lotesse: (freedom)
re-thinking an exercise from my education:

when I was in the seventh grade, my multi-age grade 6-8 class went on an extended field trip; divided into two groups, the Haves and the Have-Nots, we spent a weekend mimicking c19th farm life. I was one of the Haves, and we were bored; the Have-Nots had to do hard work, but they had a lot more fun. Reflecting on the trip, I'm not actually sure what the lesson on socioeconomic class division was supposed to be. I remember concluding, with my friends, that it meant that it wasn't such a bad thing to be poor - and as our families were relatively poor, it wasn't a bad thing to have reinforced that money can't buy happiness. But looking back I'm struck by the way we were set up to overlook systemic oppression. Of course most kids are going to have more fun doing vigorous playful outdoor work than sitting quietly in an empty room. Cyclical poverty isn't like that. You don't get to go home, and it's not fun working for low/no wages when you're an adult with skills that deserve to be fairly valued. They taught us the wrong damn lesson, and likely lessened some of my classmates' tendency to empathize with the righteous anger of the exploited; we were Have-Nots too, for a weekend, and it was nothing to get upset about. 100% certainly it reinforced the blindness of all of the kids who were Haves, myself included, to the real benefits we gained through our various race/class/gender privileges; we were all of us white.
lotesse: (Default)
hold on wait up - Darren Wilson, the man who murdered Michael Brown in the street in Missouri two weeks ago - Darren Wilson is my age??? Mofo looks like he forty! Guess callousness is prematurely aging.
lotesse: (sorrow)
I wonder who called the cops on Kajieme Powell, and I wonder how they're feeling about it now. That person may have thought they were doing everything right, after all. They tell you that you shouldn't go in after a drowning person yourself, because you'll likely both die that way; you're supposed to call for specialized help, equipped with knowledge and supplies that enable rescue without further risk of life. And the police are also supposed to be specialized help. Powell was visibly not well, and he did have a weapon, and I can absolutely see wanting to get him help without engaging him directly. He needed help. The police, who have protective clothing and presumably SOME training in getting through to suicide risks, are the logical next step.

What do you do about officers who respond to a suicide's agonized plea - "shoot me!" - with prompt and obedient action? They shot Powell down like a dog, mere seconds after their arrival on the scene, and they kept shooting, and after he's dead you can still hear them demanding that he put his hands up.

It shouldn't be possible to use the police as a weapon for self-killing. The drowning ones need to be safely rescued.

And then the PD tries to present it as a "clean" and justified killing of a young Black man by a white cop, only days after the murder of Michael Brown, an innocent Black child, right there in the St. Louis area.

eta: St. Louis Public Radio has audio of the 911 and dispatch calls. People sound worried; the second female caller's tone is pretty gentle, and she's clearly looking to get Powell help in addition to protecting herself and her business. Nothing that would even come close to justifying the kind of immediate massive violence the police unleashed on him.
lotesse: (Default)
Well, my car is packed, I'm ready to go. No major disasters of any kind, and I'll have many hands to help unpack me into my new digs tomorrow. Not looking forward to the long drive with animals, but so very much looking forward to the moment when I'mma get to dive in the lake and feel it on my face and smell it all around me. And, for once, it's not going to be a temporary reunion. Lived landlocked away from my big water these ten years, but no more. Gonna be able to swim out again.

lynch law

14 Aug 2014 12:52 am
lotesse: (freedom)
I am sick with horror at events in Ferguson, Missouri, because once again white pride has trumped the right of black children to exist. I am sick with terror at events in Ferguson, Missouri, because this is the creep of violent fascism in action, and we should fucking all be afraid.

And I feel sick with grief, too. That poor beautiful little boy.
lotesse: (narnia)
Abbey/orangeblossom did an AMA over at her journal about VB/Andy/thanfiction over the weekend. All of her retrospective writing on Bit of Earth is fascinating to me - I was there, but on the outside. I interacted with all these people without knowing what was going down in meatspace. Some of the stuff about LotR being real came through, but it seemed like pastiche play at the time, taking Tolkien's mock-editorial stance very faux-seriously. Spoiler alert, it was not.

