Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thoughts and Images

(1) I opened the door on a day when the air was pleasant, and after a while I heard something one is apt to hear occasionally so near the bird sanctuary that is Lake Merritt, Oakland: A goose, not en masse in flight, but a lone goose taking a stroll in the neighborhood, its tentative voice the sound of a rocking chair on a porch as it hits a creaky board.

"Zebra Long Wing" butterfly

(2) As horror films are always at the top of the list of films U.S.Americans are seeing, why are THE ROAD TO GUANTANAMO and CAMP JESUS not on the list? (CAMP JESUS does have moments of humor as when Rev. Ted Haggard thrusts his face in the camera lens and says things that reinforce the fact that he is a despicable hypocrit.)

(3) About Rape:

We know that rape is an act of violence, having nothing to do with making love. For the victim of rape and for society in general that terrible face of violence eclipses everything, but I have recently come to think that obscures the core of the matter. With the violence, the rapist has managed to obsfucate the truth, that his chief aim is not to cause pain, but to make someone feel worthless. Behind the rapist’s hatred and anger is resentment and envy – someone who feels worthless wants someone else to feel worthless, especially if he can symbolize them as all that he resents and envies.

Why try to understand a rapist? (“Just castrate them!”) Because among the things that torment the victim of rape is an unreasonable, but understandable desire to understand: Did I do something to cause this? Why in the world would they want to do this? So many thoughts, especially when accompanied by physical trauma, whirl around in your head for years, causing a general fear of the world, a gnawing insecurity about self, a lasting preoccupation with “I could leave this behind if only I could understand” how this person could assault in that way (so often it is someone close enough that one trusted them, and so trust was betrayed, and so trust thereafter seems impossible).

I think being able to have one clear and simple “understanding” might help a great deal. Thus, I arrived at “The rapist is someone who feels worthless and wants someone else to feel worthless. One must not let the rapist succeed. I am not worthless at all. My only flaw at that time was not a flaw, it was that I did not feel worthless.” (One must hope that people can learn, of course, that feeling good about yourself is no defense against those who are deep into hatred and anger.) It is good having dialogue with friends who cause you to discover new things. In this case, I was discussing with friend Fred Goldsmith the recent hate crimes in the Castro District, directed at gays, that have included physical assaults and rape.

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