Viewing blog entries in category: Polemics - Page 3

  • realitybites
    I have put together a collection of my writings on atheism. Download PDF by clicking attachment at bottom of page.

  • realitybites
    *Update September 29, 2012 ~ The Overheated, Oversexed Cult of Bikram Choudhury

    It's been a long time since I've poked fun at a group or subculture. Oh wait, I did just write a snarky piece about pretentious philosophers. Anyhow, it feels like a long time. And it has been a while since I crucified spiritualists and castigated climbers. Sometimes, it just feels good to say what you really think. There's nothing wrong with vocalizing an opinion as long as you focus on an acquired status such as one's religion, hobby, or profession, rather than an ascribed one such as their gender, sexual orientation, race, or height. You get the idea, right? So anyhow, here is my next target ~male yoga instructors.

    Actor Vince Vaughn stated, “I had a girlfriend in Los Angeles who took me to a yoga class. While it was going on I was saying to myself, ‘Is this really happening?’ It was like the instructor was making all these moves and he was basically dry humping the girls. Nobody batted an eye. I felt like I was in ‘The Twilight Zone’.” That's pretty creepy.

    And then there's SusieHulaHoop, a blogger and yoga student, who writes, "Male yoga instructors contort you into awkward positions with little or no regard for how it may affect your feminine mystique. For example last night our slightly goofy substitute instructor made us do this thing that, well, sucked air into my vagina like a freakin' bellows." Clearly that should be against the law. Hehe.

    Both of those accounts paint a grim picture of male yoga instructors. And of course there are more horror stories to be found. But what I want to focus on here is their yogarific names. Were they given these names at birth or are they pseudo names adopted once they took to the mat?

    I suppose it would be more humorous to learn that they are their actual birth names, because so many fit the image of what a yogi is all about. It's as if they were destined, because of their surnames, to teach yoga. Below is a list of some famous yogis. See if you can match the yogi to his photo. I threw in some extra pics for fun.

    1. David Life

    2. John Friend

    3. Baron Baptiste

    4. Bikram Choudhury

    5. Nico Luce

    A. [​IMG]
    B. [​IMG]
    C. [​IMG]
    D. [​IMG]
    E. [​IMG]
    F. [​IMG]
    G. [​IMG]
    H. [​IMG]
    I. [​IMG]
    J. [​IMG]

    Answers: 1F, 2H, 3C, 4D, 5I
  • realitybites
    [​IMG] Why do philosophers use abstract words to describe abstract concepts? I'm not absolutely certain, but I have some theories.

    Here is an example of writing by philosopher, Michel Bitbol:

    "The metaphysical translation of this process of isolation of certain “subjective” statements with respect with the other types of statements is either dualism or reductionism: dualism if one projects the two-realms organization of statements onto a two-realms organization of entities or properties; or reduction of subjectivity to a network of objective entities if one takes the criticism of experiential expressions on objective grounds as a sign of subordination of the former to the latter. But if one looks back at the whole cognitive process by which the two-realms organization of statements was established, it clearly appears that the very alternative of dualism and reductionism is flawed. Indeed, at the first stages of the process, there is simply no clear-cut distinction between the two realms."

    OK, now be honest, can you understand the meaning of this after reading it once? How about after two times? Three? Four? Do you think you could ever possibly understand it? Would a dictionary help you decipher the hidden meaning? Or, would you need to pay upwards of $4,000 to sit in a classroom and have a philosophy professor explain it to you?

    How insulting is this to our intelligence? Why do the folks in the ivory tower purposely write to confuse us little people on the ground? Is it a form of gatekeeping? Are they obscuring knowledge on purpose to deny us access? Or is what they are writing not even knowledge at all but just a bunch of mumbo jumbo? How are we to know the difference? These people are getting paid big bucks to think for us. Do you suppose it's possible that they sometimes fall asleep on the job? Perhaps there are times when the well runs dry and they need to produce something. So they concoct some abstract opus of BS and sell it as profound wisdom. Make no mistake, this type of writing is an art form. It takes real talent to construct unrecognizable and unintelligible writing that can pass as actual prose.

