Category Archives: optimism

EXTRA LOVE

There are many joys in my Life.  One of the simplest of these joys is going out to eat.  And when I dine out one of the delights I enjoy most is interacting with a considerate and attentive waiter or waitress.  Even if I am patronizing an establishment which I will likely never visit again (while traveling, for example) I do everything I can to interact with and engage those directly charged with taking care of my needs during the meal.

Some Times, my efforts yield little results.  The waiter may view his position as merely a job, and one that he dislikes at that.  The waitress might have earlier had a bad interaction with an unreasonable or unpleasant diner before my arrival.  Any number of situations or circumstances can impact how I and my party are served once we sit down at the table.  But when the waitstaff is genuinely happy to see me and legitimately concerned about the experience I will have, that is when the Magic can happen!

When I place my order with an accommodating waiter or waitress I will very often say as I hand over my menu, “And please bring it with extra love!”  Occasionally, even a congenial server will think I’m making a joke or otherwise not understand what it is that I am requesting.  More often than not, however, the server will hesitate for just a moment, smile knowingly, then say something akin to, “You got it!”

What I want is literally for the server to think loving thoughts as they prepare and deliver my meal.  Energy flows.  Energy is contagious.  I would much prefer my food be prepared consciously and with loving-kindness rather than being absentmindedly readied and served like just so much animal feed.

I live my Life from the perspective of a mystic.  The type and quality of Energy I consume impacts all areas of my Life: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual.

Does it really make a difference if the food has “extra love?”  Is the food actually better, more flavorful?  Is it healthier?

It makes a difference to me and that is quite enough.

©Billy Red Horse

MONEY IN THE TEMPLE

Money.  Other than, perhaps, a comparable craving for sex, is there anything in this world which has so enticed and beguiled, corrupted and confused, engendered as much envy and rage, or stoked the fires of creativity and advancement more than the ubiquitous human desire for money?  And, as is likewise the case with sex, are we not daily bombarded with continuous multiple and conflicting messages with regard to money and its proper place in our lives?  “(The love of) money is the root of all evil” is but one example of just such a message that shares the same literal and metaphorical space in the cultural consciousness as “A penny saved is a penny earned” or, as the quote attributed to businessman Ted Turner says, “Life is a game (and) money is how we keep score.”

No area of human endeavor has been successfully immunized from the effects, both good and bad, of money’s influence, not even (perhaps even especially) the institutions and individuals that purport to service the needs of humanity’s spiritual health and needs.  And churches, temples and the like are host to some of the most emphatic as well as ambivalent and contradictory messages concerning money; as such, they can be ripe targets for suspicion concerning their own motivation for its acquisition and use.  Perhaps it is the ferocity of the denouncement of worldly riches that itself causes a wary eye to be turned when, at the end of just such a sermon or teaching, the collection plate is passed around.

Interestingly, the more mainstream and firmly ensconced in the local community a religious organization is, the less likely, generally, it is to be a lightning rod for controversy about matters of a fiscal nature.  The church itself can be quite opulent (it does, after all, represent the glory of God, doesn’t it?…) and the pastor can dress nicely and drive a decent car (it wouldn’t do for the Man of God to go around representing the Almighty looking like a beggar, now would it?…), just so long as he’s not too demonstrative in his exhibition of the congregation’s largess.

While member organizations of the predominant mainline traditions and their leaders might on occasion be subjected to the scrutiny of a bothered parishioner or a concerned third party’s auditing eye, it is the more unconventional groups and those individuals who walk decidedly non-conformist spiritual paths that are the most likely to be on the receiving end of bluster and condemnation over their relationship to money.  Oddly enough, this noisy disapproval more often than not arises most vehemently from within their own ranks.

There have been many teachers and practitioners of meditative, yogic, pantheistic, and Earth-centered disciplines who have historically disparaged money as worthy only of loathing and contempt.  Their general stance is that one should be above such trivial and petty concerns.  Then there are those within the community who accuse certain other spiritual teachers of selling the Dharma, or of being plastic Medicine people, or of operating pay-to-pray schemes that prey upon the ignorance of people in a time of need or distress.  The farther one ventures from the prevailing winds of orthodox religion, it seems, the more apt is one to encounter the voices of resistance to what is perceived by the owners of those voices as the selling of spirit.

