Saturday, August 29, 2009

Madonna Speaks Out For Gypsy Rights

Reason #23 why I love Madonna: Read it here. RTE reports that Madonna spoke to the crowd at one of her Bucharest concerts about her sadness about the enormous plight of the Romany-Gypsy people. Although her remark was met with boos she continued to defend her position and the fact that Gypsies deserve equal rights and freedom just like everyone else.

I must say I am extraordinarily touched. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my Gypsy heart. This kind of racism has been normalized and encouraged to the point that sometimes I find it is UNSAFE for me to admit that I'm partially Romany-Gypsy. And my full Gypsy brothers and sisters endure hate crimes, murder, and worse all the time, for so long. This must end. Gypsy power! Equal rights and freedom for all! An extraordinarily famous spokesperson is what we need, just as much as we need everyone to speak up in unison for love instead of hate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Humor and Homocide?

ETA: possible trigger material, though not particularly explicit, and hopefully helpful.

In the Irish Examiner that is spread out across my in-laws' kitchen table is an article by Suzanne Harrington, "Killer Males Lack a Sense of Humour." I've had a lot of trouble finding it online, which escapes me because it's an excellent piece. I'll do some old-school summarising and quotations. Basically, she says that apparently (according to surveys?) men's greatest fear when it comes to women is that they will be laughed at, whereas women's greatest fear is that men will kill them. Who can blame us? The media is loaded with terrifying incidents for us to draw from. Harrington's problem is that the media offers validating explanations for men who murder women.

"Oh so THAT'S why he locked her in the basement and ate her-- his mummy was mean to him. It's all her fault."

She refers to the incident of a 48 year old man in Pittsburgh who opened fire on an aerobics class, killing three women and injuring nine others because he couldn't get a girlfriend. Not because he's a psycho, but because none of the girls like him any more. What? He said he was frustrated because he wanted a younger girlfriend.

"He raged in blogs that 30 million women-- his estimate of available, desirable women-- rejected him. Not personally, you understand-- he just felt rejected by womankind in general, hence the randomness of his murders. He hadn't had sex in years, or a girlfriend in decades, yet he described himself as not bad looking and not a weirdo. (Apart from the bit when he sprayed a roomful of women with bullets. That's definitely weird, as in insanely homicidally weird."

Harrington goes on to say that, in general, women don't mind if a guy is a bit ugly as long as he has a winning personality. What we really don't like are psychopaths. So what pisses both Harrington and me off is, "his justification (and its faithful reproduction in the media) about how he had so much to offer if only we ungrateful hussies had been more receptive."

What is with this justification? This man did something sick. Not being able to bag a younger woman is no excuse. I think psychology is an important part of the sciences, important in this particular sense because it examines the "motivation" (and I use that word to mean excuse) that a sociopath creates in order to rationalise an otherwise forbidden action, but by no means should it be offered as a reason all neatly wrapped with a Freudian bow by the media. These women died for NO reason. Their deaths defy reason.

It's the same nonsense we hear about all kinds of violence. I was sexually abused repeatedly and consistently for 11 years since the age of 5. My parents and extended family did nothing about it, even though they knew what was happening and I begged them to help me, even though I was molested by my two cousins, Andrew and Amelia Feigenbaum, just feet away from my father, and he did nothing to stop it. Even though it got so bad that the state of NH intervened (incompetently, I might add). When I asked my mother why she let that (and so many other gruesome things that I'll save for the memoir) happen to me, something that nearly ended my life, she said, "I guess it was because I was abused." My father still hasn't given me a real explanation. It took me a long time to admit how bad my family was to me because I was brainwashed into thinking I had no human rights. And I'm not the only one who has been brainwashed. As long as the media is offering up these psychopathic "reasons" as if they are anything more than the ichor leaking from a cruel brain, there is a serious problem.

Human rights come first. There are NO reasons for violence. Having been abused by both men and woman, and knowing that people, are well, people and not particularly different on the basis of gender alone, I would not say that women are not violent. That is simply untrue. But these shooting outbursts are, so far, a male phenomena. Harrington suggests it has to do with the way that women deal with things and men let things stagnate and fester. Festering is ok (not ideal), unless, as Harrington points out, it's a murderous nutjob who is festering. I spoke with a licensed social worker who I greatly respect about the subject of gender and depression, and she told me that women tend to express depression as sadness, whereas men express it through anger. Anger is ok. It's killing that's not ok. I've been angry before and I've never killed anyone, never even considered it. Hell, I was abused and I still haven't killed anyone, and according to some journalists, that gives me plenty of "reasons." And guess what, I never will! Stubbing your toe is not a reason for punching your partner in the face, just like not having a date in 10 years is no reason for opening fire on a class of innocent women.