    Want to write like a philosopher? Here are some handy guidelines:

    Prefer a complex word whenever possible. See, I just did it myself in that sentence. I used the word prefer rather than the word use. I gave my sentence an abstract spin.

    Use complex words even when they are not essential.

    Cluster abstract words together to really sound vague and unclear.

    Use complex words to set up barriers to understanding.

    Avoid clarity at all times.

    Only write using jargon. If it could be published in The New York Times, then it isn't sufficiently cryptic.

    Keep in mind, that you don't want your reader to know exactly what you mean. Unspecific words keep the reader from conjuring up a picture in his or her mind.

    And lastly, even when the abstract word adds nothing to the meaning, keep it there. Never simplify. Complex is your mantra.
  • realitybites
    Sight & Sound has just released its list of the Fifty Greatest Films of all time. Since 1952, it has been producing this list every ten years. For this year's list, "...more than 1,000 critics, programmers, academics, distributors, writers and other cinephiles, and received (in time for the deadline) precisely 846 top-ten lists that between them mention a total of 2,045 different films.

    As a qualification of what ‘greatest’ means, our invitation letter stated, 'We leave that open to your interpretation. You might choose the ten films you feel are most important to film history, or the ten that represent the aesthetic pinnacles of achievement, or indeed the ten films that have had the biggest impact on your own view of cinema.' "

    Here is the 2012 list.

    It sure isn't my list. I judge a movie's greatness by very different criteria than these critics, bloggers, and film industry professionals. Personally, I don't put as much weight on the historical period, camera angles used, lighting, etc. I value a film's originality, great imagery, and the ability to evoke emotion. Clever dialog is a bonus but not necessary. Also, I am a sucker for dark humor or a twisted plot. But I don't like gimmickry or convoluted stories like ones found in Memento and Inception. I like a good narrative. But it doesn't have to be linear.

    Requiem for a Dream is a good example of a movie that contains all the components that make a film great, imo.

    I just watched Vertigo the other day. The S&S has it as its top film. No way. It is a good film. But I felt nothing after seeing it. Yes the music is great, as is the acting--especially James Stewart. But I could care less about the characters. And I couldn't relate to anything they were experiencing. When I see a movie, I want to feel something--to be transported. I want to leave the theater as a changed person. I want to feel more alive as a result. I need to be moved, shown a new perspective--a new way of knowing. Vertigo, and all other Hitchcock movies are careful constructs--great angles, use of lighting, shadows, music that builds suspense. Its all technical--with no heart. I think Rear Window is a better film than Vertigo. James Stewart's character is actually likable rather than a creepy middle-aged man obsessed with an image.

    This list was so obviously composed by a very niche group i.e. white, male, urban, North American/European, industry types. A woman's point of view is sorely lacking, as is an eastern perspective. Oh wait, there's Tokyo Story on the list--a very safe, approachable film made by a director using western technology with a predictable linear plot infused with traditional eastern themes.

    A little math: 846 lists were submitted. Vertigo was on the top ten lists of 191 submissions. This means is was NOT on the top ten lists of 655 submissions. I would be one of the 655, I suppose. This actually puts me in the majority group. Also, 2,045 movies were among the top ten lists submitted. This is a huge variation and in no way demonstrates a universal consensus. Roger Ebert points out another flaw in this list, "To make the list, a director is punished if too many of his films are voted for. He needs an "official masterpiece. [otherwise]...the votes become scattered."

    Also, there is something wrong when almost half the films on the list were made before 1960 and are in black and white. Seems like the old folks in the ivory tower along with their parroting film students are well represented. Film academia tend to value a film for its shot by shot brilliance. I agree that Vertigo and 8 1/2 are absolutely brilliant in this department. The stills can stand alone as photographs. Each is lit perfectly and suitable for framing. Don't believe me? Watch either on your PC using VLC player. Randomly stop the film and do a screenshot. Then do this again. No matter where the film stops, you are almost guaranteed to get a beautiful screenshot. But movies aren't meant to be watched shot by shot. It is about the work as a whole.

