"Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease."
Those are some pretty powerful lyrics. More, these were political and prophetic lyrics.
Recall that the song and the French poem were written in 1847. The English version was written in 1855, six years before the American Civil War and eight years before the Emancipation Proclamation. O Holy Night, it turns out, was a song of political resistance and protest.
-- Richard Beck, Christmas Carols as Resistance Literature
If this is what “Democracy” looks like in the 20th century–Nazis throwing their Sieg Heil in a public building in Washington DC to celebrate the election of a Nazi President…then you can count me out.
Both my grandfathers went to war and risked their lives to keep people like this from ruling the world.
If this [is] America now…then “America” and I are now at war. Which is pretty scary, because America has the largest and most powerful military in the history of the world…and all I’ve got is this laptop.
-- Arinn Dembo, We Are At War
"America" has always been a piece of crap, genocidal, white supremacist settler state. Some of us have been dealing with this America for our whole lives. We didn't have the choice of whether or not to go to war with it, because it declared war on us.
It is, perhaps, no surprise that the people who seem to be managing best out of the at-risk citizens I know are almost all survivors of some sort of sustained abuse—of domestic violence, child abuse, of the historic abuse enacted by grim and sordid definition on marginalized and minority groups, or all three. Some of the most vulnerable people I know are also the best in a crisis, because they kick immediately into survivor mode. One of my most fragile friends has spent the past few days making some of the fiercest political art of her life, another has put together quick, comprehensible reading lists for strategies of resistance, another is fundraising like mad for abortion rights charities and bringing networks together to keep up the momentum. This doesn’t mean they’re grieving any less, nor that those of us still pinned to our beds with panic are poor soldiers in this war to which we find ourselves conscripts. It means that the strategies that will sustain us all in the coming weeks and months are exactly the strategies that have always allowed [people] to survive abuse and intimate terrorism. They are strategies for practical survival that are also emotional armour.
[...] Normalization is psychic armour. But so is resistance. In the coming weeks and months and years we must navigate a course between the exhaustion of perpetual outrage and the numbness of normalization. That means taking care of ourselves and of one another. It means practicing a sort of emotional intelligence that the new power order lacks the capacity to imagine, an emotional intelligence that is all that stands between us and fascism with a cartoon face. It’s also called courage. If standing up to bullies was cost-free, we’d have a different world. If enough of us do it anyway, we can still make one.
-- Laurie Penny, Against Bargaining: On not taking leave of your senses
( Personal stuff )
Take care of yourselves. Be aggressively good to yourselves, and your vulnerable friends. Be well.
Then stand up to bullies, for me and for every one of their targets.
But its message was not that we should be conciliatory towards actual fascists, or let them say horrible things at (American) Thanksgiving. Its real message was directed at the supporters themselves.
Content note: Spoilers for an episode of Steven Universe.
( Read more... )
My sympathy and condolences, to everyone living that story next week.
If you've been staying quiet to keep the peace, now is the time to fight back. Especially at Thanksgiving dinner. Now is the time to challenge bigoted people. Now is the time to burn your bridges, destroy your relationships, and never be invited back because you called someone out for their hate speech.
More people will die if you don't.
Trigger Warning: Talk of suicide, and an actual call to physical violence.
( Read more... )
I'm not planning on dying anytime soon. But I would like to have an AR app, which lets me see the blood on everyone's hands. It's always been there, but there is more than usual lately.
EDIT: I do not think the person who wrote this essay meant to chastise our friends here on Dreamwidth. It looks like a wake up call for the unaware and uncaring.
The United States: Leaving Great Britain 200+ years before it was cool.
I am so sorry, you guys. >_> Goddess help everyone who's having to deal with the disaster in the UK up close. And goddess help the poor dogs and military veterans with PTSD, who have to deal with fireworks here in the States. We know what it's like to be unable to get away from terrifying loud noises.
If you donate, put it towards "save the animals." Otherwise, we don't know you.
Here is an idea based on something I heard on Twitter.
Let's make it so I can get hormone therapy after an over-the-counter blood test and a one-week waiting period. In exchange, let's make it so that in order to have a gun, you have to see a therapist for several months and talk over why exactly you want one. Before waiting up to a year to see a government-licensed gunsmith, and being prescribed a small-calibre firearm and a limited supply of ammo for target shooting.
