2017

Frothing!

The recipe called for warm milk, so I placed a little pot of that on the stove, then I got distracted by my young kids and forgot all about it! Rushing back to the kitchen as soon as I remembered what I had been doing, I found that the milk had frothed and splattered over the sides where it had adhered and turned into an ugly, smelly brown that scalded my pot! I spent a lot of precious time cleaning due to my carelessness!

I have a feeling that this is what is happening to our distressed world. It is sitting on a hotplate whence an irresponsible political leadership and a class of careless affluent citizens are playing possum, while the majority of the planet’s inhabitants are churning and frothing as they subsist on nothing but injustice, turbulence, constant struggle, anguish, racism, discrimination, marginalization and wars.

Our world has always had issues, and the problems have been, more or less, the same. Political leaders have also consistently handled them in almost the same way: crack down on civilian unrest; silence their dissent; raise their taxes; burden them with nonsense; and, if all that doesn’t work there is always the option of distracting them by going to war, looting valuable resources and spreading the political leadership’s own version of governance and/or religion! Quite a devilishly simple formula! However, it seems that only the very few want to link our recurrent past to our present history. Was our past history occurring on another planet and not on our own, perchance?

Moreover, the hubris of Greed, Corruption and Power has always imbued political leadership with the conviction that they know what is best for their people and the world, and that, therefore, we should all leave the decision-making up to them since they consider us as merely parasitic idiots whose valid and vital issues are to be disregarded. Our having elected, and often re-elected them again and then again, reinforces their convictions that we are nitwits and that they are geniuses! How then have they not managed to solve any of the planet’s intractable problems?  Genius Ineptness, or Genius Unwillingness? Here, in the US, we seem to be living in a constant state of war on everything and everyone: whether it is our wars in Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, the Middle East and across the world, or the incompetent wars on minorities, guns, drugs and opioids that never seem to resolve the crisis, and in some cases amplify it even more. It is quite unbelievable!

Supporting Power are two necessary tools: The Armed Forces and the Mainstream Media whose mission is supposedly to speak for, and on behalf, of the people. Almost everywhere you look around on this globe you will find that these two tools are the Enforcers of the Political Leadership’s undemocratic, aggressive whims.

As one very small example of the media’s complicity in supporting political objectives: there was a brouhaha recently due to Trump’s allowing the import of elephant tusks and other game trophies from Zimbabwe and other African nations. He eventually rescinded that idiotic decision (one amongst several!). Meanwhile we all saw the pictures of his sons smiling gleefully while holding their hunting trophies! I could not but think of Odai and Kusai, Saddam Hussein’s sons, who were vilified for their exigencies and corruption at owning wild African and Bengali tigers and other animals on their property, and how that was one more reason for the heroic United States, supported and cheered on by the Military and the Mainstream Media, to save the Iraqis from such disgustingly corrupt characters and to go to a war that devastated Iraq and the innocent Iraqi people, as well as destabilized the entire region. It is beyond hypocritical, sinister and evil double-standards!

This ties in to the absurdity and tragedy of the whole Middle East situation. Only recently, hundreds of journalists and pundits have been spouting off, analyzing and forecasting what’s going to unfold in that convoluted and despairing region of the world. The truth is that no one knows, for the web has become so entangled – with alliances and re-alliances, wars, as well as manufactured and choreographed proxy wars – that unravelling it is going to be even more prolonged, horrific and tragic for all concerned, especially that Israel and Saudi Arabia are now on the same side of the fence! That wouldn’t really be a bad thing under a normal progression of events, because one day, sooner or later, all the Middle Eastern nations will just have to find a way of coexisting in that same small playpen. However, that particular convergence has loomed unexpectedly and too ominously fast leaving people in the region breathless, aghast and petrified! Does it seem that President Trump has delegated the resolution of the Middle East conundrum to his friend Bibi and that still-untested rebel Salman? That whole ludicrous Hariri episode was part of the evil scenario unfolding. What about Putin’s interests in the region? Might the two leaders have discussed how to divvy up the Middle East between them? Who knows? The machinations of political interests are shrouded for the moment. My disconcerted feeling is that the Palestinian people might be victimized once again by paying the biggest price for all this menacing maneuvering. Tragic!

The perverted state of our political and corporate leadership has also been proven by the continuing “Russia” investigations going on in the US, and the disclosure of the “Paradise Papers” that demonstrate how the billionaire class worldwide, together with the multi-national corporations, no matter what country they are from, hold benefits that are closely interconnected and interrelated. Protecting those interests is their vital concern, not the welfare, well-being, or the communal good of ordinary citizens. Speaking from both sides of their lying mouths, our legislatures (same as their ilk elsewhere in the world) parade on our televisions pontificating about how they only have the welfare of ordinary people in mind, while stuffing their legislative bills with items that we are not told about and that benefit only them, their cronies and the corporatist lobbyists who fill their coffers. Case in point: the slush fund that they had allocated – whose existence even some of them were unaware of, let alone us citizens – and that was designated for silencing and buying off women whom they had assaulted. Really? How can this even be acceptable without heads rolling? And all this, while skimping on our health care, education, wages and other necessary needs that minimally ensure justice and equality for all??!! How corrupt and shameful is that? How much else is “hidden” in the unseen legislative vaults? Or, perhaps this is just another lame “Russian” conspiracy? It looks to me like we don’t need Russia, or anyone else, to unravel our democracy. We are pretty good at doing that to ourselves!

