(Source: Virtual Elliott Smith Wall)
I know I’ve told this story before, but my abusive ex refused to let me take birth control. I was on the pill until he found them in my purse.
I went to the Student Health Center—they were completely unhelpful, choosing to lecture me about the importance of safe sex (recommending condoms) instead of actually listening to my problem.
Then I went to Planned Parenthood. The Nurse Practitioner took one look at my fading bruises and stopped the exam. She called in the doctor. The doctor came in and simply asked me: “Are you ready to leave him?” When I denied that I was being abused, she didn’t argue with me. She just asked me what I needed. I said I need a birth control method that my boyfriend couldn’t detect. She recommended a few options and we decided on Depo.
When I told her that my boyfriend read my emails and listened to my phone messages and was known to follow me, she suggested to do the Depo injections at off hours when the clinic was normally closed. She made a note in my chart and instructed the front desk never to leave messages for me—instead, she programmed her personal cell phone number into my phone under the name “Nora”. She told me she would call me to schedule my appointments; she wouldn’t leave a message, but I should call her back when I was able to.
And that was it. No judgment. No lecture. She walked me to the door and told me to call her day or night if I needed anything. That she lived 5 blocks from campus and would come get me. That I wasn’t alone. That she just wanted me to be safe.
I never called her to come to my rescue. But I have no doubt that she would have come if I had called. She kept me on Depo for a year, giving me those monthly injections in secret, helping me prevent a desperately unwanted pregnancy.
I cannot thank Planned Parenthood enough for the work they do."
When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male - I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power - you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do - they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down - the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way - who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend."
— By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding. /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)
Listen, when you use a word of hate ironically — like, and your defense is “I’m not racist, how could you ever think I’m racist??” I want you to imagine owning a gun, but never buying live ammunition. You only purchase blanks. Ok?
And say sometimes when you hang out with your close friends, you take out your gun, which they know contains no live ammunition, and you shoot it at stuff, and you think it’s funny. And maybe the first time you do it, they’re like “Shit. I mean, I know those are blanks, but that’s kind of fucked up,” but your argument is, “But I can’t really hurt anyone! They’re just blanks!” And over time they just get used to it and find it kind of funny. “Oh, that Cliff, sometimes he takes his gun out and shoots some blanks, but he doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just funny! You know how it goes.”
Now, imagine that over time, having received the acceptance for your actions from your friends, you decide you can start firing blanks around people you’ve never met. In mixed company. You’re at a dinner party one night, you’ve had a few, so you go “Hey, wanna see something cool?!” and those who are your friends at the party know what’s coming, so they’re prepared, but then the people who don’t know you, they see you whip out a piece and go “Oh shit, I’m going to die, it’s everything I feared,” but your friends explain to them it’s not a big deal, there’s nothing to be afraid of, “Cliff wouldn’t hurt a fly,” so they eventually, begrudgingly, don’t say anything about it, don’t call you, Cliff, a fucking asshole. “Fine, it’s kind of ridiculous, but whatever.” Something like that.
And then you are at a large public place. A concert, an open mic, where you and your friends are outnumbered by the rest of the audience. And maybe someone pushes you or gives you a hard time, so you decide, just to give the guy a taste of his own medicine, to pull out your gun, and fire some blanks. Give him a real, real visceral jump. And everyone around you feels threatened, unsafe, about to be part of something they were always on some subconscious level afraid would happen, but at the same time hopeful it would never happen because our society’s getting smarter and more considerate of those around them. And then some other people, who after seeing it happen, feel relieved that you were firing blanks, but also feel empowered by your choice to fire a weapon in a public place, and choose to do the same thing.
Do you get it yet?
The fact is that derogatory remarks, whether used sincerely or ironically, and ammunition, whether blank or live, still creates the same environment of discomfort and fear every time it is used. So cut the shit.
