Wednesday, August 5, 2020

BAUMBLOG: Mea Culpa, Emma Goldman + Update

AUGUST 4, 2020

One: Mea Culpa,
Emma Goldman

Two: Update
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ONE: MEA CULPA, EMMA GOLDMAN

My dear friend Stench in Brussels excoriated (never typed that word before) me about my last blog. I mean he was OUTRAGED by my doubting the effect of the bottle-throwing/graffiti-writing activities in Portland -- and my linking anarchists with chaos.

I completely agree with PART of what he said, and I apologize to the spirit of Emma Goldman and all other valiant anarchists for equating anarchism with chaos. That was inexcusable sloppy thinking on my part, and shows my unconscious absorption of media cliches. I cannot believe, after being part of a study group on anarchism many years ago, I succumbed to this popular misconception.

It is true that now anarchy is commonly used as a synonym for chaos. And it is true that some anarchists DO believe in creating chaos. BUT this is the great Peter Kropotkin's definition of the POLITICAL THEORY of anarchism:

ANARCHISM is the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.

It's a beautiful, generous, radical, idea -- perhaps impossible to achieve. But it is NOT about creating chaos.

I think Emma Goldman is the best-known anarchist in this country's history. She was a great speaker and thinker and organizer. A great lover of humanity. Also just an amazingly honest and open person. I highly recommend her autobiography. She was deported in 1919, even though she was a citizen. That was at a very reactionary time.

Another inaccuracy in my blog was my concern with "chaos" when I was concerned in fact with "the APPEARANCE of chaos." I knew, from talking to my friend Kendall in Portland, that all the political action was in a very small area and the chaos-creating activity was only late at night. In other words, it just wasn't all that BIG --- nowhere near enough to claim that Portland was in chaos at ANY time.

But I still believe that in a Presidential election year -- let alone THIS year -- one should be careful about creating fabulous photo-ops for one's opponent.

In his email, Stench mourned the disappearance of the courageous radical Terry he once knew who marched as the sole member of the "Lesbians for Penetration" contingent at the Gay Pride Parade. I think the year was 1990.
Here's how it came about: In the old days of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, there were no corporations marching, no barriers between onlookers and marchers, and anyone could march with whatever contingent they dreamed up. Or by themselves. We would enjoy marching with a contingent a little way, then we'd spot a friend in the crowd, stop to talk, then jump into another contingent that might be passing.

Well, I got the idea for a "Lesbians for Penetration" contingent, which I thought was amusing and subversive. I assumed a lot of women would want to march with me, but I was shocked to discover that somehow I had stumbled on a taboo! Sure, a lot of
lesbians like penetration, but to say it in public? Forget it!

Nobody, even my housemate who was into SM, would join my contingent!
Every refusal was like a red flag to a bull. The more I knew I was blaspheming some antiquated concept of lesbians, the more I had to do it.

Imagine marching all by yourself and being met by an enormous joyous roar of laughter from over a hundred thousand people, as you move along. Only I didn't march. I pranced all the way down Market Street, from Castro to Civic Center. I danced, I leaped, I pirouetted. I waved my sign. I waggled the dildo coming out of my hat at the roaring crowd. It was perhaps the greatest performance of my life, and certainly my biggest audience.

But, Stench, it wasn't a POLITICAL act. It didn't take any courage on my part. I was just an exhibitionist with a subversive sense of humor. I hope I still am.



TWO: UPDATE

Having told you about my first boyfriend saving me from drowning, I went on Facebook to track him down and thank him for giving me a life beyond the age of 19. I sent him a message expressing my gratitude.

I don't do social media, but I went on it just now, and he has tried to contact me. Not sure if I'll respond.

Last night I watched "A NEW LEAF" on Youtube. I liked it very much. It's very funny, and the great thing is neither Elaine May or Walter Matthau ever play for laughs. They just play their CHARACTERS and they trust the humor will bloom, which it does. The climactic scene is when the hitherto selfish and unloving Matthau character saves the sweet, nerdy May character from drowning -- even though he has been plotting to kill her. It demonstrates that he has come to love her.

That was a MOVIE. Just a story. Jon did it for real.

I just never really got what he did. I had a sense of entitlement around me like a hardened shell, and I could not perceive the loving actions of others, even when someone was risking his own life to save mine. And I still have that shell or I wouldn't have insulted Jon in the blog, at the same time I described him rescuing me.

