Coping with the world–yeah, we get it.

MUST. READ.

Chavisory's Notebook

{This post references the comments made here.}

Once, when I was still a stage management intern, I was assistant stage managing a show on which I was having a lot of trouble and just generally felt like I couldn’t keep up. Some of the reasons why I was having such a hard time under those particular circumstances are much more clear to me in retrospect, and some are honestly still a mystery. There were blind spots and skill deficits on my part involved. There were certain ways in which I was ill-prepared that both were and weren’t my fault. There were other factors at play that didn’t originate with me at all. But it certainly wasn’t that I was just being lazy or not trying or didn’t care enough.

I was having a talk about it with the production stage manager one day—I could see well enough even then…

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They tell you I am wrong

And you believe them

You don’t even question it

They tell you I am broken

And you believe them

You don’t even question it

They tell you I am bad

And you believe them

You don’t even question it

They tell you I am dangerous

And you believe them

You don’t even question it

They tell you to hate me

Your own family

Your own family

You don’t even question it

Not the same

Stop saying that the protests against DJT today and the previous protests against Obama are the same. They aren’t. I will give you two reasons. (There are more.)

I heard during Obama’s administration (First List):

-Obama is not American (he was born in Kenya)
-Obama is not Christian (he’s a Muslim) + Obama’s going to put us all under Sharia Law

Republican pundits kept on about this, and on, and on, and never stopped about this. There was/still is a lot of fear and anger on these points.

That is NOT THE SAME as (Second List):

-the (nominee for) health secretary and Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal my healthcare although they have no working plan to replace it
-the education secretary has no experience and is considering defunding public schools
-the labor secretary’s career is based on undermining worker’s rights
-the head of the EPA wants to abolish the EPA
-the attorney general has a history of opposing civil rights
-the vice president has a strong record against LGBTQIA rights
-the president is in violation of the constitution but he claims it doesn’t apply to him
-ETC

>>>Reason Number One that these are not the same:

The second list of complaints are all demonstrably true, and they all directly affect (sometimes a majority of) American citizens in some way.

None of the things about Obama (first list) are true. The punditry manufactured the “danger” out of thin air and and that “danger/potential harm” never materialized because these things were patently untrue to begin with. But we still hear about them to this day.

>>>But examine this more closely and you’ll see:

The very nature of the claims on that first list has had a remarkable effect on the American public.

-Obama is American and has an American birth certificate.

You don’t believe his birth certificate is real? Even when it is an official birth certificate issued by your own government? So how do you know any birth certificate is real? Who gets to decide that? Do *you* get to decide if someone is “really” an American citizen, if their birth certificate is real? Even if fraud experts and officials whose very job it is to check these things out say it is real? So, you can just delegitimize ANYBODY’s citizenship, no matter their papers or references or established evidence to the contrary?

So, you get to declare anybody a non-citizen based on your whim? Deport or disenfranchise anybody based on your whim, in the face of established evidence to the contrary?

We are beginning to see the broader implications of this thinking right now, in the immigration issues, the executive order travel ban, and on supposed voter fraud, for example. Who is a “real” American depends- not on the standards that have always been used to determine citizenship, not on documents, not on where you were born, not on your parentage, not on the naturalization process- on a whim?

-Obama is a Christian and goes to a Christian church.

You don’t believe his faith is real? You don’t believe his stated religion is true? Based on no evidence in your claim and in the face of contrary evidence? Nothing he can do or has done can convince you? You delegitimize his baptism/confirmation/etc? You invalidate the authority of his pastor, his congregation, his church? Why are you the judge over everyone else?

And what reason does he have to change the foundational laws of the country? He’s a professor of law, why would he change the very laws he studied and taught and made as a congressman and swore to uphold as the president of the United States? He obviously *didn’t* enact sharia law. But you think it was because he was prevented from doing so, not because he had no intention of doing so? Based on nothing but the punditry has told you- even though it has been proven to be untrue?? So, even his character cannot be proven through his actions; only the punditry knows for certain?

This, all of this, is an undoing of truth, and of ways of finding and confirming truth. If the pundits discredit and delegitimize traditional, established means of proving what is true and what is not, then the pundits seize the authority to become the sole arbiters of truth. Not the government, not science (or religion), not the press, not your own lived experience in the world- only they decide what is true, what is real, and nothing can be used to argue against them; and you must therefore accept their authority. Science is a conspiracy, the media is a conspiracy, political opponents are conspiratorial liars, people with different points of view are criminals, liars, crybaby snowflakes, and the enemies of America.

