Moon in Sagittarius

I really enjoy wandering bookstores, sampling the wares, finding hidden treasures to make note of. I don’t buy retail, prices in books like prices in general getting ever more emblematic of the cultural rift between the economic classes. There are still libraries and secondhand outlets for we financially challenged. Wandering the store, though, is free and fun. Sometimes I run into those author events where you get the lecture, free coffee, and the Q & A, which can be quite edifying. Today there was this author who apparently had written about the tumultuous 60s, heyday of my father and the social revolutions we are still embroiled in sorting out. It wasn’t all sex, drugs, rock n roll and flower children. I’ve heard the stories, at this point from a wide variety of sources who mostly lived it first-hand. It was about all kinds of people breaking out of their stereotyped roles. There was the Civil Right Movement at first. A hundred years after the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves, you could have fooled large segments of society who didn’t seem to get the word that “equal rights” had legitimate meaning. I’m not sure what the eventual catalyst was, maybe all that post-WWII social flux slowly sliding down, shaking out. The mass communication of tv might have helped. There was all that idealism around the JFK presidency; imagine a liberal Irish Catholic able to be elected, exhorting us to ask what we could do for our country. Whatever the background, change was playing around our collective psyche. A whole lot of people started to feel a need to make this rights thing right. And it grew. African-Americans needed rights. Draftees needed rights. Women needed rights. Gays needed rights. All the oppressed groups saw the light, that they were Americans too and entitled to be taken seriously. It’s amazing to think about how radically different the world was not all that long ago. My parents may be getting on in years, but this was all within their lives, within a generation. That vast worldwide storm of social upheaval is my direct history, living memory, available on tv archives and affecting our everyday lives in ways we no longer even think about.

When my mom was a kid, women were teachers, nurses, secretaries (or, of course, whores, but we don’t speak of that), if they worked outside their home at all. Mostly they were housewife/mothers, and happy to be so. Or so the myth goes. Not that they didn’t have plenty to keep them busy; and not that today there aren’t plenty of women who opt for that lifestyle. During WWII, the one they thought would defeat the fascists and make the world right again, women patriotically did all the work left behind by the men going off to fight the good fight. Then, the guys came home victorious and it’s the kitchen and bedroom for you, little lady. Well, no, not if you’re too poor to have a kitchen and bedroom if you don’t take some shit job not considered manly or worthy of decent pay; but proper women with good providing husbands get to spend their days cooking, cleaning, caring the for kids, and providing a safe hole for hubby’s semen. I suppose guys got to feel the pressure to earn their perfect fiefdom. Then, there were all the closeted queers making life miserable for themselves and undesired wifey.

This is the world the Christian Conservatives are so hot to restore, when men were real dicks and women were real tits and ass babymakers. Great! Backlash. But how does it make sense to lash out against freedom, rights, equality under the law and in the marketplace? Aren’t those the grand old flag founding American values we get to go to war for? And I don’t remember where Jesus said” “Oppress thy brothers and sisters as thee would want thyself oppressed.” Wasn’t Jesus about love and forgiveness? I am so confused. At least I’m not a Christian. How do they reconcile the teachings of their Lord and Savior with the preachings of their angry hellfire pastors? I guess that analogy about flocks of sheep is right on. Pardon me for being a bitter practitioner of an alternative faith. We pagans know about dark and light, and the necessity for giving full reverence to the whole. We are not so easily fooled by exhorters of light who lead into darkness. We like to celebrate life in all its intricacy, rather than insisting on some narrow path from life to a death-dependent reward.

So, what’s the difference between the supposed Muslim call for martyrdom rewarded by virgins and paradise, and the Christian reward of Heaven after a righteous life of suffering? I guess that the Christian is not required to die in combat, and is not promised a sexual hereafter. After all, you know, sex is bad. Procreating is essential, but the means impure. So sad. Jesus, I am so sorry for what your so-called followers have wrought. I know you tried, gave your life to teach them better. I hope you are enjoying your paradisial reward. I think you would be happy conjugating with “sinners” rather than virgins. I mean, isn’t that virgin thing about claiming ownership of the fruit of the womb? What should that matter in the afterlife? “Sinners” are so much more experienced, much more fun. I mean, we are talking reward. Sorry, Islamic martyrs. Though, I suppose, being intent on martyrdom, on dying for your people, you never get much chance to be very experienced yourself. Maybe it would be more fun for you to experience newly together with your afterlife harem. What about the Muslims who don’t die in battle? Do they get a segregated corner of Heaven, or a piece of paradise devoid of virgins? Someday I want to learn Arabic and see for myself what the Koran says.