Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Snake oil

Hmph. Pretty Lady has never been so offended. Not only has she been called a troll, which would not have bothered her nearly so much if it had simply referred to one of those cute little ogre things which live under bridges, instead of 'a person who intentionally tries to cause disruption,' which, to anyone who knows Pretty Lady well, is the last thing she ever intends--no, not only that, but Pretty Lady was then accused of selling snake oil. Really.

Pretty Lady is exceptionally sensitive upon this issue, because if there is one thing she loathes above all others, it is proselytizing. It does not matter to Pretty Lady what one is proselytizing; it is the fact of forcing one's own Miracle Cure upon others, without reference to their specific circumstances, that gives Pretty Lady neck cramps. Well she remembers, during one long bus trip between León and Guanajuato, sitting next to her new 'friend' Emilia, who not only had previously subjected her to a four-hour 'meditation class' wherein the students were locked in, taught nonsense syllables, and not permitted to leave, but Emilia spent the whole of the trip pressuring Pretty Lady to repeat the nonsense syllables for hours on end, and checking to see if she was doing it. Pretty Lady spent the next few years determinedly avoiding Emilia, despite the fact that there was only one decent café in town, and Emilia was always in it.

No, by the time she ended up on another bus, sitting next to a Jehovah's Witness, Pretty Lady had had time to meditate upon Spiritual Boundaries. Once she realized that her seatmate was, indeed, a Jehovah's Witness, and that there were no other vacant seats upon the bus, Pretty Lady went into Assertiveness mode. "You will not evangelize me," she said, pleasantly. "I have my own spiritual beliefs and values, and I am quite content with them. So do not even try, please."

Then the two of them proceeded to have a most excellent conversation, wherein Pretty Lady found out all about her seatmate's career as a housecleaner, her picturesque relationships, her dramatic conversion, her deepening spiritual philosophy, her life as an evangelist, and her struggles with breast cancer. Pretty Lady came out of the experience with quite a warm fuzzy feeling toward Jehovah's Witnesses--or at least, one Jehovah's Witness in particular. The lady's theological interpretations did not particularly offend her; it seems to Pretty Lady that the only annoying thing about Jehovah's Witnesses is their evangelism.

Be this as it may, Pretty Lady keeps her own counsel regarding matters spiritual. She freely admits that she is a traveler in search of Inner Peace; the methods she employs to get there remain a private concern. Pretty Lady has been known to share these methods, when asked repeatedly and sincerely by a nice person, but she will never, never, never try to force them upon anyone. Not even For Their Own Good. Especially not that.

So, instead of discussing her own affairs, Pretty Lady has a sincere question for all of her dear readers. This question is: How do you find inner peace? Have you found it? Are you looking? Why or why not?

If you prefer to remain anonymous, this is lovely; you may also email Pretty Lady directly, if you are shy about commenting publically. But she very much hopes to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

"This question is: How do you find inner peace?


Seriously, I read the comments over at the offending site, and I don't know why you would be surprised that a Voice of Reason would be unwelcome amongst those who blame a vast conspiracy for all the things that are wrong with the world. I myself am keenly aware of enough tangible enemies in the world today to waste time being concerned with an over-arching, nameless foe.

The beautiful part of blaming something as nebulous as the patriarchy is that there is no chance for any retaliation on it's part, so vicious attacks on it by design will go unanswered. Also, by focusing on this unassailable target, the attackers can ignore real perils and feel like they are indeed combatants against the growing darkness. To paraphrase Gordon Sumner, they are off to fight some battle/that they'd invented inside their heads.

There never can be victory over an enemy that does not exist. The author of that site may be clever. She may have the ubiquitous rapier wit and sarcasm honed with a strop, but at the end of the day her blog is merely entertainment, a war film for girls.


Anonymous said...

That was painful. Couldn't you just post the offending text and add the link? Trying to read through those comments was... well, not something I would do without the threat of gang rape hanging over my head. That said, you really should be careful where you read. Whenever the word "Patriarchy" appears more then twice in a thread you can rest assured you are in the company of those with a solidly build language with a poor foundation. When these sorts are proselytizing they are not likely to look favorably on thoughtful words.

Anonymous said...

Hello Pretty Lady.

For me, inner peace is believing that the looking is the finding. Forgive me if this sounds a touch obtuse.

It is just that finding-as-destination so often begets stodgy complacency. It could be said that love is not a holy grail but an act. For all the spittle over at IBtP, there is an aura of coziness, a sense that the Right (or wrong) Way has been established & the only thing left to do is to calibrate yourself accordingly. It is about mistaking stridency & snark for strength.

