IP yip yip

Look at me, all brave. Stealing the IP of Kenan Malik. Or is this the property of the New York Times? Gosh, it’s so hard to tell who owns what these days. Anyway, below is a defence of cultural appropriation typed by Kenan Malik. By the time I’m done, my blood pressure will be up twenty points and I’ll look like an idiot in public, but I suspect I’ll look less idiotic than Kenan Malik. For this witless motherfucker has done the classic, classic, classic bait and switch on the topic. He says we’re all richer for cultural mixing. He’s wrong. Having your cultural markers stolen for profit makes somebody richer, and wanting to prevent that is not gatekeeping, it’s survival. He says that all cultural practices are up for grabs because anything else may prevent the privileged from having compassion for the underprivileged, which is a narrow case of special pleading aka bullshit. And he skates by colonialism as if it isn’t the SINGLE BIGGEST ISSUE facing all content creators these days; it’s the issue that palimpsest-wise underlies his argument, and he avoids it the way a cab driver just doesn’t see you when he’s booking off shift.

LONDON — It is just as well that I’m a writer, not an editor. Were I editing a newspaper or magazine, I might soon be out of a job. For this is an essay in defense of cultural appropriation.

yeah, well fuck you. You start out from a position of privilege and you want more.

In Canada last month, three editors lost their jobs after making such a defense.

yeah, well fuck you. They were unprofessional, racist and FUCKING STUPID <<<<<<—– the way elites never get how fragile their blessed state is ——-> and gloriosky, they lost their jobs.

The controversy began when Hal Niedzviecki,

A man with a history of racism and stiffing writers, oh yes. …. gosh, is this a trend? A trans woman of colour told me he stiffed her for solicited writing. It wasn’t much money, but honey, when a first nations content creator thinks she’s selling me something I FUCKING PAY FOR IT. SO … right off the top, a racist asshole with holes in his pockets is represented as being ‘besieged’ ‘beleaguered’ and ‘besmirched’ for having a problematic opinion in public. Will Robinson is getting the danger page from his puckering butthole at this point, at least in the universe I inhabit.

editor of Write, the magazine of the Canadian Writers’ Union, penned an editorial defending the right of white authors to create characters from minority or indigenous backgrounds. Within days, a social media backlash forced him to resign. The Writers’ Union issued an apology for an article that its Equity Task Force claimed “re-entrenches the deeply racist assumptions” held about art.

OKAY LET’S JUST STOP RIGHT HERE. What Mr. Malik, administering his homeopathically weak smackdown of this ‘defence of racist writers for getting shit wrong’ aka ‘horrible censorship event’ fails to mention is ANYTHING LIKE CONTEXT. THE WRITE ISSUE WAS SPECIFICALLY AN ISSUE ABOUT INDIGENOUS WRITING. Okay, let’s go again. THE WRITE ISSUE WAS SPECIFICALLY AN ISSUE ABOUT INDIGENOUS WRITING. He could have put his feelings in his blog. He could have penned it for another publication. That would have been gruesome, but in the era of Doubledown Douchenozzledom, Racist Edition, he used a position of privilege to kick the living snot out of the people who were being represented in the mag. Gosh, folks, you should have seen my twitter feed when this all went down. Indigenous activists and writers were foaming, and justifiably so. Niedzviecki knew up front he was going to get shit, and for the first little while he laughed at the shit he got. Then he went OH SHIT, which is what you do when that college kid “just for a lark” smirk gets wiped off your face by real life.

Another editor, Jonathan Kay, of The Walrus magazine,

A man who, ha ha, is well known as being a Joseph Boyden supporter (another riproaring case of mighty whitey, writing himself into native history with his very well reviewed (by whites) book “Orenda”). He only writes about native issues to talk about how racist natives are, let’s just skip all the decolonializing reasons Mohawk peoples might want to get white people off their land on Canada’s dime. Here’s the link. http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/jonathan-kay-the-one-place-in-canada-where-racism-is-still-tolerated-native-reserves. Now that’s not inflammatory at all. He could be talking about any kind of racism that happens in Canada. He could talk about how the city of Thunder Bay has more racially motivated hate crimes per capita than any other place in Canada; the hate crimes are overwhelmingly committed by white people on FN people. But the most racist place in Canada is a reserve. No hon, the most racist places in Canada are not reserves. They’re prisons. But I’ll stick the ‘and in conclusion, fuck you’ pin in that for the time being. WHY IN THE EVERLOVING FUCK would we want to take this asshole seriously about race issues, SPECIFICALLY about First Nations. The multiple appropriations of land, language, people, culture have no emotional content for him; FN are just getting upset because they’re special snowflakes. No hon, you’re the special snowflake, thinking Canada is 150 years old and that makes the First Nations 150 years old too. This kind of racism I call “Measuring the universe with a tapeline the same size and shape as you.” It’s another example of “I’m not racist but we should talk about how all injuns are alcoholic jailbirds,” but tidier… prettier… publishable by the Capitalist Choir of Discordant Twaddle responsible for the National Post.

was also compelled to step down after tweeting his support for Mr. Niedzviecki. Meanwhile, the broadcaster CBC moved Steve Ladurantaye, managing editor of its flagship news program The National, to a different post, similarly for an “unacceptable tweet” about the controversy.

