Screen-shot of a Facebook conversation.  Goes like this:
Jamie Johnston:  I think technically the new name would be something like ‘the United Kingdom of England (including the Principality of Wales) and Northern Ireland’.  Catchy.
[Anonymized 1]:  UKE(PW)NI rolls of the tongue
[Anonymized 2]:  The United Kingdom of the Unspecified Landmasses of English Locality Except Scotland.
or
UKULELES.

Screen-shot of a Facebook conversation.  Goes like this:

Jamie Johnston:  I think technically the new name would be something like ‘the United Kingdom of England (including the Principality of Wales) and Northern Ireland’.  Catchy.

[Anonymized 1]:  UKE(PW)NI rolls of the tongue

[Anonymized 2]:  The United Kingdom of the Unspecified Landmasses of English Locality Except Scotland.

or

UKULELES.

Click here to support Help Mimi Keep Her Electricity by Gloria Gusoff

premierbonheur:

feetlips:

premierbonheur:

My mother survived breast cancer, divorce, her father’s suicide, and a host of other health and emotional problems..yet she is having the hardest financial time of her life and there’s nothing she can do. She has tried every agency in her area. They’re all out of funds. A church paid her bill last month, and the month before one gave her a portion of it..but there are no more churches. There is no bank that would give her or me a loan. We certainly can’t get credit cards. She does not have any family that can help.

I went to high school with my friend Gloria. She took me to my first Rocky Horror. She’s always been one of the smartest and most interesting people I know, but for the past 5 years or so, her family has been on a continuing downward spiral, running out of options to just keep surviving.

I am asking you to either please, please, put in even a very small donation to help them keep their electricity on, or at the very least, as a personal favor to me, reblog this post. It would mean so much to me. Her family is in such dire need of kindness and they have no one to provide it.

Signal boosting. Gloria and her mother are in dire need, and if you could simply reblog this, I would really appreciate it.

Please, please, please keep this going. Reblog this. Put in $1 or $5 or $15 or $500. Please. They really need help.

Emma Sulkowicz’ mattress has reminded me of a thing in Roman culture that Robert Kaster describes as ‘ritual shaming’.  There were various public performances that fell into that category, including:

  • flágitátió – confronting or following someone in a public place and loudly demanding that they correct an injustice they’ve committed towards you or give back something they’ve taken from you;
  • going out dressed in mourning (and sometimes following someone around in that state);
  • showing your injuries in public;
  • falling at someone’s knees;
  • carrying around an image of someone whose protection you want to invoke (e.g. the emperor);
  • withdrawing from a competition or election;
  • reading letters aloud in the forum;
  • going into seclusion or retirement.

In Kaster’s words, these practices were ‘intended to achieve your purpose not only by encouraging your abuser to reflect on the error of his ways but especially by making him feel the invidia of others—by bringing to bear against him the gaze of witnesses who would see him for the highanded or abusive person that he was and all but compel him, by the force of those gazes, to see himself in the same terms.  …  All these performances attempt to marshall emotion against someone judged guilty of misusing an advantage or a position of superiority.’  (Kaster, ‘Emotion, restraint, and community in ancient Rome, pages 96-99.)

An important feature is how those shaming rituals dramatize the powerlessness of the performer.  The Ferguson ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture / slogan is another powerful example.  They aren’t attempts to take action against the guilty party; on the contrary, they highlight the fact that there’s nothing the injured person can do to get justice, just like there was nothing they could do to prevent the injustice happening in the first place.  Which is exactly what makes the situation so shameful and calls on the community to side with them against the abuser.

What Kaster doesn’t emphasize is that the shame created by this kind of performance doesn’t only attach to the abuser; it’s also what causes the bystanders to take a side.  The public nature of the performance makes it impossible to avoid, and the performed powerlessness and vulnerability of the wronged person makes it clear that somebody else will have to act.  It demands solidarity, or at least bearing witness.  If the audience doesn’t join in shaming the abuser, they themselves get shamed in front of one another.

The interesting thing is that these shaming rituals arise in situations where no official authority can be expected to deliver justice, or where part of the aim of the performance is to shame the official authorities into doing their job.  That was true in the ancient Roman context, where there was no police force and interpersonal justice was to a great extent left to informal ‘self-help’.  It also seems to be true in Ferguson and at Columbia.

I do not understand your fancy language!

Fair enough!  So there’s a moderately well known Latin saying, ‘Quot hominés tot sententiae’, meaning ‘however many people there are, there are that many opinions’ or ‘each person has a different opinion’.  It was written by P. Terentius Afer (AKA Terence), a Roman from North Africa who wrote comedies in the second century BC.

