Things Seen, Things Made

Jo : queer politics - stories - beautiful things

WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

…Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Changes Does Not Equal Political Change (via america-wakiewakie)

“boycott all non-organic food”

white male leftist who’s never gone hungry/lived off of food stamps his entire life (via aloofshahbanou)

I hate it when people politicize food consumption

Hate it

Like you never had only $20 in your bank account and could only afford to eat Kraft for a week man

Shut the fuck up. 

I understand that Monsanto is the devil and I hate them and I hate monoculture agriculture too

But don’t penalize the people who don’t have the means to make a ~*~ideological lifestyle~*~ out of their food choices

(via sweetjosephine)

Feeling this so much lately. Recognize people’s economic realities.

(via youbestnotmiss)

Recognize people’s economic realities.

YES. (via mirandaadria)


white vegans be like “honey is unethical because the bees worked so hard on it that’s why I like the completely ethical alternative of sugar harvested by underpaid and abused fieldworkers”


she wears halos on her wrists
like athletes keep trophies on their shelves

So apparently someone at Supernatural is casting for the role of Claire Novak. I haven’t been excited about this show in a long time—and honestly I don’t really expect the show itself to do much with the character. So many fizzled plot lines and wasted opportunities for epic storylines have made me a little cynical, and frankly I just can’t see any mainstream TV show having the guts to explore the philosophical or religious situation of a young girl, who was so genuinely devout, who was betrayed by Heaven—generally speaking, the only people who get “loss of faith” narratives in popular media are adult male soldiers or priests. But I am excited about the inspiration for fanfiction, because I fucking love angel-serial-killer-Claire and hunter-team-leader-Claire and burnt-out-shell-of-a-human-being-Claire and pretty much every other fan interpretation of her.

Speaking of fic, I wrote a thing a while ago…

Tomorrow a cool thing is happening!


Tomorrow we get our first writing assignment!

There is no obligation to complete the assignment, but if you do, you’ll have it read by another member of the group!  At that point the only thing you have to do is read another writer’s piece and give them some good feedback!

If this sounds like a fun, interesting, and helpful experience to you, then check us out!  You can read about how it works in more detail here, and you can check out the rules here.  There’s also an FAQ page available if you’re not sure about something.

If this seems like something you would like to do, just follow the blog so you’ll see the assignments, which will be posted on the 1st and 15th of every month!

Happy writing!

“If you, like me, ever find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed about being a disabled student, doubting whether you really need or deserve accommodations, I encourage you to think back to the 504 protests. If you ever feel society tugging at you to “get by” without accommodations, “toughen up,” “suck it up,” “stick it out,” because “the whole world doesn’t cater to you,” remember that you are part of a community that has spent enough time living in an inaccessible world. If you feel tempted to do an ableist society’s work by torturing yourself for being disabled, remember that over a hundred protestors (and an infestation of crabs) stayed in a building for nearly a month without the comforts of home or any accommodations or accessible structures. Remember that all the discomfort and indignities they faced as protestors were so that you wouldn’t have to go through the same thing. You’re relieved of any duty to feel guilty or ashamed about being a disabled student.”

Fighting Shame with History

Longmore Institute student assistant Katie offers a bit of advice, history, and humor to help her fellow disabled students fight back against the internalized ableism that crops up at the start of the semester.

(via longmoreinstituteondisability)


Something awesome, surreal and possibly even a little bit magical is happening on a quiet street in the Toxteth district of Liverpool, England. Every night, when the clock strikes 10:00pm, the sliding storefront shutter on a derelict building opens to reveal a radiant blue tank of water filled with live, luminous jellyfish silently swimming around the space.

This dreamlike scene is a site-specific art installation created by artistic duo Walter Hugo & Zoniel for the Liverpool Biennial. Entitled The Physical Possibility of Inspiring Imagination in the Mind of Someone Living, the piece was not promoted in advance in any way. Instead it simply started happening and will continue making its punctual 10pm appearance until July 27, 2014.

If you can’t make it to Liverpool before the end of the month, you can click here to watch some video footage of the installation, which was shared by Neal Bryant.

[via designboom]

An egregious example of this sort of thinking is the 1964 study of battered women entitled “The Wife-Beater’s Wife.” The researchers, who had originally sought to study batterers, found that the men would not talk to them. They thereupon redirected their attention to the more cooperative battered women, whom they found to be “castrating,” “frigid,” “aggressive,” “indecisive,” and “passive.” They concluded that marital violence fulfilled these women’s “masochistic needs.” Having identified the women’s personality disorders as the source of the problem, these clinicians set out to “treat” them. In one case they managed to persuade the wife that she was provoking the violence, and they showed her how to mend her ways. When she no longer sought help from her teenage son to protect herself from beatings and no longer refused to submit to sex on demand, even when her husband was drunk and aggressive, her treatment was judged a success.

While this unabashed, open sexism is rarely found in psychiatric literature today, the same conceptual errors, with their implicit bias and contempt, still predominate. The clinical picture of a person who has been reduced to elemental concerns of survival is still frequently mistaken for a portrait of the victim’s underlying character. Concepts of personality organization developed under ordinary circumstances are applied to victims, without any understanding of the corrosion of personality that occurs under conditions of prolonged terror. Thus, patients who suffer from the complex aftereffects of chronic trauma still commonly risk being misdiagnosed as having personality disorders. They may be described as inherently “dependent,” “masochistic,” or “self-defeating.” In a recent study of emergency room practice in a large urban hospital, clinicians routinely described battered women as “hysterics,” “masochistic females,” “hypochondriacs,” or, more simply, “crocks.”

This tendency to misdiagnose victims was at the heart of a controversy that arose in the mid-1980s when the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association came up for revision. A group of male psychoanalysts proposed that “masochistic personality disorder” be added to the canon. This hypothetical diagnosis applied to any person who “remains in relationships in which others exploit, abuse, or take advantage of him or her, despite opportunities to alter the situation.” A number of women’s groups were outraged, and a heated public debate ensued. Women insisted on opening up the process of writing the diagnostic canon, which had been the preserve of a small group of men, and for the first time, took part in the naming of psychological reality.

I was one of the participants in this process. What struck me most at the time was how little rational argument seemed to matter. The women’s representatives came to the discussion prepared with carefully reasoned, extensively documented position papers, which argued that the proposed diagnostic concept had little scientific foundation, ignored recent advances in understanding the psychology of victimization, and was socially regressive and discriminatory in impact, since it would be used to stigmatize disempowered people. The men of the psychiatric establishment persisted in their bland denial. They admitted freely that they were ignorant of the extensive literature of the past decade on psychological trauma, but they did not see why it should concern them. One member of the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association felt the discussion of battered women was “irrelevant.” Another stated simply, “I never see victims.”

In the end, because of the outcry from organized women’s groups and the widespread publicity engendered by the controversy, some sort of compromise became expedient. The name of the proposed entity was changed to “self-defeating personality disorder.” The criteria for diagnosis were changed, so that the label could not be applied to people who were known to be physically, sexually, or psychologically abused. Most important, the disorder was included not in the main body of the text but in an appendix. It was relegated to apocryphal status within the canon, where it languishes to this day.

– Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman (via annalevys)

…except for one female-only romance in Deep Space 9 which ended after half an episode and was in itself illicit for reasons other than the fact Lieutenant Dax was kissing a woman, not a single character in any Star Trek series or film has been openly gay or lesbian. (As an aside: sci fi seems far more comfortable with lesbian romance than gay; probably something to do with the assumed audience being mostly straight and male, thus supposedly titillated by the idea.)

There are two reasons for this lack of representation. The hand-wringing, slightly mealy-mouthed explanation given by Gene Roddenberry when asked about the subject was that because people in his future didn’t care about sexuality, it didn’t need to be shown (despite straight male and female characters having sex all the time). Then there’s the real one, which is that ABC executives, all the way up to the end of Star Trek: Enterprise in 2004, were phenomenally uncomfortable with showing, or even implying the possibility of, same-sex couples on-screen. They figured it was a money-loser, was too controversial for US audiences, and so vetoed any real attempt at including gay characters in the franchise. Deep Space 9’s Cardassian tailor Garak, for instance, was supposed to be bisexual, but ABC vetoed the idea. To his credit, Andy Robinson, who played Garak, didn’t take this lying down and made up for it by flirting heavily with one of the more attractive male lead characters (Siddig El Fadil’s Dr Julian Bashir) non-stop for 7 series.

Science Fiction’s Queer Problem — Geek Empire — Medium

(via suckstoyourblog)

This seems to be true not just for television, but also for pretty much every other forum for science fiction. Not even the little literary short story markets are very queer friendly. Even the metric this article uses to measure lgbtq inclusion, which counts the briefly-mentioned existence of minor side characters without story arcs, is disappointing. It’s frustrating.