Category Archives: Social/Political Observations

Lets Talk About Terrorism

Prayers for Martin Richard and his family

It’s here.  We can’t deny it.  9-11 wasn’t just a single, tragic and horrible event.  It was one in a series of events that has been visiting and continues to visit our country.

When I watch the images of the bleeding bodies on the streets of Boston, the photos of women praying on their knees at the blockades, the face of the eight year old child, Martin Richard, that was suddenly and savagely ripped from his parents lives, I feel like I am looking at a war zone.  A war zone in another country, but it’s not another country.  It’s the United States.  Only two hours from where I am shooting All My Children.

I first heard about the bombing from a news app I have on my phone, via the Huffington Post. Then I got a text from my fiancé, Jon, who asked me if I had heard.  Perhaps because I went through 9/11, living only 20 blocks from the towers, I tend not to follow war news too closely because the images are still upsetting, but I had to find out more.  I went to see Darnell and we quietly watched the news videos about it on my iPhone.  I texted my sister to make sure she was okay because she had just been in Boston visiting a friend.  In 2005 she just missed getting on the subway in London that was bombed.  Thank god she and everyone she knew was okay.

Everyone began to gather in the hallways when they had a break to listen to the news on a production assistant’s computer.  We heard they shut down cell service (bombs can now be set off with a cellular device) and knew would cause a lot of distress for the families trying to reach their loved ones.  We felt helpless.

This can happen now anywhere, to anyone.

Who did this?  Why did they do this?  There must be a message that the person who set those bombs is trying to convey or why would they do such a thing?  Bottom line, I imagine they want us to feel pain and fear.  I think they wanted people to suffer.

If it is an American, we need to talk about mental health like never before, as well as access to bomb making material.  If it is someone from another country who is trying to get back at America for perceived aggressions, then we need to talk about homeland security like never before.

I have the strangest feeling that no one is going to take credit for this bomb which could make this even more terrifying, because we will have an invisible enemy.  It’s hard to fight someone you can’t see, and it puts people in a state of fear and panic.  However, we must not allow that person or persons to take our strength from us.

As I watch the news I also see the incredible human spirit.  I see dignity, strength, grace, and resolve.  People who were running and innocent bystanders alike, people who came to Boston from all over the world, Americans and local Bostonians, all drawing on their faith and deepest resources to come to the aid of those in distress.

Terrible things may happen, have happened, will happen.  I think it’s important to remember there are things we can do.  We can comfort those in need, support those who are left without resources  with food and shelter, and not let ourselves be put into a state of fear.  We are strong.  We are resilient.  We will not be cowed by this weak and pathetic act of cowardice.

If you are suffering today, I pray for giant angels come down to wrap their wings around you to give you love and strength.  I pray that Martin Richard and his family and all those who have been hurt or affected by the Boston bombing also be deeply and tenderly comforted, whether by angels, or strangers, or by neighbors.  Because right now, we can all be angels to one another.

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An Important Video About the Sex Trade

Warning: graphic images.

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“Fighting for rights at work is never an easy matter. The very act of complaining about how one is being treated on the job, however unfairly, can elicit choruses of “you ungrateful whiner,” or “you are threatening us all,” from those who tend towards the unsympathetic. Unions, once the safe haven for heroes of the middle class, are currently mocked and shamed in the media, as if all unions are made up of characters from Boardwalk Empire. You know, mafia types with baseball bats and crooked noses. I mean, corporations, (the giant, uncontrollable, financial octopuses of our time) would never stoop so low as to take advantage of an employee.  How could I even suggest such a thing?”

You can read this entire article (and 139 comments on it) at Policymic.com, or just click the title of the article.

Or simply copy and paste this link: http://www.policymic.com/articles/19800/labor-laws-how-a-group-of-strippers-in-california-may-save-workers-rights

(Apologies, my theme is acting up and not allowing me to post links in the body of the post.)

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I am very proud of this article.  Matthew Rozsa and I co-authored it.  Our efforts on both articles was completely equal.  I am really enjoying writing with him.  He has an incredibly organized mind and a terrific writing style.  I hope you find the article thought-provoking.  Please feel free to comment here or on policymic.com

http://www.policymic.com/articles/13577/katrina-7-year-anniversary-in-new-orleans-the-times-picayune-faces-a-digital-revolution-that-most-residents-do-not-want-to-subscribe-to

Read more articles by Matthew here:  http://matthewrozsa.policymic.com/

At Policymic, we can only upload on one of our pages, even though we authored both articles equally.  We made a choice to post the Catwoman article on my Policymic page and the New Orleans on his, although it would have worked equally well the other way around.

Thanks for reading and for your comments!

