Category Archives: medicine and health

Robert Potato Peel Pie

Remember the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society?

Here’s a recipe involving the peel of a certain 19th C British baronet, with a little Hartley’s jam…

Cooking (reading) time: about 20 mins

I was intrigued that He Who Set Up England’s Police has just been in the news. Statues in Robert Peel’s honour are now an endangered species, for they may be destined to go the way of Edward Colston’s last Sunday (7th). I confess I laughed when I heard that the likeness of this unpopular 17th C Bristol magnate ended up in the Frome, in daylight and in front of a crowd.

His removal was long overdue. In 2007, at the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery in Britain, residents questioned why this man from 300 years ago whose wealth came from the slave trade, whose contributions (except the almshouses named after him) to the city are no longer tangible, should still be sitting in the middle of it. The nearby concert hall was being renovated, and much of the populace asked why this venue and its street bore his name. Bristol – the city of Princess Caraboo, Hannah Moore and Dorothy Hazzard – has a rich history of memorable people and a recent heritage of musicians. So why – if the largest music venue in the city needed to be named after anyone – did they pick someone who lived long before this hall, and who has no connection to music, but plenty to an abhorrent and obsolete trade? I was surprised that the statue and the hall – now with a ridiculous gold extension – had survived thus far.

I am pleased that we are asking about who we give honour to and if it is right to still give them honour. I note that like Colston’s displaced effigy, much statuary in Britain is 19th century, sometimes several after the person’s life; and that as one person put it, it’s public veneration. I like Christopher Wren’s epitaph – that on principle, we should be able to look round and see what they did. Not that I necessarily esteem the bewigged polymath and possible Illuminati member, just the notion that I shouldn’t need an eerie graven image to remind of what you’ve done.

I realise how many of Britain’s statues are of war heroes and states people: those whom we perceive made us great. I also note that many of our historic townhouses are named after historic rich men who were also public figures. Each time, this wealthy ‘successful’ businessman was also a statesman – MP, sheriff or mayor, often repeatedly. This ancient correlation continues.

So as I meld back to Robert Peel, I want to have in mind who were revere and remember, and that today, wealthy business people still steer our cities and countries (as well as get the best properties).

Robert too was from a wealthy business family, made from cotton, in the north west of England before moving to the West Midlands. Bury and Tamworth, who have statues to him, are now asking if they want to keep them.

Conservative media point out that activists may have confused his father – also Robert Peel – who opposed the abolition of slavery act in Britain because of the loss of revenue it would cause. Presumably he saw himself in that category, since cotton manufacture involved slave plantations. It’s said that we don’t know whether son was like father, and that Bobby jnr was too junior to have made much input to his father’s late 18th C decisions. Fair… but I thought that it wasn’t due to slave support that Sir Peel II was now on the not/wanted list: it was his police record.

It’s well known in Britain that Robert Peel set up our police, although I didn’t know the story. I thought that literally he was the first superintendent of the force, or perhaps even took on the role himself as a lone officer. Robert Peel didn’t do policing though: he created it. He was an MP and later prime minister in Britain, dying in 1850; and he was titled – 2nd baronet. He went to what we might call privileged educational establishments and lived in a hall. He founded the Conservative Party.

That doesn’t make him the enemy, although I confess that I baulked at reading this about him.

Peel is called the father of modern policing (note the paternalistic term), because by setting up the Metropolitan Police in London, he paved the way not only for the rest of England to have its own forces (Scotland already had one) but his example was followed in America.

So what did our example inspire or unleash on the world?

Bobby left us with 9 principles of policing which I’ve seen adopted in America as well as here – a sort of 10-1 commandments for law enforcement. Pro-police writers remind that Robert’s reforms cut hangable offences by 100 – so how many were left, I ask? – and working hours and child labour. So he did do some things right, or at least, better than his forebears. He also saved the country from its existing state of martial law enforcement; his ‘Peelers’ only had truncheons (wooden batons), not swords and guns, and their uniform was deliberately different from the red coats of the hussars, so that it was clear that a Peeler was not a soldier.

Can I stamp on this notion put about that we in Britain still call police ‘Peelers’. The only time I’ve heard that term used is when it is prefixed by Potato.

I’ll comment briefly on just four of those nine principles.

Note that police around the world are not keeping to these.

1) proportion, and persuasion first; never use more force than necessary

so no brutalities then, such as the ones that sparked all the riots recently or the abuse I read of today by an officer to another woman, allegedly seeking drugs

I agree to the first clause, but I wonder about the second ever being so; it is widely misused

2) police cannot usurp the judiciary – so no killing suspects and dispensing with trials

But the judiciary is not sovereign and untouchable, nor incorruptible; it too needs reform

3) Impartial upholding of the law – so no prejudice; but impartial can also lead to blind pernickityness; and the law itself needs much scrutiny (and will get it from me in another piece)

4) police are the people, and vice versa: that citizens are assumed to uphold the law and enforce it where they see it being broken

This makes assumptions about citizenry. We can’t opt in or out and we rarely have much say about the laws created, nor do we always agree with them. So whereas Bobby was expecting high standards of his namesakes, and society, I find that a bind which actually goes wrong…

Firstly, there is what kind of person joins the police – which is a topic to come back to…

This principle also gives support to the prevalent push that we can handle our problems without police – fodder for another article…

I want to focus on what was happening in England during the time of modern police forces’ inception. I remind that many US writers have commented that slave and immigration control were connected. I heard that London – England’s first force – was about custody of cargo.

So, I wondered, did England’s other contemporary great dock city – Liverpool – follow suit?

The banner photo on this blog is of Liverpool.

I recalled a snippet from a book on Liverpool’s docks by Ron Jones that made me want to investigate.

The official police in Liverpool seems formed by an act of parliament in 1835; although, as elsewhere, they existed in some form previously. This means, they were 6 years after London’s.

I wondered why it needed a central government act to create them as well as the docks I’ll soon get to…

In August 1819, the Peterloo massacre occurred in Manchester, a rival town in the same county which produced much of the goods that Liverpool got rich on shipping. A large (size unverified) crowd met to discuss equality and universal suffrage – for not even all men could vote yet. Their banners even included the word ‘love’. But over 2000 soldiers on horseback set upon what’s normally described as a peaceful crowd, and hacked at these unarmed civilians with swords. They wanted to charge the speakers, such as Henry Hunt, with treason (which was dropped), they set on journalists, and rushed through an inquiry. I watched Timeline dramatised TV based on the transcript of the inquest of one man, Lees. The trial was held, not in a proper court or a public space, but a pub in the next town. The witnesses – cotton workers, the mainstay of the town – were terrified as the magistrates were also their employers and landlords; some had even been part of the yeoman who attacked. As London lawyer, Mr Harmer, acting for the deceased’s father, made progress in showing the corruption and violent intent of the soldiers and town leaders, the coroner shut down the case.

However, it is often seen that this event was key in bringing about change, although not the revolutionary ones which were hoped for and feared, and not all immediately.

It did lead to the setting up of the [Manchester] Guardian newspaper, Britain’s most left wing daily broadsheet, and an important voice of supposed free and thorough journalism.

In 1831, riots occurred, notably in Bristol and Nottingham. Some of the fuel to the literal fires – the custom house, mayoral and bishop’s residences in the former, and ducal castle in the latter were burned – was the refusal to pass the Reform Bill. This Act is behind George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch, which describes the ‘rotten boroughs’, meaning that Members of Parliament were not representative of the population, by any means; it was a bribable boy’s club with easy to keep seats. The bill took up some of the issues that those Lancastrians of 12 years before had met about. But also, the city corporations also were seen as corrupt and self serving, as was especially felt in Bristol, Nottingham, and in Liverpool. The rioters’ quarry were people who had helped block this important bill for greater fairness. It was enacted the following year, and ‘rotten boroughs’ were no more.

Sadly, many of us feel that our government is still mainly self serving and not representative, and are effectively bribed by the wealthy elite.

Several accounts of these riots – such as you might read in a guidebook – don’t tell you that the soldiers again set upon their people. They’ll instead tell you how much property was damaged.

——————————–

The Police and Albert Docks

Many readers, perhaps those not from Britain too, will recognise that place. It’s famous – the Merseyside Metropolis has made it so. They are the synecdoche for the whole of a huge system, mostly designed by one man, Jesse R R Hartley Hare*. I wonder if his statues and plaques are on the Unpopular List? (*Hartley Hare is from kid’s TV; and J R R Hartley wrote a book on fly fishing).

Much of Ron Jones’s book, like others, boasts about the wonders of Liverpool (yes, I am already a fan) and its docks, but I realised that my values have changed. I’ll write a report on my travel blog. In short, Liverpool was built on the wealth that its port gave it, but it was a very divided city. The story I recalled was that when Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, came to open the much vaunted groundbreaking dock in his name in July 1846, many of the half a million who came to greet him couldn’t afford shoes.

There were other significant visitors to Liverpool that year. Lots of them. They came from the West. Unlike the Prince, they weren’t guests of honour. They’d come in hordes, in desperation, due to a potato famine that they saw their neighbouring country as having contributed to.

These Irish families – already destitute, tired, stressed, displaced – were squeezed into tight ghettoes. 20,000 citizens – that’s about a tenth of Liverpool at the time – were sworn in as special constables (ie plain clothes police for a particular s/reason) to help control these asylum seekers.

Not to welcome or support them, but contain them.

Now I’m not assuming that there was no trouble from these immigrants, any more than I’m supporting the rioters of the previous decade; but I am questioning how they are portrayed and how much their treatment added to the ‘social problems’ that we conveniently and patronisingly file them under.

I’d like to point out that these immigrants were white, and the same ethnicity as the indigenous people of Liverpool.

In Ron Jones’s book, I noted a comment which wasn’t critical but which should have been, and is very timely. A local lecturer, Dr William H Duncan, spoke out against the diseases that he said were rife in these Irish cramped lodgings, and said that they endangered everyone else in the city, morally and physically. This man then went on to be the first chief health minister for the country.

I very much take issue with this, which used health of others to demonise these Irish and other poor people, and use ‘infection’ as an excuse to control them and knock down their homes. The book doesn’t say what happened to the residents.

I’d like to say – and remember, I am very fond of Liverpool – that a city which is very cultural today and famous for certain musicians especially – was actually slow to get culture. At Albert’s visit, it didn’t even have a theatre yet, a lifetime behind more provincial towns. Even its classy residents who lived in terraces or mansions far from the stinky water which gave them their wealth celebrated key events not long before with bear and bull baiting. So the rich too engaged in activities which were considered morally dubious. Yet here was one putting moral fibre next to illness and equating the two. Familiar?

What did those new docks really mean?

I wonder if Jesse Hartley will join the not-so-wanted list. Of his day, I can see that he could be a hero, and that the wealth he helped amass for Liverpool (not even his native town, he’s from Yorkshire) would make him celebrated. As an engineer, architectural books keep telling me that Jesse’s work was extraordinary. But I can see that actually his work was short sighted and he seemed a hard, driven man, although because he achieved things, we overlook that. I’ll analyse what he built on my other blog.

I want to ask WHY Jesse Harley created so many new docks, on top of the 18th Century set which saw so much slave trade. A Liverpool superlative it should not be proud of is that it was Europe’s leading slave port; and it sent at least 10 times the human cargo ships that Bristol and London did. When Albert Dock opened, the slave trade had been outlawed in Britain for 40 years. Yet the port thrived on the produce it had made, and the produce of domestic slavery which continued in America till c1860. I was also surprised to learn that in Britain and its empire, slavery needed a second act, passed in 1834, to actually grind it to a halt, which wasn’t immediate.

Whilst we celebrate the names of those to whom we attribute slavery’s abolition, perhaps even they need scrutiny. William Wilberforce didn’t advocate immediate emancipation – he said slaves needed to be prepared for freedom. Resocialised, don’t you mean? Sometimes, they had to work for a generation first.

There is another very evil fact about slavery that I’ll end with. I had to walk round my home to take it in.

But my point for now is that Liverpool’s connection to slavery was around the time that policing began, and so did those new docks; and at a time of unbridled trading worldwide – two acts in the 1830s and 40s meant its ships could travel without restriction, and its profits were therefore unfettered.

What of the local workers – in factories and docks? Would they be considered working under modern slavery conditions?

I was also learned why these warehouses were built. London had a new kind of dock. Liverpool was encouraged to get some too. These enclosed docks where you could moor right by the secure warehouses meant that

1) the rich merchants lost far less of their goods to theft (or fire) 

2) the HM customs people could check and collect more easily.

Ah. Now we know why central government was involved.

And you’ll note that Jesse Harley’s designs included not only a huge wall (see why thoughts on walls here) to keep out, but police booths. Note their arrow slit motif and castle-like quality.

I don’t support looting, but I do wonder if some of the looters were those who couldn’t buy shoes.

Liverpool was also a port where people sailed for a new life to America. If you’ve seen The Golden Door, you’ll know it wasn’t such a land of the free and opportunity – more of a work force advert. Customs in New York were utterly brutal and degrading, in the name of health. But this also meant that further immigration occurred in Liverpool – mostly outgoing.

So yes, police were about keeping ‘rabble’ quiet and money in the right places.

I’ll also briefly touch on the fact that Catholic Emancipation happened at this time, and some further Church of England strangleholds on public office were released to non Anglicans.

Is it an accident then that policing was created in this era?