Abbey left me some of my first ever fic reviews, back when I was just getting started, and I will always think fondly of her for it. But it's such a strange experience to be poking around in the back of an old fandom and recognize one of Andy's pseuds. I wouldn't engage with his work now, but ngl some of the old VoyagerBabe stuff in Due South gets me there, mashes the buttons nicely. idek.
lotesse: a still from Peter Jackson's "Forgotten Silver" (glamazon)
This essay from an anonymous female international journalist describing her assault by a respected male member of her field is intense and gorgeous: "There’s a little irony I appreciate here because, the evening I got groped and ‘be a good girl’d, the Very Respected Journalist and I had been discussing Philip Roth in the bar where we went for drinks. We talked about the American novel in the twentieth century – he was defending Updike, I was making the case that the line-up would be better if we replaced Mailer with Auster – we were exchanging these ideas as though we were two equals. As though I was a member of the club of Very Respected Journalists who I respected so very much. Two hours later, however, I had nothing intelligent to add as he forcibly tried to prise my legs apart and I just repeatedly, sickly and quietly, 'no, I don’t want to, I don’t want to, please, can you stop.'

"I guess if Philip Roth wrote that scene it would be a profound comment on the human condition. I write it and it just makes me – unheroically, so unlike a Very Respected Journalist – want to sit in the shower until I have scrubbed my skin off."

(hat tip to Shakesville for the link)


7 Aug 2014 09:08 pm
lotesse: (Default)
here is a poem that I read years ago as a little girl when Cicada magazine published it, that has rattled half-forgotten around in my head ever since, and that I have only just now bothered to look up:

Joyce Sidman, "An Evening Among Peach Blossoms"

(Ts'ai Lun developed the method of making true paper in A.D. 105)

Dawn comes silently
like a lover's embrace
My Lady Who Writes,
in a few short hours I will present you
with your heart's desire.
But in this soft light
I think of the past,
when we bent our heads together.

I can still see you,
new to the court as I was,
slim and plain as a nightingale.
You turned away jewels and bright robes
for scrolls and ink.
You were a great scholar, even then.
The words you painted on silk
glimmered like the dawning sun
that rises, in time,
to its true power.

I, for my cleverness,
caught your eye.
"Ts'ai Lun!" you called
in your bird's voice.
"I must write, yet silk is costly.
There is never enough.
Find me something I can write upon!"

Sixteen years I labored.
Searching the countryside,
mixing and scraping and stretching
anything I could find.
I lived for the moment
I could bring my humble offerings
to your sight, watch your white hand
move over the page.
"No," you would say softly,
"it is not good enough, Ts'ai Lun.
Keep working."
And I would bow, joyful
that the task was still before me.

The sun, which rises now
above the garden, dries and cures my work.
Smooth and perfect,
the paper awaits your brush.
Soon I will see your hand
fly like the white breast of a swallow
across the page.
Sixteen years was like an eventing
spent among peach blossoms.
I, clever Ts'ai Lun,
lament that my task is done.
lotesse: (Default)
move: t minus 7 days
work: I've handled this whole summer of totalitarianism memoirs all right all right, but Olga Lengyel's might be the one to break me. Not only Auschwitz but first-hand Auschwitz medicine and reproduction and oh god I don't want to look
sleep: hahaha nope
craziness level: high. started fucking around cutting on my hair and can't make myself stop
lotesse: (sorrow)
It weirds me out when media doing fine arts heist plots show real famous paintings in their various fictional private collections - I always have a moment of "that belongs in a museum!" and then am driven to go and check where the pieces actually are, to affirm that they remain visible to the public. I'm watching Leverage, and the first season finale two-parter just showed Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring in the baddie's locked-down private gallery, when it's been in the Hague for more than a century - I know, because I checked.

