A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that 12% of Native American deaths are alcohol-related (usually a car crash or liver disease), a rate 3 times higher than the general population. I find that overwhelmingly sad and I've often wondered what's the real core reason for all of that drinking. The closest thing I've gotten to finding an answer was reading Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Reminding me a bit of Holes, The Absolutely True Diary is the diary/sketchbook of Junior, a young Indian man on the Spokane Indian Reservation who more than a little resembles Alexie (they were both born with "water on the brain" and Alexie is from Spokane also). Junior loses acquaintances, friends, his grandmother and his sister to alcohol-related incidents and determines that he will never drink and that he will make something valuable from his life. In order to jump-start his life, he stops attending the local reservation high school and instead walks, hitch hikes or bums rides miles away to the nearest white town and school.
The novel focuses on the varying levels of rejection and acceptance he experiences from whites and Indians alike. But in the end, he decides that it's okay to leave the reservation, even if he'll be seen as a deserter. His best friend tells him that he's like the Indians are supposed to be - migratory - while the others have become trapped in the reservation and have lost that part of themselves.
Which, like I said, is the closest thing I've seen to really explain all the alcoholism and death. The Center for Disease Control's report drew a similar conclusion because the majority of alcohol-related deaths were in areas where reservations are remote and desolate.
The Center's suggestions for combatting this are to hold "culturally appropriate clinical interventions" and make the trbal courts and health centers work together better. Personally, I've never thought interventions were helpful - I don't believe any real change occurs without the person's will for it to do so. Making the courts and the health centers work more closely together is always good, but what is that really going to do to address the problem? Probably not much.
You can hear Sherman Alexie read the first two chapters of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian at HatchettBookGroupUSA.com.
Images by Ellen Forney are from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
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An unusual sex survey has found that Australians who enjoy bondage and discipline are not damaged or dangerous, and might even be happier than those who practise "normal" sex.
The research showed 2 per cent of adult Australians regularly partake in sadomasochism and dominance and submission-type sexual role play.
And contrary to commonly-held stereotypes, they are not doing so in reaction to sexual abuse or because they are "sexually deficient" in some way, according the study of 20,000 Australians by public health researchers at the University of New South Wales.
"Our findings support the idea that bondage and discipline and sadomasochism (BDSM) is simply a sexual interest or subculture attractive to a minority," Associate Professor Juliet Richters and her colleagues wrote in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The findings showed that it was more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and that participants were more likely to have been more sexually adventurous in other ways.
"However, they were no more likely to have been coerced into sexual activity and were not significantly more likely to be unhappy or anxious," said Prof Richters, author of the book Doing It Down Under.
In fact, men who take part may be happier, with results showing they score significantly lower on a scale of psychological distress than other men.
The researchers did not study why this was, but suspect it might simply be that they're more in harmony with themselves because they're into something unusual and are comfortable with that.
Prof Richters says the findings go against professional views of BDSM.
"People with these sexual interests have long been seen by medicine and the law as, at best, damaged and in need of therapy and, at worst, dangerous and in need of legal regulation," she said.
There was also an assumption, mostly among the general public, that people involved in BDSM were sexually deficient in some way, "and need particularly strong stimuli such as being beaten or tied up to become aroused".
She said she hoped the results would help change these stereotypes.
You and be both, doc. I'm totally down with the BDSMness, and here's just a few of the reasons why:
- Foreplay - You don't understand the meaning of the word foreplay until you have spent a couple of hours investing in someone else's pleasure before the act. Bondage makes it easy to be sexy over long periods of time without having full-blown sex - though bondage sex is always better than 'nilla sex IMO.
- Communication - You absolutely have to open up and be honest with your partner about your needs and desires when engaging in bondage together. It necessitates a level of intimacy that most relationships take years to attain. It also causes you to approach your partner's needs from a non-judgmental place where you try to accept both of your proclivities and make the most fun out of them you possibly can.
- Compassion - When you're in a BDSM relationship, you spend time planning your sexual exploits which adds a level of concern and attention that most other relationships lack. This leads to an awful lot of time thinking about your partner's needs and wants on an emotional level as well as physical. All that time concentrating on your partner's happiness spills over into other aspects of the relationship and makes you more aware of their your interactions with them on a daily basis, so you're less likely to have some of those little misunderstandings that can be so frustrating.