Jan. 6th, 2017

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OK, fair point, I’ve avoided using anything religion-related up to now. I’ve been really scrupulous about it. I didn’t think, and still don’t, of the drawing as being particularly religious, and I’ll explain why below.

I have an embroidered blouse my mom got as a tourist in the 70s with a really similar motif on it, and I was considering just taking a photo, but I actually figured it’d be more respectful to find a design and draw it myself, in case there was some meaning I didn’t understand about the embroidered blouse and its context. 

It’s a decorative element, presented in the linked-to context with other decorations with speculations as to their meanings. There were several sources when I researched, and they had similar ones; most of them were taken from commercial items woven for tourists. 

I picked that one to draw because I’m not a very good artist and it had the fewest lines. The source explains that it’s an element often found amid the decoration of the huipils worn by Church statues, for the most part, but the symbology is not thoroughly explained, and I didn’t look into it. I didn’t try to arrange it with other elements as it would be, in real use. I kept it in isolation and paired it with itself, just for decoration, and if I could have come up with something of my own instead, you bet I would have.

I’m not interested in plundering anyone’s heritage, I’m trying to find something thematically appropriate that I can actually manage to approximate a drawing of.

I haven’t written anything about it, or tried to. (Clearly, you didn’t read the story, so I guess I can stop worrying about that.)

I feel terrible (of course) about the way that the Maya have had so much of their way of life taken from them. I know they traditionally find it offensive for tourists to wear their clothes; Rigoberta Menchu mentions it in her autobiography, written in 1983:

This is part of the reserve that we’ve maintained to defend our customs and our culture. Indians have been very careful not to disclose any details of their communities, and the community does not allow them to talk about Indian things. I too must abide by this. This is because many religious people have come among us and drawn a false impression of the Indian world. We also find a ladino* using Indian clothes very offensive. All this has meant that we keep a lot of things to ourselves and the community doesn’t like us telling its secrets. This applies to all our customs.

 But I also have found that basically all the information about Guatemala online nowadays is weaving collectives. That’s the way that the remaining Maya people have found to take charge of their own heritage and present themselves to the world. That’s how they’re empowering themselves and making a niche for themselves, after all of the genocide and the centuries of depredation, because it’s something that’s still left to them. It means sharing the images and the craftsmanship. The weaving collectives are overcoming their distaste for outsiders to let their craft speak for them, and the weavings have begun to be the face of the Maya to the outside world. 

So that’s the spirit in which I picked up that element and duplicated it. I’ll certainly be careful, going forward, and it’s a good reminder. 
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I forgot to even address this whole part of those asks:

The tension within the Central American countries between their indigenous populations and their non-indigenous populations is impossible to overstate. 

Some enormous proportion of the populations of Central and South America is of mixed indigenous heritage, but a much smaller proportion still identifies as indigenous, still has access to those cultures and speaks those languages. Within my lifetime, and in many cases in an ongoing fashion, those populations are under extreme pressure, up to and including active extermination policies. That was the context in which Rigoberta Menchu was writing in the work I quoted earlier: a widespread and devastating campaign of active genocide against the Maya population as part of the civil war in Guatemala in the early 80s. (The role of the US and the CIA in this war are… a whole other story, to be sure, but certainly part of the story.)

Maya and Mexico are not completely overlapping circles on a Venn diagram, in more than one way. 

“Leaving Mexico to the Mexicans” is a completely misguided way to address this situation. 
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So, here’s another thing entirely.

I tried to call my rep, I really did, and I couldn’t do it, so I sent an email through the contact form, gagging the whole time, I’m so fucking terrible at contact and conflict and major kudos to all of you who pick up the phone like heroes. I’m going to try, I’m going to, I just think I need to get medicated first. We’ll see.

Anyway. I emailed him, and got a response back. 

is the beautiful header image on the lovely formatted email. 

It reads as follows: 

Thank you for contacting me with your uneasiness with President-elect’s Transition.

