Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Yon bonny road

And see ye na yon bonny road,
That winds about the ferny brae?
That is the way to fair Elfland,
Where you and I this night maun gae.

But, Thomas, ye maun hauld your tongue,
Whatever you may hear or see;
For if ye speak word in Elfin land,
Ye'll ne'er win back to your ain countrie!"

Though occasionally a rhymer and often a doubter, my name is not Thomas.
But I did go to Elfinland. And I never won back to my own country. (Indeed in latter years I have come to suspect that I no longer know the way back: my country has become imaginary.)

You must judge for yourselves whether I have kept silence.

Elfinland and its kissing cousins Utopia and Dystopia are where I found politics. Of course they are not the only places, just as there is no one beginning. How could they have been? As a child my life stood frozen before the witching hour -- whether morning or dusk, it was always three minutes to midnight. In such circumstances, one finds politics, despair, or both.

One of the first places I found in Elfinland was the vast expanse of Middle Earth. A traveller embarks on a dangerous, hopeless journey, to renounce something that he can neither live with nor live without. His journey is long and wearisome, and in the end he fails in intent and would also have failed in deed -- except that earlier on, he'd once managed to get something right. And by God, Tolkien sticks to his guns. When push comes to shove, Frodo does not survive the Ring and its loss. Means and ends matter enormously in Middle-Earth -- and despite its processions of kings and nobles, the end sought is that of Empire. Finally, among other things, it's a powerful love story -- and I don't just mean Aragorn and Arwen. Why do you think it hurts so when Sam marries Elanor and Frodo goes West?

Now let us take ship with C. J. Cherryh, out towards the Beyond, to the claustrophobic confines of Downbelow Station embroiled in war. A closed system, lurching from one crisis to the next and never ever quite recovering its footing. Union on one side, Mazziani's 'Company Fleet' on the other: Downbelow Station stuck in the middle. And Signy Mallory of Norway -- callous, calculating and morally compromised to the hilt, yet in the end unable to abandon principle entirely, unable not to play the traitor.

If we venture further afield, light aeons past Union space, perhaps we would find ourselves on the fringes of the (anarchic? socialist?) Culture, Iain M. Bank's licentiously sprawling, permissive, promiscuous and at times whimsical civilisation. Depending on where you stand, its perfection is either profoundly Utopian or Dystopian. Either set after the beginning of history (in the Marxist sense) or long beyond its demise. For myself, I suspect the former, but can one believe its account of itself? Has not the pen been much in the Culture's hand?

Fall through two mirrors backwards and you might find yourself in Neveryon: a world that is a reflection, but then emphatically not a reflection of our pasts and presents. Although I had discovered Samuel Delany's short stories (and who could argue with a title like "We in some strange power's employ move on a vigorous line") and essays (read his introduction to Neil Gaiman's A Game of You) some time ago, it was not until last year that I discovered Neveryona.
As Nanette would say, go and read the whole thing.

One finds many things in Elfinland and its kin, but contrary to popular report, escape is not among them.

And as for winning back to your own country? Journey long enough: it will no longer be your own.


63 Comments:

Blogger Nanette said...

I've been trying to catch hold of a thought about others. Or rather, about other others. Born, seemingly, without a country, a people or a hmmm, something else. It's nothing to do with race or ethnicity or apparently life experiences, because these Others are found in all sorts of places. Sort of an ability... or maybe not even an ability, but more like having no other way of being but to be a sort of part of everybody and nobody, I guess.

Obviously, I've not quite caught the thought yet, sigh.

Why am I writing this here? The comment section to this excellent article seems to be the perfect place to think out loud about stuff like this ;).

5/04/2006 4:20 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I agree, Nanette! If we can't think aloud about stuff like this here on dove's blog, where can we do it?

For good or for ill, I have posted my rant on anti-Otherism over on the green blog.

We old folks are just plain ornery.

5/04/2006 11:35 am  
Blogger dove said...

Nanette -- you may not have caught the thought yet, but you've caught something. I'm really curious, what are you going to write about them?


DTF -- good for you. I'm heading over to check it out.

Still writing here (did I mention I'm a really slow writer?) -- might post it here first when I'm done to take it for a bit of a test drive. I'm having lots of those 'hmmm. is that really what I mean?' moments.

5/04/2006 8:25 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Ductape, that is quite a blistering rant! Wowee. I wonder how many will take it to heart, or even attempt to see themselves in there. I won't hold my breath ;).

I have no idea what I'm going to write about them, dove, or even if I will. I am not confident of my abilities to articulate the thought, for one thing, lol. Although I think ductape's rant has helped center my thoughts a tiny bit.

But, it occurs to me that beyond the Others we usually speak of... meaning like Ductape said in his rant, something like the biblical stranger, or the outsider that doesn't belong to the dominant group or whatever, that there are other others. Whether they are part of the dominant group and can fit in anywhere, or part of the group of Others or whatever, they are still live in a sort of world where they are a part of it, and apart from it. So to speak.

Hmmm... I think most of us that have congregated around Manny's site are others, as well as other others.

I've always been one, but I thought that was mostly because of my upbringing. And actually some of it no doubt was, but not all. All during my childhood there were people who were friends of my mom (and their kids) from all cultures, races whatever, and when I was with them, I became them. I've been Indonesian, white, Mexican, Irish, Black (well, I've always been that, but I had no idea of that at the time, you see) and whatever.

I didn't realize how odd this was until I was older and realized that not everyone did that ;). Nor welcomed it! lol. But, there are definitely others like that, some who were even raised in insular communities, part of only one thing but still someone apart because of other otherness. I thought, later, that maybe it was what made people liberals, but as I've come to know more of people who claim that label, I don't think it's that either ;). I think they are born, not made or other others by choice, especially.

