Sunday, November 17, 2013

JFK Assassination

I'm reposting this memory piece on the murder of JFK. 

John Kennedy Inaugural , 50 Years Today
by Karyl Miller

50 years ago today John Kennedy was sworn in as our knight in shining armor. I was in high school, but I would have voted for him if I could have. For those of you not fortunate to have been there suffice to say, Kennedy was the white Obama. We Democrats just loved him. He was young, he was smart. He was a gorgeous man with a gorgeous family. He shared our values. We just loved him.

50 years have gone by and I STILL can’t watch Kennedy videos without getting as lump in my throat. I remember watching Kennedy’s Inaugural speech – we were so thrilled. So much hope, so alive. And then, the opposite. I realize now I will never get over the loss of Kennedy. Every Kennedy image reminds me of what might have been and brings me back to that horrific day when we were hearing the impossible. “The president’s been shot.” I was thinking Not OUR president. They must mean some president from some backwards country where they’re always overthrowing each other. Not here. We don’t shoot presidents in America.

I was a just-out-of-high-school showroom girl at a wholesale hat company in the legendary garment center in New York. The switchboard girl said “The president’s been shot.” I thought that maybe they meant our boss, Mr. Abramson, the president of the hat company - whom I hated, but not that much. Someone hated Mr. Abramson even more than I did? At least that’s what I told myself when they sent me to the bank to make the deposits. 

The garment center was jammed, as it always was back when we still manufactured clothing right there in NYC USA. This was the hub. The joint was jumping. Trucks were honking and double parking and backing in and out of driveways. People are always yelling at each other and flipping each other off. Sidewalks were teaming with Puerto Ricans navigating racks and racks of clothing between the salesmen, the masses,  the 6-foot models all painted up and scurrying to their next job. 

1407 Broadway was the Mecca of it all. There was always a line up of chauffeured black Cadillac limousines circling the building waiting for their owners – the top designers who worked there. As I got closer I realized every chauffeur had his door open and a crowd gathered around, trying to hear the radio. If you accidentally made eye contact with a stranger, you exchanged worried looks. Everyone was wishing Please don’t let it be true. The people closest to the radios passed the info back to us. I heard what sounded like “presidente” in fifty different languages. Then I heard the word “morte,” which I guessed meant the news was very bad indeed.

My heart sank. I had to stop fooling myself about Mr. Abramson. I had to accept the fact that our beloved president John Kennedy was shot and killed. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, they got worse with more and more dying in Vietnam. Then they killed Martin and Bobby – Bam! Bam! Back to back in 60 days.  We boomers and beyond had the optimism beat out of us. That’s what happens when they take away your heroes. It's not just Kennedy I mourn today. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Filner vs. Weiner

Women Wonder:  What if Mayor Filner sexted us and Weiner Frenched us?  Would that be better?

Today every woman in my Zumba group agreed we would die if our mayor, Bob Filner, stuck his tongue down our throats.  As a Democrat, nothing makes me madder than Democrats behaving badly.  My opinion of Weiner the-wienie-waver?  I‘ve never sexted but certainly wouldn’t do it with a stranger, especially one who called himself Carlos Danger.  How can you say that name without laughing?  Wasn’t the name Weiner funny enough? – Especially when you’re sending photos of same?  Carlos Danger, the world’s most in-teresting dick.

Before they had a word for sexual harassment at work, my generation of women called it “having a job.”  By today’s standards, I‘ve been harassed on almost every job I’ve ever had. In the sixties, being harassed was the price a woman paid for the privilege of being one of the boys (though paid less).  We trained ourselves to ignore the silly little men and their pathetic attempts at flirtation. 

Filner’s excuse for his behavior is: he’s from the Mad Men generation where harassing women was a time-honored business activity.  Oh, yes, I remember it well.  Women had to be good sports or we’d be out of a job. An occasional swat on the butt?  Fine. Rubbing my shoulders?  No big deal.  Telling an occasional dirty joke?  No big whoop.  Forced Frenching?  NOT OKAY!  Never was and still isn’t!

