The Dark Knight Rises — Has the dark night already fallen?

I finally went to see The Dark Knight Rises yesterday, and I sat there in the theatre wondering if the dark night had already fallen. First of all, I couldn’t watch any of the mass-shooting scenes in the movie without thinking of the mass-murderer who stomped into the theatre that first weekend with machine guns, killing twelve people and injuring 59. Second, I couldn’t watch the Wall Street scenes and crowds-in-the-streets scenes without thinking of Occupy Wall Street and the most criminal transfer of wealth in history (I wonder who’s enjoying one-third of my 401-K and the value of my home, and I’m lucky I’m not one of the millions who lost their homes altogether).

While I sat in the theatre thinking of all the mass shootings there have been over the years, including by kids in schools, and listened to Catwoman’s line about “the whole ‘no guns’ thing” it saddened me to think of the NRA and the debate in this country over “the right to bear arms” (Second Amendment). It’s not a matter of “no guns” or “guns, guns, guns” — it’s a matter of reasonableness and sanity. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a rise in the unreasonable insane of late. (And, unfortunately, the NRA are a bunch of Republicans who have it out for Obama.)

The Dark Knight Rises is an apocalyptic film, and it made me wonder if we don’t already live in an apocalyptic time. We’ve been in a recession for the past four years and now they say we’re headed for a depression. (I’ve been suspected “they” just haven’t wanted to admit this recession is a depression, but what do I know.) We have a political party that — thank you, Todd Akin, true party representative! — is hell-bent on forcing raped women to bear children and giving tax breaks to the wealthy while claiming to be about conservative family values… we have this party of politicians who lie, get caught in lies, and keep lying and might actually win if we don’t stop them! I think the dark night has already fallen.

What am I doing to strengthen myself for this apocalypse or prepare for its eventuality? Writing a thesis about vague language, or worse, spending hours obsessing on my blogs’ themes while I could be writing said thesis? I came away from that movie feeling that my life is frivolous and it was time to wake up and smell the napalm.

Okay, in all fairness, it’s still a wonderful world. Polluted, but wonderful. Full of liars, thieves, murderers, but wonderful. Really, though, I do believe there’s a lot of clean world and good people. And I do believe it’s okay to waste time doing nothing once in a while. And I don’t think I’m doing “nothing” to make the world a better place. And I did love Ann Hathaway as Catwoman and those great one-liners in the film which I will not repeat here. And I do believe we need fluff and frivolity in life. I just think we I need to remember it doesn’t take work to keep the sun shining but it does take work not to let the night of apocalypse fall over us and block that sun from view.

Afterword

This is why I don’t blog as much as I think I “should.” I don’t want to have to sit down here chasing link after link to relate what I’m saying to what others are saying so you know what I’m talking about or future generations know what I’m talking about (if those links are even active in the future). I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, which now maybe you do. I don’t think of myself as a conspiracy theorist, but I’m also not easily misled. (I am agnostic as to whether Bush let 9/11 happen as a pretext for war, but I always knew there were no weapons of mass destruction –WMDs.) And maybe I don’t like the fact that I write in parentheses a lot. But one thing The Dark Knight Rises inspired me to do is to write on my blog(s) this weekend and not just make them pretty.

Sexting revisited

I just saw a video of Dan Savage’s thoughts on sexting, and it reminded me of my blog post on sexting that was published in a book on the subject. One funny thing that has come up since then is the Anthony Weiner (not Wiener) sexting story, in which — contrary to Savage’s forecast — there is a big deal made about a guy sexting his dick. I wonder if Savage is right that everyone will have a “dirty picture of themselves” online some day. I don’t know. Will we, as Savage predicts, elect a president who has a pornographic photo of themselves online? I don’t see why not. Eventually things get out of control and no one cares anymore.

An ethical legacy from Katherine Dreier

What I tried so hard to develop in you was the inner power of perseverance which gives one the moral will-power to continue and complete a job, no matter how bored or tired one may be with it.

–Katherine Dreier

Katherine Dreier, co-founder with Marcel Duchamp of the Société Anonyme, knew my great-grandmother Ruth Seely Preston and Ruth’s mother, Charlotte Seely. I inherited a letter from Katherine Dreier to Ruth Seely from my grandmother, Linda Preston, in which Dreier writes to the census bureau because Ruth had no birth certificate. She also writes a personal letter to Ruth and encloses some other important documents. I share these with you here.

Copy of Letter

Transcript of Letter

September 21st — 1942

Dear Ruth:

I am sending you my sworn statement that you were born in this country which I hope will bring you the position you are so eager to have.

