This is the Sound of Patriarchy Dying

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“A friend recently told me of a very powerful man on the East Coast who has gained a reputation for toying cruelly with the hearts of so-called powerful women The question, of course, is how does a powerful woman allow herself to be toyed with. What place of wounded self-esteem makes her vulnerable to his emotionally sadistic machinations?…

That man is a dinosaur, his breed will die out.” Marianne Williamson “A Woman’s Worth”

“Anyone who has chosen to remain deliberately barren…they’ve got no idea about what life’s about.” Australian Senator Bill Heffernan on Julia Gillard, 2007

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This is the sound of patriarchy dying.

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Former Republican Congressman Todd Akin

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This is the sound of the dinosaurs’ last desperate battle cry as they realize that they are becoming obsolete.

“Money is more important for men. Take a hypothetical husband and wife who are both lawyers. But the husband is working 50 or 60 hours a week, going all out, making 200 grand a year. The woman takes time off, raises kids, is not ‘go, go, go.’ Now they’re 50 years old. The husband is making 200 grand a year, the woman is making 40 grand a year. It wasn’t discrimination. There was a different sense of urgency in each person.” Senator Glenn Grothman, 2012.

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This is the cry of the mortally wounded animal, fighting to  maintain control, in power, when he should be focusing on survival.

“Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers. The woman should have thought twice before boarding the suspicious private bus that night. Though the incident was condemnable, she should also have behaved keeping in mind the situation.”

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This is the sound of the old ways fading.

 “A debate between a man and woman is very complicated because if you abuse your intellectual superiority, or whatever it may be, you end up looking like a machista [chauvinist] who is cornering a defenceless woman.” Spanish politician Miguel Arias Cañete, 2014

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This is the sound of every dinosaur’s longing to board a gigantic Doc Brown DeLorean time machine to the 1950s. A more innocent time.

“I wouldn’t want to stay with daughters who are not getting married. Because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice. It’s actually not right. That’s a distortion. You’ve got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother.” South African president Jacob Zuma, 2012

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“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently (Billy) Bush’s.

“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”

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This is the sound of patriarchy dying. Hold on, my friends. Brighter days are coming.

Lucifer, May I?

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The thing about Lucifer in the Fox television program of the same name, is that he gives people permission to do what they really want to do–what they were really actually going to do in the first place.

In the opening scene of the premiere, we see Lucifer coaxing the police officer to take the money he offers as a bribe by getting him to admit that he breaks the law, too.

(Officer) “It’s against the law, sir.”

(Lucifer) “You people are funny about your laws, aren’t you? You break the law sometimes, don’t you?”

(Officer) “Sometimes, I put my siren on and drive really fast, for no reason at all, just ’cause I can.”

(Lucifer) “Right? And why wouldn’t you? It’s fun. It feels good to get away with something, doesn’t it?”

(Officer) “Yeah.”

(Lucifer) “Uh, it’s okay, officer. People like to tell me things. Those deep, dark naughty little desires that are on their mind. Must be something about this face. You’re tempted to keep that aren’t you? Well, what are you waiting for, permission? Go on, take it, buy yourself something pretty. But if you don’t mind, I really must be on my way.”

(Officer) “Oh, yeah, of course. Hey, have a nice evening.”

(Lucifer) “You too, Officer. You too,”

At the end of this scene, he almost seems disappointed that the man took the money. It’s almost as if he were bored with humanity and their greed. Almost as if he’s waiting for a truly complex, challenging person to prove that he’s wrong about humanity. Enter Chloe Decker.

But that’s for later.

First, we resolve a few questions about the nature of Lucifer, the Devil and what he’s really all about.

Lucifer apparently abdicated Hell and came to earth for a small vacation. He landed in Los Angeles (for the weather, the porn stars and the Mexican food) and opens a piano bar called Lux.

We have a visit from his brother, Amenadiel (affectionately called Amenadude by Malcolm, the Big Bad for the first season).

Amenadude  (sorry, Amenadiel) is assigned by his Father to retrieve Lucifer and bring him back to hell. Lucifer has other ideas.

(Amenadiel) “You are a mockery of everything divine.”

(Lucifer) “Thank you. Thank you, but lately I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking. Now, do you think I’m the devil because I’m inherently evil, or just because dear old Dad decided I was?”

Good question.

The answer however, is answered in the next sequence where a former protege,  an actor/singer named Delilah (and she does have fabulous hair) returns to ask him a question that, frankly, we’re all quite curious to know.

Delilah) “Did I sell my soul to the devil?”

(Lucifer) “Well, that would imply that the Devil’s actually interested in your soul. Look, all I did was to introduce you to a few key people who owed me favors, that’s all.”

(Delilah) “I mean, with all the good came a hell of a lot of bad.”

(Lucifer) “ Oh, right. So the devil made you do it, did he? The alcohol, and the drugs and the topless selfies? The choices are on you, my dear.”

(Delilah) “Oh, God, I’m a mess.”

(Lucifer) “God has nothing to do with your mess. Look, you didn’t sell your soul, Delilah. You do owe me a favor.

(Delilah) “I’m scared.”

(Lucifer) “You should be. Because what I’m about to ask you is going to be quite difficult. Pull yourself together. That’s it, that’s all I’m asking. ‘Cause you’re wasting your talent, your life.”

Apparently, he grants favors. A deal, of sorts with the Devil. More about that later. We’re trying to take this chronologically, so that we don’t leave anyone in the dust.

Sadly, Delilah is murdered shortly after, apparently by a her drug dealer for money that she owed him.

This starts Lucifer on a quest to find his protege’s murderer. He seems to be experiencing a bit of a conscience and an awareness that actions on this Earth do have consequences.

(Lucifer, about Delilah) “Look if I hadn’t meddled with her career, maybe she wouldn’t have died.”

And he meets Chloe Decker, the detective in charge of finding the culprit and bringing him to justice. And neither of their lives will ever be the same.

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Chloe is, so far, the only person who doesn’t succumb to Lucifer’s charms. In fact the more he speaks, the more repulsed she is by him. Chloe is, apparently, a pariah in her own precinct and no one wants to partner with her since she accused of a fellow police officer of being on the take. Malcolm Graham, the aforementioned Big Bad, was shot and is now in a coma.

Lucifer is intrigued by her immunity to his charms and convinces her to allow him to come along to find the murderer.

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In the next episode, “Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil,” Lucifer encounters a street preacher, who, originally, is a fake.

(Williams) “Have you seen the face of the devil?”

(Lucifer) “Oh, Every morning in the mirror, pal.”
(Williams) “Look at this world! The sin! The lust! It is the devil’s touch.”

(Lucifer) “N-N-N-No, don’t give me credit for all that. You humans do plenty all on your own.”

