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The L-Word is a monthly publication based out of Humboldt County, CA written by and for local queers highlighting local and international events and hot topics.

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Kulture Klatch

Rainbow Flower

Jacqueline has been writing personal observations and stories for the L-Word monthly since 2001, and we've got a bunch of them here, listed by date and title (you didn't know they had titles? they do now). If you remember one you'd like to see, tell us at The L-Word and we'll get it in here. And check out her blog, at Jacqbear.blogspot.com
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Out

Kulture Klatch - May, 2002 Ė [Out]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

In 1971 I say to a straight woman friend: I have something I really need to talk about. We walk a few blocks up the street to a secluded spot. It's a huge, old hedge that provides a sheltered place and surrounds Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst. Itís there and then that I sputter out: I think I'm a lesbian but I'm not sure. She says in a maddeningly matter of fact way: you need to find some gay people to find out if you are or aren't.

My first conscious lesbian interaction is at a womenís conference in a lesbian caucus. When I hear of this meeting, my heart thumps loudly inside my chest. I enter the room, act cool like maybe I am, maybe I'm not. I'm with a hundred intense outlaw, amazon dykes crammed into a small room. I peruse the scene; the scene peruses me. The room feels really hot to me. I'm breathing hard, trying to be blasť; my sensors are beginning to smoke.

I'm in a definite state that I can't quite define; I sure don't feel this way with guys. I don't know what it is, I have my suspicions; this just might be It. I don't know what the next step is, so I pray. (Well hey, there aren't directories of lesbian/gay groups, no women's bookstores in existence yet.) I say to the ethereal invisible one: look, I think I'm a lesbian even though I'm not sure what that is except that I know the way I feel about women is way different than how I feel about men; somehow I've gotta find out; since you have a reputation for knowing Everything, help me out here!

Lo and behold, a woman returns into my life who's an old high school acquaintance. Actually she's an old crush but since it isn't possible then to have a crush on a woman, I assume it's the wind passing through my loins. She's breathtakingly handsome. It turns out she's in the Navy now and why don't I come visit her while she's on leave. Yes, please. She never says anything about being a lesbian; she doesn't have to, the signal is very clear: Heat. She says: come to Newport, meet some of my friends. YES!

Shortly before I'm to go, I loan my car to friends from the Young Socialists' Alliance to attend an antiwar conference in Chicago. I say sure; it amuses me to think of socialists driving to Chicago in a bright red cruise car known as a Javelin which is similar to a Mustang. (The color is right; the style is wrong.) It turns out their stay is extended. Instead of three days, now it's five. I'm out a car with no way to get to Newport for my all time important date with fate. I'm in a tizzy.

What's a girl to do? I call my guy motorcycle buddy who's a sweetly cynical existentialist poet; he's not a sex interest otherwise I wouldn't be friends with him since I have a praying mantis attitude toward male sexual mates. He takes me to Newport on his way to Boston which isn't at all on the way. We get lost and for hours go back and forth, missing the exit each time. I'm beginning to think that I've been a little too seriously existentialist; this day is looking like No Exit. We finally arrive; there's Howie with a room full of for real Butches. He politely excuses himself.

Here I am alone in a small room with dykes, Navy dykes who know how to recruit. They ask me many, many questions quickly to find out if I'm a lesbian. I dodge and parry: so what if I don't like men very much; lots of women who don't like men marry them. Quite suddenly the conversation focuses on one detail they say is absolute proof that I'm a lesbian. Any woman who's as crushed out on Barbra Streisand as I am has got to be a lesbian. I stumble and mumble; I can't think of one dodge or parry. Thatís the End of the Discussion. The Answer has been found. Iím unquestionably, irrefutably a Lesbian.

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Seventies

Kulture Klatch - June, 2003 - [Seventies]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

In 1970 the peace movement, Vietnam antiwar movement gains some strength. Many women become fully engaged in the organizing of large actions, demonstrations and conferences. About 1971 or 1972 we realize that this creating, organizing, manifesting is done by women. We are also expected to make the coffee, do the cooking and the cleaning and the fucking.

One day in about 1971, I am driving my red javelin along the streets of Amherst, Massachusetts. Thereís a woman hitch-hiking and thereís the rule that women stop for women. She gets in and moves the conversation into womenís issues. She lets me know that thereís a womenís consciousness raising (CR) group that meets in a farm house down the road.

