“Tragically, the well-off and the poor are often united in capitalist culture by their shared obsession with consumption. Oftentimes the poor are more addicted to excess because they are the most vulnerable to all the powerful messages in media and in our lives in general which suggest that the only way out of class shame is conspicuous consumption. Propaganda in advertising and in the culture as a whole assures the poor that they can be one with those who are more materially privileged if they own the same products. It helps sustain the false notion that ours is a classless society. When these values are accepted by the poor they internalize habits of being that make them act in complicity with greed and exploitation. Who has not heard materially well-off individuals talk about driving through poor neighborhoods and seeing fancy cars or massive overeating of junk food? These are the incidents the well-off emphasize to denigrate the poor while simultaneously holding them accountable for their fate.”—bell hooks
I. [verb] for [state], where “state” = poor people of color who cannot speak for themselves II. TFA teachers (“teachers”) are 65% white, which is actually lower than the national average. That seems super liberal and shit until you account for the fact that students taught by TFA recruits are overwhelmingly nonwhite. This statistic, however, is not listed on their “diversity page.” III. Racism, mostly. Racism, colonialism, classism. IV. How many TFA applicants have you met who said they wanted something that’ll look good on their resume for law school? ‘Cause I’ve met a lot. V. They were all white. VI. Like, look at all of these white people teaching kids in Detroit. Don’t even get me started on the colonization of DPS over the past thirty years. VII. Gateway to J.P. Morgan. Really. VIII. Scab labor for our communities—in 2011, when the Kansas City program was founded, 87 local teachers were fired and 150 TFA recruits replaced them. The school didn’t have to pay them. IX. Really, though, this is pretty straightforward: a. entice white college graduates with Ivy Law prospects (literally). Pay them less than you can legally pay a person with a teaching certificate or a member of an educators’ union. Fire community members in the poorest, most racially segregated schools in the country. Send white University of Michigan Grads to teach said poor kids of color about Achievement. They will leave after two years. b) entice non-white or poor college graduates with promises of Not Being Destroyed By Debt/Poverty. Repeat.
“Once I read an interview with Madonna where she talked about her envy of black culture, where she stated that she wanted to be black as a child. It is a sign of white privilege to be able to “see” blackness and black culture from a standpoint where only the rich culture of opposition black people have created in resistance marks and defines us. Such a perspective enables one to ignore white supremacist domination and the hurt it inflicts via oppression, exploitation, and everyday wounds and pains. White folks who do not see black pain never really understand the complexity of black pleasure. And it is no wonder then that when they attempt to imitate the joy in living which they see as the “essence” of soul and blackness, their cultural productions may have an air of sham and falseness that may titillate and even move white audiences yet leave many black folks cold. Needless to say, if Madonna had to depend on masses of black women to maintain her status as cultural icon she would have been dethroned some time ago. Many of the black women I spoke with expressed intense disgust and hatred of Madonna. Most did not respond to my cautious attempts to suggest that underlying those negative feelings might lurk feelings of envy, and dare I say it, desire. No black woman I talked to declared that she wanted to “be Madonna.””—
Madonna: Plantation Mistress or Soul Sister? bell hooks From ‘Black Looks: Race and Representation’
“The isolation of immigrants led to a general acceptance of the idea of “immigrant work,” those categories of jobs that “Americans won’t do.” In reality, the super-exploitation of immigrants is merely a monument to the degradation of the conditions of labor in a particular sector, leading an observer to comment, “Working conditions and pay scales then reflect this ability to treat labor individually rather than collectively: ‘immigrant workers do not exist because there are “arduous and badly paid” jobs to be done, but, rather, arduous and badly paid jobs exist because immigrant workers are present and can be sent for.’””—Justin Akers Chacon, No One is Illegal
“If The Stepford Wives concerns itself with what men want from women, then Carrie is largely about how women find their own channels of power, and what men fear about women and women’s sexuality…which is only to say that, writing this book in 1973 and only out of college three years, I was fully aware of what Women’s Liberation implied for me and others of my sex. The book is, in its more adult implications, an uneasy masculine shrinking from a future of female equality. For me, Carrie White is a sadly misused teenager, an example of the sort of person whose spirit is so often broken in that pit of man- and woman-eaters that is your normal suburban high school. But she’s also Woman, feeling her powers for the first time and, like Samson, pulling down the temple on everyone in sight at the end of the book.”— Stephen King, in Danse Macabre, quoted by Carol J. Clover in Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film.
I actually haven’t read Danse Macabre, although I bought it recently and am really excited to get into it. Stephen King has written some of the best and worse, most complex and most disposable female characters I’ve ever read. I always remember his women. There’s always this play between throwback mom-trauma and masculinist Lib womanhood (has anyone actually read Rose Madder? Uh, yeah. To talk waves here, my mom loves that book). But he’s never afraid to try to develop a woman. And when he writes shallowly, he always admits to as much in the notes to the reprints. To be willing to admit when you are wrong—about your science fiction conceptions, about your wooden writing style, about your poorly developed female characters—a good writer makes. But it takes the same level of humility to be willing to try to write women characters when you, whatever, feel like you can’t “relate” to their experiences. To be willing to write a female character because you know that female character is worth writing, even though your training is only in writing about The Male Experience, is brave. Why? Because when you fuck up, you have to admit you need to work on your writing. If you’re every other male ever, you just blame the Female Experience for your flaws. It’s brave to try to write a woman and fail and then be willing to try again, be willing to admit that it’s not because women are undeserving of representation that your Heroine was a terrible Heroine. It’s because you can’t write her. Stephen King always writes and always admits when he did it wrong. And he tries again. He doesn’t try to pretend that the flaws in his female characters were because Men somehow just Can’t Ever Write A Female Character Obviously. Stephen King is one of few authors from whom I might accept the “I write what I know” argument, considering that he practically always writes terrified writer males. Almost autobiography.
All I’m saying is that the ability to reflect on the representation in your literature, or your films, is the best quality I could ask for. And the fact that very few people have this humility? Especially very few men? Is why I hate every movie and every book in the world.
Except for Stephen King’s. Although, my love for Carrie is pretty much straightforwardly about my obsession with periods. (via rgr-pop)
Every year, coal-fired power plants generate about 130 million tons of coal ash—leftover sludge containing arsenic, mercury, and lead. The industry recycles around 55 million tons of the stuff annually, sticking it into a variety of products, from cement to cosmetics. No wonder it wasn’t too happy about an EPA proposal to classify coal ash as hazardous waste. Here’s where you can find recycled coal ash, in order of increasing creepiness.