Articles and Essays, DIDY-do it ya damn self, Questions, Words & Works of Others

Why #FBBlackout just as #BlackLivesMatter movement picks up?

A blackout in the name of #BlackLivesMatter on the second anniversary of #TrayvonMartin’s senseless racist hate-crime murder is planned for tomorrow June 13th for an entire week away from Facebook.  But could it also be a way to divide and isolate the large network of connected people who are/care about Black lives, #BlackLivesMatter, and whose connection, consciousness of it, and simultaneity make a national movement?

The idea is Black people temporarily leaving Facebook en masse makes an impact on Facebook corporate advertisers with the sudden, collectively large cessation of ad viewership and revenue by African-Americans and allies. Did Facebook itself, Zuck and co., jump in with the #BLM banner on the building to get on the movement’s good side just in time? Not necessarily, but Zuck could have fired the racist employee. Could the Blackout cancel some of the power of the initiative that began on and in some ways relies on the social network, as do many collective conscious awakenings or improvements or movements? The point is to become involved IRL and connect in your/our own communities in face-to-face, physical, local or immediate presence. It is a way to counter the passivity of #Facebookactivism or #clicktivism of the #slacktivist.

Yet Alicia Garza and the #BlackLivesMatters founders used this social media to make the movement, to make change in their local communities and in national community, by getting people involved. Facebook is a tool for these achievements; online communication and connection has made possible or helped to make possible the power of individual connection, numbers, and solidarity since the early days of the internet for people who could access the internet, which has become more accessible–and actually accessed–even for disenfranchised people, though always less so than those better off socioeconomically, which of course means racially, by gender, cissex, ability, et al. So an #FBBlackout also allows people to put aside the digital divide.

Organizer Yefthak Dahn explains: Because Facebook Live was used for the first time in viral, immediate knowledge by the viewing of Diamond “Lavish” Reynold’s filming of fiance #PhilandoCastile getting shot by a white police officer at a short traffic pull over, Facebook and the police and possibly higher government should not have allowed a “technical glitch” to remove the post, nor left it unexplained except for the contradictory and vague information that the video of #Philando may have been taken down by human error or by decision because of its many flags as a violent post.  A blackout by Black people on/of Facebook by one of the richest and most powerful white men in the world demands a stronger position of inclusivity and support of Black people, especially in the face of this targeted fatal violence by leaders and the law that is one advocacy and allyship, since Facebook runs, and runs free, via advertisers. The cost is your information, privacy, exposure to brands and ads, networking and awareness according to Facebook and advertisers’ algorithms, and the value of your demographic and habits to marketers. The Blackout asks people to use other social media platforms.So get on Twitter; don’t sacrifice the momentum.

All people can show Facebook and the slew of companies and corporations advertising on it that #BlackLivesMatter and that we are all affected and are in community by joining. White allies should cause Hellman’s and Uggs and the CMAs to also become financially affected; that might help make a difference in the systemically racist ways our (corporatist) country is run. Make sure you have an alternative way to find out what is happening at protests around the country.  Be aware of the trackability or outside ease of access, besides the lag, of old-school networking communication. Be prepared to keep in contact, make contact more often, including in old-school ways of phone trees, and flash texting, while you are not part of the stream of information and network connecting that you are used to.

#FBBlackout also asks people to experience each other without screen mediation. Allies, especially white people, have a distinct responsibility to get in proximity to People of Color and specifically Black people as welcome and the problems people are facing to work on the racial disparity and end its violence, to work with people and community groups and efforts, to act in them for change in person, in concert, in community with Black people and #BlackLivesMatter.

What is your local criminal justice reform committee doing?  Proximity to and in-person work is necessary above all to stop systemic violence by holding people in the systems of power accountable and racially violent individuals accountable, including those who are upholding it (not just the physically murderous), examining yourself according to the minority voice, then very specifically putting into practice in your daily life changes to dismantle hegemonic white privilege, and by creating events and specifically, locally changing the status quo on opportunity and recognition in your community, in what you are good at and reaching to assist in new realms or work on the problems, where you are welcome, also even in spaces with just white people, and according to the minority voice, according to Black people personally affected.

