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Rambles thru the Brambles
A Magical Journey
from File 770
Bruce Baugh on June 26, 2015 at 12:41 am said:
There’s an aspect of worldview which is sort of prior to specific politics, religion or philosophy, and so on, that needs some explicit attention.

Some people believe that it’s possible (in the sense of “feasible for some significant number of people”, not the abstract possible under conditions no one ever actually attains) to be a basically good person. You will go through your life and seldom if ever do any genuine harm except if you go at it with deliberate malicious intent. Any unintentional harm you do will necessarily be small and contained, and almost certainly easily remedied. You are fully capable of overcoming inherited prejudices floating around in your society, and of seeing the world clearly and largely correctly.

Such people tend to be relatively advantaged – “unmarked”, in a very useful phrase from social studies. You don’t need or expect to have to use a lot of adjectives to describe yourself: you’re American (or whatever your nationality is); if you’re married, you just say “I’m married” and the sex of your spouse is assumed; if you’re a professional in almost any field, you can just say “I’m an X”; and so on. And such people tend to take the charge that they’ve said or done something prejudicial really seriously. After all, if you can expect to be a good person except if you choose otherwise, and you’ve done something clearly un-good, that means the accuser is saying you did deliberately, with malice, choose to be hurtful. That would make you a bad person, and since you’re not, they’re out of line.

Other people believe that we never altogether escape our legacies, and that they include a bunch of ugly screwed-up stuff as well as good things. We can – and should – aim to do better, but perfection isn’t attainable, and we are likely to do small harms (and sometimes larger ones) all the time. Sometimes it’s through ignorance, sometimes it’s through laziness and unwillingness to change the habits that give hurt, usually it’s a fair dose of both. In this view, dishing out harm is a routine though unwelcome part of life, and it’s no great achievement – but also no great burden, really – to respond by acknowledging it, apologizing, seeing what you can do to repair things, and then working to not do that particular one again.

As Huey Lewis put it once, “All I want from tomorrow / is to get it better than today.”

This view is more common among people who are “marked”: those who are hyphenated Americans, who will have to say something to avoid incorrect assumptions about the sex or gender of their loved ones, who can expect to be called a “lady X” instead of just “an X”, and so on. They have more experience of being on the receiving end of a lot of unintended but nonetheless genuinely hurtful junk, and of seeing other deny responsibility for the hurt they’ve given. They see too how even when dealing with their own friends, family, and peers, disparaging attitudes about their kind can slip in and color what they do. (This is what “internalized” bigotry means: believing crap about yourself and people like you, and treating yourself or others like you the way people with social advantages over you are prone to.)

In my view, the second approach is vastly more realistic. We do all screw up a bunch all the time. Nobody can go through life constantly apologizing…but we can go through life recognizing that we do things worth apologizing for all the time, and try to do better. We can be humble about our limitations.

It’s in this context that telling someone “hey, that was kind of racist” or “that’s just flat-out sexist, unless I’m missing something” or “are you sure you want to be passing on that kind of rank homophobia?” is…not trivial, but not a big deal, and not an overall judgment of any sort on your character. If you slam a door on my fingers, I’ll probably yell and want you to open the door right away rather than stand around arguing that it’s no big deal and why am I making you feel bad. But if you do open the door right away and help me get some ice, I’m going to think that it wasn’t anything you intended and not think any the worse of you as a person. Same deal. Furthermore, I won’t claim to be sure that I have never done that to anyone else, nor that I am sure I wouldn’t, couldn’t, do it myself in the future sometime, because I know that accidents happen. I also know that acting on prejudicial scripts inherited from the many dimensions of culture that surround us all happens.

What I may do is think less of you based on your response. If I see you dodge responsibility time after time, I’ll think less of you. If I see you insist that nobody should feel hurt by the thing you did time after time, ditto. I expect adults to be willing to acknowledge the potential for error in themselves and to be willing to work on fixing it and improving things without making a big deal, just as I wouldn’t feel it appropriate to celebrate someone merely for not slamming people’s fingers in doors, not crapping in other people’s drinking water, and almost never setting any occupied homes on fire.

The problem is how to communicate any of that who have a conviction of their own basic perfectibility and who’ve never thought about it.
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You should read the Bordertown books. You should also think about entering the Sweepstakes to get some Bordertown books.

That is all.
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Once again, Dear Ones, Let Poetry Bless the Interwebs!!
It is that time of year again, when bloggers around the world post a favorite poem in honor of Brigid, the Irish goddess and patron saint of smithcraft, poetry, and healing. Brigid’s feast day is February 1st, so between now and then is the perfect time to publish a poem to celebrate. Last year many great poems were published all over the web. This year, I have set up a Community Facebook Page to help people easily view each other's poems and to share them around as much as possible. If you post a poem on your blog, please share the link on the community page so we can all go there and read it. If you don't have a blog or website of your own, go ahead and post your poem in its entirety to the community page.

Current Mood: happy happy

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Sadly, I am cynical enough to find this amusing...




Not sure how long linky to cartoon will last. See the whole set
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My calendar notes "In the Commonwealth, today is Remembrance Day, when at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, each person pauses for two minutes of silence to remember and honor those who made sacrifices in war and to repeat the unifying thought of this day: "Never forget, and never again."

I first heard this song back in 1981, from an Australian friend's mix tape. I listen to it each year on this day.

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Yeah, What Hecate Said

Watch:


and Listen:
Thanks to everyone who worked, suffered, was tortured, gave all, and died to win this right [to vote] for me. I will call your names with each button that I push tomorrow morning. Because I'm a Witch. Because I'm a magic-worker. Because I can.
Or as Ani would say, Vote Dammit!
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Originally posted by neo_prodigy at Spirit Day
 


It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in honor of the 6 gay boys who committed suicide in recent weeks/months due to homophobic abuse in their homes at at their schools. Purple represents Spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality. Please wear purple on October 20th. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and schools.

RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh (top)
RIP Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase (middle)
RIP Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. (bottom)

REBLOG to spread a message of love, unity and peace.


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A poem fragment -- because I can't decide if it's done or not...


Brigid In Snow

Brigid stands in the doorway
Broom ready to sweep the snow
The song of the bees a slow hum
Deep, deep in Her bones

Brigid clears the pathway
Singing under Her breath
The song an early gift
From a bard long dead

Brigid draws the well water
And lights the forge fire
Unhurried, deliberate,
Creating poetry in metal

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February
by Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

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