One Pollyanna's thoughts, experiences, questions, curiosities, inspirations, introspections, and wonderings.
Perhaps an invitation to your own responsive ponderings?
Possibly not safe for work, nor for those who believe in TMI, who are easily offended, who prefer to remain inert, and who prefer I remain silent. There's a lotta free thinking going on around these parts...
Take everything you know and imagine about Freddie Mercury: the iconic British rock star, the philandering partier, the serial maker of testosteroned-anthems, and flip it around to something less familiar: Farrokh Bulsara, a demure, bucktoothed Indian boy in a Bombay boarding school, listening to Lata Mangeshkar, playing cricket.
Curiously enough, the one thing Freddie Mercury was never asked, nor spoke openly about, was his Indianness. […] There were no Indian rock stars in England, sure. But there were also no Indian rock stars in India. Or Tanzania. Let alone gay, Indian, Parsi, third-culture-kid rock stars in either India, England, or Tanzania.
Freddie could not refer to any identity or trajectory other than his own. It is clear from interviews with his family and friends that he was not self-hating, not the type to try hard to be “white-washed.” His silence or dismissal about his cultural background—and one so formative and dramatically different than British life at that—can be interpreted as a political and social symptom of his time:
Freddie lived in the same Britain that has given the world its Victorian feelings about desire, sex and gender. Perhaps he rejected British Victorian taste at the same time he rejected his Indian Africaness. Even American liberal Lester Bangs was made uncomfortable by Mercury’s bare chest. What we call ‘queer’ now with feelings of empowerment, then, was still scary and threatening even on the music scene. Did he consider himself British? Or like Bowie who came after, an alien altogether?
[…] But this is the Freddie we all know: Take, for example, September 1978—his prime. He was handsome, with an angular though slightly bovine jaw, and vaguely ethnic features. Even as someone unfortunate enough to have never witnessed his performative tenacity in real life, the visual archives of Freddie Mercury make certain things apparent: he was magical, soft-spoken, and—to complicate and contribute to his paradoxical bustle—clear that he was the toughest, coolest queen the world had ever seen, whose work, as effeminate and genderbending as it was, is still considered pretty manly today. V.S. Naipaul once said: “write every book as though it is your last.” Freddie, with vatic intuition, took a page out of that book, and sang every song with the same sentiment. It is universally agreed upon—I think—that it is seldom one finds artists who exalt both abandon and irony as debonairly as he.
Despite the fact that he seemed to dismiss categories, reject a slew of social norms, he was ironically, a creature of caricature, of extremity, and high-Victorian causticity: “There’s no half measures with me,” Freddie said in one of his last interviews, unintentionally referencing an apt musical notation. From the dramatic flippancy of his costumes, to his 8-octave baritone perusing vocal extremes with relative abandon, to the fact that he—without doubt, and to the agreement of nearly everyone who lived in his era—defined what it meant to “party like a rock star, “ Freddie was not one for subtlety when it came to his artistic tastes.
And it is also possible that Freddie was not “stuck” in multiple worlds—though he was rejected from most— but liberated. And maybe he had the right idea about culture—that he was not Indian, Zoroastrian, British, or Zanzibarian—but quite simply, he was all that became of his passion: just rock ‘n’ roll.
Something is amiss. Most Americans know this â they can feel it deep down inside â even if they donât know what it is, things just donât seem right. The signs are everywhere. The headlines are true…
"Dear brothers and sisters, do remember one thing: Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.
Dear Friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.
The wise saying ‘the pen is mightier than sword’ was true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. Through hate-filled actions, extremists have shown what frightens them the most: a girl with a book.
Peace is necessary for education. In many parts of the world, terrorism, wars and conflicts stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. There was a time when women social activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But, this time, we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women’s rights. Rather, I am focusing on women to be independent to fight for themselves.
Today we call upon all communities to be tolerant – to reject prejudice based on caste, creed, sect, religion or gender. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.
We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave – to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential.
Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.
We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright peaceful future.”