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Where to begin…..I’ll begin optimistically by saying I hope we are seeing the last gasp of the White Male Patriarchy and the beginnings of a generational change. Then I shall digress….
I am a White Male of a Certain Age. I grew up in a very Conservative, Republican family. I went to Washington and Lee University when it was an all-male school. I was a frat boy. I was raised on the myth of the Old South. I worked for several Republican Campaigns in the late 1980’s.
Then I began to think and watch. Watching comes naturally to me. I sit back, watch, think and analyze. I’m an introvert and my College friends jokingly call me “Nick” as in Nick Caraway in “The Great Gatsby.” I observe my class and ultimately judge them.
I’ve watched people like Brett Kavanaugh all my life. I went to college with guys from elite DC/Maryland private schools. As a public school boy, I’m glad I’m not one of them. I know some great guys from those schools, but most of them are “outsiders” who survived, not “insiders” who flourished. Frankly, while those schools may have turned out some fine scholars and gentlemen, they also turned out an awful lot of entitled assholes.
Once in a “Diversity Training” class when I was in the Corporate world, I was asked what group of people I feared most. Without hesitation, I said “White Males. Especially Southern White Males.” When asked why, I said: “Because I know them.”
I used to be one of them. I think I have a very different perspective because I have been both been an “insider” and an “outsider.” When I told my family I was Gay, the main reaction I got was not religious, but social. And it came mostly from the women in my family.
They could not understand why I would give up a position of intrinsic power. They advised me to stay in the closet. To keep my power. The women knew how much power a straight, white man had and they feared for me if I gave that up. They were, to an extent, correct. Only by stepping outside the power culture could I understand the power that White Men have by default.
I think one of the greatest influence on me was Molly Ivins. When she said “Once you realize they are lying to you about race, you realize they are lying to you about everything”. I knew she was right.
I’m a liberal Democrat now. By evolution. I’m not a Democrat by birth or background. And, I might add, the Republican Party of today is not the one I grew up with.
I still struggle with some of my friends who knew me before I came out. Some are wonderful people. They don’t understand the power they have by default because it has never been challenged. White Privilege is something they just don’t understand because they have always had it. They see their journeys through a different lens. They don’t know that, whatever they may go through, they are already ahead of so many other people.
The Trump administration has been a challenge for me. It is depressing to me on a daily basis. I don’t understand how the people I knew “before” can support someone who is so incompetent and morally bankrupt. Someone who is so hostile. All I can think is that they subconsciously want to hold on to their privilege without knowing they are doing so. I hate to think they may be supporting all this because of money and racism.
But some have made it clear they are racists. That has been hard to swallow. People I grew up with and love have become people I no longer recognize….
And that brings me to todays “hearings”.
Dr. Blasey Ford was questioned by a woman because a bunch of old white men were scared of her. She was in their way. They were worried about the “optics”. How it would be perceived. They wanted to go through the motions of listening to her, but to try to minimize the damage to themselves.
Once it was clear the “woman prosecutor” wasn’t serving her purpose, the old white men took control again. They gave Brett Kavanaugh a “Safe Space” for his interview. And his behavior was not that which I would want from a Supreme Court Justice. His blatant partisanship, anger and belligerence were not the behaviors of a deliberative, fair decision maker.
I know these men. I grew up with them, went to school with them and I fear them.
They will erupt in anger when their privilege is challenged.
And they will do anything to hold on to their power and their privilege.
I hope to god, this is the last gasp of this white male patriarchy.
One of my first Political Science courses at Washington and Lee in the fall of 1977 began with a young professor telling a room full of young, privileged, white men that they were anachronisms.
Now, 41 years later, this Old White Prep hopes he is finally right.
New Post up on my other blog: https://mysoutherngothiclife.com/2017/06/14/chapter-94-better-dead-than-red/
How did this happen?
I’m not a big Madonna fan, but this makes me feel old. She was part of my youth. For better or worse, she was really, really big and part of the era. Maybe not supremely talented, but a cultural icon. Especially to my generation.
She is a little older than I am, but it still makes it harder for me to think of myself as young when she is….58. Damn.
But she WAS the 1980’s and 1990’s and she was proof that ambition pays off..
And she has had her moments….and we were there…
One really fun movie,with a great dance soundtrack, when Aiden Quinn was still hot, Rosanna Arquette still had a career and no one knew who Laurie Metcalfe was…..
One Diva Film. With one. Only one. Really,really good film performance in a major film…
Now she needs to just “shut the door”, as great stars past their prime once did, and enjoy her private life.
Or reinvent herself…She could do it if she wasn’t lost in bubble….
What I’ve seen of her lately is just sad….
She needs to realize she is 58 now, not 28…..
