Category Archives: Uncategorized

Monday at the Movies

I’m Not Sure This Is Effective

white woman with dark hair in red sweater sitting on a bench looking at her phone surrounded by a bunch of people pointing "thumbs down"

There’s a phenomenon that seems to happen on Twitter fairly regularly.

A large-ish account that’s known for anti-racism/sexism/homophobia work gets a fairly uninformed question from a white/male/straight person, boosts it, and calls for “allies” to come educate that person.

(I’m not talking about trolling/BS “devil’s advocate”/”debate me!” assholes – who, honestly, are best ignored and blocked. Really, why are you boosting some bigot with 17 followers? What does that accomplish, exactly? I’m talking about people who genuinely seem merely ignorant rather than evil and who also genuinely seem to be open to becoming more informed and educated.)

I’m not sure it’s terribly effective. And here’s why.

First of all, 280 characters is not enough to have  real conversation about anything. It’s great for sharing news articles and memes, “YAY YOU!” type posts, what a cute pet/kid, and funny asides (although you have to be careful about sarcasm – it doesn’t tend to translate well unless EVERYONE reading it knows you and knows what you mean – that’s some double-black-diamond social media use there, kids, so consider yourself warned).

Second, for every white/male/straight “ally” who shows up trying to draw the OP (original poster) out and share information in a way that the OP can be receptive to it, there are at least three “allies” who don’t appear to have much experience in these types of conversations and how to educate without being condescending or rude, who then pile on and insult the OP.

And then everyone – include the large-ish account – acts surprised when the OP gets defensive and doesn’t seem to take the lesson to heart, which cues an even greater pile on.

(Reader, I have been that person trying to help the OP who quickly gets drowned out by the more-righteous-than-thou insult squad. Charlie Brown, meet football.)

Y’all just attacked that person publicly. What did you think would happen?

The best boss I ever had, who taught me everything I know about managing people and taught me well, shared, as one of her first lessons: “Praise in public, correct in private.”

For 99% of people, strangers jumping all over someone on Twitter (aka “in public”) when s/he is just starting a journey to un-learning racism, sexism, or homophobia is going to backfire.

Yes, that does mean that the OP is looking for help in the wrong place, and that’s on them.

But if you, as an observer, really want to help the OP, I truly believe that the best thing you can do is share some resources for them to check out that helped you in your own journey and/or direct them to find a local group made up of real people the OP can meet with and talk with and get to know in person (a SURJ group, a consciousness raising group, a gay/straight alliance or PFLAG). You know, if you actually want to help them learn, grow, and change their minds, as opposed to merely signaling your own right-on-ness on Twitter for clout.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

This Is a Prayer for Mabon; This Is a Prayer for Resistance

This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for visits, for gratitude, for families.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the deliberate decision to establish connections, to reach out, to take joy in watching others eat.  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for wheat sheaves and pumpkins, for turkey and turnips.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for taking stock, for settling in, for facing the dark.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the courage to say, “There is a place set for you at our table,”* the fire to fight for what we love, the refusal to allow hunger to win.  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for cheeses and ale, for cherries and chestnuts.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for re-establishing balance, for reaching out, for doing more.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the belief that bounty should be shared, that people should be fed, that “only justice can undo a curse.”**  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for squashes and pies, for and rhubarb and roasts.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for the act of sharing, for sitting with guests, for stories by the fire.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

May your Mabon be blessed.  May you continue to Resist.  This is my prayer for you.

Picture found here: https://www.britannica.com/story/thanksgiving-day-in-the-united-states

* A line in The Fifth Sacred Thing.  

**Byron Ballard

Words for Wednesday

Picture by the blogger; if you copy, please link back.

And Now It’s September,

BARBARA CROOKER

and the garden diminishes: cucumber leaves rumpled

and rusty, zucchini felled by borers, tomatoes sparse

on the vines. But out in the perennial beds, there’s one last

blast of color: ignitions of goldenrod, flamboyant 

asters, spiraling mums, all those flashy spikes waving

in the wind, conducting summer’s final notes.

The ornamental grasses have gone to seed, haloed

in the last light. Nights grow chilly, but the days

are still warm; I wear the sun like a shawl on my neck

and arms. Hundreds of blackbirds ribbon in, settle

in the trees, so many black leaves, then, just as suddenly,

they’re gone. This is autumn’s great Departure Gate,

and everyone, boarding passes in hand, waits

patiently in a long, long line.

Monday at the Movies

Will likely watch.

Use This One Great Hack to Feel Better!

I’m seeing more and more posts on social media where people say, “OH MY GOD, if the MAGAts win the midterms we’re doomed!!!!” And, yeah, we definitely don’t want to wake up on Nov. 9th and find out that the crazies won. But I’m going to suggest that doom-posting isn’t the best response. It may make you feel better for a second, but it spreads the doom. And no general heading into battle wants folks terrorizing their troops.

My mom taught me one very valuable lesson and that was that Action is a Tonic. When you’re frustrated, picking up the clothes in your bedroom and making the bed will, in fact, make you feel better. When you’re panicked about your finances, working an extra shift can help. When life feels completely out of control, making a pot of soup and freezing some of it will give you a sense of control. When you’re mad at your governor, calling him will help you feel powerful.

So when I get those “OMG a fucking Nazi judge is fucking in control of Trump’s fucking court case; I fucking wasted my fucking life going to fucking law school and fucking practicing law!” feelings, I ask myself what I CAN do. I can’t fix that nutball bitch of a judge; I have to hope that some DOJ lawyers and some 11th Circuit judges want to save our legal system. But I can try to keep Congress blue. I can strengthen the local Democratic party. I can get yard signs out in my neighborhood. So I phone bank (don’t like it, but I do it). I donate. I put together those dirty pieces of plastic over those even dirtier metal frames. (Never wear white to do this. Ask me how I know.) I do the often really mundane work. But I have to tell you that, at the end of the day, rubbing Bengay on my sore joints and doing my evening practice, I sleep better knowing I did what I could.

