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A Vagina Walks Down the Street

“Hello friends,” said the walking vagina out loud, strutting as you do when drenched by a storm cloud. 

“But that’s not possible,” they say, dismayed by the boldness of her claims.

“Oh god,” she said with sarcasm and delight to all who stood and stared. “Look! Run! It’s a walking Labia Majora!” With her lips skewed to the side, and a smile as she toasts with her Susan, never Tom, Collins, she says.  

“Yes, that’s me. In my glory and brains, taking a walk, raw from labor pain.”

“Run children, run,” they say, “how dare she show her true, unveiled self! We will slay this walking bitch today.” 

The vagina, with a target on her back, just walked on her way, whistling a toon that only she can sustain, admiring her friend, Collins’ refrain of the profane.  

“The pompous! The unreal! The destruction of all!” They yelled. “At lease cover your Bombay, your entrée, or people will have a field day!”  

“Yoga pants to the rescue?” The Vagina spoke up, with an ironic smile on her face. “But you forbade those, calling them the gravy train, a hurricane of sugarcane shaking and activating your renal veins!”

“My renals are just fine, thank you very much!” They said. “But you, and your Collins, you two with your dangerous horseplay, your tempting doomsday!” They cried with Fox News while sucking on their propaganda sugar cane.  “Now, moving target,” they called the Vagina, “go away, hit the hay, you’re a slut like every divorceé.” 

“Doomsday and slut?” the Vagina replied, “As you cover up your intended reign, forcing Ukraine with your disdain for right brain logic.  Embracing, rather, ad campaigns. I am a labium of truth, but you see only the mark of Cain in my menstrual stain, and you grab me for capital gain.”

“And gain we will!” They cried with pitchforks and PR men in their wake. “You, withered lips, a chosen scapegoat,” they laughed as they walled all exits from the streets. “We are your Fannie Mae, your Judgment Day, your chauvinistic Hemingway all waiting to put you on layaway.”

“And I shall bleed,” the walking Vagina said as she spilled the last bit of her Susan Collins between her lips, savoring the strength therein. “I shall bleed a terrible river of red bane, poisoned by your own water, your own food chain, leaving the earth a barren terrain.”

“And it is there,” the Vagina continued unmoved by the pitchforks and the threats, “it is there that you shall cry in vain as your water, your children, your earth withers and drains. All from your own doing and greed. You will be choking on your own bane.”

And so, the Vagina kept walking down the street, ready to face all walls and ceilings in her pinkness and her accused profane, missing the days of McCain, who at least seemed somewhat sane. “Maybe,” she thought, glistening in the now moonlight getting ready to jump the ill-created wall, “it’s time for a new type of senate campaign.” 

Adventures in Supermarkets: Lessons in communication

Conversations heard at the grocery story. I love when I overhear conversations – I am often surprised by their content, seeing how we are all in a public place!

Act 1:

A guy and girl were walking. I think they were boyfriend and girlfriend, or at least testing the waters. She was talking about her dog and he replied as follows:

Just so you know, any conversation about pets and animals is not going to be met with any reciprocal joy.”

I am not giving this relationship very long. I also caught up with them in the frozen food section, and she was talking this time about something she wanted him to understand.

“And I just want you to know ….” He interrupts: “Ok, what is it you want me to know now?”

Yep, I am not thinking this potential hook will last long. Empathy is key to conversations and actions. Connection bids, where you are sharing a story about your pet or setting boundaries, should be accepted rather than blocked. These two need to play the improv “Yes, and” game.

Act 2:

On the same trip, I was accosted by a passive aggressive, angry shopper. Granted, my cart was a bit out toward the middle of the isle, my bad. It was at an angle with the handles toward the center of the isle and the cart bumper toward the window. This was also in the refrigerator section.

This last event on my daily shopping task reminded me of our problems in the US today. In general, we don’t know how to talk to each other. We make a lot of assumptions about why people do what they do, and most of the time, these assumptions are incorrect. They are based on our own personal biases.

For myself, I was under the weather that day, functioning in a fog and so was not as aware as I should have been about where my cart was stationed. It happens to us all. In my fog, a woman literally rammed my cart as if she was giving the cart a derby hip check. The cart then rickashaed off the glass in the frozen food section and almost hit me. She then looked at me with a smirk and said “oh, excuse me!” Then rolled her eyes. I apologized for leaving my cart in a bad area and she turned and left. I was left there thinking: WTF?