Whew. You know, the Black Lives Matter movement is causing memories to arise of incidents when I exploited my entitlement as a white person. And my Buddhist practice is making me aware of my GENERAL sense of entitlement. I feel kind of shaken. My image of myself might be shattering. It's scary and exciting.

All for now, Bloggelinis.... Terry

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

BAUMBLOG: HOW FASCISM WORKS (+ Other Stuff)

THANK YOU JOAN, FOR LEADING BY YOUR COURAGEOUS EXAMPLE!

Three: Photos Personal
Here's me with a great big bouquet of new socks that had arrived in the mail! I was so happy. I had found the name of the company on my last remaining pair of thick wool socks. I had searched for the company online, I had ordered two different kinds of thick wool socks. I was somebody who was taking care of business and taking care of herSELF!

Sadly, unlike the original socks, these socks are so tight at the top that they practically caused my feet to atrophy and drop off.

Oh well. There was that moment of great competence, great satisfaction that is captured in this selfie.
In the background is a very large painting that Lieke, my Dutch girlfriend, made for me. When I was living in Holland, she got so tired of my complaining about the lack of sun, that she painted the sun for me. Got my own private sun in my living room.


THE PUPS BEING THEIR SCARY VICIOUS SELVES


A BIT OF MY FRONT WINDOW,
WHICH I'M SLOWLY TURNING INTO
A DISPLAY OF MASKED BEINGS. HINT HINT!

BLOGGELINIS, ALL FOR NOW!
MUCH LOVE, TERRY

Monday, July 27, 2020

BAUMBLOG: PORTLAND -- WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

The intent of the Wall of Moms is to be THE front line, to be the First Recipients of any violence. This is so exciting and is a fulfillment of the ORIGINAL intention of Mothers' Day, which was founded as Mothers' Day for Peace in the 19th Century. I think John Lewis would approve. Go to their website and READ about the initial group of white Moms transforming into a group led by all women of color:

"We are eager to announce that all White group admins have relinquished their roles. Not one of our group admins struggled with this decision, and all have chosen to stay on in powerful roles in service to the group and movement. Our leadership is entirely composed of Black and Indigenous women from most-impacted communities. In this moment, we ask for you to take time to both read this post, consider what skills you have to give, think about how you can participate without seeking rank or power, and welcome our new leadership. We deeply thank you for your service and for your faith in this movement."

And then there's the leaf-blower-toting Dads, who flip the voluminous and incessant clouds teargas back at the DHS invaders. And the chefs with pizza-box shields.

So some very exciting AND IMAGINATIVE things are happening in Portland!

But still, I wish they'd stop destruction of.... oh well. Maybe I'm being too namby-pamby middle-classy. I don't know. But while I'm invigorated by the Moms, the Dads, the Chefs et al., I am also fearful about where this is game of Whack-a-Mole, between the protesters and the Trump goons, is leading.

And now, let's change to a DIFFERENT but perhaps NO CHEERIER subject; Ye Goode Olde Pandemic! Thanks to Pat Hendricks for sending me the latest wisdom from RANDY RAINBOW on this subject. ENJOY.

Bloggelinis, I'm getting more and more overwhelmed with the world. Hard to choose what to write about, what to include in what I write about. I guess I pride myself on having some kind of overview. But I don't now. As an asthmatic old woman, I've chosen to stay safe in my home. But if the goons come to SF... Well.... Well... Would the Wall of Moms accept a childless white crone? Makes me think of that funny postcard, "Oh no! I forgot to get married and have children!" If I did it, (not get married & have children, silly) I'd be a proud brick, that's for sure. Terry

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Oops! Corrected Blog with Proper AOC Links + A Bit More

Friday, July 24, 2020

AOC RIDES AGAIN! Watch the Video!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

BAUMBLOG: John Lewis:, A Passion for Gay Rights

July 22, 2020

JOHN LEWIS
A Passion for
Gay Rights.

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I had no idea that John Lewis, the great black civil rights pioneer who just died, was also a passionate fighter for gay rights, going back to the 90s.

Lewis spoke out against the shameful Defense Of Marriage Act, in 1996. DOMA defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It was overwhelmingly supported by both Republicans and Democrats and President Clinton. The House of Representatives, where Lewis spent his long career, voted 342 yes and 67 no. Lewis was one of only two Georgia legislators to vote against DOMA.

It took courage for Lewis, a black man representing a Southern state, to stand against the homophobia of DOMA. Lewis spoke movingly against this sanctimonious attack on gay rights. Please watch this short video of an excerpt from his speech. It brought me to tears.

This was the time of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. The gay community had few allies in Washington, even among Democrats. Cathy Woolard, the first openly gay elected official in Georgia, says that Lewis was different.

"We could always count on him to be there without having to ask," she said. "He said things that needed to be said at a time when no one wanted to say them. And he said it with a compassion and an eloquence that made people listen, even if they didn't want to."

Lewis equated the gay rights struggle with the struggle of civil rights for black people, and that divided him from other civil rights leaders, who felt the issues were fundamentally different. In 2004, 76 percent of Georgians voted to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. A month after the banning, civil rights leaders organized a march in Atlanta IN SUPPORT of the amendment, AGAINST gay rights.

But Congressman John Lewis never wavered. When Matthew Shephard was murdered in 1998, Lewis spoke at a memorial service for him on the steps of the Capitol.
When 49 gay people were murdered in 2016 at the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, Lewis spoke at the memorial (photo right) and participated in a sit-in in Congress to protest the lack of gun-control laws in this country (photo below).
Here he is marching in the
Atlanta Gay Pride Parade,
which he did every year.
In 2019, Congressman Lewis spoke in support of the Equality Act, which would ban job discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Watch the video.
Atlanta HIV activist Anthony Antoine spoke movingly of how John Lewis' courageous support of gay rights affected him: "Having such a prominent activist leader so supportive of not just my gay life but my Black gay life...mattered so much."

Antoine organized several LGBTQ marches, including one protesting the 2004 anti-gay marriage march. Lewis' early support and continuing presence gave him confidence. Antoine said, "What can't we change? Why wouldn't we be able to have some impact? Because John Lewis was right off to the side...showing us support."

Thank you, John Lewis. Your courage is contagious. Your compassion for me and other LGBTQ people heals me.

All for now, Bloggelinis.
Much love, Terry
Thanks to the Associated Press & the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for helping me write this.

Monday, July 20, 2020

BAUMBLOG: Mission Ramble + Favor


July 20, 2020

MISSION RAMBLE
+ Favor


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The Mission is downhill from me. I go there to escape the freezing fog that sometimes (but not frequently) engulfs my hill. I go there to find delicious Mexican food. I go there to see the murals that flourish there. They're inspired by the

Mexican heritage of the Chicano/a community of San Francisco.

Long ago, the Mission used to be the lesbian neighborhood, and there were lesbian institutions like Osento Bathhouse, Artemis Cafe, Amelia's bar. More recently, the Lexington, the only dyke bar in SF, could be found there. And now it too is gone. The Mission was a low-rent neighborhood and a center of activism --- perhaps THE center -- in San Francisco.

More recently, it has been ground zero for gentrification by wealthy techies and hipsters: "Two million dollars for a CONDO on 14th and Valencia? Are they out of their minds?!?"

The gentrification seems to have ground to a halt, along with so many other activities because of the pandemic. But I'm happy to say the activist and mural culture is FLOURISHING. The street art in the Mission seems to much more radical that what I've seen in my Noe Valley/Castro haunts.
I somehow didn't walk past many tents on this particular walk, but they are scattered everywhere. Politically and intellectually it is very clear to me that housing is a right, that we used to have enough subsidized housing for poor people before Reagan became President.... oh, wait. I just want to ramble and not rant. Anyhow, somehow this poster broke through my frozen feelings about people without housing. For a few moments, I felt us all in the same tent.
The main themes of the wall art were "Black Lives Matter" & the Pandemic.


Oh yes. I also go to the Mission for the cafes -- so many more than in my own 'hood. One cannot go INTO a cafe at the moment and I'm not sure if this kind of outdoor deliciousness is still legal in SF after Monday's pull-back. And I'm definitely not sure it's wise when I do it. After all, one must at least push down one's mask to insert the food. But I have always loved hanging out "on the little terrace" as they say in Amsterdam even when it's just a piece of sidewalk, and until now the opportunities have been so limited in San Francisco. I hope the outdoor cafe spaces remain forever.





