In fact, Spinoza claimed — to the horror of his contemporaries —that we are all just modes of one substance, “God or Nature” he called it, which is really the same thing. Individual actions are no such thing at all; they are expressions of another entity altogether, which acts through us unwittingly. To be human, according to Spinoza, is to be party to a confounding existential illusion — that human individuals are independent agents — which exacts a heavy emotional and political toll on us. It is the source of anxiety, envy, anger — all the passions that torment our psyche — and the violence that ensues. If we should come to see our nature as it truly is, if we should see that no “individuals” properly speaking exist at all, Spinoza maintained, it would greatly benefit humankind.
Shaking hands with diplomats and faking smiles was not how you wanted to spend your night. In fact, you sneak a glance at Haldir, you had wished to spend your night in other ways. You quietly huff before returning your attention to the Rivendell diplomatist in front of you.
Even since The Ring had left Rivendell, tension had been high among elven folk. Debates raged on about whether the correct choice had been made, and where elven people would go now. In order to ease hostility, the Lords and Ladies of your realm, forced their people to associate. Hosting large celebrations to signify friendship and peace. Boring.
The diplomats hand rests on your forearm. She’s speaking in a gentle tone, reassuring you that Rivendell holds no ill will for Lothlorien. Apologizing for the misunderstanding between your realms. You smile, taking her hand in yours.
“Please, refrain from apologies. Your people have done nothing wrong. You have made the best choice in light of a terrible decision.” She smiles fondly, and starts talking again. But your attention has been drawn away. Standing just behind her, only a few feet away, is Haldir. His eyes are dark and he stares at your joined hands with envy. Before you can politely excuse yourself, he takes long strides over to you. Muttering something to the diplomat about needing your help with something, he places a hand on your waist and leads you into the hall.
Once far enough away from the party, you’re hastily shoved against the wall. Held still by Haldir’s body pressed to yours, his mouth hovering dangerously close to your ear.
“I don’t like it when they touch you.” He whispered, warm breath fanning over your ear. You shiver slightly, but regain your composure in moments.
“Well, perhaps we should have stayed home then,” You respond, voice dripping with tease. You flash a devilish smile before continuing. “And then, it could have just been you.”
His eyes widen, staring at you unblinkingly. Though when his confusion melts, his eyes darken dramatically and he takes a rough hold on your wrist. You wish to say something, but the words get stuck in your throat. His eyes are scanning you over, and the gears in his head are whirring at top speed. Glancing you over you one last time, he makes his decision. Haldir turns and drags you down the hall, towards your room.
Political economy came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment. This political economy or science of enrichment born of the merchants’ mutual envy and greed, bears on its brow the mark of the most detestable selfishness.
As feminist thinkers construct feminist theory and practice to guide us into a revolutionary, revitalized feminist future, we need to place aesthetics on our agenda. We need to theorize the meaning of beauty in our lives so that we can educate for critical consciousness, talking through the issues: how we acquire and spend money, how we feel about beauty, what the place of beauty is in our lives when we lack material privilege and even basic resources for living, the meaning and significance of luxury, and the politics of envy. Interrogating these issues will illuminate the ways we can create a balanced, harmonious life where we know the joy of the collective, progressive struggle, where the presence of beauty uplifts and renews the spirit.
bell hooks, “Beauty Laid Bare: Aesthetics in the Ordinary”
I know it’s late, but better late then never, right? Here is the story that was written for the amazing
@kalgalen who created this gorgeous piece of art above,
and even though that scene didn’t make it into the fic itself, it inspired 10k worth of fic. Read it on AO3 or below the cut.
Warnings: contains references to child abuse, rape, emotional abuse and manipulation and in general all the sort of warnings that the Briarwoods and the Clasp bring with them.
Summary: Cassandra is the one to escape the Briarwoods. Somehow her life manages to get worse, as she finds herself an orphan in the streets of Westruun, forced to work for the Clasp.
If Cassandra Johanna von Mussel Klossowski de Rolo (of Vox Machina)
were so inclined, she could look back at her life and put it into three
sections. Her life as a de Rolo, her life as a shadow, and her life with
Vox Machina. Of course it wasn’t as neatly as this. There were things
that crept back up, things that overlapped, things she couldn’t forget
or couldn’t remember. But if she were to simplify it, that would be it.
Simon had been working at Slats for a month now, and he was already bored out of his mind.
