Resisting the propaganda machine.

Propaganda is pervasive and we are more easily influenced than we would like to admit. Information is flowing so quickly we are drawn to shortcuts to make sense of the world around us. Simplification of complex ideas to a single emotional meme works like a virus. Right, left or center, no one is immune.

Some signs that infectious content has hijacked your brain:

  • You believe you completely understand the issue with little research.
  • You are emotionally attached to purity of your perspective. Other perspectives are seen as a threat.
  • You find you are unable to sustain a meaningful exploration of an idea without resorting to prepackaged words and slogans.
  • You reject nuanced discussion.

What we can do:

  • Really talk to people we disagree with.
  • Fact check.
  • Use of own voice and our words to describe our perspective. Avoid the slogans that come easily.
  • When things get nasty, exit with strength and dignity.
  • Learn to recognize propaganda
  • Find out more about propaganda theory.

Here’s a few articles about propaganda that I enjoyed.

On our drive to be influenced.

On our need to simplify in an age of information overload.

photo credit: “Nixon is the One” from examples of propaganda by Caitlyn Jordan. An artful collection of propaganda posters.

Inspired by the daily post. <a href=””>Theory</a&gt;

Images of elegance

Michelle Obama’s elegant outfit harkens back to Kate Hepburn.

Some say there is no such thing as white privilege.

But google images tell me otherwise.

Screenshot of top images for a google search for “elegant women.”

Inspired by Daily Word

<a href=””>Elegance</a>


Yoga, yoga everywhere

In my second week, yoga moved beyond the constraints of my brief morning practices. I find myself noticing the breath flowing in and out with the rhythm of ocean waves. Deep breaths that are visible by the movement of my chest and belly. Belly breathing! Once I struggled to relearn and now it comes naturally.

Throughout the day, my awareness moves to tight muscles while sitting in meetings and I consciously soften.

I spontaneously do mountain pose and side stretch when I am cooking or in the bathroom.

Yet I struggle in my practice. Memories of deep poses push me past my body’s edges. Every couple of days aches and pains remind me that my body is in a different state. My heels remain inches off the floor in downward facing dog. I cannot touch the floor in triangle pose.

Oh how intolerable this feels sometimes.

I recognize now that my past yoga practice has a touch of serene boastfulness. I would rise and rotate and settle in deeply to the poses. My minds eye would see grace, symmetry and balance in settings where the sun rose pink and golden over deep blue seas.

In nostalgic moments I press pass my stiff ligaments and popping joints. Twinges pull me back to my edge.

My yoga sessions are different this time around. I know the poses and the adaptations to make my practice safe.

I must practice acceptance and gentleness.

I must float not force.

We shall see what week three brings.

A jolly good morning

“Aren’t you glad you are flexible mom?”

My son and I were walking back from an early morning game of passing the puck on the icy roads near our house.

“Yes. I am.”

“I knew you would enjoy this game.” He said proudly with a twelve year olds wisdom.

And I did.

I enjoyed his company, the light of the early morning sky, the way most strangers smiled in amusement, the way he passed pucks accurately and softly this season (less chance of twilight blue marks on pale winter shins).

I enjoyed the way being a mom has made me less conventional.

But mostly I enjoyed his smiles and our laughter.


Inspired by “jolly” in daily post and the first snow.

<a href=””>Jolly</a&gt;

The unsettling

Powerful, talented men are falling all around us. Falling stars who attracted wishes and dreams and burned up women’s hopes like delicate moth wings.

We are all more than a little uncomfortable. The tower of patriarchy is crumbling. Even the foundations are cracking. We are finding that the foundation we built our culture is not bedrock but landfill and all this #metoo revelations aggregate into an earthquake. But unlike a natural disaster, this man-made disaster will clear the field for the rise of a stronger culture for both men and women.

But this powerful movement is also being exploited.

False equivalencies flow from partisan mouths. A proposition is not the same as an assault. Consensual sex with an adult is not the same as pedophilia. Harassment is not the same as rape. Even harassment has levels. I know these things from my own life experience but these are not just personal opinions. The legal and criminal codes of our country define what is a civil violation and what is criminal.

Our legal system has the tools to address harassment, rape and child abuse. Our workplaces have the policies. We need to remove the cultural and social obstacles that mute the victims while preserving due process.

We need to complete fair investigations on the accused. The court of public opinion just buries the truth in propaganda and partisanship.

I want investigations into the allegations against franken, trump and others and then fair judgement and commensurate consequences.

It looks like we are not ready for that kind of balanced action. We are in full disaster mode. The spectacle and passions drive us.

Today I’m trying to steady the ground in my own small way.

The closing

Ties loosened slowly for more than a year. Waves of people found jobs in other cities. Houses took longer to sell. Few people talked about the changes. Who could blame them?

A few places die quick deaths. There’s Chernobyl and Fukushima.

But most places are like this town. They die slowly. Youth replaced by old age. Old eyes staring out through dusty pains of glass.

Molly was in the middle of everything: middle aged, middle manager living in her modest middle class home.

She wanted people to think it was her sense of duty just kept her at the mill until the last days. Perhaps the executives would remember her commitment and sacrifice and consider her indispensable.

“Molly we need you at our San Francisco home office. What can we do to woo you away from your home town?” She imagined them tempting her away from this place.

But the executives left first with bonuses so large that they would never need to sell their mansions by the river.

On the very last day, Molly walked the plant with Alan, the facilities manager. She carried the checklist and they checked each room together.

It was dead silent. All the noises had relocated with their people. Their footsteps echoed as they walked down each darkened hall.

Alan carried a metal box. After they locked the door of each room, he dropped the corresponding key in the box. The box, now nearly full with keys, clinked with each step.

Finally they walked down the long hallway where men and women would rush quickly to clock in before the shift.

At the end of the hall, by the security shack, a courier leaned against his mini van.

Alan closed the chain link gate and slipped on the padlock. He dropped the final key in.

They walked over to the courier.

“Is that everything?” He asked.

They nodded.

“Alright then” the courier took the box and drove off.

“Well, what next Alan?”

“Going to enjoy my retirement. Maybe do an odd job here and there. ” He smiled and Molly believed him. It made her feel sad not for him but for herself. This town died too early for her old self but too late for her young self.

“How about you Molly?”

Molly hesitated.

“I’m relocating. They want me to join them at the home office. Don’t even have time to pack up properly.”

“You were always indispensable Molly. They’re smart to bring you along with them.”

“You are too kind Alan. My best to your wife.”

Molly climbed into her car. She waved goodbye to Alan, to the factory, to the town. Perhaps once she settled in a new place, she would send her key to Alan and hire him to pack up her things.

She took the long way out of town and drove by the abandoned mansions on her way to the highway. She waved goodbye to them too.

<a href=””>Relocate</a&gt;