Last week, we lost “Bunny Rugs” – let’s talk about Third World a bit.

Last week, we Jamaicans lost a well-loved voice and reggae ambassador – Bunny Rugs.

Every time I hear his real name, I forget it again within minutes… even so, what other name you need other than ‘Bunny Rugs’? Besides, you should know who I talking about when I say it… if you don’t, it is unlikely you know him by his real name. William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clark was the lead singer for Third World; probably my favourite reggae band ever, assuming you were going to force me to choose a favourite.

I remember when I jumped onto the Third World wagon – it was during their “Committed” tour sometime in the early 1990s, and it was probably the first and only time I bought tickets to a music concert … ever. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. ( I actually went to the concert alone too – imagine that!? )

(Note: my sincere apologies if you are having difficulties viewing the videos in this post; apparently YouTube is enforcing restrictions across regions and platforms now).

Now that I’ve listened to the song again, I think “Committed” might just be my favourite Third World song too.

For someone who claims to be one of their fans, I am realising that I know very little about them. Some personal recollections include the first time I heard the names “Cat” Coore and “Ibo” Cooper – those names are so unique that they’re hard to forget. Further, I remember “Cat” Coore because my father used to mumble stories about the Coore family when I was younger. I remember his father was in politics …  the Wikipedia page says his father was actually the Deputy Prime Minister under Michael Manley – so of course, it was in the midst of political drama in the 1970s.

I was never a big reggae music fan, as I mentioned last week. Partly because my father continually described it as “noise” and refused to tolerate it playing in his house. If it happened to come across the radio, he would change the station. If I even thought about playing it myself, I would get a stern lecture about what music is and how I should be “edifying myself with more uplifting sounds”. Yeah, yeah … I know. He sounds quite the stuffy elitist. And he actually kind of is … in a few different ways, but I digress.

Even though Dad despised anything reggae, he did manage to find a semblance of tolerance for Third World’s sound. Probably because it was mild, mellow, and easy to nod your head and tap your foot to. Their style is known as “roots reggae” and is described as a sub-genre of reggae which incorporates real life concerns (spirituality, poverty, etc.) into the music. More than that, the sound is less hardcore than the more popular dancehall style, with smooth and easy-going rhythms that incorporated more worldly sounds such as jazz and r&b into their music. Something some Jamaican artists were uncomfortable with and I’m willing to bet they got quite the earful about how much they were “sellouts” because they dared to reach out to the world with their music. If you are Jamaican, you know the criticisms Sean Paul got when he first hit the scene. In any case, maybe that is why I got around to liking them – at least I could listen to them at home if I wanted to in those days.

Third World has taken reggae to all corners of the world; even in doing this piece, I discovered they were here in the Pacific Northewest, where I am, as late as just last year.

Imagine that?! Wish I’d known – I might have bought my second set of concert tickets ever if I had. (No; probably not. Seattle crowds are still a little much for me.)

Their accomplishments include 10 Grammy award nominations, the 1986 Peace Medal from the U.N. among various other awards and accolades in the music industry worldwide. Their tagline has ever been “Reggae Ambassadors” and in true ambassadorial form, they have championed the cause of reggae the world over for 40 years or more. I guarantee you -any money spent on their music now is still money well spent. Their music is ageless and sounds as good to me today as it did 15+ years ago.

The Latest Third World lineup: Cat Coore, Richie Daley, Bunny Rugs, Norris Webb, and Tony Williams

The last Third World lineup: Cat Coore, Richie Daley, Bunny Rugs, Norris Webb, and Tony Williams

February is Reggae Month for me, not Black History Month.

I think I am going to forego the Black History Month thing this year.

I mean, it isn’t like there has been a year when I give it any extra thought at all. I have no way to relate to the notion of Black History Month. It’s not something I have ever had any investment in or any experience with.  I think the reason for that is that for me, and for many Jamaicans, the Black History Month celebrations tend to center around U.S. centric milestones, heroes, and accomplishments. In fact, I put in a search in Google just now for “black history month jamaica” and the article that was at the top of the search results was a piece our Carolyn Cooper wrote back in 2011 saying much the same thing:

So we’re celebrating Black History Month again. Like Valentine’s Day and Halloween, Black History Month is yet another commodity we’ve imported from the United States.

Tidbits like this one “Many of us still don’t know, for example, that Africans came to the Americas before Columbus” are not known to me. In school, I was taught that “Columbus discovered the new world”. Even then it felt odd to me that black people were standing up in a classroom full of mostly black students telling them that the Amerindians who were here before Columbus didn’t count as “discoverers” because the only people capable of “discovering” lands and countries were the Europeans. It felt so very wrong even then.  And now, my own historical knowledge is sadly lacking. I keenly feel the gap in my knowledge about my true ancestors and the history of my country; my region; my people. I have been starved of education. Is a good t’ing we nuh need knowledge to live – don’t?

I have nothing against the U.S. or their celebration of Black History Month. I have no comment or opinion about it. It’s just not something I think I have the right to have a comment or opinion about. So don’t get me wrong – I am not decrying the practice in any way.

No, my issue is simply that I have no frame of reference for the celebration as it is currently framed. I was born and raised in Jamaica. My frame of reference for black history is a far different ball game. Our heroes were heroes of the slave rebellion and the abolition movement back in the early 1800s. In the 1930s, a whole century after slavery was abolished in Jamaica, the United States was still struggling with inequality and prejudice on a level that I can only begin to imagine … this for several reasons outside the obvious. The most glaring reason is that I grew up in a time and a place where race was not an issue for us as much as class was (and still is, to a large extent). We aren’t struggling, in Jamaica, against racial bias; we are struggling with ‘colourism’ or ‘shadeism’ and ‘classism’ – a separate but somewhat related struggle.

In Jamaica, our heroes are Marcus Garvey, Nanny of the Maroons, Sam Sharpe and the like – the people who fought for an end to slavery in the 1800s, not people who fought against prejudice and racism in the 1950s. It is a whole different cultural dynamic let me tell you.

But I get it. I get it and I step back respectfully because just because it is not in my frame of reference doesn’t mean I cannot respect the idea and the ideal. Usually, I just nod and smile in silence. This year … instead of keeping quiet, though, I think I am going to do a little “going back to my roots” thing. The Jamaica Tourist Board is running a month-long promotion called Reggae Month. They have tons of activities and stuff lined up. I can’t participate physically, but I can get into the spirit of it. So I am going to do a weekly thing where I talk about reggae music stars who have made an impression on me and who I think deserve worldwide recognition for their contribution to reggae and to Jamaica’s legacy. I am not a huge music fan and I am certainly not a big reggae fan either. But I think I can call on a few names who have caught my ear over the years …

I’ve missed a Monday … so I’ll make it up maybe next week with two artists. Today is Bob’s birthday though. There isn’t much I can say about Bob that isn’t already out there. Well, except for the fact that he was born a few miles away from where my own mother was born. She is a bit older though, and they never met – so that fact is trivial at best.

Still, I will just leave this here:

An iconic Bob photo for you.

An iconic Bob photo for you.

It’s a rainy, dreary day in Oly, WA today …

And days like today bring back memories of being back home in Jamaica on a cloudy, dreary, rainy day when we’d be happy for the chill and the wet so we had excuses to drink things like hot cocoa, or more coffee (you haven’t had coffee until you’ve tried Jamaican coffee, if even just once) and cornmeal porridge.

Ah yes. I miss cornmeal porridge. It’s a hot cereal-like meal – it’s made with cornmeal (as you might have guessed), milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. You have to be extra careful with it, though, because if it’s made incorrectly or you let it sit for too long, it can get lumpy and icky to eat. My father used to tell me that cornmeal porridge “put hair on yuh ches’ [chest]” or that it “coat yuh backbone”. Frankly, I think the stuff that put hair on your chest was more of the scotch bonnet (hot pepper) or alcohol (like John Crow Batty – which is an overproof rum that is near enough to pure ethanol that it burns green) type deal than simple, unassuming cornmeal porridge. Frankly, a little John Crow Batty would be welcome about now … a stiff drink is not something I’d refuse today.

Still, despite the dreariness or the potential bad news I’ve had within the last week or so, I am in fairly good spirits. It is odd – I ought to be so down in the dumps that it is difficult to get out of bed. Well … it’s difficult to get out of bed anyway – it’s so damn cold. Not as cold as my Eastern and Central U.S. neighbours, but certainly far more cold than I have been used to all my life. It’s so much more comfortable to lay under a duvet and a fleece blanket than it is to get out of bed … for anything.

Anyway – the reason why I am in fairly good spirits despite all the blows this week … a book that validated my way of thinking for once.

You know how you hear people say “Think positive” all the time? That “staying positive will help solve problems”? That “envision the positive outcome and that is what you shall manifest”? All that drivel. I hear it constantly. And to me it is drivel. Sure I want to think of the positive outcome. It’s what I want to  happen. That sort of goes without saying…. but what happens if what I want does not happen? What then?

Cue the “Oh come on! Be positive!” crap. That doesn’t help me. What helps me is to envision all possibilities so that I can at least be mentally (if not practically and physically) prepared for them all. Apparently, this kind of thinking is called “Defensive pessimism” and there is a book written about it. Yes; there are a few of us on this earth who actually benefit from being negative because it helps us prepare for all possibilities in such a way that no matter what the outcome is, we can take it smoothly in stride and move past it.

Whenever I am faced with a decision, my first question is always “tell me what the worst and best outcomes are?” I only finally got a doctor who understood that recently. Everybody else seemed to think I needed to be coddled and told to “think positive; it’ll work out … somehow”. I want to tell them “Stop coddling me; I am grown woman” but I am too polite to do so. At the end of the day, when the ish hits the fan, I am the one who is going to be able to manage the fallout because I have already imagined the worst and know, in my head, how I am going to tackle it if it happens. Of course, I am also the one who will cheer and celebrate just as loudly with you when it does work out  - because I also know the potential consequences of the best outcomes as well.

I am hoping to read that book so I can see just how much of my own patterns are mimicked by others the world over. I want to know, finally, just how “normal” I am.

It’s that time of the year again …

The hubster found one of those memes on Facebook this morning saying “It’s almost 2014. Time for that new year new me crap.” The image was of Robert Downey Jr looking like someone had pooped in his cereal. I kind of feel the same way.

I’ve written about New Year Resolutions on this blog before and I haven’t really stuck to that process either. For me a new year is just that … a new year. Like a new day. It’s an opportunity to live some more. Maybe this is how I live the Taoist life – just flowing through life and taking the opportunities as they come. Or maybe I am just making excuses for myself and my laziness. But the thing is that aside from a few issues, I am happy; content. I want for nothing in my life. There are a few things I’d like to have, some will come, others won’t – I am not too worried about it.

An old friend with whom I reconnected this last week told me she got to cross something off her bucket list this year. I paused for a few minutes to think about what might be on my own bucket list that I wanted to cross off. And … I realised that I really don’t have a bucket list. Strange? Yeah – I’d say so. There is nothing that I absolutely must do before I die. And it’s not that I “have it all” … far from it. There are a ton of things I wish I had; just as much as a ton of things I wish I could do. I guess I feel no urgency to pursue them and I … am not entirely sure why.

An acquaintance once told me that I lack ambition. At the time, it felt like a put-down. I think what he meant to do was inspire me. It doesn’t much matter what he meant or intended – I agree with him. I don’t. Or maybe my ambition is simply to strive for harmony and balance (as much as I can) in my own life and help others achieve the same in theirs. (Still a work in progress with me, incidentally – I ain’t perfect. :D)

The thing is that I wake up every single day with one key thought: today I must do only good. I must strive to touch someone else in some way meaningful and if not, I must do no harm. I don’t know how lofty or meagre that goal is, I just know that most days … I nail it.

It’s the last day in 2013. I’ve had tons of ups and downs this year – made friends, lost friends. Made realisations about myself and the world around me. I’ve learned new skills, re-learned one or two I had forgotten about, and made up my mind what hobbies to focus on and which ones to leave by the wayside (Because one can have too many interests. How to know when you do? When you don’t have time for them all. /nod)

What am I vowing for 2014? Much the same like 2013, please. If I get more, yay! It not, yay! I’m still good no matter which way the wind blows. If 2014 ends up being sucky, I’ll figure out a way to find my lessons in it anyway. If it ends up being better than ever, I’m sure I’ll be happy with that too.

 

Communication law? Ugh.

I am struggling with my schoolwork again today. I’ve been successful at avoiding Monday night struggles with 2000 word papers for about 3 classes now. I stress over the papers over the weekends, but they are usually posted and out of my head by Monday morning (due dates are usually 11pm on Mondays). This week, I am right back where I started. And I think I figured out why that is. I have zero interest in Communication Law. At least less interest than it takes to write 1500 words about libel and defamation, right to privacy, and privilege. Ugh.