Don’t get him wrong, he thought the coffee shop itself was great—cozy and comfortable, yet not claustrophobic. The whole storefront was made of small panes of glass, some of them brightly colored. The ceiling was covered in a criss-crossed array of old wooden pallets (hence the name) and ivy looped across the walls with reckless abandon.
He enjoyed coming to work if only to see the different people that wandered in each day. There were a few regulars—the man with the bushy ginger beard who frequently dressed in a tweed suit (ordering a black coffee with one teaspoon of brown sugar), the woman with the red beret and irritable corgi that lurked under her table (she would order peach tea). Then there was the group of chavs that Simon became quite fascinated with (they would covertly order hibiscus lattes like it was somehow a threat to their masculinity, then punch each other enthusiastically as they left).
But despite this strange array of people that found their way into Slats, Simon was bored.
Simply put, it wasn’t very exciting making drinks all day. It was repetitive and dull and the coffee grinder gave him a headache. Occasionally someone would order something bizarre, and for a moment the boredom would cease ever so slightly, but then he would finish and the boredom would creep back like a persistent fungus.
He told himself he wasn’t going to work here forever, and to just suck it up and get on with the job. He was working here part time while he went to uni, to help pay for classes and rent.
Simon hated being bored.
It made him do things he would normally have enough sense to avoid.
Like talking to customers he had a feeling he should stay away from.
Two months passed, slowly and uneventfully.
Then, one day, everything changed.
It was a Tuesday. Simon had been working for about two hours and a dull headache had begun to bloom behind his left eyebrow (curse that damn coffee grinder). Outside, London had begun to grow dark, the sunlight being replaced by meandering fog and dusky twilight. He checked his watch.
A little over four more hours of his shift.
God, he wanted to kick something.
There weren’t many people in the shop. Only the woman with the corgi, sitting in a corner reading a newspaper.
Simon put his head between his hands, leaning over the counter.
The door chimed, signaling a newcomer.
At first, Simon didn’t bother to look up. He heard the click-clack of fancy shoes approaching slowly. A moment passed. Then, a gentle cough permeated the silence.
Simon raised his head.
“What do you want?” he said tiredly.
The man blinked, lifting a single dark eyebrow.
“Is that any way to talk to a customer?” he asked.
Simon stood, regarding the stranger. He looked like a fancy private-school student, wearing a perfectly-fitted overcoat and dress pants. His hair hung loose around his face, the color of freshly-spilled ink.
It was his eyes that gave him away. His eyes that told Simon that this wasn’t just any fancy private-school student.
He had eyes like storm clouds. And yes, Simon realized just after the thought crossed his mind that this was a fairly cliche thing to think, but it was true. They were a dark gray, threaded with lighter shades of silver.
They were mesmerizing.
…And currently filled with a look that Simon interpreted as cold amusement.
“Whatever,” said Simon, trying his hardest to sound unfazed. “What’ll it be?”
The man let his eyes drift across the menu lazily, running his fingers over the counter as he did. Simon noticed an ornate ring on his right hand—a bronze ring in the shape of a beetle.
“What would you recommend?” he asked, making eye contact with Simon.
Simon shivered involuntarily, hoping it wasn’t visible.
“To be honest, everything pretty much tastes the same,” said Simon, glancing back at the man’s fingers (they looked less threatening). “But the mint mocha’s are alright.”
“I’ve never heard an employee talk poorly of their own merchandise,” he said. Simon noted that his voice sounded like winter ice—cold, crisp and beautiful in a dangerous sort of way. The sort of voice perfect for lulling someone into a trap.
(Simon realized he didn’t much like this fellow).
“Yeah, well, I don’t much like the merchandise,” said Simon, chancing a look back into his face. There was a strange expression there.
“Hmpf,” he replied, reaching into his coat and fishing out a pristine leather wallet. “One mint mocha, then.”
Simon turned toward the preparation counter too quickly, knocking over a stack of paper cups. The fell to the ground in a cacophony of hollow sound. Simon felt his neck grow warm as he heard a slight chuckle from beyond the counter.
He threw together the drink haphazardly, just wanting to get it over with. He wanted this strange person to leave. He hated people like this—people that looked at him like he was worth less than they were.
“Here,” he said shortly, sliding the drink across the counter into the man’s waiting palm.
“Thank you…Simon,” he said leaning over slightly to look at the name tag pinned to Simon’s apron.
