I’ve returned home after a glorious week traipsing around London! Yes, impossible to see it all or do it all, but one can catch a glimpse, and for this traveler the sights were awe-filled. What struck me more this visit than any other is the fast-paced new-innovations that are capturing the cityscape, and the fact that these new wonders reside along with all the historical treasures the UK boasts.
My life as a blogger revolves around chasing ideas until I can find time to wrestle them into cohesively arranged words. There is a slight manic quality to my self-imposed deadline, and a rushing, always a rushing. Yet once posts are published they quickly fall aside for the next one to manifest. Rarely do I look back on my words. But a few posts stay vivid in my memory and I recall them like old friends with lingering fondness. This week I remembered one post in particular, and it made me laugh and then smile. Originally called “Care Package” it was written in February of 2011 after I recovered from a bad bout of the flu. I wonder how many of you read this post before? Well, perhaps even if you have, you will find it worth a second read– a recycling of something valuable. If so, do let me know!
New York Fashion Week might be winding down, but we are still digesting images of the gorgeous textures of Nanette Lepore’s collection, Anna Sui’s brilliantly blended era’s of the 40s and the 70s, the feathers of Marchesa’s embroidered gowns, Jason Wu’s reinvented suits and Michael Kors’ Fall line which reflects a new maturity with his posh patterns and relaxed styling. Plenty of designer clothes to dream over! Let’s not forget Rodarte’s “strongest collection of their career, capped off by five stunning finale gowns incorporating classic artwork from the “Star Wars” films. The sweeping silk charmeuse looks, made with the blessing of Disney and the films’ creator George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson, avowed fans of the brand who have been spotted before at Rodarte shows, featured the most beloved characters of the epic story, Luke Skywalker, Yoda, C-3PO and R2-D2. Also translated onto silk, the Death Star and a beautiful landscape of the twin suns of Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine” (Moore). Can I just say, I love!
This past week brought a sobering with the quiet words of Dylan Farrow, the daughter of Woody Allen. Some critics like to throw “adopted” in front of that familial title, as if that makes the charge of sexual abuse somehow more palatable. But it pisses me off. Family is family, no matter how it is constructed; and as GLBT people all over the world fight for their claim to use the word, I have no patience for those who are dismissive of such ties.
Although Ms. Farrow made headlines at a young age during an ugly and public split between her parents, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, and the accusations that her father sexually molested her, she never spoke publicly about the abuse, until last week, in an open letter to the New York Times. Along with an account of molestation, she shared how her life unfolded afterwards:
“Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime. That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself. That torment was made worse by Hollywood” (Farrow).
Reading her brutally honest recollection sickened me. But I am equally sickened reading the subsequent articles of those who stand with Allen and proclaim his innocence. Others state they are staying neutral, yet, in their silence are actually defending him. I wonder, is it his public or professional persona that they cling to? They say they don’t want to act as judge but as they accept his “innocence” aren’t they then calling out Ms. Farrow’s “duplicity”?
One blogger asks: “If you find Farrow’s letter easy to dismiss, because you like Allen’s movies or because you read some overly-defensive essay in the Daily Beast just last week, I tell you, you’re just as guilty of this so-called “rush to judgment” as anyone else” (Dean).
Our media disallows a neutral stance as we are force fed rape stories from around our globe; and yet, we know the reports only represent the tip of such crimes. “According to the Justice Department, 60 percent of rapes go unreported. Only 3 percent of rapists will spend even a day in prison. It’s no mystery why more victims don’t come forward. There is far too little to gain at far too high a cost. Justice and dignity are elusive. Instead, victims have to recount their story to an often skeptical audience. They have to endure, if they’re lucky — if they are lucky – a trial and the machinations of the justice system, and then hope their attacker is found guilty and sentenced to an appropriate prison sentence while knowing that there is rarely a prison sentence that can adequately provide justice for the crime of sexual violence” (Gay).
Knowing the outcome of too many rape accusations, why would Ms. Farrow lie? And after all these years, why wouldn’t her father?
I am tired of the stalled discourse of rape. Of repeated sex offenders. Of registries. Of violence perpetrated against women. Of abuse in the home, in the office, in the dorm, and in the Church. Of the continued victimization portrayed on our TV’s seven nights a week. Of the sad shattered lives. Of victims left silent behind a curtain of hair.
Do what we continue to do and we will change nothing.
“As the latest discourse about Woody Allen unfolds, I doubt anyone’s minds will be changed. I know where I stand and why. I know I would rather stand where I stand and eventually be proven wrong than support Woody Allen and eventually be proven wrong (Gay).
** “Rape Fantasies” is a short story by Margaret Atwood. Complex and disturbing but definitely worth reading. The title is as uncomfortable as it is ironic. The following is a concise analysis of Atwood’s story: “Literary Annotations“
Every January 1st “more than fifty per cent of Americans made some sort of resolution. After six months, only forty per cent had stuck with it” (Konnikova). I am within that 50%, listing resolutions that range from eating better to exercising more. There is something about the crest of a new year that propels us to believe, despite all the contrary evidence, this time change will be easy. Good will does its best to buoy us but often it is the very device that undermines us.
“Optimism, then, isn’t always constructive. If we’re too positive, we condemn ourselves to fail. Many backsliders relapse because they have overestimated their own abilities, underestimated the time and effort involved in staying the course, or have an exaggerated view of the effect that the change would have on their lives” (Konnikova).
Each new year or new month or new week we strive to follow a new regime, one that could, we fancy, lead us to an improved self. But this week, on the crest of the Chinese New Year, I suggest a shift away from this type of thinking. Instead, I dare say Fuck Off to Resolutions and Bring It On to Inspirations.
For over a decade I’ve used a laptop and written where-ever when-ever but in our new home we designated the “extra” room for me; yet while the kitchen came together fast, my writing room was last on the list. There were files and papers, books and electronics, odd pieces of furniture and far more non-essentials piling up before I had the time to sort through them all. This was a first for me, having a window with a view, a solid door to close, and a vaulted ceiling high enough to let my dreams float before landing on the page: a room of my own.