The Salem Witch Trials…The story is simple enough: in the year 1692, a bunch of Puritans in Massachusetts went a little too far and accused 200 people of being witches. In the end, 20 people were senselessly executed. Today let’s take a more Uncolonial look at the Salem Witch Trials: . While the New England colonies had destroyed many Indigenous communities, the colonists themselves were not invincible. In 1675, Chief Metacomet of the Wampanoags launched a war against the colonists, inflicting huge losses on New England. Although the colonists won the war, New England was devastated. Ten years later, Britain and France went to war, resulting in Indigenous allies of the French yet again attacking settler towns. Salem was under a lot of stress. . Meanwhile, Puritan leaders such as Cotton Mather not only preached endlessly about witches, but also insisted that anyone that criticized the Puritan leadership must be following the Devil. Furthermore, as accusations of witchcraft began to surface, the accusers consistently described the demons around them as “little black men.” Devil worship was now racialized. . Tituba was only a small Indigenous girl in South America when she was kidnapped and brought to Barbados as a slave. Samuel Parris, a Puritan minister and one of the leaders of the Witch hunt, purchased her and brought her to New England in 1680. Tituba was the first person accused—her life was on the line. . Tituba confessed to practicing witchcraft, giving wild accounts of how she worked with the Devil. Some speculate that she made this confession because Samuel Parris beat her, while others say she did so in order to escape execution. Tituba, although jailed for months, was never put on trial. She was made an “informant,” while the trials escalated rapidly in light of her testimony. . Soon the Salem Witch Trials became a tool of oppression. Many of those executed were poor women, women that had been stigmatized, critics of the trials, and perhaps most tellingly, George Burroughs who preached Anabaptist ideas of religious equality. Eventually the trials ended, Tituba was released, and she completely disappeared from historical record…almost as if by magic…
so one of my (or multiple?) neighbors keeps trying to use google cast in an apartment building, which prompts my phone to ask me if i want to cast every time they scan. and it’s very irritating – it happens when i’m watching videos but also when i’m on instagram, my kindle app, anything. sometimes i have to shut down my phone because it keeps trying to connect. it’s just a crappy thing to do in an apartment building, because everyone is too close.
i am just about at the point where i’m going to crack the pin for their device and start casting porn at them as a punishment for their lack of consideration for their neighbors.
it’s even actually sunday this time!
READING: still doggedly unread and not feeling even remotely bad about it (i’ve also been more or less on self-imposed hiatus from twitter for nearly 24 hours now, and i don’t feel bad about that, either)
WRITING: other than journaling and nattering on here, nothing, and i’m refusing to feel bad about that, either
LISTENING: duke ellington’s “rockin’ in rhythm,” which i recall being a nightmare to play at tempo (and thank god i got to play clarinet and not tenor sax, or it would’ve been even worse); i got there from “concerto for cootie,” which always sounded to me like “do nothing ’til you hear from me” and “don’t get around much anymore” had a baby, but i loved them all. (the essentially ellington contest season was always the highlight of my year in jazz band, at least during my junior and senior year, because it meant i’d be getting to play my clarinet and not that damned saxophone that i only played to get into the jazz band in the first place. i think the first real religious experience i had was playing “the mooche” and truly experiencing for the first time what my clarinet was capable of. sometimes i wish i’d never given it up.)
THINKING: still a little hung up on the transphobic bullshit from last night’s ncis viewing – in the next episode after that one, kate references the trans woman again (while mocking dinozzo) as a “he/she,” and i’m still disturbed by how blithely people were able to insult trans persons and how uncontroversial it would have been back then (and to many people still, unfortunately). the episode aired in 2004, which would have been around the time, in college, i met (knowingly, of course) a trans person for the first time. thanks to my seizures, i barely remember our friendship, but when my mom passed away, she sent me flowers and told me that i had been very supportive of her as she was coming out. that makes me hopeful that i wouldn’t have ignored the transphobia then, as i fear i would have, but it’s still weighing on me.
SMELLING: cafe bustelo brewed in my french press, which i haven’t used in years (fun story: my percolator, which is probably as old as i am and inherited from a friend who bought it at a thrift shop, seems to be dead, and the only kettle i have only holds about 8 ounces of water, so for coffee, i had to heat water in a regular old pot and then get it into the french press without scalding myself, which i successfully managed but not without holding my breath)
WISHING: that it would be a bit less hot this weekend while i’m off; i’m planning on lazing today and then doing my errands tomorrow and tuesday, but it’s supposed to be over 90 each day, which means it’ll feel like it’s nearly 100 with saint louis humidity, which means i’ll have to do more of my travelling via bus than via my feet
HOPING: that i’ll get my promotion soon, still… my former coworker is kind of dragging things out a bit, and i don’t think it’s on purpose, but it’s still very frustrating
WEARING: random underwear
LOVING: today, #catsofinstagram:
WANTING: more coffee, which i suppose means i need to go heat up some more water and clean out the french press
NEEDING: right now? i don’t really know…
FEELING: lazy lazy lazy
and it’s wonderful.
The Democratic Republic of #Congo is one of the worst countries to be a child. Home to one of the world’s poorest health systems, one in five children in the DRC dies of preventable diseases before their 5th birthday. With support from local partners and communities, we’re able to provide children in DRC with healthcare and nutrition support. Learn how you can help kids reach their next birthday, link in the bio.
save the children is an organization that i feel very passionately about, because, even though i can’t stand contact with children in my personal (or professional) life, i believe that no child should suffer the consequences of extreme poverty. it’s an organization that is dedicated to enforcing the united nations declaration of the rights of the child, something everyone should support:
- The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
- The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
- The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
- The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.
- The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.
- The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.
- The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society. The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents. The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.
- The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.
- The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form. The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
- The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
you might note that the united states itself fails to meet pretty much all of these in some form.
i would recommend that everyone who is able support this organization or one doing similar work, particularly one with equal or better allocation of funds (for comparison, at my nonprofit, considerably more than 13.5% of our resources goes toward overhead).
Roses are red / violets are transsexual / welcome to womanhood / now get to work honey
Roses are performative / violets are biological / I have very sensitive breasts / and so do your breasts
Roses are biological / you have the nicest skin / I can’t stop kissing you / let’s read more nondualistic queer theory
Roses are fed up / with our binary fetishes / I tricked my doctors / and stole all the medication to hide it in a cave and share it with other trans people
Roses have got me / up against the wall / kissing my neck / which is socially constructed to be a super hot strong feminist neck
Roses are violet / violets are roses / I really like you / I really like you tube
Roses are born this way / violets have a lesbian streak / something about your dry sense of humor and our soft intertwined limbs / feels transcendently female
Roses are blue / violets are violet / roses are nonviolet / blue is bluenormative
Roses are from mars / violets had the whole surgery / setting up camp / exclusively on Venus
Roses have gone too far / not to be what girls are made of / I’m coming out / to my academic colleagues as a poet and I bet they will run away screaming
Roses are roses / violets are born this way / someone’s got a hoard/ of heteronormative transaffirmation porn you say?
Roses are cheeky / I want you to fuck me / drown violets like an accused witch / in your arms which feel like mine
Violets got a name change / roses changed a pronoun / we ate at a restaurant / and forgot to put the leftovers in the fridge
Roses are trochaic / violets have their original plumbing / let’s march in protest / then go home and we’ll cook something delicious and eat it with a spork
Violets are permanent / roses are impermanent / thank you for becoming me / offering to embrace your form your fate
Flowerbeds are umbrellas / umbrellas are rubrics / I support your identification / and your disidentification
Men are from women / roses are from Jupiter / women are from men / I can’t tell which is softer, your lips or this pillow or the snow descending gracefully outside
– Trace Peterson, Exclusively on Venus
the magnitude of what i impulsively said several days ago that i wanted to do is beginning to hit me – the weight loss, i mean. i still want to do it, because i will be just 17 years younger than my mom was when she had a sudden and massive heart attack that killed her more or less instantly. according to the coroner, she likely wouldn’t have even had time to register a problem, let alone any pain (though i do wonder if that isn’t something they told an obviously distraught daughter to comfort her). i don’t know that i would leave behind anyone to grieve me, as even my cat will likely have predeceased me if i live to 51, but it isn’t a death that i wish for myself.
