There were a couple of weeks recently when our internet at home was down, so I’ve had some questions and comments boiling into a White Lion’s Roar. I had to put it aside, as all mammals do, when I talked about the babies yesterday. But today, the roar can no longer be contained. Some are just simple questions about life and the things that fill it. For example, why is it called “dill weed?” It’s not a weed, it’s an herb. I’ve grown it-it is wonderful. The dill fragrance is lovely. In fact, the huge plants in my yard smelled so lovely that it attracted some gorgeous caterpillars which I was loathe to remove, and my dill died. But the little bottle of ‘dill weed’ that I keep in my pantry for cooking is labeled just that, dill weed. I don’t get it.
The week of Thanksgiving my husband and I took a trip to visit some family in Illinois. From where we live we had to go through Dallas. In Dallas, TX there are miles and miles of HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes. Theoretically no one should be in those lanes unless they have two or more riders. I’ve heard lots of stories of crazy things people will do to be able to drive in the HOV lane, such as having a sex doll in the passenger seat. But mostly what we saw that night as we drove through Dallas was empty HOV lanes while the rest of the traffic was squeezed into the other lanes. Isn’t it time to admit that HOV lanes are a great idea in theory, but they do not inspire people to car pool, which is the original intent. HOV lanes are good in the dream phase, but they don’t work.
Am I the only one who finds ventriloquists just plain creepy and unconvincing? There was probably a more innocent time in which people were entertained, and maybe even fooled by ventriloquists, but not anymore. Anymore than Harry Houdini would be convincing today. I guess I’ve seen some movies in which the ventriloquist’s mind was taken over by the dummy, which to him is a real, living entity, so maybe that’s why they creep me out just a bit. But by the way, their lips always move. Always.
And speaking about pop culture, and the culture of rape and violence against women, I may have had an epiphany recently. I’m not sure I still believe that violent, misogynistic rap is what feeds that horrible mindset that says no woman has the right to say no to any man ever. I’m thinking it may be the songs that say it much more gently and subtly. I am quite certain that a society complicit in allowing rape to go unpunished, or that allows blame to be dumped on the victim so regularly could get there without some women being convinced that it was partly the woman’s fault. So songs such as “I’ll Be Watching You,” by The Police, or “Animal,” by Maroon 5, contribute more than a share. I’ve been chastised by some rock fans for suggesting that “I’ll Be Watching You” is not a romantic tune, but a stalker’s anthem. But these songs that separate passion from consensual, respectful, loving relationships put tiny doubts into the minds of little girls. They sound so romantic; Sting and Adam Levine are SO HOT! Surely what they say isn’t wrong. Watch the bloody video of “Animal.” It should creep you out more than a little. On the surface it is about mad, passionate desire. More deeply it is, again, about a guy who stalks a woman until she gives in to him, and then they both wind up in a wild embrace, covered in blood. Society is taken apart a brick at a time, not with giant bombs. Am I suggesting that the misogyny of violent rap, in which all women are bitches and hos are okay? Not at all. But we have been trained in revulsion toward those songs, and the guys who perform them have become cartoonishly recognizable. The subtle messages creep in until they change the way we look at a woman who breaks it off, or rejects a man who believes he has the right to her.
The year 2015 will be starting in in about three days. Let’s let this year be the one in which rapists and those who let them off because it is the victim’s fault get educated to the realities of life. Let women own their sexuality and not allow themselves to be victimized. Let our military see that women and men can serve their country together well only if both sides respect one another and take care to protect the rights of all who serve. And let’s not glorify stalking by mistaking it for love gone wrong.