Boomers and Beyond


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Immortality in the ethernet

Is it possible ever to die in cyberspace?

I was recently urged by Facebook to do something obtuse because my friend Josephine (pseudonymed for very good reason here) is doing it and knows I will love it. Hmm. There’s just one small problem here: Josephine has been dead for well over a year. You’d think Facebook might have noticed.

Yet, there she is, smiling her gentle smile, alive and welcoming to the Facebook friends who surely wish it were so. What to do? Ask her daughters to wipe their mom off the pages of the Facebook planet? Bookmark the page for the cheer it brings? Or try to ignore it lest it become spooky like those answering machine voices out of the past? I’m still pondering.

On the other hand, I more or less died to the cyberworld myself about six weeks ago. This was not an intentional — or even dignified — death. As a matter of fact, I had contracted not that long ago with my very alive, cyber-efficient friend Ryan to help me close this Blogspot page, fancy up my Wordpress page, figure out widgety details and generally add interest and gravitas to my presence in cyberspace. For a while, progress was made toward all that. But life, and a manuscript, intervened.

Having promised the manuscript of my one-day book Perilous Times: An inside look at abortion before — and after Roe v Wade to the nice folks at YBK Publshing by September 1, I suddenly, seriously needed to finish the thing.  And the only way I could figure out how to accomplish such a feat — we’re talking 1,500 words a day with a few last-minute interviews tossed in — was just to drop out of cyberspace and into computerland until it was done. So this long-dormant Blogspot blog, some day destined to die, and the fits & starts of its sister WordPress incarnation of Boomers & Beyond have been hanging out, forlorn and ignored, lo these many weeks.

This sorry state of affairs is at least not quite as bad as the state of  my late lamented paid gig with True/ My True/Slant page has been hanging, frozen, in space ever since Forbes bought the site & I declined to write for Forbes (full disclosure: they weren’t begging me anyway) more than two years ago. You can't DO anything or go anywhere else on True/Slant; that page is dying an undignified death indeed. And anyone stumbling onto it will think, “Poor dear, she hasn’t had a new thought in 782 days”…. since the only thing moving on the page is the tabulator that says how many days it’s been since this post. Those old T/S posts are archived on WordPress, so it seems logical to keep that page alive.
facebook engancha
The manuscript is done. The book will happen. Life has resumed. But this page will at some point retire to wherever old blogspots go because enough (Boomers & Beyond on WordPress) is enough. I hope you'll drop by over there, if ever the spirit moves you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Juries of our peers

If I were on trial, I’d want someone like me – having worked hard to be open-minded throughout my entire good-citizenship career – for one of my jurors. But not for the jury to which I was just summoned. The prosecution may have wanted me; the defense would’ve had me outa there in a heartbeat.

It was a fascinating exercise. For openers, the giant jury assembly room was nearly filled, all of us summoned for this one trial. We were all duly sworn in on the spot, and eventually the judge and two main attorneys appeared. This case, the judge said, could be unpleasant for some, and complicated for others, and they hoped to sort it all out before getting down to business the next day. She then read out the form: a questionnaire about you the juror. Have you ever been sexually assaulted? Do you know anyone who has? And questions to that effect.

Here’s what the deal seemed to be: A woman had been abused by a guy. It didn’t seem to be rape; it seemed to be everything else. Kidnapping with intent to commit rape. Maybe attempted rape. Even attempted arousal for purposes of who knows what. The trial, if the judge’s overview was any indication, would turn on who you believed, and how far is too far. In the 1950s, when I had my own trials (physical/emotional, not judicial) with date rape/workplace rape of this exact sort, women had little power and less choice. Today it can come down to who has real power and who has real choice. Did she really go somewhere with him willingly? Did she say No? Did he listen?

Sorry guys, unless she’s 6′ tall and outweighs him by 40 pounds, I am going to lean toward the lady. Handily having a disabled husband to look after, I begged hardship exemption.

Hopefully, for plaintiff and defendant both, a jury of their peers was seated the next day.