Saturday, August 31, 2013

Witchcraft as a Science and a Natural Way of Life

This is a post I have contemplated for a very long time but, let's face it, when it comes to blogging this year I have just not been great at keeping it up. However, as I am coming to the end of yet another difficult August and I think about all of the things I've had on my mind throughout the month, since I can't sleep anyway, and there is a hell of a nice storm going on outside, I see this as as good a time as any to correct some common erroneous beliefs concerning magick and witchcraft that bother the hell out of me every time I hear them.
I have often heard many people say, with much assurance and often in a condescending way, that magick is nothing but unbelievable hocus pocus without a shred of "proof" of its existence or effectiveness. What annoys me most when I hear this is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person saying this knows absolutely nothing about magick and how it works. If they did, and they had scientific knowledge, they would not say this with such confidence. Why is that? Because science tells us that magick is entirely possible. Before you call bullshit, please, allow me to explain.
Science tells us that there are billions of particles floating around the earth and the cosmos at any given time and that, if one knew how to do it, one could give this energy purpose and put it toward something, a goal, for instance. I first read this in a science class I was taking for my associate's in psychology and I read it over three times to make sure I had that straight because as soon as I read this I knew at last what made spells work. I knew already that spells did work. I do not cast full physical spells often. I work primarily with prayer and mental magick (visualizing toward a goal) and usually I don't need a full spell because one of these take care of things but if something is large I will break out the associated herbs, stones, candles, and the words themselves and I will cook up a spell and when I do, they rarely fail me (when they have failed me I have personally found that it is because what I asked for wasn't right for my life at that time and it has only happened twice...except in the beginning when I screwed things up more often than not and that, folks, was simply my bad). So, since the age of eleven, I had had complete faith that a spell did work but until that moment reading over my science text book I did not know the full scope of HOW. It was one of those 'aha' moments. Shortly after that I started learning about Quantum Physics Silver Ravenwolf style (which is the only way I can understand this particular subject if I am to be honest). This further enforced the link between what science tells us and how it supports magick. When you take the herbs associated with a specific purpose because it somehow connects to the energy of that purpose and you take a stone associated with a purpose for the same reason and you light a candle whose color is associated with this purpose stating outright that this is your purpose, you are saying to the universe, "Hey, you know those billions of particles of energy you have just floating around all over the place? Well, I would love to borrow some for this goal if you wouldn't mind. You can have it back when I don't need it anymore. Please and thanks so much." Most of the time the universe will say "Sure, here you go." Sometimes, for whatever reason, the universe chooses not to come off with the energy (usually the problem has to do with a lack of focus or something that wasn't done quite right and I think we all experience that in the beginning during our trial and error days). Then there are times, for those out there who cast without a thought for the consequences  that you can't help but imagine the Goddess just smirking like "Oh, ok. Sure. Have at it and you have fun with that now, kid." hahaha The point is, science tells us the energy is there waiting on a purpose. For thousands of years people who lived off the land and knew the tress and the plants and the stones well developed properties for these things that both carry and can attract energy of a certain sort...Bam, you have a spell. A scientific process that is real and can create very real results and changes in anybody's life. Ya dig?
Perhaps because I am a kitchen witch or because I used to bake all the time or because, Pre-Crohn's, I was a big girl physically and I still am in my heart, I have always likened casting a spell to baking a cake. You add all of the right ingredients  things that do not make much on their own, you pour the mixture into a pan, put the pan in the oven, and when it comes out, you have deliciousness created from parts that would not be the same alone and would not come out the same if they were put in a recipe for biscuits or gravy instead of cake. If you accidentally add salt when you meant to add sugar, your cake will not turn out right. If you do something wrong while the cake is baking (how many of you can recall your mothers or grandmothers flipping their shit while a cake was baking and you ran through the house as hard and fast as your legs could go?) your cake will fall flat and it won't bake up quite right. But if you follow the directions, you know what you are doing, you bake it on the right temp and you don't do something to disturb it, it will bake up just as you wanted, creating cake where only a few individual ingredients had been before. That is pretty much a spell in a nutshell. And the fire that turns it from mix to cake? Well, that's those bored particles floating around with nothing to do unless you give them a job, preferably a positive one. :)

And if you pray, love, or breathe air, please do not look at me and say, "Well, magick still can't be real because I can't see it." Can you see a prayer as it goes out to your deity? Can you see love itself? Can you see air itself? No, no, and no. But you can see the effects of all three just as you can with a spell. 

