Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Other Side of Empathy

Pretty Lady admits that she should have seen this coming. But, sadly, complete and utter cynicism continues to elude her, despite having had ample life opportunity to acquire it.

You see, Pretty Lady, like Mr. Obama, has a Fatal Weakness--that failure to expect the worst of people, to whom one has given one's best. One would assume, that when one has stood up for a person repeatedly, at some risk to oneself, that this loyalty would be reciprocated; one would, all too frequently, be wrong.

For when we empathize with others, and treat them with human decency accordingly, this does not automatically bestow that decency upon them. All too often, their bruised and tattered souls do not blossom in the warmth of our regard; instead, the jealous, treacherous Ego raises its head and hisses, "Suckaaaaaaaaaa!"

This is when we perform the honorable, respectful and surgical duty of calling them on their shit, and cutting the connection.

UPDATE: Right on.
I want to use this press conference to make people absolutely clear that obviously whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed, as a consequence of this. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. I don't -- more importantly -- I don't think he showed much concern for what we're trying to do in this campaign and what we're trying to do for the American people and with the American people And obviously, he's free to speak out on issues that are of concern to him and he can do it in any ways that he wants. But I feel very strongly that -- well, I want to make absolutely clear that I do not subscribe to the views that he expressed. I believe they are wrong. I think they are destructive. And to the extent that he continues to speak out, I do not expect those views to be attributed to me.




Monday, April 28, 2008

What a day for interviews!

Fox News actually did a splendid job of interviewing Mr. Obama. Thank you, Chris Wallace, for asking some real questions, and allowing them to be answered!

WALLACE: Senator, one of the central themes of your campaign is that you are a uniter, who will reach across the aisle and create a new kind of politics. Some of your detractors say that you are a paint by the numbers liberal and I’d like to explore this with you.

Over the years, John McCain has broken with his party and risked his career on a number of issues, campaign finance, immigration reform, banning torture. As a president, can you name a hot button issue where you would be willing to cross (ph) Democratic party line and say you know what, Republicans have a better idea here.

OBAMA: Well, I think there are a whole host of areas where Republicans in some cases may have a better idea.

WALLACE: Such as.

OBAMA: Well, on issues of regulation, I think that back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, a lot of the way we regulated industry was top down command and control. We’re going to tell businesses exactly how to do things.

And I think that the Republican party and people who thought about the margins (ph) came with the notion that you know what, if you simply set some guidelines, some rules and incentives for businesses, let them figure out how they’re going to for example reduce pollution. And a cap and trade system, for example, is a smarter way of doing it, controlling pollution, than dictating every single rule that a company has to abide by, which creates a lot of bureaucracy and red tape and oftentimes is less efficient.

I think that on issues of education, I have been very clear about the fact, and sometimes I have gotten in trouble with the teachers union on this, that we should be experimenting with charter schools. We should be experimenting with different ways of compensating teachers.

...

WALLACE: I want to ask you about presidents and listening to generals. Petraeus, I don’t have to tell you, is the architect of the troop surge, a strong advocate of our continued engagement in Iraq. If you become commander-in-chief and he says your plan to get out of Iraq is a mistake, will you replace him?

OBAMA: I will listen to General Petraeus, given the experience that he has accumulated over the last several years. It would be stupid of me to ignore what he has to say.

But it is my job as president, it would be my job as commander in chief to set the mission. To make the strategic decisions in light of the problems that we’re having in Afghanistan, in light of the problems that we are having in Pakistan, the fact that al Qaeda is strengthening as our National Intelligence Estimates have indicated since 2001.

And so we’ve got a whole host of tasks and I’ve also got to worry about the fact that the military has no strategic reserve right now. If we had an emergency in the Korean Peninsula, if we had an emergency elsewhere in the world, we don’t have the troops right now to deal with it. And that’s not my opinion, that’s –

WALLACE: So would you replace him or would you just say, I’m the commander-in-chief, here’s my order.

OBAMA: What I would do is say — what I will do is say we have a new mission. It is my strategic assessment that we have to provide a timetable to the Iraqi government. I want you to tell me how best to execute this new assignment and I am happy to listen to the tactical considerations and any ideas you have.

