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December 02, 2006


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My dad used to tell me, "You're too sensitive. You need to toughen up." And my brother used to tell me, "You take yourself too seriously. You need to lighten up." Toughen up and lighten up. Maybe it's time to put on the Groucho glasses. If only I could quip like Groucho.

We all have to put on a brave face, that was what the post was about.

First: It's Bernholz, not Greenholz. Maybe that's why she dropped you from her blogroll?

Second: You really believe a conversation is possible, don't you? I didn't buy it when I read it in Popper ‘The Myth of the Framework’ and I don't buy it now. Popper was arguing against a tenet of historicism, but I don't think that's the reason why actual conversations can't take place.

Third: Ms. Bernholz's big achievement is her idea for marketizing philanthropic resources, right? If it takes off, it'll be Enron for your industry.

HT, please. You're sliding into condescension.

Brave face. What hogwash. How damned hard is it to put a foot in the door? Why are you defending these women? If they had any grit, they'd come here and take it like a woman. They too good for us? Or too busy making nice? Who are they? Dick's half sister, Millie Milquetoast, who, incidentally is Casper's cousin? Related to Walter Mitty? Roosterpecked? Maybe I come here because I don't know any better. Maybe I am secretly laughed at. Come on, girlies, grab hold of your ovaries and hightail it over here.

Messages I am receiving... Either they do think they are too good for this place, or they really are afraid to set foot in here. And, sadly, either way, I don't have much use for women like this. Oh, I know they don't care a damn if I respect them or not. I live in my box behind the Dumpster, afterall, because I am not even good enough to actually dwell in the Dumpster proper. I am just some snivelling state educated c -- middle aged frump. Well, I am calling all of them out, anyway. Come over here. And, for god's sake, where some sensible shoes. Yeah, I am plenty pissed off. Why? I have been excluded all my life, and I am damned sick of it.

Thanks, et for the correction about the name. Popper is exactly the right reference. Yes, I do believe in open society and open communication as a critical aspect of science, philosophy, soul-making, and democracy. I have come to believe, though, through painful personal experience, that open speech in a poisoned air is suicidal. We can only be open and candid within a framework that protects dissent. I do not see that framework operating so well inside corporate America. You can say what you want, but what is done unto you is another matter. For every out-spoken word there is a price to pay. But in the case of Lucy, I do think we could talk about all this, and probably quite well. She is or would probably identify herself as a progressive. She is ideologically committed to this discussion, though it must unnerve her in its ferocious form here.

Debbie, why would anyone come where they are invited with abuse? Catcalls from a Dumpster - how do you react, in Chicago, when you go past such an angry indigent? Walk faster, right? Resentment makes us furious, but fury keeps us in bondage, that constant oscillation between fury, apology, resentment, depression, silence. We have lived very different lives, but I have lived that cycle in my own way. If satire isn't funny, if it isn't lively and engaging, like a wide open block party when the beer starts flowing, and anything seems like it goes, then it will fail, and be easily dismissed. "They are rude and abusive, etc." Sublimated fury and resentment into a form that can be taken responsibility for in public and does attract participants on their own terms - now that is very hard. I have failed, but that is the effort. I want to be a good host to all who find shelter here. We are all sinners. We are all sinned against too. Let us forgive others as we hope to be forgiven. Let us correct others as we sincerely hope to be corrected. Turn about is fair play. Some day her or somewhere else, Lucy will set me straight, and I thank her for it, and apologize as needed, but hope to enlist her as an ally and friend.

Et., you are right about the big idea that Lucy is developing about marketizing giving. But that is not a movement she started, it is like a rising tide that she floats upon. Fidelity is the biggest charity, I believe now in America. It has more under management in its giving accounts than any other charity, or just about. New donors, with new money do not like, in many cases, the established discourse of giving, they prefer to talk of giving as an investment, a social investment with social return, or political return on investment. A failure of moral imagination? No kidding, but these people control the money. For a person like Lucy who works in the fuddy duddy worl of philanthropy and fundraising and who has business training, I believe, to talk about markets is almost tittilating, it is her radical act, her dance with the devil. For inside old style fundraising and giving, the new forces of marketized giving are felt as insurgent and radical and threatening. Her gesture of embracing markets is like the Nun who regales other Nuns with what she imagines of what being with a man might be like. Lucy seems to have no living conception of what really drives executives in the financial world. Part of her horror, I think, is that I am in that world. I am part of the insurgent philanthropic market. So what she is looking for more of is truly disruptive change agents. She may think she wants more of the people I know, the truly money motivated financial types, but I doubt she would find them soul-mates. In the end, when she learns what marketized, commericialized, commodified, double bottom line giving is all about, her progressive sentiments will lead her, I believe, to more nuanced and less upbeat and promotional conclusions. She is worth the effort to find a common ground. I have corresponded with her, but never met her. We have just never frequented the same place at the same time. I truly look forward to it, as I treasure knowing Tracy G and Peter Karoff - and you, by the way. You are making certain points about social justice and human dignity with such energy and elan, not to say indignation, that when the door is opened, I am going to pull you inside, or your posts, comments and videos. Just don't crap out on me, and pull them all, ok? The private transcrips and the public transcript are about the clash, in one of those famous dialetical or dialogical moments so beloved of Hegel, Marx, Blake, and Bakhtin. When the fury rises to a level that melts the frames that separate the insiders and the outsiders, I hope you will be there with me, in a mask. Et, you care about the concept of giving, you see it as I do, not as an extension of the market order, but as a blessed relief from it, and the source from which a better world might truly be created, from below, and from side to side, more so than from the top down. That is my faith, caritas, I think it is called, gifted givers, the artist no less than the donor, the mother no less than the fundraiser, the teacher no less than the soldier.

You're right, HT, and thanks for finally talking TO me. And I should be more gracious, too. But, hell, I am weary from apologizing. And damned sick of having had my good name kicked around in a way that I cannot defend against. Tired of being judged so severely by women who assume they really are my betters. Weary from trying to be accepted as one of them. World weary. Tired of having a life with nothing to show for it. And tireder still of receiving so little compassion and understanding from members of my own sex. And tired, too, of being invisible.

Well, you are now a good candidate for Appreciative Inquiry: "When as an invisible person, have you felt most fulfilled?"

Maybe it's on account of being sleep deprived, but I feel now as if you just want me to go away. I think there's a joke in there somewhere and mainly at my expense. Short answer: I don't feel fulfilled. But then you probably knew that.

Maybe a nap would be in order?

A nap? I guess you've forgotten what it's like around small children? I am dashing in while cooking up Round Two of dinner for my two hollow legs here. Just a bit of mac and cheese. Or cement, as my dear old Daddio would say.

You know what I wish? I wish that someone would conduct an Appreciative Inquiry of me for real. I bet I have a lot to offer, if anyone would but listen.


Shackled in Chicago

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