Monday, May 21, 2018

Heterophobia: Sexual Harrassment and the Future of Feminism by Daphne Patai

When reading such a brilliant, well researched, well considered book, as Heterophobia: Sexual Harrassment and the Future of Feminism by Daphne Patai, it is sadly true that radical feminism, that perverse ideology and those who generate the increasingly proven false fear monger ing statistics of women’s study, simply will not expose themselves to such a work. When Hoff-Summers wrote ‘Who stole Feminism’ she was ahead of her time noting then that women’s liberation and the suffragette movement had no relationship to the modern male bashing anti humanity ‘feminism’ of this day.  

Daphne Patai has done a remarkable job of exposing the Sexual Harrassment Industry critiquing the ever expanding domain of ‘Sexual Harrassment’ and the financial and influential rewards of promotion of this very lucrative and powerful position.  Throughout her book she points to the irony of the ‘apparently powerless victims’ gaining incredible victory after victory in a matter of a very few years.  Sexual Harrassment claims have become the ‘new whiplash industry ‘. Instead of ambulance chasing lawyers there are now countless hoards of social activist warriors ready to descend like locusts on the ‘accused’ whether innocent or otherwise.  She points to Andrea Dworkins claim that ‘millions of men want a woman at work to suck their cock’ which were it to be considered of any other group would be the lowest of hate speech. Imagine saying that black men want black women at work solely for oral sex. It all works only if one accepts the under pinning feminist ideology as stated by Catherine MacKinnon author of the 1979 highly influential Sexual Harrassment of Working Women. ‘Sexual Harrassment ....eroticizes women’s subordination....It acts out and deepens the powerlessness of women as a a gender, as women. ‘
What is deceitful is that there is no mention of the traditional sexual ‘power’ of women over men and the many ways they use this power to achieve upward mobility and success.  The other most successful writer in the Sexual Harrassment Industry has produced a work that simply never addresses the ‘innocent’ and ‘false accused’. Indeed the insanity of this industry is to argue that women ‘don’t lie about sex’.  This claim is as ludicrous as to say Nazi’s  would never gas Jews yet it’s exists throughout the Sexual Harrassment Industry.  Patai argues this is because the underlying purpose of the Sexual Harrassment Industry is creation of money, jobs and essentially the destruction of male and female relationships by increasing beurocratic barriers mostly orchestrated by quasi legal administrative bodies fearing principally for their own positions and unwilling to risk saying no to a sterile movement. Better to outlaw ‘hugging’ and accept that despite the usual argument of ‘power’ male students obviously sexually harass female teachers because it’s not about anything more than destruction of the heterosexual relationships.  

She moves through each of the major cases  in the history of the Sexual Harrassment Industry’s increasing destruction of freedom of speech and expression and increasing power victories while claiming victimship.  She identifies the misuse of language to create a propagandistic halcyon cry  of ‘the skies falling’ ‘every woman has been a victim of rape’ to generate class size and industry influence.  She notes that there is never a discussion of what is ‘trivial’ versus ‘serious’ and everything from even the ‘male gaze’ in a public space  is considered traumatic and ‘very serious Harrassment.’  She shows how increasingly the words ‘Sexual Harrassment’ are replaced by ‘discomfort’ and that the language is manipulated routinely implying objectivity to a purely subjective and utterly biased fiction.  Discussing the industrial growth of the Sexual Harrassment Industry she states that it would be ‘refreshingly honest if feminists were to say, ‘tough you men had a good run for your money, now we’’ve got the winning hand’ . Instead feminists dress up their game in utopian jargon and greater many critics have pointed out....were extreme feminist causes to succeed it would be just another instance of one abusive group being replaced by another.’

She quotes Jeffry Rosen’s comment that MacKinnon has ‘nearly won the war to transform Title VII from a law that bans sex discrimination to a law that bans sexual expression’.  To get more of the ‘pie’ the Sexual Harrassment Industry have moved from the rare reprehensible historic workplace event to what others have described as a full fledge attack on ‘toxic masculinity’ as it appears in any aspect of society, and the key to understanding this is that ‘all masculinity’ is ‘toxic’.  

Farley discussed in contrast the upward mobility of women such as Elizabeth Ray, who was employed by Congressman Wilbur Hays for a job which she was unqualified for, and that these endless examples ‘testify to the ways in which women have always been able to use their sexuality as a means of upward mobility.’ By contrast she points out that the ‘power of the charge of Sexual Harrassment is, at the present moment, enormous. It can unleash formdable institutional forces against an alleged harrasser often with a complete absence of due process.’  She points to the suicides of those innoscents who are falsely accused and how the feminists consider their loss and death as acceptable. Like any radical ideologues the  feminists will use whatever means to achieve their ‘justified ends’.  