    And, is a film's greatness only about sight and sound? I think that the combining of sight and sound does differentiate a film from a book or piece of music. But doesn't a film also need interesting characters, a story, and mood to make it a masterpiece? Isn't it all these things that make a film so transformative and unforgettable? If a film only toys with the eyes and ears but forgets the heart then it has missed the mark.

    2001: A Space Odyssey is a masterpiece. Not only is the movie brilliant in its use of sight and sound, it has a story, interesting characters--who can forget the computer Hal?, and creates a mood that is carried throughout the film. And it passes the shot by shot test for greatest, as previously discussed.


    (my dream bedroom)

    This film is in my top ten list. But I have not devised my own list yet. I will do so in my next blog entry.

    The Sight & Sound list is pretentious and elitist. It does not represent the values and tastes of the movie going public. Hey S&S, your list sucks!
  • realitybites
    Police log for Flagstaff AZ, July 14, 2012.: "A 49-year-old homeless man was arrested for panhandling on Thursday and booked into the Coconino County Detention Facility.

    An officer in plainclothes was walking in the area of Humphreys Street and Butler Avenue when he was approached by a homeless man. The two spoke for several minutes before the man asked the officer if he could spare some change, a police report said. The officer asked the man how much and he replied "two bucks for food." The officer then pulled out his badge, surprising the man, the report said. The officer handcuffed the man and booked him into jail for panhandling." Btw, that officer is a dick.

    Honestly, I had no idea it was a crime to ask people for a few bucks. I mean, every holiday season I am asked for money by persons ringing little brass bells standing next to red buckets. And every Veteran's Day and Memorial Day, I can't enter a store without being accosted by someone asking for a donation. And at least once a week, I am asked to donate a dollar to breast cancer or prostate cancer research, each time I make a purchase at the grocery store. The begging never ends. And this is fine. Giving to charity is a good thing, right? Oh yeah, as long as the charity is a corporation. If the charity is an individual homeless person, forget about it. His asking is a crime. I wonder if my giving would be as well. Hogwash! I smell hypocrisy!
  • realitybites
    This really happened.

    Four or five months ago I joined Flagstaff Freethinkers Meetup Group. I was interested in meeting fellow atheists. It was the closest group to my residence until just last month when an offshoot group nearby was formed.

    Anyhow, before the group in Sedona came into being, the Flagstaff Freethinkers group offered the promise of meeting like-minded folks in northern Arizona. I was hopeful. It isn’t easy to come across other godless people—especially intelligent ones. Through the Flagstaff Freethinkers Meetup website, I came across a couple of people who lived in my vicinity. One man became a facebook friend. We corresponded online, and shared writings and eBooks. He was new to atheism and freethinking in general. He was a seeker from early adulthood, dabbling in various religions and eventually moving to Sedona to be a part of the new age movement. Now he was claiming to be jaded with those ideas and has thus adopted skeptic and atheist identities. I wasn’t convinced. It seemed to me that the freethinking community was just a stopping ground until the next thing came along.

    Anyhow, he quickly became intrigued by my confidence, intelligence, and commitment to my ideals. He had never met an atheist in person. He soon became obsessed with the notion of meeting me in real time. I was open to the idea but made it clear I was only interested in friendship. I think he had a case of “I want to sleep with godless people like you.” (Think Pulp’s song “Common People.”) I was a novelty to him. He was entertainment for me—someone to amuse me with his crazy online rants against god and irrationality. He claimed to be irreligious and godless. But I saw right through the façade. He is never going to be free of god and religion. And really, I could care less. No sweat off my back. I had nothing invested in our friendship. I wasn’t emotionally connected to him in any way. My survival did not depend on him. And honestly, he didn’t need to change in order for me to be his friend.

    Although he was a nice enough guy, he was never going to become prince charming. He wasn’t convinced. He started asking me out. I declined, making it clear that I did not want to go on a date. But, I did tell him that I would like to meet one day soon. And that he seemed like a cool person to hang out with. I bet we’d make great friends. We started talking on the phone, and sure enough, did have a nice rapport.

    I was happy to have a new friend. He was not satisfied. Obviously he subscribes to the maxim that women and men cannot be friends. He continued to ask me out for Thai food. I continued to decline. He persisted. He let me know that he wasn’t happy with the terms of our friendship. This was a mistake. When I feel pressured or cornered, I push back hard in the other direction. I told him to “Take it or leave it.” He said, “I think I’ll leave it.” I told him, “Fine by me.” He promptly deleted me from his facebook friends list then sent me a message explaining why:

    “I just want you to know that I have no hard feelings at all....I removed you from my friends list so I wouldn't be tempted to continue asking you out. It is totally fine where your at and I need to let it go....I was trying to make a friend outside of my Sedona group and I got stuck in my persistence to make that happen. Thanks for all the interaction on FB....kind regards and I wish you well...”

    Is it just me or do you also think that this is pathetic? I’m good enough to be his lover/girlfriend, but not worthy of friendship. Of course I realize that he showed his true colors. And that was a good thing. I got a window into his character early on. Nothing lost. I’m not sad. No man, no cry. Not a real friend, so goodbye.

    I guess some people think facebook is a dating site. I was never under that impression. It's all so new—social networking technology. What are the rules—the parameters? Looks like I'm having a little trouble navigating.
  • realitybites
    I'm on a roll. Why stop, when I still have fuel?

    People irritate me. Not surprised? Good, you’ve been paying attention. Three types of people are currently on my hit list: Cyber Self-soothers, Pseudo Soothsayers, and Half-wit Leapers.

    Cyber Self-soothers are those who regard facebook to be like MySpace. They collect friends. The more the merrier. Five hundred--even a thousand, is small potatoes. Anyone with less than a hundred must be a real loser. It’s quantity over quality. Never mind that they never interact with anyone on their lists. Developing real relationships is beside the point. It’s not who you know but how many you can get to accept your friendship requests.

    Pseudo Soothsayers are those who offer unsolicited, cookie-cutter advice. They don’t care that the advice is too random--like cold calling. And it bothers them even less that you did not ask for their opinion. It is their mission in life to help you become a better person. Unfortunately they are not open to suggestions themselves and are rarely good role models nor true experts in any field.

    Half-wit Leapers are those who leap before looking. These people are oblivious to the details. They go through life with blinders on. For example, I have a website that clearly states that emails sent, cannot be read. And yet, daily, I receive notices that someone has sent an email. Do they read the fine print? Heck, it’s not even fine print. It is posted at the top of the home page, in bold face print. Honestly, I am perplexed as to how these people manage to cross the street without falling into the potholes.
  • realitybites
    Be forewarned, this is gonna come off as mean and bitchy.

    When I hear someone declare that s/he is spiritual but not religious, my eyes roll a bit--OK they spin fast. This is how that statement translates to an atheist: You are choosing to sugarcoat your irrational belief system. You find your position to be a reasonable, enlightened, and liberating stance against organized religion which you think is antiquated, paternalistic, and sexist. You don't want to have to go to church, pay a tithe, nor abstain from premarital coitus. And yet, you want to make it clear to those who may doubt your piety, that make no mistake about it, you are in fact a believer. You believe in God, a higher power, and a supernatural deity. Perhaps you even believe in a soul, karma, and an afterlife. You might even go one step further and profess than God is you and you are God. Heck, God is in everything and everywhere. (That's truly intense, btw.) You are spirituality aware. In touch. In tune. Happening. You are progressive. You are a step beyond.

    Unfortunately all your wisdom fails you. For you cannot see that your claim to be spiritual but not religious is analogous to being weaned from the bottle yet still sucking your thumb.

    Claiming to be "spiritual" makes you appear infantile, needy, dependent upon a father/mother figure--unable to cut the cord and mature and become a self-sufficient, freethinking adult. You aren't kidding anyone. Well, perhaps you are. Not me anyhow. To be honest, I'd respect you a helluva lot more if you said you were religious, went to church, paid a tithe, and practiced the rhythm method. At least you would be an authentic believer instead of a half-committed poseur.

    Claiming to be spiritual instead of religious does not make you sound superior. All it makes you is diluted/deluded.
  • realitybites
    I feel like a loser. Everyone around me keeps suggesting that I take a hike. But I don't wanna. I want to stay where I am at—right here in the comfort of the space I have designated as safe and castle-like, my indoor retreat, my home inside my home. I don't want to go outside and explore the big inorganic structures that grace the horizon. Although those red rocks and brown mini-mountains are breathtaking to view from a distance, they're just not all that inviting. I don't feel compelled to see them up close. I'd rather have a long distance relationship with them.

    I guess I am the odd one out here. I do live in the rockiest state in the Union. I should climb. That is what people who live in Sedona and the surrounding area do for fun. They buy the equipment i.e. the sticks, the shoes, the water bottles, the backpacks, and the trail mix from New Frontiers. Then they set out for the day, usually bright and early on a weekend, and tackle one of the many designated hiking trails. Although I cannot presume to know the actual experience of the hike, I can guess what these hikers feel after their adventures. They feel proud—almost smug. They feel assured that they did a good thing. They went outdoors, took in fresh air, got some exercise, and may have even had a spiritual experience—became one with nature. They now feel alive, revived, and prepared to start a new week of work and family obligations. Unfortunately it was only a temporary fix; it must be repeated weekly. And so they look forward to their next hike. Perhaps they will explore a new trail. They may even dare to venture outside of Sedona. Perhaps they'll conquer a small mountain in Flagstaff. And the cycle repeats. Oh the futility.

    And so, I confess my sin, I’m not into hiking, climbing, and conquering big hills. But put me in a boat in the ocean—any ocean will do, and I will become an explorer as well. I will leave my comfort zone. And I too will buy equipment i.e. board shorts and bikini tops, sunscreen, and sparkling wine or beer. I can navigate channels and crash through wakes and successfully dodge wave runners and knee boarders. And I too will know the feeling of being revived, refreshed, and alive. My adventure just has to be on the water not land.
  • realitybites
    What happens when a jaded, middle aged woman who is sexually frustrated and feeling powerless about the course of her own life gets stuck in a shared environment with people she cannot bend to her will? She will break them instead. With all her soul crushing might, she will throw her poisoned arrows into their sweet and fragile hearts, either extinguishing their life centers immediately, or more than likely, leave gaping, weeping wounds that allow their life's blood to slowly, painfully run from their veins down the drain--leaving them for dead.

    What shall we call such a monstrous woman? How about a rageaholic? Ever have the unfortunate experience of meeting one? I have. In fact, I am sharing a house with one at this moment. And worse still, I moved here to get away from one. Yesterday's roommate was the epitome of such a creature. Oh but so was I once, not so far in the past.

    But, I was completely oblivious back then to just how damaging my mood swings and tantrums effected those around me. I was blind. But now I can see. And feel. And it feels awful to be the target of anger.

    Will the woman I live with now ever be the victim of rage? How about the woman I left behind yesterday? Will it take them becoming victims themselves--like me--to understand the errors of their ways? Probably.
  • realitybites
    Those who call for anonymous posting to be disallowed and for more regulation of content posted to the Morrissey-solo main page and general forums are not only demanding censorship of free speech, they are advocating for a filter bubble to protect themselves, Morrissey, and the rest of us from information and opinions that don’t fit their world views.

