“Super Angry”

super angry
Why doesn’t anyone ever write these in reverse? Maybe something like this…

The next time your husband gets angry, drape a towel over his shoulders like a cape and exclaim, “Now you’re super angry!!”

Maybe he’ll laugh.
Maybe you’ll die.

Actually, I already know why they don’t. Because men’s anger is virtually always validated even when the man in question is wrong or lying. We need look no further than the recent example of Brett Kavanaugh.

Women’s anger, on the other hand, is either dismissed as “cute” (see every rom-com ever) or offensive (see Serena Williams).

It is actually scientifically proven that men’s anger makes them seem more believable where women’s anger makes them seem less believable. Men are allowed to express powerful emotions and are seen as passionate when women express themselves in a similar manner they are seen as overly emotional and not credible.

In a recent study using a lone holdout juror as the setup, researchers found

…that women’s anger worked against them, while men’s anger served as a “powerful” tool of persuasion. When the holdout was a male who expressed anger, participants significantly doubted their own opinion, even when they were in the majority. But if the holdout was a woman who expressed anger, she actually had less influence over participants — so much so that it was the only scenario in the study in which participants became more confident in their own opinion that opposed that of the woman.

The post-simulation perception surveys shed some light as to why they found this dynamic. The male and female holdouts used the same exact typed language, so participants couldn’t judge potential gender differences in communication style or facial expression. Even so, perception biases still cropped up. When the man was perceived as emotional, he was considered more credible for getting angry. But when the woman was perceived as emotional, participants became more sure of their own opinion, even if they considered the woman credible. As the researchers put it: “When a woman expresses anger, this does not just make her seem less credible, but seems to make assessing her credibility irrelevant.”

You can read more about this study here:

Why Angry Men Are More Influential Than Angry Women

The flip side of this is that often the only emotion many men and boys are allowed to express is anger. Most other emotions in men and boys are targeted as weakness and so often those emotions are exchanged for anger. The reality is that often the opposite is true; Frequently, anger is the sign of weakness and the honest expression of fear or sadness is actually the sign of strength and maturity. It turns out the way we are socializing our sons is as unfair and damaging to the boys themselves and the men they become as it is to the women and girls in their lives. In Psychology Today, Avrum Weiss, PhD writes:

There are a lot of social prohibitions against men expressing emotions other than anger, and a lot of social reinforcement for being angry. We think of men who are angry as powerful and more masculine, and men who express sadness or fear as weak and less masculine. Jackson Katz (2006), the author of The Macho Paradox, wrote that “Countless men deal with their vulnerability by transferring vulnerable feelings to feelings of anger. The anger then serves to ‘prove’ that they are not, in fact, vulnerable, which would imply they are not man enough to take the pressure.”

The other reason you don’t see it written with the sexes reversed is that “maybe he’ll laugh” just doesn’t ring true for most of us. Many men would, in fact, actually get “super angry”.  From the time we are little girls, women are taught to de-escalate and diffuse a man’s anger as a form of protection: we laugh, we demur, we distract. Men generally don’t need to de-escalate in these situations because they already hold a position of physical dominance so they don’t need to be afraid for their safety. Don’t get me wrong, men can also be victims of domestic violence and verbal abuse. It is always wrong.

I guess what it comes down to for me is that these types of jokes don’t do anything to make the world a better place. Belittling your spouse’s feelings, patronizing them, and infantilizing them isn’t loving and it isn’t funny.

I know some will say I am being too sensitive. But, if asking people to examine why they might be laughing (perhaps the joke hits too close to home) is being too sensitive, so be it.

 

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A Poem for Dr. Ford

DrFord

 

It is a dark day for America. Today I mourn with my sisters. I have not been inspired to write for a while but today I cannot and will not be silenced.