Now, as far as our worship goes, there are few religions or spiritualities in America that are more grounded in nature and, as a result, science. Can you deny the seasons exist? Can you deny that the moon travels in 28-day cycles? No? Well, all of our Sabbats, our holy days, coincide with the changing of the seasons, at both their direct points and right in between seasons (Beltane, for instance, is exactly halfway through Spring and halfway toward summer), and our Esbats celebrate either the full moon alone or each of the moon's cycles depending on the way you practice. Yes, we have our stories attached to these days, our myths, our associations that cannot be scientifically measured. But the gist of it, the reason we gather, is to celebrate these natural dates. I remember in seventh grade we discussed the changing of the seasons and the dates that they occurred on in science class and I knew each date accurately, not because I read ahead in the book, but because I had already been a witch for over a year and the first thing I learned was our holy days. What's more, this is something that was common to every ancient tribal people I have ever read about so if I had all of my ancestors from Europe and North America from 6,000 years ago in a room together talking about celebrating the changing seasons, they would all be able to understand that and share that with me. And that's pretty fucking cool too.
Even the concept of deity that is celebrated and embraced by most (not all...we cannot forget, for example, Dianic witches), the concept of a God and a Goddess, a male and a female, is also completely scientific in nature. There are very few species on earth that do not require both a male and a female to procreate. Women are usually the egg layers or the birth givers. Just about everyone from every religion refers to Mother Nature or Mother Earth even if they do not mean it in a holy way because it is quite clear that the earth is a Mother to everything on Her. So if just about everything on the planet requires a female to procreate and, in one way or another, facilitate birth, if the earth itself is often considered female, why, then, would there be no Goddess, no divine female energy? That, to me and many others in polytheistic religions, frankly makes no damned sense. Why would a male God without a Goddess, a male God who appears to have no need for a female, create a world where females are needed in basically every species in order to reproduce, including the species he holds "above" all others? There are so many holes in that logic that if it were a defense in a criminal trial, the author would certainly be convicted. I mean, let's get real. It makes no sense. Nothing in nature supports this idea of one male God, humans themselves and the way we procreate does not support it, it simply is not something that makes sense. Scientifically speaking, ya know... :)
        Then there is the belief in reincarnation. My belief in reincarnation is far older than my introduction to witchcraft and I am not going into what spurred that for me personally. However, to support this idea in a way that may be observable without going into any near death or past life stories, look, once more, to nature. Each year spring comes. The earth is reborn anew. Then comes summer when the earth is full of heat and passion, restlessness, youth....all of this tapers off into "middle age" or fall. The heat breaks. The nights get colder. We see death coming in a brilliant blast of color like life's final stand. The same storms that brought life to the earth in the spring now knock the leaves off the trees and chill the air bringing with it the death of winter. And of course, at winter, the greenery is dead. The animals, birds, and insects have either fled, they are hibernating, or they are not as active. For three months it is hard to look outside and imagine that anything but ice and biting wind might ever touch the earth again until....suddenly...March (or September if you are south of the equator) comes and you see poking out of the ground the first signs that life is returning. Every year we see it. The earth's personal reincarnation. Earth is our mother, from Her all the life we see around us has come, so if this is her cycle why is it so crazy to think it might be ours as well? How many times does a life come full circle before death? We are born weak, we cannot take care of ourselves, and we must be in diapers. If we live to old age often we find ourselves at the end of our lives again weak, unable to care for ourselves, and in diapers. Many tribal cultures see the hoop, the circle, as sacred both for its significance to reincarnation and the soul and in life, the way that we are all connected. The circle is as sacred in the Sioux culture as it is in Wicca, for instance. When you look at the world as a giant circle, that what dies must be reborn in one form or another, that all people are joining hands in a metaphorical circle of genetics and life on the planet, that the damage you do today you will have to face, if not this life than in another, doesn't that make you see your responsibilities to the planet and each other in a whole new light? That part isn't science...just truth. lol 

I'm not trying to knock the religious beliefs of anyone else nor do I feel like I have to prove that my own way is "right". It is one hundred percent right, it is the only true path...for me. And to me, that is all that matters. The only goal I had in writing this was to clear up some misconceptions, to maybe inspire someone somewhere to at least treat a witch with the respect of not dismissing his or her beliefs as soon as the witch tells you what he or she believes because all you know of it is what you've seen in Bewitched or Hocus Pocus. We cannot love one another without respecting one another and we cannot respect what we do not know. 
Love and Light to all. :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday, America!

