Friday, July 14, 2006

Typing (and thinking) Out Loud Thread

Alas, I'm not going to be able to do anything but sporadic typing and thinking until tomorrow. However, the last thread may be getting a bit big and unwieldy so I thought I'd provide a brand new comment thread for people to keep talking here as well if they wish. (Obviously people should feel free to keep posting to the previous discussion though, especially if they are replying to comments there -- this is 'another' space, rather than an 'instead of' space)

People might want to post questions too for people to discuss -- I've heard from at least one person who would like to do that, and this would be a good place for that.

In the interim, because I see (in inchoate ways thus far) this issue as being so closely linked with and to feminism, I thought I'd quote something bell hooks said at the conclusion of Feminist Theory; from Margin to Centre

The formation of an oppositional world view is necessary for feminist
struggle. This means that the world that we have most intimately known,
the world in which we feel 'safe' (even if such feelings are
illusions) must be radically changed. Perhaps it is the knowledge that everyone
must change, not just those we label enemies or oppressors, that has so far
served to check our revolutionary impulses. Those revolutionary
impulses must freely inform our theory and practice if feminist movement to
end existing oppression is to progress, if we are to transform our present reality.




Anyway, I think there are things to muse on here. Just very briefly in terms of contextualising her conclusion. I don't think bell hooks is saying that oppression doesn't exist, that it shouldn't be called what it is, or that those engaged in oppresion shouldn't be called on that (or that doing that calling is itself an act of oppression). I do think she's saying that it's a rare person who isn't or hasn't been complicit in oppression themselves in one way or another. Certainly, that's one I'd have to put my hand up to.

78 Comments:

Blogger catnip said...

I'm not quite sure I view that quote in the same way you do, dove. What it says to me is that there must be an antithesis in order to provoke change. (That reality has been used by those who view the world in terms of good v evil, without acknowledging the complexities of such a facile complex, for millenia.)

I would add, however, in relation to the online struggles lately, that the antithesis ought not be seen in those among us but in those who are truly the opposition (the circular firing squad mentality - which is also seen in the feminist movement - but that's another long post).

I'll have to ponder those words more, as well as yours. Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

7/14/2006 8:29 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hmm. Actually, now, I think my words are badly misrepresentive of what she's argued. 'Everyone has to change' isn't the same as 'everyone has been complicit in oppression' That last can too easily be taken to mean 'we have all been equally oppressed or we have all been equally oppressive' or something ridiculous like that.

And she's certainly not saying that.

catnip -- thankyou for stopping by, coherency is eluding me tonight, so I think I'm going to call it an evening.

7/14/2006 11:38 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

LOL My interpretation is that Miss bell hooks is referring more to women who are "internally oppressed," that they must also work their way out of that, just as those who oppress women must adjust their attitudes, opinions and beliefs, so must women do some overcoming of their own.

And I agree with that. When we say, or rather, in order to avoid ascribing anything to anybody, when *I* say that "society" imposes this or that, whether it may be the notion that she must conform to a particular standard of physical beauty, or that she has an obligation to reproduce, and preferably produce sons, "society" by definition includes women themselves.

It is not hard to find men, especially men from the east living in the west, who marry a girl from "back home," bring her to London or Los Angeles, and quickly find that is *she* who does not feel comfortable doing this or that, whether it be going shopping alone or socializing in mixed-gender settings, etc. Now we usually chalk this up to "cultural differences," but the fact is that it is cultures that oppress women!

And we have all known women who are unable to accept themselves the way they are, and are thus unable to accept that their husbands love them as they are.

The key issue is the lady's preference. If the girl from back home would really like to go to the shopping mall alone, but does not because she just can't shake the notion that it will mean she is somehow not virtuous if she does it, if she longs to join the party but is hampered by the fear that everyone who speaks to her will secretly consider her behavior improper, and think less of her, even as they chat with her and laugh at her jokes, if the western woman would really like to love her ownself despite not conforming to the fashion magazine model, if she really wishes she could wear flat heeled shoes but cannot get it out of her head that she has some sort of obligation to present a display that will be considered sexually alluring to a public comprised mostly of people who consider high heeled shoes to be alluring, and bizarrely ,therefore "professional," it does not matter if she lands a job with a boss who is concerned more with her job performance than whether she presents a long-legged, jaunty-seated silhouette, these are all cases of "sisters who must do it for themselves."

It now occurs to me that I have taken up a lot of words to express a thought that I could have, and indeed did, articulate in its entirety in the first sentence. ;)

7/15/2006 1:12 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

I thought I had lost my question, or at least wasn't sure it was what I wanted to ask anymore, but bell hooks has brought it back!

This means that the world that we have most intimately known, the world in which we feel 'safe' (even if such feelings are illusions) must be radically changed. Perhaps it is the knowledge that everyone must change, not just those we label enemies or oppressors, that has so far served to check our evolutionary impulses.

I like all the interpretations given so far, and I think probably this could mean all of them. I'm going to take it out of the realm of what she is talking about though (or at least, sort of), because it also fits what I am talking about (which may not be the same thing, lol).

You know how sometimes you hear a word or a phrase that you've probably heard thousands of times in your life, but at that particular point in time it just sounds... weird? Like it's a new thing, and maybe doesn't belong there. This happened to me yesterday when reading an article and having it say "human rights organizations say... ".

Human rights organizations. Care for the children charities. Anti poverty/feed the poor organizations.

Don't those just seem... well, weird? Why, at this point in time... or really, at any point in time, should we need huge, international organizations that have to lobby for human rights? Or beg for food to feed people? It doesn't usually seem weird though, it seems like well... that's how things are supposed to be. After all, someone has to do it. Right? But it all seems backwards.

I don't know enough about history (especially revised and updated) or cultures to know if it ever has been the other way around... that caring about people was the default and those who would abuse human rights, or attempt to starve people either through inaction or intent, and so on were a relatively tiny, lobbying minority. More pie in the sky? ;)

So, back to the hooks quote... not only with war and oppressions, but with the acceptance of language and customs, I think that our relatively safe space and familiar things and our way of thinking about them need to change radically, for everyone.

7/15/2006 1:39 am  
Blogger catnip said...

More food for thought on the way we see the world and the way in which the world sees us...

And, for you nanette:

The reason we have poverty is that we have no imagination.

7/15/2006 2:55 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette, once again "unerring" is the only possible adjective to describe your capacity for insight.

Yes, all those things you mention are indeed "weird." The species has accomplished some degree of "advancement" over the ages. For example, the only reason that any human being goes hungry is because one or more other human beings wishes them to go hungry.

There may be droughts, there may be pestilences that cause crops to fail, but even so, the world now produces enough food to feed every mouth, including those whose crops fail due to natural phenomena. And the world now has the transportation and communication capabilities to get that food to those who need it, and get it there immediately.

In the area of human rights, while there has been less advancement, there has been some. Just a few centuries ago, people were regularly tortured in the public square, and yes, in Europe, and yes, in the United States.

Today, torture is universally done behind closed doors, and almost universally denied by the perpetrators and authors, or at the very least presented not as torture, but as some other more acceptable thing, carefully dressed in focus-group approved words.

This is a bit of the same philosophy as recognizing that Holocaust deniers are a step up from Holocaust enthusiasts, but it does reflect SOME progress toward recognition that we are all human, and therefore all have human rights.