‘Victime of Sexual Harrassment (no matter how trivial) gain the status of ‘survivors’ tantamount to those who have suffered ‘brutal assault, torture, or persecution’. ‘ Not to be outdone she writes, psychology has jumped on the bandwagon providing endless counselling for those ‘grieving’ their experiences.  

She speaks also about the ‘Sexual Harrassment vigilantism’ that has extended in it’s attempt to ‘ban, or otherwise regulate consensual relationships between individuals who occupy ‘hierarchically ‘ distinct positions relative to one another.  According to MacKinnon ‘economic power is to Sexual Harrassment as physical force is to rape’.  However in the expanding domain of the Sexual Harrassment Industry, ‘asymmetrical relationships’  have moved to include ‘symmetrical relationships’ and even forgive ‘female professors who are sexually harrassed by students’ as evidenced in the male students negative ‘assessment’ of the  professor’s teaching. There is no question that the teacher may be lousy but now the student, if male , is sexually harassing her. .

She critiques the highly dubious Bernice R. Sandler and Robert J. Shop Sexual Harrassment on Campus, a Guide for Administrations, Faculty, and Students for it’s ‘bizarre propensity for reconceptualizing personal relationships largely in terms of power. ‘. In detail she points out it’s outrageous contradictions and actual abuse of statistics such that were it any other area of study it would be wholly disqualified from academic inclusion.  

She quotes sociologist Joel Best’s useful analytical model for ‘claims-makers and their techniques’, Best having studied the construction of victimization in the American life over the past decades.  Applied to the Sexual Harrassment Industry it’s extremely revealing and the patterns it exposes are profoundly disturbing.  I remember a psychologist I met decades ago who said the industry of America was ‘victims and caregivers’.  Best goes far beyond this to show how easily a ‘crisis’ of ‘victimization’ can be ‘created’ and those promoting it can receive powerful rewards regardless of the damage done to the society and individual. The elastic definition of ‘sexual harrassment’ and the ‘female antagonism towards’ men and the underlying antipathy towards heterosexuality are just the beginning.

Reading this amazing book and work of great scholarship I’m aware of it’s place alongside other works that discuss the ‘death culture’ of the west, abortion and euthanasia culture and Marxist hatred for the family.  It’s amazing in it’s detail and balanced discussion of what might well be described as the mental health epidemic of our day.   It’s significance is that it’s writing was at ground zero. 

Daphne Patai is an American Scholar , born 1943 in Jerusalem, Professor in the Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

Heterophobia: Sexual Harrassment and Future of Feminism (American Intellectual Culture) 
Publisher rowman and Littlefield 1998

Thomasina Cafe and Bakery, Princeton, BC

I love Thomasina Cafe in Princeton.  Laura and I found it first last year and looked forward to returning.  Great coffee ,great meals, great service, and great atmosphere.  We sat outside on the street with Gilbert watching the world of Princeton pass by.  The picturesque bridge leading to Tulameen a lovely view. 

The coffee shop idea was made famous by Starbucks and Blenz but I remember the first one I encountered was in Marin County California. No doubt they developed in a lot of places in the late 70’s and 80’s. They were a distinct creation akin to the development of the English pub.  The Turkish coffee shop went back to the 1800’s but was really a place for men to smoke and drink.  This western coffee shop idea was distinctive in it’s feminine elegance.  Thomasina’s decor is light and thoughtful.  None of the heavy leather of the Turkish coffeehouse in Instabul. And certainly none of the efficiency of marvellous McDonald’s with it’s excellent McCafe coffee. The trucker diner coffee was more about the meals and cowboys.  The English tea house was all about the fine Wedgewood china and exotic teas. The western coffeehouse seemed to take off from this with an emphasis on coffee.

Thomasina Cafe not only serves a variety of coffees including the cappucino’s we enjoyed daily but also has fresh baked baquettes and muffins.  Locals came and went each day we were there clutching to their hearts loaves of fresh baked bread and pastries.  It was like a little sliver of Paris. The bread we had was utterly delicious.  

They also sold local hand poured soy candles. We bought a sage grass one and burned it all week in our Riverside Cabin enjoying the rich fragrance it gave our room each night.  But candles and hand made pottery mugs are consistent with the western feminine coffeehouse theme.  Whereas I’d associate the diner with my mother, I’d tend to associate the western coffee shop theme with world traveller Torontonian aunt.  I don’t believe these coffeehouses could have developed before the 60’s. They’re faintly reminiscent of times when girls wore flowers in their hair.  Then they really took off with computers and iPhones.

