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Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.

Oct. 2003

I recently attended a lecture where I was encouraged to "act like a blonde". I found this a curious suggestion...

I'm not a blonde. I have a hair color that's reputed to indicate a certain sobriety, if not a temper (but that's only when my highlights are in bloom). And so, being encouraged (within a professional setting, no less) to act like a blonde was a bit of a revelation to me. "You mean," I thought to myself, "I don't actually have to be blonde to act like a blonde? I can just adopt the behaviors? Isn't that... well, kind of unethical? Or something?" Within the context of this professional talk, the speaker, a blonde herself, assured me that it wasn't. And furthermore, it was especially effective for women of my hair color if I practiced it over the phone first. I was much reassured.

Now, you may recall sometime back I introduced you to my nemesis, Flan. She's blonde. Flan is many things that I'm not, among them - cheerful and easy going. I've seen Flan, not an evil woman by any stretch of the imagination but mine, benefit many times over from her hair color (not to mention her perky smile and breezy disposition). After years of fighting this kind of thing tooth and nail, of striving to present myself as an above board, "no games here", "women should be accepted on our merits" kind of feminist Brulee, I thought, "Chuck it! I want my slice of the pie!" And so I began my life as a blonde. Or to be more accurate, my life acting like a blonde...

First off it was a challenge, because people couldn't see into my heart and actually know that I'd undergone this metamorphosis. I overcame that hurdle by smiling more and deferring to anything masculine within a hundred yards (which surprised the pesky dachshund down the block, let me tell you). I began to touch my hair a lot to remind myself that it may not be blonde, but by golly, when I was through, people would sure think it was! I acted like I knew a lot less than I did and had no solid opinion about what I did know and would appreciate any input anyone was willing to offer me. I asserted myself in no way whatsoever and sometimes even asked people to help me when it wasn't necessary - and when I did, I made sure to smile sweetly (even coyly if I thought the situation called for it... and it did, more times than not).

You're no doubt wondering what Ume made of all of this (besides that I'd let my medication expire, again). Well, she actually liked it for a bit - I agreed with her the whole time, for one thing.

But then it started to freak her out, especially the deferring to things masculine part. "But they're... men... mostly... And anyway, you're letting the side down! There are thousands of women who do that all the time, it's your job not to! What about authenticity? I thought that was important to you?"

I wasn't hearing any of it, I'd had it with that life - "Authenticity, authen-schmicity - let 'em eat cake!" I insisted. "I want doors opened for me. I want people to smile at me more. I want women to glance at me surreptitiously in envy. I want to be loved for who I'm not!"

Knowing that I was in the grips of a passion, or possibly a chemically induced delirium, she let me be.

And it was a revelation - my life acting like a blonde - it really suited me. Finally, after all of these years I belonged! And all because I didn't. It was so zen.

I toyed with the idea of wearing skirts so that I could appear even less threatening and more acceptable. And makeup! That would certainly go a long way in providing additional camouflage... I had to visit one of my sisters to ask her how to apply some. I needed to get something waxed!

So much to do, so little time! But it didn't matter, because I was a blonde and life was no longer a struggle - I was at peace with who I was not.

Now, you're probably wondering how long it took me to hit the wall with this enthusiasm. Such a monumental shift in one's outlook, in the fundamental underpinnings of one's world view - this is an extreme change, no?

The answer: fifteen minutes, forty-five seconds - the time it takes me to walk to the post office and back. I timed it.

It was a good walk. I experienced all life as a blonde had to offer me, but I just couldn't hack it. Honestly, it was the waxing that did me in. Not the waxing, per se (as I hadn't actually had time to get any waxing done on my trip to the post office), but the thought of the waxing. You see, I'm a total coward when it comes to things adhesive or hot near certain bits of my anatomy. And so, I'm not cut out to be a blonde, nor to act like one - it's just too damn hard. These blondes are, like, made of steel or some such impossibly hard substance to withstand what life as a blonde entails. I'm sticking to the less stressful, yet rewarding, life of sticking out like a sore thumb and being a beastly irritant.

Disclaimer: I mean no disrespect to people of the blond/e persuasion... I know that they must suffer deeply in their blondeness from misrepresentation in the media and so forth. I do not wish to promote a distorted view... well, I do, but not about the utterly grave issue of blonde stigmatization.

Times like these, when the US has spent weeks begging and pleading at the UN to get the Iraq resolution passed so maybe Pakistan will send some troops to said resolved country... I'm reminded of the words of the infamous mayor of Providence RI, Buddy Cianci, "Beware the foot that you step on today, it may be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow."

Things newsworthy...