Many are taking issue w/ your "feminine nature" remark. They have decided it must mean you are a passive gender-essentialist. Never mind that you probably meant something a bit more nuanced, you must *also* be found & assigned some cause in this antagonistic hall of mirrors. There you are, under an imaginary bridge, a troll, an effigy.

This mode of 'finding one's way' is an unsavory proposition for me. It is not inner peace so much as a hysterical type of clinging. It is also kinda lousy at taking down 'patriarchy'.

In this sense, my peace is in destitution. There is no easy signposted way but exploration continues into the wilderness.

- Alix

Anonymous said...

Inner Peace?

One of those good Christian blow-jobs you've mentioned is a damn good start... then, some football. I'm sure PL is aware I'm serious, but for the rest of you, I'M SERIOUS!

Anonymous said...

When did I start to (haven't found it in full obviously) find some measure of peace? When I started taking some responsibility for myself. Before then I was as much an expert at blaming everybody and everything else as quite a few of those do on that site.

Some peace has come too from learning to trust my close friends - realizing I *can't* handle it *all* on my own.

As Ann put it "Don't you realize how it affects me when you prove you don't trust me by shutting me out?"

There's quite a bit of peace comes from knowing and really believing that one is genuinely loved. This was something I hadn't previously experienced.

The Aardvark said...

I find inner peace by whining about The Patriarchy.


Pretty Lady said...

Well, Pretty Lady has found her Inner Peace this evening by laughing heartily at all you boys, which is worth its weight in snake oil.

I don't know why you would be surprised that a Voice of Reason would be unwelcome amongst those who blame a vast conspiracy

Oh, darling, I was not surprised, any more than I was Born Yesterday. In fact, between you and me, more than one diligent reader of the blogger in question contacted me with messages of private support, given that in this liberal environment of free and enlightened speech, they did not feel comfortable with publically supporting Pretty Lady's radical views.

I commended their good sense, of course.

That said, you really should be careful where you read.

Recklessness, my dear, sheer foolhardy recklessness. Pretty Lady has been called an angel in the past, but she is firmly convinced that she is in fact a complete and utter fool.

For me, inner peace is believing that the looking is the finding. Forgive me if this sounds a touch obtuse.

No, it sounds remarkably sensible and straightforward. I don't believe we have been introduced? Very pleased to make your acquaintance!

When I started taking some responsibility for myself.

Ahhhhhh. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. It seems I have lurked my way right past a proper introduction. I'm a regular reader of your (lovely) site but I generally steer clear of comments boxes. I'm sort of shy. Since you asked so graciously, I decided to risk it this time.

In any case, the pleasure's mine.

- Alix

Anonymous said...

To add my bit of spiritual Newspeak to the mix, I find a certain amount of peace in confirming my uncertainty. I like to be in control, but I have such little faith in my own competence that sometimes it's nice to know I'm not actually in control. My ideal state of peace with the universe came after this sequence of events: I spent about four hours studying one or two chapters of Genesis, comparing different translations with Hebrew dictionaries and common sense. I went home and had an early supper with my family. I spent an hour stretching and rehearsing kung fu forms. Finally, I spent about an hour in prayer. I went to bed totally at peace with my own inadequacy. Unfortunately that was a rare day. I wish I had the time and discipline to have more like it.

Desert Cat said...

There's a topic I almost dare not broach, lest I produce a novel length comment and/or fail to do the topic justice.

Suffice to say that Desert Cat is all about finding peace, longing for peace, and concluding that it is simply not available in any permanent whole form in this world.

Not that this dissuades his earnest pursuit of it--straining for glimpses of it through the cracks in the jar, looking through the detrius for those bits and pieces that, though they are not present whole in this world, nevertheless may be gathered one by one throughout the course of his life to form a tapestry that paints a picture, pixel by pixel, of the desire of his heart. Peace is the essence of the paradise he seeks after.

Being a Christian, fortunately his desired peace is personified in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, toward whom the very fibers of his being hope and long, when they have the sense to do so and are not distracted by the detrius and false promises of this world. For him, when peace is a promise of an eternal kingdom, a summer of 1000 years, an afternoon reverie that does not end, a place at a banquet table in celebration of the Lover of his heart, where joy grips his soul in ecstatic and never ending embrace, then, then the absence of peace in this world is far less a troubling thing.

Thus rooted, he then feels more comfortable and confident in casting his bread upon the waters, more sure that he is losing nothing by doing so. Heir to infinite abundance, he tentatively reaches out here and there to share what he knows of it, to light a similar fire of hope in the hearts of others who despair of joy and peace in this world.

