IMMORTAL in Brazil
If you are asking my take on Fifty Shades of Grey, I admit that I think it’s a stupid piece of crap that does nothing to help women’s sexuality be understood or embraced. The protagonist is a male fantasy: an inane virgin who climaxes effortlessly, no matter what he does to her. Why have women accepted this ridiculous character as some version of themselves? I do not understand, nor do I approve.
I also think that, for most women, to fall off the cliff into bliss requires surrender. Surrender is difficult, especially in the current climate, in which women are supposed to be star neurosurgeons as well as perfect mothers raising perfect kids and, at the same time, loving wives with the bodies of 23 year olds, because of all the time spent at the gym. That’s a pretty butch expectation of women. It sucks. So here we are supposed to be superwomen, yet one of the deep truths about our sexuality is that it requires surrender.
Re-reading my response, I think I have an answer to my final question.
What women want is to own their own sexuality, and to be able to surrender freely, as they choose.
That’s one of the problems I have with Fifty Shades. It appears, superficially, to empower women by allowing them to imagine non-vanilla sex. But what it actually does is deprive them of the power to surrender themselves into orgasm from inside themselves.
This week I took the train to Boston to attend the International Conference in Shared Parenting. This conference gathered together specialists in post-divorce child development from all over the world. I sat down with a very lovely Dr. Holstein to discuss the Conference, and I wrote about my experience in the HuffPost.
…Despite advances in recognizing fathers’ fundamental rights to be equally involved in their children’s lives, the problem of not implementing that right continues within the legal system. At the same time, there’s a growing awareness that relegating one parent, whether father or mother, to second-class citizen parent status is not in the best interests of the child, when neither parent is actually abusive. There is a growing understanding that, post-separation, children need both parents to be fully present in their lives for optimal wholeness.
I sat down with Dr. Ned Holstein, the founder and chairman of the board of the National Parents Organization, at the International Conference on Shared Parenting in Boston. The National Parents Organization has a mission to preserve the bond between parents and children. To that end, at this conference, the world’s most renowned child development experts in the area of post-divorce parenting have gathered to share their research results. How do children fare with and without shared parenting post-divorce?…
“Court practices haven’t kept up with the growing research evidence on the benefits of shared parenting, so our intention was to gather all the world experts in one place at one time to compile the evidence that needs to be recognized as a basis for changing what our current practices are in the courts,” Dr. Holstein told me. “Based on the work of world experts at our conference today, ‘Best Interests of the Child’ means shared parenting for most children.”
Read the whole post here.
International Conference Shared Parenting
FROM MONTGOMERY TAYLOR, ABOUT MY GUEST APPEARANCE ON HIS SHOW
JOIN ME! Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:00 NOON
Call in live: 877-480-4120
I hope you can tune in to us this coming Monday, July 11th at 12:00 NOON EDT (and call in with any questions you may have during the live broadcast). If you are busy at work, tune in anytime that is good for your schedule or time zone by simply clicking on the archive of any of our past programs. The website is: www.talkingalternative.com and my program is called “Living Consciously”.
Here’s a summer reading project that makes a difference!
(The recent series of solar and lunar eclipses continues to bring to us a future of revelations and insights.)
We don’t always expect to find psychopomps in the field of art and literature, but consider this perspective:
When looking at art throughout the ages, a little interpretive trick is to look for the character in the painting or sculpture who is holding a staff. This is the esoteric symbol showing that the figure in question was serving as a guide to a destination of fuller self-realization. In art of ancient times, Hermes is often seen holding a staff or cadeusis to identify him as such a guide. After all, Hermes (Mercury) was the only Olympian that could go from the heights of Olympus to the depth of Hades(different levels of consciousness) without restriction. He was the Divine Messenger that could communicate with every level of human psychic evolution. Later, in the art commissioned by the Catholic Church, the Saints and even the Christ were depicted carrying staffs to portray them as guides to the Heavenly Realms.
But who left us the legacy of these messengers? It was the Artist! It is important to remember that people could not read and write as a collective society until very recent times. So, it was the symbolism in the art of temples, cathedrals, and sacred places that conveyed the message.
This week I will have as my guest the visionary writer TRACI L. SLATTON, who steps into just such a role from the unexpected realm of the written word of fiction. Using written language the way a painter of the Renaissance uses crushed pigments of meaning and fine shading of emotion to transport us into time, both past and future, she celebrates the immortal voyage of the Human Spirit. Her latest books take us to the brink of what we think we know about time.