So please only #FBBlackout to do these actions in person. Please stay networked, and only #FBBlackout if you already have your plans and solidarity down pat against racist pat-downs and stop-and-frisks of Black people, especially that become more violent and fatal, if you can find strength and feel assured personally, spiritually, politically by the knowledge beforehand that around the country people are gathering to make change. if people act, together, without Facebook during all of B/blackout time. Maintain your energy and action together, do not be dispelled and dispersed by lack of connection or communication on the social media site we all use and have relied on. #FBBlackout if you can be stronger without the tool than with it.

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Works in Progress

Gun Control Alt Delete

The U.S. average is one shooting a day. A nation-state where the military can have these weapons but the people can’t, and government en masse decrees via violence–yes, corporate government’s violence–some people as mentally ill in an inaccurate and stigmatizing way primarily for-profit scares me just as much as the possibility of “unstable lone wolves” fatally hating in violent action with weapons. I don’t know the answer, but an essential form of martial law is not it, though the NRA needs to put its mansplaining, KKK-seeded shriveled moneyed dick back in its rapey shorts, and could use some talk therapy.

To the argument that citizens should not be allowed military-grade weapons, we need to back up.  The concept of “military-grade weapons” in the first place scares me; it’s a big part of the problem.  Sure, maybe it’s kind of too late to go back on that, because the weapons are so powerful. But I wonder if societies thought that at every new level of advancement and technology of weapons. And there is empirical evidence of stricter gun laws corrollating to fewer deaths by guns. But, those governments, of Canada, Scandinavian countries, European countries, may be not as corrupt and imperialist, or imperialistically capable and practicing, as the U.S.’s. Plus, *more* people still own guns in Canada, and all citizens serve in the military in some of the Scandinavian countries. How do these factor in comparitively and for the global whole of armed citizens?

A corrupt, racist, classist, and corporate government produced and perpetuates the labeling, stigma, and division by naming some people “mentally ill” just as it criminalizes people often by group (the poor, groups of people of color, by zip code, by religious belief, by citizen/immigrant status, and also accomplishes this via methods [besides classification] of geography and affiliations), forcing other dehumanizing and demonizing permanent labels on them such as “felons,” or “convicts.” Both of these are purposely socially synonymous with violence.  It’s also, purposely, an unpredictable, morphous violence–very similar to the conceptual wars on drugs and terror. The only constant is the simultaneous pressurizing of these primarily arbitrarily and discriminitorily delineated people by also disallowing most employment and opportunistic education and other social participatory and productive opportunity. The perpetuation is the ripple effect of Othering by the people, including those who also may be stigmatized in another of the ways or even the same. The people do the bulk of this divide-and-conquer and -profit work. So because of how that is done, I do not think it solves the problem to simply bar weapons from people branded with these stigmatizations.

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Articles and Essays, DIDY-do it ya damn self, Ruffled Draft, Works in Progress

