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Thursday, March 31, 2016

In honor of my friend

Sabra Thurber, Erin Brock (me), and Kyra Thurber, some time in the late 1980's

I was fifteen when I met Kyra for the first time. And I was terrified. Here was this olive-skinned, worldly, bright, stunningly beautiful girl, and there I was: pale, plain, too-short hair, a few scars already on my arms from cutting. We hated each other on sight.

We have been friends ever since. We've had fights, arguments. stopped speaking to one another, moved away. moved back, survived rape, domestic violence, death, adultery, and general horribleness. A friendship that started out as unabashed dislike bloomed into something that's lasted over thirty years.

When I got my driver's license, my parents forbade me from driving around and around Lake Harriet (in south Minneapolis). This was known as cruising, and since I was driving my mom's car, it was a big no-no. Obviously, I did it anyway. One evening, Kyra, our friend Tanya, and I were cruising around Lake Harriet, and we came to a sudden stop behind a car parked in the middle of the road. To this day, Kyra swears what happened didn't happen, but what happened is she gave them the finger when we finally passed. And they chased us for the next two hours. I drove over curbs, over grass, possibly through bushes, speeding, swearing, most likely crying at some point, because these assholes would not stop. We ended up in the parking lot of a gas station. I threw a shoe at them. We called 911, who didn't believe us, because I guess, in hindsight, it did sound pretty weird. The taillight on my mom's Dasher was smashed at some point, and I had to pay for that. For a very, very, very long time.

Kyra is the closest thing I have to a sister. She is brave beyond measure, caring without abandon, she is a survivor and a thriver. She is strong and funny and gorgeous and no matter how much time passes between phone calls, when we chat, it's as if no time has passed at all. She is what a friend is supposed to be.

And two nights ago, during a phone conversation, Kyra told me I am her hero, because I am telling my truth about Children's Theatre. Kyra was a student there, too, and has her own story. We both received excellent grades, even though we rarely attended classes, choosing instead to hold court in Fair Oaks coffee shop. Fair Oaks is also where I learned to love French fries and mayonnaise. The grades were a surprise, especially the B's we both received in classes that weren't even offered at CTC, but that's another story for another time.

Kyra's family took me in when, at age 16, my mother threw me out of the house. They fed me, and sheltered me, and cared for me when my own mother would not. I have always been grateful for that. My parents-mostly my mom-did not like Kyra, most likely because she saw through the facade, and realized the kind of person my mother really was. Funny, that's one of the reasons I love Ky so much; she knew, she always knew.

We get to see each other this weekend, for the first time in a few years. In honor of my friend, I am cleaning my house (hoping she and her kids will be able to stop by), getting a haircut, and buying waterproof mascara, because I know there will be crying, at least on my part. My husband thinks it's pretty amazing that Ky and I have remained friends for so long, especially since we both have survived trauma. It's not amazing, or maybe it is, but I can't imagine a life without her friendship.

In honor of Kyra, I write about my friend, my sister, my partner in crime (not for awhile but there were things...) and one of the bravest women I know. I love you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Privileged Progressive

Image from Getty

If you've spent any time on the internet of late, you have most likely bumped into a privileged progressive. Privileged progressives are the charming folks who say that if Bernie Sanders is not the nominee, they are either not going to vote at all, write in Jill Stein, or vote for Donald Trump. Because throwing the White House away doesn't affect a privileged progressive.

A typical privileged progressive is usually pretty well-off, usually white, and won't be harmed in any way by a Trump presidency. They're not Muslim, or refugees, or immigrants, so his xenophobia is offensive, yes, but not personally so. They treat women with respect, so Trump's horrible misogyny is offensive, yes, but not personally so. They think Black Lives Matter, so Trump's calling the BLM movement a terrorist organization is offensive, but not personally so.

Privileged progressives like Bernie Sanders because he hates the super-rich, even if they themselves are super-rich. It's not them who are the problem; it's the Walton family, and the Koch brothers. Heck, Bernie's got a little money tucked away (in his wife's name), but he's rumpled and doesn't dress fancy, so he's just fine.

Luckily, privileged progressives now have a poster child: Susan Sarandon. Sarandon appeared on MSNBC recently with Chris Hayes, to chat about how much she loves Bernie Sanders, despises Hillary Clinton, and Monsanto (oh for the love of GOD), and thinks voting for Donald Trump if her pet politician doesn't get the nomination might be a good idea. Oh come on, you say, you're misinterpreting her comments. Well, if I am, then so are The Washington Post, The Atlantic, CNN, Business Insider, and Gawker's click bait site for feminists, Jezebel.

