Thursday, June 9, 2022

One-six

It is 8:38, the sun is ever-so-slowly retreating from a dazzling day, and I am listening to Liz Cheney's opening speech for the House Committee hearings on the investigation into the 2021 insurrection at the Capitol.

I have been in the habit, since President Biden and Vice President Harris' inauguration, of watching the stagecraft at play in their statecraft. They are INCREDIBLY good at deploying the psychology of costume and pageant, and right now I am noticing the Republican Representative Cheney - wearing blue. It is a strong statement about bipartisanship, the strongest GOP voice at these hearings "crossing the color aisle" as it were, wearing the color most often aligned with the democrats' side of the aisle.

(I will certainly be watching who wears red - not only the color of the right, but also a color with a millennia-deep association with violence, passion, and blood.)

She's also wearing star earrings and no other jewelry but a badge which I think may be an enameled Lady Liberty - I'll see if I can find out at some point. She is unadorned, looking fresh, not looking fussy, but looking very good. She looks old enough to wield authority, but not "too" old. She doesn't look like she's trying to look any way at all.

These points of presentation, particularly for a woman - particularly for a woman roundly rejected by her own party for supposedly betraying them (by defending our REPUBLIC) - are more important than some may believe. It is painfully important for a woman to be attractive, but not ostentatious, authoritative, but not strident. Cheney, whatever else I may think of her (and I think a lot, believe that), has learned all her life how to do this. She's extraordinarily good at it. It is keeping me from thinking about HER, really - for all the words I am expending on her appearance. She is good at presentation - and I respect her ability to both be at the forefront of this epochal moment, and to place, firmly, the hearings themselves - and, yes, the fate of our government - at the forefront.

This kind of stage-/statecraft moments have struck me with every coordinated event all along, during this administration, and I submit that it is not trivial - and, indeed, affects a great deal more than we usually prefer to believe.


***


Watching the violence of the breach, much footage I have seen, some I have not - the chaos and trash everywhere, the destruction of the architecture of our government - the gallows...

Impossible not to think of the legacy of colonialism. This IS how we were born - if on no other thing in the world, I can agree with the rioters' understanding of that - and we were here for centuries owing to the illegitimacy of empire and expansionism in the first place - of COMMERCE.

But the romanticization of rebellion this time is gravely, morally, misplaced. It is most literally *sickening*. Far from any idea of throwing off the chains of a monarch thousands of miles away, these seditionists, these insurrectionists, these traitors rose up in SERVICE of a would-be despot. The contrast is inescapable, if you have a thought in your head at all. It is offensive, it is destructive. It is bleakly sad.


***


I left myself two loads of laundry to sort out, and spent the first 45 minutes of the hearing folding, rolling, putting away. It was perfect, because I felt like I was doing something, and yet was not engaging myself intellectually nor emotionally in anything but the proceedings.

I still need to fold some sheets and towels, and make the bed. But I needed a break, and to concentrate on the video - which was devastating. I cried, even though I'd seen so many of these images before.

Before it even got underway, I did as I did (all night long, in fact) on election night in 2016: my stomach rumbled, and I had to shit from fear. Only once - so far - but it's symptomatic.


***


I am going to leave this post rather stream-of-consciousness. It is for myself more than anything else anyway.

And it is time to fold the sheets and make the bed.


***


9:38

Instead of going straight to make the bed, I filled my steam cleaner and sanitized the floor of my bathroom, and my kitchen. The scent is both plastic-y and oddly satisfying: I am cleaning, I am purifying. I am coping.

It occurs to me, whenever I use this in future, whenever I smell this particular steam... will I come back to today? This night, this memory?

My phone is bleating - perhaps texts from my brother. He importuned my mom to watch the hearings, but I told him her cable lines were cut by workmen and she won't have phone, internet, or TV until tomorrow. At least she can't watch Fox instead.

It appears this will be over fairly soon. I should make that bed. i should fold the sheets and towels. I should bathe. And, hopefully, sleep.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Fiddling around with some old words

 

The flight was ugly and painful, but they always are.  It's just twilight as the descent goes on; seems to take hours, approaching this city.  This woman.  There are lights, there are people leaning and looking out windows, both at the ghost of a landscape disappearing in the dark, and at the twinkling glimmers in the gloaming.  Everything itches somehow; physically, mentally.  His stomach twitches and quivers.
 
There's nothing recognizable to him outside the windows, and so he doesn't look.  Just the music in the iPod and the sensations of deceleration, of approaching the ground again.

He carried on almost nothing, but everyone else has, so disembarkation takes forever.  Lurching, imbalanced, get off.  Get off.  Don't you people have loved ones to get to?  Just escape.  Only escape from this hideous capsule of farts and frustration and canned air.
 
Rickety tube of a gangway.  Smells disgusting.  Then, release - not escape, but expulsion now, into the milling murmuration, all off to the right, must go to the right.  He goes to the right, follows the exodus, sees plexi walls and now-disused ribbon-barriers into a security area all but dead and done.  Windows along the gates are black and blank.  It is night time now.
 
The walk toward the center of the airport, small as it is - is not a hurried one.  He's far too aware of the composite pattern of the grey floor, the white floor, the blue floor.  How polished it all is.  The metallic demarcations in terrazzo. 
 
He realizes he's looking down because he's *felt* that she's there. Not even letting his brain realize that he has seen her.  She is there.

How can she be there?  How can he?  It's ridiculous, and not at all passionate, poetic, or right.  So much hideous fear, uncertainty, stupidity.  How could he have done this?  No matter what she said.
 
The path between the gateway from security and gates and the ugly collection of seating and flourescents isn't even fifty yards. In crossing it, he ages seventy years; every creak of the flight now in his bones.  She's wearing an extraordinarily plain black dress with a wide scooped neck - so much severe fabric, so much white skin - and boots, though it is summer.  Her hair is down, and - she's curled it?  Somehow, his mind flashes to an airport in the ten years ago.  He remembers the pained girl he saw then, the almost brutal sensation of reunion. Gods, they had been so young.
 
Of every curve of her, it's the arch at her side, hinting at her back, that finally arrests his attention.  There is nothing else in the world for just a second; that luscious place, promising her back, all of her back - and suddenly she is there, really *there*, and so is he.

Monday, September 6, 2021

 

Sent: Mon, Sep 6, 2021 12:36 am
Subject: Witness to history

Here is a bit of first-hand history I just posted in response to someone else's re-post of some bullshit put out by the city manager. Feel free to share:

 
Dispatch from Olympia on the events of August (sic) 4, 2021.

I drove through as the city hall protest was dispersing. I was on 4th Avenue, a block south of the transit hub, and witnessed large numbers of people running. Many had clubs and masks (including gas masks) and helmets. A few of these appeared to be Black Bloc (based on clothing, hair, gender diversity, and all those other signals an anthropologist can recognize).

These people were running west and north from city hall, many of them ducking into stores or alleys.

They were being chased by a group of almost all men, mostly in black and yellow, many with insignia and flags we’ve come to recognize as the signs of right wing extremists. Many with military style haircuts, and a lot of body armor and more military-looking helmets and masks. Almost all had clubs. I yelled out the window for them to get their Nazi asses out of here.

I suppose that was a risk, but they were more interested in chasing and yelling at the “antifa” people, who continued to run away, not engaging. As I passed through the block between Franklin and Adam’s, some of the fascists were regrouping.

I got to Plum street, looped back on 5th, and as I passed south of City hall and the police station, I saw two OPD uniformed officers riding bicycles AWAY from the riot on 5th. I stopped and frantically told them that armed fascists were chasing people through downtown and asked what they were doing about it. One shrugged and the other completely ignored me, and then the continued riding away.

I kept west on 5th, then looped back east on 4th. When I got to Franklin, I looked north and saw a group of maybe 20-25 fascists running in formation toward transit center on or near State Street. All armored, all armed with clubs.

Just after that, I heard 5 gunshots. One, a slight pause, and then 4 more. So I got the hell out of there.

On returning home, I was pretty shaky, but I called 911 and reported what I had seen. I also reported that I had told police and they shrugged and went in the opposite direction.

This may have begun as a standoff or argument, but as a witness, I can tell you that it turned into fascists hunting their enemies. Reports are already making seem like “there are bad people on both sides.” Notice how the “official” statement insinuates that a fascist only recently out of jail on assault charges was shot by the opposition. That remains to be seen, and is a departure from standard no comment during investigation procedure. The gaslighting is already begun.

As we have discussed, the small amount of coverage thus far is already slanting right. Yes, some "antifa" types planned to counter-protest an anti-mask protest at the city hall. That is their right. There are no credible reports of violence by antifa or black bloc prior to their being chased and attacked by proud boys and whatever other fascists were involved. Proud boys incite violence as a strategy, and then play victim. It is bullshit.


Acting like we need to give both sides the benefit of the doubt when one side are Nazis is bullshit, and functions as a social ratchet to secure fascism.

Toese was probably shot by his own people, and friends who have followed proud boy forums today say it appear to have been planned. Reichstag moment.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pig art is some of the BEST art!

I’d be really interested to hear an art historian with a deep understanding of pigment and process look at this oldest known artistic depiction of the animal world and deconstruct why there are two slightly different shades of red.

Most of the figure is done in a dark burgundy, but then there is a warmer ochre tone which looks like it expanded on the original image perhaps (*) – and one (left!) hand print in the darker color, then a right hand print in the warmer color. And even the darker burgundy color – there are many more “brush strokes” along the back of the animal in that color, where the body is much less saturated. Was there more “coloring” as the artist got the shape and size just the way they wanted it?

* Was this image complete, and the second “hand” added to it, made the pig larger and more fearsome? Were two artists working together, and the second color representing something – an aura of the spirit of the animal, a ridge of hair raised as the pig encountered the other pigs (do pigs “ridge back” as other animals do? They are mammals after all, and even humans’ hair stands on end on our necks when we are on alert)? Is it possible one color was laid down, and long after, the second color was added by a prehistoric critic? Or are there two tones because one pot of mixed pigment simply ran out?

I am prompted to recall: many of these “hand print” paintings were studied several years ago, and a new conclusion was reached that researchers had never come to before: that they were women’s hands.

Friday, December 18, 2020

A collection of one ...

The blog's been pretty limp for a long time - unfortunately not the kind of infrequency that keeps a reader wanting more. I follow several others like that, but even my following of other blogs has been pretty poor of late. I don't read like I used to, don't write at all, really haven't blogged either. And am not even really thinking about "maybe I'll write again" and so on.

That said ... please go visit one of those I follow! Jeff Sypeck is such a good writer, and his observations about anything he uses *his* blog to point to are worth the stopover every time. In this case, too, the way he's pointing has me fascinated AND my mind is blown. Spoiler alert: Mike Tyson is fascinated by Clovis, the Merovingians, the Franks???? I mean ... Huh. It doesn't take me back, ahem, but does provide the unexpected imaginary mindpic of Mike Tyson reading my novel (had it ever seen the light of day). Huh.



Thursday, August 20, 2020

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

What DID happen to them?

 

 

This is one of my favorite videos in a long time. 24 minutes and some change, but if you're interested in dogs and history, or the history of dogs, worth every bit of it. Carolinas of course do feature, and in this context pups like my girl are even more interesting.