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Week eighteen in ephemera

Cloudspotting

As a card-carrying (or maybe a wannabe card-carrying) member of the cloudspotter’s club, I was excited by this recent rumpus. Keep watching that sky! Where I live, we’ve been getting more sunshine over the past few days and while I love clear blue skies, I really love nothing more than to lie on the grass in a park or by the water and just watch those clouds roll on by, casting shadows and making me dream of cotton candy, bed, waves, whatever.

Meritocracy

You’ve heard of the meritocracy? Critics of affirmative action legislation and policies love to throw the meritocracy around and it’s pretty annoying. Yes, affirmative action can often be a one-dimensional solution to lack of diversity, opportunity, and equity, when it ignores intersectionality and cultural infrastructure; it doesn’t really dismantle the problematic relations of power we live with. Yet, the meritocracy fails us. The guy who coined ‘meritocracy’ was pretty annoyed by neoliberal goofballs in power throwing that concept about. Excellent reminder that satire serves a specific purpose and we need to consider our sources.

Leave Me Alone: I’m eating and reading

Fran Lebovitz knows where it’s at when answering the NYT’s ‘by the book’ column, especially when talking about fictional dinner parties with authors living or dead.

GET OUT

I went to see Get Out in the theatre with a friend and even without captioning it packed serious power. Go see it, if you haven’t. Squirm in your seat if you’re a white viewer, and have a think about all those little microaggressions you recognize acting out. Read more here.

Comics, Again

Rob Delaney totally loves Phoebe Gloeckner’s A Child’s Life. Have you read Gloeckner’s work? It’s intense and dark and *so* beautifully written/drawn. Gloeckner’s Diary of a Teenage Girl is better known (movie, etc.). Also, I appreciate the way Delaney talks about depression and reading.

I Have Something To Tell You

PAY ATTENTION. This has been short and not that sweet but it’s something. Just going to hold onto that: it’s something. Thanks for reading.

 

beach in the city

week nine in ephemera

Maps and the city

There’s a new map of NYC in Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro’s Nonstop Metropolis, laying out the city as one of women. Sylvia Rivera is there, so’s Kitty Genovese, and Lil’ Kim. Zora Neale Hurston and Adrienne Rich are one stop away from each other. Edwidge Danticat, Dr. Ruth, and Salt’n’Pepa. Check it out.

Oil

Everybody’s saying oil is driving/killing *the* economy/planet (I emphasize “the” because there’s more than one, but this is how it’s talked about, and of course, there’s the behemoth global economy of stuff and people and forces; can you tell I didn’t study economics in school?). I’ve talked about Planet Money before, because it’s awesome. But this week I’m thinking about this podcast from August about oil and the stuff that makes oil/is made from oil/etc.

Musics

For most of the summer I couldn’t really wear my hearing aid because it didn’t fit and kept cutting my ear. Thus, I missed a season of grooves. Yeah, it’s as poopy as it sounds (or doesn’t sound, lolz). So I’m making up for lost time. Solange released A Seat at the Table at the beginning of October and I’m stoked. Google or search Fb for some thoughtful discourse on the politics of the album. Here, I’m just grooving (which, in my case, means chair dancing, which really means that I’m nodding my head as I listen. My grooving is sad but I like it.)

For when you need to be chill but need some groove too. I’ve not yet had a chance to peruse this playlist but something’s gotta hit.

Oh, shit

This stopped me cold. I know I pulled some hateful shit when I was a misinformed little kid who wanted more than anything to belong. To be a parent continually downgrading their anger when deciding whether/how to explain to another parent that their kid is doing racist turd things (which they in all probability picked up from them). Respect and solidarity to the poc and indigenous parents of poc and indigenous kids. This feeds systemic racism and grows cops that shoot to kill black people, just as much/even more than (?) the blatant stuff of Trumpies, etc.

Anecdotal but heartening

My weight and shape have fluctuated quite a bit since I started messing with starving myself at 12 (which is, like, the most classic narrative for white middle class girls of the 80s and 90s, apparently, though there are studies indicating that eating disorders go far beyond these folks; it’s just that doctors and counselors ignored everybody else). I’m a hedonist when it comes to food. I’m never, barring threat of death, going to restrict major food groups ever again, nor am I going to spend a shit-ton of time at the gym “working it off.” Nothing works the same for everyone, but I appreciate this doctor connecting the dots between pressure to lose it all and growing medically-sanctioned reliance on weight-loss drugs.

