Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in
Five Chapters and a
from the man who said
from the man who said
Let me begin by expressing my admiration for your political genius. A moneyed candidate from Massachusetts, whose selling point in the primary was his electability against a hated incumbent? The nation hasn’t seen a contender like you since 2004! Your groundbreaking electoral maneuvers will no doubt be the subject of talking heads’ books for months to come.
Unfortunately, despite the many strengths of your campaign, you’re still behind in key swing states. You know as well as I that you can’t just cross your fingers and hope the new poll taxes will save you. It’s true that much of Obama’s base is, ahem, “disappointed” with his administration – but at the end of the day, aren’t they going to suck it up and vote for the Lesser Evil? At best, they simply won’t vote for either of you.
That’s where I come in.
C: the media has a liberal bias
L: the media has a sensationalist bias
R: the media is neoliberal
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 Taoism.net.
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.“