370px-Yellow_ribbon

It was Veteran’s Day today, in other news. Today’s Dear Prudie column had a letter from a wife who was miffed (the 4th letter down). Her mother-in-law chose to celebrate one son’s service and not the other because “he hadn’t seen any action”. Or some such nonsense. Now, I’m not a huge fan of days like today. Setting aside one day to honour or celebrate something always seemed silly to me. Want to show your support for veterans? How about you do it every single day in whatever way you can find? In any case, that a mother would be that dismissive of the sacrifice of one of her sons is huge. I don’t get that. If anyone has ever been near the military, in any capacity, one knows just how much of a sacrifice every single day is. It’s not a job. It’s far more. To sign your life over in the way today’s soldiers do, is a sacrifice worth recognising today and every single day of their lives.

Personally, I tell my husband every chance I get just how much of a hero I think he is. It takes a special kind of selflessness to submit to this kind of life, not just once, but continuously over the years. I don’t care what else you may have done, or may yet have to do as a soldier – all soldiers are heroes. Make them feel that way.

 

Apathy doesn’t have to mean irresponsibility

A Facebook friend (don’t you just love that?) shared a video today. It’s a video of Russell Brand letting loose on politics. In it, he espouses everything I feel about the current political atmosphere in the U.S. … and in Jamaica. Because even though both countries have completely differing political systems, the results for the man on the street is the same – we feel sidelined.

Brand proudly admits to never having voted in his life. Ever. He says voting in this system is a tacit complicity with a system that doesn’t work.  The interviewer asks him what gives him the authority to speak on political issues if he’s never even voted and Brand responds with this gem:

“Well I don’t get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm that is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of  service to humanity. Alternate means, alternate political systems.”

Of course, when asked what the alternative is, he balks because he’s not trying to offer a solution, he’s trying to raise consciousness to the problem. People in the article comments had things like this to say:

“So, my problem with it is that he doesn’t come up with a real solution – just that there are problems which we can all see….”

How many of you have kept quiet about your dissatisfaction with something because you don’t have a solution?  I know I have. I’ve kept quiet about my complete and utter disrespect and disregard for any and all political systems because they do not work. None of them take into consideration the nature of the human being to be greedy and selfish. And as Brand says, the systems we now have at our disposal all result in a “disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that are not being represented by that political system” and thus any one of that underclass who decides to vote is lending “tacit complicity” to that system.

Why does this resonate so loudly with me? Because this is the way I have felt about the present political atmosphere both in Jamaica and in the United States. I tried voting in Jamaica. Granted, it was only once. Still, my vote did nothing. The representative I voted for did nothing for me or my community; at least nothing that I could see, or touch, or smell, or hear. And I wasn’t looking out for just my benefit. The roads got worse, schools were the same, crime got worse, community outreach was nil. In fact, this person was so invisible I don’t even remember their name.

Oh I hear you saying that this is only my experience and that it is but one experience among many; but I am willing to bet that it’s not just my experience at all. That there are many others out there who feel much the same. And here’s the thing about solutions: sometimes the best of them come out of brainstorming sessions where multiple people with multiple perspectives understand the problem. And think this is at the root of our current problem – we do not have a central space where those of us who understand the problem can brainstorm for solutions in a progressive manner.

“… We can no longer have erroneous, duplicitous systems held in place … only systems that serve the planet and serve the population of the planet can be allowed to survive. Not ones that serve elites – be they political or corporate elites …”

Revolution, dear friends. And I am not talking about taking to the streets with burning rubber and cardboard placards. We are a mature populace that now walks the earth. We can revolt in less disruptive, less violent, and less irresponsible ways. We can and we should take the power away from those who care little about us and only about themselves. Educate ourselves, brainstorm for a better system. The one we have just isn’t working; even if it worked at some point, it isn’t working now.

So I lend my voice to Brand’s – I am as indifferent, weary, and exhausted as he is of the “lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and that has now reached fever pitch“. As I have been saying for years: throw them all out on their ears; fire them. And not because we want them to feel what we have felt. Vengeance is not the answer. No; fire them because they aren’t doing their jobs. Get some new people who understand the problem and can advocate for a better solution.

I wonder what would happen if there came a day when an election yielded zero votes for the “usual suspects”? Don’t you?

Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month – lend your voice

Domestic Violence, or Intimate Partner Violence, is under the spotlight this month. It shares the space with Breast Cancer Awareness and thus is a bit overshadowed. In my view, that’s a bit unfair since IPV is a very serious worldwide issue. One which I think we all know exists but tend to avoid thinking and even talking about it because it involves far more invasive action or intense self-scrutiny. If you’re involved in an abusive relationship, you don’t want to think about it or even talk about it. If you know someone who is, you don’t want to interfere.

“If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night.” ~ Rep. Mark Green, Wisconsin

It’s even worse when we see the figures:

One in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime.

and

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.

and

On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.

and

The health-related costs of intimate partner violence exceed $5.8 billion each year. Of that amount, nearly $4.1 billion are for direct medical and mental health care services, and nearly $1.8 billion are for the indirect costs of lost productivity or wages.

and

Studies suggest that between 3.3 – 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

(Source: Domestic Violence Resource Center)

Look, something has to be done. We need to talk about; loud and long. And we need to confidently step in and help in any way we can (without being pushy, of course; pushy is never good).

I remember seeing odd adult visits to my home as a child; women with bruises, crying women. There weren’t a parade of them day after day. In fact, it might have been just one woman over my entire childhood (at least, 1 that I can think of definitively). My parents tried to shield me from it, but children see a lot more than you might think. (Which is just another reason why we need to address this now.)

Soon after we left high school, a very dear friend of mine was murdered by her cocaine-laced, paranoid boyfriend who thought she and his mother were plotting his demise (whether it was death or re-incarceration, I don’t recall) when in fact they were planning a surprise birthday/coming-home party for him.

Later on, I got involved with someone who thought it was ok to commandeer my time anytime he wanted it, shun my attention when it suited him, and hit me whenever he felt angry (he only did that shit once, lemme tell you).

You’d think something like this would be obvious when it happened, that there would be some equivalent to a blinking neon sign, with exclamation marks and stars. It’s not. Sometimes it is so subtle that even if you look closely, you would probably miss it. Abusers know what they do is wrong, and they take great pains to either cover it up or make it look like something else. It’s not a cliché when a battered woman says she “fell down the stairs” or “walked into a door post”. And even it was horrendously cliché, it’s not too cliché to ignore.

If there is one thing in this world that I think humans need to keep doing and do more often, that is to have those hard conversations. That it is hard at all means it needs to be discussed. If it makes you angry, sad, depressed then it is something we need to face and talk about. When it’s a man brandishing a gun, we are eager to face him and attempt to disarm him. We should be willing to do that when they brandish their rage too. Because rage is a weapon – don’t let anyone tell you different.

Sometimes, you just have to experience it for yourself

Sometimes, you think you know about something by watching it and reading about it to the point of obsession. I’ve watched legal thriller TV shows for years and I’ve re-watched the seasons of several of them many times over; I’ve read tons of legal thrillers as well – my father introduced me to Ellery Queen at an early age and I was a huge Nancy Drew buff. Asked, I would probably say I know a great deal about crime and mystery – more than I ought to know maybe.

The sad truth is, though, that there is absolutely no way to know about any kind of trauma unless you’ve been there. Broken a leg? No? You don’t know what it’s like. Been lost in the woods overnight? No? You can’t imagine what it’s like. Bitten by a rabid or wild animal? No? There is no television show, book, or blog that can help you “get it”. Robbed at gunpoint? No? You will never understand until it happens to you.

Sometimes we wish we could help prevent some of these incidents. And we think that by the virtue of telling our own stories we can help others recognise those patterns and clues in their own lives and thereby help them avoid getting hurt. But it doesn’t work like that. My story isn’t going to help you avoid anything and yours cannot help me.

The only real good you can do for me (or I for you) when you have experienced that one bad thing that no one should ever have to deal with … is to tell me how you feel, when you felt it, what it made you do or think, how you dealt with it, who helped you deal with it. Tell me your story if it helps you, but don’t tell me if you think it’s going to help me. Tell me instead what helped you get through the days afterwards. Tell me what you found to be a “normal” response to this. Help me recognise what will be “normal” in me if and when this horror comes for me. And then let me know that if and when it does come, you will be here to talk it over with me and help me through it. Because that is the only way you can help me.

I wish I could tell you my story. I wish I could help you “get it”. But I can’t. I can only listen to others who have been there and rest assured that one day I will be able to help someone else deal. Everybody’s story is different – including mine. It’s the aftermath that remains the same.