My shocking final fact: HMRC tweets that modern British tax payers helped end the African slave trade – we were paying for the compensation to the slave OWNERS til 2015!

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Love Warrior Speaks Out against enforced testing, tracing and treatment

I am deeply, deeply concerned about proposals for conditions of lifting of the lockdown – which many of us feared far more than the virus.

I’ve heard it said that the priority is saving lives – but it should be to protect life, a meaningful one with full human rights. The handling so far and proposals erode our basic freedoms and wellbeing.

Community testing can easily be community tyranny – such as army administered drive through tests (which trap us), or admission otherwise barred if we don’t comply.

We also show our deep discomfort about contact-tracing apps on our phones, and how the information is mis/used. Those we contact do not opt in and we fear for arbitary arrests and containment, and of targeting specific groups of people deemed to be a threat.

We have also long been concerned about vaccinations and other enforced treatments, such as what happens to us if we refuse or appear to test positive.

This gives the state, police, and army powers, takes away ours, and gives the government samples of us and allows it to know who we know.

We query what the tests actually show, what they really do, and what is really happening.

Whistleblowers have come forward in security and science. I heard the words of doctors asked to cook figures; experts in the field who say that the lockdown has weakened our immunity and prolonged the time needed for the virus to stop; who query the level of contagion and type of contact needed to be infected; that projected figures are exaggerated and that tests and vaccinations are not necessary nor effective, and often harmful; and as well as the fear many are living in, that health issues are caused by unhealthy substances in our environment, especially wi-fi. Some of those coming forward include Rashid Battar, Derek Henry, Wolfgang Wodarg, Scott Jensen, Knut Wittkowski, and some of these can be seen on the OpenHand website.

These links to YouTube and social media often suspiciously disappear.

All the official remedies have assumed face value and allopathic models, as well as total state control.

Many health professionals are saying that naturally building our immune system whilst avoiding the unnatural substances in our world, like fluoride, chemicals, coating of pans and tins, smart devices, and 5G, as well as restoring calm, balance, and at least some freedom (especially to be outside, with others than just our household) would better ways to combat the disease.

We ask that 5G does not come and for extra care about what is being sent through out airwaves. Some can already feel and hear strange things…

We ask that this is not a time for bullying or division (I know people whose benefits have been refused or threatened during lockdown!), not a time of telling on our neighbours or setting our own against us.

We ask that this city and country leads (whereever you are) by imposing no enforcement, roadblocks, uninvited home visits, or incarceration; and instead looks to why this virus is here and what we can learn from it.

[On Sunday afternoon, I’ll have a sermon to share]

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Tough Love isn’t love, it’s nannying

This might be a snaky logic one – a whole slither of snakes with tails in their mouths…

I did an internet search on the phrase ‘tough love’ and there were many results, from parenting and recovery (where it has its source) to foreign policy, health and government, to relationships.

None were from sources I particularly esteem.

“Tough love is no love at all” and its synonyms also rendered results in all the same spheres. There were many addiction recovery advocates who were firmly against, as well as those working/with depression and dementia who described the greater suffering this stance causes.

The first site in the latter category I found is no longer there, or I would like to have named the author and linked to it with her permission. She was hugely honest and said that she realised that the tough love she dealt in her relationships wasn’t love, but her pain, fear, her need to be right; and what she’d considered ferocity of love was really insecurity, arrogance and self righteousness.

Once she realised that real love isn’t tough, but gentle, she transformed her fractured relations.

And I thought: this woman is spot on.

Tough love is a lower energy response. It is what transactional analysists would call parent/child mode. I…your mum, teacher, ruler, boss, doctor, priest, law maker/enforcer know better than you.

And as your friend, sibling, partner, counsellor, I also assume a role of power over you. The playing field is tipped, and you’re slipping to the bottom end. You’ll fall off unless you do what I tell you to. I, with my greater experience, training, qualification (do you have that, really?) and the position I’ve been given (by you?), have rights to do this.

I explored a judge’s right to have power to enforce medical treatment – which I think should be zero – and this is pertinent as we face this multicountry viral problem. I’ve been researching vaccination, aware that what we may assume is a must and is safe and good for us may be something quite else. It is another example of the state’s power over us, taking sovereignty of our own choice and bodies away from ourselves to a ruling class that many of us didn’t meaningfully choose. I’ll have future examinations of the necessity, type and role of the state…

The Nanny State answer is the assumption that they – leaders and scientists and doctors – know better than I what is good for me, and then the really manipulative one: you (or your kiddie) will harm me (or my kiddie) if you don’t have this vaccination. Thus I’m going to need to make you to somehow, by fines, exclusion, or injection by force. You know the last of those is rape?!

Nanny States aren’t, for me, the ones that ban public smoking but those that have sin taxes – such as on sugar, which I’m not convinced is the evil made out to be (I’m far more worried about the unnatural substances in our homes) – and attempt to stop eating on public transport; those with laws about age restrictions, wearing helmets, and yes, whether we have to have particular tests and treatments… in short, narrowing our choices from how you cross the road to what shots (of any kind) we have. I note that there’s inconsistency: compare the UK and the Netherlands: one bans cannabis and prescribes motorcycle helmets; the other bans jaywalking and prescribes ID carrying.

But like all these others, nannying comes from not only arrogance but fear. It says – I dare not give you choice because I don’t trust you; or what I really mean is that my power over you might be diminished if I gave you choice, and you might not choose me or do what I say, and then, I’ll have no confidence. I don’t really have much in you, or in the possibility of other possibilities.

It might say: I feel responsible, or perhaps, more truly: someone else will hold me responsible and I can’t handle the guilt (or bad stats or telling off) I’ll get if I don’t intervene.

Nannying leads to tough love, for it says – you must do this my way, or there are repercussions. On even an interpersonal level, it’s often about punitive measures or exclusions, perhaps hoping that it makes the recalcitrant return to prescribed behaviours. Of course, there’s a chance of harming them and your relationship irrevocably.

The prescriber, the nanny, the tough lover isn’t prepared to see that their idea of right, truth, best practice and what this person (or people) need isn’t necessarily what they think; and that their way of getting it might be closer to a grown up tantrum than anything we might seriously call policy. I will arrest you, fine you, turf you out, not speak to you, stop your money, invade you, watch you, drag you to where I think you should be…

Often, this is into a system which in itself needs scrutiny. I’m alarmed that homeless people as well as those on benefits and deemed to be addicted or ‘a danger to themselves’ are told: this is what you need to do to get our help – you may not have asked for it. They often have to sign a non negotiated agreement. And there’s often ‘loved ones’ who push towards these systems.

Such systems themselves need tough love.

As this time will show us more than ever, there’s not one way to do things, and the way that we’re used to doing them may not be shown to be a valid one. There’s subjugation of will, the normalisation of the nonconformist, the use of threats and force to gain desired outcomes – desired for those dictating and enacting it, not those on the receiving end.

Does this really come out of care? There is a fear of loss, but this is actually exacerbated by tough love behaviour rather than alleviated. If you’re ill, and someone tells you that you must undertake prescribed procedures in order for them to continue with you, you not only risk them not continuing with you but in not continuing – for such a response jeopardises recovery. And what you enjoin might actually have a deleterious affect. You don’t know everything about another person and we are all so diverse. That’s why I’m a passionate advocate against one size fits all solutions and systems, to this virus and to what we build after it.

There is healing which harms,

remedy which ruins

imperatives impair

Real love gives freedom and agency and respects choice and differentiation

Love is gentle, not harsh; it sees people as equals to cherish, not inferiors to instruct

Love doesn’t have requirements, especially not self serving ones

Tough love is no love at all, but need

Well, the snake has been more singular and straight than I expected, but we need to keep mindful of serpents, and keep being wise and asking questions…

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Easter 2020 sermon

‘Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and others came to the tomb while it was still dark’ and every year for over twenty years, I have risen at daybreak – not a natural act for me – and gone outside to a special place to commemorate those women’s silent bravery and the first hope of Easter. This year I am on hill overlooking my city.

Usually, I replay my 7 Sayings compositions for Good Friday and add my Easter Day piece, and then later join with other Christians. But of course, I can’t attend worship with others this year – and it seems incredible that churches have been told not to open on their most holy day, the fulcrum of our faith.

This year, more than ever, I felt the need to speak about the meaning of Easter, and this year it will be physically, visibly felt. We are still in the tomb, for most of us round the world can’t meet to celebrate this feast, but we can prepare for the bursting forth in subversive victory by planning for it in our collective cocoon, doing the inner work until the outer can physically manifest.

I’m proud that there are Particular Baptists and Priestesses listening to this, and I’m glad to have brought you together, for this is a common purpose that we need to work towards.

Whether we recognise the phrase, we are all Lightworkers, here to usher in a new kingdom.

God has especially intervened in his – or her – relationship with humans three times: when he first made us; when he sent Jesus; and…now. The New Age isn’t a ducky hippy fantasy – it is here. I believe there are three covenants that God made with us: one with a particular people, although I think God has always been broader than that; and then he opened to the door to the Gentiles in the new testament, so that inclusion was through belief in Jesus… and now I think God is saying: open the door.

Perhaps the Particulars will particularly flinch at the suggestion, or I think assertion, that there is but one God; and whatever we call Her, that we are using different dialling codes to the same exchange.

I have come to understand that God’s essence isn’t judgement and exclusion. His prime attribute isn’t holiness, or even power… it’s love, Love with a capital L. And today we don’t proclaim good news because you have to accept serious bad news first. It’s not – believe or else; feel guilty and let that dictate your acceptance of God’s gift with not just strings attached, but thick cords. That cannot be grace – or a healthy relationship.

Today, the temple curtain in our sadly empty churches is rent in two: God isn’t held in the Holy of Holies for priests – or priestesses – alone. She’s not even in buildings, beautiful as they often are, which can be shows of strength and privilege, and doors that can exclude as well as give sanctuary. God is out in the world, within our walls and yet beyond them.

And God is birthing, through us, not 5G – the next level of technological connectivity, which very much concerns me – but 5D, the 5th dimension. For me, higher D is about living in a consciously soulful place, seeing one’s story arc from an authorial point of view, more and more in tune with what SARK calls “your inner wise self”, or Spirit, and not what traditional Christians would call ‘worldly values.’ It is a greater focus on the unseen and immeasurable.

Events over the last year have started to push me out of the 3D world, the ‘lower energies’ as those card carriers of the woo woo community (like me) would say. I’ve discovered that even having a lifelong faith doesn’t mean you’re always living at a higher level, just as those who don’t consciously have a faith, especially not my faith, can walk a higher path.

I believe, with many others, that this is the time when our old structures will fall, to be replaced by ones which are rooted in different values.

I was asking myself what I would do if I was tasked with responding to the virus. And my first thought was: breathe, then pray. I don’t know how many world leaders did that, but it’s something we’re not encouraged to talk about. We’re also not expected to talk about feelings, especially not love, in politics or business or education or health. We disregard the nonquantitive, non empirical, the non corporeal. And I think this is where we have gone wrong.

I was first drawn to the Green Party – of which I now consider myself ‘a candid friend’ – because the first policy document of theirs I read 10 years ago hinted at spirituality, and it also began by asserting the equality and value of all living things.

We’re so used to systems where not everyone matters and not everyone wins. We are run by wanting money in one way or the other, by what we own and who owns us.

This time has brought up the issue of personal sovereignty versus the executive powers of the state – even to close the churches on this most holy holiday. Although it is largely voluntarily to stop the spread of the virus, I am mindful that there are times when churches have been closed on government orders purely because they were disapproved of. I am not advocating selfishness and lack of responsibility, but I vociferously believe in our own agency especially over our own bodies, homes, and the healthcare we choose, and our right to worship, our right to think for ourselves, and I do advocate doubting until personally satisfied.

I think it’s vital that we remain aware and that what emerges out of this cocoon time is not a new normal where we no longer meet in person, mingle in groups or crowds, that everything we do is electronic which can be traced, with even greater reliance on technologies that are harmful to our health; that we remain compliant out of fear, and even begin to fear each other.

I want there to be an openness to ancient ways as well as new, to diversity and divergence. I’m reminded of that film and book trilogy by Veronica Roth about a dystopian post traumatic city which is divided into factions, according to personal traits. The leaders are desperate to keep everyone in their factions, and despise and fear those who live outside the neat systems put in place by the city fathers. But – plot spoiler alert – our heroine, who is one of the dreaded Divergents who don’t fit, discovers that the city fathers designed this system so that society matured when it realised that Divergents were the key, not the enemy.

Those who didn’t fit the system didn’t threaten it, they completed it.

I think this is a lesson our world needs, for it is in the throes of hoiking out our divergents for fear of the new world that they especially might midwife. But we need to celebrate those we formerly thought of as aberrations, not fix and suppress them.

In traditional Easter theology, this is a time for overcoming the Enemy, and this year, more than ever, it’s a time to remember that our God has overcome death, fear, illness, and evil.

In Tom Robbins’ novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, he says that the enemy is not all the ‘others’ – other nations and ethnicities, the other sex, the other class, the other sexualities, the other faiths, and whatever else we may divide ourselves into and want to blame and set ourselves against. He says ‘the enemy is the tyranny of the dull mind’.

Philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote of ‘the banality of evil’ – that the ultimate darkness is not often charismatic or potent, but simply dull conformity. For her, it was the inability to think which made the execution of evil possible. And I would argue, to feel…. Outrage at injustice, but also love, a love that can’t allow injustice but that can still love those who do it, and have so much love that it pulls perpetrators out of their actions into wholeness, out of our own dullness into awareness.

I began by mentioning Mary Magdalene – and I’m almost done. Mary has become more and more important to me over the years, especially when I began embracing the Priestess path along side the Christian one. Elayne Kalila Doughty calls the priestess path ‘the vow to walk as love’. I have taken that, and realise I can live that without a dog collar or a torque.

I’ve learned, or am learning, that the telos of love is to love without needing a response; that love can take many forms, and at this time of ascension, that we are especially called to expand our expressions of love beyond the factions laid out for us by old paradigms – for perhaps those who laid them out also had the notion that the ultimate maturity was when we learned to live beyond them. Much of our love, like our law, is possessive, exclusive, right and wrong, win and lose; it requires permission, it has territories, it’s proprietary.

I believe that today we celebrate the rising of the One who burst all that. I think his relationship with Mary Magdalene was one that defied categories. Jesus isn’t to me just the Christ Conscious one; for me, he is God, who rose in physical form, and what he embodied and taught is something we can share in, as Mary did – for she best understood him and preached his message. I see her as a special messenger, perhaps being to the Trinity what the RAC claimed to be to the emergency services. (Yes I did just say that the Trinity is a 4 leaf clover).

I’ve been watching Xena: Warrior Princess. I see myself as Warrior Priestess. Xena and her companion Gabrielle – whose love also defies categorisation – commit to following the Way of love and light, overcoming darkness in the world and themselves. They knowingly go to their crucifixon, followed by an incredible act of love and forgiveness, transformation and resurrection – just as we remember at Easter. I’m more convinced than ever that death is not the end and that and Love goes on, not just for Jesus, but all of us.

The Easter sermon that I best remember is from Durham Cathedral in 2005: that when Mary asked Jesus if he was the gardener, she was kind of right. Jesus is making a new creation and asking us to be part of landscaping, planting, weeding, watering and hoeing… for soon we shall be picking. I know I’ve barely quoted the Bible – and I enjoy biblical exposition – but I’m seeing that we’re called now to a faith beyond just the Book, beyond the words we call God. So as we awaken this Easter Day 2020, let us awaken in all senses, and have clear vision, and courage to love, to be the change in the world we seek, and with Jesus and Mary, be bringers of a new age.

Listen at https://yourlisten.com/BetweenTheStools/easter-2020-with-music and https://artradio.tv/elspeth-rushbrook (yes this site is safe but a warning comes up if you click this link direct from WordPress)

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Thoughts on how le virus is being handled

I’ve been doing much and varied research from pandemics to papers to polemics to priestesses…

It’s not that I wish to play down those who are suffering from Covid-19 or worried about loved ones, but some numbers suggest a different perspective:

As of 17th March, according to an unsourced graphic in the Daily Mail, there were about 1500 cases in the UK and 54 deaths. There are 67m of us.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8121607/Janet-Street-Porter-73-rages-quarantined.html

I don’t know if I can trust those stats (I usually don’t trust that paper), but if so, less than 0.000025 have been infected, and my calculator doesn’t know how to show how tiny the 0.067 of those dead out of those infected is in the overall population. It’s less than a millionth. In my region, 1 in c5m has died – one 5th of a millionth.

What are the overall deaths in that period, and of what? How significant are these covid deaths?

I see that the numbers have risen quickly, but then the chart is designed to show that and there’s been a sudden awareness (heightened by the media and then the closures and then testing).

On Tues 25th, the Guardian showed 8000 cases in UK – that’s still 0.0047, although it’s grown again… and now there’s figures of what the projected deaths would be if we didn’t all stay in…

I also read from multiple sources that last year’s flu season saw 26,000 deaths in this country.

I wonder if coronavirus is the only condition that sufferers have – often it’s cited that those that contract it and die have other health issues.

Countries want to seem powerful by taking action and showing that they’ve implemented a solution and to have low stats – not to be the place infamous for infection.

I wonder if high figures are used to justify harsh means.

I am wondering about the difference between testing positive and contracting the illness in a serious way, and the veracity of the claim that low to no symptom carriers do meaningfully infect others. By meaningfully, I mean that they exhibit unpleasant to dangerous symptoms.

There is a difference between infection and contagion. Is infection truly proven, or circumstantial? Is infection in fact by the power of association – such as we’re seeing through fear? I’ve been looking into why the germ has such power in our medical model, and into the work of Antoine Bechamp, Louis Pasteur’s rival, whose work was largely passed over for a more lucrative model.

Is the positive test indicative of something else than dangerous infection? Why can some people carry the illness and not show any signs?

I heard – from an unspecified personal source – that in one European country which now has police-enforced lockdown, a group of four young people breaking the curfew were picked up and all tested positive. The message: renegrades are dangerous: they are our enemies. (And ‘Stay in, or else’ as one British headline put it). But I read: this is spin. Why were they picked up rather than sent home? (And wasn’t being in a police car causing possible infection to all?) Did they have to be tested – isn’t that intrusive? And there’s a backlash against younger people. “This is the ultimate test for selfish millennials” a British newspaper that I deplore headlined an article. Younger generations might question more, rather than being selfish. I wonder what the demographic of that paper’s readership is, and if it’s boomers, then that’s the last bastion of wartime compliance…. I shall come back to this topic sometime.

That group of young men needed to be shown to be not just nonconformists – if they were safe to be out, so might the rest of us be, and the measures thus shown to be unnecessary. They had to be shown to be dangerous. All four of them tested positive?! So I’m suspicious about this story, and certainly its use in the PR campaign.

Should it be up to the government, or WHO, to impose nationwide policies and restrictions?

Isn’t this a time to involve natural health if allopathic medicine is so overstretched? I read it was used in China, very effectively.

It seems that many are voluntarily observing advice, such as self isolation, social distancing, and better sanitation, and many public places had closed before they were made to. I am very concerned when armies and police get involved, because their presence against their own people – and their training and mindset – is undemocratic.

It’s not a democracy, it’s a tyranny.

I note that the countries who’ve taken a controlling approach to lockdowns include those that have (had) dictators or been under occupation. Denmark has passed a law regarding mandatory vaccination – and it also is proud to have eradicated ‘Down’s syndrome’ babies – which is an ugly and forceful stance on ‘health’ that correlates. (‘Down’s syndrome’ people are beautiful souls of pure love, which we need more of).

The time I was proudest of those countries was when they stood against Hitler. Their leadership and armies wouldn’t comply. Ten years ago, the Greek police wouldn’t over plans for forced vaccination.

There are parallels with that time and now, and the courageous work of medical journalist Jane Burgermeister.

It’s disturbing when resources can be found to control your own in the name of public safety.

Many of us can see that this could be martial law coming in through a back door, and we wonder if it wasn’t deliberately left open. We fear each other, even loved ones, and this makes it hard to reach out and show love, especially if the net is being censored. Solidarity is built when we reach out to strangers, not when we’re afraid to touch them. We recognise too that our ministers, our police and army, as well as health care workers are all people too and that they are part of us.

Seeing each other as ‘other’ is exactly how we are able to commit abuses, even atrocities.

Seeing each other as fellows to connect and protect makes us handle events very differently.

Controlling measures shows for fearful leadership.

If countries or cities want to impress others with their leadership, they should be aware that totalitarianism doesn’t. We remember harsh regimes with a shudder. These are not times to emulate or leaders to be proud of. Their effects continued long after, and the memory remains permanently, as do the actions of individuals – such as those officers who dragged a couple from their home in China and left a disabled child to die.

Mussolini, Hitler, Henry VIII, Edward I, Bloody Mary, Franco, Hoxha, Ceausescu… we’ve heard of these and have a nifty negative opinion, even if it’s not very informed. S/he was the one that…

It’s these kinds of systems that will no longer work. Whether the virus is intentional or just has the potential to be used for control, I believe it actually can be the catalyst to break out of unjust, self-orientated institutions into better ways. I’ll have more to say on that over Easter….

So I’m not belittling the virus or the difficult job of how to deal with it, nor am I advocating breaking your country’s curfews and saying not to care about others and that the disease can’t be spread by contact; but I am questioning assumptions and models, thinking ahead on what might happen, how this situation could be misused, and I’m not assuming that there’s only one way to handle it. I will be discussing that too into my Easter message, which will appear here on Easter Sunday. There’ll be other messages during this coming Holy Week and a link to my Good Friday sundown service with my own music.

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A message for ministers and a dream for all of us

A version of this is being shared with various ministers and newspapers:

I ask for measured measures about the virus. I’m alarmed about draconian steps and proposals. I am calling on all ministers to be proportional and wise, to not silence dissenters (who may have some valid points – after all, such a surreal situation deserves scrutiny), and to be aware that any enforced measures (such as testing, closures, bans, treatment, seizure or lockdown) have deleterious effects and decrease public trust and sympathy. Isolation creates economic and health crises. There’s a real threat of swift starvation for those in poverty. Quarantine can mean greater loneliness or relationship stress – from passive smoking to abuse. Mandatory vaccination is a human rights issue: not only is it abuse to insert a foreign body against your will, we don’t know what that body really does and if it’s yet safe. It also assumes this is the only model of healthcare, and we are aware that it’s a lucrative one. We have the inalienable right to our own bodies and to the care we choose. (I support natural medicine – the greater use of which would take the pressure off national allopathic medicine’s resources and allievate earnings loss amongst those workers). Many people are in fact voluntarily following official advice; and there’s a social collateral element which assists with that. The aggressive use of enforcement officers makes a democracy into a tyranny. I would like to see this country lead in its handling, by recognising the need to associate and to continue to allow us make our own informed sensible considerate choices, and that we can’t be together apart.

————-

I’m aware that the measures aren’t being followed by all and that there’s a belief that not doing so endangers not only yourself but others, and that governments have the right to take measures to enforce where safety is concerned… but that comes down to whether the establishment has executive powers over our own sovreignty, what model of government and healthcare we should have… all of which I’ll be taking up in forthcoming posts…

 

My dream… reverse no touch

In my dream, it was the opposite of what we’re asked to do. Instead of trying to avoid touch,  keeping far apart, avoiding physical affection…this was where we hugged and clasped the hands of even strangers if they were willing, for each touch was an act of healing and solidarity, and we needed to spread love to all.

It’s why there’s something counterintuitive, and perhaps suspicious about this.

Surely healing comes through touch, not avoidance? It feels like the premise for a dystopian sci-fi.

It recalls one: Metropolis where although the workers stand close in a lift, their heads are bowed and they don’t see or speak to one another, and they’re resigned to their minion life.

I fear that this distance will become standardised, that we’ll rely more on electronic transactions – which, unlike in person ones are trackable – and that this fear and wish to be a good citizen will make us more compliant and malleable generally. It’s a classic totalitarian sign to break up meetings and/or to require state permission to have them.

So as we try to be responsible and resist the spread, it’s good to be aware and to find other ways to connect.

Before things got stricter, I took a spread the love walk, silently and intangibly sending love to all those I passed (at the requisite distance) to their homes and offices, even their parked vehicles. I also greeted some strangers, smiled, and warmly thanked those that keep services open. And it made me feel happy too.

And if I sound naive – why should germs and fear have power over God and love?

—————————————————————————-

I’m aware that much of the world has gone into lockdown since I wrote that, and of the belief that being out is selfish because it spreads the disease. I’ve actually been out little, and I respect the health of others, but I have been doing some research from pandemics to papers to priestesses and Pasteur, and I am seeing different possibilities emerge, as I’ll share anon…

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You’re spreading fear more than germs – spread love instead

THIS IS BEING TWEAKED AS EVENTS UNFOLD

I take a break from my church of England [sic] series to speak out about the spread of fear via disease. I’m not going to even name that virus…

My fear is not of the disease, or dying, but how it’s handled and what it means.

Someone aptly said: what are they hiding or wanting us to look away from?

When wide outbreaks of disease occur, it is during times of unrest. I thought this when visiting the Real Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh regarding the C17 plague. This was a dramatic century. I question the official story of the start of the plague and the fires that wiped it out, and note that it coincided with new religious groups and the restoration of traditional power who persecuted those groups.

V for Vendetta is a fictional story about a disease that spreads, and a new fascist leader has the antidote…

This virus has come amid so much turmoil, at a time when we’re already being watched.

I’m concerned at calls to curtail the net. This means that censorship can come in through a back door. There’s a difference between unhelpful advice and stopping people from writing who might disagree with the official version. What matters is being discerning about the source.

I wonder if, beyond the biological causes, that people are simply more prone to disease during times of war, faminine, austerity, dictatorial leadership. Just as spiritual people see the environmental crisis as more than banning plastic and fracking, mass illness is also a symptom of gross imbalance and injustice.             It means we’ve lost our alignment.

Like war, a disease is a form of central population control by fear. Compliance seems a duty to assist with a common cause. It allows people to be contained and tracked – and worse of all, to be isolated and deprived of care and contact at the time we most need it.

Forensics should never mean we forego farewells.

It’s disturbing when a hug becomes an act of defiance. But as a graffitist wrote, defiance is an act of hope.

I question whether isolation and vaccination are the only and best responses.

The answers to an epidemic are not ultimately found in a lab – which is why I didn’t like the film Contagion. It worries me that this disease, 9 years on, has several similarities.

The problem is that the medical model works on only one level of understanding – what those in woo woo circles call lower energies/vibrations. It’s from an empirical, logic base – although this isolation has issues on that level, for it affects the economy and mental health in favour of physical, and means that resources and services could run out, causing greater panic and more deaths. What we need is a deeper, higher response that truly sees beyond face value and biology.

When a newspaper prints fearful headlines, encouraging us to panic over our health, fear strangers, and comply with unreasonable measures; when you post anxious social media about the topic, use health mask emoticons, or make a xenophobic quip about separation of certain peoples at a meeting – or cancel these unnecessarily, you too are spreading fear. When you call on your government to ‘do something’ you are encouraging them to take controlling action – even when they don’t want to.

It can mean we endure bullying in the name of healthcare.

It isn’t just hand washing that will truly stop this spread. Our real enemy is not germs, or foreigners, or other people generally.

I encourage people to think what they are washing with – over harvested palm oil, chemicals that are not good for us either – whilst making someone else a profit (as do drugs and facemasks). I only use natural toiletries and I read the labels very carefully. I encourage thinking about labels and ingredients in more general terms. We must ask carefully who we trust – and if we trust WHO and other official channels, rather than assuming we must.

Love, not fear – and also awakening. That’s what we should be spreading.

 

Here are some perspectives that you won’t see on the news…                          [inclusion doesn’t imply mutual or complete endorsement]

Comfort in the Face of the Covid-19 Pandemic

from Priestess Lauri Ann Lumbi (this may not be viewable for nonmembers now but you can read her next pieces)

Spiritual teacher and healer Jo Dunning sent a lovely message: her website is https://www.jodunningevents.com/portfolio-items/divine-chaos-of-creation

Here’s the most recent message https://www.jodunningevents.com/portfolio-items/inspire-message-by-jo-quick-pulse/

https://www.soulfulworkconsulting.com/blog/2020/4/12/happy-day-of-awakening-and-truth

by Rachel Horton White, also on the site below

Wake Up World on a different model of germs

https://consciouslifenews.com/expert-advice-from-an-herbal-immunity-pro-herbs-to-consider-for-coronavirus/11183331/  Herbs for immunity

Here’s one you did:

https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/18/coronavirus-frightening-shown-us-community-matters-12413057/  Green MP Caroline Lucas “Disaster can bring out the best in us if we let it”

 

Since publishing this, many countries have gone into lockdown, but I remain concerned about the necessity and efficacy of that move and what is happening…

 

 

 

 

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Who Called The Fat Police? Dame Davies, give in your badge

The Metro’s recent headline (10th October) was again angering. A British health minister wants to ban eating on public transport to combat obesity!! As a swansong, this former chief medical officer for England – worryingly dubbed Dame – has obviously used her leverage to get a front page of Britain’s most seen free rag to make her campaign. Is this what we should be knighting people for?

Sally Davies is concerned that ‘excess weight’ is now accepted as normal. What she means is that yes, bigger sizes are catered for in clothes shops; that advertising campaigns show curvy people as beautiful; that artists depict them in celebratory defiance to combat fatism and body fascism, for men and women.

And I say – amen! Who decides what’s normal and attractive?! It has varied over time and place.

The Body Mass Index is a tool to allow health services to back the attack on aesthetics that’s arbitrary and actually, modelling thinness is unhealthy. Many of us find larger figures appealing.

What is your real problem with big people, Sally? What size are you, and would I find you attractive?  Would I want to sit next to you on a bus, with or without permissible snacking?

My concern is that Fat Policing has also become normalised. Zoom lenses capture the ‘muffin tops’ of flesh sticking out of jeans by journalists to illustrate their point – which is against the diversity movement, against the anti abuse movement, against privacy. It’s not OK to rib and tell people off for their size, to make them so unhappy that they’ll conform to a standard set out by… who?….and why?

I say we call in the cards to allow citizens arrests of those whom we deem too large – and that especially means health professionals, who often don’t live up to their own didactic advice.

And the suggested snacking ban is more evidence of the Nanny State that we’re increasingly fed up with.

Eating on public transport is a good use of otherwise wasted time. For those on the go in all senses, this might be our best or only time to eat – and, as any good health chief would know – eating properly and regularly important. Only litter can possibly be a reason to curtail public eating. Curtail the mess – not the food. And the Dame’s not even wanting to ban just messy, smelly fatty foods on public transport – but everything save bottled water!

Many people eat to abate travel sickness. Do we want greater nausea to clear up, instead of food mess?

Many people have eat little and often metabolisms. Is a swaying, green, faint person more desirable?

You don’t know what people have also eaten, what their metabolism is, or their needs.

And no, don’t even start thinking of monitoring this and deciding who can eat on buses.

The Dame – now sounding very pantomime – went on to wish to push greater taxes on sugar and ban many adverts for foods she considers ‘fatty’.

I question the real issue behind sugar war and suspect this is about something somewhat darker.

I’m more concerned about purity of food, of added chemicals and modification. And that health foods and toiletry products are often not as pure as they’d claim. That’s where my concern lies.

Real health is about balance, and also natural foods. I support local, where possible, organic, unmodified with minimal ingredients and no chemicals. It’s more than what we eat: real health requires freedom.

The Metro – not the most balanced or progressive newspaper – did cede that Boris Johnson (not my favourite man) had for once made a good point: that ‘stealth sin taxes’ are counterproductive and controlling; the Food and Drink Federation worried that their work to promote health will be undone by these proposals.

I query amassing more for the treasury under the guise of what’s really a fine (thus continuing the ‘sin’ is in government interest), and that this very narrow view of ‘health’ is against more progressive and broader values, and the ‘life limiting’ that Davies speaks of is found in her own policies.

Rolling out these ‘punitive’ measures will also not attract people to work as bus drivers and train conductors.

So not a sensible legacy at all, Dame Davies – or one you would have to pick the pieces up of.

I’m off to the supermarket to buy unapproved foods for my next journey…

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The Danish Girl

This is a case in point of the trailer showing most of the film. But the two questions left remaining – what happens to Gerda and Einar’s marriage when he becomes Lili, and does Lili survive her treatments? – are answered sadly.

 

I was thinking how well crafted the film was, and how engaging the lead parts – Alicia Vikander is utterly charming and her pain infectious. I wanted the Wegener’s marriage to work, I wanted Einar to find happiness and acceptance as Lili. I was pleased that it seemed to ultimately be more The King’s Speech in tone [director Tom Hooper’s previous film], despite perhaps greater anguish and less laughs… but then, the end came suddenly.

 

PLOT SPOILER ALERT

 

I walked out of the cinema, numb, and looked to the net for solace. I was pleased that someone else had not only articulated some of my thoughts but could tell me that this wasn’t quite the true story. I particularly refer to Amy Nicholson’s piece which claims that the biopic formula undermines the real life story.

