Saturday night in the city. Me driving home across one of the greatest bridges in the world. A nice, safe drive after a night of frolics. Yes, I was sober and safe.
We all have had enough of plague, right? Two and a half years later of Covid and its variants our culture and communities are fundamentally changed and as humans we are struggling. In the scope of things, compared to HIV, AIDS, Spanish Flu, we have had it easy if you apply it to a troubled past.
Without sounding like Chicken Little, there seems to be a wash of information predicting it is going to continue for a while longer. Meanwhile there are other things showing up like monkey pox and meningitis! The media is kicking new horrors around and in a way that feels exclusive to certain groups of humans. It is reminiscent of the 80’s and even darker times of history.
When monkey pox first made news in the beginning of May, the reporter linked it to two parties in Europe touted as gay orgies. The World Health Organization sent our a press release that fed the fervor that was only heard by gays. There are two unconfirmed cases still in the area where I live.
Just within recent days there was a meningococcal disease with a focus in Florida at this time, again pointing toward gay/bi-sexual men according to the CDC.
By calling out LGBTQIA (more specifically gay/bi men) this creates a vacuum like AIDS did, because this is not an everyone problem anymore. It is a gay people problem. When I heard the local newscaster read this story on network news, a gay man, I heard the break in his voice as it sounded to me like he was hearing a clear representation of blaming.
Stories like this are concerning. LGBTQIA freedom in the United States has enjoyed a beautiful renaissance, but since #45 was in office there has been a steep decline in those gains. It is more than a self-correcting social flux, where liberal ideas have enjoyed a lot of social muscle under leaders like Obama, Pelosi, Schumer and others. It’s scarier than that.
A friend told me recently that he thinks the tide is changing. The world is getting darker, more desperate, and scarier.
All the queer culture that has been shoved down the throats of conservatives is coming back to bite us in the ass. We absolutely need representation for queer kids and people desperately seeking a fair chance in the world.
Fact is the United States is 50/50 conservatives and liberals which makes every election a trial of wills. Elections are not swept any more without gerrymandering.
We live in a culture now where there is permission for racism, violence against AAPI, gun rights and mass shootings to have a place. It’s a dark turn and it is scary.
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Note: This was written before the supreme court ruling on Roe V. Wade. I feel the two stories are related because they flow in the vein that a dire tide is shifting in the world against social programs, against marginalized communities, and many other successes our communities have enjoyed in recent years.
Today’s scheduled post has been interrupted because of history being made. Or is it that history has been undone? The post I was working on under the subject of #Culture was about a turning tide with a swell that is getting very scary and very large. It is about an unraveling of what many of us thought were truths that are simply breaking under the weight of a political shift. A movement against human rights.
Today’s news at the beginning of pride weekend (for a lot of places) started off with a nuclear blast about abortion rights in the United States. A long held ruling by the US Supreme Court was overturned. It was a case with a lot of opinions attached to it, mostly from the people who saw it as a problem. To be honest those people who struggled with it were “right to life” folks.
There is an underlying problem with the ruling as it could be knocked down if a justice court was willing to lean into it.
We have a largely conservative court now with appointed judges with agendas of their own. When President #45 took office he promised he would get some things done and he did. Which speaks to his popularity today even as his name is being dragged through the mud in open hearings by democrats.
Taking away a woman’s right to their own health of themselves and their family is a disgrace. It is mounted on the shoulders of old white men making those rules. It is a fundamentally flawed way to govern and serve justice in a place that talks about freedom and liberties.
This is an age where racism and fascism were given light and grew. Whether it is a march with tiki torches, police killing people and getting away with it, or the glorification of a dictator it is all just bad taste. On the other side of the coin the public, through the media, has been force fed pronouns and Bridgeton level gender and race swapping that leaves many scratching their heads. Neither side has been very temperamental of the other.
The rhetoric just keeps growing and mutating as fast as Covid on a summer holiday.
Because of disease, lockdowns and masking we forgot how to be kind. There are more and more people fighting to survive out there and fear is taking over. The government, the police and our religious leaders all use fear to drive sick narratives that keep us from stepping back and working together to solve these problems.
More than a single ruling
The court decision today was only the latest piece taken out of the Jenga puzzle. And almost as soon as it came out there was an article about how Clarence Thomas* was about to weigh into other rulings that dealt with gay marriage and more. We have seen a clear assault on trans people across the country preventing them from functioning as normal humans in their chosen identity.
“Don’t mourne, organize!” – Lady in a store today
It felt like I was watching dominoes tipping over in slow motion. It is as if I have been watching that game for a while, but was never as invested as I should be. Maybe recent events have ignited something inside me, but because of the court ruling and some other recent news has opened my eyes to a bigger threat to my well-being in this country. And, I am worried that my inaction is seen as consent.
At least the last six years we as a country have been raked over the coals and are all still in shock. The only way to move forward is to try something different. That might not be a knee-jerk reaction to horrible news, but rally and be heard. Fear is our biggest enemy.
*I am not familiar with The Hill specifically and site the article as a talking point and not as fact or a specifically reliable source because I did not get into fact checking. I used it to point out the tone of the country in my opinion.
I went out and bought one of those car camera because I am a white light to a batch of crazy bees that love to drive me nuts on the road. The Nexar camera is pretty cool, even if it had a learning curve to it. I got the basic one, and after some figuring it is working just fine.
This is a long boring video of me driving home. My first attemp at making a video to share through Youtube for this channel.