I don’t suppose you’d care to guess what format this unacceptable tweetstorm took. A whole bunch of well-known, well-connected, mostly white writers and journalists, gathered ’round their beleaguered fellow lickspittle to mock the people who took offence and to pledge money for a “Cultural appropriation” writer’s prize. Steve was up for giving $500 but one thing I know about these folks is that they’re faster to pledge cash than cough it up, so I can well believe the fucker was kidding and I’ll give him my brightest and shiniest hall pass for that.

It’s not just editors who have to tread carefully. Last year, the novelist Lionel Shriver generated a worldwide storm after defending cultural appropriation in an address to the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Mr. Malik fails to provide the context, again. Shriver played the clueless and hectoring old white guy (surprise, she’s an American woman) in front of a group of people who mostly thought she was right on. Strangely, indigenous people and people of colour in the audience were horrified, oh puhleez. Them coloured folks and their identity politics, getting all mad about sombreros and such. They didn’t find her arguments about how white people should have unfettered access to all cultural traditions (so they can get the last word in, steer the narrative, drown out indigenous voices and get the fat stacks) convincing, mostly because saying that you mean well when you’re handing out the cultural equivalent of smallpox blankets just doesn’t go down as smoothly as it did two hundred years ago, who knew. Of course fiction is ‘fake’ Shriver but that doesn’t meant it isn’t real, and representation matters if the people being represented are being lied to and about

even more than when you get it right.

Earlier this year, controversy erupted when New York’s Whitney Museum picked for its Biennial Exhibition Dana Schutz’s painting of the mutilated corpse of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American murdered by two white men in Mississippi in 1955. Many objected to a white painter like Ms. Schutz depicting such a traumatic moment in black history. The British artist Hannah Black organized a petition to have the work destroyed.

I would have been happy with the painting not being publicly displayed, but I’ve read Hannah’s letter and I understand where she’s coming from.

Other works of art have been destroyed. The sculptor Sam Durant’s piece “Scaffold,” honoring 38 Native Americans executed in 1862 in Minneapolis, was recently being assembled in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. But after protests from indigenous activists that Mr. Durant was appropriating their history, the artist dismantled his own work, and made its wood available to be burned in a Dakota Sioux ceremony.

Which is a fine response. Works of art are destroyed by their creators all the time. I’ve torched my own shit, and why not, it was shit and it was mine.

What is cultural appropriation, and why is it so controversial? Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University, defines it as “taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission.” This can include the “unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.”

It’s not just the permission. It’s the context. It’s the taking as if the act of taking ‘makes you native’ or ‘makes you black’ or ‘honours the traditions’ when it patently, replicably and reliably does not.

Appropriation suggests theft, and a process analogous to the seizure of land or artifacts. In the case of culture, however, what is called appropriation is not theft but messy interaction. Writers and artists necessarily engage with the experiences of others. Nobody owns a culture, but everyone inhabits one, and in inhabiting a culture, one finds the tools for reaching out to other cultures.

But the messy interaction is one-sided. Members of the dominant culture, with law, language, media and custom on their side, interact with the traditions of indigenous and creolized and ancient cultures from a mixture of fear, hatred, stark envy and jealousy, and call it art. Sure art’s theft; but it should also be thought made visible, and the thinking that’s made visible is DOMINANT CULTURE CAN STEAL ANYTHING IT LIKES AND IF YOU COMPLAIN you’re WHINY LITTLE BASTARDS WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THE BROAD SWEEP OF 2500 YEARS OF COLONIAL HISTORY. Urk.

Critics of cultural appropriation insist that they are opposed not to cultural engagement, but to racism. They want to protect marginalized cultures and ensure that such cultures speak for themselves, not simply be seen through the eyes of more privileged groups.

The tone here is like Saruman chiding Gandalf in The Two Towers. To be chastised is one thing. To be told that your feelings are going to go in a big stew of rhetoric and come out normalized and standardized… part of the dominant culture, acceptable…. yeesh.

Certainly, cultural engagement does not take place on a level playing field. Racism and inequality shape the ways in which people imagine others. Yet it is difficult to see how creating gated cultures helps promote social justice.

Everything is mine to steal and my theft promotes social justice. Fucking breathtaking, isn’t it? Nobody creates a gated culture to start out with, but it may end up that way if anything you leave lying around gets stolen by white assholes – who tell you they’re doing you a favour by popularizing your cultural ideals, and then laugh in your face when you want to get paid. He wrote more, but since I don’t want to quote any more from this masterwork of spineless sucking up to thieves and monsters, I’ll just take my blood pressure off someplace else now. Okay, last questions. Why do members of the dominant culture have so little going on in their own minds that they must appropriate someone else’s marginalized culture in the first place? What failure of imagination is this, and why does Malik get so exercised in its defence?

today’s non-events

Got into a beatdown with a bunch of one of the most self-righteous pot activists (like there’s another fucking kind) on twitter today.

Come ON I smoke, but I don’t smoke and blow smoke in the faces of the allergic and the elderly, and they’re announcing it’s their RIGHT, because this is VANCOUVER, home of TOLERANCE. Yeah I’ll believe that when Canada gives back the unceded lands, you unregenerate failure of logic. I’m like a homophobe for harshing their mellow. Srsly. Got accused of equivalency to homophobia for objecting to people dousing the entire west end in pot smoke for their stupid fucking 420 festival (which leaves heaps of trash mounded everywhere and they’re all cryface because they didn’t get a fucking permit.) F*ck me!

I realized that when you put asterisks in f*cking swearwords you’re putting a leedle asshole right in the meedle of the word and since when you’re swearing there’s usually an asshole involved, it’s mesmerizingly poifect.

I love Buster, he’s an amazing cat. And he loves me too, I know it. I don’t think Miss Margot cares if I live or die, but Buster does.

My latest piece of fanfic smut has more than five hundred likes (it’s cute and hot, so there)

I’ve written a BDSM scene in the same ‘verse but I’m not happy with it yet. I had to put in about 200 words about how the scene is ‘necessary but non-consensual’ which kinda blows (or not!) since scenes need consent if they’re to resonate with me writing, at all. So it’s like “We’ve talked about this – I hate it when you want me (and need me) to top you but I’m s’posed to read your mind – and topping when you’re angry at your partner is a bad bad bad idea” followed by “Do what ya gotta, man, just hit me really hard.” Oh, and there are minor children in the house while this sh*t’s going down, just to make it even more like real life, and our heroes must deal with the domestic consequences of Daddies fighting. I LOVE A CHALLENGE. After all, continuing to have interesting sex after kids *is* a continuing challenge in real life. People want carefree smut? they can look elsewhere; to me smut always has a cost. Who bears it depends on who’s being responsible, or not.

Not that anybody wants to know, but I’m really not into any of those behaviours in real life. Nagging at volume is sort of where I max out, ask any of my exes.

Continuing to have the poly life discussion with someone. It’s painful. Really painful. I feel like I have my nose up again a particularly interesting window. I can smell bread baking. But no. G*ddamned heteronormative uncommunicative bushwah (on their end, not mine.) But at the same time there’s NO F*CKING POINT to becoming an elder if you don’t understand that real life takes time, opportunities for growth don’t wait, and if you don’t consider who’s going to be impacted by your decisions, your years, your grey hairs and and your learning means squat. I am still 22 in some corner of my persona, for my enthusiasms still have all the joy of my youth; I just can’t write everyone affected by my behaviour out of the script any more. I do from time to time, but not all the time.

Fortunately, since I’m pushing 60 with a broom, I can contemplate my greed like the gorram caged bear that it is. Still here, but not running the show.

Katie is still having a rough time and she and Alex are both sick again.

I am not having a rough time. I feel pretty good, all things considered. I have another two weeks of full time work. If that changes, I’ll deal with it. I actually have a plan to deal with it that I think will make almost everyone happy, at least temporarily.

Rogue One is a fucking fantastic movie. Getting eaten by Disney was the best thing that ever happened to the franchise.

Now to check if my money transfer has come through.

I literally just slept 12 hours

Which is kind of inconvenient. But I’m fighting a bug again, I think, and my dry right eye is saying THANK YOU because it is experiencing no sensation of pain or abrasion and opened without being stuck shut, like most other mornings.

I also slept through every chance to make arrangements for the evening’s entertainment or the possibility of being sociable with my brother, which I’m not impressed with.

I must now be vewwy quiet, and go to my list of things I can accomplish by being quiet.

Okay: so yesterday I promised to, in a literary sense, and in a literary sense only, kick Konrad Yakabuski, a crypto-racist hack working for a variety of mangy sheets but currently the Groan and Wail (aka Mop and Pail, Goad and Flail) in his equally crypto goolies.

The first paragraph is the establishing shot.  “I’ve been away so my vision’s clearer.” That’s the premise, the tone, the “I’ve seen things you’d never understand” crap.

No, your vision hasn’t cleared, Mr. Oblivious Child of White Settlers.  (And with that name, he’s *likely* counting among his ancestors the first Polish migrants to Canada, although I can’t prove it.) All you’re describing is how you couldn’t truly see where you were when you left, and centre your dislocation as somehow important, upon your return.

Mentioning the barren British homeliness of downtown Toronto is supposed to carry some freight of humour, but alas it does not. All it tells me is that he doesn’t know that it was ANOTHER colonized people, the Scots masons who fucking built downtown Toronto, who built that ugliness, under the watchful direction of (mostly) Brits. SO IN THE FIRST FUCKING PARAGRAPH…. drum roll please!

He’s clueless about the colonial history of Toronto after the FN were pushed off.  But does he wisely see his ignorance and make with the hard pass?

No he does not. He continues to draw a fine paycheque for his purulent emissions.

As a journalist, belonging has never been my main aspiration in life.

Putting aside that every great journalist who ever lived, of whatever stripe, puts themselves squarely among the human family. Perhaps that means never having a settled home but that’s not the same as not feeling like you belong to the human family. He doesn’t actually say what his main aspiration is, which is funny. It certainly isn’t the discovery and sharing of truth….

Then he says, and what complete and utter bullshit,

Real journalists typically take pride in shunning all labels, attachments, causes and collectivisms.

Just in case you think I’m being a little harsh by calling this bullshit, let me walk you down memory lane with a list of Canadian journalists, and I ask you to frame them against this remarkable statement and see how well they fit in his stunted neoliberal construction.

Pierre Berton.