Simon turned away, pretending to busy himself with cleaning the coffee grinder.
The man sat down at a table close by. Out of the corner of his eye Simon watched as he gently pulled a glass box out of his backpack and set it down on the table.
Simon couldn’t help but stare full-on when he realized what it was. It was a beetle, large enough to fill someone’s hand.
“What, you’ve never seen a beetle before?” asked the man, addressing Simon without looking at him.
Simon swallowed hard and pushed a hand through his hair.
“Course I have. But not one like that.”
After a brief pause the other man said “Well, come have a look at it.”
Simon was tempted to refuse, but his curiosity got the better of him. He left the counter and sat in the chair opposite the stranger.
“I’m Baz, by the way,” he said, tucking a loose strand of glossy black hair behind his ear. “Figured you should know my name if you know mine.”
“I suppose,” said Simon, trying not to envy Baz’s politeness. It would be so much easier if he acted like a complete arse.
“This is Henry,” said Baz, leaning over the glass box. His gray eyes seemed to gleam in pride when he looked at the insect.“A specimen of mine. Rhinoceros beetle.”
“That explains the horns,” murmured Simon, leaning over as well to get a closer look. “Why do you have it?”
“I work for the Natural History Museum,” said Baz, his eyes still on the beetle. “I’m an entomologist—bug scientist,” he clarified, when guessing correctly that Simon had no idea what that was. “I’m in charge of taking care of insects, living and dead. This one’s moving to a new exhibit, so I need to take it back to my flat for a few days.”
“And you’re not…worried it’ll escape while you’re sleeping?” questioned Simon. While he couldn’t say that he was afraid of insects, he definitely wouldn’t feel at ease with a creature like that in his house.
“Of course not,” said Baz matter-of-factly. He sat back in his chair, his posture almost annoyingly perfect. “I’ve had plenty of insects stay over in my apartment. Doesn’t bother me.”
“Doesn’t it bother your…girlfriend?” asked Simon. The question hung in the air awkwardly.
Baz gave a low chuckle.
“Girlfriend? No, I don’t have one of those.”
Simon coughed in an attempt to break the heavy silence, but the attempt was futile.
“So…why entomology?” he asked instead.
Baz ran his tongue over his bottom lip quickly, almost too quickly for Simon to see it (he ignored the strange thoughts this stirred up).
“I’ve always been fascinated with them—how they’re so lovely, yet so generally feared and even despised,” he began. His eyes wandered somewhere over Simon’s shoulder, staring far away. “It saddens me that they’re disrespected the way they are.”
“Hm,” said Simon. He noted the tone of Baz’s voice, and guessed that entomology meant something far deeper to him, whether he knew it or not. “So you’re telling me, if you pulled back your shower curtain and saw a spider in there, you wouldn’t kill it?’
“Of course I’d kill it,” said Baz smoothly, the corners of his mouth turning up ever so slightly. “I don’t study arachnids.”
Simon laughed at the unexpectedness of this response, slapping a hand over his mouth to muffle it. Baz cocked an eyebrow.
When the silence crept back in Baz took a sip of his coffee, grimacing slightly. “You’re right. This tastes like pond water.”
“I never said it tasted like pond water,” snapped Simon.
“It’s fine,” said Baz. He smiled this time, a real one. Simon liked the way it changed his face—turned him beautiful. “Now, I must be going. Got to get Henry home.”
Baz picked up the terrarium and tucked it beneath his arm. He held out his other hand to Simon to shake.
“Pleasure meeting you,” he said, back to business. “Stop by the museum sometime—I’ll show you something amazing.”
Simon took his hand and shook it, trying not to blush.
“I might just do that,” he said with a smile of his own.
Baz blinked and disappeared out into the London twilight.
As Simon turned back to the counter, he couldn’t help but think that perhaps this job wasn’t so boring after all.
This was what I came up with for the first day of the Carry On Countdown! I’m so excited to be one of the hosts for this event and can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with. I hope you enjoyed it! I personally really liked the idea of Entomologist!Baz. Make sure to tag @carryon-countdown so we can see what you’ve made!
Perhaps a little scenario with Starscream (TAAO) ? His reaction when one confront him with a little sparkling (the "product" of a boisterous night, and a very happy, very frolicsome Starscream back then ;)). Fluff, angst, comedy etc - whatever you like resp. whatever you think "fits" best.