New post on my other blog:
So Goldie moved to Charlotte in 1965…. This was a Big Deal back then when single women simply did not relocate for jobs. But my Mother, as usual, took center stage. “Goldie is moving to Charlotte. I don’t understand this at all,but I hear they have good shopping in Charlotte. We can go see Goldie and shop and buy things people in Danville don’t have and tell them we got it in Charlotte. They have malls! That will be so much fun! Of course we will stay with her and visit, but the shopping will be great” Mind you, the only gene my family has in common is the “shopping gene.” We have can go generations without any commonality, we can have serious discrepancies in educational levels and political beliefs, but you say the word “shopping” and everyone falls in line.
New post on my other blog:
Some women, in every man’s life are unforgettable. Lavinia Randolph will always be that girl for me…. She was a force of nature.
From band days in High School through most of the next 25 years of my life, she was also the tie that bound me through most of my years in my home town. She was my guide and my companion on the journey to survive the modern day South.
I think every man, gay or straight,-has one or two amazing women in their life, and Lavinia-Lena- was one of mine… In my little town, she was the romanticized notion of what we all thought a Southern Belle should be. She bewitched a generation of local Southern men-from garage mechanics to football hero to college professors to men about town.
She was Scarlett O’Hara, Maggie the Cat and Blanche DuBois all wrapped up in one 5′ 2″ package. She was Liz Taylor on location. Only later would we realize how hard it might have been for her to play all those roles….
I know I am verging on “get off of my lawn” territory…
At least in the 1980’s we had style….
Nothing, to me, illustrates this more than the two video’s below.
One is the original official 1983 video for Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” with Christy Brinkley….
That was an uptown girl who knew how to dress!
The other video is from a recent concert. We won’t talk about how badly Billy has aged…
Instead, let’s look at the difference in how “Uptown Girls” are viewed….
Christy was definitely Uptown.
I love Jennifer Lawrence and friends but…..
There ain’t nothing uptown about these 2015 girls…..
Uptown Girls seem to have had an erosion of both class and style….
I may be elitist. but I still think there is a time and place for style…..
Like Uptown Girls used to represent…
Even when they played with Downtown Boys….
And I might add, there ain’t nothing wrong with Downtown Boys….
But that is another story…..
My partner and I have been watching this excellent mini-series from 1978 on DVD. Taken on it’s own, it is great entertainment. From what I have seen so far, it is also a little disturbing….
As I watch this, I’m reminded more and more of the fact that I was raised to be a good Southern Gentlemen, educated at Washington and Lee University in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, when it was an all boy’s school, and how similar that education was to being raised to be a good British Gentleman in the early 1900’s.
I’ll never forget my first day in my first Political Science course my Freshman year at W&L. My professor started the class by saying: “Gentlemen, you are all anachronism and the product of white privilege. Your day has passed and you don’t even know it. But we must soldier on….”
That may have been the first clue that my education at Washington and Lee, conservative as it may have been, was going to challenge so many beliefs I was raised to accept. Intellectually, it was eye opening, but socially it took more time…..
Well, we were still taught noblesse oblige and that even if, financially, we might not be in the upper middle class. We were taught that we were still intellectually exceptional. And we were taught to honor what that under-rated Australian writer Colleen McCullough called, that “most indecent of obsessions” duty.
More than once in my 56 years I have done my duty and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s not always easy, but it does feel good when it’s over. It means something to know you have done the right thing even though it cost you financially, emotionally and psychically.
We may be the last generation to ever understand that it is worthwhile to do it the hard way. To put others first….
To do one’s duty….
To be challenged and think things through….
To embrace change after an intellectual struggle….
To appreciate order, but be willing to change….
To ultimately do the right thing for the most people….
To wear Brooks Brothers at the barricades…
I wouldn’t change a thing.
I am who I am….
And I don’t think the British or Southern Gentleman who came before me would do so either….
Ultimately, we do this best we can with who we are….
I always loved Maureen O’Hara and it makes me happy to think of her still being here today on her 95th Birthday.
She was one of those incredibly real, photogenic actresses who never seemed to get their due.
And she has had a hell of a career.
In the from the 1930’s when she was the ingenue in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in 1939 to “Miracle on 34th Street” in the 1940’s to “The Quiet Man” in the 1950’s on to the totally politically incorrect and sexist, but great fun rift on “Taming of the Shrew” that was “McClintock” and the original Disney “The Parent Trap” in the 1960’s.
She may not have been the best actress, but she was made for Technicolor with her red hair and creamy skin.
And, in the five films they made together, she almost made John Wayne seem human and likable. Almost….
She once said: “I made John Wayne sexy. I’ll take credit or that.”
God help her for that….
She always seemed real, feisty, down to earth and fun.
And she is one of the few greats from the Golden Age of Hollywood still with us….
I’m glad she’s still here and hope she has a great Birthday wherever she is tonight.