I'm still not putting this well, sigh... can't seem to stop dancing around the edges of what I want to say. Thought is not ready to be caught yet!

Although if I keep reading about your yon bonny road I just might be able to capture it.

5/05/2006 3:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay Nanette, now I too am completely intrigued.... As yet, I am not willing, tho' open to persuasion, to go the route of "born that way" but I also totally agree with your point that upbringing or labels like "liberal" don't quite explain the sense of being part and yet apart.

All right--not trying to nag you to hurry up your thought or anything....

poco

5/05/2006 4:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dove,
may I mention how very flattered i am by your sig line? So, now I need you to comment promiscuously, so i can ignore what you say and just feast my eyes on the sig line. :-))
poco

5/05/2006 4:53 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette, I wonder if you are talking about those Others who independently of race, ethnicity, religion or national origin, have a certain gene, Others who on hearing "The Swiss are evil, they must be stopped. Kill the Swiss," in that moment, becomes Swiss, and by sunset of that day, the basement of that congenital Other will ring with the sounds of yodeling, and wafts of chocolate seep out into the night air.

I did a rant a while back, The Miep Gies Gene, which I vaguely think may vaguely even relate to Dove's lyrical literary allusion piece, upon which we are now supposed to be commenting, but as I sheepishly confessed in another thread, it is not really my genre. Nevertheless, I would like to accuse you, dove and poco of all having the Miep Gies gene, and of being the most noble creatures in all the fantasy books.

5/05/2006 8:52 am  
Blogger dove said...

Nanette,
re. Manny's site, yes -- that's something I think I've noticed too -- and I don't think it's coincidence. I think it (and also some the more dispersed group of blogs that radiate to and from it) became something of a place to regroup after the cartoons.

There was a set of essays that came out many years ago now about immigrant experience in New Zealand. It was called something like 'I hold it in my hands both ways.' While I remember little about the essays, that phrase stuck in my head. It seems to me that it's about having more than one way of being, but no single way of being that is straightforward. If that makes any sense at all.

5/05/2006 9:19 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

yay, ductape! I had forgotten all about that article (tho obviously absorbed something from it, lol). Thanks for pointing to the link. I enjoyed rereading it.

I think that gets very close to what I mean. That is definitely part of it, and the being born with it thing (yay!), but I keep feeling that there is a little something more that is just out of my grasp.

Then again, maybe I just need sleep lol.

poco, I'm sooooo happy there is no pressure! I think ductape's mutant gene rant goes a long way towards explaining the born with it thing. And maybe the a part apart thing too, but I am not sure.

dove, sorry for hijacking your posts comments, but i do think all this has something to do with your yon bonny roads, so it's not that much of a hijack!

It seems to me that it's about having more than one way of being, but no single way of being that is straightforward. This is like one of those Chinese puzzle boxes lol.

5/05/2006 9:53 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Nanette -- you, like DTF, are more than welcome to comment here on whatever you like. I am very far from feeling hijacked!

Seriously, it's so excellent to show up and find conversation happening about well -- in a way, what makes for solidarity, no?

5/05/2006 11:04 pm  
Blogger katiebird said...

I love this conversation. Thanks for letting me listen in. (I'm too sleepy to actually participate)

:)

5/06/2006 5:11 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Oh good, dove, cuz I'm not all talked out yet ;).

poco, I think born, not made because... well, I'm not sure an other other can be made. You see people who make a choice to stand with others - they've maybe read books, studied non western centric history and power structures, joined the Peace Corps, are an Other themselves, and so on - and as ductape said in his rant, eventually they too face a stigma because of this... so there you are, tooling along beside them and all of a sudden you realize that someone is missing.

You look around and you see that that person has been stopped by a wall. You're puzzled as to why they don't just climb over it or something, after all it's just a little wall, but to them it seems 50 feet tall and they can't see a way around it, and so they are incapable of going forward - something is holding them back (fear, bias, family, whatever).

I've thought of this lately in the immigration debate and the one about the military and in different blog conversations. For other others, there seem to be no walls in the way at all - I know I have been puzzled (and alarmed) that so many can't seem to find their way over the wall.

Only it's not only to do with that, but is all mixed up with concepts of country and borders of all sorts, and also ways of being. I don't think other others make the choice to be that, that is the default. If a choice is made, it's to pretend, for whatever reason, that there is a wall there for them too (and probably to be bothered by that choice for the rest of their lives, even for simple, non threatening to someone matters.)

Being an Other, born or made, is no guarantee at all of being an other other, the mutant gene ones. I think that's sort of where the being a part but apart feeling comes from.

Maybe.

5/06/2006 6:41 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

hi katie!

I hope you join in when you are awake, lol.

I have no idea what I'm talking about but, hopefully, eventually someone will figure it out and tell me! ;)

5/06/2006 6:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nanette, I love your post--especially the (in)visible wall metaphor--a wall that seems eminently jumpable and non-existent, or impossibly high.

And I completely agree with you that seeing an unscalable wall or an easy step-over is not the result of any deliberate choice, any rational pondering of pros and cons. Either there really is no wall, or at most a minor inconvenience that one has to endure or one will be unable to live with oneself; or there is this insuperable difficulty, one that can be seized upon to excuse one's return to the convenient and the familiar and the comfortable. The highness of the wall enables a sop to the conscience--one can still live with oneself --it provides a reason, as you say, "concepts of country and borders and ways of being" that justifies turning away from those that need your solidarity.

