Instead of giving you a long-winded blog wherein I attempt to make sense of (read: hate on) some nugget of pop culture, I thought I just comment on two issues that have stuck with me since I last wrote.
On Useless Knowledge and Occupy Wall Street
As a kid, I used to collect useless knowledge. You know, stuff like, If you tap the 57 on a Heinz bottle it’ll make the ketchup come out faster. (You’re welcome.) Now, I’m sure the invention of Google has made this kind of knowledge a little easier to come by and a lot less impressive–even when coming from the mouth of a 12-year-old. But I must share one more: Wall Street is called Wall Street because the Dutch built a wall to keep the indigenous folks from “invading.” Perhaps this account is disputed, but even if this factoid is not entirely true, I think it’s important to think about it in terms of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.
Grandma Charlotte says, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” I understand that demonstrators are saying no to corporate greed and other reasons for the growing economic inequality in this country, but why do they have to employ the semantics of colonialism to express it? Although I can support the larger aims of these kinds of demonstrations, I cannot support how they are being expressed. I’m not trying to occupy anything. Calling for an occupation ain’t revolutionizing anything.
Just as Slut Walk has an inherently bourgeois, white woman tenor it–there’s no point in attempting to reclaim a word you been called for forever and a day since your chastity has never been assumed–Occupy Wall Street has a similar feel. Ask the descendants of the indigenous folks the Dutch were trying to keep out–if they’re still around. We like to remind folks on Columbus Day that you can’t discover a place that is already populated; well, you can’t occupy a space that is already occupied–and why would you want to?
Perhaps I am too crunk about semantics. But unless we are deliberate, we think what we say what we act. If we really want to revolutionize, how about everybody who shouldn’t really be on Wall Street leave? Yeah. I didn’t think so.
N.B. I know that many sites that speak to issues that (in)directly involve indigenous folks and colonialist discourse have been eloquently arguing this point. I wanted to both echo and acknowledge them, and present a sloppy version of those arguments in this space.
Clothes, the Boogie Man, and… You?
Has Hallmark come up with a line of coming out cards yet? Tomorrow is National Coming Out Day. Wouldn’t coming out be easier if you could just head out to your local drugstore and pick up a pack of coming out cards that look just like those Valentine’s joints we used to have to buy for our 3rd grade class? I can think of several catchy phrases to put on the front along with pictures of kittens–and Subarus.
Seriously, though, I very rarely speak to the (black) youth who presumably read this blog. So to them and others who have trepidation about the ritual of coming out: If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Although it does help sell memoirs, coming out in some (elaborate) manner is not an integral part of the gay certification process. Manage your life the best way you know how. If coming out feels dangerous, uncomfortable, or you’re just otherwise not with it, I support you and your decision. And if there is (are) someone(s) telling you differently, exacerbating your trepidation, fuck them. Your life, your timing. We love you, anyway
Happy Columbus Needed a GPS Day.