leahbobet: (bat signal)
So yesterday afternoon, after logging my words, Dr. My Roommate and I made the journey to the hinterlands Downsview Park to see this megaconcert object. We have had the tickets for a very long time and were very much looking forward to it: It was my first time seeing both Weezer and the Hip, so.

I am trying to figure out why this was not a mindblowing excess of awesomeness packed into one day.

It started off just fine: Everyone going northbound on the subway was clearly going to the show, and people started cheering and goofing around on the subway train, and then singing along to Weezer songs on the shuttlebus running from the station to the venue. Nice mood! All good!

Hey Rosetta! were already playing when we got there (we missed Buck 65), so we grabbed some overpriced hot dogs and some criminally overpriced bottles of water ($5? Really? Even by festival concert price-gouging standards that's a little much) and got ourselves into the crowd to finish off the last of the set and camp a good spot for Broken Social Scene.

What I heard of the Hey Rosetta! set was really solid. They played "Welcome", obviously (that's the radio single) and a few other things I'm actually familiar with but couldn't name and couldn't say from where, and I probably ought to get around to getting their stuff sometime soon.

Not a lot of people were up for them, so we made it inside six or seven rows of the stage fence for the BSS set and hunkered down to wait the 40 min until they came on. At which point, I turned around and saw that [livejournal.com profile] jonofthewired and [livejournal.com profile] sandwichboy and their friend Dave were...well, pretty much right behind us. Since there were only 20,000 people in the place, and all. Thus was the afternoon's adventuring party assembled.

BSS played a different kind of set than I'm used to hearing from them, but then again, usually when I'm hearing them, it's their show and their crowd, and they can go as long and as obscure as they please. This was a show the Hip organized, and I think the setlist they picked was my first clue that it was not the sort of crowd I'm at home with: very much the hits (Fire Eye'd Boy, Forced to Love, Texico Bitches, 7/4 Shoreline, Cause = Time, KC Accidental) and a few covers -- Beastie Boys and Modest Mouse. Opening the set with Lover's Spit was nice. They ended with Meet Me in the Basement, but they always do that; I don't think I can hear that song anymore without getting a visceral multilayered flashback of sun-drunk and punch-drunk and giddy and every show they do.

Terrible, blurry stage shot of BSS

After the set the guys wanted to get some food, and I wanted to sit down for a bit -- it was hot and close and several kinds of smoky, and that sort of goes right to my knees and makes me wobble -- so the Roommate and I parked ourselves on a patch of grass and waited for them. They didn't make it back before the Weezer set started, so we went in without them and, well, the crowd had kinda changed.

I don't know if it was more/different people showing up, the tipping point of drinking bad beer (they had Bud. It was $8 a cup. This is a terrible thing to do to anyone) or just serious cultural shift in fan mentality? But. You can kind of feel the mood of a crowd, or a room, and this was not cheerful and grinny and pleasant. It was don't-stand-in-front-of-me, bleary, and kind of mean.

I think this is Weezer, but honestly can't tell.

The set was fine; again, kind of a greatest hits thing. I remember hearing the Sweater Song, Pork and Beans, My Name is Jonas, Say it Ain't So, Troublemaker, Perfect Situation, Island in the Sun, Dope Nose, Hash Pipe, I Want You To. They closed with Buddy Holly. Interestingly enough, they played that cover of Paranoid Android [livejournal.com profile] kafkonia gave me just a few days ago. And there was a lot of singing along, both impromptu and of the "Okay, you sing this chorus" type, so that was all good.

Thing is, I don't like being in a crowd of thousands of people and looking over my shoulder. I didn't like the feel in there. I have said here and there that live music is the closest I get to what some people get out of organized religion, and I guess this is what it feels like to spend the afternoon in someone else's church.

Dr. My Roommate left after the Weezer set: she wasn't feeling well, there was a little too much fuckery going on, she's not a Hip fan, and she had to housesit for someone that night anyways. So I stuck it out with the guys in our little press of space until they came on. And it stayed kind of rowdy and fratboyish, and one too many crowdsurfers landed on someone's back, and then one landed on my glasses and, while I caught them, that's it, we were out of there. We watched the rest of the set from off to the side, at a decent distance, with ice cream. And let me tell you, it restores your faith a little to have friends who will quietly interpose themselves between the drunk staggering person in front of you and where you're sitting on the grass, especially when you are feeling like you're surrounded by asshats who are also wasted on bad beer.

Stuff played? Honestly (and kind of depressingly) I wasn't paying huge attention at that point. They opened with Grace, Too, and definitely did Love is a First, Blow at High Dough, At the Hundredth Meridian, Fully Completely, Courage, Bobcaygeon, Poets, Ahead by a Century, Little Bones. There was It's A Good Life If You Don't Weaken, which was surprising. There was Fiddler's Green (!), which was even more surprising, since I was under the impression that they do not, not, not ever play that live and haven't for literal years. Although I just found two YouTube hits of it live, so I guess they've started again. The encore was...The Kids Don't Get It, Wheat Kings, and Music at Work.

The best thing in the set, bar none, was a version of New Orleans is Sinking that had Nautical Disaster nested inside it like matryoshka dolls. And oddly enough, that's the one place where I connected with the space, the crowd, the band: standing up on achy legs to sing along, in a sort of spit-through-my-teeth vicious way, the lyrics to the thing that got me into this band in the first place; one of the very first songs ever to haunt me like a shadow in the way that sends me to the keyboard half-blind now to write, but back when I was 12, just swirled around my shoulders in a way I didn't know how to process or deal with.

Here is the official video of it. It didn't make the haunting any less:

It's a poem. It still is. And it still makes me shudder a little, deep down, with sheer intensity and the cold ocean and death, like nothing else ever.

That was worth the price of admission.

Once they left the stage there was this, which we didn't expect, since officially the Downsview Park Canada Day fireworks had been cancelled for the show:

And that seemed to bring everyone kind of down to earth again, and the crowd moved out, and we skipped the whole crowded and stupid shuttle bus arrangement and just walked the 15-minute trip to the subway station -- although it took longer, since we were all tired and totally going the long way -- and, thankfully, Dave's car. And one quick trip back downtown and one helping of late-night post-show dim sum later, that was that.

I am left, this afternoon, trying to figure out what made that crowd so damned mean, or if festival crowds were always this way, and I was just young enough when I was regularly doing festivals that I didn't notice/got the special treatment for being a cute little 19-year-old girl. I like all those bands and have for years, but that was so decidedly and utterly not my scene it couldn't get any less my scene. Yeah, I've been to outdoor shows where ridiculous amounts of drugs were going around -- see, Island Concert, last summer -- and that was not a substance abuse sort of result. People can be, and are, cheerful and friendly and fabulous at a show during and after serious drinking and pot-smoking (see: Island Concert).

It would easy to say that there were probably a ton of people there not from Toronto (true), or that it's the accessibility of the venue to said people versus something more downtown (possible), or that it was partially the holiday (nationalism, always good for making one a little bit of a jerk) or the fact that it's Pride Weekend (is this where all the jerks went to get away from The Gay?) or a quirk of the fanbase for either Weezer or the Hip, but. I can't honestly say. Too many variables, and too little objectivity on my part. I'm aware that where I live -- in terms of not just city but neighbourhood -- I live in a bubble, and y'know? I can't always say I dislike that.

If I ever see another drunk, skinny, sunburned, scowling, buzzcutted white dude with his shirt off and his hands all over the ass of his stumbling girlfriend, it'll be too soon.

That being said, and hopefully this isn't famous last words of some sort, for tonight mon ami Danny and I are seeing Coheed & Cambria and Soundgarden at the Amphitheatre. I'm tired, but it's Chris Cornell, and that's something you don't say no to. Let us hope for less back-patting thick-necked laddishness there.
We have mp3 players, in which we carry our music in a software format and can download it as pay-per-track files.

We have ereaders and Kindles, in which we carry our books as a software format and can download them as pay-per-book files.

We have Steam and the PS3, which we can use to download our games as pay-per-game files.

...why in hell are we still buying physical DVDs?