I also went and read DTF's Miep Gies Gene diary and loved it. Its a great diary and I see that you both use the concept of the mutant gene to explain how some people see the wall and some don't.

This is my problem--the mutant gene concept is great as a shorthand way of referring to this--but it carries within it notions that make me uncomfortable. If it is genetic, then we have no control over it--not just in terms of deliberate control as in deliberate choice--but even in terms of changing structures of living and being and thinking and reading and listening that might enable more people to not see the wall. If it is a gene none of these activities will matter since it is all pre-determined.

I know you didn't mean any of this--maybe you just meant the reference to the mutant gene to suggest that we make choices without being totally conscious of how these choices get made. I prefer to think that the answer to not-knowing why a path is chosen is the result of innumerable cultural influences--some that we recognize, some that make an impact without our full awareness, and credit our actions to those unknown words said or written at those unknown times, listened to or read at those unknown places.

Not sure if this is making any sense--but I am loving this discussion.

poco

5/06/2006 11:27 pm  
Blogger dove said...

I think I'm with you poco in wanting to wanting to put this in the terrain of choices rather than inherent characteristics, and for broadly the same reasons.

I think it's to do with a myriad of little, often apparently trivial, inconsequential choices, some entirely hypothetical, not always even enacted in the world, but framed internally in terms of 'in this situation, what should I do?'

Others of them things like which books one lets worm their way into one's head, so that one is not the same person after reading that one was before, which is, I guess a little of what I was thinking of when I wrote this piece.

Sometimes I think
one can look back and think one spies a choice that mattered, but more often, not.

But each of those myriad little choices shapes future choices. It makes some things subtly more doable and others subtly less so.
Paths diverging in a wood and all that.

I don't think Miep Gies made her choice in isolation. By the time she came to choose to hide the Franks, I think the die -- if not cast -- was already loaded, by the thousand thousand smaller, more obscure choices that she had already made. And of course every day that she provided help would its withdrawal more and more unthinkable.

In an interview , she says of her choice that it wasn't a choice:

"My decision to help Otto was because I saw no alternative. I could foresee many sleepless nights and an unhappy life if I refused. And that was not the kind of failure I wanted for myself. Permanent remorse about failing to do your human duty, in my opinion, can be worse than losing your life"

5/07/2006 10:26 am  
Blogger dove said...

Well, that html tag didn't quite work out as planned. I guess there's a preview function for a reason!

5/07/2006 11:22 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette, I love the "wall" notion, it is very apt, and crystallizes a concept that I have not been able to find a hook on which to hang it. It hangs on the wall very nicely.

And yes, everybody, the "gene" metaphor is just that - a figure of speech. I do not pretend to know whether it really is a gene, that is, I guess, sort of my theory, that it is genetic in the same sense as those hominids shakily straightening out those back legs, genetic in the sense of evolution, which does involeve mutation, but I did not mean to open a nature vs nurture argument, and thanks to Nanette, I don't have to!

I think there are probably many people who have the gene, but nurture, or the wall, prevents it from activating.

And conversely, there are people who don't have the gene, but one or more life experiences kicks something open, knocks down a wall, and poof! There's the gene! It was there, maybe, just waiting. Maybe some genes are more wall-proof than others. :)

And maybe some of it just has to do with plain old adaptability. We all know people who simply refuse to try foods, for instance, from different places. They only want to eat the things they ate in the first five years of their lives, and during those years, only foods from their particular culture were put on their plate, and there they stay. They will die speaking no language other than the first one they learned. Because they have so much money, Americans are able to establish little "ex pat compounds" in almost every major city on earth, and in some countries, even keep themselves locked up in them. Maybe the father has to go out to work, but you can find wives and children who have lived somewhere for decades, and never once visited it, eaten anything but American foods or washed themselves with anything but American soap flown in to special stores in their little prison.

And don't think that there are not people from other countries in the US who would not do the same thing if they could! There are plenty who come as close as possible.

Other people are the opposite, they love to try different foods, learn languages, customs and cultures, make friends with people from all over, and maintain a diverse closet, deciding what to wear when according to their own comfort, mood, etc. They will sit up in chairs off the floor and eat and use western utensils (if they are an eastern person in the west) :) without blinking an eye, take an interest in the stupid TV shows, etc.

So what makes some people lock themselves inside these walls, while others live in open, breezy courtyards? LOL OK, I am rambling. Maybe katiebird will wake up and make it all sensible for us :D

5/07/2006 12:40 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

A dilemma! I didn't think of it as nurture vs nature, but maybe that's what it is. But only sort of ;).

Ductape, your story about the people living in other countries that they never visit reminded me of when I first got on the internet in the mid 90s somewhere. I wanted to meet everyone! I was just in awe of the fact that I could talk to people all over the world, where they lived. Many others had that same sense of excitement and just couldn't wait to make friends with people of other cultures/countries.

But then you'd meet these people from Mytown, Ohio who only wanted to meet and talk to people from Mytown, Ohio. Or, at most, the next town over. (This sort of thing was not limited to only people from the US, of course.) That just amazed me... could they not just walk out the door and meet people from Mytown? I thought maybe being sort of isolated and friendless locally might explain it, but no... some of these people were quite active in their local communities, lots of friends and acquaintances, happily married and so on... but they just had no interest in anyone outside of Mytown.

Very weird.

Anyway:
poco If it is genetic, then we have no control over it--not just in terms of deliberate control as in deliberate choice--but even in terms of changing structures of living and being and thinking and reading and listening that might enable more people to not see the wall. If it is a gene none of these activities will matter since it is all pre-determined.

