…‘desert’ is a term Europeans use to describe areas where they can’t grow wheat and sheep.
She wants her own house? Pen tried to interpret this. Most women do, Des returned, at some point in their lives. Getting one without going through some man is made nearly impossible on purpose, I suspect.
If Feather’s Your Blue Eyed Boys got me through the brutal aftermath of Mum’s death in the summer of ’14, sassbandit and were_duck’s Draculoids Will Never Hurt You is shaping up to be the essential text for this spring under Fascism. The irony is that I first read it in June of 2011 without losing myself in it. It took six more years of working for Better Living Industries to get to the point where I know I’ll die if I don’t art-bomb the Man and write punk love songs to all my friends. (Ironic twist: gonna die anyway!)
For the full immersion experience, I’ve spent the last week listening to Danger Days on endless repeat and reading The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. In the back matter, Gerard Way, who turned 40 this week (thank you, good sir, for surviving your descent into Hell), describes “looking inward, to that inner 16-year-old girl.” As a former 16yo girl myself, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate those rare moments when the culture at large stops shitting on 16yo girls even for a nanosecond, let alone acknowledges them as something strong and important and worth protecting.
But Way also identifies the Man as… himself. His drive, his ambition, his ego, his death wish. I don’t know why I am even a little surprised. Every text that speaks to me on that deep level is somehow about complicity.
I used to believe, bless my naive little heart, that I had something to offer the robbed dead. Not revenge—there’s no revenge in the world that could return the tiniest fraction of what they’ve lost—and not justice, whatever that means, but the one thing left to give them: the truth.
§ Because I am chronically behind the times, here is a Tweeter Essay about the Millennials, those 90s-amnesiac little bastards.
§ Millennials uploading their exquisite, funny, wrenching, trauma-aware love stories to AO3, for no compensation, while holding down day jobs
§ Millennials imagining a world in which relationships built on consent and vulnerability and authenticity are not the exception but the rule
§ …while finishing challenging Master’s programs in library science and psych. So dedicated they make us Gen Xers look like fucking Boomers
§ Would I enjoy even the approximation of sanity I have today without my secret Internet village of Millennials? The fuck I would
§ Whatever I achieve now and for the rest of my life, for art, for love, for the resistance: I am standing on the shoulders of giants
In time, a long time, bark and branch will conceal the scars as though they never were. Some eucalypts are much older than we imagine.
The water has changed. Once it ran slower and clearer. The Darling below Bourke was ‘beautifully transparent, the bottom was visible at great depths, showing large fishes in shoals, floating like birds in mid-air’.
People today think of what animals need. In 1788 people thought of what animals prefer. This is a crucial difference.
The southern hemisphere is not a mirror image of the north.
the crows approached the female banteng, somehow indicating their intention. The banteng female then rolled onto her back and held her legs up, straining to hold her position, so that the crows could get to the belly and the area between belly and leg. The crows then proceeded to quickly peck at the exposed areas, the authors assuming that the crows extracted ticks and the cow then rolled back onto her belly.
Here is a bird exceptionally endowed for song and yet so much of what is produced seems to have no easily identifiable function.
…as was learned by the AIDS crisis, significant attitudinal change, while inhabited by many, is propelled by a critical mass, a small diverse collection of individuals with focused intent and effective action who rise to the occasion to literally change our minds.
Perpetrators increasingly are the ones to call the police, threaten legal action, send lawyer letters, or threaten or seek restraining orders as part and parcel of their agenda of blame and unilateral control.
Good groups help their family, friends, and community members recognize and dissipate anxiety rather than joining them in acting out cruelly against others.
Asking for a system that was built for the express purpose of oppression to “um, please stop oppressing me?” is nonsense work. The only task worth doing is fully dismantling and replacing that system.
The workplace and capitalistic society has become increasingly hostile. Not only to women, but to men, too. By keeping the focus on how women are doing in the marketplace, rather than how human beings exist under this system of competition and precarity, our thinking remains very small.
Here is one way feminism is still a useful idea: Almost all of us have been marginalized in one way or another due to our gender. That marginalization should allow us to see that it’s the whole system that is corrupt. Being marginalized should give women the perspective and power to see the system’s workings and its dark heart.
We have to imagine something before we can build the infrastructure that will allow it to exist.
We must lay claim to the culture, occupy it. We must remember that our world does not have to be this way. We do not have to reward exploitation, we do not have to support the degradation of the planet, of our souls, of our bodies. We can resist. We must stop thinking so small.
In Sydney, after a fairly peaceful flight, a day of intractable jetlag and a night of proper sleep. All four of us are on our devices on the bed in Jeremy’s and my room, watching the sky lighten behind the ferns on the patio, girding our loins to head over to the little cafe we like. It is humid. I’m reading Kim Mahood’s Position Doubtful, which is unlike any other book I have ever read.
I wasn’t much popular, either. I was too smart and that made people uncomfortable—most folks where we’ve lived our whole lives don’t trust too much intelligence in a woman. There is also the problem of my eyes—they don’t hide anything. If I don’t care for a person, my eyes make it plain. I don’t care for most. Folks are generally comfortable with the small lies they tell each other. They don’t know what to do with someone like me, who mostly doesn’t bother with small lies.
There is an Ohlone song, for example, from which only one evocative line survives: Dancing on the brink of the world. We know nothing more about this song, just that one haunting line.
In fact, despite my breaking away, I haven’t gone very far.
The world in the meantime had not improved; in fact it had become crueler for women.
We live in the tunnel at the end of the light.
Mistaking wealth for virtue is a cruelty of our time. … Poverty is not a character flaw. Poverty is not emblematic of intelligence. Poverty is lost potential, unheard contributions, silenced voices…
Today the attack on the poor is no longer cloaked in ideology – it is ideology itself. This ideology is not shared by most Americans, but by those seeking to transform the Republican Party into, as former GOP operative Mike Lofgren describes it, “an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.”
Marching in the cold rain, my END WHITE SUPREMACY sign sagging, my husband and children festooned with glowstick necklaces, my city jammed with peaceful protestors from Civic Center to the Ferry Building: Market Street one river of loving souls.
The next day, beyond exhausted, crashed out on the couch; shy Alice making her way up onto my chest, quietly as if I might not notice, then crashing out there with me for most of the afternoon. Her fur from which no light escapes. The soft floof that grows out between her toe beans.
Driving up Bernal Hill with Liz to enjoy the raggedy clouds and dramatic light and rainbows. Stopping in silence at Alex Nieto’s memorial, a landslide of flowers.
An emergency drill at NERT to teach us how to self-organize and keep records. Head down counting people in and out of Logistics as incident after incident came in to Planning and Operations; adrenaline and worry and focus and exhilaration. When we got through it, high-fives all round.
At the exquisitely restored Curran Theatre to see Fun Home with my wife and our kids (it’s great; you should go.) The audience filled with lesbians a generation older than us; the ones who cared for men dying of AIDS; my angels, the saints of our city. May I walk in their sacred footsteps.
Catching the night bus to Thoughtworks with Liz so that Danny and Jeremy would meet us at BATS, so that even though I bugged out early because overtired, the people who really needed to be there would be there. Seeing Maciej talk about resisting authoritarianism through solidarity and feeling the hairs rise on the back of my neck, because this is the moment he was born for.
Walking through bucketing rain to visit our neighborhood masjid with Jewish Voices for Peace, and drinking scaldingly hot, sweet chai while our hosts prayed to Allah.
Having a lesson on Sam in the covered arena right at Golden Hour of Barnhenge. The sunlight flooded in over the indigo mountains and spring-green pasture and red-gold autumn trees, and the cantering horses’ hooves reached down to kiss the hooves of their elongated shadows. In other lessons, I am pointing him at higher and higher fences and feeling no fear, just joy in his glad grace, the effortless delight of him. The new footing in both arenas, springy and inviting.
Getting rick-rolled by Nancy Pelosi at the rally to support the Affordable Care Act at City Hall. Never gonna give you up! The glare of bright sunshine, the edged bite of the winter wind.
That same evening, taking a yoga class with Julia and Annie Sprinkle.
Lots of them, in fact. Snow in Central Park. Laughing, giddy, with Leonard and Sumana and Brendan and Kat and Claire and Julia, saying “What do you wanna do now? Shall we go see that show, what’s it called, the one about Hamilton? Yeah, let’s go see Hamilton!” Sitting around the evening campfires on Diamond Beach, toasting Mum and Dad with gin and tonic and love. Walking into La Sagrada Familia and feeling my knees buckle. Christmas Eve, when we saw the Bernal coyote, her golden eyes, her wild face. And every single moment with Sam Horse, my wisest, kindest teacher since last January 1.
When I went back to church in November, I chose an Episcopalian (Anglican) church because of a dark wave of rage and grief and protest that rose inside me, to the effect that it was my mother’s church and her mother’s church before her, and terrible men tried to take it from me, and they can’t have it, because it’s mine. So too this year. So, too, my life.
1. Gorgeous memoirs of appalling events
2. Rich, thinky SF by women
3. Excellent narrative history on audiobook
- This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
- The Guns of August
- The Summit: Bretton Woods, 1944: J. M. Keynes and the Reshaping of the Global Economy
- The Gene: An Intimate History
4. My own sundered history, restored to me in various ways
- A Field Guide to Aboriginal Rock Engravings: With Special Reference to Those Around Sydney
- Repossession Of Our Spirit: Traditional Owners Of Northern Sydney
- Anthology of Australian Aboriginal Literature
- Forgotten War
5. In spite of everyone who says how good they are, really very, very good