how to sip from a poisoned well

I'm seeing a friend on tumblr struggle with the reality that they might have to use Andrea Smith in one of their papers. For those who don't know, Andrea Smith has been accused of faking her indigeniety (for the record: I have no real opinion about this since I don't know enough about it to have formed one. I've seen some Indigenous ppl defend her and some decry her.). As a result, some people think that this Thing has poisoned the well (ie, her body of scholarship). This post is not about whether or not the well is poisoned. But rather exploring some of the ways the Smith situation is different than, for example, Thomas Jefferson (and other enlightenment thinkers). In their cases, yes, I do think the reality of their lives poisons the well, making everything they wrote and said toxic and dangerous. Something to be handled with great care.

perhaps it is time to be silent

In the past 6 weeks, I've put out two blog posts. I haven't been working on any of my books or research essays. I've been barely present on social media (most active on twitter but this is mainly a function of how I use twitter more than anything else). To an extent, I know I said I was kind of in a suicidal spiral and it gave me my first writer's block I've had in a long, long while (maybe ever) but. Idk. I feel like I've reached a point where, at the moment, I don't really have anything new to say. Not really. A long, long time ago I wrote about the value of silence and I'm almost starting to think that perhaps it is time for me to be silent for a while. So that I can listen.

on white feminism as an ideology

I truly have no idea why I've been thinking so much about white feminism over the past few days. I don't even like feminism in general, much less white feminism in particular. I guess it's been on my mind since it occurred to me why 'white feminism' as a concept or an ideology is so important. Why its necessary. I did some (very cursory) searching yesterday into how white feminism has been discussed recently. There are many good discussions as to what it is and why its important to talk about... but it always feels to me that white feminism, as usually discussed, allows white women -- in particular -- to distance themselves from it. Much like how white people tend to do with racism, even the 'good' white people. Racism is always something other whites are doing, not them. I want to talk about how white feminism isn't really something that cishet white women can opt out of.

beyond the personal being political

That the 'personal is political' is an old (white) feminist proverb. One that, by and large, is largely considered received wisdom by a lot of people (even those of us who aren't necessarily into white feminism). Not that this is a problem, necessarily, because there is a great deal of truth in it. But... I think this framework of understanding our lives causes subtle harms when applied incorrectly or too broadly.

speaking out makes it harder to speak out

In the wake of the recent university of chicago hubbub about trigger warnings and all that (I've written about this topic enough already so I won't say more), I (of course) read the new version of Sara Ahmed's, "Against Students", published on the New Inquiry. You may recall that I've cited and talked about this particular essay several times. First, because it utterly destroys the moral panic about trigger warnings, safe spaces, and censorship on campus. Second, because she actually defends me in the essay and this defense is a balm to my soul (she doesn't know who I am and probably doesn't even realize that part of her essay is about me and about defending me. And I'm not speaking in the abstract here. She defends me specifically.):

my discourse is better than yours

I made an off-hand comment on tumblr (and twitter too I think) about how sneering at and/or critiquing Teh Discourse is discourse. The whole point of 'discourse' as a concept (as articulated by Foucault) is that it represents the totality of the entire domain, inclusive of the resistance to whatever is being perceived as the discourse. Yes, I understand that bc I've been pretty prominent in sneering at Teh Discourse myself -- I mean... I've been using 'Teh Discourse' for ages as a way to mock it -- it might look like I'm trying to distance myself from being 'one of them'. But I do recognize that I am 'one of them' (and you probably are too).

college AUs and the good life

I just started listening to a book that has the classic, 'I think you should pursue this great career opportunity at the expense of our romantic relationship' trope. As person who used to be way into the Glee fandom, I'm very familiar with this trope via the College AU, where often the driving plot point is: will the couple be forced to split up for college and can their relationship survive long distance? To me, the fact that this is a trope at all says something significant about the sway that capitalism has over our lives.

the biggest obstacle to diversity in libraries

This morning I'm tickled by a confluence of events in libraryland. First is Cecily's comment about how this year's National Diversity in Libraries Conference was again focused on being at the starting line. Filled with 101-level discourse and personal confessionals about how un-diversity (ie structural oppression) has harmed people. Then is reading a rant about how all librarians are morally obliged to read diverse books. Then seeing the (predictably) garbage thread about this article on ALATT. All of which brings me to the glowing knowledge of why diversity is always doomed to fail in librarianship...

plagiarism as a silencing tactic

Not sure why plagiarism was on my mind this morning as I was taking a shit, but it was. And it occurred to me that almost more than anything else I've seen, plagiarism is the most effective way to silence someone on the internet. Like... Seeing people who (unhappily) dealt with years and years of abuse on social media quit blogging and other stuff because of plagiarism rather than the ongoing abuse and harassment, it suddenly becomes clear to me that this issue is about more than just the exploitation of marginalized ppl's labour.

in which i vent my frustration with doctors and how we treat chronic illness (again)

So I've been taking more ativan than usual lately bc the bottle I got that was prescribed to someone else expired a month or so ago and I'm trying to finish it up, rather than simply tossing them. Now when I say 'taking more than usual' I really mean that I've been taking it whenever my anxiety goes above its normal levels (not just for panic attacks). In other words, I'm using my medication as prescribed. Instead of carefully hoarding my (usually) tiny supply for when my anxiety symptoms are at their most extreme. Of course, bc ativan is a benzo, this is a Bad Thing and why my doctor only prescribes me 10 at a time. But I've been thinking about the alternatives and, well, fuck doctors.