(Williams) “Repent! The devil…”

(Lucifer) “…isn’t finished with you yet. You see what I hate more than anything is a liar, a charlatan, someone who doesn’t believe in what they say.”

(Williams) “So what are you gonna do about it?”

(Lucifer) “Why make you a believer, of course.”

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(Williams) “You don’t understand! This isn’t a performance! He’s the Devil!

(Lucifer) “It’s true. It is true. Yes, thanks everyone. I’m, uh, here till, well, the end of time, actually.”

In “The Would-Be Prince of Darkness,” we see a little more of Lucifer’s pet peeve with inauthenticity as someone steals his identity, as well as the issue of the consequences of meddling with people’s lives. He explores these issues with the same therapist that Delilah used, Linda Martin. Oh, yeah. He’s also sleeping with her. At first.

Linda) “Sounds like this guy has really gotten under your skin.”

(Lucifer) “Typical in a town full of charlatans. This is a place built on lies where nothing is authentic or genuine.”

(Linda) “From everything you’ve told me it sounds like Ty had nothing to do with this murder. That he got himself into or someone helped him into a bad situation. And that bothers you.”

(Lucifer) “Yes.”

(Linda) “Why?”

(Lucifer) “Because I punish the guilty and Ty’s not guilty.”

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(Chloe) “Why are you so hellbent on proving Ty’s not the killer?”

(Lucifer) “Like I’ve been saying, I want to punish the real killer.”

(Chloe) “Why? Is it ’cause you pushed him toward Ali at the party?”

(Lucifer) “Well, I don’t see how that has to do with anything. And I think you’re starting to agree with me. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, would you?

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(Linda) “You know, you say people are phony here, but I think people come here to reinvent themselves. And I think that’s why you’re here. To reinvent yourself.”

(Lucifer) “Why would I mess with perfection?”

(Linda) “You like working with the detective, don’t you?”

(Lucifer) “I told you, I’m good at punishing people. Nay, I’m the best at punishing bad people. I didn’t enjoy it when my Father forced me to, but now that it’s on my terms, it’s downright delightful.”

(Linda) “Yeah, well, I don’t think you just enjoy punishing the bad guys. I think you like seeking justice for the good ones.”

(Lucifer) “Another reason to hate L.A. All this self-indulgent therapy. You should be ashamed.”

(Linda) “You’re doing it again.”

(Lucifer) “What?”

(Linda) “Displacing.”

(Lucifer) “No, I’m not.”

(Linda) “And that’s denial.”

(Lucifer) “That’s a river in Africa.” 

Lucifer is still puzzled by his inability to charm Chloe and decides to try to seduce her into having sex with him as they investigate the disappearance of a girl who catering an event by a life coach for geeks who can’t communicate with women.

Linda) “It’s not that you’re afraid that you don’t have power over Chloe; it’s that you’re afraid that she has power over you. But neither one is true—People don’t have power over us. We give it to them. You have to take your power back—You say she’s nothing special, but I think you’ve put her on a pedestal. You need to really get to know her, warts and all. I’m sure she has some. So, demystify her by bringing her back to your own level.”

(Lucifer) “You’re right. It’s not her, it’s me. I need to take back control. I need to behave like I always have.”

(Linda) ”Good. So, you understand.”

(Lucifer) “Yes! Yes, it seems obvious now, actually. I need to have sex with her.”

(Linda) “uh…no, that’s not what I said.”

(Lucifer) “No, no, no, no, you’re a genius. I mean, that’s the best way to lose interest, right? Right. Good-o. Hmm. Thanks love, payment next time, OK?”

The scene where he tries to seduce Chloe and appears naked before is one of beauty and grace. Obviously, the creators, writers, producers took a lesson from the Master Joss Whedon and created a scene where the emotional energy turns on a dime. Lucifer appears naked before Chloe. As he turns around, she sees the scars where Mazikeen, his faithful demon, cut his wings. This is the moment where the relationship starts to turn into  a friendship that is much more solid than Lucifer has been accustomed to in his brief five years on Earth. It does not do to describe the scene. You must watch it. I own nothing.

It is a moment of beauty and grace and the first time we see Lucifer emotionally vulnerable in front of Chloe. At the end of the episode, we see Chloe shoot Lucifer  at his goading and he actually bleeds, something that never happened before. It isn’t until “St. Lucifer” (1.11), that we actually understand that only Chloe has this power over him.

In “Sweet Kicks” (1.5), Lucifer learns a bit more about the long-term consequences of his favors.

(Chloe) “You know, I’ve been thinking about that favor you gave Benny. Did it also involve getting him off on that B & E charge that put Viper in prison instead?”

(Lucifer) “I may have pulled a few strings, why?”

(Chloe) “Well, if Viper hadn’t have gone to prison, he wouldn’t have targeted Benny and shot up his show, which means Paola Cortez would still be alive.”

(Lucifer) “You’re not seriously blaming me for that girl’s death?”

(Chloe) “Just stating fact. Cause and effect, intended or not.”

(Lucifer) “No, no. I can’t be held responsible for what happens after I give someone a favor. I mean, if there’s one thing the Devil knows, it’s that people need to take responsibility or their own bad behavior.”

(Chloe) “Yes, people do need to take responsibility for their own bad behavior.”

(Lucifer) “I just said that. Are you hearing impaired?”

(Lucifer) “Yes, my favor really did pay off for you, didn’t it, Benny. You’re a huge star. But if there’s one thing the Devil abhors, it’s a fake.”

(Benny) “What are you talking about? I’m all about authenticity.”

(Lucifer) “Sure. Except for the lying. You failed to inform me that in getting you off the B & E charge, suspicion would immediately fall to your best friend.”

(Benny) “I had no control over that.”

(Viper) “Didn’t you?”

(Benny) Oh. Hey, it’s good to see you. I missed you, bro.”

(Viper) “That why you never came to visit me in prison?”

(Benny) “I wish you could have done more.”

(Lucifer) “Framing him for shooting up your fashion show surely didn’t help.”

(Chloe) “Viper was always the real talent. When you heard he was getting released, you tried to take down the competition before he could take down you. Planned a simple frame job. Parole violation that would send Viper back to prison.”

(Lucifer) “But when Paola died, you had to improvise, didn’t you?”

(Viper) “You knew pointing the fingers at the Latin Kings would eventually get back to me.”

(Benny) “You were never good as me, man! Never!”

(Lucifer) “I don’t think so, Sonny G. I’m no expert on L.A. street art, but it’s funny. This piece seems a lot more authentic to me now. I think I’ll keep it.”

In “Favorite Son,” (1.6), we see a little more of Lucifer’s origin story played out as the container holding Lucifer’s wings turns missing. This brings up the issue of Lucifer’s identity, his pet peeve with inauthentic people and his (understandable) anger at being blamed for all of the evil on earth.

Lucifer) “How can you presume to know God’s intentions?”

