Commode

One day there was an anonymous present sitting on my doorstep—Volume One of Capital by Karl Marx, in a brown paper bag. A joke? Serious? And who had sent it? I never found out. Late that night, naked in bed, I leafed through it. The beginning was impenetrable, I couldn’t understand it, but when I came to the part about the lives of the workers—the coal miners, the child laborers—I could feel myself suddenly breathing more slowly. How angry he was. Page after page. Then I turned back to an earlier section, and I came to a phrase that I’d heard before, a strange, upsetting, sort of ugly phrase: this was the section on “commodity fetishism,” “the fetishism of commodities.” I wanted to understand that weird-sounding phrase, but I could tell that, to understand it, your whole life would probably have to change. His explanation was very elusive. He used the example that people say, “Twenty yards of linen are worth two pounds.” People say that about every thing that it has a certain value. This is worth that. This coat, this sweater, this cup of coffee: each thing worth some quantity of money, or some number of other things—one coat, worth three sweaters, or so much money—as if that coat, suddenly appearing on the earth, contained somewhere inside itself an amount of value, like an inner soul, as if the coat were a fetish, a physical object that contains a living spirit. But what really determines the value of a coat? The coat’s price comes from its history, the history of all the people involved in making it and selling it and all the particular relationships they had. And if we buy the coat, we, too, form relationships with all those people, and yet we hide those relationships from our own awareness by pretending we live in a world where coats have no history but just fall down from heaven with prices marked inside. “I like this coat,” we say, “It’s not expensive,” as if that were a fact about the coat and not the end of a story about all the people who made it and sold it, “I like the pictures in this magazine.”A naked woman leans over a fence. A man buys a magazine and stares at her picture. The destinies of these two are linked. The man has paid the woman to take off her clothes, to lean over the fence. The photograph contains its history—the moment the woman unbuttoned her shirt, how she felt, what the photographer said. The price of the magazine is a code that describes the relationships between all these people—the woman, the man, the publisher, the photographer—who commanded, who obeyed. The cup of coffee contains the history of the peasants who picked the beans, how some of them fainted in the heat of the sun, some were beaten, some were kicked.For two days I could see the fetishism of commodities everywhere around me. It was a strange feeling. Then on the third day I lost it, it was gone, I couldn’t see it anymore.
— 

Wallace Shawn, The Fever


(To understand it, your whole life would probably have to change.)

All animals are somebody—someone with a life of their own. Behind those eyes is a story, the story of their life in their world as they experience it. In our culture, we have been encouraged to think of animals as things, as commodities. The great challenge lies in having a change of perception. The realization that they have a life of their own, independent of their utility to me or to anyone else: this is what I am trying to get at when I speak of them as being “subjects of a life.” In this sense, they are exactly like us, equal to us. — Tom Regan

my thoughts on OITNB s5
  • That video of Alex getting her arm broken went viral. Kubra thinks that she’s dead. Could he end up seeing that video and sending someone else after her? Or maybe he’ll just try to get her arrested for Aydin’s murder.
  • Even though Daya shot Humps, it was the stroke caused by the oxygen blown into his IV by Maureen that killed him. Will an autopsy be done to determine his cause of death and prove that Daya didn’t kill him. If an autopsy is done and the police question Maureen I’m guessing that she’ll lie. The only person that can discredit her is Suzanne and she’s not exactly a reliable witness.
  • I’m not sad that Piscatella died but I would’ve liked to see him live a little longer. I wanna know if Red showing him mercy would’ve changed his perception of prisoners.
  • VAUSEMAN GOT ENGAGED
  • Last we saw Piper’s mom she was not a fan of Piper being with Alex. Will we get an explanation as to what changed her mind? Or are we to believe that she’s done caring about what other people think and just wants her daughter to be happy?
  • I know it’s not likely but I hope Maria tells the governor’s assistant that Gloria also helped with the guards’ escape. And will she get anything for breaking out the guards?
  • I’m thrilled Nicky stayed sober this season but it was only 3 days.
  • Will we ever learn how much time Alex has left?
  • If you guys haven’t seen Dreamgirls, you need to. There is a movie that came out in 2006 with a phenomenal cast. There will be no White Effies.
  • VAUSEMAN GOT ENGAGED
  • The Blanca/Red friendship is something I never could’ve imagined happening in season 1. I love seeing characters that don’t normally interact come together.
  • What will Flaca and Maritza do without each other?!
  • I was loving Taystee all season until she turned down Fig’s offer. She let down all the woman, they ended up with nothing, and because negotiations fell through, CERT went in there and abused the inmates. Never mind the fact that someone might die.
  • Alex and Piper playing house all season was so cute and adorable and perfect. This is probably their best season. AND THEY GOT ENGAGED. They both better live because I need a Vauseman wedding.
  • Speaking of Vauseman, Alex saying Vauseman gave me life.
  • I hate Leanne and Angie as much as the next person, but them burning the files may end up being helpful to the inmates. It seems like common sense for Litchfield to have electronic copies of the files but a lot of things in Litchfield don’t make sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were no digital copies (it’s a long shot). And the inmates don’t have their IDs. That might cause a problem when they try to check who they have.
  • With the inmates presumably being sent off to separate prisons, will the show keep them separated and take place between multiple prisons, will the show get everyone back together, or will it just take place in one of the prisons and leave the inmates not in that prison behind?
  • I really wanna know what the point of Pennsatucky and Donut’s relationship is. It’s hard to watch her fall for her rapist. What is Jenji Kohan trying to accomplish here?
  • That Poussey scene was a spot of light in what ended up being a pretty dark season.
  • VAUSEMAN GOT ENGAGED
  • Michael J. Harney was credited as a series regular this season but Healy wasn’t in a single episode. What’s up with that? (not that I missed him)
  • Mystery solved! The weeping woman is always crying because her dog got blown up by her husband.
  • Kinda curious as to why Piscatella didn’t try to capture Lorna as well, kinda don’t care. I figure it’s because she was in too public a space.
  • I always thought Leanne and Angie were just stupid, annoying meth heads. Now we now that they’re rapists. Can oitnb find someone else to be their “comedic relief”?
  • And why does this show treat rape like it’s no big deal? Angie made a comment in passing about how she’s raped guys. She and Leanne raped the strip dancer guard. Donuts raped Pennsatucky. I think the fat guard talked about how he raped someone last season. What’s wrong with this show?
  • VAUSEMAN GOT ENGAGED (I’m just really happy that they got engaged, okay? I’m trash)

Alex asks the million dollar question at the end: was the riot worth it? The characters and the audience may not be able to answer that question now since we’re still waiting to see the full aftermath, but knowing what we know do you guys think it was worth it? They set out to change the conditions in the prison and got nothing. They set out to get justice for Poussey and got nothing. But they did humanize themselves to the public. Aleida giving interviews, Flaritza’s videos, and Alex’s viral video of her arm getting broken have put faces and names to people that the public never really thinks about. Maybe Piper’s right and change will happen one person at a time and those people will work to change the system. Maybe the public can elect officials that want to reform prisons. Maybe the public will refuse to purchase products made by prisoners.

Maybe the riot was worth it because the women of Litchfield forced the world to look at them and see them as people and not as commodities or unredeemable felons. Maybe it’s worth it in the long run but it doesn’t seem like there will be much take away in the short term.

can’t stop thinkin about how karasuno’s own parents don’t go to their kids’s games and only some of their other family members come, but takinoue and shimada have attended and cheered at nearly every one of karasuno’s games and they’re not even related to anyone on the team

You are a rare commodity
Something so pure and delicate
Should be placed on a throne of hearts that never shatter
—  E.M