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F**kYou Second  Amendment

F**kYou Second Amendment


Is it easier to imagine the end of capitalism or the end of the world?

Another school shooting. Another message from our bleeding heart president, that’s what I yelled into the wind,  F**k You Second Amendment, because I wanted the world, the wind, the universe, my legislators, my unborn grand children, the neighbor hunting in my woods, the 120 high school Freshmen in my county’s school, to listen up. What kind of people are we to sacrifice our freedom to be safe from asault rifle toting lunatics, even if they are teenagers, so that – OK, mostly men – can excercise their f**king freedom to own a gun. Whose freedom is important here? Boys, you don’t need a gun to be men. Really.

Then I thought, better go read the Second Amendment, so you have some idea what you’re yelling about.

Here it is: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

In my state of Vermont ,after Parkland, the legislature passed laws requiring background checks, raised age limits for owning guns and banned bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. Nice gesture, but none of these measures would have been effective against our latest 17 year oid mass murderer. He borrowed his dad’s weapons, thereby avoiding the raised age limits and background checks, he didn’t use either a bumpstock or high capacity magazine. He also had no mental health issues (until he shot up his classmates), so wouldn’t have been flagged as a potential killer, In other words, laudible as these gun control measures seem to be, they are ineffectiive.

There’s only one way out of this. No guns, period. The United States’s gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than other high-income countries, according to an article in the Guardian that takes a look at four countries with successful gun control.  

In these four countries, action was taken immediately after a mass shooting, with various results. In Japan, guns and swords have been banned since the feudal warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) unified Japan. In Germany, despite restrictions, there are guns in the country; but few killings; in Australia, there hasn’t been a mass shooting since the Port Arthur spree that led to stringent restrictions and a massive buy out. In 1946, after a school shooting in the UK, “gun control was in the cards” – escalating to the banning even of small-bore pistols used for target shooters.

It’s the middle of June. There have been 26,1300 incidents with 6,449 deaths so far, 1500 of these are teenagers or younger. The shooting at Santa Fe, Texas, marked the 101st mass shooting (although there is no broadly accepted definition of a mass shooting, the number is considerably more than zero.)

What’s in a parade?

What’s in a parade?

Our great leader wants a parade! He deserves one. After all, he stopped our American Carnage, just as he said he would in his  inaugural speech.  And  didn’t he vow to bring back our borders,  (although he never said where they went)? Also to get back the wealth that the world ripped away from the middle class, at least get it back to him, and make “America First”, although this last has not gone over well with some, but hey, they’ll figure it out? And didn’t he invent that great phrase “alternate facts”? Get that old failed Washington Post to add up all his 2000 lies, falsities, misleading statements? Fire an FBI director? Decide to deport a home grown gang? Grab pussy because he could?

So much to celebrate, America.

He didn’t get a military parade for his inauguration, so let’s make up for that. Remember that his inauguration was the biggest crowd ever, that he won the popular vote, but someone stole it, and maybe those are the people who should  pay for the parade, like they will for the border wall, although that’s Mexico.  Beside, that  fatter guy, Kim Jong-un has parades all the time, so why shouldn’t he? Bigger ones, because of his bigger button.

So while it’s will be heartening for us to see all his hardware, and know our great leader and his generals will be there to protect us, I still wonder, is there anyone around to stop him?



Insight for the day: Dogs are too lazy to evolve.

Knowing nothing

Knowing nothing

I used to think when someone dies a light like a star went out, leaving a void, an indent made by its former weight, but now I think thirty or three hundred or three thousand new lights take its place, swarming over its previous existence until the sky is filled to bursting with beggars (as Rumi says) and everything starts to topple. I think the Republican party means to kill all the poor people, the refugees, animals, plants and everything living on those low lying islands threatened by the rising sea. And I think they might be accelerating, out of fear and hysteria that their mission won’t be accomplished before “us” rises out of the marshes and cut off their heads. So what I think  I’m saying is that I used to think that good and evil could be contained in an ideology. That I could be a progressive democrat pro-choice female who admitted to her own racism, who could question if feeding the birds was good for the birds or if she did it only for her own pleasure, meaning that she could admit that the birds would get along without her interference. But I question this ideology.

Up until this last election, I believed that humanity was progressing in a benevolent direction, meaning that the culture would want to feed the poor,nourish the babies, find a universal vaccine for pandemics, find a difference use for recycled refrigerator boxes than the current one of very very tiny recycled houses. This was the meaning of progressive. Going forward. Instead my people have elected a kleptocracy determined to stomp out those footprints with their big clumsy boots one by one until everyone who is not “them” is rounded up far away from the houses I see advertised in the Times real estate section, the strangest home-with-seven-swimming pools going for $700 million, unfinished. This is a vision of castles, churches and serfdom as witness Game of Thrones.

Up until now, I unthinkingly believed in democracy, It never occurred to me that Ubu Roi could be elected, but there he is, furiously pacing his opulent tower stuffing his face. I think it was Andrew Sullivan who first clued me in to the fact – and this may be one thing we do know – that  democracy can end badly when the people elect evil, and then get what they have albeit unwittingly asked for. I also believed that capitalism was better than the alternatives, but rampant capitalism, without regulation or restraint or consciousness of beings outside the circles of one’s own greed is a raging fire through which no horse can gallop without self-incineration. Capitalism is possibly the best ideology we humans have invented for ourselves, but it is terrible.