But what I will not do is continue to let the Iraqi government off the hook and allow them to put our foreign policy on ice while they dither about making decisions about how they are going to cooperate with each other.

...

WALLACE: Finally, and we have about a minute left, what have you learned in this campaign? And I don’t mean, gee, what a great country this is answer.

What mistakes have you made? What have you learned about running for president? What have you learned about yourself?

OBAMA: I’ve learned that I have what I believe is the right temperament for the presidency. Which is, I don’t get too high when I’m high and I don’t get too low when I’m low. And we’ve gone through all kinds of ups and downs.

People forget now that I had been written off last summer. People were writing many of the anguished articles that they’re not writing after our loss in Pennsylvania. On the other hand, after Iowa, when everybody was sure this was over, I think I was more measured and more cautious.

That I think is a temperamental strength.

In terms of what I’ve learned or mistakes that I’ve made, I’m making them all the time and usually it has to do with me talking too much instead of listening. And what I’ve also learned is how much I’ve missed my family and my kids and my wife and that’s been the biggest hardship of this campaign.





Well, finally

Kenny Wilber has given an interview to Salon! After all these years! Woo hoo!

So now you can all go over and find a nice, concise explanation of what Pretty Lady has been talking about, all this time.
You asked, "Do you believe in God?" In exoteric religion, it's a matter of belief. Do you believe in the kind of God who rewards and punishes and will sit with you in some eternal heaven? But in the esoteric form of religion, God is a direct experience. Most contemplatives would call it "godhead." It's so different from the mythic conceptions of God -- the old man in the sky with a gray beard. The word "God" is much more misleading than it is accurate. So there's a whole series of terms that are used instead by the esoteric traditions -- super consciousness, Big Mind, Big Self. This ultimate reality is a direct union that is felt or recognized in a state of enlightenment or liberation.
You see? Very simple.

Now, however, Pretty Lady must take Kenny to task for some basic irrationality.

What do you think of the New Age writers who see a link between mysticism and the weirdness of quantum physics? There have been popular books, like "The Tao of Physics" and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters," as well as the hit film "What the Bleep Do We Know." They point out that reality at the quantum level is inherently probabilistic. And they say that the act of observing a quantum phenomenon plays a critical role in actually creating that phenomenon. The lesson they draw is that consciousness itself can shape physical reality.

They are confused. Even people like Deepak Chopra say this. These are good people; I know them. But when they say consciousness can act to create matter, whose consciousness? Yours or mine? They never get to that. It's a very narcissistic view.

What do you mean, whose consciousness? The Big One! The one you were just talking about! The 'godhead' one! The one that 'creates reality', in all those mythic traditions! Duh. Since our consciousness is, at essence, one with the Big Mind, it is fair to say that we assist in creating this physical world. This is only because of What We Are, however, not anything we do. Usually when we apply our ego-minds to directing the creation of reality, we are more likely to get in the way, and mess things up for everyone.

So Pretty Lady must take these same New Age narcissists to task, anyhow, because they very often do confuse small ego-consciousness with the Big Mind, as Ken points out. They commit horrible acts of abuse with this presumption, forgetting that compassion is the very force that links the ego-mind with the Big Mind, and thus any viewpoint which lacks compassion is, by definition, unGodly.

Furthermore, when a small ego-mind transcends itself to directly perceive unity with God, the concerns of that small ego-mind aren't so very prepossessing anymore. Thus the trivial matter of whether the illness goes away or not, whether Great Wealth manifests or not, becomes completely irrelevant. Thus a person who fails to manifest a Complete Recovery, or a mansion in the hills, is not necessarily a failure in a spiritual sense. Anyone who thinks they are is indeed a narcissistic idiot.




Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Definition of Ego

The key truth about the Clintons is that they are strongest when being attacked. It was Gingrich that gave Clinton purpose and direction in the mid-1990s; and it was Ken Starr who gave them a life-line in the late 1990s. They are geniuses at pivoting off those who attack them. So the real answer to the Clintons is to let them collapse on their own terms, to watch them fail to get the necessary votes and delegates to win and desperately try to leverage the constructive forces of their opponent to gain back the White House.