EDUCATED IN AMERICA

EDUCATED IN AMERICA
   If you don’t get a good job right out of college, she said, you’re fucked. Then the more time passes, the less and less desirable you are or capable you are considered to be. Then, you really are out of the loop, because you’re not up on your college learnings of what’s latest work in the field or industry work of what’s going on, from the inside. Cause most of that shit is kept exclusive, for the in-crowd only. And how can you keep up and research and write articles or whatever without any credit, established affiliation? You’re not allowed places if you’re just a person, an independent researcher; you have to have some company or organization credentials. You can’t even get membership into associations usually if you are not at a company or organization. And how the fuck can you research all this stuff and try to keep up and research and write articles or work on stuff in your field when you’re too busy working at or looking for a job at some shitty place for $8/hr of furious-paced, very physical service work, or figuring out how the fuck you’re gonna get places with no bus fare, and how the fuck all this food stamp/Unemployment/stave off medical bills magnitude of beauracracy works, etc etc. An Anthro/Archeology prof/researcher once told me, as many other academics and professionals and books on academics/employment applications inform, well, we don’t just look at grades/transcript for admission, we look at what kind of job you’ve had. So, after you’ve put all this hard work in to try to survive, and are finally saying, my only option to make any kind of decent steady income and make something of myself whatsoever is to go “back to school,” that is, to grad school, to just try to afford it, work till it drops,  join a church so they’ll help you prioritize internet, and attempt feably to sell your dysphoric  female body online in order to afford to–all those jobs you took, grasped at, fought for because they were what was finally or actually for once available or that you could get to and from, in order to fucking survive–are a negative factor on your application?!?!
   What kind of fantasy land is she living in? Researcher-professors (or fill-in-the-blank) aren’t actually that far removed from reality; they can’t even consider tenure a feasible future anymore, especially if academicking while female.
   Of course, (unless there were a fantastic job, maybe) going to grad school is what you really always wanted and had originally planned to do right out of college, but of course couldn’t afford the insane $200 test and all the insane applications fees, esp. since any reductions or waivers are not available unless you are in ONLY your 4rth year of undergrad as a “traditional” “senior” and going full-time–which of course you couldn’t afford to do, and mostly anyone who is not super fucking rich with some connection like a parent who’s a professor and practically their entire tuition is waived cannot do. And since so many people are of course so fucking broke and struggling, more and more people have been unable to afford to even try to get into grad school, but since there are nothing but unsustainable or just complete shit temp jobs if there are any, it’s the only option other than to return to or continue on in undergrad like I did, presumably since the 2008/2009 crash–there are in fact a few programs that have application fee waivers, but they have waited over half a decade and make sure to keep that information as well-hidden as possible on their websites or application instructions, certainly don’t put it on paper or any other place accessibly or updated. Of course, still you can’t afford to even do all the schools/programs, etc. research necessary and study for the GRE since all that takes so much time, esp. the longer you’ve been out of school, or even if you did it while still in school, you have to do most of it all over again anyway cause it’s been so long; its been so long the profs you were hoping to go to a program under have now moved from the accolade-ed state-but-reputed-enough school back to their rich-ass upper crust 2 lesbian spots ever in the Ivies. People who are younger than you, who hadn’t even started puberty when you were arrested your first year of college, your second year on your own, cause of course you had to work to save money first,  eating plain white rice with the amazing privilege of somewhat edible mystery mustard from previous roommates’ abandoned condiments, have now gotten the jobs and professorships where you are hoping to apply to grad school or where you try to apply to a job, but get to the “Internship” line and start crying in the middle of the library. Then you remember, of course, so-&-so had a car in college and parents who helped pay tuition or pay off loans, so could afford to take the unpaid internship (as if there’s actually any other kind) after college if they have been at this company since then. Whereas the Americorps shit-pay position you were grooming yourself for like a brain-damaged Jester who longs to be a stable boy just to stay somewhere at Pharaoh’s court, though you still have the pride-urge to do such recently re-promoted civil service (Thanks, Obama), an actual government program to improve conditions for the poor and disenfranchised in many areas, that your mentor did…you will never be allowed to do because of the record, permanent criminalization.
That’s around when you realize they are doing this on purpose, and they win. Because all you can do is put ice in a bag on shin, on your shoulder, on your hip the police smashed and pulled out of socket, and try to psych yourself into walking to the illegally-anti-union factory fake in-house “temp agency” to get in line for 90 minutes for a hopeful job for the day.  And don’t forget to do your physical therapy, but by the time Obamacare gets passed, it will be too late anyway, you can’t carry a tray across a restaurant all night, the president and presence of ubiquitous image of “HOPE” will certainly be gone, like the benefit of the physical therapy less than halfway into the shift at the 20-minute lunch break. But, to look on the bright side, to get where you are, your single-parent has a “good” job at a university where she does not get a lunch break, but don’t tell the Union. White-collar jobs are hard to come by, they say. Say you, it’s just as physical as the job at Taco Bell, but at least I get some “food.” Mix extra water in the plastic rice, Yum!; mas! agua! it’s just business; don’t worry, there’s no Union to tell. The Republicrats succeeded in seceding, choked you with their white-collar star-circle flag; it was just the American Dream.
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Articles and Essays, Questions, Words & Works of Others

African American Vernacular English and a lay brief history of dialect integrity!

As posted to the United Front-Civil Rights Organization:

posted by Lex Scott

 

When white people or teenagers in general use it, they are still using AAVE (African American Vernacular English). It’s not only used by African Americans anymore, since our culture is mixed, and (especially suburban teenage male) whites were sold Black culture in pop culture (namely hip hop in the late 80s), and people who are not Black/African American feel a right to co-opt it. Also, I think since AAVE is an American dialect, Americans in general (of all colors and creeds) might use it sometimes, in certain settings–whether an authentic way they learned to talk or not, a later adopted dialect. I agree it can make people “sound ‘uneducated,'” but that’s because of race (and class) hegemony pushing whiteness=rightness in education.

