Lori and Jimmy and sex, oh my

Author and journalist George Case has written an interesting blog post, Sick Again, which I felt I had to reply to.  I decided that because my thoughts are really way too long for a comment, I’d post them here.  Please read George’s article so you’ll have the context for what I’ve written below.

Jimmy Page & Lori Mattix

You ask: What would a fourteen-year-old and a twenty-eight-year old see in each other, and who around them could have imagined their liaison was a healthy one?

The answer: The two would see opportunity for friendship. Companionship. Excitement. Stimulation. Fun. Love. Sex. Great food and drink. Great drugs. Travel. New experiences. Interesting conversation. Comfort. Great parties.

The people around them would see two people who are attracted to each other, just like any other two people, give or take a bit of fame and fortune. Why would anyone think it was unhealthy?  If two people experience these things together, then they are lucky.  They might be envied, even.

But okay, maybe a few would see sexual exploitation in the relationship.  Um.  Which one would be the exploiter?

Remember, back then there was also this going on: The burning desire for freedom to think for oneself, to each forge our own way, to toss off the shackles of establishment that had only led the world to racism, war, and repression.

Back in the days of flower power, many of us believed strongly in a world vision of freedom and peace. It was a sexual, moral, and ethical revolution created by living it. We pushed the envelope, we lived that pushing.

Excess? That is a view from outside, not inside.

Back then we resented the establishment that tried to impose a morality on us that we didn’t believe in. Who cared what the law was when it was so clearly outdated and wrong.

I still feel that way. Many of us of a certain age still do.

All of the young women the establishment said back then (and are still saying now) were too young were in fact quite old enough, thank you very much. We knew what we were doing. We knew a lot more than many who were a decade or two older than us. Young women like Lori were not being exploited, they were taking advantage of the only avenues open to them at that age to climb the ladder to where they wanted to go. They were having an incredible time doing it, too.

They aren’t the ones who were wounded and scarred by sexual predators.

Young women are not children just because they are under some arbitrary legal age according to criminal law. Women who are 14 years old do not need protecting from using their bodies to get what they want in life. Women of all ages should have the unquestioned right to make decisions about their own bodies and their own lives.

Women of all ages should have the unquestioned right to say NO for themselves, not permission from others to say yes to what they want in life.

The first

It’s hard to be an innovator, a creator, the first person to do something.  It’s easy to copy what others have done and go where others have already broken trail.  It’s also easy to forget how tough it is to be the first, the one to break through to the new.

This is true of so many things.  Of pretty much everything, in fact.  It’s hard work to be the first and it’s sometimes downright risky.  You know this to be true even if you’ve never dared to break out of the fold.  Or maybe you have dreamed but haven’t dared to act, because you innately understand how tough it would be.

If being the first was easy, everybody would be doing it.
Sailor tattoos

Tattoos used to be a way of signifying identification with and belonging to groups that outsiders couldn’t hope to be part of.  Sailors and Hell’s Angels and tribes.  The tattoos were meant to show that those so marked were special, with powers that others couldn’t have. In turn, people who flaunted tattoos were looked down on or feared.

Now everybody’s grandmother — and great grandmother and great grandfather and the next door neighbor’s new-born — has tattoos.  Now a tattoo shows you’re part of a group — the one that’s become the norm rather than of outliers.

Even so.  Even in the 21st century.Megan Fox tattoo

Being the first is still to be the one who breaks the barrier of conformity, a place that is safe and comfortable.  And that means that it still isn’t so easy.  Many try, many fail.  Those who persevere have a hard time daring to go where no man — or woman — has gone before.

Touchers, gropers, and rapists

Which brings me to the accusations of sexual misconduct.  First it was a trickle, then it became a streamlet. If you think it’s starting to look like a flood now, let me tell you pretty soon it’s going to become a tsunami.  People may believe that this is a sudden thing that men are doing (because it’s mostly men who are being accused), but that’s not the case.  What is the case is that women (because it’s mostly women who do the accusing) have been groped and worse by men probably since Adam.

Then what’s happening now?

Being the first to complain about sexual misconduct….  oh forget that.  It’s not “misconduct”, it’s wrong, it’s bad, it is evil , abusive, crappy behavior.  Anyway, complaining has never been a good idea for women.  Here we are in 2017 when presumably women have “equal rights” but even now a woman’s accusations are doubted .  Even now a woman is blamed for the inappropriate behavior for men.  Even now it just isn’t considered something a woman should complain about in the first place.

And yet you ask any woman and the high probability is that sometime during her life, no matter how old — or young — she is, she will have been the recipient of unwanted advances by men.

That’s just plain crap.

Understand: this isn’t a diatribe about men.  This is about being the first, and how hard it is to do that.  Humans mistrust people who step outside area of The Way Things Have Always Been Done.  Safety is in numbers.  But…

The first women have spoken.  More will speak up.  Suddenly it will happen that the complainers aren’t outliers.  Maybe finally those who  have always had their way will find themselves in the minority, not the majority, and things will change.

 

Lif C Strand

Quemado NM USA

Dear USFS

Smoke from AZ forest fires spreading into New Mexico

Dear Forest Service: I have a few questions for you. They arise from my state of confusion about what the purpose of a Forest Service actually is. I thought you were a federal agency that managed our forests for multiple uses. But I seem to be mistaken. Nowadays people are being blocked from using forest resources as they traditionally have plus all you do is encourage fires so even wildlife doesn’t get the use of our forests. So rather than speculate, I thought I’d ask and maybe you could clear a few things up for me.

1) When did “management” and “burning” become synonymous? I get the concept of the occasional naturally started fire being allowed to burn, because that clears brush and adds nutrients to the soil, but I also understand that trick only works in a healthy forest.

But we don’t have healthy forests. The forests are bug-ridden, drought stressed, and overgrown.  So why are you not only burning, burning, burning, but you’re also igniting fires in the name of management?

How come you’ve got the budget to pay firefighters to manage all that burning, but you never have the budget to pay for NEPA studies that would allow logging, forest restoration, and mechanical hazardous fuels reduction? You know, stuff that would not only benefit the forests, but benefit local economies?

Sorry, that was more than one question, but let’s move on.

2) When you burn all the brush and grass in the fall, what does the wildlife that browses and grazes, or lives on plant seeds, etc. eat during the winter, before there’s any growth in the spring?

3) When you burn, how many small animals that can’t flee the fires do you kill? How many large animals that than can run get burned by your fires and are crippled or die slow deaths?

4) What impact does all this smoke have on tourism, I wonder?

5) Just how much carbon and particulates gets added to our polluted atmosphere by all this burning? How does breathing the smoke day after day impact human health, and the health of any critter that has lungs? How does the smoke you generate with all your burning contribute to global warming or climate change?

6) Do we ever get a break? Or are you planning to just burn, burn, burn all year long?

Thanks for any answers that you could provide. I am sure everything I’m asking is public information you have made available somewhere, but darned if I can find it.

Sincerely,
Lif Strand

PS: I’d appreciate it if you didn’t just give me the party line, but for once just answered the questions.
PS: Sorry for my bad attitude. But month after month of headache, burning eyes, sore throat, and congested lungs from YOUR FIRES tends to make me crabby.

@USFSSouthwest