Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Category: political (Page 2 of 25)

A little, bitter pill

I don’t know why I became obsessed with the Trump impeachment proceedings and the UK elections. I have only ever had a glancing interest in the convoluted and complicated political rules of other countries, but this time it feels like we really are on the knife edge of Fascism in a global way.

I was so disappointed and surprised by the Tory landslide because the kinds of people I follow on social media and the kinds of news I had been reading had given me hope that Labour would win. It was an eye opener for me that the general British working class are self hating poor, who only hate those slightly worse off than themselves even more. Refugees, basically. A lot like our poor here at home, who, in desperation lash out at black foreign nationals or African refugees.

And then the well televised processes of impeachment filled the screens and interwebz. And I kept walking away from them with a pounding headache. As if I had been knocking my head against a wall. Because it is clear that facts are worth shit. Trump supporters and Republicans are anti-fact. You can’t argue with them. They don’t care. This is not about whether Trump (a sociopathic, idiotic, misogynistic, racist nut job as well as mean spirited, bullying and crooked) did these criminal and treasonous things. Nobody gives a shit. This is about their guy staying in. He is their guy. They chose him, groomed him and stuck him there so that they could get on with pissing all over everybody, and there are at least a whole bunch of Americans who think that is A Okay.

I remember when Italy chose their Trump, Zuma clown Berlusconi. I remember the shock I felt that this pedophile was the guy they chose and then fought for. I remember the disbelief when the ANC skopped Mbeki to the curb and put Puma in the hot seat. Was it just me, or were the warning bells ringing before he even got there? Now it has become what countries do. And I am scared.

The Power The World

I am half way through reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. She wrote this award winning book in 2017 and it is riveting. The premise, in the world that we know, is that teenage girls suddenly, and en mass, discover their power; an electricity that can control, hurt, destroy and kill. They can also ‘teach’ this power to older women.

The premise is loopy and very speculative fiction, but the world, and how it responds, is ours. Religion, gender discrimination, right wing conservatism and fanaticism, power, sexuality, crime, drugs, fear, politics. This is our world with the women in charge, and it is still as broken and dangerous as before. The truth is we have inherited a cruel and dangerous legacy, and colonialism, slavery, war, human trafficking, drug wars, capitalism, rich owned media and corruption are real and will kill us.

I am horrified and drawn to this book like a bible of our times. I will keep you posted.

Wrong Question BBC

When I was at varsity I became obsessed with a movie called A Dream of Passion starring the magnificent Melina Mercouri as an aging actress staging her comeback by playing Medea, and the extraordinary Ellen Burstyn as the woman she visits who is in jail for killing her own children.

This movie is complicated, layered and brilliant, because it pulls together the strands of the original Euripides play (with bits of chilling rehearsals and then performances, even more powerful in the original Greek) and intersects it with a modern day version of the story. Another layer is the actress’s own complicated relationship with her husband, their childlessness, his affairs.

Maya the actress visits the prisoner Brenda Collins, initially as a publicity stunt. There is a moment where Brenda Collins realises that Maya has brought a camera man with her to the interview and her reaction is etched into my mind. I will never forget that moment. It is one that has served as pure acting inspiration for me my whole life.

This camera becomes really important as the film develops. A BBC film crew is documenting the process of the play; following the actress, interviewing her, and recording her as she finds the character and then herself. It is riveting and beautiful.

In a late night interview around an outside fire, when everyone has had a bit to drink and the boundaries are blurred, Maya is asked about Brenda’s guilt. She replies, “Wrong question BBC, wrong question. The question is what would drive a woman to kill the things she loves the most.”

I have never forgotten that line. It pops up so often for me; when women are blamed for the violations enacted on them, when politicians are endlessly asked the wrong questions (like Jeremy Corbyn being interrogated for the false claim of his anti-Semitism), when the impeachment hearings testifiers are bombarded with Republican spewing in the guise of questions.

The BBC has been unforgivably Tory biased in the run up to this election in the UK. They keep asking the wrong questions, covering up Boris’s horrible blunders, and they keep bringing up the anti-Semite nonsense about Jeremy Corbyn. They have remained suspicious of the ‘sale of the NHS’ to America, even in the face of proper evidence that any true journalist should have been able to find and provide. We expect this rubbish pretend reporting from Fox News. From The Sun. They are the laughing stock. But the BBC? Sies. Wrong question BBC, wrong question.

A Friend in the Unlikeliest Place

Yesterday just happened to be one of those days that are so incongruous and strange they are a challenge to understand, let alone write down. But it was the kind of day that I believe will shift me and take me down an unexpected path of my journey.

Let me try. Big Friendly is out of town so my day started early, walking, feeding and watering the animals. My first appointment was in Wynberg, to meet with the CJSA (Cape Jewish Seniors Association) for an interesting chat/session. I met with a different branch in Milnerton in July and it had been a success and then I was asked to do the Wynberg one. I am not naive. I was asked because I said yes to the first one. Almost 30 ladies of a certain age (no men this time) were there to find out more about me, and resist playing improv games like I did the last time! I was as prepared as I always am. No idea about what I was going to do or say until I got there.

And then something amazing happened. In my introduction, and emboldened by the clarity Robin DiAngelo has given me about who I am and the enormous edge my White Privilege (not to mention the addition of Jewish Privilege) gives me, I said, by way of introducing myself, “My name is Megan Furniss. I used to be Megan Choritz (nods and sighs of recognition here). I am a writer, actor, director, improvisor. I am Jewish, anti religious, and very political. I want to state here, for the record and so you know, I am anti-Zionist and pro-Palestine.” Can you imagine? There was a massive communal gasp. One brave lady finally swallowed and said, “We don’t have to go there.” There was a shocked and relieved murmur of agreement.

A lot happened in that session. A lot.We jumped through my family and ancestry, flew through my career highlights, touched on Cape Town history, and family, and District Six and Woodstock. We joined dots, dived deep, and even ‘went there’ politically. There were many details, and many moments, and hard questions, and hilarious interludes. There were feelings hurt, and hearts won over. In the group was a shiny, funny, clever, vocal powerhouse of a woman with a lot to say. I haven’t asked her permission to use her name publicly so I won’t, but we got each other. She was excited by me and my points of view, and I was thrilled by her tenacity, and cleverness, and out-there-ness. She was my tribe. I left that time there shifted. As much as I had come to share my stuff with them I felt differently seen by a community that I have constant struggles with. I had to dash, with promises to return.

Then I flew over to the Golden Acre to take part in an hour long interactive improvisation performance called Film Me In as part of Infecting the City. Honestly, from the ridiculous to the incomprehensible. It’s been a while since I performed in the Golden Acre and I had forgotten what an awesome space it is. I was standing there, in the big open space we were performing in, trying to encourage people to participate, when I felt a tap on my head. My new friend from the CJSA meeting had taken a trip to town to see what I was up to! This woman had brought herself to the Golden Acre, a place I can guarantee her fellow community members hadn’t visited in years, to come an check us out. I love her.

My day ended with me falling asleep in front of the insane, hideous and demented impeachment hearings where Americans tore into each other and behaved like lunatics in support of chief batshit crazy, psycho, abuser Donald J. Trump.

A Completely Weird Obsession

This is a confession. I am obsessed with the American impeachment hearings. I watch them like other people rubberneck at car crashes. I watch the live stream like people who obsess about watching people fall down, or listening to hair brushes on skin or watching pimples being squeezed. I watch with a morbid and ignorant fascination because I have no real idea about how US politics actually work, other than the policy and the people seem to be entirely at odds with anything else in the real world.

I am amazed at how conservative all these people are, including the Democrats and especially those with positions in any foreign office. Everybody genuflects at anyone in uniform, and especially those with medals on. The Democrats, obviously, the impeachment proceedings are their’s, are a strange combination of self righteous and polite, with a smattering of disbelief and a peppering of snivelling. The Republicans are raving lunatics, rabid and champing at the bit, full of bluster and noise and defensiveness. It seems to me they are playing to an audience who don’t really care about the truth and who will support their lying, cheating, narcissistic buffoon of a president at any cost.

What does seem particularly creepy is how the Republicans lay into their own people if they think they aren’t playing ball. Ambassadors, government employees, non partisan civil servants have been lambasted, made fun of, bullied and threatened. It is vile.

I follow the threads on twitter. It’s terrifying how aggressive and threatening Trump’s supporters and Republicans are. The Democrats are also their own worst enemies; they whine and moan and complain like children who are telling tattle tales.

I can’t stop watching. It’s better than Game of Thrones. And more twisty.

 

Taking it Personally

In the fight against one’s internalised racism (or any superiority complex; gender, religion, class) the greatest stumbling block is not being able to get over being called the name that identifies you as part of that group. This is why people respond louder and more defensively to being called a racist than witnessing racism and doing something.

The best example. The #menaretrash story is the absolutely best example of the total disconnect between understanding what women are saying about how they are treated by men, and men being completely hysterical about being called trash. Like we were skinning them alive. With no actual space in the hysteria for what women were saying. That was not important. Rape was not important. Domestic violence was not the issue. Men were being called TRASH! This is the best example for me, a white woman, to understand anything remotely similar (and even then the scale of the difference is beyond measuring) to unconscious racism. No matter what I did or said the #notallmen were more offended about the name than about the reason for the name. #menaretrash equalled #idontseecolour.

A wonderfully accurate check point question for me, mostly in conversations about whiteness, is “Do I take that personally?” If I do then I am the one who needs to go away and unpack that. Usually, if I am honest with myself, it will reveal an unconscious bias or droplet of ingrained superiority. Usually, that discovery will be accompanied by a wave of intense shame. I believe those moments of shame are also the perfect learning moments. The trick is to lean into the shame, do the acknowledging, and stay in the humility of always being on a learning curve. Knowing that those thoughts can be shifted, and must be worked on. Then, in a similar situation, when it comes up again, I am ready to not take it personally. And I will know that I have moved, shifted and am less racist or biased or superior.

A personal place that has become an ongoing challenge is my veganism. I have been confronted about my veganism being elitist, privileged and white. It has been said that the way I feel about animals and the lives of animals is racist. And I am having to work on this in an unflinching and personal way. It is complicated. I have blindspots with people who are ok with the suffering and abuse of animals. I have serious problems with those that justify the slaughter of animals for cultural and religious reasons. I get overwhelmed and depressed at the thought that being a vegan is a choice that only the privileged can make. I don’t think that is true. I am working on it.

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