Ordinary People, Extraordinary Heroes

This past weekend and some days this week I have been keenly interested in heroes. Whether modern or older I have wanted to know a bit more and pay personal homage to ordinary people who through acts of selflessness and the highest valor and courage, sacrificed unquestionably their own self-benefit for others, for a greater good, for a greater number in the future. Some of these remarkable stories included many war heroes, men who willing put themselves in lethal danger in order to protect their Brothers in Arms, their squad, platoon, or battalion. Their acts of sacrifice are legendary and should never be lost to time.

But there are also other heroes who never fought in any war, or armed conflict, but the risks and dangers they willingly faced were just as daunting, just as consequential as a soldier faces in combat. Many of them are women of the 19th and 20th centuries. Their fight for equal rights, equal treatment, pay, and opportunities in patriarchal dominated societies across the globe deserve just as much awe, respect, and homage as any man’s stories of gallantry, valor, and sacrifice in war! Agreed? Of course you do if you are a fair and reasonable human being.

Some of the immediate names of female heroes that come to my mind are Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Billie Jean King, Malala Yousafzai, and a big one for birth-control Margaret Sanger who eventually laid the groundwork for America’s badly needed Planned Parenthood. However, the one specific woman I was reminded of this past Sunday and Monday was Emily Wilding Davison. If you are unfamiliar with Emily’s unwavering commitment to eliminating injustice and gender inequality, then watch this following 15-second clip of her public statement:

As part of my remembrance to many ordinary people who became extraordinary heroes for the betterment of humanity, I watched the 2015 film Suffragette with Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter, Natalie Press, and Meryl Streep. The film is pretty accurate historically regarding Women’s Suffrage in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s England. From the Smithsonian Magazine web-page:

The filmmakers deliberately modeled [fictional character] Maud [Watts] on the stories of working class suffragettes, whose activism put their jobs, marriages and even custody of their children, at risk. “I think what was interesting for us was to create a rich ensemble of composite characters who we felt would carry the voices of these women who hadn’t been heard and allow them to segue and intersect with these extraordinary moments of history,” says Morgan.

Horse Racing - The Derby Stakes - Epsom - Suffragette Protest - 1913Many parts of the film were real historical events and characters.

…the bombing of Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George’s empty country house, and Davison’s fatal protest at the Epsom Derby – were real. After decades of peaceful protest with no result, suffragettes, particularly those in Emmeline Pankhurst’s (Meryl Streep in a brief cameo) Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), followed the motto “Deeds Not Words.” Taking pains not to hurt people, they created mayhem by attacking property – including slashing a Velázquez in the National Gallery  – and disrupting government meetings.

Emily Davison’s protest, whether to attach a scarf of her Movement’s colors to King George V’s horse or to sacrifice herself by death or maiming is unknown to this day. What happened in decades and a century later was unprecedented.

Today, Davison’s gravesite in Morpeth, Northumberland, is a feminist shrine that attracts visitors from around the world. […]

“What is extraordinary about that footage is you can see that this wasn’t a small movement of ladies who meet for tea in Kensington,” says Suffragette’s screenwriter Abi Morgan.  “This was a national and international movement.

Emily Davison closeup

Emily Davison’s entire story is quite remarkable for the time-period. She like most women of the time had very few options outside of the home and birthing then raising children. As a well-educated woman she taught as a teacher and live-in governess as well as attaining two college degrees from the University of London.

Davison was tireless and ingenious. She was arrested nine times for offenses ranging from breaking windows at Parliament to firebombing letterboxes. One of her more creative stunts was sneaking into a closet in the House of Commons one night in 1911 so she could claim Parliament as her place of residence on the official census. It was a subversive double protest. In one act, she could – as many suffragettes were attempting – avoid being counted as a citizen by a government that didn’t recognize her right to vote while if she were counted, it would be at the address of the center of that same discriminatory body.

After her first arrest she wrote gleefully to a friend. “Did you read about it? We went outside Lloyd George’s Budget meeting at Limehouse, and protested at women being kept out, etc. I was busy haranguing the crowd when the police came up and arrested me.” She describes breaking windows in her jail cells and adds “What do you think of me?” before signing off “your loving and rebellious friend.”

If you’re interested in more heroic details of the Suffrage Movement—which later fueled our modern-day Women’s March and activism for more women’s social, workforce, and legal equalities—then click here for the Smithsonian’s article. It is well worth the time.

As I finished Suffragette, I then moved on to another well-directed, acclaimed cast and historically accurate feminine hero 2009 film called Agora starring Rachel Weisz. If you are unfamiliar with the great female philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician named Hypatia of Alexandria, Egypt, during the late 4th-century CE inside a Christianizing and increasingly patriarchal Roman Empire, then I suggest you study her and watch this outstanding film. Hypatia was perhaps one of the very earliest suffragette’s in human history.