    According to author Eli Pariser of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You, the filter bubble “…places us in an isolated echoing world…whereby we receive news and information that is mainly pleasant and familiar—which confirms our beliefs.” These filters are invisible—we don’t even know what is hidden from us. Although his argument mostly addresses how the filter bubble negatively impacts our search and social networking—due to personalization by algorithms designed to market to our needs and interests as consumers, it also can effect discussion forums and fan sites when opinions and news are filtered by a gatekeeper(s) who claims to have our best interests in mind. If David Tseng were in support of a filter bubble, Morrissey-solo would look very different than it does today.

    If Morrissey-solo had a filter bubble, we would all be under the illusion that Morrissey was beyond reproach—that his remarks in the press were deemed acceptable and are mirrored by his entire online fan base. We would be under the impression that all his music was brilliant and that his band could do no wrong. We wouldn’t be privy to dissent. This isn’t just censorship of negative news and commentary, it is altering reality. And this alternate reality isn’t a good thing for any of us—including Morrissey himself.

    Only seeing compliments and news items that depict Morrissey and his music in a positive light would paint an inaccurate picture of his fan base. Morrissey’s fans are not completely comprised of docile bodies and sycophants. We are a diverse group with a wide variety of tastes, opinions, beliefs, and worldviews. We are not a homogenous group—though we sometimes like to think we are. Our diversity is reflected in our comments and arguments on the main page and in the discussion forums. Instead of calling for our differences to be stymied, we should embrace them and regard them as an opportunity for growth.

    Even Morrissey should embrace feedback that is both positive and negative. Criticism is not just coming from trolls who wish to harm for harm’s sake. Many comments are made by long-term fans who are genuinely concerned about the direction Moz is taking his music and or his recent actions and statements. Criticism can be unsettling. But this can be good. It unsettles us—stirs up the sediment and knocks us out of our comfort zones. Morrissey should feel fortunate for this feedback rather than scorn it out of fear. Although it can be painful to have the truth reflected back at you, it is a mistake to turn away from it.

    A filter bubble at Morrissey-solo isn’t what is needed. David Tseng is doing the right thing by allowing the free flow of ideas and opinions. His gentle hand at moderation keeps things civil but still affords us—including Morrissey—the opportunity to get a more accurate view of the world of Morrissey—faults and all.
  • realitybites
    I’m adopting Anderson Cooper’s concept RidicuList. This week I have three things to nominate to the list of ridiculousness.

    First, a man browsing books and offering an ignorant statement at the library.

    At my last visit to my local library, I dropped off some books to a table outside, to be donated to anyone who would have them. There was a great deal of books there already, so I decided to take a look and see if there was anything of interest. There was. A few seconds later, two men also started browsing the books. One man asked me if there was anything good. I said, “Ya some old philosophy books. You can teach yourself philosophy—no need to go to school for it. Heck, with the Internet, you can learn almost anything on your own.” “Like Good Will Hunting,” he said. I responded, “Ya, except Will was a mathematical genius. He was born with it. I don’t think you can learn that on the net. Einstein was born that way.” He replied, “Einstein sucked at math. He was good at imagining but had other people do his math.” “What?,” I blurted out. “What about the Theory of Relativity?” He assured me, “He wasn’t really into that.” I needed to know, “Where did you hear that?” He set me straight, “Where you said, on the Internet.”

    Second, folks making death threats against Casey Anthony’s jurors.

    I don’t need to rehash this one, do I?

    Third, Morrissey banning David Tseng from the concert in Copenhagen and all future concerts.

    This is beyond ridiculous—a feeble attempt to gain power over that which he cannot and should not have control.

    Morrissey is obsessively concerned about what everyone thinks and says about him. Instead of worrying himself to death over bad press and unflattering comments on fansites—things that he cannot censor—he should take the bull by the horns and keep his fans informed by posting on facebook and Twitter. This would afford him the ability to control his own publicity. But he won’t. Time has shown that he prefers to whine and play victim. He doesn’t really want to be accountable for his statements. It’s much safer and more comfortable for him to backpedal than face the music.
  • realitybites
    *Update ~ August 14, 2011: I've had a change of heart. I am confronting my past head-on. Anyone who wants to find me and befriend me on facebook is welcome! Come one, come all!

    When I was ten years old I was a wonderful best friend. I was attentive, engaging, loyal, fun, enthusiastic, curious, and kind.

    Then I moved out of state. I lost some of those qualities.

    Then I moved again, and again, and again. Twenty or thirty, maybe forty more times. Each time I said goodbye to all my friends and started over, rarely to reconnect with any of these lost loves.

    Overtime I became much less enthusiastic. Why bother investing in new relationships if they are just going to end?

    I find people who have had old friends since childhood to be interesting. Is it a sense of comfort for them? Stability? History? Can it also be a burden, suffocating and stifling change and growth? I suppose there are good and bad to be found in both arrangements.

    I’ll never know the life-long set-up. It’s too late for me. It isn’t however too late for others to toss their current lives to the wind and start fresh. Though I’m not sure how well they’d cope. It surely would remove them far from their comfort zones. I’m not really recommending this lifestyle. But I can’t say I think it is all-bad either. It has its perks.

    Perk one is anonymity. I can get lost in the crowd. I can go to the movies, the market etc. and be invisible. I don’t have to fear running into an old boyfriend or annoying former classmate.

    Secondly, I can grow and change. I am not required to be the same old Jehne that everyone expects me to be. I can reinvent myself time and time again. I don’t owe anyone consistency. I don’t have to remain complacent to allow others to feel safe.

    As a result of my choices and moves my social world is small. Very small. In fact, I’d feel right at home in a small tribal village—of five. That is if we had lots of personal space e.g. our own huts and land. I couldn’t bear to be under anyone’s wing. Nor would I want them cramping my style.

    This quiet social life of mine is my preference. But I know it is not for everyone. Humans are social animals—so the social scientists claim. Maybe I am only part human.

    Social network websites allow us to connect us with friends, family, and co-workers. They enable millions to develop new relationships and reconnect with people from their pasts. Facebook is the most successful at this, having 750 million active users worldwide. It is now easier than ever to find a lost love or old friend from junior high. This would seem to be a good thing for transient types such as myself. But I really have no desire to reunite with people from my past. If I wanted to maintain those relationships, I would have made an effort way back then.

    Though admittedly, I am curious to know what they have been up to. Are they married? Do they have kids? Do they still live in the city we once shared? But after those questions are answered, my interest wanes.

    I have located over thirty people from my past on facebook. Most of them are living where I left them. Some have new kids and marriages. I wonder if they have tried to find me.

    Last November my first husband and son’s father, Israel, contacted me through MySpace. He tells me he had been searching for David and I for years. A friend of his had suggested he search MySpace for my son’s name. Bingo. We were found.

    David and I video chatted with Israel on Skype for hours. It was a great experience. Both David and I felt a sense of closure. We were both happy to learn that Israel has been taking care of his mother ever since he returned to his birth nation in 1994. His father had died and his mom needed someone to care for her. Israel took on that responsibility. He never remarried and had no more children. David was really happy about this. So was I, strangely enough. It’s as if we were happy to know we were the only ones.

    David was trying to get us back together. Even grown kids do this. But, why would I want to hook-up with someone from my past? Didn’t I say goodbye for a reason? Isn’t that reason still valid?
  • realitybites
    *Update 5/16/2011: This post was kind of experimental in nature. It was meant to be raw and cathartic. Not sure how successful I was. It is also a companion piece, meant to be read along with my prior post If I Get a Lobotomy Will You Love Me?

    So often, when we write--especially me, we check for spelling, grammar, and content. And we censor ourselves. It was risky putting my thoughts out there regarding relationships. I feel naked. But I also feel relieved. End of update*

    When I was fifteen years old, my stepfather said to me, “You need to marry a man who is more intelligent than you.” Even though marriage wasn’t something I wanted in my future, I read his comment as a sort of compliment. Clearly he thought me to be an intelligent young woman. But what did he mean by more intelligent? Why was this part crucial to my happiness? Did he know something that I was not yet privy to?