A few months later, if no one's been injured, they may prescribe you a slightly larger-calibre device.
Your ammunition purchases go into your medical record, and naturally you have to pay for all of this yourself, even if you have insurance or medicare.
And it targeted LGBT+ people specifically. Because starving people's unwanted kids to death on the street wasn't killing them fast enough, I guess.
Please get me out of this country, and especially this state. I don't want to be here anymore. I renounce all claims to American identity. I want to be with spinecrawlerrush in Canada and never, ever come back.
FAKE EDIT: Also, I sold off / am selling all of my 40k stuff, after being harassed by an IRL xenophobe / transphobe. "Suffer not the alien to live" isn't funny anymore.
REAL EDIT: In hindsight, this probably wasn't anywhere near as big as the mass killings that took place in the genocide of Native Americans.
Real, True, Godly, White Christian Americans have always been for this kind of thing.
So, we read an excerpt from the intro to a history book on the First Succession War, which was a mad scramble for land and resources after a political upheaval.
It reminded us of how much we love BattleTech sometimes, and why:
It was a week before my nineteenth birthday when we learned that Amaris had been captured and the [coup] was over. Naïvely, we thought things would get back to how they were before, in our parents’ day. How quickly we were disabused of that notion. The dukes knew things would only get worse and all the patriotic noise Kenyon had made was soon supplanted by something more authoritarian. We were just the wrong age, the perfect age to serve.
My boyfriend, Joe, was one of those called up that autumn, thrown into a boot-camp and then shipped off-world to fill out a line unit. I never saw him again—he died on Anegasaki when the Capellans killed the Fourth Militia. I was luckier I suppose, drafted into the planetary militia, so at least I was near home where it was safe and quiet. At least at first.
Then Kenyon got a mind to take over all the Star League facilities, following up on the rumors that Kerensky had left vast stockpiles on-world. That may have been true, but after four years spent on that wild goose, with little more than field rations, toilet paper, and SLDF recruitment pamphlets to show for it, the FWLM shifted their attention elsewhere. That didn’t save me from a grilling by SAFE—several in fact—because of who Gramps was, and his involvement with the Engineering Sub-Command. He died when I was nine, but even so, SAFE struggled to accept that a pre-teen knew nothing about SLDF activity. Dad got it much worse, and was held at the facility in Freeport for three weeks before they decided that the English teacher from Durandel High wasn’t going to give them much help either.
In those days, the years before the start of the Succession War, I did wonder: if this is how badly we treat our own people, how are things going to go when we start shooting at people we don’t like?
Compare and contrast, with how 40k portrays warfare. And authority, and nationalism. Even if you read 40k as a dystopian satire, where the Imperium is meant to be seen as brutal, you rarely get such a personal look, at the price that ordinary people pay for you to dress up in armour and play as a "hero." To satisfy your vain ambition, for power or wealth or heroics.
40k isn't alone in erasing civilians and glamourizing warfare, of course. Don't get me started on dudebro shooters. >_>; With the extremely subversive exception of Spec Ops: The Line.
For another good take (IMO) on how BattleTech portrays conflict, check out the short story at the start of the Alpha Strike Quick-Start rules (PDF link). A private military contractor called Wolf's Dragoons catches a desperate foe completely off-guard, and an enemy MechWarrior has an obvious mental breakdown, but there's no guarantee that she won't recover once they've gone past. So Natasha just shoots her mech's legs out and moves on. Even though she has TEH RAEG because of something the other side's employer did to Dragoon dependents.
Finally, if you want to support a PC / tabletop game that tells the story of people who live in the ruins that "heroes" and generals fight over, check out This War of Mine:
Armed conflict is a terrific backdrop for drama. But it isn't a playground or theme park, and it shouldn't be treated as one.
(Content note for these links and this essay: Racism, sexism, classism, transphobia, and xenophobia.)
I'd just like to take a moment to remind everyone, including my friends who are also transgender, that if you live in the first world everything that you have and enjoy is made possible through unthinkable violence and slavery. Of humans, to say nothing of nonhuman animals.
It's not a matter of how moral you are, or how much you consciously choose not to inflict violence on others. This is an inherent feature, of a world where some people are valued so much more than others. Because the purpose of inequality, inhospitality, and inhumane treatment is to make people broken and desperate.
