Friday, September 16, 2005

Protocol, patriarchy and paragraphs

[Yes, all the EZLN and other zapatista translations are in our Library]

Such a busy tomorrow, not to mention the weekend itself.

In case you haven’t read yesterday’s note from Marcos, the imaginative ones are going to try to orchestrate some type of live streaming or real-time presentation of the Plenary through the various alt medias we so know and love.

I, however, shall be as old-school as ever, simply waiting to receive whatever words find their way to me, as is their wont, up my caffeine level and do what I do.

But now the Hour of Our Tea Party is also almost at hand, and everything is in a bit of a flurry.

Beverages first.

Aside from the obligatory Earl Grey, oolong and fresh lemonade [made from simple syrup, of course), I always insist on Kir Royale [champagne and crème de cassis]. It’s not only delicious, frisky and fun-filled, it’s also the most divine shade of powder pink.

Which reminds me that I should once again remind everyone of one of my most cherished places: Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. Their motto is “Dismantling the patriarchy one drink at a time.” Just the place for tracking down obscure or classic concoctions and for finding delight with marvelously smart, transgressive ladies.

The menu shall be posted tomorrow, and I promise you not one single simpering fusion item will be found. Some things really are sacred, and tea parties are very near the top of that list.

Now, as for the Rules:

1. Anyone making an appearance with excessively elevated cannabis blood levels shall be required to cool his heels in the Hall until capable of at least minimal conversation [and I actually used to enforce this one in Savannah].

2. Animated conversation and flirtation are mandatory, but loud, hysterical rants and boorish triflers will be severely discouraged.

Other than that, feel free.

I really am easy.

As for Topics:

Hugo’s speech at the UN this evening was apparently interrupted 3 times by applause, a feat not accomplished by any of the other 100 or so speakers.

As for the paragraph in question, sigh, it was the one which spoke to the “special needs,” oops, “place” of that litany of oppressed: women, indigenas, boys and girls, young persons and ladies and gentlemen of variously alternative sexual and affective preferences.

Now, perhaps I overreacted, but it was absolutely visceral. In my version, the original, the above categories were not only in boldface, but also underlined, and, as I said, they leapt off the page.

And, again viscerally, like doing a Rorschach, two words almost literally appeared before my eyes. Lumpenprole and basura. Los most de abajo lumped together like that, as Karl noted so ingenuously, just one faceless bottomclass.

But they were just words, after all, and my lashes have been known to flutter at the oddest moments.


Spark said...

Darling Irl, and all you lovely lovely others too

What a lovely day for a Tea Party!!

Once again, should have followed my instinct - had a feeling it was that paragraph; inchoate, not sure exactly why.. but seemed a little too overemphasised, singled out? But then again, all these groups lumped together are individually [sigh, still] in desperate need of a deeper empowerment the world over. Perhaps then it is only right that they are mentioned in this way?

I get what you say about the bottomclass thing but don't think that is the way it was intended. Quite the opposite really - rather it is meant as an affirmative action of sorts [especially after the apology to the women contained in a recent communique]? Of course you know this and so perhaps are fluttering your delicious eyes in astonishment in response to the apology

because you sense that perhas there is still some lingering misogyny going on in the EZLN? well not being there i cannot judge but it's a deep rooted thing patriarchy so i guess it is possible

Well, anyway, seeing as its a Party and all, I want to open up another can and explore a related and truly interesting question.

When a group or class has been empowered, for example black power in the 70s, that empowerment takes place through the necessary and sharply distinctive definition of said group in contrast to what it is not [ie, "the other" in the case of black power, this means, not white] and so it seems to me that there is a consequent danger in the longer term of a kind of class 'blow back' or inverted racism/classism.

Am I making any sense?

To further explain: I have never, ever, seen a truly black person. And I have never ever seen a truly white person either! Black is the colour of this typeface [no humans this colour as far as I am aware] and white the colour of, well, white. Not even albinos are actually white in the true sense of the word, nor are the darkest skinned actually, truly 'black'.

Hippies of the world unite: We are all of us beautiful shades of brown/beige. When it comes to skin colour, leaving aside cultural background, this is the fact of the matter. That is why Hugo Chavez' rhetoric in the past [about Oceans and Rainbows after one of his restorations to power, if I remember rightly] is so important. Our inner consciousness is of course a far more important distinction than skin colour because it is what truly defines where we stand on the reactionary/progressive spectrum. It is there that we find our comradeship and/or our adversary. Hegel [arch dialectical idealist] was right in this sense, and even Marx [arch dialectical materialist] agreed to a point, when he talked about developing Revolutionary Consciousness

So inevitably when seen through a simplistic lens [for the very best intentions, no doubt] to return to the example of skin colour the black/ white distinction - so useful and important in the struggle for civil rights and ending racism - can all too easily lead to another kind of racism based on this loose use of language in combination with a self-deluded reactionary mindset. For example I have been told by guys - to me, brothers to another mother, regardless of skin colour - that I am most definitely not their brother because I am not black. If I was to respond by saying "but you're not black either" am not sure where it would lead but would be interesting to say the least

Maybe I am saying too much about this, but it sees to me that in our times the abuse of words has become especially important and in urgent need of redress: true 'freedom' is not the same as mass market consumerism, true 'democracy' not the same as the representative neo-liberal model etc etc

Am I digressing too far?

The other day I was told that I couldn't be a true revolutionary because I was too well spoken. Ha ha. I said "But I thought it was supposed to be a classless revolution!"

And so to round off before I get on with today's birthday/revolutionary day chores [banner making, letter writing, journo contacting and police station visiting] I would like to return to instinct and say - how do I contact you personally darling Irl? And, given that I am planning a trip to Vancouver, for just under two weeks, in mid October, is there not some lovely romantic way that I could come find you, or you come find me?

"Just show up" she says [Sigh..]

Anonymous said...

Vive la difference....tout.
I shall recite a poem,a toast of's about friends.

Such love I cannot analyse:
It does not rest in lips or eyes,
Neither in kisses nor caress.
Partly,I know,it's gentleness

And understanding in one word
Or in brief letters.It's preserved
By trust and by respect and awe.
These are the words I'm feeling for.

Two people,yes,two friends.
The giving comes,the taking ends.
There is no measure for such things.
For this all Nature shows and sings.
-Elizabeth Jennings

A Wonderful day for a tea party!Welcome!

TripleJ said...

Querida Irl, such a beautiful party.

Just to cheer up everyone, heres a wee little rhyme of the Limerick variety, my favouritest form of poetry :^)

There was a young lady from Maine
Who claimed she had men on her brain.
But you knew from the view,
As her abdomen grew,
It was not on her brain that he'd lain.


irlandesa said...

Darling spark: Do let us know how your day transpires, and I shall try to have your birthday cake finished before the midnight hour tolls in your time zone. Much more on your bottomclass comments after the cooking is done. So much to do!

Stephen: What a delightful gift for our Tea Party, and so very fitting: no measure for such things, indeed.

triplej: That might well be the cleanest limerick I have ever heard, - and still amusing!

Anonymous said...

That sounds great, but night and day contact lens has links to different reviews.

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