MOURN

Once again
I mourn for my sisters
I mourn for our daughters
I mourn for our Foremothers
I mourn for those women
Who don’t even know they are oppressed
I mourn for our voices
I mourn for our equality
Our lost innocence
Our expected attentions
Our testimony is once again not to be believed.
Our existence must be corroborated.
Our work must be unequal
Both at home
And in the public sphere
Our sexuality is at once locked away
Because it is “precious”
And because it is a weapon.
We are held responsible for whatever happens to us
And then amid the laughter
We are not believed
Our testimony is still
Not
Believed
Why are you angry?
Why aren’t you angry?
He was young.
He was white.
He was rich.
Why do you want to ruin his life?
He is young.
He is white.
He is rich.
He can put points on the board.
Why do you want to ruin his life?
What did YOU do?
What didn’t YOU do?
How
Can
We
Find
You
Responsible
For
This
Man…or Boy’s
Bad behavior?
For goodness sake
She isn’t even hot enough to be raped.
Why didn’t you come forward?
WHY?
Why would we?
When we are quiet.
When we only tell people who we
Finally
Believe
We can trust.
Our pain is at least honored
Our testimony is believed
If only by ourselves
If only by our sisters
If only by the
Few
Good
Men
Maybe someday
Someone will believe them.

-Michelle Morr Krabill

1 + 1 = 3: A road trip with Bruce Springsteen

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A while back I went on a road trip with Bruce Springsteen. That’s right, just me and the Boss, rolling down the open road, just how we like it. I was headed to Houston and I had just downloaded Born to Run on Audible. So with Bruce riding shotgun, we rolled out.

As I listened, Bruce unfolded the map of his life, as he alone can do, the stories stretching out like the interstate. The further I drove the more melancholy, the more joyous, the more introspective I became. If you are a Springsteen fan, you already know that he is a magician with words. If you are not, I dare you to see him live or read Born to Run and disagree with me. In many ways, he is America’s Rock & Roll Poet Laureate.

That brings me to this past Sunday. Kent & I were lucky enough to win the ticket lottery and be given the opportunity to see Bruce perform on Broadway. Many of you have been asking for my thoughts about the experience and up until now, I have not been able to come up with anything more than it was transcendent and a once in a lifetime experience. I will attempt to do more than that here.

Back to the open road: Me, Bruce, and Born to Run. Just like his one-man show, the hours I spent listening to Bruce opine were like therapy; helping me to examine my own life and find just a little more meaning. At some point on the ride, I paused the book and began to use the talk to text feature on my phone to dictate what follows. When I got home, I neglected to share it with you. And honestly? I am glad I saved it until now. When I read it to Kent after the show we both cried. Again.

Here it goes. I think it is the best way for you to feel what I was feeling Sunday.

In the process of wearing my many hats, I have not become excellent at any one thing. Politician, poet, motivational speaker, theologian, psychiatrist, nail technician, editor, bartender, party planner, tutor, and short order cook. I can cook but I’m no great chef. I could clean, and I have, but now I am able to pay someone else to do it. I like to build things, but I will never build a great cathedral or be Frank Lloyd Wright. I enjoy writing but will likely never win a Pulitzer or report to you from some faraway land. I may spend time finding one or dong my best to play one to my family, but I’ll never be a doctor. I love to sing, but I will never be Nate Ruess, Springsteen, or even a member of the Go-Go’s. I am an artist but I’m no Van Gogh. I am not a copywriter or designer on Madison Avenue. You won’t hear my jingles or sales pitches and sing them to yourself years from now. I may never again act on the stage and I may never act in a movie – but some days I do feel like somebody just pretending to be who they are.

In the end – I have more job titles than I can name – taxi driver, IT professional, an amateur psychiatrist. My life has not been what I expected it to be, but it is been So. Much. More. I am not excellent at any of the hats that I wear but the symphony of all of them coming together makes me who I am. And I am amazing. Nobody gets to be all the things that I get to be. And I think maybe as time goes on I’ll also be an agent and manager, a driver and a personal assistant, a confidant, cheerleader, coach, and a mom. And I’ll be damned if I won’t use all of these things and everything else in my power to see the dreams of the people I love come true.

