Thursday, November 30, 2006

Speaking of witch...

Here's a letter I wrote to the Arizona Republic after they published yet another article about the Dixie Chicks. The article described how the DC's show at a local arena failed to sell out, and how their career was suffering because of their traitorous comments about G.W. Bush. I was going to write a response pointing out that Bruce Springsteen played at the same arena in June, and also failed to sell out (in fact the place was half full at best), and that he too has been politically outspoken, yet nobody is burning his CDs or blaming sparse attendence at his shows on his activism. But that approach didn't seem like enough, so I wrote the following instead, and it was published as a "Letter to the Editor" on November 27th.

Years ago, I did a research paper on the Salem witch trials of 1692. There are many different opinions about how and why so many people were accused of witchcraft in early Puritan culture, but certain patterns stood out. Women were much more likely to be accused of witchcraft than men, and certain types of women were disproportionately singled out as witches. These were women who violated the norms of a society that expected them to be subservient and docile: women who freely expressed unpopular beliefs or opinions, who refused to obey the commands of their male counterparts, and who were financially independent of their husbands or other male relatives. In other words, the women most likely to be labeled, persecuted, and executed as witches tended to be those who represented a threat to the well-established, male-dominated political, social, and economic standards of the day.

So: why are the Dixie Chicks still being pilloried in the press (Arizona Republic, 11/18/06) over a comment one of them made three years ago, while male entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and (yes,really) Merle Haggard have all publicly criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq with no such consequences? And will you please explain to me why so many (male) right-wing pundits and bloggers get apoplectic at the mere thought of Barbara Streisand and Hillary Clinton? It can't be for their ideas and beliefs, because no male entertainers or politicians who express them draw that sort of blind rage. Apparently, old habits die hard, even in 21st-century America.

Tom Wright
Tempe, AZ


Mariah Fleming said...

What an insightful letter, Tom! The Republic (and the Mesa Tribune) have a community editorial section for which they choose some articles submitted by readers. The articles are published at the top of the OP ED page with a byline and photo. Your piece deserved a bigger audience!

The contact person for the community op ed section at the Repubic is Ken Western. He published a couple of mine some years ago; I don't remember what the word limit is, but your writing is terrific, you might check into it. At that time, I just gave him a call to get the specifics and find out if what I wanted to write about would be of interest to him for that section. He was very nice.

Tom Wright said...

Thanks Mariah. On the other hand, I got my first hate phone calls today. The same guy called my home phone number three times in 90 minutes this morning wanting to "answer my questions." I told him to write a letter to the editor, and hung up. He called back again a few minutes later (I let the answering machine take it) and he insisted that he was a "calm, rational" person but that he really needed to explain something to me. So, if I vanish mysteriously or my home burns down, be aware that the guy identified himself as "Rick Holz" (at least that's what it sounded like), and he has my home phone number and presumably my address (I'm in the book). And remember this: never never NEVER use your constitutional right to free speech in public, unless you enjoy being harassed by lunatics. said...

TOM....... My sympathies.

There are those among us with agendas determined by God-knows-what. I have subscribed to telephome tracing and call blocks which give me an edge but let me tell you, it gets darker on the darker side. I can tell you stories of friends who "knew too much" or were "too opinionated" or "too outspoken" who were ELECTRONICALLY ISOLATED where only certain emails or websites or phone calls were allowed to be communicated. Where cable feeds were broken (shorted out) UNDER the concrete driveway. Add to that, surveillance of all kinds and harrasment of other kinds. This was all apparently because the Truth was too closely approached.

I just sent a message to a friend saying; "Do you realize that the signers of the Declaration would be regarded as rabid, flaming LIBERALS in this day and age"?

It's true..... Heck.. makes me wanna start a rumor that the Bush family has bought HUGE real estate in Paraguay. It's a great rumor, too. Wish I'd thought of it.


Mariah Fleming said...

Hey Tom,
My advice (not that you are asking for it!) (o: would be to let the guy vent. be polite, then call the phone company and tell them to change your number and keep your info OUT of the phone book. It drives me crazy to have to pay them to keep that stuff OUT of the phone book. Costs em so much extra NOT to pay for the printing! Sheesh!

PS Do you want to borrow one of our big, scary sounding Weimaraners? (o:
PPS Or tell him you have call back tracing and you'll notify the cops if he calls or comes by.
PPPS Or tell the jerk he's right. That's what they all want to hear anyway.

God Bless America (but it's not the same one that's defined in The Patriot Act)

Liz Boyle said...

Great letter, Tom. Thanks for sharing your insight.

Tom Wright said...

Still alive & well, with no more weird phone calls as of early Saturday afternoon. No busted windows, slashed tires, or death threats. Not even a flaming bag of poo on my doorstep. Either he's gotten over it, or he's taking his own sweet time. We'll see...


Mariah Fleming said...

Not to worry doubt the person has moved on to another topic that has taken precedence over his need to share his indignation with you. You just can't be THAT much in demand for more than a day or two. This is America! Everybody gets a chance!!