Nevertheless, let’s never forget that extraordinary heroes come in all sizes, all races and ethnicities, and certainly all genders and sexual-orientations. They’re all human. That is no debate whatsoever.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Muskets and Machine Guns

In this extraordinary life we find ourselves and on this endlessly mysterious, riveting, and dazzling planet we call home, we can often recognize similarities, patterns between different events, different objects, different species and humans if we observe closely in earnest. If we observe it equitably and honestly.

For example, the musket or flintlock, as Wikipedia explains, is a muzzle-loaded, smoothbore long gun that appeared in early 16th century Europe, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating heavy armor. For some time the musket was the common weapon in use. Other than cannons and mortars they served pretty well their intended designed purpose. However, by the time the 19th-century approached they were quickly becoming obsolete. Their rate-of-fire simply could not keep up with repeating rifles, followed decades later by the faster, more sophisticated, more lethal machine guns. The musket had become a dinosaur on the fields of battle.

The machine gun, unlike the antiquated slow-loaded musket, could fire at a rate of 300 rounds per minute or higher. During World War II Mauser Werke manufactured one of the most feared machine guns Allied forces had ever faced to date, the MG-42 which could fire an average of 1,200 rounds per minute. For the two World Wars and beyond, the machine gun completely revolutionized modern warfare and tactics.

And then BOOM, it hit me! This history is also profoundly representative of another dynamic, another similar relationship.

Men’s penises and their performance are just like muskets! They are pretty much single fire until “hours” later, muzzle-loaded after some gun-powder (air-pumping? surgery? drugs?), and unless updated or refined, kept impeccably (not pecker you pervs!) maintained, then highly and properly trained, they are pretty much outdated, limp, and with a very shitty rate-of-fire.

Women’s sexual organs are quite sophisticated, quite advanced, with more than one arousal-barrel/spot and have a most IMPRESSIVE (and lethal?) rate-of-fire. Women are truly a beautiful work of art (not machinery) that honestly puts us musket-carrying Neanderthals to shame. There’s simply no denying it gentlemen. Sorry. This is why they are truly Earth’s most mesmerizing, most needed creatures. And looking back over history and how utterly crappy we males have progressed and developed, the women deserve so much MORE than just equality and unfettered respect.

Besides, guys… come on! We have muskets, they have machine guns for f*ck sake. 🙄

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Live Well — Love Much — Respect Her Lethality — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Build for Life, Not for Fixes

full-body-castMy previous post was a bit of a fumbling crash-test-dummy wreck. After four long days of intensive care, in quadriplegic static-slings (in stasis?) and frequent bed-pans, I begin my rehabilitation in this way. Luckily, perhaps miraculously, I had a wonderful female human being, who despite my masculine Homo erectus “verbage” — I think she called it, but repeatedly with an odd angry French accent — she foolishly remains my friend and offered this TEDxAmericanRiviera video that literally explains to my kind… “what it’s all about.” Even better, the presentation is by a woman who knows something about it.

ludovico-techniqueAs prescribed, I watched so intently the highly impatient German nurses kept giving me eye-drops while grumbling what I couldn’t quite make out was “Nicht-Augentropfen, aber Fett Einlauf in den Arsch!” If I’m honest, it sounded a little frightening. Does anyone have that translation?

Without further babbling, I present Sheila Kelley


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The proverbial light-bulb — admittedly more like a flickering miniature Xmas-light — lit up bright, and shown through various unmentionable orifices cared for by my German nurses… it was truly an Ah HAH painful moment, but with one minor tweak I would offer. It is this:  instead of the exact quote from Joseph Campbell, I’d perhaps say…

“Woman is life and Man is the servant of life.
The Male’s job is to protect [that service
so that Woman may freely give more life.]

— currently, Professor Baboon

You see, some/many women can protect themselves quite well. There’s no need for us men to prematurely step-in, unless she asks us to do so. Then the VALUE of collaboration, protection, service, all varieties of love, and the culturing between Woman and Man that Sheila Kelley is urging, is increased exponentially as BOTH are more empowered equally. Well, at least that’s my take to her fantastic presentation.

My dear female rescuer then sent me on my way with a reminder, “Before marriage, a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage, the “Y” becomes silent. And we are excellent housekeepers. Every time we get a divorce, we keep the house.” I believe she called that The V Empowered. She said one day I’ll understand, if I don’t real soon.


Addendum
— I’ve since realized that I should have clearly indicated in my last paragraph (above) that we/my friend and I, were joking-about/mocking local social norms; i.e. not uber serious and purely between the two of us, laughing about my own personal history with women/ex-wives and by default my neophyte entry into sexism vs. feminism. I see now she was comfortable with/about me to do that but may not have done it publicly with strangers — one man who you know pretty well, versus several unknown men and women. But I don’t know now if that was the case. I do see today how my last paragraph could easily be taken offensively by those who were not present. My sincere apologies.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Addendum #2 — My blogging-buddy Swarn, at Cloak Unfurled, has given me permission to link his outstanding, poignant, gut-wrenching TRUE post, “The Long Silencing of Women“. I felt it was an excellent addition/temporary-conclusion to this, my crude male attempt on the subject of Feminism-Sexism. He agreed. Many thanks Swarn! It is well worth the read.

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