It’s A Combination Of Remembering (AND reading) ~ Late Evening Thoughts…

By now, we all know the cover that uncovered a huge stream of hate/hysteria ….

I'd also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner ...

I’d also direct your attention to the Willie Nelson story in the left hand corner …

. Now, I have no argument that the picture is one of a self-confident, somewhat attractive youth.  The look of a lot of college students.  But, even as the picture hit the internet, before distribution – the flames began to fly.   OK, here’s where one of my points comes … IF the cover was only to glorify the bomber, then I don’t think they would have included this statement:


The article itself – which hopefully some people read online – while not exactly the world’s greatest journalism – attempted to deal with the question – why would someone who seeming had everything going for him do something such as this?  What failed him? Did his brother “turn him to the dark side”.  Some of these questions we may only get answers to at the trial…if ever,

I want to wander back in recent history a bit, and take a look at a moment in time and TIME magazine.  When this cover was published, TIME was pretty much everywhere and if not in most homes, was probably read somewhere by someone in that home.

Here’s a cover about Timothy McVey ….

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.

Here’s a good-looking fellow, who lit an explosion that killed 168 people, including 19 children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others. And TIME is having a debate about should he die.  I don’t recall a huge uproar over the photo or the story.  I don’t recall people wanting to burn the issue or stores refusing to carry it.  It was published, distributed and seemingly “forgotten” as a major issue for people to deal with …

OK, let’s go to another TIME issue a little more recent…Osama Bin Laden

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian ) 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

So, just looking at the photo as a photo, here’s a fairly handsome person with a slight smile, piercing eyes – and to my untrained eye – has been slightly airbrushed.  Just slightly. And yet –

  • 3,460: Approximate number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., including firefighters and paramedics (New York Magazine /Guardian )
  • 20: Percentage of Americans who knew someone “hurt or killed” at the World Trade Center (New York Magazine )
  •  422,000: Estimated number of New Yorkers with symptoms of PTSD post-9/11 (New York Magazine )

Now, admittedly you might think I’m begging the question with this one, but in a sense, it was presenting a very pretty picture of a very evil person …

Which brings me to the Rolling Stone cover … warts and all.  One of the Boston Police was so upset at the cover he released some shots of the capture (which has now gotten him suspended) .  Sgt. Sean Murphy, Massachusetts State Police photographer really might not have wanted his photos to be used as the cover but was trying to counter-act what he perceived as the glorification of the bomber.  Here’s his picture … and my comments below ..

 caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

caused injuries and death totaling 3 spectators killed and 264 casualties whose injuries were treated in 27 local hospitals

There actually people today demanding (on Facebook and other places) that Rolling Stone should reissue the magazine with this picture on the cover.  Here’s my problem with that.  Go ahead, enlarge the picture for a moment…. I’ll wait …

This picture does as much to glorify him as the other might.  You have the handsome – albeit blood spattered – youth, with his shirt pulled up above his abs and a laser target on his forehead.  For an arrest photo, it’s also quite well-lit. It could actually pass as a fashion advertisement in a glossy magazine. [if you didn’t know who it was] Certainly, nothing that would tell you “this is an evil, scary killer” …

Here’s where I’m at with this … people didn’t like the photo because it didn’t reach their preconceived notions of what a killer should look like.  It also struck deep into the biases and dislikes that people have.  And sadly, there is no arguing with that.  Let me repeat that – there is no arguing with folks who are biased, discriminatory or yes, even racist.

S. I Hayakawa in his landmark book “Language In Thought And Action” talked about the idea that once we have cast someone in the role of the enemy all communications and actions are immediately suspect and forced to fit the narrative we’ve given them.

Seem familiar? We’ve seen it at two MLB events in the last couple of weeks.  I was watching on Twitter someone attempting to counter someones frankly bigoted argument with the truth Puerto Ricans indeed are US Citizens (have been since I think 1917). the discussion went about as well as you would think … nowhere.

More on this anon ….

And These People Are Found Where?

I’m going to file this bit of manufactured hysteria (yes, manufactured by stupid people) in the “I now know who does the housework in YOUR household” file:
“A few Tennessee lawmakers apparently inquired whether a new sink at the state capitol designed for custodial use was a sink for Muslims to wash their feet in before prayer, the Associated Press reported Monday. The lawmakers were reassured that it is simply a “mop sink.”

