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|Wednesday, January 18th, 2017|
|ACTION: Slavery Is Still Wrong In This, The Year Of Our Lord 2017
For those of you who didn't see my rage on FB, this is happening: "Immigrant advocates are launching a protest
after Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson offered up inmates as builders of Donald Trump's wall on the US-Mexico border."
Local jackal Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson intends to start a "Project NICE"
(National Inmates' Community Endeavors), with zero awareness of the fact thatWE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFOREI wonder if it's an "experimental program"?
In nonfictional news, we have also seen the use of prisoners as slaves many times before
But really, Project NICE? Really? Let alone shame, Sheriff, have you no fucking irony? WHY IS OUR CURRENT REALITY SO POORLY WRITTEN?
Don't read the comments on the article.
I'm going to the protest tomorrow. It starts at four. I intend to hold a sign that says NO SLAVES FOR THE TYRANT. I realize this is short notice, but if anybody from the Boston area who is free in the daytime wants to come, you're most welcome to ride with me. I'll need to leave Somerville at about 2:30 p.m. in order to be there at the start, so you have a little leisure to decide.
*One very small cool thing that came out of this: a whole gallery of character designs
by one J.P. Cokes for That Hideous Strength
. Enjoy, if that's the word I want.
|Tuesday, January 10th, 2017|
I just saw Tampopo
for the first time. It was delightful. The joy in my fellow audience members was palpable; a lot of them seemed to be college students who had all come en masse and knew each other, and were entirely on board with the film's sense of humor. A guy in a lumberjack shirt and big beard said to me afterwards, "I think that must be my favorite movie now! It's the first time I saw it!" in astonishment.
This movie is a beautiful use of one of the best comedy tropes out there, Taking A Thing Way More Seriously Than Most People Think It Deserves. The thing is ramen. There is a harried widowed mom whose ramen shop is struggling, and a sexy older cowboy Japanese Clint Eastwood truck driver who only wants to see her succeed. There is an industrial espionage sequence. There's a makeover. There is a street gang of beggar gourmets who will break into people's apartments to cook omelets for neighbor kids. There's a nasty dental office sequence. There's some jackass mobster in a flashy white suit and his fancy girlfriend who do erotic eating that actually is kinda hot even while you cringe. There is a ghastly old woman who only wants to squeeze all the cheese, peaches, and soft baked goods. There are salarymen. Most of all, there are noodles, noodles, noodles, everywhere. I wanted ramen afterwards, despite the fact that it was the middle of the night and nothing was open. Stroke of luck: I had leftover spicy eggplant and rice from a restaurant trip yesterday, and that worked nearly as well.
|Saturday, December 31st, 2016|
|"The Last Word" by Gwynne Garfinkel
I am very taken with this horror meta poem: "The Last Word
," by Gwynne Garfinkel. Sad and funny, and a true appreciation of two characters who are overshadowed by the more monstrous figures, but who are pivotal to the plot and meaningful to some of us. I'm feeling warm and fuzzy about Garfinkel's appreciating these two for themselves.
Colin Clive: played tormented and morally ambiguous characters who were also wry and ridiculous; was good at looking embarrassed; was bisexual according to Wikipedia; was the subject of this picture, which I like a lot
, along with the also-underappreciated Valerie Hobson (he's smiling! I didn't know he could do that! he looks relaxed and everything); starred in an entire movie
about beautiful young soldiers caring about each other and dying in each other's arms; died a stupid, preventable, Hollywood death of alcoholism-related pneumonia, or possibly alcoholism-related complications of tuberculosis, but you see the common thread here, at the age of thirty-seven. All those decades ago, and why do I give a fuck? The fact is that I do. And other people do, other writers, I see, do, and that is flipping delightful. (And by caring about him I care for myself.) (Shut up, Teeny.)
Look, the most prominent story in Mad Love
is a tragedy about how a formerly decent man becomes a stalker and master manipulator, and justifies his crimes by saying they're for Twoo Luv as he slides downwards into murder, sexual assault, and a spectacularly complex and nasty gaslighting session. Thank you, Peter Lorre, you are a wonderful dumpling and I would follow you anywhere.