(As a momentary aside, it should not be necessary for me to acknowledge here that confidence men and women exist and operate in the world but, for the sake of due diligence, acknowledge their existence I shall.  The unscrupulous and the fraudulent can be found everywhere and in all arenas; crooks, however, are not the present topic of discussion.  As for those who have been or might yet be taken in by such scoundrels and their ilk, I will paraphrase and reword an old saw: “Let the seeker beware.”)

To substantiate their position that “real” spiritual teachers and/or healers would never require or accept payment for their services, detractors often point to examples of holy persons* of the past that seldom, if ever, traded in currency.  What these detractors fail to consider (or at least publicly acknowledge) is the age and culture in which these teachers of note lived.  One must ask, what was the coin of the realm at that time, in that place, and in that culture?

In many tribal societies and cultures of old it is very true that what we would recognize as money was never used, but that does not mean that a value-for-value exchange was never a part of the spiritual teacher/student (or healer/patient) equation in the past.  Food, drink, clothing, livestock, and other objects of value given in support of and as compensation for a holy person’s work were quite common and often far more practical (and of a greater real worth) than any transfer of gold, silver, or paper bank notes.  And as is frequently the case today, much of these materials were then summarily redistributed within the community as charity to those in need.  But that was then and this is now.  Today, money is the modern equivalent of the milk cow or the blanket.

It is a hard and cold fact that modern “civilized” societies would likely cease to function without some variant of capitalistic monetary exchange, and this fact does not suddenly become null and void when one crosses the threshold of a contemporary temple or church or meditation hall or other venue where activities of a spiritual nature take place.  Money is not a necessary evil because money is not evil at all.  Money is a tool.  Money is a symbol, a place holder for value and it is this latter truth that is a central theme of this missive.

The sensible person would never demand that a physician or teacher give of their talents, knowledge, wisdom and skills without remuneration, yet the “spirit doctor” is very often castigated if he or she requests compensation.  What follows here next is not a poorly disguised attempt at diversionary semantics, but a simple statement of fact: for the sincere and skilled spiritual teacher and healer, it is not the information or the healing proper which is being compensated.  It is compensation both for the time spent during the actual healing and/or instruction provided and (as it is most unlikely that any teacher or healer is born gifted with an expertise so fully matured that training or an investment of their own personal resources has never been required) in recognition of the diligent effort and expense (in all of its definitions) the holy person has put forth in the past to acquire their knowledge and sharpen their skills.  It is a value-for-value exchange.  Such reimbursement allows the recipient to continue their work and their ongoing assistance of others.  The same holds true if the direct recipient of the compensation through gifts or tithes or special event fees is a sponsoring body (a temple, zendo, etc.) for the reasonable upkeep of facilities, fixtures and support staff.  (Yes, “reasonable” is admittedly a moving target and a legitimate topic for debate.  Perhaps a good unwritten rule is, if you have to ask “is this reasonable?” then there is a very good chance the answer is self-evident.)  One thing is for certain: no sincere (there’s that word again) holy person will ever turn away someone in need solely on the basis of an inability to pay.

Even with all this, there are those who will persist and demand, “Is there really any good reason at all that so-called ‘holy people’ should profit from what they do?  If it’s their calling then is it not their sacred duty?”  As was just explained, yes, it is only right that there is a compensation for time and space and effort.  It says something very pointed, however, about the culture in which we live when people are willingly and without hesitation paid multiple millions of dollars to portray characters in a world of total fantasy but when organizations or individuals that endeavor to bring others to an unobscured awareness of the Real seek compensation or other support, they are as often as not castigated and vilified as greedy and perverters of the Way.

It is useful to now revisit in greater depth a concept contained in a previous passing comment.  If the point of contention one has is with the notion of being expected to “pay-in-order-to-pray,” then I am steadfastly in agreement with such a contention.  Stated bluntly, the day of the traditional religious institution and its self-appointed monopoly role as a place of worship and communion with Source is over.  As a Dharma Teacher I have expressed stridently in the past that it should be the function of every modern religious establishment to seek earnestly its own immediate demise.  I hold to the position that temples and the like should be centers of spiritual education and development, contemplation, and healing which long ago should have jettisoned their designation as sites for the worship of all makes and models of divinity, celestial or otherwise.  Likewise, the job title of priest or minister (as is generally practiced and commonly perceived) delineates an occupation that should have in antiquity gone the way of the lamplighter.  Giving monetary support to such as this is, in my view, a ridiculous and senseless waste of valuable resources.  Being expected to support and sustain something which, by all measured reason, should be as extinct as the pterodactyl is an affront to good sense.  This view does not in any way reject the Holy; it does, however, express a more sophisticated refinement of both the means to acknowledge and to commune with the Sacred.  This is a return to things as they once were.  No structure, physical or organizational, is required for one to engage in an act of worship, should one choose to worship.  The Divine is quite capable of receiving any reverence and oblations you might choose to offer anywhere and at any time without the need of priests or intercessors or regal structures of any sort.  All that being said, there will forever be a need for Educators and Healers.  So long as an organization remains focused on healing and teaching, then it is good for that organization to abide and be supported by those who benefit from the Medicines to be found therein.

Historically, I have wrestled both with giving and being on the receiving end of payment with regards to spiritual undertakings.  Looking back, I find that the times I was most concerned about paying were when I was adding to the coffers of those organizations or individuals which I came to suspect were not operating from the best of intentions, i.e. those I perceived as out of balance in their focus on the accumulation of money itself.  I also have felt disquiet regarding my own receipt of money; consequently, I strive earnestly to be certain that I give people a value greater than what might otherwise be expected for the services I perform.  A maxim I coined many years ago and have applied ever since concerning whatever fee I may ask is, “I’m not saying that this is all it’s worth; I’m saying that this is all I require.”

But what about those numerous occasions when I have paid (and many times paid handsomely) for teaching and/or healing of a spiritual nature and left feeling satisfied and contented that I had been enriched by the experience?  Those were the times when I recognized a palpable benefit from the exchange between myself and the holy person in question.  Those were the times when I invested in myself and received in return, at the very least, as much as I had given.  More often than not, in cases such as those, I was the recipient of tools and insights, methods and mirrors of a value far exceeding what I had expected to encounter.  And at those magical moments, had I been able, I would have gladly paid a hundred times more for the information, wisdom, and training I received.  If the information you are seeking is not worth that then, perhaps, you might consider whether you are seeking the right thing in the right place with the right adept.  This is a most excellent standard by which to judge the merit of a teaching or a teacher.

+ + + + +

Regarding this pecuniary quandary, it is doubtful that any uniform consensus will ever be reached between all the divergent camps.  The best that can be hoped for may well be the agreement to respectfully disagree.  It is incumbent upon the spiritual seeker to never let their judgement be clouded by unbridled emotion or bedazzled by assertions or promises that don’t align with ones goals or needs.  What is right for others may not be equally as right for you.  Due diligence, self-honesty, and personal responsibility should always be the compass that guides our choices in matters of spirit.  Only you can with any certainty determine if the nourishment you receive is worth the price you pay.  No one else can make that assessment for you.  Even if they could, no one else should have that kind of power over you.

A final point worth considering: there is a saying among the Tzutujil Maya of Guatemala- “never trust a skinny shaman.”  That such a shaman is “malnourished” is often viewed as compelling evidence that the shaman in question is lacking in skill or is otherwise not well regarded (and consequently not well rewarded) by the community for the quality of their work.  This perspective certainly shines a very different light on the merits of reward for a job well done.

*Variants of the term “holy person” are used in this essay to signify those sincere and skilled spiritual counselors, educators, and/or healers whose bailiwick falls outside the boundaries of contemporary orthodox religion or healing arts.  The adjective “holy” as used here should not be interpreted to imply any status of divinity or infallibility.

©Billy Red Horse

THE METAPHYSICS OF MANNERS

It is my position that the Life of a well-mannered gentleman is the superior Life. I find it most unfortunate that many equate kindness, consideration, patience, tolerance, courtesy, and respectful behavior with weakness.

Understand that the manners of which I speak are not merely a perfunctory etiquette, behavioral mores observed solely to facilitate routine coexistence.  As postulated here, manners go much further and speak more to a genuine and expressed dignity demonstrating a profound appreciation of and respect for Life, Self, and Others.

Metaphysics speaks to first principles.  To my way of thinking, there is nothing more fundamental to the Human Experience than the refinement demonstrated through and by the considered and genuine display of decorum in our interactions one with another.