Likin' this guy:
Lessons in Civility by Paul Krugman (10.10.03, New York Times): click here

Things are lookin' bleak in the FCC fight:
Bill Moyers on Big Media:(10.10.03, CommonDreams.org): click here

Sad, ain't it?
News Break: Evidence that FOX News is misinforming its viewers by Harold Meyerson
(10.16.03, American Prospect): click here

One Person Can Make a Difference by Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (10.15.03, CommonDreams.org): click here

Speaking of people who worked as intelligence officers...
Depressing Ironies of CIA 'Outing' by Philip Agee (10.14.03, Philadelphia Inquirer): click here

This guy ran for governor here in MA, I like to hear what he's thinkin': Subsidies Keep Poor Nations Poor by Robert Reich (10.16.03, Christain Science Monitor): click here

A man passed me on the sidewalk and said: "Don't worry about the past."

I don't know if he was talking to me, but there was no one else around us and he wasn't talking to anyone else as he approached me. He could have been on the phone, I suppose... no way of telling these days with those ear piece phone thingies people use and you can't see - so they look like they're talking to themselves or possibly you, but you'd prefer they weren't if they are, so you just pretend they were talking to themselves anyway...

Sigh... I guess I know he wasn't on the phone, because of the number of people who've talked to me in the past even though they thought that maybe they were talking to themselves and I just happened to be standing near them. You know what I mean (and if you don't you can just nod and smile and keep reading, but I don't promise it's going to get any more coherent).

All of this is because I wore a hat today. If I hadn't worn it, I'm sure that guy would have talked to himself at some other person this afternoon. Not that I thought he had bad advice, after all, there's very little that we can do about the past and so worrying about it really isn't a very helpful way of going about one's life. But I wasn't worrying about the past, I wasn't worrying at all until he didn't quite give me advice - and then I started thinking... and that's usually when things become problematic.

Why didn't I ever study chess more? Why don't I start now if I regret not having studied it then? Do I really only enjoy the idea of it? Is it simply an aesthetic appeal and not an actual interest? Like my shelf of books on all things fascinating... they look so pretty those books, is there need to read them? Or are they fascinating enough to just look at? I get lots of satisfaction just from knowing they're there - so lovely in their bindings, so weighty in their promise...

I'm not wearin' that hat out tomorrow.

Pet peeve: People who give little, and expect a lot.

I've avoided that sordid bit of cinema verité - the California recall election, but Arnold's apology (smart)... it got me thinking... He says he didn't mean his actions in the way they were interpreted by the women who they were acted upon, he says that he meant his actions in a playful manner. Interesting, isn't it? How one person thinks they're being playful and another feels like they're being sexually assaulted? And it's interesting how he can go on for years thinking he's being playful, while he's violating people's sense of dignity and he's only come to realize that maybe it wasn't nice, but possibly offensive - only when he's been called to the floor on it in the final stretch of an election? Interesting...

'Deeply Sorry' Schwarzenegger Apologizes to Women (Reuters, 10.02.03): click here

This is so way cool, I'm dying to see it! Can't wait, can't wait!
New E-Paper Could Show Moving Images Too (Reuters, 09.24.03): click here

Iraq's Sumerian Mona Lisa Found in Shallow Grave by Brian Williams (09.23.03): click here

Palestinian Gay Runaways Survive on Israel's Streets by Dan Williams (09.20.03): click here

Who's Sordid Now? by Paul Krugman (09.30.03, New York Times): click here

Here we go?
The Retreat From Baghdad by William Pfaff (09.26.03, International Herald Tribune): click here

Wonder if this will ever amount to anything?
Does A Felon Rove The White House? by Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill (09.30.03, Democracy Now!): click here

Sums up the leak thing fairly well...
'Slime and Defend' by Paul Krugman (10.03.03, New York Times): click here

Whiff of Scandal Poses New Challenge for Bush by Adam Entous (Reuters, 10.01.03): click here

Connecting the dots...
The Ashcroft-Rove Connection - The Ties That Blind by Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill and the staff of Democracy Now! (10.02.03, CommonDreams.org): click here

Ya hoo!!!
Congress Defunds Controversial 'Total Information' Program by Jim Lobe (09.26.03, OneWorld.net): click here

Is that a Democrat showing some spine?
Kennedy's 'Uncivil' Truths on Iraq by Thomas Oliphant (09.23.03, Boston Globe): click here

Here we go...
House OKs 'Partial Abortion' Ban by Joanne Kenen (10.02.03, Reuters): click here

Our Summer Vacation: 20,000 Dead by Mike Davis (09.28.03, TomDispatch.com): click here

2003 Déjà vu - Sept. - August - July - June - May- April - March - Feb. - Jan.

2002 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov.- Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - May - April - March - Feb. - Jan.

2001 Déjà vu - Dec. - Nov. - Oct. - Sept. - August - July - June - Misadventures- April

Compassion Fatigue Entries - 2001

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