       Ah, our little Nation is growing up so fast, isn't she? Two hundred and thirty-seven years young and I swear, she doesn't look a day over two hundred and thirty-four. :) Compared with many nations around the world, our country is really still a baby but the way things are going, I feel she is more like a teenager trying to find her way, trying to come into her own, trying to find that balance between the past that she came from and the values that were instilled in her from birth and the things she has learned so far in life that may disappoint her parents and take her far from where she started. She is trying to cast off those old ideals that no longer work for her, keep the things that do, and discover the path that will lead her to a bright future as an adult and it is painful for her as it usually is for all of us around that time. But I also have enormous faith in this country of ours, in the ideals that were given to her on this day in 1776 by men who had thoughts so new, so dangerous, that the books they came from had been banned in many European nations. I have faith that America will get through this rough time and she will emerge a beautiful, intelligent, just, and kindhearted adult in the years to come. Of course, whether or not that happens depends upon us, the people, and in order to understand where America is today and to truly guide where she will go tomorrow, one has to really know and understand her beginnings. 
       From elementary school on there are certain events that American school children are told of over and over and over again. Because America does not have a history nearly as long as nations like England, it is easy, I suppose, to latch on to certain stories or events and repeat them until American kids are honestly tired of hearing them before they reach high school. However, hearing these events as children and understanding them fully as adults are two very different things. Take the Revolution, all that led up to it, and the influence of the things that fueled Colonial fires toward the English crown upon the things that were put into the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, for example. From the first time we sat in a history or social studies class we were told that men like Thomas Jefferson fought for independence because of the way the colonists were treated by the king across the ocean who ruled them, that this is why it was important to the men that when they won, when a new nation rose from the ashes of the bloody Revolutionary War, this nation be ruled by the will of the people. A government that made decisions that went against the people, a government that denied innocent people basic human rights, a government that represented its own interest instead of the best interest of those who elected them would not be tolerated. That was everything these men stood against. Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Washington, these men were men of the Enlightened Age. So much of what they believed about government came from the ideas of a philosopher named John Locke and if you have never read his work, you should. It is here that you will gain a clear perspective on what America was supposed to be. Of course, no one told us about Locke or his ideas in school. That I learned later on. And it was from this knowledge that I shaped my own principals of right and wrong where the direction of the country is concerned, just like the Founding Fathers had before me.
        The importance concerning the separation of Church and State came from two sources. The first was simply the ideas of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was an age where free thinking people grew very very tired of the massive influence of the Christian churches on government affairs. They were sick of religious leaders who stifled the truths of science, setting back the progress of scientific discovery over and over again, because science was uncovering undisputed facts that went in opposition with what the Bible said. They were tired of rulers who allowed this, who agreed with this, even at the expense of human lives as in the case with inoculations. The Founding Fathers of America had also seen first hand the way that the Church of England influenced England and the hold it had on the people there. And they wanted neither scenarios to ever be a problem in America. Yet it has been. Over and over again, even today. This past weekend the state of Ohio signed a budget into law that will all but strip state funding from Planned Parenthood. The money "saved" from this action will not go back to the state for the good of the people. It will be sent to Christian organizations that talk women out of having abortions. Why did our governor sign such a piece of trash into law? Because, as he stated, he is pro-life (pro-birth). The fact that the majority of the people in this state were against it, that this action seems to violate that pesky thing about separating church and state, and he is not the king of Ohio who is allowed to do what he wants but actually an American elected official is completely irrelevant. This is the same state that has one of the largest homosexual populations in an American city in our capital city and it has been made quite clear to our governor that the people here, the majority of us, want marriage equality in the state of Ohio yet he refuses to consider it because, as he told us, HE believes marriage is as the Bible states, between a man and a woman. Gee, that is exactly what the men who built this nation from the wreckage of war wanted when they wrote in what are now seen as suggestions within our national constitution protecting us from this sort of crap, huh? Oh, and let us not forget that there are states who feel it is ok for a child to learn creationism as opposed to science in a science class or the fact that the majority of "leaders" in America deny their homosexual citizens the basic human right to marry because it is against their own religious ideas...same goes for the fight against abortions where most people who want them made illegal do not believe it should be treated as a crime where a woman is arrested for having one but just that it is religiously wrong....And yet those of us who stand against these things are the ones so commonly called unpatriotic? Is that so? Why? We are the ones defending the concepts this country was actually founded on. 