I share your misgivings. Since the election we have seen and unprecedented deviation from past Presidents-elect behavior. The President-elect has promoted white nationalists to key White House positions, denied our intelligence’s communities claims that Russia interfered with our election, and has demonstrated clear conflicts of interest with business dealings. Unfortunately, these are just a few of the troubling missteps he and his transition have made thus far.

Please know that during the coming administration I will continue stand up for the basics rights all Americans are entitled to. Our nation was founded on the basic principles of freedom and equality. Any law or action that discriminates against one group of individuals is unjust. No American should face obstacles accessing housing, securing employment opportunities, earning an education, getting medical treatment or receiving federal benefits.

Concerns aside, with any administration, there is room to find common ground. I will seek work with the administration to benefit Western New Yorkers, and all Americans, should infrastructure investment come to the forefront of the President-elects agenda. With the proposal of a 10-year, $1 trillion national infrastructure program, there would be an enormous emphasis to rehabilitate our roads and bridges in Western New York, while having the opportunity to invest in some of our most courageous projects.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please feel free to do so with any other issues of concern to you in the future.



Congressman Brian Higgins


Buddy where do I start. 

I guess I start with the ACA. Should I mention that the infrastructure plan is extremely nebulous and poorly-defined and is unlikely to actually yield any improvements to roads or public works? 

I’m not going to hassle him about the fact that he desperately needs someone to proofread these. Clearly, this is boilerplate. But. “Basics rights” –yeah. 

I know emailing is a waste of time and nobody cares. But I’m going to respond anyway. I just feel like it’s better than nothing, and me sitting here clutching my phone and gagging is the same thing as nothing only with a lot of stress hormones.

Don’t normalize, B-dawg. Don’t collaborate. I need to work up my nerve to take on Chuck Schumer, who is my Congressional representative, who is the Senate minority leader, who is our only hope, who has come out and pledged to be a collaborator, I need to send him something impassioned and fiery and I know emailing is a waste of time but my God, my God, I can’t, I don’t know where to start. 

Listen, though, Brian, here’s what Brian is, ripped straight from the headers of his email stationery, copied and pasted right here, in black and white for us to ponder: 


26th District, New York


Ranking MemberSubcommittee onCounterterrorism and Intelligence

Subcommittee onEmergency Preparedness,Response, and Communications


Subcommittee on theMiddle East and Africa

Subcommittee on Europe,Eurasia, and Emerging Threats

My boy you in particular need to make a lot more noise about Russia, my boy, that’s just– that’s where we’re starting here. I did not know you were in the committee on foreign affairs, and I do now, you just told me. 

Picking my battles: Russia and the ACA.

(oh just before I posted this I see that Chuck has challenged at least one nominee of Trump’s, as of today, so I guess we’re past the point of paralyzed, frozen terror and maybe are going to do our jobs, guys? Let’s see?)
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ohh next time I’m in town I’m going to stop by my high school’s bookstore and buy a pack of postcards, I know they sell them– or maybe notecards with envelopes, but i’d prefer postcards– and I’m just going to start sending Senator Gillibrand a postcard a week reminding her to stay strong and fight for us, because that’s the closest I come to being part of a good old boys’ network. 
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ughh FarmSister and Brother-In-Law and Farmbaby are stuck in this. They’ve been driving since 7am, all the way from his family in Illinois, and it’s been through snow the entire time, and ugh. :(

They were supposed to be here by 7pm. They haven’t moved since 8:45 pm. @Thruwaytraffic tweeted that the accident was cleared about half an hour ago but there’s been no movement since then.

The traffic camera at the exit they just passed confirms that nobody’s going anywhere: those same three semis have been sitting next to each other since I found the webcam page ten minutes ago.

Ughhhhhhhh I hope the child has fallen asleep at least. I bet you brother-in-law has been driving the entire time and I bet you his entire neck is one big knot. They’re in the farm truck, too, because of reasons I wasn’t privy to; it’s four wheel drive at least, but it’s an enormous F150 that is not really in any way comfortable to sit in. 
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I’m almost frantic, she says they haven’t moved since 8:45, but all the webcams on the Thruway show moderate to sparse traffic moving reasonably well, there are no further acknowledged blockages or closures, I can’t understand how she can be not moving when I can see the webcams of the exits she’s between and there are basically no cars on them.