That's what I love about this season. The symbology is so incredibly rich, for those with eyes to see it.

And I've gone and done what I didn't want to, so I'll stop while I'm behind.

BoysMom said...

EN--I believe you! I think my husband finds inner peace in much the same manner, although substituting a shoot-em-up computer game for the football.

Peace, for me, is in doing or making, I think. I haven't thought about it much, but the times I've been most at peace have been when I've been doing something successfully. Like finally getting those nasty chord passages in the Dvorak 'Cello Concerto that were written for someone with much bigger hands.

Chris Rywalt said...

I don't think I've ever found anything approaching inner peace. I've always been so far from inner peace that I even doubt its existence, not just as a destination, but as a direction for journeying.

The closest I've ever come to inner peace is when I'm putting down paint on a canvas, or marks on paper. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Bluebeard, when I'm doing that, the whole world drops away.

Anonymous said...

Peace may best be found by not looking for it or even thinking about it, or thinking about oneself much for that matter. Once you forget yourself there is noone to look for peace.

Just don't forget to take care of business.

belledame222 said...

Can I make a suggestion for a start? Take down the link to that vile POS, and don't read there anymore. Seriously. I've written enough flaming missives directed at her, and even that's been too much energy going toward the vampire. She's a garden variety malignant narcissist who happens to write pretty. Not worth it. I wish to christ decent, sensible people would stop taking her seriously already. Yeah, even me. Even as a nemesis.

belledame222 said...

...sorry to be harsh. I really appreciate your taking the time to tell the creep directly. notice she let her merry band of flying monkeys take over defense duty once again (godDAM but pony needs to be shaken until her teeth rattle right out of her flattened head).

It's just that i am so SICK, literally, of this woman. i mean, i am TRYING to forget about her here; but every other day, someone else i like has linked to her, and, chances are good, are wondering why she's said something particularly fuckwitted, often with some pain in their voice. The answer is: there IS no answer. she is a FUCKWIT. a nihilist poseur; you're quite right. but they're never going to hear it there, because they don't want to.

really, all you need to know is in that recent business with Liz, the former grannyvibe: another woman who's got cancer, stage IV as it happens, unlike TF, not wealthy, no insurance, so going bankrupt. one of TF's fuckhead posters says something horrible to her; TF tells her to fuck off; but does she say -anything- directly to Liz, either there or God forbid at her own site? much less offer something like o i don't know a fundraiser, one -without- stripping, even? i mean, even the -thought.- No. Even, one tiny fucking morsel of the sympathy and attention she's sucked up herself Twisty. not so much as a "gee, that sucks, i'm so sorry to hear it." -Nothing.-

Seriously, what else does one need to know? About her? About her feminism, "advanced" or otherwise, or anything else?

belledame222 said...

more peacefully this morning: well, clearly it still needs some work. but the general idea i suppose is "detachment," not in the sense of "blanding yourself into emotional oatmeal" but in the sense of not -clutching,- if that makes sense. not to the good and not to the bad either.

as i said: i need some work...

Anonymous said...

let it out belledame. You shouldn't hold these things in. I think your words gave me a black eye. Please share all of your feelings.

Pretty Lady said...

Even, one tiny fucking morsel of the sympathy and attention she's sucked up herself Twisty. not so much as a "gee, that sucks, i'm so sorry to hear it." -Nothing.-

Indeed, my dear Belle, you prove my point utterly--one cannot have compassion for others, until one has it for oneself. And the danger of a permanently 'blaming' ideology is that when one assumes blame MUST be assigned, somewhere, one is using every bit of one's energy trying to avoid being on the receiving end of it. Thus having none left for self-nurturance, and the extension of self-nurturance in the form of compassion and generosity.

But if I had never read Twisty, dear Belle, I would never have met you, and this would be a grave loss. So I am content to leave the link out of gratitude.

Pretty Lady said...

And I have, this morning, gotten around to adding links to some more-lovely people than Twisty, which should already have been added. My bad.

belledame222 said...

dear anon: you can put a steak on that.

prettylady: cheers.

belledame222 said...

and yes, meeting lovely people (present company included) has always been a rather nice silver lining to these blow-ups.

belledame222 said...

...o good; i'm glad you're reading bimbo and Black Amazon as well...

The Aardvark said...

I guess the thing that drove me the most nuts (and I don't have far to drive!) isthe passing around of Virtual Chocolate Chex Mix as a mechanism of turning their backs on someone.

I think I'll go join the Patriarchy.

...Oh, wait....