In Defense of the Offensive

By Judith Gayle | Political Waves

I suppose it’s obvious enough that when you have over seven billion people on the planet, you’ll have over seven billion opinions to contend with, even if they’re not all expressed publicly (like most of China’s one-and-a-half billion, for instance). Still, not all opinions count the same, do they! Although the whole of us Earthlings are seeding the ethers with psychic intent, which I suspect will ultimately win the day, 3D has its pecking order for which impact the most.


For example, it seems some noxious form of insanity that half of America’s 300+ million can refuse to believe in climate change, perpetuating an ever-increasing state of emergency for the rest of the world. In this writer’s opinion, it’s equally as insane to consider the action of a handful of nihilistic zealots hell-bent on violence to be a threat to the continuance of civilization as we know it, although continuing a collective pattern of fear, obstruction and delusion might just do the trick.

The patterns revealed in the progression of new moons at the initiating degree, and news reports I’ve read in these last few days, have led me to consider this moment in time the fulcrum on the teeter-totter that will allow it to tip and rest, eventually. Which side it comes down on remains to be seen, but the very Aquarian flavor of such a debate, reflected in the opinion of the world, defines the challenge. Here’s hoping it also reflects the altruism and humanitarian instincts that inform the higher aspects of the Waterbearer.

The possibility that what happened in France last week was a false flag event (to incite further right-wing xenophobia against Islamic citizens, or create more sympathy and support for Netanyahu as Israel moves toward election, or as justification for an ever-increasing and euphemistic War on Terror, or … feel free to let your imagination wander through the many obvious possibilities …) is not lost on those of us who both support the unity of millions gathered in defense of free speech and inclusion even as we witness a chilling effect on that very thing.

France has a law against inflammatory speech, based on anti-Semitism and holocaust denial. Now, using even more stringent antiterrorism law, the hammer has come down hard on Muslim citizens since the attack on Charlie Hebdo. The New York Times spells it out:

“Those swept up under the new law include a 28-year-old man of French-Tunisian background who was sentenced to six months in prison after he was found guilty of shouting support for the attackers as he passed a police station in Bourgoin-Jalieu on Sunday. A 34-year-old man who on Saturday hit a car while drunk, injured the other driver and subsequently praised the acts of the gunmen when the police detained him was sentenced Monday to four years in prison.

“All told, up to 100 people are under investigation for making or posting comments that support or try to justify terrorism, according to Cédric Cabut, a prosecutor in Bourgoin-Jalieu, in the east of France. The French news media have reported about cases in Paris, Toulouse, Nice, Strasbourg, Orléans and elsewhere in France.”

Eric explored hypocrisy of the march for free speech in Planet Waves FM this week, and the politically savvy know the score. The French have an obvious double standard, but so do most Western nations. And clearly, there’s little posturing on the other side of the fence, where free speech doesn’t exist at all.

A criminal case against one man in Bourgoin-Jalieu cites him for shouting, “They killed Charlie and I had a good laugh. In the past they killed Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mohammed Merah and many brothers. If I didn’t have a father or mother, I would train in Syria.”

There’s harsh truth, loyal to the tribe and illuminating the problem with holy wars everywhere: if tribal and/or religious belief and secular government are at odds, how can the actions of one or the other not inspire resentment capable of putting a match to the vapor trail enveloping them both?

Here in the United States such commentary would have found disapproval, and closer scrutiny but — and I will reverently whisper “as yet” into the ethers, as if in prayer — not arrest. At this point, we don’t have Thought Police (except for those who hope to sneak explosives into shoes, toothpaste or shampoo, pre-flight, which is a kind of rarely occurring fantasy interuptus). We’ve already taken our learning curve on 9/11, only recently assessing the blinding emotion that led us to accept two wars as justified, torture as necessary, and state surveillance to be as warm and comforting as mother’s milk.

Yes, there’s a lot of déjà vu going around these days. Some of you may remember a half-hour talk show called “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” an award-winning late-night offering from the last century. Maher lost his long-running celebrity roundtable (appearing on Comedy Central from 1993 to ’97 and on ABC from 1997 to 2002) when he agreed with a comment by (conservative and thoroughly disagreeable pundit) Dinesh D’Souza, rebutting Bush’s declaration of the hijacker’s cowardice. Said Maher, “We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly. You’re right.”

There was a larger context to Maher’s statement, referencing our own militarism in the Mideast, that showcased the kind of nuance unwelcomed by the press during that knee-jerk period in 2002. Recall that things were very black and white in the days when the Towers fell; chest-thumping and flag pin-wearing were required by those who “love America.” We were not encouraged to think for ourselves. Indeed, the Republican party had not been encouraged to do so since the Gipper saw a Shining City on a Hill in the ’70s. As Maher would testify, we were punished for opinions of our own.

With all that confusion and emotion running us ragged, a few sponsors dropped Maher’s show like a hot potato. ABC decided it couldn’t risk loss of revenue and refused to renew Bill’s contract the next year, as if the title of the show — “Politically Incorrect” — was not exactly what they should have expected from him. Ironically, according to Wikipedia, six days after the cancellation, Maher received the Los Angeles Press Club president’s award for “championing free speech.”

And so was born Stephen Colbert’s decade of ‘truthiness’ as opposed to truth-telling. Many voices were silenced during that period, and bless Comedy Central for giving us the pointed satire of Stewart and Colbert — truth dressed in humor — to keep us from entering into darkness altogether. Also, stars in HBO’s crown for giving Maher an even more intense hour-long platform to hold political discussion since 2003, sussing out the events of the day that demand not just a nuanced conversation but perhaps even a down and dirty discussion considered, by some, objectionable.

Let me issue a disclaimer, although it’s personal. I’m always amazed that my Friday writing is regularly reflected in the topics discussed on Bill’s Friday night show (which I wouldn’t dream of missing,) as if our brains are similarly wired. Not that I agree with his every position, especially on militarism and religion. And I know some readers consider him a misogynist, but I’ll give him a pass on sexism because he’s an unapologetic hedonist. I haven’t seen that get in the way of his political positions, and I consider his sex life is his own business.

Perhaps I would find some similarities in our charts for that synchronicity of thought process, and probably because I’m comfortable with his level of candor and curiosity, I’m more than willing to give him his due for not ducking hard topics. He’s recently in trouble for considering Islam a dangerous belief system, across the board. I’d have thought as controversial — and I’d be wrong — is his opinion that all religions, Islam included, are pure fantasy. His crusade to out them has few sacred panties in a knot and there’s some shadow-thing there, tickling the truth and eluding me.

On “Real Time With Bill Maher,” he invites people to the table I’d rather stick with a pin than listen to, and that’s part of the painful process of discovery. If we want our truth unvarnished, it may ruffle our feathers and twist our sensibilities. Unwelcome facts might stick like a burr under our saddle, not just rubbing raw but pissing us off and requiring us to clarify what we believe. Most dangerous — most liberating — of all, grappling these difficult concepts might make us think, force us into weighing context from both sides of the fence.

France — indeed, all of Europe, gone on a preventatiive rip to oust terrorists — has a lot of thinking to do in the next months. I pray they ‘get it’ faster than we did, that they don’t knee-jerk into actions they regret and muddy their waters. That said, I’m struck with the political correctness we’re wrestling with these days. It feels like a throwback to earlier times, like déjà vu all over again. I don’t want a repeat of watching the lemmings march to the cliff and throw themselves over, so let me say it, loud and proud: being politically correct is a big damn mistake!

Being politically correct is something I’ve spent a lifetime defying, and almost entirely by the seat of my pants. It took time to dawn on me that sometimes my comments had the same effect on listeners as jumper cables to the genitalia, sparking a reaction that brought roaring life into something that had been, up to that point, deadly quiet. By the time it did, I had already honed that ability to an art, learned how to bring it down to just a sting, a twitch, a zap. In short, I had learned to own the ability because it’s my authentic self.

So thank God/dess for the United States of America, and its — as yet — elemental respect for free speech, because I find it almost impossible to keep mum when faced with apparent bullshit, and that’s after a lifetime of smacks on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. Although I’m better at intuiting when I shouldn’t speak up at all, these days, it has never occurred to me that I couldn’t say what I felt or saw or considered important. Here’s comedian Sarah Silverman with a similar thought:

“Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake, not because they can’t, but because it never would have occurred to them they couldn’t.”

Amen Sister-Woman! That’s why I’ve never considered myself a feminist. Even as one of the earliest Baby Boomers, it never occurred to me that I had to be one to take my place in the sun. But Silverman, who has plenty of impressive, outrageous and politically incorrect quotes on her resume, has paid a price for her candor, as I’ve paid for mine. You strong women out there know what I mean. How can we — ANY of us — not speak out about what we see, when so much is at stake?

Yet here we are again, congress critters ramping up ways to keep Obama from making peace with Iran, mustering loyalty for Netanyahu when Israel’s heavy-handed treatment of Palestinians has created disapproval among the American majority, and pledging the defeat and removal of ISIS with an improved military budget, if required. Many in the world, responding to the recent atrocity of a handful of mind-crimed radicals, seem poised on a war with Islam, the religion.

Islam, the religion. Sounds like a movie. And with well over a billion Muslims in the world, who can define what Islam is, anyway? I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but such a plan is both ridiculous and useless. Islam has an internal problem between Sunni and Shia that has yet to be resolved, and one of the reasons it’s been delayed is because we — the Western world — won’t keep out of it.

Trying to mend the schism between these two sects is not only impossible but not our business, and any attempt to moderate it can only be seen as disrespectful to believers. We have a real problem putting ourselves in the other guy’s shoes, don’t we? And how hateful is hating the haters? How useful is endlessly perpetuating the loop of judgment and violence? Solves nothing, changes no minds, wins no hearts.

The rejection of modernity is a major issue, of course — and a losing prospect — which can easily be tracked to the Wahabi’ism practiced in Saudi Arabia (you know, our good friends). It should be no surprise, then, that the very day that Charlie was attacked, the Saudis were administering 50 lashes — the first of 1000 — to the blogger that was sentenced to ten years in prison for insult to Islam. The Saudis are just now reviewing his case, with all this unwanted attention on fundamentalism, and there might be some respite for Raif Badawi, whose wife and three young children have moved to Canada.

But this is Sharia law we’re talking about, not very flexible. In fact, two Saudi women were arrested for commentary they made on social media, where they have a following in agitating for the right to drive; they will be tried at a specialized court that was established to deal with terrorism cases. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that denies women this activity, and evidently considers them terrorists if they try. With friends like these ….

What, I wonder, does America have in common with this repressive government, which uses religion like a cudgel against its own, except love of oil? In fact, if it wasn’t for oil, would we be in the Middle East at all? Might Islam have the freedom to begin its own internal dialogue, without solidifying itself in defense against the Infidel? Let’s connect those dots and consider that yet another terrific reason to invest ourselves in alternative fuel and clean, home-grown technology to power this new era.

The Pope, attempting to soothe, says we can’t make fun of someone’s religion. Oh gosh, Pope Frank, don’t be silly! The very sensitive may find that such remarks sting like the dickens but, at least on these shores, that’s just the breaks! Like Sister Sarah says, “I’m hurt all the time, but I would die defending people’s right to say anything.”

Take the Pastafarians, born in revolt to the Kansas State Board of Education’s embrace of creationism. By virtue of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the church (FSM) takes a jab at every religion, especially those that ignore science. No born again has gunned down a Pastafarian lately, even the gent who insisted on wearing religious paraphernalia (a spaghetti colander) on his head for his drivers license picture. True believers pray to “His Noodley Goodness,” ending with “RAmen.” All of religion, then, skewered, kabob-like, and presented as a tasty treat. Once more, humor makes the necessity of keeping an open mind and dialogue acceptable.

And it IS necessary, and serious as a heart attack. Unless we are able to look at it all, even the stuff we find objectionable — even blasphemous — we are not getting all the information we need for an informed decision. We’re not standing in the light.

Me? There’s a lot of humor I’m not comfortable with, a lot of rhetoric that has me daydreaming of voodoo dolls and pin cushions, but I’ll defend the right to put the objectionable out there in public with my life. That’s what they did at Charlie, and I suspect they all considered the consequences long before they published.

There are some things we decide to stand for, that we don’t need to defend or justify. In fact, to do so is insulting to that very principle we embrace, even though it carries a warning tag. If we attack someone, we can expect them to attack us back. If we tread too close to the sacrosanct, residing somewhere in the darkest, most humorless part of someone’s psyche, they may try to harm us because in that mindset, there are no other solutions to the problem. If that stops us from telling our truth, then we’ve discovered that we’re very human, very hesitant to own our best instincts or face our fears, and there’s the clue that we’ve still got work to do, here on planet Terra.

It’s a tough subject and I’m interested in what you have to say about all this. Here’s our roundtable, this weekend; our “Politically Incorrect” where we can thrash out the wheat from the chaff. Please weigh in with your insights, if you’d like. As always, this is a safe place to put your thoughts and feelings.

I’ll close with another Silverman quote I like, for perspective:

“Mother Theresa didn’t walk around complaining about her thighs — she had shit to do.”

Ain’t it the truth!

13 thoughts on “In Defense of the Offensive

  1. Deborah

    Judith, once again you’ve artfully un-jumbled the week’s thought bombardments. Carlin, Maher, Stewart, Colbert, and other (all) satirists have gotten me through the dark times and challenges of being an “uppity woman”…and your Saturday mind-meld always helps me sort, prioritize, and pick my battles with your level-headed clarity on the issues.
    I never miss Bill’s show either. He has praised Pope Frank on all his progressive and compassionate deeds but called him out last night for for his bizarre response to blasphemy, which surprised and disappointed me as well. Somebody says somethin’ bad about your mama, you punch ’em out?! Let the pope jokes begin (continue)!
    Grateful for our synchronicities, Judith…political and otherwise. We have work to do…we are women, hear us roar.

  2. Mandy

    Amen to you Sister-Woman Judith! I truly appreciate how you have offered us all a Pholus moment (the lid comes off).
    The comedy and the tragedy. A polarity. To grow the tragedy and the effects of it, the comedy must be suppressed and/or killed. Light and dark, masculine and feminine, up and down, in and out – the Universe uses building blocks of polarity. Instead of good and evil, I call it live and evil – evil is the opposite of living true to our nature. Evil is live spelled backwards (death and/or life).
    The myth of Adam/Lilith/Eve corresponds to this – Lilith wanted to live in the natural state of polarity but Adam wanted the unnatural state of duality (which has a schism, a wall/divide between the two). United we stand, divided we fall. Balanced polarity produces a third state of wholeness, health, well-being and access to our Higher Selves – transcendence. Lilith offered this knowledge to Eve and we all know what happened after that, as we have been living it ever since.
    I said the other day that the pic of the 40 ‘leaders’ in France looked like a ritual to me. In my understanding, it was both – a photo op (literal) and a ritual (occult). A polaroid polarity. Occult means hidden (from the naked eye – like all the juicy stuff behind Saturn) and can be used for good or evil. What is real?
    I once had a very wise teacher who offered me great advice – when presented with something that seems to go against your beliefs or seems too fantastical (or horrifying) to believe, ask yourself this: “What if this were true? How would my perspective and life change?” Then take action to investigate it – meditate and research.
    Religion and our education system/media has worked very hard to suppress us even looking at this stuff. The history of ourselves, as it has been presented and we ‘know’ it, has been changed, twisted and perverted. And we have accepted it. How many sacred libraries have been burned down and trashed to obliterate the truth?
    When people consciously use evil occult practices on others who are oblivious and ignorant of such things, we become puppets on a string. Knowledge is power. For the dark to evaporate, we must shine the light of wisdom, knowledge and truth onto it. Face it. Expose it to the light. This is part of how we love ourselves, heal and return to wholeness (Know Thyself). We can’t rise up until we know what is holding us down. You have to pull it out by the roots. The Holy War (aka WWIII) is a war on our emotions and psyches.
    For anyone who is ready to ‘take the pill’ and look down the rabbit hole, I can suggest starting here (a guy who declares “I don’t care if my hands get shredded and bloody, I will not stop until the roots of evil are exposed!”). Me either. I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  3. Deborah

    Good points, Judith, I’ll back peddle enough to say he’s a righteous dude, but he still has a lot of foot-washing to do to make up for the pedophilia and disgraced last pope.

  4. Barbara Koehler

    Serendipity is your strong suit this week Jude, your remarks about letting our “imaginations wander” and “sounds like a movie” strip the mask off of Neptune as creator of illustration as well as illusion. He holds up the mirror but we don’t see it as ourselves but “the other”. Now that he is moving into 6+ Pisces this Thursday he will quincunx the U.S. Sibly chart’s North Node at 6+ Leo. I can attest to the discomfort of having Neptune quincunx (adjust or else) anything in one’s natal chart, and this one will take a month to run its present course. A lot of confusion will leave us doubting our most treasured beliefs.

    Of course he works under the cover of the Uranus-Pluto squares, but his semi-square with Eris (creator of conflict) is anything but subtle. Talk about discord! When the Charlie Hebdo story broke transiting Sun (consciousness) and Vesta (invested in) were approaching their semi-square with Neptune from his other side, putting them (Sun-Vesta) in a square with Eris. Talk about tragedy and comedy. . . .

    On Thursday, Neptune will move back into a degree that is tightly quincunx the U.S. Sibly North Node and anyone who has had a natal planet in a quincunx aspect with Neptune can tell you self-doubt reigns. It’s all about adjusting. Or squirming.

    It would appear that the Solar Eclipse (SE) on October 23rd was trying to prepare us for this New Moon (NM) in Aquarius on Tuesday. Venus and Pallas were conjunct the Sun-Moon in Scorpio and all are being squared by this NM in Aquarius. The U.S. Sibly Neptune in Virgo was -and still is – in a quincunx to Eris at the SE in October and will still maintain that aspect in Tuesday’s Aquarius NM. That NM’s Venus at 21+ Aquarius will sextile Eris at 22+ Aries and that means we have a yod as both will quincunx U.S. Neptune in Virgo. This time Neptune will do some adjusting.

    And whose behind it all, Charlie Hebdo? Well, back in October when the SE in Scorpio took place it was Saturn in Scorpio who was sextile the U.S. Neptune and that put Eris in the forced-to- adjust position of a yod, and trans. Eris was semi-square trans. Neptune. But now the glass slipper is on the other foot.

    Not that there isn’t some good news resulting from the SE in Scorpio and NM in Aquarius which squares it. Squares create action. Jupiter in both the SE and NM charts is in the same degree, 19+ Leo. In the SE he was in a quintile (spiritual will transcends physical limitations) to the Sun-Moon-Venus-Pallas conjunction. He was also trine the south node (release) and sextile the north node (path forward).

    In Tuesday’s NM, Jupiter opposes Venus (who was conjunct the SE in October) and they are seeking to find a balance between creative largeese (Jupiter in Leo) and group values (Venus in Aquarius). Once again, this aspect affects the U.S. Neptune in Virgo (22+ degrees)

    The yod mentioned earlier between Eris sextile Venus in Tuesday’s NM, both quincunx U.S. Neptune in Virgo and that might mean a shifting (quincunx) in healthcare (Neptune) benefits ($$) for veterans (Virgo). The largeese of Jupiter in Leo (transiting the U.S. 8th house of shared resources) finding balance with group values of Venus in Aquarius (concern for mankind) is key.

    Because of the long shelf-life of the Scorpio solar eclipse,
    and because the nodes in that SE were only 1 degree from the U.S. opposing natal planets of Chiron (conjunct SE south node) and Juno (conjunct SE north node),
    and because Jupiter was trine that south node and sextile that north node,
    and because Jupiter is back to the same degree he held in October’s SE,
    and because Uranus (unexpected) in Tuesday’s NM is now conjunct the south node (release),
    the proximity of US Chiron (wounded) to the October eclipse south node (release) and US Juno (partners who are not treated equally) to the SE north node (path forward), the whole wiggly astrology (quincunxes, oppositions) could be a boon for our veterans, especially in the mental health area.

    So, under cover of the Charlie Hebdo conversation about freedom vs. sensitivity in law and conversation and cartoons and movies, something magical just might happen when we aren’t looking it eye to eye. That’s (one of) my Aquarian day-dreams anyway.

    Oh, and Pallas, who was conjunct the Scorpio SE along with Venus? She will be in a grand fire trine with the Uranus and Juno in Tuesday’s Aquarius NM, and only 3 degrees from the U.S. Sibly ascendant, which is EXACTLY trine Tuesday’s Uranus and Juno. Told you it was wiggly!

  5. Mandy

    “We can’t point out darkness over THERE unless we’re willing to notice it HERE. ” How very, very true.
    I recently spent 7 hours doing an inner process with this. I discovered an inner space I termed my Cave of Evil. It had some objects in it, we had a dialogue and mutually agreed we were all ready to let go and move on. I carried them up and out into the light, they transformed and rose up into the Sun. I rolled away the stone in front of the cave, the Sun shone in and grass, flowers and vines grew. Healthy roots.
    This was a cave of fear I have carried – lack of trust in myself, my own authority and what I know. Underneath that, I discovered that it is rooted in the Dark Goddess energies, the deep subconscious – a big part of myself that is vast and powerful (a great reflection of the outer world’s response and treatment of this energy that we all have).
    Now I sit in this space with a velvet blanket of the Goddess wrapped around me, and it feels strong, true and good. I trust it. I appreciate it. I love it. As L,eilani said, it’s what I was given and it wasn’t livin’.

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