That’s where she says they are. I refreshed, and that tractor-trailer came from nearly out of view to the foreground like that. i coudln’t begin to estimate speed, but it’s clearly moving. 

I don’t know. I don’t know? There’s a Twilight Zone and they’re in it? I don’t know. I’m so anxious I could throw up. I don’t know.
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“For all K-2’s social dysfunction (or perhaps his disinterest in organic socialization-who could fathom the mind of a droid?), he knew Cassian better than anyone. He’d seen Cassian commit acts even Draven wasn’t aware of.
On Jenoport, he’d found Cassian staring at his blaster with tears on his face. K-2 had volunteered for a memory wipe in case Cassian’s “continued dignity and service demanded it.””
- Rogue One novelization
via http://ift.tt/2hYRXVU:s-leary replied to your post “ughh FarmSister and Brother-In-Law and Farmbaby are stuck in this….”

If it’s any consolation, Farmbaby is presumably snug in her car seat, which feels the same no matter what it’s strapped into. I did a two-day road trip with my in-laws and then-9-month-old kid in a big pickup. He was all cozy!

She was watching TV on her mom’s phone and had a blast. 

Meanwhile her poor father was in terrible intestinal distress and nearly lost his goddamn mind. 

I’ve been through a lot of shit on the Thruway but I’ve never heard of a delay that long. They said that by the time whatever was obstructing traffic was cleared away, people had run out of gas or fallen asleep or couldn’t get their cars started, and so the police had to come along one by one and get cars moving, for miles, for hours, to clear the jam.

What I can’t understand is that the traffic cams before and after their position were totally clear. The jam behind them cleared up somehow, like an hour before they started moving. It was maddening. 
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i went on facebook for the first time in like… eh, I was on at christmas or so, maybe popped on at new year’s, i’ve been on there a lot, but, it was the first time since new year’s, and i saw someone post that video of the guy who gets out in traffic to rip a confederate flag off the back of a truck, and predictably someone was like “yOu conDONe VANdalism?!” and I wrote “nah fuck traitors” and he’s trying to get into it with me about identity politics, and I was like, “no, literally, true facts dude, traitors, so fuck ‘em,” and unfollowed the post, and that’s why I’m not allowed on Facebook.

But really.

Fuck ‘em. 
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can I just say as a brief aside how much I love Hux. He looks like the deranged personification of the most unhinged British foreign policy choices circa 1890. He looks like he should be wearing a pith helmet and screaming about the colonials. He looks like he should be in the jungle trying to locate Kurtz and hating every second of it. He looks like he is Kurtz. He looks like a boy they left behind on the island at the end of Lord of the Flies because he cannibalized Piggy. He looks like he should be wearing jodhpurs and puttees and using his manservant as a human mounting block to get on his camel. He looks like a Rudyard Kipling short story. He looks like he thinks World War I is going to be over before Christmas. He looks like he might inherit a small barony and will immediately evict the tenants. He looks like he engineered an elaborate plot to get another boy expelled from Eton because he snapped him in the ass with a towel in the locker room one time, He looks like murdered a commoner for saying Queen Victoria was fucking John Brown. 

Turn of the century lookin ass motherfucker. I love him. 

Like, I think I’ve said this before, but I can’t overstate it enough: I think people don’t give enough credit to the combination of the people who did the casting, and Domhnall Gleeson, because there was no actor on this green Earth who was going to so flawlessly, cuttingly, razor-sharply spot-on eviscerate that particular extremely British stereotype as a ginger with a green passport and a bunch of silent letters in his name, you know?

Ain’t nobody hates the British like an Irishman. He did fucking research, and brought every ounce of frothing-at-the-mouth nuance a single human could channel, born of hundreds of years of hate and persecution and bloody oppression, cranked that shit up to eleven, and broke off the knob.

(Oh I hadn’t known that Oswald Mosley was Anglo-Irish. Well shit, that makes it personal, no fucking wonder Gleeson had such a fucking field day.)



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