"The bosses gave us Labor Day. May Day we took for ourselves."
I took this from a friend's Twitter feed, because it's certainly the truth in the U.S., where Labor Day, in September, is celebrated, and not International Workers' Day, on May 1. And by "celebrated" I mean "The working class/political origins of Labor Day and May Day? La-la-la I can't hear you!"
(The reasons for Canada and other countries going with the fall holiday may differ, so I'm sticking just with what might be reasons in this country.)
There's some interesting suggestions out there about why the United States chose September and not May. Some people believe that Grover Cleveland signed the September date into law to help turn peoples' attention away from the troops he sent in to kill workers in Chicago during the Pullman strikes (sorry for the Huffpost link - not a fan of aggregation sites, me - but it's late and I'm too lazy to seek better links. I hope you'll forgive me), although that doesn't completely address the choice of date. Other sources say that the country's determined rejection of May 1 stemmed from general American government/capital mistrust of connecting American labor movements with international labor movements that had already coalesced around that date.
It seems fairly clear to me that whatever the specific source of the American disconnect from International Workers' Day, the general establishment dislike of an empowered working class had a great deal to do with the blindness to May 1 and the watering down of the September Labor Day from a celebration of workers to a picnic-oriented long weekend.
This year, though, more people in America paid attention to May 1. I hope the trend, if not the reasons for it, continue.
It took me far too long after my last post to get back online. In part, that's because I last posted the night before the local elections that I had to cover on April 4.
( Local election verbiage under the cut )
If you've gotten to this point in the post, you'll deserve a pat on the back. Also, you'll have figured out that I was completely wrung out by Wednesday night. I was. I barely managed to drag myself through Thursday and the first half of Friday. By 2 p.m. Friday, I was done.
The weekend has been a time of getting things done that have nothing to do with my weekday work. I even cleaned the bathroom floor, getting down on hands and knees with a brush and getting into the (eurgh) corners. Yes, it made me happy. Yes, I took a shower after cleaning the bathroom floor.
Now, my beloved husband is making a late dinner for us, and that is a more than reasonable way to end the weekend.
Apparently it wasn't Winston Churchill who said something like "If one is a conservative when one is 21, one has no heart; if one is not a conservative when one is 31, one has no head." I'm almost disappointed, but only because I can no longer say I disagree with Churchill about this.
Of course there are other sayings about how people grow more conservative as they grow older, and those sayings are probably attributable to almost everyone. So I disagree with almost everyone, at least when it comes to me. (And who else should I speak of? I am a fascinating subject to dwell upon, n'est ce pas?)
( Saving bandwidth yet again )
I live-streamed the Women's March on Washington. My First Born attended the march in Chicago. And, although I know it's just the beginning - continued resistance is hard work - I think knowing how much support, how many allies, there are around the world, is a tremendous boost.
Really, folks. It isn't. It's more to say I'm alive, and that I actually intend to continue conversing with people on my last post - I'm not ignoring anyone, I just haven't had the intellectual vigor to follow up with a couple of folks.
It's not a post, because if it were a post, I'd have said Happy Birthday, gerisullivan !! You're an amazing, creative, smiling, disciplined, fannish force of nature, and I'm very glad I know you! May the 2016-2017 year be a good for you, and may we see more of each other soon.
It's not a post, because I might say a whole bunch of things about the fire-struck oil-slick that is the RNC. I've been watching it at a remove, by following Twitter. I tried watching one of the early speeches and it raised my blood pressure enough to make me turn off the television.
It's not a post because every single day seems to unleash some awful bit of violence here and abroad - on top of the unending violence and despair in Syria and Iraq, in Somalia, in other places that are just as real as my home, against people who don't deserve it. And I don't have the spoons to consider it.
It's not a post, because it's too damned hot. And the old break in my foot aches from the mugginess. And I'm worried about Alex, the senior ginger partner of our feline triad. He's been throwing up almost every day. I removed any bit of milk from his diet (we used to give him a little bit of milk as a treat on a too-regular basis.) I'm hoping that will help.
It's not a post because - wait, I can say that I'm almost done one more IOU fandom_stocking fic. Yes! Something positive!
And now I'm going to bed.
Someone I'm very fond of has just posted thoughts about how they are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. This person was a dedicated Bernie fan, and apparently is, much to my sad realization, one of those fans who will not vote for Hillary, despite Bernie's official endorsement.
I chose not to engage on Twitter, not least because I'm already pushing the envelope of my semi-business Twitter account with the types of retweets and favorites I make public. A conversation about this would cross the line even further than I've already pushed it.
So I'm bringing my thoughts here, via copying, pasting, and slightly amending a piece of commentary I posted before the last American presidential election. I don't think the person in question pays much attention to LJ/DW these days, but I need to say what I have to say somewhere.
**** **** ****
Voting matters. It always matters.
If you want to sound like some first year Business Communications major/French Lit minor trying to impress a potential roll in the hay with your world-weary political sophistication, go ahead and believe it. (If you are a Business Comm/French Lit student and understand the stupidity of that little conceit, my apologies.) If, on the other hand, you're an adult ....
You think that by withholding your vote, you'll make "them" listen?
And this year, who is the person happiest for the unvotes for Hillary? It's not Bernie. It's the fascist who would wreck this country.
You call yourself a progressive, but you turn on the progressive you backed when he makes the pragmatic decision that was, surely, far harder for him to make than for you to contemplate? Then you weren't really that much of a supporter, were you?
Also, no, withholding your vote from the Democratic candidate won't make the Democratic apparatchiks take you or your views seriously. They may laugh as loudly as the clown-car fascist.
If I hear one more iteration of "Voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for evil," I swear I will scream. Voting for the lesser of two evils is voting for the lesser of two evils - because the greater evil is greater, and will scour your soul far more badly than the lesser will.
If you look hard enough at any candidate, no matter how good, you're apt to find something at which you can point and say "EVIL!" So your argument is, frankly, an invalid and slightly sophomoric one. Pragmatism; it's a thing, and it is not, merely by definition, evil. Nor is idealism, merely by definition, good.
Voting matters. It always matters.
As selenak says, April's Fool Day is a bit pointless in a world where Donald Trump has a serious shot at the White House, isn't it? In slightly better news, Bernie stands a chance of winning the Wisconsin primary next Tuesday, and appears to be closing the gap between himself and Clinton in New York, supposedly her home territory. I await those primaries with great interest.
I am so very pleased that Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū is getting a new season. This anime, which sort of re-introduced me to the Japanese art (some consider it a minor art; I don't) of rakugo, is for me the best anime of the past season, and it may just be a tiny masterpiece. So, hurrah!
Got through this week, and I'm grateful for that!
I developed a new drink for the weekend, involving a frozen strawberry in a martini glass, over which I pour .75 shot of Sayuri brand nigori sake and 1.25 shots of gin. I call it a strawberry blossom, and in my un-Japanese that comes out as hana ichigo. I'm having one now.
I did some more work on Hearts & Moons, but need to sit down and do more serious plotting (with a map of my setting) than I normally do. I have an ACTION! SCENE! at the heart of this chapter, and I need to know just what I'm doing - and more importantly, what each of my characters is doing - to make it read believably. I am, however, very pleased to have come up with the winning stroke for our heroes. So it's buckle down this weekend, kaffyr . (I won't let the oven cleaning come between me and my writing, although I swear to god, I'm going to get that damned oven cleaned.
Within the first 2 seconds after I saw the front page that the New York Daily News* planned to publish after the San Bernardino shootings, I also saw messages from people wailing that this was "prayer shaming." (Full disclosure, I was seeing all of this in what passes for real time on Twitter.)
The responses came so fast and were so alike that they raised a red flag in my head, and I was pretty sure that there were large numbers of people grabbing onto "prayer shaming" in an effort to blow smoke and obscure the real problem after yet another mass shooting - too many fucking guns and not enough intelligent gun control.**
Now, with thanks to supergee , I've been able to read Charles Pierce's measured response to the "prayer shaming" concept and the people who use it; if you wish, you can, too.
* Which is a rag, but it seems to have the right idea occasionally.
**By intelligent, I mean, no, not people coming to take your guns or your liberty. I mean, simply, what the words say; just a bit of control, if you please, Mr. LaPierre.
This week's been better than last week. It's not less busy, mind, since I had a meeting last night, one tonight, a union meeting tomorrow night and a staff meeting tomorrow afternoon (gah) plus a union-company meeting Thursday afternoon. But the week doesn't yet seem as out of control and unpleasant as it did at this time last week. Of course, given the two union meetings, that could always change, but I'm choosing to look at the good side of the coin right now.
( Thoughts on Zygon invasions and inversions )
Anything else? Yes, I got exercises done again; go, me!
A final thought: the level of self-deception on the part of the 3,546 GOP candidates who still think they can be president just reminds me that most members of that party don't really live in the real world. At least two of the original five Democratic candidates woke up and smelled the coffee, if one could say nothing else about them.
Yes, yes, I know he kept his own riding.
But his party lost. And he's going to resign his party leadership.
Yes, the party I'd have voted for if I were still living in Canada managed to scuttle itself right back down to third party also-ran status. Bad NDP, no cookies ... but ... but -
The fucking Conservatives are out of power.
Out. Of. Power.
So, Justin? You'd best do a good job.
I'm not an economist, a politician, or anyone paid to analyze the actions of economists or politicians. So I'm very possibly wrong when I say that I believe the idea of holding countries accountable for debt that they've been encouraged by bankers to accumulate in order to keep their economies afloat, for what seems to be an underlying desire not to get the money back, but to consolidate power over those countries is obscene. I mean, what do I know about the IMF, amirite?
But I'll go out on a limb here and say that I don't think talking heads saying things like "They caused their own problem by borrowing, so I have no sympathy for them" - as if they were talking about Cousin Al, who never learned to balance his checkbook, and needs a lesson from the school of hard knocks - know much more than I do. At least I understand we're talking about countries here; mass organisms of incredible complexity that bear as little resemblance to Cousin Al as I do to a powder puff.
So when I read about the Indiegogo campaign launched by a Londoner, to crowdfund Greece's 1.6 billion Euro debt, I was pleased to see how fast it was growing (fast enough to crash the Indiegogo page for several hours.) Not because it stands a hope in hell of actually succeeding, but because it's proving, I think, to be a piece of guerrilla theater with a message to the people who pretend that money in the hands of powerful countries and financial entities is anything but a tool to increase their power, at the expense of poor countries. Perhaps more than one message.
Anyhow, if you're interested in the campaign, head one over. The last I saw it had reached about 502,000 Euros. Not bad, considering it was 222,000-some Euros earlier today.
Not me talking; I just like them.
First, the relative clarity of this explanation of the Puppy Hugo Wars over at - oh, hell, now I'm giggling; why? Just take a look at the name of the site - obviously written for folks who have little acquaintance with fandom.
Second, Jim Hines' cogent commentary on why it shouldn't, perhaps be seen as Puppy Hugo Wars - or at least, that we should remember we're disagreeing with real people, in a real world that has edges, shadows, three dimensions etc., not taking paint-ball aim at two-dee shooting gallery cardboard rectangles.
Thanks in no small part to the vast and evil knowledge of james_davis_nicoll and the kindly directional wisdom of autopope that pointed me to this post over at Making Light, I've had the dubious pleasure of reading the extreme expressions of displeasure of those at the fruitbattier end of the "ZOMG Obama End Times AAAAAaaaaaiiiieee!!!!!!" spectrum. And because I like to a) spread the WTFness and b) I do, meanly, enjoy drinking their tears, I provide the links to you.
( Under which I ruminate )
On the other hand, I also want to pass along news of good things and I consider this campaign purely, positively, cheekily brilliant. The moment I read this was truly joyful. This idea almost makes using the phrase "thinking outside the box" worthwhile. For people who thought that the Occupy movement had faded away, this is a particularly lovely heads-up that it hasn't. Thanks to supergee and, again, to Making Light.
And of course, there's this. If you haven't seen it by now, perhaps it will make you smile. Hell, even if you've seen it before, you might want to see it again. And I'd much rather react to my ideological opponents in this fashion than in the splenetic, grammatically challenged perorations you'll find courtesy of the first couple of links.
(This is message I have been wont to broadcast indiscriminately over the last few years, any time an election appears on the horizon. Here it is again. I've amended and edited it slightly this time around because, as important as I once thought it was, it is unimaginably more important today; today, on Tuesday, and for the foreseeable future. I hope you take it seriously. Because Democracy, besides being as necessary as oxygen to the healthy human condition, is as serious as a kick in the teeth. Or childbirth, if we want a slightly less disturbing image.
Mind you, Democracy is disturbing. So read, do, lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.)
*********** ********* ************
( It matters. )
First things first - birthdays! This is me, sending out heartfelt pending, present and past birthday wishes to friends and lovely acquaintances: to burlesque photographer extraordinaire and new dad rmjwell (Oct. 3); to careful and creative thinker and writer rm (Oct. 4) even if she's largely absent from dw/lj land these days; to the wonderful, quotable, omnivorous reader supergee (Oct. 5), a most excellent coyote; to one of my oldest LINDA friends and new homeowner heatherbelles (today, hurrah!); and to gracious host, remarkable mom, and award-winning editor rarelylynne (Oct. 8). May the coming year be wonderful for all of you!
( Slightly unpleasant happening )
( And then something neat! )
( Music rec, fic rec )
( Other good stuff )
( Miscellaneous )
And I desperately miss Rory and Amy. Almost more than I miss the Doctor. Almost. Is it Christmas yet?
I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet--a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/
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