About thisfrenzy

poet, translator, activist, editor, book seller, dyke, feminist, tattooed, reviewer, explorer, worrier, word lover, rambler

Danish divers find missing body parts of Swedish journalist

Danish divers find missing body parts of Swedish journalist
2 Min Read

found the head
and the legs in circumstances
mysterious
circumstances
disappeared he denies
headless torso washed ashore
headless torso washed ashore
headless, cause of death not determined
head hit by heavy hatch he said hit
by heavy hatch hit by heavy hit by heavy
hatch

no fractures to Wall’s skull

body parts, knife and clothes in bag
weighted, weighted down
in bags with bits of metal in Koge Bay

Images of women strangled and decapitated
found images
on computer
in laboratory
he ran
he said not his
not his he said
not his

found poem from Teis Jensen, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-denmark-submarine/danish-divers-find-missing-body-parts-of-swedish-journalist-idUSKBN1CC07E

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Some Rules for Stopping FKnews AND Supporting Communal Trust

Updated/more succinct “50-something White Jewish Feminist Dyke Peace Camp Activist Who’s Done Both Purity and Paranoia Politics and Just Wants Some Clarity and Accountability Now Rules for Stopping FKnews* AND Supporting Communal Trust”

watchThe Vetting Time Measure: otherwise known
The 5 Second Rule

If you can’t spend at least 5 seconds verifying the source, don’t share the post/article/hysterical cry of “the end of days is nigh”.

Field note – the amount of posts I’ve now stopped myself from reflex-sharing while trying to follow my own rule is both astounding AND embarrassing. I’m a thoughtful, well-read, experienced activist. Just how much useless and/or dangerous debris have I been tossing into the stream?


expiredThe Best If Used By Measure

A call to action that is several months old is probably no longer useful in this dumpster fire admin. Dating posts will help a lot.


card-symbolsThe Cards on the Table Rule

If a post says “I” or “a person I know” and you are forwarding it, disclose that you don’t know these people. If the post IS from someone you know and trust, say so. If you have NO CLUE where this came from, say so. Or consider not posting it.

Field note – This one is a struggle, since my community IS wide-ranging and “friend of a friend” can be a perfectly legit measure. A “friend of my friend” could well be head of a union or a senator’s staff or a senator or a famous writer/musician/activist (and don’t get me started on the rabbis).  Still working out how to distinguish between actual networks and forwards with a name attached none of us actually know.


u-circleThe Let’s Be Honest Rule

If you’re passing along an article as “really important” or “a must read,” please be willing to certify that you’ve actually read. All of it. If not, say so.

Field note – I created this rule mainly for myself cause I am likely to violate it. I’m trying.


gigoThe GIGO Opinion Measure

as in Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Have you ACTUALLY put work and thought into some opinion you are posting? If not, just don’t. We’re all drowning in knee-jerk half ass opinions.


road-to-hellThe Road To Hell Measure

Snide, Ironic, Mocking, and Disruptive intentions paved the road to this hell. If you aren’t trying to educate, inspire, or comfort, just fucking don’t.

Field note – This measure was also created mainly as a guideline for my own posting practices. I find it so easy to mock, and rather comforting. But with only x amount of brain-able-to-pay-attention time each day, filling that time with snide or parody feels like a privilege shit-storm right now. Laughing at the white supremacists running our federal apparatus can be a pleasant relief from time to time, but HELLO WE HAVE ACTUAL WORK TO DO.


construction-worker-3The If You Can’t Bless It, Pick Up a Hammer**

Do-This-Whenever-You-Can Suggestion

If you are posting an article about somethinggodawfulTHEYaredoing, be sure to include as least one direct coherent action we can take. “Sign a Petition” or “Buy a Product” or “Stew in Bitter Regret” are NOT direct and coherent actions.

Field Notes – Ok, so women I admire and trust gave immediate and strong feedback to this when it was posted as a rule. They argued quite convincingly that sometimes we just need to scream and posting about something god awful you just discovered is a way of screaming. And sometimes we have NO FUCKING CLUE what to do and post or share hoping someone else will have some suggestions.  So this idea is officially a suggestion. I am trying to make it a regular practice for my own posts, no matter what. I think it would be one good communication goal for all of us, but only if we don’t judge ourselves or each other when what is most needed is straightforward screaming.