I don't think anything is pre-determined, actually. But I'm not sure that means it's not genetic, either! Me, I don't know what it is, sigh. But I'm not trying to say that some people are born all wise or anything (or even that other others are all wise, cuz that is manifestly not so, lol), but there is a certain something that at least seems to be innate, that crosses cultures, ethnicities, religions, education and so on. But... there is still a need to learn, either from someone else, or a book, a snatch of poetry, an experience or whatever. I think that some of the differences come in in the ability to learn. Nothing to do with intelligence or anything, by the way.

Has this ever happened to you? You are secure in a thought or belief that you've arrived at by study, discussion or upbringing, in a group of people also secure in that same thought or belief. Then someone (most likely outside the group) comes up and presents an entirely new way of looking at the situation, that you'd never even thought of, and your immediate reaction is "oh... yeah, that makes much more sense (is more just, fair, merciful, etc), how simple this all is now."

Your compatriots maybe have a different reaction... resistance against the outsider attempting to influence things, instant negation of whatever was presented, unwillingness to look at this thing because it is a presentation of something they'd never thought of before, etc.

What accounts for that? And it's not as if the people in the second group are stuck there forever, unable to learn... one presents arguments, examples, chip away at the resistance to outsider views, to new things and eventually some will come to understand what you (and the outsider) are saying. Maybe not all, but enough... and so you go on.

So I think that reading and talking, listening and informing helps some to get over the wall or remove it completely, but there still exists those for whom no wall exists .. or if it does, it's a small one and relatively easy to dispense with. If the choice is made to do so.

5/07/2006 4:36 pm  
Blogger dove said...

"Has this ever happened to you? You are secure in a thought or belief that you've arrived at by study, discussion or upbringing, in a group of people also secure in that same thought or belief. Then someone (most likely outside the group) comes up and presents an entirely new way of looking at the situation, that you'd never even thought of, and your immediate reaction is "oh... yeah, that makes much more sense (is more just, fair, merciful, etc), how simple this all is now."

I had a friend in the States. Early on in our acquaintance, he'd show up to union meetings and say something -- usually something rather pointed and confrontational -- and my immediate response would be to think "How ridiculous." Or "That's just not true." And I'd go away and chew on it reluctantly and begrudgingly for a couple of weeks and after a lot of chewing, would conclude that actually it wasn't ridiculous and was true.

Later on, when we'd become friends, I told him this and he found it amusing.

So yeah, I've sort of had this experience, but it can take longer than it should for things to sink in.

An ability to learn, and also an ability to change one's mind?
It seems to me that the ability to change (and maybe an internal need to change?) in general is mixed up in what both you and DTF are describing.

5/07/2006 5:02 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

dove, I agree totally with what you've said about choices and influences that shape us, such as books that you've allowed to worm their way into your head, and little things here and there that affect your life and beliefs... but I am not sure that any of that refutes the idea that some of this stuff is inherent?

(Mind you, I have no clue if it is or not - I've certainly done no studies or anything... just sat up in the middle of the night wondering how else some things made sense, lol. So don't be surprised if I contradict myself and stuff, cuz I'm thinking out loud!)

But, reading your article about the beginning (and this actually occurred to me the first time I read it as well), I wondered... how many other people were at that meeting? How many others had, if not great respect, or possibly even friendship with this man, at least some small acquaintance or knowledge of who he was and his beliefs?

And how many others, afterwards, said, planned or unplanned, "What can I do?"

When I say born, I don't mean other otherishness springs full formed at birth, like from the head of whoever that was (Zeus?). I would think that, like anything, it's a lifelong process... and journey that involves many things... influences, listening to others, experiencing various things in life, even if whatever it is seems very tiny and unrelated to anything else, a journey or process some maybe don't consciously start on til later in life, but that is always there, somewhere. That being a part of, yet apart thing.

I think the "Miep Gies gene" (figurative or literal) is a pretty drastic one, actually, lol. Most of us are not (yet) faced with such life and death decisions, but with small, everyday ones (although little things do add up). I'd like to think I would react as she did, but I've not (yet) been tested in this... but I also think that those who I would consider far from being other others might find their "Miep Gies gene" kicking in, if it came down to the wire. So I think, in a way, that that sort of thing is somewhat different (maybe just in scale) from what I am talking about.

Or maybe not.. I've not yet quite figured out what I'm talking about, but it's getting there ;).

5/07/2006 5:10 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

An ability to learn, and also an ability to change one's mind?
It seems to me that the ability to change (and maybe an internal need to change?) in general is mixed up in what both you and DTF are describing.


Yes, (for me) that is definitely a huge part of what I am describing. In the talk of influences and learning and different points of view, the ability to even let that thought in seems to make a big difference. And then to change (if change is warranted).

It's all about choices still, but for some it seems that those choices are, if there at all, simply inaccessible to them (or they think they are).

5/07/2006 5:19 pm  
Blogger dove said...

No -- you're quite right Nanette. None of it does preclude the idea that some of it is inherent -- it's just that I don't want it to be inherent, which is an entirely different kettle of fish. (An odd saying that -- I've certainly never put fish in a kettle).

At that union meeting? Just me, I think, which smacks of hubris but is true. At that time there were two people really fighting for that issue: I became the third. Because we were fortunately situated within that union, we did most (though not all) of the speaking at meetings, bargaining, throwing hissy fits, etc. required to keep it on the agenda. At different times a bit later on there were up to a dozen or so people doing supportive things that didn't require speaking out publicly to the same extent.

But there were about 1200 members in that local.

On the one hand it made me realise that I had more power to change things than I had thought. But on the other it made me realise that a lot of my friendships went thus far and no farther.

And now I'm rambling ...

I don't think it's that most of them meant things to happen the way they did, I think it was that genuinely didn't see what all the fuss was about, but try as we might, we couldn't find a way of getting that across. Which brings us back to that gap, that business of letting ideas in, I guess.

5/07/2006 6:20 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette, I know we are onto another thread now, but I just had to tell you, I had exactly the same reaction to the internet, the same instant enthusiasm for being able to hear CNN say it is raining in France and go to #paris and ask "Are y'all wet?"

And the same astonishment, sadness, and ultimately, horror, at the MyTown phenomenon.

Thank you for bringing up the untapped power of the internets to bring, yes, peace and brotherhood - to those who want them, and reminding us that sadly, few do.

5/08/2006 3:08 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Nooooooooo, Ductape! *grabs on to the thinking out loud thread*. It's not done yet! We are coordinated enough to talk in two threads at once ;).

dove, I don't want it to be inherent either, I don't think. That's just the explanation that I've come up with (and Ductape too!), and it may very well be the wrong one... but something has to explain it, lol.

5/08/2006 5:40 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

This was a fantastic comment thread, just needed to acknowledge the brilliance shown. :)

5/08/2006 9:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nanette,
you asked if it had ever happened that I and my friends were comfortable in one way of thinking and then were challenged by someone else. And like dove, my initial response more often than not has been resistance to the new thinking.

I personally think my resistance stems mainly from laziness; I have done the reading and talking and discussing and we are all comfortable with our position and then I am being asked to do all of this again, when all i want to do is read some trash novel or go to sleep.:-) Plus who wants to acknowledge that the position we held was not as fair and just as it should have been?

So I have to admit that my immediate reaction on being shown a better way is never one of open-hearted welcome, but of irritation and orneriness. Takes me at least a couple of days of grousing and grouching and forcing myself to think through the arguments presented before I can come on board. So I guess I am missing that gene, hence my desire to see the ability to cross the wall as not being inherent, but as a slow and painful inculcation.

poco

5/08/2006 5:58 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Thankyou Man Eegee! But what's that past tense doing :)

And thanks again Nanette for starting this discussion here -- it's certainly given me plenty to think about in the last few days.

Poco:
"Plus who wants to acknowledge that the position we held was not as fair and just as it should have been?"

Noone. Because they are then required to admit that they have thought or done evil (which means they have things to regret -- I've often thought it odd that it was somehow considered virtuous to have no regrets in life -- if anything it's evidence that one has failed to learn a damn thing).

And having made the admission, they must now either change their lives, or else continue to do and think evil in the knowledge that they are doing so. And all of this over and over again, of course.

Well it seems to me that some respond with a kind of nihilism which expresses itself either as dull apathy (I'd say hopeless apathy, but I think that hope is often a deceiver) or as a kind of revelling in evil a la Lyndie England. In a way I think they're the two sides of a single coin, though I'd have to do some work to capture that thought.

And some respond with something that looks a lot like nihilism (and who knows maybe it is just a new and improved brand in the end) and think something along the lines of 'corrupt, rotten, compromised to the core, yep that's me. But.' They are seldom a happy lot, and they are certainly not the Miep Gies of the world, but they're somewhere there in resistance. And I suspect that part of what lets them resist (to the extent that they manage it) is that they do not think of themselves as innocent or good and that affects how they weigh their choices.

And doubtless there are many other kinds of response too, some of which are those made by the Miep Gies’s of the world.

But Alex's particular undoing, I think, is that she never gets as far as the acknowledgement, because to do that would be to lose her innocence – her goodness, and that is too central to her sense of who she is to be easily abandoned And in many other contexts, that self-concept of goodness does lead her to do virtuous things – Alex probably volunteers at the local shelter and does all kinds of things to make the world a better place – but it also means that she doesn’t have – well I think I recognise it sometimes when I see it, but it’s hard to put words to – a kind of steeliness, of obduracy.

Anyway, were there a an Olympic sport called waffling, I suspect I’d be up there in the sporting world.

5/08/2006 10:21 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL OK Nanette, I am delighted if we can keep this one going also, because I think it is important, and poco has reminded me that gene or not, human beings are creatures of habit, whether that habit be embracing the world, or huddling down in MyTown.

He reminds me that I have seen this kind of process on some message boards, of people who slowly, reluctantly, angrily, come to opinions that are, for example, closer to my own than the ones they held previously.

But suggest that to them and they will have a fit! In fact, I have come to believe that it is more helpful to them if I just shut up, and although, being human myself, I have an urge sometimes to say to them, AHA! I told you so! That is exactly what I said last week and you called me a doo doo head!

But if I did that, they would become very angry, and say noooo, they did not mean with those words the same thing that I meant! I am twisting their words, trying to make people think they too are a doo doo head, because I have an Agenda and want to disrupt and divide them.

So the best way we can help people grow sometimes is to keep silent. Post our rants and our links and our analyses somewhere else, leave them where they can be seen, but let them work it all out for themselves without benefit of either AHAs or praise for having taken up the habit of reading many newspapers.

They are more likely, I think, to take that next step, and maybe get to know some of the Whosits in their own community if I do not get in their face to suggest to them that such would be a good next step.

And usually, getting to know some Whosits will do more for them than anything they read. Not always, but usually.

The US is a very segregated society. In its way, just as much so as rural Pashtunistan, or South Africa. With the exception of some very diverse urban or semi-urban neighborhoods, most people of the mainstream US demographic do not have a lot of social interaction with people who are different from them. Some of this can be put down to economic segregation, because ethnic minorities are so over-represented in the underclass, but even among economic peers, ethnic segregation is still very prevalent. What interaction there is is more likely to be work related, or involve a whole group activity, as opposed to seeking out the company of a particular person with invitations to dine in the home, or attend a function together.