I remember the very first one that migrated to  Bombai.  It took a decade in an era when a decade was what it took for a meme to move around the world. Today given the internet and almost universal television the time is sometimes only days or weeks.   All the other cafe’s and restaurants in  the city now called Mumbai  were distinctly Indian yet here was this one cafe with white walls, flowers, special coffees and a touch of elegance.  There were beautiful educated young ladies in colourful saris chatting safely. It was the mid 80’s. I think they served chai tea but I remember the espresso. With sufficient hot water this powerful brew was called an Americano. 

 It wasn’t long before the Starbuck’s chain became part of the Jetsetter routine.   Sitting in Thomsina I could be anywhere in the world and those sitting there with me might have flown in from any first world destination. Only the middle and upper classes would pay the price of designer coffees knowing they were paying as much for peace and atmosphere. Where the Starbucks has lost much of it’s original panache, the small family based coffee shops catering to local needs and to passing tourists have excelled.

I love these places for connecting to the internet.  The internet cofe’s were dominated by the digital while Thomasina retains the centrality of coffee, conversation and a light meal.  It’s omelettes were simple and unsurpassed.

In Winnipeg the first of these elegant third spaces developed in Osborne village.  I remember leaving a week of medical call, emergency and obstetrics, to enjoy a light lunch in the Village.  It was such a reprieve from the hustle.  Sometimes the cafe’s have had the international papers. They’re 20th and 21st century creations, the best of the best.  

Thomasina’s made Laura and my stay in Princeton all that much better, especially being able to sit outside on the patio with our little dog reminiscing about our patio dining in Rome.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday, May Long Weekend, Cabin Life

Gilbert fell off the bed at three in the morning.  The crash had both Laura and I up worried the blind little guy might be hurt. I sleep with a flashlight, iPhone and large Bowie knife by the bed.  In defence the heavy flashlight might be best.  In the light Gilbert was standing there with his stick.  His stick had fallen off the bed and he had followed it over.  I looked at my watch then and saw that Naomi had had ber baby Faith and Derek had texted us before midnight. We’d gone to sleep at ten.  Fat fingers fumbling with the little screen I pressed the stock message, ‘in a meeting, will get back to you’ and thanks.  I found iPhone then and texted congratulations and hallelujah.  ‘In a meeting’ so inappropriate for such a sacred herald.  The stock phrases on iwatches need to be upgraded.  

In bed Gilbert pushed Laura over and Laura pushed me over and I clung to the edge of the bed all night.  For a little guy he hogs a lot of the bed.

It’s sunny today.  Blue sky. Fresh air. Riverside cabins.  A pleasant retreat.  I’ve made espresso coffee and had my second cup. I’m not satisfied till I’m trembling.  The day is a blank screen to write a tale on.  I’ve suggested omelettes again at Thomasina.  Laura’s in the shower now.  Gilbert’s asleep in his bed. I’ve gone out in the court yard and with the wifi there downloaded mail and facebook.   Rodeo pictures of Anna and the god kids.  Faith, the new baby, looks most healthy and very pretty indeed.  The Royal wedding is still in the news.  Rev Peter Elliott vacationing in  Europe was pleased with the American sermon at the English wedding.  A letter with pictures of the half naked stars of Cannes came today from a friend, all looking more like harlots and  pole dancers than professional actresses. The post had  the title, ‘they complain they’re sexually harrassed’.  The news says that the name Melania rises daily in popularity as a baby name.  She speaks so many languages and is more educated and refined that the carne talk show hosts whose jokes are now 2 years old.  The American embassy in Jerusalem is a big deal. The peace talks between North and South Korea are incredible as well.  

I’m doing nothing but reading historical fiction novels in the sun.  I finished the Brignanshaw Chronicles by the Incredible writer Peter Rimmer, a new Wilber Smith. I’ve read three of the series and now must wait for the 4th to come out.  Great history of family and Rhodesia.  Now I’m reading about the 14th century John Ball peasant revolt over the outrageous taxation of the people.  Apropos with PM Justin Trudeau impoverishing Canadians to pay off terrorists, Pakistan while spreading abortion and communism.  The price of gas is obscene today.  

I am thankful though that I got a cabin rather than tented. The rain last night and wet ground would have dampened tenting. I’ve done it so many times and lived under tarps and slept on the ground but Laura who has been a trooper through so many of those adventure deserves this space she enjoys with kitchenette and hot and cold water showers.  

She’s content to read and lie about. I feel ‘restless’.   Not so ‘irritible’ and less’ discontent’ but I do feel I ‘ought’ to be doing ‘something’.  I expect I’ll get in the truck later and drive about the backwoods shoot targets and watch for a bear wanting MAID.  I’d just as soon shoot a rabbit.  I’ve become more sentimental than I was younger.  And lazy.  But it’s always godly in the hunt. There was a veritable otherworldly halo about the deer I shot last year. I almost heard the angels singing ‘this is a gift for you’. Shooting is natural for food.  It’s more intuition than reason and not at all emotional except for the hungry.

I dreamed I was on a new ship. I’ve a penisula where I go and there are friends and family from throughout my life that are there. Sometimes a meeting o the old women and I’m a little tike, more often I’m a young man with other young men and women in some warm climate with my sailboat and I’m in harbour.  This time I had a magnificent sailboat not 40 feet but more like 100 or 200  feet or more. The state room could seat 20 around tables bolted to the floor, lovely china tea cups. . I was also in a room with all kinds of books but mostly children’s books and sitting on the floor I was excited at the thought of having time to read these once a gain. The deck and cockpit were magnificent with excellent rigging and a well cared for engine. A couple of friends were helping with odd jobs.  One room looked like my storage locker and I was having help sorting it out.  

I’d dreamed of my mother. She was beautiful as only a small boy could know. Her red hair and freckles lovely in the sunshine.  I am happy when I dream of visits from the family. Sometimes the dogs who have gone before are frolicking too.  There have been so many deaths of loved one these last years. I am thankful that I just see this as another room.  Many mansions.  Quantum reality. A kind of heaven.  In my case I’ll have a boat and meetings rooms prepared for me.  

Waking is kind. This weather is sublime.  So much green and the relative quiet of country. Small town reality.  I talked with a neighbour who rode in on a n 850 cc Yamaha motorcycle. Old men pleasantry..  Another man with two boys and I talked about dogs and sons.  These traveller conversations a day brings.  Casual communication.  Waiting for Godot.  Walden Pond simplicity.  Outside the screen door there’s a tall lilac bush. We’ve been enjoying the scents.  At night we burn the sage soy candle and it fills the room with sweet fragrance.  

Laura is out of the shower. My turn.  I bought another knife yesterday. Locally made from found factory steel and antler by a local old man. I felt good about supporting the local economy, useful artistry.  Over the years I’ve given away knives and Bibles among other things.  I once gave a way the finest pens.  Gifting lets me replenish myself and gives me comfort.  Now to the shower.  Then the omelette and then I don’t know what I’ll do.  I’m not making it to church. I’m a good winter Christian but in summer I’m more Constantinian especially when the sun is out.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

May Long Week-end

The Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle happened in darkness at 2-3 am here on the Canadian west coast. Obviously in Windsor it was day time.  A grand cathedral event with history and tradition.  Laura was talking about it. Girls on face book had stayed up all night to watch the procession.  Gilbert and I slept through it all.

There will be a major boost to the British economy that even curmudgeon George Soros couldn’t influence.  No terrorists. I might well have missed the whole thing despite the news except for Laura who has been commenting on her freckles and saying that she ‘did wear a train....they were saying she wasn’t because it was old fashioned....but she did wear a train.’ 

 I did hear she was part black. That was on the news last week.  Everything in the news in Canada today is racist.   It was said in hushed tones too.  But that wasn’t nearly as much of a social outrage as her being ‘American’.  American’s marrying into the British royalty have in the past been associated with traitorous behaviour.  She’s also divorced. What ever is the Church of England coming to.  Gay priests and now divorced brides. They’re wearing white even when dirty red would be the colour of tradition though that might clash with the clergy.   Now all that said, I think she’s in love and Harry,who I really like, is obviously very happy.  His brother and Kate are doing the Royal thing with the next generation of Kings and Queens..  Aristocracy and titles and genetics and hundreds of years of empires. All rather rich.  Laura’s interested in the girl’s freckles and that the flower girls being Mulroneys.

I’m in a cabin in a small town in the BC Interior.  I’m not working. The routine and threat of work are miles away and I’m feeling myself relax for the first time it seems since I was last out of Vancouver.  I normally have to leave the country to feel free.  Out of Canada I have a feeling that I am for a brief time beyond the range of all intrusive threatening overwhelming government totalitarianism.  Daily new laws restrict citizenship.  By the hour freedoms are lost and no one seems cares. Taxes increase exorbitantly and official bicker endlessly with no apparent accountability or sense of monetary priorities beyond their own pay.  

