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Interesting piece about changes in lefty language - from solidarity and oppression to privilege and allies. I admit i'm kinda old school and find privilege talk occasionally grating, but this went a long way towards making look a little more kindly upon it.
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The schedule said "culture evening." I have been to, like, millions of seminars, and god knows how many culture evenings. Culture evening means silly games where you line up according to height and try to summarize your activism in interpretive dance, along with off-brand fanta, dry sponge cake and maybe someone with a guitar while we try to recall the words to Israeli pop songs from the 90s. (Israeli culture 101.)

It does not mean a live jazz band, nice nuts, fruit platters, good wine and moody lighting. WHAT IS HAPPENING? Seriously, the room looks like a wedding where all of the guests are slowly arriving at the realization they're at the wrong wedding. I am currently surrounded by 80 left wing activists staring at one another and confusion and mouthing "why are they spending this much money on us? What do they want? Couldn't they have given us the money for stuff? Are they going to eat us later?"

So weird.

ETA - I'm sorry, it's not Jazz, it's what we believe to be the world's first and only Judeo-Yemeni funk band. ("Bint al-Funk.") 

ETA2 - This is the most erotic Tu Bishvat seder i've ever heard.

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Seminar for "activism networking." WTF. SO AMERICAN. Why do they keep taking our pictures? Why are all the questions stupid? Why are the production values so high? There are printed booklets, man. Why are half the relevant organizations in the city not here? Why are fascists - according to the courts, yo! - here? Say what you will about Jerusalem, but it is an interesting town. How could you find a way of talking about it that is so incredibly boring? How did I get dragged into this? Oh, right, I stood still long enough and it got pinned on me.

Good grief, there is nothing more depressing than listening to liberal, centrist organizations made up of middle class gard students whinge about how difficult it is to be liberal, centrist organizations and congratulate one another for hanging in there, sweetie. An ourouborous of activism that can now produce nothing and maybe needs to be gently put down and useful resources and manpower turned elsewhere.

Oh, and it's in a kibbutz.
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Managed to get back into Jerusalem after snowpocalypse in reasonably sound order (buses running, road open) but then had to hike home because no public transport seemed to be going to Southern neighbourhoods. (Met my boss and my sister just walking along, too. (not together)). Just got here when they called from the community center and said they needed volunteers to go door to door a bit, so hiked over there and went through a few buildings that we knew had been without power for ages.

Everyone fine, it seems (though one place was still without power) but I think people were just happy to see that someone is out and about and doing stuff after probably feeling really cut off and abandoned for ages. Which did make me think, well, that's fucking nice of us, now it's basically all over. Are we just putting a nice face on, and perpetuating a sense of obligation to, a state that failed to function particularly well for this lower-middle class neighbourhood when actually in need? And then I decided to go home and take a hot shower and stop angsting pretentiously, because there's only so much political utility to that, at the end of the day.


My way overdue for December meme: Sarah Connor, the flashforwards.

I meant to be further along in my re-watch at this point and have move to say about them, because i've still got almost all of season 2 to go, but i'll give it a go anyway.

I love the way TSCC does the future. It's relentless and grim and desperate, but it also has moments of this almost baroque quality, this evocative place that has taken the shredded remains of the present and has built them up into something cherished and strange. I love the awe that everyone from beyond Judgement Day has for the present, for its boring, ordinary everyday luxuries that are treasured memories of better times for them. I also love to bits the fact that it changes all the time (and the way that's woven into the story,) and how people, or versions of people, at least, are forever emerging and disappearing and they all look for each other and can't decide if they're real or not or what, and that it's always shifting but there's still always Judgement day, which makes it way more menancing than the actul fact of the event.
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I think Sleepy Hollow is rightly hailed as that show that has a relationship between two Black sisters at it's core, but oddly enough what tends to draw me in are Ichabod, Andy and the Headless Horseman. It's not that I dislike Abbie and Jenny - to the contrary, I want way, way more Jenny and Abbie is plain awesome, but those other three just kind of fit in my boxes of can't-look-away. I'm always a little tepid on sibling relationships or buddy-cop stuff. I don't have anything against it, and Abbie and Ichabod's energy, banter and affection are a warm and fuzzy balm to a jaded world of sharp edges, but still.

The Headless Horseman is just adorable. I'm actually a bit disappointed (or at least, uninterested) in the backstory that turns up for him, because I thought he was perfectly satisfactory as an eldritch horror from the mists of time who is having the fucking blast of his un-life messing around with assault rifles and Andy. If they'd have given me more time before springing the backstory on us, I probably would have ended up writing fic of Headless and Andy having awkward bonding moments over sad, sad Thanksgiving meals that neither of them can taste, together in dank tunnels.

(I still might. You have been warned.)

Ichabod is the one I find really interesting to watch though. Obviously, he's just great fun - he's witty and silly and looks very, very nice in his very, very nice coat. But I think there's also this more complex undercurrent to the character, that I really want to see more of.

For one, he's the male lead, but he has a personality! Lots and lots and lots of it. He gets to be both the serious, romantic heart of the show, and a total geek goofball and is really fairly emotionally open. I think he's sexy because he's goofy and chatty and has a million interests, frustrations, tiny personal crusades and we actually know to a large extent what he feels and what goes on in his head. It's never clear to me that tv-writers know that, and again and again we are foisted upon with 'mysterious', taciturn, boring main male characters that the show has to spend a season and a half peeling out of their shells before there's ever any hint of character there. So there's that.

Then there's also his time-displaced status, which I love. Struggles with alienation, in any way, shape or form, is something I can watch forever. (I used to be a member of an Anarcho-Marxist, er, well, it's been called a cult, which I suppose might go to explaining that.) I enjoy the humor of Crane vs. The Present as much as anyone, but I really keep coming back to the tiny moments when it's not funny. (or when it is funny, but not really funny.) Ichabod railing against bottled water - cute. Ichabod really feeling isolated because everyone he's ever known has been dead for centuries - like crack to me.

Another interesting aspect of him is the politics. I'm not sure that the show has politics, per se. (Not the way, say, Almost Human does.) But Ichabod has politics. He has definite and strongly held political positions. He was, in fact, an ideological turn-coat and a revolutionary fighter. He's not just lost in time, he's exiled. He was fighting a war, for a cause, and now he has been taken away from it...to find himself in the strange position of seeing how the revolution he was fighting for has turned out. That's just a fascinating position to be in, I think, all the more so because the American Revolution, naturally, has a very iconic status.

In a way, as a character (not as a person) he has the right to judge this time, this place, this America that he fought for. What does he think? Is he right? That's what I really want from the show. More of those little moment when Abbie is challenging him, challenging what he knows. She's showing him a picture of how the world has turned out, and not necessarily accepting his responses. She's no neutral party either. She has her own biases, her own narrative. There are places where she elides, simplifies. She cant' tell him everything, not in one go. So what are the choices she's making in how she presents USA, 2013 to him? What does that say about the way she (or the audience) wants to see it?

On one level, I guess casting Nicole Beharie is just refreshingly color-blind. But on another, there's something rather fraught with making Abbie black. I know it's not the show's focus (to put it very, very mildly,) but it's still interesting. Metatextually, the unusually diverse cast is almost defensive, when confronting an actual literal straight, dead, white guy from the heroic fantasy origins of America with the real thing of the present. It's like this, the show seems to be insisting, perhaps all the more so because it really isn't, not quite, not as much as we'd want. Whatever the male- and white- dominated mythos of history is, the reality of the present, is about a Black woman, it seems to be saying. And that's great. And you will like it.
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I say this from great, great love for the American elections. The reason everyone else follows the US elections with such joy and delight is not, Aaron Sorkin, because they are "the envy of the world." We follow them because they are perhaps the finest expression of what may currently be Americas most important export: entertainment. American elections are, hands down, the most entertaining in the world. They have the best production values and the shiniest participants, and are staggeringly good value for money for a viewer. I look forward to them far more than I do to any blockbuster. This is not to deride them as a process, but merely to appreciate this somewhat unsung aspect. Yay for America!
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My internet is being extremely dodgy (disconnects every few minutes, for a total of about 50% time actually online) because the ISP workers is on strike, for a couple of weeks now. There's nothing to be done - the people you call to fix it, or even the people you call to tell them you no longer want to be their customer, are out on a picket line. This is great. They're unionized with a union I used to volunteer with and hope to return to with a vengeance the moment this pass-these-tests-or-we're-kicking-you-out-school thing is behind me. It's an amazing breakthrough to have an organization on this scale with this sort of white collar service workplace. I am entirely, 100% for this strike. I would be protesting with them every day if I could. I generally handle any kind of strike - garbage, transport, education, whatever - with a smile and a "good for them and serves the rest of us right," and I do believe that here, absolutely.

Only...

I mean...

It's the internet. Dude, the internet.

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