Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pee See

I've been thinking about the ability for words to harm lately, and which ones sting and why.  I'm hurt if someone calls me fat or a bitch or a slut.  There's something at work here with terms that you can't force away from yourself.  Slurs that mean, "what you are, which is is obviously a bad thing," stick.  I consider "bitch" and "slut" to be slurs that basically mean, "woman."  Ditto fat, to a certain extent.  (It's kind of hard to explain, and probably very idiosyncratic.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Fascinated

I'm a square.  I like rules.  Oddly, it's taken getting older for me to see how deeply this trait is embedded in me, and how badly I need to work around it.  I thought you were supposed to get more conservative as you age.

Anyone reading my blog may be getting sick of the Occupy talk.  But I'm hooked on the puzzle.  I can't quite figure it out (and I'm putting in the effort), but I can't shake the feeling that there's some "there" there.  I think that's a good sign.  If I need to rebuild a lot of my ideas about how the world works, I'm not going to put it off until I'm completely fossilized.

I find this pretty exciting, but it's a personal exploration that could easily get very boring to people who are not me.  I write this blog because I like to think out loud, and I assume people read it because they like seeing someone do that.  I promise to stop the soul-searching, and limit it to the actual revelations.

A thought

I came across a "hur hur, I go totally NUTS when I have my period" graphic on Facebook today, and those things really bug me.  I made a comment about how all people, female or not, are cranky and awful from time to time, but the menstrual cycle's effect on mood is at least predictable.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Disconnect

There was something implied in the occupation of Zuccotti Park.  Picketing, protesting, marching - you do that until your demands are met.  I've been reading about consensus-building, and while it's fascinating and a promising model for organizing, I'm having a hard time getting on board.  If the process is the purpose, then I don't see how anyone will get more than participation ribbons within the next five years.  The most cynical thought I have had about consensus-building is that it's the terrifying result of Special Snowflake-ism.  Occupy is anti-hierarchical, which is not the way we tend to see things handled.  Anti-hierarchy seems in this instance to be anti-power, and therefore anti-empowerment.  I held out a little hope after reading this interview with Marina Sitrin on historical use of consensus-building, only to have it totally dashed by Ted Rall later on.

There are precedents of consensus-building working out beautifully.  But I don't think that will happen at Zuccotti Park.  It's the very last thing I want to say "I told you so" about.  I'd love to be proven wrong.  I've spent hours this week trying to convince myself that I am.

OWS has indeed empowered people to make their pain known.  I'll say unequivocally that is an accomplishment.  If I may be flip, America has been in need of a pity party.  (Tongue in cheek!  You can have a pity party about an actual problem.)  But it doesn't appear that this is all OWS has set out to do; there are still people camping out on Wall Street.

I read an article by Ted Rall today about how consensus-building is basically useless at making things happen, but super-fun and important anyway I guess.  I read this in the latest Boise Weekly, which is running a series on empowering people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities to vote.  Hilariously, Rall's article (wherein he made a snide remark about having to listen to the mentally-handicapped during the occupation) was on the opposite page of the first installment of the series.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Domestic Battery Legal in Topeka, KS

People were circulating a news story warning that the city of Topeka, KS was considering stopping prosecution of misdemeanor domestic violence, but I didn't believe it would ever happen.  I guess I'm naive.  The story as to why this happened is that there was budgetary fighting between the city and the county over who would prosecute these crimes after a budget cut hit their department.  The county declined to take on the task, as did the city.  From Politico:

Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said the 10 percent budget cut forced his hand at a time when his office is bogged down by other cases. In response, he decided in early September that his office would drop its prosecution of misdemeanors - which include domestic violence and battery without a weapon - in Topeka.

If you'd like to donate to a local DV program, the Topeka YWCA can be found here.  I just did; their job is going to be awfully hard without the legal backup.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Atomized Inaction

I went to my first Occupy Boise meeting on Sunday, and left after almost two hours of hemming and hawing.  There was emphasis on  inclusivity far beyond what is possible.  This just doesn't meet the definition of a collective.  What I saw was neither collective, nor action.  The narrowing and unity that Occupy needs to arrive at will be painful, and a lot of goals will be abandoned to create a front that many can ally themselves behind.  As it stands, Occupy appears to be lot of people with legitimate grievances who would like to harness the energy for their own purposes.  I went because I was curious, and vaguely supportive.    

I can't argue with the fact that marginalized people's priorities tend to be pared off first, and I'll admit I don't know what to do about that.  I'll give Occupy the fact that they recognize this problem, but I can't say that they have moved past it.

Unfortunately, I think I'm equally stuck.

I can see how marginalized people see this as an opportunity to get a foothold on the mainstream consciousness, or maybe make some collateral progress.

Saturday, October 08, 2011


I've been thinking more about Occupy Wall Street, and am feeling generally supportive, but not in any specific way.  In fact, I plan on making it to my first Occupy Boise rally tomorrow (I've missed two all ready).  When you compare OWS and the Tea Party, you can see the TP folks are more organized since they're just Republicans, who pretty much have their shit together when it comes to organizing.  A lot of people say that OWS has really bad timing in waiting so long after the crisis/bailouts/whathaveyou, but the fact that it's an election year, and some campaign* may have a chance to capitalize on the enthusiasm and save OWS from just falling apart.

*Elzabeth Warren?  Please?  (I do feel some irrational personal loyalty to Obama, but I'd vote for her in a primary over him.  Or maybe not.  It's very possible that she could do more good in the Senate than as President.)