I continue to act as if the tyrants aren’t supported by all, hoping that any day there will be a reversal. I also feel I’m old and might die before any more government abuse pours down from on high.  I worry I’m depressed.  But my East European doctor friends say everyone was depressed under the communists and that Canada has become what their countries were. They’re disappointed as they escaped from there and now like me feel there’s nowhere to escape. The British Royalty were a symbol of a time when there was ‘eccentricity’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘magma carta’ and ‘suffragettes’ and ‘enlightenment’.  The wedding is a pagentry today.  A symbol.

I’m thankful for my life. I’m very fortunate to be relatively well.  I bicycled yesterday and though being out of shape surprised myself. The countryside was magnificent. The sunflowers lit up the green hillsides. Douglas fir, spruce were everywhere.  My heart was racing with the effort of pedalling uphill and even more so when I found I had no brakes on the journey back down hill.  If I was going to have a stroke or heart attack I had my stress test then. I’m good for another day.

This log cabin is sweet.  All the amenities, hot water shower, indoor toilet, microwave, refridgerator, stove ,cable tv.  We’ve come to take these for granted. In the far corner of the lot there is an outhouse. The cabins have been here since 1934.  I have cell phone coverage and even have wifi if I go out of the cabin. This morning I stepped outside and downloaded the Royal wedding procession on my iPad for Laura.  She was excited.  Older women are easier to please than the young women of Canada known the world over for being ever offended. This is sad because these loud buffoons steal the stage from the amazing Canadian women who are making advances in bioengineering and doing micro surgery or being the architects of the new age of building. 

I thought I’d hunt bear.  There are apparently a lot of them about and some causing nuisance. Like rabbits they go in cycles. A couple of years ago we shot so many rabbits in the spring.  The trouble with shooting bear is that I’m not as big a fan of bear meat in general. I’ve never had a sausage I’ve really liked despite shooting three bear and having my own sausage and sausage offered to me by friends. I’ve loved Bear Ham but it’s not like venison or moose or elk. I love those meats better than beef.  Pigs are more human but I suspect I’d have less difficulty shooting pigs since they’ve not been portrayed as Smokey and other childhood friendly animal characters. I grew up eating deer and moose and  didn’t have bear till I was an adult. There’s the parasites too and the need to cook it long and freeze it. I’ve had smoked bear with my native friends and liked that though all the while worried a worm was now entering my brain.  I never think a worm might be advantageous.  Some dull days invasion of the body snatchers looks good like being a Liberal in Canada.  Besides once I shot a bear I’d have to go home to drop the bear off at the butcher.  My friends all hope I’ll shoot a bear so they can share with me but I’m enjoying being here.  

I imagine I’ll drive my truck out into the woods and target practice with the bolt action Winchester Coyote 300 SWM rifle.  I bought a set of ear plugs only to find I had a pair in the truck already. The rifle is a cannon. Long range sniper capacity and certainly big enough to bring down any large game.  Bullets are about $2 each.  I have my Ruger break down 22 long rifle which I usually target practice with. 22 shells are pennies and the Ruger semi auto is a pleasure to use.  In fall I shoot the heads off grouse and enjoy the succulent wild game birds. The Queen is particularly fond of these partridge which we find high in the west coast mountains.  I’ve a 20 gauge shotgun I shoot them on the wing with. But in spring its only really bear and rabbit we can shoot so the 22 has it’s purpose beyond target shooting. I do have a fly rod for fishing rainbow trout but that requires patience and I’ve not slowed down enough to enjoy that. 

My mind is simpler now.  There’s a strange calm. I expect retirement will one day be like this. I’m faced with showering and then looking forward to an omelette and sausage at Thomasina, a short walk up the street.  I don’t know what I’ll do from there. I’ve been so enjoying reading the Briganshaw Chronicles about Rhodesian families and Elephant Walk,  My brain is definitely becoming more of a beach brain by the minute.. A beach brain is a step further where one just lies in the sun and at most reads fashion magazines.  I think the general blottoness of my own brain right now is healing.  It’s emptiness is slightly disconcerting.  I’m so assaulted with information in the city and all the strangers are overwhelming because to join spinal columns is so absorbing and there’s just so much vulnerability.  Empathy is a dirty word today.  The bean counters and beurocrats have turned everything into a factory and all that doesn’t fit is rejected.  There’s so much demand for goose stepping conformity and I don’t belong like the majority of humans.  One dimensional consumers and shallow happy workers. I’m reminded of the art exhibit of communist ‘worker’s paradise’, all those smiling chubby people and the bold warm colours.  They celebrate diversity is unity then kill off half the population because it doesn’t agree with them.  

