Tuesday, January 22, 2013

seneca falls, selma, stonewall

Barack Obama's Presidency has been problematic for any number of reasons. For me, it has been a highly-charged and paradoxical jumble of hope and disappointment. As a left-leaning, arugula-eating homo, of course, I've been thrilled with the strides that have been made by this administration's acknowledgment and support of LGBT issues. Unfortunately, I've been equally distressed by a great many other issues that either pass under the radar or go unreported by the majority of media outlets: drone strikes, the continuation of the Bush era anti-terror policies (wire taps, indefinite detainment, etc.), the continuation of tax cuts and corporate loopholes, and the refusal to acknowledge an unjust prison industrial complex that decimates African-American, Latino, and poor communities while nefarious Wall Street fat cats walk free. I also have an incessant disenchantment (that occasionally fluctuates to anger) with this administration's general inability to stand up against the radical right-wing tyrants who've managed to hold the nation hostage these past four years simply out of spite

That said, yesterday as I watched the second inauguration of President Obama, I felt hope, pride of country, respect, and true change. Yesterday, when the President addressed climate change, my heart skipped a beat thinking that maybe, just maybe this second term will reveal a man with so steely and determined a core that he will stand up to the imperious, truculent fringe who are more concerned with self-promotion than serving their constituents or their country. I am old enough to have seen friends, strong young men, whither with disease and die needlessly partly because President Reagan refused to even say the word AIDS. Standing in front of the nation and the world, President Obama said, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall..." and I felt something expand in my chest; something more than pride, more than respect or patriotism, or even hope; I felt recognized.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

twenty thirteen

Forgive me; I feel that I've been neglecting you, dear blog. We are already more than one week into the new year and I haven't written anything here since before Christmas. I have, however, been keeping busy posting birthdays of celebrities and other interesting persons of note on Facebook. This has become an enjoyable, and oftentimes educational morning activity for me. I go online to see what historical figures have been born on that particular day in history, and then google them while drinking my coffee. Often I discover interesting people I hadn't been aware of before, and occasionally I'll uncover little-known and interesting facts about personalities with whom I've already been acquainted.

For example, two days ago it would have been gorgeous French model and actress, Capucine's 85th birthday, and while I clearly remember her as Barbara Stanwyck's sultry and Sapphic plaything in Walk on the Wild Side, I had no idea that she suffered from extreme depression, or that she tragically threw herself to her death from her eighth story window in 1990.  I've also recently read extensively about Lillian Roth, Tom Mix, ZaSu Pitts, Jeanne d'Arc, Zora Neale Hurston, George Reeves, and Lucretia Mott. 

Perhaps the most intriguing celebrity I've become aware of recently is Lucia Zarate. Lucia Zarate, often billed as "The Mexican Lilliputian," or "The Puppet Woman," was born in San Carlos, Mexico. She was entered into the Guinness World Records as "the lightest recorded adult," weighing 4.7 pounds at age 17 (smaller than a cat)! Lucia stood at 20 inches tall. Unlike dwarves, she was normal in every other way, and was described as bright and animated company. She first came to the US at 12 years old to tour with the Barnum Circus, and was one of the highest-paid small people of all time. Zarate died tragically in 1890 at age 26 from hypothermia when the train she was traveling on to an engagement in San Francisco became stalled by a blizzard in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. This past Wednesday was her 149th birthday.