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Wiley Wandering

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What Is Really Going On Here?

I’m going to start this blog with the questions I normally end a posting with. Of you readers out there who read the last posting: “Ways of Seeing Sensuality” how many of you had any conversation about the posting? What were the conversations about? Were you surprised that something somewhat sensual was presented for public discourse? Is there anyone out there who believes that universities have a moral responsibility to teach/not teach so-called real world topics? How about regional newspapers? Is the Press Republican serving its constituency well by enabling conversations like those I attempt to create?

Okay, so I have posted about 20 + blogs up to this point with various reactions from the community. Some of you love me, some are intrigued by me, some can’t believe that the Press Republican would actually give me a blog on their website (neither can I), and some probably wish people like me (did someone say “you people” or “those people”) would just go away. I can respect all of those thoughts. I can understand the love because I create conversations from which we can all potentially grow. I can understand the intrigue people have with me because we live in a world where people are fixated on their realities and unfortunately all too often, their realities alone. So when I advocate social justice in a conversation with a fraternity brother of mine or students in my classes about their use of the term “fag” they are intrigued, often convincing themselves that I must be gay, bisexual, or on “the down low” because why else would I speak so passionately on behalf of gay rights. The answer to that question is not an altruistic one. I won’t pretend that is the case. I am an advocate for social justice because I have truly figured out that I can’t logically or intelligently complain about any type of oppression visited upon me or my family if I continue to be complicit in the oppression of others. Do You Feel Me? I also am intelligent enough to know general rights from wrongs. Lastly, I understand the disdain or down right hate towards me. I represent change to many, a threat to individual and/or group privileges. Who wants to lose what they have (earned or not)?

Interestingly enough, when our conversations are centered on race, people weigh-in because racial discussions have been taking place for a long time. While everyone isn’t comfortable joining the conversation, more are than were a decade or two ago. We seldom if ever talk about socio-economic class at any length in America’s public discourses, and when we do it has about as much depth as an infant’s bathwater. Conversations about ability are awkward for most of us, but only because we don’t know the language. Since the disabled community is one that we could join at any moment, most of us lean forward when the conversation begins, the exception being individuals who are clueless about the fragility of their ability, as evidenced by people who cavalierly use the word “retard.”

Conversations about gender are intriguingly similar to those about ability. Most of us have a healthy respect for someone of the other gender (mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, girlfriends, wives) that has us at least receptive to the fact that we may be sexist and could benefit from changing some of our ways. But the conversations that I have posted about sexual orientation, belief systems, and sensuality appear to have possibly rocked some of you to your foundation while making others uncomfortable with such overt dialogue. If you ever want to revisit the topics, look through the archives and focus on the number of comments made on certain topics. Men seldom weigh in, even less if the topic is sexual orientation (Running for Attention). No one wants to talk politics or religion on any grand scale (Politics and Religion: The Luck of the Draw).

When I post a thought or two about romance, sex, love, and marriage, something that most humans experience and enjoy, people are surprised and concerned that they are even privy to such a conversation. WHY WOULD THAT BE? As I said earlier, people’s reactions are quite unique. While the responses were actually high in number, many people commented privately to me, or on the street, that they wanted to join the conversation, but it was so hot, or profound, that they chose to sit this one out. One woman said I should be concerned that people might see me as a pervert or over sexualized. One woman thought I shouldn’t have said I enjoyed my students paper’s with a Smirnoff and Coltrane playing because it might give some people the impression I was using the papers as an aphrodisiac for taking matters into my own hands. [The papers, along with the Smirnoff and Coltrane were aphrodisiacs the same way any of the films I mentioned could/would be, or a sexy romance novel. Also, why the assumption I had to be enjoying this stimuli alone?] Someone please tell me, what is the real problem here?

There is even an adequately witty fellow from Holmby Hills, California that continues to project the way he handles his business onto me, and isn’t smart enough to realize that until he specifically addresses the subject at hand, his ad hominem statements toward me will leave him in perpetual anonymity, even beyond his inability to put forward an authentic identity in his signature instead of a trite reference to a card character, without the preposition. My bottom line is this: if someone in my reading audience is not mature enough to situate one posting of mine within the context of all the postings I have put out there, then they have the problem, not I. One solitary posting I have submitted should not define me. As well, no one comment will unsettle me. So, stay tuned for the next 20 + postings. I’m just warming up!!!


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One thing you may want to contemplate is that certain topics are going to be more read and thus more commented on. I did not read (and thus did not comment) on the entry "running for attention". Not because it's unimportant or because I don't feel comfortable talking about homosexuality, but I only have so much time! Many of us bloggers pick and choose what we read and things like sex get almost anybodys to perk up--in some way or another.

I have had similar experiences to what you describe, and I don't think it's uncommon. People don't like leaving their comfort zone. That's one reason why class is not often discussed. The rich may feel guilty about their wealth, while the poor may feel guilty about their poverty! In discussion on classism, few people can comfortably sit where they are and discuss things.

To explain what I mean when I say, I had a similar experience, I will tell the tale.

I was walking downtown with a mixed group of men and women on a saturday night. One girl was talking about her exploits and said some *very* direct things. I responded with, "Well, your just looking to get off, right?" And she *flipped*. It was fine when she was in control of the conversation, talking about which man she was with when, but once I made a comment, it was taboo. It was wrong.

People feel uncomfortable when others prod them on touchy subjects. People don't know how to live their lives openly, freely. I wish more people would push more boundaries.

Oh, and to answer your first question, I did not have a conversation based on your last post. Not directly at least. Plenty of your ideas have filtered into my mind, and when I try to tell my guy friends not to use the word "bitch" they just laugh and call me a bitch.

