|In Reply to Al Gore: We Need to Thaw Our Human Climate First
The Huffington Post, February 25, 2010
The National Pubilc Radio Morning blog recently gave us more of the news to which we have gotten dangerously accustomed: Most Americans regard evidence about climate change from the vantage point of their world view rather than any scientific evidence. This phenomenon I have begun to call "when believing is seeing."
This week Vice President Al Gore wrote a comprehensive Op-Ed in Sunday's New York Times, entitled "We Can't Wish Away Climate Change." Although the piece provided both a firm and clear warning with reasons and reasonableness attached, the larger issue at stake is one of the "human climate" in which belief systems are smiting anything factual that gets in their way.
The fomer Vice President called one such belief system (not a religion in the traditional sense), "a hubristic bubble of market fundamentalism." He also referred to what he called "market triumphalism" that was at its peak in the 90's just as early warnings of global warming hit. It appears he is inferring that storms of capitalistic fervor refuse to be constrained. With regards the influence of the media on this matter, Gore says, "Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment." He pleads for law and reason, for facing the truth as our only road to redemption.
With all due respect to the Vice President and to those who have the conviction that we need to follow all inconvenient truths to save our planet, I submit that we also have the obligation to investigate the unspoken truth of Gore's piece. >>Read More
Shades of Praise and Prejudice for the Movie Precious
Recently I had the idea to bring to our school children opportunities to express prejudices and fears about those they bully or scapegoat. The idea is that, in general, the more we open up in safe places about our true biases, the more we can be open to experiencing empathy for our own and others' underlying feelings and real experience.
The racial divide in our country is clearly more pervasive than individual acts of bullying, but similar dynamics are involved. Hatred and victimization are held firmly in place by ongoing acts of violence and little acknowledgment of the depth and breadth of all that separates us.
Any work of art, film or music which evokes imagery and feeling that might provoke deeper awareness of our differences and similarities, can make a dent in the usual lack of dialogue. Unfortunately the current movie "Precious" is provoking even harsher judgment in the uproar produced by critics that seem to have the need to see every expression as a morality play rather than an opening to a conversation. >>Read More
It's Hard Being Green When You Demean: Parents Bullying Parents
In the ecologically green new parenting world, the mother (and occasionally even the father), gets a chance to use her time to wash and dry diapers made of the most long lasting material. It's an effort to instill values and save our resources, while participating in another kind of fashion: saving the planet in the commercially successful "green pride" movement.
There is not one thing wrong with ecological awareness, but beyond diapers and organic baby food there has arisen newer use of "green" terminology when it comes to parenting, and it has a toxic residue.
A new competition has developed pitting the so-called "green" parent against the "helicopter" parent who tends to micro-manage and control every part of her children's lives. Directly or not, the bullying tendency within our culture encourages the "liberated" and ecologically correct parents to openly snicker at those caught in a web of anxiety that is all too frequently culturally induced. >>Read More
"Don't Cry out Loud": Bullied Out Of Feelings About Bullying
*Identities and exact circumstances are changed for purposes of confidentiality.
Everyone is running scared, but we already know that. We hear news of real tragedy on all fronts: natural disasters, global warming and more. And then there is the real and pervasive phenomenon of bullying that affects schools in all the colors and shades of money and ethnic backgrounds possible.
The other evening, a sixteen year old boy, who had just recently faced himself, his peers and his family about his being gay, told me he and some friends of both sexes planned to form a "wolf pack". It would be like a pack of wolves, organized with hierarchical roles and power, but coming together with the sole purpose of protecting one another against the school and street bullies. Not all of his friends were gay, not even bullied themselves, but they all identified with what someone bullied might feel. They all identified with "snapping", losing it, and some of them even felt euphoria in the thought of its possibility.
The longer than usual session ended with David's parents taking part in a heated conversation, in which we fought David about his underlying motivation to start a fight rather than protect anyone from combat. Given his quick temper and history of violent altercations, the idea seemed extremely risky. But while he spoke his peace, it was also clear why he would resort to what to us seemed extreme. >>Read More