I remember the first time the subject of harassment hit the news.  At first no one was sure know how to pronounce harassment.  Was the accent on the ha or the ass?  It was during the hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Anita Hill, an attorney and former Thomas underling (at the EEOC, ironically) came forward and accused Thomas of harassment.  She was forced to recount the most embarrassing details of Thomas' crude and dumb and on television.  Not one woman in America doubted Hill’s story.  It was obvious this refined and serious woman didn’t dream up something about “a pubic hair on a coke can.”  Or a porno movie called “Long Dong Silver.” Thomas was obviously guilty (as far as women were concerned).

The entire country was glued to the hearings.  Men couldn’t believe or understand why Hill didn’t quit. Women couldn’t understand why men couldn’t understand why a woman would just ignore the harassment.  It was a way of life for working women!  More than a few couples broke up arguing over the subject.

Besides Anita Hill, there were five other women waiting in the wings to testify against Thomas, but they weren’t allowed.  If the five other women had testified, would Thomas be a justice on the Supreme Court today?  Would a man who obviously knew he was breaking the rules be rewarded with a lifetime job interpreting the constitution?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rebecca Schaeffer 7/18/89

Rebecca Schaeffer 7/18/89
Actress, gun violence victim, forever 21. 
Remember her tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Take Your Daughters to Work Day

Thursday is Take Our Kids To Work Day. Since women are still only making 70 cents to a man's dollar, let's not show up for work at all. Maybe it would benefit women more if we just said no to the gyno dollars and let the whole damn office, restaurant, store, school, hospital and factory fall apart without us. 

After a day spent NOT taking our daughters to work, let's get together in our back yards and light up our barbecues, but instead of cooking dinner, let's re-enact a moment from feminist folklore: Let's burn our bras! Let's toss our foam-filled Victoria's Secrets onto the flames. Let a bonfire of the bras send out a toxic smoke signal that says "We're raising a stink because we want the financial equality we were promised years ago and we want it today!"  


Friday, March 08, 2013

International Womens' Day

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio 
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pope Resigns

 Protected Roger Mahoney who protected numerous child rapists.  
Only he knows the whole terrible truth.
Good riddance and may he be haunted by his misdeeds.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dear Abby RIP

If I could be any other writer, I always wanted to be Dear Abby.  Dishing out homespun advice and Jewish wisdom to the confused masses seemed like a dream job.  I was Abby’s biggest fan and one day I got to meet her.  I was writing on a new family sitcom created by Erma Bombeck.  Erma was the Executive Producer of “Maggie” and she was the sweetest and easiest boss I ever had.  Erma knew absolutely everybody. Behind Erma’s desk was hung an enormous patchwork quilt, each square containing a famous person’s autograph embroidered.  The daily parade of luminaries who came to take Erma to lunch was amazing – one day in walked Ann Richards, the governor of Texas.  But toping them all, for me, was when Dear Abby walked in, resplendent in her trademark helmet hair.

Like every woman in America, I have a treasure-trove of yellowing Abby columns on my fridge and I insisted on recounting them to Abby before I would let Abby and Erma leave for their lunch.  Abby was more than gracious while I ticked them off.

          Here are a few of my Abby faves:

1. A poem called FORGIVNESS
The friend who ran off with your wife, Forgive him for his lust, The chum who sold you phony stocks, Forgive his breach of trust; The pal who schemed behind your back, Forgive his evil work; And while you’re done, forgive yourself for being such a jerk.

2. “Regret is the cancer of life.”

3. A story about a teacher who had her students write down one good thing about each person in the class.  The teacher then copied them over and gave each student a list of 30 positive things others had said about them.  An Abby reader died and the list was found in his wallet.  He had carried it for forty years.

4. Letter writer Lois in New York didn’t ask for Abby’s advice but sent some of her own pearls of wisdom about not trusting male nurses because “men are the adulterers, the child molesters of the world…”  I thought Lois that was pretty funny and I guess so did Abby.  Abby will be missed.

Karyl, sad in San Diego