But somewhere in there is also the story of a concert pianist who is maimed in a railway accident, has to regain the use of his body during a long and humiliating recovery time (during which, I'm sure, being hand-fed by his gorgeous wife the former torture porn star was only a slight consolation), and after all that
has to live with the facts that (1) he has someone else's murder hands attached to his wrists and they constantly hunger to kill, and (2) he can kiss his career as a concert pianist goodbye, because murder hands won't cooperate. And that's kinda funny in a nasty way (MURDER HANDS) but I wasn't laughing. (I was watching this movie over and over circa 2006, in a long, dismal period when I'd burnt out on trying to be a novelist and didn't know what worth there was in my life if I wasn't a writer. Coping mechanism? HOW VERY DARE YOU.) (Boy, I'm so glad that's ten years ago.)
Watching his character figure out that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get his old life back... that was sad, I would go so far as to say that it's the other tragedy of the film, and it's one of the important parts of Mad Love
for me. The movie realizes how depressing that is and gives us a little gift for his character at the end. I have never seen "my evil hand has a mind of its own and likes to kill people with knives" presented as a good thing before, but damn, Mad Love
pulls it off.
If the world ends with this foul year, I want it known that I died as I lived: raving about dead horror actors on the internet, for an audience of dozens. What I am trying to say is that Colin Clive resembles one of those shivery greyhounds that is very dignified but that you just want to pet and guide to a fleecy sheepskin by the fire, possibly also applying a warm coat and boots.
|Thursday, December 29th, 2016|
|Tonight: ADULT Folktale Telling
This is tonight! I am panicking over my story! Please come if you're free and in the Cambridge area-- whatever happens, I promise it'll be entertaining. Andala Coffee House is at 286 Franklin Street, Cambridge, MA.
From the event description on FB
:......aaaaand we're back! The second ADULT Folktale telling was an incredible hit, so we have got to do this again. For December, we'll be downstairs at the Andala Coffee House in Central Square, Cambridge. Free admission, with the purchase of tea or coffee or any other nosh you choose ($2.50 minimum). Hosted by Doria Hughes, of course!
The theme for this month is: Happy Endings! Just as in previous AFTs, you are invited to bring a folktale (or legend, myth, Biblical story, tall tale etc) to tell, totally uncensored, to an adult audience. No personal or "true" stories; we're keeping it folky! Need help finding a story? Message me, and I will point you in the right direction. No stories? No worries. Just come on down, have a drink, and enjoy unexpurgated folktales in their natural habitat.
|Tuesday, December 27th, 2016|
Copied from my FB:
Please comment to talk about the political actions you're planning to take part in during the next month. I'll come and show support if I can.
I'll start: on Jan. 21, I will march in Boston. I don't know with whom yet, and I'm open to recommendations.
Jewish Voice for Peace Boston is hosting a civil disobedience training session on Monday, Jan. 23.
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, also hosted by Jewish Voice for Peace Boston and taught by BARCC, there's a workshop on active bystander intervention (practicing ways to intervene and assist the targeted person if you see public harassment). I can always use more practice in that.
(It'll be a nice haggis sandwich of a week: in between these events is Burns Night. #whahae In non-political news, registration is now open; you need to sign up in advance if you want to order dinner, and it's always a good time for folkies and fans of Scottish culture.)
I'm also going to a letter-writing party on Thursday, Jan. 26. Since it's at a private home, I won't link to the FB event, but it starts at 7:00, it's near where I live, and the focus will be announced by the host as we get closer to the date (sadly, I'm sure there will be some fresh fuckery to write our representatives about, and even if I'm wrong and January is a wonderful month for our country, we can write our representatives to thank them for accurately representing us).
I'm interested in whatever you think is important, and doubly so if it's in the Boston area.
|Thursday, December 8th, 2016|
|Hansel needs some sugar in his bowl
I'm formatting a script for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." This job is a lot of fun sometimes. I liked the movie but I love the theatrical version; the movie clunkily makes literal a lot of things that are supposed to be Hedwig's figures of speech and her sick sense of humor.
The main thing that strikes me this time: Hedwig and friends keep making Holocaust jokes. Stuff like "the oven/the shower," calling herself "non-Aryan," her creepy American sugar daddy giving her gummy bears that she compares to concentration camp victims. Does anybody want to explain to me what's happening there? It doesn't seem like survivor humor, in that Hedwig would have to have been born in the sixties (and isn't Jewish, unless I misunderstood something). Of course, whatever gender alignment she identifies with, she sure is in a vulnerable subgroup, so maybe she's reminding us that if she'd been around then she'd have been sent to a concentration camp as A Homosexual. But that's not how it sounds. It comes off more like identifying-with-the-oppressor humor. I haven't read this far, but I think someone else's drag name is Krystall Nacht. That sort of thing.
I mean, I can tell it's supposed to be uncomfortable, and it sure is, well done, but is there a greater point that I'm missing? This musical has a confusingly huge number of Holocaust references for a show where the villains are heteronormativity, communism and capitalism.
|Sunday, December 4th, 2016|
Well, here's some good news for a change: the Dakota Access Pipeline is halted for now. The Army Corps of Engineers has denied
the builders the permit, and the Army has agreed to "explore alternate routes."
All my respect and gratitude goes to the Standing Rock Sioux and to those who assisted them. I understand they've been dancing and singing in the camp, in celebration of the victory today. If anyone deserves to celebrate, it's them.
I hope that everyone with concern for the matter will monitor the situation in the coming months and years, because I don't trust the next regime not to railroad the Army Corps of Engineers into granting building permits, trashing Native land, and building the pipeline anyway. However, that's a problem for another day. Today, the water protectors have achieved their most immediate goal.
I hope this will set a precedent. I hope this is the effective protest that makes the rest of the country look up and say, "Wow! Look what they did! Our resistance can make a difference in the threats that face us!" I hope everyone learns about these protests now and understands their heroism. I hope fifty or a hundred years from now, this is in the history books as the moment that turned the tide on fossil fuel dependency.
Well, that's less "cautious optimism" and more "joy and hope." I don't care. We all deserve to feel some. The water protectors took one for the team, and now I hope they can rejoice, enjoy their victory, use the positive national attention to educate the rest of the country further if they wish, and resume the parts of their lives they've had to place on hold.
|Friday, December 2nd, 2016|
|The dominatrix whip kittens are my new favorite part
From my FB post at intermission:I'm at The Slutcracker and having an awesome time. Am I comically missing the point if I say that was a beautiful sex scene? The title character has the face of Dionysus himself. Pink sparkly Dionysus.
|Thursday, December 1st, 2016|
|Let union be in all our hearts
I don't talk about my singing life on here much, but maybe it's time for that to change. The pub sing at the Somerville Armory is this evening, 7:00 - 10:30, and I strongly suggest that anyone who wants to hear or deliver some good songs check it out. They have a nice cafe, too, and a lot of people get dinner or drinks.FB event here
, but not necessary to RSVP. The Armory is at 191 Highland Ave., Somerville, and it looks like a goofy white plaster castle.
|Tuesday, November 29th, 2016|
I just made my own crackers from this recipe
, and they've turned out really well -- substantial, yet crunchy. I used one cup plain whole wheat, one cup white whole wheat, and one cup all-purpose white flour.
|I saw more penises tonight than I usually see in a single day
I saw Derek Jarman's The Tempest
, and Prospero's Books
(dir. Peter Greenaway) tonight. I disliked them both. I know a lot of people whose opinions I respect who are into these films, so I wanted to like them as well. However, it was not to be. They bored me stiff. It's hard to make The Tempest
boring, but boy, did these films manage it. Just for the sake of the contrast, I'll talk about my dislikes a little.
So much downtime. So slow. So many people standing around doing things that aren't a part of the original play, don't support the story or build character, and come out of nowhere and go nowhere. The casts of thousands even look bored or disinterested most of the time. Every time I got a little invested in a scene, I then had to watch a lot more empty posturing before the film would permit me to advance to the next level. Each film had tons of beautiful imagery in its own style, but I didn't check in for imagery. I feel like each film poured a bucket of symbolism onto my head while I was waiting for storytelling to happen.
"Parts of it were excellent." I did like the two different Calibans. Thing One was Jack Birkett as Caliban in The Tempest
. No wonder I liked him: Vincent Canby of the New York Times, in a long-ago vitriolic review
, says he's like something out of Hammer Horror, and I see where he's coming from. Birkett is an Igor or an Uncle Fester: corpsey pale and wearing gravedigger clothes, but childlike, cringing, manically cheery despite all reasons to the contrary. There was a brilliant moment about two-thirds of the way through the film when we get a visual on Prospero's description of Sycorax and her "whelp." The witch is breast-feeding her son, who is the same gaunt and stubbly fifty-year-old actor we've been seeing all film -- he's naked and sucking on a woman's nipple, but it's still Jack Birkett, who looks to be older than the actress playing Sycorax. That moment is uncomfortable in itself, but the great thing is that it then makes you question your assumptions about everybody's physical appearances. Caliban only looks like an ugly middle-aged guy -- by all available evidence he could still be as young as Miranda. (And Sycorax has Ariel on a neck chain and keeps yanking him onto his knees. I don't know whether I was more disturbed by her toying with him or by the fact that her little fifty-year-old boy was watching her do it.)
And then there was Prospero's Books
. Oh boy, was there. "This is not the film to see if you want to witness a performance of The Tempest,
" says Roger Ebert
, who seems to have liked it more than I did. However, it is the film to see if you want to look at page after page of pretty calligraphy presented in an intrusive frame style, or admire Cirque du Soleil-level acrobats running naked around a building the size of Edinburgh Castle, peeing into in-ground pools. (The title quote is what I heard someone behind me say as I was coming down from the theater balcony.) John Gielgud voices all the characters. I don't know what I did expect to see and hear, but what I did see and hear made me impatient. (And occasionally incensed.( Collapse )
For the most part, I expected to like the dancers a lot more than I did. All the fairies and elves and spirits and whatnot aggressively strutting around the main characters didn't seem at all supernatural, just like a lot of unusually committed acro students. But the Ariels were great -- Ariel was played by several actors of various ages, from about six through adult. You could tell they were the same character because they wore the same costume: red loincloth and red beads, with curly blonde hair. The way they moved was one of the few things about the film that was permitted to actually get playful; you could see how they could fly, you could see how they weren't confined to a single form. At the end, Ariel bolting for freedom changed to younger and younger forms as he fled, until the last little Ariel flew up out of the top of the frame and was gone. Caliban here was an exceedingly beautiful ballet dancer (Michael Clark, I see by the internet), the most graceful person on display, despite being introduced by a series of frames showing books being defiled by piss, puke, and shit full of intestinal parasites; perhaps the point was that Caliban doesn't need language because he has his body. I have no idea what the point was, but he certainly didn't look human, so good for him.
(Oh! And I liked the friendly naked Esther Williams water nymphs rescuing the drowning sailors. They're an element that also is only referenced and not shown in the play, but showing them made sense and added to the mood. The water nymph performers were great at looking happy and acting their asses off while five feet deep in a tank.)
Mostly, though, Prospero's Books
was so cluttered and mold-damaged that I wanted to shoo all the performers outdoors and burn the building down. There was one scene set in fake-outdoors sunny wheatfields that look like they're near the pyramids of Egypt, and I wanted the characters to take off running and never look back, I was so desperate for sunlight and visual liberty. Why the hell were both these Tempest
adaptations so stuffy and shut-in and stale-smelling? The Tempest
is the most outdoor play in the canon. And does no one remember that Ferdinand is a character and not a cardboard cutout, and that Miranda will be funny and assertive if you fucking LET HER instead of leaving her as a wet sock who sleeps most of the time and sleepwalks the rest, and that there are jokes in the play that are funny if you actually let them happen and don't bury them under an avalanche of Stylistic Choices? *huff*pant*gasp*hawk*spit*
I get that it wasn't supposed to be the play The Tempest
by William Shakespeare, that it was the result of the director using Tempest
as a jumping-off point for things he wanted to say and do. But then again, my only reason for checking in was Tempest
, and I found most everything after the jumping-off point to be pointless or annoying or not my kink.
