David Duchovny, two-time Golden Globe Award-winning American television and film actor, best known for his roles as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files, has entered a rehabilitation center for sex addiction, according to The Associated Press and the New York Times. The details of his "addiction" weren't released, nor what specifically led up to his entering "rehab."

Here's a definition of Addiction from Wikipedia:

"In medical terminology, addiction is a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning and develops physical dependence, as in drug addiction. When the drug or substance on which someone is dependent is suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms. Addiction is generally associated with increased drug tolerance. In physiological terms, addiction is not necessarily associated with substance abuse since this form of addiction can result from using medication as prescribed by a doctor. However, common usage of the term addiction has spread to include psychological dependence. In this context, the term is used in drug addiction and substance abuse problems, but also refers to behaviors that are not generally recognized by the medical community as problems of addiction, such as compulsive overeating. The term addiction is also sometimes applied to compulsions that are not substance-related, such as problem gambling and computer addiction. In these kinds of common usages, the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life."

Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here. In the 1970's and early 80's, I worked as a social worker with a lot of addicts, from different backgrounds, in a variety of settings. Since the late 1980's/early 1990's, however, the use of the term addiction has become so commonplace that it now seems to describe almost every type of compulsive behavior and acting out (see above), and in many instances, is used as a public mea culpa that abdicates responsibility for almost any aberrant behavior. "My addiction made me do it" has now replaced "The devil made me do it." (I guess that's a certain amount of progress?) Today, you can not only be addicted to drugs, alcohol or tobacco, but you can be addicted to work, to sex, to exercise, to video games, even to praise. (I don't know, can you be addicted to life?)

The truth is, "having an addiction" even became de rigeur in many circles. You hadn't really had a dramatic life if you'd never been addicted to anything. How boring. As a result of the the fact that "being addicted" became so acceptable as an explanation for so much, it has been easy for people to become attached to their identities as "addicts," even years and decades after they've successfully stopped that particular mode of acting out. Although I certainly have supported many patients who participate in Twelve-Step programs over the years, one of the problems I always had with the ideology was that one was permanently "in recovery," but could never be considered "recovered." This is a problem because in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, it implies a permanent state of illness that can't be cured, and also dictates an ongoing requirement not to totally trust oneself and one's desires. That interferes with self-actualization past a certain point because identifying yourself in general with anything is a dysfunction of the ego, let alone identifying yourself with an illness.

As for David Duchovny, well, he may have a problem around sex. He once said this: "Sex is great, but it's never as great as it was when you were a kid, when it was a mystery." That's a definite red flag of a statement. In reality, sex should get better and better as you progress through life. If David is not experiencing it that way, though, it could surely lead him to compulsively and desperately pursuing sex in a way that could be described as "addictive."

The good news is that the "secret" is starting to come out: there are many people who have overcome their addictions, and who, after years of sobriety have revisited their old favorite substances or behaviors and found that they could now either indulge with moderation, or that they had lost their taste for the former "drug of choice" altogether. (Though I hope in David's case, he doesn't lose his taste permanently for sex.) In other words, and inevitably it's through a process of self-work in addition to the good work of Twelve-Step programs when needed, one can become unattached to an outer identity to define oneselves. That releases a lot of creative and loving energy, and is where any full-spectrum healing process leads.

Good luck on your journey, David.


Today's Quote

“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.”
Douglas Adams

Today's Quote

"Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - ENOUGH!"
Barack Obama

"Stephen's" Response to the Character Structures

Here's "Stephen's" reaction to my two character structure postings, and my response:



It wasn't until I read your recent missives on masochism and pathology
that I realized how truly crazy I am.

Thanks for all.



"Your response reminds me of when I started my studies as a therapist and how I once said, with consternation, to my personal therapist that what I was reading about the 'borderline personality disorder' sounded like me. Her great, and reassuringly nonchalant response was: 'Well, we all have our borderline features!"

Today's Quote

"I don't believe in the no-win scenario."
Captain James T. Kirk


This is a response I posted on Louise Crawford's blog, "ONLY THE BLOG KNOWS BROOKLYN" because she's been doing an anxious countown to her fiftieth birthday (2 days from now).

Here's her latest post first, then my response below.


Countdown to Fifty: Two Days To Go

With just two days to go...

I feel like screaming: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I liked being 49. Shit, I liked being 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48. The forties were my best decade.

I'll have to practice saying it: I'm f, I'm fi, I'm fif, I'm fift, I'm fifteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Crazy, crazy talk. How can this be?

Now say it a bunch of times fast: Fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty. fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty, fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty fifty.

If you say it enough times it loses all meaning. Just a sound, two syllables, a word.

Meaningless. It's meaningless.


Okay, Louise, listen up! Fifty is a charm. It's wonderful! It's hot!! I just turned fifty-four 2 days ago, and I want to tell you the truth: I am at the peak of my powers intellectually, creatively and sexually, and my tennis game is the best it's ever been! I am actively engaged in two careers that I love, and I am wildly in-love with the Love Of My Life (LOML?). The chances are greater and greater that you and I are going to live to be one hundred, my dear, and if we tend to our needs for pleasure and love and creative expression, this "Second Half" of life is going to be spectacular.
So, embrace this birthday, with two days to go, and celebrate. And be glad that you won't have to live through that first half again!

Today's Quote

"No Way. No How. No McCain"
Hillary Clinton


I decided to post this today - it's from a 6-hour class I taught on the Masochistic Character Structure - the third of five classes on character structures, which are sets of defenses that we create in early childhood and affect us deeply for the rest of our lives. Every aspect of a person's being is affected by character structures - mind, body and emotions. We create them to survive the slings and arrows of our imperfect childhoods with imperfect parents, but like the cocoon of a caterpillar, when we are ready to become self-actualized adults, we must shed them, "break through" our character structures. Not easy. It requires help. But there's no end run around it. The good news is, as you'll see in the last small but significant section below, that underneath it all is a Higher Self with great capacities and gifts to give to life.

Why am I writing about this one first? Well, it's kind of a linchpin of sorts. It is created at the midpoint of early childhood (between 1 1/2 and 3 years old), and almost everybody has some amount of masochism in their personality. Have you ever sabotaged yourself in some endeavor or relationship? Masochism. Have a string of projects you never completed projects? Masochism. Chronic muscle stiffness? Masochism. Passive-aggressive or sadistic behavior towards yourself or others? Masochism.

Read on, and remember that knowledge is power and the truth will set you free.

PRESENTING PROBLEMS (When first coming to therapy)

- Chronic feelings of suffering and chronic low-level anxiety, both emotionally and physically;
- Submissive behavior, and lack of self-assertion (inability to say, “No”);
- Intense feelings of shame and humiliation;
- Feeling trapped;
- Self-destructive behavior patterns (sabotaging success in jobs and relationships, accidents, sexual acting out, etc.);
- Obsessive/compulsive problems, particularly around sex, cleanliness and orderliness;
- Preoccupations with sex, masturbation, pornography and/or excretory functions, accompanied by intense guilt, shame and self-punishment;
- An inability to let go of or change repetitive patterns in abusive or ungratifying relationships;
- Inability to tolerate pleasure or success without guilt or anxiety;
- Sadistic, cruel and abusive acting out, or pervasive worrying about urges to do so;
- Primary “falling” fear: of the bottom falling out;
- Primary holding pattern: holding in;
- Primary longing: to be free/spontaneous;
- Primary survival struggle: the right to be assertive.

(Developmental Period - 19th to 30th Months)

- Parents offered conditional love to the child based on compliance with their will (that the child “be a good boy or girl” and control impulses);
- Attempts by child to assert its own will or say “No” were overpowered by parents and greeted with threats of abandonment or withdrawal of love;
- Parents were excessively involved in child’s eating and excretory functions (child may have been pushed to eat more than it wanted, toilet training may have been severe, enemas given, etc.), and in general, there was a strong focus on eating and defecating in the family;
- Father may have been passive, submissive or absent while mother was dominating, smothering, or harsh (often with a self-sacrificing, martyr-type mask), or father may have been harsh, controlling or sadistic while mother was permissive and indulgent;
- Parents may have been excessively concerned about “messing up” (around personal hygiene, household cleanliness, finances, order in general, etc.);
- A sudden interruption in the parent-child relationships may have occurred in the child’s second year of life (birth of a sibling, divorce, absent parent due to work, illness, death, etc., or a physical illness of child).


- Body is typically shortened, thick and muscular (to restrain assertiveness and negative impulses), with chronic tension in the body; there may be excessive body hair;

- Neck is short and thick (from a “turtle-like” pulling in of the head);

- Shoulder muscles enlarged (to bear burdens);

- Buttocks are pulled in and squeezed together (to control the impulse to mess up and let out), which pushes the pelvis forward;

- Waist is short and thick, encased, compressed and collapsed (from pulling in and down from the top and up and in from the bottom to control impulses to let out); in women, hips and thighs are often thick and heavy; in men, the abdomen often balloons;

- The abdominal compression affects the whole diaphragmatic segment, making exhalation difficult and hindering all of the organs in the area;

- There is often an awkwardness or clumsiness in the person’s gait and movements, with frequent minor accidents (messing up), along with a general uncomfortability in the body;

- There is anal and genital tension and spasticity (causing acute suffering and inability to freely experience pleasure) as the whole pelvic floor is contracted;

- Skin tends to have a brownish hue due to stagnant, held energy charge; there may be severe problems with acne;

- Chronic areas of tension: the neck, shoulder girdle, pelvis and buttocks, and most of the large muscles;

- Chronic physical ailments of the throat and colon/anal region, such as sore throats, colitis, constipation and hemorrhoids, and digestive problems;

- Expression in the eyes is one of suffering, often combined with compulsive smiling.


- Fully charged energetically, but energy is tightly held in check (though not frozen), so this person is “boiling” inside;
- Energy moving upward and downward is choked off at the neck and waist (causing compression) and outlets for energy discharge are blocked (throat, anus, genitals);
- The highly charged energy is stagnant in the skin;
- Chakras (energy centers): Crown - (spiritual connection) deflated; Third Eye - (intuitive abilities) open; Throat - (self-expression) contracted; Heart - (love feelings) open, but constricted; Solar Plexus - (universal wisdom) open; Sexual - (pleasure and creativity) partially open; Base – (grounding and connection to physical life) partially blocked.


- Feelings are often predominant and strongly felt, but held in, literally packed within by massive armoring, creating chronic feelings of pain, suffering and anxiety;
- Negative feelings, which are intense in this structure (including desires to punish, crush or be sadistic to others), and their expressions, are severely prohibited, accompanied by powerful feelings of guilt, shame and humiliation if any self-assertion is made, and a fear of exploding violently;
- Positive feelings of love, including humor and joy are very active, but encased deep within and inhibited from full expression; pleasure and any strong surges of energy are perceived as a threat (of exploding or the bottom falling out);
- Extreme efforts are made to be kind, pleasant, pleasing, servile, self-sacrificing and ingratiating in order to hide the inner hostility and spitefulness, which is considerable; negative feelings are expressed mainly through passive-aggressive behavior or provocative attitudes;
- The will is weakened by the constant holding pattern, but it is strong enough to express its resistance (to the parents’ crushing will) through stubbornness, defiance and passive refusal (to move, to be successful or happy, etc.); the will is also often directed to make the individual appear stupid or eccentric, or to dissimulate, so there is much inner doubting about one’s own intelligence or wisdom;
- The mind can be very orderly, but usually obsessively so, with much ruminating on details, serving as a distraction from feelings;


- An inadequate sense of self caused by the negation of spontaneous, assertive expressions and deep feelings of inferiority; self-assertion is severely limited and there is an emotional heaviness (feeling burdened, “stuck in the mud”, “too hard to move”);
- Consciously identified with trying to please, while unconsciously identified with sadism, spite and hostility;
- Disguised exhibitionism combined with self-derogation and self-deprecation and a chronic compulsion to damage the self;
- Strong castration/mutilation anxieties (fear of retaliation for inner negativity and exhibitionism);
- Intense fears of being abandoned, due to a perceived reliance on others for both stimulation and “decompression” from stimulation and pent-up feelings;
- In the “anal-compulsive” (“retentive”) character type, there is great concern about orderliness, cleanliness, efficiency and control, with great difficulty tolerating change;
- Main defenses: reaction formation, ruminative thinking, undoing, externalization, reversal, rationalization;
- Typical masks: self-sacrificing, martyr (“I suffer for you.” “I am special, noble and superior because I suffer.”), pleasing, submissive, ingratiating, slave (“I live only to serve.” “I have no selfishness in me.”), efficiency expert, perfectionist (“I am superior because I never mess up.” “If I fail, it is because I didn’t try hard enough.”), pacifism (“I have no hurtful intentions towards anyone.” “I have no aggression or hostility in me.”);
- Childhood history may include: clumsiness and many minor accidents, “good boy” or “good girl” behavior patterns in childhood, followed by rebellious or cruel acting out behavior in adolescence, overeating (to stuff down feelings), chronic sore throats, acne, digestive problems (coupled with anxiety about vomiting), constipation, and excessive neatness or sloppiness.


- Relationships, while able to be engaged in and sustained, are fraught with tension and pressure, at times exploding into outright hostility and abusiveness as the suppressed and highly charged negativity seeks an outlet;
- Trying to get appreciation and approval, permission to feel, and relief from guilt are predominant motivations in relationships; this is attempted either through exaggerated pleasing, servile and submissive behavior (that is experienced by the recipient as hostile, controlling and contemptuous), through self-deprecating attitudes and self-damaging behavior, constant whining and complaining, or through directly provocative behavior; the angry reactions provoked in others by these characteristics will then seem to justify this person’s self-righteous fury and/or self-punishing guilt;
- Intense preoccupation with sex and frequent masturbation are common as this person continually seeks pleasure and release, both of which are intensely desired and also inhibited; fascination with pornography and/or sadomasochistic fantasy is common (seeking to turn pain, submission and humiliation into “pleasure”); orgasms are controlled by pushing and squeezing actions (of the buttocks, thighs and pelvis);
- Surrendering to love is related to as both potentially liberating and potentially crushing, with pain as a necessary ingredient and good feelings in love and sex as “too much.”


- “I will be loved as long as I submit to the will of others.” “If I assert my independence, I will be crushed.”
- “To get love, I must please others.” “I can never say no.”
- “I must never express my negativity.” “I will hurt myself to prevent others from hurting me.”
- “If I feel too much, I will explode.”
- “I am inferior and disgusting because of my negative feelings.”
- “Life is hard and suffering unavoidable.”


- Great capacities for pleasure, humor, optimism, playfulness and joy;
- Genuine supportiveness, strength and desire to be of service to others;
- An expansive, open heart with deep compassion, true kindness and understanding;
- Positive assertiveness and healthy aggression with substantial amounts of energy;
- Ability to be spontaneously creative in the moment, surrender ego control and trust the natural order in all things;

Today's Quote

"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea."
Sir Francis Bacon

Today's Birthday Quotes for PL

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”
Abraham Lincoln

“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything.”
Oscar Wilde

“It takes a long time to grow young.”
Pablo Picasso

Today's Quote

"Let's just be smart this time. I'm looking for smart."
Joe Biden


Ahh... vacations! Just like other forms of pleasure and fun, vacations, however short, should not to be taken lightly. They are more than just breaks from our routines and careers. Vacations can remind of us how to live well - fresh air, plenty of rest, exercise, our favorite foods and time to reflect in solitude and communicate with our loved ones without the habitual pressures we create around those routines and careers. The more we can incorporate bits of our lifestyle during vacations into the rest of our year, the healthier and happier we'll be. Try it out. You can take mini-vacations everyday - a nap here, a health walk there, cook a favorite meal once a week, turn off the TiVo and talk to your partner about something that means something to you, and of course... have great sex!
Yes, everything fulfilling in our lives, everything that works the way it should springs from that healthy, happy place. So, take a vacation tomorrow. Take one every day. And when you get back to your work-like stuff you'll feel like I do right now - Great to be back!


Yep. I'm practicing Full Permission Living and letting my Pleasure Principle lead me where it will (Which right now is to Woodstock).
Feel free to peruse back postings. You may have missed a few of my pearls!
Keep enjoying your unalienable rights to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness!


(Hint: The flag is upside down.) THE UNIVERSE NEVER MAKES MISTAKES!

Today's Quote

"It occurred to us, from observation and reasoning, that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriages, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it that was the culprit."
Ossie Davis (on his open marriage to Ruby Dee)


Here's a piece from Jenny Block, called "Mythical Monogamy," posted in Tango Magazine on-line. I agree with Jenny, who I've posted before on the subject of "open marriage," that honesty is the key to a good marriage, to any good relationship. And more than half of people in relationships are SO not honest, or open, including people in open marriages.
Let's try this again, folks: living in a contractually enforced monogamous marriage is neither virtuous nor healthy - not for the partners, not for the kids, not for the human race. You're not going to get a gold star at the end of your run for hunkering down in a passionless folie a deux, held together by the Crazy Glue of fear disguised as tradition. No. What you're going to get is Alzheimer's or cancer or depression. On the other hand, having contractually agreed-upon sex outside of your marriage doesn't automatically make you "open." Again, as Jenny says in her blog post, it's honesty that makes a marriage open. Honesty. A don't ask/don't tell approach to extramarital sex doesn't make you cutting edge or hip; it just makes you a hypocrite. If you think it's cool to have sex with other people, why wouldn't you be able to talk about it openly with your partner? Because you don't want to hurt his or her feelings? Ah. Right. Because having feelings in response to reality is a bad thing? Believe it or not, I've heard this one from people who think they're in an open marriage: "It's okay for my spouse to have sex, but not to fall in love." WHAT?! Since when can you legislate falling in love? All that person is saying is that they have no idea how falling in love works.
Hey - get married if you want, Have a big celebration to announce to the world that you're in love. And whether you're married or not, have sex. Great sex! Please. I've been urging all of my readers to have an active, thrilling sex-life forever. It's the key to good healthy and sanity. But tainting marriage or sex with dishonesty is ultimately going to get you into a nursing home. Don't do that to yourself.

Today's Quote

"It is said a king once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away."
Abraham Lincoln

Today's Quote - More on "How Stupid Are We?"

"Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime."
Attorney General Michael Mukasey (on the crimes committed by the Bush Justice Department officials who let improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers)

Today's Quote

“Nothing happens by chance, my friend... No such thing as luck. A meaning behind every little thing, and such a meaning behind this. Part for you, part for me, may not see it all real clear right now, but we will, before long.”
Richard Bach


Is life a crap shoot? Are most of the events in life random? Are coincidences really coincidences?

Well, this is one of the main subjects I love to talk about - besides love, Eros and sex. The reason I chose the lyrics to this Kenny Rogers classic for today's Full Permission Lyrics is that while I do know that we do create our own reality, and that we all come into life with a seed plan and destiny to fulfill, our lives are not scripted or preprogrammed. It's more like we're in an improvisational play, or like we're gamblers. And of course there are two kinds of gamblers - compulsive gamblers, whose main drive is to lose everything, so they always keep going until they hit bottom, and professional gamblers who understand the meaning of the "Serenity Prayer."

Here's Kenny Rogers' version of the Serenity Prayer:

"On a warm summer's evenin' on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin' out the window at the darkness
'til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

"He said, son, I've made a life out of readin' peoples faces,
And knowin' what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don't mind my sayin', I can see you're out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey Ill give you some advice.

"So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said if you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

"Now every gambler knows that the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
cause every hands a winner and every hands a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.

"So when he'd finished speakin', he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

"You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count you r money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done."

Kenny Rogers

“Real men don’t think things through.”

Paul Krugman writes that the above slogan could basically represent the current core of Republican policy and political strategy.

I've been asking the question lately: "How stupid are we?" in several of my recent posts. Apparently, I'm not the only one.

In an editorial entitled, "Know-Nothing Politics," Paul Krugman explains how "Republicans, once hailed as the 'party of ideas,' have become the party of stupid."

Check it out.

As I Was Saying On Traditional Marriage...

Here's a book by Katharine Mieszkowski called, "I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage."
Check it out.

Today's Quote

"The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr


On the lighter side, here's some good news about... coffee! As anyone who knows me will tell you, along with love, Eros and sex, I find a finely made cup of espresso to be essential to a good life.

Click here to read an article in the NY Times by Jane Brody, a health columnist whose articles I have been using for years, on the goodness of it all.

Today's Late Quote

“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”


Everybody in the media is having a field day with the fact that John Edwards has just revealed that he had an affair a couple of years ago. It's bigger news than the unbelievable (but believable) other revelation this week that a top CIA Official just admitted in a book - AND on tape! - that a forged letter linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks was ordered by the White House and probably came directly from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. So, the fact that a former senator and current non-candidate had an affair is more interesting than the fact of one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated by a sitting president or vice-president in history?

Okay, then, let's go with. What's the big deal about Edwards' affair? That he "cheated" on his wife? That he's a major political figure who lied about cheating on his wife? Both? Neither? Or is it perhaps that we are all just really fascinated by the obvious breakdown at all levels of society of "traditional marriage?"

Ah, now you're talking my language. As an observer of overt societal trends and as a practitioner of the "inner arts" of human development, I can tell you without a doubt that marriage as we've known it is in its death throws. It's terminal. History in the making. See ya! More than half of married people end up divorced, and fewer and fewer adults at later and later ages are getting married in the first place.

Marriage was doomed, of course, from the start of its becoming an "institution," from the moment rules and vows were made to define it and contracts and licenses were issued to control it. And as an almost pure external manifestation of ego, the end of the Institution of Marriage is a cause for celebration.

Historically, marriage was never about love in the first place. It was created as a way to control property and bloodlines, and as a bargaining chip between empires. The idea that you should be in-love with your spouse is relatively new and was never an essential part of the equation, and still totally isn't today. Many people today get married for reasons of financial security or social status or because of emotional insecurities. I remember vividly the exchange between my ex-mother-in-law and me when my wife and I divorced back in the 1970's. When she asked me why we were separating, I told her that we weren't happy together. She looked at me as if I were a fool, and said these words that I've never forgotten: "Happy? What's happy got to do with marriage?"

No joke. She said that with a straight face. So, in despair at that advice from an elder, but undaunted, I turned to my grandfather, who I knew would have something wise and worldly to say. Here's what "Grandpa Pete" offered: "Petey," he said to me, "go to the butcher shop and buy a nice piece of meat and go home and make dinner for your wife."

Yep. Nothing brings back the Eros like a good rib eye.

Anyway, here's the thing - Eros, like every powerful force of nature, can't be controlled by the human ego or will. That's what makes being in-love so great, that we can experience and participate in something that's bigger than us, that can sweep us to a higher place, with only the "effort" of letting go and surrendering to it. Without wings, we can fly when we're in-love, we can see things that are otherwise invisible, we are unshakable in our knowledge of Truth and Beauty.

But as soon as we try and wrap Eros up in rules and fence it in with contracts, we lose the connection to it. True, it may leave at some point anyway, but the irony is that by trying to pin Eros down, it leaves sooner.

So, marriage, as most of us have been taught to practice it, is actually an Eros killer. The fact, then, that fewer people are getting or staying traditionally married, or that some are trying various forms of "open marriage," is a great sign for the potential of human beings to experience Eros in their lives. This is great for the world, because as I've said many times, anyone experiencing great love, Eros and sex is never inclined to cheat or steal or forge documents in order to start a war.

Good-bye traditional marriage. Whew!


Of course, not everyone agrees with me about celebrating the end of traditional marriage. The Parents Television Council -- the conservative watchdog group most notable for inundating the FCC with complaints about curse words and breasts - has just released a "study" that finds prime-time television "actively" denigrates marriage while glorifying sex outside of it. "Even worse," according to the report, is the television depiction of "outre sexual expression" such as "masturbation, pornography, sex toys, and kinky and fetishistic behaviors."

The snappily titled study was called: "Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity Over Marital Intimacy on Prime Time Broadcast Television."

Hmm... Think TV Will Turn Your Kids Into Sex Freaks?


Here's a section from a class I taught called, "CREATING HEALTH," a few year ago. These are excerpts from some very enlightened souls on the subject.


Webster’s Dictionary – health: the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor, vitality.

Psychiatric Dictionary – mental health: psychological well-being or adequate adjustment, particularly as such adjustment conforms to the community-accepted standards of human relations. Some characteristics of mental health are reasonable independence, self-reliance, self-direction, ability to do a job, to take responsibility and make needed efforts, reliability, cooperation, ability to work under authority, rules and difficulties, ability to show friendliness and love, to give and take, to have tolerance of others and of frustrations, a sense of humor, a devotion beyond oneself, and an ability to find recreation.

Freud - "In the final analysis, the stabilized personality is one that has achieved, through learning and maturation, a balance or equilibrium between “cathexes” and “anti-cathexes.” The nature of this balance, that is, whether it falls more on the side of fulfillment or more on the side of restraint or somewhere in the middle, is determined by the influences which are brought to bear on the developing personality. By and large, the presence of strong anti-cathexes will increase the tension level of the personality since the anti-cathexes prevent psychic energy from being dissipated. However, in spite of the existence of considerable tension the personality can be quite stable as long as an equilibrium of forces is maintained. Stability is also produced by the resolution of conflicts between opposing instinctual forces or their derivatives."

Broch (Pathwork “Guide”) – "Physical health and well-being is totally regulated by and dependent on the state of pleasure a human body is capable of allowing. Health and longevity are the results of the capacity for pleasure. Conversely, to the degree you deny yourself pleasure – due to shames, fears, misconceptions, negativity – to that degree you cut off your body from the wellspring of the universal flow. Any kind of physical illness or deterioration, therefore, also physical death, as it were, is a manifestation of division, conflict and denial of pleasure."

Candice Pert ("Molecules of Emotion") – "Health is not just a matter of thinking happy thoughts. Sometimes the biggest impetus to healing can come from jump-starting the immune system with a burst of long-suppressed anger. How and where it’s expressed is up to you – in a room by yourself, in a group therapy situation which can facilitate the expression of long-buried feelings, or in a spontaneous exchange with a family member or friend. The key is to express it and then let it go, so that it doesn’t fester, or build or escalate out of control.
Emotions are what unite the mind and the body. Anger, fear and sadness, the so-called negative emotions, are as healthy as peace, courage and joy. All honest emotions are healthy emotions. To repress these emotions and not let them flow freely is to set up a dis-integrity in the system, causing it to act at cross-purposes rather than as a unified whole. The stress this creates, which takes the form of blockages and insufficient flow of peptide signals to maintain function at the cellular level, is what sets up the weakened conditions that can lead to a disease."

John Pierrakos – "In the totally healthy organism, energy flowing into and out of the person could move freely as circumstances permit, in something of the way that a rose gives off perfume and takes in sunlight through its petals. Integration and creativity require freedom of movement from the innermost reaches of the unconscious to the outermost perimeters of consciousness. The uniqueness of each person comes from the form of his or her individuation from the universal life principle. The person’s fundamental identity, therefore, is shaped by the purposeful movement of the energy of the core.
Illness is a process, or rather an interruption of the life process, that penetrates the entire person because the flow of living energy in the organism is integral to the organism. Armoring anywhere affects the entire organism. Vital force cannot stop moving; thus, when it meets a barrier, it must circumvent this or back up in the opposite direction."

Jane Roberts (“Seth”) – “Your health is an extension of your creativity. Your body is an artistic creation, formed and constantly maintained at unconscious levels, but quite in line with your beliefs about what and who you are. The miraculous constant translation of spirit into flesh is carried on with inexhaustible energy by the inner portions of being, but in all cases the inner self looks to the conscious mind for its assessment of the body’s condition and reality, and forms the image in line with the conscious mind’s beliefs. So - once more - you form reality through your beliefs, and your most intimate production is your physical body. You organize on an unconscious level the atoms and molecules that compose your cells to form your body. But the blueprint is made by your conscious beliefs. You constantly give yourself suggestions about your body, your health or ill health. (For example, many individuals are given glasses to correct an eye difficulty at an early age. When you believe that only glasses will correct poor vision, then only glasses will. Left alone, in many cases, the eyes would correct themselves. The glasses can impede any such self-correction by providing a crutch that further weakens eye muscles. Instead, you must discover the reason for the belief behind the physical non-function, and if this is done the condition will automatically clear up. Now, for most people it is easier to get glasses!)
You think about your body often. You send a barrage of beliefs and instructions to the inner self that affect your physical image. To change your body, you change your beliefs, even in the face of physical data or evidence that conflicts. Now thoughts in general possess an electromagnetic reality, but whether you know it or not, they also have an inner sound value, the sound of your thoughts within your own head. Inner sounds have an even greater effect than exterior ones upon your body. They affect the atoms and molecules that compose your cells. In many respects it is true to say that you speak to your body, but the speaking is interior. The sound is formed by your intent. Suggestions, repeated often enough and believed in fervently, take on a deeply habitual nature. They are no longer examined, but taken for literal truth. They are then handed over to the more automatic levels of personality, where they may trigger specific actions. These suggestions may be remarkably long-standing, and consist of beliefs received in childhood.
You were not given a certain amount of “life force” at birth that you use up as you go along, contrary to many schools of thought. The atoms and molecules within you are quite literally dying and being completely replaced all the time. You are being created physically in each instant. A sick body is performing that function then, in its way, as well as healthy one. [The body] is a mirror of [your] beliefs, and will accurately materialize in flesh those ideas held by the conscious mind. That is one of the body’s primary functions. It is your most intimate feedback system, giving you in flesh the physical counterpart of your thought. So it is futile to become angry at a symptom, or to deride the body for its condition when it is presenting you with the corporeal replica of your own thought, as it was meant to do. It is just as useless to berate your environment or your experience in it as it is to deride your body, for the same reasons.
Your ideas of good and evil as applied to health and illness are highly important, for instance. If you are bound and determined that “GOD” creates only “good”, then any physical deficiency, illness or deformity becomes an affront to your belief, threatens it, and makes you angry and resentful. If you become ill you can hate yourself for not being what you think you should be - a perfect physical image made in the likeness of a perfect God. If on the other hand you carry the idea too far that illness can also be a learning process, then you can fall into the other extreme, glorifying sickness or disease as a necessary ennobling experience in which the body is purged so that the soul can be saved. Following such a belief, you will confuse suffering with saintliness, desolation with purity. Under such conditions you can even seek out illness to prove to yourself the strength of your own spirituality - and to impress it upon others.
There are people who firmly believe that the pursuit of pleasure will lead to pain, and others whose beliefs cause them to feel very uncomfortable when they are in states of health. For these individuals, poor health brings a sense of security and safety. Some individuals become anxious and worried if they think they are too happy, for to them it means that they are not paying sufficiently for their sins. Quite ordinary people often believe that suffering itself is a way toward personal development and spiritual knowledge. In matters of health, such beliefs can have most unfortunate results.
Another attitude detrimental to good health is that of self-condemnation, or dislike of the self. A feeling of self-approval is absolutely necessary for any true sense of well-being. It is not virtuous in any way to put yourself down, or to punish yourself, because you do not feel you have lived up to your best behavior at any given time. All creatures are basically of good intent; even when they commit the most dubious of acts, these are usually caused by misdirected good intent.
Worrying about future events, or dwelling upon past unfavorable situations, only confuses the body’s mechanisms because the physical body can only react in the present moment. [Also], while it may seem natural enough to consider disease as a threat, an adversary or an enemy, this is not the case. Many body events that you think of as negative – certain viruses, for example – are instead meant as self-corrective devices, even as fever actually promotes health rather than impedes it. You are not attacked by viruses, nor do you catch a virus, for all kinds of viruses exist normally in the body. There are no killer viruses, but certain feelings and beliefs can promote an exaggeration of viral activity beyond their usual bounds.
There is no such thing, basically, as a disease. There are instead only processes. So-called states of health and disease are changing constantly, and in vaster terms, disease in itself is a kind of health. Diseases can be eliminated, even those that seem fatal – but only if the beliefs behind them are erased or altered enough so that their specific focusing effect upon the body is sufficiently released. If you shed the distorted concepts of unnatural guilt and accepted the wise ancient wisdom of natural guilt instead. You would understand the living integrity of each organ in your body and have no need to attack any of them.
This obviously does not mean that the time of the body’s death would not come. It does mean that the seasons of the body would be understood as following those of the mind, ever-changing and flowing, with conditions coming and going but always maintaining the splendid unity within the body’s form. You would not have chronic illnesses. Generally speaking, and ideally, the body would wear out gradually while still showing far greater endurance than it does now.
For adults, ideas of health and illness are intimately connected with philosophical, religious and social beliefs, and even more entangled with science’s views of life in general. Children, however, are far more innocent, and though they respond to the ideas of their parents, still their minds are open and filled with curiosity, and they still possess a feeling of oneness with the universe, and with all of life, even as they begin to separate themselves at certain levels from life’s wholeness. Seeing themselves as separate and apart from other individuals, they still retain an inner comprehension and a memory of having once experienced a oneness with life as a whole. At that level, even illness is regarded as simply a part of life’s experience, however unpleasant it may be. Children pick up their first ideas about health and disease from parents and doctors, and by the reactions of those people to their own discomfort.
Children may be quite conscious of the fact that they will themselves to become ill (i.e. - in order to avoid school or a family event). They soon learn that such self-knowledge is not acceptable, however, so they begin to pretend ignorance, quickly learning to tell themselves instead that they have a bug or a virus, or have caught a cold, seemingly for no reason at all. Parents who are aware of this fact can start helping their children at an early age by asking them simply the reasons for their illness. Again, the reasons for such behavior are often quite clear in the child’s mind."

Today's Quote

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

"The Great Wall of Duh" - Or How Stupid Are We? Part Four!

Here, in its entirety, is a must read article by Bob Cesca for anyone who knows that there aren't always two sides to every argument, or at least not two sane sides rooted in reality. Some people really are ignorant - whether it's because of their infantile level of emotional development or the amount of fat and sugar and prescription drugs they consume - and some people really count on the fact of their ignorance for the purposes of exploitation.

Read on. Here's Bob:

"Senator Obama on Tuesday said of the McBush Republicans, "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant." After eight years trapped aboard this dark ride, finally hearing a Democratic presidential candidate publicly and forcefully refer to the Republicans as ignorant liars ought to be enough to coax even the most indecisive leaner into the Obama column.

But let's take the senator's remark even further. The McBush Republicans don't just take pride in their ignorance -- their entire electoral strategy depends on it.

This is obviously a risky strategy given the existence of things like "reason", "facts" and "truth" -- each readily available to anyone who's industrious enough to seek them out. Fortunately, though, for the McBush Republicans, there's an outside collaborator working in their favor: the barbecue media whose success also depends greatly upon both ignorance and disingenuousness (Olbermann and others excluded). Paraphrasing Woody Allen, ignorance and disingenuousness are, collectively, their various breads and various butters. So the Republicans have a convenient and sizeable zero-barrier of protective stupid surrounding their golf courses and mansions and trophy wives, shielding them from reality. Let's call it the Great Wall of Duh.

To wit: Paris Hilton and Toby Keith have occupied above-the-fold placement in our national political discourse this week.

Barbecue media players like TIME's Mark Halperin are somehow taken seriously even though he's on record having recommended to Senator McCain that he frame Senator Obama as a "Manchurian Candidate" (read that: Islamic terrorist), while also recommending that Senator McCain allow his surrogates to engage in race-baiting. Very serious!

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal told us this week that Senator Obama's thin physique might make him unelectable in a nation of fatties.

Professional television broadcasters from Dan Rather to Chris Matthews can't stop confusing Senator Obama with Osama Bin Laden; and that's only after they wonder out loud whether or not Senator Obama is capable of speaking "mumble talk" in a diner.

And then of course there are the four horsemen of lying ignoramuses: O'Reilly, Hannity, Doocy and Kilmeade. The entire success of FOX News Channel depends on its audience accepting everything at face value.

Suffice it to say, the awful bricks that form the Great Wall of Duh are practically too numerous to list.

It's no wonder that, with such an airtight cocoon, Senator McCain -- after repeatedly being debunked by numerous experts, and after personally conceding the argument -- can go around saying things like this today:

"[Senator Obama is] claiming putting air in your tires is the equivalent of new offshore drilling," McCain said. "That's not an energy plan, my friends -- that's a public service announcement."