The purpose of immigration restrictions, for instance, is to enable human trafficking, which means (among other things) being able to keep people in sheds they pay rent on and beat them if they don't wash your car just right. Meanwhile, the reason that the United States lacks the social safety net that other so-called "liberal democracies" have is because one of its political parties (we all know which one) used its "Southern Strategy," of convincing white voters that welfare payments would go to the wrong kind of people.
You know, the ones who are supposed to avert their eyes when they see you walk by, and who call you "sir" and shine your shoes for you.
Trans World Problems?
No. No, the new laws here in the States, that make it even more dangerous for trans people to use public restrooms, aren't a "First World Problems" thing. A "be grateful that you aren't a literal slave" thing. As though becoming a sex worker with no legal protections weren't something a lot of trans people have to turn to, and as though there are no trans people who are black, immigrant, or enslaved.
What this is, is a reminder that we (as trans people) aren't the first to suffer this indignity, and we won't be the last. Unless we can join our grasping appendages with others who are resisting things like it*, and turn the tables on our capitalist oppressors.
(It's redundant to call them that, but sometimes it just helps to hammer it home.)
* Or even others who are affected by it, despite not being trans. Don't forget; besides barring people who don't pass as cis from using the restroom, North Carolina's HB2 also banned local living wage laws, and made it harder for any worker to bring a discrimination suit against their employer. These aren't unrelated coincidences; these things are all part of systemic inequality and oppression.
Content Note: Graphic violence.
( devour )
TARYN: In reality, I suspect there would be a long line to eat white cispeople from the southern United States. Link. I don't think they would taste very good, either.
Please mourn with their victims, and stop allowing them to hurt others. Here in the States, or internationally like in Uganda.
Despite our disenchantment with Microsoft, we still use and rely on OneNote. It's a free cross-platform app, with free online syncing and no ads, and it takes pictures and formatted text and automatically cites stuff that we copy and paste from online.
Anyway, we've collected a lot of quotes about how it's not surprising to find ourself as a hikikomori / part of the underclass, all things considered. And how we still contribute to society despite being devalued economically. And how society's requirements are unreasonable to begin with, especially when it plays favourites so blatantly.
It's actually kind of a source of hope and encouragement to read them. Sort of like 15 years ago, when we were first starting to come to terms with the idea that we're fundamentally "a writer" and couldn't be happy doing the jobs that the people around us were pressuring us to do. Which led to our taking it seriously and getting a lot of practice, and eventually led to us supporting ourself and another person through writing things that were important to us.
They also note that Apple stuff's been getting cheaper, while housing, education, and health care are all priced for the upper class. Which kind of puts things in perspective, and makes us feel better about owning an iPod and wanting a Mac.
I mean. There are billboards here in the States that advertise schools and hospitals. Srsly. Like, a lot of them.
In the past few weeks, a lot of the hurdles to obtaining health care and such here have been worked out. More than that, burning_ground has proven to be a very good friend and supportive Internet Family Member, and aliaspseudonym / spinecrawlerrush is now talking about planning a future with us and visiting late next month.
We've gotten out of the habit of checking on Dreamwidth, and have set our fanfiction aside temporarily. But in other spheres of our life -- Final Fantasy XI, miniatures, and earning spending money on Mechanical Turk -- we've actually been Getting Stuff Done. Like, a lot more than usual, and a lot more regularly than usual. A day where we could do anything but read depressing stuff used to be rare, but now we can count on at least a couple hours of work every day. And save up for things, and have dreams and ambitions, even if they don't resemble most people's.
I feel like accepting our place in the underclass, as someone who's not valued enough by society to even be exploited as a labourer, is actually part of that. Because we've gone from seeing ourself as a failed member of the working class, whose struggles are all her fault, to seeing ourself as someone who's lost a lot of life's lotteries but has people who love and support her.
Knowing that, and having that support, has given us a lot of strength lately. It's not something that we're used to.
We can share some of the quotes that we've found if anyone's interested. Today we just wanted to talk about how we're feeling, lately.
From a comment by /u/Rosetylerkillsdaleks on /r/exmormon, about their racist Mormon grandma's mental breakdown when she realized she was partly of southeast African and Middle Eastern descent:
Basically she honestly believes she has tainted blood and it's really sad she can't accept it as something cool and unique.