(This, and the guy who first offers me the ability to select the 5 TV channels I actually want for $15 a month is gonna get rich. Just saying.)
Dear Author reports that Amazon has filed for a patent to insert advertising into POD and e-books. Books that included advertisements would be sold for a lower rate than books without. There are, predictably, the beginnings of outrage stirring in the comments.

What I find interesting here, though?

We have, socially, reached a point where major corporations accept implicitly that in order to get you in the same room as advertising, they have to blackmail you. And they attempt to account for that base assumption in their business plans.

It's no longer a social given that advertising is the price you pay for the intake of media anymore.

That's...pretty sweet.
Via an intrepid co-worker, I give you an entire section of the ABC News site devoted to baaaaaby animals.

I have long been given to say that if mainstream news media wanted to survive, it'd get itself a LOLcat of the Day feature. But y'know. I was at least half-joking.
Y'know, I think I've located the glitch in our metaphor system; the semantic breakdown:

The internet is not a battlefield, upon which a war is fought. Against an enemy. Who requires no-holds-barred force.
The internet is not your house, which needs to be defended. From, again, some implied faceless mob of attackers.
The internet is not a square mile of territory which one can be driven off.
The internet is not a community which one can be ostracised from.
You cannot win the internet.

When you stop looking at it in those terms? You'd be surprised how unnecessary it all becomes.
No, this is not about writing. Sorry. I have noticed people drifting out on that count, being my copious lack of talking about writing in the past few months. All I can say is that I'm really really stupidly busy right now, and once I'm settled into my still-fresh new dayjob and my sister's married off and my convocation's done (hello, autumn of major life changes) I will get back to the serious business of making books, yelling at them, and documenting this whole process for your pleasure.

This will be in approximately ten days to two weeks. Mark your calendars.

In the meantime, had a stray thought last night about social media (while poking around Facebook between turns in the epic death battle Scrabble game I'm playing with [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange, and [livejournal.com profile] tanaise).

I wonder if, in about ten years, people will just stop changing their names upon marriage.

Why? Well, it's already on the way out in North America for various social reasons. But the question is, well, one of social networking. Name changes make it ridiculously difficult to locate someone in the Internetverse; it's your best search string, the centre of your unique identifier -- not the whole of it for most people, but the centre. If you don't already have the information of the change, it's not impossible to corroborate that this is, in fact, the same person; there's always marriage announcements, things like that. But it's considerably harder than it would be otherwise, and you rely on people's archiving, on persistence and luck.

In looking through friends-of-friendslists last night, it occurred to me that there are people from most of my life I may not get a chance to reconnect with anymore. They've married and changed their names, and tracking them down will be difficult at best. The unbroken paper trail, data trail, public narrative of one's life is severed, at least partially, when you change your name. It's the same reason we keep our old e-mail addresses or send out change-of-address massmail when we change them; that LJ thought to automatically redirect links from an old LJ name to the new one upon a change; that we tend to stick to the same online handles/identities. So people can find us. If they come looking, we are here.

What I'm betting is that for those of us who grew up (to a partial degree, even) with that sense of...being receptive to connection, of carefully maintaining our data trail with either an eye to privacy or narrative completeness?

That's going to soon be more important than the social statement that changing one's family name at marriage is.

Now I just wait ten or twenty years and find out if I'm right.


Oct. 21st, 2008 03:40 pm
My spam tone appears to have changed.

The bulk of the spam I've got over the past three weeks isn't the Viagra/gambling/whatever anymore, it's sketchy job offer spam.

Anyone else experiencing this? Sign of the times?
From the PlayNC newsletter I just got, being the company that does the administration for my one true digital addiction, City of Heroes:

In the not so distant future, the human race is on the verge of extinction, and humanity's last hope may depend on you!

Richard Garriott will board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station on October 12, 2008. While there, he will implement OPERATION IMMORTALITY: a digital archive of mankind's greatest achievements and a snapshot of humanity itself. This archive will be stored on the ISS to serve as a remote "offsite backup" of humanity, should we suffer a fate where, like in Tabula Rasa, mankind must fight for their very survival.

By participating in Operation Immortality, YOU will have a chance to become immortal. All you need to do is pick up a free trial of Tabula Rasa to upload your own personal message to future generations. The character data from all those who play during the month of August 2008 will be uploaded to the Immortality Drive. Lucky winners will be selected every week to have their DNA sequenced and sent to space!

Those who login to TABULA RASA between JULY 30TH and AUGUST 31ST will have their character data and profiles stored on the Immortality Pod, and a few LUCKY WINNERS will also get their DNA DIGITIZED and stored, giving them the chance to be reborn in the far future, to repopulate the human species!

...they're not kidding. I looked.

They are actually going to sequence someone's DNA to get you to play an MMORPG.

The only appropriate response is O.o
[livejournal.com profile] mrissa has me thinking about introversion and extroversion. Specifically, how we use those labels, what assumptions they carry, what their social function is.

(Warning. This is gonna get kind of nitpicky and technical in a semantics/philosophy/armchair psych kinda way, and I'm not sure where it's going until it gets there. Fasten your seatbelts.)

We throw around the idea of introversion in a way that's odd mostly for its essentialism, its description of something in one's social conduct that is utterly not malleable or arguable. And I'm not saying it is malleable and all those people really ought to just buck up and conform to the social expectations of their local village. The point is the assumption, the way we appeal to that label. We're not keen on linking permanent traits with patterns of sociability these days or dividing people into 'kinds' of people. Current society really is down on models of behaviour that are not modifiable by some means, that's hardwired into us. The expectations are for behaving to the expected social patterns regardless of who we are or what we're doing at home. Which is why this interchange, if you look at it, is really...so weird:

"Aren't you having fun?"
"No, I'm an introvert."

Game over, right? There's no arguing that. There aren't a lot of social labels we can appeal to in a way that shuts down any rebuttal. For example:

"Aren't you having fun?"
"No, I'm a Taurus."

There's another bundle of character traits given a label. But Tauruses are still expected to give way when their local norms say the appropriate social practice is not to be stubborn. The Early Modern Melancholic was still expected to provide nice conversation at the dinner table. Misanthropes can hate people all they want, but the prevailing connotation to the word implies that really, they shouldn't. There's an underlying assumption in that, whether it's a true or false one: the idea that deviance from norms of sociability in these cases is a choice. That the people under these labels could, if they really wanted to, just shape up and behave like everyone else.

Nobody seems to do that with introversion and extroversion.

Sure, yeah, people do it to individuals all the time. But there's a difference in quality there: people refuse to believe that you're really an introvert or extrovert, rather than feeling that introversion or extroversion in and of itself is a chosen social deviance. What's being questioned is your inclusion in the category, not the validity of the actual category. I don't know that people consider "introvert" and "extrovert" as...well, excuses for being a brat.

So introversion doesn't pattern like a bundle of character traits given a label. What does it pattern like, that quality to the label of social behaviours against the norm that are rooted in permanence, subject to lack of choice, superceding the will? It patterns with mental illness.

Try again:

"Aren't you having fun?"
"No, I'm clinically depressed."

Nothing to argue there. Person didn't choose that, can't do anything about it, will continue to behave in a way that you do not feel fits the norms of sociability in this situation. No culpability. Move along, right?

That's even weirder.

Because mental illness has that perjorative connotation. There are campaigns to reduce the stigma of depression, and that's all it takes to prove that there is a stigma. But...introversion and extroversion don't. Yet we still assign them no culpability for flouting the norms of the social situation, whether we think that situation calls for a higher or lower level of social engagement.

But I wonder...is that social patterning we do without thinking getting at something?

I'm an introvert. It's rather severe, actually. I learned to put on otherwise when I started working in retail, and that professionally detached false face is my survival skill. I don't know that my introversion is actually a natural part of my personality, though. My parents had a big chunky portable video camera when I was a kid, and before school-age I was actually pretty extroverted. I couldn't wait to engage with other people. I wanted to talk to them and hear what they had to say and sincerely enjoyed other people. I have video proof.

Then, as the standard geek sob story goes, I was teased regularly and severely, to the point of people encouraging suicide, for the next ten-odd years.

I'm not surprised that people require a hell of a lot of energy from me, that engaging with them wears me out. I'm running a lot more software in my head for every human interaction: what this person's saying, what they might really mean, whether there are openings in this I'm leaving for them to do something unto me, what their body language says, where my escape routes are. I can run my professional persona on autopilot and it requires relatively less energy, but actually engaging with a human being is exhausting. No wonder being by myself is preferred, more energy-efficient, and just...so much more relaxing.

I have no idea if this theory holds water for me, never mind other people. It's not even really a theory: I'm sort of just thinking out loud here. Personalities change as you grow. It could be indeed a natural predisposition that came up, coupled with my pain-in-the-ass childhood, and intensified an effect that was already going to be there.

But I really do wonder at this assumption we have that introversion and extroversion are natural and hardwired components of a personality, and the way we give them social leeway like nothing else gets without a corresponding social penalty. I wonder if we do correlate introversion with damage in some way I can't quite get at -- read it as a coping mechanism for a trauma even if it isn't that thing -- because it's not like our society is shy about telling people who have natural and hardwired preferences that they ought to suck it up and be different. Unless we think it's because of damage. Then we get out of their way.

Why's this the exception?

Because it is. Because the easiest way I know to get out of some of those stressful situations is a demure smile and a "no, sorry, I'm kind of an introvert".
So last Friday I spent most of my workday putting up a new window for the bookstore*. We ran a little think tank over at [livejournal.com profile] bakkaphoenix looking for good anti-Valentine's window ideas, and settled on a mix of two: Black History Month and Chinese New Year. I have privately named it The Stuff That Also Happens In February While You're Angsting About Your Weight. :p

I had really no problem finding good books for the Black History Month side of the window: black authors, black characters (as in A Wizard of Earthsea), stuff I'm not hesitant to put in a reader's hand. Easy.

Chinese New Year, on the other hand?

Damn. Y'know, I scoured the place. And I'd already cut out the letters, and I'm stubborn that way, so it was going to happen or else.

It turns out that thing a few years back where everyone was all "ooh, Asian fantasy!" really meant Japanese fantasy. And that thing where you have hot futuristic Asian cyberpunk settings really means Japanese settings. I can think of the odd book that has Korean characters, but otherwise...I sort of had to stretch, and have more books with just secondary Chinese settings or characters -- and by non-Chinese-identifying authors -- than I'd really like. The point was to point out the diversity of the genre. Which...apparently isn't so much.

(There's a point here to be made about cultural transfer springing out of imperialist history, politics influencing national and ethnic portrayals, and the fetishization of certain cultures by other certain cultures to the point where their portrayal is turning into more of a narrative kink than anything that resembles reality. Just fill that in like I wrote it down here.)

So. There's a hole in the market, guys.

Please fill by next year's window.

*A conversation may have happened that went like: "Leah, do you have the right books to make this window work?" and then "Well, I've spent the last &#$^% hour cutting the signage letters out of construction paper, so it damn well better work.**

**Yes, we are low-tech in the sexy glamourous indie bookstore business.
Okay. For a variety of reasons, mostly involving long-term relationships, I've not dated very much in the past seven years. It occurs to me I have no idea what's standard.

Of course, I am solving this via silly internet polling. :p

Life's more fun that way.

(Sorry, I know this poll is kinda heteronormative. If I could cash in for the shot that makes me like girls more, I would probably do so at this point out of sheer frustration, but it's not the dynamic I'm trying to figure out at present.)

[Poll #1101787]

Science thanks you.
I've been following this story pretty closely:
An eyewitness's video recording of a man dying after being stunned with a Taser by police on Oct. 14 at Vancouver International Airport has been released to the public.

The 10-minute video recording clearly shows four RCMP officers talking to Robert Dziekanski while he is standing with his back to a counter and with his arms lowered by his sides, but his hands are not visible.

About 25 seconds after police enter the secure area where he is, there is a loud crack that sounds like a Taser shot, followed by Dziekanski screaming and convulsing as he stumbles and falls to the floor


Paul Pritchard shot the video with his digital camera, but afterward he surrendered it to police for their investigation on a promise that they would return it within 48 hours.

The next day, police told Pritchard they would not be returning the recording as promised.

Carr previously stated investigators kept the video longer than they anticipated in order to protect the integrity of the police investigation while they interviewed witnesses.

Saying he feared a coverup by police, Pritchard then engaged a lawyer to start legal proceedings to reclaim the recording.

They have the video up. I'm trying to decide if I have the wherewithal, the responsibility, the right to watch this man die. I don't know. As I've mentioned before, death is the most private thing in my world -- moreso than sex, which is also deeply private -- and I'm torn between that privacy and...I don't know. Bearing witness? Getting it out there?

I will say, this frightens me. It turns my gut.

Folks, please read up on the death of Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver airport. Please form an informed opinion (which no, doesn't mean my opinion), and write to your MP. When it's on CBC it's pretty much gotten out there, but in my own letter I will be asking for transparency, for oversight, for Parliament to rethink how the staff in airports are trained to react.

Because y'know. I don't want this kind of thing happening in my country.
Something has struck me in the last few days about the whole Paris Hilton kerfuffle -- at least the part of it I've been privy to, which is the part on the internet. Someone will post about it, trying to interrogate the whole deal from a different perspective: feminist/anti-racist, or socialist/political, and within ten to fifteen comments people are just going at the original argument again, wrangling at the details of the dangers of DUI or what privileges money buys you in America. It's like the Argument that Ate Metatext. It's kind of amazing.

The effect is what [livejournal.com profile] ringwoodcomics just called: "hey everyone! you've now officially joined the circus while talking about all the reasons you're above it!" Some of the strongest positions on all ends of the issue are coming out under the I Don't Care But-- banner. And it has me thinking about what value we take -- not as a society, but personally, as a member of a society -- from this obsession over other people's trainwrecks.

What I think is part of it, at least? The social construction in one's own peer group of taking a position.

Think about what "I don't actually care about what (insert scornful expletive) does" communicates, not in its text, but in its subtext -- communicates about the speaker. The speaker is attempting to give the impression that they are "above" celebrity culture, which is pretty much low/popular culture at the moment. Therefore, having somehow not even paid attention to the whole kerfuffle through want of noticing (and come on, I don't have television or commercial radio in my life, I rarely read the news anymore, and live in a different country, and the details of the Paris Hilton fiasco have still managed to make their way into my life), they are both constructing themselves as Very Important Busy People With More Important Things to Think About (upper class) and People of Refined Taste Who Are Not Naturally Drawn to Low Entertainment (upper class). I could get into the whole idea of how the current economic class gap in the Western world and the traditional North American hesitance to admit it functions on a class basis means that one must apprehend class mobility in an indirect way (ie, tastes and image and not lots of money), but you guys can do the math there.

And that's not the only one: let's not think the Don't Care people are the only ones whose position sends an internal social message. There's the I Stand Against Drunk Driving stance (morally concerned, therefore classier than the upper class), or the This Is Punishing Women For Sexuality (feminist, progressive, rebellious, and if not you are the establishment) or the That Shows the Rich Kid (poorer people are the real people, and if not you are the establishment) or so forth.

These are all funhouse-mirror identities. Archetypes. What meaningless controversies allow us to do as a group culture is reshuffle which mirror we're standing in front of, rejig how our image will be warped upon projecting. There is a level on which bloodless celebrity controversy has nothing to do with Paris Hilton, O.J. Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, et al, but with millions of peer groups redrawing their own borders and shuffling their pecking orders. This is how we play our own class games. Whoever can take a position that is for whatever reason most palatable to the group, most convincing of actual upper-class-ness in that group's terms gets to sit on top of the hierarchy until the next spat comes along.

I won't say that's all it is. Societies are made of people, and anything made of people quickly becomes complicated as shit. But...I find this kind of behaviour really interesting (even as I participate in it, she says, aware of what social response she is hoping for by sharing this train of thought publically). I wonder if the whole Internet Meritocracy idea is true -- that we will judge people by their words/deeds, in a more unbiased way -- then will this be its regulatory mechanism? Will we end up with a sharp upswing in controversies that, at the end of the day, don't really affect anyone's lives, almost like social gladatorial games to see who fights strongest?

Is social grouping by scandal, definitely present for millenia, the class-sorting mechanism of the future?
No novel words tonight, but a poem drafted: "Kryptonian International Remembrance Day". It shall go out in the morning.