This is how it starts this kulture klatch of the daughters of the mothers of the coffee klatches. This is where the daughters talk about the coil and the collateral damages it does to a womanís uterus. This is where thereís talk about the fact that in Massachusetts it is illegal to have an abortion under any circumstances. It is illegal to show pictures of, display, discuss contraceptives of any kind under any circumstances.

This is where my involvement with the womenís liberation movement starts, meetings in farmhouses of Amherst, Northampton, South Hadley, Hatfield. We are moved to make changes without being fully prepared for what we are about to do. We have no current role models. We look for contemporary women authors and find few. Information about our herstory is hard to find, certainly this knowledge isnít taught in any schools or universities.

Most everything is male owned and operated including women. These are the days when it is still the rule of thumb and lawful for husbands to beat wives. (A man may not beat his woman with a stick wider than his thumb.) These are the days when it isnít possible for husbands to rape wives. (The rule is that wives may not refuse her husband.)

In the wider world, it isnít possible for women to be raped without our consent. The prevalent belief of the time is that if a woman lives through a rape, she hasnít done enough to fight off the attack. This is somewhat similar to the trial of a witch who is bound and thrown into water, often with rocks on her person. If she drowns, she isnít a witch; if she floats, she is a witch.

In the seventies, it isnít that we hate men so much as we are inspired by issues which all share the common ground of making choice available to women: birth control, abortion, work, sports, child care, health, sexuality, economic value. It isnít that we loathe male directed limitations; it is that we are dedicated to the power, strength and worth of women.

The women who do want to write about womenís liberation find it is difficult to get published by publishing houses run by men, by newspapers run by men, by magazines run by men. Even if we do get published, it is difficult to find a market with bookstores run by men, distributors run by men, marketers run by men.

We have undaunted fervor and committed intention. We are on fire; we are fire. Women on the east and west coasts open womenís bookstores, invest in womenís presses; newspapers and magazines flourish. We incite a movement and invent the means with which to spread the word. Women musicians write their own songs, press their own records, book their own shows. We are empowered in the peace movement and dedicated to the womenís liberation movement.

Womenís consciousness raising groups are transformed into a plethora of flourishing womenís centers, cafes, restaurants as well as womenís collectives of political, film, educational, health, sexuality focuses. Womenís studies courses and then departments are birthed by the tireless, often payless, work of students and faculty. Conferences interweave the communities as we are moved to change everything.

We are so very young, in our late teens and early twenties. We are fully engaged in a struggle that is older and bigger than we are. Somehow we rise to the occasion, full of dreams, dedication, fervor. The shy become present, the quiet become vocal.

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Lesbian

Kulture Klatch - November, 2003 Ė [Lesbain]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

My family and friends adamantly assure me when I come out at twenty-three that this being a Lesbian is a Passing Phase. They don't understand that I have been a Lesbian all of my life. Some say being a Lesbian is due to genes or hormones; others say it's environment; still others say it's a Disease that's contagious. I have a friend whose aunt always and immediately washes the glass The Lesbian Niece drinks out of, to make sure nobody else in the family catches The Affliction.

In these times of the early seventies and the heterosexual revolution, no one believes that lesbians are lesbians by choice because no one believes women have a sexuality. Men are the reference point: their pleasure (usually very exclusive), their sexual prowess (usually very overrated), their whim (usually very undeniable).

In the Springfield bars straight men come to ogle the lesbians. While they are a bit fearful of us, they embolden themselves to be the knights of heterosexuality, trying to convert lesbians to straighthood. This is a challenge that really amps them. They never seem to get that even if Iím interested in fucking with men, it wouldnít be them.

The worst of these are the mafioso pals of the Arborís owner. They are walking stereotypes of themselves. White shoes with little brass do-dads on the top of their shoes. They drive up in white or black cadillacs; very, very shiny. These are creepy men. These are also dangerous men with very fragile, yet over-inflated, egos.

I donít just know them from the bars. I know them from living in Agawam where the families of the mafioso reside. What I learn is that they have rules, codes of honor. They do not do business in Agawam because thatís where their families reside. Their influence is still felt throughout the town.

Itís when I move to Springfield that I learn about how they do business. Because they own the bars and they believe they own everything in them, the mafioso funders donít get that they should never come to the gay bars. Interactions with them always have the subplot that offending them could have very negative consequences. Declining their advances is a tricky business.

The first rule of engagement is to refrain from eye contact unless I have a gun and am foolish enough to use it. The second rule of engagement is to utilize wit to the maximum. The third is to avoid an argument. The golden rule is to watch out for the ego, theirs and mine.

The man owner does not get that these men should never be allowed into the bar. He does not get any of this about the oglers and mafia because he is a mafia connected ogler. One night he approaches me. I know what heís up to. I do not look at him as I ponder how Iím going to get out of this without ending up missing and later floating to the surface of the Connecticut River.

He swaggers over, steps uncomfortably close to me. His cologne doesn't mix well with the amount of rum Iíve consumed. I bet you wouldn't be a Lesbian if you had a good fuck; have you ever fucked? (I pause for the mere split second there is to set the direction of this interaction.) Yeah, I been fucked; let me ask you a question: when you were in the navy, did you ever fuck with men?

Heís obviously startled by this question. Heís also tricked by the query because his ego thinks Iím expressing interest in his story: Uh well, there weren't any women around you know; yeah, I fucked with men. I ask in a rather voyeuristic voice: did you like it? Now heís off balance while being given a chance to assert his ego: Like it! No I didn't like it. Still without eye contact, the action is checkmated: Neither did I. He doesnít approach me again.

The thing that none of these relatives, friends, oglers seem to understand is that being a Lesbian is the complex will of the spirit, the simple logic of the heart: I am a woman, I love my self; I love women.

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Contentment

Kulture Klatch - June, 2004 - [Contentment]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

This month is a time of reflection on, celebration of my being a lesbian. This is a 33 year old choice. There are those now who buy the scientific theory that being gay has to do with genes. Perhaps. What I don't like about this theory is that I can hear right underneath it, I am gay and I can't help it because of my genes. Frankly it's actually an aspect of me that I don't want to change, help, justify.

Before gay liberation, being gay is considered a sickness, something to be cured. The American Psychiatric Association underscores this by listing homosexuality as a sickness. Gay people are subjected to electroshock, aversion therapy and various other forms of torture to achieve the cure. Although APA changes the status and removes us from the list, the damage is already done. If I accept the genes theory, then it's guaranteed they will want to mess around with my DNA.

Whatever the latest theories are, I believe my being a lesbian is a choice. This isn't easy. It's difficult to represent a choice because then it's considered as something that can be changed. Well-meaning people see this as an opportunity for heaven credits by healing the sick. Or, they think that if they find the right way, they can get me to change. The trick is that I'd have to be willing to change and in this instance, I'm not willing.

It's hard to explain why I make such a choice. It has exposed me to shattering losses. In the seventies I lose most all of my friends when I come out, my family is acutely frantic about it all and they lose me. In the early seventies when somebody beats up a dyke because she's a dyke, the pervasive view is that this is just another risk of being gay such as losing a job, child custody, or housing. I'm outside society. I can't say that I don't care about that, that my feelings aren't hurt by that, that no damage occurs by standing strong against the mainstream.

When people ask why I'm a lesbian, I don't have a better answer now than 31 years ago. People still don't understand any better now than then. The stunning reality of this misunderstanding is that when I say I love women and that I'm in love with women and that there's an incomparable depth of understanding with women, even now, people's eyes glaze over because we still don't believe that women deserve that depth of love.

In the seventies I have the youthful chuztpah not to care and in fact I take pride in being an outlaw. I have fights with macho men who don't understand how I could possibly enjoy sex without a penis, with ashamed queers who don't understand how I could possibly enjoy life without approval, with activists who don't understand how I could possibly indulge being in love.

Iíve had to fight for my place in the world. It isn't that I get physically beat up. So far, I'm really good at deterring that. The battering comes verbally and emotionally and the who of who is doing that isn't always predictable. In the bars I have to fight for my place because I'm neither butch nor femme; I stand and fight to make my place as an androgynous bar dyke; yeah I go to the university, what's it to you. Among the university activists I have to be gay and proud when sometimes I'm just plain scared of the risks we take but of course there's no admitting that fear.

A "baby dyke" friend recommends reading Stone Butch Blues. I go skipping into reading the book. At the end of chapter one, I'm crying. End of chapter 7, I'm crying harder, deeper. I cry tears that I could have cried decades ago. These tears have waited for years to come. The wall's mortar melts, bricks break and fall; I'm exposed. A wall comes down that has separated me from life. Yes, I'm proud; yes, I'm equal; yes, I make this choice. Strangely these have become the bricks of the wall. When it comes down, I'm surrendered to a simple truth. I'm a lesbian because I am content to be a lesbian.

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Wemoon

Kulture Klatch Ė October, 2005 Ė [Wemoon]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

I have written a few coming out stories for Kulture Klatch and for this month's issue I consider republishing one of those. Of course there are more stories than that to write because coming out apparently is a lifelong process. While there are many stories of the continual saga of coming out as myself, at the moment I am referring to coming out as a lesbian. Sometimes there's pleasure in coming out, introducing myself to the world, expanding the possibilities. There's joy in that definition, revelation, liberation.

Sometimes coming out marks the beginning of a lot of work: explaining to friends, parents, coworkers, passersby. I have often felt like I am a study, an example, sample, representative. I am set apart, I am a specimen. Being a lesbian somehow becomes something "other" or something special; something superior or inferior. Really I am a human creature. I am one who schleps through life just like everyone else. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the truth that we serve some deep cosmic purpose and other times I do not get the point. Who I am is only one of the possibilities of being among peoplekind. As a lesbian I am simply a part of the wild diversity of the world. I am fully engaged with the all of everything.

Other sometimes I'd just like it if I could use humor that references a particular of lesbian life and everyone one in the room gets the joke. I could explain the jokes I suppose. Sometimes I just don't want to have to explain the joke. I just want to laugh. I am no Ellen deGeneres, apparently. Still, like her, when I come out yet again I become The Lesbian Representative. I really don't want to be that; and in truth I cannot be that. It's not that I am hiding my lesbianess. I live in a sparsely populated wilderness and I use my full name on this column. Anyone could find me. Even if I were silent about my being a lesbian, I am pretty sure that it's apparent to anyone really looking that I am most definitely a lesbian. Even though that's true, I am not a representative of a group; I can only represent my self.

For some inexplicable reason being a lesbian requires some kind of explanation to dispel the misapprehensions of other humans. There must be some complex reason why I am a lesbian or maybe it's just the genes or maybe it's an abomination. I have really only one explanation. There's just the plain and the very simple beauty of it all, that gets to the essence of being a lesbian and why that ought not to be a secret. A Berkeley lesbian poet Camilla Hall writes: "I will cradle you in my woman hips, kiss you with my woman lips, fold you to my heart and sing: sister woman, you are a joy to me."

While I have had some wildly rousing great sexual experiences with lesbians and the gender of the person I lay down with is what defines me socially as a lesbian, this isn't what defines me personally as a lesbian. Sex is not why I come out as a lesbian. Yes I love the smell, look and feel of a woman: physically, sexually, sensually. There's more to the experience than these. The feminine shines a light that is full spectrum. The feminine emits a force that is elemental; the feminine emanates a spirit that is kindred. The spectrum, elemental, kindredness is what I embrace in lesbians, we of the moon, wemoon.

My life as a lesbian is motivated by the deeper cosmic intention of bringing the feminine into wholeness again, unifying the scattered shards of feminine knowledge, existence, purpose. The possible purpose in being a lesbian is the empowerment of the feminine. We are to do the work of tipping into balance the imbalance made by the rule of patriarchy, the dominance of the masculine. As lesbians we challenge the constructs of patriarchy by empowering the feminine. When we come out as lesbians, we are making light in a dark world. That is not a joke and there is no requirement for explanation.

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Intention

Kulture Klatch - March, 2006 - [Intention]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

Recently I go to a slam style Spoken Word performance by Saul Williams. I am astounded by the linkages and the metaphors. One piece in particular has a long genesis of folks and poets and liberationists; included among this lineage is the name Sylvia Plath. I go home and pull out Ariel from my poetry collection. Her words and that particular book catapult me to a time in Northampton when I live in a lesbian boarding house across the street from the campus of Smith College. In this woman dominated household and the feminist literature courses we create, Sylvia Plath is required reading; she is "one of ours".

As I look out a window of the Green Street Lesbian boarding house, the campus of Smith College is all there is to see on the other side of the street. Sylvia Plath is a fifties summa cum laude graduate of the college. She writes 400 poems and most of those are not published as books until after her death. She is a student of Smith at a time when a great number of the women who go to the college are upper class and destined to be society ladies.

There are lesbians at Smith and there are many stories about women being disinherited from considerable wealth because lesbianism is unbecoming to a society lady. To get the money, a woman has to be a lady; apparently a lesbian cannot be a lady. Disinheritance is dispensed as discipline even into the seventies for any stray from society life strictures. In the end these restrictive proscriptions on a woman's living may have squeezed the life out of Plath.

There is a tragedy in the absence of her. Her continuing life is lost to us; her evolving insights are prematurely curtailed. Even so her lingering legacy is kept with us; we have her books. There is a courage in her choice to sacrifice herself rather than succumb to despair in increments or death by electroshock. For those of us who become twenty-somethings in the early seventies, the sacrifice of her life sparks our determination, strengthens our resolve, enflames our passions. Her words and her mad genius and her suicide shape the work we do as women's liberationists. Her story, her death, her life illumine the urgency and rage and terror and pain in the daily life of the feminine, underscore the absolute necessity for talk among the womenfolk. Our silences, invisibility, secrets are killing us.

The urgency comes with the telling of the stories we speak in consciousness raising circles, stories about what's really going on in this seventies time of a Donna Reed, Norman Rockwell fantasy world. Passing through the fifties and sixties despair or desperation, considerations of suicide are fairly widespread among women. The rage flares with the knowing that we are losing a lot of women's lives in a multitude of ways. Included in the mortality rate among women is suicide which quite often involves Plath's method of gas and oven. The terror is the danger of being overwhelmed by despair or desperation and succumbing to a false persona, as in the original tale of the Stepford Wives. The pain sources from the mortal wounds to a woman's self.

A woman of the seventies writes: Our heroes died in childbirth from peritonitis, of overwork, of oppression, of bottled up rage; our geniuses were never taught to read or write. We must discover a past adequate to our ambitions; we must create a future adequate to our needs.

With the lesbians of Green Street, Plath's presence is called in, her absence is remembered as we create an ideology, set the intentions for the work of the women's liberation movement. The intention of the liberation of women is that we find the cure for the dis-ease of despair, that we commit acts of rebellion against domestication, that we rise up from desperation. The intention of the liberation of women is that we eradicate false personas, restrictive social structures, and hostile house-holds. The intention of the liberation of women is that we create ourselves in our own images, that we make our own choices in our own ways, that we serve our own purposes.

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Legacy

Kulture Klatch Ė February, 2009 Ė [Legacy]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

I go to a house of friends on December 25th and theyíve put together a heap of gifts for me. The first one that I open is squarish and flat. It takes me a few seconds to focus on what it is. In a flash I realize that I am looking at an 8-1/2 by 11 black and white closeup of Rachel Maddow. For a moment my breath is abated because she is a stunningly beautifully handsome butch. Then my face flushes red and I have to fan my self. I have a huge crush on her. Also of course, there is my deepest respect and admiration for her.

Recently on a trip I stayed at a motel that has a TV. I donít have a TV so itís cool to check it out once in a while because, truth be told, I really like the tube. Flipping through the channels I happen upon MSNBC and an announcement that The Rachel Maddow Show will air soon. This is how I discovered Rachel Maddow. It may be the first time Iíve watched TV news and not felt like I canít imagine what this personís personal life is like. Her show is entertaining and brilliant in a very familiar kind of a way. I could recognize Rachel.

I had heard of her because in my internet news reading Iíd read that a British newspaper had referred to her as a butch dyke. Really! It turns out that she lives around Northampton which is part of my old Massachusetts lesbian, womenís liberation experience in the seventies. When she gets off the glitzy TV network she is exactly a Northampton butch dyke right down to the shirts and sneakers (although in the seventies we wore construction and combat boots).

