OK, so I'm having some kind of on the verge of tears PTSD type response to the Paris attacks. As someone who was in NYC on 9/11 and in London on 7/7, that is to be expected. Perhaps it is unwise to write a blog post under such conditions, but as the above-titled blog posts says: Fuck this shit.
What do I mean by that? Well, this refers to killing of lots of people for some mythology of gain or vengeance. This is something both 'sides' have been doing for like a while, and no one takes any responsibility for harm inflicted on other side. So yeah, fuck this shit. If you know anything about my politics, and if you're reading this presumably you do, you know I am not Islamaphobic or any other kind of phobic and that I mean by this includes our officially sanctioned drone strikes, et al. I mean Anything and Any way in which we kill lots of people as if that will change fuck all. Which it won't. It won't. It won't. Never has. Never will. Sometimes some people declare victory and other people surrender and power shifts, but the nature of that power? Any change? I don't think so.
So fuck this shit.
And my proactive more 'balanced' idea: We need a bigger motherfucking table!
What, you may ask does that have to do with anything?
Well, in my pea-sized brain, it has a lot to do with everything...namely, who tends to erupt in violence of the type we have witnessed in Paris yesterday - my beloved Paris about which I can't even think or write without weeping - or in Beirut the day before - about which others feel the same way I do about Paris and are now weeping - well, I think the people that do this tend to feel as if they Have No Place at the Table.
And they are right.
This is equally true, I might add - and to prove this isn't about me just being a left wing nut - about far right positions, too. In general there is a neo-liberal capitalist consensus that revolves around a few folks making a shit ton of money, some countries where some people benefit, and fuck everyone else. And if anyone else complains, they are sanctioned, either economically or overtly violently repressed.
As Ghandi said poverty is the greatest form of violence, and he's right...and if you want the more pomo version of same read Zizek on systemic violence. I will spare you that, but it's a good analysis.
In other words, what we are seeing is not the disease, it's a symptom of a larger, much more pervasive disease...and just as in Northern Ireland, if there is no addressing of the whole problem, the 'terrorism' will continue...both the kind we agree is terrorism and the more state sanctioned terrorism that we call defense because we're on a certain 'side' of the equation.
In London during the 'troubles' the Sinn Fein leaders were not allowed to be heard speaking in the media. Even if they were shown on the television, an actor said their 'lines.' No shit. Talk about no place at the table.
Now, we (by we here I mean broadly Western-capitalist nations) hear about people saying Allu Akhbar or whatever and all hell breaks loose. Do we even know someone said this? Maybe yes, maybe no...is that plus gunning down people systematically representative of all Muslims? I think we can safely say not, unless everyone among you who calls yourself Christian is willing to be defined by fundamentalists who kill people for not being white and Christian enough, etc...then fine, but I doubt that's the case, so give a thought to your average not violent Muslim. Please.
Because if we don't do that, this shit is never gonna end. I am also not going to go on an endless Middle East politics rant going back to WWI (which is the only way to actually understand this, but you can look it up or you may very well know the whole story, too - in either case, I don't need to be the "enlightener" there). However, the fact is, there are reasons for this, it's not out of nowhere and if we keep treating this like it's a fucking Star Wars movie with Muslims as Darth Vader or whatever, we ain't gettin' nowhere fast, except More of This Shit.
And I am sick of this shit.
I am sick of seeing people killed in the middle of their day - here in NYC, in London, in Paris, in Beirut, in Gaza, in Tel Aviv, in Mosul, in Kabul, in Lahore, in Bangalore, in Mumbai, in Jakarta, in Ubud...on the streets of cities in the US by police or in churches by white supremacists...or in a fucking elementary school.
What, you say, how does that relate?
Well, to me, that goes back to the place at the table...meaning, we are all at different tables now and it's too fucking easy to dehumanize an Other that way. I won't go into the whole history of racism in U.S., because people wiser than I have done so, but it causes what we see, plus classism. See Angela Davis Women, Race & Class for excellent analysis of this...
Speaking of which don't even get me started about domestic violence, rape and the like...that's some deep dark shit that's been going on for Millennia, but that shit is So pervasive, for the most part we women harm ourselves way before we lash out at anyone else. Fun times.
Then there's the economic violence...that has led to the suicides and overdoses in people of my generation, left out of the great - non-existent for most - prosperity...etc etc..
So, this Table I'm talking about, it also has to like Serve Food, too. Because people are starving in so many ways.
Oil got us into the mess we see unfolding in NYC, London, Paris, Beirut et all...or should I say oil profits. As long as we see life and ourselves only or primarily as a sum of profits and losses, we are well and truly fucked. This stellar logic has also brought us global climate change.
All this relates.
A few profit off of very many. OK, we know this. But it matters because of the logic that perpetuates that profit and the resentment of people being left out AND - and this is where the table comes into play, too, some people want to hold onto something sacred that Isn't Fucking Money...
And sometimes, that means religion...and sometimes that religion - or idea or art or ethics or Something Else - can matter more to someone than money...and frankly in this world, we can't even hear that as a reality. We can only hear it as a campaign slogan and the most visible culture ices that point of view out...leaving people struggling in subcultures that can thrive in moments of economic and political distress and lead to violence...
Which is usually fought by bigger, badder violence with all the fun weaponry that we (in the US primarily) pony up for to create (so that people like Dick Cheney and friends reap all those profits in their privately help companies like Halliburton). Yay!
Reagan managed to marry capitalism with Calvinism to create an unholy alliance that has not let go of its grip. But there are other people who don't see it that way...and those people do not have a place at the Table.
There are also people who might not take kindly to their land being taken away by larger forces (like oh say the founding of our country for example...or the way England and France and US divided up the spoils of Middle Eastern oil protectorates after WWI, for another example relevant to the place we find ourselves now). None of these people have a place at the table.
So, either we Make a Bigger Table - preferably round - and find a way to allow the cacophony of voices to be heard...to find a way to listen and learn and somehow figure out a way to distribute resources - and the way we talk to ourselves about who is on the planet and deserves a voice - in a way that makes even a tiny semblance of sense...or we can look forward to these moments on the news, or in our city, for many years to come...followed by more surveillance, less personal freedom and a world of fear.
And you know what: fuck that shit. That is not the world I want to live in. Do you?
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. While felt blessed for the opportunity, after four years of this, the lack of pay combined with heavy work load stopped working, so have transferred this teaching passion to private workshops in my own apartment and working with writers one on one, which I adore. I will die a happy person if I never have to grade an assignment ever again.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with a new book recently completed.
I am now working full-time as a freelance writer, writing workshop leader, coach, and editor. Contact me if you are interested in any of these services.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now. You can also contact me through that site.