Now is go time. Donate. Volunteer. Canvass. Phone or text bank. Make sure the people you know are registered and know when and how to vote. Do the work and things will work out. And even if they don’t, you’ll know you did what you could. The real terror would be to wake up on Nov. 9th and wish you’d bothered to get involved.

(Oh, and for what it’s worth, I believe that we will win. There will be violence and some uncertainty for a bit, but I believe that we will win. Now I’m off to make sure that happens.)

Fall Is In the Air!

Light slanting through the trees in the fall

OK, we’re still a few days away from the equinox, and in my neck of the woods, Mother Nature isn’t quite sure she’s ready for those seasons to change yet (low temp last night? 57F High temp predicted Monday? 90F), but the LIGHT has definitely decided it’s fall, so here we are.

I do love certain things about each of the seasons, but I think, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be autumn.

First, it’s the time of my favorite secular holiday – Halloween – which happens to coincide with my favorite religious holiday, Samhain.

I love the creepy and macabre. (I’d be goth if only their music wasn’t so dreadful.)

I love littles dressed up as super heroes and princesses and dinosaurs and their favorite characters from books and ladybugs and fairies and whatnot, coming looking for candy. And the fact that I’ve convinced my entire end of the block to go as all-in on decorating as we do (it’s a goddamn spooky wonderland over here, and I LOVE IT), and that Halloween night has become an informal block party for us. Do I decorate on October 1? YES I DO.

I love getting to put together an actual cute outfit with various components and layers to it, as opposed to choosing my clothes based solely on what’s washable (for when I sweat all over it) and how little I can get away with wearing and still be appropriately covered for whatever it is I’m getting up to. And the end of having to plan ahead to avoid “chub rub.” Pants! Tights! YAY!

I love having the windows open. A closed-up-tight house in the winter can feel cozy, but having to keep things closed up and blinds drawn in the summer just feels oppressive.

Although I’ll miss melons and berries and stone fruits until next year, I love the arrival of apples and figs and persimmons and pomegranates and winter squash and the turn to heartier meals, things long-braised in the oven or soups and stews simmering on the stove that make the whole house smell good. And getting back to baking – I don’t completely abandon it in the summer, but I sure as hell do a lot less.

I love going on vacation at this time of year, after everyone else is back at work and school (we have a trip planned to Northern California in a few weeks).

I love swapping out my iced tea and coffee for hot versions. And the first fire of the season in the fireplace.And being able to go out for a walk mid-day without risking spontaneous combustion. And the crunch of leaves underfoot.

What are you looking forward to as the wheel turns?

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

Words for Wednesday

Photo by the blogger; if you copy, please link back.

Moonlit Apples

~ John Drinkwater

Art by Brigid Martin

At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,

And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those

Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes

A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then

There is no sound at the top of the house of men

Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again

Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;

On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams

Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,

And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.

And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep

Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep

On moon-washed apples of wonder.

No, It’s Mine

I’m a practical old woman and a win is, IMHO, a win. Since Dobbs, polls show a trend of people supporting family planning rights. Some of that switch, I suspect, is people who once, without thinking much, opposed abortion rights but are now kind of terrified at the idea of fifth grade girls being forced to carry their rapists’ fetuses to term. And, sure, you know, whatever it takes.

But we don’t need abortion rights because of ten-year-olds or because of women forced to die carrying septic non-viable fetuses to birth. We need abortion rights because women are people.

Abortion is right because it is about women having control over their own bodies. This is one of the reasons why “and her doctor” pisses me off so much. Is there any other medical procedure — vasectomy, plastic surgery, viagra, removing skin tags — where we feel required to add “and his/her doctor”? No. It’s only women making the most life-impacting decisions of their lives who have to have “and her doctor” added to make it all more palatable. If a man wants a vasectomy, he should get one, with no “and his doctor” added in; if his doctor doesn’t do vasectomies, he should just find another doctor. Women are adult humans and we don’t need “and her doctor” added to our decisions. If I want to consult a doctor, I will. Otherwise, fuck off.

Look. It’s my body. I get to decide. I get to decide if I want plastic surgery. I get to decide if I want to remove a skin tag or a mole. I get to decide if I want to have a hole punched through my ears, or a tattoo of a line of poetry inscribed on my arm. It’s my body and I get to decide.

Let’s set aside the religious/philosophical debates about when “human life” begins and when/against what profit motives we “protect” that “human life” (e.g. when it would cut too much into profits to make cars go slower or to make coal plants emit less pollution) and consider a twenty-five year old grad student in medicine. S/he needs a kidney transplant to stay alive and keep saving hundreds, thousands of people with his/her life-saving research. Your kidney, it turns out, is a perfect match. Can the government force you to have surgery to donate one of your kidneys? I mean, there are risks, just as there are with pregnancy, but your kidney will save a life. And you can, generally, live with one kidney, just as most women can, generally, live through a pregnancy.

Nope. The government can’t make you have surgery and donate a kidney. Even if that means another human will die. That’s because it’s your body and you get to control what happens to it.

So, sure, if it works, I’m happy to have all the bad examples of ten-year-olds being forced to give birth to their rapists’ babies or women forced to carry dead, headless fetuses to term used to make the point. But even if they made all of those cases exceptions, it’s still my body and you still can’t make me the brooding ground for anyone else. My body. My choice. Or, you can line up to donate your kidney.

Monday at the Movies

Looking forward to this one.