In the foreground this is Emmet Till, the young man, who in 1955 was brutally lynched and his body desecrated for what basically amounts to an alleged cat call.
A cat call that was just recently obliterated by the target.
This is Till’s destroyed body, which his brave mother and father insisted be on display. This is the human cost of believing that the dignity of a 14 year old boy was erased by his “race”.
This was 63 years ago. Within the lifetimes of at least half of congress and a good number of Americans.
And we expect no consequences from events like this. No memory of the butchering of a 14 year old boy because someone alleged that he spoke in less a way than our current sitting president has spoken about several women ON TAPE.
The killers were never brought to justice because of the same system that we have in place today.
If you think that this kind of butchery should be forgotten and it has no relevance to the gunning down of kids that same age by that same system, I have no kind words for you, none at all.
Updated on 8/23/17 with links. And a few egregious spelling errors.
….so don’t have heroes.
Feminism has been redefined, again and again, mostly by men. I think I went through a short period of calling myself a feminist before I realized the ridiculousness of that statement. I’m not a woman, so the defining of feminism was not for me to do. Like conversations about abortion, I can only actually be involved on the periphery unless I had something directly to do with the pregnancy. Yes I know and love the women in my life but I don’t define who they are.
Feminism and the definition of it are truly woman’s work. I have a right to chime in and ask questions but the defining characteristics of feminism and being female are not mine to judge. I think our first mistake when we talk about feminism is allowing fearful or manipulative men to set the conversational terms of engagement. Men, although well-meaning, are often swayed by less than honorable reasons to declare themselves “feminists.” there is a running joke that guys who declare themselves feminists are just trying to get laid. Its a trope on every college campus and workplace and it exists because in many ways it’s true.
It is like the friend who declares their “color blindness,” the person who always knows the best “ethnic food spots” but knows not a single person representing the various flavors he can describe in great detail. The guy who likes exotic looking chicks, or the girl who shows up at all the anti-racist rallies and doesn’t have a single Black friend IRL.
Those people. I’ve been one of those people. I hope never to be one again.
I wish I could say that Kai Cole’s essay about her ex-husband Joss Whedon came as a huge surprise to me. Anyone who shouts so loudly about a cause and is so vocally oppositional to those who champion its opposition is often, not always, but often, full of some degree of shit.
Granted, as we should do with everyone, we need to wait for both sides or at least the stream of on set confirmations that will surely follow, until fully accepting Cole’s POV lock stock and barrel. I fear, though, that it may be too close to the truth.
I love Rosemary’s Baby, adore Braveheart and still believe North by Northwest is a classic, but all of the above film’s Directors, were and in some cases still are, shitty to women. It doesn’t make my enjoyment of any of the above less so because they all came from the minds of mild to extreme misogynists. It does, however, because I am a man and have no direct experience with misogyny, not ring as deeply as it would had I been female. It sucks in this case because he was preaching to be just the opposite.
Now you can find a whole host of reasons his activism was nulled and voided by these revelations (if true) but I can’t help but think that along with the truckload of bullshit there is a deep psychological upset in there as well. Not justifying any of it, just looking at everything full big picture.
If what Cole has written is true, not in its natural and understandable POV but its core truth, that Whedon was a faker and manipulator who used his feminist creds to hide his philandering, that will be a hard pill to swallow. For me it’s not as much a personal affront that he cheated, that aspect of his life is his, and his ex’s not the public’s. What tramples on my sensibilities is that everything he’s said, largely in line with my own beliefs, will be used as ammunition against the rest of us, the silent ones who looked at his stances as brave (but sometimes just as bad as some of whats been said on the “other side”) and echoed his sentiments. It doesn’t make the views any less relevant, but it does make the spewer damaged goods. The messenger and the message have become one, and the messenger has his stink all over the message.
This is why I back away from admiration as a public duty, and this is why I don’t have heroes. They will ALWAYS, ALWAYS let you down.
Edited on 8/8 for glaringly obvious typos.
Have we just become a bunch of approval seeking heroin rats? Are we so wrapped up in other people’s lives that we forget to have our own? Why are we so able to share the intimate details of our lives with relative strangers on Social Media yet can barely look each other in the eye on the street.
We are so focused on getting our opinions across and our relationships “approved” that sometimes we forget the reasons we have relationships and beliefs in the first place. I love the people in my life, and I love to share them with my wider circle of friends but not at the expense of my relationships with them. I’d much rather have a relationship than the appearance of one.
