You might have noticed that I've changed the description of my blog to more accurately reflect what I do here on the daily. I was going to write something about me applying a taser to lefty politics (uproariously loud laughter of the damned...I like it when I'm typing and tickling my own funny bone) but, I didn't...because the taser people would probably just get upset and threaten to sue me. :)
I feel invigorated. But, I haven't had time to court other bloggers into dancing around a lefty bonfire of the vanities with me this week. So sad. :)
So, today it'll just be me doing an electrified jiggaboo jig via this week's Reloaded.
I just want to say that I'm still thankful for the gift of cultural terrorism - Zebulon (the colossal fart that keeps on offering up loads of stimulatingly disgusting kak diarrhea) for helping me echo locate my fucking spirited poe$.
I was reading some more Henry Louis Gates yesterday. When I told Papi's mama, Ophelia about my critique of the Black middle class. The conversation resonated with full laughter of the damned in effect during the conversation as we talked about class in Black community, denial, fear, discomfort...change. Ophelia told me that Henry Louis Gates had written something controversial that upset some (Black) people.
Of course I wanted to know what it was.
I found this interview where he does this strange thing. I guess for him it probably isn't strange as all the contradictions sit inside his skin quite comfortably.
On one hand he gives an interview where he shows himself to be quite the christian, conservative, moralistic, sex negative black person from a long ago generation and old time approach to Black liberation...talking about us of course having to work ten times as hard, and of course be respectful of teachers...he wants to see more of that and of course show up for work prepared to work. His world, the world he wants Black people to live in, of the mind, seems very simple.
If you want to work, they'll let you work and you will succeed...as long as you're fine working ten times as hard...and still getting passed over...and for godssake!...oops! Not to take the name of the lord in vain...be respectful of your teachers...even if they are teaching you grade four math in high school.
But he also said some stuff that I appreciated in its candor. Okay, maybe I haven't been reading any of the newer academic writings on race, feminism, activism or much of anything...too hard on the eyes to see the walmart-like roll back of critical analysis. Nonetheless I don't think I've seen many writing about what's happening in South Africa from a place of critiquing the supposed "new" nation.
In the midst of all the romanticism being bandied about in regards to the "new" South Africa, which is really the old South Africa with some pretty, pretty ribbons tied around it, a bit of gold paint and some trinkets offered to a few former combattants who now comprise a Black South African middle and upper class (which is part of the reason why it's so very important for Black folks to have a radical, no holds barred, completely irreverent power playing in our midst, critique of class that implicates all of us who have sea changed and middle classed within the span of a few short generations and our desires to supposedly "uplift" parts of the race while leaving other huge segments to rot while we, "scandalized" and "dismayed", cluck our tongues over the destruction of poor Black neighbourhoods and the high percentage of Black folks in north amerikkkan jails).
I'm observing all the wolves over here in north amerikkka sharpening their knives and marking out which fatty parts of the "new" nation they want to devour onsite or drag away for later consumption.
I see Black folks who talk about buying land there, going to vacation there, touring, doing the bars, meeting new friends on land where the revolution has been erased from within, gutted and defined as a victory for the people.
A good Black (really much less emphasis on the implied nationalism in nationalist...I really cannot abide the smell of burning tires...) I named both my children Azania and fully realized as I did that what has unfolded in South Africa is no Azanian dream.
No rule of African land by Black people who fill the coffers of Black corporations, powerful Black families, mine their own diamonds, build beautiful homes for all the people, feed and cloth everyone.
Although the white minority, the architects of the "new" South Africa learned their apartheid arts here in kkkanada, the stolen land of reservations and genocide, the parties involved, dealing with a mass of people who were going to destroy things, farms, buildings, white homesteads did something interesting that is different than what has unfolded here...so far.
They put a top level Native South African old time revolutionary (kept in prison and "persuaded" over time, they had so much of it and he was running out, that the best possible thing would be to sell the people down the river sloooowly, convince them that having their man in office was a good thing...even if he was no longer fully onside...and let him smooth things over with the powerful, affluent, murderous, thieving white minority)...they put him at the head of the nation...Papi reminds me that they made sure that the "deal" didn't involve nationalizing the corporations...everyone knows that since (behind the scenes) corporate rule is where it's at, that a government ruled by Black people in a country where white corporations continue to do white business and control the white purse strings means that South Africa is still white dominated!
