I just had the stunning realization the other day that Gregor Clegane is a three-dog knight. THREE DOG KNIGHT. COME ON.
I am working on putting my very many feelings and thoughts about Chicago into readable tumblr form, but for now I’d like to share this AMAZING project that you should all donate to/spread the word about/support in some other way.
Violence against women is awful and common, we all know (hopefully), but some people don’t know that violence and sexual abuse against indigenous women is even more common. We’re talking 1 in 3 rape statistics, and a whole grisly series of other abuse statistics that I don’t have at hand right now.
Arming Sisters is about bringing self-defense classes (which I am all for) to indigenous women in reservations across the United States and Canada (I am all for mobile learning, also). They have an extremely modest fundraising goal of $25,000… If we live in a world where Kickstarters for iPhone cases can get upwards of six digits, this should be easily accomplished. Because we also live in a world where people are racist assholes, we should make sure it is accomplished.
So! Donate! Reblog! Tell your friends! Shove this information down the throats of your enemies!
(Note: That quote isn’t from the Arming Sisters website, for anyone who might take exception to it… It’s from Malcolm X. So take exception to it all you want, just don’t bother them about it. Don’t bother me either, because you can go screw yourself.)
So I know this is way, way past the acceptable time to be talking about it, but I just watched Snow White and the Huntsman and I have SO MANY FEELINGS about Queen Ravenna.
I will straight-up admit that my love of Ravenna is at least 40% due to her having the greatest villain wardrobe in a long time. The raven motif? Amazing. Even when she’s an oil-covered mess, she is a hot mess.
Which leads me to the other 60% of why I love her, that I’m sure has been made much of on the internet already - she is the biggest, best fuck-you to the hypocrisy and harm of patriarchal beauty standards. Women are repeatedly told their value lies in their beauty, victimized if they have exceptional beauty (though not only then), and maligned if they leverage their beauty to their own advantage.
Repeatedly in the film I found myself wanting Ravenna to win, which I’m sure was the film’s intention - she totally is the queen the world deserves, and I don’t fault her one bit. OK, maybe I fault her for all the wanton murder and general corruption of life, but I don’t fault her reasons.
I wish that there was an indication at the end that Snow White learns something from Ravenna, especially because much is made of her seeing through Ravenna’s eyes and understanding her motivations. Snow White is initially valued only for her appearance (Snow White!) and superficially reliant on the men in her life - her father, William, the Huntsman, the Dwarves, even that big white stag - and a bit more time could have been spent on her realizing that she has agency and inherent value. I would have liked to see less of a ‘slaying of the evil witch’ and more of a ‘thank you for showing me this is a man’s world, even as i kill you’ scene.
Like I said, so many feelings! Feelings on top of feelings. I’m going to just leave them here and design Ravenna-esque coats for myself until I fall asleep.
Now I’m gonna go have a rage blackout and hope I don’t wake up to a bunch of racist hatemail.
Trigger Warning: Murder, Media, Mental Illness
Anyone keeping track of the news over the last couple of days will have no doubt come across the story of Christopher Dorner. I don’t pretend to have any personal investment in this story - I don’t live in the United States, much less the area; I don’t have any direct knowledge or experience of the LAPD; I don’t know anyone affected by the murders or the manhunt.
While this is definitely something terrible to go through for everyone involved, I feel like there is an extreme (and unsurprising) media bias when reporting on Dorner as a person-of-colour and a politically-motivated murderer. I feel that this is a case where a murder is more than a murder, no matter what the headlines are saying.
The first reports that I’ve read, from the moment that this became news, concerned two things: how senseless and random the killings were, and how totally nutbar Dorner was. Much was made of his ‘manifesto’, ridiculing his specific shout-outs to Bill Cosby and Christoph Waltz, his critique of the Walking Dead and the Hangover trilogy. Reading these stories, you would imagine that this guy just updated his blog about what was trendy before walking out his door and shooting anything that moved.
This is misleading at best, deliberate misinformation at worst.
Dorner was a Los Angeles Police Officer (mentioned by most reports now, but not all), a decorated Naval officer, a well-liked family man. This things do not condone murder or pre-emptively eliminate someone from being a criminal, but these are facts that get glossed over in favour of presenting Dorner as a scary black guy - or as Bunk Moreland would say, a Big Negro with a Big Gun.
Most egregiously misleading are the summaries or excerpts from his so-called manifesto - which, after I read it in its entirety, came across as much as a farewell note as a statement of view. He calls out the Westboro Baptist Church and anti-Obama conspiracy theorists, commends Ellen DeGeneres’ LGBT activism, and blasts the president of the NRA for hypocrisy surrounding Sandy Lake. Yes, he speaks directly about and to a number of celebrities - but he speaks as a man who knows that he is about to be slandered and misinterpreted, who will have literally every word he has ever spoken cast in a new light. He speaks as a man who has recognized that he’s at his breaking point and wants to leave behind a piece of the person he wishes he could be.
The main focus of his writing, and of this entire incident, is the atmosphere of racism, brutality, and corruption in the LAPD and the legal system as a whole.
His dismissal from the LAPD? For filing, and sticking to, a citation of excessive force against a fellow officer.
