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Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.
- Pueblo Blessing

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Thursday, Mar. 25, 2004 - 10:26 p.m.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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WARNING!!!! if you know me personally, you may read my diary, but if you do, you take the chance of hearing things you don't want to know, misunderstanding what I've written and being hurt by it. If you are unsure if it is ok to read, save yourself and me the grief and heartache, and ask first!!! Please note that this is a DIARY, ie my subjective feelings, hearsay, suppositions, and outpourings of ranting of the moment. It does not represent objective news, the whole of what I think of a topic or someone, or even a thought-out representation of any of the above. Keep that in mind. Thanks. * Here is a Diary Etiquette Read Me.

Bouncy Checks and Chewy Premises

Egads. Can you believe I have had the FIRST ever check bounce in my career of illustration and cartooning... twelve years plus... and it was a $300 check from .... tahdah.... THE STATE OF WASHINGTON!! Yup, a US governmental agency... their educational branch... to reproduce one of my drawings in a state-wide standardized exam.

Doesn't that just take the cake.

It is a nasty thing, since of course it is MY credibility with my bank that gets fucked around if I give them checks and the checks are worth less than the actual paper they are printed on. Kind of like putting fake twenties someone has passed me into my deposit envelope.

AGH. I will phone them tomorrow. I dunno. What do I do? Ask for them to send a bank transfer? A postal order? A registered check? Funny way to deal with a state government eh.


In other news, I am still exhausted. Or again. I dunno. I feel draggy, but not down or depressed. Sort of like I would like to sit on a bed, couch or other, leaning into cushions and staring at something completely inane like the flames of a campfire. Or the swirling waters of a river or rapids. Or clouds in the sky. Funnily enough this is the one mood in which I don't mind being stoned, since my head is not trying to think, nor my body to do anything skillful. I think it is no coincidence that my body feels draggy AND my nose is rather clogged and my eyes heavy. Probably another virus going around that I have but am successfully fighting off. gll. But it is NOT an inspiring state to dance flamenco in. hehe.

Hey, I have been mentioned in the free newsweekly twice in two weeks. Last week, they briefly mentioned that I had "another of my caustic comic book" launched on Monday, which was cool. It would have been better if they spoke about it in more than one sentence and didn't mispell dyke as "dike". hehe.

This week, they published my letter to the editor, about a cover piece three weeks ago. The Journal de Montreal had done a week long exposé of racism here in Quebec by having one of their white reporters get some sophisticated makeup artist to turn him "black". Yeah it is an iffy premise, but at the same time, for one whole week, racism was the cover topic of the most-read paper in a huge city. The same reporter compared how he was treated as a "black" man and as a white man in the same stores, job applications, bars etc... he wore the same clothes etc when he returned as his white self, so that the racial look would be the sole variables.

The cover article in the free news weekly was written by a black man who said he found this blackface to be the same as minstrels making fun of blacks years ago, and that it was offensive to the extreme. And that there were enough black people saying there is racism, why do they need some white guy to say so. The newsweekly writer basically didn't do any journalism research, any testing, fieldwork, etc, just gave his opinions that the Journal de Montreal writer was icky and looking to make a name for himself. He DID interview the Journal de Montreal writer, but then tore apart his replies, which actually weren't that bad. Anyhowz, I understand the black writer's discomfort but still wish he could've come up with something other than his personal opinions... esp since it was touted on the cover as "Exploring the racial makeup of discrimination"... and the letters afterwards were all like "yeah, that Journal de Montreal writer was really racist" and "yeah, the money spent on his makeup could've been sent to a black community center" (as if that would make white landlords less racist or expose the problem to a mostly white bluecollar readership). Anyways, here's my letter they published. We'll see what the reaction is. :

Hello, I was disappointed to discover that Scott C's cover story in March 4th Mirror did not "explore the racial makeup of discrimination in Montreal" as the cover proclaimed, but consisted rather of Scott's interview with Journal de Mtl reporter Stéphane Alarie and his personal reactions to Mr. Alarie's race experiment. Scott C's article includes such good investigative journalism as: "I bet there are ...." and "there's no way a man with a thousand dollars worh of shoe polish on his face could really grapple with this stuff", as if wearing makeup interferes with someone's intellectual capacities.