That desk jockey life though

So, yeah, I’m not gonna kill myself getting fit and stuff. But I do need to exercise on the regular, and go hard more often than not. Still figuring out what my routine is, but going from working not at all for nearly six months to working five days a week is wreaking havoc on my bod (lolz … such as it is.) Gotta step up the weights. And I need to move. Funemployment meant that I was swimming in the Gorge 2-3 times a week plus going on long bike rides and walks nearly every day. My favourite book on running (not that I read a lot of books on running; the blurbs or back cover descriptions make me shudder most of the time) is by Haruki Murakami. It’s about struggle and boredom and repetition, not triumph (a key summary). And I love it. Maybe it’s a life of being told I need to be exceptional to be average that’s got me down on inspirational motivation, so be it. Not into it. What am into is running as a way to get to know a city. I like that.

 

Week three in ephemera.

Actually, I wish that all that’s been happening (or what I’m aware of of all that’s been happening) were actually ephemeral. I mean, I wish that state violence against POC, this week black and brown people in America, would just end. I wish it wasn’t generations upon generations of trauma revisited every day, and reenacted all the time. You know the saying, “if wishes were horses”? Yeah, me too. But I wish it anyway.

My social media is glutted with first-person accounts, including the videos of black people dying, in real time, at the hands of police officers, which I have not watched. It includes footage of the Black Lives Matter – Toronto taking a much needed stand against the consistent tokenism and erasure of queer POC in Pride festivities year after year. It also includes the latest bombing by ISIS in Baghdad (ISIS is not representative of Islam, and people need to get that, like, immediately). And, competing for space in my feeds is the continued violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

But, there are many things to read and educate ourselves with, particularly if we’re white:

This is what white people can do to learn about and support Black Lives Matter. A letter to well-meaning white friends in a similar vein (we need to read it again and again and go beyond).

The common narrative I’ve read in western coverage of ISIS is that recruits or volunteers are poor, disenfranchised, and looking for escape. This could be wrong, or changing very fast.

Even the way we access the internet is off because of racism.

Yesterday was AltPride in Victoria/Lkwungen and WSANEC territories (so great to see the snail trail getting dropped in my neighbourhood). Today is “regular” Pride. Much respect, love, anger, and solidarity to the queerlings in my life.

It’s been a week. I have more to say, so please do check back. Much gratitude to Lin-Manuel Miranda for the pithy, loving tweet this week.

 

 

Week two in ephemera.

The world is going to pot on the daily (hasn’t it always already been?). So, some stuff of inspiration: the women kicking ass as Guardian Angels fighting harassment and violence on NYC’s subways; the Perv Busters!

Less inspiring: how the rich controls the media by silencing journalists. Terrifying.

The Reluctant Memoirist has appeared on a few lists and made the rounds, but it’s a compelling example of how journalist Suki Kim’s gender and race impacted the way her work has been perceived and critiqued in media and publishing circles. From the article:

“As an Asian female, I find that people rarely assume I’m an investigative journalist; even after I tell them, they often forget. Having spent my formative years in America not speaking English, I know how to be mute; my accent sometimes makes people assume I am naïve. I am good at disappearing. I am aware that such apparent weaknesses can in fact be advantages.”

Speaking of a journalist going undercover to get the story: I haven’t been paying close attention, but so far I’ve not seen critiques or categorizing of Shane Bauer that the reluctant memoirist in question above faced. Something to chew over? And, the impact of the prison industrial complex in the United States is one that has been horrifying to watch (and prisons are already horrifying).

I was a front line social worker for eight years and harm reduction was always part of the services I provided, regardless of the position of organizational leadership. If, for a minute, you think it’s alright to write people who use drugs off because you’ve never had that issue, I hope you read this. People are people. The people I worked with and that our community lost are still with me today; memories knocking any self-serving piety out of me on the daily.

Since it’s July 1st, or where I live, Canada Day, I have to add some “CanCon.” Last year, the Truth and Reconciliation Report (TRC) was released to the federal government and general public. This spring, a TRC Reading Challenge was started, and people have been pledging to read or listen to a reading of the Report in its entirety. I signed as a means of intentionally pursuing reconciliation in the present and future. For more information about Canadian history as it relates to ongoing colonial structures, read Lynn Gehl / Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe’s Algonquin-Anishinaabekwe love letter.

Thank you for reading!