So much sheer beauty on the plywood and blank walls. It lifts my heart.
When I was running for mayor in 2011, part of my platform was starting a San Francisco International Mural Festival. We would celebrate our own heritage and invite artists from other countries to come and paint more murals. We would have a widely publicized contest to find the ugliest building in the city, and then turn it glorious with color. Is there any easier and cheaper way to improve a city than murals? Plus it enables visual artists to pay their rent! I would also have a permanent Mural Repair Squad, to restore murals that had been defaced or were just aging. More money for artists!!
My immediate reaction to the one on the right was, " Some saint's hands praying while in bondage! Strange to find a religious image in the Mission." You know those saints. They were always finding unique ways to suffer. But no. The message is: "Wash your hands!" Very lovely. These are all acts of love, you know? Lots of love in the Mission. Love and anger.
Here we are at Clarion Alley, which is solid murals. So MUCH information in this one.

I know the tradition of Clarion Alley is one mural on top of another. But this one deserves permanence. it's on the level of the great WPA murals of the 30s. "House Keys Not Handcuffs" is a GREAT slogan.
I happen to be very attached to Cherin's Appliances, and I was upset to see it closed. A couple of years ago .... three? five years? who can keep track... I needed to buy new stoves for both my flat and Carolyn's flat. I had an actual antique Wedgewood stove that everyone adored -- except for me, who had to cook on the damn thing. Upstairs was
inhabited by my mother's Gaffers & Sattler. Whoever came to repair it always said, "This is a beauty -- the top of the line in its day." I remember my mother was very proud of it. The end of the top of the line came for both stoves at the same time. Their pilot lights leaked gas, so the ovens were not useable. And the parts don't exist anymore. Neither COMPANY exists anymore.

I went to the appliance departments in big box stores twice. Had to borrow a car to do it. Both times, the young salesman would show me a reasonably priced stove, and then assure me that it was a piece of shit, and then introduce me to a more expensive stove, which wasn't that great either in his opinion, so we went to the next level. This process went on until we got to the fabulously amazing gigantically expensive stove -- and I would leave.

I came to the conclusion that I needed to go to the one appliance store I could walk to with the pups. I walked in, explained my situation to the old man who had been selling appliances for decades, and he said, "This is the stove you want." It looked good, wasn't a gajillion dollars, I bought two. The whole process, including paying, took about 25 minutes. Then Nikki and Loulou and I went to Dolores park and played fetch. Now that's MY idea of a successful shopping trip.

My mother loved to shop. She didn't like so much to spend money. "What do you MEAN, telling me to have the physical therapist visit me TWICE a week? Are you nuts? In the Depression, we made shopping lists on the back of envelopes because we couldn't afford paper!" But she loved to SHOP. At one point, she needed new drapes for the living room. Woven, off-white. For about two years, whenever I visited L.A., we would go drapery shopping. It seemed she intended to examine every off-white woven drapery fabric in the city before she made her decision. I mean, she ENJOYED looking at all that off-white woven fabric!

Back to the Mission Ramble:




These absolutely fabulous pants were hanging on the rack outside. How could I not? He wanted me to try them on. Me: "I don't WANT to try them on. I want to BUY them." I knew they'd be at least a little tight. I didn't want to know how tight. I felt I could lose whatever weight was necessary in order to wear these pants.
This was on the side of a very funky old truck.


I could have looked at this all day. Contact sheets of photographs! Never seen this on a wall.
Essential Workers for President! Yes!


This is about a quarter of the photos I took on the walk. But I am going to end now. That hand is the Mission waving goodby to you.

And now I'm going to ask you Bloggelinis for .....

A FAVOR:

Lesley, my business manager would very much like to get more people to read this blog. I would too. BaumBlog is this email and also exists online in its entirety at terrybaum.blogspot.com. It doesn't have a lot of subscribers. At one point, I made a half-hearted effort to switch you over to it. But I've decided to continue with the email. But I WOULD greatly appreciate it if you would SUBSCRIBE to BaumBlog on that website. If I have a lot of subscribers, it will make it easier for Lesley to publicize BaumBlog. Lesley says all you have to do is:

and click the"Follow" button.

This will make Lesley very happy.
And when Lesley is happy, I am happy.
Thank you in advance, Bloggelinis. Terry