If they say Obama is an America-hating Kenyan Muslim, then it’s true. If they say that the Democrats are whining because they are spoiled brats, then that’s true. If they say Mexican immigrants are rapists, refugees are Islamic terrorists, and only white rural working class folk are “real” Americans, then that’s true. If they say Jeff Sessions isn’t racist, Steve Bannon isn’t a white supremacist, DJT has no history of sexual assault, then that is true. Despite all evidence to the contrary. Because Authority’s Whim says so.

We need to recognize and publicly acknowledge how this leads to authoritarianism, and how quickly we could lose our democracy in this way:

“What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order” /Bannon

which leads us to

>>>Reason Number Two that these are not the same:

The very nature of the claims on first list (and their resulting implications on truth, facts, and authority) is integral to the tactics being used to undermine Americans and American institutions.

The second list calls out what is being done against Americans in an effort to stop the direction this is taking us as a country.

I’d say that’s as different as hell.

To-Read Pile

Yay, books came in the mail today!

Ravensbruck, by Sarah Helm. A book about Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women. (Over 700 pages; was thinking it was 200…)

Also, ELI CLARE’s new book Brilliant Imperfection! I Highly Highly Highly recommend his Exile And Pride.

Always good to have more books lined up to start, just as soon as I finish my current read: the tenth anniversary revised and expanded edition of Foucault and the Government of Disability, edited by Shelley Tremain.

Impugn

Impugned!

If voicing your reasonable, substantiated concerns about a person’s reliability to fairly and equally safeguard the rights of American citizens is cause to be silenced and dismissed, we’ve got big problems.

We need to ask ourselves why engaging in a pattern of racist (etc) oppression is not grounds for immediate dismissal, but pointing out such a pattern is.

We need to ask ourselves why, in an established tradition of reading letters into the record, a woman was not allowed to do so, yet men read from the same letter later that same day and this was considered perfectly fine.

Respectability Politics & Tone Policing

I have issues with this article.

Of course you don’t want to give the police an excuse to arrest you or brutalize you, or the media an incident to plaster all over the news, or DJT’s team a way to leverage against you. However, simply being an upstanding law-abiding patriotic-as-hell citizen won’t guarantee anything. Excuses and incidents are easy to manufacture and have always been manufactured. And seriously, since when has DJT been limited to truth or reality when attacking people?

I’m REALLY gonna push back on the “tone policing” bit. The reason people/politicians don’t listen to protestors has nothing to do with presentation. It’s not because protestors are too loud, too unruly, too rude, too angry, too anything. It’s because people/politicians *don’t want to hear*. They don’t want to change anything. They LIKE it like this. They want you to sit down and shut up. Being “nice” and “polite” might get you a polite not-listen before you are dismissed, AT BEST.

Pure bullshit has been authored from thin air, delivered in the most offensive manner possible, and still been whole-heartedly accepted by those who *wanted it to be true*. Even proven to be false, people still believed it, because they *wanted* to. That uncle who listens to Rush Limbaugh? It doesn’t matter how you say it, if it isn’t what he wants to hear, he ain’t listening. But whatever Trump says is gold.

As far as getting DJT’s team to listen- this is the man who calls federal “so-called” judges “disgraceful” when they don’t automatically cave to his demands. (That’s the only “nice” way to get him to listen to you, btw: fawn over him and cave to his demands.)

You know who is listening to the protests? Possibly? Congress. They sure as hell aren’t liable to do anything otherwise; they are BARELY taking action even with all the marches and letters and daily phone calls. Protests didn’t stop the Iraqi war, no. But they did take the country from a place where the media _would_NOT_ question the war in any way, shape, or form and absolutely nobody was allowed to speak negatively (or give nonsupportive facts) about the war, lest they be deemed unpatriotic and an enemy of America, to a place where open, realistic discussion and analysis about the war was taking place without censorship and where Congress was standing up to the president in that regard. Which would NOT have happened otherwise.

As for that bit about who should be marching, yes, I’d love for it to be more inclusive. I’d love for women police officers to have been up there. It wasn’t because they would have been rejected by the march organizers. If they didn’t show, it’s because they rejected the march. That’s on THEM.

And hell yeah Angela Davis was there at the Women’s March. Have you heard her speak? Her message is important, people. Hell yeah Angela Davis was there.  Why would she NOT be at a Women’s March???

