The world is very good at distracting us. Much of the ingenuity of our remarkable species goes towards finding new ways to distract ourselves from things that really matter. The internet—it’s lethal, isn’t it? Maintaining focus is critical, I think, in the presence of endless distraction. You’ve only got time to be a halfway decent parent, plus one other thing.
For me, that one other thing is: I’ve got to be writing. I have a few ways to make sure I can carve out time.
Part one: Neglect everything else.
Part two: Get disciplined. Learn to rush to your laptop and open it up. Open the file without asking yourself if you’re in the mood, without thinking about anything else. Just open the file: and then you’re safe. Once the words are on the screen, that becomes your distraction.
Of course, it’s not distraction—it’s work, and it’s wonderful when it goes well. I’m sure other, more disciplined people can do it without needing to rush, but I have to. The moment you think okay, it’s work time, and face down the words, you rush past all the other things asking for your attention.
My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”—
"Snail mail was a very different experience from the Internet. A picture postcard came to your mailbox and it was an object you held in your hand. It represented the place where I took 100 Boots, and after recording that place, sent it out to you to pick up in your hand and look at before perhaps slipping it into a desk drawer or taping it to the refrigerator or maybe just throwing it away.
The Internet is not a place. It’s a great void, a black hole, from which you can call up an incredible amount of disorganized information. It’s interactive and can reach millions rather than being something quietly slipped into a small mailbox by a mailman with a big leather bag on his shoulder.
The often ragged edges of the card suggests something of the places the card itself had been before it came to your place. On the Internet, you delete without touching. Germ free. Life free. Sure, you can print it out but that’s just an ugly piece of paper; perhaps if you’re sensitive you realize it’s a bit of stolen property from a tree that was once standing in a real place somewhere. Of course, you can make artworks for the Internet, people are doing it all the time on Facebook, inventing new selves and characters, inventing new truths. The invisible talking to the invisible.”
Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions. Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
“The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.”
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts.
“It’s never, never, never the woman’s fault. No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman. No means no. […] The one regret I have is we call it domestic violence as if it’s a domesticated cat. It is the most vicious form of violence there is, because not only the physical scars are left, the psychological scars that are left. This whole culture for so long has put the onus on the woman. What were you wearing? What did you say? What did you do to provoke? That is never the appropriate question.”—
“Why do white people own so many pets?
Because we’re not allowed to own people anymore.
What is the scariest thing about a white person in prison?
You know he did it.
how many Chicago cops does it take to change a light bulb? None, they just beat the room for being black.”
A good looking 50 year old white man is trying to get laid on reality TV. What show are you watching?
To catch a predator.
Why do white girls travel in groups of three or five?
They can’t even
What do you call 64 white people in a room? A full blooded Cherokee.”—
at dinner last night, a coworker was talking about hanging out with his white friends and getting fed up with the racist jokes, and asked them to tell a white people joke. nobody had any, so he googled and found these. after a few of them, people were a lot less comfortable.
white folks, next time you hear a racist joke, maybe lead with one of these in response. tag this “I’m white” when you reblog it, if you are.
Melissa Harris-Perry:Let me ask, what difference does it make, Mychal, when we lay the blame for inequality at the feet or on the backs of these young people and their clothing choices?
Mychal Denzel Smith:It means we don't have to take responsibility for anti-black racism. It means that the country is let off the hook. It means that when you place the responsibility on the victims to "correct" their behavior, it means that then I don't have to respect you until you prove yourself worthy of my respect. And I don't have to respect you even just as a human being existing on the same plane as me. And that means that we are never going to get to the point where we are actually dealing with what leads to these perceptions of this style of clothing to be "thug wear."
“Being born a woman is an awful tragedy. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars—to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording—all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night.”—
fuck every single time that last line gets quoted without the rest
“Perhaps, as we say in America, I wanted to find myself. This is an interesting phrase, not current as far as I know in the language of any other people, which certainly does not mean what it says but betrays a nagging suspicion that something has been misplaced.”—James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room