I love near a street that a lot of people commute through on their way to downtown. It is a residential area, but becomes a major road through the city after a mile or so. It does not keep people from showing their dissatisfaction or disapproval of someone without laying in their horn for a long time. Much longer than necessary to tell everyone how you feel.
In the city I work in, someone once said that we communicate with our car horns – thanks, no thanks.
That person leaning on their car horn showing that disapproval is not unlike the person shouting at the world like a mad-person on any street corner. It’s is not a healthy way of sharing your feelings. And no, I am not a therapist, but as a citizen I had to claim some insight into that belief.
In the city I live in, blasting your horn at someone and flipping them off will very likely get your ass killed.
That feeling of being safe in your car is an illusion. Do not confuse privilege and perceived immortality as a coat of armor. Your behavior matters.
I will admit, I am one of those aggressive drivers. I am more speed racer than mole-man (Simpsons reference) behind the wheel. I am a pale example of a speed-demon compared to a lot of the people I see driving around me every day.
What I am saying is: You being mad and blasting your horn, shouting from your car, or flipping someone off makes you look bad. You look like a crazy person blasting that horn because no one else knows or cares about the context of your unhappiness.
Note: I went to look for video or images for this subject and there was nothing that was not disturbing or unsettling out there. So, this goes up as it is…
What is with the Yoga stuff? Let me say I am concluding this limited series on this subject having gone back for another class after being our of the game for X years. Getting back into something physical and challenging is a bitch+. It is a common thread for a lot of people who have been secluded over time with the pandemic.
Occasionally exercise is the only sanity for people. Thankfully for those people who operate solo, those not into team things, it was probably a glorious time? But for some of us that thrive with group activities it must have been soul crushing. I vacillate somewhere in the middle and lean more toward group activities.
So, I went back to the class with a different teacher and a whole other frame of mind. It was first thing in the morning, the teacher was a white guy about my age. I told him about my physical issues and I was told immediately: Do not try and alter any of the poses. Well, that made me nervous.
In most yoga teachings it is common that the student is reminded to not let the ego take over. Operate at the level you are meant to. Don’t hurt yourself. Bikram, from what I can tell (based on the previously mentioned documentary and this teacher’s reaction) is very rigid and authoritarian in practice.
I made it through the class and nothing broke. The instructor was kind and helpful. I felt like a hot mess by the end. Because this class was a lot more difficult that the first. The heat in the room was killing me, but it needed it. My lungs (asthma) were not having it either. But, I pushed through gratefully.
Yes, I still think Bikram is a dumbed down version of yoga and those subscribing to it are getting what they need. It is a great physical activity, but it always seems to have a plateau. For someone like me, that is okay today. Any physical activity is good for me and these classes and the School of India Yoga in Oakland, California are a good service for that.
I took a Bikram Hot Yoga class today. That might not be anything super remarkable, but I have been physically out of commission for 6 years for injuries and medical issues that kept me from the gym. However, it should be noted I have been healthy enough to do something again since last year, but thanks to the fear of covid and failure, I had every reason to continue stew in my own waist line.
Bikram is famous and popular among middle America. Netflix it famous again for another fifteen minutes with a documentary of it’s alleged predatory founder Bikram Choudhury. Bikram yoga is a specific series of poses in a hot room that will reportedly spark healing energy in the body.
After being off the matt for six years this was good for me and I will keep going back because it is serving me in this moment. But, I am plagued with the idea that there is such a perceived cult belief in the character of Bikram as a human and as a philosophy.
I practiced yoga for about fifteen years. Yoga has been around for five millennia and remarkablly enough a lot of the stretches are the exact techniques I did way back in junior high school gym. There is a common core to the practice and ideology that you can see threaded through Bikram.
My biggest fear was the program would be the hardest yoga I ever took on, called Ashtanga. Ashtanga (also referred to as power yoga) is one of the more widely kinds of yoga in the world beside Bikram. And, it seems like the Ashtanga kids and the Bikram kids do not like to play in the other pond. Because the other guys are doing it wrong. But no, the class was routine and relatively simple even though she tried to tell me it was a difficult class; maybe because it was ninety minutes long?
The person leading the class had a thick accent and I did not understand a single thing, but most of the poses were basic. If she called them different names I did not hear it. I also knew there were various forms of the same moves that made them easier or were more complicated that never came up. So, then I wondered what would Bikram say?
Let’s not get it twisted; er, wait…. Different Yogis can absolutely have different fundamentals and practices with any name that want on it. Be it Ashtanga, Hatha, or whatever. Bikram can do it any way he wants.
It was important to me because I came from a different school of yogi. Because of medical limitations I knew how to maneuver at my level. I saw other people struggling and the instructor did not provide anything outside of the chart above to make sure they were safe within their ability.
Of course, observing that meant I was not focused on myself and my practice. I will say that Bikram is the wanna-be of the practices because it panders to a dumbed down version of yoga. This was my initial and very limited introduction.
I was there for the ride and anyone hedging on making it out to try being physical again, should get out there and look for their jam. As the big picture of covid and epidemic v. pandemic wanes it is time for people to go out and start generating some happy hormones.
In the end, maybe my opinion is colored by Netflix? Maybe it is tinted by the practice I have been doing for a long time? Maybe that prejudice has leaked into my thinking? Maybe I think I am more woke than I am truly self aware? But, if it gets you moving and burning calories, get out there and but that covid fat today! And no matter what you will feel better in the long run.