Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thursday Morning Reading

Could Someone Please Explain Febreeze to Me?
by Elizabeth Scalia
Would someone please explain Febreeze to me? Why does it have a scent? If it’s supposed to take odors from the air, shouldn’t it smell like nothing? That’s what I want. I want the smell of nothing.


The Republican Party has also successfully used the courts, interest groups, and other means to subvert democracy by working to overturn the gains of the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, the symbolism of the Republican Party's embrace of the Confederate Flag--what I and others call the "American Swastika"--and their adoption of antebellum language such as "nullification" cannot be separated from their virulent hatred of Barack Obama as a proxy for the White Right's animus and disdain for black Americans, more generally.


Black people in this country are brutalized by police on a daily basis. That has always been true but thanks to modern technology there is a steady stream of proof caught on video. Accessing the internet means inevitably being confronted with awful imagery such as Marlene Pinnock being beaten by a highway patrolman in California. We see Eric Garner murdered by the NYPD, pleading that he couldn’t breathe.


Once they know about my religious and family background, people generally want to know how my family relationships are now. They’re not so bad these days, thank you. After 8 years, even such a dramatic revelation as apostasy loses its ability to shock and agitate. Filial love can, in some situations, overcome anger and pain.
More difficult to overcome than my family members’s distaste for apostasy are their feelings about bodies.
Indeed, for a year after I publicly left Islam, I still wore headscarves and long-sleeved, long clothing to family gatherings. It didn’t matter that most people knew what was going on with me and that most of the women in my family don’t cover their heads. Appearances had to be kept up, I suppose.


Trinidadian-born photographer Gerard Gaskin’s images in Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene (Duke University Press, 2013) are a conversation with the Black and Latino transsexual subcultures, where those who are often marginalised and ejected from their homes and communities examine and perform gender and sex in the safe spaces provided by the Ballroom Scene in Harlem, New York. Frank Roberts, from his essay “The Queer Undercommons”, writes, “For members of New York City’s underground house ball community, being photographed by Gerard H. Gaskin is a rite of passage: All of the legendary children appear in front of his lens at some point or another.”


Dog vs. Coconut Crab

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