There is an expression among Gilbert & Sullivan fans: "pork pie." It means "joke that has zero to do with the source material." An example would be the way all productions of "The Pirates of Penzance" currently seem to rely on an extended gag about the Major-General forgetting rhyming lines, even though it makes no sense for the character, stops the action dead in its tracks, and takes attention away from the fact that the song is funny in its own right. The anecdote:
Actor: *works in a gag he made up*
W.S. Gilbert in directorial mode: Stop that.
Actor: But I'll get a big laugh by it.
W.S. Gilbert: So you would if you sat down on a pork pie.
I mean, I try to keep an open mind, and I shouldn't sit here and be judgmental and act like no adaptation can possibly be good enough for my beloved plays, but on the other hand I feel like I just sat through four hours of pork pie, so I apologize for acting rancid.
To counteract my negativity and offer a different outlook from someone who loves Prospero's Books
, I hope it's OK if I reference this post from 2010
. The comments are also good.
|Monday, November 28th, 2016|
|Not Usually A Sign Guy But Jeez
UPDATE: protest is now listed as starting at 5:00, and Bannon isn't coming or has canceled. However, Kellyanne Conway will still be present as far as anyone knows, and the protest is still going to happen. FB event here
, with further info: the protestors will meet at JFK Park. I'm not sure which park that is, but it's given as being at 95 JFK Street and I hope to find it by the mass of other angry people when I get there.
There's a protest on Wednesday 11/30, starting at 4:00 p.m., outside the Kennedy School at Harvard. From what I understand we'll be protesting against Stephen "The Anti-Semitic Trash Fire" Bannon (I'm against him overall, but this is a protest against his being invited to speak at the Harvard Kennedy School in particular).
I will be there, since my unpredictable employment schedule just now means that I can attend a protest which starts during most people's work hours. If anyone is thinking of going and wants company, please let me know.The FB event is here
. For those who don't do FB, the announcement is copy/pasted below. Please note that the details may change; Bannon may cancel, Harvard may change the place or time, we may have been misinformed,
the horse may learn to talk
. I'll update this post when I learn more about the protest.NO LEGITIMACY FOR WHITE SUPREMACY:
Stephen Bannon and Trump Advisors will be speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School this Wednesday, November 30. Trump brought racist ideologues into the mainstream. Harvard is furthering the process of normalization for racist hate. We do not accept hate and bigotry as normal or legitimate. Come protest. Then help us organize.
STAY TUNED: TIMING IS TENTATIVE. COSPONSORS WILL BE UPDATED. FOR NOW, SPREAD THE WORD.
|Saturday, November 19th, 2016|
Copy/pasted from my Facebook:
Last night: got to see "Love's Labor's Lost IN SPACE" done by Theatre@First. Let me urge you all very strongly: GO SEE IT. There's one more performance left, today, at 4:00 p.m.
This production contains: humans in love, androids in love, a small cute child who is much smarter than the adults, live theremin music so you can tell it's science fiction, self-destructive idealists, strong independent young dorks who don't NEED no women even if they threw themselves at us, characters who are living Do Not Write Like This warnings, a pageant, a polearm fight, a green space babe, a man hugging a woman's knees while sensuously eating Twizzlers, women who demand the most out of love and won't settle for sappy generic poetry, a princess who's warm-hearted enough to fall in love but level-headed enough to put the needs of her country first, an orgy, a thing that I understand was not a tribble but a very small space deer, and the entire cast roaring the lyrics to "The Owl and the Cuckoo" to the tune of "Ground Control to Major Tom." I'm only sorry I didn't see it earlier in the run so I could urge more people to attend this show. I'd had no idea Love's Labour's Lost was so funny, and this was a great way to see it for the first time.
|Friday, November 18th, 2016|
In the department of Things That Are Outside My Field Of Experience, Yet Of Fascination To Me:
A medieval Torah scholar appears to make the argument that Rachel was killed by her son Benjamin, because he was a werewolf
(I say "appears to make" because I can't tell which parts of this discussion are the words of Rabbeinu Ephraim ben Shimshon as quoted by the blogger, and which are the blogger talking to themself. The comments may also be worth reading; everyone gets very invested in the werewolf debate.)
EDIT: I'd hoped this was more of the same. Argentina's president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner adopts a Jewish seventh son as her godson to stop him from turning into a werewolf
. First, I hoped this was a family tradition of the child, whose name is Yair Tawil. Then I feared it was some sort of unusually elaborate blood libel. It doesn't appear to be either.
If the article is to be believed, there's an Argentinian superstition that a seventh son (or seventh child, it appears to apply to girls too) will become a werewolf, "el lobison," on "the first Friday after his thirteenth birthday." This kid is just the first Jewish recipient of the dubious honor. Apparently, being honored as the President's godson and being given a gold medal and future academic scholarship is enough to avert wolfish nature. It wouldn't avert mine, but it seems like a nice thing to do.
|Wednesday, November 16th, 2016|
|Exudes Opulent Individual Style
I can't think of a more appropriate use of this icon.
I have a new life goal: to make the kind of money and lead the kind of life that means I can stay at this hotel.The Witchery, Edinburgh
. Every single suite looks like it's been built for a Hammer Horror reboot. I can't decide between "The Old Rectory," where I think they include a free Christopher Lee on your pillow every evening, and "The Heriot," where you have a bath in a clawfoot tub in the middle of Hrothgar's hall. There's more red velvet than ten brothels could use in a lifetime, but all the dark oak and pointy arches keep the mood sinister.
You go to this place, you wear one of Morticia Addams's most drapey outfits and dark red lipstick that matches your nails, or you wear a white nightie over nudity, or a loose shirt tucked into tight trousers. Those are the only three options; there are no others. I was once in Edinburgh (2004, aka "the last time I was over"), but I don't think this existed at the time or I would have heard the organ music rumbling across the housetops.
Oh shiiiiit. It's The Witchery by the Castle
. That is the full name. And they also have a restaurant
In five years, I shall be forty. That gives me just enough time to launch a new career as a highly-paid [insert position when I think of something good
], make a lot of money, stick some of it in savings and use the rest to convey myself and a select group of friends and significant others to Edinburgh. There we'll have a massive birthday dinner with me at the head of the table in this dress
[it's Morticia's dress for fancy occasions with long sleeves ending in points over the hands; it has both black sequins and black spiderwebs], smiling enigmatically, and afterwards we will take up the entire building for singing and jamming around the pipe organ, set dancing, tango and waltz, games of Sardines, Hide and Go Seek, and Mafia, board gaming and crafts table, and optional orgy in the Tower suite.
Please comment here if you wish to be included in the party and whether you'll order the vegetarian option or have other dietary restrictions.
|No, it's not a code, it's his name.
I just called the Governor of Massachusetts in order to urge him to take a public stand against the threats of the oncoming administration and declare Massachusetts a state of refuge for Americans threatened with deportation or otherwise placed at the risk of their lives, safety, and human rights.
You can contact the office of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker at 617-725-4005. An aide will answer the phone and offer to give Governor Baker your message. Please note that you can also write or send an e-mail via the Governor's Office public contact info here
, but a phone call is more immediate and likely to be noticed.
From my comment to sovay
"What felt like hours of ringing, but what was actually a couple of minutes or less, gave way finally to a polite male aide. I requested to speak to the Governor, because why not, and was told as I had expected that he was not available but that the aide would transmit a message to him on my behalf. I told him that I urged the Governor very strongly to make a stand and offer refuge to Americans threatened by the policies of the oncoming administration. I diverged from my notes a bit, so I'm not sure of my choice of words, but I remember I said that Governor Baker not only had to take a stand against bigotry and intolerance, but that he had to be seen, publicly, to do so. I may have said that we the people of Massachusetts have to set an example for the rest of the country, and that example must be to stand against intolerance and deportation, and that I was sure the Governor had often thought of John Winthrop's statement* that the eyes of the world would be upon us, and that they're upon us NOW, and we have to visibly take a stance now that the world will see us, and that stance must be against intolerance. I was angry, I got emotional, my voice shook, and to my surprise I teared up, but I hope it lent force to my statement rather than making me inaudible.
"I didn't say half of what I'd meant to say. The aide seized the first chance he had to shut me down in a genteel fashion and end the conversation. I did manage to wrap up by saying that I was a lifelong citizen of Massachusetts, a taxpayer and a voter, and that I would be awaiting Governor Baker's official reaction with great eagerness.
"This concludes today's episode of Adrenaline Theater."