 

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Click the link below to be taken to a fun new article I wrote with Matthew Rozsa.  You can check out more of his writing here: http://matthewrozsa.policymic.com/

50 Years of Catwoman: In Her Satin Tights, Fighting for Women’s Rights.

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The Joys of Aging

There are a lot of people who are not happy with the fact that we age.  Entire industries and advertising campaigns are built around this feeling of worthlessness, focusing primarily on both functions and appearances that have decreased in, shall we say, lift.  Although I appreciate a good container of French face cream, and the happy results from a pill that makes a man last longer in the sack, I can’t say that the focus that our media puts on these two qualities as life changing is quite fair to our happiness quotient as human beings.  In fact, quite the opposite.

Women as they age can often become more desperate to retain a lost youth, using any means necessary to “fight” the natural process gravity exacts.  We as a gender can, generally, become depressed, anxious, bitter and intensely judgmental of both ourselves and other women.  Men aren’t that different.  They can become more aggressive, more power-hungry, date younger and younger women to prove their virility often looking more and more ridiculous in the process.  What to do?

In my humble opinion, there simply isn’t enough support out there for us to value age for the other qualities it brings.  Wisdom, insight, increased patience, humility and kindness are some internal effects that aging CAN have.  If you have taken the time to learn a craft, you might achieve a level of mastery at that craft and the attendant pleasure that practicing that mastery gives.  Some musicians are a point in fact.  How amazing were Annie Lennox and Brian May at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, rocking it out with wrinkles and gray hair flying wildly in the wind?

I am only in the earliest part of my journey towards middle age.  At 42, I am closer to my thirty-something counterparts in emotional charting, or you should think so, but the very mention of being my over 40 can sometimes have an interesting reaction in people.  Almost as if I should start planning my own funeral.  It would be funny if they weren’t so serious.

Apparently, I should be married.  I should have children.  I should be planning my husbands birthday rather than sitting here and writing about my opinion.  I should feel bad about how my eyes are going to shit, and how my neck certainly ain’t what it used to be.  I should be taking my children to summer camp.  I should be angry at younger women.  I should be mourning my youth.

But I’m not.

My youth (how can I say this gently) SUCKED.  I was treated like an object more than I was ever treated like a person, especially in show business but unfortunately even by some friends.  I was objectified, commodified, categorized and minimized – all because I was “young.” I ought to have been treated like a new egg with bright potential, hoping to make a difference in the world, but that rarely happened.  I was an object from which money could be made or sex could be culled.  Men of all ages (mostly older) hit on me, perhaps sensing my fragile daddy complex, and even lesbians took advantage of my complete naiveté.  I know some people saw me as strong and ambitious, but I can tell you now, I was scared shitless in total survival mode. Coming from this experience, why would I ever want to be YOUNG?

I love young people.  I thrill at being able to give them some insight.  I love being able to tell them, “I know how tough it can be, hold onto your dream, you can do it.”  I don’t feel threatened by them, whether they’re men or women.  I like children, and perhaps I will have one someday, but I have also listened carefully to my friends who say, “THINK ABOUT IT” and have paused.  I’m still thinking about it.  I have never gotten married because of one reason: I don’t want to go through a divorce.  My parents marriage and divorce was a total nightmare.  I’ve been through horrible, catastrophic, emotionally debilitating break ups, one that even sent me spiraling into a years long depression.  If getting a divorce is WORSE that THAT, I take marriage very, very seriously.

When I was a teenager my mother would tell me, “Katie, make sure to always have your own money and to make it before you are 40, because no man will want you after that, and no one will hire you.”  WHAT A MESSAGE!  What a load of bullshit.  Sadly, this message is still being put out there, causing thousands of women to feel total despair about their lives.  I’ve often thought about the 1970′s movie “Logan’s Run,” where a society creates a game out of a death machine, created to kill everyone (men and women) on their 30th birthday.  The characters would float up in the sky and literally explode.  Only Logan saw it for what it was and said, “I’m getting the f*ck out of here.”  Is it a surprise to hear me say, “I’m with Logan”?

The bottom line is this: our negative reinforcements of the stereotypes of the unhappy aging person are really uncool and yes, I believe it’s worse for women than it is for men, although it isn’t easy for either gender.

So this blog is my official shout out to all the men and women over 40,50, 60, 70 and on up.  You know, THE REST OF US.  You are NEEDED.  Society needs you to be vocal, to be present about your opinion.  We need you to NOT shrink away, shamed by your neck or balls or whatever, and for you to claim your value as people PUBLICLY.   I, personally, want to see more older women talking about what they THINK, not about what skin cream they use or what designer clothes they are wearing.  I want more older men to stop fighting each other for a power position and talk about what really MATTERS in life, and for both genders to get busy talking about how to help young people THAT AREN’T THEIR CHILDREN.

