Finding Warmth Together - Kozyndan
I care about ethics, critical race/gender studies, cultural studies, urban studies, prison abolition,
radical public school education, art, prose, rhetoric, music, fun, youthfulness, honesty.
I'm 24. This is my selective digital memory.
minhnguyenplus at gmail dot com
Finding Warmth Together - Kozyndan
What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions; they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins.
We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to express it morally, this it the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense.”
In reference to this new story: Black 14-year-old Carrying a Puppy Tackled and Choked by Police for Giving Them a “Dehumanizing Stare”
“Cities rose on garbage, inch by inch, gaining elevation through the decades as buried debris increased. Garbage always got layered over or pushed to the edges, in a room or in a landscape. But it had its own momentum. It pushed back. It pushed into every space available, dictating construction patterns and altering systems of ritual. And it produced rats and paranoia. People were compelled to develop an organized response. This meant they had to come up with a resourceful means of disposal and build a social structure to carry it out — workers, managers, haulers, scavengers. Civilization is built, history is driven —”
“We make stupendous amounts of garbage, then we react to it, not only technologically but in our hearts and minds. We let it shape us. We let it control our thinking. Garbage comes first, then we build a system to deal with it.”
- DeLillo, Underworld. The musings on waste are some of my favorite parts of this novel.
Carol Kim - Boi Buon Con Gai (The Sadness of Being a Girl)
Uncontrollably on-point piece about the misunderstanding/idolization of Audre Lorde and her words, and the racialized and gendered political context of “self-care”.
“Audre Lorde didn’t die a natural death. She died an institutionally produced one, a death that was generated at the level of social infrastructure. I want us to learn to regard Audre Lorde’s death as an effect of racial capitalism—its fundamentally unequal provisioning of wealth and social goods, its ableist and productivist standards as to what constitutes a healthy person, its fashioning of health care as a private commodity rather than as a fundamental right, and its particular commingling of sexism and racism that at one and the same time materializes the constant demand that black women work and renders the work they do invisible. The conditions that produced Audre Lorde’s death, in other words, might also serve as a reminder that in the aggregate, black women bear a disproportionate share of racial capitalism’s propensity to work its workers to death. And a major feature of these death-making conditions is to be found in the ways in which it is structured so as to refuse to recognize as work what so many black women do for themselves, for each other, and for their communities—this may include but is not limited to the largely unwaged work of cooking, cleaning, raising, educating, and caring for children and adults in its myriad forms.”
On the Deification of Audre Lorde:
“The point is that any politics that seeks to celebrate the seemingly superhuman accomplishments of black women can become the unwitting collaborator with the entire field of the political that we might want to contest, a field in which the superhuman demands placed on black women are nothing short of murderous. The point is, while it may appear to honor the Audre Lordes (1934-1992) and the Barbara Christians (1943-2000) and the VèVè Clarks (1944-2007) and the Sherley Anne Williamses (1944-1999) with the demand that they rest in power, there may also be an ethics, if not also a justice, in insisting on their right to rest in peace.”
Sitting in bed on Friday night, feeling drained from another work week of thinking circuitously about the multitudes of structural oppression, when I get this text from one of the youth I work with. Little things.
Shout-out to the anonymous book reviewers on the internet who take time to write useful reviews. You are noble and selfless and deserve your own holiday (or at the very least, this shout-out).
Balmy weather and taco dinner
I’m working on a comic about food. This might be the cover or something.
This article is unfairly scathing at times, but as someone who works for a political nonprofit that often operates on activist-y principles, I really relate with these frustrations and am also hopeful about challenging rash activism impulses in my work.
“[Activistism is a] brave new ideology that combines the political illiteracy of hyper-mediated American culture with all the moral zeal of a nineteenth century temperance crusade. In this worldview, all roads lead to more activism and more activists. And the one who acts is righteous. The activistists seem to borrow their philosophy from the factory boss in a Heinrich Böll short story who greets his employees each morning with the exhortation “Let’s have some action.” To which the workers obediently reply: “Action will be taken!”
Activistism and Nonprofits
“Unreflective pragmatism is also encouraged by much of the left’s dependency on foundations. Philanthropy’s role in structuring activism is rarely discussed, because almost everyone wants a grant (including us). But it should be. Foundations like focused entities that undertake specific politely meliorative schemes. They don’t want anyone to look too closely at the system that’s given them buckets of money that less fortunate people are forced to bay for.
Activistism is contaminated by the cultural forms and political content of the non-profit sector. Because nonprofits are essentially businesses that sell press coverage of themselves to foundation program officers, they operate according to the anti-intellectual logic of hyper-pragmatism and the fiscal year short-termism generated by financial competition with their peer organizations. When nonprofit business lead, the whole left begins to take on the same obsessive focus with “deliverables” and “take aways” and “staying on message.” For many political nonprofits, actions - regardless of their value or real impact - are the product, which in turn promise access to more grants.”
“The spirit we wish to inspire was expressed a few years ago by a Latin American graduate student. Seeing one of us holding a copy of Aijaz Ahmad’s In Theory, he exclaimed with all seriousness: “That book is like having an intellectual grenade in your hand. Hasta la Victoria.” In many other countries, activists’ tiny apartments are stacked with the well-thumbed works of Bakunin, Marx and Fanon. We’d like to see that kind of engagement here. And judging at least from the European experience, it would pay off even in activistism’s own pragmatic terms: protests in major European cities routinely dwarf our own, and activists there have far more influence on mainstream discourse and even government policy. In the long run, movements that can’t think can’t really do too much either.”
My “I Don’t Know How But I’m Doing It Anyway” Playlist
Njena Reddd Foxxx and friend doing-it-anyway on the dance floor in London
mulatu astatke - tezeta
the heliocentrics - before I die
shirley ellis - the nitty gritty
njena reddd foxxx - dominos
hamilton bohannon - let’s start the dance
kingdom crumbs - pick both sides of my brain
the books - enjoy your worries you may never have them again (not sure if I actually recommend this song… it’s an experience)
also, THIS QUOTE in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop about the New York club scene in 1982:
”The nightclub had become a communal sacred space, a chance to escape the chafing oppression of time, to vault the restrictions of the social order, a place to watch the rules become liquid, and peer into possibility”.
Jeff Chang is a prose wizard genius and I wish he would narrate MY LIFE.
Behind the story of the maraton bombing, this story of the suspected Saudi man needs to be lifted up. As much as I grieve for those impacted by the bombing, I want this man to know that many people know (and care) that what consequently happened to him was egregiously, heart-wringingly unjust.
My friend points out this quote from Frank B. Wilderson III’s memoir Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid (oft quoted in reference to 9/11): ”This national pageantry of mourning to which we are all being called is no more than an alibi for a patriotism that will consolidate the forces necessary to further militarize society”.
some sun witchery on the ceiling today
spring-time witches blessing my house