      If the Declaration of Independence were being signed today instead of more than two centuries ago and those who signed it had the same foundation for their beliefs, ALL people would truly be created equal in this country. The Tea Party and others like them would not be able to say that freedom of religion doesn't include my religion because it isn't specifically named, that women are not equal because no such provision was written into the constitution originally, or that homosexuals have no right to marriage because where does one see that in the fine print of the constitution? Ignoring history is all so convenient for them. They disregard it the same way they disregard science. They take the revolutionary, damn near counter-culture-like men who started it all and they paint this inaccurate, almost stupid portrait of them as Christian soldiers who founded a Christian nation based upon Christian ideals and that they gave rights only to straight white men because that was truly what they wanted while disregarding the fact that it was 1776. If they had dared to make women equal to men, people of color equal to whites, or if they had so much as mentioned homosexuals in any way, the people in all thirteen colonies would have soon turned Tory and this nation would not exist. It was not possible for those great ancestors of ours to truly ensure in the Constitution that all PEOPLE be created equal in our laws. So what did they do? As men of science, men of reason, they looked ahead and they hoped that times would change, that people would grow as human beings, and that their descendants could realize the rest of their vision. They left the Constitution open so that when such a day came, we, the people, could put amendments in that would do what they could not and create the equality for all that they could only dream of. Yes, I know that some of these men owned slaves themselves. I am sure that they also would have been homophobic and misogynistic as well by today's standards. But that's the point. They did not live by today's standards. This is why, before fools stand up in front of the people they are supposed to represent and declare that all of us have it wrong concerning those men, they need to try, for a moment, to imagine the way those men would believe if they were alive today. Believe me, it isn't that hard. You look at what they did write into the original constitution, you look at what they did believe and the philosophies that guided them, radical concepts that would have made them the Abbie Hoffmans of their day, you apply some damned knowledge of historical context, and tell me again that what is going on in America today would be supported by Jefferson, who has become Jesus to men like Glen Beck even though they are EVERYTHING he did not want for this nation. 
        I absolutely love my country. If I have moments where I am less than proud to be American it is not because of America herself. It is because of the people around me. I don't really have moments like that anymore, though, because as I've grown up I decided that I will not be ashamed of my "mother" simply because I have some absolute fools for "siblings" all around this nation. I do not know, nor do I care to know, anything about my biological father's shallow gene pool but I know a great deal about the side of my family I claim and most of my ancestors that I was able to trace came to this nation within the first two years after the establishment of Jamestown. I have other ancestors who were here long, long before that. So if that is what defines an American than I am certainly able to claim the title but unlike others in this country, I do not believe that how long your family has been here and how white they were has a damned thing to do with being an American. America was once more than a nation. America was a concept, a vital spirit. It was freedom, acceptance, a place where one's rights were sacred and they were not to be trampled on simply because a politician could use that trampling to get elected. And to me, if you are one of those people who feel like you are an authority on what it means to be a patriot, an American, you had damned well look down first and see if there are any basic freedoms under your feet from your climb to the podium before you tell an immigrant he or she isn't American enough to be here or that I am not a patriot because I won't sit back with my feminine mouth shut like a good girl while you tell a majority of the country that, for one reason or another, we are not good enough to have the same rights that you enjoy. I am a patriot because I will not shut up until every woman is treated like more than an incubator, everyone, regardless of orientation, can marry the person he or she loves, every worker who does the same job gets the same benefits and paycheck, and every person who wants to be here who does not have a legitimate reason to be deported can be here. Guess what? Those ancestors of mine who settled in Jamestown? They were immigrants. My ancestors who were here long long before the settlement existed would tell you so if they could. Furthermore, unless you are one hundred percent Native American (American Indian, native Hawaiian, native Alaskan), your ancestors were immigrants as well. Stop acting like you are high and mighty because your ancestors stepped off the boat a hundred years ago while the guy you want to deport for no reason at all came here last year. You're not. 
        So for your birthday, America, mother country of mine, I give you this promise. I promise that I will always stand up for the basic ideals you were built upon and that I will never become a hypocrite if the world changes and we learn more that tells us those ideals must go in a direction that is different from the one the facts are pointing us toward right now. I promise that I will not be one of the selfish many who stand up only when my own rights are being imposed upon but that I will stand up for ALL who find themselves in this position. I do not want a gun...ever...but should the right to bear arms be truly threatened I will stand up and fight against it. I know why that was put into the constitution and I know this reason will never be a thing of the past. I have no need for abortions but I will stand up for my sisters in this country in this and every other right that is being stripped from us. I'm straight but if the nation won't make all marriage illegal, I will continue to stand up for my homosexual brothers and sisters so that they, too, may know how long the word "forever" can last (hehe), I will stand up for the right to impeach officials who no longer serve us in the nation and here in Ohio where we desperately need such a provision, I will use my freedom of speech and peaceful assembly as often as I need to, I will respect the freedom of separation of church and state even if I find myself in an alternate universe where Paganism is the dominate faith here and Pagans become those who want to infringe on that separation, I will respect the differences I have with those around me because it is through our differences that we have made this nation interesting in its diversity, I will not support leaders who claim to know you better than I do even as they are shitting on all the things that make you great regardless of what side of the aisle they come from, I will sign petitions until my hand falls off if I must and protest in person when I can, and I will fight to make you strong again. I will fight to make you a symbol of hope again. I will fight to make my forefathers proud of me (all but Franklin...the man had some great ideas and he was brilliant but until I am sure those remains found around his house were not a result of any secret serial killer tendencies on his part, I just can't see him in a saintly light). I will not give up on you, on the legacy of those who fought like hell to bring you into this world, even if I am the only one standing and shouting. Because I love you. And because there is too much great potential left for me to sit quietly while it is all ripped to hell and back. 
                                                  Happy birthday, America! 

                                                   This Land is Your Land:
                                                       Star Spangled Banner:
                                                                  America The Beautiful:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Great Gatsby

      I have a confession to make. Are you ready for it? I have a deep, unwavering love for the work of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I suppose that isn't quite accurate. It isn't just his's the man behind the writing as well. He has been oversimplified time and time again as the wreck of a man who drank too much and worked too little and while there is truth in some of the things that are said about him (namely his drinking problem which was quite real as it so often is with writers) many things are overlooked, things that paint the portrait of the man who was capable of delivering amazing novels like Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, and This Side of Paradise. His complicated yet intense relationship with his wife Zelda, who was herself a talented woman that never really reached her full potential thanks to a troubled life that included mental illness and multiple trips to asylums, was a source of inspiration for Scott in everything he wrote. To put it simply, the Fitzgeralds had one hell of a life but they both paid the price for it in the end and what came out of all of that were works of fiction often based on Scott's life that showed the cold hard truths of life, his secret weapon so far as I am concerned, the thing I admire most about his writing. Cold hard truth is often hard to find in the world of fiction and the first time I picked up one of his novels, The Great Gatsby, I had no idea that I was about to get a hefty dose of it but by the end of that book I had another literary hero to add to the ever-growing list and I knew I wanted more.
       I was nineteen years old when I first read the book. I had bronchitis for the one hundredth time and I was sitting in my doctor's office looking at his book shelf he kept in the waiting room. He had this library system where patients could sign out books and sign them in when they returned them but most of the novels he kept were not my style to say the least. (It was a fabulous idea on the doctor's part and I appreciate anyone who wants to share books with the world but they were literally the worst collection of books I have ever seen gathered together in one place...bless his heart...) But suddenly one book title caught my attention. I had heard of the book most of my life and I had always wanted to read it but thanks to the fact that I home-schooled throughout high school I had yet to do so. The waiting room was absolutely packed and I wasn't going back anytime soon. If I liked it I could check it out and if not, it would be no big deal. So I reached over and I took The Great Gatsby off of the shelf and it took just a few minuets before the room full of sick people and my own misery was wiped from my mind as I entered this world of secrets, wealth, and parties. An hour later when they called me into the back I was already so in love with the damned thing that I didn't check it out. I simply slipped it in my purse along with This Side of Paradise thinking only of getting back to the story the entire time I was sitting in front of the poor doctor I had just swiped two books from. I still feel bad about that. I really do. There are three things that hurt my bookworm's soul more than anything else: Plagiarism,  the tearing up of a book, and the theft of a book. But there was something about it that I fell absolutely in love with and I had to have the damned thing. Love can make you do crazy things, including my solitary moment of petty theft. So...
       From the moment I got in the car I had the book in my hands and I wouldn't or couldn't put it down. I read it cover to cover in a few hours' time and the feeling I had at the end of that book...This was cold hard truth. This was one of the secrets of life. One of those things that people like me know but few people say it, few people feel comfortable thinking it, and only a select few would ever write it....this was the truth that if you build your life around loving someone, if you do everything and anything in your power to give someone the world because they are everything to you, you will end up dead, alone, floating in your own damned pool with a bullet hole straight through the heart (or was it his back...I can't remember...) My heart absolutely broke for Gatsby, this man who devoted his life to one woman, a woman who really just used him when she was confronted with him again because she had married a bastard and once Gatsby was dead she went effortlessly back to her life without a second thought for the three lives she and that bastard she married (Some of you might know him as Tom Buchanan but whatever...) had destroyed, ended, along the way. I imagined I felt as Nick had felt by that last page, as if we had witnessed something we could never ignore again. Like I said, I was in love from that point on. Fitzgerald had done what I had felt I wanted to do in my own writing since I was about fifteen only he had done it with such flair, such...brilliance...and I could gauge the level of this brilliance by how cold I felt inside at the end of that novel and for a little while after I had finished it. 
        Since that introduction to Scott's writing I have read everything he ever wrote and I own copies of it all except for The Beautiful and Damned (something I will remedy one day as that is my second-favorite novel of his) including the unfinished book he was writing when he died. When I first began re-writing fairytales at the age of fifteen with Rapunzel my intention was to do what F. Scott Fitzgerald did though I didn't know he had done it. I thought back on all the lies the world had fed not just me but all little girls like the one I had been concerning things like love and life and I wanted to show the cold hard truth. I have become softer in the years since I first read the Great Gatsby and I will occasionally write about true, long-lasting love. Sometimes there is a catch and sometimes (by sometimes I mean once) I have a completely happy ending for my characters. It isn't just that I have become softer, it is also that the world has become a darker place than it was when I was younger and I want to spread some light once in a while. But I will always have those novels, those moments, where the cold hard truth is all that I deliver. Scott's work showed that same balance I yearn to prefect in my work, the lessons of love and life in general, that even if two people truly love one another, even if everything should be great, things fuck up and there will always be suffering because that's life. For me, he is like a comrade in the storm. 
      So imagine how high my expectations were when I heard last fall that a new movie would come out this spring based on my favorite novel by one of my favorite authors. As any bookworm can tell you, it does not fill our hearts with delight to hear that one of our favorite novels has been turned into a film because usually Hollywood fucks up absolutely everything. Yet Leonardo DiCaprio was said to be playing Gatsby and I could picture him in the role. That was a good sign in my opinion. Although I am not fond of Toby Maguire in general, I could picture him as Nick as well. That was two for two as far as the cast was concerned. However, those were large shoes to fill and how many times does Hollywood ever accomplish greatness with the book-to-movie thing...
        They did it with this one. That movie was The Great Gatsby taken off the page and delivered to the world in a two hour package complete with all of the sorrow, the hope (that I couldn't feel because I already knew how it would end), the glamorous wonder, and the total fucking betrayal of this amazing man named Gatsby who wanted just to love a woman who was the wrong woman. What stuck out for me, besides the accuracy of the film compared with the book (it was essentially dead on) was the way they nailed the party at Buchanan's mistress's New York apartment, the way they brought the madness of Gatsby's house to life, the focus on the green light across the bay, and the incredible casting. But what sealed it for me was the fact that at the end of the movie I felt the exact same way I have felt every time I have read the book since that first time, that coldness, that realization that this is ugly truth you can never deny again. I have never had a movie based on a book make me feel the emotions the book created for me. And The Great Gatsby completely nailed it. I even like the soundtrack though I am not sure why in the case of some songs. If you have not seen the movie, especially if you are a Fitzgerald fan, go out as soon as you can and see it because it is absolutely flawless. And if you've seen the movie and you like it but you have never read the book, read it. Really. I hope that this movie, because it is so true to the book and it is so great, will draw more people toward the amazing writer who brought Gatsby to life. I hope that it breathes new life into F. Scott Fitzgerald and into one of the greatest, most tragically beautiful characters I have ever met on a page. 
       Here's to Fitzgerald and Gatsby and the people in Hollywood who managed to do the impossible by staying true to a book through film while also giving it a life of its own. That is like finding Big Foot as far as bookworms are concerned. So bravo! Now, if they would all get together again and tackle the Beautiful and Damned with Leo in the role of Anthony Patch, I would be thrilled to see the end result. Just a suggestion...if no one involved in Gatsby has anything else planned, ya 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Amanda Fucking Palmer

When I first heard Amanda
I was a mess at just eighteen
And she seemed to have my anthem
For every little thing.
The times I spent as the perfect fit,
The good days and the bad
The madness that’s inside my head
The experiences I’ve had.
Quickly she became a friend
Blasting in the car
Telling me with every line
“It’s ok to go this far.”
Her talent goes beyond her songs
Because she keeps it real
And even when I’d rather not
She always makes me feel.
Because she doesn’t fit the mold,
The standard status quo,
She is often given less respect
Than so-called artists that we know.
But now that people say her name
Her music is forgotten.
They have no idea who the hell she is
Yet they speak like she is rotten.
They call her selfish, cold, and cruel
But they will not read a line
Of the poem she wrote about herself
That caused them all to whine.
If they only knew her like we do,
Those of us she’s saved,
They would have understood right off
And they would have never caved
Under pressure from the media fools
To blame us all for something
Even when our hands are clean
And the proof is next to nothing.
Wake up, goddamn it, look and see!
The art is dying quick!
Now they’re turning you against the good
For songs that make it sick.
Amanda Fucking Palmer is a remedy
For a cultural affliction
Yet you will not listen to her songs
Because you’re scared of this addiction.
She might make you look and see
That Taylor is a joke
And Justin Beiber is worse for kids
Than any line of coke.
Worst of all you might get the urge
To think all by yourself.
To not believe what you are told
By those who have the wealth.
So of course they have attacked her
Without reading all she said.
The public cannot be controlled
Unless the hope is dead.
So you take away good music,
Books of quality,
You crush the women who will survive
Without misogyny.
But here’s a little secret, kids,
You never liked her anyway.
So your opinion will not break her,
AFP is here to stay. 

