I don't know if it's the fault of White America for making blacks feel less than human (and if it is, I'm white, so let me apologize for our entire, ongoing, twisted culture that might make anyone feel that way) but I've become troubled recently by blacks depersonalizing themselves in describing how White America treats them because I think they hurt themselves by making it an issue they cannot speak about with any emotion. As though they're still human. Which I think they very much still are.
I won't quote anyone directly - as in, word-for-word - but you can read almost anything Ta-Nehisi Coates has written on police brutality this summer to get a feeling for what I mean. It boils down to a line something like this to summarize hundreds of years of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, humiliation, and tiredness at the hands of whites treating them as The Other:
They are abusing our bodies. Disrespecting our bodies. Showing little regard for black bodies.
Whenever I see it put this way, I feel like I'm reading about people who are already dead.
This is like Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy. When treated like an other long enough, perhaps unwittingly one can completely disconnect the soul from, you guessed it...the body. I want to fucking get out a red pencil every time I see it. And it's not just TNC. He's been the primary offender (not that I find it "offensive"; I see it speaks to the deeply troubled, utterly bone-chilling, oft-times depressing realities of black life, so it's more that the words punch me as hard as they do because they come without a hint of emotion. 'Our bodies are disrespected.' It's like your soul wasn't tormented out of you first to make you feel that way - yet that's exactly what these words seem to prove).
I don't know if this is a case of some black writers too-readily relinquishing their souls or proof that a good writer can simply make you feel as if they already have, but what sticks with me is exactly what they write, that their bodies are vulnerable. Bodies are by nature vulnerable. But what about the soul? It's an outrage when someone hurts, abuses, or disrespects any of the life within your body, but sometimes I think what our society does is to inflict the one wound that can't ever heal - the one that lacerates and permanently scars your heart.
I began thinking about this recently in tandem with a different topic, that of rape. Intersectionality abounds. To me one can draw a line directly from blacks writing of the mistreatment of their bodies straight to anyone who's ever been raped saying the same thing. How is anyone reading a rape described along such parallels supposed to react? What is the author's hoped-for takeaway?
The rapist disrespects the body. Rapists disrespect our bodies. All rapists disrespect bodies.
Then I try to put those words into the context of being raped. So it's my body that really matters, if I'm to follow the TNC example of explaining what's wrong with the rapist's brutality. I should be unemotionally complaining about the disrespect visited upon my body. Yes, it makes for very good, quite chilling, utterly succinct rose. The raped body has been grossly violated. And depending upon the severity of what happened during that violation it either will recover or will not, will be OK again or will suffer and die from the injuries and disease visited upon it. That is a horror and tragedy. But the heck with my body for a second - what about my mind?
What has the rapist taken away from my trust, sanity, perceived safety, sense of peace, prosperity, health and hope for the future that can never be replaced nor recovered, that cannot be healed from within or without? Ultimately a body is something we can and ultimately will have to dispense with. Our minds, on the other hand, are not going anywhere - ever. I'd rather we talk about that.
I don't normally post short Twitter-like status updates but this thought will not leave, though it's a tad too long for a Twitter-like blurb. I've seen it come up repeatedly where some male yoo-ha, after a rape performed by him or his buddy, or both, tells them or the rape victim: "Why press charges/take me to court/testify/have me/us prosecuted? I/they can't unrape you/her."
It's bothered me. I first saw it by someone quoted online, a typical sophomoric college dude who was being OH SO ENLIGHTENED in saying so. Then I saw it used in pretty much the same context by someone else oh so proud not only of his rapework, but of the humor and clarity he was bringing to it by pronouncing the victim unrape-able (yeah, I know, in this context being unrape-able is obviously not what the normal person might expect).
Finally, in trying to drift off to sleep the other night, the perfect answer came to me. People can't be unraped? Fine. They also can't be unkilled, so the same cops, judges and buddies who chortle along as you laugh about the unfixableness of the victim's situation better keep chortling should anyone finally get you back for it. Laws? Why, we've got those for rape, too, but if using the law can't unrape someone then how silly we're all being, lol.
ETA: After posting this, it occurred to me I shouldn't be so shocked by the rapist's POV as to begin advocating for a more anarchic solution, as this post at least jokingly seems to suggest, because if someone was callous, heartless and disrespectful enough to rape someone to begin with, then of course they're going to be callous, heartless and disrespectful enough to joke around and make totally light of it afterward. Sometimes I need to just grow a thicker skin, I guess. I guess?
And, (here comes my de riguer 'No one's being excluded intentionally' disclaimer) just to be clear, I'm not trying to ignore that men also get raped nor that women also sometimes are the rapists. I'm only speaking to the exact context in which I saw these comments made, which was men joking about their about-to-be-tried cases of having already raped women.
In the middle of the night I woke up with sensory hell due to my hands itching, enough so that I went home to get a pair of gloves to deal with it.
Work was somewhat surreal. lb got the new IRC server set up under his desk, and a few of us poked around on it and made sure it was stable before inviting everyone over. He sent messages in all the channels about what was up, and prepared to do the swap after lunch.
Since I'd been in early, I opted for earlier lunch, and with lb's table. I advised Purple of my plans, and he thought that sounded like a good idea, and decided to join as well.
Mr. Wizard Beard had been at lunch also; afterwards, he offered to show Purple some hardware in his server room, and asked if I'd like to come see as well.
This was my first time inside a full-blown server room. I'd peeked into a room in which there were a few racks which housed some of archive.org before, but that was a room with a couple racks. This is a room with rows and aisles and at least three ginormous cabinet air conditioning units. Mr. Wizard Beard explained some of the provenance of the servers: this one is from that vendor, the other one is from the other one, and they wanted to do X but then plans changed, and now they're doing Y, and we had to do something else with X hardware...
The door has a sign on the outside: NO FOOD. NO LIQUIDS. ( Read more... )
begin quote( At UW-Madison 22 Oct 11a - 1p )
I am interested in our internal work. The work with each other inside of our movements, inside of our organizations and groups, inside of our relationships. The way that our analysis by itself is not enough, because what good is it if we can run great campaigns if we all end up hating each other in the process?
Castle Panic is a collaborative board game for 1-6 players. Rather than have the players against each other, players work together to try to beat the game itself.
The game is divided into three arcs: a blue arc, a red arc, and a green arc. Each arc is further divided by three zones, which are targeted by swordsmen, knights, or archers. The bad guys are trolls, orcs, and goblins which come out of the forest and attack the castle in the middle of the board.
Every turn, the active player will draw cards, and then trade a card with another person to better their chances of fighting off the bad guys. Each monster has a set amount of hit points. Attacking a monster knocks down the hit points by one. This is shown by turning the monster's piece so that the current number of hit points is pointing towards the castle. A card can only attack a monster in its specific color arc and zone. For example, a red archer can only attack monsters who are in the red archer zone. Hero cards can attack monsters in any of the three zones in their color. At the end of the turn, the monsters are advanced one zone, and two new monster tokens are placed on the board. A die is rolled to determine which zone the new monsters start out in.
Not all monster tokens contain monsters. Some instruct you to discard cards, draw more monster tokens, or move the monster tokens on the board. There are also four boss tokens which have special powers. For example, a Healer token makes all monster tokens on the board regain 1 hit point.
There are also a variety of cards including the knights, archers, swordsmen and heroes. Some cards let you draw more cards from the deck, or scavenge the discard pile. A Tar card will stop a monster from advancing for 1 turn.
The castle is surrounded by walls, which can kill off monsters with 1 hit point remaining. The wall is removed from the board afterwards. Players can rebuild a wall by playing both a brick card and a mortar card.
The game is won if at least one tower is left standing at the end of the game.
Castle Panic was featured on Tabletop. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpuTGWF
Mom was playing the Symphonic Suite at dinner the other night, and asked if there's any concerts coming up. So I checked after dinner, and sure enough, Distant Worlds is coming back to Chicago on December 26th. So we'll be going, yay!
I also made a CD of Final Fantasy songs with lyrics in them. It is SO GOOD and I've listened to it a bunch already. Here are the songs, with YouTube links:
1) The Prelude. I don't know the lyrics to this one, but I wanted something to represent FF1 & 2, and this fits! Plus, it's pretty.
2) The Breeze, from Final Fantasy III.
3) Tsuki no Akari, from Final Fantasy IV DS.
4) Home, Sweet Home from Final Fantasy V
5) Maria & Draco from Final Fantasy VI. I would love to know who decided there should be an opera in the middle of the game. It works pretty darn well with the plot, plus it's so epic, even in its digitized voices. This version is from the Distant Worlds CD.
6) Why, from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. I could have chosen One-Winged Angel instead, but (a) I'm rather sick of that song, and (b) "Why" fits in better with the rest of the tracks.
7) Eyes on Me, from Final Fantasy VIII. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of this one, too, but it's still a lovely song, and deserved a place on the list.
8) Melodies of Life, from Final Fantasy IX. It was a no-brainer to choose the English version of the song, because I love it.
9) Suteki da Ne, from Final Fantasy X. I was torn between the English and Japanese versions. If I had room on the disc, I'd have both. But I only had room for one. Although I don't like some of the phrasing on the English version, I eventually went with it because I know the lyrics better than the Japanese version.
10) Memoria de la Stono/Distant Worlds from Final Fantasy XI
11) Kiss Me Goodbye, from Final Fantasy XII. I love this song. I hadn't heard it in a while, and got chills when listening to it. I don't know why; it's certainly not profound or anything. It's a simple song. But it's SO GOOD.
12) Kimi ga Irukara, from Final Fantasy XIII. I don't like "My Hands" (the ending song in the English game) very much, so I went with the ending song from the Japanese game instead.
13) Answers, from Final Fantasy XIV. It's such a powerful song.
2. I started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (Hamilton is the just-opened-on-Broadway hip-hop musical that all of musicals fandom is freaking out over right now) but I got as far as the bit where they start rapping about how if you want to change the world, first you need to get your financials in order, and I just couldn't. Take from that what you will.
3. This week's movie-and-crafts was The Great Escape! It was. ( A really good movie )
Anyway, say what you will about the geopolitics of it, but if you are the sort of person who would be interested in three hours of nothing but sheer uncut competence porn set during WWII, you should watch this movie. Also you get to look at David McCallum in an RAF uniform a lot, which is a nice bonus.
4. The main reason I haven't been excited about the new Man from Uncle movie is that you can't do MfU without David McCallum as Illya. Which is a weird thing for me to be hung up on, because I haven't even watched any of the original series. But! I have watched a lot of vids of it. And. David McCallum, ok I know I don't usually get shallowly invested in looking at actors. But look at David McCallum. He looks even better in handcuffs than John Sheppard and I don't say that lightly.
5. AAAGUH Yuletide noms are almost ready to close, run in circles, scream and shout, wave your arms and flail about.
Read the first part of Mary Oliver's Dream Work aloud to Beatrice in one sitting. Read the rest, still aloud, in a more piecemeal way.
She is magnificent at nature, and at exhortations to the reader.
She's not as good at writing about other people, though. She's good at 'you' and 'I', but not 'him' or 'her' or 'they', and especially not 'that little brown boy in Jakarta with the facial scar who I saw that one time.' Her third people can appear as less than real to her.
Exception: 'Members of the Tribe', a searing condemnation of the pro-suicide themes in Romanticism, written with real empathy for the artists working with those themes; and '1945-1985: Poem For The Anniversary', about the Holocaust (and in the latter one it is, again, the nature images, the animal characters, that make it realest.)
The ones that stood out to me: 'Morning Poem', 'The Chance To Love Everything', 'Rage', 'Wild Geese' (the one everyone reblogs, on the strength of which I bought this book), 'Knife, 'Shadows', 'Clamming', 'The Fire', 'Driving Through The Wind River Reservation: A Poem of Black Bear', 'Members of the Tribe', 'Starfish', 'The Journey' (another much-reblogged one), 'Orion', 'The Moths', '1945-1985: Poem For The Anniversary'.
Read Zen Cho's Socerer to the Crown. It was delicious. I had no idea how she was going to pull the ending off, but she did. Brilliantly. I expected to love Zacharias, and I did, and I was surprised at how much I liked Prunella, since I'd gotten the impression she was a particular Regency archetype, and it turned out she wasn't as much that archetype as I thought. They're both amazing.