So, now, many years later...
We watch Miss (I'm so fucken Blonde and don't you think my raised in apartheid south afrikkkan genes are gorgeous?) Charlize Theron in the movies and are free to clap when she uglies up her face to play the role of poor white imprisoned trash on death row.
We have Winnie dispossessed for not playing along with hubby probably.
We have an AIDS pandemic among the "victorious" population.
We have a burgeoning Black South African middle class that has been enticed into keeping the peace through keeping silent.
We have many, many happy business corporate types of all nationalities and ethnicities who are really happy to be doing business in a South Africa rich with resources where before apartheid they would have had to sneak and lie to make money from the exploitation of the land...but wait!...they're still sneaking and lying bastards...not to give bastards a bad name cuz I'm a bastard. :)
This week's Reloaded is called:
Take two: Echo locating my spirit, Poe$ and relocating a Feministing comment all before breakfast...
I was over at feministing reading this morning.
My visit to one of the popular mainstream left community blogs surprised me. Obviously a few different encounters had lifted spirits enough that I could leave my blog house and venture forth loins girded and prepared to engage (or to do battle) with whatever I found while roaming. Read on to find out what I read.
A few different things happened that gave me a shot in the arm. I had a good cry over the phone with an old ally -a light skinned, mostly half dressed, trans, pakistani, hacker...okay, who's been watching too many idiot movies?...more like techy nerd, who is probably the only other person I know who gets into as many ideological scraps inSIDE "political" lefty communities as I do.
We don't hang out. Well, I don't hang out. But we'll talk on the phone every few weeks. We compare invisible psychic scars from friendly fire, exchange theories about what's happening, then back away from each other slowly, carefully and go back to our respective lives, peoples, siege walls.
During our last conversation, my "friend" told me that a mutual acquaintance, an ex of mine, a trans man who I don't see anymore has had a breakdown. I think I'd been waiting for news like this. The people I've known in community walk with so many compartments. There are always breaches. Shit leaks out, old rickety dams break spewing shit we'd tried to contain.
I couldn't offer much. Couldn't offer a trip out to locate our acquaintance. Couldn't offer to come in from the cold. Couldn't offer to embrace our friend. It's all too dangerous.
I pretty much broke down, admitting that it all feels hopeless..when the frontlines are peopled by the walking wounded who are about to topple because they haven't been protected, haven't received care, haven't taken cover when they should have, it's all so fucked when those who claim leadership roles, claim the spotlight, are the superstars of our various causes, who claim to be doing the work seem to pose the most danger to our respective causes, manipulating, hoarding, establishing hierarchies, ignoring privilege, being cliquish, out and out lying, gentrifying causes and communities...there is no fucking hope. When the corps and governments and courts don't have to control us because there are people inside who do the work of stifling dissent and marginalizing voices for them, when so many of us are too wounded to resist, we are so royally screwed.
The strangled tears leaking out of me seemed unsatisfying in the moment...I didn't want to turn my friend into my counsellor nurse maid so I held back and did not completely surrender. But something must have been shaken loose, because I felt less crazed and haunted when our conversation ended.
But another thing helped, too...
I was gifted with something I really needed a few weeks ago. (thanks Rozena!) It was a pile of zines from South Africa that are absolutely hilarious, disgustingly, uproariously, intelligently, mercilessly funny. Hei Voetsek! and Poe$ written and self published by "The Dreadful Idiot Zebulon Dread Messianic Deliverer From Boredom, Kak and Anal Regressiveness. Voetsek!"
Hee, hee, hee. Obviously I don't speak any dutch. But disgusting curse words are sort of universal and there is enough english here for me to get the point.
It's not for the faint of heart or for the anally and conservatively (masquerading as radically) political. What I appreciate is the fact that he doesn't mind taking critical aim at Black people in oppressive positions of power. I'm hoping he'll do that Osama...oops...Obama guy, too. I'm tired of smiling privileged people of colour who are enshrined and followed by masses of people who just want to be led like sheep as if everything they say or do is right and pure. That's a load of "kak".
