The Brady Bunch: What Fresh Hell?

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What fresh hell is this? Now, on top of everything else, Florence Henderson, Mrs. Brady is gone?

2016 is wapping up damatically, a lot of which we could do without. Ms. Henderson was up there, but you never wanna see Mrs. Brady make the final exit. Who’s next, Greg? Cindy?!

Come on, now, though. How much more can we take? First it’s the harrowing political roller coaster ride–not over yet. One of my favorite blogs,  Idiot Joy Showland, says it all. Starting with a post entitled: “What To Do When You’ve Been Cucked,” an in-depth analysis of present-day politics ends with a moving last paragraph:

There’s always more, no end to the monstrous things crawling out the chasm between sex and politics. The cuck-sayers are all tremendous fans of Donald Trump, despite the fact that, as everyone knows, he’s only running as part of a secret deal with Hillary Clinton, in which the two old friends agreed that Trump would present himself as the most unpalatable candidate possible to make sure that Clinton would, finally, get everything she ever wanted. The two of them share the same dream. Clinton deploying her big prosthetic Donald, long and rubbery, charging to victory on the engorged Donald that she carries between her legs; and Trump, daring to imagine what could happen if he actually won, his eyes rolling as he fantasises about birthing a new, cruel, strange America, hot streams of life and death flowing endlessly from out his broad and fertile cunt.

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Just now, responding to the death of Fidel Castro, Mr. Kriss has this to say (cobbled together from a much larger thought) in “Melancholia after Fidel”:

The world is a poorer place; a sterile promontory. The earth is dried up, its surface drifts away in tiny whirlwinds, and there’s nothing underneath. Every year it shrinks, weaker and worse, stripped away by a thousand chattering stupidities; everywhere the desert is growing and the ice caps melting into the sea, two vast blanknesses gorging themselves on what remains. How could a famished world like this continue to sustain someone like Fidel Castro?….. Wherever there is injustice there will be resistance. But it doesn’t diminish what’s been lost: not one frail nonogenarian in a two-storey house, but the knowledge that we can not only fight but win, that we can not only defeat the reactionaries but build socialism, that we not only have to do something, but that we know how to do it…….. There is much that we’ve lost, but until then we will not let it go. Don’t mourn, melancholise. La lucha sigue.

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Lastly, seemingly insignificant compared to a looming fascist takeover or the end of the line of a beloved and much hated man of the people but enemy to America, we say good-bye to Mrs. Brady, Florence Henderson. Yes, I speak of The Brady Bunch in my novel Day for Night, asking, “Where are the episodes where the kids hang out with the ethnic friend?” Nowhere. Which isn’t 100% on target. Racism was addressed briefly after their neighbors, the Kellys, adopt some ethnically diverse children, and often diverse people would be at get-togethers and parties, but nothing that stood out, and definitely no ethnic friends that we got to see week after week, having adventures with the gang.

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Aside from that, though, Florence Henderson’s death is a sentimental, nostalgic death for some, like me, and if my brother was still alive, for him. Her death may also be highly symbolic of the death of naiveté and innocence, not only for the time it was made in, but for the actual innocence it spun out of thin air, spinning and spinning strands of nothingness into a visible hallucination borne of denial and inflexibility. Because although the world was a simpler place back then, the world of The Brady Bunch didn’t actually exist, except in the minds of those who remembered when it did exist and perhaps wish it still existed. The show was a charming fairy tale that we watched every week–some of us–but that world was actually long gone and what was in its place was flying, without brakes, toward the final conclusion which happened a few weeks ago on November 8th.

Regardless of all those factors, it’s still sad to see Florence, and the idea of Mrs. Brady, go. After reason fled U.S. voters and Castro finally shed the mortal coil. Somehow it all seems connected to me. People’s wants and desires and perceptions of reality and what they want from it and the machinations they’ll go to to get it and how hard it is to let go of old ideas and move on to the new……

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Trump President Elect: Scrape the Black Stuff Off

THE WHITE HOUSE 2017

It happened. Previously when talking about the similarities between a particular Battlestar Galactica episode and this year’s election, I ended with the fact that although I wasn’t enthralled with the democratic offerings, the alternative was unthinkable. And now it appears that it happened. The unthinkable. The unthinkable has happened.

While the world is in shock and nobody quite understands how Trump, this Baltar-like candidate (sans the genius IQ) came to be the president elect, nobody is actually in shock and everybody really does understand how this came to be…right?

Because it started way before Trump came into the picture. It started before Obama was elected and a representative of South Carolina yelled, “You lie!” in the middle of a speech to a joint session of Congress–something which has never happened in the history of Congress…until it happened to a black President. It started before Black Lives Matter.It started before Civil Rights and Martin Luther was assassinated and before segregated armies during World War II where men fought and died the same but one faction was treated well while the other was not.

It started before Japanese American citizens were put in camps. It started before the Chinese worked on rail lines and were treated no better than dogs. It started before Texas (one of several states) was out and out stolen from Mexico. It started before even the kidnapping and slavery of Africans and the genocide of millions of Native Americans.

I want to say that it started with the Constitution, a document suggesting lofty ideals and principles for “all” but in reality was only aimed at “some.” But I think it started even before then. Before the colonists landed in America. Before they had no idea what they were doing, what to expect, how to prepare for “the new world”,  many of them subsequently kept alive due only to the sympathy and generosity of the Native Americans.

It started before the country was founded and with the mindset of those who came here. Those who came here were escaping from something. Those who came here believed they were under siege–their particular beliefs, their principles. Religious persecution. Those who came here wanted to “start over”, begin again.

Years ago, the first Chucky movie came out, wherein the murderous, marauding doll carved a wide swath of violence throughout but, in the end, was destroyed. Good vs. evil. Good wins. But then a little while later, they made another Chucky movie! I was baffled and asked the guy in the video store, “What happened? I thought Chucky died. Didn’t he get burned to death in a fire?”

The video store clerk looked me straight in the eye and said, “Yeah, but they scraped the black stuff off.”

I see the colonists that way. They had a horrible life where they were. Or they thought it was horrible. Considering how they handled things here, one has to wonder if maybe they weren’t just a bunch of self-pitying whiners. They weren’t being treated fairly. They weren’t being listened to. They were being persecuted. So they got to start all over. Move to America. Scrape the black stuff off.

And then what happened? Happily ever after? Let’s all get along? I’ve walked a mile in your moccasins, so I know how it is, brother? Nah.They did to others exactly what they were fleeing from: They didn’t treat others fairly. They didn’t listen. They persecuted everybody.

Native Americans were savages. And let’s not even go into Africans and chattel slavery. Instead of empathy and compassion leading to affinity and inclusiveness, they remained steadfast that their own beliefs and rituals and way of living were the standard for all, no exceptions. They adopted Manifest Destiny as their inner moral compass and followed that, to the exclusion and decimation of everything and everyone else, to the  other side of the country and to the other side of reality, where we are now.

With a beginning like that, trumpeting a mindset that has never really disappeared, a dislike of and inability to assimilate with “others” that has never really disappeared, none of us has the right to be shocked or surprised that Trump is the president elect. To be shocked or surprised is to be in complete denial.

But mostly, complete denial comes with naively and/or self-righteously believing that you can move to “a new world” and start over not by re-framing your perceptions, denouncing oppression in all forms, and adopting an open-mindedness aimed at opening doors instead of slamming them shut. Instead you just scrape the black stuff off, a thin patina left over from your old world and your old life, and simply continue being who you are. With impunity.

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