morgan_dhu: (Default)

In the wake of the Bernie Sanders Seattle appearance incident, I've seen a lot of white folks on the Net lecturing black folks on how misguided their criticism of Sanders is, because he marched with MLK and he's a good guy who wants justice and equality for all and they should be happy to work with him because he's far more an ally to them than all the other politicians running. And the hard thing for them to understand is that while all they say about Sanders is true, it's not relevant in the way they think it should be.

Which got me to thinking about one of the most insidious aspects of white privilege - insidious because it's primarily found among white people who are honestly trying to be allies, to work for social justice and equality, to fight the good fight.

And that insidious aspect is that we white liberals start thinking that we're doing all this work, all this fighting, "for" other people, and that we deserve something in return - gratitude, a pat on the back, a bit of slack when we backslide, some acknowledgement of what we're doing.

I totally get that. Sometimes I feel that way myself. And then, because I'm a white woman who is therefore lacking privilege on that axis (and a few others, but let's not get complicated here), and have known men who want some kind of acknowledgement for what they think of as their efforts on my behalf, I get myself out of that space of white fragility pretty damn quickly.

Because there's no way I am going to - or should be expected to - thank a man for not raping me, for not harassing me, for not limiting the work I can do, for not thinking he owns me or has some kind of natural rights to my emotional work or sexuality or submission and service, for not doing any of those things that demean, devalue, or limit me as a woman. There is no reason why I should have to be grateful to another human being for treating me, and others like me, as human beings. You don't get accolades for the basic social requirement of not being a total jerk.

It's easy to understand why white people (and indeed anyone in a position of privilege who is working to be an ally and bring about social justice) feel they deserve something in return. It's hard work, coming to understand your own privilege, rooting out all the institutionalized racism we imbibed with the very air we breathed as children. It's difficult, challenging yourself, your friends, your family, your community, your government. And we live in a society where things we define as work - even if they are things that are enjoyable, or personally rewarding, or obviously the right thing to do, receive a return. We are paid for the work we do for employers or clients, and if we do a particularly good job, we expect bonuses or promotions or raises or repeat business. If we do community or church work, we expect to be recognised for it. We want the acknowledgement of our peers for our generosity, our charity, our kindness, for the things we do for others.

But there are kinds of work we don't expect praise or perks or payment for. No one is going to reward us for keeping our house clean, for washing our dirty socks and underwear. We do these things for ourselves, because a house with shit on the floor is not a great place to live, because clean underwear feels better than crusty underwear. We do these things because they are part of the basic life functions we engage in for ourselves.

And that is what white liberals sometimes don't realise, or remember. We aren't engaging in social justice action "for" other people, like a white knight or lady bountiful, we are not saviours who deserve cheers and special considerations - we are doing it because not to do it would be to fail at the basics of being a human being.

There is no reason why anyone should be grateful when I treat them like human beings, because that is the bare minimum to be expected of one human being in relation with another. And there is no reason why I should get a break when I fail to respect the humanity of others, just because there have been times when I didn't fail. It's my own responsibility to behave like a human being, and my own reward when I get it right is knowing that I did.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

Almost everyone I know online is doing it, but for some reason, I had never really even thought of doing it myself until a few weeks ago. And now, I wish I'd started doing it years ago. It gives me such a feeling of freedom and control. And it's so much more convenient, and, frankly, more enjoyable than what I'd always done instead. Although it is true that at first I thought I'd only do it every once in a while, when I really needed it, and now I'm doing it almost every day.

You've probably figured it out by now. I've started watching downloaded TV shows.

I started when I turned, in my usual state of heightened anticipation, to the channel that's been carrying Painkiller Jane, only to find that there was no Painkiller Jane, not that night, nor the next, nor, according to the schedules, the week after or even the week after that. Painkiller Jane had been dumped. Yet it was apparently still being aired in the US. So I did what any addict will do when there is no legitimate source for her drug of choice. I went blackmarket.

Not only did I get to see episodes of Painkiller Jane that no one in Canada was going to show me, but I rediscovered how much better a narrative works when there are no commercials. (I'd learned this about movies back when I got my first VCR, but hadn't applied it to other forms of commercial entertainment before now.)

And, like the proverbial gateway drug, the experience of watching a show I could not get in Canada made it so much easier to move to watching shows that had already aired in other countries, and were supposed to air sometime in Canada, but no one had gotten around to airing them yet, and I was dying to see them.

Yes, my next step was watching all the first half-season of Blood Ties, which had already aired in the US, and the full season of Torchwood, which had already aired in the UK.

Edit: I forgot! I also decided that it wasn't fair to have to wait over a year for the third season of ReGenesis, which has already aired on pay-TV but won't be on Showcase, the other cable channel that's a production partner, for goddess knows how long.