Every push against them only strengthens them more. Obama needs to restate his core positive message, reach out to independents, Republicans, Hispanics, blacks and the young, and get out of the Clintons' sociopathic path. You only get bloodied if you fight them. And watching them self-destruct, slowly and by their own efforts, is the only way they will not turn defeat into some kind of Pyrrhic victory.

--Andrew Sullivan

Darlings, this is what Pretty Lady has been saying, and saying and saying. This is the nature of the Vicious Cycle; this is the Harbinger of Apocalpyse within the mind. It is the attack thoughts of the ego.

The ego thrives upon attack; attack defines its entire existence. As long as it is fighting, it clings to the illusion of its own reality. Suffering makes it real; death makes it real. Thus the ego is irrevocably committed to death, and only to death.

(On a more pragmatic note--this is precisely the sort of mentality we do NOT need, at the helm of a major government, in a world filled with strife and unrest. Regardless of the specific policies advocated by that mentality.)





Thursday, April 24, 2008

The World is Full of Magic, and We Are All Zombies

Pretty Lady is not at all suprised by this story of the virtuoso at the train station:

In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.

No, Mr. Slatkin, there was never a crowd, not even for a second.

It was all videotaped by a hidden camera. You can play the recording once or 15 times, and it never gets any easier to watch. Try speeding it up, and it becomes one of those herky-jerky World War I-era silent newsreels. The people scurry by in comical little hops and starts, cups of coffee in their hands, cellphones at their ears, ID tags slapping at their bellies, a grim danse macabre to indifference, inertia and the dingy, gray rush of modernity.

Pretty Lady herself has been Openly Mocked, here in New York, for glorying in the daily miracles which surround her--the afternoon sunlight cascading across an ancient stone high-rise, fluted with mythic carvings; the jazz saxophone echoing off the urban canyons at dusk; the layers of intricate graffiti peeling in rusty tatters on an ancient fence; the riotous umbrellas of extravagantly pink flowers, mimosa and cherry and dogwood and tulip magnolia, improbably festooning the Brooklyn avenues in April. There have been times when she was innocently sitting on a train, and a young Opera Singer strode magnificently onto her car and treated her to an aria. There have been days when she nearly gave herself heart failure, dancing on the sidewalk to the pipings of Peruvian musicians. She has nearly been run over, pausing on the street to gape at a particularly expressive gargoyle. Heady perfumes of bakeries and crysanthemums and sugar-roasted nuts and Chinese laundries all mixed have nearly sent her swooning. She deliberately walks through sprinklers and loose fire hydrants in midsummer, and will gladly bicycle seven miles so that she might jump into the ocean at Brighton Beach and cycle back, cool and sunburnt and salty.

These myriad miracles are everywhere, darlings, and most of them are absolutely free. Although the opera singer and the violinist could use your tip.

With all of this tragic oblivion in the mass of humanity, is it any wonder that artists nearly starve? Pretty Lady used to sell her work on the street, and she can tell you that this is not a way to make a living. Art is the one commodity where the law of Supply and Demand has no bearing, as Supply is nearly infinite, and Demand is entirely determined by Context. She once had a gentleman stop at her table in Soho and declare, "look, Margie, these are just as good as the ones we saw in that gallery over there, for four thousand dollars."

Pretty Lady replied, "Indeed they are, and you may purchase them for forty!"

The fellow laughed and walked away.






Brushing Shoulders with the Big Leagues

Pretty Lady is delighted to report that her most respected colleague, James Kalm, has been featured in the LA Times! Moreover, the article is quite congenial in tone:
Koons set the tone for most of the press' questioning with his serious comments about the theory behind his art. Then Kalm lifted his camera above a cluster of journalists and said rather loudly: "Would you comment for the Kalm Report, sir?" Noting that a Koons piece had sold for $23.6 million at Sotheby's last November, a record auction price for a work by a living artist, Kalm asked whether people "are too obsessed by the art market now?"

"I didn't sell the work. A collector sold the work," Koons replied, smiling politely. "I think about the production of work, I think about the opportunity for the work. But I really don't get involved with the art market."