It took the stone off my chest better than talking about death and the discourses of grief we have these days in this format. Because here it would have turned into a fight, I think. And one of the great things about poetry is, like a bathroom, it's there for when you need to put your head into it and just scream for a long time.

(Despite my current sort of pissy mood, I actually had a great day.)
My reading for Patriarchy Class tonight -- on the whole Girl Power movement, its roots, and whether it still has any feminist content since it's turned into a marketing label -- has finally let me put my finger on why I dislike Joss Whedon's sorry little faux-witty snarky precious ass and all its works. Strongly.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer's supposed to carry a message of female empowerment, right? All girls are the Slayer? Rise up and carry your Girl Power agency?

Yeah, well...if you're blonde. If you're white. If you're middle-class. If you're athletic and able and can wear belly tops while you do karate kicks. If you're pretty. If you're cheerful. If you're cute.

If you're a cheerleader.

I am not perky and I will not dance for my supper. And believe you me, it's my supper too.
Today I am writing my paper on why we should support Canadian Aboriginal languages. It is due Tuesday. This is why I'm not talking to anybody really today.

However, I did talk to a few people about said paper, and, because there's no faster way to get a Canadian to do something, one of my sideswipe supporting points is "if Canadians don't support that then they're not supporting multiculturalism and then we're *gasp!* acting like Americans with their Melting Pot."*

It is amazing how all the Canadians find this ruefully hilarious (and reminiscent of fifth grade history!) and all the Americans are getting pissed off. *g*

*Because no shit, this is how multiculturalism is taught in grade school to us. It is contrasted with the evil that is Americans. And if they're going to install a national-psychological button that's big and red and shiny, when I am writing persuasive papers meant to garner awareness and funding, I will use the hell out of it.**

**Yes, I am an evil propagandist.***

***I got to call people racists too.
1) Why did I not discover Johnny Cash's music until he was already dead?

2) Y'know all those people who sit in lectures texting on their phones under the desk? Or who are always standing in the most inconvenient spot in a traffic pattern and chatting? Or talking too loud on their cell on the streetcar?

Who are they talking to?

How many people a day really need to be communicated with every waking second and updated on your whereabouts? Really?

3) I wonder sometimes if what's termed "politically correct" or just generally sensitive language does much to eradicate the attitudes behind those speech acts. This was brought home today when I was with a friend on the ground floor of the library, discussing a girl in the class we'd had just then who seems to have the whole garden centre worth of entitlement gnomes. Said friend referred to it loudly (as is her wont) and casually as the "rich Jew-bitch entitlement". Said friend can technically say that, since she's Jewish. I can sort of technically say that too, if I wanted to split hairs that way. It didn't stop me from turning red and stiffening and thinking wrong wrong not allowed.

Ten minutes later, I was forced to admit to myself that this is precisely what I'd been thinking. I was just phrasing it in less confrontational terms.

4) There is a $12,000 fountain pen on Fountain Pen Hospital.

(Never mind you what I was doing drooling at the contents of Fountain Pen Hospital.)

I won't ask what one needs a $12,000 pen for. I know what it's for: conspicuous consumption. What I do wonder is how far this could be applied. Gold-plated $10k Q-tips? Toiletpaper made from the handcrafted woven hair of small blonde American baby girls (most precious commodity on Earth, as we know)? Suppositories made from those beans your mother warned you would cause children to Starve In Africa if you didn't finish them?

I mean, I had a reading for Patriarchy class this week which discussed the way the female body's been slowly bared over the past 150 years, in the process confusing taboo with sexiness, and asked where we'll go next.

Where do we go after the $12,000 fountain pen?

5) Someone on my friendslist made a very thoughtful (locked, so we're not IDing anybody) post about their relationship with their spouse and relationships in general, where the fear of one partner suddenly finding the other boring or unattractive was mentioned.

I wonder how many of us have this, and why, and where it came from. It seems to be everywhere, even in the most secure relationships. Where'd we all get the idea that we're uninteresting and sooner or later everyone'll clue in?

6) And as m'dear [livejournal.com profile] ringwoodcomics would say, there is no sixth thing.

November 2016

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