It's like these shows take place in some horrible alternate universe where art is totally non-democratized. Vermeer in private collections, and - what was it, Picasso? Monet? - lost on James Cameron's Titanic.

(Am enjoying Leverage, but I wish it would play a bit harder. Watched Hannibal over the last few weeks, and wow it plays so hard. Whither happy mediums?)
lotesse: (Default)
It's like I've almost got everything lined up perfectly - but none of it's quite there yet. Deep breaths, self. You know things are gonna have to unsettle a little bit more before you're through.

-housing. I gotta get out of where I'm at, this is not cool. I've been looking for a place up in northern Michigan, up home, and it's soooo frustrating because what I need is to not live around people, but that costs money. I'm emailing right now with a dude who has EXACTLY WHAT I (THINK) I WANT: a 2br house on a farm. he's got other people interested, and I pretty much sent a beg yesterday evening, and have not heard back yet, and I'M CLIMBING THE WALLS because I WANT IT and I want to have everything settled, but true talk I haven't seen the interior or ANYTHING. I JUST WANNA BE SETTLED. I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO LIVE SOMEWHERE SAFE FOR ME.

-work writing. Every summer, my company puts together a set of introductory essays on a special topic. Last year it was Letters & Diaries, the year before that Manifestos. This year? Stories of Daily Life in Totalitarian Regimes, which seems to mean Red China, the USSR, and Nazi Germany. Girls, I been writing a LOT about Nazi Germany, I'm here doing a workup on Primo Levi, gah. There's a reason why I chose not to specialize in this sort of thing - I don't like looking at it too close, it eats at me. I mean, in a way it's also a (scary) honor, because talk about a literature written in blood. But I would still kind of rather be working on Shakespeare.
lotesse: (narnia)
I don't know why I feel driven to speak for C. S. Lewis - I don't deny that he was everything everyone says he was. But I get frustrated, because other people's perception of his authorial position in relation to his text just do not match up with my own. and the things that I find lovable about him are erased in the mismatch. Read more... )

(this is mostly coming from my attempt to read through Ana Mardoll's chapter-by-chapter Narnia decon; I respect Ana like crazy, but I get antsy with other feminists and Lewis-reading, because I see him as such a damaged little beast that I want to defend him, and then get frustrated with myself because in general I try to avoid defending white Christian dudebros. I don't think anyone needs to give him a pass. Nevertheless - some girls do woobie!Loki, I got my Jack Lewis)
lotesse: (edged)
Dear Mr. Dawkins,

in re: your dumbass tweet,

Natasha Trethewey is a better poet than Shakespeare, Fabiola Gianotti, Higgs Boson discoverer, is a better scientist than Einstein, and Zitkala-Ša was a greater musician than Schubert.

be pleased to note that this was not difficult.

up yours,
lotesse: (Default)
Had a fight this morning with my Mormon friend, who for whatever reason saw fit to break our usual detente with a bunch of crap pro-violence pro-war bullshit; I ended up yelling and hanging up on him, but it's kept bothering me. I hate having to know that people I like - well, I guess that's what comes into question, isn't it? if they really are people that I can like. G. repeatedly described himself this morning as "pro-imperialism," and I sort of think you can't come back from that. He doesn't get it from nowhere - like Orson Scott Card, my friend did mission work in Brazil, and however much they dress it up as charity or whatever the Mormon missionary scene is totally imperialism in practice. And, no matter the polygamy bans, the Mormons are really patriarchal, moreso than I think people understand. This is the religion that makes eighteen-year-old white boys "priests" with all these "spiritual powers." See the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly for Mormon patriarchalism in action.

but we're getting old enough that this shit is no longer cute.

It's always creeped me out a bit that my family contacts with Mormons have been so gendered: we've got G. and an older friend of his, a painter like my mama, and the both of them do this man-about-town skirt-the-rules thing where they drink cocktails and mama's friend paints nudes. Mama and her friend go gallery-hopping in New York, and he's married, but his wife is never with him: he explores the city art scene while she, seemingly, stays home with their children and obeys the laws of their church. It's like the men have the authority to bend the rules, and so can make fun playmates for leftist folks like me and mine - but that actually kind of makes it all worse, because they're not only cult members, they're hypocritical cult members who subject their women to harsh standards that they themselves cannot keep to.

(The OSC link above goes to a fascinating chapter-by-chapter deconstruction of Speaker for the Dead. before reading through it, I'd managed to forget enough of the book to think that I liked it better than Ender's Game,, and had tended to position it as the one thing of Card's that was maybe still worth it. There are now a number of things freaking me out about my own personal relationship with Speaker. I'd managed to miss the implication, as a child, that Novinha and her family are Black, and it's breaking my brain, because on the one hand, I'm not surprised that OSC didn't succeed in getting a message of diversity across - and then on the other I wonder if I wasn't engaging in defensive ignorance, because as the linked decon shows, Ender's interactions with the Ribeiras are fucking horrific if he's the lone white dude on a Black planet. Even as a twelve-year-old, I knew I didn't want to read an interracial romance authored by Card! I kind of wish I didn't have to know now! but then again, erasure and whitewashing are, we know, not cool responses to a text. Gahhhh. In even further "I don't know what to do with this," I was also struck, given the really really central place that Komarr has had in my ability to think through my abuse, with how much Speaker felt similar: I can really see Miles/Ekaterin as a rewriting of Ender/Novinha, even down to the role of the children. idek man.)

(I've been feeling angry and bitter and intense and fighty a lot of late, and idek about that either. are things more shit than usual in the world, or is it just me?)
lotesse: (trek)
Got through my 2+ hours of dentistry this morning with a persistent application of the Dune Litany Against Fear, which for some reason really works for me? Now I am very tired - was skeery and adrenal about it last night - and am tucking in with a pot pie and the second half of Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Cosmos series, cause he's my boo.
lotesse: (tony)
am excessively proud of having called the significant of Stephen Colbert's goatee a solid fifteen minutes before he mentioned Iron Man.
lotesse: (faerie)
some links, mostly about gender violence, abuse, and affective labor/exhaustion:

this comment on Jezebel about gaslighting was helpful for me in figuring out why I've found the UCSB murders and the conversations in their aftermath so profoundly triggering

Re-imagining Disclosure as a Collective Act of Listening over at thefeministwire: "this formulation is that the burden of social change is placed upon those least empowered to intervene in the conditions of their oppression. The figure of the subaltern, or the survivor, gaining voice captures our political imaginary, shifting the focus away from the labor that might be demanded of those in positions of power to learn to listen to subaltern inscriptions—those modes of expression that are often interpreted as ‘silence.'"

Abuse as DDoS at Model View Culture: "DDoS attacks are so difficult to deal with largely because of their distributed nature. Even if the individual attacks aren’t particularly powerful, deal with one and dozens more will sprout up like some terrible mythical creature. Systemic abuse in the tech industry is also like this. Even seemingly minor acts of misconduct become a problem because they don’t happen in isolation."

also from the same issue of Model View Culture, The Fantasy and the Abuse of the Manipulable User: "Social media’s social-reinforcement mechanisms are also far more powerful. The “network effects” that make fledgeling social media sites less useful than already-dominant platforms also serve to lock existing users in. It’s difficult to practically set boundaries against existing social media products which have historically served one and one’s friends. People’s natural desire to be in contact with their loved ones becomes a form of social coercion that keeps them on platforms they’d rather depart. This coercion is picked up on and amplified by the platforms themselves - when someone I know tried to delete his Facebook account, it tried to guilt him out of it by showing him a picture of his mother and asking him if he really wanted to make it harder to stay in touch with her."