(Linda) “Oh, I don’t. I can’t.”

(Lucifer) “Then maybe stick within the limits of your intellectual capacity.”

(Linda) “Or maybe my simplicity offers me a different perspective. God cast you out because he needed you to do the most difficult of jobs. It was a gift.”

(Lucifer) “Gift? He shunned me. He vilified me. He made me a torturer .Can you even begin to fathom what it was like? Eons spent providing a space for dead mortals to punish themselves? I mean, why do they blame me for all their little failings? As if I spent my days sitting on their shoulder, forcing them to commit acts they’d otherwise find repulsive. ‘Oh, the devil made me do it.!’ I have never made any one of them do anything. Never!”

(Linda) “What happened to you is unfair.”

(Lucifer) “Unfair! This is unjust! For all eternity my name will be invoked to represent all their depravity. That is the gift my father gave me.”

(Linda) “It was an act of love.”

(Lucifer) “How do you know that?”

(Linda) “Because you are his favorite son, Samael.”

(Lucifer) “Do not call me that, please.”

(Linda) “You are his fallen Angel. But here’s the thing. When angels fall they also rise. All that you have to do is embrace all that you are.”

(Lucifer) “I can’t.”

(Linda) “Yes, you can. You just have to be open to the process.”

(Lucifer) “You don’t understand. I can’t.”

(Linda) “But why?”

(Lucifer) “Because they stole them from me!” (“Favorite Son,” 1.6)

We also see an incredible scene with Trixie, Chloe’s daughter manipulating her way into chocolate cake for a whole year after Mazikeen  knocks out Dan, Chloe’s ex and the bane of Lucifer’s life, and sends him to Chloe’s bed…naked. And Trixie finds him in her room. Trixie, by the way, loves Lucifer because he terrified the girl who was bullying her. Lucifer, on the other hand despises all children, including Trixie, but, interestingly, will go to extreme lengths to protect her because she is Chloe’s daughter and he, despite himself, cares about Chloe.

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Turns out Amenadiel arranged for them to be stolen as a way to emotionally manipulate Lucifer into wanting to go back to heaven. And it backfires big time as Lucifer destroys the wings.

Later, Chloe comes to Lux to work things out with Lucifer.

(Chloe) “I don’t…I don’t like how we left it at the auction.”

(Lucifer) “Yes. Yes, I..I agree. You definitely could have handled things better. An I suppose, you know, I—Sorry, what was I saying?”

(Chloe) “Look, I know how much it sucks being alone. And I can’t pretend to know understand why the wings meant so much to you. But if we’re really friends, it…it should be enough just knowing that they did.” (“Wing Man,” 1.7)

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Next, we see Lucifer exploring the issues of betrayal and loneliness. As his therapist, Dr. Linda points out, one can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. And he considers, for once that Chloe may be more valuable as a friend. But he still tries to sleep with her.

And then the priest walks in. And Lucifer, inexplicably connects with him.

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Father Frank’s assertion that no one is born a priest echoes the sentiment in Joss Whedon’s film Serenity, when Shepherd Book tells Mal that he wasn’t born a priest.

(Father Frank) “We may not always understand it, but God has a plan.”

(Lucifer) “Yes, I know. But why does everybody always think it’s a good plan?”

Later, Lucifer is stunned with grief by Father Frank’s death  and has a word with his Father. Again, description doesn’t do the scene justice. And, again I own nothing.

When Malcolm, replying to Chloe’s text to Dan, breaks Chloe and Dan up, Chloe gets drunk and throws herself at Lucifer. Again, Lucifer acts totally against character and turns around and outright refuses her. Why? BECAUSE HE’S NOT A RAPIST. The women (and men, to be honest) approach Lucifer of their own free will. As he points out, until he met Chloe, he never had any problem getting anyone he desired into bed. Taking advantage of her while she was drunk would be in direct opposition to these principles.

And then we come to my favorite episode, “St. Lucifer,” (1.11)

Where Chloe wakes up in Lucifer’s bed. With a hangover. And Lucifer, being an angel not a saint (despite the title), toys with her a bit before telling her what really happened…or didn’t in this case. Again, watch the clip. I own nothing.

The soundtrack by the way is amazing and worth watching just for the music alone. And Tom Ellis’ impersonation of a drunk American woman is hilarious.

And then the story starts to turn a bit darker as Lucifer has two attempts on his life and realizes that the only person he’s physically vulnerable to is Chloe at the same time she explains to him that she feels free to be emotionally vulnerable with him. Then we come to the Great Avoidance, a metaphor for when men become vulnerable to a woman in some form (physically, emotionally etc.) and then need space.

She finally comes to his penthouse when she has a case that she cannot solve without him.

It seems  someone is killing Satanists and the finger seems to be pointing at Lucifer.

And he gives the Satanists the what for for not being authentic. By, the way, the girl in the shot with Chloe pops big time, just by watching and listening and not saying a word. Again, I own nothing.

Again, we see that Lucifer is not genuinely evil at all, but the scapegoat (God, he hates that rumor about him and the goat) for all of humanity’s worst traits.

(Malcolm) “So, what do you think of this? ‘Hail Lucifer’, the pentagram?

(Lucifer) “I think it’s a long time since I encountered genuine evil—You really think I’d do these vile things?! These kids were pretending to be bad, but they weren’t, they were innocent, so I would never hurt them. I’m not a monster.” (“#TeamLucifer,” 1.12)

When Lucifer is implicated in the murder of the priest that he had an encounter with earlier, Chloe convinces her ex that he’s being framed.

(Chloe) “I know this is gonna sound crazy, especially after just what happened, but I think Lucifer is innocent.”

(Dan) “Chloe, Lucifer got into a fight with the deceased just a couple of hours ago. We both saw it.”

(Chloe) “I know, just hear me out, okay? Just pretend you don’t know Lucifer.”

(Dan) “I like it already.”

(Chloe) “Our suspect is a club owner who likes to tell people he’s the Devil.”

(Dan) “You’re not really selling his innocence.”

(Chloe) “He’s a man who embraces desire, lives by his passion. Now think about the body. The guy was executed, single bullet to the head. There’s no passion behind this. This isn’t him.” (“Take Me Back To Hell,”1.13)

In the end, Lucifer begs Amenadiel to take him back to hell. Amenadiel refuses because he wants to put things right by bringing Malcolm to justice. Mazikeen shows that she, too is affected by  the allure of humanity (we’re fascinating creatures, don’t you know) and saves a life and then disappears.

Detective Dan turns himself in for stealing a gun from evidence.

Lucifer is shot by Malcolm but asks his Father to protect Chloe and in return is assigned by Him to retrieve his mother, who escaped Hell.

Coda: In the first two episodes of the second season,we come across a lovely woman, Ella, a forensic scientist who is of the faith. She gives Lucifer a hug upon meeting him and starts to explain a bit of her faith.

