Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Liability of Labels

There are people who choose ignorance over the truth. These are people who have at least some access to the truth, but find it too complicated or painful to acknowledge. I do get frustrated with these people but I also pity them for they will never live a life that is complete and free. They sacrifice much for their ignorance
Then there are people who know the truth and simply don’t care, they live their lives for themselves and for profit. They are almost sociopathic in their behavior.
Then there are those who, due to poverty, oppression and isolation do not have access to the truth.
When I hear the word “sheeple” I’m assuming most people are referring to the first group, those who choose comfort over knowledge. These people pose no threat. They don’t care enough to create change. In my opinion it is a waste of time to argue with or about them. They will reap the consequences of their own ignorance, and maybe someday a consequence will shed some light into their minds. If that happens I would think we would want to have them on board, if they are seeking change. Calling people names, like “sheeple” alienates and divides; and it is alienation and division that has disabled prior attempts at unity and cooperative action.
I’m not one to tell people what language to use, this is just my opinion, but I’d like to see what sort of reaction others may have after reading this.



©2011 Jennifer Hazard/Crows Can Speak


Heartbreak Hotel

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another.
Some of us more than others. For some of us it becomes a regular way of life.

The world of art and music would be significantly less prolific if not for heartbreak…or maybe the gap would be replaced with more productive, innovate and inspiring works. Maybe the world would be a kinder, happier place. Maybe the advertising agencies would lose 90% of their business, you know the kind that encourages people to be beautiful, buy sexy cars and take pills to be happy.
Maybe if we’d never had our hearts broken, we’d know how to love and we’d never have to break anyone else’s heart.

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

The Evolution of Revolution


Despite several challenges the Occupation of wall street is becoming a powerful catalyst for our nation. It seems by most accounts and observations, the group is well-organized, determined and moving forward with their stated objectives. Naturally there will be ridicule, downplay and outright media perpetrated lies from the conservative right, that is to be expected What concerns me is it’s not only the right that is jumping on the crazy wagon. I’d like to address two pervasive public reactions to the Occupation of Wall street  that are already creating an atmosphere of divisiveness among the rest of the 99%.

First,  the criticism that there is “no stated goal, or demand” put forth by the Activists.

This video is by far a more eloquent response than anything I could craft. In my mind it is virtually a guidebook for the evolution of a revolution! I was particularly struck by the statement made by the young woman addressing needing to change ourselves before we can change the world. As passionate, creative and motivated as we all are we are conditioned to functioning in a society that promotes individualism over cooperation, power over consensus and expects immediate outcomes. Cooperative organizing  for lasting change is process and meeting, educating, sharing ideas are all process. This is not a quick fix. The easy way, the quick way,  Action that is not nurtured and developed by  cooperative planning and careful consideration of the community as a whole is the kind of modus operandi that led this country into our current state. The fact that people are engaging in the process in large groups, visible to the public promotes action in a way that is dynamic, inclusive and effective. We have seen that we can only spend so much time planning and organizing online, in coffee houses or libraries before the group begins to lose momentum. Being in public and accessible draws more people into the fold and provides them with real opportunities to be a part of some thing bigger than themselves. The general assembly model provides structure, opportunity and facilitates empowerment both for individuals and as a community. The daily routines of marching, chanting dancing and protesting keeps people mobilized, energized and motivated.

The intent is fairly obvious, we don’t need a spreadsheet or manifesto to get the point across that economic inequality has reached the breaking point, that the government is no longer run by politicians but by the corporations who buy them and that people are demanding change.

The second issue that has me a bit irked is the incredible amount of time and energy some individuals are devoting (but not acting on) to the abuses perpetrated upon protesters by some NYPD officers (especially young scantily clad girls). Some place so much emphasis and attention on these incidents that they risk losing focus of the original purpose.  Even the media was essentially ignoring the occupation until the arrests, accompanied by excessive violence started showing up on you tube and other social networking outlets. Why is this many ask. Is it because we care about protesters getting hurt? Do we care about abuse of power and authority/ Let me remind you that if the latter were the case, these protests/gatherings would have drawn national coverage from day one. After all it is the abuse of power, the oppression of human beings that is the fundamental cause of the movement. So why has the media suddenly taken interest?  Distraction. A direct provocation of emotional response and reaction that is a fly in the ointment of calm, rational planned process. I’m reasonably certain the organizers have included a “how to deal with combative police presence” in their core training and mission. It is the people who are following closely via whatever media source they have available, who are becoming entangled in this web of drama. Please know I am not minimizing the event. It’s clearly an excessive and uncalled for use of force. However this is to be expected, at least prepared for, when organizing an occupation/demonstration of this size and scope. The abuse needs to be addressed but as it’s own issue, handled by a designated committee in conjunction with the attorneys who are volunteering their time to assist with these matters….otherwise we risk distraction from the original goal and purpose. Ongoing organizing and direct action needs to continue;  if anything these events can offer a teachable moment where the activists can revisit strategies for passive non-compliance. To risk losing time and effort organizing, to act from a place that is purely re-active is to risk undermining the validity of the organization. Additionally this sort of reaction perpetuates the “Us and Them” mentality which is another divisive tactic. As some of you may remember,  here in Wisconsin we had an incredible amount of support from the police in Madison this winter during the occupation of the State Capitol building. This week in New York  there are police who are not coming into work. As many as 100 officers, according to some sources, did not show up for work on Monday. Many of these men and women are in the same boat as the rest of us, struggling to get by on low wages in a world of increasing cost, worried about losing their homes and having their Union dismantled piece by piece. If we are to heed the advice of the woman quoted in the video and change ourselves in order to change the world, we have to stop painting classes of people, even police, with a broad brush. We have to refine our skills of discernment. That means call out the bad eggs, get their badge numbers, video their actions (people have been doing a great job at this)  but I caution against screaming “Fascist pig” or some other slander at the man or woman who may very well be on your side even if they are in uniform. That person may well save our life someday.

I’m looking forward to seeing and participating in the progression of this movement and I encourage readers to seek out alternative news sources for more information. I’m providing a list of a few links at the bottom of the page if you are interested in learning more about the actions and activists.



The Perfect Body

What image comes to mind upon hearing that phrase…”the perfect body”? Remember in the 70’s Bo Derek was a “10”, in the 80’s, well I’m not sure what the heck was going on there but a lot of people were into aerobics, jazzercise and fitness gurus. In the last couple of decades things have improved…slightly, slowly. Among my daughters’ generation it is desirable to have “booty”, a nice big juicy butt. This is good because many women carry their weight in their hips, thighs and butt unlike the androgynous teenage boy look that was sold to us in the 60’s and 70’s. But to have a look or body type become “vogue” is precisely the problem. It’s hard enough keeping up with wardrobe style changes (I don’t even bother) but body type changes? Hah. If thin is in, thick is out, if thick is slick thin is out; meanwhile as the trends change we all living in the body genetics gave us.
There has been much to say, written, discussed and filmed to address the impact of the media (especially advertising) on women’s self image. It’s not breaking news that many of us, especially younger women compare ourselves to unrealistic ideal that we see in the media. When I was a teenager and into my early 20’s it didn’t even occur to me that the bouncy curls and wild waves that adorned women’s’ crowns were actually permed, styled, sprayed, teased and otherwise cajoled into looking that way. I honestly thought that was how they looked naturally. My own hair was fine, straight and would not hold a curl no matter how hard I tried. I actually cried one night because my boyfriend was flirting with a “Big Hair” girl. And the worst part was it never occurred to me at the moment that any man shallow enough to choose one woman over another based hair volume was probably not someone I’d want to be with anyway.
Now getting “older” and having sustained a certain amount of wear and tear, I am extremely grateful that I have eradicated the deadly sin of envy from my frame of reference. We are pressured to look a certain way when we are young, and as we age we are pressured to maintain that ideal which isn’t even realistic for a young woman much less a 50 year old who has had babies, fallen off motorcycles, washed hundreds of thousands of dishes and all the other experiences that can affect how we age.
Plastic surgery which began as a quirky trend utilized by celebrities has now become disturbingly commonplace. It’s not only the extremes of actual surgical alteration that is becoming normalized, If a woman resists dying her hair as it grays she is either “so brave” (a phrase often delivered condescendingly) or is simply seen as eccentric. Once again the “old hippie” stereotype is invoked to dismissively invalidate a woman’s conscious, self affirming choice.
On the flip side I would be a hypocrite if I condemned women who do choose to dye their hair, go to the gym to maintain that perfect tone, or even get some “work done”. After all we’re talking about our bodies, our choice; Choice being the key issue. If a woman chooses this route because she can afford it and she does it for herself with self awareness and confidence, I say go to it. After all I have altered my body with tattoos, piercings and the occasional purple or blue hair coloring; but I have also come to appreciate and love the scars, the stretch marks and all the imperfections that each tells a chapter in my story. Does this mean I’m always happy when I look in the mirror? Hell no, I haven’t transcended vanity, I’m only human. But I no longer allow those disappointments (I’m talking to you cellulite) to drive me to making obsessively poor choices including berating myself for not living up to some unrealistic Ideal.
This is a topic I’d like to follow up on, there’s so much more to be said. In the meantime I’d love to hear my readers’ thoughts and experiences with body image: either in comments here or on my Facebook group (see link in sidebar) I’m also including a link to The Now Foundation’s “Love Your Body” campaign. They have some wonderful projects, especially those designed for college age women. I strongly encourage you to check out the link!

Peace…and Love your Body, it is your temple.
© 2011 Nanakoosas Place, by Jennifer Hazard

A guided eye

A differently guided eye.
Perception, internalized, synthesized, bumped up against our own unique structural framework
A fusion of history, emotions, thoughts, ability to process, method of process.
Do we indeed create our own reality, or do we perceive our own reality? Is our perception, our creation?

 That which we interpret to be true becomes, to us, the truth.That which we perceive as real, becomes reality.
A differently guided eye, will risk viewing through another’s perspective.

© 2010 Nanakoosas Place, by Jennifer Hazard

More on Employment Deficit for Rebels and Rogues

I find myself again compelled to revisit last months topic dated August 17, “Attention/Employment Deficit”. It is a much larger issue for many of us, on both personal and societal levels.  It involves an emerging cultural trend, one that is dictated by the economic political partnership as are most cultural trends are these days. The present movement unabashedly favors conformity. Like the cycles of the stars and the seasons,  humankind weaves it’s way into, through and out of various seasons and stages. The conformity cycles are always uncomfortable for me; this one feels absolutely frightening.
I suppose my age may intensify my sensitivity. I know more, I analyze with greater discernment and skepticism. More significantly, I am less adaptable. My strategical options for coping with the popular trend, whether they be to cooperate or to rebel, seem be diminishing at a rate equal to the rise of restriction and control. There are within society itself, fewer options available. There was a time when it was much easier to make a living by “doing your own thing”. And if you did work for someone else there was more job security, generally better benefits and in many industries, room for creative development. Ideas from staff were  welcomed and sometimes actually taken into consideration. This was especially true in the non-profit sector where many agencies were still operating by the grassroots community organizing principles upon which they were originally founded. Now, due to stricter regulations and expectations demanded by funding sources most of these agencies management style and atmosphere have become more corporate, less personal. 
As the workplace has changed there are also increasing internal limitations. If you are over 50 and you tell someone you’re looking for work 8 out of 10 people will shake their heads in some sort of ironic sympathy. If you are lucky enough to get hired you’d better keep your mouth shut, follow the rules to the ‘t’ and for heaven’s sake do not by any means get sick.
 The problem is the older you get the less likely you are to hold your tongue and take someone’s nonsense (especially if they are younger than you) and if you do hold your opinions inside you are more likely to experience stress related illness. That’s 2 out of 3 “do not do in the workplace if you are over 50”
Frankly, I am too tired and achy to work a 40 hour week, I could do it but I’d do little else. That’s how life is for most of my middle aged working friends. I’m pretty certain I don’t want to live that way.
I have lots of Utopian ideas about opportunities for people my age. Industries could hire us as Mentors for example. Using our experience to break in the next generation. Unfortunately it seems, based on anecdotal evidence, that many industries do not want fresh young minds corrupted by the crazy anarcho-syndicalist tree hugging whimseys of a generation out of time.
 “So there we were all in one place, a generation lost in space” to quote Don McLean, and although the next line states that “there’s no time left to start again”, I have to believe that there is. We have to carve out our niche in society, because no one else is going to do it for us. We either adapt to the changes and conform, or we adapt around the changes and clear our own path.
Guess which road I’m taking?
© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard
“American Pie” Lyrics by Don McLean © Universal Music Publishing Group

Things To Remember When You’re In A Relationship « Thought Catalog

While I’m slooowly developing my next blog post, I wanted to share this. I found it very simply stated yet wise and relevant, enjoy!

*disclaimer, I’ve looked at some of this dudes other posts and found many of them to be shallow and somewhat sexist, we’ll take this as a welcome anomaly! 

Things To Remember When You’re In A Relationship « Thought Catalog © 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard