Rachel Dolezal. Creative Commons photo via Wikipedia.
When I went to Penguicon, I learned about personal gender pronouns.
This seems very American to me. I'm thinking of writing a follow-up piece defending Rachel Dolezal. Why not? As a certain writer once said, "Reality is what you can get away with."
I deeply sympathize with her, but we can't let her get away with it or every corporation will try to satisfy diversity requirement by declaring that half their white male executives are really Black deep down inside and putting dresses on the other half.
I find all of this stuff entirely fascinating and so very much in keeping w/ the prognostication of the psychadelic canon. McKenna's dissolution of boundaries, Leary's gender neutral "hir" pronoun, RAW's designer reality tunnels, Lilly's 'beliefs unlimited', and so on and so on.
The straight-white-male privilege thing even has a McLuhanesque aspect to it, insofar as its pervasiveness in our environment renders it mostly invisible to us. It's tempting to say, "oh yeah, well, I'm not doing so hot either!" But that's missing the point. Trying to understand that you don't understand, can't understand, is pretty difficult stuff. A cosmic schmuck endeavoring to learn humility, but maybe my mind is so open my brain fell out? I guess I'd rather err on the side of compassion, satyagraha!
Even though she seemed like maybe a slightly unpleasant person, I argued quite a bit w/ people in favor of Rachel Dolezal's right to do what she wilt, and boy did they come out w/ the long sharp knives for her! The borders between genders & races aren't worth defending in my opinion, let the walls come tumbling down on these contentious social fictions. Maybe :)))
I dig pratityasamutpada myself, the idea of identity as interacting processing, an open system self. The privilege of being able to disregard all labels as arbitrary is pretty mighty, and I should like to see it extended to all.
I liked your article! The comments over on the site seemed to think you were making fun of those people, but I didn't get that impression.
Babel-17 is great! I haven't seen that movie Arrival yet, but the plot synopsis seems very similar to Delany's Alien Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis concept.
"It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way."
Warren Ellis, Planetary
I think you'll enjoy "Arrival." I see the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in action the way people seem "programmed" to hate political and social ideas that are unfamiliar to them.
I wasn't making fun of the folks at the convention. It seems to me that reinventing yourself is a big American convention, and I think the folks I wrote about are just a little ahead of their time.
Rachel Dolezal seems sincere to me; I don't think she's trying to put something over on anyone. She may seem delusional, but a lot of people seem to have delusions. There's precedent for her behavior in a guy named Mezz Mezzrow.
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