Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two reasons to listen to Eigenvectör this week

Miriam and Harrison

4 to 6 p.m. CST 
5 to 7 p.m. EST
3 to 5 p.m. MST
2 to 4 p.m. PST
10 p.m. to midnight BST
11 p.m. to 1 a.m. CET
midnight to 2 a.m. EET


Did someone say ... wait a minute. I think hope could be a good thing, if only we'd agree on what it means. 

I have no hope whatsoever that politicians in general will ever really be nonpartisan, nor do I have hope that they will not be cynical. The ones who are so sure that President Obama represents everything they deplore will (and do) seek to discredit him however they can. 

He promises that our economy will recover. Well, that would be nice, but what is the reality of this country's economic strength? The smirks on people's faces last night, ones in the audience of the president's congressional address, reveal their contempt; they also reveal that they are just waiting and not really listening to the president. 

I have serious doubts that people who don't really support the president, for whatever reason, can swallow their pride and work with him or trust him to lead our country. Their arrogance will prevent it. But I only believe this because I sympathize with him and would probably be sitting and smirking with the cynics had the "other" candidate won. So,....

That is the tragedy of our American system of governance. Each one of us is a partisan. How many Republicans (besides the ones who voted for Obama) are glad to see him in office? For the most part, they are either opposing him or reluctantly supporting him; but they are not happy about it. These people are now being forced by circumstance to work with him; and they are likely looking at his supporters as smug and elitist because "their" candidate won the election. 

Let's face it: pride is something each one of us has to face. I find myself in a somewhat smug position, of liking and supporting the president. What I don't like, though, is knowing that there are people out there who truly want him to fail, so they can say, "told ya," and (if he does fail) gloat about how "right" they were. In no way are these people going to go along with an agenda that includes actions that fall outside of their philosophical and political belief system, whether that be capitalism, republicanism, or any other ism. Universal educational access to all children? Job assurance for adults? Ha. Fat chance this can happen without the country turning socialist or communist. Right?

People stick to their isms. If only they (we) didn't, maybe we'd really have hope of creating a country we can all live peaceably within.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Immediate Peace

"Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results, because there follows immediate peace."

Bhagavad Gita

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tears of a Clown

I just finished reading an article on the dynamics of scapegoating in group counseling and how group leaders might intervene. It was a painful article to read because it reminded me of perhaps every time I've ever been a scapegoat.

I kept thinking about people who project their own weaknesses onto others as a means of coping, but at the expense of the scapegoat's comfort. There is an amusing saying that goes, "Comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable." I like it because of the image it conjures, of shaking the status quo, of rattling people's cages, of refusing to accept things as they are.

I imagine a sad clown, a person hiding in plain sight behind a painted-on sad face, who needs a mirror image of himself in order to make sense of the sadness. So, he finds another sad person and attacks, says things designed to wound and make him feel even more sad. Before long, everyone in the room is sad. Then the door opens and another clown walks in, this one with a happy face painted on and a genuine smile behind it. "Why so sad, my clown friends? What happened, did someone die?"

Can you picture that scene? A room full of clowns. How could anybody be sad there? Well, maybe someone with coulrophobia (fear of clowns), but the so-called normal person would probably be cheered up sitting in a clown-filled room. I might not know the first thing about being normal, but I would certainly enjoy the company of those clowns!

This is just imagery, though. In a real group counseling situation, scapegoating can be a serious problem. It can make a bad situation worse; if a person was already feeling insecure and unsure of being really open and vulnerable with the group and then gets "shot down" with words by someone else in the group who is hurting, a new wound opens up.

I am now thinking back to what I wrote a few weeks ago, a blog post about a not so innocent bystander. I sort of ganged up on that guy, didn't I? It wasn't really intentional; it just turned out that way. By pointing out something that I noticed, his role in creating the situation he described, the picture emerged of a person being manipulative and even malevolent. And I played a role in creating that picture, describing the image so you would see it, too.

In this article (the one I linked to in the first paragraph) is a statement about how particular qualities of a scapegoated member can trigger an attack and that the target is hardly an innocent bystander. The example is given of a child bobbing his head and making bird sounds who becomes upset when other group members criticize his behavior.

Almost every time we open our mouths, we risk making ourselves targets of scorn and derision. It almost makes me want to take a vow of silence. This being impossible, however, I will keep communicating, even knowing it's a losing game sometimes. 

I wrote a short vignette a few years ago that now comes to mind. (The watercolor collage that illustrates it is mine, too.) There is a line in there about the Smokey Robinson song, Tears of a Clown, which I love. It comes right before a moment of clarity between two men who have suddenly become equals in that they both recognize their capacity for pain and acknowledge that tears can be healing. The next thing that happens is the therapist asks the client how he might be of help. I wonder whether that is perhaps the most important question we can ask.

How can I help?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eigenvectör (Again?)

I know, this is getting way too tedious and repetitive. But I feel the need to clarify something. The name of the radio show is Eigenvectör, not Eigenvectōr, as I wrote the other day. An umlaut is a pair of dots, not a line. A minor detail but details matter, don't they? Of course they do!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Eigenvectōr (Continued)

If you tuned in to Eigenvectōr, here is what you heard. The playlist is in reverse order; in other words, the first song listed was the last one played.

Friday 6 February 2009

Album - Artist - Song

Juno - OST - Kimya Dawson - Tire Swing
Exit - Shugo Tokumaru - Green Rain
The Woods - Sleater-Kinney - Modern Girl
Alright, Still - Lily Allen - Shame For You
Big Fish - Pearl Jam - Man Of The Hour
OK Computer - Radiohead - Exit Music For A Film
Girls And Boys - Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am
The Stooges - The Stooges - 1969
Barracuda - Kinky - Hasta Quemarnos
Gospel Claws - Gospel Claws - God Keeps Me Alive
White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat
Running With Scissors - Weird Al Yankovic - Albuquerque
The Spine - They Might Be Giants - Experimental Film
Kala - M.I.A. - The Turn
The Mouse And The Mask - Danger Doom - Old School
Death Won't Ever Kill You - Bob Marley - Concrete Jungle
The Good Feeling Music Of Dent May And His Magnificent Ukelele - Howard
The White Album - The Beatles - Happy Birthday*
Seven Layers Of Self-Defense - Latvian Radio - Suzy Singable
Cheap Thrills - Big Brother & The Holding Company - I Need A Man To Love
Coyote - El Goodo
Free The Bees - A Band Of Bees - Horsemen

What can I say? I mean, this is my daughter so I'm going to be naturally biased, but isn't that sort of fabulous? I think so. They are on every Friday afternoon, from 4 to 6 p.m. CST.

* In honor of my daughter's eighteenth birthday, which was yesterday, and Bob Marley's birthday.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I am compelled to mention my daughter's radio show here because she wants people to listen to it and asked me to help her promote it. "Eigenvectōr" is broadcast live on the Internet every Friday afternoon, from 4 to 6 pm CST. She hosts the show with her friend Harrison. Last week, there were only two people listening, me and Harrison's mom. 

So, if you happen to be online tomorrow afternoon, please tune in. They play an odd mix of tunes; you never know what's going to turn up there, whatever amuses and entertains them. Chances are, you'll be amused and entertained as well. Just go to and press the "Tune In!" button. They also take requests, by phone 972.883.6305 or on AIM (their ID is I Am Radio UTD).