WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.
“There was a whole series of bratty things I did that never made it. I certainly remember when Hannibal says it’s a Nietzschean fish I looked at him like, ‘you prick.’”—Hugh Dancy, Su-Zakana commentary (via bonearenaofmyskull)
So, I’m sure all you bright young things have already worked this out, but a friend of mine just pointed out to me that if we’re really angry with Doctor Who for its misogyny, uncritical presentation of the Doctor as a colossal patriarch, creepy abusive relationship stuff with how he treats Clara etc., we can complain!
Here’s the link! How amazing would it be if they got enough complaints that they actually had to change things?!
If I had the power, I would ask all the authors in the world to do Yuletide or something like it every year. Sign up for a fic exchange and write some porn for a stranger; tailor your stories to an audience of one, let go of the long-form plots and the careful wide-spectrum appeal, embrace the joy of spending a hundred words on Carlos’s perfect hair or Buffy’s perfect shoes or Jo’s perfect knives. Remember the joy of waiting for one person to open a story and see what it contains.
Because fanfic is joy. Fanfic is fixing the things you see as broken, and patching the seams between what’s written and what is not, and giving characters who got cheated out of their happy endings another chance. There was a time, not that long ago as we measure things, where all fiction was what we would now call “fan fiction.” Shakespeare didn’t come up with most of his own plots. He wrote plays about the stories people already loved. We didn’t get a thousand versions of “Snow White” accidentally: people changed that story to suit themselves, and no one said they weren’t storytellers, or looked down on them for loving that core of red and black and white, of apples and glass and snow.
Well, yes. They are. It would be pretty alarming to discover that 30 percent of the of the U.S. population was made up of, say, robots or ghosts. But if this new marketing campaign is anything to go by, the “Republicans are people” message is something that actually needs advertising.
And apparently the best way to get that message across is in a YouTube video proclaiming that “Republicans drive Priuses” and “Republicans read the New York Times in public.”
Amazingly, this isn’t a parody. It’s an actual campaign, created by one of the advertisers who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid.