Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why have I rejected the coverage of the Boston bombings this week?

I have stayed on the fringes of this weeks pervasive coverage of the Boston explosion and subsequent manhunt with corresponding lockdown, and I have spoken very little about it to my Spanish husband, both non Spanish and Spanish friends here in Spain, and I have shied away from Facebook comments on it. Usually I watch the coverage of these types of events on all the international cable news stations I am fortunate enough to get here in Spain,  Spanish News, BBC, CNN, Fox, France´s TV5, Aljazeera in English, Russia´s RTE. I am a keen observer of the differences in the coverage, the nuances in the way a story is presented and then repeatedly reported picking out the variance in points of view of the major news event. I don´t have time to do this regularly with no major event or tragedy occupying 80% of the news coverage, but in these cases it is an insightful and interesting exercise for me on different country´s or cultures points of view of international events and issues, like this bombing in Boston.

In this case however, I have realized that I have only listened briefly to CNN and Spanish coverage, after scanning headlines in a few online sources I have only read a few articles, and I ask myself why. I have tried to look deep into this rejection I feel for this coverage to determine where it is rooted, I am not sure that I have found the answer but here is what my initial responses to that query say:

·         More and more I reject violence and aggressiveness, I have come to hate most Hollywood productions of good vs. evil where both the “good” guys and the “evil” guys use the same tactics to achieve their means – killing in many forms via hate, violence, weaponry and special effects.  These issues are pervasive in video games that so much of our population under the age of 40 play, and we see a proliferation of aggressiveness and violence in the day to day life in the U.S. So I refuse to partake in these movies and games because they make me feel uncomfortable and angry that these are the images we inundate our kids and youth with, and the ones that more and more they emulate. I decide to focus on the positive in my life and our society, and to think about how the world would be different if we focused on using other means to truly achieve a better world with more equality and less suffering so that the “evil” would have much less fertile ground to take root in. I believe these means are - understanding of your enemy/rival and their hate of you; empathy towards that hate, (because it is probably so similar to my own): a negotiated resolution where real compromise is made to reduce the situation/reason that cause the hate; helping to eradicate the many issues that often feed that hate:  suffering and poverty on the “weak/poor” via abuse and selfish actions of the “strong/rich”  - starvation, lack of health care, fear of other (countrymen as well as the military and police organizations supposedly there to protect them.) So I rejected the images of similar scenes in Boston - swat teams and police all over the streets . the “good”  hunting the “evil”.


·         More and more I reject the American reaction of festive celebration when the “enemy” is defeated – like those that partied in the street when Bin Laden was killed, and the applause and hero parade type atmosphere that was created when the 2nd suspect was apprehended. 

       Yes, I understand that the U.S. protects itself and attempts to keep itself safe from these types of “terrorists” and that the citizens want to maintain their feeling of being protected and ability to live free of fear, but there is something that makes me reject the celebratory reaction. Perhaps it comes down to the fact that I think these events are sad, at the end of the day killing another human being is tragic and it highlights that we are in a society that somehow promotes the hate and division that make the “killing of the enemy” a necessity, and a celebrated one at that. And yes I would have a hard time arguing against the argument that if the authorities hadn´t done that job then how could the “good” U.S. citizens continue to live in safety, and yes there needs to be protection and then action so others thinking of similar action would be deterred. But at the same time I ask if the celebratory reactions don´t actually fuel the fire of those who already may consider similar action because they feel ostracized from, envious of, hateful towards the U.S.  And again it perpetrated the “good” vs “evil” story  that is used to legitimate wars, the huge military budget and the ultimately the whole arms and defense industry.


·         I also hate the personal coverage of the ones involved. The “heroes”:  the survivors, the family members of the perpetrators and those of the injured, the runners - I don´t know it seems like a three ring emotional circus built up to play on my heartstrings to further perpetuate the American need to have a “good” hero that saves us from “evil” or that reassures us that we are the “good” guys or the heroes. We fail to look at why the “evil” ones feel the urge, need, desire to hurt us – they are touted as heroes in their societies and we are touted as the “evil” ones, so the more we propogate that model, the more likely it is we will get more of the same instead of really making strides towards a truly better more peaceful world.   

In this inner reflection on why I have stayed on the periphery this week of all the coverage, and why I reject it, I have come to really realize that it represents what I reject in the way the American society (government, military, media, Hollywood, etc..) uses the good Hero vs the Evil enemy as a tool that has allowed them to become the sole “superpower” in today´s global world, but that by being so they have become one of the obstacles to a more just and peaceful world for all.




Thursday, March 28, 2013

I used to be a reader, but now I´m a wannabe reader


I used to be a reader, I mean a real reader, one that started a book, finished it, and could discuss it, whether it was good or not, why I found it so, even if I didn´t like it talk about some redeeming quality, or if I did like reveal some of its not so redeeming qualities. Because, I can say, I have read books that I loved, but I would not call literary treasures or books to emulate, and books I disliked, but would tout as being of the highest quality writing.

