tim: text: "I'm not offended, I'm defiant" (defiant)
“If you make and keep my life horrible then, when I can tell the truth, it will be a horrible truth; it will not sound good or look good or, God willing, feel good to you, either. There is nothing good about the evils of a life forced into useless and impotent drift and privation. There is very little that is attractive or soothing about being strangled to death, whether it is the literal death of the body or the actual death of the soul that lying, that the humiliation and the evil of self-denial, guarantees.

Extremity demands, and justifies, extreme response. Violence invites, and teaches, violence. Less than that, less than a scream or a fist, less than the absolute cessation of normal events in the lock of abnormal duress is a lie and, worse than that, it is blasphemous ridicule of the self.”

-- June Jordan, "Civil Wars"
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

"We all travel together as passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable reserves of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and -- I will say -- the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable; half confident and half despairing; half slaves to the ancient enemies of mankind and half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all."

— Adlai Stevenson, 1965

"Listen to the voice of the soldier
Down in the killing zone
Talking about the cost of living
And the price of bringing him home

They're already shipping the body bags
Down by the Rio Grande
But you can fight for democracy at home
And not in some foreign land

And the fate of the great United States
Is entwined in the fate of us all
And the incident at Tschernobyl proves
The world we live in is very small

And the cities of Europe have burned before
And they may yet burn again
And if they do I hope you understand
That Washington will burn with them
Omaha will burn with them
Los Alamos will burn with them"

-- Billy Bragg, 1986

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
It took me about six weeks, but I finally finished reading Samuel Delany's recent novel _Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders_. Maybe I just have a kink for long books -- it's 804 pages and, like _Infinite Jest_ (which is even longer), I suspect it's going to be one of those books that keeps being important to me for a really long time. (The third one like that is _A Suitable Boy_ by Vikram Seth, though it hasn't stayed with me quite the same way _Infinite Jest_ has; I've also only read it once.)

In lieu of more thoughts, some quotations from it:

"'There ain't no normal," Shit said. 'That's what he always told me.' With his scruffy beard, Shit pointed his chin toward Dynamite. 'There's just comfortable and uncomfortable. And I like to be comfortable with pretty much everything.'" (p. 305)

"'Well--' Eric looked back up and put his hand on Shit's warm shoulder--'state supported marriage comes with a whole lot of assumptions about how it's gonna be, a history of who has to obey who, when you're justified in callin' it quits, all sorts of things like that. Now, you could agree with each other to change some of those things or do 'em differently, but for thousands and thousands of years gay men and women didn't have even that--except for a few Christian monasteries here and there, where the monks were allowed to marry each other. But nobody likes to think about those. For us, decidin' to be with someone else wasn't a matter of acceptin' a ready-made set of assumptions. You had to work 'em all out from the bottom up, every time--whether you was gonna be monogamous or open; and if you was gonna be open, how you was gonna do it so that it didn't bother the other person and even helped the relationship along. Workin' all that stuff out for yourselves was half the reason you went into a relationship with somebody else. We had some friends once--back when we lived in the Dump--that was faithful for ten months out the year, but for two months they'd go on vacation and do all their tom-cattin' around.' He realized he was making that up, but hell, it was plausible. 'Then they'd be faithful again. But that's how they liked to do it. Then there were guys like us that just had to make real sure that the other person was feelin' good about things, when they did it and knew they were number one and didn't mind. See, that's what people who get married don't have. Or don't have in the same way." (p. 785-786)

"'Bein' a pervert was the only was I ever learned anything worth knowin'.'" (p. 792)

There's also this epigraph, which, if I ever wrote papers anymore, I would try to include in a paper about GC:

"Except there's garbage, which is part of what we're trying to include in our work and our thought, which is to say, we are attentive still to what remains, what gets tossed away and off. We want to include the trash in many ways, thinking of this refuse according to all sorts of disposal systems." -- Avital Ronell
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is."

-- Ursula K. Le Guin, commencement speech at Mills College, 1983.

(Her comment about "separatism" strikes me as dancing at the edge of trans erasure... but then, it's their world. As with many things, good if you ignore that.

And you know, I hope she wasn't talking about the need to dominate and/or be dominated in an overarchingly affectionate context of consent, but one just never knows that either.)
tim: "System Status: Degraded" (degraded)
"In the descriptive tradition of the social sciences, past participles are used as simple adjectives and their dynamic nature as verb forms is overlooked. The poor are often described as 'deprived' or 'impoverished,' as if these words connoted inherent characteristics like 'tall' or 'redheaded.' In reality, to say that a group of persons is 'deprived' or 'impoverished' is to say that they have been deprived. Then, changing voice, we can say that someone has deprived them, someone has impoverished them. Only after that dynamic process has occurred does anyone benefit from a declaration, with a scientific imprimatur, that the resulting state of affairs is permanent and unchangeable. It is not the lack of elegant models that leads to policy decisions that further deprive the deprived. Such consequences are usually quite obvious---at least to those about to be deprived. A policy choice is an act of will and intention. We must once in a while admit that the poor have been impoverished intentionally."

-- William Ryan, Equality
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Phrases I should use more often: "It's a personal choice, and also a wrong one."


Jun. 10th, 2010 09:00 am
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"And I know that lots of advice on doing well at things (any things, really) is phrased as 'here are the values and outlooks and skills of the successful people; be like them', but so much of that is bullshit. If any of said advice actually helps or inspires you, by all means go for it, but it isn't worth it to angst about not fitting a model someone else constructed after the fact to explain their own or others' success in a way that minimizes signs of luck and maximizes the appearance of various good qualities." -- [personal profile] luinied


Apr. 20th, 2010 10:10 pm
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"I couldn't accept what I'd been told, and all you're ever told in this country about being black is that it's a terrible, terrible thing to be. Now in order to survive this, you have to really dig down into yourself and recreate yourself... according to no image which yet exists in America... You have to impose in fact---this may sound strange---you have to decide who you are. And force the world to deal with who you are and not with its idea of you."

-- James Baldwin (in an interview with Studs Terkel, 1961)
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
I've been reading (or re-reading) various examples of the genre of Grad Student Self-Help Books. (You'd think such books would be very short and consist of "don't be a grad student".)

"Tattoo this list somewhere you won't forget to look. (1) Publish academic papers. (2) Go to conferences. (3) Get on committees. If you dive into the administrative pool, you can swim around with your professors and get to know them on a collegial level (a cynical colleague refers to this as 'amplexus,' which is the mating embrace of frogs."

-- Robert L. Peters, _Getting What You Came For_
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"And that argument, for example, as to whether or not homosexuality is natural seems to me completely pointless---pointless because I really do not see what difference the answer makes. It seems clear, in any case, at least in the world we know, that no matter what encyclopedias of physiological and scientific knowledge are brought to bear the answer never can be Yes. And one of the reasons for this is that it would rob the normal---who are simply the many---of their very necessary sense of security and order, of their sense, perhaps, that the race is and should be devoted to outwitting oblivion--and will surely manage to do so." -- James Baldwin
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
"One of the things we are forced to re-examine is relationships. Unlike straight people we do not have church weddings, we are not often enrolled in the PTA, we are not clear on who is the breadwinner and who is the homemaker. We don't have relatives clucking over us, urging us to be faithful and fertile and upstanding. Our relationships have little social or legal reality. As a result, we must invent love all over again. Gay lovers must work out contracts or agreements that suit them. Household chores, money matters, social obligations -- these things must be decided and assigned. Sex roles in bed, gender-linked behavior out of bed (who cooks, who mows the lawn, who pays the bills) -- these things must be arbitrated. And fidelity, the thorniest question of all, must be arranged.... The variations are endless. My point is that convention does not govern us; we create new conventions for ourselves.... Today more and more straight couples are deciding that traditional marriage doesn't work.... Straight people might well learn something from us, since we have already sorted out the issues, even if we haven't arrived at solutions that will suit everyone." -- Edmund White, "The Joys of Gay Life" (1977)
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Two quotations from _The Honest Politician's Guide to Crime Control_ by Norval Morris and Gordon Hawkins (which, based on what I've read of it so far, everyone should be forced to read, or at least, everyone who is a political leader or votes for them):
And, particularly from these "sportsmen," we must never tolerate the argument that if the murderer lacked a gun he would kill in some other way. If they believe that, they should, on grounds of sportsmanship, throw away their guns and club the deer to death, knife the bears, and poison the ducks.

The sanctity of life is often also taken to refer to the life of "the unborn child." Yet the use of this expression is as if we referred to the reader as "an adult fetus." To say that a fertilized ovum or an embryo is a human being and therefore entitled to the full protection of the law is a prejudicial abuse of language. Nor do those who take this position ever maintain it consistently, for they never embrace the logical corollary which is that all abortive operations are murders and should be so treated in law.

For our part, in view of the fact that human reproduction is a continuum, such questions as "When does life begin?" are unanswerable, except perhaps in metaphysical or theological terms. Nevertheless it is quite practicable to draw objective distinctions between abortion, infanticide, and homicide; and in terms of these well-recognized distinctions we say that abortion should not be regarded as criminal as long as the woman desires its performance. We see no reason to regard some other arbitrarily selected point prior to parturition, in what is a continuous process, as having any particular significance.
I think I may have posted part of the second quotation before. But it's worth re-posting, among other reasons because I came across this Cat and Girl comic that [livejournal.com profile] pinkhairedcyn linked to that says the same thing, only with pictures.


tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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