, and there’s a secret inside joke we’re just not getting. So we tend to shy away from interacting with gay men. No one wants to be reminded of how lame they are. And for whatever reason, amongst gay men, straight men are lame. And there’s no attempt on their part to cover up that stereotype when in their company.
To get back on point, regarding the crisis white straight men are facing now, I also believe this strange new phenomenon of men feeling more isolated and depressed partially stems from the advent of email & texting taking over picking up a phone and calling. It’s so easy to feign “oh yeah man I didn’t see your text/email till later”. That’s common now, to not be able to pick up a phone and reach someone in the moment. The voicemail is what you get. And let’s face it, even the voicemail, both having a greeting or leaving a voicemail message for another person seem to be disappearing, along with hundreds of other things as we transition into this new world of high tech, virtual connection and physical IRL isolation.
On Twitter i told the other guys involved in the conversation that was brewing that “One thing i don’t mind admitting is that the last 5 years have been BRUTAL for us men. Whether we’re personally guilty of anything or not. We walk around 24/7 in a cloud of shame & guilt knowing & observing how society feels about us. The MeToo, Woke and Cancel Culture movements seemed to kick that feeling into overdrive in society at large. No matter how we look at it, men are the problem. Men… are the enemy.”
Regardless of whether we were and are supporters of the MeToo cause or 100% against it — i was heavy into it ideologically and physically, felt it had been a long time coming and in terms of activism was as involved as i could be, attending marches and demonstrations, protesting in the streets, signing petitions, etc. — it was clear that it was happening and the way western society viewed and treated “men” was forever to change. And not in a good way. At least not at first.
Historically justified…? Definitely. We men of today are now paying the price for thousands of years of brutality and abuse of just about everyone in human history by men who came before us. And we get that. But it still doesn’t make it easy on us here now in modern times.
And that’s “men” in general. Made much worse if you possess none of the … hhhmm… let’s say “protective softeners” society has deemed appropriate to dole out to men to judge criticize or treat them less harshly, like being black brown red yellow or LGBTQ etc. Men of this kind may tend to find it a little easier to navigate through society without as much animosity and vitriol aimed at them constantly. White men, especially white straight men, do not. (Consider the entire premise for the existence of AppleTV’s stellar Morning Show.)
I dont feel “bad” about being a straight white man myself… but I do feel a strong apologetic sense of guilt by association for being born that way, especially over the last few years with everything the cartoonish Donald Trump brought to the forefront of collective consciousness here in the United States.
The sudden appearance of this strange deranged white straight man and everything that was revealed about his personal beliefs and habits, so arrogant, ignorant, self centered, deluded, prejudiced, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, white-centrist, religiously extreme, egomaniacal and just plain dumb…he really shone a light on a serious problem we had and still have here in the U.S. with white straight men. Especially coming out of the more refined intelligent respectful civil and gentile 8 years of the Obama administration.
The Obama years lulled us to sleep to a certain degree, because he epitomized the transcendent man in so many ways, as close as we’d ever gotten in politics and governance at least; and for one brief 8 year period we were all encouraged to believe that Obama was going to be the norm from now on when it came to “men” in western society, he permitted us to forget just how monstrous men in general can be and often are in nearly all human societies.
Donald Trump on the other hand, and this shockingly large parade of millions of other American men just like him who were suddenly unleashed upon society with all their arrogant ignorance, mean spiritedness and phobic tendencies, awakened a reminder in society that these types of people, these white straight men of the past with all their prejudices and ignoble tendencies hadn’t transcended or become enlightened. They had just been in hiding for the better part of 8 years; they did in fact still exist; they were even more angry and filled with even more hatred for anyone who was different than them. And they were everywhere.
The problem we as a society had and still have with white straight men (although here i will admit i am not sold on the idea that being white or straight inherently have much to do with the problems men inflict on societies) was made much clearer to us all in light of the surprisingly large following Donald Trump turned out to have.
It was indeed, as anyone will admit, a shocking revelation. He was by all accounts a loud boisterous duplicitous corrupt morally bankrupt insecure destructive and sad clown of a man, uneducated and ignorant, selfishly unconcerned with anything but himself, and at worst, just another horrible human being in the shape of a white straight male in desperate need of serious mental and emotional help. Imagine a woman running for president casually saying in a campaign interview “men love it when you grab their dicks”. The guy was a disturbing sociopathic hot mess.
But none of that seemed to matter to tens of millions of “regular Americans”, men and women, the large majority being white, straight and christian. Mass guilt by association suddenly crash landed down on all of us who were white straight men. Not to mention all the other creeps who were quickly ushered through our collective hall of current events and then expediently “cancelled” over the next 5 years for various sexual crimes, harassment or misconduct. The closet door flung open and out stumbled the likes of Jeffery Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brian Warner AKA Marilyn Manson, Armie Hammer, Alec Baldwin, Charlie Rose, Danny Masterson, Louise C.K., the list at this point is too large to keep track of…. No matter where we turned, men were being revealed to be not just the villains of human history, but also real world entitled assholes in the here now.
It’s disarming waking up one day to recognize that you yourself demographically fit smack dab in the middle of that illustrious group of douchebags. At least on the surface. You may not even get it at first — it took me a few years to have the revelation personally that I was in any way similar to or associated with by extension any of these creepy men. But what happens is you start to notice that words of hatred and disgust are being used all around you in the press and in the streets about “white straight men”, and you simply can’t help it… one day it suddenly dawns on you that you are actually one of them.
Many of us, most of us, are not in fact anything like Donald Trump, Bernie Maddoff or Harvey Weinstein or any of the men listed above. But i will say that simply because we are and were raised to be “men” we do tend to come with our own set of serious issues and tendencies to be selfish, self centered, arrogant, close minded, competitive, abusive, entitled, prideful, etc. etc. Even though, yes, many of us eagerly and passionately have been actively supporting “woke” causes since that trend started.
From economic equality to women’s health rights, MeToo & BLM, immigration and prison reform, LGBTQ issues, reparations, many of us straight white men heavily support these issues, speaking for myself and my band and friends group, we’re in the streets for those… … and plenty of other white straight males are too. Actively fighting from boardroom to recording studio to farm and ranch to the dinner table to right in the streets for a whole host of causes whose time is right now as the world is waking up. But the stigma of the damage done by our group collectively is hard to shake off. It’s just there. In the air. On us. On top of us. And we really can’t deny it. All we can do is just promise to do better than those that came before us.
(As a side note, though i agree with some/most of the tenets of the “woke” ideology and movement, I personally don’t like the term “Woke” itself, for the most obvious and surface reason, in that it obviously originated from and perpetuates having a lack of education and the use of bad grammar because of that, when it’s clear that what is meant by it is “to be awake”, “to be awakened” or “to be enlightened” (Think The Matrix movies, or Buddhism or the New Age movement or Activism in general…).
Some of us have been working on this (r)evolutionary cause for decades in our own lives, influenced by others who came along decades before us; all of us promoting and working hard to foster equality and enlightenment and WAKING up in order to make the world a better place. So suddenly co-opting this already very large, long standing cultural movement and attaching a label to it that, deliberately or not, denotes a lack of education and poor grammar leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth.
But hey that’s just me. I believe the various aspects of the movement itself would be more embraced, more supported, less maligned, and further served if we were not all being forced to deliberately use bad grammar when referring to “waking up” or “being awake”.
Admittedly by this point in the day, still ostensibly engaged in conversation with Scott and Dan about the curse and crisis of the modern white straight male, I was also deep down the rabbit hole of the issues involved… lost in my own rambling thoughts about a variety of side and sub-topics…
Dan Munro commented… “… major cultural/economic shifts have contributed to this stigma you reference Ed.”
Women as primary breadwinner on the rise
Economic collapses of 2008 – and then COVID
Here in US – aging population where family (and activities) are more consuming
Erosion of “middle-class” lifestyle, etc…
Even though there’s a current backlash against how overboard the man bashing has been and the constant virtue signaling by the media through a very loud culture of “cancelling” anything that is remotely male white or straight, there is clearly cause for it. And yet now it’s hard not to notice how far the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, at least when perusing modern entertainment to digest, with such a high degree of black brown native Asian female gay or trans content being injected into tv or film….
For the record, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, because it’s no different than what we just experienced for the last 100 years with almost everything being casted as and aimed at a white straight christian centered audience. This is just the extreme we seem to always swing to as the pendulum of change slowly winds down and rebalances after major cultural shifts.
(The only real issue one can take with this trend, and it’s definitely a viable stand to take, is toward this new tendency of deliberately altering the world’s most famous and beloved historical events or period piece stories and creating falsehoods about human history by changing historically white or male figures into black or female. For the record, and I believe this to be important, these opportunistic Hollywood “woke promoters” altering everything in the name of being more inclusive but in reality doing so just to enlarge their audience and make more money are creating an entire generation ignorant of actual history.)
(This is tragically — and one might say hilariously — ironic since it’s history itself which we say we have a problem with and use as the primary motivator behind the whole movement. But by inserting a black, latino, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, gay or transgender person into new remakes of classic Jane Austen, Charles Dickens or Shakespearean period pieces, we completely defeat and deflate the purpose of having a solid understanding and knowledge of the actual human history we’re trying to understand in order to motivate and instigate changes for the better in the modern age. Again it’s just that pendulum of change swinging too far to the extreme, in this case wildly so and to the detriment of the cause itself.)
So with all of this male bashing and the inherent guilt and shame that comes with it if you fit that mold, one must admit that we still have it made. White straight men are still primarily the super heroes and the action adventure stars of Hollywood blockbusters, global politics, corporate boardrooms, and nation governance all over the earth.
We can’t take the burden of self effacing shame and guilt that’s been foisted upon us by woke society and start complaining that suddenly our lives are over and all opportunity is lost forever. It’s simply not true. We white straight males of the modern world still quite possibly have more opportunity in more categories and areas of life to this day than any other group in the world.
Experts in a variety of different academic and social science arenas, especially in the fields of healthcare, mental health and medicine have been reporting for years now that a tragic crisis of loneliness depression isolation despair alcoholism drug abuse and suicide is brewing and growing ever larger amongst this particular group: men, especially of the white and straight variety. The modern man has absolutely no idea what to do with himself, barely understands what just transpired over the last seven years, doesn’t understand why they themselves are being personally pointed out, blamed, judged, and criticized so harshly, and shunned so vehemently by society at large and in their own communities.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that because white straight men have been in control for so long in human history, and literally monopolized nearly every archetype, icon and reference point of global human society for millennia, when the woke backlash arrived, it was traveling at such an incredible speed, was filled with so much anger, hatred and resentment that it didn’t care who got in the way or got trampled by it. We never even bothered to check who may or may not have been a viable target versus just collateral damage.
See below for some examples of the phenomenon though…
Women cook. But men are called Chef. Women are great musicians and fill a variety of first chairs zzall over the world. But men comprise the majority of the world’s most famous composers and conductors. Women sew. But it’s men’s names that adorn the labels of the world’s most sought after luxury fashion brands and designers. And when a gentleman needs the best tailor, he goes to a man. Women teach. And some of them do write. But it’s men who are the great literary giants they write and teach about. A higher percentage of women on earth in modern times get educated and earn their Ph.Ds, to study the greatest minds of philosophy, history, psychology, ontology, cosmology and physics, the vast majority of which are…. men.
What film aficionado doesn’t enjoy a good debate about who the greatest filmmakers of all time are? All of them men (Katherine Bigelow comes to mind, sure, but she’s not being mentioned in the same breath as Scorsese Spielberg Baumbach The Andersons or Coppola et al.) The same goes for “the greatest bands or musical artists of all time” lists that people love to create and then argue about. They usually start with The Beatles or Dylan or Elvis or Led Zeppelin or the Stones. All men of course. (One has to consistently remind people of Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush in order that they might find room in their list to insert them; where they clearly belong. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Popes, Emperors, Supreme Leaders, all men. (Except the few exceptions, which is why there’s always such a big brouhaha made over these occasional exceptions.) The greatest mind of science? Einstein. The greatest inventor of all time? Edison; or maybe Steve Jobs now. The greatest industrialists and financiers? Henry Ford. Rockefeller. JP Morgan. Et al. And we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg here.