In the last generation or so, it is interesting, while there may be social interaction in the schooldays, it sort of fades away in adulthood. Even those who seek to "keep up" with old school chums will have a greater such involvement with those of their demographic. The minority school friends are more likely to receive holiday cards and an occasional phone call, while the mainstream demographic friends are more likely to get together in person, attend reunions, etc, even though in school days, the minority friend might have been closer!

And sadly, when such an effort is made, it is often suspect. Almost everyone has had the experience, at some time or other, of being invited to a function because the host wishes to demonstrate to his guests how "liberal" he is, how he embraces diversity, and how he is liked by people of different ethnic groups. The invitee will sense this, that he is being invited to "represent," not merely because the host likes him and wishes to spend more time with him outside the office, or even just thinks that his personality will be an asset to the party. And almost everyone has had the experience of accepting such an invitation, on the grounds of good will and benefit of doubt, and spent the evening forced into the role of curiosity, or worse, a representative of one's ethnic group, or even all ethnic minorities. No one wishes to get to know you as an individual, you are a symbol.

And it is not just a one way street! For a minority person to seek out the company or particular social activity with a mainstream individual is also not common. Why? Because such a thing is fraught with other implications. Is the ethnic one hoping to obtain a benefit of some kind from someone with greater social status and power? Does he think he will show his more insular-minded ethnic colleagues how different and special he is? And the guest may find, if he accepts, the same situation as the ethnic guest found at the mainstream party. He is just as likely to be treated as an oddity,

How many generations will it take to change this?

5/08/2006 10:24 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

poco, you and dove are blowing up my theory. Ack!

Oh well, I'll just have to change it ;).

Actually though, I probably used the wrong example, and also the way dove put it, the ability to learn and change... to let the thought in, makes more sense anyway. So, you're not off the hook yet!

I don't think it being inherent cancels out slow and painful incalculation though. There is that journey thing and lifelong learning. Which all seems to depend on the ability to hear (even if one doesn't exactly hear right away ;).

The people who puzzle me are those who seem to lack any ability to hear at all, or to change, when it deals with something, or some someones who are maybe their own personal fear. There are some people (not individuals) who they just cannot cross over that wall for, because they don't want to be on the other side of the wall with them (is what I think).

So, that's more what I mean. Sure, when presented with new information, taking the time to rethink, test the information's viability or dependability and all that is only to be expected sometimes. Still, some will never hear it, but that is just one of the walls.

The one I was more thinking of, and which more brings to mind other otherness is the hmmm... solidarity wall, I guess. Or maybe just the humanity wall. The one some people seem to slam up against, and can't get around, when it's time to stand with this or that group of Others because, for whatever reason in their minds, this particular group... whichever one it is... is different.

5/09/2006 6:24 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi Manny! Join in... we're not done yet, lol. I have a thought I am cooking up that I am going to post in your agoraphobia thread soon, too.

dove, I just posted in the other thread that I thought Alex was incased in steel! Or, at least her innocence, etc. But not shatter proof... and I agree, remove that and not so good things might result. Very fragile underpinning.

Ductape, all you are saying is soooo very familiar. And poco with that "oh, I don't mean you, I mean the other ones" (in the other thread).

I am not sure silence is good right now. I don't think there is time for it, really, because too many things can happen too quickly the way things are set up now. Not only in the US, but many other places are setting up really horrendous laws. Other places already had them, sigh.

Also, for their own sake. I think many of them really don't realize that just by virtue of speaking out, being anti Bush, but also all the other stuff involved in combining forces and coming even a little close to upsetting the apple cart, that they are Others too. For all the stated pessimism of some, many have no experience at being an Other at all, and are unable to imagine that anyone would consider them one.

5/09/2006 6:46 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette, I agree with you that there is no time for silence. And I will go even further, and question whether silence would even be morally justifiable.

My concerns have more to do with messenger and venue.

Leaving it where they can find it as opposed to shoving it in their face, BUT, and this is a very large BUT, I think WHO says it can be just as important.

To refer again to my rant of the other day, there are instances where at some point, the actual words said, the message, become subsumed by who is saying it.

I know that we have all seen this happen, not just with me, but with others, where at some point, the very presence of the offending party takes precedence over anything that person says, and whatever they say after that is at best ineffective and at worst, counterproductive in terms of making people think.

When they can no longer even see the name of the author without seeing red, when their rage that the author is still there prevents them from even reading what he says, it no longer matters whether he posts the most impressive research, the most brilliant analyses, deathless prose, or a section of the Santa Barbara telephone directory.

It was with great sadness that I have watched this process occur, to me and to others, and when it does, I do not think it means that the individual should be silent, but at least consider transitioning more to a "leave it where they can find it" mode. How close to their chairs should s/he leave it?

That is a question I am currently struggling with and do not yet have an answer, nor have I committed myself to behaving as though I had an answer. :) It is a delicate balance. Let's say there are people either wondering, genly curious, or frankly skeptical on the subject of sky color. If I go to a place I know they will be, and say "The sky is blue," that has the potential of making one of them consider googling the subject. But it also has the potential of causing the other to vow, at least momentarily, in the heat of rage at my presence, that the sky is red, and they do not need to google to know that, because I have said that it is blue. And at least one or two more whose rage is so fervent that they will furiously demand to know how I dare say that the sky is pink. And then the discussion becomes whether by blue I really meant pink, or whether the person who saw the word blue and read pink is an idiot, and how big of one, and then nobody is googling sky color, much less considering what it to be done about this matter of sky blueness, since sending faxes and money to millionaire politicians is clearly having no effect on a sky growing bluer by the minute, and I have become, by my very presence, a "disruptor."

