Friday, May 31, 2013

Teaching you 9 hair

Lipsync: Jinkx x Detox from RSFD on Vimeo.

Naming our nameless war.


He waited and, as he waited, grew less eager.
He had come first, believing he was anxious.
The quag lay buried in the darkness at his feet.
The village lights shone far between and meager.

He must not whistle here. His nerves grew tauter.
A wind, that rose among the woods behind him,
Died through the fields. Then silenceā€”broken only
By turtles puddling the invisible bog water.

Then, through a stillness, listening, he heard
Her running on the path, night-terrified
Or eager. And he saw her body slacken
And look for him. She stopped. He never stirred.

But watched how credulously, hour by hour, she stood.
And when, at last, the longing woman went,
He set his face to make the nearest light,
And marched to beat the silence through the wood."

--Whittaker Chambers, in: Anthology of Magazine Verse, ed. Wm Braithwaite (1925)

(via bldgblog)


"Well, unlike the majority of you (I assume), I actually lived several years in a period of savagery and killing, during which nothing - food, water, electricity, phone, clothing, sense of safety, school, the ability to go out in public, etc - was available, except during totally unpredictable, brief and sporadic occasions.

Of those who couldn't leave my city, Sarajevo:

Some people (very few) were prepared for what they thought would be the "long haul" - this tended to be a couple of months. These people were widely seen as lunatics and dangerously pessimistic ones at that.

Most people were not at all prepared. This included my family. Many of those - like my family - considered the idea of "preparation" to be an affront to the decency we felt most people possessed. Were we wrong? Well, I don't know. We suffered greatly; my parents were killed. But speaking only for myself, I never felt I cheapened my soul by betting on calamity. Today, that still feels like it's worth something.

But here's the main point: "Preparing" for the disaster really didn't do anyone much good. Those who "prepared" ate a little better for a while. They stayed warmer for a few extra days. They enjoyed the radio for a while longer (via batteries.) But in the end, they ended up hungry, cold and bored too, just like the rest of us. Guns and weapons helped no one directly and were even of little to no use in the defense of Sarajevo, since they were toys compared to the shells, bombs and high-powered armaments of the attacking forces. The worst parts of war were psychological - the fear, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, paranoia, bad dreams. Respite from those things came with sharing food with a neighbor, finding a piece of clothing that would fit someone you knew, commiserating with others in your position, figuring out how to make make-up from brick or french fries from wheat paste and spreading this newly-acquired war knowledge around the mahala.

We knew who had extra food and supplies. For the most part, they weren't attacked or hassled or bothered. Contrary to what these survivalists say, those in dire times generally hold on to their personal sense of pride even more than they do in normal times. I'd take a bite of a friend's salad without bothering to ask in normal times. I'd never have done that in wartime, no matter how hungry I was.

Within the domain of those trapped in the city, civility greatly increased.

You often hear how Holocaust survivors felt guilt at surviving. Well, during war, that was a feeling everyone was aware of - people started dying right away (my parents were killed near the start of the siege, for instance) - and there was a palpable enough common sense of karma to make everyone into good Samaritans. None of us understood why we survived while others didn't. I shared food when I had it, even though I often knew I wouldn't have a crumb the next day. Which was no big achievement, because nearly everyone did the same.

Those who'd prepared, well, the majority of them shared their food and whatever else they had as soon as someone else was clearly in need. I can't swear it, but I think they felt a little foolish to have been so self-obsessed, and giving away that stuff might have lessened that feeling. There were a few people who hoarded things until they ran out of stuff - eventually everybody ran out of anything worth hoarding - and they soon became wishful beggars like the rest of us..." --Dee Xtrovert on MeFi

Merchants of shame.

(via wikipedia "Didyma")

Escherian stairwell.



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