This woman had a young child with her and I thought, wow … example much?

Now it is hard to know why she behaved as she did. Maybe she was in a bad mood, but we must all check our behavior when we interact with others. What I worrie about is the example her child witnessed. This child, whether hers or not, just recited information that says acting aggressively toward another is ok, as long as you can get away with it. We offer this example a lot in our world today, espically online. Empathy, folks. Talk to someone and find out what is going on rather than assuming or raming them in the store.

I have to go shopping again today. Could be informative!

Let’s Not Repeat “Rule-of-Law” Atrocities

Let’s Not Repeat “Rule-of-Law” Atrocities

We are witnessing history repeating itself with Jeff Sessions’ citation of Romans 13, and Trumps “zero tolerance” policy on separating immigrant children from their family. I would like to remind us all how unholy unions of spiritual and secular rule-of-law reasoning used to support inhuman and wayward laws wreak havoc on us all.

magdalene_asylum_at_wooloowin_brisbane_1937

Magdalene Asylum at Wooloowin, Brisbane, 1937[1], John Oxley…

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Let’s Not Repeat “Rule-of-Law” Atrocities

We are witnessing history repeating itself with Jeff Sessions’ citation of Romans 13, and Trumps “zero tolerance” policy on separating immigrant children from their family. I would like to remind us all how unholy unions of spiritual and secular rule-of-law reasoning used to support inhuman and wayward laws wreak havoc on us all.

magdalene_asylum_at_wooloowin_brisbane_1937
Magdalene Asylum at Wooloowin, Brisbane, 1937[1], John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, 1937
For a good portion of the modern era, Ireland locked away so-called undesirable “fallen women” into Magdalene Laundries under the guise of religious and state “rule-of-law” philosophy designed to protect against contaminating Ireland’s moral and economic purity. A “zero tolerance” policy was established against any woman held in suspicion: single mothers, prostitutes, women who were considered too pretty, and the list goes on. For single mothers and those who became pregnant out of wedlock, their children were forcibly taken from them and adopted out of the country without their permission, while she endured slave labor for the rest of her life in a laundry. Names were changed, and families were moved around making it impossible to reunite.

Here in the United States, we are creating the conditions for a similar long-term, and wide-reaching historical disaster with the current administration’s illegal immigration policy, promoting the separation of children from their family. This policy is further supported by a rhetoric of how those illegally crossing into the US could be “murderers and thieves.” This narrow xenophobic and nationalistic discourse framed within “rule-of-law” logic will damage our nation’s core humanistic values and ruin the lives of thousands.

beys_afroyim_with_son
Beys Afroyim (1893-1984), subject of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court citizenship law case Afroyim v. Rusk, with his infant son Amos. Taken in a park in New York City in 1947. Original photo is now at the Austrian National Library.

Both Sarah Huckabee (secular argument) and Jeff Sessions (religious reasoning) cite the “rule of law” in this human rights catastrophe as justification for terrorizing families that illegally enter this country, while, ironically enough, the US exits the UN Human Rights Council. Sessions, while promoting a questionable marriage between state and religious law, proclaims: “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.” This rule-of-law argument has been used to justify discriminatory and inhumane laws since the beginning of recorded history, defending slavery, mass executions and the attempted eradication of large, marginalized groups of society.

“Rule-of-law” arguments are what we in communication studies call narrowly framed master arguments designed to blind our sight from other evidence. Like Creon in Sophocles’ Tragic play the “Antigone,” we develop tunnel vision blinding us to the human element impacted by the rule-of-law. In the “Antigone,” Creon decrees that his nephew Polyneices cannot be buried as he brought a war to Thebes. During his campaign, Polyneices is killed, and Antigone wishes to bury her brother according to spiritual traditions of the time. Creon decrees against this act. Antigone, however, finds herself called by greater laws, unwritten spiritual and humanitarian laws, which puts kindness first. She breaks Creon’s order and is sentenced, without a jury of her peers, to be buried alive, justified by the “rule-of-law” edict.

The “Antigone” has been used as a protest play since it’s creation in 441 BC, adapted continually to speak for misguided applications of “rule-of-law” designed to protect inhuman laws, including legislation that promoted over a hundred years of Magdalene Laundries atrocities.

