Wirearchy and the opposite of patriarchy

In one of those stereotypical “I wasn’t thinking of anything and it just popped into my head” moments, the phrase “the opposite to patriarchy is … fraternity” and Jon Husband’s concept of wirearchy came together and presented themselves to my conscious mind.

I do think that women could make politics irrelevant; by a kind of spontaneous cooperative action the like of which we have never seen; which is so far from people’s ideas of state structure or viable social structure that it seems to them like total anarchy — when what it really is, is very subtle forms of interrelation that do not follow some heirarchal pattern which is fundamentally patriarchal. The opposite to patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity, yet I think it’s women who are going to have to break this spiral of power and find the trick of cooperation.

Germaine Greer

I first heard this quote when Sinéad O’Connor used it as the first track, an intro of sorts, to her 1994 album Universal Mother. (Maybe my favorite album of hers, we saw her at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park on the tour, great show.) The quote has stuck with me over the years and pops its head up at various times. Like now.

In one of those stereotypical “I wasn’t thinking of anything and it just popped into my head” moments, the phrase “the opposite to patriarchy is … fraternity” and Jon Husband‘s  concept of wirearchy came together and presented themselves to my conscious mind. Obviously the full quote refers to political, not business, organization and is from “one of the major voices of the second-wave feminist movement in the latter half of the 20th century” about the role of women in the transformation of politics, and this reference to fraternity has nothing directly to do with business or the organization of work.

But I can’t help thinking there is something here to explore.

 

Scorn not

It’s been a busy week or so, and I am still pulling together a review of The Speed of Dark, but I jotted a note to myself to blog this last weekend following the Republican National Convention and all the furor surrounding Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her newborn son with Down’s Syndrome.

Over the weekend, and with the news about Gov. Palin still fresh and in rotation, my iPod mix shuffled itself to Sinead O’Connor’s version of Phil Coulter’s  “Scorn Not His Simplicity”, written about his young son with Down’s Syndrome.

= = == === =====
See the child
With the golden hair
Yet eyes that show the emptiness inside
Do we know
Can we understand just how he feels
Or have we really tried

See him now
As he stands alone
And watches children play a children’s game
Simple child
He looks almost like the others
Yet they know he’s not the same

Scorn not his simplicity
But rather try to love him all the more
Scorn not his simplicity
Oh no
Oh no

See him stare
Not recognizing the kind face
That only yesterday he loved
The loving face
Of a mother who can’t understand what she’s been guilty of

How she cried, tears of happiness
the day the doctor told her it’s a boy
Now she cries tears of helplessness
and thinks of all the things he can’t enjoy

Scorn not his simplicity
But rather try to love him all the more
Scorn not his simplicity
Oh no
Oh no

Only he knows how to face the future hopefully
Surrounded by despair
He won’t ask for your pity or your sympathy
But surely you should care

Scorn not his simplicity
But rather try to love him all the more
Scorn not his simplicity
Oh no
Oh no
Oh no
===== === == = =

I first heard the song many years ago when O’Connor first released it, and if you are a parent of an autistic child hearing it for the first time you can imagine my reaction.   I’d love to hear yours.