"You don't get involved with the art market?" Kalm repeated, his incredulity registering.

"When I say involved with it -- I'm not preoccupied with it," Koons responded.

It's a moment that won't be captured elsewhere.

The Koons video

The Blogger Show video (Pretty Lady is in this!)

James Kalm YouTube Page




Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Therapeutic Discourse

Darlings, do not panic. Everything is going to be okay. Pretty Lady promises you.

This blanket truth holds up, darlings, whatever the specifics of your agitation; whether you are mourning the results of the Pennsylvania Primary, tracking the Harbingers of the Apocalypse, or predicting the collapse of Western Civilization, whatever you conceive it to be. Indeed, the apparent source of your concern is immaterial; for the purposes of this discussion, we will regard all stressors as equally disturbing to your peace of mind.

The fact is, Pretty Lady more than suspects that, as a society, we Americans are well on our way toward hitting Rock Bottom, if we are not already there. The facts are too well known to require much comment; our government at its highest echelons freely authorizes and encourages torture, in violation of both the Geneva Conventions and basic decency; our currency is headed the way of Argentina's; our citizens are being forced from their homes, denied adequate medical attention, 'educated' in cattle pens and brothels, and our children are ripped from their homes by a precipitous and indifferent State.

Meanwhile, to all appearances, our Presidential elections are being decided on such issues as a candidate's taste in collar jewelry. Truly, can tumbrils and guillotines be far behind?

And yet Pretty Lady tells you: Have no fear. This is a Holy Moment.

For when there is overwhelming toxicity in any body, whether it be public or private, that poison must be Purged. This is a law of Nature, as surely as night follows day. The process of Purging is not an enjoyable one, nor a quick one; it proceeds in slow, painful and recognizable stages. And one of these stages is the Healing Crisis.

This is the moment when symptoms suddenly become much, much worse. This is when the patient folds acutely, and bolts for the lavatory. The fever spikes, the spasms worsen, peristalsis goes haywire. There seems to be no Stable Ground to be found in any reality; the psyche roils in hallucinatory delirium. And George Stephanopolos continues asking impossibly inane questions with a shit-eating smirk upon his face.

As any person who has survived open-heart surgery, anaphylactic shock, or cognitive behavioral therapy will tell you, the Healing Process is not for wimps. One's world literally crumbles, and must be reassembled from the ashes. One cannot build on false foundations; these foundations must be razed before a single solid stone may be erected.

False foundations have their tenacity, however. They are only removed with much Resistance, much Denial, much raging against the dying of the light.

Fear not. Integrity will emerge from this turmoil; the calm, the clearheaded, the competent and sane will eventually prevail. Pain has its integral purpose. All is, and ever shall be, well.





Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fiscal Responsibility

Be aware, Pretty Lady is not entirely a Pollyanna when it comes to the cold hard facts of Economics. She is aware that what is bought, must eventually be paid for; she is aware that however much we cleverly strive to create Wealth out of airy machinations, eventually these proceedings must manifest something tangible and grounded, or we shall crash to earth most painfully.

But she would just like to draw your attention to this:

Mrs. Clinton, of New York, currently has $10.3 million in outstanding primary debts but only $9.5 million available to cover them, leaving an $800,000 shortfall at the end of March. In February, the Clinton campaign had unpaid bills of $8.7 million and $11.7 million in cash.

By comparison, Mr. Obama of Illinois, who raised $42 million in March, had $43 million in cash for the coming primaries and a campaign debt of less than $660,000 at the end of March. Mr. Obama is spending 75 cents for every dollar he is taking in; Mrs. Clinton is spending $1.10.

Now back to our regularly scheduled discussion.






Gracious, how very very sane

Pretty Lady hesitates to touch Controversial Issues, particularly when tempers are high, the election season being what it is. But she was much struck by the sense of this:
...the so-called 95-10 legislation. This idea satisfies neither side of an absolutist clash completely - how could it and still be common ground? - yet it strives for a 95% reduction in abortion over 10 years, not by legal mandate that would contradict the Senator's belief that this decision must remain that of the mother, but instead by ensuring that no woman faces such decision without having already had the benefit of responsible information about abstinence and contraception. In the event of a pregnancy, the proposal would supply objective information about fetal development, the proper guidance of a parent if the prospective mother is a minor, and the public's assurance of necessary economic support to carry the pregnancy to term, and if it be the mother's informed choice, the adoption of her child.
If Pretty Lady may get personal for a moment--she has lately had cause to observe that Nature is a Wastrel. Life, in the churning workings of unbridled Nature, is not a rare, precious thing, carefully and thriftily meted out in measured doses to earnestly tilled and deserving soil, but rather an overflowing mass of roiling abundance, hurled to the four winds in gargantuan fistfuls, to thrive or wither where it may fall.

(In other words, Spring has come to Pretty Lady's neighborhood, and it is making her a bit heady. She does apologize.)

Thus, it seems to her that carefully tilling of Life is up to the measured consciousness of those that possess such consciousness, not to those forces that manifestly Could Care Less. In plain terms--when coping with issues that involve the nurturing of Life, it seems best to use a bit of Common Sense. And the abovementioned suggestions seem to her to be eminently sensible.






Monday, April 21, 2008

On Decency

Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, “Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for ’spiritual counseling?’ THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!

But no, Obama won’t throw that at her. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be decent. She’s been through enough hurt. And so he remains silent and takes the mud she throws in his face.

--Michael Moore, of all people

Darlings, Pretty Lady is well aware how shamefully she's been neglecting you. Truthfully, there are many days these days when she wonders if she's said all there is to say; there are days, many of them, when she would rather sit in silence.

Because sometimes, the decent thing to say is nothing at all. Especially when people are flinging mud in one's face.

Not that Pretty Lady has sustained such a great deal of such flinging. Most of her dear readers are generally quite civil. But now and then, a feuding acquaintance of hers will so far forget him or herself as to launch a fusillade of ad feminam remarks as would make her grandmother's ears blister. It is at such times that she wonders--not if she ought to respond in kind, but--did this person, this vulgar mud-slinger, ever have a grandmother of his or her own?

Because Pretty Lady learned, from the cradle on up, that there are certain things that Are Not Said. We do not say these things because we are thinking them so loudly that we are momentarily deafened to all incoming traffic; we do not say them because they are so hugely, tragically obvious; we do not say them out of sheer human compassion. And if we are pressed so hard that compassion vanishes, there is still Basic Decency to restrain us.

The irony of such decency is that it largely comes into play when dealing with persons who are a stranger to the notion. Civilization is not for the weak, nor for the faint of heart; it was designed to combat the juvenile tantrums of those whose passions are stronger than either their character or their intellect. For there to be any hope of carving a bit of peace and harmony out of chaos, those who understand what it is to be civilized must do their very best to be so. Even under Extreme Provocation.

So if you are, perchance, wondering why Pretty Lady does not respond in kind, when those people say those things, when she very easily could, you must know it is because she won't. Period.





Saturday, April 19, 2008

Balance

From the comments section in the New York Times:

For the conservative supporters, from McCain to Hillary, who thought last night went well, let me propose some topics for McCain v Obama in the GE:

Do you repudiate yor wife for her thievery of medications in 1989?

Explain your role in the Keating Five.

Discuss your decision to leave your first wife after having an affair with your current wife.

How do you respond to your fellow GOP colleagues who say your temperment is unfit to be Commander in Chief?

What type of psychological scars has your experience with torture left on you?

How often do you attend church and why did you switch religions as an adult?

Might these kinds of questions upset right wing America? If so, then last night’s debate should disgust you as well.

— Posted by Truth teller






Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pennsylvanians, on the other hand, think we're smarter than that

From the Philadelphia Daily News:
A candidate's campaign may be the best indicator of how she or he will govern. If so, an Obama administration would be well-managed, inclusive and astonishingly broad-based. It would make good use of technology and communicate a message of unity and, yes, hope.

It would not be content with eking out slim victories by playing to the narrow interests of the swing voters of the moment while leaving the rest of the country as deeply divided as ever. Instead, an Obama administration would seek to expand the number of Americans who believe that they have a personal stake in our collective future - and that they have the power to change things.

