jesse_the_k: Dreamy photo of playground roundabout in rosy foggy light (lost youth)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

is another excellent meta-post from [personal profile] brainwane. Links to ~twenty think pieces on how we can hold each other accountable with as much love as we have for a better future.

And the comments are excellent.

Sting Ray Skin

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:36 pm
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Today I learned that the original handle grip tape was sting ray skin. That's cause I went to a stunning exhibit of Samurai Weaponry at a local art museum. The design and crafting of the armor and swords was exquisite. The helmets have face guards, which look like they're molded from the wearer's actually face. These face guards also sport mustaches and soul patches. Altogether delightful. Also clear that "Art Deco" in the West was 90% ripping off 16th C Japanese design.

Music meme: day 14 of 30

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:24 pm
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
[personal profile] liv
Here we go, the middle of the list hits A song that you would love played at your wedding.

As you probably know, I'm already married, and I had my wedding five years ago. wedding reminiscences plus video )

I have no intention of having any more weddings to choose music for. I'm already married, as are all my partners. And maybe poly people aren't supposed to say this, but I really think I've found my people and hope not to end or change my current relationships. Friends who have looked into these things in more detail think it's not actually illegal to have weddings, in the sense of ceremonies indicating lifelong romantic commitment, to more than one partner, as long as you don't try to register the relationship as a marriage for legal purposes. But I am not really sure of the details and anyway at the moment we don't have any desire to be married to more people than our existing spouses, even if it is (or became) legally ok.

It is fair to say that I never intended to get married the first time either, so maybe I'm wrong. I suppose we've vaguely talked about the possibility that those of us who are EU citizens may need to marry those who are not for immigration reasons and safety, but I really really really hope it doesn't come to that and if we were in that situation there wouldn't be any singing and dancing, just whatever paperwork we needed for survival. And hypothetically my current relationships might come to an end and then I might find a new person who really wanted to get married to me. But then the song I would choose would depend so much on the person and the circumstances that I can't really speculate what it would be, and I don't really want to because it involves imagining the ends of relationships I really want to keep.

I'm not in general a fan of the wedding tradition of the First Dance to a romantic song. Partly because I'm not much of a dancer, and partly because I think there are better ways to do symbolic consummation. And then finding a song which is lyrically appropriate is surprisingly hard; a lot of songs in the style that's appropriate to slow-dance to are really breakup songs, or at best they're hugely monogamy-assuming and heteronormative. As [personal profile] elf pointed out in this meme, a lot of poly-friendly songs are about casual hey we're just doing this as long as we both like it relationships, which is kind of wrong for a wedding.

I think it was [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait who pointed out that the most inappropriate possible song for a wedding is She moves through the fair, since it mentions our wedding day but primarily as a euphemism for death. I am very fond of it, mind you. And I have attended a wedding where the big romantic moment Song was Hey, that's no way to say goodbye by Leonard Cohen, which is a gorgeous song but way depressing if you go past the opening lines:
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you

I never daydreamed about my ideal wedding when I was single, so I never had a concept in my mind of what song I would love played. If I happened to be in a relationship where we had a song that was meaningful to us as a couple, then perhaps I'd choose that, but I can't help myself thinking about the detailed interpretation of the words. So, just out of interest, do any of you know any songs which are good for weddings, talking about serious relationships but not about possessiveness? Or songs that are good for non-religious communal singing?

Music meme: day 13 of 30

Jul. 20th, 2017 04:32 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
I'm getting really behind the wave on this, aren't I? Still, there's more than one person still working through the list! Today is One of your favourite 70's songs. I'm not very good at knowing which songs come from which decade, and most of the music on my computer has really inaccurate metadata. But one song which I know is from the 70s, and which is definitely one of my favourites, is Go to Hell by Alice Cooper. I'm not sure if it's actually my favourite 70s song, but I really ought to have something by Alice Cooper in the meme.

