“This readiness to assume the guilt for the threats to our environment is deceptively reassuring: We like to be guilty since, if we are guilty, it all depends on us. We pull the strings of the catastrophe, so we can also save ourselves simply by changing our lives. What is really hard for us (at least in the West) to accept is that we are reduced to the role of a passive observer who sits and watches what our fate will be. To avoid this impotence, we engage in frantic, obsessive activities. We recycle old paper, we buy organic food, we install long-lasting light bulbs—whatever—just so we can be sure that we are doing something. We make our individual contribution like the football fan who supports his team in front of a TV screen at home, shouting and jumping from his seat, in the belief that this will somehow influence the game’s outcome.”— Slavoj Žižek
“Articulacy of finger, the language of the deaf and dumb, signing on the body of longing. Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referenced me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap a message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body. Your morse code interferes with my heart beat. I had a steady heart before I met you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythms, you play upon me, drumming me taut.”—
It was all too urgent being human.
You ordered drinks, gestured
with your hands, told stories
and the more I knew
the more I was frightened
the air came unpinned, got lost
in autumn & dusk, in the leaves
at the edge of the field. And weren’t the edges themselves
vanishing? When you walked to the barn
where the cats had gone in,
taken to rafters. I heard your footsteps
moving the gravel, the ice
in your glass of vodka.
I listened like that
for the ends of things: the last of the cars, the headlights crossing
our bedroom. I listened
to your breathing.
but rooms kept turning in places
I could not ignore. I left because I loved you
without reserve. Because I would not be allowed
to keep you with me in the world.
”—Kate Northrop, excerpt from Affair with Various Endings
“Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one, a moment, in childhood, when it first occurred to you that you don’t go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one’s memory. And yet, I can’t remember it. It never occurred to me at all. We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it; before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squalling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, there’s only one direction. And time is its only measure.”—Tom Stoppard, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” (via awritersruminations)
“The myth that the safety of sex workers lies in their taking better precautions or that sex work’s dangers are inevitable perpetuates a blaming-the-victim model while ignoring the role that culture rather than nature plays in the equation. Dormer can intone all he likes that women in the escort business “should be careful with their contacts.” But so long as sex work is broadly criminalized, women like the four whose bodies were found in his county will be driven to do their work in darker, more deserted, and more isolated places. They’ll be forced to make decisions about whether their johns are safe quickly in order to get off the street, and loath to report the rapes, assaults, and robberies that are a routine part of their lives to the police. Fear of arrest will keep their friends from following the safety plans that so many sex workers put into place, which include bringing someone along on an “outcall” to wait outside the hotel or home or to call the police if they don’t come back from a date at an agreed-upon time. (In another curious press moment, Newsweek describes Amber Lynn Costello as “casting aside caution” the very paragraph before it describes the three-point safety plan that she and her roommate follow.)”—Getting Away with Murder on Long Island (via robot-heart-politics)
“If your ancestors cut down all the trees, it’s not your fault, but you still don’t live in a forest.”—Pam Oliver, a professor in the UW-Madison sociology department, explaining the historical roots of racism in the United States to her undergraduate students (mostly middle-class and White). I try to use this when I teach race now, too, to get past the defensive “but why are you BLAMING ME” reaction. (via cabell)
…aaand American Apparel jumps on the racist bandwagon with its own interpretation of the Hipster Headdress — a sacred array of $14 twist scarves? Oh, look, you can even take fifteen dollars off the entire costume if you enter the code “NativeAmerican15” upon payment.
Anticipating the reaction, they shoot the “token” w.o.c for this outfit. Right.
“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions.. for safety on the streets… for child care, for social welfare… for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says ‘Oh, I’m not a feminist,’ I ask ‘Why? What’s your problem?’”—Dale Spender (via earlyfrost)
“I want people to know that when I choose to cover this way it’s because I am fighting against a systematic oppression against women in which women’s bodies are being sexualized and objectified. This is a different perspective and a different form of empowerment in which I think when I’m in public, my sexuality is in my control and people have to deal with my brain and who I really am and not judge me by my body. And if we want to really talk about the oppressive situation of women, let’s talk about all the eating disorders, all of the plastic surgery, all of the unhealthy diets that are being done, all in the name of having the perfect body. To me, this is liberating and this is empowering.”—Hebah Ahmed on CNN
It started out as a feeling Which then grew into a hope Which then turned into a quiet thought Which then turned into a quiet word And then that word grew louder and louder 'Til it was a battle cry I’ll come back when you call me No need to say goodbye
Just because everything’s changing Doesn’t mean it’s never been this way before All you can do is try to know who your friends are As you head off to the war Pick a star on the dark horizon and follow the light You’ll come back when it’s over No need to say goodbye You’ll come back when it’s over No need to say goodbye
Now we’re back to the beginning It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet But just because they can’t feel it too Doesn’t mean that you have to forget Let your memories grow stronger and stronger 'Til they're before your eyes You’ll come back when they call you No need to say goodbye You’ll come back when they call you No need to say goodbye
“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some devine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”—Alfred Lord Tennyson
Of all people, it was Woody Allen who not so long ago, on the ball, observed: “More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”
In Pakistan, which we have been told constantly, from its very birth, stands at a crossroads, even today, these three sentences apply particularly. Having with remarkable consistency chosen incorrectly for the not unsubstantial period of 64 years, we find ourselves mired progressively deeper in a quicksand of our own making.
Realising that all problems in this country’s life can ultimately be traced to the stomach, religious extremism, polarisation, political chaos, ethnic strife, bombings, target killings, political disappearances, land-grabbing, extortion, kidnappings, galloping corruption and avarice, and all the rest with which we are over-familiar, the ever-increasing consequence has been the widening divide between the haves and the have-nots.
Our poorest 10 per cent consume some four per cent of the national cake, while the richest 10 per cent gobble up 27 per cent. For Pakistan, the Gini coefficient has grown drastically over decades. The ‘trickle-down theory’ of wealth distribution has not delivered. Too many millions are destined to eke out a living under the poverty line.