Stevie Cameron

Barbara Frum

Victor Malarek

Well shit bag, they don’t.  They were all supremely opinionated and attached themselves TO PLENTY of causes and collectivisms, to wrassle Yak’s fucking red-baiting bullshit phrase into some kind of context. And those are the WHITE journalists I pulled out of my ass. What award winning FN journos like the ones at Windspeaker might have to say on the subject makes for bitterly amused speculation on my part.

Then, the classic line:

We are chroniclers of, rather than participants in, the society around us.

RILLY?

He doesn’t vote? have a cell phone with awesome apps on it? he doesn’t drive?  He has a twitter account, f’Chrissakes. Maybe he has a mortgage, or lives in a rental, rather than a tent under a highway.  He eats in restaurants and consequently uses the sewer system… one hopes.  IT’S EXACTLY THIS ATTITUDE, that he can separate himself from the herd with words (by talking about his calling as if he was pulled aside by the Jesus of Journalism on the Highway to Better Circulation) that allows him to believe the things he does. He calls himself a chronicler rather than a participant because he’s calling out what he perceives as his superiority.

waaaaal. All it does for me is tell me that he doesn’t see where his words are pointing.

Let’s pause for a moment. How does Allegra separate herself from the herd with words? Am I not guilty of the same white wordy masturbatory bs?

Sure. But I am a member of the human family, all of it. And I am a student of history. All of it. And I love my country. Not all of it, because some of it is structurally sexist, racist, colonial and a teensy bit fascist. But I’ve had to ask myself if I would take up arms for the conception I have of Canada, which is not a flag or a collection of laws but of a group of people who share a home, and the answer is, yes. This is a hard thing for me to say in public given how anti-colonial I can be, but it’s true, and I won’t linger over the dissonance I feel about it.

I am separate from other people because I occupy a frail, non-neurotypical body which preselects many of the things I like and hate for me.  But I’m just like everyone else, EXCEPT in how I think and speak and act. I breathe, I came from two parents, I’m going to die, I try to find love and acceptance and avoid pain and loneliness, I eat & excrete, I consume goods and services, I make things, I destroy things, I try to communicate.

In my separation from others I wish to maintain an egalitarian world view; a compassionate world view; a self-inclusive world view; and a world view as passionately committed to the destruction of capitalism as firmly as I am currently entangled in its fractal tentacles.

So yeah, I was a bit pissed at the use of the word collectivism. It’s a goddamned dog whistle – “I am anti-communist.”  Fuck yeah, you’re by extraction Polish and living in Canada, go figure. But more subtly, he’s saying that he’s clueless about how he participates in the Collective that is the Capitalist Posse, protecting everything that the Globe and Mail’s owners, subscribers and advertisers hold dear. Less subtly he’s saying that journalists who are overt about their causes AREN’T AS GOOD AS HIM. So he wants a fucking medal for being racist in public in the service of capitalism, but he doesn’t want to draw too much attention to that.  The fellation takes place in private, I guess.

Okay full marks to him, now I think of it. Most Canadians wouldn’t get the freight of the word collectivism.

Then he makes his concession.

Still, not even journalists can escape their genes, childhoods, experiences or environments – everything that determines who we are.

Oh boy.  He’s just plain folks, folks.

Our identities are never fixed, but subject to constant redefinition. In 2013, the Canadian part of my identity needed some refreshment and refinement. I found both in Joseph Boyden’s novel The Orenda, a haunting story of blood and belonging set amid the 17th-century Iroquois Wars.

HARD STOP. Joseph Boyden, who won awards for the above noted novel, has discovered a native ancestor and wishes to be Métis.

He isn’t.  Didn’t hear me? HE ISN’T.

There are shitpiles of settler whites with native ancestry in this country. I’m related to them on both sides of the family.

My tribe is Scythian, just in case you were wondering; they liked warrior women, weed, deer, horses and travel, and that’s good enough for me. (Merely trying to point out how white people claiming tribal affiliations is clueless newage bs.)

I am not shameless, stupid, venal and greedy enough to want to claim any FN of Turtle Island as my own, and most important of all, I have no FN grannie, no aunties, no uncles, no nieces, no nephews; no land; no language; I also have no UNRECOGNIZED TOXIC RESERVOIR OF GUILT, SHAME AND DENIAL that makes me want to drain it by claiming an experience THAT IS NOT MINE. If you don’t have a First Nations family willing to claim you, you aren’t FN. It’s that fucking simple, folks.

Joseph Boyden doesn’t have a FN family. Therefore….

BUT HE WANTS TO BE. And because he’s white, we should let him. That is the underlying support for Yak’s contention that we should stop ‘lynching’ him.

Note that the link says lynch and the headline’s been changed.

NOTE IT. It’s important. It shows the Globe and Mail knows it fucked up, but not enough to change the URL too.

Meanwhile, in twitterland, the pixels are practically catching fire over in the fabulous network of indigeneity. Joseph Boyden is ONLY BEING SUPPORTED by FN people with a long, long history of toxic sexism, slur campaigns, greed for federal cash and faux reconciliation.  Not one credible First Nations spokesperson supports Boyden in his claims to be indigenous. He’s Grey Owl for the Trump Era.

Then Yak goes on to describe how the indigenous awakening was important for the Canadian identity.

Riiiight.

Nice indians are good for the Canadian identity.  Noisy, university trained, angry, pushy, sophisticated, technically savvy, passionate life livers and givers standing up for the 600 plus nations and languages that white people keep trying to develop off the face of the earth, not so good for Yak’s construction of the modern Canadian identity.