Usually I don't share poems on this blog because I have a blog for that and this one is not one of my best but it was brought to my attention today by a very good friend and a fellow fan of Amanda Palmer's that a poem she wrote that was terribly misinterpreted by the media has received a great deal of negative attention. So I read the poem and I read the post Amanda had written to explain it afterward, something she usually doesn't do, and she had said in the post containing her explanation that in response to her poem people have been responding with hate poems and that some of them are really good and that was worth the backlash to her, that art was being created in response to her art. That logic is what sets Amanda apart from the talentless brats that currently rule the airwaves here in America, it's what makes people like me fucking love her, and so I wrote a poem of support for her that she will never see. But it doesn't matter. As human beings we have two real modes of operation: creation and destruction. Sure, we can all continue destroying one another over our many many differences the way we have been doing non-stop for over a decade OR we can create something, anything, from the emotions that I think everyone must have in response to the incredibly fucked up state our country is in right in. That is what Amanda was trying to do with the poem that is making her famous for all the wrong reasons. She was actually writing about herself, about the things inside her head. She was not asking for sympathy for the bomber at all. She was creating in the face of destruction. Maybe it was that that really scared the shit out of the folks at Fox News. :)
If you would like to read the poem you can follow this link:
And if you want to read her explanation behind it, feel free to do so here:

It is tempting to go into a full blown rant about the way that people allow the media to tell them what to think because they are too lazy to investigate anything on their own. This is something I have been bitching about for quite sometime and this incident is just the latest in a string of similar incidents that prove the honesty in this assessment. But I don't have the heart for that tonight. In the spirit of creating over destroying and because I long for the day when Amanda Palmer is well known for her amazing music instead of this, I want to tell you all a story about this amazingly insane chick who writes the songs that crazy chicks who do not fit the mold that is so prevalent in music can actually relate to....
The Tale of How I Came to Love Amanda Palmer:
I was barely eighteen the first time I heard The Dresden Dolls' self-titled album. At eighteen I had a big fucking chip on my shoulders and I was a much different person than I am today because of it. To put it bluntly, I had fucking issues. I mean, I still have issues but they were more intense. Anyway, it was obvious before the chorus to Good Day had even come up that this two-piece band fronted by a chick named Amanda Palmer was not like the crap that was already starting to take over music. She was different. She was unique. She was completely real and honest. And she was fucking nuts. It was love at first song. 'Girl Anachronism' was the song I played when the depression and the out of control people in my life threatened to drive me batshit crazy and I needed to laugh about it, 'Missed Me' made me look back at my teenage years and some of the guys I had known with a smirk, 'Perfect Fit' described the way I felt my family saw me at that time, and 'Truce' was the song I listened to on repeat when memories of love I lost pissed me off. I could, in some way, relate to nearly every song on that CD and in the two years or so that followed when I decided to change the way I looked at life, the songs were there for that as well. 
Eventually things changed for me, at first for the better and then for the worst. And when they did I had The Dresden Dolls' CD 'Yes, Virginia' to take with me into the new territory of my life. At twenty, the theme song seemed to be this:
But then the carefree relationship I entered into that year turned dark and ugly later and because of the love I had for a child that wasn't mine, I put up with abuse when I am the sort of woman who, under different circumstances, would have had the bastard thrown in jail and out of my life the first time he put his hands on me. On many occasions when I was up alone at night wondering what the fuck I was going to do about the mess I had found myself in, I would put on my headphones and turn the volume up all the way on this song:
It started out for me as a song of self-loathing. Each word seemed to be forcing me to ask myself what the hell I was doing. But when I decided to walk away from the relationship for good it was also the song that helped me come to that because it made me realize that no matter how much it hurt to think of losing the child I claimed as my own, I was too strong, too smart, to knowingly allow myself to end up a story on the five o'clock news when that child's father finally took my life as he had come close to doing in the past. If I felt weak, like I might change my mind, I would again turn it up as loud as it would go and listen until the moment passed. 
Now I am again in the process of changing, hopefully for the best. I am growing more every day and I am trying harder and harder to be happy. But I will never completely be a happy bubbly person because my chemical imbalance, among other things, prevents it. So imagine the overwhelming thrill I felt when I heard one of Amanda's new songs today and I realized that again her music seems to mimic what I am looking for, what I need. I mean, just listen to this. The music is enough to pump up a corpse and the lyrics feed my twisted side:

Amanda is more than the latest victim of our media's obsession with lies and our society's obsession with believing anything they hear on television. She is truly an artist. From the lyrics she writes to the conceptual videos she comes up with, from her wardrobe to her strange thing with shaving off her eyebrows while never shaving her arm pits and always wearing sleeveless shirts, she is an artist who is real, a woman who is tough, someone who does her own damned thing while everyone around her is a copy of an imitation  That is what she deserves to be known for. It is what she should have been famous for years ago. Maybe now that her name is on everyone's lips her crazy-good new songs will actually make their way to mainstream music. Maybe by this time next year she will finally be bigger than Lady Gaga. If that doesn't happen, though, maybe when the bullshit blows over she will at least be known to more people who will appreciate the truth of who she is and what she does for music, that original sound that belongs only to Amanda Fucking Palmer. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stop And Read the Second Amendment