*FKnews – as explained in my original much longer version of this idea, containing both Feminist linguistical theory and political explanations, FKnews is a working abbreviation for Fake News, or maybe Fake-Knew for people who are lying intentionally, or maybe Fucked-News, for how it effects justice and reality.

**from Marge Piercy’s poem “The Art of Blessing the Day”with just a smidgen of “if I had a hammer” thrown in:

What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool.  Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue.  If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.

On Láadan and Replacing Viral FKnews with Sourced and Valued News

On Láadan and Replacing Viral FKnews with Sourced and Valued News

Elliott F. batTzedek

 

Background: Native Tongues, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis

Láadan is an explicitly feminist constructed language created by linguist Suzette Haden Elgin in 1982. She was exploring the ways that English and other heteropatriarchal languages suppressed women’s abilities to speak our reality. She was testing the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which suggests that the natural language we speak strongly influences, or even determines, what thoughts we are able to think and then speak. She was not creating a language based on women as biologically-determined females, but women as an oppressed class, and the language was intended for everyone, not just women, to speak. In that way Láadan was not a “women’s language” but a language designed to encode world views of an oppressed class.

She explored both her theories and Láadan itself in the science fiction series Native Tongue. Láadan has both vocabulary AND syntactical structures that address how women’s realities are excluded from English. Vital among these is a system of particles that are necessary to a grammatical sentence and convey cultural values within the grammar:

  • The speech-act particle – this occurs at the beginning of the sentence and marks it as either a statement, question, command, request, promise, or warning
  • The grammatical tense particle – this occurs second in the sentence and marks it as either present, past, future, or hypothetical
  • The evidence particle – this occurs at the end of statements and indicates the trustworthiness of the statement.

Since this final particle is the one I feel the need for every time I read news, email, or Facebook posts, I want to lay out the particles Elgin created:

wa  – Information known to speaker because it was directly perceived by speaker, externally or internally
wi  – Information known to speaker it is because self-evident
we  – Information perceived by speaker in a dream
wáa  – Information that is assumed true by speaker because speaker trusts the source
waá  – Information assumed false by speaker because speaker distrusts source; if evil intent by the source is also assumed, the form is “waálh”
wo – Information imagined or invented by speaker, connected to the hypothetical-tense particle
wóo  –  Used to indicate that the speaker states a total lack of knowledge as to the validity of the matter

In Láadan, one of these particles must be attached to every assertion of information. Every time – the weather, the time of day, a report about how a friend feels, sharing news or information or opinion.

Every. Single. Time.

Considering the Depth of This Fetid Mess

I’ve been thinking about these particles every time I try to wade my way through the “news” right now, because, like all of us, I’m finding it very hard to know what to trust, and at what level to trust it.

There is of course the FKnews (Fake News, or maybe Fake-Knew for people who are lying intentionally, or maybe Fucked-News, for how it effects justice and reality. Haven’t decided yet exactly what to call this phenomenon nor how to linguistically mark it). I am getting better at recognizing FKNews, in part through taking even a couple seconds to check the website name at the bottom of stories, and through the hard work of others to identify and rank news sources. (I particularly find this useful: http://www.allgeneralizationsarefalse.com/?p=53. Although, to be fair, this link barely passes the Vetting Time Measure outlined below)

Where I struggle is in the rush of posts from my friends. These posts are, I trust, well- intentioned. People want to spread valuable information and opinions. People want to spur thought and action. People (my people, anyway) want to participate in a meaningful world where science and data and trust are actual things that matter.

And yet we are all struggling so hard right now. Posts appear and go viral in seconds with no actual information about the source or the goal. Information asserts authenticity (members of Senator Warren’s staff say we should) and so none of us ever check either the authenticity nor the date, so advice about phone calls to make that had validity in late November keep getting shared as if they are current. Information that asserts authority-based-on-relationship, such as “a minister I know and have worked with” gets shared widely without being changed, so it appears that each person posting the information knows the minister.

And then there is the inherent bias of political views and goals. I’ve operated in enough left/far-left/Radial/Separatist communities over the decades to have seen an astounding range of distortion, ranging from bias to delusion and paranoia. I’ve fallen for all of these, usually when I’m only surrounded by members of one small group. Within that group, crazy shit can feel real. One step outside, and you suddenly can’t make sense of what you believed with such fervor. These moments of borderline-paranoia remain easy for me to bump up against, though, because I know a lot about the world, and I don’t trust the government or business to not be developing horrible weapons or toxic crap while claiming they aren’t, and I do know that the level of surveillance we all live within is night-mare inducing, and I do believe that whatever amount of shit we see, there is vastly more and worse that we don’t yet see. Knowing how to both be willing to work for radical change with people we don’t know AND knowing the history of, say, COINTELPRO means a fine balancing act between naiveté and paranoia – a subject, I think, for another essay on another day.

