NEWS: “We Replaced You”

Charlottesville counter protest, organized with social media blackout to protect participants, retraced the path white supremacists demonstrators took on campus, bearing candles instead of torches. 

Image by Casey Kilmartin, h/t Bethany Nowviskie on Twitter.

Filed under: See Tags Tagged: #adphd, african american, civil war, history, memory, news, social justice, united states

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Woman, don’t conspire against yourself


I am sitting on his couch surrounded by books. There are books everywhere in his house; under the tables, by the coat rack, all over the stair case, on the window panes. If there are two things I love, it is men and books and here I am basking in the divine combination of both. He is as romantic as I am. As independent as I am. As vulnerable as I am. We spend our days talking about philosophy, poetry, African gods and debating gender politics. I feel like the pan-African Simone de Beauvoir and he is my equivalent Jean-Paul Sartre. At daytime, while I work, he cooks and feeds both my mind and my stomach with delicious food. While he works at night, I go to bed but I don’t fall asleep until his body is next to mine, heavy and warm.

We argue a lot and break each others’ hearts. He never believed that I loved him. I come to learn that many men don’t believe that women truly love them. And maybe they’re right. We love “Love” more than anything. The patriarchal system conditions us that way. But I did love him. I loved him the way one loves the ocean, automatically and playfully until its waves crash on your skin. So anyway, I remember sitting on his couch thinking that I love him so much that should he leave me – I will never find someone with whom I feel as complete again.

I was wrong. I would find again. I would feel complete again. I would question my choices again. But most importantly, I would learn that what I thought was a man completing me, was mostly me conspiring against myself; thinking I needed male validation. The completion I perceived in men was actually the wholeness I wanted in myself. I was attracted to the things that I missed in myself, confidence, freedom, entitlement. I did not only want to be close to my lovers, I wanted to be them.

Then I realised that while men are conditioned to be entitled, they are also conditioned to be dishonest to both themselves and others. I’m not saying that all men are dishonest, and certainly not that they are dishonest by default, but it is rare for men to have integrity because they are taught from an early age that it’s masculine to manipulate their own and others’ emotions. With that realisation, I gradually and effortlessly started to feel as entitled as any man. I have become patriarchal society’s archenemy – a woman who feels as entitled as a man but who is honest in the way only a woman can be.

A couple of years ago, I started an ongoing Twitter thread that I refer to as the “Woman-series”. The tweets, and the title of this blog, are inspired by a song called “Woman” by Susheela Raman. In the song, Raman sings, “Woman, […] The roles you learned to play / Conspire against you / And hold you down / Why don’t you fight?”. The tweets in the thread in fact all of my work – is so much characterised in that one line. I strive to be of service in a way that inspires women to resist the limiting roles that conspire against them.

Life is a gift and a temporary one at that. If there is one way of saying thank you to life, it is to ask – Am I conspiring against myself? (Am I being unappreciative of the gift that life is?) To answer this question, you will need to develop a meditative state of mind. If not through actual meditation, which I would encourage, then through walks in nature, dance, swimming, anything that calms your mind so that your subconscious can speak to you. Then mull over questions such as: Am I doing work that fulfils me? Am I growing in my relationships? Do my friends inspire and encourage me? Do my actions match my words? Am I eating well and looking after my health? Do I live where I want to? Are my thoughts self destructive? Do I maybe prefer women to men? Am I enjoying sex or am I too busy performing to truly enjoy it? Am. I. Conspiring. Against. Myself?

Women of African heritage should especially try to engage in such practice because the world is already conspiring against us in so many intersectional and interconnected ways that the last thing we should be doing is conspiring against ourselves too. But please approach it gently, with tenderness toward yourself, you are getting to know yourself, not judging yourself . I’m reminded of an East African saying I came across, “A butterfly who brushes against thorns will tear its wings”.

I’m still no role model for relationships, for the record. I am too romantic. Too naive. Too doting. But I’m also too detached. “My heart has grown rich with the passing of years […], it is one to me they come and go” as Sara Teasdale writes in a poem on solitude. Last but not least, I am too uncompromisingly feminist. I don’t accommodate for any kind of sexism-lite or Diet Sexism in my love life. As I wrote in my piece on conscientious feminism, “I will live but that is all I will do for patriarchy”.

Imagine, if you will, a little girl playing in a sandbox. She is building castles and burying her feet in the sand when a little boy appears at the playground. Imagine her joy. She was having fun alone but, oh look, here is this little boy to play with! If I’ve decided that I have time and energy for a relationship, then I am like that. I welcome my “playbuddy” with joy and rapture. But if he dismantles my castle, tries to take control of the sandbox and starts sandsplaining how I built it the wrong way to start with. Then I am happy to let go.

My sandbox is no ordinary sandbox, you see. It is the small but significant plot of land that I received as a gift from wherever the essence of life is made. The grains are made of gold and the stones of amber. Outside of my sandbox, do what you like, but in here I only want aligned energy.

I’m sharing all this to say, perhaps clumsily, try not to harden to life, see its magic, but seek a solid and firm place from where, whenever it is within your control, you do not give anyone or anything permission to conspire against you and tear down your castles. Especially not you yourself.

