You Who Know

2022-05-17T17:05:32-07:00Categories: arts, creative aging, family, featured posts, feminism, health & medicine, human rights, parenting, Seattle, women's rights|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Who knew that one of the central themes of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is droit du seigneur, the feudal “lord’s right” granting the lord of a medieval European manor “sexual relations with servant brides on their wedding night?” Since I am a kindergarten-level opera fan, I am grateful to Seattle Opera General Director Christina Scheppelmann for stating it so clearly in her program notes. Because who knew I’d be watching The Marriage of Figaro—the first performance I’ve seen in Seattle’s McCaw Hall since before the pandemic—just days after the leaking of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s medieval memo detailing his lordly belief in a woman’s lack of rights over her own body? On the morning of Mother’s Day, I googled “senior rush tickets Seattle Opera.” Yes, the Opera’s rush ticket program was alive and well and yes, I now qualified! So off I went to McCaw Hall, where I bought my ticket at 12:30, which gave me plenty of time for a long walk. The sun was out at last, and the lovingly tended gardens of nearby Queen Anne Hill sparkled as they shook off the rain. By 2 p.m. I was back at McCaw, happily settled in my seat in Row P on the main floor, just off the aisle. Forty-five dollars felt like both a splurge—so self-indulgent!—and a bargain: only $45 for such a fabulous seat! And what a delightful, self-indulgent bargain of a splurge it was. To hear and see, in person, in all the immersive, sensory beauty that the word “live” [...]

Women Warriors

2013-01-29T15:04:12-08:00Categories: politics, Uncategorized, war, women's rights|Tags: , , , , , , |

I claim I want to better understand war. But my gut reaction to the news about women being allowed to serve in combat positions? Queasy. As if what the headlines are shouting is: “Hooray! Women will now be allowed to do the most dangerous, spiritually challenging, morally ambiguous dirty work on the planet!” New York Times columnist Gail Collins set me straight, reminding me that “They killed the Equal Rights Amendment to keep this from happening, but, yet, here we are. And about time.” Collins goes on to recall the words of retired Air Force Brigadier General Wilma Vaught, who once told her: “I think people have come to the sensible conclusion that you can’t say a woman’s life is more valuable than a man’s life.” The logic is clear: if we invest our nation’s security in professional warriors and if we believe women deserve equal access to all career paths, then women who make the personally huge commitment to serve in the United Sates Armed Forces must not be barred, on the basis of gender, from combat roles. So why my retrograde queasiness? Because, like any pacifist, I find it so difficult to turn my thoughts to combat at all, no matter what the context. But—as I learned from Karl Marlantes’ book, What it is Like to Go to War (see last week’s post)—I know turning our backs on war is not the answer. Especially the wars we support with our tax dollars. It has been 40 years this month since we ended the draft. [...]

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