The "weird" quality of the current situation is that it is today the society who has made quite a lot of advancement in the area of technology, who has at the same time moved backward in the economic system arena, and regressed back to feudalism, which by its nature is not human rights-friendly, as it involves the de facto dehumanization of large numbers of humans.

This weirdness is exacerbated by the fact that science has also advanced, and we now know that not only are we all human, including those of us in whose veins runs little or no blood of Europe :), but the Human Genome Project has further taught us all that the difference between any of us and a banana is some tiny number like 2%. ;)

7/15/2006 3:20 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

catnip, that's just it though. I don't think it's a lack of imagination anymore. I think we can not only imagine the end of poverty, but can do computer calculations of transport routes, distribution systems and food allocation down to the nth degree. We, as Ductape has said, have the technological ability and the imagination to get it done and done quickly, nowadays.

I think what we don't have is the lack of acceptance. After all, "the poor ye shall always have with you" and all that.

Which brings me back to bell hooks' writings:

Perhaps it is the knowledge that everyone must change, not just those we label enemies or oppressors, that has so far served to check our revolutionary impulses.

I think it's possible we are using the wrong language and accepting the wrong things. Or maybe asking the wrong questions or something.

7/15/2006 4:06 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

lol Ductape, I'd forgotten that about the banana. I don't think that was too pleasant an idea for some.

The "weird" quality of the current situation is that it is today the society who has made quite a lot of advancement in the area of technology, who has at the same time moved backward in the economic system arena, and regressed back to feudalism, which by its nature is not human rights-friendly, as it involves the de facto dehumanization of large numbers of humans.

This is exactly what's happening and getting worse instead of better, in many places. Going underground or behind closed doors and big smiles to happen.

Somewhere along the way we chose the wrong fork in the road, I'm thinking. I'm pretty sure it's possible to start over again (sort of) as the seeds are already there and sprouting in some places. Hopefully.

7/15/2006 4:12 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I think "starting over again" may, under the circumstances, about the most positive face anyone can put on the situation.

We can certainly hope that at least a few specimens of our species will have that opportunity, and that they will do better than we did, though that may sound like I am damning them by faint praise.

7/15/2006 4:32 am  
Blogger catnip said...

nanette,

I took that quote out of its broader context in that Allan Watts piece I linked to, which I think makes the point that we must think differently.

Watts' writings in that area - of challenging the accepted lingistics that become meaningless once they're really deconstructed - is zen-based, but it's not beyond comprehension and it certainly brings forth a new paradigm.

Oh...listen to me...all of these lofty concepts. Okay. Here's the deal: we must surpass our tendency towards mediocrity.

Here's a down home type quote:

There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos
* Jim Hightower

7/15/2006 8:00 am  
Blogger dove said...

Yes, Ductape, in part I think she is talking about internalised oppression -- and even if she weren't, it's surely there in the world.

I think though, that she's also talking about the insidious way in which oppressive power is distributed, so that, for example, trade unions (not all of them!) often seek to maintain their members' employment rights not so much by challenging employer's, but by lobbying against 'undocumented immigrants.'

Another example she draws on in various ways is that of white women who may experience sexist oppression in one context (to a greater or lesser extent) and may nevertheless participate in racist oppression (to a greater or lesser extent) in another. And that these things -- and the history of these things -- make it hard to build political solidarity (on a broad basis, anyway) because it requires people to think about whether they oppress as well as whether they are oppressed, and to act to end that if necessary. But without such solidarity we will not end sexist oppression, or racist oppression or economic oppression, or its other cousins, because each one sustains the others. It's one of those all or nothing package deals. And that means change.

Nanette,
I love that idea of challenging the 'natural,' attending to the 'weirdness' of having some organisations designated as 'human rights' organisations. Language does matter hugely, because it's such a major part of how people organise the world.

DTF, though I'm not particularly noted for my unrestrained optimism, I do see something important in the notion that not so very long ago (probably, honoured ancestor, you had even been born ;) ) Winston Churchill could say quite openly and unabashedly that "I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire"

Like torture, empire still exists. But it has at least become a dirty word, something to be ashamed of, something to be masked. And so now, one of the ways to challenge it, to undermine it, is to call it by its proper name:
Empire. When Churchill spoke, that was not the case.

Even though, like all other progress, there is nothing irreversible about that shift.

7/15/2006 12:59 pm  
Blogger NLinStPaul said...

I've been reading this discussion here for a few days and have really appreciated it all. So many of my favorite writers in one place!! I've hesitated to write anything for a couple of reasons.

One is that all of you have triggered so many thoughts for me and I've had trouble gaining any focus to have something concrete to say. And secondly, so much of what you have all been saying is so profound, I'm a little intimidated to join in. But here goes...

I love what dove is saying about the need to integrate all of the forms of oppression. This is the reason that I have always loved reading just about anything written by Alice Walker. As a black woman AND a feminist, she seems to have struggled with this issue in a way many others have not.

Here's what she says in an essay "In the Closet of the Soul" published in the book "Living by the Word:"

We are African and the trader. We are the Indian and the settler. We are the slaver and the enslaved. We are oppressor and oppressed. We are the women and we are the man. We are the children. The ancestors, black and white, who suffered during slavery - and I've come to believe they all did; you need only check your own soul to imagine how - grieve, I believe, when a black man oppresses women, and when a black woman or man mistreats a child. They've paid those dues. Surely they bought our gentleness toward each other with their pain.

7/15/2006 2:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kansas here.

nlinstpaul, damn you, you got me to talk.

I'm an only child. The only kind of conflict I know how to do is internal. When sibs fight, my eyes get big, my heart pounds, I don't know what to do, so I do the only thing I know how to, which is to sit in a corner and watch the battle with half of my attention while with the other half I watch what's going on inside of me.

Annoyance, that's what was going on inside of me for a lot of the past week. I wanted to put a lot of people, on both "sides," in Time Out for being brats. So I've been looking at that judgmentalism in me, that distasteful superiority, the "black" on my own pot.

Your post helps me identify the crux of something I believe to my soul: all that painful fighting stuff looks like ego, which makes it illusion. Underneath is the truth that Alice Walker articulates in that passage, which is that at some basic level we are both sides of every argument. It would help if we could let ourselves grieve for each other, I think. And in that shared grief we'd find the joy of not being alone. I believe Duct's rants are all about grieving for us, even though they don't always come across that way. I think he's trying to be a brother. I appreciate it. I think I love him for it. Some of his earth family siblings don't hear any sympathy in his "voice," and honestly, I can understand how they can miss it, because he disguises it sometimes, and he's really good at disguise. :) I just can't bring myself to dislike or condemn them for interpreting something differently from how I do. I just can't love them, or any of you, in one minute and hate them, or you, the next. You're my brothers and sisters. I need you.

But don't make me talk about this again! :)

7/15/2006 5:02 pm  
Blogger boran2 said...

Kansas, You've articulated something that has been on my mind as I've read these discussions and will now set forth here, my first comment on this debate. And to be fair, I've not read every word in this discussion.

For better or worse, presentation counts. The style of DF's posts have had a significant impact. Like it or not, the subject(s) of this discussion can't be completely separated from the style of his prose. Admittedly not the sharpest tool in the shed, it is sometimes an effort for me to look beyond the style to see the larger message. I'm not knocking the style, only noting that it is a factor along with any others that may be present.

My 2 cents.

