May 26, 2010
Tell it none except the wise,
for the common crowd defames:
of the living I shall praise
that which longs for death in flames.
In the love night which created
you where you create, a yearning
wakes: you see, intoxicated,
far away a candle burning.
Darkness now no longer snares you,
shadows lose their ancient force,
as a new desire tears you
up to higher intercourse.
Now no distance checks your flight,
charmed you come and you draw night
till, with longing for the light,
you are burnt, O butterfly.
And until you have possessed
dying and rebirth,
you are but a sullen guest
on the gloomy earth.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
translated by Walter Kaufmann
May 14, 2010
I write this post in memory of Phillip Lafayette Gibbs (c. 1949-1970) and James Earl Green (c. 1953-1970). They were killed forty years ago tonight, when police opened fire on a crowd of protesters on the campus of Jackson State College (now Jackson State University) in Mississippi. You can read about the shootings at this site, the text of which is reproduced in the post I wrote on the subject a year ago. I also appreciated seeing that NPR recently covered the event.
I know it’s generally considered bad form to quote oneself, but I can’t think of anything to add to what I said last year:
The spring of 1970 was a dark period in our nation’s history, and it needs to be remembered, and I say that not because I’m a right-wing caricature of a left-wing anti-American pinko hippie*, but because I believe that our country needs to learn from events like the May 1970 campus shootings in order to move in the direction of living up to its moniker of “sweet land of liberty.”
(*indeed, one might argue that the attitude that protesting the actions of the US government and/or dissenting in other ways makes one anti-American is part of what led to the Jackson State and Kent State shootings in the first place…)
Seriously, the idea that if a person has anything negative to say about actions the government has taken, socio-political conditions in the US, etc., then it automatically means they don’t love or even hate this country (“if you hate it so much here, why don’t you move somewhere else, huh?!”) cannot die a quick enough death, as far as I’m concerned. (Don’t even get me started on the folks who seem to think that believing the President is Kenyan means you’re a patriot, and wanting your fellow citizens to have medical coverage means you should move to Europe.) I love my country; I just think we can do better than killing protesters and passers-by.
May 11, 2010
The panel opened with a discussion of what slut-shaming is, and Sady, who was the first to offer a definition, was careful to note that being labeled a slut can happen to anyone, even to people who have never had any sexual contact of any kind.
Ha! That brought back a memory I haven’t revisited in a very long time indeed. Just before or just after my 13th birthday (I have a vague feeling like it might have been on my 13th birthday itself), a sort-of friend of mine called me a two-timing slut, and I was absolutely devastated. Here’s more or less how it went down, with names changed to protect the young and foolish: Read the rest of this entry »