Archive | The Shadow Knows

Inside Baseball

I don’t get into deconstructing everything the right wing media does. There are plenty of other blogs who do so and I figure, if you buy into the wingnut narrative, it’s because you have a psychological need to do so. But this Politico interview with Andrew Breitbart, the guy who pays James O’Keefe, is worth a look, if only to gain a little insight into the right wing’s sense of eternal victimhood:

Divorce Folly

As someone who was raised Catholic and married a Jew, I can only shake my head at this one. I remember how upset my mother-in-law got when she found out my oldest had been baptized (a couple of years after the event). But I think this probably has more to do with the idea that Jews have a duty to maintain their tribe by raising their children as Jews, rather than any specific aversion to other religions. (Although I have to say, my own in-laws were pretty bigoted and uninformed about Catholics.)

I had my first son baptized without giving it that much thought. It was just one of those ritual things. By the time we had the second kid, we had a ceremonial bris performed – but without the party, which also pissed off my in-laws. Oh well! (My mother-in-law was also pissed that I wouldn’t take the kids to Hebrew school. I told her that her son was more than welcome to do so, but I didn’t see it as my responsibility. I said something to the effect of “If you really wanted Jewish grandchildren, you should have raised Jewish children.” Once they were bar mitzvahed, my husband and his brothers lived a completely secular life – until my kids arrived, and then suddenly, it was an issue.)

I always felt a little bad that my kids weren’t raised with anything but now, not so much. Because I don’t believe in religion. I’ve seen it used primarily to build walls and divide people, and since I believe we’re all one, organized religion is a contradiction.

Tiger Woods

Why is this anyone’s business? Seriously, why does Tiger Woods owe anyone an explanation? Yeah, I can see doing it to maintain commercial viability (Nike, etc.) but on the most basic level, why do people feel they’re “owed” something here?

They’re upset because the reality of Tiger Woods doesn’t gel with the happy little fantasy they had in their heads, the one that was crafted and marketed to them.

Doesn’t that make it their problem, and not Tiger’s?

Mad As Hell

Since the FBI asked the hosting company to take down the manifesto written by the guy who crashed his plane into the Austin IRS building this morning, I think I should post it anyway.

Because Joe Stack is symbolic of so many. So many workers like him have been exploited in this country, and the worst part is, they still expected it to be different. As he points out, there are two sets of laws in this country. (Thanks, President Obama, for not “relitigating the past”!)

The thing is, Stack felt completely victimized, whether he was or not. (Any IT contract worker knows what this guy’s talking about.) Maybe someone like this read about Bill Gates saying at the TED conference that he hires foreign workers because there aren’t enough talented IT workers here; if he did, it might push him over the edge.

I’m not saying this guy’s entitled to fly his plane into a building. He’s not, of course not. I’m only saying it’s a wonder there haven’t been more incidents like this. (For months, I’ve been muttering to myself: “Why aren’t people going all ‘Fight Club’ on their asses? Why aren’t they snapping yet?” Because I knew when it did, it wouldn’t be pretty.)

Because we were robbed of our dignity in the past three decades. Our leaders took our economic and emotional security from us; they trampled on our sense of self. And they’ve made it very, very clear that our interests are of no real concern to them.

Sooner or later, someone was gonna go off. This week, it was this guy. Who knows what the future will bring?

Anyway, here’s his manifesto.
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What Were They Thinking?

Really interesting article on the psychological process behind tea partiers:

Moral psychology historically confined itself to the study of altruism and justice. When morality is defined as being nice, then the angry rantings of right-wing protesters seem to have nothing to do with morality, and psychologists have long searched for non-moral explanations of conservatism. (Frustration? Racism? Fear of change?) In contrast, the righteous anger of left-wing marchers for peace and “social justice” was sometimes held up by social scientists as the pinnacle of moral development. But the new synthesis that has recently occurred in moral psychology—merging social psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary theory—gives us a new set of tools for understanding political movements, which are always moral movements, whether left-wing, right-wing, or something else. This new moral psychology is based on three principles, each of which can help outsiders understand the tea party movement.

Go read the rest.

Weird inside

I will never be safe
I will never be sane
I will always be weird inside
I will always be lame
Now I’m a grown man
With a child of my own
And I swear I’m not going to let her know
All the pain I have known.

– Everclear, “Father of Mine”

Last night I saw “Raw Boys,” an intense play by playwright Dael Orlandersmith. It’s about the effect abuse has on two brothers – one a writer, the other an actor.

I know so many men who were badly beaten as children. They’re wounded, hostile, mistrusting. The sad thing is, men are still made to feel abuse is relatively normal and only weaklings are affected by it, so they rarely claim that pain. Instead, they stuff it down until it erupts later – on others, or on themselves, via chronic anger, substance abuse or depression.

There’s a graphic scene in the play where the father beats and kicks his oldest son. It’s all the more powerful because the actors never actually touch; they’re at opposite ends of the stage.

It brought back far too many memories. It made me physically sick.

What do you do with all that anger and pain? Where does it go? Look how many men justify how they were treated by repeating it with their own children. “My father did it to me, and I turned out okay.”

No. No, you didn’t, I always tell them.

I learned long ago that boys and men have their own secret world of violence. A challenge, a fight can erupt at any time. My sons tell me stories as adults they would never share when they were younger, because they knew I wouldn’t understand.

Kill, or be killed. That’s the world men live in.

Once I was jolted awake by a vivid, visceral dream. I was a pregnant woman, lying on the floor, trying to protect my belly while a man stood over me, kicking me hard. Heart thumping, I bolted to a sitting position. “What’s wrong?” my now-awake boyfriend asked.

I blurted it out: “Did your father ever beat your mother?”

“Why do you ask?” he said, a little too quietly.

“Did your father beat your mother when she was pregnant with you?”

He told me he wasn’t sure. He said his father did beat his mother when he was drunk, but she’d never said anything about it happening when she was pregnant.

He told me later I was right. (He was, to put it mildly, a little freaked.) “How did you know?” he prodded me.

“Sometimes I just know things,” I told him.

He was such an angry man. He tried to drown it in liquor. It didn’t work.

Abuse affects us all: our children, our lives, our country. Men who don’t know how to deal with conflict, men who find it wherever they go. Men who shut down and don’t letany feelings in, at all.

I’ve had men cry in my arms over the pain of an abusive father. I’ve yet to have a man complain his father was too kind, or loved him too much.

Men have told me I’m not realistic. It’s a hard world, and boys need to be tough, they say. Well, agreed. There are times when we all need to be tough.

But no one ever needs to be broken.

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