[being for the past fortnight. I'm posting now before it gets any more behind]
Finished Too Flash. Interesting, and not what I thought it was going to be like. The structure of the book felt like it was searching for its own heart, its own subject, in the same way that the protagonist, Zo, was searching for hers. Both book and character got there in the end. It reminded me of Jenny Pausacker's Central High books in some ways, but more up to date and much less white. I want to read more by Lucashenko. Tiny disappointment: I thought Zo was gay or bi (there was a line earlier on that sounded like it confirmed this, plus she and Missy had some UST going on) but that never got followed up.
Back to wrestling with Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It got better, and then it got worse again.
"Usually this leadership group is made up of men..." [here I stopped reading and said aloud "Well, there's your problem right there"] "...of men who in one way or another have belonged to the social strata of the dominators. At a certain point, in their existential experience, under certain historical conditions, these men renounce the class to which they belong and join the oppressed, in an act of true solidarity (or so one would hope)." Isn't it nice when the picture you draw of What This Revolution Needs comes out looking exactly like you?
So, comrade Freire, why can't the oppressed class be the revolutionary leaders? "It is extremely unlikely that these self-mistrustful, downtrodden, hopeless people will seek their own liberation -- an act of rebellion which they may view as a disobedient violation of the will of God, as an unwarranted confrontation with destiny." Oh. I see.
You know how I wrote earlier about the inherent contradictions in writing a book about revolutionary education for oppressed illiterates written in jargon even most university graduates would have some difficulty with? There is no contradiction. He's THAT guy. The one who is here for you, everything he is doing here is for YOUR sake, he WANTS to help you realise your full potential, but you have to do it on his terms, and he's the one who decides when you've learned the necessary lessons.
Which will only come when you accept him as your new thought leader while simultaneously humouring his fantasy that because he "betrayed" his ruling class background to come help liberate you from their rule by becoming your new leader, that means he's just as working class as you.
He even writes about this particular danger of revolutionary leaders and how they should be careful NOT to fall into that trap.
19 more pages to go. There are some really great paragraphs here, and some fucking awful chapters. :(
[Disclaimer: my parents are an academic and a psychologist. QED, I am not working class myself. I'm on disability, but I have more safety net than most people on disability because of my family, and also the privilege of not having been poor growing up, and of having been taught/enabled to regard authority figures as my social equals. I think it's important for me to acknowledge this while I'm tearing strips out of someone else for his unchecked privilege, lest I sound even more like Seivarden Vendaai Discovers Class Discourse 101. While I have had my own run-ins with "that guy" described above, mine were on a different axis of privilege, disability not class.]
Started reading Kate Elliott's Black Wolves, the first of her books I've read. So far... it's not hard work, and that's a relief, that's why I picked up a blockbuster fantasy novel from the library, and I do like the setting, but I do feel like it's missing something. Some subtle flavour or other. Maybe it'll show up later in the book.
TV and Movies
Went to see Hidden Figures. SO good.
It's so important that this movie got made, and did well, that it'd be churlish to criticise it at all. But if I did have a criticism, it'd be that it bent over a bit too far in the Not ALL White People direction. Which was probably what they had to do, to get it past the gatekeepers. The business with the bathroom sign in particular was a white saviour fantasy on a level I can only express in hexadecimal, namely #FFFFFF. (And I didn't notice the swearword hashtag until looking again at what I just typed, but I stand by it.)
APART from that bullshit, just... well, it's actually amazing how little of that bullshit there was, and how much they pushed back at it. Like the part when Kirsten Dunst's character (successful white career woman who's possibly (the film didn't state either way) very supportive of her white female colleagues, but is pulling up that ladder behind them as fast as she can) meets Dorothy Vaughan in the bathroom and tries to be all "believe it or not, I have nothing against you," and gee, I suppose, but you sure are not even one fraction of one percent for her, are you? And Octavia Spencer, as Dorothy Vaughan, replies something like "I can believe that you might think that," which is as close to a "you keep telling yourself that, arsehole" as she could possibly have gotten under the circumstances.
Taraji P. Henson's performance as Katherine Johnson was the heart of the film, and she and Janelle Monáe's Mary Jackson were amazing, but the part I loved the most was actually Dorothy Vaughan's arc, about thinking forward to the need to retrain herself and her workers as programmers so they wouldn't be put out of work by the new computing machines. When she taught herself FORTRAN and taught all her workers too and insisted they be hired along with her.
And this wasn't presented as some sort of fluffy innate nurturing quality in her, some sort of facile 'Johnson's the smart one, Jackson's the sexy one, Vaughan's the motherly one.' Ugh. It could have been, but it wasn't. You could see that all three of the protagonists were brilliant (and nurturing, and romantic/sexual people.) Vaughan got a couple of scenes on her own with the IBM machine, troubleshooting it and using punchcards for the first time (identifying it as female -- you could see the logic there: all the human computers are women, so the digital computer must be female too; and she could have hated it or wanted to sabotage it, but she didn't, she saw its beauty immediately) and you could see that that was where she wanted to be, where her genius was. Her teaching and looking after her team (above and beyond the requirements of her job, I mean) was because it was the right thing to do. An act of solidarity, of justice.
Watched some more B99. It's interesting, because I do have an embarassment squick, but it's gotten less intense lately and I forgot it existed. The Thanksgiving episode reminded me. *cringe*
More Stardew Valley, of course. My veggies took first prize at the fair. Suck it, Pierre! Emoji have a lot to answer for: every time I pull up an eggplant, I think of dicks. Disconcerting.
Finished the Archon Drom story arc of The Hidden Almanac, which was a lot of fun. I am staring down the barrel of a Hidden Almanac shortage, though. Gonna have to find something else soothing and safe to listen to right before bed. It might be time to catch up on my Jay and Miles X-Plain The X-Men listening. Which is not nearly as soothing, but is safe for whatever nebulous value of safe my backbrain assigns to such things.
Started my first compost bin. Beatrice and Dorian helped by supplying the bin's first contribution, the contents of their litter boxes. I am informed that this means I shouldn't use the resulting compost on my veggies, under penalty of toxoplasmosis, but it's fine for flowers. So I'll start some flowers, and it'll mean Beatrice and Dorian aren't contributing as much to landfill. Go them.
Bunnings are selling daffodil bulbs, and oh yeah, that's because it's March, and March is when the bulbs go on sale. I forgot, because it is STILL FUCKING SUMMER. I bought a value-bag of 14 and put them in the crisper drawer of the fridge, because like fuck is it time to plant them.
I also bought another marigold (how are marigolds still flowering?) and a couple of tiny cacti which I put in a planter on the windowsill in one room where the cats aren't allowed (the one with what Dorian likes to believe is a cat-sized swimming pool) and added little Pokemon figurines. There is already a plastic skull on that windowsill. I ROCK at interior decor.
Tomatoes are still growing even though it is nearly April. But global warming is just a myth, right? One of the Russian Black ones finally ripened enough for me to eat it, and it may have been the best tomato I ever tasted. I'm not usually given to hyperbole, and I want to hedge that "best" even further because I'm shit at ranking things best-worst and I can't remember all the tomatoes I've eaten, and Russian Black tomatoes are normally very good... but wow that was a good tomato. Easily the best one I've eaten this year.
Playing with i3wm customisation. I've been using i3 for nearly a year now, but hadn't done more than the bare minimum to make it habitable (i.e. moved the bar up the top and deleted the alerts I didn't need so they wouldn't glare red at me) until now. I have now learned about the screen locker app, proper deployment of feh as a wallpaper app, and some very minor keybinding adjustments.
I also created a test user account and messed harder than that with the settings there (trying to learn the GNU stash app, and to import other people's dotfiles unaltered) with less success (unless you count the fact that I did so on a test account and didn't lock myself out of my own user account -- that's its own sort of success.)
Other customisations I want to do soon:
- the config line that looks in a wallpaper directory and randomly picks a different one for each workspace, each session (the Arch wiki is extremely helpful on what exact line to put in your config to do that. I love the Arch wiki.)
- the "open this application in this workspace on startup" thing. Which is complicated because I have seven different Firefox windows open, all full of tabs, and Opinions on which one should be in which workspace, but as far as i3 knows they're all just Firefox. And workspace 1 is terminals, of course, but last time I tried to use the i3 script that lets you save your layout, I fell into a maze of twisty Perl back-compatibility problems, all alike. But even if I just tell if to open one terminal in workspace 1, open all the Firefoxes in workspace 2, and open a text editor in workspace 9, that's a start, right?
- the one I would really love to do, but suspect is going to be more difficult and complicated than I'd like to think: terminal transparency, with a different background behind each terminal window. I have these motivational memes (an angry lion captioned 'Gladly Feast On Those Who Would Subdue You' and so on, and of course Heal Yourself, Skeletor, and Calmage Wolfatee and so on) that I'd like to be able to see dimly behind my terminals. I figure that because i3 does containers and each window is in its own container, it should be possible to run a different instance of feh in each new container in workspace 1, but I haven't tested it and this is way beyond my level of knowledge or experience.
- a pleasing and harmonious colour scheme for terminal text and the i3 bar (I'd like to use lemonbar, but haven't gotten lemonbar to work yet.)
Beatrice would like it noted for the record that she is still a ferocious predator. She would enter the little blue and yellow polyester feather-ball cat toy thing in evidence, but she doesn't want to let go of it just yet. She thinks it might still be alive.