Traci Slatton’s works share a theme of linking the worldly perception of our existence to the transcendental. Her novels have been translated into over seven languages. Her recent books “Piercing Time and Space” and “Immortal” foreshadowed the current release of her most recent novels “Fallen” and “The Botticelli Affair”. They bring us into a world of insight and our relation to the endless cycles of time as we know it. After all, 2012 is rapidly approaching!
Traci Slatton is married to the pre-eminent sculptor Sabin Howard, whose widely-collected bronze sculptures champion the ideals of the Renaissance and their role in connecting us to the value of classical esthetics in our present reality.
You can also join us on Facebook – Talking Alternative Fan Club, Twitter – @talkalternative, also at LinkedIn or IM us using AIM Messenger: email@example.com
Best wishes always, Monty
Bill Murray in TOOTSIE, and what a novelist wants
Jeff the playwright, played by Bill Murray: “I don’t want a full house at the Winter Garden. I want people who just came out of the worst rainstorm in history. These are people who are alive on the planet… until they dry off. I wish I had a theater that was only open when it rained.”
I like men.
I like the way they look, hard and hairy in places where I’m soft and curving, an outie where I have an innie. I appreciate the typical male architectural forms: bigger jaws and shoulders, narrower pelvic blocks and a rib cage about as wide as the pelvis, which doesn’t have to flare out to permit childbirth.
I like the way a man smells when he’s been throwing around a football, or bicycling, or swimming, or puzzling over a knotty work issue. The smell of male sweat can be a big turn on, even when it’s acrid. To be sure, a man stepping out of a shower, all clean except for a few shiny residual slicks of soap, and naked except for a towel around his hips, is an even bigger turn on. And I still remember, with clarity and pleasure, a lover whose flesh smelled like vanilla.
I really like the way a man smells after holding a baby. Then both scents blend together: the musk and vetiver man odor, and the intoxicating sugar and vomit fragrance of a baby. Thinking of that combined smell makes me quiver. It arrows in to some primitive part of my lizard brain where reason has no place and species exigency reigns supreme.
I even, usually, like the way men think. They’re problem solvers: a problem is either a wooly mammoth or a saber tooth tiger. Either way, they spear it, drag it home, and eat it. Elegant. It’s true that I’ve been married most of my life and so, of necessity, I’ve learned to tolerate a man’s spear-like, solution-oriented conversational style. If I want to explore all shades, ramifications, and possibilities of a situation, you know, engage in nuanced verbal multi-tasking, isn’t that what my women friends are for?
Good thing I have women friends. I like men, but I don’t understand them.
Speaking of women friends, I have one who likes men even more than I do. She’s tall, blond, gorgeous, and charming, so the affection is mutual. Recently single again after a long relationship, she’s been exploring younger men. She was waxing enthusiastic about dating men in their 20’s.
“For heaven’s sake,” I said. “Aren’t you bored after sex? Why are you dating these young guys?”
“For their energy and optimism, of course,” she responded. “You should try it. I can set you up.” She was, of course, referencing an alternate reality where I, too, was single. She was proposing tangential possibilities, which women find very satisfying.
“Ugh,” I said, imagining her parallel world for the sake of our discourse. “I’d want someone older. These immature guys you like have nothing to say for themselves.”
“But they do,” she demurred. “They have facts. Young men like to have a host of facts at their disposal and you must let them tell you their facts. It makes them feel good about themselves.”
“I’m supposed to let some punk kid spout facts at me?” I clarified.
“Yes, and Traci, you must keep your mouth shut so they don’t know how smart and experienced you are,” she said. I am paraphrasing her words, because she’s even more lovely on the inside than she is on the outside, and she always phrases her statements with kindness and tact.
I burst into laughter. She laughed with me. She’s a friend and she gets me. I’m lucky that way.
But it did set me to thinking about men, those curious creatures, and their need to prove how smart they are. It seems to validate their penis size when they succeed.
All too often men seem to need not only to prove how smart they are, but how smarter they are. Specifically, how smarter than me. Something about me provokes them and they come after me with an unholy critical bent. Maybe it’s not just me, maybe it’s all uppity females.
I see it a lot in male book reviewers, who are, almost universally, nastier and snider than women book reviewers. I’m sorry to make a generalization in an age where generalizations aren’t welcome, but this is what I’ve experienced.
There is something about writing, specifically, that brings out the competitive male ego. I’ve experienced that phenomenon over and over again. Almost two decades ago, a journalist published several pages about how bad my writing was. I had given him a first draft of a novella, with the caveat that it was a rough, crude, unedited first draft and that it hadn’t been spell-checked yet. Remember those days, when spell-check wasn’t automatic?
But my warning fell on ears deaf to all but his own agenda. He went on and on, in his book about something else entirely, about what a terrible writer I was. He generously used a pseudonym, though everyone in the world he was profiling knew it was me.
Did an unspell-checked rough first draft of a novella by a (then) unpublished writer really require such effusive malicious verbiage?
Transference is a bitch.
Maybe so is counter-transference. Recently a man in a helping profession came after me with similar intensity. He’d asked about a proposal I wrote, so I gave it to him. Then, mystifyingly, he turned into a porcupine shooting darts at me, when he discussed it. He’s someone I respect and like, so I was disappointed. And a little sad and hurt, even though I’d long since figured out that he has a formidably critical mind.
The experience did teach me something: to forgive men more. This latter gentleman is pretty highly evoluted, as people go, male or female. If his critical, competitive impulse could run away with him, and he’s actively working on himself, then what hope do less evoluted men have?
What hope do any of us have? I still don’t understand men very well. I’ve got to cut them more slack, for sure. Even if I can’t, as my girlfriend admonished, underplay my own intelligence. Such as it is, and entirely at the mercy of certain lush, entrancing smells.
Go see this movie, it’s GREAT!
Now that my loyalty has been assuaged, let me discuss the movie more thoughtfully.
This latest addition to the franchise pays loving homage to the first Terminator. For people like me who are fans of the first Terminator, that’s a beatific thing. There were moments…lines…scenes…that made me cheer, because they precisely evoked the first Terminator.
The first Terminator is a perfect movie. Artistically speaking, it was extremely well done. I’m talking as a writer now, as a professional storyteller. The first movie has no loose ends, no extraneous moments, no extra dialogue, no unnecessary anything, no flab whatsoever. The entire movie argues to the specific value that machines can never be human.
What’s the name of the bar where Kyle Reese first reveals himself to Sarah Connor, when he saves her? Tech Noir. What’s on the answering machine for Sarah and her roommate? “Machines need love too….” Nope, they don’t. That’s the point. Machines don’t need love…they never feel remorse or pity. Machines are not human.
Machines will destroy humanity.
The original casting of Arnold Shwartzenegger as the Terminator was brilliant. As a young dude, he was so buffed up on lifting and steroids that he didn’t look human. He looked like a machine–like living tissue over metal endoskeleton.
In Terminator Genisys, Arnold looks…old but not obsolete. Never obsolete. No, never. I don’t care how many children he sires out of wedlock. As the Terminator, he can be gray, but he will always be relevant.
This movie was fun, and it had appropriate slow moments, too. What I mean is that, in order to be satisfying, movies need to flow between heightened intensity and lowered intensity. What I see lately–even in Mad Max Fury Road, which I enjoyed, [HELLO: CHARLIZE THERON, YOU ARE MY QUEEN!!!] is that too many movies are one long chase with explosions, boobs, and cars. Not good.
You get that kind of crap when you have too many suits involved in the process. Those people should not give a creative opinion. They should keep their traps shut and count beans. They should not try to weigh in on art–because when they do, they destroy art.
Terminator Genisys had moments of reflection and pause to balance and heighten the moments of wild over-the-top intensity. Someone exercised a little bit of control over those stupid suits.
My husband didn’t love the movie as I did. He’s not a fan of the first Terminator, that perfect movie. He asked me, “Why do you like those kinds of after-the-world-ends movies?”
Since I was a kid, I’ve looked around and noticed the insanity and evil in the world at large. Genocide. Monsanto. Bio-engineered fruits and vegetables that look good but taste like crap. Terminator genes. The unrepentant, unbridled financial ambition of large, multinational corporations that function as sovereign nation states without oversight or accountability.
The apocalypse is coming and it will be unleashed by one of these companies.
Am I really the one person who sees Google in Genisys? The head of Google says they come up to the line of being creepy but don’t cross over. I disagree. It is my personal opinion that Google crosses right over. Data mining is the latest iteration of EVIL. Big Brother is watching: Brought to you by Google.
I think Google is Genisys is Skynet.
So I am attracted to these themes because I see them being played out in front of our eyes.
Few people care. As long as they have the latest iPhone, Netflix, Spotify, and access to marijuana, they don’t question what is really going on.
A stoner is a subject, not a citizen.
The suits are winning. In the real world and in the making of movies.
Go see Terminator Genisys. And think about it.