His victims? Targeted, purposefully, in relation to the LAPD and the incident in question. No civilian unconnected to these two things was targeted, though he easily could have increased the body count exponentially.
His goal? I’ll let him speak for himself:
”Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.
… I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me.
… No one grows up and wants to be a cop killer. It was against everything I’ve ever was. As a young police explorer I found my calling in life. But, As a young police officer I found that the violent suspects on the street are not the only people you have to watch.”
Now, I would like to say again - I am not condoning his choices, nor am I saying that he’s innocent. I’m trying to illustrate the substantial bias in the way his story is being presented, which I believe is as much because he is a person-of-colour (who has personally been racially victimized throughout his life) as for his criticism of the LAPD. Additionally, his ‘manifesto’ includes some wording and beliefs I disagree with - it is far from a polished piece for popular consumption.
What I am saying is that this is a man who was driven to extreme action by what he perceived to be extreme circumstance, and that his perception is not necessarily wrong. Is it so far-fetched to believe that a major police force, particularly the LAPD, is corrupt and self-serving? That police officers would cover for each other in cases of brutality and discrimination? That the public story in a case like this would do anything other than portray Dorman as a larger-than-life psychotic spree killer?
Obviously the degree of spin on the story will vary according to your news source - I’ve been avoiding FOX News to keep from having an aneurysm - but I suggest that you read this personal account to measure whether the facts of the story match up to the perception promoted by the LAPD and the major media. California blogger “’Homegirl Arrissia’ Owen” (their description, certainly not mine) fails to identify Dorner as a former cop or anything else, but mentions having to cancel an interview with Flogging Molly; she depicts Big Bear as being a town under siege and lambasts local businesses for remaining open despite the very LAPD-specific nature of Dorner’s target (an understandable fear, but not one diminished by perpetuating a sensationalized story of spree killing); she describes the police as unprepared and the residents and tourists as blithely unconcerned with anything beyond their skiing and daily lives. I don’t feel that Owen’s emotional reaction to the story is unwarranted, nor that her reporting is poor - but I do feel that her post provides an insight into how the story is being reported and being read by the average person. Owen is, by what I can gather, a white upper-middle-class woman in a predominantly white resort town - what more perfect audience to be sold a story of a crazed black man indiscriminately killing his way across California?
I’m going to stop here because I feel like I’ve provided more than enough to illustrate my views, but also because writing this has been emotionally exhausting. The killing may not have been necessary or deserved, but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t see Dorner’s point. Any person-of-colour, any target of discrimination, who really recognizes the monolithic system of injustice that we face must reach a point where it seems like the only rational course is an irrational action. When I read about his persecution as a youth, his frustration as an adult, and finally his desperation as an activist (which he is, regardless of his method of activism), there is much that I find resonant in his story. A story that isn’t being told.
If I read another white blogger using ‘niggah’ today, I’ma lose my goddamned mind.
For a few years now I’ve been a very poor participant in NaNoWriMo; I think my particular style of writing (obsessively thorough and overwhelmingly self-conscious) is not the best match for it, though the idea of forcing out at least some of the words in my brain is an appealing one.
My attempt this year is a little different - it’s not a story I’ve had percolating for years, but one that literally came to me in a dream. It’s not a cast of characters I’ve perfectly designed or based on historical eccentricities, but one that’s coming together organically from the lives and stories of my family and friends. It’s about being a feminist, and being Jewish, and being an idealist, and it comes on the heels of my marrying a fellow idealistic Jewish feminist.
Suffice to say, it’s giving me a lot of feelings.
At the moment, I think I’ve burnt myself out on researching the brilliant, unappreciated women who pioneered physics research in the 19th and 20th century, as well as researching the horrors of medieval pogroms against the Jews. The above picture is from a manuscript that describes a community of Jews that were burned alive because, well, they were Jewish.
Things like this are complicated because while I have no particularly deep connection to European history, this is still my familial background and more importantly the community to which I’ve committed myself and feel the greatest connection. When I read about pogroms it is not just a horror at inhumanity, but also a visceral reaction on the level of reading about the treatment of slaves in the Caribbean. It is an unthinkable thing that I wish were impossible.
In many ways, that is what this story is about. I dreamt, unprovoked and apropos of nothing, of a group of people struggling to build a community without racism, or sexism, or oppression, on the banks of a river in Europe. I dreamt of arguing with a young man who criticized the strict rules we’d established, who accused us of refusing to save people because we were too obsessed with saving ourselves. And I dreamt of saying to him, just before I woke up, a line that has haunted every sentence I’ve written since:
“One day, I hope, you’ll see that I’m trying to save us all.”
TRIGGER WARNING: Rape and Incest
There are a lot (a lot) of problems with rape beyond the actual circumstances of the victim(s) and the perpetrator(s). Obviously the direct circumstances are more important, but I feel like there’s also a void in the behavioral expectations of allies and friends. How can you help when the legal system won’t, and how can you be an ally without exacerbating (or worse, exploiting) the trauma of the victim?
Title notwithstanding, Sampsell does a very good job of delving into the complications that surround rape, as an event, while also being mindful of what kinds of privilege and perspective he’s bringing with him. I would recommend this to everyone to read, but especially to men trying to make sense of the horror of other men’s actions.