thinking about how identity politics is the new politically correct

Of course the old PC is still PC, given how its discussed by people from any place in the political spectrum... But I just read an essay by a scholar I generally respect (I mean... I used his work in my MA thesis so...) on Trump and the US election. All was fine until the third last paragraph where he advises progressives to give up on identity politics, since they are all really about freedom and are general 'human' issues. I'm amused that for a man generally insightful about how framing issues Matters he manages to make it clear he's working within a white supremacist framework (and misogynist too since he also points a finger at 'women's issues'). This of course is just a scholarly variation on 'identity politics' are divisive. He also isn't the first white liberal I've seen blaming 'identity politics' for the alleged fracturing of the Left.

musings into why race as biological destiny is more entrenched than gender

While I've been meaning to write about this for a little while, Ben Carson's recent remarks about how transgender doesn't make sense, its like being 'trans race' (not in the valid use of the term in reference to transracial adoptees) but in the sense of rachel dolezal. And certainly, I know I've written about why you can't evquivocate between race and gender in this way. They are distinct although interrelated systems of oppression. But you can't interchange them conceptually. But I think the problem goes deeper than this, into the ontology of both. Race as a solidity. A realness that gender does not. For all that we say both are socially constructed race in how many of us discuss it still has a kind of essentialism that we've mostly stripped from gender.

not showing up as praxis

Sara Ahmed in her recent blog post said that her style of dialoged has been called 'authoritarian'. The motivating factor for this is that she refuses to sit at the 'let's treat virulent transmisogyny as another viewpoint' feminist table. In a related way, this is the same in spirit as accusations that no-platforming radical feminists by students/activists is 'censorship'. It's also the same in spirit as the accusations that sjws refuse to listen and only enjoy discussing in echo chambers. The accusations that activists and students are 'triggered' by opposing views and simply don't want to be challenged.

my biggest ambition is to buy fresh broccoli

Starting in September it looks like my household income will have a dramatic increase, as my br0 starts his PhD and the scholarship money starts rolling in. Amusingly, before paying tuition, his total amount of scholarship money is more than yearly income. Tuition and other expenses (particularly his inter-city commute) will take a big bite out of that. Nonetheless... I've been day dreaming about all the things we can do with the extra income... like buying fresh vegetables again! Or getting to buy cereal! Not having to beg for money on the internet! Its a whole new world of mundane possibilities.

goodbye patreon

After almost two months after I said I'd do the thing, I've actually done it now. The thing: I've closed my patreon creator account. I hope that everyone who was supporting me there will take a moment to set up a recurring paypal donation instead. You can find the link/drop down list on either my tumblr or this blog (should be right there in the sidebar). People still wanting perks should contact me for the mailing list, which is where I'll be sending updates and advance chapters. Since this is still the primary way in which I feed myself, I'd super appreciate anyone who makes this transition with me. For people who can't for whatever reason, its totally fine and I super appreciate all the support you've given me thus far. Thanks :D

~being trans has nothing to do with it~ is a weak argument against confirmation bias

The breaking story over the past few days is the case of Shauna Smith, the trans woman arrested on felony voyeurism a few days ago. The facts of case are these: the 18yo girl/woman she was filming in a unisex dressing room at a target noticed the action. The victim called for help. Eventually Shuana was caught and has been arrested. Early reports erroneously said she was in the women's dressing room and, thus, this is exactly where most transmisogynists are going with this. They are, of course, filled with glee that the exact thing they've been 'warning' us about has come to pass. At long last, they have their 'trans women are all sexual predators' poster child! But this post isn't about them, its about the gay/trans MSM and their responses thus far.

agoraphobia as mobility reducer - musings on pokemon go and the false 'physical' vs 'mental' disability distinction

I know at this point its cliche to talk about pokemon go, but I've been thinking about the disability discussion about how the app excludes people with reduced mobility. Which got me thinking about the false dichotomy between 'physical' and 'mental' disabilities.... Primarily around something like mobility (which is today's example but not the sole realm wherein this false distinction falls apart). One of my disabilities that impacts my mobility is agoraphobia (the other is my sun allergy). I've not downloaded pokemon go or even considered it because I don't go anywhere. Like pretty much ever. Outside of the fairly limited radius I'm willing to go out of my apartment and at specific locations I must go (work, doctor's, and the like), I can spend weeks (months) not going anywhere new.

awareness as theatre and the problem of chronic crises

Activism in these days tends to manifest in a few primary ways, one of which (perhaps the most important) is via 'awareness'. Or, in other words, via the focus of the public on events or crises. Acheiving a critical mass of attention/awareness/focus is essential these days if the particular cause or crisis is to receive any kind of external support (monetary or otherwise). And so it turns (or attempts to anyway) every crisis into a piece of public drama. But like any kind of 'artistic' endeavor, whether or not your particular crisis is a hit with the fans/public, depends on a certain aesthetic that embodies a set of values. What I'm trying to say is that these days asking, 'why isn't anyone talking about x?' is equivalent to saying, 'why is Hamilton a hit, but not this musical you haven't heard about?'. This is activism as zero sum game: or, activism within a capitalist notion of false scarcity.

how i learned to breathe under the crushing weight of oppression and activism

A comment today from someone saying how she feels like however much she's doing, she should be doing more. More in terms of advocacy, activism, and other such stuff. And, honestly, I think this is one of the hardest things to grapple with when you start getting involved in social justice on any level. There is just so much oppression. So many people suffering and all of it interconnected in a deeply complex web that is utterly overwhelming. So much to know, so much to do, so much more to be done. This reality and the weight of it can crush you. This post is about how I learned to breathe and let this burden go.

feeling good

I am officially a Busty Superstar. Its weird. I have cleavage. I have tits. And, at long last, I feel good about it. I kind of thought that this would happen, that my ambivalence would go away once I actually had the surgery and made my ascension to Busty Superstardom. But what really helped was getting a sign from my ancestors and the universe, that I was actually doing the right thing. This sign took the form of Nina Simone's classic song, "I'm feeling good".