Changing people isn't easy.

What Is Really Going On Here?

Interesting and thought provoking Wandering piece, J. W. I will never pretend to be your equal in verbal proficiency, nor do I attempt to rise to the altruistic levels and erudite style of language you are so skilled at posting.

I’m a simple lady who knows you have awakened my thought processes and provided me, as well as many others, with fodder for the most stimulating discussions I’ve had in many a moon!

I was amazed at how many individuals approach you “on the street” … daring not to put in writing anything that might expose their own frailties for fear of exposing an Achilles’ heel buried deep in their fragile psyche.
To say you are controversial - opening windows into their pure souls - simply proves you provide remarkable material that makes us think. You are a most important contributor to P-R readership.

Since moving from Plattsburgh to Reno, I discover – without much surprise – that most people are very protective of their innermost demons. Many move west because of a nefarious past or, like me, to begin a new life after losing my wonderful late husband and finding adventure and happiness with a new love.

As president of Reno’s Republican Woman’s club, I had had the honor of engaging speakers – other than elected officials - whose expertise focused on social issues. (It’s an off year for elections, ergo, I insisted on topics to make my audience reflect.)

At the gatherings, were those who were overheard saying, “Well! No one in MY family takes illegal drugs.’ No one in MY family has EVER served time in a correctional facility.” Alas, to the surprise of all, the speakers opened many eyes. He or she mentioned names of highly placed elected officials whose sons, daughters, grandchildren, not only, were hooked on Meth, but also, were, at one time or another had served time in local lockups. My own admission of surviving domestic violence many years ago proved your point. Several women approached me quietly after the meeting to congratulate me on being so open. They, also, were victims of domestic cruelty but would never have, then or now, admitted it.

As I have attempted to open topics of awareness other than the same old-same old glad handing, good ‘ol boy political posturing as is politically correct at most club luncheons and dinners, I may have exposed myself for censure. Whether or not I am chosen to serve another year as president is in committee hands. Be of good cheer! I am publisher for the club newsletter, and regardless of my future circumstance, still have the bully pulpit. I am a political animal who finds politics a most powerful aphrodisiac. Freedom of the press is the last bastion of power for the “little guy”!

You say, “I’m just warming up.” Wow! I can’t wait! Go for the gusto, J. W.


*** Lynda, if the gusto includes exchanges with you for any unspecificed lengths of time, I'm gusto-going!!! In the interim, keep them awake out there on the West Coast, you envelope pusher-change agent you! *** -- J.W.

Hey JW,
I think it is wonderful that you are getting all kinds of comments. You are making people think and pushing the envelope for social justice. Thank you for giving me a safe place to express my opinions on all of these topics. I can't wait for more. Also, as for the negative comments we sure will have those for the rest of our lives. As you have said and the other bloggers agreed some people are just not okay with leaving their comfort zone. But I know that just making them think is cause for celebration because the silence is broken. People are free to express themselves about taboo topics. And I for one are so glad that this is happening. Please keep writing and I hope the Press Republican knows what a great opportunity these blogs are to discuss touchy topics in a safe environment! Many wishes for a great day to you!

Boring, exciting, stimulating, thought-provoking, curious, witty, tragic, funny and angry. All words that could describe reasons why various members of the human species choose to respond to or ignore, consume or toss out and consider or reject your blogs. I haven't agreed with them all, but each uniquely intrigued me.

People most definitely process your words in an array of ways, and their conclusions probably span the spectrum. I suspect one-word descriptions that cause people to engage or dismiss you include "black," "sexy," "intelligent," "intimidating," "perverted," "enlightened," "rabble-rouser," prophet," "egotistical" and "comfortable."
All could apply, though people's reasons using each word likely vary, and inevitably alter the meaning of the word, or at least the intent uttering it.

I do know I appreciate the conversations though, and hope they continue to grow. It's interesting to ingest a multitude of opinions, no matter if you concur or not. And as I've said before, ultimately, we each were born with the ability to create our own reality, no matter if we ever realize that fact or not.

*** Steve, I do agree with you, especially on the point you made about each individual fabricating her/his own reality. I just have to assert that those created realities still must somehow be situated within some context. So, the reality must still be reflective of being situated somewhere.

On another topic or two, did you just imply that there may actually be some people out there who might see me as "black" and "sexy?" How should I take that? I'm proud to be black, but am really brown, so I am proud to be confused I guess, or allowing for the ignorance in others who would ever call the chocolate one something as one dimensional as black. "Sexy!" Well, if you don't think you are, who will?" But others? Steve, don't try to bolster my confidence by trumping up statements that will help me bolster my low self esteem. I will believe you when you provide a list, and make it detailed?

I hope you were saying "boring" only for dramatic effect! I see myself as many things, but boring isn't one of them. Oh my god, are you subliminally suggesting that I'm not "all that" and I am so cocky that I am totally missing it. Is the joke on me? Am I the Emperor wearing New Clothes? Shucks, I would say I need a Smirnoff after the head case your simple compliment has made me, but I can't, because if I do, then I am endorsing alcohol, which I shouldn't do, but somehow still did by even mentioning my desire for a Smirnoff and then recanting it. Oh my, did I actually just show my viewing audience how my mind actually functions without serious editing. Will anyone ever read me again if they notice this manic response to you, Mr. Bartlett! Is this more the personality of the Wanderer? Or is this just another adjective you can add in place of boring, which I doubt this reply was to anyone reading it. After all that: I'm tired, and I'm out!! *** -- J.W.

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