The way she creates the content of the show is kind of playfully quirky, while blazingly brilliant. For instance on the show I saw during the presidential campaign, she used football analogy to describe an aspect of the competition. She had two women, politician and analyst, teleconferencing using the analogy too. All three women were very knowledgeable about football, the disciplined use of analogy and the subject matter. In the seventies all three of these women would have been men, hetero who wouldnít have been able to apply the football analogy.

Her political perspective is radical and this is clearly the origin of her unmasked view. Most network news reported the very long lines at polling stations as if they were a sign of the large interest in this election or merely as examples of voting snafus and computer pitfalls. Rachel viewed the long lines as a sign of a new kind of poll tax that deters and disenfranchises voters who want to vote. She does not accept any excuses from polling process or officials; no snafu is an acceptable excuse.

There are echoes in her voiced view of the Northampton/Amherst dykes of the seventies as we accepted no excuses. We accepted no excuses from university officials as to why they couldnít fund a gay organization. We tolerated no excuses from faculty officials as to why we couldnít have womenís studies classes. We excused no excuses from Massachusetts legal systems as to why birth control was illegal. We had the hardcore no excuses attitude of wellÖ butch dykes.

As I look at the photograph of Rachel Maddow, (along with being terribly crushed out on her) I also feel pride. I see the next generation and the result of another generationís work, the manifestation of a legacy of struggle. Sometimes as we still struggle to stave off anti-abortionists and continue to fight for basic gay civil rights, I lose sight of the value of the work we did in the seventies. When I watched Rachel Maddow, I saw that we cleared a path to the possibility of her. That was and is no small task and sheís no small reward for the labor.

Iíve placed the photograph near a collage of my women teachers. While Iíve never been directly taught by her, her image belongs there. She teaches me that the work I/we have done brought change; that a sixty something still gets crushes and blushes.

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Rebuttal

Kulture Klatch Ė September, 2010 Ė [Rebuttal]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

When I was a Catholic, a church founded by Paul who was an extreme advocate of patriarchy, I heard the gospels as read at mass. Itís those words that inspired many to attempt to change that church in the sixties during the ecumenical movement. Nothing much really changed except the language of the mass, some forms of the rite. Today that church has recently equated ordaining women as priests with pedophilia in sin ranking.

Today that church still considers being gay as an abomination. There are a whole lot of sects of Christianity that claim the same. Often the response, reaction, rebuttal offered in this debate is referencing the Book of Ruth or John reposing on the shoulder of Jesus at the last supper. I love the Book of Ruth, and Iím not sure itís really a lesbian relationship even though perhaps a good model. There are plenty of patriarchal cultures wherein men show physical affection for each other and that doesnít imply gayness.

The Bible is the foundational document for Christianity. Thatís whatís believed. Iím not sure itís true. What seems obvious is that generally speaking for many so called Christians, vis a vis gay rights, is that the old testament is the source of reference. Thatís rather a befuddling contradiction since Christians are named as such because they believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. He doesnít exist, his teachings havenít been preached, his miracles havenít occurred in the old testament.

The old testament is a history of a people and that history is laden with war, cruelty, misogyny and, admittedly also some great poetry, wisdom and honor. Still itís mainly a history of patriarchal ascendance and domination. The story of Moses, for example, is exactly a description of a turn over from matriarchal culture, goddess religion to patriarchal society, god religion.

The old testament is also a history of mighty struggle and marvelous survival. The command to go forth and multiply had importance then because it was important to the literal survival of the people. To underscore that importance, homosexuality was denounced not on moral grounds but on the necessity for survival. However, what was needed to survive then, the laws that were enforced, the god described are dissolved by the new testament.

When some Christians thump their bibles and quote passages of abomination, theyíre quoting from the old testament. This suggests to me that they arenít Christians at all. The only place in the Bible wherein the life of Jesus is described is in the new testament, the gospels. Everything else is the before and after. What the after shows is that really nothing much has changed from the before except that now thereís a new form of patriarchal religion.

When Jesus arrives on the scene he not only brings miracles, he brings change and a new testament; the beatitudes in effect replace the ten commandments, his teachings challenge the social precepts regarding the ďplaceĒ of women and children in a patriarchal society. Itís not so much that he brings a return to matriarchal origins. The message is more of a change toward balance.

The laws of vengeance, judgment, retribution are replaced with understanding, forgiveness, compassion. Since Christians believe heís the son of god bearing godís message, it stands to reason that the god of the old testament has had a change of heart. He wants balance, forgiveness, understanding and compassion as well.

The god of the old testament is often cruel and cruelty ought to be considered a top ten sin, perhaps number one. My take on the life of Jesus as the son of god is that not only did Jesus die for the peopleís sins, he was also sacrificed for godís sins of cruelty, zealotry, misogyny and old fashioned murder.

Nowhere in his teachings is there any mention of abominations. The only mention of sin exemplifies the tenet that thereís no sin to condemn. The main radical message brought by Jesus is unconditional love. If Jesus comes a second time, it wonít be to save us from ourselves, but to tell us we finally got it right. If Christians want to get it right, they ought to stick with the gospels.

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Liberation

Kulture Klatch Ė October, 2010 Ė [Liberation]
Jacqueline Elizabeth Letalien

In Montana the republican party has a twelve year old party platform plank that demands making ďhomosexualityĒ illegal. Iím talking now today, they have that plank. Itís been there since the Montana state supreme court threw out the stateís sodomy laws in 1998. This keeps us engaged with the never ending something more to change.

While the Tea Party hijacks the republican party, the most astonishingly appalling realities emerge, re-emerge. Christine OíDonnell who won a senate primary in Delaware claimed some time back on national TVís Politically Correct show that she had a picnic with a witch (presumably male) on a satanic altar. This keeps us engaged with something more to rebut.

Sharon Angle is spewing utter garbage in her campaign. Meg Whitman has spent over a 100 million dollars on her campaign in California, unabashedly buying governorship like a corporate takeover. Carly Fiorina reminds me of a high class nurse Ratchett. Sarah Palin builds an enormous tsunami of backlash even though most people say out loud sheís not competent to be president. This keeps us engaged with something with which to question ourselves.

Lisa Murkowski got rooked out of her senatorial job by Palin in an ongoing grudge match Alaska style. This keeps us engaged with something about a stereotype of womenís adversarial relations with each other. Michael Steele defends the republican party even though that white bastion snipes at him. Michael Steele snipes at Barack Obama on behalf of the bastion. This keeps us engaged with something about the leadership quality of black people. A top republican party member comes out after years of denial, treachery and betrayal. This keeps us engaged with something about the stereotype of gays as liars.

When the political, social movements of the seventies switched to issues of equality and swerved from the word ďliberationĒ something or we got lost, or we lost. We became satisfied with having seventeen women senators in the U.S. senate lying to ourselves that someday weíll have more. We do have more and in the process we have come to have less. Even as we ascend to positions of authority we lose power. We have gained nothing.

In the seventies there were black liberation, womenís liberation and gay liberation movements. Somewhere between then and now the word ďliberationĒ got buried, shoe horned, hijacked into equality. That equality comes in a system whose entire premise, whose foundation is based on hierarchy, inequality, patriarchy. Getting into that system has become the goal. That is not liberation. Seeking equality binds us in chains that limit our steps as we march into our own demise.

Tokens of some of us being moved from housewifedom into corporations is not liberation. Some of us being moved from the ghettoes in the flatlands to enclaves in the hills is not liberation. Some of us being married to gain benefit from a patriarchal institution is not liberation. Becoming gay soldiers dying in wars instead of being beaten to death in alleys is not liberation. Being elected or elevated to offices, status stations is not liberation. Being able to more fully or as fully participate as allowed in a system that for centuries has abused, humiliated, denied us, our rights, our dreams, aspirations, existence and worth is not liberation. No it is not.

I wish for unbridled liberation, freedom to be all of who I am. I wish for the freedom for all of us to be who we are: fearless, whole hearted, immense. I wish for us to know without doubt that we are parts of the divine that have taken form and alighted on the earth to shine as bright as we are. I wish for us to offer up the prayer comme-unity, to come together as one whole. I wish to be free without restraint, chains, constraints, hesitation; without any doubt that we are capable of being whatever we dream. I and we could be from a star, I and we could be a star, I and we could be the ray of a star. I and we could be, I am and we are anything and everything.

I wish to rise to liberation, to shine as bright as I am and we are.

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