Diary 6/26/22: Ellen Forney’s Marbles; a resolution about writing; orgasms without sildenafil; Hedges and the coming Christian fascism; Alan Watts and Taoism and my mission statement.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved
Today is not going well, but I don’t want to whine about it. So I’m whining about not whining.
Finished a second reading of Ellen Forney: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me. On the title page I wrote: “Courageous, impressive, a labor of dedication and love. Quite wonderful. Read twice, years apart.” It’s a graphic memoir, more cartoony than some such works I’ve seen, but more artistically accomplished (by a lot) than Cindy Crabb’s Doris work. Forney’s website for Marbles, and another for herself.
Reading this book made me regret that I’m so lackadaisical about my writing; I’ll resist making excuses about this for once. Blogging, I have this thought now, is a mere distraction. A resolution: I’m going to write here only things that are important to me; no more “Hey, look at this, [neuroscience article about pregnancy], [political news], [picture of young actress or cute kid], [review of mediocre DVD], [whining about anything], [etc.].” I should not try to compete with information services like, say, Wikipedia. This resolution will result in fewer blog posts, maybe many fewer, but hopefully more pointed and meaningful, thus better. A link that most people don’t want is just clutter, or even noise.
One point surely worth a mention: I’ve gone a month without sildenafil, yet I’ve had four orgasms about a week apart. It takes a lot of effort—two hours over two days is not unusual—but it’s also pleasurable even when I don’t get off. No speculations about the future, no conclusions just yet.
New book from friend Nataliya (here formerly “Natalie” or “Salomé”). $25.00. ISBN 9798837896583. Available only through Amazon! I bought four copies, since it’s not available through Barnes & Noble or anywhere else yet. Thinking it over now, I wish I’d offered the deal to Nataliya…
The horrifying news from Chris Hedges, in case you missed any of this lengthy recitation of the nefarious doings of the U.S. so-called Supreme Court: “The Supreme Court is relentlessly funding and empowering Christian fascism. It not only overturned Roe v. Wade, ending a constitutional right to an abortion, but ruled on June 21 that Maine may not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program. It has ruled that a Montana state program to support private schools must include religious schools. It ruled that a 40-foot cross could remain on state property in suburban Maryland. It upheld the Trump administration regulation allowing employers to deny birth control coverage to female employees on religious grounds. It ruled that employment discrimination laws do not apply to teachers at religious schools. It ruled that a Catholic social services agency in Philadelphia could ignore city rules and refuse to screen same-sex couples applying to take in foster children. It neutered the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It watered down laws allowing workers to combat sexual and racial harassment in court. It reversed century-old campaign finance restrictions to permit corporations, private groups and oligarchs to spend unlimited funds on elections, a system of legalized bribery, in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. It permitted states to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. It undercut the ability of public sector unions to raise funds. It forced workers with legal grievances to submit their complaints to privatized arbitration boards. It ruled that states cannot restrict the right to carry concealed weapons in public. It ruled that suspects cannot sue police who neglect to read them their Miranda warnings and use their statements against them in court. Outlawing contraception, same-sex marriage and same-sex consensual relations are probably next. Only 25 percent of those polled say they have confidence in Supreme Court decisions.”
It’s so much worse than I knew. What Hedges calls “probably next” I would call “inevitably next.” Unless it is stopped by an equally “irresistible force.” Another quote: “Once a legal system is subservient to dogma an open society is impossible.”
Are we there yet? Is it the end of the world? Close enough for government work, I’d say.
Good news? I killed my most persistent and annoying fly! Unfortunately, it doesn’t weigh much in the scales.
Reading Alan Watts with Al Chung-liang Huang: Tao: The Watercourse Way, Pantheon Books, New York, 1975, in an explanation of Yin and Yang, I read this:
“People who have been brought up in the aura of Christian and Hebrew aspirations find this frustrating, because it seems to deny any possibility of progress, an ideal which flows from their linear (as distinct from cyclic) view of time and history. Indeed, the whole enterprise of western technology is ‘to make the world a better place’—to have pleasure without pain, wealth without poverty, and health without sickness. But, as is now becoming obvious, our violent efforts to achieve this ideal with such weapons as DDT, penicillin, nuclear energy, automotive transportation… are creating more problems than they solve.” p. 20.
I have previously defined my mission statement as “to make the world a better place through my writing.” I have indeed believed, somewhat, in progress, of a sort. I still think that penicillin solved more problems than it created, and indeed, I have received quite a few doses (usually called “ampicillin” which provokes some thoughtful hesitation) throughout my life.
Interestingly, I couldn’t remember “mission statement” in the above description (“purpose in life”? “main goal”?), so I went looking for it in previous diaries, and learned to my surprise that none of that appears anywhere in my 2021 diary. I used to have this “mission statement” in the heading of my blog.
But my point in raising all this is this: I think I may have finally understood something of where Neil (here formerly “Nog”) is coming from, and why we so seldom agree about how he is leading his life. I have thought that he is depressed; why I thought this is not much to the purpose here, and is essentially none of my business. But if he looks on life, writ large, as cyclic, while I see it as linear, I say, IF this is true and is at the bottom of my misunderstanding him, well, that’s—ahem—progress. And the echo of “make the world a better place” in the Watts text led me forcefully to this comparison and new understanding or misunderstanding.
I’m hoping to speak to Neil later this evening.
Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved