[cont.] Now, I think many people who write about and try to fight structural bias are just accustomed to using “offensive” as something of a shorthand for this notion of harmful-because-it-reinforces-pernicious-memes; I know I generally have. But offense is only defined in terms of how the offended person feels, which means it’s an insufficient concept. It actually obscures the real problem. … People are unkind to each other all the time, however, and it doesn’t always do the same degree of harm. … Mocking the powerless and unprivileged for those characteristics society arbitrarily uses as a basis for their marginalization does participate in and reinforce the narratives that justify that marginalization.
.I Don’t Care If You’re Offended by Scott Madin
TRUE TO LIFE.
These types of jokes does reinforces narratives, does limit the minorities’ freedom although not in a strict sense, highly probably had prevented my friend from coming out, and is especially sad to experience when done by the people who are otherwise kind and you genuinely care about.
My general mood during the time I was in Brisbane =
Abundance of freedom there, all very pleasing. Copious amount of wine while doing this and that, cooking xmas dinner (and nagging with V for hydrangeas as table centrepiece, our shared inanities), little roadtrips with sufjan stevens songs, Gorillaz concert, delicious food, and on top of it all my friends as hosts are magnificent and lovely. Thank you pepol.
My secret wish there was actually… to suddenly meet Julian Assange. yes yes lol. I am aware of the impossibility of that happening, TYVM, he being in London and all but one can hope etc etc. Ended up only seeing a single protest for him there, right in the middle of the city near the big christmas tree, not a lot of people were there. I guess he isn’t all that famous in Bne.
They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock,
These days, my life, I feel it has no purpose,
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface.
Cause on the surface the city lights shine,
They’re calling at me, “come and find your kind.”
Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small,
That we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl, Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there’s no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.
Something to ponder about while I was doing small researches for my Ghana Diary daily assignment. Don’t bother with this, I am seriously going to ramble.
This week Le Monde asked: is Africa and democracy a paradoxical couple?
Jacques Chirac alors président du RPR fut en effet le premier homme politique français à affirmer, au début des années 90, en réaction à l’injonction démocratique du sommet de la Baule que « l’héritage des lumières » ne pouvait s’acclimater avec la culture africaine, dominée par l’instinct tribal. En raison de cette faiblesse structurelle et en l’absence de clivages idéologiques, la démocratisation de l’Afrique ne pouvait que déboucher sur le chaos, le désordre ; un luxe que les pays africains ne pouvaient s’accorder.
Afro-pessimistic was how the magazine described Chirac’s quote. Some people in my country shared the same view. not just about African countries, but about their own. Democracy in Indonesia is quite a mess.
Should I agree?
A) Personally I’ve never been for the idea that democracy possesses a normative or moral or social superiority. It has always to my view been relatively utopic. (cue great expectation #1: 'a democratic society cannot flourish if its citizens merely pursue their own narrow interests' -Robert Audi) Its not that I don’t like democracy. I do but I have no qualms with being cyncial about it. 'Liberal democracy, in effect, is a new gospel which is spread by even the most measured texts of political scientists' is right about where my thoughts lay.
B) Le Monde eventually concluded that they dont entirely agree with Chirac’s quote because everyone is entitled to democracy and the people’s wish to freedom etc cannot be silenced anyway etc. That could be true. But my opinion though, is that the argument Chirac puts foward is false because the first premise of his question is already false.
Its not that Africa (or my Asian country) is unable to conform with "l’héritage des lumières" that is democracy. It irked me because its especially narrow-minded of him to even think that the only lumières there are, are those defined by his own. Each set of nations is entitled to their own “lumières” and yes essentially everyone wants their liberation, but to each their own concepts and form.
So the answer is yes and no, but more not really.
In his Voyages dans les Alpes , the pioneering 18th-century geologist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure wrote briefly about the chamois hunters of the Alps, men who pursued a notoriously perilous profession. The hunters were menaced by crevasses on the glaciers over which they chased their quarry, they faced death by falling from the steep slopes the chamois preferred, and death by exposure from the Alpine storms which could gather so quickly. And yet, de Saussure had written:
"It is these very dangers, this alternation of hope and fear, the continual agitation kept alive by these sensations in his heart, which excite the huntsman, just as they animate the gambler, the warrior, the sailor and, even to a certain point, the naturalist among the Alps whose life resembles closely, in some respects, that of the chamois hunter."
When I read this passage, it made absolute sense to me, despite the intervening centuries. As de Saussure said, risk-taking brings with it its own reward: it keeps a “continual agitation alive” in the heart. Hope, fear. Hope, fear - this is the fundamental rhythm of mountaineering. Life, it frequently seems in the mountains, is more intensely lived the closer one gets to its extinction: we never feel so alive as when we have nearly died.
- Robert Macfarlane
lets move out to the mountains? I have 7 years to answer that X Question. ;) If it gets bad, might take up mountaineering lol
Something I should have done recently but didn’t quite do. I feel unprivileged, in a strange way. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that some of the people there do matter thus I was appreciating them, or is it because it had more to do with what M had asked: “Where is my guts?”
On the 10th I watched a live speech by Barack Obama and I had to say I was quite mesmerized. I had tweeted: "So much platitudes, but platitude is pretty. Barack Obama is a good (looking) politician and he make great speeches."
It was pretty fluffy stuffs substance-wise. He had points, but nothing particularly grand or out of the ordinary. One Steve Clemons quipped that “Obama’s Jakarta speech was important” but was no Cairo II.
He had three main theme in his speech that were mainly centred on economy, democracy and religious rights. The whole transcript is here
The delivery though, was wonderful. What charm. He oozes quiet confidence. Dima said he looked ‘humble.’ Not quite the adjective I’d use. Perhaps smooth.. but not quite sleek. Very eloquent.
The whole audience, amusingly enough, seem to think that he was a rock star. The air was that of a concert. The whole hall was packed, and after the speech was done everyone lingered - the moment was just waiting for chants of 'we want more' and I had half-expected Obama to return for a little jitterbugging.
During the duration of the speech, the young man to the left of me even had repeated orgasmic ‘oh my gods’. (One OMG even included an exasperated hair-pulling gesture with both hands, a look of half-disbelief on his face.) When he was done the applause become something almost of a standing ovation and everybody cheered mostly at the wrong moment of the speech.
I was a little dismayed, but one can’t help to feel that one’d love to trade in the whole country’s leader and cabinet members for one Barack Obama.
Right after it was over, my twitter timeline was flooded of mostly awed comments of the speech and my phone bleeped away with messages basically saying the same thing. I encountered Grisha outside, beaming, like winning a bet.
All that aside, worth the watch though, that man. No wonder dude’s all POTUS.
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous forms of things: —
We murder to dissect.
Enough of science and of art;
Close up these barren leaves.
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Random Musings #7
This all began with me rereading one entry in my private blog that says
“This morning while putting on clothes, toothbrushing, wearing deodorant, picking clothes … I muse about the ’passing away’-ness of feelings.”
I can’t be left alone and doing things, really. I’ll think about something else. There are always something else to think about with me. It’s a good thing I can’t drive. Once the ability to do it with half a brain kicks in, I’ll travel around in my head and do that habit sooooo inexhaustible in me: not really be there. Next thing I know some cyclist’s head will roll. eek.
I’m not sure mine can be called ‘meddling intellect’ but they meddle nonetheless. I can just go on and on and on doing something like chopping garlic or mixing cookie batter and think about Pascal’s wager or something random like that. The bad thing about these meddling is the dissecting part, a lot of things escape from me after these moments and it ‘murders’ away what I feel about something or someone.
I need a heart that watches and receives.
Today I randomly took the Which Tenenbaum Are You? test and I got…..
Yes, well… I don’t expect Chas and Richie to show up since I don’t do red Adidas tracksuits, spotted mice, beards, or being good at tennis.
I’m not really Margot either, though. But I wonder who is? I don’t think anybody goes around in Lacoste tennis dresses covered in Fendi mink coat (irrespective of season) paired with brown loafers and Hermes Birkin bags these days anyways. But if Trip Fontaine have anything quotable to say it’s that one line and Margot is the undisputed recipient: she’s a stone fox.
my favourite Margot look:
The part where me and Margot relates most is perhaps when Raleigh St. Clair knocked on the door while she’s secretly smoking in the bathroom to say that her mother had come to visit then she quickly put out her cigarette and sprayed the bathroom with perfume.
Or when she says "Cause I’m in a rut, and I need a change" before walking out from Raleigh.
But perhaps best when she says "I think we’re just gonna to have to be secretly in love with each other and leave it at that, Richie."
"Once the quietness arrived, it stayed and spread in Estha. It reached out of his head and enfolded him in its swampy arms. It rocked him to the rhythm of ancient, fetal heartbeat. It sent its stealthy, suckered tentacles inching along the insides of his skull, hoovering the knolls and dells of his memory, dislodging old sentences, whisking them off the tip of his tongue. It stripped his thoughts of the words that described them and left them pared and naked. Unspeakable. Numb. And to an observer therefore, perhaps barely there. Slowly, over the years, Estha withdrew from the world. He grew accustomed to the uneasy octopus that lived inside him and squirted its inky tranquilizer on his past. Gradually the reason for his silence was hidden away, entombed somewhere deep in the soothing folds of the fact of it."
Upon unravelling the first pages of The God of Small Things, I immediately warmed to Esthappen, or who his twin would later call ‘Esthapappychachen Kuttappen Peter Mon’, and I thought god help us, not another one. When I got to the end of the book, I have completely fallen in love with him and realized that he is undoubtedly too similar to my other love, the Colonel. Both of their live stories, if I were to be very brief and uncomplicated about it: penchant for loneliness - great trauma - going away - return - quietness - repetitious acts - demise.
Gladly I was on a bit of a summer reading roll so I didn’t have time to muddle on and psychoanalyze myself for 50 hours due to it. But, honestly, why? I might have some suppressed subconscious something I am yet to be familiar of….
TGOST highly recommended, though! Fantastic read! and as it happened, absolutely my cup of tea.
The only turnoff it had was that horrendous (due to my thalassophobic ways) train experience where we have to cross the ocean through some kind of bridge. From where I was sitting, there were moments when the wide blue expanse was completely level with me. Brief heart attack and mild screaming ensues but I managed eventually. After that, it was all gorgeous autumn days ♥
Sometimes I miss this city on a random day. What I do is either I tell W about it and we would go on and on about the city that matches our temperaments and sit at our own little clouds in the sky or I could trawl around to David Lebovitz’s site and ended up doing away with any sort of healthy eating plans and make cheesecake parfaits. Today I choose the latter.
The famous Chausson à la pomme fraîche is resplendid, a golden cage of puff pastry enclosing a half of a baked apple. Pinwheels of pastry filled with pistachio or praline are nearby, and there’s always a seasonal thin-crusted tart, too, which might include fresh baked figs or peaches, depending on the season.
Yes, there’s sturdy, but tender-when-broken, croissants cooling on racks, and rows of pain au chocolat lined up in a generous basket. Behind the counter is a bread stand, lined with stubby loaves of Pain Pagnol and rectangles of Pain Tartine, a porous loaf with a focaccia-like crust, intended for sandwich-making.
*** List will be updated :p