Category Archives: Uncategorized

Doing Boycotts Right

Boycott

Got boycott fatigue? I know I do.

Look: boycotts work. At least some of the time. Bill O’Reilly is still off the air (mostly). And witness the success of Sleeping Giants.

The thing is, it can be really hard to keep up with everyone we’re supposed to be boycotting (check out the list at #GrabYourWallet and Grab-Your-Wallet if you don’t believe me). And the proliferation of boycotts has made them less effective, since we can’t all remember everyone we’re supposed to be boycotting, or why.

Meanwhile, it’s impossible to boycott everything that might have any connection to anyone or anything that’s objectionable, because no one’s hands are completely clean.

“These goods are sustainably produced, but has the company achieved pay equity?”

“This firm has done a great job of promoting diverse leadership, but they also do business with Israel.”

“I heard I should boycott products with palm oil, because the farming practices are bad for orangutans, but it’s IN EVERYTHING.”

“Georgia’s trying to legislate a draconian abortion ban, and we were all down with boycotting North Carolina over its anti-trans bathroom bill, but Stacey Abrams says not to, so I don’t know what to do.”

Boycotts: whatever you’re doing, you’re probably doing it wrong.

My spouse has come up with a pretty solid framework: focus on institutions more than individuals, and on objectionable behavior that’s made part of company policy, not just that someone involved with the company happens to believe.

It’s Chick-fil-A versus Home Depot.

Chick-fil-A is run by a homophobe. Home Depot’s retired co-founder supports TrumPutin. Both are bad.

But Chick-fil-A gives money at the corporate foundation level to funding anti-LGBT work. Bernie Marcus is no longer at Home Depot and has given money personally to TrumPutin-supporting PACs.

Spouse’s position? No Chick-fil-A sandwiches, but yes to getting tools at Home Depot. Which makes sense to me.

(Relatedly, I remember when we were SUPPOSED to go to Home Depot rather than Lowe’s because Lowe’s personnel policies were anti-LGBT, while Home Depot’s were LGBT-friendly. Or you can skip them both in favor of your locally-owned neighborhood hardware store. But I digress.)

(Oh, and for what it’s worth, the Chick-fil-A boycott seems to have backfired.)

Image found here (and it’s worth clicking the link, because the writer raises some additional good points on the efficacy, or lack thereof, of boycotts).

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

Going for Walks

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I’ve been here in my “new” home for nearly four months.  And, other than a few boxes in the garage that are still waiting to be unpacked, I’m mostly “here.”  I’ve even had a dream or two located “here,” which is usually a sign for me that my Younger Self has really moved.

In some ways, this was a difficult move.  I tend to travel rather lean (or, at least, well-organized), but, still, after a lifetime in the law, after decades of gardening, and after, mea culpa, having bought too many books just because I could, this move took a lot of work.  Every single thing you’ve accumulated/been given has to be held, considered, and, then, in many cases, given away.  Selling an old house, buying a new house, installing a water treatment system, finding new cleaning people, identifying a new place to service the car, reorganizing files, making new offerings, establishing new connections with the Powers, and Spirits, and Beings of This Place (especially when This Place includes a lake) — it’s a big job.

But now that I’m here, I’m loving it.

One of the things I promised myself was that I’d get out and walk a lot more.  It’s easy to tell people that walking is good exercise and very easy.  Sure.  Just get up an hour or so earlier, get dressed, walk for 45 minutes, and then come home, cool off, shower, and get dressed to head off to work.  Easy, peasey, and your exercise is done no matter what else the day throws at you.

And there were a few years when I managed that, until I broke my ankle and spent 4 months recuperating.  But the real issue, for me, at least, was that I couldn’t regularly come home around 11:00 from an exhausting day, order out some dinner (because, really, who’s going to cook at that point?), eat it and have a few drinks to relax, collapse into bed around 1:30 and, then, sure, get up at 5:30 to walk and be ready to leave the house by 7:00 to head back into the office and do it again.  I’m sure there are some people who manage that, but I don’t know them.  What really happened was that I’d fall into bed around 1:30, wake up still exhausted at 7:00, gulp coffee, stand in misery in a shower, and then head, exhausted, back into the office to do it again.