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(Lucifer) “You’re a newbie, aren’t you?”

(Ella) “Oh, hey, yeah, Ella Lopez. I just transferred in a couple of days ago. You must be Detective Decker’s civilian consultant.

(Lucifer) ”Lucifer Morningstar.”

(Ella) “Cool.”

(Lucifer) “I was expecting a different reaction considering your choice of bling.”

(Ella) “Oh. Dude, I had a friend named Adolf. Okay. Adolf. I didn’t hold it against him. And besides, I think the Devil gets a bad rap.”

(Lucifer) “You do, do you?”

(Ella) “Sure. I mean, what did he do that was so bad. What? Rebel against his dad? Ask some naked lady if she wanted an apple?”

(Lucifer) “Be still my heart. Do go on.”

(Ella) “I suppose he does run Hell. That’s not so great, you know with the torture and eternal damnation.”

(Lucifer) “I’m retired. And I didn’t create Hell. I just worked there.

(Ella) “And now you’re talking in the first person. Wait. Are you–

(Lucifer) “The Devil?”

(Ella) “A method actor?”

Later, she gives Chloe a more in-depth look at her faith.

(Chloe) “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

(Ella) “Shoot.”

(Chloe) “Do you really believe in God?”

(Ella) “Whoa. I was expecting more like, ‘Hey, Ella, what’s it like moving from Detroit to L.A.?’, or ‘Hey, Ella, how’d you survive growing up with four brothers?’ But the big ‘G’ question right off the top, I did not see that coming.”

(Chloe) “Okay. Sorry, it’s inappropriate.”

(Ella) “Oh, no, no, no. I actually really like talking about my faith. It’s kind of a big part of my life. So, uh, yeah, sure. Hit me.”

(Chloe) “Okay. Do you believe that it all really exists?”

(Ella) “What do you mean?”

(Chloe) “Say, angels. Or the Devil. That sort of thing. That’s all a metaphor, right?

(Ella) “Maybe. Maybe not.”

(Chloe) “Oh, okay. That’s pretty…I just thought there would be more faith in your faith, I guess.

(Ella) “Oh. See, my aunt was a nun, okay? And she always taught me that doubt was really important. Right, I mean, if you don’t question something then what’s the point of believing it?”

(Chloe) “Mmm-hmm.”

(Ella) “I doubt so that I can believe.” (“Everything’s Coming Up Lucifer,” 2.1)

What she’s talking about here are what Annie Dillard calls “the gaps” in her book, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.”

“The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound. The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock—more than a maple—universe.”

So, is Lucifer really evil? Actually, he never really was depicted as evil until the Middle Ages, during (surprise!) the witch hunts in medieval Europe.

“It was also during the Medieval period that the concept of Satan, the Biblical Devil, began to develop into a more threatening form. Around the year 1000, when there were increasing fears that the end of the world would soon come in Christendom, the idea of the Devil had become prominent, with many believing that his activities on Earth would soon begin appearing. Whilst in earlier centuries there had been no set depiction of the Devil, it was also around this time that he began to develop the stereotypical image of being animal-like, or even in some cases an animal himself. In particular, he was often viewed as a goat, or as a human with goat-like features, such as horns, hooves and a tail. Equally, the concepts of demons began to become more prominent, in particular the idea that male demons known as incubi, and female ones known as succubi, would roam the Earth and have sexual intercourse with humans. As (Robert)Thurston (author of The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America)  noted, “By about 1200, it would have been difficult to be a Christian and not frequently hear of the devil … [and] by 1500 scenes of the devil were commonplace in the new cathedrals and small parish churches that had sprung up in many regions.”[26] The field of demonology had emerged in Medieval Christendom as certain members of the clergy began to focus in particular on the actions of demons in the world.[27]

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the concept of the witch in Christendom underwent a relatively radical change. No longer were they viewed as sorcerers who had been deceived by the Devil into practicing magic that went against the powers of God, as earlier Church leaders like Saint Augustine of Hippo had stated. Instead they became the all-out malevolent Devil-worshiper, who had made a pact with him in which they had to renounce Christianity and devote themselves to Satanism. As a part of this, they gained, new, supernatural powers that enabled them to work magic, which they would use against Christians. It was believed that they would fly to their nocturnal meetings, known as the Witches’ Sabbath, where they would have sexual intercourse with demons. On their death, the witches’ souls, which then belonged to the Devil, subsequently went to Hell.”[28]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_trials_in_the_early_modern_period

So, uh, not really. Prideful, arrogant, yeah. But he always gets upset when a man calls a woman a bitch. He threw the athlete Ty’s manager through a plate glass window for calling the victim Ali a bitch. And as, Linda pointed out in the same episode he’s starting to enjoy getting justice for the victims.

All of these heavenly (and hellish) creatures: Amenadiel, Mazikeen, Lucifer-are finding what God finds so fascinating about humanity. We’re a big boiling pot of contradictions. As Lucifer, says, we humans are fascinating. And the more time these creatures spend with us,  the more they seem to become human themselves. Which could cause interesting problems.

I’m looking forward to it.

How about you?

Trust No One-Except Probably The Transgender Person in the Bathroom With Your Child

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This is always difficult for me. Going through my personal past to make a salient point about a current topic is never fun. And, yet due to the prevailing misogyny in out culture, I find myself having to relive parts of my past…again.

I was a target of a child predator. He just also happened to be my father. My biological father (which is what I’m often asked when I reveal this. Because it’s slightly less horrific if it’s just a step-father). This is a most important point. As Andrew Vachss points out, the typical child predator is not the monster lurking at playgrounds and other places where children like to be. The child predator is most often in what Vachss calls “the circle of trust.” A father, an uncle, an older brother, a  religious leader–you get the idea. To get the full story on that, here’s the link ( https://hecaterising.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/nietzsches-eyes/) to my blog post  when Congress, in its infinite wisdom, *four years ago*, was debating on issuing birth control to victims of rape and the sage  Representative Todd Akin (R-Missouri) used the term “legitimate rape.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/us/politics/rep-todd-akin-legitimate-rape-statement-and-reaction.html?_r=0)

If you think that I’m making this up or just speaking of the narrow scope of my experience-here are some places to go to to get a more complete idea of what to look for if you think your child has been the target of a predator.