On a grander scale, all the various “messiahs” humanity has invented and worshipped over the last 6,000 years, whose “returns” are eagerly anticipated to bring about centuries of peace on earth or redeem our sin-damaged souls in one way or another… all men. So too all the various prophets of old and new who advise and warn us of these coming messiahs. Even His Manliness The Damai Llama, a living here-now messiah of the Tibetan Buddhist faith, is of course… a man.
The great kings, emperors, rulers, leaders, conquerors, explorers and adventurers throughout (human) time… all men. (Sure, feel free to throw one of the few queen’s names in the list if you’d like, if for no other reason than to further cement the point being made due to how few there are.)
Then there’s the more mundane, long-lasting cultural and commercial icons who are so deeply embedded in our psyche, our holidays, our traditions, our cultures, their names uttered so frequently and nonchalantly that we don’t even consider gender when mentioning them… And yet what do we find..? Santa Clause, and yes even his reign deer, the Grinch, snowmen, the abominable snowman, Bigfoot, Peter Pan, Paul Bunyan, Daniel Boone, the Founding Fathers, Davy Crockett, the Easter Bunny, Captain Crunch, Captain Morgan, Captain Kangeroo, Captain Ahab, Captain America, Captain Kirk, Julius Caesar, Achilles, Apollo, Hercules, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, Ghengis Khan, Alexander the Great, Xerxes, King Cyrus, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Israel, Jacob, Moses, Father Time, Voltaire, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Chairman Mao, Prince Valiant, Prince Charming, Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, Van Gogh, Picasso, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Beethoven and Mozart, Wagner, Liszt, Chopin, Jack the Ripper, Jack Nicholson, Jack Nicholas, Jackie Robinson, Jack Frost, Jack of all trades, Jack and the Beanstalk, the giant he encounters, the Jolly Green Giant, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, the Man from UNCLE, Mr. Clean, pirates, cowboys, rockstars, DJs, MCs, boy bands, boy toys, boy wonder, Man of the Hour, International Man of Mystery, Man Child, Man about town, Ladies Man, Manwich… God, etc….
This list literally can go on for hours if one took the time… I’m just doing it off the top of my head for fun. Imagine taking a few minutes to google it. (!!!) What we’d discover is an entire species’ culture historically dominated by male archetypes from the very beginning of their ascent out of the mud till this very day.
It’s no wonder there’s been a collective backlash against men in modern times. The inequality and disparity between men and women has been with us since the very beginning. And people in general, of all ages races and genders have suddenly decided that it’s not okay. Which admittedly, it’s not. Because of this fact, and the blame and finger pointing aimed at men now, they are turning, deliberately or not, to despair confusion drink drugs self isolation poor work performance unhealthy eating and living habits suicide or angrily lashing out with senseless mass killings.
As I stated earlier, I’ve not found it happening to me personally. Nor to many of my friends in the arts entertainment or activism fields, but I do hear about it on a daily basis from male friends in every other field of life. There’s the general confusion about why THEY are being blamed personally, the anger and bitterness, the rage, the loneliness, the depression. It’s all very real.
I do not believe this was or is our end-goal when we started these various movements to make the world a better place. No one stood up and declared “let’s decimate devastate and destroy all white straight men everywhere!” But that’s precisely what we’re doing, deliberately or not.
I do believe we need to stop, take stock of the damage we are doing to this particular group and begin to assess how we can assist white straight men through this challenging time of major cultural transition.
Besides it just being the right thing to do from a compassionate point of view — and if we are not coming to these movements and promoting these causes and great cultural transformations from a place of compassion, then what ARE we doing? — we already know what happens to any group in a society who reaches their boiling point when feeling too harshly criticized or ostracized or left out from society.
January 6th was just one example. And if that event didn’t scare the living hell out of you, then you’re one of those so deeply entrenched in the white straight christian male group that you’re just not seeing that particular historical moment for the terrifying event it was.
But again, that’s just one example of what can happen in a country or community or society when one specific group of people begin to feel that kind of desperation. The weak will fall to the wayside quickly through various forms of self destruction; the stronger ones will unite in their pain and begin to angrily lash out as we witnessed on January 6th or on any number of occasions throughout human history (think French Revolution, etc.) As a society built upon both compassion for all human beings and self preservation as a species we must do our best to avoid these outcomes.
Side note: was speaking to a younger female about this, a Gen Z, for the last few weeks about this subject. Our main topics have been about how incredibly challenging it’s going to be for humanity as a whole to change all of the nomenclature we take for granted as a society that uses gender related terminology to express a variety of different points…
“Get some balls”. “Now that guy’s got some big balls!” “Talk about cojones!” “Man up.”. “Every man for himself”. “Man of the hour”. “Man of the people”. “Man on the street”. “Man of few words”. “Are we not men?” “Get out there and be a man”. “Who’s the man?”. “A yes man”. “Con man”. “He man”. “Hitman”. “Gentleman”. “Ladies man”. “Leading man”. “Main man”. “Medicine man”. “Craftsman”. “Cleaning lady”. “Milkman”. “Law man”. “Lawn man”. “Sheriff”. “Pool man”. “No man is an island”. “Manmade”. “One man band”. “Man-of-war”. “Come on in guys”. “Men are from mars.” “One small step for man…”. “Take it like a man”. “Damn that’s gay”. “Dude you’re so gay.” “Don’t be such a homo”. “Don’t be such a pussy”. “Don’t be such a girl”. “Come on guys, let’s do it!” “The boys are back!” “When mankind first emerged…” “The first man to walk on the moon”. “Are you a lady now? You want me to get you a tampon?” “Dude”. “Bro”. “Man…”. “Guy”. “Chief”. The list goes on and on….