Lack of taking any time to edit or source, combined with ourinherent communal biases, explain much of the well-intentioned distortion. There are also the dreadful “spoof” sites that spread stories just connected enough to reality to get passed from person to person like dreadful cold germs. There are sites and trolls who plant false information from false sources in order to provoke, betray, or lead astray. And there are marketers that spread FKnews in order to spread news about their product or service. All of these have motive and money behind them, and we are all in such a rush all the time, overwhelmed by information, that we have never built resistance to their methods.

In my own small ways, I’ve been working on building exactly that resistance. I’ve been building a practice of dating posts that call for some kind of action to be taken, and encouraging others to do the same, so we can easily weed out those posts that keep washing ashore like medical waste on north Jersey beaches. I’ve been trying to pause and check the listed source of news or opinion pieces before I post them myself. I’ve been doing a lot of SNOPES checking, and sharing those results with friends who post information. And yet I go on being guilty of sharing information that is out of date, sometime by years, and poorly-sourced, or utterly un-sourced.

Each of those mistakes, though small, radiate out at light-speed. Even if I go back and delete a post a few minutes after it goes up, it has already been forwarded and shared. And I know I share opinion pieces ALL THE TIME that say “such and such says we should all now do this” or “this one Muslim/Lesbian/Trans/Black/Immigrant/ person says this thing we’ve all been doing is actually hateful.” Except for a few names that are people I know, or know of and have a history I trust, I’ve never checked who these people are before I post. And even if I know the person, lies about what people say get spread all the time.

Such chaos, distortion, mistrust ARE the weapon of mass destruction we face right now. If our ability to know what we know, and to trust each other, keeps getting attacked and weakened, we will, none of us, be able to form communities of resistance, and without communities individual resistance may be heroic but will not be able to save us.

Against this new weapon, we need new tools. Below is my first attempt to shape one of these tools, a way to convey to each other how much we know about the information we are passing along. I’m utterly inventing both the categories and the names and measures of them, and I know this work can’t be done by only person. Please ponder on these issues yourself, post your ideas. If you want to try these out, report back on how they work. Make up your own and put them in a comment and I’ll include them in a rewrite.

Because in a world where information moves so quickly, and is so easy to distort, we have to find ways to share not only the information but our intentions, our understanding, our trust, our knowledge. Knowing these, and conveying them, are just as important in this world as the information itself.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
William E. Stafford, “A Ritual to Read to Each Other”

Just Another Middle-Aged White Feminist Jewish Peace Camp Dyke’s Rules of Engagement for Building Trust in What We Know

The 5 Second Guideline – Spend at least 5 seconds evaluating any piece of information before you pass it along. Check the name on the bottom. See if a date is posted. See who else has posted it. You don’t have to do massive research. Just take 5 seconds. If a piece isn’t worth spending 5 seconds to evaluate, it isn’t good enough to share with your Beloved Community.

The Vetting Time Measure, of which the 5 Second Rule is a timeline – a quick number to acknowledge how much you spent researching the source of the article before sharing it: 60, 30, 10, 5, 0. As in 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds, didn’t do any research at all.

The Cards on the Table Rule – When you post information, be willing to identify how close you are to the information. Doing this, I think, creates more opportunity for honesty and more opportunities for readers to be able to evaluate what comes before them. I’m thinking of this as four categories: I (as in I myself wrote this, or I myself took this picture, or I myself was at this demo, or I myself heard a senator say this, or this is a field in which I myself have training and expertise); We (as in this is from a member of my community whom I know and trust, this is from someone whom I know to have training and expertise, this is from my self-defined “we”); They (as in, this is from a wider world in which I generally have trust, such as the New York Times or a radio host whose opinions I have found to be trustworthy or a blogging community in which I interact and have found to be reliable); and No Idea (as in, when I use the 5 second rule to consider this I realize I have no reliable context for this whatsoever). For this final category, spend another 5 seconds deciding whether or not to pass it along.