There is a difference between the subtle workings of the mind and all its seemingly relevant detritus and actual reasons. I'm hungry and I need to eat to nurture my body, so I am going to eat a banana because it will satisfy my hunger, it is a food source, and it has essential vitamins that my body needs in order to thrive. That's a reason for action.

Harrington ends her article with this, "...have you ever heard of a woman murdering random men because she couldn't get a date? No? It's because we don't. We have a laugh about it instead."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Most Powerful Women

This afternoon I read an article on the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. Although many of them are big business tycoons I was happy to see activists on there as well. Here's the article. Reading it really buoyed my spirits. I guess after having so many things go "wrong" this year I started to lose hope. But, after reading this article I remembered that all these women started somewhere, and not all of them had a head start.

Some people have said to me recently that most importantly, I have love. That's true. I forgot how really powerful that is. I have love in my marriage, of course, and that is precious. I also have love for myself. With that love, I can do what's best for me, my partner, and then my world. I am applying to graduate school and trusting that the money will be there. I will try to get scholarships, and if that fails, I will do something else. I'm writing a memoir, a novel, and I'm starting my 2nd poetry manuscript. It's what makes me happy, and, pardon me for getting a bit Pagan-religious in this post, but "All acts of love and beauty are in Her name." Maybe the reason why I can't find work at all is because I need to work on these things. Maybe I need to be in Ireland right now. And, I get to spend more time with L than ever, and that is a blessing too. And out of love comes everything worth having.

Also, I have a lot of great ideas for what to do with my money when I have it. I can't say enough about The Rainforest Site. The clicks are great because it's a way to donate money when you're broke, but everything that is sold on that site goes to charity, there are loads of petitions for good causes waiting to be signed, and there are a lot of charities that you can donate to directly, like the Nepalese Youth Opportunity Foundation. It's amazing how $350 can liberate a little girl from a life of indentured servitude and give her an education with school supplies and enough money to support her family. I don't have it now, but when I do, I know where I'm sending it. And I was thinking that even though I don't have anything at the moment, I could probably think of some ways to raise it so I could give it sooner. I should contact the NYOF though so people believe me. It's important to do these things correctly.

All in all, a very thought-provoking afternoon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Change of Plans

We planned to move to Scotland because we were so sure that L was going to get this job in Aberdeen-- the company was saying it was a sure thing. And after loads of borrowed money was spent to get him there, he didn't get it after all. And our welfare runs out in a few weeks. And we're in tremendous debt. And this move/job was our cynosure. So now we're stuck in this capsized country wondering what to do next. Any ideas?

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I saw this in Breaking Grounds in Portsmouth, NH. It reminds me of when I was a child and I would sneak out into the forest at night. Human sounds melted away and only the nocturnal happenings of animals roared through me. The birches looked stark against the other trees and I felt as though at night they were less guarded, less discreet.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Yes, I've been terribly lazy. I prefer to be disciplined but I took a little break. L is away again at the final interview and we will know in a few days what on earth we are doing with our lives.

Small disasters. R and I are coaxing the fridge into working because we can't afford to fix it. Amazing the things you find stuck in refrigerators. Hopefully removing the tea light from the drain pipe did the trick. We watched The Jungle Book because lately we're fond of checking up on our childhoods through Disney movies. I forgot how Mogli was tempted into domesticity at the end by a pretty Indian girl from the village.

I can't help but find the Dolmio commercials incredibly racist... those puppets are bizarre, the accents are atrocious, and the stereotypes are abound. I'm 1/4 Italian too, and I can tell you that no real Italian cooks are cracking open bottles of Dolmio.

There is a musician from Macroom, in Co Cork named Ger Wolfe. Check him out. His music is sweet and he sings with an Irish accent.

This post is the detritus of the past few weeks. All the really important stuff is too top secret to write about. How frustrating.