Through trial and loads of error, I’ve learned that there are some pretty standard principals for governing yourself, and your image, online. I try my best to adhere to them as closely as life and occasional emotional upheavals, allow. Use what you find useful, discard what you don’t.
Love and Relationships:
If you want to share a happy moment, please do so, you shouldn’t have to worry about who’s watching, but if your “sharing” is covering up a flaw in your relationship, or worse, causing one, promptly stop. I have someone in my life currently whom I adore, no pictures of us exist online together. Not to say that they never will, but for the moment we are not on social media as a couple. This is a mutual choice. It is one that not only protects our relationship, but also our relationships with the rest of the world as individuals. Friends who know us as a couple see the hints, others just see us as people.
Politics, Loss and Assorted Other Opinions:
I’ve contemplated leaving, Facebook, in particular, sometimes, usually when the loud opinions of a few people drown out he animal videos, kitten pictures and real life cries for help from people I care about that need answering.
When someone loses someone they love, or a national event requires a collective sense of empathy that platform is a wonderful way to feel cared for and a bit less lonely, it’s no substitute for real arms and real tears, but it is a comfort.
When we suffer depression or a disease, this format is a perfect place to feel less alone in that, but it isn’t a replacement for a real ear or a real shoulder.
When the needs of a few people to be the center of attention crowd out the compassion (in my feed it’s not usually my friends, but THIER friends who do this), I seriously think of cutting the cord. Life is too short, don’t worry about other people’s happiness unless you intend on sharing it. And if you plan on sharing, do so with an understanding of the potential consequences, try to be gentle. People will be looking from the outside in, exes and friends who disagree with you. Unless you are passive aggressively trying to sever those connections, be understanding of how they feel or make it explicit that there will be something following that might hurt or offend. In other words, try to play as fair as you can.
Reactions to all of the Above:
Life is also too short to worry about people’s petty hatred. Sometimes the most reasonable argument can seem like a torch to a powder keg, or the slightest mention of a new relationship can be (of course) painful, but that is the cost of keeping oneself out on social media.
Don’t let anyone else’s fears and anger get you down and don’t believe that every single smiling face doesn’t have its share of pain.
Ultimately we present the face we want the world to see, in my case I’m living the vast majority of my life offline now. Life isn’t perfect, but it is damn good.
A famous fictional mobster once asked “Would you rather be loved or feared?” well as far as the relevant question in our own lives goes I think the phrasing should be more, “would you rather be trusted or loved?”
It is a revelation when you truly feel trusted, it is also a potentially dangerous weapon/tool. I’ve shattered trusts with a word, casually, emotionlessly, and on one occasion vindictively, and I have kept trusts for lifetimes, never breathing a word of a secret spoken to me in a hush.
I believe that the balance of my keeping or breaking trusts errs on the side of keeping greatly, but the sting of the times when I have done the opposite still feels like a lash across my skin. It burns in a very particular way and when I move similarly, it breaks open afresh. Conversely, the secrets I’ve kept, the trusts I’ve held that have never been broken, I wear like internal badges.
To have trust placed in you as a means to share something delicate, a specific bit of information, a clue to a greater vista, is one thing and that thing is great, but to be truly, implicitly trusted is something entirely different and fulfilling.
So I guess the question isn’t simply would you rather be trusted or loved, but can you be trusted and not loved. Happily, I can say that I don’t think so. Being trusted IS being loved…..more. Being trusted with your nature and your soul is being loved in a way that no amount of “I Love You’s” could convey.
The loss of that, or the potential for it again, terrify me, as it should. But still, I welcome it.
I love Fugazi.
I say that in the present tense not because I believe in the impossible re-convening of the band (but, ya know, it COULD happen) but because they will forever live in the present to me.
They and Husker Du, are two of the bands I will regret to my dying day never having seen live. But with both, I have all the recorded music, all the brutally beautiful jagged guitars and angular stop-start, post punkiness. In On the Kill Taker, IMO their best, makes this case with not a laggard song its 12 damn near perfect tracks.
Rend It, a literal begging for the rending of ones soul, gets deep under my skin. Its a plaintive cry for openness and raw emotion, very fitting for my mood lately.
Rend it, by Fugazi: