Thelma and Louise Revisited

This morning is showery with thickening fog, warmish, or rather seasonal for late March. The witch-hazels are in bloom and have been for a few weeks. Some of the other early-to-leaf trees are showing growing buds and the mocking birds are singing in the morning. Yesterday we saw our first great white heron on the marsh, busily fishing. We seem to be in spring.

While we had an essentially snowless winter, friends to the north where it was a snowy winter are still sloshing through remnant snow and waiting for the daffodils and skunk cabbage to poke through.

I had some idea that after I retired I would work my way through the pile of unread books I have accumulated. This, however, has not been the case and the stack has continued to grow. On top of that, I have my eye on a few “must reads.” I’m working hard to limit my new acquisitions; this is challenging as everyone else appears to be devouring books at a good pace, then acquiring new ones.

I’m in the second half of my synthesizer course and for the first time really, I am feeling overwhelmed. At our last live class the instructor opened a discussion of imposter syndrome, acknowledging that even now as a very much in demand composer and performer, she often imagines herself a fraud. The conversation seems to have hit home as the class discussion board now has a lively ongoing conversation about the relationship between being stuck and feeling the imposter.

Nori the cat is doing well. At the moment she is watching the world through a window by my workstation. She has settled in atop the sofa, her back to me, eyes closed, yet guarded least I grab her, which I won’t. Earlier she was on the three season porch. It was warm enough for us to leave the door open for half-an-hour or so and we all enjoyed the fresh air and bird song.

Further afield, we note that book banning and burning has returned, along with determined attempts to erase slavery and the Native American genocide from history on the basis that they make white people uncomfortable. I never, in my wildest dystopian fantasies, imagined we would get to this place but here we are. When entire colleges and departments are abolished in the name of comfort we have entered Huxlian territory for sure. I guess white fragility really is a thing.

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised given the ongoing erasure of Native history and culture, but taking race out of the Rosa Parks story in textbooks is taking things to an extreme, even by U.S. standards. This is happening at the same time as reproductive rights are being withdrawn and elections decided by the local party in power. We seem to be back in the 19th Century which I find pretty astounding.

The totalitarian impulse has been a consistent theme in American discourse throughout our history, rising and falling over time. As long as there were Native lands to grab for expansion the population at large pretty much went along with things as they mostly were unaffected and might even benefit. Now, with a population of 331 odd million, almost evenly split on these matters, things seem headed for the proverbial cliff.

17 thoughts on “Thelma and Louise Revisited

  1. Still lots of snow in our yard by the edge of the woods. Slowly, slowly the snow it melting and what a mess everything is. Ah, March! Yes, we live in astonishing times.

      1. Funny how in our imagination we can miss so much. Occasionally I even miss work and having babies – in my imagination. Maybe grounds for committal, do you think?

  2. Wow – the white washing of history in America in this day and age is frightening. Things are a bit better over here in Australia. I was watching a TV show the other day that involved an re-enactment of social history. In it I learnt that Australia had slavery too. I certainly wasn’t taught this in school but back in the early days of white settlement people from the Pacific Islands were kidnapped and bought here to work on the sugar plantations. They were never paid any money for their work and never saw their homeland again. Their descendants still live in Australia and are now speaking about their story. Incredible how much of the history of slavery and racism is hidden and how appalling that there is a new movement to erase it even further.
    I love reading your blog and reading your thoughts about these matters.

    1. Suzanne, I find it challenging to navigate the world of erasure and lies as I imagine do you. Somehow even seeming acknowledgement gets turned to denial. Anyway, thank you for these kind and poignant words.

      1. Yes the erasures are very troubling and double speak is rife. The rise of the far right and their ideologies is really hard to watch. I’ve retreated to spiritual studies and am working with ideas around the decolonization my own consciousness – very deep processes that are finding their way into poetry but are difficult to express in other ways – at least for me, at present. 🙂

  3. I am always amazed that certain people want to rewrite history. Isn’t history just that and we learn from it to move forward. Apparently these days, we rewrite or tear it down it if we don’t like it. I don’t ‘like’ a lot of it, but it truly is what it is.

  4. I too am disquieted by the retrenching of honesty in American history. Though I am not an American I have still seen almost a sea change in the last ten years or so. People say there was no slavery – not really – they could have left if they wanted to and no holocaust and no man on the moon.

    Alarmed probably more accurately describes my feelings – living as I do in the rural mid west!

    Thank you for a thought provoking post.

    1. Sorry it has taken ne so long to reply. Yes, the further erosion of truth here, and in much of the world, is disquieting. Perhaps even more so is the growing insistence that lies not be challenged and that uncomfortable truths not be spoken. Then again, speaking truth has seldom been popular or safe.

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