But, now, here I am, retired, with not a care in the world and — more importantly — with the ability to manage my own time.  And that means that I can get up, have coffee, meditate, and then go out for a walk.  It’s very hilly here, which is good.  It challenges me.  But there are also all the other old, retired people out walking — with their dogs, with their partners, or alone with their hiking sticks, or bird binoculars, or native plant guides.  And everyone wants to stop to chat, which does (thank the Goddess) give me a chance to catch my breath on these hills.  I’ve never lived anywhere else where I knew the names (I’m bad at names, so I have to work at this) of so many of my neighbors (and their dogs, their grandkids, their adult children), which is likely the result of so many of us having just this year moved in.  Eventually, I’m sure the difficult personalities will out themselves, but there’s a bit of self-selection going on.  If you hate having neighbors, you probably wouldn’t move to a place like this.  And for now, everyone is friendly.

And, INTJ that I am, I’m having to figure out where my boundaries are.  Just now, all of my extra “interacting with others” time is given over to political work, but, after the election on Nov. 5th, I’m looking forward to more unstructured time.  And then I’ll figure out whether I want to go to mixology classes, or history club meetings, or the book club, or the knitting club, or the water aerobics class, or the . . . .

Meanwhile, every morning, I put on my walking shoes, walk up to the end of the development where I can see the cows from the local farm, head back down the hill to run into others who want to talk about the new water tower, the local sheriff’s race, the way the leaves are turning, someone’s adult children kayaking across the lake, and then up the hill, and then down the hill, and then back up the hill to my little green cottage. . . .

May it be so for you.

Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

This is fine, but reading 1491  is better.

 

The Magical Battle for America

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We’ve been working for years now to save America.  Whether you’ve been doing these workings from the beginning or have just joined us, thank you.  Thank you for caring enough about America to do this work.

Whenever I start to get worn down, I remember that Dion Fortune’s Magical Battle of Britain also lasted for years.  Even when her home was being bombed, she kept sending out workings for people across Britain to do to protect their landbase.  (We’re really involved in the second phase of the same battle; anyone who doesn’t recognize the Nazi presence in the Trump White House is just not paying attention.  Dion Fortune won Phase I.  It’s up to us to win Phase II.)  Gradually, the war in Europe shifted and Dion Fortune’s work shifted, too.  She began sending her workings out monthly, instead of weekly, and she began to focus on what Britain  and Europe should look like after the war rather than focusing exclusively on protecting Britain as it was when the Nazis began their attack.

The Brits have this lovely saying about starting as they mean to go on.  We started out basing our Magical Battle for America on Dion Fortune’s Magical Battle of Britain and I think we should “go on” in the same way.  I’m going to be sending these workings out monthly, at least until we get close to the 2020 election.  And what I’d love to hear in comments is what you want America to look like — post-Trump.  Not just, “Let’s go back to where we were,” but, also, given that so much has been upturned and thrown over, what would a wonderful, magical future look like?

Also, I have one ask.  We are just a few days away from a very important election here in Virginia.  Democrats are just a very few seats away from controlling the state legislature.  If the Democrats win, they will pass gun safety legislation right here in the NRA’s home state.  They will pass the ERA.  They will raise teacher’s salaries.  And they will make sure that, following the next census, district lines are drawn fairly.

Many of these seats are won or lost by a very few votes. Your postcards could very well make the difference.  Candidates report that voters who get postcards remember getting them and are motivated to get out and vote.

Would you please do something for me?  Go to Poscards4VA  , register, download 5 addresses, and write postcards (you can buy postcards at the post office with postage already on them) to 5 Democratic-leaning candidates.  (I can recommend Irina Khanin , but there are several other deserving candidates.)  Put them in the mail by October 22nd.  That’s it.  It will take only a few minutes.  If you have children, this is a fun way to get them involved.  Maybe they can put stickers on the postcards or use markers to highlight the date of the election (Nov. 5, 2019) on the cards.  You don’t have to knock on anyone’s door or call anyone up.  You don’t need to sign your full name.