I am also at the same time enclosing a statement which our organization sent out last autumn when Marcel Duchamp and I, Co-Trustees of the Collection of the Société Anonyme presented this collection to Yale University. At the same time I also enclose the bulletin which Yale publishes and a recent newspaper picture of me to show you how I look now.

These you can show to the authorities if necessary to show them my standing in the community.

What an interesting face your boy has — and your daughter Linda looks sweet. Does she live with her husband at Ackron Ohio, or was that just on a holiday?

And what does you boy do or want to do — for I presume that soon he too will have to get into training for the army, even though he will never be called.

But why did you not send me a picture of your husband — and I do want one of you. Some people are domineering and some people only give that impression because they are positive. I know it came as a great shock when I discovered that people thought me domineering — I had no idea because I was a very positive nature that it could be interpreted that way.

What I tried so hard to develop in you was the inner power of perseverance which gives one the moral will-power to continue and complete a job, no matter how bored or tired one may be with it. Maybe I tried too hard!! Perseverance and endurance are twins! If one develops perseverance one has endurance. But it must be developed in each of us — very few are born with it — and the best way to develop it is through loving what we are doing — not always easy!!

It is a great quality to know that we do not know it all — but it is best to keep it to oneself — for few have reached that wisdom and do not understand. As I have grown older I realized more and more that there is not — good and evil — only understanding or no understanding.

If we understood — we would not do many things — for every action has it re-action — and we often wonder why life is so hard. This also teaches us great tolerance — which is very needed in the world today.

This is all I have time for today — but send me a picture of your husband and tell me what his work is. And also tell me whether you landed the job.
And — I want you to know that I received the little batique square — which I still have for I thought it so lovely. Can you still make it? One can do lovely blouses and dresses
I should think Linda would love to have you make some.
Thank you for it many times.

Tell me about Annabelle —

Hoping that you will soon have a job, believe me, with greetings to your family and warm feelings for you,

Katherine S. Dreier

My niece, Mrs. Garrett Stearly belongs to the Oxford Group who have been near you at the Island House, Mackinac Island.

I asked her if she had time to look you up when passing through Detroit.
The two dollars you borrowed from John Dreier — was that from my nephew or from my cousin?

Something to chew on and something to grow on. Ethical legacies like this letter are just as valuable, if not more so, than material ones. The transcript continues:

September 21st — 1942

This is to certify that I was one of the workers at the Girls Friendly Society at the time that Charlotte Seely, the mother of Ruth Seely Preston belonged to the Girls Friendly Society of Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church of Brooklyn: Dr. S. McConnell, being the rector and Miss Rodman the deaconess, at that time.

I was very fond of Charlotte Seely and therefore recall perfectly when she gave birth to her daughter Ruth Seely in the spring of 1901 in Jersey City.

I recall it very clearly because I had hoped to take charge of little Ruth, when her mother found it impossible to support herself and take care of her child. This turned out not to be feasible.

I can therefore certify that Ruth Seely Preston was born in this country.

Katherine S. Dreier

I posted the documents Dreier enclosed in a related article titled Katherine Dreier, The Société Anonyme Museum of Modern Art, & Yale University, 1941.

Video

Interview from 2004: 30 Years of Pride

The Groovy Like A Movie studio came to the Wedding Expo at the Center in San Diego to interview people for a project called 30 Years of Pride on May 17, 2004, and I was one of the people they interviewed that night. The studio gave me permission to share this on YouTube, and since I can now post longer videos to YouTube, I’m posting the original video with only a couple of minutes trimmed off here and there.

It is timely that I am publishing this video on the day of Phoenix Pride’s 15th anniversary. Thirty years of pride for fifteen years of pride. This is the beginning of the pride parade season, so it is timely. I hope that it inspires, educates, informs, and entertains.

Organizer’s attitude toward deaf, interpreters defeats her

The blog post “How Trying to Provide Deaf Interpreters for a Camp Bit Me in the Ass” paints the conference organizer as the victim, but I’m afraid it was her attitude toward interpreters and the deaf that defeated her, and it is the interpreting profession and deaf consumers that stand to lose by her misrepresentation.

I would hate for the takeaway message from any blog post to be, “Don’t provide interpreters to the deaf if you can possibly avoid it.”

Edmund Berke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Take a look at John Pozadzides’ 2009 blog post “An Open-Source Look at the Cost of WordCamp Dallas” and the comments that ensue when someone suggests “If you cut out the T-shirts and interpreters, you would break even.” You will learn a lot about complying with the ADA and providing accessibility to a public event.

I hope these two bits of history will help people make future events better for all.

Edited January 22, 2011 for clarity.