Monthly Archives: June 2009

How Was It for You? Terrible! And for You?

I keep saying I have vanquished Reeducation but it is never quite true. Now, however, I think I have it by the gonads. (I hope to drive up my hit count by saying gonad.) If a degree and practicum were optional, if all that were absolutely required were to pass an exam, I would study for, take, and pass the licensing exam for clinical psychologist (remember I am already a Dr.). Why? Because I am the most competent!

Assiduous readers may have inferred that after Reeducation, I sought advice from other Reeducators as to how I might return to normalcy. Some of them had some interesting things to say, but most said Reeducation was right. This drove me to despair. The useful comment I got during this time was that Reeducation had had a very negative countertransference to me — had seen in me, projected into me, everything it feared and hated and wanted vanquished. Nobody, however, asked what I transferred onto Reeducation. I have at last deduced that this was the key question. It has taken me fifteen years to understand that, but then I am not educated or licensed in the field, and I have consulted several people who were.

So there, Reeducation, it’s sock it to you time. Anyway, what I transferred onto Reeducation was my first education, in addition to a few things about my infamous first academic job. That is not to say that Reeducation did not also do all the things I have already said it did. But it does explain how it is that Reeducation held me so in its thrall.

*

I realized this because I was thinking about how I am still reticent to do the things that make the day pleasant — because Reeducation thought I was doing too well and in insufficient pain for a person with the background it was convinced I had. Only if I could get into worse shape would I improve (because then I would “feel”). And if I were unwilling to do that, it would only mean that I had even more shadows in my soul than Reeducation believed. (Remember, Reeducation already believed I was a victim of infantile sexual abuse and was hoping for bipolarity, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and multiple personality disorder, which it wanted to heal by hypnotizing me and getting me to reveal repressed memories.)

I was willing to do myself some harm if it meant I could be saved from really heavy drugs, hospitalization, permanent disability, and all the other things Reeducation had intimated I might need once we started this cure (to which in the end I never agreed). I drew the line not only at hypnosis but also at some other activities I consider major harm, including self mutilation and weight gain. Minor harm like learning to smoke, renouncing my research program, getting turned down for tenure, giving up excursions to the mountains and seas, not working out regularly, and undergoing regular sleep deprivation, all of that I was willing to do if it would absolve me of the accusations being made and save me from the remedies being threatened.

I was thinking today, as I got ready to go do some pleasant things, who besides Reeducation was jealous of your having a nice day under your own steam? And I realized: my first education.

Suddenly everything became easy. I have resisted my first education before and I know exactly how to do it. Reeducation made that a lot harder but if I just leave it to the side for a moment — I have it by the neck and gonad anyway — and consider that it is only my first education I must resist, at least for now, then life is easy, and I can run and jump.

That is how I know I transferred my first education onto Reeducation; that is why I am surprised nobody I consulted ever suggested I investigate this question; that is why I deserve a license in clinical psychology much more than many who hold these.

Axé.

11 Comments

Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, News, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?

On Handling Emotional Bullies: Open Thread

Much popular advice on handling emotional bullies is misguided, among other ways in that it replicates the bullying by placing the burden on victims and making them doubt themselves. That, I suspect, is partly because our culture sanctions bullying, and partly because it is really hard to understand if one is not familiar with it — and sometimes, even if it is.

We will therefore have an open thread on fallacies about how to handle bullying, and the truths that correspond to these.

ADDENDUM AND BASIC. 0. They are in terrible pain. With love and support they will become the wonderful people they really are. WRONG. See my earlier post On Pity.

1. Just draw a better boundary with that person. You do not have to exile them from your life completely. WRONG. Yes, you DO. The cited advice is only applicable if you are a minor, are incarcerated, or have to work with that person. It does not apply to bullies who are optional in your life. Bullies want to disrespect your boundaries, that is what they live for. You have no obligation to negotiate or bargain with them, even when they have some positive characteristics and someone else thinks you should be friends. It is not you who have “weak boundaries,” it is they who are perpetrators!