“I confirmed with the facility administrator for the State Capitol Complex that the floor-level sink installed in the men’s restroom outside the House Chamber is for housekeeping use,” Legislative Administration Director Connie Ridley wrote in an email. “It is, in layman’s terms, a mop sink.”

The Tennessee Capitol underwent renovations in December, the AP reported, and the sink is designed to make it easier for custodial staff to clean mops and fill buckets. The sink is located in a men’s bathroom outside the House chamber.”
>head his keyboard several times< …. Right .. in Tennessee – in the State Capital …who finds these people anyway – and where …..





And We Got Here How? (Part 1) ~

When I first began to gather my thoughts for this “ramble” … I was concerned with discourse, or lack of discourse.

As I thought and worked through how I want to try and connect my thoughts – yesterday, THIS report was released by the PEW foundation – which has been polling the polarization of America since 1986.  This report, which I’m going to link to in it’s entirety, shows that we are more polarized than we’ve been since they began tracking.  This does not surprise me in the least.

As I’ve said before – I’m a member of several forums, follow an insane number of blogs and news sites (and the comments) as well as being part of World of Warcraft and Pogo games.

I cut my computer “teeth” – so to speak – in the AOL chat rooms of all kinds – where one had to have an advanced degree in AOLese or AOL speak or you would be five conversations behind everyone else.  (For those who may not know, you had to learn to read through the typos/spellings and strange constructions because people were typing so fast and thinking so quickly that sometimes things didn’t quite match-up.)

All of this introduction is to simply say, I didn’t need the PEW organization to let me know “There’s Trouble In River City”, all I’ve had to do is be around people on-line and even in real life.

What has happened over the years is a steady decline in the ability of people of differing beliefs, hopes, dream, ideas, lives to even civilly approach each other.  At one time, personal opinion, you either were willing to listen to another person or you didn’t interact with that person at all.  Much of time now, I feel it has become a game of seeing who can one-up another in either hate/degradation/intimidation/provoking (not to be confused with trolling – that’s a special sub-set of behavior!!)   or proving how much more someone knows than anyone else.

Just the other day on Facebook, I entered into what I thought was a discussion involving the concept of gay marriage (how’s that for a hot button at the beginning of these postings?) and the difficulty someone had found in talking to someone else about it.  Those of us who are friends with this person and know the overwhelming love in her heart for all people, commiserated with her and offered some light-hearted and yes, even snarky thoughts to help.  Another person had entered the conversation and within two posts it had devolved into 1) necrophilia 2) pedophilia and 3) bestiality.  Even with AOL speak, I couldn’t figure out how we’d gotten there.  It became very obvious that the person simply wanted to anger everyone and bait everyone into an “argument” so that they could present themselves as a 1) winner 2) extremely knowledgeable and at the same time 3) the victim.

So, how did we get here? There were news events from when PEW began tracking the polarization: 1984 The Aids Virus is identified it is not the worldwide problem it is today. Following on from the PC Apple releases the Macintosh computer. Following the Widespread Famine in Ethiopia many of the top British and Irish USSR pop musicians join together under the Name Band Aid and record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Following the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics the soviet block boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic games. Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.  But I think it goes back to even before that.

Here are three images and comments that will start this series of posts ~ and hopefully, you’ll forgive the length of this one…

At this point in time, we as a people were pushed into the realization that those dedicated to protect us, could indeed seem to turn against us.

Kent State by John Filo

Add to that another realization that perhaps our view of life wasn’t quite so quaint as we wanted to believe.

Birmingham Alabama 1963
I don’t know whose picture this is


And lastly – an event that shook our already shaky belief in our government.

So bear with me, and more on this journey of thought over the next few days ….

Please Pass (Over) The Nuts ~ Late Morning Thoughts

Christian Hate And Christian Witchcraft

Christian Hate:
This week the Westboro Baptist Church (God Hates Everyone Except Us) founded by Fred Phelps ( tried to go into Canada to hold a hate-filled protest at the funeral of the innocent man who was decapitated on a bus trip. Quoting from Paul Gackle,Winnipeg Free Press as published in the National Post:

Residents rallied Thursday to protect the family of a young man murdered on a Greyhound bus last week from a posse of radical religious protesters planning to portray Tim McLean’s death as God’s wrath.