It would motivate them to hold their representatives accountable for making it happen. That is, after all, the only way to get us out of Iraq, to address global warming, to make us energy-independent. It's the only way to resist the forces arrayed against providing universal health care, rebuilding our infrastructure and returning our schools to world-class status. It's the only way to give our children the means to compete with children in other parts of the world who are healthier, better-educated and have more opportunities than many of our own.

An Obama administration would be freer of the the corrupting influence of big-money donors and corporate interests. Obama has raised $240 million overall, with half coming in contributions of less than $200. People who contribute to political campaigns can feel they "own" a candidate and so Obama would owe allegiance to the wide swath of America that has financed his campaign.

Based on his experience in running a quarter-billion-dollar enterprise with thousands upon thousands of volunteers, we could expect an Obama administration to be well-managed and cost-effective, with the president choosing forward-thinking advisers committed to his program, demanding that they work as a team and pay attention to details.

He would be steady and calm, given neither to irrational exuberance or outbursts of anger. He would make mistakes, that's for sure, but he could be expected to recognize them, adjust, and move forward.

He would adjust his views to reality rather than trying to adjust reality to his views.






Memo to ABC News--You Must Think We're Stupid

Dear ABC News,

Thank you for the circus. You forgot the bread.





Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Faith, Rigidity and Recklessness

Darling Mr. Sullivan shares Pretty Lady's tendency to reckless blogging:
I think what Obama probably meant by it is a certain kind of religion, a neurotic, rigid variety that is often - but not always - part of the fundamentalist psyche. Many atheists and fundamentalists believe that there is only one valid form of religion: fundamentalism. And so you can see why they would intrepret Obama's off-hand remark the way they have - as a denigration of all faith. But those of us in grayer areas and those of us who believe Obama's own protestations of faith see something more complicated. What we see - and what history has sometimes shown - is that economic, political and cultural frustration can indeed be expressed by the rise a certain kind of religious belief. And that correlation - between the disorienting transitions of globalization and the rise of religious fundamentalism - is real (see The Conservative Soul). When the world disappoints or disorients, the appeal of a more absolute and unquestioning faith as a rock in a storm is powerful. The key factors are not just economic stagnation but cultural loss and a lack of faith in the responsiveness of the relevant political institutions.

I certainly find it hard to understand the rise of Islamism without understanding the abject political and economic failure of many Arab states to respond to the genuine desires and needs of their citizens. In fact, I thought this link between the bitterness created by unrepresentative political institutions, economic failure and Islamism was a core feature of neoconservative thought.

Pretty Lady herself has always been torn upon the issue of Rigidity in Religion. On the one hand, she sees a rigid adherence to the superficial forms of one's faith, coupled with aggressive evangelism, to be one of the primary offending factors of religious zealotry. In Pretty Lady's life, her faith is her most central, private, and deeply personal element of self, as well as the means through which she connects with others; therefore, those who ambush her with religious conversation and then proceed to flog her with a fundamentalist stick are engaging in the most egregious violation of her boundaries possible. To say nothing of those rude suicide bombers.

On the other hand, however, persons who are swamped in chaos, moral or otherwise, need an exceptionally strong stick to grasp, in order to anchor themselves. Thus as much as she deplores the more aggressive elements of fundamentalism, the essential certitude it offers to distressed minds may provide an invaluable and irreplaceable element of spiritual guidance. Far be it for her to deny suffering persons their major source of comfort.

This is why Pretty Lady subscribes to M. Scott Peck's notion that we are not all in the same place, spiritually. This would appear to be a no-brainer, but it seems to her that a great number of conflicts, both personal and global, are predicated upon a wilful denial of this obvious fact. In Pretty Lady's view, it is perfectly possible to ground one's faith in an absolute truth without imposing control upon others; the very term 'grounding' implies that faith is a vertical construct, not necessarily a lateral one. Therefore the fact that one's neighbor does not believe the same things, in the same way, as oneself, provides no obstacle whatsoever to loving them.





