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Showing posts from 2016

How The Trump Saved Christmas

Every Christian in Rightville liked Christmas a lot...
But the Liberals, who lived left of Rightville, did NOT!
They wanted to swap it for "holiday season"!
And Rightvillers knew that they knew the true reason:
It wasn't about a desire to be broad;
It wasn't to make it so none were ignored;
Those Liberals were out to destroy their religion
Beginning by banning their bestest tradition!
What next? It was surely a slippery slope
From “Warm Season’s Greetings!” to loss of all hope.
There’d be boys dressed in pink! Girls playing with trucks!
And both made to study that “theory” of Chuck’s;
While restrooms would sink into free-for-all madness,
And teens would know how to use condoms for badness,
And most of each hard-work-earned dollar would go
Towards helping the lazy die slightly more slow.
Now the Trump, in his tower, gazed out on the land
Thinking, “How can I make myself EVEN MORE grand?”
So he looked down on Rightville, and saw their distress
With the Liberals who’d …

The Death of Truth

No one enters suit justly;
      no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
      they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.
They hatch adders' eggs;
      they weave the spider's web;
he who eats their eggs dies,
      and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched.
Their webs will not serve as clothing;
      men will not cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
      and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
      and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;
      desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
      and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked;
      no one who treads on them knows peace.

Therefore justice is far from us,
      and righteousness does not overtake us;
we hope for light, and behold, darkness,
      and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.

Night Terrors (a villanelle)

This is a poem I started and abandoned a few times over the last year or so. Recent events have helped edge it towards something more of a thing.

NIGHT TERRORS Through dark and lonely reaches of the night
It hunts me with a restless ruthlessness:
The question — what if They in fact are right?

They say it all comes down to might on might,
And mine I cannot muster to contest
Alone, and in the darkest realms of night.

The world has ceased to render black and white
To me; I do not know; I fear to guess;
To Them, there is no question but They’re right.

They vouch that They are walking in the light
While, “wilfully contrary”, I digress
And wander lonely in the dark of night.

I am the orienteer of my plight.
To retrace now would be to acquiesce…
I cannot countenance that They are right.

Day dawns, and braver others rise to fight;
Till dusk there’s rumours of a just redress.
But then I am alone, and it is night,
And in the summing up, They’re counted right.Carolyn Whitnall, 2016.

…Therefore ju…

Good news and bad news

I remember the first time I choked on the word 'evangelical'. We had joined for the Sunday service of the Metropolitan Community Church [1] near our hotel in San Francisco. The (himself gay) minister had just given a raw and real sermon on either Luke 6 or Matthew 5, I'm not sure – "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. [...] Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you." (Luke 6:27-28, 37). Hearing this passage applied in the particular context of deeply felt griefs inflicted on the LGBT+ community by the wider church was humbling to say the least.

He welcomed us after the service – asked us what we were doing in the city and took an interest in our own church backgrounds. The 'e-word' was out before I had a chance to consider the extra political and personal loadings it inevitabl…

Impossible objects

You've let yourself go, you're a 3, you're a 9 but you're vain, you're too thin, you're too fat, you're too much at the gym, you have body hair, pores, too much make-up, you're dressed like a frump, like a tramp, you're a prude, you're a prick-tease, a turn-off, a slut, you're too girly, too butch, you're not smiling, you're endlessly styling your hair, it's too frizzy, too flat, you spend too much on products, you're visibly ageing, you must have had work done, you've lapsed in your duty of care, you're no more than a housewife, you're too career-driven, you've got no ambition, you're talking too much and too loudly, you've nothing to say, you're a bimbo, too smart, too assertive, a doormat, behaving too much like a man, you're a typical woman.

In short, there are no "fine lines" here: achieving acceptable womanhood isn't a balancing act, it's impossible. Logically impossibl…

Girls who hate girls who like boys who hate girls...

A friend of mine – male, and with some years on me – observed my gradual feminist 'awakening' respectfully but doubtfully. He – I'm going to call him Alan, because that's not his name – Alan would hear me out but struggled to see what all the fuss was about. Systemic sexism?! Many of his best friends were women, and they seemed to be doing alright. They could vote, drive and go to work, just like his male friends. And in their free time, they still got to do all those women-y things they enjoyed so much, like keeping house, looking after their families, dieting, shopping, removing excess body hair and ringing each other up to share anti-ageing tips. Best of both worlds!

Then one day something clicked. Or seemed to. Alan met another feminist at a party and got chatting about the sensitive subject of internalised misogyny – when women subconsciously accept the superiority of men and demean one another and themselves accordingly. Symptoms may include body-hating, slut-sh…

Version control

“Well, the story bit deeply into me and I went into it word for word. The more I thought about the story, the more profound it became to me. Then I compared the translations we have—and they were fairly close. There was only one place that bothered me. The King James version says this—it is when Jehovah has asked Cain why he is angry. Jehovah says, ‘If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.’ It was the ‘thou shalt’ that struck me, because it was a promise that Cain would conquer sin.”  Samuel nodded. “And his children didn’t do it entirely,” he said.  Lee sipped his coffee. “Then I got a copy of the American Standard Bible. It was very new then. And it was different in this passage. It says, ‘Do thou rule over him.’ Now this is very different. This is not a promise, it is an order. And I began to stew about it. I wondered what the original word of the original wri…

Do It Like They Do

"The Mating Game Has Evolved", proclaimed the bottle of shower gel that I'd scraped from the bottom of our where-did-this-even-come-from? toiletries barrel on my hurried way out of the house. "Unleash The Chaos With Lynx Attract For Her – A Fragrance So Irresistible It Will Drive Guys Wild."

Chaos did not ensue. Much as I deplore false advertising, I was, on balance, relieved.

Still, it got me pondering their promotional premise: hooking up is a unisex sport now. Women are no less free to pursue numerous casual sexual encounters than men. To which I say: yes to equality! and great if we're really (really?!) gonna lay off with the misogynistic shaming... All the same ... I dunno. Two things:

Firstly, "evolved" strikes me as an ironic word to describe a drift towards instinct-led sexual ethics. Isn't, like, the human ability to reason against our immediate animal appetites in part why we fancy ourselves a somehow higher form of life than our bi…