If you do write postcards, please let me know in comments.  I’m happy to pull 3 Tarot cards for anyone who does so.  Let’s win the Battle for America, one election at a time.

Picture found here.

Ancestors

Mrs. Whatsit will be back next week.  Meanwhile, at this Season of the Ancestors, Martin Shaw reminds us that we have many.

Martin Shaw – Bard Skull – Ireland from Awen & Logos on Vimeo.

On Flaws, Double Standards, and Unconscious Sexism

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During the 2016 campaign, almost every story written about Hillary Clinton included the assertion that she was a “flawed candidate.”  Even stories that were generally supportive felt obliged to begin with the proposition that she was a “flawed candidate” before going on to note, for example, that she won her debate, gave a good speech, had a well-thought-out policy to address some issue, or was the most experienced and well-prepared presidential candidate in many years.

Most often, there was no discussion of what it was that made her “flawed,” — the fact was apparently so obvious as to need no explanation.  When pushed, her “flaw” generally involved some complaint that she wasn’t “as good a communicator” as Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. That’s an odd basis for a widely-accepted characterization of a candidate as “flawed.”  We’ll leave aside the fact that those two gentlemen are some of the most gifted orators ever.  And we’ll leave aside the fact that our expectations for how presidential candidates are supposed to sound involves entirely male ways of communicating.  (Thus, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump who yell a lot and wave their arms around sounded fine, but when Hillary raised her voice to be heard, people complained about how much they didn’t like to listen to “all of her yelling.”)  Or she was “just somehow” false, or insincere, or “too calculated.”  The trope that women are deceitful goes back to Genesis.

And it’s interesting to compare the nearly-universal characterization of Hillary as “flawed” with the ways that male candidates are described.  Let’s look at Joe Biden.  It may have happened, but I haven’t seen anyone describe Biden as a “flawed candidate.”  It’s certainly not the regular and expected way we speak about him.

Yet, Biden is a flawed candidate.  He choked in several primaries over the years.  He regularly misspeaks/makes mistakes about the facts.  His view of the world (where he and his friends, the nice Republicans, can work things out, where African American parents need to play the record player for their children, where it’s OK for Biden to grope women, etc.)  is outdated.  Further, Biden comes with a lot of baggage, not the least of which was his terrible handling of Anita Hill.  And, of course, compared to Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, Biden isn’t as effective a communicator. But that’s apparently not enough for him to be regularly labeled “flawed.”  Occasionally, he might be described as “gaff-prone,” but we’re all used to the trope that   nice old men just make harmless mistakes all the time.  (Research shows that women’s mistakes are judged more harshly and remembered longer  than men’s mistakes.)

What explains the different treatment of these two candidates?  To a very large extent, it’s unconscious sexism.  People who would never say, “I don’t think women are as fit to be president as a man,” still somehow find the female candidate “flawed” but don’t describe a male candidate that way or hold him up to the same standards.  That’s unconscious sexism and it has real-world results.  Women are angry about it and we’re not going to stop being angry until the situation changes.

Hat tip to Sia for picture.

Words for Wednesday

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The Significance of Location

~ Pattiann Rogers

The cat has the chance to make the sunlight

Beautiful, to stop it and turn it immediately

Into black fur and motion, to take it

As shifting branch and brown feather

Into the back of the brain forever.

 

The cardinal has flown the sun in red

Through the oak forest to the lawn.

The finch has caught it in yellow

And taken it among the thorns. By the spider

It has been bound tightly and tied

In an eight-stringed knot.

 

The sun has been intercepted in its one

Basic state and changed to a million varieties

Of green stick and tassel. It has been broken

Into pieces by glass rings, by mist

Over the river. Its heat

Has been given the board fence for body,

The desert rock for fact. On winter hills

It has been laid down in white like a martyr.

 

This afternoon we could spread gold scarves

Clear across the field and say in truth,

“Sun you are silk.”

 

Imagine the sun totally isolated,

Its brightness shot in continuous streaks straight out

Into the black, never arrested,

Never once being made light.

 

Someone should take note

Of how the earth has saved the sun from oblivion.

Picture found here.