The silver lining to Trump and America’s white-patriarchal crisis.
In his recent interview with Bill Moyers, Ben Fountain, author of Beautiful Country, Burn Again, contextualizes Trump’s ascent to power within America’s (popular) culture, clarifying the ways our current political circumstances far from rose out of a vacuum. As an immigrant to this country and a keen observer of its culture, I’ve seen this truth as self-evident since the 2016 primaries. Fountain points to the popularity of J.R. Ewing — a Trumpian, villain proto-type — a character who, in the year I emigrated from England to the US, (1977), morosely captivated what was then still a fledgling, “global” popular culture. His image was so compelling my friends joked that I would surely return one day in a ten-gallon hat. J.R. Ewing and his tough, good-guy counterpart, John Wayne, hold sway as powerful, mythic white, male archetypes — the existence of which, in today’s evolving America, have become deeply threatened to their celluloid core.
Fountain’s analysis begins to touch on the ways the Trump phenomenon is inseparable from the culture in which it was born. I remember hearing the predictions of a famous Vedic astrologer before the 2016 election that “America will get the president it deserves” — and we have. Fountain weaves connections between American popular culture, the failures of the American dream under its waking-life capitalism, and our propensity to escape, exponentially compounded today by the addictive appeal of our “devices”. Fountain is dead on here as he points to the complexity of the problems we face in this country; he makes it clear it will require much more than the time it takes for Trump to leave office to address them. (Assuming he leaves, which I still have some faith will eventually happen.)
However, there is something important missing in Fountain’s analysis — at least as it appears in this interview. American culture, its economic institutions, and this country’s values are infused at their foundation by the impact of a patriarchal worldview. As those institutions are increasingly threatened, the question is begged: What might be able to emerge on the other side? Continue reading “The Silver Lining: Trump and the Crisis of White, Patriarchy’s Archetypes”→
You don’t need to be Jewish or Christian to celebrate. The pagan roots of spring time are calling. It’s time to listen.
Neither a practicing Christian, nor Jewish, I woke on this Easter/Passover Sunday with a gnawing sense that something needed to happen in my family — something that preferably did not have to do with sugar. We returned from vacation Saturday night and my twin, 9 year old boys would have happily played nerf basketball and jumped on the trampoline all day. Our bags were still packed, breakfast had been scrambled together from the slim pickings in the fridge. The nerf ball had been missed, yes, but the chorus of whines begging me to drive to the store for a chocolate egg or some gummy bears felt just around the corner.
With an embarrassing lack of imagination, I sat down at my computer to see if I could find some meaningful video on the resurrection. Five minutes in, after finding absolutely NOTHING of meaning, I remembered what a friend told me last year that I disturbingly learned for the first time. Something I had somehow forgotten. Continue reading “In Honor of Rebirth”→
My son was recently assigned “This Land is Your Land” by his piano teacher. Driving home from the lesson with his brother, we sang the chorus together in the car. I delightfully twanged out my best attempt at Guthrie’s classic, 1950s, American-folk voice. “This land is your land, this land is my land, from the Redwood Forests to the New York Islands…” It’s great, isn’t it? Like all the best folks songs, it hijacks your heart making it hard to stop once you’ve started.
This spoken word is about discovery, about men and women, our present and our future. It’s an invitation to men to man-up with love, and to women to risk being more of who we really are. It’s about me and you. It’s about the power we all have, no matter what we have faced, to take a stand in love. (It’s also about the fruits that can get harvested as a 50 year old woman!)
There are those who will tell you to doubt yourself
and you will heed them
because you love them
(or because your life began depending on them?)
and take in their guidance to your core.
You will turn all you know to be true upside down
and you will live — inside out —half-mad
a frail misunderstanding of yourself.
They will tell you God is not real,
or that God is something you know not
or that their God in the sky is it and nothing more.
They will tell you that the sun is not magnificent
for rising in the east each morning
and that the earth is simply there for the taking. Continue reading “Dragon Queen Woman”→