7/15/2006 6:31 pm  
Blogger NLinStPaul said...

I'm so sorry Kansas - NOT!!

I actually hadn't thought about how that quote applied to the recent discussions at BT. But you took what was for me an ethereal thought and made it very practical.

I too often find myself being quiet during conflicts - especially those online - because I can see myself on all sides. And to put some response in a short comment can't capture the complexity of what is going on in my head and heart. I think it is an art to communicate in this medium during those times.

7/15/2006 7:17 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hello, ntinstpaul, kansas and boran2,

I'm very glad to see all of you in this discussion (though I don't doubt, kansas, that I'm among the people that you're thinking 'Brat! Time out for you!' about (and then in your self-critical and reflective way having to reflect about being judgmental)).

I guess I'm going to try and address you separately in turn (I'll admit it, one of the things I miss about Scoop is threading, not least because having three of one's own posts in a row seems like the height of arrogance):

ntinstpaul: I'm delighted to see you -- please don't feel intimidated about posting here and please continue to post here. I'm certainly not terribly profound (I can't say that about Nanette, DTF and poco et al though ;) ).

And I guess what I can say, in response to your Alice Walker quote, is that for what it's worth I do sincerely believe that I was (and am) complicit through my silences for an all-too-familiar pattern of behaviour that I saw emerging from as early as last December. It's not that I never spoke, but I didn't speak often or unmistakeably enough. And to some extent I was trying to make redress for that by speaking unambiguously about what I saw. When I talk about Alex, yes, I'm talking about resemblances that I see in the world. But I am also, in all seriousness, talking about resemblances that I see in the mirror that I wish and need to expurgate. I know that it can seem like a cheap rhetorical trick to say that I don't see myself as innocent in this. But I'm not.

Anyway, it's a pleasure to see you.

7/15/2006 7:53 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi kansas,

I don't know, maybe I'm going to make you talk about this again. I hope so. I also hope I'm not going to seem too defensive, though I fear those may be famous last words.

It doesn't seem like it and right now, I've no doubt that it probably doesn't, but actually I think of myself as someone who tends to shy away from conflict like nobody's business.

As I've mentioned, my words are simply not there among the responses to many of the comments quoted in that last piece. I was --for the most part -- sitting in that proverbial corner experiencing a sickening sense of deja vu.

If things had stayed at the 'DTF is a doo-doo head' level, that's perhaps where I would have stayed, albeit with misgivings and a sense of cowardice and self-betrayal (one which you certainly need not share, kansas: from memory, your responses are to be found in many of those threads).

But things did not remain at that level. Instead of "DTF is a doo-doo head," it became "DTF is a foreigner" and in one case 'DTF fled his homeland' (and in others, I think at least implicitly, "DTF is Muslim"), with being 'foreign', a presumed refugee and 'Muslim' standing in each case in place of 'doo-doo head' and having a similar connotation. But there is a difference I think, between discounting someone's uncomfortable words on the basis that one thinks they are a 'doo-doo head' and on the basis that one thinks they are a foreigner.
For me, this was not so much about a difference in interpretation: it wasn't that some people dislike what DTF writes. It was about the tactics used to discount his words.

It's true that I cannot lay claim to gentleness. I do think, though, that there is a question of what constitutes gentleness in this and similar cases. I certainly wouldn't claim what I've said as gentle, but I'm also not sure that gentleness always looks gentle either, if that makes any sense.

7/15/2006 9:37 pm  
Anonymous Arcturus said...

bell hooks, no matter whether she is addressing issues of gender, class or race, always insists that we hold the mirror to ourselves (on either side of whatever 'divide'), to see both how it affects us, & our complicty. It's about critiquing & expanding the dominant narrative. We all need to learn to take a little "friendly fire," to have some holes shot in our own stories, not in some fatal circular firing squad, but as precursor to making the greater body "whole," expanding & transforming the narrative lines. Long-winded way of saying that change starts with being open to it at home, with one's self. An activity that can take place alongside an uncompromising, in-your-face oppostional analysis.

I recently her re-visited her where we stand: CLASS MATTERS, where she her own "personal journey from a working-class background to the world of affluence, in an effort to be more class conscious" as the fulcrum for a wide-ranging blistering discussion.

However, my silence, like all our silences about class, easily becomes part of the collusion, part of our acquiescence and participation in unjust economic practices, an unwitting support of class elitism. (p. 163)

Rather than an invitation to the mutual firing squad, it's an invite to pull up a chair at the table of troubling, difficult topics that NEED to be discussed.

Funny, that chose you bell hook to cite; she was married for a while to Nate Mackey ("Gloria" then, tho there were a few poems under "bell"), who authored the "fictional" passage I left in your last diary. I've often wondered if the fiery portions of Aunt Nancy's personality in his novels isn't at least partially based on her. Forgive the da capo:

"What makes you think of Africa, Asia and other parts of the world," she asked, raising her voice, standing up and putting her hand on her hip, "as not a part of 'the whole culture'? What makes you feel excluded by our sources if not the exclusionistic biases of the culture you identify as 'whole' boomeranging back at you?" . . . "I don't know where you get this business of gathering vs. dispersing," she argued . . . "the sense of them as an either/or proposition, one a choice against the other. We inhale as well as exhale, the heart dilates as well as contracts. . . . You may want something different, something more modest maybe, but your modesty betrays its falseness, shows itself to be the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing it is, when you saddle up your high horse to tell the rest of us we have to likewise lower our sights."

to Nag: Your last comments to DTF were quite moving. Hope we're good as well.

7/15/2006 9:56 pm  
Anonymous Arcturus said...

Nanette!!! That is a brilliant example of language embedding structural atrocity! making it invisible & normal.

More, please!

7/15/2006 10:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kansas here,

Dear Dove, I'm absorbing, weighing, going "hmmm," sucking my thumb. Don't expect this to happen fast! See you in a few days, lol.

7/16/2006 12:13 am  
Blogger catnip said...

boran,

There's no doubt that DTF's style affects his readers, just an MSOC's angry rants affect me in a negative way at times (many times, actually and yes, she knows that). And I've found myself having to reread DTF's words so I can get a better sense of his meaning many times.

One thing people often forget or refuse to do is to ask questions. I'm not shy in that sense. Ask my former psychiatrist who treated me for PTSD. My life depended on that therapy and I wanted to be crystal clear on the guidance he was giving me when he offered suggestions that were foreign to my view of the world. It was good practice on keeping an open mind.

However, I suppose that when one's life isn't at risk, it's much easier to assign interpretations, motives and intent to words rather than to ask what they might mean. I bought into the adage "there are no stupid questions" long ago.

Now, as for DTF's tone, any consistent reader will find wisdom that's parsed with a sarcastic sense of humour. As one who loves sarcasm, I enjoy that. And as one who respects wisdom, I invite it. That's not to say that we don't all have a bit of wisdom or that DTF is always right (forgive me, DTF :)). It's just that sometimes (many times as I get older and lose my memory) I need to decide if I want to be challenged or if I'll just settle for the mediocre or the so-called convential wisdom. That seems incredibly boring to me. I love learning, so I will put myself through some excruciating grey matter focused exercises at times to do it (not that you're excruciating DTF):).

