mercoledì, gennaio 31, 2007

Baby you've changed

I have an almost ritualistic approach to big interviews, and this one is no different: the lead-up rituals involve a loooong overdue haircut (any editorial suggestions need to come to my desk by 5:30 this evening) and the loooooong overdue purchase of some tights without holes in them. Although I might just wear those thigh socks from American Apparel since I always feel more self-confident when my snatch is closer to liberty.

Speaking of which - since in the back of my mind I've always assumed by the time I was in my late 20s humanity would have evolved enough to be running around nekked, at least during the summer - in the last year I've got closer to realizing in a practical and non-moany way the world is not an easy place to change. It's full of stupid people. Some of them are friends of mine. It's been very hard to realize that friends have become really brazenly racist.

I don't have any illusions about immigration being an easy thing, and I understand objecting to some of the principles of Canadian immigration laws even if I don't agree with the objections, as came up at a dinner party a few weeks ago with guests who never read this blog so I don't know why I'm making clear I'm not writing about them. But that's really not what I'm writing about. I'm writing about people who are content to feel a sort of visceral, unthinking hate and angry lack of intelligence, a wilful lack of intelligence about visible minorities.

It reminds me how the Holocaust must have been quite easy to manage and it was good luck rather than good intentions that all the Japanese who were interned in Canada during the second world war weren't killed outright. No wonder we've built up a mythos of Germany as a country full of scheiße porn and anal-retentive sado-masochists. We want so badly to believe that never could have been us who did those things. That it never will be us.

11 commenti:

Melbine ha detto...

I think your hair looked really great when you had it shorter at the back and longer at the front (probably more high maintenance though!?).

All our hands are dirty, maybe not literally, but I don't think anyone has to go too far back in their families to find someone who was involved in something repulsive and racist.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Oh no, I never maintain my hair, besides cleaning it and smearing pomade.

Yeah, sure, we've all got disgusting racist forebears, but I feel like more and more people in my acquaintance are just accepting racist sentiments as a norm. I find that intellectually lazy and gross.

Sugarplum ha detto...

Melbine stole my suggestion. You looked so glamourous when you first got back from Paris with your long short hair that made your neck look long and it suited you perfectly. I also liked the last hair cut you got that I saw when the dude and I were at your place for a night on our way to Ohio. Your hair is naturally so full that as long as you go to a talented stylist who knows how to handle the fullness you probably don't need to do anything but strut it girl! (I think Mel and I are jealous with our baby fine hair that has the opposite tendency.)

It wasn't until I was taking my MA that I really learned about the racism in Canada at the time of WWII. The anti-sematism in Toronto and Montreal. I think the reason the Nazi camps hit us so hard is because we know (and every other Western country knows) that it could have been us. We were all headed in that direction. I hope (and I thought but you seem to indicate that I am wrong) that we have learned our lesson and that we as a society are above racism or at least heading in that direction. I wouldn't tolerate a racist comment in my presence and I don't know anyone in our age bracket who would. Maybe I don't know enough people.

I guess it is easy for anyone to say "I am not a racist" but when you take it out of the abstract and put it into the particulars it gets much greyer.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Yeah, I don't think it's that you don't know enough people as you don't get drunk with enough people. Two or three drinks, and the "I'm not racist, but . . ." comments start coming out. In fairness, they're typically from people in the next age demo up from us - but that makes me nervous because I'm afraid our demo will get more like that as it ages.

Well, alright then. The long-short wins. Or is it the short-long? When I came back from Paris, was that when I had the mullet? Or was it when it was long in front and short behind?

Sugarplum ha detto...

Short behind. It makes your neck look lovely.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Oh, you make me blush! I thought that's what you meant - I only got the mullet to be a bitch, really.

Melbine ha detto...

Argh - just wrote a lengthy comment about race and somehow it didn't post. Let's see if I can remember...
...basically I said that of course there are differences between races that can be interesting to discuss but that racism is the dark, degrading malicious form of pointing out differences. Any sentence that starts out "I'm not racist but..." can never end well!

ps - I am definitely jealous of your full, rich hair and I agree - short at the back! I don't remember a mullet??

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

It wasn't really a mullet. It was more like a rat-tail that the hairdresser thought would be fun to give me when my hair went from really long to quite short. It *was* fun in a bitchy way.

I think as soon as one says race about humans, right away it's dark. As though one's talking about seperate species to whom different physical standards apply.

That's why you can use a word as short as 'racism' to talk about all the negative aspects of people deciding they don't like whatever colour or ethnic group. You can even use it to talk about some people who hate Muslims, even though there are about a kabillion ethnic groups inside that religion, because so many of them just sort of assume Muslims are all one "race."

The English language is sooo great, I love it.

Melbine ha detto...

Sometimes I forgot how many stupid and ignorant people there are. It shouldn't be that saying the word 'race' has to be dark. I think it means beautiful and different...why would we all want to look and be the same?? But again, I forget that not everyone thinks like this.

Maybe shows like 'Little Mosque on the Prairie' will start helping to dispel the idea of Muslim as 'race'? I plan to watch it tonight for the first time..

Jiri ha detto...

Jewish people in Germany have lived there for generations and most Germans would deal with them on a daily basis and get along just fine. I've read somewhere that antisemitism was much rarer in the German speaking countries of Europe than in the countries further west. And then something broke, and it happened quickly even though the changes were gradual. Thinking that the same cannot happen to us is indeed ignorant. Maybe it's happening already. World certainly became harsher and more militaristic and it shed off lot of its ideals.

Awesome picture by the way. Where is it from?

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

A Romanian friend sent it to me - part of a collection of pictures currently making the ex-pats from there like her feel bad.