Monday, 25 May 2015

Growing

There are lots of things I never dreamed I'd be
That I have now become. 
There are lots of things I never thought I'd see
That my gaze has longingly fallen upon. 
There are things I thought I'd never agree
How I've seen my mind broaden. 
There are things I've done, regrettably
I now know I was very wrong.
There are things that I now feel 
That I never thought I could ever summon.
I now know if I keep striving patiently 
There'll be many more garlands to adorn.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Redress For Monica Lewinsky

It is nice that Monica Lewinsky has been able to rehabilitate her self esteem and is working very hard to do the same for her reputation. It is true that she was the victim of the artifices of a powerful man. What is not true is that the shaming she was subjected to was undeserved. She was na├»ve and taken advantage of by a predatory powerful man. But she knew he was unavailable to her her, even if accessible at the time. There was no chance of them having a relationship or starting a life together. She was a woman who was old enough to know better and smart enough to have walked away. That she chose not to was an indication of her own moral failing at the time. She chose to conduct a dalliance, and then compounded that error by boasting about it to a friend. A friend who it turns out was disreputable and untrustworthy. 


These errors might have been youthful indiscretions but they do show a certain lack of concern and judgement that was likely a prevalent characteristic of hers at the time. And her actions did threaten to bring a lawfully elected government down. All things considered the intense scrutiny she was subjected to was warranted. She needs to distinguish between unfair intrusion of being the subject of revenge porn and the massive ramifications of being caught up in a presidential impeachment. If she does she might realise that when she chose to keep that dress she set in place a chain of events that was inevitably bound to thrust her into the public eye. She might have known that whatever unravelled in the future was always going to leave her raw and exposed. It isn't quite clear if she cared or thought so much about that at the time.

Monica Lewinsky's stand against cyberbullying is creditable but I am not sure her situation is the best study in bullying to promote it. I don't know whether she is trying to redeem herself or yet again exploit her notoriety. But her story isn't one of an innocent soul used and abused by a savage press complex. It is more a tale of a person who made bad decisions that forever marked and marred her life, and who is trying to make others understand the dangers and pitfalls that lie along the path she took. If that's the story she's telling then I'm all ears.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mother's Day - 10th May 2015

Today is globally marked as Mother's Day. I acknowledge it as such but decline to mark it in any way. And that is not just because my mother has passed away. It's because I think such days are pointless and wrongly conceived. There is no day that a parent, be they mother or father, does not remain a parent. Good or bad, disowning or disowned; they remain such and should be recognised, as well as act as such. But I feel the day is misconceived because being a mother is is a monumental task that each mother should be respected and glorified for. However, despite all the thanks that are owed to parents, being a parent is also a duty and an obligation. It is a duty that should be sacrosanct and never taken for granted. Any day that celebrates parenthood should also highlight and promote responsibilities of being a parent that go much farther than just biological conception. 

I have heard a lot of people talk about how loving and great their mothers are or were. I have also heard people talk about how bad or mean their mothers are or were. And I have indeed heard some people lie about how good or bad their parents are. It doesn't take much thinking to know how complicated motherhood is. Both for morhers and for children. I had a great mother who had great love and high hopes but also made grave mistakes. I cherish all memories of her, good things and mistakes all. I recognise that in addition to being my mother she was a person with a life that preceded me and in many ways needed to be lived regardless of me. I cannot hate her for that. I can only respect the effort and aspiration it took for her to still be a mother in spite of all that life threw at her. And so when I hear some people harshly critique their mothers I do sympathise with their feelings but rarely agree with their expression. Being a mother is a challenging and daunting prospect and task; from pregnancy through birth to upbringing. It doesn't make it any easier that children have to grow up and find themselves, often in contrast and in the footsteps of their own parents. Maybe some parents get things very wrong, maybe some don't try hard enough but who can imagine the kind of mental and emotional deconstruction required to transition from single person into mother (often without warning or guidance). If some mothers get it wrong, and they will, it is understandable. In this life not all of us are born to be great. As tragic as it may seem, that includes mothers. I commend all those good mothers and commiserate with all those not so good ones. 

Here's to all mothers and children. You have to put up with each and try your best to be the best you can be at all times. Who can begrudge you the occasional slip up?

Monday, 4 May 2015

A Twisted View of Freedom

It was an outrage to see the Charlie Hebdo killings unfold; and it has been equally tragic to read reports of recent cases of extremist attacks and killings. Any society that values religious freedom should do its utmost to prevent the spread of hatred and bile by extremists. The recent incident in Garland, Dallas in the United States represents a sad case of freedom and extremism mutating into a poorly disguised intolerance. 

It is peculiar that an organisation purporting to defend religious freedom should choose to stage an event in Dallas, Texas. Dallas is well known for its great tolerance of diversity and minorities. But one would have thought that if the group was so interested in freedom then it might have made some effort to advocate for the rights of women in Ireland, or the lives of gays and lesbians in Uganda and Nigeria. 

Holding a provocative exhibition is no more a promotion of religious freedom than the crusades were a peaceful mediation. The organisers of the exhibition are as much to blame for any bloodshed as the lunatics who attempted to shoot up the event. It is a shame that some people will try to use the disgust everyone shares for religious extremism as an excuse to sow the seeds of their own prejudices and hate.