Native life must be interpreted by white people to be real.

I used to believe it too.

Sorry Yak. Once you make the connection, as I have, over the internet, with real native activists; hear their voices; have private conversations with them; get scolded (in my case repeatedly) by them for not hearing, not thinking, not listening, not ‘getting it’, you can’t use language the way Yak uses it.

The rest of the article is shite so I won’t quote from it.

He uses the two words identity politics a lot.

If, as I suspect he is, he came from the Polish enclave in northeastern Ontario, I’d like to ask him a question.

How would you feel if every other kind of white person who lives in that part of the world pushed you off your land because you were Polish? Would you indulge in identity politics then?

The First Nations are NATIONS.  They practice ‘identity politics’ which is a dog whistle for ‘coloured folks being uppity’ and ‘faggots being uppity’ and ‘trans being uppity’ and ‘anybody who doesn’t identify as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire being uppity’ because they have the THREE QUALIFYING FACTORS of NATIONHOOD. Land, people and language. Sure, their governance is screwed up in many places BUT WHOSE FAULT IS THAT? The Government of Canada, acting for all of us.

Yak wants to reduce the nations of Turtle Island to ‘Canadians’ and then bag at them for not being good Canadians. THEY AREN’T FUCKING CANADIANS. They have to live with the laws and the racism and the ‘can’t you deal with being a conquered people’ bs, but they aren’t Canadians. They can have a Canadian passport, but that’s because they don’t have an alternative if they want to, you know, live in the world, travel on business or to see rellies or for pleasure, like human people do.

So read the rest of the editorial with that in mind.

Yak, you are too clueless to live in this world you’re so far above.

angry gesticulating and inarticulate howling

So I found out that one of my fave former church siblings is dead.

And I want to complain about it.

Not because she’s dead, but in consequence of how she was treated before she died.

Now, she had mental health problems, and she was forever going back to her doc to get her meds adjusted.  She started feeling poorly (she was well into her 60s); tired, digestive upsets, dizziness. They adjusted her medication.

She ended up in hospital, and while she was there they found out she had stage 4 lung cancer. They sent her home and she died four days later.

 

F*ck you you *sshole who didn’t check her physical status. You’re a f*cking stain on medicine and I’d stake you to a f*cking anthill in the noonday sun if I had a chance. You decided that a mentally ill woman, a beautiful, sweet, hard working bundle of awesome, was having mental health problems INSTEAD of physical problems and you didn’t even so much as give her a proper workup.

She was ANGRY BEFORE SHE DIED.  She’d been totally f*cked over by the medical establishment.

SO. I know for a fact I have mental health problems, many people do. I don’t take prescription medication because I’m one of those awkward people who hates the seven zillion side effects more than the cognitive relief I might get. And did get, for the four months (WHICH COMPLETELY F*CKED ME UP WITH SIDE EFFECTS) I was taking Prozac. Wellbutrin triggered dissociation and the desire to pick up knives and sink them in my family members, which thank the little fishies went away as soon as I stopped taking it.

And because I don’t go to church anymore I couldn’t go to her funeral, and because everybody assumes I’m connected to the church on facebook nobody called me.

I’m okay with that. I’m not okay how this beautiful person was treated.  Misogyny (oh she’s always complaining about her meds like old biddies do) and ableism (who cares, she’s anxious) KILL WOMEN.

The world can really suck sometimes.

I will remember you, church sibling, as a lover of beauty and a faithful servant of our community. And a super sweet lady. God damn it.

 

Job interviews

I am very fortunate to have a job interview today.  I know that when I’ve had 70 or 80 interviews the odds are good that I will get a job, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic.  I barked at the HR staffer on the phone who called me to set up an appointment because I didn’t recognize the number and I’d just had a big long run of writing and wasn’t in, “Hey dumdum you’re supposed to answer the phone like God’s receptionist!” mode. Which -every other time- I have done. And I got an interview anyway.  Not exactly sure how to feel.

It’s a reputable company doing reputable things, and it’s a half-hour commute by bus away, just like I’ve wanted.

But I think about job interviews where they love my resume and then they’re like this when I show up because I’m 57.

Or when I ask them about how online reviews say they’re the worst place on earth to work and she snaps, “That’s the factory in the States, not here,” and then THREE TIMES OVER THE NEXT YEAR they run an ad for the position I interviewed for (got a second interview, even), and instead of saying to myself Holy Crapstacks! dodged a bullet! you know what I do? I cry.  Because they didn’t hire me. I know I wouldn’t have lasted if it was so bad three people quit in a year, but still there’s me looking at the Craigslist ad, this last time was only six weeks ago, and thinking why didn’t they hire me?

Or I go to a headhunter and get told, “You have to spend money on clothes and wear makeup or you will never ever get a job.”

Or I go to a headhunter and get told by a woman younger than my daughter that I need to freshen up my resumé. I’d certainly like to know how, given that I haven’t worked for pay in 2 years.

“Volunteer! Spend days researching every company you want to work for and then pitch them hard! Go door to door with your resumé! You need to be looking at jobs anywhere on transit and quit with this foolishness about needing a short commute. Take any job however menial or destructive to your hearing, health or sanity, and look for a better one while you’re working! Go back to school and get something buzzy and pointless on your resumé! Have you tried …(a suggestion which implies that the person you’re talking to, whom you’ve known for 15 years, hasn’t actually spent any time learning who the hell you are)? Leave town and go where the jobs are, like Fort St John and Ft McMurray!”