 Now I am a wannabe reader, I start many books; I download or purchase books for my iPad and Kindle; I read bits here and there; I read the beginnings of the books I download the samples for, or the ones we publish in the self-publishing company I work for, or 2nd hand bargains of ones I always wanted to read - but I seldom finish any of them. The result is I don´t feel like I read anything. Nothing pulls me in and takes me to those imaginary worlds with those loveable (or hateable) characters we die to meet (or pray we never do). So it is unfulfilling this jump-about reading, like a frog looking for the warmest lily pad but never landing long enough to feel the rays. Instead of feeling relaxed and de-stressed after a round of reading, I feel unsettled and anxious after a bout of book hopping.

Is it the quality of the books I choose? The subject matters? The shallow characters, the flat language, scenarios I can´t relate to? All of the above perhaps. Or is it this multi-tasking high paced digital world we live in where we read in “soundbites” to get the gist because we must get on to the next thing to read in case we miss something  -whether it´s a book, Facebook, a blog, or a publications webpage. We have become excellent scanners, marathon skimmers, but the skills of reading, old fashioned concentrated reading become harder and harder to maintain. It takes time to practice them and keep your reading edge, and a great book, or at least ONE that captivates you, to keep you working at that exercise.
I want to practice at being a reader again, and progress beyond my wannabe reader plateau. Should I search for that great book that hooks me, or go back to the one that is masterly written but doesn´t quite captivate me and just stick with it?
I´ll let you know soon the decision I made.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The new reality

This is no longer a crisis, this is the new reality.

I heard this line the other day and I have been thinking about it ever since. It is exactly true. Despite the fact that the talking heads - economists, journalists, politicians, political and social analysts - continue to talk about the crisis and how to get out of it, returning to the growing, spending economic situation of 3 or 4 years ago, the same situation that got us here, we are evolving into this new reality.
I have also been thinking about the important psychological shift that this implies. If we are in a crisis that the economists, big businesses, investors, bankers, politicians and government are going to resolve and bring us out of, then we are waiting for others to resolve our personal woes. We make others responsible for us finding a job; for us being able to obtain or maintain a home, whether renting or buying one; for us to lack the fear to start or invest in something new. However if we stop using the word crisis and accept that this is the new reality and realize that these are the new times and circumstances that are ours to live, then all of a sudden the responsibility to move forward in life is our own.
I must create my own job and income, by searching my talents, abilities, experience, creativity and passion and by being aware of the needs and wants of others that I can fulfill with these talents. Then I must take the steps to put my conclusions into action to generate income.
I must adjust my expectations of my housing situation to meet the new needs of these changing times – live in a smaller space, perhaps in a different neighborhood or city; rent vs. own my home; divide up my large space into individual smaller spaces to rent out, offer or accept a room in a home that has more than enough space, perhaps in exchange for work rendered – on other words, let go of the social status symbols and material demands that have been put on me – and begin to live more freely in a place that suits new circumstances. These changes offer many benefits including a manageable cost for housing, lower energy demands and costs, more freedom of movement when job or personal desire demands it.
I must accept that I, personally, and we as a developed nation, may not get back to the boom times of the consumerism and material desires of the recent past. I must re-examine my values and place importance on the aspects of myself and life that money cannot buy: love, family, friendship, time dedicated to them, natural beauty, integrity, goodness, generosity of spirit, self discovery and development, enjoyment of the moment. And then it is my responsibility to move forward in my life in this new reality based on these new realizations, self understanding and strength.
If it is difficult to find your talents and passions, your values, or the strength and ability to implement them, then ask for help. There are many able and willing to help, and these new times encompass the shift from selfish accumulation and spending to community collaboration and support from acquaintances and strangers alike.

This is no longer a crisis, this is the new reality. Are you ready to make the psychological shift that it implies? And if you already have, how can you help others make that shift?

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Winter Fog

There is a winter fog hovering over me,
it´s weightlessness a farce as it sets heavy on my shoulders.
I wish to throw it off so I can progress with clarity into this new year
but it eludes my grasp and dances about keeping me under its influence.

There is a list of resolutions beckoning me,
its fresh content and possibilities call me from the other side.
I imagine delving into them and awakening anew

But the leaden shroud of mist hangs on and hinders my advance.

Alone I wish to dissolve it, to reach the other side
however, in company I find myself each day and
this is a challenge I must face in solitude and silence
concentrating on dissipating the veil in order to move forward freely.

Soon the house will be quiet, I will be alone
and the rays of sunny solitude
will burn off the fog.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Where am I?

How far am I from me? But I am here always, constantly by my side. Then the question perhaps is, how far is me from where I am? I am not sure: close by, often sitting in my lap, but many other times ME is drifting, disappeared, distant, darkened. I must shine the light again, to illuminate the path that brings ME back to where I am, or that makes it easier that I move closer to the distant ME. The two are longing to be reunited on the same bright path, I know it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where am I, where am I going?

I rattle around in my mind like I rattle around in my dreams:

disorientated and confused in a familiar yet unknown, undefined place.

Which road to take, corner to turn, shortcut to choose or forgoe, landmark to guide myself by?

Where am I, why am I here - in this familiar yet unknown place - where am I going and how do I get there?

I rattle around in my mind like I rattle around in my dreams...