Monday, April 14, 2008

Pretty Lady is NOT Writing This Blog

Pretty Lady wishes to inform all her dear friends that she is NOT writing the new and splendid blog, Miss Virginia's Steam Room; 'Steamy' for short. It is some OTHER lady who is writing tasteful erotica for Good Christian Families, using a third-person voice and frequent smatterings of 'dear' and 'darling.' She is doing this with Pretty Lady's full knowledge and approval, and has most kindly offered to include Pretty Lady's own steamier posts on her link list.

But she should let Miss Virginia speak for herself:
Miss Virginia Prude is a lady in her thirties, living in the southern part of these United States of America. Being a Good Christian Girl, Miss V spent the majority or her life assuming her body was the tool of the devil and feeling naughty (in a bad way, you see) every time the slightest amorous thought drifted through her feminine mind. This being the case, Miss Prude did not manage to find her full sexual awakening until much later in life, when she was already wed to the aforementioned Mr Prude. In spite of her adoration for the clever and well written show, Big Love, Miss Prude did not find polyamourous relationships to be an adequate outlet for her lately awakened sexual appetites. But she did wish to reclaim a bit of her sexual prowess before things began to sag too too terribly, and to live at least part of her life as a cheeky little monkey. So Miss V decided to write some bedtime stories that would leave her reader’s nicely aroused, without offending one’s moral aptitude. Thus Miss V’s blogspot, Steamy, was born.

Pretty Lady privately suspects that Miss Virginia's traffic will be surpassing hers within six weeks.




Friday, April 11, 2008

The Clinton Campaign's New Strategy

The Clinton campaign had been in jeopardy in recent weeks, with Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) reeling off a string of victories and building a formidable lead in the delegate count. His message of hope for a better future and change from the evil politics of the past had struck a chord among voters. But the Clinton campaign has now staged a major comeback by sticking to its theme: evil.

“Washington is not a nice place,” Sen. Clinton noted. “Sen. Obama wants you to believe that things can change in Washington. That people can work together for the greater good. I am here to tell you that this will never happen. Americans are like rats, a teeming pile of corpse-eating pestilential scavengers. The rat at the top of the pile is the one who is willing to do anything to get ahead, who would gut her own mother with teeth in order to stand atop the festering heap. I am that rat, America.”







Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Spiritual Love of George W. Bush

The gauntlet has been thrown:
shall I conclude that this level of contempt and loathing (which stops shy of hate, dictionary definitions notwithstanding) is in fact an expression of your deep, heartfelt spiritual love for George and Dick and Karl?
Pretty Lady was afraid of this day. She knew it was coming. She knew, that one day, she was going to have to come clean. She knew that it wasn't going to be pretty; she knew the risks she was running. But she's going to have to do it. She's going to have to attempt to articulate, describe and define Spiritual Love.

Have pity upon her.

For Spiritual Love is at once the most glorious thing that can befall a seemingly individuated consciousness, and the thing most likely to get her mocked out of court. It is indescribable in any terms except the most hackneyed, clich├ęd and overtly risible.

So let us begin.

First of all, let us make clear what Spiritual Love is not. It is not a feeling. It is not 'deep.' It is not attended by any elements of personal attraction, admiration, judgment, intellectual affinity, or personal engagement at all. It may give rise to these things, but in essence it is utterly independent of them.

What Spiritual Love is, is a direct perception of the essential, transcendent perfection of another, and his or her unity with both one's perceived self and the rest of the universe.

By 'direct perception,' Pretty Lady means that it is simply obvious; as obvious as the stapler on her desk. One may describe the attributes of the stapler; it is black, dusty, and bears the word 'Swingline' in script upon its hood. One may thus, by describing these attributes, offer some evidence that one's perceptions are genuine. This description, however, is divorced from the perception itself.

Pretty Lady has been fortunate enough to wallow in this direct perception, upon a handful of occasions in her life. She doesn't talk about them often, because people Don't Get It. She doesn't expect them to, but it gets wearying all the same, being confronted with such universal non-comprehension.

She has found, however, that when such occasional miracles of perception occur, they briefly seem to make some sort of inchoate communication possible. In fact, she rather suspects that without some aspect of grace, communication between people is not possible; therefore she tries to avoid getting into conversations with people like George, Dick and Karl, unless prompted by a musing from her Higher Self.