(Aside: my theory is that most moderately well known Latin sayings are moderately well known in Latin because they’re clunky in translation.  Otherwise they’d be moderately well known English sayings.  This line is a great example.  The complete quotation is ‘Quot hominés tot sententiae: suo’ quoique mós’.  The last bit *is* a moderately well known English saying: ‘to each his own’.  Which sounds at least as neat as ‘suo’ quoique mós’.)

Aaaaaanyway, my version means ‘whatever sort of people you have, those are the sort of opinions you get’.  Or something like that.  :)

You never can tell with bees.

I’mmmmmmm going to follow some new people.

This is probably a bad idea.  I may get overwhelmed and have to unfollow again.  Not quite sure why I’m doing this.

Oh well.

I Am the Shore

roxanegay:

I have been busy. I have overcommitted. I have disappointed editors. I will be spending the weekend trying to catch up. I taught Tuesday, did a reading in Chicago on Wednesday, taught Thursday, did a reading in St. Louis, which is far, on Friday. I need a personal assistant. I need to learn how to say no. I need to do this sooner than later. 

I am also trying to make the time to go to the gym. Frankly, that matters more than almost anything else so yeah, I am taking time to work on my fitness as the song goes. 

I am slowly figuring out how to get home in this new town. I always make it but I know I am not taking the most efficient route yet. Regardless, when I see this building, I know I am near my apartment. 

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I did a radio interview at WGN, while in Chicago, with an interesting host. He was very attractive in the way I like—good Midwestern stock. My sister-in-law came along for the ride. We were talking about Bad Feminist and the host asked me, “Do you really think I, as a white man, am more privileged than you?”

Heh. That actually happened. 

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Whenever I see the number 33 I have to take a picture. She is always with me and everywhere, there are reminders. This is an unexpected comfort. 

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In Chicago, I read at the lovely store Women and Children First. Before the reading, me, my brother, sister-in-law, and niece went to dinner because my niece was about to melt down. Basically as we sat down, we requested french fries. The waitress brought this bowl of pita bread and my niece attacked it like a velociraptor. She may only weigh 23 pounds, but when she is hungry, she is HANGRY. She was wearing sneakers that light up when she moves I cannot handle how adorable those shoes are. So tiny! At 7:30, we walked back to the bookstore which was insanely packed. I don’t know, 200-300 people. And it was HOT. Every reading has been unbearably hot. I have sweated off at least 15 pounds in the past couple weeks.

Anyway, as I walked in, the audience began applauding. I just don’t even understand. It felt fucking great.

I went on stage and read and took questions. A young woman thanked me for writing about being fat and disordered eating and I almost cried. Then there was a crazy signing line that took, god, an hour and a half. People stayed for all of it. In addition to my brother’s family, my cousin (who is more brother than cousin) and his partner were also there. It was so nice to be around my people and to share what I do with my family. My niece was really well-behaved. For the most part she sat and listened and babbled. A couple times she did her ancestor sigh, which just made me laugh. I get it, kid. I need to wrap this up. The store owners gave her toys to play with during the signing and she was quite content because there were so many people! Paying attention to her! 

There were some very… umm intense fans at that reading. It was eye-opening. And flattering. And surreal. I am still trying to wrap my mind around this new phase of my life. 

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The latest re-print of Bad Feminist looks like this, minus the pin, that is just a pin, sitting on top of the book. 

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Last night, I read in St. Louis at Left Bank Books. Another great reading. More than 100 people in the audience. INSANELY HOT. I was sweating buckets. It was just. so. fucking. hot. I was sweating buckets. I am repeating that to express how hot it was. 

Before the reading, I was at home, rushing to the radio station to participate in this On Point conversation about Beyoncé and feminism on NPR. My co-panelists were Tanya Steele and Jessica Valenti. It was an interesting, thought-provoking conversation though it felt hard to fully express myself at times because the host kind of cut us all off at times. 

Before I did that, I was feeling really low and exhausted. I don’t know why but this weekend I am feeling the distance more than I usually do. I am shrouded in longing and loneliness. I miss her. She’s just so much fun to spend time with. She is so good for me. I think I am good for her. I want that goodness always. I want it all. This is greedy but I don’t care. Fuck it. I want it all.

Anyway I was just not in the perkiest mood and beyond all that I am also feeling stressed out of my mind because I was feeling just how much I have overcommitted this semester. I made an executive decision. There was no way I was going to be able to drive to St. Louis with my sanity intact so I hired a driver. I sure did. It’s gonna get me in trouble but sometimes, self-care is important. The driver came and picked me up in a Cadillac and ferreted me to my reading and then brought me home. At one point, we stopped at a gas station and he hopped out to open my door (which I kept saying he didn’t need to do and which he ignored), and then he stood and waited and it was kind of cool to have a handsome white man waiting on me. As I walked out of the gas station, this brother said, “Damn. Are you a celebrity?” I just laughed and said, “No, I am a writer.”