Ah, what a slippery slope this is. I next decided to watch all of The Dresden Files episodes, which had already aired in Canada but I'd missed them because I never watch Space (the Canadian sci-fi channel) unless I know there's something I want to watch, and they never do any publicity for their new shows anywhere else, so I didn't know it was on until after it was in media res, and I hate coming in on a series like that half-way.

Then I really hit the hard stuff. Yes, Doctor Who season three has finally started airing in Canada, but I know because I read spoilers that there are two three-part stories in the second half of the season, and I've always hated waiting for resolution, so... you guessed it, I've got the second half of the season now and I'm going to have a Doctor Who marathon.

And of course, there's all sorts of older series I'd never had the chance to see, or never get rerun and I'd love to see again. I've just discovered Sapphire & Steel, a 70s British SF series I'd heard a lot about but had never seen. And someone out there must have put VR.5 online (yes, I think David McCallum is a sex god, if you must know), although I haven't found it yet. And then there's all the still-existing early Doctor Who episodes that I haven't seen in 40-odd years (I still mourn over the fact that one of my favourite First Doctor series, Marco Polo, is among the missing). In fact, that's what's happening right now - An Unearthly Child is on its way as I type this.

Frankly, I'm tired of having to wait months, even years, for TV shows that are airing elsewhere first - especially series like Blood Ties, which is made in Canada, or Doctor Who and Torchwood, which are partly financed with Canadian money. And I'm tired of waiting forever for the quirky niche-market shows I like to get re-run or put out on DVD.

So I guess I've joined the Torrent revolution. Instant gratification R Us. I can has what I want. Naow.

And yes, I do feel uneasy about the fact that if everyone watches current or currently syndicated old TV shows this way, then stations and networks lose viewers and thus lose advertisers and then they don't buy the shows and it gets less likely that production companies will make shows that people who download shows will like, and the creative people who think up and write these shows won't work, and on it goes. I know some shows and some episodes are made available online after they've been aired by the networks that air them, but I certainly don't know the provenance of what I've been watching. I'm still working out the ethics of it for myself. But the old system isn't working any more, not for people who really want to see what's happening in to their favourite shows but can't because their shows aren't given priority by the networks where they live, and who would really like to be able to talk to their fellow fans in Australia or the US or the UK or wherever about shows that aren't airing on the same schedules.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

For some strange reason, I have decided to go back to the beginning in both of my journals and insert tags.

I'm sure that once I finish this onerous task, I'll remember why I thought it would be worthwhile.

In the mean time... it's incredibly tedious, but lacks the sheer repetitiveness that permits one to go into autopilot and achieve a zen state.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

I hate spam. I know I am not alone in this, but I just thought I'd mention it anyway.

I bring this up today because I have been getting inordinate numbers of anonymous comments on old posts from people who want to sell me penis enlargement products, all sorts of magical cures for everything from hair loss to erectile dysfunction, and hot stock tips, among other bizarre offerings.

None of these things interest me. But I'm really getting tired of deleting these sales pitches from my journal. So, if there's anyone out there reading this who does not have a LiveJournal account, I have reluctantly disabled anonymous commenting. Sorry. If there's anyone out there in this position who ever does get the hankering to make a comment, you're free to email me (see my user profile) and if you want, I'll post your comment for you so anyone else reading can respond to it in my LJ.

What I hate worse than spam is having to implement anything that smacks of censorship in order to avoid the hassle of deleting spam on top of spam on top of spam.

morgan_dhu: (Default)

For many people, found art is primarily tangible, substantial, visual. It is about objects removed from context - and sometimes modified - by the artist, given new context, new significance by being chosen, removed, re-placed, re-visioned as art.

There's always been found poetry out there, too - one of the more well-known mass media examples would be Simon and Garfunkel's "Silent Night/Seven O'Clock News."

I find that my spam filter is a fine source of found poetry, and here is today's poem.

Which too resplendent
At carmela it chysolite
it is unicorn
in a mack.

Virgin Muse

Jun. 7th, 2004 11:48 pm
morgan_dhu: (Default)

For years I have sworn that I would not join LiveJournal. I'm already spending way too much time online, between the couple of Usenet newsgroups I hang out in, and the handful of mailing lists I'm subscribed to. But I could only hold out for so long, when my friends keep saying fascinating things in their LJ posts and I have no way to answer them. So, here I am, oaths trailing pitifully in the dust behind me, creeping into LJ and trying to figure out just how it all works.

Well, at least now I have an actual post on my page, instead of that blank slate. Will I post again, or will I just use my new status to flit hither and yon, sprinkling comments into the conversations of others? And does anyone care?

Say tuned to the next exciting adventure of Morgan Dhu in Journaltown.

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