Really, what it comes down to is choice in the end, isn't it? There are some people I don't read because I find them annoying (lack of depth, repetitive mumbo jumbo, talking points, been there, done that) and there are others I choose to read for whatever reasons. The thing is it's my choice. We ought to take reponsibility for those choices instead of feeling like words are simply being thrust upon us and then blaming the person who wrote them for putting us in such an awful predicament. (And I know I'm not always a shining example of that behaviour. Just witness my horror in the front-paged torture diary at BT. But at least I learned more about myself through that.)

I was just about to start a post on my blog about one of the things I abhor most in this world - hypocrisy. And, while I was soaking in the tub today I was well aware that if I find it so abhorrent, I certainly need to look at my own hypocrisy as well. I learned that as a member of a 12 step program: "when you point a finger, you have three more pointing right back at you" or the old "we teach most what we need to learn".

As I've said before, I'm a simple woman and, heck, if a cliche says it all for me, that's good enough. I'm not proud. :) I'm also skilled in dissecting and summing up in simpler terms because that's what works to keep my mind less cluttered and focused.

Okay, now how did I arrive here? lol Speaking of cluttered minds... What can I say? Beats talking about the birds with my cats sometimes. :) Not always though!

7/16/2006 12:51 am  
Blogger dove said...

Sorry boran2, I'll try and respond to you tomorrow (I got part way through a response, then realised my brain was running on empty).

Yep arcturus, brilliant pretty much sums up Nanette I think. I had absolutely no idea about that connection, by the way -- talk about fortuitous. I haven't read Class Matters , but Feminist Theory: From Margin to Centre is one of those books I just keep going back to.

Hi kansas, no problems, I'm doing much the same what with one thing and another. take care

7/16/2006 12:57 am  
Blogger catnip said...

kansas wrote:

I believe Duct's rants are all about grieving for us, even though they don't always come across that way.

Exactly.

I also want to thank you for the only child perspective. As the youngest of six (in an alcoholic family) who felt like the invisible child, I took on that role and it was incredibly difficult to work my way out of but I found my passion in simple things like the school newspaper or athletics and I became visible again - most especially, to myself.

7/16/2006 12:57 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I do not think that I am alone in grieving for America, for what might have been, much in the same way that one might grieve for a bright and talented little sister, gone astray since before puberty, dragged down into the degradation of drugs, prostitution and crime before she is twenty, and now she stands before us with rotting teeth, complection ruined, the once-bright eyes that were the windows to an even brighter promise dulled orbs behind which we see now - nothing. What family member will not mourn the loss of such potential, the destruction of such a keen intelligence?

What family member will not repeatedly try to convince her to go to a treatment program, saying words to her that she cannot understand, and even as we say them, knowing that even if she could understand the words, no treatment program in the world can help her unless she wants to help herself, which she does not. Indeed one could argue that she is no longer capable of wanting to help herself, of wanting anything save her next dose of drugs, which in order to obtain, she will kill us, kill our mother, kill anyone, who attempts to prevent her from obtaining it.

Already she has stolen our mother's money, our sister's jewelry, she has sold her own children to pay for the drugs, once they had ruined her own attractiveness so that she could no longer sell herself.

What can we do, but protect the rest of the family as best we can, and yes, grieve for her.

7/16/2006 1:47 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi all y'all. Whew! I'm glad the woodwork finally sprung a leak ;) Dont be intimidated, NL! If I am ever profound it is entirely by accident ;). And dove's blog is the perfect place for capturing stray thoughts and asking odd questions. kansas, I tend to sit quietly on the outskirts too during conflict, in a corner watching and listening, and with my stomach hurting, lol.

I've been noticing in some of the various community struggles going on online lately that a number of people are going back and rereading various Black women writers in their efforts to get a handle on things.

There was Bernice Johnson Reagon at MLW before their recent purge, and bell hooks and Alice Walker here, and probably others at other places. I'm wondering if it is the involvement in many of these issues of the combination of race, class and power and these women's particular insights into those things that is sending people to seek them out? Probably so... I've never read but bits and pieces of any of their works, so I have some stuff to catch up on.

What's been going through my head over the past few weeks is similar, I think. The phrase from Sojourner Truth's speech has been crossing my mind when reading the different conflicts, their roots and sometimes conclusions... "ain't I a woman?". At first I couldn't see how it fit... sure, she was black and feminist and certainly had seen much greater hardship that any of us, but what did that have to do with, say, Ductape's article on reasonable or unreasonable Americans? Still... when the conflict first began, sure enough that ran through my mind... "ain't I a woman?".

Finally, today I went and looked up her speech and read it again for the first time in a long time, and realized why it was calling to me. It's because of the intersections/combinations of race, class, power... and acceptability and invisibility. This comment will become massive (or rather, even more so) if I try and explain all the thinking behind why I think that, and how it applies to all the various community issues, so I'll just put the link and see if I can explain, using Ductape, why the recent conflict takes on more importance for me than just regular disagreements or flame wars.

There is usually a catalyst, some moment when a regular community member (apparently) suddenly becomes ostracized by at least some. I think with Ductape that began with the cartoon incident, which some people still don't understand the implications of. But where things really broke into the open and threatened to fall apart was in one of the "our boys, the military" threads, where Ductape not only refused to concede that they were mostly just misguided youngsters, who signed up because they needed money and a job, but also refused to say he would greet them and talk to them should he meet a military person in an airport, buy them some coffee or whatever. I believe he said something like that it would be kinder and more polite if he just said nothing.

This caused some to go ballistic and it was behind the militarism in that thread that the nationalism and the racism and they 'if you don't love America, go home" stuff started rearing its ugly head. Now, I think both nationalism and racism are bad enough on their own... when they arise as a result of militarism, with a definite target, things can get very, very bad.

But that covers only some of it. There is the acceptance and invisibility factor. On the one hand, I see some people's reactions to Ductapes articles, where he speaks of gunmen and Crusaders, infants torn apart and homes bombed.. and then on the other hand, I see RubDMC's Iraq War Daily Grief diaries, where (sometimes) the same people will go post candles, and sayings and cry a little and rage against the war.

And I worry... because I am not sure some realize that most likely, these people don't love us. The little bomb splattered dead kid in the photo, with missing arms or legs? Their family, their friends... they don't love us. Even with our candles and our tears. While they may know, on some level, that there are people in the US and other places who are against this war, and protesting and writing letters and doing what they can, still... when the bombs are dropping, or the torture is happening, or the rapes are occurring... they don't love us. They probably don't want to give us hugs, don't want us to help bury their children, don't care if we light a candle and certainly have no desire to speak to 'our boys'.

Does this mean we shouldn't light candles and cry and rage and care? Not at all. But an acceptance of that is necessary for the future, I think, because the same sort of thing has played out here, over the decades... where (some) well meaning, liberal,(mostly) white people have come face to face with segments of Black people, Native Americans, Latinos, "the oppressed" that they may have spent years writing letters to congress for, or marching for, or doing what they could for... and were shocked to find "they don't love us".

For some, the reaction was acceptance and understanding and working to build trust. Others though, just said... forget you, if you don't love us for all we've done for you, we don't care anymore.

It's that last thing that I am worried most about.

(It's possible that I didn't quite make my point about invisibility, but oh well).

7/16/2006 1:50 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

LOL, "brilliant". cool beans... wait til I tell my daughter! All this time she's thought that *she's* the one that Knows All.

Arcturus, I had no idea that that is what I did, but if I come across more 'weird' things, I'll do it again ;). I do think it's time to stop using settled language, though, because it seems to me that the first step to changing how things work is to get to the point where we are always asking and thinking about... if this or that thing is off the table, if this is unacceptable and is not the thing to do, what is?

Until we come up with the "what is"... what is the way to handle events without resorting to war, what is the proper order of human rights and relations and how do we get there, and so on, it doesn't do much good to say what it isn't. Or something like that.

catnip, thanks for explaining more about that article and for bringing it up... I have a hard time reading text on darker (even gray!) backgrounds, so will either transfer that to word or print it out or something. It sounds like an interesting take on things!

7/16/2006 2:04 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Yes, there is a definite disconnect between the view that many Americans have that its victims should somehow be grateful for those images that it is considered in such "bad taste" to post, to describe, though they are merely images of implementation of US policies, merely documentation that tax dollars have been spent according to the will and desire of the American people.

And I agree, Nanette, that that precious minority of pro-Reform Americans is not getting out the message to the rest of the world even that they exist, much less that they are in favor of Reform, that they oppose crimes against humanity, torture, sexual predation, on the same moral grounds that so many non-Americans do, even those suffering under US client state regimes, who far from hating freedom, would like a taste of it.

I read something the other day about how the Arabian people should be grateful to the US for being made rich. This was obviously the statement of a person who is doubtless very knowledgeable about many other things, but is unaware that with the exception of a few thousand princes and their henchmen, most of the Arabian people are quite poor, and getting more so, that some huge percent of the population of that country is under 25, and love for the princes is not ardent, nor is gratitude to the US for making them so rich.

And if one watches the US propaganda channels, it is easy to understand some of the American mainstream thinking. They are bombarded 24 and 7 with the kind of material that would be laughable were it not, as one poster on the exceptionalism blog calls it "weaponized." This notion that the Middle East is populated almost exclusively by simple, child-like folk who either love America and wish their nation to be occupied, or cracked down upon more stringently in order to better serve US companies, or evildoers who hate freedom, which would be anyone who does not feel grateful to America for those little bombed bodies, and the wealth of the Saudi princes.

Just as an example, Fox News tonight had on one of the most collaborating, pro-western tame Arabs that it is possible to find, and was shouted down for even referring to the occupation of Palestine as illegal and suggesting that the US should talk to Iran.

America keeps its tame Arabs, its Uncle Tahas and Aunt Jamilas on a tight, tight leash indeed. And this one was a bit suspect anyway, as she was wearing hijab, and therefore probably not Christian, though many Arab Christian ladies do wear hijab, taking the words of St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians quite to heart.

So yes, the gap is wide. The gap is wide between the US and the Majority World, and the gap is wide between that blessed minority of Americans who long for Reform in what they had hoped might be their country.

It would be insulting of me to spout platitudes and polite lies and say that the gap is bridgeable. It is not. There are some for whom acknowledgement of this fact will require what Miss Niecy on Style Network's "Clean House" calls a "taking a big girl pill."

Which brings me to the other aspect you brought up, of the message of black women in terms of America's domestic humanitarian crisis. I think it is a good point. Historically, it has been the black woman who has spoken most eloquently and precisely on the subject of America's destructive domestic policies, while not intending to trivialize the important work of black men in this regard, one of the legacies of slavery has been another gap - this one between black men and black women, especially regarding education, thus black women have, ironically in a global culture of oppression of the female, been more likely to have the capacity to express themselves and develop talents or give voice to those given already developed by God.

And maybe this recent turning to the pages written by black women, some Americans who are in that gentle questioning stages are looking to see if there can be a bridge between the American affluent and the American underclass, and are hoping that black women can tell them whether there is, and if there is, where it might be, and how one might go about crossing it.

This would, in other circumstances, be perhaps the most alarming development to date regarding that rejectionist fringe who refuses to stay on message with the "Dems," since the worst fate that could befall those "Dems" would be any significant interaction on the part of that fringe and the roiling, burgeoning underclass.

They must be kept apart, at all costs. Or at least, that would have been the case, but now of course, all of that has been trumped by the sound of the trumpet that indicates that it is now time for Americans and non-Americans alike to put everything else aside now, and call Louise.

7/16/2006 2:32 am  
Blogger NLinStPaul said...

Nanette said:
the first step to changing how things work is to get to the point where we are always asking and thinking about... if this or that thing is off the table, if this is unacceptable and is not the thing to do, what is?

A few months ago I heard someone talk about the idea that leadership involves seeing what isn't there and making it happen.

I suppose its the same thing Bobby Kennedy was saying:

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

Sometimes I think about someone like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and all the things that she was able to see...even though they were not considered possible yet. And I wonder what I'm not seeing yet.

I think alot of our work is to try to keep our eyes open to see things that aren't there...yet.

7/16/2006 3:10 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

I think alot of our work is to try to keep our eyes open to see things that aren't there...yet.

NL, that so perfectly fits with stuff I've been thinking lately too. And not even to look for the impossible, but to wonder if it really is impossible, or just something else we've been told is and fallen for.

I am not sure about the leadership one tho... or rather, it sounds right, and would actually be beneficial if leaders thought that way, but I think sometimes it's more their willingness, or ability, to get things done, even if it's someone else's dream or thought. If that makes sense.

Mind you, being Black, the word 'leader' has sometimes a different connotation for me as we're always being saddled with these "leaders of the Black community", which is an extremely silly term, if you ask me.

7/17/2006 1:50 am  
Blogger NLinStPaul said...

I think I understand what you're saying about your reaction to the word "leader" Nanette. That's helpful to hear because its not something I've ever considered when using the word.

And in terms of seeing what isn't there...yet, I don't even think in terms of possible or impossible. As I said before, I think about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who I was recently reading more about. She was seeing the way that religion and marriage were limiting women in the late 1800's - long before others had even considered those things. Sounds like she had disagreements with Susan B. Anthony, who was singularly focused on getting women the right to vote.

That's how I tie it into being a leader - I wonder what limits we have placed on ourselves as human beings, or US citizens, that we haven't even noticed yet. If we can identify those, we could really "lead" the way to a new kind of thinking about things and potentially to change. Its in that sense that I loved the conversation you were opening up about humanitarian organizations.

7/17/2006 2:39 am  
Blogger catnip said...

nanette,
Thank you for your "they don't love us" post.

7/17/2006 4:49 am  
Blogger spiderleaf said...

All,

A quick note to let you guys know that I am deleting my diaries at BooMan. Probably not all of them, but any ones where I share personal info that could be used against me.

This episode has me a bit scared actually. There are now links between my name and being labeled anti-American and that I preach hate. In this day and age that just ain't good... as DTF would say, you never know who is lurking.

I have already deleted my meet up diaries as they clearly, for anyone who wanted to, easily lead to my true identity. I have lots of people to worry about in this regard, the least of whom is me. I saw what happened to stark and others.

I do have them saved and I want to let any of you know who commented on them that it pains me to erase your words, but life takes strange twists and turns.

I don't know how much I will be participating online in the future, I can only stand so much, but I will be lurking here or there.

Take care,
spider

7/17/2006 4:35 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Thanks catnip. On that post, though, I want to clarify that I wasn't trying to disparage anyone's efforts.. whether they light virtual candles or go to vigils or march or pray or cry or rage or write congress... I respect whatever anyone does in the effort to end this occupation (and the others that are going on). And every little bit of course helps.