Earlier this week, the Westboro Baptist Church – an organization branded as a hate group and infamous for protesting the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers – announced they would picket Mr. McLean’s funeral to let Canadians know that his decapitation was God’s response to Canadian policies enabling abortion, homosexuality and adultery.

But Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of church’s founder, Fred Phelps, said a small group of protesters was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border on Thursday afternoon.

“They won’t let us in, but we have a group that will cross in another spot,” she said. “They’ll have to strip search everyone who crosses that border or they won’t know who we are. They’ll have to see the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church) tattoo on our butts.”

The resistance to the planned funeral protest started on Facebook yesterday morning when Jim Cotton, a resident of Winnipeg Beach, launched a page asking city residents to help protect Mr. McLean’s funeral. . .

. . . Mr. Cotton was outraged and asked Winnipeg Facebookers to circle around the seven picketers tomorrow and pray for Mr. McLean’s family.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, Mr. Cotton’s page had over 100 friends. Rodney Taylor, an Ottawa resident, found the page and pitched in.

Mr. Taylor phoned the Prime Minister’s Office, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day’s office and border services, asking them to keep the Westboro group out of the country. He also created his own Facebook page urging other offended Canadians to follow his lead.

“These people are callous, vicious and shouldn’t be let into our country,” he said. “We have freedom of speech, but they are inciting hate.”

Mr. Taylor’s plan worked. Winnipeg NDP MP Pat Martin said his office was flooded with phone calls yesterday from angry Winnipeggers.

“These people [from Westboro] are almost as crazy as the murderer,” he said. “If they are here to disrupt the social order, that constitutes grounds to deny them entry. There is no redeeming virtue in the message they are bringing.”

According to Mr. Martin, Mr. Day’s office sent an alert to border patrol to “look out” for people with signs and pamphlets that fit the hateful messages that the church promotes and to keep them out of the country.

“In the opinion of his office, coming up here with the message they’re articulating constitutes hate speech,” said Mr. Martin.

Members of the Kansas-based fundamentalist sect were already planning to picket in Canada prior to last week’s bus slaying. The group was scheduled to protest in Toronto Thursday night at the opening of playwright Alistair Newton’s “The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret”, which satirizes their leader’s fervent anti-gay stance. . .

. . .In 1999, the Canadian government said it was powerless to prevent Mr. Phelps from entering the country when he was planning a protest in Ottawa over a Supreme Court ruling extending rights to gays and lesbians.

At that time, the government said the minister could only make exceptions at the border to grant people entry who might otherwise be denied, not deny people entry who would normally be admitted. . .

. . .The Winnipeg Police Service said they were not planning to block the funeral protest if the group successfully crossed the border, but they were prepared to be on hand if necessary.

This hate group was a no-show at the funeral ~ citing concerns for their safety – but in actuality they must have realized that they lost the opportunity for publicity as 250 Winnipeg residents were on hand to protect the funeral and the family.

What troubles me so much is that this group – while spewing hatred for everything and everyone that doesn’t believe in them are now trying to export this brand of hatred. Adding insult to injury, they are also spewing in the name of God, that God has already decided who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell, so it makes no difference what you do – (unless you’re a Westboro church member – which automatically grants you access through the Golden Gates). I’m not going to get into the murky waters of predestination and/or pre-ordination. But rather the manner they are going about it.

The church itself (as a non-profit organization) is supported by the donations of its members and those who share their perverted view of God’s law and God’s attributes. And without publicity, their donations would, in fact, start to dry up. Trained as a lawyer, Fred Phelps was disbarred in 1979 by the Kansas Supreme Court, which asserted that he had “little regard for the ethics of his profession.” Which says a lot to me.

Once a group moves from sharing what they believe and trying to beat people into submission of ONLY what they believe ~ they have moved into being a cult, not a belief. But to this group of hate-mongers it makes no difference. They have become publicity whores and donation driven. How else could he and his family afford all these trips to perform at “20,000 protests” (their claim) and put fairly well done videos on the web? Being non-profit gives them incredible tax advantages which helps fund their activities.

But here’s what troubles me the most. What is it within people that makes them believe in this kind of activity and speech? Is it within each of us to fall into this kind of trap? Is there something within me that festers and decays that would allow me to live in that kind of hate and fear? That’s the troublesome question. I have some very strong held beliefs, could those turn into a driving force pushing me “over the edge?”

–thus endeth part one of today’s meditation

And The Non-Winner Is …. Early Evening Thoughts.

My apologies for not posting over the last few days. I really couldn’t bring myself to post something humorous or trying to let you know part of the story when I myself didn’t know how it was going to turn out. I wrote in the last point about my friend playing crash and burn with his body and mind. I think crash and burn won….

After he recovered from last Sunday ~ we had several l-o-n-g talks about what was happening and what he was not only doing to himself, but to those around him. I was trying to be careful not to be judgmental and/ or evangelical. It was becoming an extremely difficult task.

I finally got through with the sentence: “I can care unconditionally – but I don’t have to accept the behaviors unconditionally.” So, he agreed that getting to the counseling center and getting into therapy was the only way to go.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from him wanting to meet for lunch and talk. He was worried about what was going to happen and if he really had the strength to resist his addictions. We talked for a few moments and I hung up to get ready to go down the road and meet him for lunch. He arrived and seemed in good shape – looks and demeanor can be deceiving. I realized that when he took out a bottle of vodka during lunch and helped himself. Once again I’m thinking – “holy Crap now what!” (raging drunks for 1000 Alex.)

At this point I’m also thinking “This is a restaurant I will be unable to go back to….” But my deepest concern is for my friend. He’s at this time beginning to spin out of control. I finally get him convinced to leave the restaurant ~ he wanted to buy a backpack and I thought the walk to the store might help. (foolish thoughts for 500 Alex.) And once again I was left shaking my head in disbelief.

I knew I could get him a ride ~ a friend of both of us was still willing to work with him. Several calls later he agreed to pick us both up – but particularly “Mouthwash”.

He “earned” the nickname from the Crisis Residential Unit we were both in after my stay in the hospital. He actually managed to get alcohol and smuggle it into the unit. He wasn’t selfish evidently ~ more than willing to share with others. Of course, the fact that everyone was on medication that might have a very negative (as in deadly) reaction to it never figured into his conscious. The alcohol? One that needs to be banned from drug store shelves. I’m not going to reveal the name – but the next time you are in a drug store look for a mouthwash that is more than 50 proof. The night at the unit was very interesting. He was turned in to the director and actually never denied the alcohol, merely blamed whoever turned him in as being at fault.

As the counseling center I was hoping to get him into was closed Friday/Saturday and Sunday. He had promised to call on Monday to get the intake appointment, and I agreed that I would go with him. All I could do was hope that he would be able to hold on until then. We finished getting the backpack and a really great pair of sunglasses for me and went outside to wait for our friend to come and take him away.Mouthwash decides that sitting on the sidewalk is the best option. So, now I’m sitting on the sidewalk (getting down there with my knees was a fun undertaking) ~ and he’s sitting there taking alternate hits from a vodka bottle and soda bottle. All I could think was what a great picture we were – and how much we both looked like older homeless men sharing a moment. As we were not sharing the bottle that’s all we would be sharing. He rambled on and on and I kept praying that no one I knew would show up.

That’s when the rest of the story came out. Not only had he been imbibing alcohol this week – but he had been mixing codeine cough syrup and pills (Xantax specifically) ~ a sure-fire meltdown combination. Now I’m worrying about getting arrested simply becvause I’m sitting next to him . . . and I have begun to create a catastrophe out of the situation. I’m not going to share those with you at this point ~ but later they became quite funny.

Finally we had poured him into the car and he was being taken back to the center where he lives to sleep it off …

The sleeping it off hope ended ~ evidently ~ when he passed out in his doorstep and awoke moments later cursing and threatening everyone in sight. . . including the friend that drove him home and was trying to get him into his room. Details are a little sketchy, but from what I found out ~ he checked himself out of the center and headed off to one of the most dangerous areas of town to add crack to the ingredients in his system. Today we learned that he was beaten up and arrested…no one knows for sure, but it sounds pretty likely to me.

Today when I contemplated what had gone on – I realized that my view of things/people/places and events has really changed. I know that there is nothing I can do to help this person directly and that worrying about it is neither productive nor helpful.

What does concern me is what this says about people I am around. There will be more on that soon.

And Yet, It Does Matter (2) ~Early Morning Thoughts

Yesterday, I vented my “orientation fatigue” about people who feel it’s absolutely essential to label everyone according to orientation ~ straight, gay, bi-sexual, non-sexual, waffle-sexual, buy-sexual and whatever. There were the “ladies” of “The View” trying to determine if Hugh Jackman was gay (suggesting because he had married a less than attractive (!?!) wife he was suspect), there were a number of blogs determining if Enrique Iglesias was gay because he dared perform at the largest gay nightclub in Europe (not for free I can assure you) and sang one of his signature songs to a patron on-stage. My feeling was (and still is) “WHAT DOES IT MATTER?”

A lot.

After I finished quelling the desire to yell and become a hermit, I realized what was really going on was something that I work hard NOT to do. All these instances were simply a desire for labels. Didn’t matter if the label was/is accurate or not, the important thing was/is to get the label. And this is why it does matter ~ regardless of orientation.


I was trying to figure out why the labels of today are so important. In thinking about some of the labels over time and I was struck by how many of them were and are used to define the relationship with a supposed “enemy.”

A time tested method of establishing such a relationship is by constantly referring to “the enemy” with some sort of derogatory label. Depending on your age and what you read or were taught (or believe), the labels you know of might be: Nips, Krauts, Slopes, Monkeys, Panheads, Gooks, Commies, or Ragheads. Soldiers aren’t the only people who employ this technique. Hate groups label the enemies of the week as Nigger, Kikes, Jew Bastards, Half-Breed, Witch, etc.

And soldiers and bigots aren’t the only ones to do this. The use of derogatory labels is a widespread technique for legitimizing the mistreatment of others. From grade school to Columbine to the NFL, our culture refers to those who are “not accepted as non-enemies” as Wimps, Freaks, Homos, Faggots, Pussies, Retards, Breeders, Fag Hags, Fag Stags, Sluts, Celebutard, Bitch, C–t, Redneck, etc. Someone, somewhere has, I’m sure, a more complete list if you care to look it up. I’ll leave the list at that – and pardon me while I sanitize my keyboard.

And if you question my use of Columbine, here is the opening paragraphs of an article from The Denver Rocky Mountain News – July 25, 1999:

At Brooke Gibson’s high school, nasty nicknames were the norm. “Nigger lover” was what they called her when she listened to rap. “Dyke” when she cut her blond hair short.

At the school her sister Layn attended, nicknames might poke fun at someone’s shirt color, but never their skin color or sexual orientation.

It was the same school.


I realized that the label(s) make some people comfortable. Much as the old country fellow said: “Yur either fer us or agin us!” And there it is ~ labels define who is “fer” us or “agin” us. If Hugh Jackman marrying a less than attractive woman (according to “The View”) makes him suspect as being gay or Enrique Inglasias performs at a gay night club makes him gay ~ then that helps define the “group” and where they belong. But then, according to S.I. Hayakawa’s Language in Thought and Action:

The symbol is NOT the thing symbolized. The map is NOT the territory. The word is NOT the thing. Most societies systematically encourage … the habitual confusion of symbols with things symbolized. For example, if a Japanese schoolhouse caught fire, it used to be obligatory in the days of emperor-worship to try to rescue the emperor’s picture (there was one in every schoolhouse), even at the risk of one’s life…. The symbols of piety, of civic virtue, or of patriotism are often prized above actual piety, civic virtue, or patriotism.

In one way or another, we are all like the student who cheats on his exams in order to make Phi Beta Kappa; it is so much more important to have the symbol than the things it stands for.

So, (he said with a lot of trepidation) if the word is not the thing ~ why does it carry so much weight and/or power to hurt or destroy?
—more tomorrow

And Yet, It Does Matter ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I read quite a few blogs ~ actually a LOT of blogs. It’s always interesting to see what people are talking about, what concerns people on the internet … as anyone who reads blogs can tell you ~ sometimes it’s funny, sometimes its somewhat frightening and then there are the days where irritation lands similar to a cartoon anvil.

A number of the blogs were all “a-twitter” over a discussion the ladies (a term I might …no, I won’t go there) of “The View” had whether Hugh Jackman ~ known as Wolverine in the X-Men series ~ might be gay or not. Evidently no definite conclusions were drawn…at least by the time of the commercial break. (please note: Rosie was no longer on the show – and these were women who usually talk over each other doing news topics) No conclusions were reached other than that men who marry women not stunningly attractive, are considered possibly gay. (what a lovely thing to say about Hugh Jackman’s wife!!)

Then – while in London Enrique Iglesias performed ~ neither by surprise nor free ~ at one of the Europe’s largest gay nightclubs. He was doing his usual songs, and came to one of his signature pieces titled “Hero.” At this point, he usually brings a woman up on stage and sings to her. In this case, he called up one of the bar’s male patrons and sang the song. A large number of blogs went beyond “a-twitter” to almost hysteria…(including some that should know better) although any performer will tell you ~ you play to the audience you have. Ask Bette Midler.

To make the day complete probably should have involved a phone call from D&D, but instead I got a call from someone who might be a delightful replacement for them. I was regaled with a complete description of a movie he had just watched and had to listen to an extended description of the people in the movie and their possible orientation. (I have watched movies with this person before ~ this is nothing new)

I’m going to be politically incorrect here ~ but at this point I was, frankly, suffering from “orientation” fatigue. After the 5th time of trying to convince my movie reviewer and performer sexual preference psychic, I gave up and gently but firmly ended the conversation.

I thought about why all this seemed to be going on, and why it mattered at all. I literally wanted to go out in the middle of the complex and yell ~ “WHAT DOES IT MATTER?”

My point is talent is talent is talent. If it’s good it needs NO labels. If it’s good it will cross lines, orientations and even – Lord help us – party affiliations. I don’t spend my time while watching a movie wondering what someone does in their off-time. If the performance is terrible I will 1) regret that I’m there and have been known to 2) count patterns on wall paper or buttons on what someone is wearing to keep my mind and/or body from falling asleep.

As a slight aside, my technical theater instructor in college told about having to design a really, really awful show. He painted grape clusters on the wallpaper of the set ~ only each cluster had a different number of grapes. His rational was that perhaps the audience might make it to intermission before they finished counting the grapes.

After I finished quelling the desire to yell and become a hermit, I realized what was really going on was something that I work hard NOT to do. All these instances were simply a desire for labels. Didn’t matter if the label was/is accurate or not, the important thing was/is to get the label. And this is why it does matter ~ regardless of orientation.

As I’ve written about before, labels are very handy for boxes, shelves and sock drawers, but deadly when applied to people…blonds are dumb(er), geeks wear glasses, people who appear smart or work hard are nerds…to the racial, orientation and intelligence labels designed to either hurt or put people “back where they belong.”
–more tomorrow

–the intro notes to Enrique Inglesias “Hero”
–Twilight Zone picture unfortunately had no credits or year
–grape cluster picture
–fire picture

Dark Matter In Space and Life(coda) ~ Early Moring Thoughts

As I had talked about “I” messages, and mentioned the use of what I was calling “directed” questions to try and effect change in someone ~ what I had not counted on was someone taking far more direct action. I had written that SE chose to believe that 1) things would always work against whatever was wanted, 2) that nothing could/would go the way they wanted and 3) anger is/was the only way to deal with the what was happening.

Earlier in the day SE had decided to “put someone in their place.” Unfortunately, the person being “put in place” made a very quick decision that was not something they were going to tolerate. SE had a very abrupt realization that there could be pain attached to taking anger out on someone ~ very abrupt and very painful.

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

I have spent a long time with SE today, which limited my on-line time. However, I can say – there was a positive result of it all, and I’ll return to the topic tomorrow night. (And SE has agreed that outside help is needed with the issues ~ which is one of the major results I wanted.)

Dark Matter In Space And Life(2) ~ Late Night Thoughts

There was a slight (?!) pause between the last post and this one (OK ~ I regard 24 hours as slight…in posting time anyway.) However, I had a delay in getting an answer to what was wearing me out.

However, here is where I’m standing at the moment. Exactly how can someone be told what the bitter anger, resentments and “persecution” is doing to them and to those around. How can you show someone – who can not see the examples around them – that things can and should be different.