Sexual Offender Tactics and Grooming

http://www.abusewatch.net/pred_sex.php

“As a society we vehemently condemn child molesters but when someone we know in the community is accused, individuals take sides often refusing to believe that ‘a pillar of the community’ could commit this type of a crime. The true seducer type pedophile is extremely good at what he does. He puts himself in a position in his community where he has easy access to children. He will often work hard (sometimes for years) to gain the trust of parents while at the same time be sexually abusing their child. If an allegation is made against this person by another child, it is often too emotionally difficult for families who trusted and allowed the accused into their home to believe that he could commit such an act against a child. The betrayal is too great and many families will not only deny the possibility, but will blame and defame the child making the allegation. This is what the offender counts on. Families tricked by cunning predators could not have possibly imagined the degree of betrayal possible and the extent that a predator would go to, to get at a child.”

 https://www.parentsformeganslaw.org/public/prevention_childSexualAbuse.html

Just researching this has given me flashbacks and triggers. So, I am *not* just speaking up out of an excuse for a pity party.But I can not let this discussion continue without letting people know the *real* dangers that are closest by. Please. Do the research before condemning a group of people simply because their DNA did not form the way that yours did. These people are not abnormal. They are not monsters. Truth be told, if they are in a bathroom with your child they will more likely be protective of your child than attack them.

Start with your “circle of trust” and then move outward from there.

As for exploring the issue of transgender people, you can follow Associate Pastor Mark Wingfield’s example. In fact, I can recommend no higher path to follow on this issue.

https://baptistnews.com/2016/05/13/seven-things-im-learning-about-transgender-persons/

Thanks for listening and blessings on your journey.

Bernie Sanders as the Wizard of Oz and other explorations of the American Political Landscape At This Moment In Time

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“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…” Thus spoke the fearsome Oz the Great and Powerful after Toto the dog pulled back the curtain hiding the controls of the “wizard”. Turns out this “wizard” was just a man whose balloon went awry at a county fair and he drifted into the land of Oz where he was proclaimed Wizard Grand Deluxe. Caught up in his own hubris, he allowed the people to believe he was more powerful than he really was.

And herein lies the truth with Bernie Sanders and his Bros and Bras (What? Bras are articles of support.)

I actually like Bernie. I love his passion and the way he ignited political passion in a group that had previously been practically synonymous with apathy. I feel, however, that he would have been (and still would and will be) serving this country better in the Senate. As would Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Warren gets that. Senator Sanders doesn’t. But the passion that he has ignited in his followers has turned into a very dangerous ticking bomb that very likely will explode in the face of his followers and possibly the rest of the nation. Slowly, but surely, the truth has been coming out that his supporters would gladly throw any and everyone under the bus to support “the cause”. That cause of revolution. The revolution to throw everything out and start everything over again. Throwing the baby out with the bath water. They will, in fact throw the very people that they claim to be fighting for: LGBTQ people. The disabled. Those living so far under the poverty line they might as well be invisible. And I am not the only one with the sinking realization that the Bernie Sandernistas are willing to annihilate everything  and everyone who stands between them and the White House.

Mari Brighe, herself a trans woman, articulated many of the concerns I’ve had over Sanders’ increasingly vitriolic campaign in an article on Bustle.

“What this seems to come down to is that Bernie or Bust people have become so enamored of their self-congratulatory “revolution” that they’ve entirely lost sight of the bigger picture. They care more for the movement than for the people. In essence, they expect marginalized people to be the sacrificial lambs for their cause. They claim it’s about looking to the future, but looking 10 years down the line is a luxury that trans people like myself, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, disabled people, and those living in poverty simply do not have. Many of us simply would not survive Trump or Cruz winning a general election. The Bernie or Bust stance is the ideological equivalent of building your futures on our graves.”

http://www.bustle.com/articles/150925-the-bernieorbust-movement-throws-marginalized-people-under-the-bus

And that really frightens me.

Even, possibly, more than Trump.

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I laughed. Not so much as my friends, but I did laugh a little at Trump and his excesses and hyperbole.

But I was also unsettled at the idea of this man becoming President of the United States.

I am, however, also grateful to him. In a way. As I recently posted on Facebook, Donald Trump lifted up a huge rock under which some very ugly truths about this country came crawling and slithering out.

All the racism, homophobia, xenophobia and other ugly stuff that we have tried to deny about ourselves for decades has emerged into the light of day and scared us silly. Trump is the very epitome of all that is wrong with this country. And some of us, hopefully most of us, do not like what we see in that mirror. And hopefully, those of us who do not like that mirror image will work our butts off to ensure that the face of that ugliness will not get anywhere near the Oval Office in any position of power.

So, where does that leave me? Do you really have to ask?

#ImWithHer

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I realize that the probably three people who will read this will most likely create their own Wizard of Oz scenarios (I can already see Hillary being cast as a witch of some sort. Those who know my spiritual leaning know I would be actually kind of proud at that.)

Go ahead. Creativity is a good thing.

But remember: There’s no place like home.

 

 

 

 

Bedlam in the Bronx-My Thoughts, Impressions and Conclusions on the Ultimate Experience in Participating in the Democratic Process

Bedlam is defined, among other things, as “a scene of uproar and confusion” (Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/bedlam)

Its origin is the Late Middle English early form of Bethlehem. It referred to St. Mary of Bethlehem in London, which was used for an institution for the insane.

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While there may be some exaggeration here, it is not by much.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I was operating on about 3 1/2 hours of sleep due to neighborhood noisage. So I was not in the best of moods when I arrived at the polling site.

This was my first experience.

The “coordinator” (and I use sarcastic quotation marks) was complacent and imperative doing practically nothing to help the process along.

I was given the phrase “Teamwork Makes Dream Work” at my training session.

My impression was she had been at this too long and should have had a refresher course in leading others to work as a team.

I was supposed to be a relief worker for breaks, etc.

Coffee was my God.

One of the co-workers at my table was a young man with entitlement issues the size of Jupiter who had to take a smoke break every half hour.

The other was a mother with seven children and one grandchild.

There had been much re-districting and many people were not on the list.

We had to issue many affidavit ballots.

There was much confusion and frustration.

Despite the apparent absence of leadership skills of our “coordinator”, some of the supervisors rose to the occasion and helped things go more smoothly.

I am very grateful to them.

I discovered I still enjoy working with public, although not in 16 hour stretches.

I snitched on the scanner worker who stole the stickers from our table. The supervisor was sympathetic. The “coordinator” was not.

My love for humanity was complete when a Hindi woman, literally and physically supported by her family, in hospital socks, came to vote.

Every single person who entered with a cane, a walker, or carrying young humans in tow deserved more than just a sticker.

I wanted to give them balloons, parades, confetti and champagne.

The Democratic voters outnumbered Republicans by about 19% at least by my table.

I spoke to about two Sanders supporters (we weren’t supposed to speak about politics to the voters).

I surprised myself by focusing on doing my best to make it as easy as possible for every single person at the polling site to cast their vote.

And not on who would win.

I would do it again, but not if I had to work with the same coordinator.

I was proud to be an integral part of the democratic process.

Close Encounters of the Womankind

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(This post has been edited to show the most recent findings from Salary.com’s information)

“Man is willing to accept woman as an equal, as a man in skirts, as an angel, a devil, a baby face, a machine, an instrument, a bosom, a womb, a pair of legs, a servant, an encyclopedia, an ideal or obscenity; the one thing he won’t accept her as is a human being, a real human being of the feminine sex.”