Interestingly she shared with me that she doesn’t mind being called “dude”. But she corrects people if they call her “man” or “guy/guys”, even if it’s one of her friends. Frankly I found that to be odd. Personally I see “man”, “dude” and “guys” to be genetically neutral gender-free terms that can apply safely and equally to men or women or anyone in between. But that could just be my generation, or gender, speaking.
Hence the need and importance of multi-generational dialogue about these issues.
Had texted her earlier in the week to say,
“Of course NOW because we’ve had the discussion. I’m seeing real life examples of how this male gender thing and the inherent challenges we still face in our societal nomenclature plays out on a daily hourly basis all over the place….”
— “I hired you because you had the most balls / bollocks of all the recruits”…. is nonchalantly said to a girl.
— Then there’s the classic double standard: “the more girls a guy gets with, the more of a stud he is, the cooler, more handsome, more attractive, more desirable he is; the more guys a girl sleeps with, the more of an immoral slut of questionable values she is and the less appealing and desirable she is as a potential wife/life partner”.
— the World Cup is possibly the biggest event in the world. But what it really is is the Men’s World Cup. We just take that fact for granted. Just like the short-sightedly named World Series, or the Super Bowl. Huge events. All men. Now the “women’s World Cup” is called the “women’s World Cup” and it’s in the sport “Women’s Soccer”, not football, immediately denigrating the event, or at least relegating it to a much lower status on the importance scale of global sporting events. And it’s pretty much ignored except by females or those who are super into “women’s soccer”. Men play football. Women play soccer. Weird. And women “soccer players”, as opposed to “footballers” i.e. men, don’t even get paid enough to play the sport, let alone make a good living from it, so they are forced to have to get “donations”…. often from male Footballers, who bring in tens of millions of dollars per year in salaries and bonuses. It’s an astounding example of just one of the many disparities that exist between men and women.
[It may be helpful to explore the inherently historical contexts and reasons for these gender-based stereotypes, if even just to touch on them briefly; there are obviously deep seated Darwinian or evolutionary reasons why this particular double standard has had such a stronghold on human society. A human male who is strong and tough, and handsome and attractive, to both men and women, and desired by many females portends a certain unspeakable but solidly entrenched strength, charm, physical and mental health, affability, ease and ability to get along and move around in a societal group and thus tends to equate to more security for the family, i.e. more guaranteed survival for himself and “his group”. A woman who is chaste and “virtuous”and committed to one man and her family and doesn’t spend time focusing on her looks or being attractive or taking action to be attractive to or be with a lot of male humans is reliable and trustworthy, and more importantly has allegedly spent that time building up the necessary skill sets to better take care of the home, the children, the community, the family…. i.e. she’s more reliable to guarantee the survival of the family either alone or partnered with a man. (Again, historically speaking… anthropologically speaking…) At the same time the male human is out hunting gathering bringing home food or (some form of) “money”, or some other “important commodity”. This renders the female a more reliable and desirable life mate for the guaranteed survival of the standard prototypical human family. These ideas, these deeply rooted subconscious concepts didn’t come out of nowhere, nor did they originate from some form of unfair gender bias; they naturally evolved from early humans observing what worked and didn’t work for the earliest human civilizations or tribal groups as they made their way through thousands of years of fighting for our very survival as a species.]
“The point is,” i commented to the guys in our ongoing discussion on Twitter, “we have a lot of work to do. 1. Just to reach gender equality. And 2, we have a lot of sorting out still to do of how to change all the verbiage that are norms in all the earth societies. And 3, we have to course-correct back to the middle from the extreme male hatred that has destroyed three generations of men in western society so they stop walking around feeling like villains just due to their association with history and older men in general.”
Obviously I digressed a bit here toward the end. But we’ll keep exploring. More later. Lots more. We’re still in the beginning of trying to integrate these various issues as a society. Regarding gender, I must admit I am exhausted by being a white straight male and the constant barrage of negativity that is thrown our way. Don’t get me wrong. I get that we still have it made compared to our female and black and brown and LGBTQ brothers and sisters…. It’s true.
But that heavy burly bear of shame and burden that now sits on our backs 24/7 placed there a few years ago by society and seems to apply to all of us no matter how young or old we are, no matter what generation we’re from, and no matter what we’ve ever done or not done acts as a constant reminder that there is something inherently wrong with us just because we were born white straight and male. It’s bothersome. It’s constant. It’s mentally and emotionally disturbing. It hurts.
And so it’s begun. The #IslamicRepublic of #Iran has moved from beating and shooting it’s citizens, mainly children, to death in the streets to formal public #executions. No Habius Corpus, no trials. Just a public hanging.
I am still limiting my coverage of the ongoing #IranRevolution to Twitter, print media & TV appearances so as not to invade the more fun family freinds & pets vibe that we all enjoy here on FB.
BUT this is important. Today marks a stark historic turn in the #Iranian people’s struggle for equality, basic human rights, liberty, democracy, and freedom from fascist religious tyranny.
As we’ve already covered, the people of Iran are no longer protesting. They do not wish to be called protestors. They are not involved in protests. Reuters made the mistake below that the New York Times made over the weekend. The people of Iran are fighting for a REVOLUTION. They are freedom fighters. They are revolutionaries fighting for their very lives to overthrow a government of dictators who placed themselves in power 40+ years ago against the will of the people.
In the last 3 days they began the largest nationwide strikes of shops, businesses and industries the country has seen since their democratic revolution of 1953. (Which the UK and USA quickly overthrew.) Our hope of course is that it works. But what they’re asking for, a complete toppling of the current regime and a transition back to democracy and a government elected by the people, is a big ask in a radical Islamic country.
So they and we must be prepared for stage 3. We tried peaceful protests. All it got us was murdered in the streets. We tried appealing to the UN and international community. We got talks, speeches, and a few sanctions and boycotts. We tried strikes. All it got us is public executions.
