The Unbearable Rightness of Pushing Buttons

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Remember my series on the recent Hamas-Israeli War in the Gaza Strip? No series pushed more people’s buttons and generated more readers’ commentary this year than my take on the victim-victimizer syndrome of battling Semites in the Holy Land. Back at the end of December and into January 2009, Hamas fighters launched hundreds of rockets on Israeli towns and the Israeli’s responded with a devastating bombardment and punitive invasion of the Gaza Strip.

I wanted to remind you all of it today as one of the few blogs “not” inundating you with Senator Ted Kennedy memorandums, prophetic or otherwise, as his body is being driven to Boston from Hyannis Port.

(I know the route to Hyannis well. Back in the late 1970s I was part of the Highfield Theater summer stock company in neighboring Falmouth. Some of you might remember seeing me perform in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas Iolanthe (as Lord Mounterrarat), HMS Pinafore (Bill Bobstay, Boatswain’s Mate) and one of the leads in my favorite G-and-S show (can you guess?), playing Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre in The Sorcerer. You might have seen me play French General Birabeau in Desert Song or dance as the drunken notary with a quill stuck in his hair in Offenbach’s La Pericole. You might have watched me change my race on stage from a white cracker racist (Senator Billboard Rawkins) to an afro-dued African American dude with the strike of a lightning bolt whilst standing over a pot of Leprechaun gold in Finian’s Rainbow. Anyway, I made the pilgrimage to the entrance of the Kennedy compound on one of my rare days off from Highfield Theater. I’ve got a lot to say about the death of the last Kennedy brother so many of you down the years thought Nostradamus might have foreseen as the third and final brother to die as president. Blogs are coming.

Today, as I’m trying to clear out my inbox answering letters, in preparation for the tsunami of emails to come from being on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory this Wednesday (2 September 2009), a letter from Marc-Andre written back on 9 January inspired a reply that I want to share with him and all of you.

Been really enjoying your bulletin updates , your views on the “victim” dynamic are quite similar to my own, I am sure you have caught a lot of sh*t for stating your “trut.”

Yes, I did. It was expected. I have a new wave of Hamas blogs coming that should stir the sh*t some more, I hope.

But that is a good thing…. at least people are “thinking”… there is a lot of intense energy coming our way over the next few years and many of us will be questioning everything we thought we “knew” — your views and bulletins can hopefully serve as a primer for folks (even those you anger) to get them ready, even subconsciously, for the coming “storm.”

That is my intention.

You may anger them now, but in hindsight, those that are open to growth, will thank you and others like you who push then to think, question and awaken…. keep up the good work.

I like angry people. They have life. Anyone who can have their apple cart of dogmas and programs upturned is someone who can change.


Osho used to tell a Sufi story. It reverberates in my memory when my inbox explodes with pissed-off browsers after I’ve said something pushing their buttons.

A Sufi mystic had published a book. He told a disciple to bring the book to his mother and father as a gift and watch very closely their reactions and report to him.

The disciple came back that afternoon and said, “My father was enraged. He tore the book from my hands and threw it out the front door into the dirty streets, yelling, ‘This book is written by a heretic against our Islamic traditions and I will send this dog filth where it belongs! You tell your master THAT!'”

“What did you mother do?” Asked his Sufi master.

“Mother tried to calm down father, gently admonishing him. She dispassionately said, ‘Husband, you should have more tolerance for other views and ideas. There is good in all religions. God is in all things. We must be loving.'”

The Sufi pondered this nodding, then told his disciple, “There is no hope for your mother having a religious transformation; however your father…There is every possibility for him.”

The moral of this story, you ask?

This is my understanding of what Osho was trying to tell me and how it relates to my readers of these blogs. Sometimes an angry letter writer is on the verge of shifting into one who will love because anger and love are so deeply intertwined. There is totality in him or her. Look at what happened to St. Paul on the road to Damascus. He was seeking out the arrest and execution of Christians. Then he had his heat stroke moment and became as fierce a lover and messenger of Christ as he had been his fierce enemy. If it weren’t for St. Paul, Christianity would have never spread to the outside world.

Sometimes the people who agree calmly with me and praise my work are just wishy-washy types. That isn’t always the case of course. Still, it is worth meditating on. On the other hand, I am often drawn to answer my angry mailers first because beyond those who are just cuckoo birds or adolescent-minded or just sociopaths enjoying a hit-and-run by email at my expense, more than half the angry people I reply to shift out of anger to understanding. It is quite surprising and unexpected. That’s why I try to answer all the 5,000-plus letters sent every year. I give back what I get as many of you know. I hope you understand that I give back something more than a hit or gratefulness.

Be total, my readers. Wishy-washiness is not going to transform your being. Wishy-washy people will not give birth to a new humanity

John Hogue

(27 August 2009)

Books by John Hogue


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