Yes, it's a lie. Yes, it's ignorant. But most importantly, it's disingenuous -- deliberately ignorant with the intention to deceive. Not unlike FOX News Channel, Senator McCain is not just exploiting the ignorance of his supporters -- he's counting on it. He and his cynical strategists are counting on their own supporters to be unaware of the verifiable fact that if we maintain proper tire pressure, we would conserve more oil than would be attained with the McCain plan for offshore drilling. And he's counting on his supporters to blindly ditto this line -- a line that's specifically designed to be easily repeated for the sake of painting Senator Obama as weak and ineffectual. Ironic, isn't it.

The entire Bush administration, as well as the modern Republican movement before it, was built upon exploiting the naiveté and ignorance of its supporters. Start with the Southern Strategy during the Nixon years, fast forward to Reaganomics and do the list on down to "freedom fries" and "nobody anticipated the breach of the levees."

Four years ago, Karl Rove and the Republicans, protected by a patriotically narcoleptic corporate media, successfully painted Senator Kerry -- a decorated war hero -- as a gay coward who barely deserved a purple Band-Aid, much less the three Purple Hearts he earned in blood. Without this ignorant, disingenuous framing, Senator Kerry would have surely been running for reelection today. Without this strategy, there probably wouldn't have been the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And, by the way, CNN hosts like Glenn Beck wouldn't be on television -- without equal time given to a liberal talk show host -- comparing George W. Bush to Batman.

This week's episode of AMC's Mad Men reminded us that tobacco companies for years told us that cigarettes were healthy. Likewise, FOX News Channel tells us every damn day that their network is fair and balanced. Cheneybots tell us that torture yields solid intelligence. Senator McCain's entire campaign is predicated upon obfuscating the facts about everything from his support for President Bush to Senator Obama's patriotism and energy plan -- all the while painting Senator Obama (a product of a broken home and who just recently paid off his college loans) as an elitist despite Senator McCain's own wealth, heiress wife and celebrity status. And this ignorance strategy will continue to work as long as the barbecue media maintains its protective Great Wall of Duh.

So as Senator McCain continues to "surge ahead" in the polls with a huge 39 percent, we can count on him to work this ignorance strategy at every level. A month from now we can count on seeing tire-pressure gauges at the Republican convention. We can count on repeated remarks claiming that Senator Obama wants to "lose" in Iraq and, to that point, we can count on Senator McCain continuing to conflate leaving -- now, next year or many years from now -- with losing.

Here's to hoping that more Democrats will step up for a change and call Senator McCain on his disingenuousness, lying and ignorance with the same clarity and strength that we heard from Senator Obama this week."


I sent a copy of my post, "OVERPARENTING KILLS," to Louise Crawford's "ONLY THE BLOG KNOWS BROOKLYN" blog. She posted it, and "Chandru" had the following response, which is followed by my response to Chandru.


"I remember reading Ayn Rand as a teenager and being appalled at her theories, especially the one about how there ain't no such thing as altruism or doing anything un-selfishly because everything you do is ultimately selfish inasmuch as it boosts your ego (though, iirc, she didn't use that word, being of a different generation.)

Sounds like Rand has a new disciple in Marano. What a barren existence we would be confined to if we followed his (and Peter's) principles. Peter talks about "wanting to be loved" as if it's a disease. It is not. It's a natural condition of living and exists in all sentient beings.

In the meantime, can you recommend a good British boarding school for my son?"


Actually, the reason Ayn Rand didn't use the word "ego" was because she didn't mean ego. She made the point that the ultimate moral value, for each human individual, is his or her own well-being. Since that "selfishness" is serious, rational, principled concern with one's own well-being, it turns out to be a prerequisite for the attainment of the ultimate moral value and it always leads to behavior that is for the greater good of all. For this reason, Rand believes that selfishness is a virtue.
Everything in nature that is left alone by the human ego, Chandru, is in fact "selfish" in a harmonious and constructive way. Only human beings have the hubris to believe that they need to supersede and "correct" nature's "mistakes."
Finally, "wanting to be loved" is not "natural." It is typical. What is natural is to BE loving.

Today's Quote

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
Frank Zappa

Today's Quote

"Of all the different kinds of adults, parents are the least qualified to raise children."
Peter Loffredo


Somebody turned me onto this article and book, "A NATION OF WIMPS," yesterday on a subject that I write and yell about a lot - how we're gutting our children's self-confidence and creating a class of whiny and seriously damaged narcissists by over-parenting. The author is Hara Estroff Marano, editor of Psychology Today.

Here are some excerpts from Marano:

"The 1990s witnessed a landmark reversal in the traditional patterns of psychopathology. While rates of depression rise with advancing age among people over 40, they're now increasing fastest among children, striking more children at younger and younger ages."

"The perpetual access to parents infantilizes the young, keeping them in a permanent state of dependency. Whenever the slightest difficulty arises, they're constantly referring to their parents for guidance. They're not learning how to manage for themselves."

"In his now-famous studies of how children's temperaments play out, Harvard psychologist Jerome Kagan has shown unequivocally that what creates anxious children is parents hovering and protecting them from stressful experiences. Overparenting can program the nervous system to create lifelong vulnerability to anxiety and depression."

The article and book goes on, of course, but the bottom line is this - overparenting isn't about love; it's about ego. EGO! If there's even one parent reading this who can hear me, listen up: every time you hover or cover for your child, every time you pamper or prop them up, every time you "sacrifice" adult activities to feed your child's demands, you are not coming from a place of love. You are looking to BE loved from your own place of low self-worth and damaged self-esteem. In other words, you are being selfish, not generous, needy, not giving, and you are stunting and robbing your children, not raising them. Get into therapy! Get a life! Leave your kids alone!!

Once Again - Kahlil Gibran on Raising Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


This is a short posting from Marty Kaplan on how stupid is the media. Sorry, but I have to write about this.

Here's Marty:

"Ron Suskind's new book reports that in 2003, the White House ordered the CIA to forge a letter to "prove" that Iraq had a hand in 9/11 and that Saddam was buying yellowcake uranium from Niger for his WMD program with the help of Al Qaeda.

"When this came up on MSNBC, moderator Chuck Todd asked Politico's Mike Allen whether this would lead 'the anti-war crowd' in Congress to call for impeachment. Allen replied that it would 'give the lefty blogosphere something to grab onto.'

"And so, in less time than it takes to say 'Dick Cheney,' the subject is changed from what would be one of the most outrageous violations of the Constitution in the history of the Republic to a left/right issue. Instead of taking a breath to consider the merits and consequences of Suskind's charges, MSNBC's It's-Always-Super-Tuesday-Over-Here reframing machine instantly transforms a shocking allegation about the abuse of power into a piece of political football, a tactic, an occasion for the players in the grand political theater that cable news says Washington really is to assume their designated roles, like a Punch and Judy show.

"Only it's not that funny, is it? I don't imagine that the families of the tens of thousands of American soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq think that wanting to hold the president and vice president accountable for breaking the law means you're part of "the anti-war crowd" (meaning, the un-kewl kids). If the White House asked the CIA to cook up this disinformation aimed at the American people, why shouldn't the righty blogosphere, too, be up in arms? Why doesn't every American, regardless of political party, have a stake in the truth and the rule of law?"

Today's Quote

"A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual."
Sigmund Freud


A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein. The author also claims that the Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official “that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion. They secretly resettled the official in Jordan, paid him $5 million in hush money, and then used his captive status to help deceive the world about one of the era’s most crushing truths: that America had gone to war under false pretenses,” the book says.

Hey, really, how stupid are we in this country? I actually am coming to appreciate the psychopaths who are running things. They've gotten so unabashed and ruthless because we've become so sheepish and submissive, and we need to see that, even as we lose our houses, our credit and solvency and our health. We need to learn this way apparently, so thanks, George and Dick. Thanks, Enron. Thanks, Blackwater.

Do it to me one more time.

Today's Quote

“The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it”
Alexander Solzhenitsyn



Big Microsoft Study Supports Small World Theory


BOB HERBERT couldn't say it more succinctly than in this editorial, "RUNNING WHILE BLACK," in the NY Times today, so I'm reprinting it here in its entirety.

I know some people night not appreciate that this piece seems to be about "politics" on a blog that's about "self-actualization," but I do think it's actually all about consciousness. And while all of my readers know that I say, quite often, that the only way to accelerate the advancement of consciousness on the planet is through self-work, one person at a time, I also know that part of that self-work includes being aware of the levels of mass consciousness, and understanding that while we may be "equal" under God, and under the law, we are not equal in terms of developmental levels - mentally, psychologically, emotionally or spirituality. (See the SOUL AGE link for elaboration.)

Indeed, in this presidential election, more than most I've seen in the last few decades, there is such a stark difference in the levels of consciousness between the two candidates that I am actually going to vote!

So, forgive me for the forays into the political arena, but I feel compelled.

(Published: August 2, 2008)

"Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office — say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford — the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates.

Spare me any more drivel about the high-mindedness of John McCain. You knew something was up back in March when, in his first ad of the general campaign, Mr. McCain had himself touted as “the American president Americans have been waiting for.”

There was nothing subtle about that attempt to position Senator Obama as the Other, a candidate who might technically be American but who remained in some sense foreign, not sufficiently patriotic and certainly not one of us — the “us” being the genuine red-white-and-blue Americans who the ad was aimed at.

Since then, Senator McCain has only upped the ante, smearing Mr. Obama every which way from sundown. On Wednesday, The Washington Post ran an extraordinary front-page article that began:

“For four days, Senator John McCain and his allies have accused Senator Barack Obama of snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true.”

Evidence? John McCain needs no evidence. His campaign is about trashing the opposition, Karl Rove-style. Not satisfied with calling his opponent’s patriotism into question, Mr. McCain added what amounted to a charge of treason, insisting that Senator Obama would actually prefer that the United States lose a war if that would mean that he — Senator Obama — would not have to lose an election.

Now, from the hapless but increasingly venomous McCain campaign, comes the slimy Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ad. The two highly sexualized women (both notorious for displaying themselves to the paparazzi while not wearing underwear) are shown briefly and incongruously at the beginning of a commercial critical of Mr. Obama.

The Republican National Committee targeted Harold Ford with a similarly disgusting ad in 2006 when Mr. Ford, then a congressman, was running a strong race for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. The ad, which the committee described as a parody, showed a scantily clad woman whispering, “Harold, call me.”

Both ads were foul, poisonous and emanated from the upper reaches of the Republican Party. (What a surprise.) Both were designed to exploit the hostility, anxiety and resentment of the many white Americans who are still freakishly hung up on the idea of black men rising above their station and becoming sexually involved with white women.

The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control. It was at work in that New Yorker cover that caused such a stir. (Mr. Obama in Muslim garb with the American flag burning in the fireplace.) It’s driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches — a man who obviously does not know his place.

Mr. Obama has to endure these grotesque insults with a smile and heroic levels of equanimity. The reason he has to do this — the sole reason — is that he is black.

So there he was this week speaking evenly, and with a touch of humor, to a nearly all-white audience in Missouri. His goal was to reassure his listeners, to let them know he’s not some kind of unpatriotic ogre.

Mr. Obama told them: “What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He’s risky.”

The audience seemed to appreciate his comments. Mr. Obama was well-received.

But John McCain didn’t appreciate them. RACE CARD! RACE CARD! The McCain camp started bellowing, and it hasn’t stopped since. With great glee bursting through their feigned outrage, the campaign’s operatives and the candidate himself accused Senator Obama of introducing race into the campaign — playing the race card, as they put it, from the very bottom of the deck.

Whatever you think about Barack Obama, he does not want the race issue to be front and center in this campaign. Every day that the campaign is about race is a good day for John McCain. So I guess we understand Mr. McCain’s motivation.

Nevertheless, it’s frustrating to watch John McCain calling out Barack Obama on race. Senator Obama has spoken more honestly and thoughtfully about race than any other politician in many years. Senator McCain is the head of a party that has viciously exploited race for political gain for decades.

He’s obviously more than willing to continue that nauseating tradition."

Today's Quotes

"I did never know so full a voice issue from so empty a heart: but the saying is true: 'The empty vessel makes the greatest sound."
William Shakespeare Pat Buchanan: "McCain will make Cheney look like Gandhi!”


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