I haven’t read TAAO, so I’ll do IDW if that’s okay. Sorry about that! :D
Starscream was surprised to see you again, here. It had been so long since your last.. encounter, he thought that perhaps you’d forgotten him. You hadn’t changed much, though your bright optics were no longer the ruby they had been, but now their original vibrant [colour], as they had been before the war. The thing that stuck out most to the seeker, the biggest difference to have occurred, was the tiny, recharging sparkling in your servos.
You cradled the smaller being softly, lovingly, and Starscream caught on to the immediate similarities between the pair of you.
Envy boiled in his tanks.
He remained faintly polite, though, pushing every other emotion down, “I didn’t think I’d see you again, [Designation].”
You didn’t move from your place by his desk, didn’t even flinch at the underlying feelings in his voice.
“Why wouldn’t you?” Your own words were soft, perhaps to prevent the sparkling in your arms from waking up, or perhaps to sooth his tension.
Finally, after many long minutes of silence, you looked up to him, a gentleness in your optics that he didn’t expect, or deserve.
“You’re her creator, by the way.” As if on cue, the tiny seekerling stirred, a high keen leaving her throat, “She takes after you in many ways.”
By now, the mech had closed the distance between you, coolant pushing at his optics as he observed the impossible, tiny creature.
She was an almost identical replica of you, but her armour was red where yours was [secondary colour]. A minor difference, and the only noticeable trait she’d acquired from her creator.
“May I..?” Starscream left the question open, unable to remove his gaze from his sparkling - how, how had be managed to create something so beautiful, so wonderful?
You nodded once, smoothly placing your little one into his arms. It was strange to see someone like Starscream be so gentle; but it was nice, and the sight made your spark flutter in your chassis.
When he bent down to press a chaste kiss to your helm, you felt at peace.
Perhaps, now that the war was over, you could have a chance at being a proper family.
North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy, during the fourteen-hour days spent in factory day-care centers; that for the subsequent fifty years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim Il-sung; that the country was hermetically sealed to keep out anything that might cast doubt on Kim Il-sung’s divinity. Who could possibly resist?
Barbara Demwick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.
“White Privilege” - An Excuse To Get Away With Being Uneducated And Unmotivated
White privilege has become one of the favorite arguments of politically-correct feminists, BLM and pandering liberals who like to make excuses for the fact that black Americans do not, as a rule, fare as well as white Americans on standard of socio-economic indicators. The concept of white privilege is also a favorite weapon for those who make their living stirring up racial discord because it is based on the supposition that being white in America offers special advantages that people of other races do not enjoy. Said another way, white privilege means that to be anything but white in America is to be economically and politically handicapped. For those who wish to exploit envy and greed for political benefit, the rhetoric of white privilege has great appeal.
However, there are a number of problems with the fundamental premise of white privilege. One problem is that there are so many successful black Americans who have done what successful people of any race do: Persevere in facing life’s obstacles head on and do what is necessary to overcome the obstacles while refusing to make excuses. Think of, oh I don’t know, the President of the United States for the past 8 years for starters. Another factor that tends to undermine the fundamental premise of white privilege is that poor whites face many of the same challenges that poor blacks and poor people of all races face in trying to improve their lots in life. In fact, it would be easier to make a case for wealth privilege in America than white privilege. But perhaps the biggest problem with the underlying premise of white privilege is that when applying the socio-economic indicators its purveyors use to justify their arguments, Asian Americans come out on top, not white Americans. If one takes the time to examine the evidence, it is easier to make a case for Asian privilege in America than for white privilege. However, even a cursory examination of the situation will show that Asians succeed not because of their race, but because of other factors that they and they alone control.
This being the case, all Americans would do well to consider why it is that Asian Americans as a group do so much better on basic socio-economic indicators than white, black, and Hispanic Americans. There may be something worth learning from such an exercise. For example, Asian Americans have to overcome not just racial and cultural barriers to succeed in America, they have to overcome the language barrier. As to the argument that is sometimes made that blacks have a more difficult time succeeding because of the enduring legacy of slavery, this supposition fails even the most basic test of logic. It has been over 150 years since President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and over 50 years since President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.
