Archive for February, 2012

I wished that woman would write and proclaim this unique empire so that other women, other unacknowledged sovereigns, might exclaim: I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst —burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What’ the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient, infinite woman who, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, hasn’t been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a…divine composure), hasn’t actually accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn’t thought she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.
And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it.

Hélène Cixous, “The Laugh of the Medusa”

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Compost has been an alluring metaphor for me precisely because of its productive darkness and mystery. The diverse mix of compost might be the closest thing to our notion of the melting pot. Decaying objects do not and cannot discriminate. Compost, the mixture, or the varied ingredients denote the noun. Compost, the conversion, the change from one state (death) to another (life) allows us to view activism as necessary. Activism, like decomposition, alleviates societal bloat, condenses matter, makes more matter, and moves matter, making room for matter.
Like compost, activism is healthiest when it is diverse. The only times that activism has led to significant social changes have been when a variety of individuals and organizations were coming at the same problem from a variety of angles. That means, among other things, that we need to be self-reflexive when we have the impulse to criticize activists who share our goals but use different tactics arises.
Both activists and academics discuss how hard it is to create change even though change is the only constant in life and happening all the time. Rather than thinking about the very difficult business of creating change out of nothing, what if we consider ourselves as working within an ongoing process of continual change, much like the process of composting? To me, compost is about living out the questions and sitting in the tensions, being in the inquiry, naming my contradictions and making the effort. To be honest with myself, to face myself in the actions and choices of my daily life is to compost. I try to make it a practice, one I show up to—clear about my intentions to dig and heave.

Alison Fisher, “Composting the Tribulations of Activism in Academia”

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I seek the truth, I encounter error. How do I recognize error? It is obvious, like truth. Who tells me? My body. Truth gives us pleasure. It makes us burst out laughing, trembling. Blushing. It’s hot. It’s like this: I grope. I try the word “hesitation.” I taste it. No pleasure. No taste. I cross out. I try: “correction.” I taste. No. I taste ten words. Finally I fall on the word: “essay.” Before even trying I already sense a pretaste… I taste. And, that’s it! Its taste is strong and fine and rich in memories of pleasure.
Truth strikes us. Opens our heart. Our lips. Error makes us sense the absence of taste. Drops us like a dead person, apathetic tongue, dry eyes. Error really can’t fool us.

Hélène Cixous & Catherine A. F. MacGillivray, Without End; no State of Drawingness; no, rather: The Executioner’s Taking off

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If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.

Thomas Merton  (via thatkindofwoman)

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by robert montgomery

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A white college student from a private college goes into a poor neighborhood and volunteers four hours a week and that’s considered exemplary. [Whereas] a poor kid who lives in that community and takes care of all the kids in that neighborhood four hours every day is not seen as a volunteer.

Dr. Patricia Hill Collins quoting Public Allies CEO Paul Schmitz in her talk Answering the Call to Community Service. (via sexartandpolitics)

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The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.

http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/2012/02/glee-on-my-way.html (via tomandlorenzo)

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