My favourite, was when he served up a slice of hardcore criticism of corporate television's upper class mammy figure, the ever popular Oprah and O magazine. There's plenty of what seems like fatphobia and misogyny here that I had to read around, meaning, I understood it, critiqued it and read around it like I do when I'm listening to Joan Rivers or Nikki Payne...but, I reminded myself, this is harsh satire, these are the words of a cultural terrorist. Obviously no weapon will go unused. 'Sides, the core of what Zebulon was writing still resonated, still rang true in ways I could get behind.
"I am Oprah, the fat slag from the USA-United Shits AssOciated- cOme hither tO save all SOuth African WOmen frOm their drab existence. Just loOk at me. I am the perfectiOn Of a well grOomed dOughnut. I am the face Of real America. Fat, fucken dumb, tOtally Over hyped and abOut as enchanting as a garlic filled snail....I mean, there I sit on every page of my magazine wanking off in the egotistical manner endemic of me and all of America simpley gushes. Why? Dollars! Money and power!...I'm fucken insecure, what do you think? It's absolutely gross. It's stupid. It's flatulent and the worse thing I went and done is launch this rubish in South Africa...Get that people who publish that awful Drum, True Love and all those really shitty black empowerment crappy arse hooliganism in the name of women? I had to save them, so I employed a white bitch to employ a black bitch to lie stupendously to all the black and white bitches about their lives...O Oprah...O Anal Worm! O! O! O! I am trite America at its explicit. I am soft porn gone wrong."You can't see me smiling as I peer over this nasty little rag, furiously typing out excerpts. This is good for me, trust me.
When I start ragging on about people trying to construct me as not nice, I'll remember the dude who really walks with a big fucking pissed off stick to beat all the idiots back into their submissive backwardly apolitical retentive denial based little holes. I will give myself permission to speak full throttle and to point out the obviously not nice inconsistencies and contradictions I see around me perpetrated and perpetuated by those who understand themselves as radically political and nice. Hee, hee, hee!
So, still not "nice", but feeling a little less depressed and deflated, I was roaming in blogland when I ended up at Feministing.
There was an article about feminism and Islam. I left a comment about another comment I read that was so boombastically arrogantly amerikkkan that I could not avoid poking some fun.
The original comment read:
"To be honest, feminism in a place like Iraq is an issue that seems almost incoherent. Not because the morally abhorrent treatment of women in strict Shia societies is in any way conscionable, but because it's hard to project a western concept like feminism into a social system that begins with completely different basic assumptions. For example: if you dig through some history and philosophy, the development of what people in the west think of as feminism is inextricably linked to the concept of "rights" - as in "human rights" - that developed during the Enlightenment. Equality, for example, is relevant in this context, as is a logical interpretation of a concept like "justice."I haven't been a regular commenter at Feministing, so my comment may not show up. Still wanted to share, though.
In societies where "rights" have nothing to do with equality, and where "justice" has more to do with tradition than with logic, how meaningful is it to talk about women's rights, much less feminism?
Again, I'm not saying the situation of women in Shia socieies (among others) isn't something that needs to be addressed, because of course it is. I'm just saying that it's hard for me to think of what "Iraqi feminism" could mean in the absence of all the basic presuppositions about human rights that I, as a westerner, bring to the conceptual table.
I responded to the above mentioned comment with a little bit of creative editing:
Is that a real comment or a faux comment?
For example: if I dig through some history and philosophy, the development of what people in the oppressive white west construct as feminism is inextricably linked to the construction of "rights" - as in "rights" for some - that developed during slavery and the invasion of multiple cultures around the world. These were times of horrific human rights abuses and atrocities commited by people who then turned around and defined themselves as enlightened...without even breaking into a giggle.
Equality, for example, cannot be taken seriously when uttered from their location on stolen land worked by human beings who were defined as cattle to be whipped, bred and worked.
It is completely illogical in this context, to even talk about a nation built on the blood of many as amerikkka is, to even try and lead or facilitate conversations about concepts like "justice" without including all relevant pieces of historical information.
In a society like any white dominated, western, patriarchal, class based states located in the west where "rights" have nothing to do with equality, and where "justice" has more to do with entrenched traditions of denial, spin doctoring and brutal domination rather than with logic, how meaningful is it to talk about human rights, women's rights, much less feminism?
But, good try, though.
Oh! And if any of you are interested in offering me one of your really kick ass older posts for next week's Reloaded, please write me. Thanks.