Yesterday was interesting. There were so many comments I made which I could have expanded upon…whole chapters in their own right. What generally happens at a time like that is that nothing happens. The comments just drift away into nothingness.
So I grabbed an assortment and decided to comment on the comments. And stuff happens. If it weren’t for the fact that my computer is currently crashing, I might have selected an assortment of thoughts from those responses and turned them into a poem. Sometimes, however, stuff doesn’t happen.
For those looking for an etymological moment, I give you
From late O.E. wimman (pl. wimmen), lit. “woman-man,” alteration of wifman (pl. wifmen), a compound of wif “woman” (see wife) + man “human being” (in O.E. used in ref. to both sexes; see man).
You see, the thing is that originally man (or homo in Latin) meant human being. Wer (or Vir in Latin) meant male man. Wif meant female man. They were less knowledgeable about other possibilities at that time than we should be today…one would think.
In the late 1200s (after the signing of the Magna Carta, one might notice) wer stopped being and man became the word used to refer to a male human. Those things we said before about human beings? They now mean males only.
Cf. Du. vrouwmens “wife,” lit. “woman-man.” The formation is peculiar to Eng. and Du. Replaced older O.E. wif, quean as the word for “female human being.” The pronunciation of the singular altered in M.E. by the rounding influence of −w−; the plural retains the original vowel. Women’s liberation is attested from 1966; women’s rights is from 1840, with an isolated example in 1632.
There is a war in this country against my people.
It is a silent war, but a war nonetheless. Whether a person is gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered, as I am, there is a bigot out there who wants each one of us dead. There is a bigot out there with my name on it.
Being transsexual I know that there is about a 25% chance I will have killed myself because of the treatment I have received from people who do not think there is anything wrong with treating me in the worst ways imaginable and a 25% chance I will be killed by the rage of someone else, someone who doesn’t believe I should have the right to live on this planet, let alone in this country.
What is the point to all that, stu? Is it less important to you that we die because we are small in numbers? Or do you agree with the bigots that we should be eradicated.
The war is an issue. It is not the only issue. Surviving each day has a higher priority for some of us, as well as helping our brothers and sisters survive.
This all happens with you apparently so blithely unaware that you apparently can’t even figure out what my references are when I comment to you, even though I publish on the front page here. Are you really that dense?
Promoting someone as a possibility for president who would would be happier if I were dead, singly because he is anti-war, is offensive to me.
What part of that are you incapable of understanding?
I get so tired sometimes of being told that stopping this war trumps every other needed reform. Some issues transcend war. Wars come and wars go, but the problems still exist. Ignoring those problems in time of war is quite possibly why they persist, especially since humanity seems to crave warfare. When is there not a war?
Ignorance persists. Hunger persists. Intolerance exists. There is a constant famine of the body, mind and soul. If one wishes to stop war, one pays attention to that.
I have written enough introductions… (4.00 / 2)
…to probably fill up a good part of a book by themselves.
I’m going to post a few of them in the comments. Might stir some discussion.
Thank you, Ria, for sharing your conception. For anyone else who doesn’t know what this is about, I invite you to Writings, which is a work in (slow) progress.
Gandhi: (4.00 / 6)
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
I’m not so sure. In some cases it may be that they laugh at you first, then ignore you. If one starts out being the stuff of myth and legend, twisted somehow from the beauty of Pygmalion’s statue into the bogeyman of Robert le Bougre…Robert the Bugger (the link goes to a fascinating discussion entitled Demonising Dissent at Australian Radio National’s TheArk. There is both audio and a transcript.).
Oh, bother. This may become fairly long. But I found the quoted part interesting for historical context:
Rachael Kohn: Now you mentioned depravity, and I wonder whether Robert was rather interested in sexual deviance. He was known as Robert the Bugger, wasn’t he?
Hilbert Chiu: That’s right. Well the Bugger is an interesting epithet to someone. See, it originated from the fact that in the West, whenever people accused someone else of being an heretic, they would call them a ‘Bolgar’, or in old French, a ‘Bougre’. The reason for that is of course as we mentioned before, the Bogomils. The people in the West encountered heretics, they assumed that those heretics were related or exactly the same as the heretics in Bulgaria, and so they got the epithet ‘the Bolgars’. What’s more is that as a piece of slander, these heretics in the West were frequently accused of engaging in orgies, not just in any orgies, homosexual orgies, orgies with Satan present, orgies with incest. And so the name ‘Bolgar’ came to have this connotation of homosexuality, of sexual depravity, and so we derive that name ourselves in Middle English it is ‘Bougre’, and in modern English we say ‘Bugger’. So it’s interesting how the name itself came from such humble origin as ‘Bolgar’ and became ‘Bugger’.
Rachael Kohn: Indeed. Well there’s a great deal of interest these days in the Bogomils and in the Cathars, probably more so than in recent decades. Why do you think that is? What’s the fascination with these heretics?
Hilbert Chiu: I think there is new interest nowadays, in giving voice to minority groups, certainly groups that were minorities in their time. And we see a resurgence in research, historical research into things like mental health, religious minorities and I think heresy is often seen as that. But I also think that there is an element of interest, of New Age interest, if you like, in the accusations the Inquisition often made on the other side. Accusations like homosexual orgies, accusations like cannibalism, and sociologists are very interested in this sort of thing, into the way groups are stigmatised, groups are accused of activities that are seen as an inversion of what normal people should be doing.
Rachael Kohn: Well just how successful was Robert the Bugger in being the long arm of the Inquisition?
Hilbert Chiu: Well he seems to have been very successful. He wrote to the Pope, Gregory IX, telling Gregory that the entire region was swarming with heretics, even though in the 50 years previous to that, there were no real accounts at all that survive in our time, of heresy. So whether Robert invented this or not, we don’t know, but that was certainly the step up that he needed, because Gregory, within two years, made him the Inquisitor-General of all of Northern France, which was a very powerful position, and it also had the backing of Louis IX, the King. Louis is a very interesting guy. He was later made a saint, St Louis, and he always said that the only argument a layman could make against a heretic, is to thrust a sword into him. And so this was the manner of support Robert got.
Returning to the original Gandhi comment, I often feel in the ignored category. I’ve done the laughed at part.
Darn. (4.00 / 7)
I was sort of hoping for something Sartrean.
An existential revolution? That’s my long range goal.
But I doubt I will see one happen in this lifetime, so I’ve had to imagine some other method. Communicate with the future, with the hope that someone out there in SpaceTime will locate this herenow somewhen…and maybe share it with others.
Change sometimes happens with the slowness of glaciers.
I made a few trips… (4.00 / 2)
…but then decided I needed a nap in front of the AC. Woke up with a headache.
A comment on modern society? I grew up with no AC in Oregon. I lived in Arkansas with AC which worked only sporadically and not very well. There is a reason that there is a cultural view of the people of the Ozarks as being slow moving. It was hot. Africa hot.
In any group consensus about reality… (4.00 / 2)
…I’m afraid I would fail to exist. But I do exist. I am a thought, an idea, a concept. I am words, linked together in what I would hope would be an expanding dialog, an expansion restricted by the earliest social knowledge most humans are taught, the difference between boys and girls.
I doubt I could get a group of people to suspend their perceptions about gender. I know I can’t. I’ve been trying for 16 years and have failed far more often than succeeding.
I enter a room and men reflexively cross their legs. How is that suspended?
The central question perhaps. Sometimes people think we are laying blame when we go there. I can’t speak for any one else who identifies as being “like me,” but I have absolutely no interest in the laying of blame. Laying blame does not change What Is. And changing What Is is never going to happen unless people think about it and talk about it.
Why else do I exist herenow?
As I said the other night… (4.00 / 1)
…I’m fine with me. It’s reality that needs changing.
I stumbled a bit here:
It is my impression that both sides of this divide feel increasingly willing to defend ideas they hold as sacred with whatever means necessary.
That’s too binary for me. Many times I am included in neither of those apparent sides. Seems to be a lifelong calling.
Binary excludes. Binary narrows the possible expansions of what it means to be a human being with a part to play in this society. Binary is often used as a tool of the unary thinking that provided us with Robert the Bugger and the Inquisition which followed.
I learned long ago… (4.00 / 1)
…that I have little control over other people or what they feel about me. One axiom I survived by clinging to is:
If people have a problem with me, it is their problem.
Have I often followed that with the thought, “They should work on it.” I have to admit to that.
People have often commented on the patience I have displayed. The truth is I am quite impatient. It often gets the better of me.
I truly do wish people would work on the problems they have with people like me. Now would be nice. Not after the war (no matter which war) but now. Work on those problems so that we can peacefully coexist in this occupied country.
Silence has been death. It still is.
The prairie dog village at Badlands… (4.00 / 2)
…should go to the Souix. The prairie dogs should be allowed to stop working for The Man.
Nobody commented on the Stafford quote from Looking back at the present, so I’m repeating it:
We live in an occupied country, misunderstood;
justice will take us millions of intricate moves.
–William Stafford, from Thinking for Berky
Perhaps prairie dogs are part of that.