When drilling down into those first principles at the heart of my affinity for gentlemanly conduct, it might surprise you to learn of the motivation underlying my appreciation for and expression of such propriety.  I don’t live as a well-mannered gentleman for the benefit of others.  I do it solely for mySelf.  I do it because it makes me feel good.  I do it because it engenders a feeling and experience of power unlike any I have ever known.  That others are able to profit from my unvarnished acts of Self-interest is a tangential (and delightful) bonus.

Those Times in my Life when I have comported mySelf as other than a gentleman, whether through ignorance or intentional animus, I have always and without fail been the lesser for it.  AnyTime I have acted in an unmannered way, no matter how justified or righteous such behavior might have been, I inevitably walked away from the encounter feeling somehow soiled, contaminated by an Energy that I, ultimately, found repulsive. An Energy which I created.

Manners do not mean cowardice.  Civility does not mean capitulation.  Kindness does not mean weakness.  Firmness, resolve, and determination are more than capable of sharing the same space as gentility.  Some of the most mannered gentlemen I have ever encountered are capable of expressing great violence should the situation warrant it.  And they can do so without ever losing their dignity or their gentlemanly gravitas.

How people interact with others is telling of how they interact with and think about themSelves.  I speak often and at length about the value I perceive to be found in the process of Self-refinement.  I wish for my actions and my interactions with others to speak volumes about those things which I hold dear.  The joy and satisfaction I find in a mannered Life is reason enough for me to carry on, regardless of possibly being viewed as an ambulatory relic.

Manners maketh man.

©Billy Red Horse

DINNER WITH ALEXANDER

Over and over again (at least in the limited social media circles that I frequent) there is the encouragement to take good and respectful (and properly vetted) online relationships into the real world whenever practicable. Over the past couple of years, several gentlemen (and two ladies) have gone out of their way to visit with The Gentleman Mystic, enjoy some good food and drink, and engage in what has always been stimulating and pleasurable conversation.

I had looked forward to meeting Alexander Cortes (@AJA_Cortes) almost from the first moment he and I began interacting with one another on Twitter back in early 2018.  When I learned late last Spring (2019) that Mr. Cortes would a few weeks hence be attending an event in the Atlanta area I immediately reached out to see if he would be interested in making the short trek north of the city to spend some Time together before turning his full attention to other things. To my delight, he responded immediately and in the affirmative; arrangements were quickly made to meet at my favorite steakhouse the evening after his plane touched down.

Arriving fashionably late (in all fairness it wasn’t his fault; Atlanta traffic can frustrate and delay even the most seasoned local, much less an out-of-town visitor), Alexander greeted me with a broad smile and a firm handshake. Taking a draw from the adult beverage I had waiting for him, we sat down and began to chat.

Where many would start a first Time conversation with small talk, we immediately began to expand on topics we had discussed previously via direct message channels, in effect getting “caught up” though we had never before met.  Next, our shared interest in old-school physical culture was given its due and soon our dialogue settled into a pleasant rhythm, new topics and directions commingling effortlessly, one with another.

If I feel a certain level of comfort and mutual ease with someone and if I think they are open to subjects less in the mainstream, conversations can get very heady and very arcane very fast in my world. As Alexander was putting the finishing touches on the appetizer he had ordered, I directed his attention over his shoulder and upward to the waxing Moon that hung like a golden and somewhat lopsided wheel in the sky above. Through my action I was looking for something and Alexander did not disappoint. Rather than dismissively acknowledging the “pretty” Moon and quickly returning to our conversation, his gaze lingered. He drank in the fullness of this ancient orb that so many take for granted. The Moon was beautiful and he consumed her fully before reluctantly returning his attention to me.

Magic!

What happened next gave me a profound Measure of the young man sharing my table. Our dinner arrived; Alexander had ordered himSelf a bone-in ribeye steak with a side order of corned beef potato salad. As my similarly laden plate was placed in front of me, Alexander excused himSelf and made a quick visit to the facilities. I sat fork and knife down until he returned; my wait was not to be long. Reclaiming his seat, Alexander cut into the steak and nodded approvingly at what he saw. Whatever words he may have thought to speak stopped abruptly as he put the first bite into his mouth. Chewing slowly, he looked at me and then leaned back deliberately in his chair, an expression of rapture in his eyes. After swallowing the bite of steak, he then grabbed a fork full of the potato salad. His reaction was the same. Without uttering a word, he looked at me and shook his head slightly as if to express his disbelief at the repast before him.

The entirety of our meal was consumed in silence. No words needed to be spoken; the silent joy we both shared spoke louder and clearer than any words ever could.

After we cleaned our dishes of every morsel of food and they had been taken away by the waitstaff, our conversation then resumed. We chatted at length about our shared appreciation for Beauty in all its forms, enjoyed some key lime pie and coffee (both of which were received with the same ardor as our main course) while broadcasting via Periscope to the Twitter community at large. After the ‘scope was concluded we carried on talking about Important Things for close to a half hour more before finally ending our Time together with an obligatory selfie.

Much was discussed that should not be removed from the context of the moment. It is enough to acknowledge that I have nothing but the highest regard for Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes and expect great things from this young man. He gets it. That Real Life matters. That Life is to be savored. That Beauty is the highest attainment.

It was a good meal.

©Billy Red Horse

ON CREATION

To the uninformed, the ability to create is something only artists or people possessed of unique talent have.  It is this erroneous mindset which is at the root of a vast number of maladies and miseries experienced by humans the world over and throughout Time.

For human beings, the compulsion to create is both a defining characteristic and an absolute necessity for Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual balance and good health.  This is because the human imperative to create is literally encoded within the matrix of our DNA, its fountainhead residing first and foremost in the primal urge to procreate.

What separates humans from other animals is when we move beyond simply making copies of ourSelves and use creation to express, communicate, and to bring value into the world.  That which we create expands our reach and influence into the world and upon those in it; what we create can make us bigger than we are.  Our creations can be our legacy.

Creation is a form of expression.  Creation is communication.  Our creations are mirrors which at once reflect back on us and refract out into the world.

As children of creation it is only natural that we ourSelves should seek to create.  The imperative to create is nothing less than an acknowledgement of our urge to be like God/Universe/Life ItSelf.

Over the years I have come to recognize the devastating impact that dubious creation can have on our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.  Unconscious or accidental creation leads regularly to unintended consequences.  This is why conscious creation is so important.

Failure to create is evidence of an ignorance to the withering effects to be found in the absence of Self-expression.  To create is to find a way to express yourSelf, to bring something into existence that would not exist had you not created it.  This is why what YOU create is so important.

The most obvious avenues of creation are the arts: painting, sculpting, writing, playing music, and singing; creation, however, is not limited to the arts.  Think on this; how can you create if you don’t consider yourSelf an artist?

Those who fail to create only consume.  We lose our Self if all we do is consume that which was created by someone else.  Fortunately, our Life does not have to be a binary either/or proposition.  We can (and should) do both.

Certainly much more can (and likely will be) said on this subject.  In preparing the contents of this short post I have noted dozens of avenues of creative possibility regarding this topic and my own work.  Perhaps a longer form consideration to be posted at some point to my blog is in order?

Give the world a gift.  Go and create something.

©Billy Red Horse

Estate Sale

You are going to die.

After you pass, your family and, perhaps, some close friends, will be tasked with the responsibility of distributing the earthly possessions you have left behind. Some things may be retained by the aforementioned family and friends, some may be given away to others, some sold, some donated to charity, and some will very likely end up in the local landfill. As one who has been called upon to disperse the belongings of a departed family member I recognize the burden that such a responsibility can bring.

I recently found mySelf thinking about my own “estate” and what I will leave behind once I return to The Great Round. Though I have absolutely no intention of leaving this Magical world anyTime soon, I recognize that my departure will come soon enough and, when it does, I don’t want to leave an undue mess that someone else will have to clean up.

So I decided to have an estate sale.

Now, the sale of which is speak is more metaphorical than it is literal. The act of releasing my Life’s accumulated impedimenta has been an ongoing process for the past several years. Even so, I still have more stuff in my world than I wish to maintain or that I wish to obligate others to administer once I’m gone. Progress in the reduction of my material excess has been ongoing and shall continue for the foreseeable future.

(Lest anyone mistake me for a recent convert to minimalist, anti-materialist, or an outright ascetic approach to Life, nothing could be further from the truth. It is simply that part of my continuing practice of personal refinement has been to jettison that which no longer serves or brings me Joy while keeping only those things which delight and enchant. This goes for the immaterial as well as the material. Read on…)

It has taken a diligent effort on my part to limit and then reduce the accretion which for decades has been emblematic of my younger Self. Clutter (in all its forms) has proven to be one of the biggest distractions and Energy drains of my adult Life.