I just think we need to acknowledge the fact, or at least the possibility, that some who have been living in the horror of Iraq for the past 5 years, and indeed before, with the sanctions, and now with the other exploding areas, that... well, they don't especially love us.

I know what I'm trying to say, in my head, but it's having a difficult time coming out in a coherent fashion, sigh. I'm just remembering (for one thing) how very quickly the Katrina victims were "katrinaized", and the need for our extra awareness of how easily that is done, and can be done again.

Anyway, I'm trying to type this on the fly and it's not working, lol. Will return when I have more time.

7/17/2006 5:06 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/17/2006 5:12 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

spiderleaf, I am so sorry to hear that. Not that I blame you at all for erasing information that could lead to you... I find it really freaky that all this stuff is arising out of militarism, as I've probably mentioned way too often, but still...

I caught the tail end of that exchange there and it just seems that things are devolving at an alarming pace, and most of it just makes no sense at all, this setting up of enemies, and charges of anti americanism and hatred and whatever else.

I hope you come visit here and at Manny's and the other places, though.

7/17/2006 5:13 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Dove,
can you delete my last comment please? I referenced someone's name without thinking. Big mistake. I don't know how to edit it. Can anyone tell me how?

7/17/2006 5:20 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

supersoling, you can delete the comment by pressing the little trashcan symbol thingy. copy it first, edit what you wish of it, then repost it.

7/17/2006 5:27 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

But I didn't post under my blogger name, so the trashcan doesn't show up for me. Can you do it?

7/17/2006 5:29 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Oh, hmmm. No, I can't do it, sorry. I guess it will have to wait for dove.

7/17/2006 5:36 pm  
Blogger supersoling said...

supersoling here

Thanks anyway Nanette :o)

Spiderleaf,
I'm really sorry for letting that slip. And especially after you just expressed concern about identities. Damn!

Dove,
when you see this can you please delete my comment to Spiderleaf above?
Thank you.

7/17/2006 5:42 pm  
Blogger spiderleaf said...

Or just edit the name and replace with "CookTing"... it's a really nice comment, I certainly wouldn't want to see it go down the memory hole. ;)

No worries hon, I understand... you should hear me and CT try to talk about you... super, no Mike, umm, supersoling... quite amusing actually ;)

You have expressed my/ our thoughts about our meet up perfectly... back at ya.

(and check your email, photos in the mail ;))

7/17/2006 5:48 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Spider,
Got 'em. Thanks :o) I was thinking too that AG has the kind of memorable face that would be hard to forget. What a cool guy....

Dove,
if you can just replace the name above with CookTing, as Spiderleaf suggested, I would greatly appreciate it :o)

7/17/2006 6:06 pm  
Blogger dove said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/17/2006 6:21 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Talk about incompetent! I've deleted your original post, supersoling, since I can't edit it (probably you all should be relieved that I can't edit your comments ;) ). On my second attempt, I will ensure that I have actually made the requested tweak. Sorry about that. Supersoling's post follows below:

Spiderleaf,
What a drag. Really. Please tell me that you saved the pictures of all of us too. This might sound sappy, and I'm the sappy type ;o) but it occured to me over the last few days that i was already having trouble remembering exactly what you and CookTing and everyone else looks like, but then as my mind started scanning the visual memories, the one image of you that stands out for me is when I first saw you while we were talking on the phone, trying to find each other. The smile on your face was priceless :o) At least I have that. Well...that and the hangovers LOL!!

I bailed myself last night. I'm not exactly happy about it, and there's a sense that I'm abandoning my compatriots, but the split has become too wide to bridge, at least for me, and the reality of my life is that the more time I spend online, the less time I spend actually doing something to change the nightmare that is this country right now. And I know that I can remain close and in contact with those of you that I feel close to. So many of you/them/us. So don't you go dropping off the face of this Earth Spiderleaf. The bond that was made last week was a deep one for me, and I don't want to lose that...ever.

Be well :o)

7/17/2006 6:46 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

nanette,
I didn't think your comment was disparaging at all. It was just a reminder of the realities in the world.

spiderleaf,
Good to see you hear and I totally understand your decisions. ((((hugs))))

It's all just incredibly sad. That's what some people can't seem to grasp there. That what happened at BT should cause you so much fear ought to be a wake up call to those who don't realize the possible real life ramifications of their anger. It's tantamount to some of the worst I've seen from political extremists online who seek to destroy those with differing opinions. That it's crept into progressive communities (and that's why I defended Armando, btw) just shows how little we really know about the people we interact with on a daily basis online.

I want you to know that you have nothing to fear from me, at least. May you find many whom you can cross off that list of those who would seek to do you harm.

7/17/2006 6:53 pm  
Blogger dove said...

I feel a bit like I’m racking up more “IOU a substantial reply” dockets than I can honour right now though I'm going to try and do my best. Also, for obvious reasons, I tend to be writing and posting on a slightly different cycle than many of those here – just wanted to let you all know I made the changes as soon as I spotted them.

Spiderleaf,
I must admit I am very definitely in the camp of ‘people have the right to delete their diaries and comments’ for reasons that include those you cite. Though certainly one would hope it were a right that one didn’t feel one had to exercise. I do hope you’ll keep on posting on the terrains and topics of your choice.

I’m going to take the liberty of dropping you a quick line if that’s ok.

Anyway, take care of yourself

PS – there are two deleted posts in this thread – one of supersoling’s deleted at his request and reposted in tweaked form; the other me mucking up my first attempt at tweaking. Still no spray-on hair though.

7/17/2006 7:30 pm  
Anonymous Raging Hippie said...

I'm disengaging the cloaking device for a moment to express my dismay to spiderleaf (and my other favorite bloggers, who all seem to be here).

It's horrifying that the accepted way in which people interact with each other in the U.S. has become the "politics of personal destruction." Why is it that, when someone articulates an unorthodox idea, the mob attacks the messenger? What causes so many people to cower in fear or scream in anger at the mere expression of a thought that doesn't fit precisely into their own narrow mindset?

Is it because our school system, public and private, is single-mindedly devoted to vocational education and to slotting students into their acceptable role in the existing class hierarchy, so that teaching students to think has become unthinkable? Is it because science-fearing, hatemongering, christianist fundamentalism is more pervasive than we realize? Is it because our lives are dominated by corporate organizations that function as sociopaths and reward sociopathic and narcissistic behavior?

Oh, hell, I'm digressing all over your blog, Dove. What I really showed up to say is that I'm saddened and discouraged, spiderleaf, that someone with your intelligence and perception is being driven away by the tsunami of hate. There are so few of us who are willing to question the ruling paradigm and so many forces determined to keep us from making a stand together.

7/17/2006 7:42 pm  
Anonymous Raging Hippie said...

On reflection, I apologize for the tsunami metaphor--it was insensitive given today's events. I do feel strongly, though, that hate has deadly consequences.

