after diss prop on wednesday aliza was going to forgo the usual drink, but when i said i had three hours before dinner with marc and his dad she stayed with me the whole time.
during the glass and a half of wine each i told her that i felt like i needed to discuss the issue of accountability, since it has come up so often lately on tumblr. i hate the word, and i take issue with the concept, but then i wonder if it isn’t just what i’ve been doing all along.
we parsed accountability and accounting and accounts and disciplinarity and trolling and calling people out and mean speech on the web for awhile. i said that one of the best things i had seen on tumblr recently reads “this is my rapist,” links to a picture, and adds “just wanted to make this post because i can.”
“because i can” is important.
i think this is an ongoing discussion. at the end of this part, aliza pointed me in the right direction and said “babbo is just at the end of the park.” later marc asked why i didn’t have more to drink before or during dinner, since i am charming when a little bit drunk, but i figured on this occasion the wine plus the martini was enough.
All of this. And holding people accountable for things they don’t know about, how are we going to deal with that?
Last night I went to Christen Clifford’s show. It’s super eerie and just hitting me today. She plays the tape of her gang rape during a party and charms the audience, seduces you really, into letting it be background noise as she hands out beer and candy, talks, tells jokes, strips naked, whispers in various people’s ears (she whispered in mine, “Have you ever done anything because you were part of a group that you were ashamed of later?” I told her, “Yes.”), and smears her body with mud and ketchup. During this interlude she had an audience member read from the “cease and desist” letter Karen Finley sent her, which I was lucky enough to have read just before the show and which is a brilliant example of feminist bitchiness. The tape continues to play.
Clifford then invited audience members to come up and cut her hair off, all of it, and pulled a scroll out of her vagina and read from it. The references are obvious but it felt OK to me—a nod to previous gestures, why fucking not, Karen Finley? (Clifford did have an ominous yam sitting on a table that made me keep laughing). The piece ended with a Kusama-esque dance party and was all in all really fun. Which is why I feel so gross now. I think it completes the piece, and I am pretty grateful for the experience. (I realize how ahhhty and 101 this sounds but it’s feeling right to write it.)
Jasmine and I have had an ongoing discussion about bystander syndrome in terms of white privilege and it should play a role in the conversations Kara is alluding to. I’ve also been thinking about transformative justice lately, which machamechamama has taught about—a survivor-centered way for communities to handle sexual assault. Part of that means listening to the survivor’s anger at her community, which isn’t always as orchestrated and articulate as Christen’s or Aria’s. How do we deal with survivors who are also abusers? How can we make spaces for WOC and other communities where they can get justice and other forms of closure, ala “because I can?” How can we get out of their way?
ETA Christen also had a bottle of Shalimar and menstrual blood she was offering to spray on people, which Kevin was extremely horrified by.
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