This post is about exclusion and the ethics of disagreement. Not exclusion by a dominant society of marginalized populations, but rather the selective practices of alliance and exclusion in anti-oppressive political circles. The theme I want to use to think through these questions is one of maintaining family ties (chosen family, birth family, or otherwise). I wonder if the idea of "unconditional care" (not to say this is the actual experience of all or many families!) or the practice of making a distinction between thinking critically and being critical/making ethical judgments versus being judgmental might help to foster an ethics of disagreement within social justice communities prone to being divided by political differences. I'm thinking of examples from school-based groups, to civic community organizations, to online commenter communities like the ever-changing group drawn into conversation by Bitch.
"Even Adorno, the great belittler of popular pleasures, can be aghast at the ease with which intellectuals shit on people who hold on to a dream" writes Lauren Berlant, who is not shitting on you or your dream. Her latest book, Cruel Optimism, is less brutal analysis than a dark, lush still-life of American fantasies and our Quixotic lunges toward them. An affective portrait of the 99%.
My sisters and I grew up listening to tons of great music together (Hannah is already on her way to being a famous guitarist and singer at 17!). So it was an obvious choice for us to get together and do a Bitchtapes when our sister, Jesse, came to visit us from Austin. What better topic than songs about sisters, brothers, and sibling relations? Track list after the jump!
Over the weekend, St. Vincent's upcoming album, Strange Mercy, started streaming on NPR. The woman behind the band, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Annie Clark, started out as a member of the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' tour mate. She is known for juxtaposing sweet, Feist-like vocals with dark, often violent imagery. The disconnect between body and soul (that is, between the material and spiritual) is a central theme of her third album. The newest single, Cruel," examines this disconnect in the context of the trivial cruelties of day to day family life.
On Monday, the GA Voicebroke the news that Atlanta's Crest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery will soon have a section "for gay people—couples, their children, single people, people who want to be with their chosen families." The Advocateand Queerty quickly picked up on the story, and it's likely to get bigger as the days go by, especially with the catchy misnomer "gay cemetery." (The lightning-quick spread of the innacurate term "Ground-Zero Mosque" comes to mind.)
For a number of reasons, the idea of a specifically queer section in a cemetery is troubling to me.
I feel like everywhere I turn someone else is saying something about polyamory. Perhaps the recent upset over Proposition 8 in California provided somewhat of a platform for poly communities to openly speak about the legitimation of alternative family structures—not just beyond that of one man and one woman, but beyond gay and lesbian couples as well.
When i was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, it didn’t matter that my parents were some of the earliest feminist leaders on the East Coast, that I grew up watching their activism from up close, or that I saw them live (not just profess) equality between the sexes. It didn’t matter that I was a girl hooked on Ms. magazine from the very first year it was out, that I regularly flipped through my mom’s copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves, or that I ravenously collected Wonder Woman comic books.