The Empathy Trap at Hook and Eye: "I mean really, what responses are left when faced with someone you ostensibly respect who hasn't found a place in the system? You tell them they matter. The work they do matters. You tell them that it stinks that they don't have stable work and that it is unfair. And probably it is unfair, but there you are, face-to-face, at a stalemate. If you're jobbed and you care then you're inevitably in a position of empathy. You are in a position of relative privilege. If you're not jobbed and you care, then you're in the position of needing to tell the caring person you're ok. You'll manage. Because honestly, it is the system, it isn't them. This, friends, is the empathy trap. It is a real thing and we are all, one way or another bound up in it, be we jobbed, not jobbed, or somewhere in between."
lotesse: (Default)
been thinking about violence, misogyny, and mental illness. I think that one of our takeaways as a culture NEEDS to be a re-evaluation of the seriousness of sexist hate speech; don't know that it's gonna happen, because we're so saturated in men's words of sex and gender violence that it's genuinely difficult to take them seriously. I don't want to know how much men hate me. I don't want to know that about them. But to brush aside rape and murder threats as "just internet trolling" is manifestly unsafe. when a man writes that he intends to murder women in an act of entitled "retribution," we need to be aware of the very real possibility that he will do so. nothing incomprehensible about it.

the fact that his mother noticed, understood, called the police on him, but when they came they thought he was "shy" and "polite" and so did nothing, shows that the flip side of the tone argument is also active and insidious: say horrible things in a "civil" way, and people will excuse you. "civility" is a dirty goddamn word.

as always, when a white-passing male pulls this sort of shit, everyone says he's mentally ill. many others have done the important work of showing how this assumption gets the axis of violence in relation to mental illness ass-backwards, indicating us crazy folk as perps when really mentally-ill people are so much more likely to be victims. but I also had the thought, this morning, that ideas about mental illness, violence, and sexism were part of what screwed me over in re: my ex, who was both mentally ill and abusive. When we met he was struggling to function through his OCD; his family hadn't done their research, swung from enabling his neurotic behaviors to asking why he didn't just stop them. he wasn't quite a misogynist, but he was definitely a bitter geeky manchild, and yes the way he talked about the girl he'd been with before bothered me a little. The only reason my mother could ever give me for the way she hit the ceiling when I started seeing him was his mental illness. I wonder, now, if she saw something of what was coming to me, if she perceived his potential for abuse - but because all she could say to me was "not that one he's crazy," and because I saw myself as "crazy," I got tangled up in a whole bunch of stuff about how mentally-ill people are still deserving of love. Not only does the labeling of entitled violence as mental illness contribute to the stigmaticization of non-neurotypicality, it also allows the mis-naming of entitled, violent, or abusive behavior as just mental difference. I'm reminded of Lundy Bancroft's observation in Why Does He Do That that individual therapy can actually make abusers much much worse. In fact, the argument could be made that while the shooter's parents DID get him diagnosed and into therapy, which would have been the right line of action in the case of mental illness, he may have never been crazy at all, just entitled and bitter and willing to damage others in order to ameliorate his own pain. obvs I can't know that, but I do know that I made that mistake with my ex, seeing problems as part of his disorder that we actually part of his assholishness and entitlement.

am finding Dark Angel to be sufficiently man-hating escapist catharsis; recommendations for further misandrist viewing would be appreciated. might have to go whole Hepburn tonight and rewatch Adam's Rib.
lotesse: (freedom)
I know Kim Kardashian doesn't self-id as non-white, but I can't help but feel that there are major racial overtones to the difference between bloids' and the internet gossip blogs' coverage of her wedding and, say, Duchess Kate's. The contrast between spaces' treatment of those two women is really putting me off. Jezebel and Go Fug Yourself in particular.
lotesse: (freedom)
I am genuinely shaken by horror at the news this morning: Tennessee's bringing back the electric chair for their executions. Not thinking about it; they've gone and voted on it. This is -

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin


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