Spring Equinox and Left Forum

Hit up the Left Forum today.  
Kristin and Marvin talk past a bored Billy at the Socialist Party USA table in the exhibition room.

New friends Juan and Zach have a very serious conversation over soup.

The highlight, besides meeting lots of passionate and intellectually stimulating new people and reconnecting with old faces, was sitting in on the panel "Loneliness and American Capitalism" with Harriet Fraad, Tess Fraad-Wolf, and Roger Salerno.

Roger Salerno, Tess Fraad-Wolf, and Harriet Fraad at their panel, "Loneliness and American Capitalism"

Fraad discussed how since the flattening of the male wage, particularly the white male wage, in the 1970's,  paired with outsourcing, led to increased debt, depression, disassociation, despair and a compound sense of inadequacy.  Since networth is confused for self worth, we've seen social roles dramatically shift and loneliness explode.  In 1970, the US was the most egalitarian nation in the Western industrialized world; now we are the least.  Unemployment has hit male dominated fields, particularly "macho" work such as construction, particularly hard.  In 1974, only 40% of American mothers worked outside of the home; now 70% do.  However, unemployed men still do significantly less housework than their employed wives, and women bear the brunt of emotional labor both within and outside the home.  Women are increasingly choosing to stay single, and are initiating the majority of divorces.  Men are in limbo and don't know how to be equal partners.

Fraad-Wolf followed up by explaining that because the economy is now more amenable to women than men, gender roles are being radically redefined.  The increase of women in college and middle management are some examples of how traditionally female traits such as better communication skills are more useful now in the white collar economy.  We've seen an increase in the portrayal of the perpetually adolescent male in pop culture.  After interviewing 48 women about their intimate relationships and dating life, she reported some phenomenon that particularly interested me, as a newly minted initiate into the dating world.   Women increasingly bemoan the dating game and mating rituals, often finding that men don't ever want to make plans, or that they too quickly initiate inappropriate sexual conversation and advances, often as early as the first date - something I have found to be surprisingly true in my own experience.  She discussed the mainstreaming of porn which is viewed massively by men and women, and how this huge industry is resulting in addictions and dramatically changing our intimate interactions, including an association of anonymity and arousal, sexual attention deficit disorder, an increase in men faking orgasms, and the development of neurological attachments to porn.  In effect, Fraad-Wolf explained, people are increasingly dating porn instead of one another.

Roger Salerno finished off the panel by expounding on the consumption of both love and loneliness as commodities, and how we are becoming more and more like our machines in this increasingly socially networked and socially isolating age.

There was a great article by Dr. Harriet Fraad recently in the Guardian called "Profiting from Mental Ill-Health".

In less political news, today is the Spring Equinox (Hurray!) and I spent a wonderful day yesterday with two of my closest friends celebrating the last day of winter in Prospect Park and Coney Island.

Watching this dad with these two adorable kids dressed as superheroes running around made my ovaries do somersaults.

This swan was mad brolick.

Nadia hooked up the ill post-Prospect Park couscous and zuchinni.  Yuuummmm.

Perigree Full Moon in Virgo at Coney Island.

Nothing brightens up a long ass train ride like bubbles and my grrl Clarity.


So excited to see how the seeds I've planted begin to sprout....and to watch those in my community bloom as well.

Also- would highly recommend you check out this video of a production done recently by some writer friends of mine in Australia, Poser and Take of New Rock Cru.  Watching this made me itch to put up the practice wall I build every spring. Gotta get my skills up...I'm getting rusty.

This is my song to say good-bye to winter.  Sofia Jannok is a Sami singer who incorporates pop and yoik (traditional Sami singing, not completely dissimilar to yodeling).  The lyrics to this song roughly translate to, "In Sárevuomi, the earmarked reindeer took off".

And here's my song to say, "Hello, Spring!  Girl, you look GOOD since the last time I saw you!".  Nina Simone covering the Beatles?  It doesn't get much better than this.  Well....actually...maybe it would be better if the images in this weren't so ridiculous.  But just close your eyes.  It's great.

And this song goes out to all the folks struggling with the gender dynamics influenced by the social conditions described above.  "Don't be a hard rock when you really are a gem-Baby girl, respect is just a minimum.......Don't think I haven't been through the same predicament.....Money taking, heart breaking- now you wonder why women hate men -The sneaky silent men, the punk domestic violence men -The quick to shoot the semen stop acting like boys and be men..."   


Post a Comment

Post a Comment