I don’t think most people realize just how oppressive clutter can be, whether that clutter be tangible or intangible. Clutter is magnetic, it has a gravitational pull all its own; the more there is, the more it attracts. And a cluttered mind can hold far more odds and ends than a cluttered closet or garage ever could.

So, dear reader, perhaps you will consider joining me by holding your own estate sale? Lighten your load, clean your slate, get rid of those things you no longer need or want or that are nothing more than an energetic anchor around your neck. Having a Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual estate sale while you are still alive (and, perhaps, still young) can also make for a much more enjoyable Life in the long run.

©Billy Red Horse

AN APOLOGY FOR THE OLD WAYS

“The good old days.”

This phrase has been known to send eyes rolling and elicit sighs of quiet exasperation for decades.  Are the “good old days” really all they are cracked up to be?  In my estimation, maybe.

Probably, even.

When I allude to the good old days, what I speak of is not based on a nostalgia for the world in which I grew up.  Trust me, the ‘80s, ‘70s, and even ‘60s of my own youth were really not all that worthy of being pined for again.  No, what I am speaking of are the Times before I was even born.  I remember seeing the photographs in history books.  I remember as a child hearing stories from those older than me who spoke of the much simpler days of an earlier era: the ‘50s, ‘40s, and even earlier.  As an adult I have often watched movies from the ‘40s, ‘50s, and early ‘60s, seeing a world in many ways markedly different from today.  (Be advised: I labor under no delusion that the silver screen representation of any given moment in Time is ever a complete or even remotely accurate depiction; such representations do, however, leave clues.)  Those bygone eras had a certain innocence and character which I find most appealing.

Though they are but evanescent memories from my past, I want to say some of the Old Ones of my youth were 80 and 90 years of age and, thus, had personal recollections of Life as far back as the late 1800s.  Times then were different and, in many ways, better.

Manners, decorum, accountability, dignity, and resilience seemed to be far more in evidence and in vogue.  The importance of the family structure was still recognized and fostered, and hard work was seen as both a responsibility and a reward.  In short, values were valued.  Yet even more than these things, there was something which was a defining characteristic of those bygone days: an unflagging sense of optimism and genuine hope for the future.

Despite two world wars and a massive long-term economic depression, there seemed to be a pervasive expectation that the bad was going to eventually become good and the good would only get better.  I know I haven’t observed such an expectant and genuine positivity in the world around me in decades.  This is what has been missing for so long and what we must reclaim if we are to extract ourSelves from the current myriad of predicaments which we have created.

It could be argued that our grandfathers and great-grandmothers were, in their youth, simply naive and ignorant.  I would argue pointedly to the contrary; I say it is WE who are betrayed by our naiveté.  Our ancestors understood and accepted things which are perilously close to being discarded absolutely and lost in perpetuity by we who live today.

Present-day society has an unfortunate tendency to wait for an outside influence to “fix stuff” and set things right.  Instead of looking to politicians or some other messianic enterprise to put conditions in order, it is well within our capacity to cast an investigative glance rearwards and rediscover what it is we have lost that can make the Present the “good old days” once again.

I will close this short apology by stating that I am not a Luddite.  I have no desire to be without climate controlled buildings any more than I wish automobiles, computers, telephones, or air travel to vanish.  I don’t at all support a homogeneous culture nor do I advocate for a compelled monolithic form of religious expression.  I say we must cast off the Life-negating aspects of culture, regardless of their vintage, and nurture the Life-affirming aspects to give rise to something truly better.

An admirable goal of a transcendent humanity is to seek to continually refine and positively develop the Self (and consequently the community) while cleaving to the traditions and conventions which have been Time-tested and shown demonstrably effectual.  A forward looking optimism should never go out of style.

+ + + + +

*I will assume that readers of this blog are possessed of an above average intelligence and a commensurate ability to discern intent; even so, considering the present zeitgeist of pervasive social outrage and engineered melodrama, I will state explicitly the following:  I do not for one moment suggest that Jim Crow laws, unsanitary living conditions, monopolistic robber barons, or any of the unpleasant human relational dynamics of Times past should in any way be applauded or pursued as worthy of reclamation.

That this disclaimer needed to be included is a sad commentary on our present Times and an ironic reinforcement of the general thesis of this essay.

©Billy Red Horse