So while I am by no means advocating silence, for myself or anybody else, I do have some questions which I have not yet resolved, on who can most effectively shout what on which corner. :)

5/09/2006 1:04 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Well I think I'll try introducing Alex this weekend and see what happens.

hmmmm -- much to ponder.

5/09/2006 11:01 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

It will certainly be interesting to see it there.

I don't know whether I look forward to seeing it there, and the responses, or dread it.

I feel the same way about the Mary Jo Buttafuoco-Amy Fisher confrontation on the Late Night White Trash TV Madame and I enjoy together in the evening with our ice cream. You do know Britney is pregnant again?

5/10/2006 11:13 pm  
Blogger dove said...

So I have heard. You know, no matter what else might happen in my life, it's a matter of considerable comfort to me that I can wake up every morning secure in the knowledge that I am not Britney Spears.

5/11/2006 8:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have much to contribute here mainly because my brain seems totally fried. But have to say that dtf's "doo-doo head" reference and dove's gratitude on not being Britney Spears had me giggling helplessly.

Nanette, I think I am understanding your point more clearly now. The people who never manage to make the leap, who as you say, "lack any ability to hear at all, or to change...." The people for whom there is this one group, whichever it is, with whom there is no possibility of solidarity.

Hmmm, I'd still think that that is the one group they were taught to fear and see as so completely Other from infancy onwards that the resistance against that group has become almost inherent.

Oh! ductapefatwa, I guess I need to come out; as far as the medical and legal regimes go, I am classified as a woman ;-)

And dove, no I am not the anon in the other thread--you made the right call. (gotta work harder on figuring out blogger when my brain is not so fried, so that such confusions do not arise again)

poco

5/12/2006 12:54 am  
Blogger dove said...

Didn't think you could be poco -- I'm writing a response to that one's latest, which is taking for-bloody-ever because I'm such a slow writer. Ack.

5/12/2006 1:04 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL poco, I had no idea whether you are male or female, nor had I really assumed one way or the other, I used the male pronoun as a general one out of linguistically sexist but semi-unconscious habit, though and I apologize for thus committing non-consensual gender assignment upon you. :)

5/12/2006 5:40 am  
Anonymous africa mp3 said...

This is an excellent blog. Keep it going.You are providing
a great resource on the Internet here!
If you have a moment, please take a look at my africa mp3 site.
Have a great week!

7/25/2006 9:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Help homeless children!
cheap [url=http://phentermine.alldating.org/phentermine.htm]phentermine[/url] online
phentermine
Bye

12/04/2006 8:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. You site is realy cool!
viagra
viagra
Its'not a spam

12/07/2006 2:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Nice!
Visit my site viagra
buy http://delta-space.info/phentermine.htm viagra online
Thanks.

12/08/2006 11:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Cool!
Visit my site phentermine
buy http://freeunixhs.info/phentermine.htm phentermine online
Thanks.

12/09/2006 7:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Thanks for information!
buy viagra
cheap viagra online
Bye

12/09/2006 5:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello people!
buy viagra
cheap viagra online
Bye

12/10/2006 3:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello!
buy viagra,
cheap http://viagra.alldating.org/viagra.htm online
Bye

12/11/2006 3:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good evening, watch here!
buy phentermine online,
cheap http://xrjuhosting.info/phentermine.htm phentermine
Thanks a lot.

12/14/2006 2:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, interesting site.
visit smoking stop
http://stop-smoking-aid.batcave.net/smoking-stop.htm smoking stop
Thanks.

12/15/2006 12:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Dear All!
[url=http://wikkimikki.fortunecity.com/msg001.htm]levitra[/url]
levitra

Thanks.

12/19/2006 9:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Dear All!
[url=http://phentermine-abc.info/page001.htm]phentermine[/url]
phentermine

Thanks.

12/20/2006 5:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Thanks for you site.
best [url=http://tuoppi.oulu.fi/kbs-bin/readbeer?Nr=626]viagra[/url]
http://tuoppi.oulu.fi/kbs-bin/readbeer?Nr=626#viagra for you
Bye.

12/21/2006 2:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, cool site. Look at my site.
buy [url=http://www.rhodesschool.com/blogcomments/default.asp?blogID=23193]phentermine[/url]
http://www.rhodesschool.com/blogcomments/default.asp?blogID=23193 phentermine
Bye

12/22/2006 6:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wazzup, interesting.
My site here [url=http://viagra-store.info/]viara[/url].
Here you can buy http://viagra-store.info#viagra cheap.
Bye.

12/24/2006 12:16 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all, cool site.
my home page [url=http://www.youthpeer.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=327]viara[/url].
Buy http://www.youthpeer.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=327#viagra online.
thanks a lot.

12/24/2006 3:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you are the best.
my home page [url=http://www.theologicalforum.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=58]phentermine[/url].
Buy http://www.theologicalforum.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=58#phentermine best.
G'night.

12/24/2006 11:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Halo, nice design.
See [url=http://bowtrol-herbal.info]viagra[/url].
Take http://bowtrol-herbal.info#viagra cheap.
thanks a lot.