I understand the world has changed; I have never expected to have a job for life.  I want a job which will feed me, stop me from destroying my life savings, and not be so demanding that I don’t have the energy to write.  If that is too much to hope for, I will adjust my hopes accordingly.  But I am not at the point where I can take just any job, because it would not be fair to my employer for me to just quit when presented with a better opportunity.  And there is always the possibility, since it’s obviously true, that there won’t be another job, and I’ll work in the dishpit of an Italian restaurant until I dissolve with the steam into a little spot of grease in a uniform, but not before my varicose veins crap out.

But it’s not like I’m the only one.

 

a brief response

When you come out of the gate calling responsible use of language “ideologies of victimhood” you *know* who’s gonna love what follows.
Men, mostly.  That was my facebook experience.  I was going to respond on facebook and thought fuckit I have my OWN blog to rant on, why poop on the self-congratulatory parade of men who lined up to agree with every word? Oh, the mean things they said.
Not that any of you care, but I laughed my ass off when she said “For example, homosexuals have been hideously abused through much of history.” This is such a Canadian thing to say it’s quite amusing. You think she’s sticking up for homosexuals, but is she? Who’s she putting down in the process?
(I would argue the whole piece is full of these ideo-logic bombs but I just grabbed one.)
 
I can’t speak for anyone who’s First Nations, but it is a matter of documentation custom AND LANGUAGE you know that SOCIAL CONSTRUCT WE HUMANS USE TO THINK WITH that people who are gender non-normative have been living uncircumscribed lives here for hundreds of generations; the *assumption* of hideous abuse is a colonial use of language, all the more hilarious because McElroy identifies as an anarchist. She thinks she’s covered herself by using ‘much of history’ but no, she’s just revealing the ‘structural swiss cheese’ of her argument in her choice of words.
 
People are at different points along the justice spectrum. Yelling at them to move up doesn’t help and any sensible person with a long term view of social justice knows it. But some social justice enthusiasts are wont to yell, because they want a cookie for how hard they’ve worked on their isms and get shouty and irrational when unappreciated. I am that person.  Except when I’m not.  Wendy’s taking a normal human reaction to cognitive dissonance and trying to ‘other’, denigrate, condescend to and belittle SJWs by saying they’re mean sometimes.  Fuck yeah. Get me drunk and in the same room as Wendy McElroy and I’ll be a right arsehole, you betcha. 
But I’d rather be the arsehole defending the rights of those whom the state has deemed less worthy than white men, than the public intellectual who calls herself an anarchist and then sides with the oppressor with every sign of glee.  Jumpin’ Jimmy Christmas, woman.
 
Oddly, personal experience and testimony to those who think they aren’t privileged do work to move the needle toward justice, but they are really inefficient strategies being one on one, and they put a lot of emotional pressure and expectation on disadvantaged people. If you are immune to the effects of sexism and racism and all those isms, you’re lucky in your life, and cursed in your head, because you aren’t seeing and feeling the world of your fellow humans except in the narrowest way, and while you can’t tell, other people can, and that is among many things an annoying feature of do gooders.  Oh yes we will call you on your bullshit, yes we will.  Who’s a good reactionary? Who’s a good reactionary? You are. Yes you are. You know you are, fuzzums!  

the wonders of Qatar

A man has been arrested for entering Qatar with (and candidly, this is really hard to believe) in excess of 12 kilos of bacon packed in his ass. I’m not going to link to the site, but it shows a picture of the customs officials standing in front of the packaged bacon like it was a pile of seized cocaine. Also, it looks like 4 kilos of bacon to me, but what do I know.

He was selected for special inspection because he appeared ‘nervous and sweaty’. I am amazed he wasn’t ‘ruptured and lifeless’.

In other news the World Health Organization advises you to avoid any bacon which might make it onto the Qatari black market.

I’ve been here since noon

In a couple of minutes they’ll call the flight and I’ll find out if I’ve been sitting here like a fucking idiot for no good reason for the last day. Fort St John is not a fun place to fly to on passes.  PAUL WANTS TO TAKE THE SKYTRAIN HOME.  On April 4.  With no Compass card. My feelings are simple.  He can do what he likes, although with no Compass card he’s not likely to get far, as I laboriously explained to him.  I’m going home in a cab; it’s hours after my normal bedtime and I have hours to go before somebody offers up a bed for me.

later….

Home.  What a fucking waste of a day.  Three flights came and went and I’m not going to FSJ unless somebody pays for my return flight.

Some man was shot dead a few blocks from here.  I don’t think I want to live on this planet any more.

 

 

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One of my favourite filkers played a drinking game with himself while watching the Democratic debate last night, and then live blogged it. He was pretty smashed by the time he stopped, and his wife was carefully hydrating him at last report. It was pretty funny.

Still no plan or commitment to end police violence.  Bernie is using all the right words, but they don’t add up to “We will take the following steps to end deaths during custody and confinement”. This is the standard that the black activists I follow on twitter are politely asking for, and it is not adding up to a plan.