As shameful and debilitating as the peculiar institution was, continuing to blame it for the poverty and depredations of black Americans all these years later is a bit of a stretch. Black students who do well in their classes do well for the same reasons that students of any race do well: they show up for class well-prepared, study hard, do their homework, and take their education seriously. Those who do poorly in their classes - not just blacks, but students of all races - do so because they are sporadic in their attendance, do not study, make excuses for failing to do their homework, and are either lackadaisical or downright negative in their attitudes toward education.
A fact that is often overlooked in debates about white privilege is that the earliest Asians to immigrate to America - although not slaves - were not much better off than slaves. Known in the vernacular of the time as “coolies,” these early Asian immigrants were viewed as nothing more than cheap labor by the power brokers who imported them to work on major infrastructure projects such as railroads and dams. In the eyes of their employers, the coolies were an expendable commodity. They worked in often brutal conditions, were paid miserly wages, and were subjected to the worst kinds of racial prejudice. If a coolie was worked to death, employers would unceremoniously toss him aside and bring in another. Consequently, if Asian Americans wanted to make excuses about the lingering legacy of the coolie system, they would have plenty of ammunition. However, there is no lingering legacy of the coolie system because Asian Americans have worked hard to put that era behind them and have refused to use it as an excuse. Why is it that black Americans aren’t willing to do the same?
Refusing to make excuses is one of the reasons people of Asian descent have prospered in America. There are several others, and it is these reasons that people of other races - white, black, and Hispanic - need to understand and acknowledge. What Asian Americans have proven is that privilege in America is based not on race but on merit. People of any race can succeed in America if they emulate the approach of Asian Americans: take education seriously, develop a positive work ethic, obey the rules, respect the laws, and stay together as families. No more excuses about white privilege, no more blaming whites for all your troubles and failures as they’re often sharing the same troubles and failures whether you like to admit it or not.
There is no escaping the fact that education and family structure play huge roles in determining the success or failure of various racial and ethnic groups. This plays a greater role in the difference between white and black success than automatically throwing a blanket over the entire white race. There are many issues within the black community that need to be fixed by themselves, acknowledging these issues is the first step as we all too often want to ignore them and expect whites to make the change. You cannot lack education, work ethic, family structure and respect for law and then go on to expect equal success and opportunity, it’s not plausible.
It’s time we stopped the kneejerk discussion of white privilege and instead devote ourselves to teaching others the roots of success in America. Crying “white privilege” every time something doesn’t go your way isn’t going to break this cycle of excuses and lack of will to learn, work hard and better yourself, your people and the future generations. As I always say, start taking some accountability for your own actions and stop blaming others just because it’s easier to do.
History will best judge John F. Kennedy in calmer days when time has made the tragic and the grotesque at least bearable.
And surely history will judge him well- for his wisdom and his compassion and his grace.
John F. Kennedy was a wonderfully funny man, always gay and cheerful, never mean- but historians are prone to stifle laughter in formality.
You could see a laugh coming in his eyes before you could hear it from his lips.
His humor was often most appealing when he directed it against himself.
One summer night in a Georgetown garden, candidate Kennedy was preparing for the first of many critically important appearances on “Meet the Press.”
“You be Kennedy and I’ll be Spivak,” he suggested to his guest with relish, and the first question was already spilling forth: “All right, Horatio Alger, just what makes you think you ought to be President?”
Only days ago, his thoughts turned to the farewell party for a White House aide who had been memorialized in print as “coruscatingly” brilliant.
“Those guys should never forget,” he said with a smile, “50,000 votes the other way and we’d all be coruscatingly stupid.”
John Kennedy was a forgiving man, far more forgiving than his friends.
He forgave many the excesses of their ignorance- many men hold high positions today because of this forgiving.
He forgave quickly and for good, and soon found new quality in the forgiven.
John Kennedy was a hungry man, ravenous sometimes for the nourishment he found in the life he led and the people he loved.
This was both literally and figuratively true.
He could eat ten bowls of specially prepared fish chowder without succumbing to either indigestion or embarrassment, and though he smoked only rarely, he could chain-smoke three cigars when the spirit moved him.
His ability to devour the written word was legendary, and he could unwrap presents faster than a five-year-old.
John Kennedy was a graceful man, physically graceful in his movements-walking, or swimming, or swinging a golf club- and had that special grace of the intellect that is taste.
He could not bring himself to be “corny” at a time when “corniness” is a hallmark of American politics.
On his next-to-last trip, to the American wilderness, this complete and urbane man was uncomfortable in the clothes of a conservationist; and he laughed loudest of all at the “Paul Bunyan” or “Johnny Appleseed” nicknames he quickly collected.
During the 1960 campaign he used the phrase “Jackie and I” only once, and that was enough to embarrass him.
He was a student of graceful expression, and had been since he started collecting rhetoric in a small black leather book before the war.
John Kennedy had a Walter Mitty streak in him, as wide as his smile.
On the golf course, when he was winning, he reminded himself most of Arnold Palmer in raw power, or Julian Boros in finesse.
When he was losing, he was “the old warrior” at the end of a brilliant career, asking only that his faithful caddy point him in the right direction, and let instinct take over.
John Kennedy was a restless, exuberant man, always looking forward to the next challenge.
For a year now, it had been “Wait till ‘64” more and more often.
And for a long time he had wondered- at first in fun but increasingly in seriousness- what he would do after his second term.
He wondered if he might become the editor of a newspaper.
He had no real doubt that he would be re-elected- hopefully with the mandate that he missed so much after the 1960 election, the kind of mandate that would let him do what he thought the country needed done.
He wanted to run against Goldwater (though he liked Goldwater personally more than he liked Rockefeller) and settle forever the dangers he saw in standing still.
John Kennedy was a blunt man, sometimes profane, when it came to assessing rivals.
But in his judgment, no man was all bad who had run for political office, and by the same token, every man would be better if he ran for political office.
He bore no man lasting grudge or envy, and his readiness to love was instinctive.
For John Kennedy was a loving man, lately come to lasting love.
And historians are too far removed from love.
John Kennedy reveled in love for the Irish patrimony that he had left so far behind. He laughed with love at the roguery of his grandfather, Honey Fitz, and his trip to Ireland was a pilgrimage to that love.
He loved his brothers and sisters with a tribal love.
All Kennedys were born gregarious, but under siege it could be the Kennedys against the world.
John Kennedy loved his children with a light that lit up his world.
He discovered his daughter when election brought them finally under the same roof, and he delighted in her pride and in her performance.
His heart leapt up when he saw his son, careening though life as if there were no tomorrow,and he lit up the hearts of all who saw them enjoy each other.
And John Kennedy loved his wife, who served him so well.
Their life together began as it ended- in a hospital- and through sickness and loneliness there grew the special love that lights up the soul of the lover and the loved alike.
John Kennedy is dead, and for that we are lesser people in a lesser land.
~Ben Bradlee, 1963. This eulogy of his friend, John F. Kennedy appeared in Newsweek and later published as a book.
Serena:…..and do you know what causes the most gossip, the well from which this poison overflows?
Serena: Office romances. I can’t begin to tell you how much fire-fighting I have to do on a daily basis just to stop the petty squabbles and politics of envy that come from work mates who can’t seem stop going at it like rabbits. Whether it’s Sascha and Essie loving it up on Keller, or Jac Naylor and whatever poor sap she’s feeding off this month, the backlash all ends up on my….desk! Apparently, Zosia and Oliver Valentine are having a pop at it, which will make Guy Self unbearable to be around. And now I find myself having to remind otherwise fully grown adults that copulation in store cupboards is a breech of the hospital’s code of conduct. It is so dull! If I had my way, anyone found having an office romance would be dismissed, post-haste.
Late September 2016
Sass Queen takes a Level in Bernie the backlash LITERALLY ending up on her desk.
NOTES/WARNINGS: Nothing really, but we are getting into the bad times now, guys.
I don’t wanna live this life without you I don’t wanna spend the night without you I don’t wanna know what it’s like I can’t dream without you I can’t dream without you Let your fire burn bright for the world to see You are the better part of me When you hold my hand I swear that I believe
Good Charlotte- Harlow’s Song ( Cant Dream Without You)
Over the next several months, Thor and Loki were busier than ever as Odin gave them more responsibilities over the realm. Sigrun was glad that it seemed they were both being judged fairly, but it led to daily arguments between the two brothers on how best to handle things. Between throne room duties and their normal battle training schedules, Sigrun and Loki only saw each other at meals and at night when they would sneak into each other’s rooms.
I understand that, for the most part, those of you who visit this page do it because you like my music.
I’m grateful for that, and try as best as a human being can to not take that for granted.
I also believe part of what you like about my music, at least some of you, is what it communicates, what it articulates, and that it does its best to communicate and articulate those things directly, and, wherever possible, with some degree of empathy, some effort at understanding the irresolute, complicated gray area in and around us, which I believe is scary, and is actually more abundant than life’s scant inarguable certainties, its primary colors supposedly pitched above, below, around.
I feel like I rarely see those, or trust them, and envy people who do.
I’m not an especially political person - I’m a lot more interested in social justice than politics - or an activist in what I consider to be the strict sense of that word.
As far as public figures go, I’m certainly not a celebrity, or anything close.
I’m a person/artist/entertainer with a platform at the corner of a niche, and I try to take that exactly as seriously as it’s to be taken.
I say all that because, what I’m saying here will send some of you away. Simply retweeting news in the past week without editorial commentary has done that already, which is, of course, fine, and doesn’t even rate on the scale of importance given what we’re discussing here.
I’ll be sorry to see you go, but I won’t try to talk you back in.
I’ve felt this way since at least Make The Clocks Move: there is no shortage of songwriters who never address/discuss/acknowledge this stuff, and if listening to one who does, even in roughly 10% of his recorded output, is distasteful to you, I absolutely understand, and we can agree to disagree on what my role’s meant to be, etc.
I come from New York cops. My dad, his dad, two of his brothers, several of my cousins, friends of our family. I love them.
I remember being confused when I fell in love with Nirvana and saw a sticker on Kurt Cobain’s guitar that said, “Vandalism: As Beautiful As A Rock In A Cop’s Face.” I was 12, and I couldn’t square that initially my impressions of my family, and the men & women I’d met through my family. It was a real fraught, dissonant moment. Why would anyone want to throw a rock at my dad’s face?
I grew up some, and found myself realizing why that sticker existed, and empathizing with the rock throwers sometimes. I felt guilty about that, some vague sense of betrayal, an urge to defend police even in situations where their actions seemed excessive, wrong.
It took time to understand more than one thing can be true at the same time.
I don’t believe all cops are “bad.” Some are; some aren’t. They’re People.
But I also don’t believe that is what’s at issue here. Because individual people are never all one thing or another, on a moral or any other scale.
But systems rot, systems mutate, systems corrupt. And, to me, that’s what this is. What’s at issue is the basic value of a human life in an American society that’s gone bad in its prezteling efforts to protect power and privilege at any cost, and when cops are quasi-militarized and deployed to that end, and people end up killed in highly questionable-to-outrageous circumstances as a result, well….that’s “bad.”
Because people of color are also People, and People are scared, and angry, and exhausted. People are tired of seeing their kids, friends, family members killed, hurt, jailed at mind-boggling rates of disproportionality. People are wounded, fed up with seeing power abused, with seeing the gap grow wider between their reality and whatever shreds of the American Dream are left dangling at a distant, increasingly-hypothetical horizon. They’re sick of seeing injustice manifest itself in dead bodies, empty political rhetoric, no follow through, no protection, no change.
I’m a straight white male, and I don’t know what it’s like not to be. I should never be the loudest voice in this conversation. I think we (people like me) all have deep listening to do if we have any hope at making the people who aren’t us feel safe, valued, equal in this society. We have real & increased responsibility to bear as the power brokers, which we are, and have been. Anyone arguing otherwise, suggesting that we’re a “post-racial” society etc., is skirting offensiveness at worst and…sticking to a willful & highly selective understanding of America’s history, at best.
It’s not hard for me to empathize with the outrage of a person who watches their loved one murdered. And it’s not hard for me to empathize theoretically with someone making a catastrophic, fear-based, over-reactionary fight-or-flight error in judgement in the heat of a pitched moment that has violent, horrifying results.
But things don’t happen theoretically, or in a vacuum; they happen in context, bundled in absorbed information, under behavior-warping cultural weight.
And this is why we are where we are. We don’t value all lives the same in this society. And until we do, we’re in trouble, in our streets, in our souls.
There’s no bowtie here, no knot to tie neatly. It’s too brutally, endlessly sad and messy for that. My thoughts, my heart, are with Eric Garner’s family, and focused on the belief in our better nature, even when it is, at times, so difficult to see.
The real politics of envy. Conservatives are obsessed with creating misery for the 99% who could use a little help, all while suffering through austerity to give the top 1% billions in welfare [tax cuts]. #Republicans
Major example: only a Republican would confuse Social Security with the Federal deficit. They are not connected. Even worse, only a Republican would think a cut is Social Security checks would somehow bring down the deficit.