Sunday, August 11, 2019


Yesterday the news was so predicted and so grotesque that I was left wordless.  I meant to post that I was speechless, but never hit the final button and therefore nothing was published, which was perhaps as eloquent as anything I could say. 

When Tuxie the cat began labor on my lap, I carried her to the birthing box -- the one she was born in -- and pulled up a chair to be a coach.  Clearly, I was involved.  In a minute her inseparable mother, Blue Bunny, came and climbed in on top of the process.  Each baby, thankfully only two of them, came with screams from the narrow Tuxie.  In a storm of licking, both blobs were dry in a minute.  Bunny ate the placentas, sharing hormones and instincts and, um, nutritions.  One is a white kitten and the other is dark.

It was no more grotesque than reading email about Epstein's "crime movie stereotype" death in his cell.  We've seen it on TV movies so much that we know the "tell" signs of an imposed versus a voluntary hanging:  "the petechial hemorrhage is a tiny pinpoint red mark that is an important sign of asphyxia caused by some external means of obstructing the airways. They are sometimes also called petechiae. Their presence often indicates a death by manual strangulation, hanging, or smothering."  We know the red neck marks of a self-tied noose from one imposed after death.

I could not find a new path to understanding the macro tangle of these now global forces.  The two half-grown tomcats, previous births, were embracing in my reading chair, to stay warm on a dark, stormy day, so I went to a different chair in an alcove between bookcases and idly picked up an unread book -- well, I evidently did read the introduction, then put it down. Then picked it back up.  "Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where 'Black' Meets 'Queer.'" by Kathryn Bond StocktonA vid about her is at

Though I'm about as vanilla, straight, American-Scots, celibate,  ordained, old lady as you are likely to find anywhere, I write against that in search of understanding.  Esp in our current political predicament, the crux seems to be a confluence of status/class/sex/gender roles/skin color/wealth/Camp/ sophistication/intellectual-adventure.  I just struggled through the Conclusion:  "Dark Camp: Behind and Ahead."  It includes a comparison of Toni Morrison to some of the most violent, melodramatic, ironic writers of our times and calls Morrison excessive, outrageous, and even laughable.  All the sentimental love of Mammy is blasted. 

In general, this sort of writing -- which is very like the super-sophistication of the Algerian French philosophers you can find online at YouTube -- is so detached from the concrete physical progress through daily life that it's surreal, a performance of ideas.  And yet the manipulation of how the aristocrats of the 17th and 18th centuries gave the male homosexuals their manners and taste in clothes, their entrée into arts salons, is suddenly obvious.  The obscene violence of killing black men as an expression of sex becomes impossibly but maybe plausibly the same function of Christian mythology as raping blonde, innocent, sub-teen girls in the manner of the Medieval virgins who caused unicorns to lay their phallic heads in their laps.

The personal is overwhelmed; the girls are interchangeable and so are the black men.  They have no personalities, unique lives, names and families.  As nearly as I can tell.  I haven't seen a discussion of Native Americans (male and female) but I see the possibilities.  Also, in the context of intellectual Jewish Europeans in Manhattan and New England, a group with a special care for "Indians."  And now, esp now, the category of the unwanted, uneducated, unemployed, unmarrigeable, far right who take refuge in appearance righteousness.  

Certain alcoholic men on the Blackfeet reservation, usually with enrolled wives who owned land or at least a fractured part, would say "At least I'm white."  But that was only their skin, and on their dirtiest, most sunburned days they were pretty dark.  Skin color is only one indicator of culture, and only an issue where it has more-or-less matched some demographic in another place, so they can be marked as intruders.  

I particularly paid attention to the definitions and explanations of "camp" and "drag queen."  I admit to an occasional yearning to dress up and act extravagantly, though my notion of the latter is to wear high heels and fake eyelashes to the Opera.  Stockton didn't address "camp" in terms of "kink," though it's easy to see that both are over-the-top gender displacements.

I'm finding, here in this small town, a far deeper division around people who are so entrenched in a certain way of life that they are terrified that the circumstances will change, and they should be.  Their ways of earning money through labor, their basic 3-R skills, their appeal to high status people, that skin color mean little.  (When you're on a computer no one knows who you are -- but these guys can't keyboard.  Like Trump, they might manage a cell phone.  Or a Gameboy.)  At an extreme they kill women of color as a form of sex and domination.  Trump, of course, can erase whole categories of people.  Epstein, on the other hand, was using as a luxury a culturally endorsed category of innocent blonde girls.  A certain kind of man thinks there is no sexier category than that.

This link is to more about Stockton, whose role as a professor at the University of Utah is rather a bit like a Manhattan Jewish lawyer visiting a high plains reservation.  Now I see that I own another of her books, "The Queer Child or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century."  Other titles include "Reading as Kissing, Sex with Ideas." or "God between their Lips: Desire between Women in Irigaray, Bronte, and Eliot."

I'm not sure I have the "chops" to read and understand all this, particularly as an isolate in a small Montana village, but it seems like a template for a new way to push people in ironic and surprising ways.  I certainly couldn't do it as clergy except in disguise.  But we've got to find some way past this ghastly immorality powered by money and rage.

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