*John Winthrop came out with that beautiful Christian reference
about our being a city on a hill and all eyes being upon us, and proceeded to set an example to the rest of the world by persecuting religious dissenters like Anne Hutchinson, gloating over the miscarriages suffered by Hutchinson and Mary Dyer, attempting to wipe out the Pequot Indians, playing one Native American people against another, and encouraging the slave trade. What I was trying to say was that we need to visibly do better than him and his peeps.
EDIT: Since I was all geared up to use the phone anyway, I phoned Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and left a message on his answering machine urging him to condemn the appointment of Stephen "White Supremacist Slob" Bannon. My Senators and Representative all condemned the appointment already, but I called their offices anyway and asked their aides to thank them for me and transmit my support and approval. Information for phoning Congress and other folks is here
OTHER EDIT: Joseph Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville, has already declared it a sanctuary city and spoken in defiance of the new threats
. You can also just call his office and voice your approval and support; their staff are really nice folks.
|Saturday, November 12th, 2016|
|to be set right
I went out with the protestors in Boston, on the night of Wednesday, November 9th, to shout my disgust with every policy put forth by President-elect Fuckface von Clownstick and Darth Conversion. There was indeed a huge crowd; at the time the police scanners were saying six thousand people were present. I've since seen the number given as 10,000. I can't speak to that, but I am happy that there were also massive rallies in Chicago, Seattle, LA, and the Castro in San Francisco, among other cities. It was cathartic to march down the street hand in hand with my friend K., roaring, "My body, my choice!" and hearing mostly-male voices responding, "Their bodies, their choice!" Whatever horrors are in store, I liked that show of support.
We confirmed our commitment to the protection of undocumented immigrants in America, Muslims, trans people, LGBT+ people, and Black people/PoC. Now, time to live up to our vast promises. And include disabled and chronically ill people in the groups to defend, since no one spoke for them at the rally as far as I heard.
I am not going to say "It will be okay," because it's already bad and I have no idea what will happen. My impulse is to reassure everyone, but I'd be a Pollyanna. A friend-of-friends, tamnonlinear
, took her own life after the election. She was chronically ill and expected that the new regime would end her healthcare. If you're hearing the news for the first time from me, I'm sorry. I only got to know her by reading her posts and her excellent website on Tam Lin-related folklore
during the hours after her death was announced. (aedifica
is holding a memorial service
for her at 2:00 PM today, at the Elephant & Castle pub.) Vile yahoos drove onto Wellesley College's campus to gloat and spit at black women
. I'm not here to tell anyone how to react.
What I am here to do is listen, plan, and put plans into action. I appreciate your posts with ideas for action against oppression; please keep them coming. And comment here, if you don't want to make a separate post.
I'm good at talking big, and not great at following through. My challenge is going to be this: stay angry, find ways to use my relative privilege as a white cis woman living in a blue state, keep working, keep actively learning from people more vulnerable to the new regime, keep acting in support of American humans and American decency. Stay active: weeks from now, in January 2017, a year from now, two years from now.
Spite motivates me. I am A Poor and I don't expect that I'll have the money to donate to anything else in the near future, but I just sent a donation of $20 to Planned Parenthood
"in honor of" Darth Conversion.
If you give them the mailing address for your honoree
, they will send that person an acknowledgement in the mail. I merely state the simple fact.
*Verification of the quote
: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right, and if wrong, to be set right." Carl Schurz's reaction to the mere statement, "My country, right or wrong."
|Wednesday, November 9th, 2016|
|From "The Worm Ouroboros," E.R. Eddison (1922)
(From Chapter XIX, "Thremnir's Heugh", full text here)
[...] in a while Spitfire opened his eyes and said, "Draw back the curtains of the bed, for 'tis many a day since I woke up in Owlswick. Or is it night indeed? How went the fight, then?"
His eyes stared at the naked rocks and the naked sky beyond them. Then with a great groan he lifted himself on his right elbow. Volle put a strong arm about him, saying, "Drink the good wine, and have patience. There be great doings toward."
Spitfire stared round him awhile, then said violently, "Shall we be foxes and fugitive men to dwell in holes o' the hollow mountain side? So the bright day is done, ha? Then off with these trammels." And he fell a-tearing at the bandage on his wounds.