D.H. Lawrence

At some point today. you will encounter a woman. Now, this is not rocket science. As of 2014, there are at least 20 billion of us in this country alone.

We comprise slightly over 50% of the world’s population.

Women are the engine that that drives the world.

And yet…

More than one in seven women in this country alone live in poverty.

More than half of all poor children live in families headed by women.

http://nwlc.org/

Women are the engine that drives the world.

And yet…

80% of single parents are women. 45% of single mothers are separated or divorced. 34% of single mothers have never married. 1.7% are widowed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_parent

Women spend more time on household chores than men-still. Whether or not they have full time jobs.

http://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/stories/working-women-still-do-more-housework-than-men

Women are the engine that drives the world.

In 2013, women were only paid 78% of what men were paid.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/equal_pay_issue_brief_final.pdf

Women are the engine that drives the world.

And yet…

We get interrupted more. And not taken seriously enough  when we do get to speak.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/opinion/sunday/speaking-while-female.html?_r=0

The latest data from Salary.com says that mothers who stay home, should, according to the salary research earn $143, 102  from their combined duties for a job that encompasses 92 hours per week (40 hours base salary, $48, 509/52 hours overtime $94.593). (CEO, Laundry Operator, Janitor, Van Driver, Psychologist, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Day Care Center Teacher, Cook, Housekeeper)

Those who work outside the home should earn $90,223  for a total of 59.4 hours  a week in addition to the time they spend at their job (40 hours, $52,685/overtime 19 hours,$37,538) .

http://www.salary.com/mom-paycheck/

Women are the engine that drives the world.

So what do women want…besides a nap? And pay equity?

We want to be seen.

The lovely letter from Sally Owens to her sister Gilly in the film Practical Magic says much of what, I believe women truly long for:

“Sometimes I feel like there’s a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there’s a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don’t know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don’t want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon.”

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In Shall We Dance, Beverly  (played by Susan Sarandon) tells the detective (Richard Jenkins, who someday will get the Oscar he richly deserves) she hired to follow her husband because she fears he is having an affair the reason she believes most people get married:

“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”

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So, when you see this woman, whether she’s your life partner or a mother struggling with packages and a screaming toddler, see her. If she’s your life partner, let her know that you truly see her for all her fragile, yet resilient humanity. For her magnificence. For what she truly is-a woman. If it’s a woman struggling with a million things at once, engage the toddler. Try to stop it from screaming. Take some of her packages for her. Call her a cab. Maybe, buy her a cup of coffee. Look at her. Listen to her. Perhaps the one that said it best was the character Spike from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer as he’s explaining to Buffy, again, how much he loves her and why.

“You listen to me. I’ve been alive a bit longer than you. And dead a lot longer than that. I’ve seen things you couldn’t imagine. And done things I prefer you didn’t. I don’t exactly have a reputation for being a thinker. I follow my blood, which doesn’t exactly rush in the direction of my brain. So I make a lot of mistakes. A lot of wrong bloody calls. A hundred-plus years and there’s only one thing I ever been sure of. You. Hey, look at me. I’m not asking you for anything. When I say that I love you, it’s not because I want you. Or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are. What you do. How you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you and I understand, with perfect clarity, exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the One, Buffy.”

Just see her.

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Welcome To Aspergers. May I Take Your Order Please And Would You Like Fries With That?

Sheldon_Cooper

It started fairly innocently enough. I noticed this show, The Big Bang Theory, had been on a very long time and was very popular. Add that to the fact that my math teacher in college (who was so hot I was actually able to successfully complete a basic algebra course) suggested that I go into physics. I was flattered, but also terrified.

I began to watch The Big Bang Theory and eventually enjoy the show so much it’s actually become my comfort program. Then I noticed that I had developed a great affinity for Sheldon. I researched the character (thank you Wikipedia) and while the writers/producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady insist that they did not create the character with Aspergers in mind, Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper, said in an interview that he didn’t think Sheldon could possibly exhibit more more traits of Aspergers.

So, here I am, diagnosed with major depression, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and PTSD due to a series of traumas, most of the details of which can be found in these two posts:

https://hecaterising.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/nietzsches-eyes/ and https://curvaceouscrone.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/how-i-dropped-my-basket/. I researched Aspergers extensively and felt more and more that this was the missing puzzle piece to my personality.

So I contacted an organization and I filled out an extensive questionnaire with an excessive amount of detail.This was the most difficult thing I had to do, because I had to enumerate *all* of the factors that earned me all of my diagnosis I just got the results today.

I fall well within the range of the Aspergers autism spectrum.

This actually makes me very happy. This has been a piece of puzzle I have long searched for. I am now able to move forward with the right kind of therapy and skills development that I need to find a job that corresponds to my personality and skill set.

Onward and upward. And thank you, Big Bang Theory, for helping me initiate the quest for the last piece of the puzzle.

And thank you for visiting Aspergers. Have a nice day.

Gun Control, the Specificity of Joss Whedon’s Language and How It Affected Willow’s Character Arc For Season Six.

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(Willow) “Wanna know what a bullet feels like, Warren? A real one? It’s not like in the comics.”

(Warren) “No. No.”

(Willow) “I think you need to. Feel it.” (“Villains”, 6.20)

(Buffy, holding up a gun) “These things? Never helpful.” (“Flooded”, 6.4)

(Buffy) “These things—never useful.” (“As You Were”, 6.15)

“Our villains this year were such shemps and the fact that he used a gun was something that we had talked about from the very beginning–In fact, in the fourth episode Buffy has the line, “Guns. These are never useful,” and she says it again in episode 15 and we put that in because we knew we were going to shoot Tara; not just kill her but shoot her because we wanted it to be the most mundane, appalling thing we could think of and not in any way relate to the grand mysticism and intense metaphor of the show and to make a statement about guns that is also good to be able to make.” (Joss Whedon, Panel Discussion at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences)

Joss Whedon has a reputation for not only being specific but a bit of a perfectionist and a self-styled control enthusiast. The issue of gun control was actually explored in this series long before season six. In the third year, the episode Earshot (3.18) concerns Buffy acquiring psychic ability as a result of a battle with a demon and she hears someone threaten to kill the entire school.  The specific message of the episode-“Everybody Hurts”-to coin a phrase from REM-became the mission statement for the entire series thereafter. Jonathan Levinson, a student who was an outsider from the very beginning, represented the vulnerable part of each one of us at that stage of life. Shut out and tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, he decides to kill himself. Buffy finds him at the top of the tower and eventually talks him down.

