76 to lie most effectively tell the truth in such a way it won’t be believed

He was quoting George. Colin recognized the quote; he’d heard his grandad mention it.

“But you can’t bring people used to thinking of themselves as superior to a different understanding of that superiority without making them mad, and so a good chunk of feminism is press rather than activism, although you need both to get anywhere.” He paused as they slid the bookcases along. “And the whole getting mad thing accounts for all the bullshit things white men who identify as feminists say to various individuals who are minority women when They call HIM on his narrowly constructed and self-serving and dismissive, condescending and slur-filled take on contemporary politics.

“There’s information to correct the misinformation, but in the same way a Jesuit priest can get a PhD in astrophysics and believe in the Trinity, a white Canadian guy can dismiss a rational argument from a Nigerian black woman simply because he doesn’t believe she could be well educated enough to argue with him, and thus does not actually pay attention to what she’s saying, and can continue to abuse her over the internet because in his mind she’s inflexibly stupid and needing to be yelled at.  That’s what racism is.  He is allowed to believe that he need not improve himself for something worse is his to abuse.”

“And you think I’m like that,” Colin said coldly, stacking rickety diner-style metal tube chairs.

“When’s the last time you abused a woman of colour on the internet?”

“I corrected all the spelling and grammar in her post, found her email address and sent it to her and she immediately replied that I was never to communicate with her again, which seemed easy enough to do.”

“You at least make an effort not to stalk.”

“Oh, I do stalk. It’s not good.”

“I stalked Lark for a while,” Jesse said.

“That must have been awful for you,” Colin said. It wasn’t possible to tell from his tone of voice whether he understood his self-reproach or was being a complete fucking prick. Colin had surprised him many times; he was mostly soft-hearted, but prickly, and fuck George and his gendered slurs.

“You’re doing a lot of talking and not much moving,” Cary said, appearing out of the gloom.

Colin said, “You’re doing a lot of talking and not much paying,” and Jesse sucked his breath in and held it, trying to aim calm at these two mismatched souls.

“I’m going to tell Abbie,” Cary said.

Neither mover spoke, and both started moving toward the back bedroom, which was strictly off limits to Cary. 

“You’re just hiding back there, you’re not moving anything. What were you talking about?” Cary asked. Jesse turned. He thought he might have compassion for Cary, when he wasn’t thinking of what Michel might do to him, so he answered with what he hoped was a face of shining honesty.  It was hopeless to think his face could shine, though; he’d never been in a house so dimly lit. The house of his childhood seemed like a Diwali celebration compared to this dump.

“Women, sex, LARPing, manners, feminism and him somehow thinking meeting my sister is a good idea.”

Cary followed the most recent words. “You don’t want him to meet your sister.”

“Socially he’s way way above us,”

“Hey!” Colin said.

“Although there are now mitigating factors which er, have to do with the LARP, and are boring past belief to the novice, like there’s an eight hour orientation and if you skip it or miss it you NEVER get to play no matter how you beg, and there’s like two hours of on-line reading which is a snap of course, but the hard part, I mean the really holy shit is this how it’s going to be from now on part, is just how mentally ill everybody who plays the game is.

“How mentally ill?” Cary said, with professional interest.

“You have to commit to behaving as if something you know isn’t true is true, and be prepared to die defending the lie,” Jesse said. 

“That’s just being a spy in wartime,” Cary said, dismissive. “Not mental illness, it’s strategy.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” Colin said. “The game makes ever-expanding demands on time and energy — though most of the cost is being subsidized by a rich crazy person.”

“Must be nice,” Cary said, although his voice never left its monotonic rut.

Jesse adopted his gently chiding voice, which made Colin want to dent him in the shins, a sordid feeling to have while blue and purple marks remained on Jesse’s face. “Colin, crazy is a pejorative word. It’s not useful in describing real world situations, it’s not respectful, and it isn’t helpful.”

“What it is is terse,” Colin said.

“Oh, now you’re manly,” Jesse said. “Let’s move furniture then. Cary, wanna help?”

“You’d have to pay me,” and he smirked. For a moment he looked like an artist’s rendering of the first Vampire-Sloth hybrid. Jesse wanted the smirk to go away,

“You’ll have to pay us if you want to watch.  We could get affectionate if you pay extra.”


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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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