Randomness

This post is mostly about the idea of community, but also here is very enjoyable coverage of London Comic Con by Flickering Myth. Seems like a nice bunch, and I do wish that Blade the best of luck. Though the whole thing is worth watching, it’s timestamped to Rila Fukushima making faces in the background as Willa Holland is interviewed.

So anyway, these days a typical “good” community is a bit more tenuous and subjective, but society’s prototypical ideal remains the same and that was generally about a community of one kind of people, largely part of a design in which those who are poor or too ethnic aren’t welcome. Things that are prototypical are somewhat static because they’re the privileged status quo.

The form of community where people come together for the good of more than just some privileged people is less static, as is simple camaraderie — which is mostly a thing people have with over devotees of their chosen or non-chosen religion or pop culture. Camaraderie for people who don’t particularly care about wielding or being next to power, even in the form of a “good” community, sometimes seems like the rarest thing in the world.

 

On centrality

(public domain-1923)

(public domain-1923)

Many a sitcom has had settings in which a dozen or more people were in the same place together – mostly some type of social-friendly spot like a diner or an old pre-mega-gentrified coffee shop/bar. Actually what’s now considered an average sitcom is already tailored to post-early-gentrification anyway, but I digress: If a sitcom is set somewhere where there’s a few dozen people around, it usually focuses on a handful of exceptional people. We know they’re exceptional because in this small sampling of supposedly average people there are stories focusing just on them. In this sensationalized media-drenched world, it was interesting to see how comparatively muted the coverage of the horrific slayings in Charleston, South Carolina was. Perhaps that’s because sensationalizing something often requires that the designated bad people have played their part. The alleged bad guy here doesn’t look like who’s supposed to be the bad guy; he looks more like someone sitting at the center of everything on a couch or at a booth.

About a decade ago in the familiar sitcom scenario, you would have been hard pressed to look in the background and find any people of color, and even now, for all the supposed “Empire”s that are dominating TV, in the narratives of your average sitcom set in what’s considered an average place, there may or may not be a few. Did you ever notice how odd it really is to always focus on a few amazing people, almost always white, when there’s all these other people around, just kind of dawdling? For some, many even, that’s aspirationally metaphorical–these central people who are worthy of having good things happen to them as the rest of the world is reducted.

This dynamic is still commonplace, but in some quarters it’s a bit less common than it used to be, which really upsets those whose sense of self-worth is built on being the good average person inherently worthy of centrality.
A survivor of the Charleston massacre reportedly said that the alleged shooter told his victims that he had to do it because African-Americans, it was implied, were “taking over.”

“Had to do it,” as if there was a counterpoint that said, no, these are people. They don’t deserve this.

In typical fashion, the massacre has been considered by some to be an aberration; this is what hate crimes are supposed to be, even though hating those insidious others that threaten to challenge someone’s supposedly rightful space of centrality is hardly an aberration culturally. There are plenty of programs that regularly present information and twist it through that prism.

What’s amazing is the way that the victims of some of these families are so forgiving. What’s incredibly sad is that hundreds of years of molded centrality will continue to make some people think that it’s only right for some people’s lives to mean much more than others. And what those people, so desperate to be more than somebody else, don’t get it is that if they weren’t being pointed to one scapegoat, it would be another.

Upkeep

If you’ve ever wandered the stacks of a library and thumbed through the books just looking for something interesting, maybe it took you a shelf or two — maybe even a series of shelves, ’cause even when publishing was thriving and not so much about it books, there was of course the catering to privilege — but surely something that spoke to you appeared. Something like, “Unlearning Hemperkin’s Rules for Optimum Snobbery.” Maybe the words were in a book that didn’t even have its cover sleeve anymore, something as tattered for the passing of time as it might have been for being read so much. I think blogs can be sort of like those particular volumes, except of course that they’re an ongoing process.

And that ongoing process isn’t always so big with the going. Some of my favorite bloggers came and went in an instant; I don’t think it was due to a waning attention span, at least not in and of itself. Life is hard, and if you’re not getting paid from some soft-ish perch to write about what it’s like for those folks on the rocks, written word upkeep means having to occasionally tear pieces of yourself off for fuel — metaphorically, of course.

One of the perennial Zeitgest narratives is about apathy; it’s usually more about “care more!” than the reasons people become apathetic. Having to deal with basic human selfishness is hard enough, but there’s also the manifest destiny of privileged comfort. Blogdom has a lot of greatness to offer, but at its generalized best its landscape also has these smiley commerce- and privilege-driven ideals that are nice to disconnect from for a bit.

Racetogetherness, plus

Edouard Manet's "At the Café Guerbois," via wiki.

Edouard Manet’s “At the Café Guerbois,” via wiki.

Starbucks is often enough considered a harbinger of gentrification – which sees gentry-level folk push away those who can’t afford to live in a “Starbucks-worthy” area. Frequently those most negatively affected in this scenario are people of color; this is one of the things that made “racetogether” seem more like “marketingtogether.” However well-meaning it may have been, it came from an outlook that is somewhat inherently commercial. Ideology-wise, Starbucks has a left-leaning slant and it likely expected its customer-base to be much more for “racetogether” than not. Even if by some chance there’s an enlightening dialogue about race, everyone’s simply going back out into a landscape of inequity that people literally buy into, anyway.

Starbucks has tried to bring what you might call its progressive income zoning to neighborhoods with less resources, but I don’t think there are any long-term examples of Starbucks in areas without some source of upwardly mobile income. Such zoning goes beyond space to a mentality that inherently defines itself by being juxtaposed with blackness, which is not a part of what’s mainstream unless it enhances it via various forms of supposed exoticness — and among that particularly what doesn’t challenge the false narrative that some people are inherently virtuous/better while others are not.

Most moderate- to high-status discussions of race/class – even those on a fairer minimum wage – are lessened by a social order in which racism, all -isms are connected to profiteering in some way.

*

I bought some ketchup recently (yes, I will take the ketchup-buying ribbon, thank you) and anyhow, it had this cap that’s impossible to make a mess with. Though that was not the highlight of that week, it was a highlight of that week — and thus this is also a ketchup post.

One less hour

The sun via wiki/public domain and old political allusions.

The sun via wiki/public domain and old political allusions.

The complications from the loss of an hour to due to daylight saving time are — and let’s not mince words or sporadically used punctuation here — mammoth!!! One hour of rejuvenating slumber traded for more time with the sun? Psh. What has that thing or Congress done for us lately?

So all right, maybe the sun has its moments — but to be just a tiny bit more serious, it really is interesting to ponder the loss of an hour. Is it just a loss to how much sleep we could have gotten, or, if one doesn’t have to work, would that lost hour have accounted for more escapism? Sleeping and escapism both share a disconnection from the present, though one is obviously a biological necessity, and the other — like vegging out on TV — would generally not be considered in the same vein. Of course, life as we know it has always been padded by escapism, and in a society in where there’s more perennial fear-mongering and increasing anxiety over both that and more corporate demands on what essentially amounts to breathing, escapism has become something nearly all-consuming. Beyond sleep, extra time rarely goes to the kind of personal development that doesn’t just keep one in a self-satisfied bubble and instead makes one, like, a part of the overall world where there are also people who are downtrodden — and hopefully makes that world just that much better. Sure, that’s probably as customary as anything. I don’t know. It’s just, you think there’s an hour that is now gone, but any extra time we have as a society usually goes to disconnecting or keeping up the right funhouse mirrors for ourselves anyway. So, hey, the concept of one more hour in a given day may not be all that fruitful, and not just in a corporate way (but not in a tie-dye kind of way, either).

happy new post

So maybe to really appreciate any notion of a new year, one has to settle into it for a while, to the point where maybe it’s February and the so called “new” year really just seems like a continuation of the last. Okay, obviously the newness is in the calendar year, but there’s this always this sense that things could be miraculously new. Less sparkly and nicer than that, I think, is simply the whole life continued thing. And so here’s continuing.

I’d noticed a lot of people didn’t really enjoy the holidays; they’re a time when hype makes people feel like they should be part of something either conducive to fulfilled materialism (which is always going to leave one feeling empty) or, more ideally, something warm, loving and fulfilling. But that latter bit isn’t easy to come by; rather, it’s what we should be trying to build toward every day, and life, with its pains and scars amid a world of hegemonies, makes that hard. So when it comes to a particularly so called holiday like Valentine’s Day, instead of feeling left out of some loop, give yourself a break from the notion that life should be this commercial where fulfillment is effortless and people gloriously trade in cultural capital.

In other news, I’ve obviously let up on the posts — but I certainly plan on trying to add to the about the blog-ness when I can. The Eleanor Davis interview I did a few posts ago is something I think is pretty great, in that regard.

Thanks for visiting this at present infrequently updated blog. Less is more, folks.

Happiness and why I Don’t Care About it

Originally posted on something witty:

“Are you happy?”

Someone who loves me asked me this question. It was the only thing she wanted to know.

The answer was no, but I answered “I think I’m getting there.” I wanted to give her the comfort and reassurance she sought, misleading or not. She asked as though it was the most important thing in the context of my life, but it didn’t sit right with me.

Why is the most important thing to you that I’m happy? What if I’m not happy, but I’m kind? Is that not important? What if I’m not happy, but I’m generous? Is that not important? What if I’m not happy, but I am creative and free? Is that not important?

We’re so hard up for happiness, the idea is even being sold to us.

buyhappy-header

Happy_Meal_341

It underlies almost all of our media and advertisements. Evidently we’re so desperate, advertisers think we’re dense enough to think…

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