 (Jonathan) “Stop saying my name like we’re friends. We’re not friends. You all think I’m an idiot. A short idiot.”
(Buffy) “I don’t. I don’t think about you much at all. Nobody here really does. Bugs you doesn’t it? You have all this pain and all these feelings and nobody’s really paying attention.”
(Jonathan) “You think I just want attention?”
(Buffy) “No, I think you’re in the clock tower with a high powered rifle because you wanna blend in. Believe it or not, Jonathan, I understand about the pain.”
(Jonathan) “Oh, right. Because the burden of being beautiful and athletic, that’s a crippler.”
(Buffy) “You know what I was wrong. You are an idiot. My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it, sometimes more than I can handle. And it’s not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they’re too busy with their own. The beautiful ones. The popular ones…the guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling, the loneliness, the confusion. It looks quiet down there. It’s not. It’s deafening.”

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Unfortunately, the episode was scheduled to air shortly after the Columbine shooting and because of the subject matter it was pulled and replaced with “Bad Girls” (3.14). It was a case of Whedon being so far ahead of everyone else that when the world caught up to his realization of what was actually going on, he was on to other things.

This is not the first time that the anger of the outcast was highlighted in a Buffy episode. In the very first season the next to the last episode “Out of Mind, Out of Sight” (1.11) showed that, in Sunnydale,to ignore someone for too long might be a dangerous decision. I wrote about this in a previous blog in 2012 after the shooting in Aurora, CO. (https://hecaterising.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/the-anger-of-the-outcast-2/)

Warren Mears, the character who pulled the trigger that nearly killed Buffy and did kill Tara, which led Willow on a bender of such dark magic that she nearly destroyed the world, was first introduced in “I Was Made To Love you” (5.15), as a character who was not necessarily mentally ill, but had had entitlement issues of planetary proportions.

(Buffy) “…So you have girl troubles. They’re not talking to you. You’re not getting dates. You start thinking, ‘Hey, this isn’t fair.’”
(Warren) “Yeah, I felt like I deserved to have someone. Everyone deserves to have someone.”
(Buffy) “So, naturally, you turn to manufacturing.”
(Warren) “Kind of.”
(Buffy) “And how long did it take you to build that little toy?”
(Warren) “Oh, no. She’s not a toy. I know what you’re thinking, but she’s more than that.”
(Buffy) “Look, I’m sure she has many exciting labor-saving attachments.”
(Warren) “No, I made her to love me. I mean, she cares about what I care about, and she wants to be with me. She listens to me and supports me. I didn’t make a toy. I made a girlfriend.””
(Buffy) “A girlfriend? Are you saying—are you in love with her?

(Warren) “I really thought I would be. I mean she’s perfect. I don’t know I guess it was too easy and predictable. You know, she got boring. She was exactly what I wanted and I didn’t want her. I thought I was going crazy.”
(Buffy) “Really? You?””

And then we start to see the creepiness of the guy who can’t relate on a healthy level to anyone of the opposite sex and takes it to a truly dangerous level.

(Warren) ”She’s looking for me so my guess is she’s probably pretty close…April! April, are you there? If the batteries are still working and she hears my voice, then she’ll answer.”
(Buffy) “She’s voice-activated?”
(Warren) “Well, I made it so that if she heard me and she didn’t answer, it causes this kind of feedback.”
(Buffy) “Wait, if you call her and she doesn’t answer, it hurts her? You’re one creepy little dweeb, Warren.”

Ultimately, Warren loses his real girlfriend Katrina and the robot. The scene where Buffy sits by April until her batteries run down and she dies is one of the most poignant in the entire series.

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In the next season, where Warren, Jonathan (The same Jonathan from the clock tower) and Andrew become obsessed with taking over Sunnydale, they accidentally kill Katrina after trying to control her mind and rape her and she shakes off the conditioning and tries to run.

Willow finally realizes that Warren’s real obsession is not love but control over women.

(Willow) “She wasn’t your first.”

(Warren) “Uh, f-first who?”

(Willow) “She wasn’t the first girl you killed.”

(Warren) “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

(Willow) “Reveal.”

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(Katrina) “I should have strangled you in you sleep back when we shared a bed. I should have done the world a favor.”

(Warren) “It’s a trick.”

(Katrina) “Why, Warren? You could have just let me go.”

(Warren) “Make it shut up. Make it go away.”

(Katrina) “It didn’t have to be like that.”

(Warren) “I’m not kidding!

(Katrina) “How could you say you loved me and do that to me.”

(Warren) “Because you deserved it, bitch!”

(Willow) “Because you liked it.”

(Warren) “Oh, shut up.”

(Willow) “You never felt you had the power with her, until you killed her.

(Warren) “Women. You know you’re just like the rest of them. Mind games.”

(Willow) “You get off on it. That’s why you had a mad-on for the Slayer. She was your big ‘O’, wasn’t she, Warren?”

Willow’s torture and murder of Warren is probably the very pinnacle of Dark Willow’s evil. She places the bullet that almost killed Buffy into Warren’s chest and explains what happens when a bullet hits a human heart.

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(Willow) “It’s not gonna make a neat little hole. First, it’ll obliterate your internal organs. Your lung will collapse. It feels like drowning.”

(Warren) “Please, no.”

(Willow) “When it finally hits your spine, it’ll blow your central nervous system.”

(Warren) “Oh, please stop! God, please!”

(Willow) “I’m talking! The pain will be unbearable, but you won’t be able to move. A bullet usually travels faster than this, of course. But the dying—it’ll seem like it takes forever. Something, isn’t it? One tiny piece of metal destroys everything. It ripped her insides out….took her light away…from me…from the world. Now the one person who should be here is gone, and a waste like you gets to live. A tiny piece of metal. Can you feel it now? I said, can you feel it?”

In the next season, the issue is revisited when Willow kisses Kennedy and starts to turn into Warren and goes so far as to buying a gun in the same place that Warren did the previous year (“The Killer In Me”, 7.13).

The-Killer-in-Me-Willow-as-Warren-smiling-300x168

The death of Tara was upsetting to most viewers, including this author, but it was necessary to make a point about addiction and loss and the way life hits you in the gut just when it seem like you’re getting on your feet again.

But Joss has always had a reputation for a fondness for the outsiders, the outcasts, the misfits of society. The ones who don’t fit in anywhere. That’s the reason that probably the first Avengers film was so popular because instead of seeing the characters as heroes we were seeing them as larger than life mirror images of ourselves. People who were extraordinary, beyond the norm. Trying to survive in a world that doesn’t easily accept those who don’t fit in. And it is this gift for precision that has helped him gather such a loyal fan base.