And so now as I continue to listen to Bruce describe the magic that he does and the uncertainty and the questioning that go into his trick of making one plus one equal three, I realize that in some way that is exactly what I get to do. Just like Bruce, I make the magic happen in our house. When the chips are down and things need to go our way people look to me to make sure that 1+1 = 3. Sometimes I’m not the greatest mathematician. In fact, you don’t want me keeping your books necessarily or paying your bills. But if you want one plus one to equal three – sometimes when everything is just right –

I’m your girl.

I may cry too much, feel too much, talk too much, be too loud, and be too opinionated. And every now and then I’m going get mired down in the negativity of life but I will never ever give up.

Bruce says at one point in the book that no matter how real the concerts are, no matter how transcendent he makes them, no matter how connected it feels, in the end, – it’s fiction – it’s theater – In reality, life always trumps art. In that way, I have the advantage. I get to wear all these hats and be all these people and in the end for me, it isn’t fiction it is fact. It’s reality. It is life and it is hard but it is also beautiful.

We only get one life. And mine is pretty fucking fantastic.

 
If you are wanting a set list or to have a blow by blow review, you can find that here. 

 

It is all America.

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Over the last several hours I have seen this posted by several friends on my Facebook feed. And as much as I would love it if this were true, it just isn’t. Let’s be clear:

ALL THREE OF THESE IMAGES ARE AMERICA.

It is more important to recognize this fact now more than ever. Yes, the image at the top is beautiful and yes, people of all races, religions, and political persuasions are putting aside their differences to help each other during the crisis unfolding in south Texas. But make no mistake, the events of Charlottesville, Boston, and Berkley from the last couple weeks, as well as Ferguson, Baltimore, and countless others over the last several years, are America too. Unfortunately, our racial divide will not be washed away when the floodwaters subside.

Pretending it will at this point is willful blindness.

Indeed, much like the rebuilding of the great city of Houston, it will take years (not days) of effort, of coming together, of setting aside our pride and really listening to the people who are most affected to see restoration and to make this meme the truth. May we be successful on both counts.

To donate to the Red Cross Houston relief efforts click here.

To donate to the Southern Poverty Law Center click here.

Bruce, Inspiration, and The Wall

As you may have noticed, it has been eerily quiet here on the blog. I have been adrift without inspiration for a spell. And unlike others who push themselves to write until inspiration comes, I can only wait like a traveler on the platform who just missed the last train home. So I waited.

The election came and went and my elusive inspiration was replaced with simmering disillusionment. The past 8 years I have not agreed with everything the Obama administration has done, but overall I felt hope that we were moving in the right direction.
The economy was beginning to turn around, more and more people had health care, my LGBTQ brothers and sisters were free to marry if they chose to and barriers were being broken down for women in many areas.

And then we elected Trump. My inspiration to write seemed to be drowned in an overwhelming sense that if I just ignored it and tried to move on I would wake up and it would be a dream. I mean, hopefully, Trump would move to the middle now that he had been elected like everyone was saying. Surely, he didn’t really mean all those things he said.  Hey, a girl can dream.

Then came the inauguration and the women’s march. I thought I would find inspiration somewhere marching with my daughter and friends among the banners, camaraderie, and history of it all. Nope. Still waiting.

And then it happened. Road trip. Where all the best inspiration happens. (At least for me). There just seems to be something about the open road, a cold drink, a snack and hundreds of miles of asphalt that just seems to hold a bit of magic.

On this trip, I took along a companion. Bruce Springsteen personally read me his new book Born to Run. [So it was on Audible. Let me pretend, okay?]

Listen, I don’t care if you are a fan of Bruce or not, this book is one of the best I have read. It is raw and honest, transcendent and earthy all at the same time. But don’t take my word of it. Download it and let the Boss show you the light. After that get yourself to one of his live shows. He has made more than one convert at his live shows.

So here I am, with Bruce headed south toward Galveston and out of nowhere like a lightning storm in the desert– inspiration!

Bruce. Motherhood. Dreams. Walls.

WALLS.