12/25/2006 9:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello it is my site payday loan
payday loan

payday loan
1 hour loan payday
100 loan online payday
1000 loan payday
1500 loan payday
24 hour loan payday
30 day loan payday
account checking loan no payday
account loan payday savings
advance america loan payday
advance cash easy loan payday service simple
advance cash fast loan payday
advance cash loan loan payday
advance cash loan online payday
advance cash loan payday quick
advance cash loan payday service
advance cash loan payday
advance check loan payday
advance loan payday quick
advance loan payday
ameriloan loan payday
apple loan payday
application loan online payday
application loan payday
approval instant loan online payday
approval instant loan payday
bad credit loan payday
best loan payday
business loan payday
california loan payday
canada in loan payday
canada loan payday
canadian loan payday
cash fast loan online payday
cash fast loan payday
cash loan payday quick
cash loan payday til
cash loan payday till
cash loan payday until
cash loan payday
cheap loan payday
check credit loan no payday
company loan payday
cost loan low payday
day loan payday same
default loan payday
dollar loan payday ten
easy fast loan payday
easy loan payday
emergency loan payday
express loan payday
ez loan payday
fast loan payday
fax free loan payday
fax instant loan no payday
fax loan no online payday
fax loan no payday required
fax loan no payday
fax loan payday
faxing loan needed no payday
faxing loan no payday required
faxing loan no payday
faxless instant loan payday
faxless loan online payday
faxless loan payday
fee loan low payday
free loan payday
georgia in loan payday
georgia loan payday
guaranteed loan payday
illinois loan payday
index
index
info loan payday till
info loan payday
instant loan online payday
instant loan payday
interest loan low payday
internet loan payday
line loan payday
loan military payday
loan missouri payday
loan money payday tree
loan no payday telecheck
loan no payday teletrack
loan ok payday
loan online payday service
loan online payday
loan paperless payday
loan payday personal
loan payday quick
loan payday quik
loan payday short term
loan payday sonic
loan payday store
loan payday tendollar
loan payday til
loan payday till
loan payday toronto
loan payday uk
loan payday until
loan payday utah
loan payday
payday loan

1 hour loan payday
100 loan online payday
1000 loan payday
1500 loan payday
24 hour loan payday
30 day loan payday
account checking loan no payday
account loan payday savings
advance america loan payday
advance cash easy loan payday service simple
advance cash fast loan payday
advance cash loan loan payday
advance cash loan online payday
advance cash loan payday quick
advance cash loan payday service
advance cash loan payday
advance check loan payday
advance loan payday quick
advance loan payday
ameriloan loan payday
apple loan payday
application loan online payday
application loan payday
approval instant loan online payday
approval instant loan payday
bad credit loan payday
best loan payday
business loan payday
california loan payday
canada in loan payday
canada loan payday
canadian loan payday
cash fast loan online payday
cash fast loan payday
cash loan payday quick
cash loan payday til
cash loan payday till
cash loan payday until
cash loan payday
cheap loan payday
check credit loan no payday
company loan payday
cost loan low payday
day loan payday same
default loan payday
dollar loan payday ten
easy fast loan payday
easy loan payday
emergency loan payday
express loan payday
ez loan payday
fast loan payday
fax free loan payday
fax instant loan no payday
fax loan no online payday
fax loan no payday required
fax loan no payday
fax loan payday
faxing loan needed no payday
faxing loan no payday required
faxing loan no payday
faxless instant loan payday
faxless loan online payday
faxless loan payday
fee loan low payday
free loan payday
georgia in loan payday
georgia loan payday
guaranteed loan payday
illinois loan payday
index
index
info loan payday till
info loan payday
instant loan online payday
instant loan payday
interest loan low payday
internet loan payday
line loan payday
loan military payday
loan missouri payday
loan money payday tree
loan no payday telecheck
loan no payday teletrack
loan ok payday
loan online payday service
loan online payday
loan paperless payday
loan payday personal
loan payday quick
loan payday quik
loan payday short term
loan payday sonic
loan payday store
loan payday tendollar
loan payday til
loan payday till
loan payday toronto
loan payday uk
loan payday until
loan payday utah
loan payday
payday loan

1/01/2007 4:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello it is my site phentermine
phentermine

1/09/2007 2:44 am  
Blogger alfredconnor said...

I decided to buy viagra as sexual dysfunction treatment last month. Now I can see the change. And now my wife wants a sweet moon again at the beach and Florida is not a bad idea.

9/17/2009 7:06 am  
Blogger lauriestanley said...

Propecia is a medication used for the treatment of prostate cancer and pattern baldness in men. It is the main ingredient in two drugs – Proscar for prostate cancer and Propecia for pattern baldness.

9/18/2009 6:46 am  
Blogger oren spenser said...

buy xanax
viagra cheap
viagra
viagra alternative
purchase viagra
cialis online
xanax online
vicodin online
phentermine buy
buy valium
buy viagra
buy ultram
buy viagra
buy vicodin
phentermine online
buy phentermine
buy phentermine
buy cialis
vicodin
buy valium
buy ambien
hydrocodone
vicodin
valium
buy phentermine
cialis
viagra
adipex
buy cialis
viagra

1/12/2010 3:38 pm  
Blogger reggiewhite said...

Generic Cialis is the only drug which is not only fast acting (works in 30 minutes) but is also know to be effective for as long as 36 hours,

2/17/2010 4:51 pm  
Blogger johnnysmith said...

Generic Cialis is consumed orally and has quickly become one of the most prescribed medications. Generic Levitra has been clinically proven to improve erectile function, even in men who had other health factors, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes

4/08/2010 7:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

generic viagra
generic viagra
online pharmacy
buy viagra
buy viagra online
generic viagra
generic cialis
generic viagra
buy cialis

5/08/2010 10:14 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home