Its New Religion

So here is my new religion, and I like it very much. Its working title is “Elan Vital,” taken from French philosopher Henri Bergson.

We have a number of prophets who we have drafted, without having asked the permission of said prophets. We wouldn’t be the first. (I know of at least one religion whose messiah was certainly not asked before being involved. That very same messiah was involuntarily drafted as a prophet in yet another, similarly-booked religion.) They include A. A. Milne, Lemony Snicket, Astrid Lindgren, Maurice Sendak, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Rumi, and quite a few others who I haven’t discovered yet.

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Children Are a Class of People: more on Maurice Sendak

The patient pedagogical work of Gates Millenium Scholar Dr. Estrella Torrez, “assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University” whose “scholarship centers on language politics and the importance of community-based knowledge, particularly among rural migrant families and urban Indigenous youth,” is a significant indirect cause of this post.


This happy fellow may not be particularly interested in Jargon.


Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.


Childhood is cannibals and psychotics vomiting in your mouth!

Maurice Sendak, accessed at goodreads

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Maurice Sendak’s Wisdom for Hipsters



Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in
Five Chapters and a

from the man who said

“I don’t believe in children.
I don’t believe in childhood. I don’t believe that there’s a demarcation.
‘Oh you mustn’t tell them that. You mustn’t tell them that.’
You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it’s true.
If it’s true you tell them.”


A Manifesto in Quotes


Nothing is true, everything is permitted.




The new mestiza copes by developing a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity. She learns to be an Indian in Mexican culture, to be Mexican from an Anglo point of view. She learns to juggle cultures. She has a plural personality, she operates in a pluralistic mode – nothing is thrust out, the good the bad and the ugly, nothing rejected, nothing abandoned. Not only does she sustain contradictions, she turns the ambivalence into something else.




When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other

Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away




My anger was inaugurated with a simple photograph. Just a yellow sign, written with what pretty much looks like a sharpie. And this sign states that “woman is the N* of the world”. Held by a White Slut Walk participant in New York. . . . And when I saw that sign, I screamed “MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT!”




Perhaps it is inevitable that the systems in which we are so embroiled, which shape our very existence, should rear parts of their ugly heads even in our attempts at resistance. But does this mean we should give up [resistance]? Isn’t all activism imperfect, constantly under revision, and isn’t that why we continue doing it? In my view, there is no “outside” – none of us can stand fully outside capitalism, racism, sexism and see what is going on. Instead we stand within, and are constituted by these practices and forces, and we form our resistance there, always having to struggle against forces within ourselves, correcting our blindspots, learning from one another.




And when the world will stay the same
but your place in relation to it has changed,
and when the word begins to lose
its power to restore and soothe,
and when the blackness starts its spread
from behind your tired head,
what taxes now was once your wealth.
What sucks and aches becomes your health.

And when the night spreads into day
in one unbroken spread of gray,
when the darkness fills the space
between the bone and skin of your face;
seeps between your skull and brain
as input filters through its stem.
The tightness in your brow contains
what poisoned yesterday but now sustains.

And when the night begins its flow,
and you watch yourself give up control,
what once was cold now keeps you warm
as you watch your outer self transform.
And the one you love
keeps the faith that you can rise above,
but if you kept faith with yourself,
you might admit that you could use some help.

Remove yourself and study close
when next the dark begins its flow.
Though clinical the problem be,
remove yourself and you will see.
When next the blackness flow begins;
I eat your pills, you eat my sins.
So take me back to prouder days,
but please don’t take my anger away.

And I don’t pray,
but I humble myself;
I am on my knees today.
I don’t pray.



1) is from the novel Alamut, by Vladimir Bartol.

2) is from Gloria Anzaldúa’s essay “La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness,” found in Elizabeth Hackett and Sally Haslanger’s Theorizing Feminisms: A Reader.

3) is from Chapter 2 of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, translated by Derek Lin in Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained. It was accessed at

4) is from a Tiger Beatdown blog post by Flavia Dzodan, “MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT!”

5) is from Dean Spade’s piece “Dress to Kill, Fight to Win,” from the website of the feminist genderqueer artist collective LTTR.

6) is Ted Leo and the Pharmacists’ song “St. John the Divine.