That's really how we want to experience everything weird about ourself, from being otherkin / plural to being transgender and pansexual. As something that's cool and unique. Not in a "special snowflake," attention-seeking way, as though that weren't a label for narcissists to shut down anyone they think is getting more attention than them. More like the way people here in the States view European cultural heritage.
It used to be, having the wrong European heritage or being Catholic made you The Other. (Does anyone remember the episode of M.A.S.H., where Charles Emerson Winchester III freaks out about his sister marrying an Italian?!) Nowadays white, American identity mostly encompasses such people. And a lot of white people here in the States have at least a passing familiarity with different European cultures' traditions. Like knowing that "mass" means a church service, that you give stuff up for Lent, that baklava and tabouli are Mediterranean / Greek food, and that their family reunions can get kind of rowdy.
I'd really like for my "weirdness" to be seen that way. As something people have a passing familiarity with, so that it's not a big deal to them and they don't need to stop everything so that I can explain it. And then they judge whether or not it's acceptable, when I was doing just fine before they weighed in with their Unbiased Opinion.
I guess that's why I've spent so much time trying to explain myself, here.
We've been having a bad time in the place that we've moved to, in terms of obtaining health care (especially trans-specific health care). Things are starting to look up -- we got seen at a sliding scale clinic and treated for our persistent cough, last week, plus we got an antidepressant prescription that we don't need to be groped for.
Finding a trans-friendly endocrinologist is more difficult; it feels like an underground scene of some kind, not a straightforward medical service. Things are still up in the air, here, but we managed to get blood tests done without breaking the bank ... or at least, burning_ground's bank account.
(She's really the one who's been handling it all. We've mostly been
fretting panicking curled up in a ball playing games on the iPod aliaspseudonym got us. Which was much less expensive than the blood tests we needed.)
We're sorry for scaring people / being absent / not replying or noticing stuff / dropping capsulerp. We hope everyone's doing okay out there, and we'll try to keep breathing.
Warmachine, and its companion game, Hordes, were made in the United States. Warhammer 40,000 was made in Great Britain.
The more I think about it, the more I feel like this explains a lot of the differences between the two games.
( Read more... )
American Millennials are far more likely than older generations to say the government should be able to prevent people from saying offensive statements about minority groups, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data on free speech and media across the globe.
-- Pew Research Center, 40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities
Women, people of colour, democrats, and the young are all more likely than other groups to support restrictions on hate speech, in the United States. Maybe because they've had the most of it directed at them, and have had personal and professional opportunities curtailed by people who spout it? And/or because they've been subject to the violence that hate speech is designed to incite?
Millennials in the United Kingdom are also ahead of the curve on this issue, along with most people in Germany. Which already has "clear laws against hate speech," at least according to Pew. Perhaps if the States had learned from the horrors of WWII as well as (some parts of) Germany did, there would be fewer things like this. (Content note: USian nationalist and religious bigotry.)
I hope that the people who fought so hard for this will now devote at least half as much energy to the struggle for recognition of transgender rights, including for non-binary trans folk, and marriage equality for those who love more than one person.
Because polyamorous partners still lack the protections and freedoms that same-gender couples now have in the States. And it is still both legal and socially acceptable to fire or evict transgender persons just for being transgender.
Yesterday, I got stranded a long way from home with no way back.
Content note: A longish story about the hidden costs of being poor, the inhumaneness of "personal responsibility" teachings, and how jewelfox learned to be mean to herself from her abusive family of origin. Contains swearing, transphobia, and poverty-shaming.
( Read more... )
I'm not writing this because I bear a strong grudge that I haven't let go of (although that may be part of it). I'm writing this because this is stuff that has really affected me, and has changed how I see myself whether I want it to or not.
My family of choice, my real loved ones, don't see what I did as unreasonable, and don't want me to see myself as "irresponsible" and a "burden." I don't want to see myself that way, either. So I have to deconstruct why I feel that way, so that I can maybe move past it.
I hope that this helps someone else, who needs to do the same thing. I hope you can learn to value yourself as a person.
* Willful ignorance is the defining trait of religious and political conservatism, as near as I can tell. It is also the defining trait of evil alignment, IMO.