I have put off blogging about this because I had hoped people would realize how ignorant they sound and they would pipe down with it. But so far that isn't happening. First, let's start at the beginning. Regulating guns is NOT the same as outlawing them and it is something that is not only allowed in the constitution, it is stated outright that it should be done. The Second Amendment states that a 'Well REGULATED Militia' is necessary  Did you catch that, America? A WELL REGULATED militia. Banning assault riffles, a type of gun that is not needed for ordinary every day protection, a type of gun often used in mass shootings and drug wars, falls under the category of regulation, not an unconstitutional ban on all guns. I do not support a ban on all guns. I would never support that in America. I know better. No, I do not own guns and I do not personally like guns. But I do know that there is not a single thing that is illegal here that people cannot get a hold of on the streets. I do know that if guns were banned altogether here criminals, those we worry about, would have absolutely no problem getting them while regular Americans would be left defenseless. Cocaine doesn't come from America, it is highly illegal, yet everyday millions here get high on it. Guns would be no different. So if I thought that this is where Obama was going with the regulations I would join those who are throwing their fits. I would write him and my representatives. I would throw a fit. In addition to the fact that they would be illegal only to those who do not have ill intentions for owning them, I also remember why our Forefathers wrote the Second Amendment into the Constitution in the first place.  They knew that unarmed people were people who were at the mercy of their government. I have never trusted our government enough to want that. But what I have seen over the new regulations is a bunch of ignorant motherfuckers with agendas unrelated to freedom beating their chests and ignoring the part of the Constitution that demands regulation, posting the words to the Second Amendment over and over again without actually reading or comprehending them.

Now, while all of these people are throwing fits over the new gun laws did you hear that Alabama has passed Personhood rights to embryos and fetuses, now giving an unborn female or an egg that might one day become an unborn female rights at expense of  the woman carrying her? No, you probably did not. How about the closure of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi forced by the state despite the cancer screenings and preventive health care it also provides to women who cannot afford it elsewhere? No? So while so many Americans were throwing tantrums over regulations that are completely constitutional no one has bothered to stand up and throw a fit over the fact that women are treated like incubators instead of human beings even though the constitution is supposed to provide us, living breathing surviving outside the womb women, with protection as human beings. Tell me again how concerned I should be over the ban on assault riffles and over the fact that precautions are being taken to decrease the chances that someone who is bat shit crazy will go into a store and buy a gun to kill me, you, or anyone else on the street. Americans are growing more ridiculous by the day. Putting political agendas above the well being of their sisters, their mothers, their daughters, their friends. That's how we now show our strength. Yes, I am sure the men who founded this nation would be so proud.

When are women going to stop supporting the bullshit? We are over half the population yet the rights that women fought, died, and lost everything to gain in generations past has been under constant assault for the past three years. If you stand up when you think the second amendment is under attack, if you speak out for all of your convictions, why in the hell can't you stand up for yourself? Why can't you realize that just because abortions are something you will never have, that does not mean some man in the statehouse has the right to rob your sister or your daughter of it? Just because you don't need birth control, that doesn't mean your daughter should end up pregnant at 15 because some bastard who will never have to worry about an unwanted pregnancy has decided she doesn't have the right to plan her own life. If any other minority was being attacked the way we have been attacked that minority would have shouted, and fought, and protested from one end of this country to the next. The media would cover it. People would be aware of it. Yet we sit back, calm docile creatures, shouting about guns while Alabama strips us of our rights as humans. Why? 

This post is really a rant, a full blown fed up rant. I am tired of regulations on guns being declared unconstitutional by people who read only what they want in the constitution, I am tired of hearing no outrage from women and sensible men concerning the way we have been treated since the beginning of 2010, I am tired of people caring more about things that are really not an issue than they do about important things like women being seen as people and the homosexual people we love being able to marry who they damned well please, I am just tired. I am tired of Americans allowing certain factions of media to think for them. I am tired of no one actually having principals and beliefs that are their own. This isn't how it was supposed to be, boys and girls. I read my history books (objectively of course) and I know my shit concerning the past. And trust me, if you think that this is what we are supposed to be, the mess we are now, you need to open up a history book of your own. I love my country. I love the diverse group of people that make up America. And I will fight for us all even if no one hears me. Because if things keep going on the path they have been on for the last thirteen years, we are going to have a true crises on our hands. And it will not be gun regulations or the fiscal cliff that is our undoing. It will be ignorance and a total disregard for the rights of anyone but yourself that destroys a great nation.