Because, although one's own perceptions may be soaring upon a transcendent plane, it is still clear that theirs aren't. They still perceive all the crusty egoistic filth surrounding their souls to be, not only real, but their own essential natures; therefore their actions remain consistent with the filth, and not with the light within.

In communicating with such persons, then, one may use any device suggested by one's expanded access to all the knowledge in the universe in order to get a message across. Crucial among these devices are Timing and Tone; Content is always and fundamentally Love, but Harsh Chastisement may indeed be the cloak for this essential message. It all depends upon the situation.

So, in answer to your question: No. Pretty Lady's contempt and loathing for the egoistic, small-minded, self-serving, unloving actions of George, Dick and Karl is not particularly a deep expression of Spiritual Love. It is a function of her own crusty brown and largely untranscended Ego, plus a hefty dollop of ordinary, grounded Common Sense. Should she one day be inspired to go to the White House and deliver a Holy Spirit Express, however, you shall be the first to know about it.






Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Extremism! The horror!

Desert Cat sounds the alarm:

Folks, this is not going away. The Rev. Wright was not an anomaly in the life of Barack H. Obama, but rather one element of a much deeper and more troubling web of unsavory connections. This is not a "distraction". There is a deeply troubling picture that is beginning to be outlined here, and it is of vital interest to the American electorate in this time of Islamist terror and resurgent authoritarianism.

Do we want to elect a president with sympathetic ties to Islamic extremists and hardline socialists/communists?
Pretty Lady, it may be stated, has a great number of 'sympathetic ties' to all manner of extremists. She has been known to acknowledge sympathetic bonds with persons who self-describe as Femininsts, Anti-Feminists, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Radical Leftists, Socialists, Communists, Polyamorists, Polygamists, Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Atheists, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Anarchists, Sociopaths, Narcissists, Narcissistic Sociopaths, Reagan Democrats, Obama Buckleyites, Queers, Transsexual Lesbians, and people who regularly scan the headlines for evidence that the Apocalypse is upon us. These sympathies may extend from heart-to-heart confessions over coffee, to prickly Internet discussions, to friendly 'hellos' to the lady in the headscarf who sells her a six-pack at the corner store; the fact that the Muslim religion frowns upon ladies who drink beer and appear in public wearing ripped, patched, paint-stained cut-offs does not noticeably affect this lady's attitude. If, deep down, she is plotting the overthrow of the American government and the subsequent forcible covering of Pretty Lady's bare head, she has kept mighty quiet about it over the last five years.

This does not, of course, means that Pretty Lady subscribes wholeheartedly to the ideologies of every person with whom she is on cordial terms; this would require not only more energy than she possesses, but a severe case of MPD. Neither does she have any interest in imposing any of these ideologies upon anyone else, let alone the country at large. She merely recognizes a simple truth about life on earth; we are all different, we are all human, and we have a vested interest in getting along with one another. She can recognize this truth unilaterally, without anyone having to agree with her about it, but she notices that things run a lot more smoothly when they do.

And if Pretty Lady may speak frankly, she expects the same of people who self-identify as Christian:
Obama is engaging in a Christian version of politics by being open to talking with enemies, by not belittling his enemies or those who don't agree with him, by running a positive campaign, by treating people as the flawed-yet-still-created-in-the-image-of-God creatures that we are. But surely you understand that a lot of evangelicals (and others) in America (and elsewhere) wouldn't recognize this form of behavior as Christian. Rather, it's considered being "soft" or "idealistic" or "unrealistic." There is very little difference between being a good American and being a good Christian for a lot of those you call Christianist. And their conceptions of both of these identities are deeply flawed. A part of the problematic in understanding Obama correctly is understanding Christianity correctly.
Christianity, my dear friends, is an extremist religion. It takes the extreme and radical position that we should love everyone, without exception; that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Everyone. Even radical Islamist jihadi terrorists; even hardline socialist/communists. It does not say that we should become Islamist terrorists, or authoritarian dictators, or communists. But offering a cordial 'hello' to them, and refraining from aggressively attacking them out of hand, seems well within the bounds of acceptable Christian behavior.