Interdependent Web: Against the patriarchy, facts and other ugly things, life and death

Interdependent Web: Against the patriarchy, facts and other ugly things, life and death

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.

Heather Christensen


Speaking out against the patriarchy

This week, countless women reached out to each other online, creating a circle of solidarity from their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

The Rev. Lynn Ungar has a “simple, but not easy solution.”

We need to stop allowing people to treat other human beings as things. And we can start with working on the most likely places to find these behaviors. Men could learn that their behavior is suspect. Ideally, they would start to interrogate their own behavior to see if maybe they weren’t as innocent as they thought. (Medium, October 17)

The Rev. Dawn Skjei Cooley has stopped watching old episodes of The West Wing, writing that “mostly I am pissed at how they treat the women.”

I started watching The Handmaid’s Tale this weekend, and I have to say, I see a line connecting the tacit acceptance of and participation in patriarchy of liberal men and the universe of the handmaid’s tale.

Men, if you aren’t actively working to educate yourself and speaking out against the patriarchy, you are the problem. (Facebook, October 16)

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford has stopped carrying a purse, and she revels in the freedom not to worry constantly about where her purse is; she laments the amount of mental energy women have to waste running the malware—the constant background program—of “Don’t get raped.”

Yes, some of the advice is ridiculous.

Yes, men have to be aware of their safety, too.

But for women, it is a constant thing that most of the time, we’re not even conscious of. It is a program running in our subconscious, a plug-in to our autonomic system.

For me, I’ve found not carrying a purse—and tossing my mental “purse monitor” in the trash—to be joyful and liberating.

But the sad reality is that the risk of uninstalling the Women’s Safety plug-in is too high. (Boots and Blessings, October 16)

Facts and other ugly things

This week when the Rev. Amy Shaw posted news on Facebook about the devastation in Puerto Rico, the first comment was, “I don’t believe it.”

In four words, the madness which has swallowed our country. Not a mental illness, but an uncaring, willful and wild disconnect from actuality for which we have no other word.

Over the past ten years a growing segment of our population has decided that they have not only the right to their own opinions, but their own facts.That they have a right to look at reality, unfolding before them, in living color and often accompanied by screams, and to say, “I don’t believe it.”

And the rest of us have allowed it to happen, in the name of peace, and tolerance, and conflict avoidance, and family harmony. (Chalice Fire, October 14)

Doug Muder writes about the new practice this administration has brought to the White House: presidential hostage taking.

Trump has an unfortunate combination of character flaws that we’ve never seen in a president before:

  • He seems not to feel empathy for the people his policies might hurt.
  • He is convinced that no bad outcome can ever be his fault. If he sets up a confrontation that results in disaster, that just demonstrates that his enemies should have given in to him.

. . . . Like any terrorist, Trump will have to shoot some hostages before his enemies start taking his threats seriously. What remains to be seen is what Trump supporters, both in Congress and in the general public, will do once they understand that the hostages include people they care about. (The Weekly Sift, October 16)

The Rev. Dan Harper are struggling to find housing in the Bay Area’s ridiculous housing market.

We refuse to spend more than a third of our combined gross income on rent, and we would prefer to spend only a quarter of our gross income. The apartments we can afford are either tiny, or shabby, or sometimes both tiny and shabby. To make matters worse, competition for these relatively affordable, tiny or shabby apartments is intense. All this combines to make our search for housing into an unpleasant task. . . .

I don’t have any answers. But I do know that we here in Silicon Valley have a front row seat for watching the growth in income inequality. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, October 14)

The Rev David Pyle has reached a breaking point in his ability to feel outrage.

I think that I can only experience a certain amount of outrage. That I reach a point where an emotional circuit breaker blows, in order to protect my mental health. . . .

I would have expected to have ended up in a rage these last few days, but I have not. When I read the news, I was not even surprised. Of course this is what happened. Of course. (Facebook, October 18)

Death is a necessity

John Beckett reflects on the motivating reality that we will all die, someday.

Death is a necessity and a universality. Sometimes it comes too soon and sometimes it comes too late, but eventually it comes for all of us. Death is as much a part of life as birth.

In this season of Samhain, let us acknowledge death and accept death, but let us also commit to living as deeply and as fully as we can while we are still alive. (Under the Ancient Oaks, October 19)

Andrew Hidas considers the moments that wake us up to the reality that we are alive—for now.

“I got sunshine on a cloudy day,” goes the song.

But these are jagged bolts of lightning on crystal-clear days.

It is the suddenness, the ambush, the bolts from the blue that we can’t abide, that leave us numb and grasping for explanation. (Traversing, October 14)