ADDENDUM ON WORKING WITH THEM: Work to rule, even if normally you would collaborate more freely or converse more informally. This is difficult for me in the case of AAPs (Abusive Assistant Professors) because (a) I understand that it is very hard to be an AP here and I am sorry for them, and (b) if I hired them, I like them and value their work. It would be normal to reach out and help them get oriented. But because they are abusive, I don’t. That is the workplace equivalent of exiling someone from your life.

2. Tell them exactly what behavior it is that offends you, and politely ask them to stop. Use the “I” language for this: do not blame them for your feelings, but ask them to stop. WRONG. This advice only applies in workplace settings, where you must document that you have attempted to address the problem. Otherwise all you are doing is giving them information on what upsets you, which they can use — either to escalate the abuse, or to redefine your request so narrowly that they can continue the behavior while claiming to have stopped. And about the “I” language — hang it up. Everyone knows it is just a flipped around, passive aggressive version of the “you” language. Furthermore, it allows abusers to reiterate that it is you who are sensitive, not they who are out of line.

3. It is your problem. You attract this behavior because people intuit that you have had it visited upon you before. Nay — you even seek it out. Therefore concentrate on that first instance, “take responsibility” for it, and realize you do not have to feel the pain others dish out. HIGHLY INADEQUATE, WHEN NOT OUTRIGHT WRONG. Bullies bully everyone. You do not attract it, you just do not know how to stop it or escape it as quickly as you might. You may have even been trained not to recognize it. This does not mean it is your fault. And the possibility that people can learn to deflect the pain of verbal abuse by, for instance, not taking the source too seriously, does not mean bullies are within their rights to carry on.

What else?

Axé.

78 Comments

Filed under Banes, Questions, Resources, Theories

For St. George’s Day: Friedrich Nietzche

From the Geneaology of Morals:

The “well-born” simply felt themselves the “happy”; they did not have to manufacture their happiness artificially through looking at their enemies, or in cases to talk and lie themselves into happiness (as is the custom with all resentful men); and similarly, complete men as they were, exuberant with strength, and consequently necessarily energetic, they were too wise to dissociate happiness from action—activity becomes in their minds necessarily counted as happiness . . . —all in sharp contrast to the “happiness” of the weak and the oppressed, with their festering venom and malignity, among whom happiness appears essentially as a narcotic, a deadening, a quietude, a peace, a “Sabbath,” an enervation of the mind and relaxation of the limbs,—in short, a purely passive phenomenon.


W
hile the aristocratic man lived in confidence and openness with himself . . . , the resentful man, on the other hand, is neither sincere nor naive nor honest and candid with himself. His soul squints ; his mind loves hidden crannies, tortuous paths and back-doors, everything secret appeals to him as his world, his safety, his balm; he is past master in silence, in not forgetting, in waiting, in provisional self-depreciation and self-abasement.


A
race of such resentful men will of necessity eventually prove more prudent than any aristocratic race, it will honour prudence on quite a distinct scale, as, in fact, a paramount condition of existence, while prudence among aristocratic men is apt to be tinged with a delicate flavour of luxury and refinement; so among them it plays nothing like so integral a part as that complete certainty of function of the governing unconscious instincts, or as indeed a certain lack of prudence, such as a vehement and valiant charge, whether against danger or the enemy, or as those ecstatic bursts of rage, love, reverence, gratitude, by which at all times noble souls have recognised each other.


W
hen the resentment of the aristocratic man manifests itself, it fulfils and exhausts itself in an immediate reaction, and consequently instills no venom: on the other hand, it never manifests itself it all in countless instances, when in the case of he feeble and weak it would be inevitable. An inability to take seriously for any length of time their enemies, their disasters, their misdeeds—that is the sign of the full strong natures who possess a superfluity of moulding plastic force, that heals completely and produces forgetfulness: a good example of this in the modern world is Mirabeau, who had no memory for any insults and meannesses which were practised on him, and who was only incapable of forgiving because he forgot.


S
uch a man indeed shakes off with a shrug many a worm which would have buried itself in another; it is only in characters like these that we see the possibility (supposing, of course, that there is such a possibility in the world) of the real “love of one’s enemies.” What respect for his enemies is found, in truth, in an aristocratic man—and such a reverence is already a bridge to love! He insists on having his enemy to himself as his distinction. He tolerates no other enemy but a man in whose character there is nothing to despise and much to honour!


O
n the other hand, imagine the “enemy” as the resentful man conceives him—and it is here exactly that we see his work, his creativeness; he has conceived “the evil enemy,” the “evil one,” and indeed that is the root idea from which he now evolves as a contrasting and corresponding figure a “good one,” himself—his very self!

As you can see, Reeducation called me a “snob” because it found me to be an aristocrat in this Nietzchean sense. The “feeling” it found lacking in me was Nietzche’s festering venom and malignity, and the weak happiness it wanted to instill was a narcotic, a deadening, a quietude, a peace, a “Sabbath,” an enervation of the mind and relaxation of the limbs. We are talking about ressentiment.

My strike is over, but I do not promise to publish regularly until late August.

Axé.

22 Comments

Filed under Bibliography

Work Song

I am paid, so my strike is resolved! All my links are now legitimate! Although I may not post daily the rest of this summer, and although I am working and behind and not feeling entirely jubilant, it is the weekend, so we will sing!

On YouTube, this song links to many other fascinating, historic songs. I am posting this one in particular (a) because it is the most interesting music video I have bookmarked; (b) because I know someone who did time at Huntsville/Ellis much later than this, and the uniforms were the same; (c) because guards at Angola ride horses like this, too; and (d) because I just finished some reading on mid twentieth century Klan activity in the Mississippi county where my relatives had their longest lived branch plantation.

Family papers indicate that this plantation was intact and producing in the 1880s. I do not yet know when it was finally broken up, or what happened to the former workers. At the courthouse I have seen indenture papers dating from the twentieth century. And the past may look past in some ways, but it is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past. It is still important to walk and talk with your mind stayed on freedom.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under News, Songs

Grand Village

Negotiations have taken a positive turn and I may go off strike soon. If I do I will still reserve the right not to post daily until after Labor Day, since I have ended up posting a great deal while on strike.

Today I am located at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians because, as you know, I am Mayan. Sometimes I just have to get away from all these white people, so I am visiting my cousins. We have limited connectivity here on the mounds, but there is guest commentary from one Mr. S.

Mr. S. is grateful that I took him from the animal shelter, but frustrated that I am not learning the habits of his species as quickly as I might. I have not yet begun to hunt in his style, for instance, despite his showing me how. I should also spend more time in the garden and do more outdoor work. I should have more parties, so he could socialize more often with more people, and more children, so he could be carried around all day. Finally, he wants me to set up one of my tents on the lawn and sleep outdoors on all but the hottest and coldest nights.

Mr. S. has taken notes on some of my random thoughts. They are as follows.

Should YOU want to be a professor? All blogs discuss this question incessantly. The problem is that it is often a moot question by the time you are close to being one or are one. One’s friends rationalize it in increasingly hair splitting terms. It is alleged one can do nothing else, or that one is “so good at it” one should make just one more sacrifice to stay. It is all well and fine, so long as you do not give up certain very basic expectations, to wit:

1) Abusive work environments are not acceptable.
2) Work environments with nothing to offer in your field but teaching may be acceptable but may resemble community college or high school teaching jobs in your discipline more than they do professor jobs at the universities you went to. Be aware of this and look before you leap.
3) Work environments such as those described in (2) are expensive. You will need to travel more, buy more books, and make more photocopies. Be aware of this and plan.

Mysticisms. We have been talking for months now about possible healing devices for our various ills. Mayan, I believe in all kinds of magic. I had part of Reeducation removed by a proto-shaman and another part with acupuncture. I also beckon myself back to real life with a Marty Balin song. The idea of return is important and valid in my view, and all of the characters in my unfinished novel MADRID se mueren por volver [click on both of those links if you speak Spanish, you will die laughing].

My point, however, is that no amount of returning is enough, none will take root,  unless one learns a few facts, such that it is not actually a good idea to relinquish power, and that certain behaviors really are unacceptable — and that they can be identified, and they have names. These points are fundamental and they are what Reeducation was structured to silence.

Axé.