I decided it's going to be my third Yuletide fandom. So I nominated it, with the characters Zacharias, Prunella, Lady Wythe, and Henrietta. I was sad not to get Mak Genggang in there too, but I wanted to leave open the possibility of stuff about Lady Wythe and Zacharias in childhood, and Prunella and Henrietta in school, and you only get four characters.
Watched handlebars, by lavenderchai411, which is a Willow Rosenberg character study vid, and scary as fuck. (content notes: blood, knives, implied animal harm.)
More fucking kittens. More Pokemon too.
Played cds in the car: Jessye Norman singing Wagner, and the Tallis Scholars singing Byrd.
Listened to the original cast recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. omfgasdgjksd;lfksdf. SO GOOD.
Listened to the NPR stream all the way through on Saturday. Then on Sunday. Then on Monday I bought the album.
For those who don't already know: musical about the life and death of one of the US founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, here characterised as a brilliant, scrappy, orphaned immigrant with a near-deathwish and a desperate drive to succeed. The composer/lyricist is also the star, and he and the cast are all people of colour except King George III of England, who is white (and hilarious.) The musical style is mostly hiphop, but not all, with many, many references to other musicals and other hiphop/rap works. The lyrics are strong and smart and interconnected, and develop over the course of the show in an incredibly satisfying way. The female characters do not talk to each other about something other than a man, but they do discuss their wishes and options are in life, and their legacy, and clearly have relationships with each other extending beyond their relationships with men -- Eliza and Angelica's relationship as sisters is really strong and wonderful.
"don't modulate the key then not debate with me!"
"I will send a fully-armed battalion to remind you of my love"
I don't have a lot of bad dreams. When I do, I don't usually write about them. But this one sort of freaked me out.
This morning I dreampt I was sitting in a large station wagon with two bench seats as well as a driver and a passenger seat. I was on the back bench to the right of the driver's seat looking out the window over a parking lot onto an overcast midday scene such as you might see in front of any typical mall. Apparently I was waiting for someone to return to the vehicle (which, btw, I have never seen or sat inside of before; I didn't recognize the mall-like parking lot I was absently studying, either).
Suddenly the station wagon was moving. It was parked nose-out and made a quick right out of the space it was in down into the parking lot toward the store closest to where it was parked. For a few seconds nothing registered; the wagon was moving, as it should be, and that was all. Then it hit me: the engine's not running, but this vehicle's hauling ass. I looked out the front windshield and there was a lady, in her youngish twenties, with dark hair and a grey cardigan, walking toward it, completely oblivious to the fact that the station wagon I was in was about to hit and possibly kill her. The keys were not in the vehicle (they must have been with the person in the mall).
The station wagon - with me inside helplessly flailing about for any clue on how to make it stop - continued to barrel toward her at, I'd say, at least 30 miles per hour. The engine still wasn't running (a fact I could not believe) so the only thing I could hear was wheels turning and gravel. So I panicked, ran across the vehicle, grabbed the wheel, and still standing up, bent over it, cut it to the left as hard and fast as I could, but it moved freely and began plunging into a huge shiny black SUV that was parked to the immediate left of the lady approaching me. I missed hitting her by no more than five feet. If I got killed trying to save her by driving the wagon into the SUV I'll never know, because that's when I woke up.
I don't know why it bothers me so much. On a scale of 1-Just Fuck Me, with Just Fuck Me the nightmare that makes me want to stab my eyes out with little pointy things, it was no more than a 4. Not to mention it made me suddenly appreciate how real life vehicles don't normally go all Christine on us, how they normally need (human-enabled) engine power to charge out of their own parking spots, steer like automatic transmission is already engaged, and so on. Maybe I'm really just afraid of self-driving cars.
Of course, it never occurred to me to simply hit the brake...our hero, indeed!
(I know it's dodgy as fuck to call the Met at any point for any reason and I'm feeling awful about it)
(we're all okay, and the police have two suspects in custody with plausible forensics on them once forensics have been by)