7/17/2006 7:53 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Dove,
Thanks for correcting my foulups. And I'm sorry to have eaten up so much of your valuable comment IOU time ;o)

Raging Hippie,
Nice to find you here. I feel the same way about my favorite bloggers being here. It's good and not so good because it signals a very deep rift at BT. I had clung to very idealistic hope for community there and in the past felt a real dismay and loss when people I'd grown fond of left over disagreements or personality clashes. I admit it's a childish way of viewing things. People come and go out of our lives all the time. But still it's not easy seeing connections lost. So I surprised myself last night when I decided to call it quits over there too. I just don't see much action anymore. And I've been guilty of inaction myself. Getting caught up in the dysfunctionality of some of the worse skirmishes. Having found Dove, Manny, Nanette, and others on their own blogs, sharing connections with one another probably made the decision to leave BT a lot easier. And hopefully I'll be able to stay in contact with my friends there. If not, then that's alright too because there is so much at stake right now and my time and energies are not unlimited, so I'd rather focus them on getting more real things done. More actual activism. Which for me was always one of the most attractive aspects of BT. The coordinating of protests and writing campaigns, and so on. I haven't felt any motivational vibes there for a long time now and I needed that. I was drawn to it.
Anyway, as I said, nice to see you here...at Dove's place :o)

7/17/2006 8:21 pm  
Anonymous Raging Hippie said...

Thanks, super!

I, too, have been feeling that it's time to get active. I have my own demons to overcome on the road to activism--lack of personal transportation on a practical level, deep-seated reclusive tendencies on a psychological level. But I'm trying to find a local group I can hook up with (I've signed up with the local CodePink folks, for starters), because I'm afraid that it's crunch time. There's way too much nasty out there.

7/17/2006 8:35 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

spiderleaf I am very glad you are here!

raging hippie, I digress all over dove's blog all the time, so she is used to it, please digress some more.

I think you make some very good points, but at the same time, in the current situation, I am not sure that even good schools would help.

supersoling, events have moved beyond the letter writing stage. I do not intend to be dismissive of such efforts, because I know that they carry real meaning for many people, but I think the disconnect between the very real obligations of the politicians, and the very real business of politics, and the equally real opinions of private individuals who have a very idealized view of that business, is wide.

I think that as events unfold, we will see people confronting some realities of how their government really "works" that may have seemed to them to be just too "cynical" a view to take, and so they write their letters, and in the offices of some politicians, the staffer in charge of reading, or not reading, those letters, occasionally pulls out a few of them and summarizes them, or maybe reads a few lines from one in a meeting in which the politician is present, before he goes to lunch with the guy from DynCorp...

7/17/2006 8:40 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

raging hippie I think your instincts are good. If there is to be any impact on events, and while I have no wish, in fact a strong aversion, to being a "Ductape Downer" ;) at the same time it would be insulting to your intelligence, and your good instincts, to be dishonest. So I cannot say that I am optimistic about a positive outlook.

However, if there were to be any chance for one, it would come from the people themselves, not the politicians or the corporations they serve.

7/17/2006 8:44 pm  
Anonymous Raging Hippie said...

Ductape, my motives are selfish. It's not that I believe that planting my large self on a streetcorner with a sign will promptly make right all the world's wrongs. It's that it's becoming very hard to think well of myself as long as I remain stealthily within my comfort zone.

7/17/2006 8:56 pm  
Blogger spiderleaf said...

Thank you all for your words of support. I have been struggling with a post on my blog about all this today when I should be getting some work done.

btw - Tracy's diary has now been deleted it would appear. Or else I've gone crazy.

7/17/2006 8:56 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

DTF,
Yes, I'm aware of the pointlessness of letter writing. I guess what I should have said to better explain what i meant was that it was at least some sort of action and the coordinating of it. Something that is sorely missing from that site now despite the efforts of our friendly not Joe who's not from Boston, Boston Joe. And I don't mean to denigrate it. Not at all. I just think that people are beginning to bump into the outer edges of the reality of this nightmare and it's fraying people's nerves and the inner selves are finding out that maybe we had less in common than we thought. Everyone, well, almost everyone wants peace, but real peace can only come with real change. Not just a cessation of hostilities. And we are the ones who need the most changing. That's messing with a lot of people's heads...it looks like.

As for me, I lean to the radical side in the way I think and what I think will be necesarry as far as action goes. Most people aren't ready for that kind of reality yet. Most still think that if we can just elect more democrats that that will solve so many problems. It won't. Ralph Nader was more right about that than people want to admit.

7/17/2006 9:44 pm  
Blogger dove said...

But do uncloak, raging hippie and do digress, because that's what this place has been about from the start -- digression anyway. Seriously, if you look through the older posts, you'll see people wandering into all sorts of unexpected places at times.

boran2 -- I owe you a reply and something raging hippie said, "the mob attacks the messenger" reminded me of what I was trying to say. It's a general observation of something I've seen -- as well as experienced actually -- offline too, which is why I think when this kind of thing crops up it's part of a general pattern much more than it is about this or that individual.

The offline conflict I'm thinking about fell out around ethnicity and nationality (which are among the faultlines that I see in this case and -- doubtless there's a pattern too in that those are the faultlines that I tend to end up in conflicts around). Certainly what I experienced in that struggle was a kind of catch-22. When concerns about racism and nationalism were presented in a manner which that (majority white U.S. -- though it could as easily have been N.Z. or the U.K for that matter) organisation found unchallenging, there was little discussion and less action. When concerns were finally raised in a way that was challenging, those of us involved were told we were being too angry and confrontational, and that if we toned down some, people would have a much easier time agreeing with what we had to say. But it was only then that things began to change, at least a little.

Anyway, I guess that experience meant that some of this had an element of deja vu from my perspective.

7/17/2006 9:56 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

supersoling, I wish I didn't agree with you, but I do. About the bumping into those jagged reality edges, despite not being ready for a long list of kinds of reality.

As we have seen in microcosm on one internet site, even the reality of the divide between people of the same nationality, similar backgrounds, meaning that they are people who grew up in homes where there was food to feed them, electric light, they went to school, most went to university, and today enjoy enough discretionary resources to post on internet forums.

And those people are not ready for the reality of the hugeness of the divide between those who have all those things in common who are opposed to US policies, and those who are not, again from that same group.

The divide between those who have completely rejected, moved past or emerged from if they were ever there, the whole terrorism Al Qaeda insurgents coalition Osama construct of Washington and its propaganda organs, and those who keep trying to hang onto all of that and convince themselves of a reality where Iraqis will not mind being murdered if it is just done by rented soldiers from Europe, by people wearing blue hats, where the people of Arabia are grateful to America for making the princes so rich, where becoming a US client state is what every country dreams of - and this is not the mainstream, mind you. These are folks who would be vilified in their own right by the mainstream, who will berate them for second guessing their government, being disloyal to the commander in chief during wartime, aiding the Enemy - giving help to Al Qaeda - and all they did was suggest that the crusade might be run differently!

So if that gap is wide, how wide is the one between that mainstream and those who say the US, nor any nation should be invading or occupying any other, those who point out that the entire "terror" tale is in fact, nothing but an unimaginatively embellished and astonishingly poorly constructed and inconsistent account of the obvious and rather dull and prosaic reality, as realities go, that the exceptional US empire and its activities are viewed with a somewhat different perspective by those on the receiving end?

Thus people like you are plunged into the impossible position of attempting to engage in discussion of events and facts with people who are living in a realm of beliefs.

There is not even a good place for opinions in that basket!

In order to discuss our opinions of the sky's blueness, there must first be an agreement that there is a sky, and that it is blue. :)

7/17/2006 10:23 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

Catching up...

First of all, welcome raging hippie and in the spirit of "we all need to feel like we're at least doing something to stop the madness" - write those letters or whatever you choose to do. :)

super,
I e-mailed you (I think). ((hugs))

spidey,

btw - Tracy's diary has now been deleted it would appear. Or else I've gone crazy.

I saw that and when I went looking for a cached version on google, I found this which opened my eyes a bit about how Tracy's blanket mantra of "support the troops" is not exactly what it appears to be. Special forces are "troops" as well, aren't they? I was very disturbed to find such a rant after the line we've all been given at BT. Sigh... As a result, I understand more now about her inner conflicts.

Oh, and let us know when you finish your blog post, spidey.

And a tip of the hat to Monsieur Ductape who helps keep me sane (believe me!).

7/18/2006 12:06 am  
Blogger catnip said...

I forgot to mention scribe's new diary at BT. Beautiful.

7/18/2006 12:07 am  
Blogger catnip said...

I'd suggest that you also read this soldier's response to MT as well as the rest of the thread.

In death, we are all the same. Or so I thought.

7/18/2006 12:28 am  
Blogger catnip said...

Speaking of oppression, you can now list me, dove, as one whose religious beliefs have been attacked at BT.

7/18/2006 2:43 am  
Blogger dove said...

catnip, just to let you know I'm in the middle of dropping you a line

7/18/2006 3:50 am  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Catnip,
I never got an email. And there's something that I need to say. Despite my profound disagreements with Tracy, and especially despite what I've read over there tonight,I would prefer not to be a part of searching out and linking to any of Tracy's old posts in an effort to call her out on her recent behavior. And I certainly understand that this is not my Blog. It's Dove's. And therefore it's Dove's call on what she permits and what she doesn't. All I'm saying is that, at least for me, I see no point in it. Those of us who've come over here recently have already given sufficient explanation as to the why and the how. Personally, it will not ease my soul to go on a Jeff Gannon type hunt for her past opinions no matter how much I disagree with her, or feel that she is not what I thought she was. Believe me, it's about all I can do to keep from posting over there in the draft diary right now. Not least of all because she said she was calling it quits at BT, but is back there now bullying even DamnitJanet. DamnitJanet of all people. DamnitJanet who is by far the most active antiwar protestor and opponent of Bush that is on that site. She's done far more in real life to oopose this war than Tracy, me, BJ, and anyone else I can think of over there. With me though, I said I was leaving and I meant what I said. I didn't wait for the conditions to be more in my favor so that I could jump back in and start abusing people. It's called principle. Something that is sorely lacking there right now.

7/18/2006 5:30 am  
Blogger catnip said...

super,
I found that old post by accident when I used Google to search for the diary she deleted. My finding it helped me to understand her turmoil a bit more - a turmoil brought on by inconsistent beliefs. I'm not "hunting down" anything. It was an accidental finding. And yes I did present it to her because I abhor hypocrites and she needs to wake up - as do others.

I have made my last post there since I was so offended by CabinGirl, Booman and Tracy again. No more negativity. No more abuse. I'm done with that site.

I feel the need to retreat in general and just stick to my blog and my thoughts so I can get my head back on straight. I was already deeply affected emotionally by the ME war and I allowed myself to be further wounded - in a way I didn't but should have in the end expected.

I'm not perfect. I'm just another human being trying to do more than survive.

7/18/2006 5:54 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I think the ideas in the discussions are not unique to any one site, and so we return, or at least I do, to hammering again on the topic of divides, disconnects, gaps, and the sad fact that not all of them are bridgeable. Slave and slaveowner, colonialist, perpetrator of atrocity and victim, these are pairings for whom finding common ground, bridging the gap, is simply not a thing that in my view, is as deserving of effort as eliminating the cause of those gaps.

Now someone can come behind me and say well, it is too deserving, if you can get the slave and slaveowner to bridge their gap, that will help end slavery.

And that person will have a point. But I think that the most we can hope for on that front is getting both parties to recognize that the gap is unbridgeable, and understand why it is unbridgeable, and therein will lie any possibilities of bridging.

And I will stand by my earlier contention still, that energies would be better deployed on other strategies to end slavery :)

7/18/2006 6:49 am  
Blogger dove said...

catnip,

I wanted to say that I'm glad you've reached a point of decision. I also hope when you venture out from your blog that this will among the places you venture to.

As a general observation (obviously the specific case is now moot), I'd agree with supersoling's comment, though perhaps I say it as oughtn't. I'm very much still getting the hang of all of this, in case y'all hadn't noticed.

7/18/2006 8:58 am  
Blogger catnip said...

I had written a longish post in response to dove and super but I guess I forgot to hit post after I previewed it.

Basically, what it came down to is this: for all the discussions we've had here about being silent in the face of others oppression at BT, has anything really changed?

That question is not posed to assign guilt or shame (useless emotions). It's only meant to prompt introspection.

7/19/2006 9:48 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi catnip,
FWIW, I am introspecting.

What I can say so far is that I think we do perceive differently some of what happened on that thread at BT and what happened on this thread for that matter. I'm glad supersoling said what he did and think he was right to do so. I'm also glad that you came across those old threads by accident. I may try and add more to this comment later. Obviously there are resemblances between my last 'Alex' post and yours. I'm not sure that there's an identity though and from my perspective at least this may be something where the devil is in the details.

Certainly I think CabinGirl was trying to attack and bait you on the basis of your religious beliefs and that is not something I want to be silent about.

For the general record though, I don't particularly anticipate making future posts specifically about BT, or making it the focus of what I write.

Anyway, I'm not done thinking but in the interim I didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.

7/20/2006 12:54 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I think you could go around and find a lot of the same phenomena happening on any number of sites, on and offline.

While I can see how, especially as new people come here, the hijinks of one particular site, or office water cooler, could detract from how accessible we all are :)

I don't mind discussing the phenomena, the reasons behind it, since it is something that if it is not already, is going to touch all of our lives in so many other areas and venues.

7/20/2006 4:23 am  
Anonymous supersoling said...

This will be my last comment regarding BT on this thread or any other here at In Flight.

Catnip, some of what I said to you in my comment about Tracy's older comments could have been said better And that I went on and added my6 own observations about Tracy made my comments to you seem somewhat hypocritical For that, I apologize. But I do have a general sense of discomfort in naming names because I'm quite sure that our words here are being read and talked about elsewhere. For myself, I could care less if people talk about their opinions of me in other places. I'm quite secure in my history and my view of things, here, there, and anywhere else for that matter. But this is Dove's blog, and it's her call as to how she operates it. It's only left for me to respect her wishes.

7/20/2006 1:13 pm  
Blogger catnip said...

Certainly I think CabinGirl was trying to attack and bait you on the basis of your religious beliefs and that is not something I want to be silent about.

I appreciate that and that's all I was wondering about. I was deeply hurt that some didn't seem to see it for what it was: an attack on how I practice my religious beliefs and that, after everything we've discussed here - which began by your pointing out the same types of behaviour of BT in the past - what happened to me didn't seem to matter.

For the general record though, I don't particularly anticipate making future posts specifically about BT, or making it the focus of what I write.

Of course not. That's why I stuck to this thread to post my concerns about BT because we were still discussing it here. I haven't brought BT into your newer posts.

super,
I'm not quite sure I understand your apology (no need to elaborate - I'll just read it over until I get it) but thank you for it, nonetheless.

7/20/2006 7:18 pm  
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