In the book, he talks about the first time he and the E Street Band played in Berlin and saw the wall. He talked about how it was an affront to humanity and how it changed them forever. The next time they went back was 1988. In his article When Bruce Springsteen Helped Destroy the Berlin Wall, Greg Mitchell writes:

More than 200,000 showed up, twice what Dylan had attracted. Springsteen opened, pointedly, with “Badlands,” but the indisputable highlight was his cover of “Chimes of Freedom,” a Dylan tune that Dylan himself had overlooked. The show, which in typical Springsteen style lasted nearly four hours, was beamed to millions of East Germans via state television. Many middle-aged Germans I interviewed for my book fondly recalled attending the performance or watching it on TV. “It was a nail in the coffin for East Germany,” one fan told theGuardian years later.

In Born to Run, Springsteen recounts a previous visit to East Berlin with bandmate Steve Van Zandt. “You could feel the boot,” he recalls. The wall, in Springsteen’s view, seemed almost “pornographic.” The experience helped shock the then-apolitical Van Zandt into decades of activism. “The power of the wall that split the world in two, its blunt, ugly, mesmerizing realness, couldn’t be underestimated,” Springsteen writes. “It was an offense to humanity.”

Bruce goes on to say in the book that some even came with hand-made American flags. America and our music represented all that was beautiful–freedom, and acceptance, and room for all.

Right then I turned off the book and I cried. I cried and  I yelled. At Trump. All alone in my car. Damn you. Damn you and your hate. Damn you and your wall. How could you turn my country — a beacon of hope to the world into such a small and ugly place?  I realized that we have become, this week, the builders of the next fucking wall.

We are the ones who keep people out. We are now the ones who build the walls. The ones who revoke the green cards. The ones who in the name of freedom curtail liberty.The ones who punish the innocent in the name of safety. I am ashamed.

Fuck that. Fuck that wall and all it stands for.

Bring back my country. Bring back the people we used to be who stood behind Reagan and said, “tear down this wall”. And then they did. And then we all did.

Years from now, if we actually build this affront to humanity, people will tell stories like Springsteen’s about US. How incredibly, indescribably sad.

How incredibly, indescribably sad.

Ex-Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev: ‘World Is Preparing for War’

Bruce Springsteen Helped Breach Berlin Wall

Dear Mr. Trump from a Grown-Up Theater Kid

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Dear Mr. Trump,

As every theater kid knows, the theater is a safe and special place. It is probably one of the safest and most accepting places I have ever experienced.

But there is one thing every theater kid knows: we stick up for each other. We are a safe space for the underdog, the awkward kid, the gay kid, the jock who wants to sing and dance and anyone and everyone who will accept us as we are.

But there is a time when we are not a safe space. We are not a safe space for bigotry. We are not a safe space for sexism. We are not a safe space for racism. We are not a safe space for those who want to divide us.

Once the theater helped us find our voices we can no longer be silent. We will use our voices to challenge, to encourage and to expand the hearts and minds of the people.

After all, there is a reason fascists and dictators shut down or seek to control movies and theater when they are in power.

We the theater kids will not sit down and shut up. We will not be silent in the face of the normalization of everything we stand against.

Mr. Trump (and you too Mr. Pence) we theater kids learned a lesson in empathy that you were denied somewhere along the way. But hear us now, even still, we would be happy to share that lesson with you if you are willing to learn.

The theater is big enough for us ALL.

Regards,

A grown-up theater kid

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004777637

Clinton, Dole the myth of the perfect female candidate.

 

 

This whole election cycle people have been telling themselves and others that they would love to see a woman become President — just not THAT woman.

I would love to believe that, but I just don’t.

Would you like to know why?

Elizabeth Dole. That’s why.

Back in 2000 I was a Republican (I know, you’re shocked). In fact up until Obama’s Second term and an ill-advised vote for Ross Perot I always voted straight Republican ticket. Anyways, in 2000 Elizabeth Dole was running for the Republican nomination. She had a very impressive resume:

Duke Undergrad
Oxford Post Graduate studies
Harvard Law

United States Senator
from North Carolina
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
20th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
January 25, 1989 – November 23, 1990
8th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
February 7, 1983 – September 30, 1987
Director of the Office of Public Liaison
In office
January 20, 1981 – February 7, 1983
Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission
In office
December 4, 1973 – March 9, 1979

Ultimately Sen. Dole dropped out of the primaries and the nominee was the much less qualified George W. Bush.