Treat. Yo. Self.

Then I met Curtis Sittenfeld who wrote American Wife, which is one of my favorite books. I tried super hard not to be awkward.

One of my former graduate students drove three hours to see me read so I had dinner with her after. It was so great to catch up. She is doing really well and that makes me happy.

I stole this big version of the  Bad Feminist cover. I mean, I asked for it and they gave it to me but I would have stolen it. 

image

In the signing line, I met a young woman who thanked me for talking so openly about the fluidity of sexuality and as is often the case in these moments, I urged myself not to cry. She also brought me cupcakes! 

Someone else brought me pink letter stickers. I did not know people bring writers gifts but now I know and it is GREAT.

But I felt the cupcake woman’s gratitude so deeply. (I know her name.) And I understood where it was coming from. My sexuality has not really ever stressed me out but it has baffled me at times. I am openly, eagerly bisexual but I was done with women after my last relationship with a woman! I was fucking done. This is what I told myself. And then there was her. Here I am in uncharted territory. 

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This young woman, Jenny (Jenni?) introduced me at Left Bank Books and she was wearing the most amazing shirt and SHE MADE ME A TEAM PEETA arts and crafts project that I will cherish forever.  I think we are super friends now.

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Then I posed with the staff at Left Bank Books and I saw two unicorns, I mean, black booksellers. 

During the Q & A a black woman who works in Ferguson asked me how we can get more people of color at literary events and I did not have an answer but she did invite me to read in Ferguson and I said I would, happily and I meant it, so that’s going to happen at some point. 

I feel I look okay in this picture. It takes a lot for me to say that.

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Last Sunday, I went out and bought the New York Times and saw my book listed on the bestseller list and I did that dance Miss Celie does when she sees the house she inherits.

The book is still selling well. It’s on a bunch of local bestseller lists. Booksellers keep telling me amazing things about how the book is selling. I am thrilled. 

Here is a really thoughtful review of both Bad Feminist and An Untamed State in The Boston Review.

I was on HuffPost Live with Jamilah Lemiux and Elizabeth Plank. 

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I like to bake but when I write about baking men (exclusively) send me e-mails, telling me that I’m never going to lose weight if I make such things. That’s what happens when you choose to talk about food while fat. It’s fine. I mean, it’s not but whatever. Most of the time, I’m not even baking for myself but I should not need to qualify my life for anyone. 

I understand nutrition, concerned men of the Internet. 

I decided to bake cookies for my brother because he likes cookies and I like bossing him around so I thought the cookies would help with that. I combined room temperature butter, a cup of brown sugar and half a cup of white sugar.

What’s strange is that my heart catches when I see her name on my phone, or in my inbox, or on Twitter. I cycle through checking these various devices, craving these moments of connection, these points on the map. You are there. I am here. You are there. I am here. 

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I added a large quantity of vanilla and two eggs to the buttersugar. 

We’re trying to figure this out, together and separately. We have similar and very different concerns. It’s hard to get this right when we’re not sure what it is or we are sure what it is and the surety of what this is is something that is terrifying and thrilling and too big and so unexpected. I did something careless that hurt her and I eventually realized I had done this hurtful thing and I had not done it intentionally but that doesn’t lessen the hurt and we were able to talk about it and it certainly won’t happen again because I made a decision that I was already wanting to make but regardless, it made me realize, this is real. This has long been real. This isn’t going away. 

I don’t want it to go away. Ever.

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Then I added flour, baking soda, and salt to the wet ingredients.

Ha ha wet ingredients. I am not mature.

I want in ways both grand and small, to show her how important she is, how much she matters, how special she is. At the same time, I don’t want to overwhelm. I want her to have the space she needs. It’s a delicate balance. I am not so delicate a woman. I am just me. For the first time in my life, though, I am okay with all of this, who I am, who I want to be with, the why of it all.

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When all these ingredients were combined, I added some white chocolate chips and some semi-sweet chocolate chips and MIX MIX MIX!

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My new oven is not a LIE OVEN. It bakes things at the proper temperature in the proper amount of time so that’s cool I guess. 

Here are some weird things about my new apartment.

1. The ice tastes like dirt.

2. The hot water smells like sulfur so I basically take devil showers.

3. The intercom to ring my apartment rings into someone else’s apartment and that guy is PISSED.

4. The garage is full of spiders and grossness. 

5. The building is haunted by the spirits of serial killers.

6. The elevator is paneled with wood and grime.

7. The property manager sent each tenant instructions on how we should clean our floors. I promptly threw that shit out.

8. The washer is awesome but the buttons are confusing and many. 

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She is adrift at sea without a compass, not knowing which way to go or how to get there. What I want to say is I am the shore, waiting, warm, a safe harbor, so much more. If you look, just so, you might see the edges of my land. This shore will always be here if she finds a way to reach it.

I love Bette Midler. I love her version of Shiver Me Timbers. 

"Sometimes you get out on the sea and ya, in the middle of the night you know, and you can’t see your hand in front of your face. There’s a way to navigate, though, by the stars."

(via thegist)

When the Queen dies, how long will it be before radio DJs decide it’s okay to play ‘The Queen is dead’ by the Smiths again?

[A schematic map of the underworld in the style of the London Underground map, with five lines: the Hades line (black), the Kokytos line (green), the Asphodelos line (blue), the Tartarus line (yellow), and the Elysion line (red).  Like the Dictrict and Circle lines, the Kokytos and Tartarus lines run alongside one another for a long central stretch.  The stations are: Gate of Dawn, Cave of Kronos, Halls of Night, Lethe, Menoitios, Mnemosyne, Avernos, Stygian Marsh, Hekate, Grove of Persephone, Hekatonkheires, Pyriphegethon, the Dream Brood, Children of the Night, Down to Tartarus, Akheron, Lemnos, Kharon, Gate of Dusk, Vale of Mourning, Styx, White Rock, Hesperides, Triple Wall of Bronze, Fallen Titans, the Pits of Tartarus, and Gates of Horn and Ivory.  There’s also a mysterious unnamed interchange station where the Hades line joins the Kokytos and Tartarus lines.]
hehasawifeyouknow:

Great work by @TheIrisProject which is an organisation that promotes Latin and Classics in primary and secondary schools. They created this to promote their day at East Oxford Community Classics Centre (www.irisproject.org.uk)

[A schematic map of the underworld in the style of the London Underground map, with five lines: the Hades line (black), the Kokytos line (green), the Asphodelos line (blue), the Tartarus line (yellow), and the Elysion line (red).  Like the Dictrict and Circle lines, the Kokytos and Tartarus lines run alongside one another for a long central stretch.  The stations are: Gate of Dawn, Cave of Kronos, Halls of Night, Lethe, Menoitios, Mnemosyne, Avernos, Stygian Marsh, Hekate, Grove of Persephone, Hekatonkheires, Pyriphegethon, the Dream Brood, Children of the Night, Down to Tartarus, Akheron, Lemnos, Kharon, Gate of Dusk, Vale of Mourning, Styx, White Rock, Hesperides, Triple Wall of Bronze, Fallen Titans, the Pits of Tartarus, and Gates of Horn and Ivory.  There’s also a mysterious unnamed interchange station where the Hades line joins the Kokytos and Tartarus lines.]

hehasawifeyouknow:

Great work by @TheIrisProject which is an organisation that promotes Latin and Classics in primary and secondary schools. They created this to promote their day at East Oxford Community Classics Centre (www.irisproject.org.uk)

(via pareidolalia)

So I was listening to a Spotify ‘radio’ thing generated from Chuck Jackson’s ‘Shake me, wake me’ (which is a great song, you should listen to it if you like that sort of thing) and it was throwing me some nice Motown stuff, some Aretha Franklin, some Martha Reeves, some Jackie Wilson, you know.  And I was duly clicking the ‘like’ button where appropriate, the way it asks you to do so it can ‘improve’ the selection of songs.  Fine, fine.

Now comes Nina Simone’s version of ‘Mr Bojangles’, so again I click ‘like’.  But next I get Bob Dylan, Sonny & Cher, Elton John, Paul Simon… what?  I mean, yes, I like those tunes too, but if I’d wanted white folk-pop I’d have asked for it.  And now I can’t get it back to the earlier stuff because I’ve clearly done something that’s convinced Spotify that this is what I really want to listen to.

Algorithms.  Bah.

fenderlust:

Richard Ayoade

[Two photographs of Ayoade in what looks like a smallish upstairs living-room (small crowded bookcase, film posters on the walls, sofa with cushions, clothes airer, sash window).  He’s wearing a grey jacket and light blue / mauve collared shirt.  In the first picture he’s also wearing his glasses and a white feather boa.  In the second he holds the glasses in his hand and looks downwards out of the window.]

(via premierbonheur)

[Photograph of a tiny baby goat, white with black splotches and a smiling sort of face.]

[Photograph of a tiny baby goat, white with black splotches and a smiling sort of face.]

(via pareidolalia)

This morning I accidentally closed a browser window with about a zillion tabs open in it (most of them Tumblr pages) and I couldn’t get it back.  Luckily the computer had automatically backed up last night so I just had to do a nine-hour restore of the entire hard disk.

I’m telling you because I know you’ll appreciate how that was a totally necessary and proportionate response.

portmanteaurian:

on the one hand, i really need to redo my nails. actually, on both hands. it’s not like i painted one more recently than the other. wait, where was i going with this/