It is now time for the people of Iran, all of the people, to step up the revolution, take up arms and begin the process of truly taking their country back from these barbarous criminal usurpers cowardly disguising themselves behind religion.
There are over 40 million people in Iran. The government less than 10,000 strong. The Republican Guard, their strongest military unit will quickly turn on this government. Just as their military turned on the Shah in ‘79.
Already the so called Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his small band of thugs has attempted to appeal to former presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani as well as the family members of former Ayatollah Khomeini for help. All of them have denied him. Most members of his own family are already on the side of the people and the revolution. He’s arrested and jailed both his sister and his neice. He has no support from the outside except Russia and China and Syria — none of which are prepared to see this escalate into a more heated war in the Middle East considering what’s happening in the Energy sector globally at this time and China’s crushing recessionary concerns.
He has absolutely no support from the inside. He is a despised figure, with the most popular slogan of the Iranian people in the streets and from their homes shouting “death to the dictator!” This will make it easy for the people to finally rid themselves of these pretenders once and for all and create a new democratic republic for themselves once and for all.
As always, from the outside looking in, whether part of the exiles, the Iranian diaspora, or any number of freedom fighters from every country in the world, we repeat IRAN WE SEE YOU WE HEAR YOU WE SUPPORT YOU WE FIGHT WITH YOU! 💪✊
I’m just going to say it, despite the bad reviews, and or any fear of recrimination from fellow film aficionados. David O. Russell’s AMSTERDAM is a great film. Sure it’s flawed on several fronts. It’s weighed down by Russell’s scrappy scattershot script, by his attempts as an artist to reach too far in an entirely new direction for himself and create something new and fresh and outside of his usual fare. As I was explaining to Princess Little Tree earlier this evening, who professed to not liking it, and actually fell asleep far before midway, there’s a difference between professional film makers and artists. Professional filmmakers give the world Hollywood blockbusters like Marvel movies. They pay the bills. They make a lot of money to be able to afford the world great art. We don’t have to watch them. But we can’t diss them, at least not publicly, due to the fact that without them we’d never see great film as art. There’d be no money for it. Russell, who tends to work more slowly than most, has given us at least two professional filmmaker films, Silver Linings Playbook and his masterpiece so far, American Hustle. Both of which also happen to be great works of art as well. He also gave us the incredible I Heart the Huckabees. Another work of art. What appeals to me about watching an artist work, perhaps as an artist myself, or just a lover of artists and the process of creating great art out of nothing, is watching them start from nothing and decide one day “I’m going to stretch. I’m going to go out on a limb and do something entirely different for me. I’m going to push the art envelope entirely I’m going to create something brand new and fresh.” Even if they don’t quite achieve Apocalypse Now, it’s still a thrilling ride to behold them attempt it. I was disappointed twice this year by two of my favorite filmmakers as artists. Both Paul Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson tried but failed to deliver as much as I would have liked. Truth is, Wes phoned his French Dispatch in. I cannot say with certainty I even got through that whole movie. After three attempts. And Paul, though he did try, very hard, it’s obvious, just couldn’t manage to make his Licorice Pizza an enjoyable film experience. For all the trying it was still long and boring and rather a dud by the end. Though I did manage to enjoy it and get through it 3 times. But never once did I say “wow. What a great work of art. What a masterpiece.” I’m not saying that about Amsterdam. It’ll take me a few viewings to get to the meat of the bone as to why it feels so clunky and at times off kilter. But as an artist he has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. He broke a lot of rules. He was all over the place. His script was disjointed. But boy was it fresh. I’m not even going to say I recommend it as a great movie, except to fellow artists or lovers of artists. For you, you’ll dig watching Russel try pushing the boundaries and try getting something out of himself totally different than anything he’s ever attempted before. And to me that’s what great art is all about.
As many know this is a subject I have researched and written extensively about for over 20+ years. Ten years ago I spent two weeks on a fact finding and Diplomatic Mission to Israel and Palestine, visiting with various government officials, legal experts, scholars, non-profits and regular folks on both sides of the walls (yes there are actual walls surrounding the Palestinian people whose sole purpose is to keep Palestinians out of “Israel”, but not to keep Israelis out of Palestinian territory.
This is what leads to the term “settlements” we hear about so often in the news related to Israel and Palestine. If you follow such things. Israelis are freely allowed to go beyond the walls of Israel into formalized Palestinian territory, knock down homes schools buildings farms, you name it, and build new “Israeli settlements” — think neighborhoods — on Palestinian land. Palestinians of course wouldn’t even consider doing that. They would be shot.
I encourage anyone who considers themselves an activist or freedom fighter interested in and dedicated to defending human rights to visit Israel and Palestine to see it with their own eyes. It is one of the most harrowing and heartbreaking trips you will ever make. In fact, going to Israel and Palestine and seeing just how dire the circumstances are for the Palestinian people was and has been one of the most traumatic and inhumane events I’ve ever experienced; still to this day.
It very much reminds one of what South Africa during the apartheid years looked like, or more ironically, what 19th and 20th century Europe during the rounding up of European Jews into ghettos looked like when we view the photos and video footage from that era.
For the record, most of my friends who are Jewish, whether here in America or in Israel or Europe, are very much pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist. I credit that to the fact that most of my friends come out of the arts, entertainment or activist communities.
So this issue of securing basic human rights liberty freedom equality and human dignity for the Palestinian people is not a Jewish issue. It really isn’t even an Israeli issue, because there are plenty of Israelis who also support the pro-Palestinian cause. More than anything it has nothing to do with being anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic.
Conflating those issues, making them seem as if they are equal — being pro-Palestinian or anti-Zionist and being anti-Semitic or prejudice against the Jewish people — is a political ploy used by unscrupulous self-serving deceit mongers. These types of politicians, rather than noble public servants, come in all shapes and sizes and exist in every country on earth, both free nations and not so free nations. They are not to be believed. They are not to be trusted. They are not deserving of respect.
Speaking of not being deserving of trust or respect, one must add that the recent spat of anti-semitism that has cropped up in recent months by morons like Kyrie Irving and Kanye West is doubly deplorable. Not only is it flat out stupid and ignorant racism and hate speech against our Jewish brethren, but it also acts as a great disservice to our being able to help our Palestinian brothers and sisters.
I read an interesting article today about the subject and how heated the whole confluence of issues is becoming once again in our shared human history by Dr. James Zogby, who I know from the Arab American Institute and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. I will let him go into more of the scholarly details. It is definitely worth the read. He always is.
Since its founding, Political Zionism has had two distinct and contradictory personas. One portrayed it as a national liberation movement that was liberal, democratic, tolerant, and inclusive. This was the face its adherents saw when they looked in the mirror, and it was the way they presented themselves to and wanted to be seen by the rest of the world.
In reaction to antisemitism and the resultant ghettoization and pogroms that victimized European Jewry, Political Zionism promised an alternative for Jews in which they would be free to realize their full potential as a people while practicing the values and fruits of liberalism in a home of their own.
The problem was that the European liberalism on which Political Zionism was modeled was, itself, based on a contradiction in that the benefits and progress it provided for Europeans were based on the colonial subjugation of Asians and Africans and exploitation of their conquered lands. As the early Zionists were immersed in that same European culture and worldview, it was without any hesitation or embarrassment that they saw themselves as an extension of the European colonial enterprise. That was why Theodore Herzl sought guidance on how to secure support for his proposed colony from Cecil Rhodes; or why he would write in the Jewish State that the enterprise he wished to establish would serve as “a rampart of Europe against Asia…and outpost of civilization against barbarism”; or why he proposed using the natives that his followers might find in their new colony to clear the land and engage in menial labor and then evacuate these natives to other lands.
Political Zionism was the dream of Jewish liberation, but its implementation was to be the nightmare of Palestinian dispossession. These two sides of the same ideology coexisted, with the upside acknowledged and celebrated, and its reverse ignored and/or denied. This was true not only for the founders of Zionism but also for its most recognized “liberal” champions: Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, and Golda Meir. Even Benjamin Netanyahu made his name in political circles as a proponent of the cause of “liberal Western democracy” versus the authoritarian, savage, terrorist Arab World.
Because such a worldview was so ingrained into Europe’s dominant sense of itself, the two faces of Zionism (the liberal and the racist) never raised an eyebrow. It was, if anything, understood and embraced by the British and French (and later by the US) who saw the need for, as Herzl had envisioned it, a civilized outpost to protect Western values and interests from the barbarians.
Maybe this is what is meant when Israeli and US leaders speak of our “shared values”—the fact that we both have been able to mask the “dark side” of our behaviors with the outward facing veneer of our “claimed values,” values that apply to “us” not to “others.” And we’ve both gotten away with this game, until recently.
For the US, it was the Iraq War and its attendant horrors, the epidemic of mass killings, systemic racism, and the emergence of the anti-democratic, racist, and xenophobic Trump movement that began to unravel the mask of our claim to be the bastion of “liberal ideals.” Despite Israel’s record of abominable behaviors toward Palestinians, it has taken much longer to peel away the veneer of liberalism from Israel’s image. One reason is that their propaganda machinery has been quite effective, and another has been the fear that pointing out the obvious (i.e., that Israel is engaged in oppressive and racist subjugation and dispossession of Palestinians) will result in the accusation of antisemitism.
In this context, it may be considered ironic that it was Israel’s own democracy that has finally exposed for all to see its underbelly of intolerance and racist violence. By electing a far-right coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline Likud party and including fanatic nationalists and intolerant ultra-religious parties, the most recent Israeli election served as a clarifying moment for the Political Zionist movement.
The newly elected Netanyahu government will include bigoted, intolerant, and violence-advocating ministers and deputy ministers who will oversee police, settlements, administration of the occupied territories, finance, and “Jewish Identity.” They include ideologues who: advocate expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories; support rapid settlement expansion and annexation of the West Bank; back settler violence against Palestinians to demonstrate who’s boss; adhere to a theology that maintains that while Jews are full human beings with souls, Arabs are not; claims that human rights organizations pose an “existential threat” to Israel and therefore want them banned; maintain that only their rigid interpretation of Orthodox Judaism is true religion, and deny other Jews their rights; and insist on altering the status quo at the Haram Al Sharif, turning Jerusalem into another Hebron.
With ministers and policies such as these, the mask is off.
This is Political Zionism, without the frills. It is intolerance, bigotry, repression, and aggression without the accompanying rhetoric of “liberalism” to smooth things over or put on a pretty face for the world.
It’s been fascinating to watch how the major pro-Israel US groups have responded (or failed to respond) to this challenging situation. There were immediate protests over the ultra-Orthodox push to change conversion law, to outlaw LGBTQ rights, to restrict which “legitimate” Jews could immigrate to Israel, and to require the segregation of Jewish women at prayer. But these same leaders have been silent in reaction to the bigoted anti-Arab beliefs being espoused by key members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition and the policies they seek to implement that will further dispossess Palestinians.
It’s true that many of these ugly attitudes and policies have shaped the Palestinian reality for decades, but they were always covered by the pretty words and the outward face of Zionist liberalism. But now the mask is off and those who, for decades, have been covering for Israel have the responsibility to acknowledge the ugly reality their silence has allowed to fester.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Arab American Institute. The Arab American Institute is a non-profit, nonpartisan national leadership organization that does not endorse candidates.
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As a scant selection of American newspapers reported this morning — read the New York Times article here — the Islamic Republic of Iran — the title of the official government of the country of Iran composed of a twisted and corrupt bunch of sexist all-male barbarian murderers who cowardly shroud themselves behind the guise of “religion” (in this case Islam) — announced today that they will disband the so-called “Morality Police”. They also commented that they “might consider loosening laws on how they force women to dress.” (Think “Hijab”).