I can still remember people saying that they wouldn’t mind voting for a female candidate, just not this particular female candidate. Ironically people were simultaneously saying the same thing about Hillary Clinton who was running for Senator in New York.

In 1999, when rumors had Dole preparing for a run at the White House and Clinton for Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s Senate Seat, Margaret Talbot, then a senior fellow at the New American Foundation, wrote in the New York Times Magazine: “Remember the Year of the Woman? Well, it’s beginning to look like 2000 might be the year of the wife.”

Labeling both these female candidacies – one from the right and one from the center — a symptom of political “dynasticism… in which a woman’s own political career is an outgrowth of her husband’s,” Talbot then warned in a burst of regional stereotyping that Dole’s “sugary southern charm will only carry her only so far; who wants a magnolia, even a steel magnolia, for President?”[2] The nation proceeded to elect (or not, depending on which hanging chad you look at) a male southerner, and a dynastic candidate with a far shorter resume and fewer intellectual accomplishments than Dole, George W. Bush.

http://www.publicseminar.org/2016/10/the-woman-who-might-have-been-president/#.WCN_gBIrJDU

Dole herself said,“Women in the Republican Party do not show enough support for a woman candidate. It’s much tougher than being a Democratic female candidate.”

Don’t tell that to Hillary Clinton. As it turns out, people were prepared to elect a woman Senator, even one with a prominent political husband. However, as we saw again last night, not enough were or are prepared to elect a female President no matter how qualified.

Many many years ago, Kent asked me who would becomePresident first, a black man or a white woman? I did not hesitate to say a black male. Because women of all races are still seen as less competent for leadership than men — sadly by both men AND women.

Apparently, we are still not ready. Even though Hillary received a majority of the popular vote, it was not by enough to propel her to an electoral college victory. Say whatever you want about Hillary, make whatever excuses about why you want a woman,“just not THAT woman”. But The United States of America just said they prefer a man with ZERO experience in government and ZERO foreign policy experience,  who sexually assaults and degrades women, publically mocks the disabled, will not disclose his taxes, and has 5 children with 3 women, diminished the sacrifice of a POW and a gold star family, and is currently involved in a fraud lawsuit and 3500 other lawsuits over an eminently qualified woman candidate.

As Joy Bahar said this morning, “You know what I learned? I learned that, as usual men can get away with anything and women can get away with nothing. That’s what I learned.”

I will leave you with this from the onion:
WASHINGTON—Political experts are hailing Donald Trump’s historic presidential victory early Wednesday as a resounding declaration that the nation is finally ready to cast off the tyrannical yoke of moderate respect for women that has suffocated the citizens of this country for generations. “Under Trump’s presidency, we can now look ahead to a bold new era in America in which we will no longer suffer under a repressive ideology that demands basic decency and relatively equal treatment toward half the nation’s population,” said Harvard political science professor Gregory Nagle, adding that citizens could now live free from the fear that they would never again be lightly chastised for making derogatory comments about a woman’s appearance or implying that women are less capable or intelligent than men. “For far too long, Americans have been at the mercy of an authoritarian belief system that sometimes presses employers to consider hiring women for high-level positions and, under certain circumstances, allows women to have control over their own bodies. And faced with the unsavory prospect of women receiving fair pay or having their sexual assault claims taken seriously, Americans went to the polls today and made their voices heard loud and clear. This is a bright new day for America.” In a similar finding, political scientists asserted that Trump’s election also represented a decisive move by the people of this country to shake off the brutal fetters of half-hearted attempts at racial tolerance.

P.S. You think it was bad for Dole and Clinton? Have you seen what they have said about Michelle Obama? And she hasn’t even run for office yet.