I absolutely refuse to bow to respectability politics: no sex workers in the pride parade, no poor people in ragged clothes in the worker’s march, nobody with prior convictions in the civil rights march. Only respectable people! You know, white cis hetero middle class Christian men, or their really cute and well-trained pet women. We can’t have those OTHER people. Who would listen to us then??? = Nobody should listen to those others because they’re not real (they are lesser) people, there’s no need or reason to listen to them, their experiences and voices and lives and outcomes don’t matter (at all, or at least not as much as “ours”).

WE ALL MATTER and WE SHOULD ALL BE HEARD and WE’RE NOT GOING TO STOP UNTIL WE ARE.

If they refuse to hear us, IT’S ON THEM. They are the ones who don’t care about us, what we say, what we need, what we’re doing. They are the ones who only listen to people who agree with them. (We should be careful not to do the same, of course.)

We’re ALREADY real, patriotic Americans. We don’t have to look only a certain accepted way for that to be true.

We need to speak the language of the opposition because why? Why do we need to cater to the language of the people who are by definition not listening to us? How is using words with twisted meanings (identity politics, politically correct, alternate facts, fake news) not reinforcing those twisted meanings and, by implication, their insinuated barbs against us? How is allowing the opposition to control and manipulate the dialogue NOT playing into their hands?

Why do we need to accept their criticisms as reality when they are not? Why do we need to defang our (potentially offensive) criticisms of them when they are perfectly valid?  Why do we need to accept their worldview and validate it for them? ESPECIALLY when validating THEIR worldview necessarily invalidates our own???

Sure, marching won’t solve all problems. Sure, marching can be problematic. In fact, I thought this article was going to talk about other means of resistance. You know, general strikes? Refusing to pay taxes? Boycotts, voting in local and state elections as well as turning out in droves to vote on who goes back to Congress next time, calling representatives? How to run for office yourself? How to frame and engage with news stories? How to catch up on history lessons, fact checking, how to spot bullshit?

I mean, anything?  Though they did mention serving cake…. at a strategy meeting, I assume.  What exactly are we strategizing about?  Passing laws?  First off, laws take years to pass.  Years.  Secondly, I can call my reps and tell them I support this bill, but I can’t write the legislation nor arrange meetings promoting bipartisan support for it nor pass any bill.  I’m not Congress.  So… what are we doing besides taking names and eating cake?

I’d rather not be rude about it either. I’d much rather be respectful.  But if the opposition gets to define what “rude” and “respectful” are, that’s problematic and fundamentally unacceptable. Because then you end up with “rude/disrespectful” meaning anything that might harm their fragile egos: If you say repealing the ACA will leave you without insurance and your life-threatening condition will kill you, or if you point out a pattern of chosen engagement in racist practices and how that threatens the rights of other Americans, or if you argue that one needs clean air and water to live so please don’t take it away from you, then you’re accusing them of being heartless monsters.  You’re outrageously attacking them. You shouldn’t make them feel so bad and impugn their characters like that. And because of this, you and your concerns are silenced and dismissed.

And then again, it’s not only incredibly easy but also historically prevalent for the opposition to pay people (or send professionals) to infiltrate a march, rally, etc and be rude, violent, aggressive, destructive, ridiculous, etc. It doesn’t matter how well-behaved you are if people slip in among you and purposefully start a riot. Or start throwing bombs. (Haymarket, anyone?)

The bottom line is that there is no way to win at respectability politics because unless they agree with you, they will find a way to render you disrespectful in their eyes.

Trump could just say: “Protesters declare war on real Americans. Sad.” And people would believe it.*

You’ll never be good/respectable/acceptable/normal enough.

There is no way to win that game.**

 

*I am not trying to be funny.  That’s not funny.  It’s not a joke.  It’s horrifying and yes I could make it more realistic but why would I want to do that?  It’s already horrifying enough.

**And more than this, I do not care if they are offended.  If they are acting like fascists, and I call them on it, I do not care if they are offended by that.  THEY ARE ACTING LIKE FASCISTS; I DO NOT CARE ABOUT HURTING THE POOR FASCISTS’ FEELINGS.  I care about my country, my democracy, my rights, my very life here!  PRIORITIES, PEOPLE.

There is absolutely positively NOTHING reasonable about being nice when fascists are taking over your country.  Sometimes the only reasonable thing to do is to unconditionally and in no uncertain terms whatsoever REJECT unacceptable behavior.   This is going to involve making some noise.