but how to achieve it is an entirely separate question, one i need to chew on for a bit. obviously, i cut out the garbage and go from there; but do i do more? i tend toward the extreme in my eating habits – i do not naturally achieve balance very often or for very long. i also tend toward the self-destructive and self-defeating in almost all aspects of my life, and it’s a pattern i’m not eager to continue. i guess i’ll focus on eliminating the obvious crap first, then tighten up as i go.
on an entirely unrelated note, i was just watching ncis for the hell of it, because it was one of my mom’s favorite shows, and it made me think of all the many many times recently i (and others, obviously) have defended hillary clinton against the charge of homophobia because she didn’t support marriage equality publicly until very recently. almost universally the person accusing her of homophobia is cishet (and pretty frequently male as well), and almost universally the accuser also reduces the struggle for lgbtq+ equality to marriage. (incidentally, reducing the lgbtq+ rights movement to marriage equality also allows our so-called “allies” to be lazy and complacent in their defense of us, because we have marriage equality now; it’s supremely convenient for cishet people to tell us that our rights are won and therefore we should spit on a woman who’s been fighting for us for decades and instead vote for someone who dismisses our unique challenges as mere distractions from the economic troubles that plague real americans.)
anyway, setting aside the fact that a large number of lgbtq+ people themselves did not support marriage equality during the time that certain politicians who have never lifted a finger in support of our community and are yet lauded as lgbtq+ heroes anyway were dismissing marriage equality issues as states’ rights issues such that lgbtq+ were to be granted less rights in some states than in others (it’s true, believers!), and setting aside the fact that the battle is still far from won, no matter what the cishet wing of the progressive wing of the nation believes, one thing that i (and others who are older than i am and better able to address) keep reminding people is that the public opinion has moved dramatically quickly in this arena. certainly, there are still struggles, and certainly, there are still bigots, but virulent and overt hostility is largely limited now to the trans community and to genderqueer/nonbinary individuals; the majority of cisgender queer people will not experience the sorts of violent condemnation that would have been much more commonplace even twenty years ago, when i was coming out. marriage equality wasn’t even a twinkle in the eye of most of the lgbtq+ community in the 1990s, and in fact, the defense of marriage act and don’t ask, don’t tell were the liberal compromises that kept the gop from attempting to amend the constitution to ban marriage equality and from throwing lgbtq+ service members out of the military entirely. hiv/aids advocacy was condemned, and i was raised hearing adults say in front of children that not only did gay people almost all have aids, they were likely all child molesters and probably had been molested themselves, too.
context makes a very big difference; i promise you, the vast majority of those cishet allies who support marriage equality now did not or would not have vocally supported it in the 1990s or 2000s. that does not make them bad people – it makes them human. the villains here are the ones who attempt to judge the actions of allies thirty years ago by the current bar, which would not be where it is had it not been for both the radicals of that era and the pragmatists.