But here I am far from the front.  Recuperating. There are no demands.  To get away I faced 10 times the work and will return to 10 times the work but in this little oasis there’s holy water. I find myself turning to God. I’m always praying but so often they’re prayers of ‘protection’.  Waking daily to the never ending assault and threat of the city. But here I’m feeling the love and grace that comes with prayer and meditation. I’m blessed with the Holy Spirit. The son and father are together. I don’t have to feel like Job. I don’t ask what have I done to have this karma. I ‘m not asking about generational DNA. I’m not asking if I do thy will or my will. I’m just trusting in faith. Going through the motions.  Like Narcissisus and Goldmund of Hesse I’m action. Thought is slowed and secondary.  I’m present mostly. More so in the cacophony of resentment and fear of the city and government.  I’m distant from internet. I have to walk outdoors to access it.  There’s no traffic sounds or sirens.  The people are few even on the streets. Bullying beggars don’t threaten me as I walk demanding money to pass.   There’s long spaces between vehicles and no road rage.  I’m sitting here not knowing what to do.  I slept in. I lay in bed long past the light.  I’ve shaved. That’s a big achievement. The blade needs replacing.  My back hurts but that’s old news. I’m mobile.  I exercise and take ibuprofen.  I’m supposed to be building up my ‘core’.  Meanwhile everyone I meet is smiling and friendly like they are in country towns.  We really are blessed today.

I’’m grateful. I’m feeling like my IQ dropped 20 points or so but the tension is going out of my fight or flight stance.  I’d rather face a charging wounded bear than the Borg like arrogance and petty pretentious irrelevance of bureaucrats.  I’ll enjoy getting up into the back woods later.  It’s a bit like being on the ocean with no one around for hundreds of miles.  There are people out in the woods, others participating in the wilderness but they’re more socialized, respectful of space and not demanding or intrusive.  We leave each other alone out here.  I’m far from the maddening crowd.

There’s a soft ringing in the back ground, a sense of electricity. The clinician might call it tinnitus but it’s not. It’s an awareness of the matrix. In the country it’s a pleasant sense whereas in the city it’s not noticeable. I think of the city as the hive.  For so many the separation that occurs from the hive in the wilderness causes them madness. So many Urbans can’t survive mentally in the loneliness and quiet.  To them it’s Deliverance .  To me this is heaven. I’m tuning down the Defcons..  The insensitivity of the urbane increases with the size of the city, the proximity hardening entities. Here there’s an opening, the interconnections more apparent. They say that the heart beats of trees have been found but long ago the aliveness and communication of plants was identified.  Around the time that police began to use ‘lie detector’ machines they realized plants were sentient.  The vegetarians deny this as they murder zucchini’s and eat them live. I hear the screaming of salads. 

Here I feel the word of life.  In the city it’s cement and buildings with the false fluorescent light.  Here we’re experiencing the full spectrum of light. Our pineal glands are thankful. 

It’s quite glorious.  Slowing down smelling the outdoors profusion of scents.  

Laura is out of the shower. My turn. Then I don’t know what I’ll do.    She told me yesterday she’d taken off her watch.  I’ve kept mine on for now.  Though I do feel like I’m harbouring a fugitive.  Gilbert is in his element and glad to have us paying more attention to what really matters. 

Thank you. Really.  Grace.  Your name is Grace today.  The fĂ©minine side of God, the mother Mary aspect.  Grace.  Undeserved.  

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sunday Afternoon in the Sun

Kaloo Kalay, he chortled in his joy!  

The sun is glorious.  I almost feel like I’m in Winnipeg in July. This can’t be Vancouver.  Vancouver is rain and grey. But the sun has come back.  Whatever sacrifices it took to bring this return, I thank you. First it was the colourful array of blossoms and buds promises this time. But now it’s full on. I’m sorry for the floods in the interior but here in Burnaby it’s simply grand.  
I look on FB and actually see that friends are down at Kits Beach. I loved going there when I lived in Kits and later when I lived in the West End it was great to visit the beaches of Stanley Park. But now I’m in my back yard. Lawn chairs. Gilbert. Laura.  A good book. We’ve just run errands for dog and cat food and litter. We’ve salads and chicken from Safeway.  
Life is good. The rich and poor can enjoy the sun and outdoors. Montaigne believe happiness was a picnic with friends.  
Thank you God for this day. Constantine was a sun worshiper, a pagan in Christian clothes. On a day such as this so perfect with sun and clear blue sky, lovely scents of spring in the air, I understand his Sun Worship.  God didn’t come to earth as an Inuit. Jesus was born in Israel. Location  location, location as realtors might say.  The Good News would have taken longer to spread but presence of the sun was not unimportant.  
Today the Carbon Tax laws punish us northern half the year. You can survive in LA without air conditioning but not in 40 degree below Canadian winters. I’m using little propane now to heat my place which takes electricity as well. The heating costs have plummeted these last two weeks.  
I’m excited too at the thought of camping. If some land remains dry we will thrive. I look forward to bicycling about the back woods. I’ve changed the winter tires to the all the year.  Chores upon chores.
It’s been wonderful to be at such a fine play as Tolkien by Ron Reed and the great Ballet BC last night with Emily Molnar.  I’ve full with culture now and ready for return to the wilderness.  
Thank you God for the contrasts and the hues and the breaks from routine. Thank you for the wonder of Canada wilderness, the possibilities and opportunities. Thank you for spring and summer.
Now I’ve been upright too long and must recline with sun screen on . Ahhhhhhhhh.

Ballet BC, Program 3

Ballet BC, Program 3 was by far the best ballet of the season. All three pieces were spectacular.
 "Beginning After” , Choreographed by Cayetano Soto, with music of Handel  was physically inconceivable.  The dancers seemed otherworldly in their movements. The parts and the whole in harmony with the music. Soto’s dance is Daliesque in motion. I love Cayetano Soto’s choreography. It’s the most original and inspirational I’ve seen in recent times.  It’s authenticity and unique interpretation of the human spirit through dance is so uplifting.
“when you left’ choreographed by Emily Molnar was so utterly different from all that has gone before.  The music of Peteris Vasks: Plainscape was performed by the Phoenix Chamber Choir under the direction of Grame Langager. When we stood to cheer and applaud at the end of this remarkable piece we saw all the smiling happy faces of this gifted choir in the orchestra pit .  This piece amazed me for it’s modernity and abstract birdlike flocking flow so reminiscent of classical with it’s  elegance of form.  But where Soto brings to mind Salvador Dali, this Molnar piece was reminiscent of Klimt.
I loved Bill.  Bill was the choreography of Sharon Eyal and Gai Bhear, first performed in 2010 by the Batsheva Dance Company .Music by Ori Lichtik. I’d seen Bill once before and loved it.  Reminiscent of Paul Gauguin I thought it the most amazing tribal post apocalypse interpretation. The drums and white bodies  and that Monty Python funny walk  was all so chorus like in the song of creation.  I found myself outside trying but failing to repeat that inconceivably simple looking impossible walk  such a  complex rhythmic repetition around which the whole community of dance and song revolved. Outside others were doing the same. I don’t recall seeing this before, though of course,  some of it had to do with this being Spring.  There were just so many of the audience dancing and imitating different bits they’d loved from the show in front of the old Queen E. It was wonderful.
The Ballet BC dancers are all the best.I’ve loved Alexis Fletcher for ever, even bidding  this night on a silent auction black and white photograph of her captured  in leaping flight  Livona Ellis and Rachel Meyer and Rachel Prince, , Christoph Von Riedemann and Peter Smida all stood out for me tonight.  But I love them all and a different one just shines a little brighter in different performances, all so professional.  Professional remains a designation of meritocracy. In contrast to the values of mediocrity, the professional is not uniform but unique in that the skills consistently rise above an impossible level which an amateur might only attain on rare occasion.   Even the apprentices tonight were memorable with Justin Calvadores and  Parker Finley’s dance being noteworthy to me.  I find myself watching an individual then looking to see who they were.  I noticed these delightful new folk whereas Nicole Ward , Kirsten Wicklund, Gilbert Small, and Patrick Kilbane are names I’ve come to know and faces I’ve come to recognise.  But they’re all superb.  If this were hockey we'd speak of Brandon Alley and Andrew Bartee as the Sabines or Emily Chess and Kiera Hill as ‘all stars’.  Zander Constant and Shanna Wolfe have joined the big leagues
But its dance and the audience didn’t dress like Walmart. Intermission was a feast for the eyes in terms of haute coiffure.  The shoes, the shoes, the shoes! the ladies exclaimed.  I loved the men in gold lame jackets and the lithe and sensuous ladies in long  spring gowns. So many of the young had perfect dancer bodies whereas some of us who danced compared out girth and reminisced nostalgically about times when we moved liked cats and leaped liked lions.  it was a great night.  Laura and I shared it with our friends Lorne and Justine.  After all the standing ovations we ourselves couldn’t stop singing the praises of the dancers and choreographers..  Ballet BC is just so vital.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Tolkien Play, Pacific Theatre

Incredible writing. Superb acting. Loved the sets and costume.  Kind of Darkest Hour with Hobbits. Opening night. Always a treat. Seeing friends. Over the years so many people returning for the highest minded theatre on the coast. Real challenges of ethics and morality.  The theatre as it’s own ‘my utmost for his highest’. Enlightenment meritocracy.  Ron Reed, director and playwright extraordinare. This script would please C.S. Lewis for sure and certainly have Tolkien’s interest.
I loved learning more about the Inklings. Never knew Owen Barfield was a part of this.  John Innes unfortunately absent opening night plays J.R.R. Tolkien but Ron Reed did a really good understudy job replacement though needed written prompts even though he’d written the play. That itself was ironic and amusing given all the irony already in the high minded play. Much British humor that would tickle John Cleese.  Certainly a respite from the low brow fake news of present day.  This really did challenge one to think and consider.  At the core was truth and friendship.
I truly loved Ian Fathing’s C.S. Lewis.  He really was Lewis as I imagined him.  Tim Dixon played a great role as Warnie Lewis, the Lewis military brother.  I didn’t really know Tolkien had been in the WWI trench warfare  Battle of Somme or even that C.L.Lewis was in the WWI front and took shrapnel in the fierce trench fighting. They both lost several close friends together there and this certainly affected their subsequent outlook and inner life.
The delightful contrast of Tolkien’s catholicism and Lewis’s conversion from atheism to Christianity is so well played.  We don’t talk of religions or life and death and meaning these unidimensional hedonist consumer days.  Everyone thrives on lust and  perversity while being offended by lust and perversity.  The real fighting in mud and blood seemed to have lifted these men together out of the genitals of self. Even Campbell, played by Simon Webb who also played writer Dyson, had been in the Spanish War.  The communists and fascist so clearly described as different sides of violent totalitarianism. The verbal descriptions Shakespearian in their vividness with no one needing severed heads on stage to make the point.
I loved Edith. Eria Faye Forsythe who  played Tolkien’s wife with all the wisdom and genius of the women who were partnered  the great men of that era. I’ve loved all of Forsythes acting, so sensitive and dynamic. Her timing is elegance itself.  Anthony F. Ingram played Charles Williams who I quite didn’t know.  That’s history. A great man of the day and in later years forgotten while Tolkien and Lewis remain as classics.  Ingram played him amost American and a harbinger of the Anglican church today with all the ‘magic’ left and the perhaps the ‘mystery’gone.
I loved Tolkien’s term ‘northerness’ a mystical reference which is all but lost in loudness of the racist obsessed southerners.  Beowolf, a study of myth and reality.
I’d read all these books in my teens 20’s and 30’s so knew Beowolf, read all of Tolkien and most of Lewis. I loved Catholic Tolkien’s line that said Lewis’s Mere Christianity was too mere.  It was clear that this was a time before political correctness when people were frank with each other.  No wonder these writers became like polished pearls with the obvious support and cutting criticism of each other. Today every meeting of Inkllings would have been followed by a dozen law suits.  I see students scurrying away from Tolkien and Lewis to their safe places and trauma counselling. I’ve loved Lewis, Tolkien and  Owen Barfield and and realize others of the Inklings served up the very ideas that served to set the sails of my own personal trajectory.  It was moving to be reminded of the idealism and reverence of my younger years.  I don’t think of these things much now  in the cacophony of postmodern  ‘fake news’ , "false witnesses" ,  "new totalitarianism" and ‘victimology’. There’s a gentleness in the world of men who have served their country and fellow man and see friends die and know the foolishness of leadership who want to be leaders.
The play speaks to a past both individual and societal. It also speaks  to the friendship of men and God but mostly of men.  It really was a play like all the great plays.  It had us all talking and checking encyclopedias long after we’d left Pacific Theatre. Laverne our Professor of Literature companion said she couldn’t wait to search out a reference to ‘cake and ale’.  There were so many layers, from a really good biographical history romp to subtle meanings within meanings.
I loved the Tree.   Set designer Drew Facey said much with just that tree. And today I learned from science that trees have heartbeats.   I loved  all the moving parts, and black clothed young people pushing things about in scene changes.  I loved Gauthier's and Hood's excellent costume design.   I loved Cabilete’s Stage Management and Akesen and Colhoun’s Sound Design. They were all so perfect that it was easy to just be in the play without consideration of the light and sound and background.
It really was all simply perfect.  Everything about the play rung true, universal and ancient.  A masterpiece.  It was  sheer gift to have been there tonight.