The responses to the original anonymous Tumblr post point out that there is a grammar system–I think it’s also called a pattern of syntax–at play in “You [delete to-be conjugation] + article + noun object-of-sentence” or “You [delete to-be conjugation] + adjective.” And that, in fact, it *matches* the grammatical system (or pattern of syntax?) of Standard American English (SAE), or “proper” English.

Of course in actual life, in reality, at a job interview or in a professional situation, yeah, it sounds uneducated or is considered unprofessional–but that’s because the Anglo dialect (SAE) is the one given clout…by the clout-givers, generally the traditionally dominant culture, aka the culture of the group that violently dominated historically and continues to by all that historical privilege and advantage in the professional realms. In this country and culture’s case, often only when the original inventors and speakers of AAVE hold power in those realms, have staked a claim to clout, do current African American, and Brown People of Color speakers of AAVE pass the gate-keeping official and unofficial tests, prescribed and informal interviews and networking interactions, and algorithms of professions and professional climbing.  It’s also why AAVE is termed a “vernacular,” language spoken in daily life, colloquially.

African American Vernacular dialect functions with the same if not more complexity as Standard American English.**

See, even though AAVE (and other dialects) actually have grammar or syntax patterns = rules…they’re devalued simply because they’re not the norm (SAE) that white Americans developed for English, by natural random language evolution and on purpose, especially for education and for professional speaking.

Ask yourself: How does it sound when someone speaks with a British cockney accent? Educated or uneducated?

If you are a person who’s not African American and/or did not learn to speak AAVE growing up, do you ever say phrases like, “Where you going?” or even “Where ya going?” These also omit the “are,” the to-be conjugation (though I don’t know if it is happening in the same way linguistically!).
And would you say this, would you speak like this in a job interview or in a professional setting? More importantly, especially if you are a white person in a position of hiring or recommending power, can you accept copula deletion just as you would copula contraction? ^^

**African American vernacular dialect functions with the same if not more complexity as Standard American English:

Because English is largely lacking in the subjunctive and other general or what-if verb tenses (cases? Linguists please help me out here!), or doesn’t have a different-sounding word or verb conjugation for the subjunctive or a certain verb tense, Africans who were brought here retained these tenses from their African languages. For instance, saying “She be…” + adjective or + -ing verb, using the infinitive auxiliary, or helping, verb is actually from Yoruba tribe language structure! And from some other African languages, if I remember right what I’ve learned. And it’s a structure **more complex** than that of English! It makes for an additional verb tense. English is missing this kind of verb tense and murky with others: for instance, describing a chronological spot on a timeline that’s distinctly in the present but also a lasting, though undefined, length or range–so when Africans from many different tribes were learning English, suddenly forcibly put into English-speaking American environments as slaves, people or a single person from one tribe mixed up with people from all different tribes who spoke different languages, and communicating, especially learning some English was a matter of life and death, these verb tenses / sentence structures stuck around! The African language infusions clarify the English or add to it.
(Linguists, please correct, if the infinitive in “pronoun + infinitive” structure is not an infinitive auxiliary!)

^^…What if in your job, and maybe in your life in all aspects, you never have to use “professional” speak…? When African Americans and other People of Color (and poor whites and light-skinned people, namely the Irish, before the category of “white” became so omnipresent as the norm) were kept out of “professional” jobs and business and life, there was no need to learn or adapt to “professional” English of the dominant educated class/race/group. In that sense, of course it is just as “professional” to use whatever dialect you speak–or even a different language, a “creole,” or what’s called a “pidgin” (mixture of two languages into a business/commerce dialect).   If you *were* a business person of the year 18-something-or-other or the early 1900s, say, a butcher and maybe even owner of a butcher shop, and you, say, talk to a German to get lamb and to a Jewish Rabbi who speaks Hebrew to get Kosher meat and to first-generation Italian immigrants and Irish immigrants, etc., would you speak perfect King’s English or Standard American English of the time ? If you were an African American who until segregation mostly interacted for business only with other African American people, except maybe sometimes with other usually ghetto-ized People of Color and/or a few poor white people, often immigrant light-skinned people…wouldn’t the dialect would serve you just fine, including in your profession?

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Fiction or so, Plays, Works in Progress

Play:

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]”

(or, Beady Yes’m)

“A Couple of Good Copy-Editors [sic]” explores a young woman copy editor’s concern and fascination when she and her male copy editor coworker sneak late at night into their office, the publisher of “Ending Violence Everywhere”, or “E.V.E.,” newsletter–to discover their pair of editors passed out in full bondage gear in the copy room. Over their leather-clad bodies, she espouses her morals, questions them, and argues with her fellow lowly copy editor colleague, with whom of course she “vascillitates” in and out of a solely work-centered relationship. The show culminates in…well, I won’t spoil it, but she and he experience multiple feminist political repugnancies and simultaneous liberation; plus, everyone’s a little queer for toner, right? She essentially embodies the sex culture wars, from Dworkin and MacKinnon to Camille Paglia and Pat Califia, though the latter are perhaps more attributable to the mise-en-scene of the freeze-frame editors-in-chief in leather.

 

The play is currently under revisions from its college production at the University of New Mexico in the Robert M. Hartung Words Afire New Plays Festival.

 

 

 

a-couple-of-good-copy-editors-play

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Articles and Essays, Happs!, Reviews, Words & Works of Others

Urgent Recommendation: Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN

CITIZEN: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Not racist? Hear, listen, and grasp social and race issues with the renowned author, playwright, and poet. “I don’t think we connect micro-aggressions that indicate the lack of recognition of the black body as a body to the creation and enforcement of laws.” Claudia Rankine said last fall in BOMB.
Wait, what’s a “microaggression”?? These words matter.
CITIZEN: An American Lyric divulges and dissects day-to-day, often sub-surface racism and its effects beyond the moment. Her fifth poetry book, it made history, nominated for two National Book Critics Circle Awards, for Criticism and for Poetry; it won the latter, along with the NAACP Image Award, PEN Open Book Award, and others, and is the only New York Times nonfiction bestseller of its lyric kind.
CITIZEN calls out in solidarity if you’ve ever been run into by an armored tank of racial marginalization or been caught in a nasty traffic jam of intersectionality. Rankine calls you to action if you give a hoot or are susceptible to participating in systemic racism. Cultural theorist Lauren Berlant described in the BOMB interview, “Citizenship involves metabolizing in the language of your flesh what you call the ‘ordinary’ injury of racist encounter.” Rankine’s prose details scene by the millisecond, along with internal reaction, piling on inevitable, immediate, smacking social resonance in fell swoop after fell swoop. Each scene rounds out with that “metabolizing” as it happens, or as its consequence plays out within black bodies and minds constrained by white hegemony and apathy.
Los Angeles’ Fountain Theater produced an adaptation in August, spotlighting the versatility of CITIZEN and Rankine’s multi-form and -genre work. Her dialogue and descriptions came to life on stage particularly smoothly: The ensemble cast rove among different characters, black actors facing white actors, playing out scenes of surprise verbal, contextual complicity or attack and slow-motion, time-stopped response, outburst, or restraint. Sitting, watching in your red theater seat became complacency; cringing and squirming in it were not enough.
In interactions of daily and professional life, how can white people stop colluding to enact racism, even if unintentionally? How can all people not commit and not accept racial microaggression? Recognition of such words and acts is a start.

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Works in Progress

Planned Parenthood: Saving a Morally Poor Country

I don’t understand why you’d say we don’t need Planned Parenthood. It is the most real of women’s health centers. The reason they might not do mammograms is because of not getting enough funding because of the politicians & people trying to force their religion down other people’s throats and on top of that use it as an excuse to misogynistically stop this awesome respectful source of healthcare for women and control over our own bodies & for men and family planning and teenagers.
What do you mean, a female-bodied person can get a mammogram at “any woman’s clinic” and “even at your primary care doctor.” There are few women’s clinics in most areas, and they are usually booked for a long time. I’ve also never had a primary care doctor that didn’t have a long wait. When I had PID, the primary care doctor referred me to a gynocologist. I couldn’t afford that, so I was forced to go to another clinic, and had to see a male doctor available in order to see a doctor in time when I wanted to see a female doctor. Many women’s clinics and primary care doctors also only do the breast exam and refer patients for the mammogram.
When I was a teenager in the late 90s, you could get FREE condoms and a fairly inexpensive appointment at planned parenthood for STD checks, and some places regularly for free. Planned Parenthood was the main place to go for LGBT people that you could trust to be non-judgmental and be able to be comfortable before there were HIV clinics, men’s clinics, LGBT clinics. They still are in many places. Then came “abstinence-only education” and slashed funding–now you couldn’t even get free condoms at Free Med Clinics! I remember going to the doctor back in my home town I think in ’04 after long unusual wait for a scheduled appointment, and wondering what had happened, and why were they now so rushed. There was so much demand now; it had changed so much. I found out why: Then came the conversations with people 4 years younger than me, who had gone through high school entirely under a Republican old white male president clueless about epidemiology and public health. They had gotten only abstinence-only education and didn’t know about their own bodies, didn’t know how to prevent STD/STIs, and on and on. I’d have to sit them down and give them my Clinton-era sex ed education. Then the stories came in, high school and junior high kids spreading herpes like wildfire, the colored sex bracelets revised from the framework of those “purity” bracelets that revisited and renewed an extremely oppressive outdated patriarchal sexist premium on “virginity,” which also inspired another revision, having anal sex so a girl could “save” or “keep” her (vaginal) “virginity.” Nothing wrong with ways to have pleasure from your body–but is it truly consensual, that young woman’s choice, when she feels such heavy societal pressure to remain a so-called virgin that she uses her body in a way that she would not otherwise choose? It is another example of abstinence-only sex education backfiring. Then the numbers came in, rapid rampant increase in teen pregnancy and in cases of STD/STIs in teens. HIV contracted most commonly by women, cases ever on the rise, with poor women more likely to contract it.
You worried about “innocent lives”? Then stop the death penalty–like Francis said. Stop a completely classist, unchecked racist judicial system that sentences to death young black men. Stop the terrible discrimination against older women (of any color) in employment. Fight to raise the minimum wage so that single mothers can actually support their families. Get the for-profit corruption and racism and insensitivity to LGBT kids out of the foster care and child and family services and adoption systems…oh, perhaps by getting out of the equation the requirement to pay thousands, usually tens of thousands, for an adoption attorney; by welcoming all the hopeful adoptive LGBT parents into the adoption and foster care systems; and by getting accusatory social work and extra policing out of poor and people-of-color neighborhoods and families at misrepresentative higher volume than middle class neighborhoods and families. STOP ABSTINENCE-ONLY SEX ED! Stop the stigma against a woman doing with her body what she chooses, in the name of some patriarchal g-d or religion; stop the stigma against pre-marital sex and pregnancy and having a child “out of wedlock.” Welcome immigrants and make sure they can work to make enough money to feed their children and care for them and get health care. Make sure people working at restaurants and food industry and labor jobs and part-time jobs can get adequate healthcare–that means PAID SICK DAYS to take care of themselves and THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN and paid sick/family leave to take care of sick kids. Require community free or sliding-scale childcare for families parenting children under school age (and for after school), like many socialist democracies do. Oh yeah–have **FEDERALLY MANDATED PAID MATERNAL AND PATERNAL LEAVE FOR MONTHS** like EVERY SINGLE OTHER WESTERN/”DEVELOPED” COUNTRY, with the exception being the United States.

But don’t perpetuate the problem by stopping women’s clinics, like Planned Parenthood, from respecting women enough to do with our bodies what we choose as part of the health care.

Keep your religion out of my vagina.

P.S. If you just really hate or don’t respect women, which might include yourself, remember that Planned Parenthood serves families, men, and children in early childhood.

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Reviews

A Positive of a Negative Proves a Mathematician a Performer

Review of TRUTH VALUES
Gioia De Cari's TRUTH VALUES
Gioia De Cari completes a Master’s degree in math, at M.I.T., nonetheless, in just over an hour. She now performs with exactly enough dramatic flair and even some “spicy,” operatic singing, having turned from proofs to stage her wit; that is, from scholarly pursuit of logic to write, act, and tour her solo show. TRUTH VALUES traipses through that most illogical of tales, blunt sexism altering the female scholar’s narrative. Male chauvinist mathematicians (and other nerds) gender-discriminate or sexualize her at almost every turn, at odds with her Ph.D education. The UI WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) spearheaded bringing the autobiographical Best Solo Show winner to the Englert Monday night. De Cari delivers Lazer-carved characters who lecture her seminars or jive around the “party office” as TAs so that you forget only one actor plays them all. Guts, gusto, and unashamed femininity through her entire intense graduate career and teaching fellowship at Harvard add up to absolute, real theatricality.