- Junot Diaz
— Elliott Smith (via elliottsmithob)
Here’s my cat Fang with his favorite human (other than me, of course) :)
Me and Fang are always awkward
Sir Morien, Black Knight of the Round Table
The tale of Sir Morien, written into Celtic Arthurian canon in the 1200s and contemporaneous with the tales of Sir Galahad, begins thus:
Herein doth the adventure tell of a knight who was named Morien. And of a Moorish princess was he begotten at that time when Agloval sought far and wide for Lancelot, who was lost, as ye have read here afore.
I ween that he who made the tale of Lancelot and set it in rhyme forgat, and was heedless of, the fair adventure of Morien. I marvel much that they who were skilled in verse and the making of rhymes did not bring the story to its rightful ending.
Some quick paraphrasing from ElodieUnderGlass's blog:
He decides to visit England alone in the hopes of finding his father, via the quirky but unproductive method of beating up every knight he comes across until they told him where his father was/were actually his father all along. As a teenager, he held his own against the disguised Sir Lancelot in hand-to-hand combat for so long that Sir Gawain begged them to stop fighting, as he couldn’t bear to see such good knights kill each other for stupid reasons.
Meanwhile, characters in these stories aren’t really visually described unless they have superlative characteristics, such as mysterious all-black armor or remarkably long golden hair. Many knights were described as dark in hair and features. Instead of placing a large flashing sign in the middle of a saga going “THIS PERSON IS TOTALLY A PERSON OF COLOR YOU GUYS, WE REALLY HOPE YOU WILL TAKE THIS INTO ACCOUNT IN FUTURE ADAPTATIONS” the narrative might well have said “Sir Bors, who was dark” and moved on, assuming that readers or listeners would interpret it the way the narrator meant. Sir Morien is described as wearing North African armor, though most images of him are in European gear, possibly because the artists found Moorish armor too hard to draw.
Interestingly, this narrative makes a large point of describing his skin color, possibly because it was thought to be unusual and dramatic, especially as he seems to match his own shield and armor.
Here are some quotes from the translated saga of Morien:
He was all black, even as I tell ye: his head, his body, and his hands were all black, saving only his teeth. His shield and his armour were even those of a Moor, and black as a raven…
Had they not heard him call upon God no man had dared face him, deeming that he was the devil or one of his fellows out of hell, for that his steed was so great, and he was taller even than Sir Lancelot, and black withal, as I said afore…
When the Moor heard these words he laughed with heart and mouth (his teeth were white as chalk, otherwise was he altogether black)…
Related to the topic of Tolkien’s characters being much more than just white, I thought I’d recommend this blog: Medieval People of Color in European Art History.
It’s a great project dedicated to removing the historical whitewashing and exclusion of the staggering amount of people of color in European history.
“The ubiquity in modern media to display a fictitiously all-white Europe is often thoughtlessly and inaccurately justified by claims of “historical accuracy”; this blog is here to emphasize the modern racism that retroactively erases gigantic swaths of truth and beauty.”
It’s a great resource for creators dealing with fantasy settings connected with Europe in particular, but really, everyone should give it a look.
I’d certainly like to believe that most people aren’t a bunch of self-important douchebags with insecurities so profound that the only way they can stand to not crumble under the stench of their pitiful mouthshits is to aggressively paint the world through their limited views and personal failings. Because they’re not, right? Ok, sure, I can believe that most people are pretty ok. But Tom Cruise right? That motherfucker is totally crazy! At least, that’s been the popular opinion since 2005.
I won’t even delve into Scientology, because yeah that’s nuts, but the current “Tom’s at it again” is a quote about him comparing acting to war. Specifically, he’s been attributed as saying, “Acting is like fighting in Afghanistan.” Whoa! What a total fuckwad right? What reasonably-minded person could say such a thing? Obviously someone like Tom Cruise would, HE’S crazy, and since I’m not Tom Cruise, I’m NOT. Even Mark Wahlberg had an opinion on it, reportedly stating, “How fucking dare you.”
It’s good to see there are actors out there willing to not take themselves too seriously. In fact, Ben Stiller’s “Tropic Thunder” was inspired by douchebag actors doing just that, when actors who went through boot camp for films were developing an inflated self-importance. Oh, you know who had a hilarious role in that movie, about not taking yourself too seriously? Tom Cruise! That scene was, wait… shit, hold on. Ok, obviously this guy forgot the whole point right?
Except he didn’t. It was his attorney who made the comment, after a magazine criticized Cruise for “abandoning” his daughter’s first day of school. Ugh, we are way up in this guy’s business. But fuck him, right?
“Now your counsel has publicly equated your absence from Suri for these extended periods of time as being analogous to someone fighting in Afghanistan,” Cruise was later asked. “Are you aware of that?”
“I didn’t hear the Afghanistan,” Cruise replies. Which is true, as the original quote never mentions Afghanistan, but the Internet does amazing things to year old information.
“Do you believe that the situations are the same?” Cruise is asked.
“Oh come on,” Cruise says, “you know, we’re making a movie.”
Yeah! I knew he—wait what? Goddamn it, I could have sworn he would have Cruised it up again, but at best I can only project my own predetermined opinions on a guy who, for some reason, still expects people to be reasonable. Damn these accurate telling of events that don’t further my toxic agenda! Apparently he’s not actually that big of a douchebag. Is this news to you? Probably. Will this change your mind about anything? Probably not. But, a word of advice if I may, since you’ve stuck with me this long. If you’re going to call someone a big dumb asshole, make sure you’re not a big dumb fucker first.
also idiots on Facebook
The progress of Bruce and Tony’s friendship
State of the Internet: Pretentious Bullshit
You may have seen this picture floating around on the internet. It was posted to Imgur, then Reddit, and soon the comments behind the picture surfaced when The Huffington Post hosted their fluff article in late November.
“According to the title, two North Carolina State University football players sat with a student who was eating alone during lunch,” claims The Huffington Post. The article has such tags as Faith Restored, NCSU Players Lunch, and North Carolina Football Players. If you haven’t noticed yet, the person pictured left in the photo is in a wheelchair.
An article on Arizona Sports goes to say further, “This simple act flies in the face of decades of stereotypical isolation disabled students face and the idea that athletes would just as soon mock and ridicule a peer in a wheelchair than actually get to know him.” The article then lists several of the comments associated with the photo:
“Our team may be having a rough season, but damn this makes me proud of my school.”
“Serious faith in humanity here. So glad to see some good guys defying the stereotypical football player’s role.”
“I’m a Heels fan all the way, but I gotta admit NC State players are pretty nice.”
Everyone gets to smile and pat themselves on the back for recognizing human kindness, talk about how great these football players are, and say things like “It goes to show you, a simple gesture goes a long way!” Which I guess would be nice, the idea that two football players would notice a lonely disabled person and decide to provide them charity of their attention. And obviously that’s the only logical reason anyone would sit at the same table as a student in a wheelchair. At least to the internet.
Except that the whole story is bullshit.
So what was going on in that photo? The truth is these guys apparently each lunch together all the time. You know, because they’re friends. So there they are having a regular lunch together, as friends, when a passerby snaps a photo of what obviously is anything but, because c’mon that guy is totally in a wheelchair! Look how “inspiring” that is!
The really disgusting thing about the reaction is that these assumptions are all based on the premise that this is not normal behavior. Which is why the honest truth ended up so much better than any made-up pretentious bullshit.
ABC news got hold of the real “story” behind the photo:
“It turns out that graduate student tight end Asa Watson has been friends with Will Spence, the student in a wheelchair, for quite some time. In reality, it is just a normal lunch for Watson and Spence, and freshman center Cole Blankenship.”
They weren’t even aware there was a photo being taken.
Of course, this version isn’t “inspiring” enough for people, so ABC goes on to list other good deeds Watson is known for. Because “even though it’s not the story you may have understood it to be, there’s still something to smile about.”
Bullshit, this is not a consolation prize. This is a photo of a normal friendship.
That’s the most awesome version of the story.
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