Once Sarandon realized that people can hear you when you say words out loud, she backtracked faster then Thelma and Louise went over that cliff. After Jamie Lee Curtis and Debra Messing called her out on Twitter, Sarandon decided to clarify things by stating she would never support Trump "for any reason," and we all misunderstood what she said.

No, we didn't, because there are quite a lot of Sanders supporters saying the same thing. It reminds me of when my son was a toddler, and didn't get what he wanted. Petulance, then whining, then screaming, then finally, a full-blown tantrum. I think we're still in the petulance stage, but if Hillary Clinton ends up being the nominee, we will probably be witness to a rather large tantrum, accompanied by screaming.

Is Hillary Clinton perfect? Not at all, but neither is Bernie Sanders. Sanders really did vote to dump Vermont's nuclear waste next to a tiny Texas town populated by Mexican immigrants. Bernie Sanders really does fight tooth and nail to get defense contracts in Vermont, while telling people he hates the defense industry.

But it seems privileged progressives don't care. Hillary Clinton is evil, she's sold her soul to the devil, she's a Monsanto shill, she's too rich, she's too shrill, she supported shitty laws her husband signed. Bernie, on the other hand, is so pure and wonderful, a little birdie landed on his podium, which is obviously a sign from God that we should all vote for him.

Look, in November, what matters is keeping Donald Trump or Ted Cruz out of the White House. Sanders and Clinton are both good candidates. They are not saints, they have screwed up in the past. They are our only hope of remaining a country that does good things (sometimes? most of the time?). If privileged progressives keep promising to throw this election to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. remember-they don't care about you. They only want what they want, everyone else be damned.

Don't ever forget how well the whole privileged progressive whine-fest turned out in 2000. Ever.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekly Word News vs World Net Daily

I have a confession to make: For quite a few years, I thought Weekly World News and World Net Daily were the same thing. And when friends would post something about WND relating to politics, I was confused, because what did Bat Boy have to do with congress? In time, I realized WWN and WND are separate entities, and WND is worse.

See, with WWN, you know what you're getting. Here are some headlines from their website:

"New Bat Boy Film!"

"Yowie Spotted in London!"

"Study: Cronuts Raise IQ."

One of their most popular posts, according to the site, is How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil.

Okay, that's Weekly World News. Weird, wacky, goofy, did I mention weird. Now, World Net Daily.

World Net Daily is a nasty little website run by two truly disturbed men, Joseph Farah and Dr. Jerome Corsi. Farah is such a horrible human being, he has page after page after page dedicated to him at Right Wing Watch. Corsi is proof that anyone with sixty grand a year to spend on tuition can get a PhD from Harvard. Oh and he lies.

Here are a few of WND's headlines:

"Avant-Garde Artist 'Marries' A Rock."

"District Invites Satan Into U.S. Classrooms."

In their "Commentary" section, World Net Daily boasts columns by such luminaries as Ted Nugent, Ann Coulter, and recently, Michele Bachmann. Rick Santorum has also written a column or two for WND. Two former presidential candidates write for a website that took Larry Sinclair seriously, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on "Where's the Birth Certificate?" merchandise.

Which is why WND is worse than WWN. Is there really a giant, furry beast called a yowie wandering the streets of London? Of course not. But are there people in this country who believe Obama is a Muslim Kenyan communist baby-killing Nazi anti-Christ fascist? Oh yes. A lot. Those people adore World Net Daily, because Coulter, Bachmann, Nugent, Corsi, Farah, and the rest of them feed their hatred and fear.

Go ahead and read Weekly World News. Learn about the yowie. Watch the Bat Boy documentary, which is below, because it's hilarious. Eat a Cronut, then apply to Mensa. And remember: WWN may be weird, and bizarre, and their articles may be horribly written, but at least you won't find anything by Ted Nugent there.

Monday, March 7, 2016

There is a corner in my mind where monsters live

There is a corner in my mind where monsters live
They're usually quiet
Maybe they play cards
Or Monopoly
They don't bother me much
Except when they do
And when they do
They roar
They growl
But the scariest monsters
They whisper remember
Remember the bruises
Remember the screaming
Remember the blood
Remember the loneliness
Remember being afraid of everything
And everyone
There is a corner in my mind where monsters live
It's empty now
As they slither around
Bumping into my thoughts
Stealing my joy
Interrupting my life
Flexing their sinewy muscle
Punching their way through my dreams
Am I strong enough
I wonder
Am I stronger than the monsters
I didn't used to be
They always won
I would listen to their whispers
And dig into my own skin to make them stop
There is a corner in my mind where monsters live
They'll go back there
But for now
We wrestle and fight and snarl and glare
I'll win
Because I have no choice