An Oleanna fresh from across campus, minus the taint of Mamet’s mysoginy but unfortunately greater than or equal to that story’s professor’s, TRUTH VALUES brings quality to quantity in accents, the drive of the young mathematician and performer, and obectivity, via succinct dialogue and sometimes conjured costumes. The bare-minimal set exemplifies De Cari’s virtually lone navigation “Through M.I.T.’s Male Math Maze,” as she has subtitled the show. Directed with punch and elegance, award-winning classics director Miriam Eusebio (member of the historic feminist and LGBTQ collective Wow Cafe Theater and founder of the Intentional Theater) accelerates De Cari as young Gioia and her former, mathier colleagues and company to effortless synthesis, rendering obtuse where the acting ends and the directing begins. The lighting by Chris Dallos of Unexpected Theater casts precise environments, not too harshly but with no pretty ivy gobo.

If you missed the show, calculate how long it will take you to leave point A at a minimum of 60 miles per hour and arrive at point B, the next tour destination of TRUTH VALUES, as soon as possible.
Sept. 21, 2015

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Works in Progress

“Mansplaining”: Sexist?

Well, mansplaining wraps up the sexist privileged arrogant ignorance in one word and to me is legitimately used when it’s referring to the specific concept of a guy explaining something to a woman (or someone he views as subordinate) out of the assumption that the person does not understand because of their gender. (It can include the self-perception that a person has superior knowledge, often connected to their own male gender, when this kind of explaining extends to another male, probably viewed as inferior.) It is explaining something when no explanation is asked for or no explanation is warranted, offering knowledge as if the other person could not possibly have this knowledge or know how to find it, or instead of explaining what the person did ask about, explaining something very basic or giving lay-person level or pretty unrelated information to show off and/or as if the person is not smart enough to realize you’re not answering the actual question. Often the explanation is offered by someone who does not actually know much about the topic, but either believes he does in what seems like a male privilege superiority complex (esp. or when around females).  And the reason there is a term “mansplaining” now is because it is a recognizable experience. It is so common that women from many perspectives immediately know what someone is talking about who describes this, and that is why the term took so easily. It nice to finally have a word for it, and one that indicates a behavior that’s frowned upon.
There may be audible intonation of condescension, or the “explanation” may be contextually condescending and politically condescending with its sexism. Occurs especially, but *not* always or only covering topics, disciplines, or situations over which male dominance has traditionally maintained a stronghold (cars, machinery, math, film directing, computers, carpentry lawn mowing, politics, business…but also everything else under the sun).
For fairness’ sake, I invent the term “transplaining.”
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Some examples would be:
  • When I asked my male coworker to help hang a large framed picture on the wall over a staircase by holding it in place while I stepped back to get a view of whether or not it is level and by holding it while I marked where to nail in the picture hangers, and he started to ‘explain’ how to correctly nail in a nail with a hammer and insisted that the picture was level while up against it holding it on the wall looking side-line at it from off-center.
  • Two women at a bus stop discussing NASA’s achievements, the history of rocket engines for use in space, decisions regarding funding of space exploration, the shuttle program, the recent New Horizons images and discoveries, etc. A man at the bus stop “informs” them that the first images of Pluto were just taken, and explains to them how a rocket engine works (supposedly).
  • At a café or bar near a high school or college campus, a woman reading Richard III and enjoying her drink looks up to a man standing at her table. “Shakespeare! Best author in the English language,” says the man, nodding approvingly. “Arguably,” the woman says. “Have you read any others?” he asks. “I teach; I’m teaching the Histories,” she responds. “Romeo and Juliet, now that’s the best love story of all time,” he says, then ‘explains’ the plot to her, and how Shakespeare’s plays were the soap operas of their time.
  • See How to Find a Mechanic and Fix Your Car where a “solution” was explained by a mentor missing the point.
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