No you haven’t time-traveled back to the Middle Ages. It’s still the 21st Century. The government of Iran, along with the rest of the Middle East and the Islamic world just doesn’t know it. The dying old guard of the Islamic Republic of Iran may view this breadcrumb as a generous compromise to the Iranian people in hopes it might somehow save them from being overthrown and brought to Justice. But it won’t.
Iranian women do not care about a bunch of old sexist racist homophonic power hungry men “loosening laws on how they are forced to dress”. What they want are equal rights, human rights, absolute and total freedom and autonomy of thought, dress, movement and expression. And they will accept nothing less.
The major faux pas by the New York Times editors in the article above is referring to the “protests” in Iran when over the last few weeks tens of thousands of Iranians both in and outside of Iran have repeatedly asked the media and government officials to stop referring to them as “protests” and instead call the movement what it is: a revolution. They have also asked repeatedly to stop being referred to as “protestors” on social media. And in fact what we have seen is a rapid decline in the originally popular hashtag “IranProtests” be reduced to non-trending as “IranRevolution” is now the most trending hashtag related to the noble cause of this Iranian movement.
The news comes after 75 days of street protests, marches, strikes and demonstrations not only in the country of Iran but in many countries all over the world. The protests originally started after the Morality Police beat to death a 22 year old girl named Mahsa Amini for “not wearing her head scarf properly”. She was rushed to a hospital and within less than a day she was pronounced dead.
The people of the country erupted in protests over the barbarous murder of the young girl, who had done absolutely nothing wrong and was in fact dressed in proper Hijab. The interesting thing about this particular event was that it was not particularly unique — the Iranian government, led by a hardliner religious extremist who goes by the name of Ayatollah Khamenei, a man who is only important in his own deluded mind & labels himself “The Supreme Leader” of the entire country — has been routinely beating women of all ages and classes for how they dress since they took over the country of Iran 43 years ago.
Since the protests began, Khamenei’s government has arrested more than 20,000 innocent protestors, sentenced many to execution without trials, has killed more than 2,000 people at least, many of them just children, some of them as young as 10 years old. THIS is what lit the match of this raging revolutionary fire.
This was different. It will take historians and pundits decades to unpack why this particular event unfolded the way it did and why it led to such an enormous uproar and a sincere attempt at a revolutionary overthrow of a long standing dictatorship that has broad support from both Russia and China. But so far these facts we know are what, at least in part, led to the incredible shift from complacent acceptance of fascism by the Iranian people to full fledged protests, and then soon after, cries for revolution…
To begin with the protests and outcries started with the young people of the country. VERY YOUNG. Gen Z started this revolution. They tend not to believe the old fashioned religious indoctrination that’s been such a bane on the existence of humankind over the last 3,000 years.
They also recognize that the old patriarchal guard of being ruled by old men is over in most countries around the world. And they were willing to fight to end that in their own country, put their lives on the line for it and even die for it. And many of them did. And have died. Young healthy bright brave intelligent children of the revolution turned martyrs to inspire older people to step out of their homes and fight for the just cause of freedom.
It has been nothing less than mesmerizing deeply moving and inspirational to watch them in action over these past 3 months. To witness young high school student Nika Shakarami , 16 years old, sing to her classmates in public — the first time anyone in the world had seen a female do this in Iran in almost 45 years was THE MOST INSPIRING EVENT OF 2022. Period.
For doing so she was kidnapped and beaten to death by the ISRG (Islamic Republican Guard) so brutally that her head was bashed into pieces and her face was unrecognizable to her family or anyone else for that matter. These are the kinds of animals the brave and beautiful Persian people face in their struggle for liberty, equality and basic human dignity.
The men who lead, work in and work for the alleged government of Iran are not people; they are monsters, whose time of extinction came hundreds of years ago, while the rest of humanity evolved. This is precisely why the only way they are able to put on the airs of “government officials” or pretend they started a government or still lead one in modern times is through extreme violence, brute force, fear, threats, kidnapping, mass arrests and executions of its citizenry, and highly censored, government controlled media in all formats.
They disguise themselves with self-imposed religious titles and costumes, quoting alleged “Holy Books” and participating in daily and annual religious rituals in order to attempt to hide behind religion, as opposed to sincerely embracing and practicing the tenets of love, peace, honesty, charity, forgiveness and reconciliation of one; their transparently shallow attempts to mask the wickedness and barbarity of their actions and methods of control don’t fool anyone. Especially not the young people of the country, as we’ve now witnessed firsthand over the last three months.
After the Iranian government murdered 16 year old Nika Shakarami for singing, they then held on to her body for days and refused to give it back to her family, until they paid a huge ransom for it.
Every time I watch the footage of her few brief seconds of innocently singing up there on that makeshift stage, I ball my eyes out like a baby. If anyone lit the match that turned the protests into a full fledged revolution calling for complete government overthrow, it was her brave actions that afternoon. I still cannot watch that footage without crying. But I also always feel extremely inspired and grateful and in awe of her. If she can do it, so too can the rest of us.
Secondly, the Iranian youth are connected to the world through technology and are well aware that freedom, democracy, equality for all, human rights and fairness in a Justice system exist in most of the world. Especially the free world. And Iran is a modern country very tuned in and well aware of the free world and very intent on becoming free themselves.
They know that their country has no business being led by a bunch of self-serving thugs who put themselves at the seat of power and then control an entire country through fake news, false propaganda, secret disappearances, arrests, beatings, violent rapes and murder.
Thirdly they are able to harness the power of said technology to get their message out to the rest of the world and ask for help. This they did. Despite the government regularly turning the internet off completely for days and weeks at a time. They bypassed this through VPN technology.
Fourthly, many of us in the activist communities around the globe saw their messages and video footage, heard their cries to be seen and heard, to be supported and helped in any way possible, and we acted. Boy did we act.
This was the first time I participated in an ongoing activist cause primarily through social media and technology platforms rather than in the streets. Unlike the recent BLM (Black Lives Matter) or MeToo or LGBTQ causes that many of us have so actively and boisterously supported in the streets all over the U.S., acting to support the cause of #IranProtests and then #IranRevolution was not possible in the streets in America. There simply wasn’t enough support for it nor even interest in it by the American people. Globally this cause was being fought and supported online, on social media and using technology.
