News from Nowhere 6

Sunday, 19 January 2014

[Content note: References to rape, assault and suicide are included below.]

I made a mental note this morning to write another News from Nowhere post, both to share some stories I’ve come across and compile them into one blog post for my own benefit if I need to refer back to them. As I was listing what I wanted to include, I thought to myself: ‘So many of these stories are just enraging and depressing’. Well, yes, they are. This is not new – this blog isn’t exactly filled with happy-making stuff 90% of the time. I used to envy bloggers whose blogs presented a world of effortless calm. I know this ‘effortless’ quality may be an illusion too, and I know no one really knows what goes on behind the scenes in people’s ‘real’ lives. I know we are all different and that’s fine. I’m just glad I don’t envy them now.

I’m writing this because the first article I include here is about ‘outrage fatigue’. I’m not one of those people who can go through life pretending bad stuff doesn’t exist. I can take things too personally sometimes, I’m easily enraged by the shit that goes on in the world. I can’t turn that rage off. And so, this article explains why I’m sick of people being sick of outrage, as if the outrage itself is the problem rather than the concerns which the outrage is expressing:

: : Oh, You’re Tired Of People Being ‘Outraged’? by Kia Makarechi

“What’s really happening here is that outrage fatigue is like anti-intellectualism for conservatives and liberals (and especially neo-liberals) alike. There’s a high societal tolerance for rolling one’s eyes at a ‘thinkpiece’ about race or gender. Never mind that for every article about race, there are scores of comments telling the author and outlet that topics such as race and gender don’t matter, creating an exponentially higher number of folks spending time telling people that things don’t matter than the number of people suggesting that they might actually matter.”

: : Coward outrage by Ed Butler

“This is the nefarious nature of this sexism. The response is all too easily ‘don’t accuse me of sexism, I’m just worried about blokes getting beaten to death.’ But that’s where we’re at today. Sexism is increasingly less obvious, it’s easier to elide the old ‘keep her in the kitchen’ buffoonery of yore. Today it’s insidious; sexism by omission. We will jump to action when our boys are hurt while on the turps. When our girls have their heads smashed against the wall when their husbands get home drunk and wound up – not so much.”

: : A response letter to Elizabeth Farrelly’s Beards and Blokes editorial by Paul Verhoeven

I posted this on facebook with a comment I’ll condense here: “For anyone who has read a dumb-ass article on us ‘entitled youngsters’ and rolled their eyes while mentally giving the finger to the writer. Please stop writing about us ‘entitled’ youth or publishing essays with the words ‘Gen Y’ and ‘the trouble with’ in the title. We are not a homogeneous whole, and *GASP*, we are not ‘entitled’ for questioning the world we have inherited and things like employment problems and the casualisation of the workforce, job security, pay inequity, housing affordability and debt.”

: : There are many reasons why Sarah Nicole Prickett’s twitter account is one of my favourites to follow, this is one of those reasons. This tweet was posted in response to this story. I can’t even begin to explain the rage.

: : While you’re at it, read her article, which I have bookmarked and return to again and again: Your Friends and Rapists:

“Watching a scene with drunk, naked bodies, in which one of the bodies is female, women like me feel sick with rape while men who read the same things we do, men of the same milieus, men who really like us, are only looking at their cell phones and laughing.”

But for all my rage, I have to end with two wonderful essays:

: : Wuthers: The Book That Saved a Life by SA Jones

Wuthering Heights discomfited and unnerved me but my overwhelming sense was of a preternatural power. When I first read it I was stunned by a sense of something alive in the white margin of the text. Something I thought I could see moving out of the corner of my eye. Only my reason kept me from a certainty that I could hear a presence breathing close by, as Heathcliff does when he desecrates Catherine’s grave. I felt, and still do feel when I pick it up now, that there was a ghost in the book – a palpable presence that I never quite saw but equally could not disprove.”

: : What no one tells you about motherhood by Jessica Stanley

“Does the morning I’ve had so far sound bad to you? It might. But it is not bad for me. Not bad at all.”

Not bad at all, not bad at all. Repeat after me, Hila: ‘We are all so different’. I probably need to learn to be less judgemental. But I also need to learn to stop judging myself for what I am. Put simply, if you’re kinder to yourself, you’re kinder and more empathetic to other people. So, enjoy my rage peeps!

3 comments:

Rambling Tart said...

I have to tell you, Hila, that finding your blog and reading your rage has been a big part of my healing. I was never allowed to rage. Ever. I especially wasn't allowed to get angry about anything bad that happened to me. Reading your words these past few years has taught me that it is right and good and healthy and ESSENTIAL to be angry about bad things. To stand up and say, "THIS IS WRONG" is vital for healing and prevention of future abuse. I hope you will always rage against bad things. Thank you for helping to make me a Good Rage-er too. :-) XO

Sasha said...

I must say I quite enjoyed these shared articles. They evoke a lot of thoughtfulness. I personally am so grateful for Makarechi's article. It's fairly topical in my life right now as some people somewhat close to me are starting to twang out the "oh god just get over it, you're so angry all the time" blues.

Hila said...

Krista: I'm very happy to hear that - I think curtailing someone's anger is a form of minimisation of what that anger represents.

Sasha: I know, I get that all the time - 'why are you being so negative?' blah, blah, blah. I get that some people don't want to be exposed to bad things. I don't get though that they think this makes it ok to tell everyone else how they should feel and how they should react to things.