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In which I braindump some thoughts about a topic nobody cares about - Tactical Ninja

Sep. 16th, 2010

10:21 am - In which I braindump some thoughts about a topic nobody cares about

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So I'm down to the last few packages for posting. Included in these are the ones for my aunties - one in Australia and one in England. I've met Margaret a few times, they came over twice when Mum was sick, and for her I've chosen the cathedral window quilt which Mum started when I was about 7 and finished when I was about 27and which won a national award, and a shawl in cable pattern, spun and knitted from wool shorn off Mum's moorit sheep Caramel by me. For Joyce, who I know less well (read: have met once 25 years ago when I was a bratty 15 year old), but who I've always seen as a classic English rose, I've chosen a blue and white hardanger tablecloth (which also won a national award), and a throw rug in textured pattern knit (two colours) with large flowers, also from wool shorn from Mum's sheep by me.

And I'm going to be really glad when I stop having to send parcels on a daily basis.

I was unsurprised to see ontd_f featured in a drama-mocking community yesterday, even though I missed the exchange that led up to it. On discovering what was up, my main feeling was one of schadenfreude. I am clearly an evil person.


Nothing major. It's educational, there are discussions of topics that are interesting and relevant, and for the most part the mods there do a very good job of keeping it from degenerating into flaming and inanity, and also creating a space to speak for those who might otherwise remain silent. No mean feat, given the subject matter that often comes up. But there are some areas of fail, and they're pretty big, because they're to do with integrity. Examples:

A week ago I saw the community, including mods, dogpiling someone for a post that was construed as 'enable me', even though the post addressed some important issues of marginalisation - yes I'm talking about the heroin post. I took myself out of that early because I posted before coffee and made a stupid factual error that triggered some people, so I thought it best to keep my mouth shut. But the fact is, heroin addiction is a health issue, the so-called justice system response does exacerbate the harms from heroin use, and heroin-based maintenance/treatment programs are helping a number of people get clean. All of this was ignored in the "You are a junkie therefore everything you say is suspect" response from the community.

Two days ago, someone posted another personal story, this time related to psychiatric evaluations pending custody cases. It read very much like a 'pity me' post, but like the heroin post, it had a valid point behind it. Someone read the post as 'pity me' and pointed this out, and the community (including the mods) dogpiled that person, saying that sharing one's personal history is fine to make a point, and one should not take a history of mental health issues to mean that everything someone says is suspect, and should stick to the point without attacking the person for their issues.

Hmm.

Additionally as part of the heroin thing, the person who posted got banned for repeatedly using an icon of a woman holding a gun to her head, because it might be triggering. The very next day, someone posted using an icon that says "Kill everyone". Not a peep from anyone. The difference? One poster is a Native American, the other a heroin addict. My question - should this make a difference in this space, and if so, why?

Next example: It is repeatedly made clear in that community that as a white, able-bodied, cisgendered, thin person I could not possibly have anything of value to say in many of the discussions. Mostly I'm ok with that and keep my mouth shut. But then I saw a post (since deleted) in which one of the mods objected to the notion that feminism is a bit broken because some people's voices are silenced and that thin women are sometimes excluded because by their very body shape they are obviously buying into the patriarchy (or some such). This mod came right out and said "Thin women are not excluded from feminism, ever". Except for the bit where I've already talked here about how I often feel excluded because my intersectional privilege automatically disallows my experience as 'not relevant'. But apparently it's ok to not only exclude me but to deny the existence of my exclusion. Nice one guys.

Another example: The little notes that have started appearing at the bottom of posts saying who's allowed to speak and what they are allowed to say. Not only is this insulting to our intelligence, but it also often pushes the borders of bigotry. Why is it ok for a certain mod to say that she loves finding fodder to snark on white women in a public post? It would never be ok for me to say that, and I wouldn't even entertain the idea of searching for snark fodder for a particular group. Yet it's ok to do that to me and because of my privilege, I can't say "Please don't, it's hurtful." And before the "Let me tell you internets it's so tough being white" gifs come out, yes it could be worded to be specific about what group is being targeted. As a white woman who had to look up 'antebellum' to find out what that meant and was then horrified that other people actually romanticise that stuff, I find being lumped in with those people as 'snark fodder' kind of hurtful. White women aren't a homogenous group either, folks, and while being treated as such is deliciously ironic, it's also a form of exclusion and silencing, which is the very thing such communities purport to be against. But if I say anything, I'll get dogpiled.

Finally, the post about rape on Native American land? You know how at the bottom we were told "Non-natives, don't speak in this post if all you have to say is "Gosh I didn't realise!" because that reinforces our invisibility and it's insulting and a slap in the face." And that's logical and fair enough. But then, have a look at this morning's post about the 'administrative detention' practices in Switzerland. Particularly, have a look at how many people are posting going "Gosh, I had no idea!" and how many others are identifying as Swiss.

So which things am I supposed to just know about and therefore not be able to express shock and sympathy, and which is it ok for nobody to know about? And how do these relate to whether the issue's happening in America or not? Just wondering.

So yeah. I stay because it's an educational community and I'm learning a lot by keeping my mouth shut and reading things. But I'm not sure I'd be going to that community as an example of the kind of integrity I want to emulate, and there's a big danger of falling into the mindset of agreeing with the prescribed/proscribed viewpoints in there because they come across as reasonable, and silencing my 'something's not right about this' voice. And I don't want to do that because if I don't question, I become a mindless drone and that's dangerous.

Speaking this there would add up to more angst than I need right now. I also don't have the knowledge or debating skills to hold myself up there, so I have, so far, kept my feelings to myself. But I reiterate, I was not surprised to see the comm getting called out, and personally I think it's about time.


And on another note that might actually be of interest to people, my blanket is at least 5 inches long! It will keep my ankles warm. And mah new wool arrived this morning *squee* - I think the first thing I need to make is a bag to put mah wool in, and also one for things like knitting needles.

Still want a loom.

It seems the monetary part of Mum's estate is about to be wound up. It's not a lot of money but it will pay off my car, double the amount I've been saving for The Kid's future, and leave enough for one trip to Hong Kong. I feel inappropriate about celebrating this but at the same time it's a nice feeling, to actually have money instead of always being "$50 till payday, can we make it?" I has a conflicted.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:September 15th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC)
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I'ts still one of the better places for reading discussion on those important issues, but yeah.

Experiences vs learnings is an interesting conundrum. I happen to think both have value and that not all learnings are rational, neither are all experiences irrational or hysterical, and vice versa.

But I'm difficult like that (and often confused).
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From:tatjna
Date:September 16th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
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I love it when you do that. Just saying.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 16th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
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Logic-looping, which is a term I just made up for what you did there. It's something you're really good at and something I particularly appreciate.
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From:bekitty
Date:September 16th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
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I think the word "testerical" needs to be used a LOT more. :)
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From:tatjna
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
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In some ways I believe it has value to consider the ways in which one is privileged/oppressed. I just have difficulty with the concept of feeling I have to justify my opinion in terms of my own oppression before speaking.

Part of this is from a desire to not spend my life focused on oppression - I've never been big on pity parties - and partly it's because I don't think lack of experience necessarily precludes thinking about issues and understanding them.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)

non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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I totally need a support person to help me choose frames for glasses because the frames never have lenses in and without the lenses I can't see the frames!

Woe.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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OK that made me lol.

Awesome!
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From:opheliastorn
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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I am actually laughing out loud here. !

(I am particularly oppressed by the horror of having to find my glasses when I am not wearing them and, therefore, often cannot see them to find. Woe, etc.)
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From:tatjna
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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This is where my other disability OCD comes in handy. I always put them in the same place, and even in no-glasses-gropey-time in the mornings, I can find them because they're in that place.

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From:opheliastorn
Date:September 16th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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... you know, I probably should have considered making a specific put-glasses-here place before now. That is genious! Much better than just finding a random flat surface.

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From:tatjna
Date:September 16th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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You realise that empathy for the oppressed is likely to be the last thing I feel, after confusion --> frustration --> realisation --> murderous rage* --> action against the oppressor, right?

* In the mornings, not being able to find my glasses is that rage-inducing, yes. Why do you ask?
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From:bekitty
Date:September 16th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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/former benefit rights advocate ON

"Disability benefit"? Do you mean Disability Allowance, which is a small amount of money used to help offset medical costs, and which is available to anyone who is below a certain level of income?

Or Invalid's Benefit, which is a full benefit for those who have a significant long-term disability that prevents them from working for more than fifteen hours a week in open (i.e. non-sheltered) employment?

Because if it's the former, then I would say that trans* people ARE eligible for DA. Hormones and blockers aren't cheap, and quite often aren't subsidised. And if you're transitioning from female to male, you need to visit the doctor regularly to get your shots of testosterone, which you're not allowed to do yourself.

However, if it's the latter, then I would agree that simply being trans* isn't enough to qualify for IB on its own. You CAN work while trans*. It's not impossible if you have an employer who is supportive of your transition.

/former benefit rights advocate mode OFF
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From:bekitty
Date:September 16th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)

Re: non-serious aside on the glasses thing

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Ah, so "disability" in the American sense. I was thinking about the NZ benefit system.

From what I've been told by US friends who've tried applying for disability, you need a good doctor who really understands your condition, and a good lawyer for when you get rejected the first time. On average, I've heard that if you want to apply for disability, you have to prepare for being rejected the first three times. Or at least, that's how it worked in Tennessee. I think it's their form of gatekeeping, to be honest.
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From:helianthas
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
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". It's not a lot of money but it will pay off my car, double the amount I've been saving for The Kid's future, and leave enough for one trip to Hong Kong. I feel inappropriate about celebrating this but at the same time it's a nice feeling, to actually have money instead of always being "$50 till payday, can we make it?""

I think about you using this money for the good things you mention, and it makes me smile and makes my heart feel warm. Of course you'd rather your mum be here, an it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job honoring her as you go through her things & estate. Forgive me for the cheese factor, but I read what you write and think of love and gratitude and your mom wanting you to enjoy it.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:34 pm (UTC)
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This is true, and thank you for your perspective. Mum put a lot of effort into getting her affairs in order so that her lived-live-leftovers would benefit her kids in the future, to the extent of her ability.

And I was able, before she died, to make sure she knew we understood this and how much we appreciated it. She was so proud of us.

*sniff*
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From:opheliastorn
Date:September 15th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
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I know I'm just a vague follower here, but I don't think there's anything wrong with being happy that your mum is providing for a bit of happiness and ease in your life. Next year I'm going to do some travel mostly funded by the money my grandmother left me, and I'm seeing that as adding more memories to remember her by, you know?
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