 

I’m less concerned about formula – I thought the article would talk about format and turning points – than in the ultimate portrayal. To become Lili, Einar must die; she negates the marriage shared (which was c20 years in real life, not just 6 as in the film). Curtains are drawn across the bed, a veil in every possible way. I had expected and hoped that Gerda and Lili found a way to continue to be together, but that’s not even discussed; when Einar transitions, Gerda is a widow. She doesn’t gain a wife, she loses a husband.

 

I admire the bisexual stance that sees people first, genders later, and therefore would see that the change in body is less of a radical change in person – for isn’t the point of transitioning becoming physically who you believe yourself to be inside? I have read a few times that Gerda was bisexual. Her paintings suggest it (especially the erotic ones we don’t see in the film) as does the intensified passion when Einar first starts dressing as a woman. Gerda’s modern and bohemian – enough to accept Einar’s true identity as a woman. They at last find friends and a doctor to support them – but only in Lili’s physical creation, not in a gay relationship. It almost felt a bit seesaw: trans up  – gay/bi down. It’s odd as that’s not apparently what happened with the Wegeners. And it seems to not be very LGB friendly.

 

Einar’s draw to becoming female does seem quite exterior, as Amy Nicholson observed. Eddie Redmayne’s performance recalled Billy Crudup’s in Stage Beauty, where the male impersonation of a woman involves high, unassertive voices and dainty stereotypical hand movements which neither actress playing opposite employed. Women aren’t like the drag versions of us; this felt like a theatrical farce of feminity.

 

The last film about a male to female transsexual I saw was Laurence Anyways, a Canadian French film starring Melville Poupard (how I love his name), and a similar issue – a heterosexual couple faces the transition of the man into another woman. It ran into a decade and 3 hours of screen time, but it wasn’t just the trans factor that sometimes made the couple separate. I couldn’t really see what killed the Wegener’s marriage. I didn’t feel happy that Gerda embarks on a new relationship and Lili, who did find a male partner in life, is not allowed to enjoy her new body in the film. Her identity is never known publically (it was in reality for 20 years). She doesn’t paint as Lili, although she does leave us a diary. We never see the family reaction, who are not in the film at all. Lili and Gera seem quite isolated, save lascivious artists, art dealers and the doctors.

 

Amy Nicholson comments that the doctors are the baddies of the film – and yes, they are. They radiate (something I don’t support as a cancer treatment), and they nearly lock Einar up as mentally ill – the manual for psychiatric disorders (DSM) has still not fully eradicated transgenderism from its pages. But it’s the kindly, maverick, hero faced professor played by Sebastian Koch who is also ultimately the most damaging of the doctors. None of them seems to have malice; all act out of what they considered professional duty and the patient’s interest. I note how often in the film – and in life – we are urged to seek out doctors when we encounter difficulty, though I often feel they are not the right door to knock on. The supposed good doctor is the one who takes away the life of Lili with intrusive medical procedure and (not clear in the film) an ill judged womb transplant.

 

I was and am concerned about what intimate parts the doctors were going to make for transwomen. They lacked – and some still do – true knowledge of female anatomy and that the major sexual part of a woman is not simply a passageway, but a whole mostly subterranean network, made for pleasure and not just obvious sex and birth. (From her paintings, Gerda clearly knew!) We see Einar look at himself naked as he is, and then as would like to be, but never a shot or discussion of what women actually have (and Lili acquires) – it is not simply an absence and an inversion. Nor do we ever hear that Lili gains breasts.

 

I hear that 40 year old actresses were considered for these parts, but those cast – excellent, sympathetic and watchable as they are – are around 30. But they are too young for the trajectory of the story. Lili/Einar was 48 at her death; Eddie Redmanye turned 34 at the film’s release.

 

So the bohemian effective three-way relation with two actual people is not explored in the film, nor what made this long open minded marriage break down. I was also confused by Lili’s sexuality – does she like other men? The film implies that Gerda can only be with real, actual men whilst for all her ground breaking, Einar wants a husband and children, and to give up her career – for being a woman is a job description in itself.

 

Apart from the charm of Alicia, the film’s real draw was Copenhagen, which this film has made me want to visit.

 

But I think the real story would have pushed that 15 cert (which is quite a mild one) and perhaps the wide accidence and award – or is that being mean? – because the truly pioneering story here is untold. I was unsure how a person who died due to being a world first guinea pig is inspiring for the “transsexual movement” as the end title cards state. I am learning more of the couple (or should I say, trio) but I’m feeling increasingly dissatisfied with the film. It felt the Daily Mail-ified, mainstream version, saying that difference leads to loss, not the exploration of an uncommon marriage, or the critique of surgery that this story really ought to be.

I haven’t forgotten Carol – I will review that soon

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US Things To Give Thanks For

I’m not American, but I wanted to use today as an excuse to reflect on all the things I do like about America. So here’s my favourite exports:

Wonder Woman

Clearly a much delayed role model, I talk about her on here. My favourite superhero, making hawks doves, though a little underdressed for this time of year

Sesame Street

The subversive kid’s show I didn’t appreciate till I had come of age. Witty, surreal, clever and hilarious. Milllllk!

Neale Donald Walsch

I have to acknowledge his place on my spiritual journey, turning the boat from the Mayflower to…this is where my boat knowledge lets down the metaphor… Magical Mystery Tour? Rainbow Warrior?… not quite either of those… but a ship willing to include a new path and wider crew, and some radical thoughts about the captain

Jo Dunning

My favourite spiritual speaker and healer right now. I love to tune into her monthly Quick Pulse seminar, even though it involves staying up til 2am due to time differences. Jo’s voice is calm and truthful and I’ve been very impressed with her – I’d not normally believe some of the things she offers, but something in my gut says I can trust her

Elaine Aron

Elaine represents a whole load of things that would only come out of America, but the rest of the world needs. Normally I would resist such a statement, but I’m only doing grateful today. I’m glad that America has identified things that some other cultures would never name or explore and champion. Elaine has a trait she has called Highly Sensitive Person, which she sees as neutral-positive that explains why some people can be overwhelmed. There are many things implicit in this about growth and acceptance that I think some of American culture can be good at encouraging and addressing.

The Constitution

Sadly not what it’s living by, but a beautiful and inspiring piece to nations everywhere – and I like being built, like Camelot (as per recent post) on an idea

Sasha Cagen

She who founded the Quirkyalone movement whose blog posts are wise and inspiring, celebratory of full personhood, of sensuality, of singleness, and seeking the very best of relationships

My US friends

My life has been touched by various Americans, I have some in particular in mind at present. They’ll get personal messages.

 

I shall eat sweet potatoes tonight in your honor with and without a U!

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