Isn’t all noise the same?

I often tell people that noise gets to me. But when I say “noise”, I am usually referring to people noises. I’ll sit outside on a quiet day, and enjoy the birds, the creaking branches of the trees as they bend and sway in the wind, and even the rustling of the underbrush when wild creatures wander, as they like to do, through our yard. I love the sound of trickling water, and delight in the sound of the wind through fir trees. The wildlife where we live is amazingly alive and thriving and I spend as much time as I can outside.

Yet, the minute my too-near neighbours start to yell at each other, rattle around implements of civilization or just simply appear, I get annoyed. It never occurred to me until now. What’s the difference between the noise of the birds and the sounds of a lawnmower or leaf-blower? And why does one but not the other annoy me so much?

I’m inclined to say that it’s because I am more attuned with nature than with my fellow human beings. But that seems a little arrogant since I love my Internet access and my microwaved leftovers as much as the next guy. I don’t “live off the land” and I don’t particularly engage in ultra-natural food or habits. So why should I be so offended by the fact that my fellow humans indulge as often as I do in the products of the industrial and technological ages?

Is it possible that on some level, I am aware of how parasitic humans are? Is it that I somehow instinctively rebel, on behalf of nature, against the encroachment of technology on nature by consciously being averse to the sounds of “civilization”? Or am I just naturally asocial and would prefer a completely harmonic existence with the earth? I don’t know. But it is certainly something I want to spend more time examining and analysing.

All I know is this: if I never have to live in a big city again, it will be too soon. I love my little woodland haven here and I fear that having to leave (as I most likely will) it will traumatise me in ways that I may have great difficulty in overcoming.

The internet has become a scary place

Remember how, as a child, there were places in the house you didn’t particularly want to look or be caught in when the lights went out? I don’t remember all the places in my parents’ home that fit that bill. But I do recall certain moments in time when the darkness made me do odd things.

The nights I would attempt to leap onto my bed from as far away as possible in case there was someone under the there who wanted to grab my feet as I climbed in. Or how much I hated the 2 full length mirrors on the the closet doors because they would reflect things in a moonlit room that I could never properly interpret properly before the terror set in. Or how when the lights went out during a power outage, I would suppress the urge (sometimes unsuccessfully) to scream bloody murder.

As a child, these were traumatic moments for me. And the absolute truth of the matter is that now I find myself struggling with similar terror when it comes to the internet. I’ve got lots of excuses for why I no longer blog regularly. This morning (afternoon?) I find that the most compelling excuse (reason?) is that I have become ever-wary and traumatised by the idea that my thoughts are archived in places where people can then refer to later to help crucify me (figuratively, of course).

With all the talk of Manning, Snowden and the like, I am increasingly aware of all the knowledge I have about how technology works. And I don’t particularly want to be caught in the fallout.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily believe anything I have to say is criminal. Nor do I believe that anything I have said here is likely to net me an espionage charge. I am not into treason. But what I do have to say is sometimes controversial and plenty unorthodox. The result is the silence you have been observing on this blog for months now. I just don’t want what I have to say going down in internet history. I now write, again, in paper journals. Anonymity online is a thing of the past.

The truth is that no matter what you have to say – whether it is to disparage the latest bikini fashion (you’ll pardon me with this one, I just finished watching Jessica Rey’s presentation on the evolution of the bikini) or commentary on the latest political nightmare that is racism or potential treasonous acts by so-called “whistle-blowers” – it will be stored on a server somewhere. Accessible by all manner of people with all kinds of agendas. People have an unattractive way of showing their bigotry and will use anything they can get their hands on to persecute those of us who speak our minds.

Oh, I know you might say that is a world-view that is decidedly fatalistic. And I might agree, if it weren’t for some of the hate I see spewed at the smallest of things these days. Everybody is entitled to speak their minds and be allowed to do so without persecution. Yet that is not what is happening. This so-called “free speech” is being attacked from all quarters these days. No one is immune.

The thing is, the internet has become that dark space under my bed for me. I don’t want to be caught saying things that can and will be used against me in a court of law – no matter how unlikely that scenario is. I don’t want to feel the urge to scream bloody murder when the lights go out because of some unnameable monster who is likely to take my words and twist them to their own advantage. I don’t want to be afraid. And thus, I continue to be quiet.

Mother help us, but technology is going to be the death of us.