When they point it out to white people (or wypipo, as it sometimes appears on twitter much to my amusement) the mostly male Berniestans LOSE THEIR CHEESE.  The stuff they say to people like Imani Gandy @AngryBlackLady (lawyer, feminist and CHRIST can she throw shade) and Elon James White (who is straight up one of the funniest, kindest, nerdiest and clearest thinking humans I’ve ever run across, while still being uncompromisingly stern with racist assholes) and Ta-Nehisi Coates (‘ta na hezzy) who is an awesome prose stylist and an atheist, and you try being an atheist in black culture, Abiyomi Kofi, the Gullah-Indigenous intersectionalist, and I dare you to say that when you’ve been drinking, and Wagatwe Wanjuki, activist against gendered violence — is absolutely disgusting.  All these people get shit from white people on the internet, in an ever flowing stream of bile, bad spelling, shitty science, gendered slurs, racial slurs, and yet they rise every day and try to hack through the thickets of law, media and custom to get to a place where anything but equality is unthinkable.

The Zika virus is unlikely to be causing the microcephaly cluster.  It is much more likely to be a previously unknown teratogenic effect of a Monsanto larvicide which started being added to the water in large swathes of the affected areas in 2014.

So I am looking at this horror show and thinking, wow.  Monsanto sells MORE LARVICIDE to get rid of the mosquitoes. The various government health bodies pay out money for larvicide and reap the hellish bounty twice: Once when the larvicides quit working and forever when microcephalic children are born.

The governments involved may say it’s a fair price to pay to keep the working population healthy enough to you know, work.  Screw the kids, they’re all poor anyway.

As for Zika virus being found in sufferers, it’s present in 75% of the population in that state anyway.  Not a clear signpost.

I DIDN’T LIKE MONSANTO BEFORE THIS.

This ol’ world sucks a mop.  But it’s the only one we got, and I need to help make it better.

 

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Paul managed to ruin Solstice dinner. It didn’t happen.  I begged Katie to let me step in, and she decided to place her trust where it was not deserved. We’re going to try again today but if I said the prospect doesn’t please would you be surprised?

Baby Alex of course was very wonderful especially at whining around his mother’s ankles when she wouldn’t hold him continuously.  He smiled as soon as he saw me, which was pleasant. He also kicked me in the face, which was not, but which I richly deserved and didn’t leave a mark.

The worst thing about yesterday was that, although I was the only person at the c******f*** who thought about Keith long enough to text him and say dinner was off, he came home and his house was completely empty; the car was there with the car seat and Paul’s bike was gone.

He was so shook up he called me, as distressed as he’s ever been when I talked to him. I explained what had happened and his dad came home in the middle of the phone call so all was well.

Conflikt has me on the reg page, which is nice since I registered in August.

I’ll probably be going to Victoria after Christmas possibly with Alex; Jeff is going in a few days.

 

countermeasures

What a fucking disaster of a review.

Eventually the movie review will be gone, so here’s a quote.

 

What’s it like for him to be alone for years? Is the sheer solitude a burden? Is the simple lack of human contact a cause of psychological derangement? Are there exercises that he does in order to ward off hallucinations, to control inner voices? And what are those voices? What does Mark say to himself? What does he think—or feel? Is there anything that he has to overcome in order to remain mentally sharp and emotionally stable?

oh my FUCKING GOD you asinine critter, don’t you think astronauts are SELECTED for their ability to stay sane in these circumstances?  It’s called WORKING THE PROBLEM.  They don’t show him masturbating, although disposing of the consequences would be a funny couple of minutes, and they don’t show him crying, or hitting things, or any of that stuff. Any sane person knows it happened; we don’t need to see it.

 

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THIS MOVIE WAS NOT THE PERSONALITIES of the characters involved.

It was in their ability to work problems.

The author of this review, who’s a chump’s own chump, is under the impression that science fiction fans – a demographic that is rapidly approaching everyone who is not a religious fanatic, hermit or killjoy – want to see another movie with people talking about their feelings or their interior lives.  No, we want to see a SCIENCE fiction movie. Not a movie that waves its hands when it comes to science but one that says you have to understand orbital mechanics to link up with a flying object in the Mars gravity well. Where mass and math and persistence and grit make survival possible, make triumph possible, make the unification of the world in its concern for a single human being possible.

The ’emotional tenor’ of the movie is SIMPLE.

We’re going to take our feelings, and we are going to set them aside, and WORK A FUCKING PROBLEM until it is done.

And despite the whitewashing of the movie, and yes it’s true, ethnicities were changed and that’s notable, something was preserved that I think is more important.  A young black mathematician gets called a steely eyed missile man by the Hermes crew, which is, without a word of a lie, the highest praise you can give a technical man in a space crisis situation. A generation of black kids will be dreaming of Mars based on this one sentence in the movie.  May the great parent of the Universe give a line of reasoning to Richard Brody, since he could really use one.

The emotional tenor of the movie is simple.  Why do people rescue other people.  BECAUSE WE ARE SOCIAL.  Now leave me alone, I’m working a solution that’s going to help other people.  You can assume I have an interior life. Because we all do.

Deleted Chipper

Chipper, if you’re reading this, quit sending emails.  Talk to your friends.  Quit reminding me how lonely you are by sending detailed lists of how fucked up I am.  It’s quite as crazy as it sounds, so stop. Remember you yelling into the phone at the American Express telemarketers?  While Paul and I had to listen?  Yeah.  I’m asking you to stop in a much quieter voice.

