Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Don't Kill The Messenger

About 2500 years ago, Sophocles wrote a play about a young women named Antigone (portrayed, romantically, at the left). It was a tragedy of the first order, filled with incest, betrayal and death. It was also where the phrase, "Don't kill the messenger" was first used in written history.

It never seemed to take. It was Leonides of the Spartans who slaughtered the messengers of Xerxes, the Persian conqueror. A Roman emperor or two had the sword used on the hapless bearers of bad news.

In the current society, it is done more subtly, with words rather than swords. PR firms make millions by re-directing the attention from the validity of the message to the foibles of the messenger. No one is so pure that there is not something these muckrakers can't find and use.

The adoption industry, PAPs, adopters and good beemommies and adoptees have found their weapon of choice to be the sobriquets "bitter" and "angry" whenever a natural mother expresses her displeasure and indignation at the lies she was told and the damage that was done to her and her child. Just as the Far Right spent years turning the label "Liberal" into a dirty word, now we have people who want to make a character flaw out of a simple emotion such as anger.

I've blogged on this before. I have used the example of Jesus going postal on the money-lenders in the temple in Jerusalem. I have quoted psychology text and common sense and it seems to just pass through the brains and out of the ears of our detractors.

Today, Musing Mother found a very inspirational piece that echoes our view of the righteous indignation we express. The Daily OM published a very smart and concise article about anger and intensity. The article, entitled, "Compassionate Intensity, Balancing Your Warrior Spirit," is all about what we have been saying. We do not spend out days in  angry, teeth-gnashing fury. We have balanced lives and families and fun and interests that don't have a thing to do with surrender and loss. Hey, we even laugh!

For the detractors, or the "messenger killers" to accept that we are not these irate harpies they insist on calling us, they have to accept that our message is true. If the message is true, then they have to accept that we are, as many have been since time began, indignant over a very real injustice. If they understand the injustice but don't like the parameters of our story, then we are "stuck in our anger and making no progress."

Sometimes, I think it would be easier and more honest if these folks came at us with swords screaming that they don't like what we have to say. The Industry's spin doctors seem to be doing pretty well with sharp-edged words that are designed to discredit and denigrate. The general public image of the natural mother is very warped by the media and the popular mythology.

Along comes this group of normal, grey-haired, respectable, intelligent women and they can't keep using the "crack whore" analogy so out comes the "bitter and angry" barbs. Well, you can use a sword so much without sharpening it and it becomes too dull to even cut butter. Now, I am going to take my bitter and angry old self to the kitchen, have lunch with my husband, pet my dog and call a friend.

She is also a natural mother. I sure hope she isn't bitter and angry today.


Mandy Lifeboats said...

Even worse when you have *some* "first mothers" around the net, trying to "Kill the Messenger. Now that really does make me ANGRY!!!

The only person who had the 'authority' to slap my hands, was my mother when I was a Young Child. She also was the only authority figure who could *teach* me, *lecture* me on how to properly speak to people, again when I was a YOUNG CHILD.

I grow so weary of all things adoption, including some of the so-called authoritative "first mothers".

The only "authority figure" in my life today, myself and I!!

Robin that is my Angry Rant for today! Thank you.

Sandy Young said...

I love every word of this post, and your rant, Mandy! I am getting so tired of having to explain over and over and over about the fact that I have the right to feel what I feel and don't need to justify it to anyone. If they don't like what we have to say, then they don't have to listen, but please, allow us the right to feel what we feel without challenge....for ONCE!!!!