“With ‘The Body’ we did about 25 takes of ‘Is she dead?’ ‘Is she dead?’, and it was the last take and every time it was just, ‘Uh, just a little bit here.’ and ‘Just a little bit there.’ and I was so freaked out because there’s so much pressure but in the end the take that was picked; it’s all about trust.” (Michelle Trachtenberg, Panel Discussion at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences)

buffys5c

A Woman’s Worth: The Real Issue Behind Kim Davis’ Refusal to Do Her Job

Maxfield-Parrish-Ecstasy-Framed-Art-Print-L12253673

“I would have to either make a decision and stand or I would have to buckle down and leave. If I left, resigned or chose to retire, I would have no voice for God’s word.”

I’m sorry, did a big, honking alarm bell just ring in everybody else’s head when they read that? Just me, then? Okay, I’ll break this down for everyone. (And I really should get that alarm bell fixed. On second thought-maybe not.)

The issue is not really religious freedom. It’s not marriage equality. It’s actually that issue that keeps rearing its persistent head-the “f” word that keeps many a Republican, Conservative and Tea Partyer up at night. It’s feminism.

Now before you start to roll your eyes, hear me out.

When I was still in college, I read Marianne Williamson’s book “A Woman’s Worth”. When I started the book I wanted to jump up and down on my dorm bed and shout, “Somebody validates me!” (yes, this was after Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley’s Daily Affirmations). This is a book every single woman should read. As a matter of fact, I became notorious for giving away my copies to other women and being forced to buy more for me. The final copy has this in front of the book: “This book belongs to Charlotte [Walker]. Do not under any circumstances allow her to give it to you. Get yer own damn book!” This was the copy that Marianne Williamson laughed at before she signed.

In the book, in the chapter called “Embracing the Goddess”, Williamson related a story told her by another woman. Her friend had watched the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings with several married couples. With the exception of this woman and two other women, the rest of the women in attendance remained silent. Their husbands held forth on the shamefulness of it all, expressing perfect liberal views, apparently unaware of what was going on in that very room. “Their wives behaved like good little girls: they sat by quietly, allowing their husbands to sound brilliant and insightful…

“What is still lacking in America is permission for women to speak up in public–loudly and clearly–without being considered ball breakers. Let’s look at that word one more time: ball breaker. Try to come up with an expression that conjures more of an association with male pain. Now try to come up with an expression more often associated with a woman who speaks her mind. Most women faced with a choice of hurting men or shutting up go back to sleep and sleep forever.” (Marianne Williamson,”A Woman’s Worth”, p. 70).

Of course, Ms. Davis would not have a voice for God. Her church does not allow women to have any influence at all, much less any leadership positions. Davis originally joined the church after making a promise to her dying mother-in-law. Why she chose this particular church is another question for another day.

In the Apostolic Christian Church to which Ms.Davis belongs:

The women are expected to cover their heads during prayer and worship.

Marriage is only encouraged between a man and a woman “of like mind, faith and fellowship”.

Dating is discouraged.

Members are discouraged from visiting churches of other denominations.

Television and radio are not permitted in the Apostolic Christian Churches of America and the Apostolic Christian Churches (Nazarean).

Members are encouraged to wear modest attire that provides gender distinction.

This church obviously became a safe haven for Davis after an apparently incredibly difficult, tumultuous life. But, there are sometimes too high a price to pay for the relative security of a safe place to rest your spirit. Davis is apparently a fierce, if misguided, at least at this point in time, woman. Her statement that she will no longer have a voice for God, is, to me, heart-rending.

Unfortunately, her passions are playing out in a theater that will not serve her best in the long run. It would be nice if someone, anyone, could come along and perhaps persuade her of the error of her ways and the ignorance that her judgment displays. Someone like a woman who is a lesbian, as well as Christian who is a bunk mate in the Carter County Detention Center, where Ms. Davis calls home, likely for an indefinite period of time.

Stranger things have happened. Cecily McMillan’s imprisonment for assaulting an officer led to a whole new direction in her life after her release as an advocate for prisoner’s rights.

Cecily McMillan, Occupy Wall Street Activist, Exits Rikers Island Fighting For Prisoner Rights

It’s just within the realm of possibility that Ms. Davis might have an epiphany of another kind. An epiphany that all humans really are equal in the sight of God and that  her name on a marriage license issued to a couple of the same sex is not shameful but an event for pride and celebration.

“Women have more power than we know. When we truly understand the game for what it is and deepen our awareness of the most dangerous forms of female oppression—emotional and psychological–then we will be on our way to genuine liberation. It doesn’t help to blame anyone. What we can do is face the truth.and any truth faced is closer to realization. True change doesn’t emerge just from action; it emerges from understanding. Action that flows from shallow understanding turns out to be shallow action. Action that flows from deeply felt consciousness is action that can change the world.” (Marianne Williamson, “A Woman’s Worth”, p. 134

And that is the truth that will set Ms. Davis free.

Love Is…

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It’s all about love you see. This is what people forget. Miley Cyrus’ recent revelation that she’s pan-sexual raised very few eyebrows, if any. This post is not about Miley because, frankly, she gets enough attention. This is about the dissection of sexuality at the price of humanity. This about the separation of sexuality at the price of love. Because that’s what all of this is about. Love.

If you are familiar with my personal history, you should know that almost no one has had more struggle with personal identity than I have.

So, I do understand the struggle for identity. When someone tells me that they are gay, or bi-sexual, or tran-sexual or transgender, I say, “Oh.” And the temptation to follow that with Rita Mae Brown’s quote from one of her books, “And what did you have for breakfast?” never quite goes away.

I’m not trying to diminish those who are struggling for sexual identity outside the norm. I have two very dear friends, partners, women, who are the epitome of a healthy loving relationship, and when they were finally able to marry, officially, legally, no one was happier than I was. And, working beside them in the church where we all attended in Virginia was one of the most gratifying and empowering experiences of my life.

But to continue to dissect the issue of sexuality without bringing the issue of love into the discussion is to me allowing the issue to become cold, clinical and impersonal.

We must never forget that we are, all of us, human first. And this codifying of sexuality, while it can be empowering for some, must never be considered the end game.

The gif at the beginning of this post is from the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called “New Moon Rising” (4.19). Oz’ return at the end of Season Four brought a situation to head that had been brewing since the groundbreaking episode “Hush” (4.10), when Tara and Willow looked at each other and sparks flew with barely a word said. Over the course of the season, Joss Whedon slowly built the relationship between Tara and Willow on such a deep metaphorical level that when Willow told Tara that she loved her, all hell broke loose on the internet.  There were people (fortunately few in number) who said they would stop watching the show because Joss and his writers and producers had “made Willow a fag”. He brought humanity and dignity to an issue that had been exploited on other shows. He essentially built the relationship as a relationship first. Amber Benson said that she felt that Willow and Tara’s relationship was the healthiest on the show because they treated each other with compassion and respect. And she’s right. And this is what I feel is missing from the discussion of issues of sexuality and gender. The element of humanity. Because when it comes right down to it that’s what we all are. Human.

I’m going to leave the final word on this to a man who wrote much about love.

I don’t own this.