Posts tagged Violence.
A single duty, a single objective: drive out colonialism by every means. And the most liberal among us would be prepared to accept this, at a pinch, but they cannot help seeing in this trial of strength a perfectly inhuman method used by subhumans to claim for themselves a charter for humanity: let them acquire it as quickly as possible, but in order to merit it, let them use nonviolent methods. Our noble souls are racist.
I noticed that at the preschool my kids attended, while it was “not O.K.” (oh, that phrase!) for the boys to play “violent” games, it was perfectly acceptable for the girls to play house or tea party and act out every gender stereotype in the book. It made me think a lot about what the word “violence” means, and how we use it in a fairly unnuanced way, and how a kid pointing a plastic gun and saying “pow” is somehow as upsetting to us as what happens in far-off wars. When I saw the boys (they were mostly boys) playing “Star Wars” or “Soldier” or “Bad Guy/Good Guy,” I thought that they were playing at power, and that those issues of power were being enacted in the tea-party games, too. I think kids are concerned with power. They don’t have much of it. As for adults, we have created this world of violence—both real and mediated—and we are unnerved by our kids’ response to it. We’d like to shut those responses down, much as we used to try to shut down all talk of sex and sexuality.
For if I am confounded by you, then you are already of me, and I am nowhere without you. I cannot muster the “we” except by finding the way in which I am tied to “you,” by trying to translate but finding that my own language must break up and yield if I am to know you. You are what I gain through this disorientation and loss. This is how the human comes into being, again and again, as that which we have yet to know.
Men often react to women’s words - speaking and writing - as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper, Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men - control, violence, insult, contempt - that no threat seems empty
Fictional characters are made of words, not flesh; they do not have free will, they do not exercise volition. They are easily born, and as easily killed off.
HEIGHTENING THE DRAMA IN AN ALTERCATION BY AMPING UP PHYSICAL THREAT MORE ACCURATELY ILLUSTRATES THE TRUE NATURE OF THE STAKES IN DEALING WITH INTERSECTIONAL IDENTITY POLITICS. WE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO SHY AWAY FROM MAKING OTHERS FEEL THE IMMINENT SENSE OF DANGER THEIR NARROW UNDERSTANDINGS OF GENDER, RACE AND SEXUALITY MIGHT PROVOKE IN US. IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE ABOUT RETALIATION INSOFAR AS IT’S ABOUT ENSURING THEY TRULY AND UNMISTAKABLY UNDERSTAND WHAT’S AT PLAY WHEN THEY TRY TO SHOVE THEIR EXCLUSIONARY REGRESSIVENESS DOWN YOUR THROAT, AND TESTING TO SEE IF THEY’RE STRONG ENOUGH TO HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE AFTERMATH. MAKE YOURSELF SEEN. REVEAL THE PERFORMATIVE SNARES OF POWER DYNAMICS FOR WHAT THEY REALLY ARE. GRAB A COLLAR AND SNARL IF YOU HAVE TO; LAUGH IF THEY DARE QUIVER.
I LIKE YOU.
THAT’S PRETTY MUCH BEEN AFFIRMED BY THE FACT THAT EACH TIME I SEE YOU, I SAY HELLO.
YOU ARE WELL AWARE THAT MY KINDNESS DOES NOT EXTEND TO THAT MANY PEOPLE, SO CONSIDER YOURSELF AMONG THE PRIZED FEW WHO SHARE IN THE PRIVILEGE OF MY DAILY HELLO.
LAUGH AT THAT.
WHAT I CHOOSE TO DO IN THAT REGARD IS NOT A COMPULSIVE RESPONSE TO A COLLECTIVE SOCIAL CONTRACT, BUT IS RATHER OF MY OWN VOLITION.
THE CONTOURS OF MY PERFORMANCE BEND AROUND THE DESIRES OF MYSELF, AND NO ONE ELSE’S.
IT MIGHT BE AN INHERENT DEFENSE MECHANISM, INCLUSION AS AN IMPLICIT FORM OF EXCLUSION THAT IS, BUT I THINK IF SO THEN THAT’S THE POINT I’M GETTING AT.
I LIKE YOU DEARLY, I THINK YOU ARE PHYSICALLY GORGEOUS, AND YOUR HEART MAY WELL BE FASHIONED OUT OF THE PUREST LIQUID GOLD MOLDED INTO AN ORGAN SHAPED VESSEL FOR ALL I KNOW OR CARE.
WE CAN BE CHILL ON SO MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS, FRIEND.
THAT IS UNTIL YOU SAY SOMETHING HOMOPHOBIC TO MAKE A JOKE.
THAT IS UNTIL YOU DO SO CARELESSLY, AND COUCH YOUR HOMOPHOBIA IN SOME BULLSHIT LIBERAL RHETORIC AIMED AT CONVINCING ME THAT DESPITE WHY YOU SAY, “WE’RE ALL STILL FRIENDS HERE.”
KNOW THAT DESPITE MY SILENCE, AND HOW MUCH I MAY HAVE FELT I TRUSTED YOU, EVERY CELL IN MY BODY IMMEDIATELY PREPARED ITSELF TO ANNIHILATE YOU.
CONSIDER THE LACK OF PHYSICAL OR VERBAL CONFRONTATION A CONCENSSION ON MY PART, A SACRIFICE, A DISSIMULATION FRONTED IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THIS NOW DISRUPTED PRETENSE OF A “SAFE SPACE” STABLE.
SO THAT I DON’T LOOK LIKE THE ASSHOLE HERE.
NO ONE “LIKES” VIOLENCE I DON’T THINK, AND I THINK ONE THING PEOPLE LIKE LESS THAN VIOLENCE IS FEELING LIKE AN ASSHOLE.
THERE ARE TIMES THOUGH WHEN THE INCLUSION OF VIOLENCE INTO A PASSIVE DISCOURSE STIMULATES A PRIMITIVE RESPONSE, ONE CONCERNED WITH THE PROTECTION OF THE BODY, THE SOUL, AND SOMETHING MORE ABSTRACT, LIKE A CLOUD OF IDENTITY.
KNOW THAT SUCH A RESPONSE, WHEN DIRECTED TOWARDS YOU, MAY FEEL LIKE VIOLENCE, BUT THAT IT’S REALLY JUST A SYMPTOM OF LARGER, REGULATORY VIOLENCE OF WHICH YOU ARE A BENEFICIARY, AND WHICH YOU JUST SHOVED IN MY FACE.
THE POINT IS, THEN, FRIEND, THAT YOUR LANGUAGE IS INDICATIVE OF AN IDEOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK THAT YOU HAVE NOW ASSERTED HERE, FOR LAUGHS NO LESS, ONE THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE ME AS A WORTHY TENANT AND ONE THAT YOU HAVE FORCED ONTO ME AS A MEMBER OF THIS SPACE.
SO KNOW THAT NOW, IN THIS MOMENT YOU ARE HEARING SOMETHING.
KNOW THAT YOU ARE HEARING SOMETHING AS LOUD AS THE VIOLENT THUD THAT I FELT IN MY CHEST, AND SWALLOWED, WHEN YOU MADE YOUR CHOICES.
KNOW THAT YOU SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL WITH THE CHOICES YOU MAKE MOVING FORWARD.
KNOW THAT I WILL BE MUCH MORE CAUTIOUS WITH MY CHOICES MOVING FORWARD.
KNOW THAT YOU ARE LEARNING ABOUT VIOLENCE, FIRST HAND.
AND KNOW THAT YES, THE LESSON SHOULD FEEL THIS GROSS.
I VALUE MY BODY AS A COLLECTION OF ATOMS AND MASS.
I VALUE MY BODY AS AN EXPLICIT, PHYSICAL SYMBOL OF MY DESIRES.
WHEN YOU THREATEN TO ATTACK MY BODY YOU ARE ATTACKING MY DRIVE, MY COGNITIVE, PHYSICAL, AND EMOTIONAL MOBILITY.
THREAT IS USED TO MAKE THE BODY STOP AND THE MIND QUIVER.
THREAT IS AN ATTEMPT TO SEDATE.
LET CONFLICT SING OR SHUT THE FUCK UP.
DEFEND YOUR TERRITORIES OR LET THE VICIOUS (OR MAYBE JUST PAROCHIAL) INFECT YOUR BODY AND THOUGHTS, CONTORTING YOUR DESIRES FROM WITHIN.
SOMEONE SHOVING THEMSELVES DOWN YOUR THROAT SHOULD STIMULATE THE GAG REFLEX.
“IS DESIRE COERCIVE?” MAY BE THE QUESTION BUT THE QUESTION MAY VERY WELL BE THE ANSWER.
HOPEFULLY WE KNOW THAT IF THE BODY IS NOT PROTECTED THEN THE MOORS OF ITS CHARACTER DISSOLVE LIKE WET SUGAR.
DESIRE, THE BODY.
THE BODY, THE PHANTOM LIMB.
KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT A SUMMONS FOR VIOLENT RETALIATION.
OR, FOR THAT MATTER, ANYTHING OTHER THAN RECOGNITION.
SIMPLY KNOW THAT WHEN THE INFINITE FOLDS OF MY CONSCIENCE ARE LAID TO REST, THAT WHEN MY BODY IS BURIED OR BURNED, AND EVEN WHEN I PUT MYSELF TO SLEEP AT NIGHT, THAT IT WILL NOT HAVE BEEN SO BECAUSE OF FEAR OF YOU.
IT WILL BE DUE TO MY OWN SATISFACTION.
“In large part, the shooters and arsonists who are behind many, if not most of these events in America, are white men. In large part, these men have either come of age in the shadow of September 11. They have watched the media, heard Department of Homeland Security officials, and followed as mostly white male (and some female) politicians have given the anxious go ahead to wage an enormous war against Muslims abroad (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan) or at home (in the form of the War on Terror). Several of them have served in a military that follows the orders of two U.S. Presidential administrations by training their men to shoot, invade, drop rockets from helicopters, and drones controlled remotely from Syracuse, NY and other air force bases in the United States. These white men have learned their lessons well, whether in the military or from hours of media news: the frustrations of a scared (white) America can be dealt with waging a war using guns, bombs, chemicals, and drones. They have learned that it is ok to kill those who you believe to be behind threats to your comfort. They have internalized the message that those you fear can be addressed without words, without dialogue, but with violence, with power, with coercion. They have learned that some religions are automatically evil and that those who adhere to those religions must be destroyed. And these white men reflect an ideology of violence that has permeated America in the name of the War on Terror. Sadly, that ideology, perpetuated by our white men and women in power, carried out by American soldiers, and endorsed by a lapdog media, isn’t fading away. It’s becoming bigger, stronger, and more murderous. These men are not mad or crazy. They are the well-trained students of American foreign and domestic policies. They have learned well the United States’ message: that violence and mayhem are the answer. We need to change the scripts, and confront the fallout of a decade of the War on Terror—and other excuses for state-led violence quickly”