The frothing that is taking place in many communities and countries will eventually scald us all. It is avoidable if only we had decent, honest, sensible political and corporate leaders, as well as involved citizens who demand drastic change that should bring about justice, equality and peace. Is that too idealistic, or too much to ask for? Seriously?

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2017

Donna Karan

Donna Karan is a mature, popular and powerful woman who is considered one of the most influential designers in the world today with a stint at Ann Klein that launched her career, as well as her well-known DKNY (Donna Karan New York) brand. However, on October 9, 2017, and following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she was media-trashed; rendered into a cold-hearted witch who was abetting violence against women; she was called deplorable, scum, her company took a hit on the stock exchange, and she was made to walk back her own words, eat them up and apologize profusely. What she could have facetiously responded with is what Winston Churchill once said: “Eating Words Has Never Given Me Indigestion.” Herein are the words that caused the enraged public furor:

“. . . how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women? What are we asking for? Are you asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

I have thought of her words a lot since then, without emotion or bias, and away from the social media hoopla. I tried to think logically, calmly and honestly about the issue of what we wear and whether suggestive clothes are “asking for it,” because I believe that what we choose to wear is important, and I haven’t yet met a woman who doesn’t think so. For one thing, our choice of attire says a lot about us.

Having said that: we, women, have an absolute right to wear whatever we choose, and, in making our choices, we are not giving any man a license to sexually assault us because of that choice. However . . .

. . . would you go to church, or synagogue, or mosque dressed in a bikini? Would you go to your child’s graduation dressed in the revealing dress pictured at the end of this post? Would you go to a wedding dressed in all black? Or, to a funeral dressed in shorts and a spaghetti-strap top? Would you allow your teenage daughter to go to school dressed in the shortest of shorts, bare midriff, and a see-through, low-cut top?

The sensible answer to all of the above questions is: No. However, you can do so, if you wish. There is no law that prevents you from doing that. The police won’t come and haul you off to jail (though you might be asked to go back home!). And No Man should be able to grope or rape you because of your choices to any of the above illustrations.

And, while dressing appropriately for any occasion is a matter of taste – and, yes, “taste” is a value judgment – there are, nevertheless, reasonable choices and acceptable societal norms that most women would agree on.

Watching the female stars on the Hollywood Red Carpet and how their dresses are becoming skimpier and skimpier every year, revealing almost all of their artificial everything, is not really glamorous. In fact, it exudes female sexual objectification. And it is what “sells,” and what the corporate industry wants them to wear in order to highlight their sex-appeal and their being commodities in the service of a decadent culture. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen only on the Red Carpet. It is happening at all such public venues, high-school proms, malls, restaurants, parties and galas. Young women – and some older ones, too! – adopt these figure-hugging, skimpy fashions as their own, thinking that by wearing them they would become as glamorous, appealing and as sexy as the stars, and as alluring as the fashion-magazine models they see. Not so!

Let us be honest: skimpily dressed women titillate and arouse men! Plain, simple and true! Young teenage boys, especially, seeing breast-flesh, or a female’s buttocks are, more often than not, getting aroused. Plain, simple and true! Does that mean they should touch, grope or rape females who are un-dressed like that? Of course not! By the same token, does that mean that females are unaware of a male’s biology and impulses? I really and truly doubt that! So unless we females are suggestively dressed for the specific reason of appearing sexy – not to be mistaken with elegance – and intending to elicit a sexual reaction to our selves, we would be much wiser to dress in something that is more appropriate. This is not a question of looking either like a slut, or a nun! Neither of these two extremes work for most sensible women. But, there is a happy medium, no?

I feel very sorry for the brouhaha that accompanied Donna Karan’s initial words. I believe that there is truth in them, though, and that having a modicum of decency and elegance in our attire is much more visually appealing than the lurid, half-naked outfits that are sometimes worn by some women, and even by some school girls (and if it was up to me, I would dress all school girls and boys in uniforms!). It is a question of taste and class after all, and, no, affordability has nothing to do with it, because there are beautiful clothes galore for every budget. However, and unfortunately, refinement does not seem to “sell” as much as gaudiness! Sad!

The debasing of our culture in every way only serves to demean rather than raise our standards. Portraying tastelessness that is pervasive in all aspects of our culture, does not reflect our “freedom,” “liberation” and/or “independence.” To the contrary, it lowers our standards and results in a society that lacks better, and higher, expectations for itself, especially when its female component is being sexually, rather than intellectually, objectified. We should not allow this to continue happening and then wonder why our men are still behaving like wanton savages driven by their hormones rather than their brainpower. It does take two to tango! We should do our part as women to reflect, and draw more attention to our intellect rather than to our naked bodies, thereby raising our own standards, and in the process, hopefully, men’s! We can do this and still dress beautifully. It is not an “either” “or” choice! And, perhaps, by raising our standards on all levels, we just might be able to raise the commonsense values and expectations of a nation that seems to be going totally berserk in every which way. Pretty sad!

Donna Karan’s designs (shown at the top) reflect Taste, Class, Refinement and Elegance. That’s why she should have explained her words more, not eaten them as she was forced to!