When I returned to the U.S. from Kenya in December 2011, I could feel the poison re-entering my system: my skin changed again, as the hard Baltimore water scrubbed off the softer Nairobi water, and, with it, whatever healing Nairobi had effected. I returned to James MacArthur and Christopher Dorner, to the disposability and killability of black men; I returned to “jokes” about nine-year-old girls; to a panel discussion on Django Unchained hosted by film scholars at my university that did not, in the initial panel composition, include any single black scholar; I returned to a post-racial U.S., which meant that racist jokes could circulate with impunity; I returned to a world that Ida B. Wells and W.E.B. Du Bois would have found too familiar, and mourned.
I returned to a world that Caribbean-born, Liberian intellectual Edward Wilmot Blyden described as uninhabitable. From the mid- to the late-nineteenth-century, Blyden had urged Afro-diasporic populations from the U.S. and the Caribbean to move to Africa, convinced that they could not thrive in western modernity. In helping to found a university in Liberia, he argued that any work produced during and after the Renaissance, the so-called age of exploration, was too racially toxic for African students. And so he attempted to create structures of knowledge devoid of toxicity. Reading Blyden shifted something in me and for me. I began to ask whether it was possible to live outside of toxicity. Whether, in fact, what felt like a utopian possibility rendered impossible by globalization could be any kind of model.
Drawing by Christopher Stackhouse.
WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
…Personal change doesn’t equal social change."
Also been saying this for years.
We need to stop acting like your average person (I use the US as an example because my primary experience is with that) is responsible for this shit. Like, oh, we could fix all our problems if Average McAverageson from Nowhere, USA would quit taking such long showers, quit driving so much, turned off lights she’s not using and buy only organic, fair-trade stuff she can’t afford when she stops at a grocery store on the way home from her job that doesn’t pay her enough.
I see a lot of very well-intentioned, principled people saying things like “If people only cared where and how their goods were made!” “If people only valued these things more!” “Pollution and climate change is an example of the tragedy of the commons - people are just too selfish to be trusted!”
And they don’t realize that the economic oppression of workers in other places is directly linked to that of workers here, both are locked in and forced to participate. they don’t realize that most people do care, aren’t interested in taking up more of their share of resources, and would make this happen if it were in their power as an individual. Finally, that the “tragedy of the commons” garbage that gets used to encourage capitalistic thinking and discourage people from being social- and community-minded is actually wrong and not an accurate example of how real people behave. that individual use of resources, the same thing that gets touted as the Reason For All Our Problems, is a drop in a bucket compared to corporate use and abuse of these resources.
Maybe someday when we’ve thrown off the corporate yoke and gotten their sticky fingers out of our natural resources, individual choices will make a difference. But right now that’s nothing compared to the real source of the problem.
So, it’s not us. We’re not an irredeemably greedy and awful bunch of people, even though we’ve been taught to value greed and selfishness. We’re all being robbed. It’s just that most of us don’t know it.(via theiredepartment)
but who knows, with yet another diagnosis maybe I will be able to ~~unlock~~ proscriptions for better painkillers.
…thinking of the medical system as some kind of atrocious video game where you have to fight bosses (doctors) to level up (get diagnoses) and unlock new items (medications) feels alarmingly accurate to me.
For people who are actually interested in how viking music might have sounded, “Drømde mik en drøm i nat" (/I dreamt a dream last night) is the earliest music (and lyrics) known in Scandinavia preserved on the last page of the (~1200-1300) Codex Runicus as rune notes.
The song and melody is still known and used today in most of Scandinavia, as a sort of folk-standard. This version, deceivingly slow in the beginning, is presented as close to the original sound of the years 900-1000 as historians think they can come.
This song might have survived because it was a gigantic hit, like the viking’s very own “Billie Jean”. A total pop slayer that stayed around long enough for music notes to be invented.
The more you know.
cbc’s got a GOTHIC WESTERN MYSTERY coming out in october
Set in 1869 Alberta-Montana border country, STRANGE EMPIRE is a Western whose heroes are women. With most of the men gone, and those who remain battling for control, the women struggle to survive, to find their independence, and to build a life in which to thrive and raise families.
the three women are billed as the leads
i am so excited
okay I was pretty wary of this at first and I still have reservations about it, but 2 of the 3 main ladies aren’t white and one of them is Metis (!!!!!) so I shall definitely give it a chance.
The shitty thing is that I find myself actually praying that the sleep study says I have sleep apnea because the other sleep disorders that match my symptoms all have prognoses like “basically you are fucked for the rest of your life” and I can’t deal with that thought