But Volle prevented him with strong hands, saying, "Bethink thee how on thee alone, O glorious Spitfire, and on thy wise heart and valiant soul that delighteth in furious war, resteth all our hope to ward off from our lady wives and dear children and all our good land and fee the fury of the men of Witchland, and to save alive the great name of Demonland. Let not thy proud heart be capable of despair."
But Spitfire groaned and said, "Certain it was that woe and evil hap must be to Demonland until my kinsmen be gotten home again. And that day I think shall never dawn." And he cried, "Boasted he not that he is king in Demonland? and yet I had not my sword in his umbles. And thou thinkest I'll live in shame?"
Therewithal he strove again to tear off the bandages, but Volle prevented him. And he raved and said, "Who was it forced me from the battle? 'Tis pity of his life, to have abused me so. Better dead than run from Corinius like a beaten puppy. Let me go, false traitors! I will amend this. I will die fighting. Let me go back."
Volle said, "Lift up thine eyes, great Spitfire, and behold the lady moon, how virgin free she walketh the wide fields of heaven, and the glory of the stars of heaven which in their multitudes attend her. And as little as earthly mists and storms do dim her, but though she be hid awhile yet when the tempest is abated and the sky swept bare of clouds there she appeareth again in her steadfast course, mistress of tides and seasons and swayer of the fates of mortal men: even such is the glory of sea-girt Demonland, and the glory of thine house, O Spitfire. And as little as commotions in the heavens should avail to remove these everlasting mountains, so little availeth disastrous war, though it be a great fight lost as was to-day, to shake down our greatness, that are mightiest with the spear from of old and able to make all earth bow to our glory."
So said Volle. And the Lord Spitfire looked out across the mist-choked sleeping valley to the great rock-faces dim in the moonlight and the lean peaks grand and silent beneath the moon. He spake not, whether for strengthlessness or as charmed to silence by the mighty influences of night and the mountain solitudes and by Volle's voice speaking deep and quiet in his ear, like the voice of night herself calming earth-born tumults and despairs.
After a time Volle spake once more: "Thy brethren shall come home again: doubt it not. But till then art thou our strength. Therefore have patience; heal thy wounds; and raise forces again. But shouldst thou in desperate madness destroy thy life, then were we shent indeed."
|Friday, November 4th, 2016|
|Letter to the White House
I had a rush of blood to the head and wrote a letter to President Obama about the Standing Rock Sioux protests. Text is under the cut.
For the record, what happens if you phone the White House and say, "Hi, may I please speak with President Obama?" is that a polite person tells you that you need to write a letter if you want to bring anything up with the President. (I was amazed I reached a live human being, since I'd been sure that I'd be referred to a voicemail which no one ever checks. I wonder how weird her job gets.)( Collapse )
--If it seems like comparison to Richard Nixon is damning with faint praise, well, fair enough. For the record, Nixon was decent about Native American affairs. It's not even like, "He wasn't as much of a jerk as he could have been." During his term he signed off on legislation supporting the rights of tribes to self-rule and self-definition, out of a period when the US government was breaking treaties, reclaiming reservation lands, breaking up Native families and destroying their ways of life in forced assimilation. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.
--This letter exists partly because I have an egotistical wish to go out to the site of the protests and help out in person. However, there are already plently of underinformed-and-clueless white people out there, getting in the way of the people with skin in the game. They do not need one more. It's my experience that a protest starts falling apart when the hippies and drug users and well-meaning outside people who vaguely want to do nice things show up. I'm in the latter category.
--Someone did "The Folk Song Army" at Pub Sing last night, and I was painfully aware of my own tendency to sing heartfelt songs and then not act on them. Goddamn you, Mr. Lehrer. If you feel dissatisfaction, strum your frustrations away. Some people may prefer action, but give me a folk song any old day!
--Now I have to make my mind up about all the ballot issues and go vote. (EDIT: Tough shit, I don't get to vote early after all. Early hours in my city ended at 12:30. Let this be a lesson to you to double-check the hours of absolutely everything you care about. Well, this simplifies my day, and next Tuesday I'll go vote while wearing a giant hat in honor of the women's suffrage movement.)