In many ways this was a turning point that I believe will have very big implications for other people’s movements over the next few years as more and more autocracies and dictatorships crumble under the weight of a newly coalesced more compassionate and humane global citizenry.
Instead of large marches through streets and over bridges chanting and singing and sign waving, a rather small group of us — and even now it still seems to be just a few thousand of us — around the world came together to share every single video and photo and news story leaked out of Iran with the rest of the world. On any given day I will Tweet at least 100+ posts about Iran to my Followers. Those then get picked up by others, who in turn do the same thing.
We got the hacker group Anonymous involved very quickly and they have been a tremendous help. We also simultaneously bombarded government officials from the UN and any other country who would listen to get behind the movement and help in any way they can.
To their credit countries like Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and France have all been helpful. The United States has done nothing to help. But then again the United States likes it’s apartheid states and dictatorships and spends hundreds of billions a year to keep them alive.
Think Chile, China, Israel or Saudi Arabia. Not to mention Afghanistan or Libya which it left in shambles to become Islamic terrorist states and breeding grounds. The US doesn’t like democracies so much. It only uncomfortably endures them.
On a personal note, I also recorded several messages of solidarity with the Iranian people in their struggle in both Farsi and English and spread them around social media to get the word out that “we hear you we see you we support you we fight with you” at the very beginning of the breakout of the protests. One can watch those messages here. The gratitude expressed by the Iranian people was immense. They truly appreciate any help they can get from the outside world.
I also produced a two hour video documentary explaining what was happening in Iran right now and the history behind it and what led up to it to help Americans understand why this was and still is such an important global event, in my opinion more important for world peace than the Russia-Ukraine war. One can watch those videos here.
I also did several TV appearances to help spread the word both to Americans and to the Iranian diaspora around the world to show our support for their noble cause.
But the real key to ALL of this is that we who are fighting for this Iranian cause, whether in or out of Iran, whether Iranian or American or French or Dutch, are now WAY beyond protests. We are beyond a few simple changes being made while the government stays as it is.
Our goal, the only goal is to achieve a full on people’s democratic revolution that provides and guarantees full democratic freedoms, equality and human rights for all the people of Iran. Especially women. Because they are the most disenfranchised. But truly the fight is for all Iranian citizens.
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice than you are a comrade of mine.” —Che Guevara
What we are looking for and will achieve in Iran….
1. Women presently are forced by the government — all are men — to dress a certain way, with their clothes their hair their makeup their shoes, you name it. While men are allowed to dress however they want to. The reason for this is because if they didn’t hide themselves they would unfairly entice men to do bad things. (Insert laughter and then righteous indignant RAGE here!!!) This must and will end immediately.
2. Women are not allowed to sing in public nor record musical albums, again out of the fear that it would entice men to do bad things. I know this because i visited many music stores in Iran while on a Diplomatic Mission there and i was shocked to see whole record stores filled with CDs of only MEN! It was both hysterical and creepy. This must and will end.
3. An Iranian woman’s testimony to the police or in court is only equal to HALF that of a man’s. When I asked why this was i was told that “it would be impossible to trust a woman to full testimony because they are like delicate flowers and as such are ruled by their emotions and not by their minds or logic.” So it takes the testimony of TWO women to equal the testimony of one man. Now imagine what this portends in cases where a man or a group of men rape one woman. Get it? (Insert more indignant RAGE here!!!!!) This must and will end.
4. People of the LGBTQ community are not just denied any human rights to be how they are or wish to be; they are routinely arrested for being so and often murdered for it. This must and will end.
5. Although Jews and Christians are allowed religious freedom in Iran, though not as much as Muslims since the country is literally a Theocracy ie a country governed by one religion, in this case Islam, every other religion is outlawed. Buddhists, Bahais, Hindus, Sufis, Zoroastrians, even and especially atheists (which i still contend IS a religion) are all subject to arrest or beatings or execution for practicing the faith of their preference. This must and will end.
6. And to segue from there and keep this short and to the point, the country of Iran is governed by an unelected all-male fascist dictatorship who put themselves in power. The people have no say who leads or governs them. The so-called presidential candidates are chosen by the so-called Supreme Leader. The people don’t care about voting for president because they know he does nothing and has no actual power. He’s simply a mouthpiece for the Supreme Leader. No different than China or Russia et al.
The people of Iran want nothing less than full representative democracy. A transparent government of their choosing. With limits on power, term limits and no corruption or religion attached to their government. Complete separation of church and state. They don’t want a Supreme Leader. This isn’t Star Wars. They want a president, a Senate, a House of Parliament and a fair and honest judicial system.
They also want basic human rights guaranteed to everyone. Freedom of speech, assembly, religion, the press, all without fear of being kidnapped from their homes or arrested or beaten or murdered in the middle of the night. They are no different than you or me or anyone else who lives in a democratic republic around the world.
So although today seems like a win for the people of Iran and those of us who have been fighting with them for the last 3 months, it is only a start, and in reality it is more of a desperate last minute of the game play by a terrified group of old dogs who know their time is up.
Yes, getting rid of the so-called morality police is progress. But the only real win, the only acceptable goal the Iranian people will accept now and are fighting for now is for Khamenei and the entire Islamic Republic government of washed out old men to STEP DOWN NOW, LEAVE and HAND THE COUNTRY BACK TO THE PEOPLE.
If they do not, the peaceful protests will very soon turn into nationwide strikes that will shut the entire country down. After that it will turn into an armed people 40 million strong forcing these monsters out or executing them themselves and taking their country back as we’ve seen in numerous countries around the world throughout history.
For those of us on the outside working with the Iranian people in their bold and noble struggle for freedom, we say: WE ARE WITH YOU. WE SEE YOU. WE HEAR YOU. WE SUPPORT YOU. WE FIGHT WITH YOU.