It’s Very Hard To Please The People Every Single Time

Been up for an hour or so, and eaten last night’s leftover pasta, and am now drinking coffee, and thinking that I have to do some writing for a change, or this novel will never get done, let alone done for NaNoWriMo. Just been having so much trouble getting the true gist of the novel in my head, since my initial plan/concept seems to have not worked out at all. It’s still there in the DNA, but I’m finding that my head won’t let me write that novel, whatever it was going to be. I may have to start again, but more than likely, I’ll just jettison the old plan and save it for another novel, and write the one that wants to be written now. Frustating, but there it is, and it’s the 6th, so I’m running out of time to be figuring this out.

So I’ve got The Kinks playing in the earbuds (I know, James, I know, but I need a new set of headphones, and I”m broke again, as usual), and I’ve got the laptop in front of me, and I think I know what the novel is about now… almost…

Hang on, gotta refill the humidifier… just noticed I’m getting a headache.

Okay, that’s that taken care of.

I’ve seen a number of posts today, some on Facebook, a few on Twitter, and a number on Tumblr, that all make me feel like I need to post something really pithy and strong. Something about entitlement, white priviledge and rape culture, and my place and culpability in all of that. Something about the frivolity of trying to write fiction when the real world is generating more lies than I’ll ever pen. Something about how pathetic it really is to continue trying to build a community for the admiration of work that no one seems to want. Well, maybe not that last one. No one needs to hear me go on another self-pity trip. But anyway, it occurs to me that I haven’t spoken much on what I think about the whole white male North American experience, as it relates to the issues and dilemmas of our times. I’ll have to try to remember that I haven’t said a word about it today, either, so I’ll remember to post about it later.

Cop out? Okay, let’s do this quickly.

I’ve never raped anyone. I don’t intend to, either. But I’ve written at least three partial/potential rape sequences, and I’ve written several sex sequences that could be interpreted as supporting the sexual attitudes that have given us rape culture, even though I don’t see it that way. My frame of reference is skewed, because I am a product of the 70s and 80s, as well as the 90s. I think I write stuff that needs to be said, but I definitely don’t want to glorify rape or inspire people to take an active role in supporting rape culture.

Do I even know what rape culture really is? I think I understand it, sort of. It’s kind of murky for me, like that bit of blurriness at the corner of my eye. I know something’s in that blurry space, but I can’t quite make out what it really is. My understanding of the situation is, rape culture makes apologies for offenders while punishing the victim for enticing the poor, poor rapist, who had no control over their animal urges. Ridiculous crapola.

I know how powerful the male sex drive is. I’ve had a raging case of male sex drive for going on 43 years, even though my sex drive has become inhibited in recent years. I know how strong it can be, and I know that women are raised to be wary of it. It’s been with us for so long, we don’t think twice about it, or we didn’t for most of my life, at any rate, except that it’s been getting highlighted more and more, despite all of our forward strides in sexual equality.

I find it remarkably sad that we survived to see the 21st Century, but we still have rape culture and slut shaming and gay bashing and racial prejudice very much alive and well with us, as if it was somehow a natural part of the human experience. I call bullshit. We may be evolved from animals, and we may not be far removed from animal urges and animal logic, but we DO understand consequences, and we do feel love, and we really ought to fucking know better by now.

But what’s the answer? I sure don’t know. I accept that I’m a part of the problem, and I’m trying to figure out what more I can do to help. The simplest thing to do would seem to be to refuse to promote sexuality. To speak out against pornography and erotica and those other forms of communication that espouse and entrench the sexual attitudes that have since proven to be so toxic to slightly more than half the world’s population. Creates a bit of a problem in that my sexuality is a part of my identity, and speaking about it is part and parcel of my modus operandi. I talk about sex as honestly as I know how to (even when I’m blatantly making shit up) because I truly believe that we need to have a lot more frank dialogue about sexuality. It’s a topic that never gets old, and never loses steam, and always needs to be laid out plain, despite the culture of shame we have infected it with. Sex is natural. Why are we still getting so hung up about it? Disease? Safe sex, people. Reputation? That’s someone else’s problem, not yours. Religion? Believe what you like, but leave everyone else alone. Especially me.

What I think needs to be taught and reinforced all throughout school is the idea that every girl PERSON is special, regardless of who she is and how she looks, and regardless of whether she is a virgin or not. A girl’s person’s sex does not diminish her, and we really have to stop placing conditions and expectations on women people to live up to some Madonna ideal that never had anything to do with reality and never will.