For the rest of you poor sods, some of whom have known her longer than I have:

I have very regretfully had to delete her user ID, as she’s threatened to use it as a soap box to announce my failings to the world (as if I don’t already do that in double handsful on a reg’lar basis, but whatevs.) She has her own blog, that she pays for, that belongs to her. But I’ve had to take that off my sidebar, at no loss to her.  She’s never gotten a single booking referred from this website or she would have phoned me to tell me.

I have happy memories, and I’m going to hang on to them, because they are part of the family lore.

I’d say that one of my issues is setting boundaries, but now that I’m post menopausal and feeling my calling and surrounded by a working model of adult friendship, I’m learning how to do that.  What I experienced was abuse, and nobody else ESPECIALLY NOT THE ABUSER gets to call it civil discourse and gracious hospitality.  If she wants to try to talk me out of how she abused me by sending abusive emails, that’s heading over to the place where the judge gets to make the call, and I don’t want to go there. She said it was very convenient for me that Paul witnessed most of the yelling.  Yes, being yelled at while there was a witness was er, convenient.  Definitely convenient.  That’s the word I’d use.

I should not have visited her while she was sick.  But colds go away. Boundaries stay in place.  I should have rented a cabin and left her to yell at her house (she does that a lot.)

And maybe I was depressed when I went, but I really don’t feel that way now.  I have communed with the spirits, I have walked in the woods, and I feel like helping someone who has helped me. I’m going to help Paul with his Restorative Justice talk, and then I’m going to start writing again on Monday, since I’ve had a nice long, weird, horrible, exciting, heartening and thought-provoking break, and on Tuesday I’ll spend part of my grandson’s first birthday with him, and I’m going to paint a picture of the dream I had, where I was climbing Moore’s Falls.  I will practice my mandolin and cook for my household and try out Terry’s cookie recipe which is so good I could DIE. I will write down more songs, and keep adding to the book of kind words (wrote some more in Cornwall), and prep Theo for surgery (not really but almost.)

I will check in with the editrix of awesomesauce and make a list of friends to call. I’ll do my taxes, although not before I put them off some more. I will continue to live a satisfactory life and when life hands me difficulties and worries, I’ll have friends and family who trust me, and who reciprocate my love and care and trust and appreciation with deeds of shining worth. And words spoken at a conversational volume, because candidly, that was the best thing about going to Cornwall and then getting back to town.

So, about the couple ‘living Victorian’.  Three comments.

As you may know, my mOm is transcribing our ancestor’s diary. He was a lower middle class Victorian Englishman with pretensions, since he was an antiquarian and took tea with Carlyle (more than once, I’ll have you know.) He spends an inordinate amount of time diarizing about the weather, and how they had to break the ice on the wash basin in the morning, when they had infant children in the house. Damn right skippy, it freezes hard in jolly old England. Comfort was hard to come by and made much of when it occurred.

When people want to live their cosplay, I have no objections and am in fact quite envious. When I find out about their lack of technology in an article she wrote for the internet, I laugh quite heartily and my envy melts away, unless I missed something and she’s powering her server with a steam-engine. Then I’m envious again, although not of her neighbours.

Victorian birth control. Until you’ve done nappies the Victorian way (ancestors did vaccinate their kids, for what it’s worth) you have a contortionate and dreamily inaccurate view of a Victorian married woman’s life.

Finally

Six hundred forty-five words yesterday, all praise to moving around and trying to write in a different location.

Sad news, Joe W’s dad died this week.  He was a frequent guest at parties at the old place and part of the Trent/Joe/Mike gang.  It’s very sad and Mike will get me funeral details.

Also, the son of a friend who was in rehab checked himself out by destroying property and making threats, and I feel so sad and sick about it that I’m almost on the ground.  But we must rise, and rise and rise again.

Swimming with Baby Alex tomorrow, plus mamma.  Today I’m thinking about a trip to the New West Farmer’s Market this afternoon.

I made tomatoes and scrambled eggs and toast this morning for brekky.

Now to find something to either write or edit.

whatevs

I am in a super strange mood, as I often be when the migraine (atypical) is pending (which it can do for weeks and then go back into its hole).  I shall make no decisions heavier than what to order for dinner (Mike’s treat) for the next 24 hours, and somebody please shoot me if I start making meeping noises about how nobody loves me, cause it just ain’t true.  Also, I’m doing laundry, because no matter what I do I get food on mah clothes.

Bwa ha ha, mistook Mike’s voice for Keith’s on the phone today.  I blame my brain chemistry.

I made word count yesterday (500 words a day is the recommended minimum) but continue, even after cleaning it with serious thoroughness to rassle with the cpap.

Wrigley!!!! omg Chipper you are the best.  I wish you could have heard me scream when I read that, you would have laughed your ass off.

Sometimes the cops have to use deadly force.

But sometimes it really seems like they don’t.

Back to naming babies.  Michel is NOT THE PERSON FOR THIS JOB.  Which is why he volunteered for it.  And of course he has ulterior motives, which add up to “The sooner the babies are born the sooner I can go back to making time with Kima hurrr durrr.”

Paul is supposed to collect me mid-afternoon to go walkies.  I am having trouble even making 2 k, but I suspect if I stick to someplace flat I’ll be fine.