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NEWS: Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation

Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation

Photo from a tweet by Baynard Woods, Baltimore City Paper editor-at-large

Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town…”

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Filed under: See Tags Tagged: #adphd, african american, civil war, history, memory, news, slavery, united states

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NEWS/DIGITAL: The Disturbing History Of Confederate Monuments, In A Single Image

“Symbols of the Confederacy have retained their ugly power for 150 years, and the number of monuments has actually increased at crucial moments in recent American history. An infographic from the Southern Poverty Law Centermaps out Confederate iconography, including monuments and names of schools, from the end of the Civil War in 1861 to 2016–revealing that the increase in tributes to the Confederacy mirrors important moments in civil rights…”

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Filed under: See Tags Tagged: #adphd, african american, civil war, digital, history, memory, united states

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Every Episode of ‘Rick and Morty,’ Ranked

Rick and Morty” does things no other TV shows would dare to do. Even with the infinite possibilities of a portal gun, this is a show that regularly finds a way to reinvent its own rules and subvert expectations of what a comedy can achieve in half-hour increments.

So, in a constant quest to help “Rick and Morty” newbies find the ideal entry point into the series (and to prove to everyone the microverse car battery episode is vastly under-appreciated), we’ve separated out every installment of the show with a little bit of context to explain why each episode deserves its place in the show’s hierarchy.

And let’s be honest: 94 percent of the people who clicked on this story have already skipped down to see where “Pickle Rick” is, so let’s skip the pleasantries, say “Shum shum schlippity dop!” and get to the list.

(We’ll continue to update this list as new episodes make their way to air. For each episode, we’ve also tossed in our picks for each episode’s best quote, some of which singlehandedly moved up their respective episodes a slot or two.) 

25. “M. Night Shaym-Aliens!” (Season 1, Episode 4)

This probably isn’t the least-entertaining “Rick and Morty” episode, but it’s the one that has been most undercut by other episodes doing its standout elements better. Playing with reality as an illusion, nefarious alien entities trying to wrestle technological secrets away from Rick, and Jerry watching an alternate reality crumble around him have all been utilized elsewhere to stronger effect. But this still has a solid David Cross performance and “My man!” never gets old, no matter how many times the episode returns to it. Some “Rick and Morty” episodes are simply a collection of disparate, amusing component parts, and that’s OK.

Best Quote: ”You’re missing the point, Morty. Why would he drive a smaller toaster with wheels? Does your car look like a smaller version of your house? No.” – Rick

24. “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind” (Season 1, Episode 10)

Now that we’re well acquainted with some of the intricacies of this particular multiverse, it’s hard to believe that a gathering of Ricks was once a surprise for the show. But even with introducing the bevy of Citadel-bound alternate Ricks, it’s hard not to get over just how weird the rest of this episode is. Seeing a wall full of tortured Mortys is just as unsettling is any mutant Cronenberg, and the farewell Keyser Soze moment of a vengeful rogue Morty disappearing into the crowd is a fun twist on some of the other end-of-episode resets. But above all, let’s all take a second to appreciate the unadulterated commitment to the bit that the chair-pizza-phone combo deserves and gets. The rule of threes has rarely been so satisfying.

Best Quote: “So a few thousand versions of me had the ingenious idea of banding together like a herd of cattle or a school of fish, or… those people who answer questions on Yahoo! Answers.” – Rick

23. “Vindicators 3: The Return of Worldender” (Season 3, Episode 4)

A fun superhero team-up gets inverted when they face the biggest enemy possible: a drunk, nihilistic Rick. Morty gets the chance to play hero, but this is another episode that’s been more satisfying in slightly different iterations. Much like “Pickle Rick,” there’s a shocking amount of detail in the Rube Goldberg experiments that come before each of the Vindicators’ untimely horrific deaths. Even if this felt like a slight missed opportunity to truly upend the superhero squad subgenre, it still did give us the absolute delight that is Lance Reddick as Alan Rails. Toss in Gillian Jacobs’ brilliant Supernova monotone and you have an ideal example of why the more pedestrian “Rick and Morty” episodes have more to offer than most shows’ alternatives.

Best Quote: “Really, you don’t say? You would’ve used a ghost train? Hey, everybody, the ghost train guy would have used a ghost train.” – Rick

22. “Something Ricked This Way Comes” (Season 1, Episode 9)

Has anyone had more fun playing the Devil than Alfred Molina? (Him singing along with some fierce violin playing indicates “no.”) The rapid fire O. Henry-ish set-ups of cursed charms ends up being a little more fleeting than the premise hints at, but this episode does provide some of the shows most GIF-able moments: Rick setting fire to his trinket-cleansing store and a bulked-up Rick and Summer pummeling some Nazis, to name a few. Sprinkled in among the inventive new ways to curse at unsuspecting customers, we get a tiny glimpse into what Rick is like when he’s really lonely and that he may have more affection for his immediate family than he lets on.

Best Quote: “Some voids can’t be filled with Jamba Juice…” – Mr. Goldenfold (Close runner-up: him gleefully shouting “I haven’t learned a thiiiiiiiing!” as he exits the store after Rick cures him.)

21. “Interdimensional Cable 2: Tempting Fate” (Season 2, Episode 8)

Let’s get one thing clear: Werner Herzog deserved an Emmy for this. Both halves of this episode have their share of laughs, such as Jerry fighting back and forth on whether to sacrifice a specific part of himself for the good of the universe and a Jan Michael Vincent-heavy reboot of “Rixty Minutes.” The two never quite mesh all the way (Rick’s “We pretty much nailed it the first time…” says it best), but the non-Herzog guests are also stellar. (How has Gary Cole never been the star of his own medical drama?) And some extra plumbus knowledge always comes in handy.

Best Quote: It isn’t a quote, but Justin Roiland laughing at his improv in both of the cable episodes is pretty delightful. (Oh, and the whispered “Lil’ Bits.“)

Up next: Armothy, a little purging, and the garage monologue that kicked everything off

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