As I was searching for answers, I stumbled over the answer right in front of me. There is no use “telling” someone what their anger/bitterness/resentments are doing to themselves and/or others. Doing this could result in an enormous argument with denial and even more anger. Instead of helping, it creates more barriers to any change or epiphany to create a sense of what needs to be done.

I would love to say that this is the “WD method of handling people” and market it. However, it really is a combination of a number of ideas that I’ve heard/read/ripped off/been told over the years. In this problem, it involves two parts: 1) the I part and what I will call 2) the directed question part.

Often, when someone has a problem with another person, they tell them so by using a “you-statement,” for example, “you didn’t …..!” While the statement may be true, by phrasing it that way, the listener is likely to get defensive, and begin to argue. They might reply, “I couldn’t because the deadline was unreasonable!” or “You are always pestering me…..!”

Another approach to the same problem is using an “I-message:”

When you interrupted me speaking
I felt angry because
I was feeling unimportant.

While this disguises a “you” statement, it allows the thoughts/feelings of the person to be expressed in a fairly non-threatening manner. Hopefully, it will cause the other person to think and not simply react. However, there has been some rethinking about these statements. (But wait ~ there’s more!) The point of the statement is to get the other person to see the problem from a different non-threatening point of view. However – there is a tendency for these statements to come across as stilted, childish and somewhat patronizing ~for adults anyway.

Situation 1: Mark is yelling at James because James changed the channel on the television from MTV to VH1. Mark is calling James names and telling him to turn it back or else Mark will pound him.

Traditional “I” message:
James says to Mark: “I feel angry when you call me names and yell at me and I want you to stop it.”

The above statement would warm the heart of almost any trainer/consultant over the last few years. What I think it would NOT do is change anything in the situation.

New “I” message:

James says to Mark: “Hey, Mark. Cool out, man. I’m starting to get angry. I don’t like it when people call me names and threaten me. I didn’t know that changing the channel was such a big deal. Can we work this out like friends?” (no doubt a sanitized version of the actual conversation)

(And as a bonus ~)

I thought these kind of statements were easy ~ I was given this example from the Ohio Commission of Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management. I would be interested in answers. Aside from the fact this brought up a huge set of memories (not so pleasant) that, frankly, surprised me.

Jerome is walking to his locker when an older student bumps into him and then begins yelling at Jerome about being stupid and clumsy.

Jerome say to the older student:
(ten bonus points if the end of the statement does NOT involve Jerome hitting the other student or both of them getting expelled/suspended.)

Now, the second part that could be used is (as I said) what I’m calling the “directed” question. These questions are somewhat probing and yet, non-threatening. These are more difficult to phrase. This is actually what I’ve begun to use with the problem I’m facing. I want SE to see for them self what their behavior is doing to them self and those around.

These type of questions take thought and some planning.

—more on this tomorrow (within 24 hours I promise!)

Dark Matter In Space And Life ~ Early Morning Thoughts

During the last three weeks, I have been dealing with something that has begun to really wear on me. There is someone that I have come to care/be concerned about very deeply that has made/is making choices that could possibly tear their life apart even more than it already is. This caused me to go back over a couple of posts that I did earlier about self-fulfilling prophecy and choices (I am a self-fulfilling prophecy and self-fulfilling anger).

Once again, there are quotes that laced those posts:

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.

This person chose/chooses to believe that 1) things would always work against them, 2) that nothing could/would go their way and 3) anger is/was the only way to deal with the what was happening.

This is NOT saying that anger doesn’t have purpose and uses. When anger is held onto, nurtured and allowed to color everything, that it can override what is actually going on in life. Someone once compared our emotions to an investment. They can either pay dividends or they can be held onto until they become a liability causing a drain of all that can be healthy. And, unfortunately, holding on to that kind of anger hurts rather than helps. It can become not only foolish, but actually self-destructive.

Anger, someone once said, is valuable only as a short-term investment. It’s value sharply decreases the long it’s held onto. It also consumes a tremendous amount of energy – physical, emotional and spiritual.

However, here is where I’m standing at the moment. Exactly how can someone be told what the bitter anger, resentments and “persecution” is doing to them and to those around. How can you show someone – who can not see the examples around them – that things can and should be different.

—more on this tomorrow

–Blue Anger –