Here’s a news flash for you: many women down throughout history have been the victims of rape. Most of them never came forward. A number of them died. More survived. That means they had to live with it, probably in silence. Think about that.

It’s almost certain that more than one of your ancestors were raped. Might have been your mother, or your grandmother, or hers, or hers, or going back several generations. You may inadvertently be the by-product of a rape. You may not know which of your ancestors was raped, but you know your mother (or your sister, or your daughter, or niece, or god daughter) and that should be enough. She may not have been raped, but I promise you she knew someone or someones who were, so rape was very much a part of her world. And it’s part of yours, too.

And yes, I know boys and men can be raped, too. I just won’t go into it here. Rape culture is prevalent. The issue isn’t who gets raped; It’s who is thinking rape is acceptable. And the answer, seemingly, is ‘most of us‘.

We will never know how bad or how prevalent rape was or wasn’t before the 20th Century, when we finally started addressing the issue. But we’ve got a pretty fair idea of how bad it is today, and it IS still bad. And the worst part is, there is a huge portion of the population that are still equivocating about whether it’s right or wrong, trying to qualify what can only be understood to be an act of human abuse and profound psychic destruction. So when is it going to stop? I can’t tell you how much I would give to have that answer.

We have been described by historians as being a world of slave races, as history shows that the taking of slaves throughout history has infused most of our world cultures with a strange survivalist attitude that makes us put up with inequalities that should never be accepted, regardless of our race, creed or sex, and in part perpetuating the same inequalities simply because the values of slave culture are still with us, even if institutionalized slavery is no more (though that doesn’t say anything about human trafficking, which is still alive and well and as heinous as it ever was).

This all comes back to the basic problem that we think we have some kind of right to put other people down; to elevate ourselves at the expense of others. We don’t. We’re wrong, and we always have been. We need one another, and we need to work together as a species to elevate ourselves out of this pit together, or we’ll never make it out alive. The human race will eventually expire and the universe will not mourn our passing if we can’t learn to get along with each other.

We need to extinguish prejudice. We need to extinguish shame. We need to extinguish hunger. We need to extinguish class. We need to be free, and we need to free one another from the burden of having to live up to our expectations. We need to learn the true meaning of being fair. We need to stop lying to ourselves, if nobody else. We need to stop making people feel bad about themselves. We need to get off of our high horse and learn to treat everybody with respect, regardless of whether we like or are comfortable with them or not. We need to forgive.

Let’s say that again: WE NEED TO FORGIVE.

But that doesn’t mean we have to permit wrongdoing. We need to redefine what constitutes right and wrong, to encompass and hopefully extinguish all of this terrible behaviour we have been looking at on Facebook with a mixture of surprise, fear and amusement. We need to redirect the finger of blame to identify the wrongdoers, and to make the punishment fit the crime without further perpetuating the disease that has infected our society.

Does that mean more jails? I don’t think so. I think that we should be our own jailers. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t have police or law. Just that we need to develop a new way to mete out justice, because the old way isn’t working. I just think we need to know when we are a danger to ourselves or others, and lock ourselves in with our problems until we get them sorted out. Talk with others about them, but don’t go around forcing our views–or worse, our maladies–on each other.

Yes, I have written about this in my fiction. No, you haven’t read it yet. and no, I haven’t solved all of the problems. but I’m pretty sure it all starts with us admitting our own culpability and fearlessly confessing our need to be cleansed of the bad ideas that have plagued us for generations, if not since the beginning of time.

I am not a rapist. But I am rape culture. And so are you, whoever you are. What are you going to do about it?

For my part, I’m going to think harder than ever about my sexuality, and try to discern what is sex and what is rape culture in disguise. I don’t know what will change when I figure it out, but I hope I’m not the only one trying to figure it out, because I’m going to feel pretty awkward sitting alone with my principles. But in many ways, that’s how it has to be for all of us. If you’re not willing to stand up for yourself, you don’t deserve to be free.

We are all slaves. We are all rape victims. We all need to heal. We all need to change.

If I were a praying man, I’d ask my maker for the strength to make those changes. I used to be a praying man. I no longer believe in that. But I would recommend that anyone who can’t find it in themselves to stop adding to the total world suck, find something that can fill them with whatever it is they need to make the change.

Okay, enough. I’ve said lots of stuff that should upset a lot of people. Time to get back to work. Although frankly, I feel like I need to go lay down for a bit.

Have a good day. No, really.

Lee.

Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.

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