“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the book and the movie, is a celebration of the sadism that dominates nearly every aspect of American culture and lies at the core of pornography and global capitalism. It glorifies our dehumanization of women. It champions a world devoid of compassion, empathy and love. It eroticizes hypermasculine power that carries out the abuse, degradation, humiliation and torture of women whose personalities have been removed, whose only desire is to debase themselves in the service of male lust.
I do not agree with everything Hedges has to say in this article mainly because he lumps all media labelled as pornography together. It is a highly moralistic term that has been applied to poetry and art in order to further the empowerment of dominant cultures throughout human history. There have been a lot of very insightful, useful and harmless creations labelled as pornography which have nothing to do with humiliation or dehumanization, but I certainly know what he is talking about, the huge white male-centric media universe that shrinks all perspectives down to one objectifying lens that spreads misery and despair in both the people it entrances and the victims it enslaves. People who are trapped by this mindset are imprisoned in a world in which power and violence are the overwhelming motivations, a world devoid of love and empathy. In short, HELL. Not a religious hell of fire and brimstone, but living hell for both willing participants and abused victims.
There is no way to fight this problem. Fighting is the wrong metaphor. We need to love each other and be aware of our obsessions and how they affect others. Violence and sex are not the only obsessions that cause dysfunction in our world. Consumerism, acquisition, and greed in many guises are killing our world. Fear and the desire for security that can’t be attained drive it all and the lack of empathy that crosses cultural boundaries locks it all in place.
The way we break this cycle is by getting to know people and accepting them as they are. This is not easy. We are hardwired to put people into categories and judge even their harmless behaviors when they are unfamiliar. It takes a lot of work to see people for what they are as we all struggle through this living. People are not objects. They grow and change and are vulnerable to the forces of nature and society. The mighty and powerful and the poor and downtrodden, nobody knows what is going to happen next. It is when we attempt to mitigate that uncertainty, not by becoming enlightened, but by trying to force the world into our frame of reference that we begin the cycle of obsession and misery. Staying open to what will happen in the next second and putting off judgement, overriding that hardwired circuitry, in the hope of knowing more about where we are living and who we are living with is the only answer. But, it takes courage and constant vigilance to see the openings and glide through those momentary doorways into a world where there are no clear answers only questions to be explored.
We have a choice. We can accept the world as it is being sold to us by a few powerful people or use our minds and bodies to explore and experience the real world that is being covered up by this flat scenery. Listen to everyone. Question everything. Look for love and ways to love and care for each other. Don’t allow yourself to be tied up and battered into submission. Help others free themselves. It is the only way out of hell. Hell is getting what you think you desire. I wonder what heaven is?
“Love casts out all evil,” She said.
She is casting out her evil
with beauty and gentle faith
transforming into light by the river.
She lost her daughters
to her addictions, but
was able to hold onto
a tail of light
as it dangled
in the well.
three years she climbed
to reach this new world
where she cleans under
the bridge and talks to angels
while the current, still far
away, rolls on.
She rises with a smile
to face the new love of each day.
When I write for writing’s sake, I write as exploration, to see what I will say. Most of my mind, that part of my existence that thinks, is a mystery to me and writing helps me gather evidence about what I am up to in the vast uncharted territory that is my semiconscious and unconscious, pre and post conscious process. Writing is a process that helps me, and is usually inadequate at, shedding some light on what is going on in the shadows. If I am being honest in my writing process, I usually come out with some interesting theories and clues as to where my thinking is headed and maybe a little bit of an idea as to my motivations for doing what I do in my life. Sometimes I am just having fun with words. Words are fun and interesting, and I like to play with them sometimes, but that adds to my ability to use them in more serious ways as well. Writing is a way to make a model of something that can’t be put into words, like making a model of DNA. DNA does not actually look like the model, but the model is a very simplified representation of the structure and process of DNA. Writing is like that for me, a process that illuminates, and sometimes confuses, parts of my living thought that I do not completely understand. This paragraph Is a good example of what I am talking about. I usually end up back where I started with a little more insight, but more questions than when I started.
Winter rain falls
among the leaves
outside the apartment window.
I remember bright rooms
lit by the sun.
Seeing all these familiar faces
as if I had been away at the north pole
or they were locked up and are still trapped
in their job prisons and I visiting.
I feel like I am visiting my life when I talk about
what I have been doing.
It is separate from me,
scenes from someone else’s imaginary, never to be finished movie
which changes with each retake.
I have to remind myself that I have lost teeth and weight.
I look older even though I feel better some days
than when I was much younger.
Some days I have to make myself push through the fog.
too often I move, a habitual ghost, leaving no footprints
in the fresh snow.
From January 2014