As long we hold on to these ideologies, we’re stuck in our lack of imagination. The future can not evolve. I used to believe that we, our species, could evolve through technology, neuroscience, genetics, guardianship of the planet, population control, distribution of wealth and resources, even compassion, diversity, intermarriage, exchange of ideas,  but no longer. The evil we have elected is evolving faster, and whatever it is the planet is up to cannot be stopped because the planet does not care about us. I used to think that great art – the visions people explore with their hands, voices, eyes would be of some inspiration, but even that point is cloudy as it is the wealthy establishment that defines what is great art by embedding in it a price tag. Nor is hope the point, because – hope for what? If we could imagine what we hoped for, there would be no need for hoping because it already be in process. We cannot hope for what we cannot imagine.

Quinn, a character in my book, a former addict and now a Buddhist, at one point sits by a bend in a river with his Ipad writing an essay about how if this is the end of the world as we know it, there is no reason for despair.Since this is Montana and the mountains are ringed with fire – is he nuts?


Channeling Norman Mailer

Channeling Norman Mailer

In a group email thread about Clarice Lispector’s GW, a writer communicated his dead-of-night ecstatic epiphany about loving the book. It was a personal rave; funny, well written, insightful, but interlaced with thinly veiled insults directed to the feminist critics amongst the group. Reactions were immediate: anger, finger pointing, shaming, and grammatical corrections. Unapologetic, he said he was drunk and later that he was channeling Norman Mailer.

In 1968 or 9, back to New York from art school on the west coast, I worked for a time at Grove press. On a beautiful, clear summer day, I was sitting on the building steps smoking (Gauloise – really), wearing a tiny vaguely ethnic dress with espadrilles. Black lined eyes, white lips,  hanging hair – probably why I’d gotten the job as I had no literary creds – when a young man on a motorcycle pulled up. I recognized him as one of  Norman Mailer’s side kicks. I don’t remember if Grove was Mailer’s publisher at the time, but Mailer was buddies with the publisher, Barney Rosset and Grove was hip. Becket, Henry Miller, John Rechy, Pinter – everyone who mattered.  The motorcycle guy ran up the steps, brushing my shoulder as he passed, and again when, a moment later, he returned.  He stood at the curb, leaned on his bike and smiled up at me. He pointed to the back seat. Hop on, he mouthed.  “Maidstone, you’ll be famous”.  And I tossed my mane, laughed into a smoke ring and called out, “no way.”

Maidstone was the title of a film Mailer was making on Barney’s estate in the Hamptons. The word was;  porno. Mailer’s kind of porno, a pugilistic mixture of love, brilliance, evil, hucksterism serving his insatiable ego. He was the star, Kingsley (get it?) running for President, in danger of assassination, and somehow this required the presence of three ex wives, his children, black panthers, ghetto kids, boxing matches, naked actresses, a ridiculous but real fight with Rip Torn,  and everyone talking about paying for sex before fucking each other for free. I found it pathetic.

Buzz shrugged; regretfully, I thought, as I watched him drive away. I felt a bit wistful, the way one does on Prom night when you realize you have stomach flu.  Looking back, I wonder if I’d misinterpreted:  maybe his regret was not of missing out on me as a cool girl he’d like to know, but more likely of letting slip a potential prey for Norman.

In 2006, desperate to finish a novel on a deadline, I  locked myself up in a condo in Provincetown, Mass. No car, no wifi, no television. The espresso cafe at the corner shut down the day I arrived.  No distractions, no dog, no husband.  Every day, to clear my brain, I walked the length of Commercial Street, often stopping at the library because all the other millions of writers in the world were better writers than me, and I was desperate to learn how to create a sentence. Since P’town was Mailer’s town, I read everything I could find; books, reviews, interviews. I wanted to see the place through his crazed, pornographic, pugilistic, brilliant, drug addled eyes. What I found instead was a man in thrall with his town, who romped with his dog on the beach, tossed kids in the surf, parried over sandwiches with latest beautiful wife, got drunk on the wharf with the fishing fleet. The clan lived in a big brick house facing the beach.  One day I found it and I stood across the street for a long moment paying my conflicted respects. Rumor had it that he’d been the source for the phase “macho pig”, but still, he’d commanded the literary stage for all of my life and deserved my awe. I was about to head back when I heard his unmistakable voice calling out; “A beautiful day for a beautiful woman.” I was in my 60’s, swaddled in a puffer but no matter, Norman was Norman. He was well into his 80’s, a tiny person on his walker, steadied (of course) by a woman at his side. We stood for a moment nodding,  and then went on our separate ways. Six months later, he was dead. 

Love him or hate him, or worse, ignore him, Mailer’s one of the tiny flames in our American lives, a sometimes great writer, a sometimes bore and entertainer. Some of us were now and then hooked on his reality show, his – and ours – 15 minutes of fame.

But it’s really not a great idea for any guy to channel him right now (#metoo).








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