One of my favorite troublemakers: Dorothy Allison

I love Dorothy Allison’s essay, “A Question of Class” (and Bastard Out of Carolina and Two or Three Things I Know For Sure…); I wrote about in my dissertation (on the radical subjectivity of story/truthtellers). Today we are discussing the essay in my queering theory class–here’s my summary for the day. As I was preparing the class, I came across this awesome image/description by Allison on her website:

That’s one great way to define troublemaking!

Trouble, Butler and OWS

Tomorrow in my queering theory class, we will be discussing Occupy Wall Street in relation to Butler’s notion of the abject (we’ll see how this fits together). Anyway, here are some things from Butler on OWS that we will look at:

  1. Butler, Judith. Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street
  2. Judith Butler at #OWS

And here is another blog post related to trouble and OWS, but that I won’t necessarily be discussing tomorrow: Little Rebels and OWS. Here’s the link for the screen shot below.

Finally, yesterday I was musing about the differences between the tea party and OWS. Here’s one response from the #occupywallstreet tumblr:

Here comes trouble vs a troublemaker

Last week, I came across Michael Moore’s new book of stories about his own life, Here Comes Trouble. Here’s how he briefly describes it on his blog (italics are mine): “It contains two dozen short stories, all based on events in my early life, before I became a filmmaker. They tell how, from a young age, the “personal” in my life slowly boiled up and exploded, quite unexpectedly, into the political.” I’m interested in reading more about how Moore envisions himself as trouble. (I’ve already written a little bit about his valuing of trouble/troublemaking here.) I’m also really interested in how he understands the connections between the personal and the political (and if he cites feminism in his understanding).

Seeing this book title reminded me of another trouble memoir I recently came across: Christine O’Donnell’s Troublemaker: Let’s Do What it Takes to Make America Great Again.  I think it might be incredibly useful to analyze both of these books as I continue to work on complicating and clarifying what I mean by making and being in trouble. Both authors want to claim the role of making/being in trouble, yet each has very different sets of political goals. How do we distinguish between their uses (and valuing) of trouble?  This reminds me of some recent discussions about the similarities and differences between tea party members (O’Donnell was a tea party candidate) and Occupy Wall Street organizers and participants (Moore is a strong supporter of OWS and is possibly planning to do a documentary about them). Check out The Week’s recap of these discussions from earlier in October, Occupy Wall Street: The Left’s Tea Party?

Oh bother! What is a girl?

Check out this sign that STA pointed out at an antique store in Duluth today.

In case you can’t read the text, here it is (found here):

Little girls are the nicest things that can happen to people. They are born with a bit of angel-shine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes, there is always enough left to lasso your heart—even when they are sitting in the mud, or crying temperamental tears, or parading up the street in Mother’s best clothes.

A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth, she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot.

God borrows from many creatures to make a little girl. He uses the song of a bird, the squeal of a pig, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spryness of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat, the speed of a gazelle, the slyness of a fox, the softness of a kitten, and to top it all off He adds the mysterious mind of a woman.

A little girl likes new shoes, party dresses, small animals, first grade, noisemakers, the girl next door, dolls, make-believe, dancing lessons, ice cream, kitchens, coloring books, make-up, cans of water, going visiting, tea parties, and one boy. She doesn’t care so much for visitors, boys in general, large dogs, hand-me-downs, straight chairs, vegetables, snowsuits, or staying in the front yard.

She is loudest when you are thinking, the prettiest when she has provoked you, the busiest at bedtime, the quietest when you want to show her off, and the most flirtatious when she absolutely must not get the best of you again. Who else can cause you more grief, joy, irritation, satisfaction, embarrassment, and genuine delight than this combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale.

She can muss up your home, your hair, and your dignity—spend your money, your time, and your patience—and just when your temper is ready to crack, her sunshine peeks through and you’ve lost again. Yes, she is a nerve-wracking nuisance, just a noisy bundle of mischief. But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess—when it seems you are pretty much of a fool after all—she can make you a king when she climbs on your knee and whispers, “I love you best of all!”

Ugh, oh bother!

note: Right after posting this oh bother I noticed that the text transcript that I found left out a paragraph of the original sign:

Girls are available in five colors–black, white, red, yellow or brown, yet Mother Nature always manages to select your favorite color when you place your order. They disprove the law of supply and demand–there are millions of little girls, but each is as precious as rubies.

Troublemaking with social media?

Just saw this photo from the Occupy London facebook page. Very fitting, considering I’m currently trying to finish an article on how twitter might enable us to be more engaged citizens. In my article, tentatively (and very boringly–is that a word?) called “Twitter, Authenticity and Ethical Engagement,” I plan to examine three different twitter projects from (or that started) last year that were used to spread awareness and transform understandings about abortion: Angie Jackson’s live-tweeting of her abortion in February of 2010; the hashtag #ihadanabortion, first used in the fall of 2010; and the twitter handle, @IamDrTiller. One of my key arguments is that these three examples need to be taken seriously and closely examined to explore their potential for encouraging us to be more engaged, caring and ethical citizens. Originally I had planned to focus only on Jackson’s live-tweeting of her abortion (via the RU486 pill), however after doing some more research, I’ve decided to also include the hashtag and twitter handle, both of which were created by Stephanie Herold from abortion gang (we’re talking about this issue and Herold in my feminist debates class this semester). I want to think about these three examples in relation to Joan Tronto and her feminist ethic of care (specifically, her ideas of caring about, giving care and receiving care). It is interesting to think about this idea of caring about and giving/receiving care in relation to the image from occupy london. Revolution seems to be about disruption, destruction and struggle while Tronto’s definition of care is grounded in care, repair and the maintaining of the world (see my discussion here). Is it possible to think about these things together? Well, that’s one thing that I’m trying to do in my own work by (re)imagining troublemaking as a form of care and maybe care as a form of troublemaking?

On another note, I’m planning to discuss the occupy movement (is it a movement? what else should we call it) in my queering theory class next week. We’re discussing the concept of the abject and reading some Butler (from Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter), Dorothy Allison (“A Question of Class”) and various online sources about occupy wall street (including this awesome site: History is a Weapon). In that discussion, and in my own critical reflections on the occupy phenomenon and the ethical/political value of twitter, I want to think more about what it might mean to use twitter as a revolution tool? How? And in tandem with what other tools? What are its limits as a tool? Possibilities? How specifically has it challenged/disrupted/made trouble for the system?

Okay, I need to finish a draft of my article soon. I better start writing!