That is what older people are FOR in a society.  They are not to be locked up in some home so they can sit around watching TV and tasting 50 f*cking flavors of ice cream.  They need to be IN SOCIETY to we can HEAR what they have learned about life!

I know they are tired.  I’m tired, too, but not that tired.  I’ve been kicked in the ass more times than I would like, but I am not defeated.

COURAGE, my friends.  TAKE HEART.  Society needs you to help guide it.  To help keep it on the right track.  Don’t give up.  Vote.  Write a blog.  Start a business.  Council a kid.  It matters.  YOU matter.

So who cares about your neck?  Please.  In the larger scheme of things, it’s so unimportant.  This is why I chose a photo of Hillary Clinton for this blog.  No woman in the public eye has been more picked on for her appearance, when what really matters about her is her FABULOUS MIND.  She’s a brilliant, strong, decisive, amazing woman who is out there fighting the good fight.  I am proud to be an American with her working in public office.  So she’s aging?  WHO CARES?  That conversation is soooo boring.

 

 

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We Are All Animals

I’ve been working on a theory. It is SURE to piss a lot of people off, but I am learning YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYBODY, and MOST PEOPLE LIKE TO USE THE INTERNET TO ATTACK, NOT TO CONNECT. This second fact makes me very sad, but also plays into my theory: WE ARE ALL ANIMALS FIRST, PEOPLE SECOND.

I’ve heard it called a variety of things: human nature, primitive instinct, the “natural self.” We are taught it is a good thing to be in touch with these feelings as sometimes they warn us when there is danger, and other times they drive us to compete, feed ourselves and survive if not thrive. I want to make it clear I AM NOT SAYING THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THESE INTERNAL DRIVES. Oy! What I am saying is that I recently became aware how much they drive every single person every single day, and it was an unsettling feeling.

As some of you know, I live in New York City. Here it is easy to be a witness to human nature – you just have to step out the door and keep your eyes open: people pushing and shoving one another to get down the sidewalk, annoyed by those moving too slow, is a common enough site. Aggressive competition is the name of the game here and that is the ONE instinct in particular I want to talk about. The aggression. The hatred of “the other who is different.” The fear of the one that stands out. The desire to claim and keep ones piece of hard won territory.

I feel like this aggression has become endemic. I see it everywhere these days: from neighbors to strangers, in TV, films and theater productions, and ALL OVER politics, the news and media outlets. Everywhere the story under the story seems to be the same: this person is angry; that one is afraid; this group wants something and that group feels they will crush another person before letting them have it.

We live in a civilized country, but you wouldn’t know it from the way so many people talk to one another, and if you suggest anything different, anything like “hey lets talk it out, lets try to understand one another” the tendency, even in the most civilized of company, is to mock, ridicule, slander or humiliate – some form of aggressive competition designed for one person to win and the other to lose.

So why TRY to be civil? Why not just accept that we are ALL ANIMALS, operating from our basest nature and go from there? I have been seriously thinking of switching my worldview radically. “We are all the same at heart and need understanding” isn’t really doing a hell of a lot for me, so I’ve been thinking about coming from the viewpoint that everyone is like my dog: scared and snappy when he doesn’t feel protected; defensive around those larger or different from him; unable to survive without love and companionship; territorial of his space and with a strong instinct to pee where other’s have peed before.

I think I am going to go with this because it makes more sense. All the neurosis and emotional drives pale in comparison to animal instinct, and as a society I think we are being driven to extremes for some reason. It’s as if nothing less than high adrenaline, high risk, base entertainment and social interaction will do to satisfy.

What’s the matter with us? Are we missing passion or some kind of satisfaction in our lives? Is that why we attack one another?

Sometimes, if I didn’t believe in the possibility of good that entertainment, social discourse and the Internet can do, I would unplug from it all, because these days it’s beginning to feel like a relationship with an abusive lover. Crazy, dramatic, and soul sapping. But I do believe. I believe that writing this right now is bridging some kind of gap with somebody, somewhere who feels as confused and sad about the world they are looking at today as I do.

So what is the solution other than going back to what is usually labeled the “idiotic liberal socialist dogma” of loving acceptance and care for all? CAN we as a society find a middle ground where we accept our aggressive nature without indulging it? Does it have to be all one way or another?

What I find myself falling back into is politeness. Learned social behavior that allows me to walk certain territory with some grace. Saying “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” allows me to feel good about the way I navigate my life.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people practiced some of these old fashioned basics? Maybe it’s like putting a coat on a dog (for SOME people) but at least the dog still has to take the trouble to unzip before he can pee on you.

I would like to invite you to share your feelings about my theory, but please, try not to prove me right.

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