I'm really very fond of Alice Cooper goes to Hell; it was my first encounter with the idea of a concept album. I especially love this opening track because it's a bit of (darkly) humorous intro, with the bathos of ridiculously specific examples of depravity:
You'd gift-wrap a leper and mail him to your aunt Jane
You'd even force feed a diabetic a candy cane

I often tell the story of how when I went to university I gained a certain amount of respect among the alternative crowd by explaining that Alice Cooper was in fact a ouijia board chosen stage name for a definitely male singer. Despite not looking like the sort of person who would know rock music trivia. But I love Alice Cooper for being so gloriously terrible, and occasionally coming out with works of sheer genius like Poison (not from the 70s) in among all the McGonagall stuff.

video embed (borderline NSFW) )

Not a WisCon Post & Bella News

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:52 pm
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

I looked back on my journal — ten years now — and realized that I always fall into a posting hole post-WisCon. I intend to post about what happened and then don't, because WisCon generates so many complex feelings. Then I feel like I can't post about other stuff until I get the WisCon posts up, and then it's November and I can start posting again.

So, I promise no WisCon posts (which means I might actually write some) and an update on my current goings-on.

Weather & the dog )

Hugo thoughts

Jul. 18th, 2017 11:49 am
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
I didn't get very far through Hugo reading. I read all the short stories, and the three novels which were stand-alone or first in a series, skipping the ones that are sequels. I managed two of the six novellas, but didn't feel able to vote when I hadn't looked at the others. And I spent the last day before the voting deadline reading through the novelettes in order to be able to rank them. Plus, I happened to have seen enough of the films I felt I could reasonably vote on that category.

my opinions )

That's brief notes on my voting choices (well, I'm not great at brief)! I'm more than happy to discuss in more detail if anyone's interested, I just wanted to get this posted rather than being intimidated by it.

Catching up

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:25 pm
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
[personal profile] liv
So I went away for a few days, and also did lots and lots of reading, and now I'm blocked on posting to DW until I've caught up with talking about both those things. That's not sensible, so I'll try for a small postcard-type entry.

Most importantly, congratulations to [ profile] illusive_shelle and her newly-minted husband! The wedding which formed the excuse for a small summer holiday for me and [personal profile] jack was absolutely perfect and amazing.

mostly diary )

I have lots of reading I want to talk about, partly because I've been trying to get through at least some of the Hugo material, and partly because of going on a short vacation, and partly because I had a horrendous 11 hour train journey at the start of not quite having time to post. I'll talk more about that hopefully soon, and go back to the music meme and so on. I am reading, as usual, just a bit behind with posting.
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
From Cal Montgomery, my disability studies mentor:

begin quote
I can see the god of hands:
flapping in joy,
dancing full of language,
poring over six-dot cells of knowledge,
easing joysticks across broken sidewalks,
torn between frustrated teeth,
cracked and callused and sore,
dowsing for love on screens,
flipping tables, throwing chairs,
juddering to a rhythm of the nerves,
loose and still,
balled into fists,
wrapped around guns
that turn out to be trinkets,
wet with tears.

I can see holiness
in the rising,
in the sharing,
in the reaching out to one another
against rejection,
in the demand
for freedom, food and futures,
even as your forces array against it. [...snip...]
quote ends

Three Great Disability Essays

Jul. 13th, 2017 02:46 pm
jesse_the_k: unicorn line drawing captioned "If by different you mean awesome" (different=awesome)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Even though the "International Symbol of Disability" is a wheelchair, wheelchair users don't have it "easy" because of ramps & lifts: click )
and from Alaina Leary [ profile] alainaskeys at the NYTimes' very worthwhile disability series: clicky )

Thanks to [personal profile] sasha_feather, I'd already read Alaina Laney's great essay on the trope of villains with facial deformities in Teen Vogue.

Reading Wednesday

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:12 pm
slashmarks: (Leo)
[personal profile] slashmarks

What I've Read:

City of Oranges: an Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa – Adam LeBor. I actually read about two thirds of this a few months ago during Spring Break, then put it down until this week, so my memory of the first parts may not be perfect. But, this is basically a somewhat informal history of relations between Jewish and Arab residents of the city of Jaffa, and the city itself, from the last part of the Ottoman era into the twenty-first century when the book was published (I think in 2007, but I don't have it with me, so consider that an estimate). The author used a combination of letters, memoirs written in that time, public records, and interviews with current residents and members of (mostly Palestinian) families that came from Jaffa in that period and now live elsewhere.

This impressed me in part because it struck me as really evenly handed, in a way that's difficult to do dealing with subjects that cause a lot of conflict; LeBor talks willingly about the difficulties of Palestinian refugee families after 1948, and of Jewish refugees struggling to come to Palestine under British rule; about both the difficult emotional experiences of Palestinians who were able to come back to Jaffa and see their houses owned by other people or the Israeli state, and the experiences of Israelis moving into houses in Jaffa after themselves experiencing great loss elsewhere. It was interesting to see also the way the book exposes the lie that Jews and Arabs had always been enemies while still being willing to discuss pogroms and riots in British era Palestine, and confiscations and military police action against Arabs, etc, in Israel.

So, all in all I think this is a very good book, although as usual I don't agree with all of LeBor's conclusions.

CW: Following review involves discussion of infanticide and euthanasia.

Always Coming Home – Ursula Le Guin. This is what Le Guin describes as “archaeology of the future,” a very world building focused work set in northern California an unspecified hundreds or thousands of years in the future, among the matrilineal and matrilocal farming society of the Kesh.

I don't know what to say about this one. Much of it is fantastically kind, a novel set in everyday life in a way that's rare, and valuing the work and life of all of its people in a way that I have almost never seen before in fantasy; where the business of food, and weaving, and production of pottery and all kinds of things is more valuable than war; where people who want to engage in war and power games are socially disruptive and ultimately defeated without violence. It also is not anywhere as Luddite as much post apocalyptic literature is; the Kesh are not industrial, but they have small scale electricity based off of solar power, they have access to something similar to but not entirely like the internet, they have a lot of modern medicine.

I think it's that kindness that made the part where Le Guin felt the need to explain that the Kesh practice infanticide against infants with certain disabilities and euthanasia consensually* feel so cruel. It wasn't relevant to the narrative portions, it was just there, apparently because she felt it was something the reader needed to know. And combined with the moralistic slant I had already felt was irritating – the Kesh consider people of our time sick, and the idea of becoming like us horrifying; the Kesh have no concept for “accidentally” poisoning the earth and thus assume we must have done it because of that sickness; the Kesh solve things by discussion, not via hierarchy and violence (as opposed to the Condors or Dayao, another society in the book); she explicitly at one point floats the idea of the Kesh being Utopian – it came off to me as someone who I had liked and been impressed by kindly, gently explaining that the ideal society is one in which we don't go “too far” in allowing all disabled people to live, only the sufficiently useful ones.

So, I don't know what to say here. I loved most of the rest of the novel, I was prepared to recommend it entirely wholeheartedly as an example of fantastic worldbuilding and a vision of the future striking in its kindness and plausibility up until that point, despite its occasional annoying drifts into moralism and somewhat simplistic portrayal of the Dayao, who are the opposite of the Kesh in everything and irritatingly lacking in true nuance, for all she drops in a few suggestions that they aren't entirely miserable. But that page felt like being slapped in the face, like going to my inbox excited to receive a message and finding a message calling me the R word and telling me to kill myself. I don't know that I can recommend it, because of that.

*I thought about putting “consensual” in quotation marks, but decided it was better to have a note explaining why I consider even consensual euthanasia horrifying. The thing about euthanasia is that enabled, it carries the implications that disabled lives are worth less than others; other suicidal people receive attempts at help, no matter how destructive, while we are killed. And the existence of supposedly consensual euthanasia always carries murder with it; how free is a choice for medical care when medical care costs money? When medical care imposes difficulties on those around you? When you are perhaps isolated, only having contact with family members who resent you and having to care for you? And when it's considered acceptable to end a disabled life under some circumstances, how much easier is it to cover up murder of disabled lives by faking consent? These aren't hypothetical questions; you can already easily find news stories about people whose insurance covered euthanasia but not cancer treatment in Washington, and the nonconsensual murders of mentally ill patients in Belgium under the cover of “euthanasia.”

In the specific case of Kesh, it is explicit that shunning and social shame applied to people considered to have acted inappropriately is sufficient to drive some people to suicide, and that people are mostly dependent on their families for care when they aren't able to care for themselves, both of which only make the general problems worse.

What I'm Reading Now

Theoretically still Ninefox Gambit, but I haven't picked it up again since my last entry.

The Goblin and the Jinni – Helene Wecker. I love this so far – the atmosphere and the magic and the setting in New York City of the period, but also the way almost all of the characters are essentially well meaning, the wholeness of the communities Chava and Ahmad are adopted into. Will write more when I've read more.

Comment Note: I don't have the energy to defend my views on euthanasia right now. If you want to ask me questions about it, go ahead, but if you feel the need to defend legal euthanasia, you can do it on your own time in your own blog. I will delete any comments in violation of this policy and block their writers.

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