I need you; you need me. Let's act like it.
It's been a hellish week -- personally, nationally, and globally. The terrorist attacks in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere. Violence of all kinds in the United States, but especially the police-involved shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the murder of police officers in Dallas. These alone would be enough to send me into a fetal crouch in the corner of my house. Add to that the week of worry and caregiving for my husband, who is home now but not well, and facing surgery. Yesterday I came to the sobering realization that, with both children diagnosed with chronic illnesses, I am the only healthy person in my immediate family. So self-care and monitoring my own health becomes essential. I wish I had the energy and focus to respond to the world outside my house, but frankly, I don't.
So there's this blog, where I can put my swirling thoughts and jumbled emotions into words about "everything else". And the word for the day is love. I believe in the power of love to connect and heal. If love is a miracle, I believe in miracles. Otherwise, I don't. And sometimes love can feel like a miracle, when it comes out of nowhere -- from a stranger on the bus, or a Samaritan coming down the road. But love for others is as much a miracle as Dorothy's ruby slippers; it's the unused power we already have. (I wonder what the Wicked Witch of the East used them for? But I digress.) Love can overcome hate, but not passively; it needs to be made visible, transformed into action.
If my focus on Indian films seems escapist, you're right. But it's the best kind of escapism -- the kind that heals and help me keep going.
Reposted from Allan Showalter:
Leonard Cohen particularly admired boxing legend and activist, Muhammad Ali, who died June 3, 2016. In I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, author Sylvie Simmons reports that when she asked Leonard who his hero was, he immediately named “poets and spiritual leaders – Roshi, Ramesh Balsekar, Lorca, Yeats – adding the caveat, ‘I admire many men and women but it’s the designation ‘hero’ I have difficulty with, because it implies some kind of reverence that is alien to my nature.'” The next day, however, Sylvie received the following email from Leonard:
my hero is muhammad ali
as they say about the Timex in their ads
takes a lickin’
keeps on tickin’"
And, Adam Cohen (Leonard's son) named his own son, Cassius, after his (Adam’s) hero Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali. He’s named Cassius, Adam explained to Brigit Grant in 2012, because "I don’t think the rabbi would have appreciated Muhammad Cohen"
Showalter credits the information and quote to Being Leonard Cohen’s son – it’s not all hallelujahs by Brigit Grant. The Jewish Chronicle Online: March 29, 2012.
Another giant of my life is gone. Muhammed Ali was 7 years my senior; I remember watching the young and glorious Cassius Clay in the 1960 Olympics when I was not yet in my teens. My dad loved boxing. I do not, and never have. (I turn away from the screen during Shah Rukh Khan's more brutal fight scenes, and I refuse to watch "Raging Bull", despite my tremendous admiration for Robert DiNiro.)
But Muhammed Ali was more than a boxer and a celebrity. He was a principled person who used his fame to work for positive change in the world. He was a courageous person who could walk away from a lucrative career at his peak by taking a controversial stand on the most contentious issue of our generation. As the sister of a draft resister, who risked much less for the same reason, I know how hard it can be to be true to your own principles.
His appearance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics -- his body trembling as he lit the Olympic flame -- broke my heart and yet raised my spirits. Still alive, still fighting. Still witnessing.
The fact that the world is plagued by people who use the power of celebrity to make themselves bigger and wealthier, while belittling and crushing others makes the loss of Muhammed Ali even sadder. Every empty-souled celebrity on the planet needs to look in the mirror today and measure the distance between their lives and his.
My Gender Mystique blog focuses on my work on clothing, sex, and gender. That's not all I do, so this blog is about everything else.