I agree with Mr. C that there should be more direct voices of different races in our media. However, adding a majority voice to a minority issue historically strengthens it, not diminishes the issue. It took upperclass British educated Ghandi to get underreducated lower class Indians to stage a revolution. It took white men such as Lincoln, listening to a white woman like Harriet Beecher Stowe to give black men civil rights. It took white men voting to decide that women should get the vote. Scott C says himself that "it was Griffin's book (Black like Me) that propelled the civil rights movement forward"... ie a white male speaking to white people. (Aside: to confound the use of obvious comedic blackface to ridiculize blacks with the use of makeup to actually pass for black in a societal experiment is just irresponsible)

There are several unpalatable truths of human nature that Scott C is ignoring. One, that people listen to those with power. A child crying has less weight than an adult pointing out a child is crying. A free man pointing out that slaves are suffering holds more weight than a slave saying he is suffering. A CEO saying that he saw employees mistreated holds more weight than employees speaking of their mistreatment. A white man with the vote holds more weight than a woman without the vote. Whether through racism, sexism, agism, or other power differential, the oppressed by definition, have a less powerful voice than the oppressor.

Two, people give more credence to a voice they can identify with. Educated people like to hear the voice of educated people, a bluecollar union member is more likely to trust the opinion of a bluecollar worker than the opinion of the CEO.

So, it is not surprising that if white people who consider themselves nonracist hear they acted in a discriminatory manner from a white man who fooled them into thinking he was black, they will listen to his account more closely. It is perhaps sad, but just a truth. If you want the ear of someone, it is best not to be "an outsider".

Personally, I have found I am treated with alarming nicety when wearing a long blond wig (I normally have rather dykey short boy hair)... I usually assumed people's reaction to me was caused by my personal skills. Apparently the lack of traditionally feminine hair plays a larger part. No, listening to the experiences of a naturally feminine long-haired girl would not have given me the same insight. In fact, she is probably so used to being treated with alarming nicety she wouldn't even find it worth of remarking upon.

Mr. Alaire's experiment may have been "racist" but it had a raison d'être, and has voiced a real problem to people who may have been deaf to it before, or coming from a black person. Sad but true.

Finally, I wish that the cover promise of the Mirror HAD been upheld. I wish that a black man HAD redone the experiment, going undercover as a white man. As Mr. Alarie said, that would be a valuable equivalent. It removes the variables of personality, body language, cultural baggage, etc that influence our reactions to someone. Now that's an article I'd like to read.

Well, there ya go. You haven't read the articles in either paper, but hopefully some of the points ring true anyways.

Well, that's it for right now. zzz. I just realized it is my brother's birthday and if I don't call soon it will be over. Tah! BTW what a great horoscope today. Does not bode well for what people will think of that letter to the editor! eep!

Here is my horoscope for Thursday, March 25:

Nobody listens to you. Either your advice is irrelevant, your timing is poor or your voice is too quiet. The stars will correct this situation eventually, but until then it's up to you.

2:21 am Hey, I should mention that the reason I KNEW that the newsweekly had printed my letter is cuz this morning some crackpot left a message on my answering machine: "hey, are you the one who wrote the article in the paper? It was a beautiful article! Civil rights is a waste of time, you need to have human rights before you can get some civil rights. I didn't know there was good people like you out here, so there's still hope." And he left his name and phone number and wanted to send me a fax. Sometimes there are drawbacks to having your letter published in the paper, and people looking up your name in the phone book. Jeepers. Anyhowz, it is nice he thinks so nicely of me, but I am not calling him back. Wierdo alert! But yeah, that's how I knew my letter was published in the paper today.

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previous meanderings - future past

Goodbye Michael. May your next life be kinder to you. - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Taking Care of Your Cows - Thursday, Jun. 25, 2009
Saint Joseph robs the cradle and eats spaghetti - Sunday, Jun. 14, 2009
sticky notes and broken irises - Friday, Jun. 12, 2009
The FOODCOMMANDER - Monday, Jun. 08, 2009


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