9 Comments

Filed under Resources, Theories

Gone Fishing. Honk If You See Da Whiteman.

White vignettes from different eras.

I – In An Office

Phone: Ring! Ring!

[PZ expects the IT man and answers, but it is the Blackguard.]

Blackguard: I want you to do this. I will support you and vote for it but I want you to do it. I want you to do it because you can get it done and I want it done. I support you in everything. I want this new program instituted within two years or I am [drumroll] going on the market! And after accepting the offer I will get, I will write all the newspapers and professional organizations denouncing the university for not having done this! So get it done! Do it because it will benefit you, too! I appreciate and admire you! I support you in everything!

II: Shopping For Reeducators, Back Then

Reeducator: What is B’s opinion on event A?

PZ: You know, I am not quite sure. We have not discussed it directly in at least a decade. I remember hir reaction at the time and hir comments to me a few years later. I know from more recent remarks that event A still matters to hir, and I could speculate about why. But I am not entirely sure of hir current perspective on these things, or whether what ze shared with me years ago was all ze thought then.

Reeducator (triumphant): You see! You do not know hir opinion! That means you have no empathy with hir!

PZ (frowning): Excuse me? I do not follow your reasoning here. Does having empathy imply complete familiarity with someone’s views? Perhaps we are too reserved where I come from. I would not presume to speak for B on this, especially without knowing hir as well as I do some of the other people involved in A.

Reeducator (receding): Oh, well, don’t worry about that then, forget I said it, let me ask a different question.

Axé.

6 Comments

Filed under Da Whiteman

Strike Resource for St. John’s Day: Adorno and the Authoritarian Personality

I am still on strike, but it is St. John’s Day, one of the best days. This post was written over a month ago and thus predates some recently published revelations. It is anachronistic in that way. The reading, however, has permanent relevance, as it is an academic article on Adorno.

Adorno’s concept of the authoritarian personality can be easily Googled, although I am not doing it because I am on strike. Key in the theory, however, is the idea that there are attitudes surrounding authority common to both liberal democracy and fascism.

Both here and on Facebook I have spoken at some length about Reeducation and the Christian world view, which is a specific construction of the universe and the self whether it is made explicitly religious or not.

It is also worth considering Reeducation in relation to the authoritarian personality. It is as though Reeducands were expected to have this personality structure and to wish to BE the authority, and the purpose of Reeducation were to teach them to SUBMIT to authority.

In this way, Reeducation was intended merely to shift peoples’ positions in a small spectrum. It billed itself as revolutionary and life changing because its expected subjects were in fact very stubborn, very rigid, very authoritarian people. That was why they were constantly being told to relinquish their illusions of power and submit to other powers.

They really were little authoritarians, and they really were frustrating themselves because they did not have dictatorial powers, and they really would be happier relinquishing the desire to dictate. That is all well and fine. The problem is that they/we were also were not actually being shown broader vistas of life, but rather pushed to shift authority — within the same authoritarian world view — from ourselves to someone else.

That was also why exhortations on how any change is always good were so often repeated (yes — like pancreatic cancer, there’s a change for you, I said sarcastically — a comment which was not understood, but which I made because I really did not understand why we were expected to relinquish all discernment).

And that was why I did not understand what was meant by “change” — because I am all about change, and was accused of “taking risks” (moving across the country to a new job, things like this) and of being “bossy” by not agreeing that ALL change was always good.

They, meanwhile, kept saying change was good but they really meant changing their hair and giving away their personal power — the power they held appropriately as well as any delusions of inappropriate power — to someone else.

Axé.

9 Comments

Filed under Bibliography

On Wage Slavery. On Early Republican Baltimore. Several Things Academics Should Realize. Mario Vargas Llosa.

I am on strike, so we will read this important book review, brought to my attention by my Facebook Friend, Mike. It is a good review of a book which is obviously good for my research, both academic and artistic, and even better for Clio Bluestocking’s research, as it concerns slavery and wage slavery in early 19th century Baltimore.

There are some important things to take away from this review as regards the academic job market and all the advice that is given to one and all on how to best position oneself for non disaster at least, and for success ideally. I often find myself fatigued with these discussions, for reasons including the following:

1) having been in the business for some time and coming from an academic family, I have heard them all before — was in fact already tired of them at a stage in my own career when for others, they were new;

2) the fact that in my own experience, most standard advice does not apply and never has, for reasons already discussed at length in this blog — it is not that I do not know these rules or how to apply them, it is just that I do not find them to cover all, or even most aspects of reality.

3) the fact that self help style advice for clerks on how to get ahead in business came into fashion in the mid to late nineteenth century and has already been parodied, including by our very own honorary author in his 1931 novel Tungsten (yes, I have just complicated this blog by adding to its voices an honorary author).

Here is where some sentences from the review above come in:

a) Capitalism in the early Republic was not “a synonym for market exchange,” he explains, but rather “a political economy that dictated who worked where, on what terms, and to whose benefit” (p. 5) [Hypothesis: the academic job market is not only not a meritocracy. It is not even necessarily a market. It is a political economy that dictates who works where, on what terms, and to whose benefit.]

b) Rockman’s evidence proves that getting rid of slavery was not in the interests of capitalists, who gladly employed white and black people, free and enslaved, on the same job sites for identical wages.” [You want some faculty at each professorial rank, some regular instructors, and some casual labor.]

c) Rockman crunches the numbers to show that, in 1810, between 10 and 20 percent of Baltimore households were headed by women, but employers had a vested interest in fostering “the presumption of female dependence,” because it “justified the secondary wages that in turn guaranteed it” (p. 133).

d) …[C]apitalists were revolutionary historical actors who curtailed the agency of working people by thinking of and using both free and enslaved laborers as interchangeable commodities…. [Rockman] defines “class” “as a material condition resulting from the ability of those purchasing labor to economically and physically coerce those performing it–and to do so under the social fiction of a self-regulating market that purportedly doled out its rewards to the deserving in accordance with the laws of nature” (p. 11).

e) Rockman does not describe class entities emerging around a “shared consciousness, identity, or politics percolating from working people themselves” (p. 11). Rather, class is a vital tool historians can use to expose the dynamics of material and cultural power in American society.

f) [S]laveowners, merchants, and almshouse commissioners rewrote workers’ stories about being poor, disparaging their pretensions to agency and citing laziness, improvidence, and intemperance as the underlying explanations for economic inequality. [Think of how tenured faculty talk about the misadventures of assistant professors and graduate students, male faculty about the misadventures of women, and so on.]

g) [P]oor people’s ventures into the market for reasons other than wages were not evidence of a “nascent entrepreneurism,” a quest for wealth (p. 127). [Exactly, and this is a great opportunity to say once again in the vocative case: FUCK you Mario Vargas Llosa and all of your neoliberal friends, claiming that the desperate Lima peddlers of the 1990s were harbingers of a new capitalist spirit. I ought not to swear but the word fuck drives up hit counts, and Mario Vargas Llosa is intolerably fatuous, and I am on strike.]

h) The culture of capitalism was so pervasive that it provided the script for workers’ struggles to survive even as capitalists took it as an article of faith that poor men and women did not strive. The “social fiction” that workers refused to work hard was powerful because the powerful perpetuated it.

i) While bourgeois employers championed self-fashioning–Frederick Douglass embarked on his quest for “self-made manhood” in Baltimore’s streets–they also believed in a more important “truth”: laborers needed to exhibit industry, perseverance, and other winning character traits to make bosses rich.

j) Rockman brilliantly shows that capitalists not only regulated who could work where and for what, but also defined ambition in ways that ensured workers’ continued struggles with poverty.

Axé.

22 Comments

Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Movement, News

More on the Question of Invalidation

I am still on strike, but I am announcing that the weather is still lovely and that it is going to be a good day.

I keep forgetting that it is now safe to get up in the morning and just do things. Normally I only think this is safe in out of town, safer out of state, and safest out of country. The reason it was not safe for a long time was that in Reeducation, getting up in the morning meant recommencing the regimen of destructive self criticism which Reeducation had devised.

I am aware that the 12 Stoners always promise that “Just for today …” they will live right and treat themselves right. But I had already been doing this for eighteen years, albeit outside the auspices of the 12 Stones, when I entered Reeducation. This fact, together with my accomplishments from ages 16 to 34, was precisely what Reeducation alleged to be invalid. Life could not be genuine if it had not been lived under Reeducation’s auspices.

I should not have been able to get this far and would not have, had I been “honest with myself” or “aware of my feelings” (which I could not have been, Reeducation believed). It could not be I, but must be a “false self” who had gotten so far. This “false self” must be strong and frightening indeed, since it had gotten so far given what my actual psychic circumstances had to be.

This was why Reeducation and I had to engage in such a fierce battle against the life I had been leading and my accomplishments. We were supposed to slug away until that “false self” broke open and revealed the Inner Child underneath, and until the “false self” admitted it was nothing more than an alibi for the completely powerless and irreparably damaged preschooler cradled inside like a damaged fetus not yet stillborn.

Although I have a good memory and I was the one present during all relevant events, I never did agree with all the details of Reeducation’s view on the condition of that child. That is why I remained “in denial,” and how I failed Reeducation. Still, Reeducation and I did a pretty good job of slugging away at me. I always liked to wake up and get up mornings before that.

I have since been apprehensive as the sun comes up, afraid the slugging will start again, or that I will not be able to stop it, or that I will feel compelled to help with it, or that I am so used to it that I will not notice it until in horror, I see a visible wound.

Addendum

Things I learned as a child, which seemed impossible and were later revealed, in fact, to be untrue: Life was a terrible thing and one ought to commit suicide. If one lacked the courage to do this, one must find the right combination of drugs and pastimes to get oneself through the day, as actual improvement was an illusion. People who believed in the possibility of improvement were to be scorned for their coarse tastes.

What Reeducation thought: Life was an unhappy burden. But it could be managed, made easier and more pleasant, and thus borne.

What people have always said when I have said I wanted to leave the East and leave academia: I am [insert insulting adjective here] to believe in the possibility of autonomy, liveliness, and joy. I must realize that life is suffering, for one thing, and that all suffering is self created, for another. [Note the contradiction in that last sentence, folks.]

What I did before age 16: Freeze myself for now, knowing I would get older and not have to listen to these speeches.

What I did in Reeducation: Freeze myself and wait for the storm to end, but feel anxious — getting older would not bring automatic liberation, I realized, so staying frozen was not a good option. The frozenness became increasingly worrying for this reason. It was fear that this death-in-life might become permanent that made me quit.

What I did in academia, after being strong-armed into staying in it: Freeze myself and wait for my sentence to end. Not a good strategy, by the way.

Why I got into my infamous abusive romance: I was so unhappy at work, and people at work were so abusive, and I could not afford to spend more time out of town. This appeared to be the best step up available.

How I reacted to my infamous abusive romance: I thought:

Well, it is too bad that this is how my life has ended, and I am embarrassed to have wasted so many talents and so much health, but it is what has happened and what I have done. I really did my best given the information and tools I had, so I will not criticize myself too much. I will simply accept that this is how my life has ended.

If there is reincarnation, I may have better luck next time. I wish I could believe in reincarnation, because I would so like to come back as the exact same person, even, and just not mistreat her so much. But now, having struck what appears to be a near fatal blow, I will just sit and endure to the end. Other talented people have had worse lives and not even gotten the chance to discover their talents. I am grateful to have had so much more of a life than so many people get to have.

I do apologize to the universe for having killed that girl who had so much potential and so much to give. Wasting her life and the opportunities she had was not what I meant to do, and I did not do it on purpose. But I have done it, because I was told so many times that people like her deserved to die. It is still very hard for me to say that. It is in fact terribly painful to accept, and just saying it feels even more destructive than the actual murder did. But perhaps I am just being shown here that it is true after all what they say, life is better understood as a burden than as a gift. I have been delusional, perhaps, in my optimism. Perhaps I am being shown reality at last.

At this time I was 47 and had been struggling with Reeducation for 13 years.

What got me out of that abusive romance: A flood of desire. I saw so many people just jumping in life, as I had done before Reeducation, and I could no longer repress the envy. Reeducation had taught that life was not for people of my lineage. We were not good enough to go to the beach on weekends or the theatre in the evenings, or to develop our careers. We must stay home and make peace with our flawed natures. But one day I could not stand it. I failed to repress my desire to swim in life.

On swimming. I knew Reeducation was destructive the minute I realized I no longer believed I deserved to take Saturdays off to go to the beach. In my abusive romance, I went one step further down: going to the swimming pool stopped working like a renewing salve. I am flashing now on early May, 2005, just over a year into that relationship.

The Person was not speaking to me because I had disobeyed in some manner. It would have been a great opportunity to break up, actually — just accept that he was not speaking and make it a matter of policy not to read e-mail or take calls in the future. This did not occur to me, though, because he had so terrified me a year earlier about what he might do if I left the relationship. I had committed at that point to staying in it until his green card issue was resolved in summer of 2006. With it he could keep his house and job. Having those to hang onto he would not need me.

So instead of leaving the relationship, I just enjoyed my time off from it. It was a beautiful late spring, and I had really interesting classes. We had the last week of school with marvelous contemporary texts, and finals week with interesting creative projects. I had this pale pink skirt with a gauze ruffle that I had bought in Laguna Beach. It was still cool enough to sit outside on the porch, and to go to the pool in the middle of the day.

This is to say that I had a wholeness to me then that I still have not fully recovered, and that that wholeness was still just a shadow of the wholeness I had had before. And the destructiveness of that relationship was as it was because people at work were as destructive as they were at that time. And it is the destructiveness of the people at work that did the most damage. And people have always told me you cannot go back in time, but I consider that time is space, and I am just moving spaces.

Moving into the space of May 2005, before Katrina, is not a bad goal. March, 2004, before that Relationship started, is the next one. After that October, 1998, before the full reality of my present job set in. After that the beautiful summer and fall of 1997. Then the many illusions, plans, and writings of 1995-96. Then the law school revelation period of 1992-93. Then 1990-91, the strong but still fragile moment when I felt so settled and proud and full of hope.

Axé.

50 Comments

Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Resources

Let’s Talk About Sex … and the Levees

…so as to drive up my hit count while I am on strike. We are going to talk about sex but it is also Juneteenth, in celebration of which I am Twittering about one of my ancestral homes. As one of the anthropologists studying it says, “It wasn’t a romantic, nice place to live. . . . It was a business.” All o’ y’all keep that in mind before booking a “romantic weekend” in one of the old Great Houses, y’heah?

Before proceeding I note that I had posted this important video from Levees.org with damning information on the USA Corps of Engineers, and the entire post disappeared through no action of mine. Comments on this post were magically reassigned to other posts, where they are amusing non sequiturs. So everyone follow that link and watch that video!

The page just linked has supplemental information, so click it even if you have already seen the video! Comment on the video, so as to drive up its YouTube rating! And click through to my blog supporters, so that one of them will realize they should pay my striking self the $600 they have owed me for almost two months now!

And now, speaking of romantic weekends and my upcoming voyage in search of a Mississippi plantation, let’s talk about sex.

Upon discovering that I have had my extra room rented out to a transgendered person for part of this semester, a straight male colleague just spoke to me passionately in favor of gay marriage and state funded transgender surgery. He felt a sudden need to teach and model compassion. Then he said, as he has said before: “I want a new car. I know it is frivolous, but I have never broken in a new car. I have broken in women before, but never a car, and I want to know what it is like.”

I on the other hand imagine a world in which I would not have to be polite to other professors discussing “breaking in women” or comparing us to cars.

I noted another conversation this week, between two other men, a Democrat and a Republican.

Democrat: This rape by a family values exponent is really hypocritical.

Republican: Well, Clinton slept with Lewinsky.

Democrat: Well, he wasn’t hawking family values, and that is my point here.

[Me, thinking]: And you are comparing an extramarital affair and a rape …which omission reveals quite a lot about what you actually think of women…

I have always been told that women would not even need to struggle for further rights if we could just learn to be very, very good. Yet [p]ower concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. It is hard to know how to proceed some days.

Axé.

24 Comments

Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Movement, News, Resources