dolorosa_12: (sleepy hollow)
The emotions of Trump's supporters need no economic explanation: hatred is its own ground. It is the oldest and most pitiful liberal self-delusion to imagine that ethnic hatred, or, now, misogyny is merely a masked form of economic distress — the bad way that an authentic emotion expresses itself.
— Adam Gopnik, A Point of View.


Felt a tremor stir beneath my breath
That forecasts storms on the gallup poll
Woke up from the nightmare news
And hoping to read a sign in the morning air

Nothing changes here and nothing improves
All say my friends who just want out
And leave these troubles behind
Scatter like paper in the eye of the storm
Documented with a silent snow
That's only heard from far away

More cards in play, follow in suit
Everywhere you look, you only see red
And wonder when to call off the race
Watching a horse running down its last legs
Just when you think it couldn't get much worse
Watch the numbers rise on the death toll
And the chimes of freedom flash and fade
Only heard from far, far away

I hear you can't trust in your own
Now the grey is broken in the early morn
And the words forming barely have a voice
It's just your heart that's breaking without choice

Everything you've learned is distorted in your head
Bouncing off the walls, unravelling the thread
Staying up with the blue screen glow
Forgetting everything you ever dreamed years ago

When the dread is flowing down my veins
I want to tear it all down and build it up again
Tear it all down, build it up again

Hear your heart that's breaking without choice
I want to hear those chimes ring again
Ring again

— Calexico, 'All Systems Red'.


The latter is my favourite political protest song, written as an anguished cry of despair during the George W. Bush years. How bleak, how horrifying, how much it crushes the soul that it is again applicable today, that it was always applicable, hiding just around the corner.
dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
[personal profile] thelxiepia, to Todd Akin (re: his reelection): The female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.


Obama: It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. It doesn't matter if you're black or white, Hispanic or Asian or Native American ... it doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, able-bodied or disabled, gay or straight ...
Young daughter of my friend L (shouting at footage on laptop): HURRY UP WILL YOU? I ALREADY KNOW ALL THIS STUFF FROM MY TEACHER.


These two are, I think, the most representative quotes from last night's election viewing.

I hold dual citizenship, and as a result, while I don't feel very American or have any intentions of moving there, I am able to vote in elections. Some of my non-USian friends have been very critical of the way that people outside the US tend to obsessively follow the election campaigns and results, but the sheer volume of vitriolic hatred this time around has had the odd effect of making the political personal for me.

When I think of the rhetoric that's been flying around - about women (particularly, about sexually active women and women who are raped*), about the poor and unemployed, about people with disabilities, people who are ethnic minorities, LGBT people - what strikes me is a profound lack of empathy. These vocal social conservatives look at the most dispossessed and vulnerable people in their society, and are unable to see their humanity. They hate, they hurt, they bluster and blame because they are unable to imagine any circumstances where they would be in such people's shoes.

I stayed up until 5am watching the election coverage in a state of profound hysteria. It's not that I think Obama's the messiah, or that I even agree with all the things he's done in his first term, but that, in words at least, in relation to Americans at least, he strives to reach out, to compromise, to entertain multiple points of view, to affirm the worth and humanity of all. And that may not matter very much in the scheme of things, but it matters to me. It is enough, for now, for me.

And now I'm going to go to sleep. Following a nearly sleepless night with a library shift where I shelved eight trolleys of books is starting to take its toll.

--------------------------------
* Which is not the same thing, and it's terrifying how these things seem to be conflated in the eyes of some social conservatives.
dolorosa_12: (sister finland)
Sorry for the extremely long absence here. In the past three weeks I have been
a) moving house;
b) applying for postdoc positions;
c) attempting to finish my PhD; and
d) reevaluating just about every aspect of my life, including my relationship with the internet.

All of which means I simply haven't been online. But I've got a bit of time right now to catch my breath, and feel that an update is in order.

So yeah, Matthias and I moved house. We've moved out of the share house which has been in the hands of people from our department for the past three years, which he lived in from 2009-12 and I lived in from 2010-11, into a small house on our own. You cannot believe how happy we are to finally be living on our own. Housemates can be great, but there's only so many times you can clean their dishes before you start to get resentful. The move was made doubly difficult by the fact that the house has had numerous residents over the past three years, and of them only Matthias, D2, J1 and I were responsible enough to get rid of all our stuff when we moved out. Our friend R kindly drove loads of rubbish to the tip - rubbish that did not belong to us. I've moved house at least once every year since 2007, and I'm over it.

These postdoc applications are massively stressful. Every one wants something slightly different - 2000-word statement vs 1000-word statement, 10,000-word writing sample vs full draft of your PhD, three referees vs two and so on. It's turned me into a somewhat deranged, hair-tearing, anxiety-ridden person, and it's not going to be over for another two months at least. On the plus side, I get to write lots of lists of things and cross them out, which is oddly calming.

This is the final year of my PhD. It needs to be finished by next (northern) summer, not only in case I get one of these postdocs, but also because my funding will run out then. I'm in a position to be finished, but I realise this year is going to be rather stressful, and sleep may not be an option for a lot of the time. On top of the thesis work, I'm going to be doing a lot of the teaching in my department as my supervisor is on leave during the first two terms. I'll also be going back to my part-time library job.

Last year was a rather horrific year. It wasn't quite as bad as 2007, but it was one of those awful periods in your life that makes you sit up and take notice. A year of learning, if you will. And what I learnt while in Germany were some fairly ugly truths about myself. I'm not as strong as I thought, and my physical, mental and 'spiritual' (for want of a better word) health are more connected than I previously imagined. The result of all this soul-searching is that I've resolved to do more to take care of these three aspects of my health. That means much more exercise - daily runs (which I've been doing since moving into the new house), weekly yoga and kickboxing classes (which I'm beginning this evening) and much more time spent walking every day. I also need to find a daily working routine and stick to it. But, much more importantly, I have decided to severely limit my exposure to, and participation in, things that upset me.

After a lot of thought, I realised that I spent pretty much all the time feeling extraordinarily angry about something. That was hardly unexpected, considering the amount of time I devote to online social justice-related stuff. And that's a big part of my life, and I don't plan to give it up entirely. But I am going to avoid particular topics unless I'm feeling completely on top of things. And those topic are:
1. Victim-blaming, apologism and rape culture in general in relation to instances of rape, abuse, stalking and sexual violence
2. Religious fundamentalism in general and Christian Patriarchy in particular
3. Discussions about corporal punishment of children

It's got to the point where these issues upset me so much that I'm incapable of working, which is neither healthy nor productive. I realise that I'm incredibly lucky in being able to simply walk away, and that there are many people for whom these issues are inescapable. I struggled a lot with this decision, because it feels like a betrayal of these people. But I just can't anymore.

Moving beyond this specific resolution, I've also decided to give up Tumblr entirely until my PhD is done. I'll look at individual posts that people link me (hi, [personal profile] thelxiepia), but I'm not going to be active, I won't be reading my dash and I doubt I'll be reblogging anything. It's not good for my mental health.

In general, I think I'm going to be way less active online. A while ago, John Scalzi referred to three principles of internet-usage that I feel I'd do well to follow. And they are, before I post online, to ask oneself:
1. Does this need to be said?
2. Does this need to be said by me?
3. Does this need to be said now?

It's high time I started asking myself those questions.

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dolorosa_12: (Default)
rushes into my heart and my skull

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