Masked Messages

This summer semester as I have been teaching Anthropology remotely online, I have held Microsoft Teams (like Zoom) weekly sessions with students. This past 8 weeks we have been developing a discussion about the emerging cultural messages associated with masking and not masking in the U.S.. The following is my final week announcement to the students about the results of their observations over the semester. Then I have added some of their specific observations below that.

Man, Mask, Blue Eyes, Hand, Mystery

Some of your (students’) key findings:

that women are tending to mask more than men; that masking matters (e.g. spikes have occurred after the Tulsa campaign rally and other mass gatherings); in Colorado Springs students observed more people 30’s to 50’s not masking; that not masking can be a rebellious statement (claiming civil liberties); that whether or not to mask can be confusing due to mixed messages and ambivalent leadership; and that masking is generally perceived as caring and protective as versus not.

I observe that masking has quickly developed a cultural patterning: it adheres to partisan and other divides and becomes a marker of identity when used to draw attention to itself (either to a specific kind of mask–e.g. a fishnet mask observed at a gym, and Black Lives Matter masks) or to not wearing in situations where it is clearly mandated.  WHY has masking, a basic public health measure, become such a cultural phenomenon in America? It mirrors social segmentation and masking behavior may also reveal subtle issues around FACE: e.g. ‘losing face’ or feeling emasculated–nice pun!–when masking  esp. for men; losing a display of individual identity; concern with being perceived as criminal or threatening; though masking can also be associated with superheroes, e.g. caregivers!

Some specific observations:

  • A woman repeatedly attending a gym that has a sign requiring masks, wearing a fishnet mask as a form of defiance.
  • A Chase bank in Seattle with a sign outside stating Blacks do not need to wear a mask (purportedly to defray profiling but isn’t it actually profiling so that security cameras can see Black clients’ faces?)
  • A bus driver bludgeoned with a baseball bat in San Diego, CA for being asked to wear a mask
  • Parents rewarding their 6 yo child for always masking
  • More women masking than men (do men have issues around ‘demasculating’—pun intended?)
  • More 30’s to 50’s year old not masking
  • A student of color sharing that his friends and he are afraid to mask because they fear white people might perceive them as not smiling and therefore threatening
  • Political partisanship showing in degree of masking compliance (more democrats) or not (more republicans)
  • Confusion generally about the effectiveness or need to mask due to ambivalent media statements and ineffective national or state level leadership (versus e.g. in New York state, with strong science based leadership and effective response).
  • Art, Mask, Head, Human, Psyche

 images are from

In a diverse, complex society like the U.S. today, the covid19 pandemic has struck at a vital weakness in the divisive political and social climate here.

We can use masking to declare our CARE for ourselves and for one another.  Not masking can be a dangerous form of protest and may be perceived as a selfish lack of concern for others’ wellbeing.

To build bridges for Better Endings, it helps to talk with one another and to stand up for positive messaging.

January 20, 2017: Revolution? A Call to Adventure!


As an interim post this week, I just want to share about how I am seeing the US political transition as a Call to Adventure on a major scale for America and perhaps the world and all its species. This is no small moment!

I graduated high school in 1972, so I was witness to the 1960’s revolution in consciousness that ushered in many positive (to me) values such as inclusiveness and gender equity (post 1970’s) as THEMES that seemed (to me) to be coming closer to fruition with Obama’s 8 years in the presidency.

Now all is shifting. On the surface it appears the direction of shift is AWAY from all those values that began to be addressed in the 1960’s. Are we at another moment of consciousness revolution to arrive at a greater level of positive transformation—or, NOT? My limited viewpoint tells me (for me):



Of course, there are many directions of ACTION to take. Protesting is one (I will march in the Denver Women’s March on Saturday.)


Also DIALOGUE is imperative. We must be able to have a conversation across party lines. We ALL have so much at stake, including the planet and all of its species’s survival. Whether the current climate change is natural/cyclic or human made, it is real and we need to do something about it, Now.


images are from

Oh well.  For me, it is time to ACT, again. Time to sing, write, share, LISTEN.

The Adventure is Begun!

The DESCENDER Rising (Part One: My Descender-Prompted Letter to the President-Elect)


To the U.S. President-Elect from My DESCENDER:

I have read about your first 100 day priorities. They along with most of your agenda threaten everything I have taken for granted as progressive and helpful for the planet and for this country over which you aim to preside.

Look into the matters you are targeting with conservative policies carefully before you act, please!

  • There are REASONS for the regulations against fracking. They should be increased, not eliminated. Near surface earthquakes are already occurring. Carcinogens are in the emissions, polluting the air and water and endangering wildlife and humans. The super volcano at Yellowstone, for one example, is overdue to erupt, threatening to destroy at very least two thirds of the US (as per National Geographic and a slew of other studies). Fracking increases the probability of that eruption occurring sooner rather than later.   Native American conservationists are wise in calling for resource stewardship in Balance with Nature.                             earthquake-1665892__180
  • Whether climate change is cyclic and/or exacerbated by rapacious human use of natural resources, it poses real and immanent dangers to the continuation of life on this planet.                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • Black lives DO matter, and uniquely, as do Mexican-American and Muslim American as well as Native and White American lives and rights or dreams of citizenship.  You will not abate domestic terrorism or “fix the inner cities” (which BTW are diverse in themselves; not all or only African Americans live there) by profiling and deporting or frisking law abiding citizens. There would be a backlash; we have seen this already and you would be responsible. Work instead to improve citizen cooperation, police and community relations and policing techniques.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     stock-photo-team-teamwork-togetherness-collaboration-concept-343048862
  • Marriage equality and gay rights in general should not even need to be legislated, but to protect civil rights, they must be; also Trans rights should be a given in the Land of the Free. (Freedom is not just for those you agree with or aim to mollify for having voted for you; Freedom requires respecting others’ freedoms!)
  • Abortion is a right and a choice that government has no place tampering with. People of VARIOUS faiths (we are NOT a “Christian country”!!!) always consider their beliefs and are free to exercise their own values. To me, as I believe in reincarnation, God or Divine Consciousness is neither so capricious nor so limited as to bestow only one lifetime or one opportunity to experience life in a body; Soul may enter with the first breath and can choose another body if conditions are not favorable for a mother.

Freedom of belief and practices that do not impinge negatively upon the wellbeing and rights of others are a mainstay of the American Way and must be safeguarded and protected.

DIALOGUE leads to progress; FIAT leads to unfortunate despair for ALL.

If you truly aim to “Make America Great,” do so with great care and deep respect for ALL Americans and for all of Life Itself!


images are from

(This statement is from my DESCENDER, an archetypal ‘part of Self’  embedded within the collective consciousness of all humans.  It rises to express itself from the depths of the Psyche when it perceives a challenge to health and happiness of the individual or the collective Self or Soul. I encourage all readers to tap into the wellspring of the DESCENDER in your own Self; it is a healthy way to “touch base” with your core feelings and values.)

Writer Warriors

 Preface: I would like to add some explanation about my motivation for this post. Over a month ago a site that I was following, a beautifully designed, highly artistic and expressive site written mainly in Arabic (so, untranslatable to me; I have not been able to find a Translate button for that site), posted a photograph that absolutely appalled me. It showed (again, without my being able to translate, so these are only my visual perceptions) a line of prisoners standing in a row with their backs to the camera, wearing prisoner coverings and with hoods over their heads. Enough said. I cancelled my following of that site. LKW


On being asked for a War Poem


I think it better that in times like these

A poet’s mouth be silent, for in truth

We have no gift to set a statesman right;

He has had enough of meddling who can please

A young girl in the indolence of her youth,

Or an old man upon a winter’s night.

The more I think about it, the more I favor supporting peaceful warriors in these times of too much violence. Committing violence in itself, let’s be clear, does not make of anyone a true Warrior; violence manifests but its own Shadows, low consciousness, dark energy. A true Warrior stands up for or defends that which is positive and LIFE AFFIRMING. How can anyone believe that murder, in any form, can ever be either godly or good?


I would urge anyone prone to expressing or who is attracted to violent, Shadow-warrior tendencies to expand instead their own greater, more positive, light-bearing traits. Life does matter; all lives tend toward transcendence, growth and awareness, or can. Integrating your Self-identity by developing your connections, both outwardly—with people of varied backgrounds—and inwardly, blending your your own multiple perspectives from the various roles in your life, can help to soften and expand your point of view regarding the meaning and value of life.



What is your purpose here? Then, what is the next person’s purpose? Everyone deserves to pursue their purposes without interference from anyone else.

Live and let live. Love and let Be.


I apologize if this sounds like I am on a “jag” here.  The world is just so full of senseless violence these days. A Warrior stands up for the value of life; a TRUE Warrior does not destroy life as an exercise of brute power or domination. Love is what we all ARE–so long as we retain our purity of nature–in our deepest essence. Love is never a matter of mere belief but requires acceptance, allowing, and compassion.

male writer journalist pen paper shield

So, Yeats’s poetic call to pacifism being noted, I do believe the pen—by forging words and images—can be mightier than any sword. Let’s stand up as Writer Warriors. Who would like to join me?

What can we do as writers or artists to deter the tide of violence appearing in the news or other media and to protest or prevent the maelstorm of brutal, atrocious violations assaulting the dignity of life in our world today?

I invite YOUR reply.