steam rises from
cooking rice I inhale
life breath sustaining
energy quiets calms
my chattering mind
fluid motions like
trailing finger tips
Pamela A. Rossow
It’s Christmas. For some of us, we are experiencing hardship and loss (or remembering our losses and hurting because of them). Some of us have felt the holes deeply other years and this year is more joyful. Some of us will be separated from those we love on this holiday. This day and celebration is for all of us, regardless, of where life’s tide has carried us. Whether we are sad, happy, alone, struggling to believe, in a sandy desert or together with loved ones and friends. So, here’s to all of us. I’m grateful to be seeing my niece and nephew tonight and tomorrow afternoon. They are my “hole pluggers” at times when I miss my children. There will be food, family, and love. There will even be some of the magic that has escaped me thus far this season. Carrots for reindeer, cookies and milk for Santa, and the same request I have repeated for years, an elf please? May peace, joy, and love be showered upon all of you.
A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That’s basic spelling that every woman ought to know.
~ Mistinguett (Jeanne Bourgeois)
Go ahead, slap some more pejorative labels on my culture. We, North Americans, have been known to promote obesity, drugs, alcohol, violence, imperialism, slavery, colonialism, war, and–kissing. You heard me, kissing! How fantastic is it that, despite all of our numerous transgressions, we are recognized as the culture that developed kissing? That we have been a fertile continent of Eskimo kisses, air kisses, butterfly kisses, kisses of peace, friendly kisses, cultural kisses, parental kisses and the all familiar romantic kiss!
There’s just something about the term itself that makes me smile. No, I was not thinking about Gene Simmons (sorry Gene). Being half Italian, kissing is in my genes. But I’ve found that I’ve had to restrain myself, on more than one occasion, so as not to make non-kissers uncomfortable. If you’re reading this and I intimidated you by a PDA, I apologize. I’m working on it. But what if what the world needs now is love and–a kiss?
For you skeptics, try it and let me know how it goes. You don’t have to begin like the French do with a left cheek kiss, right cheek kiss and then another left cheek kiss. Start small. Kiss your wife’s hand. Give your baby an Eskimo kiss. You might feel awkward at first but press on. You can do it. Let’s start a kissing revolution. One that involves thirty-four facial muscles and one hundred and twelve postural muscles. If we kiss more, who knows what could happen? World peace? Global empathy? Less violence? More love? I’m in, are you?
I must admit, to the dismay of some of my friends, that I like some of your ideas. I’m not pleased about one aspect of your personal life involving rumors of your relationship with Helene and fathering a child with her (when you already have a wife and seven kids). Should the allegations be true, you are thoughtless and vulgar. But, I digress . . . .
Your fetishism of commodities is brilliant. Love it. Human labor as objectified–amazing. I also admire your concern for the rights of the oppressed and downtrodden during the time you spent in London. Children should not be chimney sweeps shoved headfirst to clean out the soot and muck. They should not work in pottery mills breathing hazardous dust that kills them at young ages. Thanks to you, Engels, and your contributions to the dialogue concerning child labor abuses, child labor laws were finally enacted. While enforcement wasn’t carried out well or much, it was a step in the right direction.
Your theories regarding dialetical materialism, a whole other matter, Karl. Your belief that “the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought” (Marx, Das Kapital, Vol. 1.) is nutty and I must disagree. I’m leaning towards Hegel on this one.
I can agree with you that the bourgeoisie, a more elite population with power, privilege, and prestige, controls the means of production. I also concur that within capitalism, a certain level of greed propels the system and can spiral out of control. However, this is where I leave your Communist Manifesto on the shelf.
Capitalism is dialectic to a degree. It is filled with contradictions–I will give you that. But your belief that capitalism in an economic downturn means that an end is near, seems to have been proven false (at least with the U.S.). The system bounces back. If it does not, we will speak more about this matter.
Furthermore, you say that a revolt against capitalism is needed because it is most likely the only way a society will move away from it. You’re probably correct about this, too. Many of us, who are capitalists, will not wave white flags and lay down.
Your hope that socialism will ultimately result in communism is interesting to mull over but your concept of communism, as a stateless, classless, societal system is bizarre. I must inquire, really, Karl? Even you must admit you have no idea how this system will make it off your paper and be implemented. That’s why so many of your followers cannot agree on this matter and bicker about it to this day.
Karl, you also seem to neglect the reality that many countries who have tried to adopt your model have failed, repeatedly. Not only have they failed, they have flopped. In the flopping, what was supposed to be a stateless society, ended up being overridden by the government and a chosen few. Economies tanked and stagnated. Human rights were violated.
Sorry, Marx. It was a darn good try. I admire your zeal and prolific writings on these matters but, in the end, many of your texts are just interesting reads.
It’s true capitalism has its flaws–every system does. Changes could be made for the better. We have to deal with monopolies, outsourcing, modern-day slavery, imperialistic snobbery, and much more. But I’m sticking with it and will try to be a positive agent for social reform. So here’s to change, maybe a direct democracy? There are many other types of democracy to try. Why not? In the meantime, Karl, get some rest.