Trump and Lady Liberty
Sableman, Paul. (Feb. 4, 2017). “Trump and Lady Liberty.” Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pasa/32651533221/

Unholy unions of spiritual and secular rule-of-law reasoning destroy the foundations on society. As humans, we have a higher calling, one that views all of humanity, worthy of consideration over poorly written laws. The poor, the illegal immigrant, women, children, those from other nations and religions are all worthy of humane concern. We must rise above this repetition of history, embracing a better way, a road not wrought by human right abuses.

As a scholar of the Magdalene Laundries, I receive mail every year from children looking for their birth mothers. The pain and anguish these now grown children live with are profound and devastating. Since the Irish state at the time did not require convents and religious laundries to keep records on the “inmates,” and as inmate names were often changed, the chances of reuniting are slim to naught. Today we have an opportunity as a nation to do better, and we must or we all risk being buried alive by ill-begotten laws designed to destroy.

________

Dr. Rebecca Lea McCarthy is a communication’s instructor for South Seattle College and the author of “Origins of the Magdalene Laundries: An Analytical History.”

The “Golden Rule” is not so Golden; it’s Time for New Guidelines

The “Golden Rule” is not so Golden; it’s Time for New Guidelines

Rockwell's Gold Rule, The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961

Rockwell's Gold Rule, The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961

Rockwell’s Gold Rule, The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961

More and more, I find myself cringing when I hear friends and colleagues promote the virtues of the Golden Rule or the rule of thumb. A popular ethical ideal, this rule tells that a guide to being ethical is that we should treat people the way we want to be treated; “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or “do nothing…

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Younique Foundation: A Haven

The Younique Foundation, offering havens of healing for those sexually assaulted in childhood.

It has been a while since I have posted. I maintain blogs and write for other sites, making it difficult to find time to write for my own.  Alas, Irony. Image belongs to the Younique Foundation. However, I wanted to write about the Younique Foundation and their work at the Haven Retreat for woman traumatized by childhood sexual abuse.  If you have visited this site before, you know that I am…

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Nurturing Empathy in the US: Thank you, Karl Becker

Nurturing Empathy in the US: Thank you, Karl Becker

Karl Becker. Picture credit: ABC News

Karl Becker. Picture credit: ABC News

Karl Becker, the last questioner at last night’s debate, reminded us (I hope) that what we are missing in today’s world, not only in our politics is empathy. If you did not see the debate, he is the one who asked Clinton and Trump to state just one thing they liked about each other. There was no empathy on that debate stage, maybe the occasional stab at…

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Conquering Self Fears and Momma Mia

Conquering Self Fears and Momma Mia

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IMG_6098

Mamma Mia at Diamond Head Theatre, Honolulu, HI: July 15 – August 14, 2016

A personal odyssey to combat fear and return to what I love:

Today, I am feeling less than 100%.  I made myself sick because of the stress and pressure I placed on myself the last few weeks. Auditioning for Musicals just scares the crap out of me, and I did two last week. I have not done a musical since I was around…

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A few problems facing many workers

I have not updated this blog in a long time, mostly because I write for other blogs and do social media for others, leaving me to be a bit lazy updating my social media. But today I had one of those epiphanies that deserve a short essay post.

Today, while talking to students, I reflected on a not so new trend, but upon reflection I was able to put together strands and convergences I had not considered before:  having to work many jobs or have your fingers in many different pots in order to survive causes the same problems and frighten side effects as Taylorism and Neo-Taylorism, harming the workers, production, and “growth” in industry. Since 2007, hiring part-time or seasonal workers, while eliminating full-time jobs have been on the rise. We are finally seeing a little bit of a decrease in this trend, since February 2016, but it’s still a serious reality.

full-time-vs-part-time-16-plus-since-2007
Mislinski, Jill

I normally reflect on this reality regarding our economy in relation to, or from the standpoint of my own part-time work schedule; God knows I don’t work “part-time,” I work overtime (at least in hours logged in), as I have to work multiple part-time jobs to survive. My story is not a new or a surprising one for many Americans. Right now, I have 3 part-time jobs working for 5 different entities in total, volunteering for one additional entity (helping professional development).  Further, like many of my students, I am attending school to earn credentials, which I hope will allow me to work in a field offering full-time opportunities, or at least allowing me to work full-time for myself.

Because I am not a full-time worker, I don’t receive help on things like health insurance. And because adjunct instructors are not seen as independent contractors, although we are treated that way, I cannot claim much on my taxes for deductions, even though I use all my own resources to do the work.  This leaves me in a quandary regarding work-life balance, finances, and the whole 9 yards.

But this reality, the reality of having one’s hands in so many pots, is not only experienced by the part-time workforce,  having our hands in many pots exists for full-time workers as well. While getting to know my new students, I was informed by several students how their full-time jobs required them to do more than one job description. This reality was hit home rather seriously when one of my students explained how diverse these tasks were: he functioned as a mechanic for small engines, played an administrative role for his company, and also drove trucks. Talk about diverse job descriptions!

When my ex-husband and I left for our RV adventure, it was partly because we were burned out – me from working so many part-time jobs and him from having to do the work of multiple positions that were closed in order to save the company money – thus doing the job of 3 people.

What occurred to me today is that we have taken a turn away from Taylorism and neo-Taylorism; the pendulum has swung in the other direction, but the irony is this: the problems that Taylorism created among workers, are the same problems we are having today, even though the system is entirely different – many of the symptoms remain.

Taylorism is management of working and production that was devised through the study of efficiency in human production (Fordism looking more and machines and mass production). Under Taylorism, workers were divided up into categories that optimize production, and each person in each group would perform a specialized, repetitive task in order to speed up production. This also ensured that each worker became an expert in the task he or she was performing. Being an expert, in theory, eliminated waste of time and thereby expanded profit. However, the problem with this became evident fairly quickly: people became bored. They became so bored that they stopped paying attention to what they were doing, repetition becoming automatic. And this actually harmed production: accidents, not being observant about the quality of work being performed, and finding diversions on the job. Motivation tanked and this, in effect, harmed production bottom lines. Worse, this absolute specialization made it so that if the right-hand failed, the left-handed know what to do about it. This is a big problem with such extreme specialization.

Further, instead of seeing workers as people, workers were seen as cogs in a wheel that could be easily exchanged as they “broke down.” This approach to workers’ worth causes high anxiety and increasing mental health issues among American workers. Thus, this approach toward replacing tired/ burnt out workers and the view of workers as disposable togs is also an expensive proposition, especially when you consider how much money it costs to replace a worker: train that worker, get the new worker acclimated to the company culture, and so on and so forth.

So now to my epiphanies: reflecting on myself and others I know, those of us having to have our hands in so many pots whether we are part-time or full-time workers creates, oddly enough, the same drawbacks as Taylorism and Neo-Taylorism:

Having so much on my plate is overwhelming, so it takes me more time to get things done. The more I think about everything I have to do, the more overwhelming it is, the more stressful it is, and the more I want to retreat.

Stress of having to be excellent in every single task that is required of me makes me feel sick.  This stress just overwhelms me, causes anxiety, and I can’t get things done as well as I need to.

The bottom line is the burnout effect and the feeling that one is simply a cog in the wheel quite literally impacts every aspect of one’s life, personal and professional, as well as one’s health. So we have a different paradigm, generalists rather than absolute specialists, but we have the same problems. So the question is how do we fix this?

The key is to pay attention to workers as people, and to help workers have better work-life balance, and this goes for full and part-time working conditions. Which really is not a surprising conclusion. And in each case a good medium needs to be strapped, and the worker needs to feel they are valued. As a part-time worker, although I appreciate the companies I work for, my loyalty is absolutely split. It has to be, that’s just the way of life, as I cannot commit absolutely to one company since I work for several. As Crowley et. al. (2010) argue: “A withdrawal of loyalty is indeed apparent among contractors who have opted out of a traditional employment relationship.” Although “opted out” implies a firm choice of the worker, and I would argue that the part-time paradigm is not always a choice but a market reality, the results regarding loyalty is the same. Further, when full-time workers are asked to play multiple roles in order to keep their full-time status, they also start to lose loyalty to their company as it becomes apparent that their company is not really worried about their wellbeing.

“The image that emerges from the last quarter of the twentieth century for all employees is one of increased organizational flexibility at the expense of employee well-being” (Crowley et. al., 2010).

I am reminded of that wonderful episode of Roseanne, where she calls it quits:

Some Articles for your consideration:

  • Neo-Taylorism at Work: Occupational Change in the Post-Fordist Era Author(s): Martha Crowley, Daniel Tope, Lindsey Joyce Chamberlain, Randy Hodson Source: Social Problems, Vol. 57, No. 3 (August 2010), pp. 421-447 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sp.2010.57.3.421 .