and this line of thought was prompted by an episode of ncis wherein an agent investigating a cold case is murdered. while investigating the murder, gibbs et al. wind up solving the cold case – the embezzlement of roughly $12,000,000 from the navy by a lieutenant commander, who was declared dead following a car accident but who was in fact still alive, having murdered both an unnamed victim to be the corpse and then the former friend who had authenticated (falsely) the remains. the lieutenant commander had been living as a woman, and convincingly enough that dinozzo was attracted to her; based on evidence gathered in their stakeout, when alone she moved through her home in feminine underthings and had clearly had some plastic surgery to achieve a more feminine appearance; at the end of the episode, after she’s caught and exposed and has committed suicide, it’s revealed she had scheduled bottom surgery in thailand for the near future. i don’t think there’s any question that this wasn’t simply someone attempting to evade capture – you’d grow a beard or get facial surgery in mexico or put on weight or whatever; this was clearly a trans woman.
and yet, as soon as they figure out that the woman they’ve been surveilling is actually the fugitive lieutenant commander, the agents to a one begin referring to her as “him” – that is, deliberately misgendering her. it’s made even more of a joke when dinozzo (unaware yet of her identity) kisses the woman pretty enthusiastically. and at the end, when everything is tidily wrapped up, kate, who just an episode or two before had been insulted that dinozzo objectified lesbians and assumed that all women on some level desire men, asks dinozzo what it was like “tonguing a guy” (as if she doesn’t already know, being a woman juggling some sort of relationship with a man named dwayne throughout the episode). the way they discussed the woman was jarring for me, now, in 2018, but when the episode was aired in 2004, i wonder if i would have even noticed or given it more than half a thought if i had. obviously, trans acceptance has a hell of a long way to go, but i find it hard to believe that this episode would have been written this way and have aired in 2018, and it’s only been 15 years (see the number of people who don’t believe in protecting people of color from discrimination for comparison with the speed of acceptance of another civil rights movement). the acceptance of cisgender queer people happened comparably quickly (again, compared to something like the women’s rights movement or the still-fighting movement for equality for people of color).
i think all too often younger people, white gay men, and our self-appointed straight allies take for granted how quickly the nation has changed with regard to lgbtq+ rights, and i think it behooves us all to look back at the way things used to be and remind ourselves of what we have gained and what we still have to achieve.
today was supremely dull, but not in a good way. i just couldn’t really motivate myself to do much at work. i did do that mailing for the first time without too much difficulty, though doing it myself convinced me of the supreme necessity of building more and better mail exports in raiser’s edge rather than trying to vomit everything out into one spreadsheet and then manually (seriously!) filtering it by type. my last set of fulfillment duties came with eight or nine mail exports pre-built, so i only had to update them – this one i need to basically create from scratch.
my stomach was all kinds of disgusting again today, but also again today i didn’t do anything to help it. i had some more quality time in the bathroom a bit ago, which was made all the better by the fact that maintenance was in today to paint over the fresh plaster, so every inch of my studio apartment has a delightful chemical tang. my cat seems especially delighted. also delightful is that they seem to have broken part of my shower curtain rod while painting the wall.
tomorrow promises to be just as thrilling at work, with lots of phone calls from idiots who didn’t plan properly before going out of town, and then i have three days off. of course, i have to slog through 90+° heat on foot to buy new shoes and also some duct tape for repairing the shower curtain rod and bolstering the window defenses if need be (can’t have wolly plummeting out of an eighth-story window), plus groceries for next week and at least one thing that i know i’m forgetting right now.
i should make a list.
i should also go to sleep.
I dreamt we slept in a moss in Donegal
On turf banks under blankets, with our faces
Exposed all night in a wetting drizzle,
Pallid as the dripping sapling birches.
Lorenzo and Jessica in a cold climate.
Diarmuid and Grainne waiting to be found.
Darkly asperged and censed, we were laid out
Like breathing effigies on a raised ground.
And in that dream I dreamt – how like you this? –
Our first night years ago in that hotel
When you came with your deliberate kiss
To raise us towards the lovely and painful
Covenants of flesh; our separateness;
The respite in our dewy dreaming faces.
– Seamus Heaney, Glanmore Sonnets: X, chosen in honor of my decision to watch Burn Notice tonight, Gabrielle Anwar’s accent, and Fiona and Michael’s troubled and torrid romance