The Let’s Be Honest Rule – when you pass along an article, news piece, or opinion piece, include a statement about how much of it you yourself have actually read. Categories for this could include: Pondered, (as in I read this and spent time thinking about it and I think it is important and useful); Skimmed (as in I read parts of this and it seemed pretty cool so I’m passing it along); Kiss-and-Ride (as in I looked at the first paragraph and a couple of sentences and it seemed pretty nifty gotta go); Brown-nose (as in, This was posted by people I admire and I’m sharing it without looking at it first cause I want to be one of the cool radical kids).

The GIGO Opinion Measure – as in “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” This measures how much work you’ve put into an opinion you’re posting. A few suggested measures include: PhD (as in you’ve spent YEARS of your life reading and writing to get to this point); Consensus (as in you’ve worked with a whole group of people to come to this understanding after god knows how many hours of debating); Pro (as in training and some credentialed work here); Am (as in training and hard work without credentials or degrees); Freshman Comp (as in a kernel of some truth buried in a lot of blither); Limbaugh (as in you’re taking one little piece of information, which may also be false, and using it to blow opioid smoke out your ass)

The Road To Hell Measure – a measure of intentionality. Categories could include Persuade, Be Helpful, Amplify, Be Snide, Insult, Demean, Encourage, Show Off, Show Up, Connect, Distance, Affirm, Jump on the Bandwagon.

Reporting Back

Using a few of my own recent Facebook posts as a sample, I’m trying these out.

First this, a link I just posted to an article, with a bunch of friends tagged to get them to read it too.  https://www.facebook.com/battzedek/posts/10154949932411730

5 Second Rule – I created the newsletter in which it appeared, so know where it came from.
The Vetting Time Measure – 60+. I looked up who the author was, and what else she’s written.
The Cards on the Table Rule – This is a “they” post. It came from Literary Hub, a website I use all the time, and one where I’ve had direct individual interaction with at least one staff person.
The Let’s Be Honest Rule – I read this piece several times and judged it important enough to share through all the clutter
GIGO Measure – ProAm
Road to Hell Measure – Amplify, Encourage, Affirm

And then there’s this. Sigh. https://www.facebook.com/battzedek/posts/10154942907031730

5 Second Rule – I did not spend more than 5 seconds researching what the heck was going on with Uber. Just saw all over friends’ timelines that the head of Uber was working with the Wuggly Ump. FAILED
Vetting Time Measure – 0. FAILED
Cards on the Table Rule – No Clue Category. FAILED
Let’s Be Honest Rule – Honestly, kind of brown-nosing. FAILED
GIGO Measure – Limbaugh. FAILED
Road to Hell Measure – Bandwagon Jumper. FAILED

Ready to Go?

I’d really love it if y’all tried these out and reported back on what you find. Are these considerations useful to you? Can you use them? How does using the effect you?

NaNo(inPo)WriMo – Reflexive Theology version 2

Reflexive Theology

Everything done to the human body is also
done to the body of god all that sweet sweet lovin’
and that loving burping and the caressing and wiping
and cleaning and healing and the slightest of kisses that convey
everything too dense for words. Everything done

to the human body is also done to the body
of god. Circumcision. Clitoridectomy. Vulva sewn shut
to protect male virtue. Bound feet, bound breasts, all that is female
bound tight and forbidden. Bodies bent double and tied tight
for hours upon hours. Bodies hung by the hands, by the feet, by the
neck to die, bodies burned, for god’s sake, burned alive, bodies
pierced with steel and stone and wood and bone and iron and bodies led
tied one to another, kidnapped, shackled, hauled off across an ocean, bodies starved
and raped in every way imagined and invented. Bodies shocked and
waterboarded and strangled and bit by dogs and locked in cages, exposed, alone
and thousands of miles from home. Bodies mutilated

in the name of god, in fear of god, in sacrifice to god. What would be left
of the body of god if god’s body was attacked as people attack the body
in god’s name? A single limb, a single hair, a single cell? Wherever our bodies

are not sacred, god’s body is not sacred. Wherever our bodies are attacked, god’s
body opens and bleeds and hates its own shape and bends to break and wounded
and weakened god’s body hears our cries but with limbs lost to land mines
and eyes lost in the chemical plant explosion and asbestos lungs god’s body
sits in the great chair of the sky and prays to no longer hear what
can no longer be fixed.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo – Reflexive Theology

Reflexive Theology

Imagine if everything done in god’s name
to the human body was done in return
to god’s body. No penis tip. No clitoris. Vulva
sewn shut. Feet bound, feet beaten, body bent double
and tied tight, hung by the hands, by the feet, by the
neck to die, burned, for gods’ sake, burned alive,
pierced with steel with wood with iron with lead
kidnapped and shackled and hauled off across an ocean, starved
and raped repeatedly in every oracle. What then would be left of the body of god
if god was treated as people treat people in god’s name? A single limb,
a single hair, a single cell and can you image that whatever is left might
deem itself worthy of praise?

NaNo(inPo)WriMo – בשׂר וגוּף

בשׂר וגוּף

It is one supposes, on some days, at some times, possible,
theologically speaking, to imagine a god who has
no body. God of Ideals. God of Spirit. God of Thought. God of
No Thing therefore God of Nothing. God, what a tragedy
that a human, all flesh and bone in her world of wood and
stone, water and earth, could be so disembodied herself
that she conceives a divinity without a body
without its creaks and hungers, without its desires and demons,
without taste buds, without a pulse to quicken
to pound visibly in the throat when the scent of the one she needs
overwhelms all sense. To love an idea can be quite quite satisfying
but only the body, beloved,
is holy, holy, holy.

Source Text
What is Holy
Nett Hart

What is holy to us is that which we apprehend by the senses, touch in its fleshly life; what is untouched, pristine, exists in idea only. The idea is not holy in the way its incarnation is. To be holy, something must exist in relationship: it must smell, prickle, moan.

Nett Hart from Spirited Lesbians: Lesbian Desire as Social Action

NaNo(inPo)WriMo – B’kirbi

In-inside

The question of what dwells inside
of inside goes on forever, for
nothing is full of only
nothing, for everything
is inside god’s body and god’s
body, inside
everything.

Source Text
שְׁמַת חַיַּי/ Morning Blessing Marcia Falk

Nishmat hayay t’vareykh v’kerev libi yashir נִשְׁמַת חַיַּי תְּבָרֵךּ וְקֶרֶב לִבִּי יָשִׁר:
Kol od n’shamah b’kirbi modah/modeh ani מוֹדָהּ\מוֹדֶה אֲנִי כָּל עוֹד נְשָׁמָה בְּקִרְבִּי

The soul of my life will bless, and the innermost part of my heart will sing.
As long as breath is in my innermost being, I give thanks.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo – Blessed are our aging bodies

Blessed are our aging bodies

Let us bless the creation from the earth of these bodies of wisdom made of open openings, of holy holes. Unconcealed, revealed, we face the judging of our dignity: if wrongly open would be one of these, or wrongly closed another would be we could not again rise to stand. Broken though this flesh might be, still we live and we last.

Source Text

נְבָרֵך אֶת עֵן הַחַיִים אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּחָכְמָה וּבָרָא בוֹ נְקָבִים נְקָבִים חַלוּלִים חַלוּלִים.
גָלוּי וְיָדוּעַ לִפנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ שֶׁאִם יִפָּתֵחַ אֶחָד מֵהֶם אוֹ יִסָּתֵם אֶחָד מֵהֶם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהִתְקַיֵם וְלַעַמוֹד לְפָנֶיךָ.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה רוֹפֵא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעַשׂוֹת.

N’varech et ein hachayim asher yatzar et ha’adam bechochmah uvara vo
nekavim nekavim chalumim chalulim. Galuwi veyadu’a lifney chisey chevodecha she’im yipate’ach echad mehem o yisatem echad mehem i efshar lehitkayem vela’amod lefanecha. Baruch ata Yah rofey chol basar umafli la’asot.
Let us bless the source of life, who shaped the human being with wisdom, making for us all the openings and vessels of the body. It is revealed and known before your Throne of Glory that if one of these passage-ways be open when it should be closed, or blocked up when it should be free, one could not stay alive or stand before you. Blessed are You, Miraculous, the wondrous healer of all flesh.

NaNo(inPo)WriMo – אָנָא אֵל נָא רְפָא נָא לָה

On how we tend to the body of our beloved

For every prayer for hope god’s body sprouts a feather
for every prayer for vengeance, a wound from a feather plucked

Once and again every now and then on god’s body
there are feathers enough to fly

but mainly god’s body sinks and swells and
oozes puss while we cry out אָנָא אֵל נָא רְפָא נָא לָה