    Flash-forward ten years—it was the night of my college graduation. I had just recently called off my engagement from my partner of two years. A good friend of mine, Danny, who had recently moved back to his birth state, New York, came down to Florida for the ceremony. After a celebratory dinner, Danny, my brother Jeff, his wife Deanna, and I were in the car headed back to Jeff’s house for a little homespun Karaoke. Out of the blue my brother said to Danny, “Jehne needs to be with someone more intelligent than her.” Where the heck did that come from? He wasn’t in the room when my stepfather uttered those same words a decade earlier. What was going on? I asked Jeff to explain what he meant by his statement. He said that I wouldn’t be happy unless I was with someone who could challenge me. I wouldn’t respect nor admire him unless he was smarter than myself. Was he onto something?

    I stayed single for almost five years after that. Then I met my second husband who is intelligent—clearly more educated than my ex-fiancé. But was this relationship doomed as well? Soon after I married him, I grew unhappy. Was it because he was not more intelligent than me? Did my stepfather and brother curse me? Or was Mother Nature the instigator of this cruel fate?

    After my husband and I divorced, my mother point blank said to me, “You need to be with someone more intelligent than you.” I shot back, “It’s never going to happen.” She said, “I know.”

    Maybe a man can love this intelligent woman. Maybe I can’t love a man who isn’t brilliant.
  • realitybites
    *Update 5/16/2011: This post was kind of experimental in nature. It was meant to be raw and cathartic. Not sure how successful I was. It is also a companion piece, meant to be read along with my next post If You Were Brilliant Could I Love You? So often, when we write--especially me, we check for spelling, grammar, and content. And we censor ourselves. It was risky putting my thoughts out there regarding relationships. I feel naked. But I also feel relieved. End of update.*

    I have something important to say. But I fear it has been said all too many times before. How can I express what I am feeling without sounding cliché?

    I’ll be slightly original by starting off with a joke written by comedienne Joan Rivers. I first heard this joke when watching the 2010 documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.

    In an archival footage scene from the early 80s, Joan is a guest on The Tonight Show. Host Johnny Carson says to Joan, “Men really do like smart women.” With an exaggerated Are you fucking kidding me? look on her face, she replies, “No man has ever put his hand up a woman's dress looking for a library card.”

    Though she first uttered theses words back in the 80s. I am convinced her statement still rings true today. And it is most likely a universal fact. The west thinks it is so liberated from gender stereotypes. It is a façade.

    Oh, you will hear men declare that they love—even prefer—to have an intelligent woman for a partner. Don’t be fooled. They say this because it is not safe in today’s climate to claim otherwise. It is not politically correct to state that one wants a dim, subservient, weak-minded woman who will treat one like he is the greatest gift to humankind.

    Let’s be real here. Men don’t want to be challenged by anyone—let alone a woman. Their egos demand compliance not confrontation. They want to win. There are no ties. It’s winner takes all. And so as a woman you must play the role of loser if you hope to get along with a man. If you appear threatening, he will grow to despise you and soon will be plotting your demise. But this will all take place under the radar. When he deals the final blow, you won’t know what hit you. Why won’t you be prepared? Because you can’t believe that men hate intelligent women. You don’t want to believe it. It is too unfair, too painful.

    By now, you may be thinking that I am a man hater. Not true. I love men. They just don’t love me.

    As soon as any man comes to the conclusion that I am of superior intelligence, wit, and creativity, he will no longer have my best interests in mind. He’ll quit being protective. He will become my destroyer. By the time I’m kicked to the curb, I will be a broken woman—physically, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt. It will take a long time before I place blame where it belongs and realize there was nothing I could have done to keep him loving me—short of having a frontal lobotomy.