From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace. Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.
Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017
Gather Round for Remembrance Day with Vasco’s Bones – Postcard #63 (37:11, .mp3, 192k, 58MB, stereo)
Also of note: Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.
Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.
Originally posted on Facebook, October 16th, 2017
Congratulations, everyone: we’ve once again placed the entire burden of patriarchal culture on the people who routinely experience the worst of it. With this “me too” campaign, this “speak up if you’ve experienced sexual harassment or assault” tidal wave, as if none of us have ever spoken up before, we force victims to relive these awful moments again and again while men go “Omg wow I had NO IDEA!” Listen—if you had no idea, you’re very wilfully ignorant. We are telling you. We’ve been telling you every day and you have not listened. If you need all of Facebook to tell you this is happening before you consider believing us, you are not an ally. And no, I don’t think your nicely worded statuses about how you believe us and are sorry are particularly helpful unless you follow that declaration with real action.
Listen to me. Every man reading this: You have shitty friends. You have probably been shitty. I don’t want to hear about how you’re a nice guy. Nice guys do shitty things too. I am in constant proximity to men who have been predatory or derogatory towards others or to myself. I am friends with them, I am in bands with them, I see them every day, I watch them proclaim themselves feminist. Some of them are reading this status thinking that they sure are glad THEY’RE not one of those men.
YOU, men of my Facebook friends list, men surrounding me in my everyday life: you have laughed when someone said something demeaning to me. You have stood idly by as I got catcalled. You have looked at me skeptically when I describe what it’s like to walk on the streets alone at night. You have made awful comments about other women and told me I couldn’t take a joke when I finally spoke up. You have rolled your eyes and commented about “excessive political correctness” when I angrily say that your joke was shitty. I have been in a room full of men discussing why Jian Ghomeshi might be an okay guy; I have been in a room full of men discussing why putting on shows involving women is good because people want someone to look at. None of you spoke up about it. None of you even said “Hey, maybe don’t say that.” Forgive me if I don’t think that your nice sentence or two is helping, because I’ve seen so many of you have the chance to act on those nice sentiments, and none of you did. Instead I watched you laugh and clink glasses while I stayed silent, debating whether speaking up this time would make me “the bitch who can’t take a joke,” or whether the men I didn’t know very well would become violent if I said anything.
I’m tired of this. Yes, me too. Yes, we’ve all been harassed or assaulted. Yes. You should know that. I don’t need your heart reaction. I need you to tell your shitty friends to stop being so fucking shitty. I need you to stop making jokes about how our friend who got harassed at a show was probably asking for it because she’s so friendly, and I need you to stop freely touching all your non-male friends when you’re hanging out with them like you’re entitled to their bodies, and I need you to be better. I need you to make other men better. I need you to require less labour from your friends who are not men and I need you to go out there and do the hard job of speaking up against your bros. Watch your friends when you’re hanging out. Watch. When your dude friend makes a stupid comment and your non-dude friend kind of clams up, or frowns and then tries to rearrange their face into a normal expression, or exhales a little and says nothing? Yeah, there’s your chance. Fucking do something this time. We’re exhausted. Just believe us for once.
(My language is probably woefully insufficient here and please tell me if I have fucked it up. Also, people of all genders are impacted negatively by the patriarchy, men too. I just can’t speak on a personal level about many of those things, and would never want to pretend to speak for everyone else. What I’m ranting about applies to many people: cis women, trans folks, non-binary folks, and many more.)
Posting this is terrifying, especially on an unfiltered friends list. Imagining how angry people (men) might get is terrifying. Knowing I might lose a friend because they are defensive is shitty. But here you are reading it and here I am, always afraid, because that’s how so many of us have to live.
Washington DC did not see a total solar eclipse, but there was at least one small part of it in the path of totality on August 21st — in Nebraska.
These four sandstone columns were once part of the Department of the Treasury, until they were detached in 1908 and moved to Pioneers Park, Lincoln, Nebraska in 1916. It was to this artifact of historic Washington that I traveled, to watch the moon slide in front of the sun and shroud the area in darkness, above me a ring of silvery coronal fire piercing through darkened clouds.
I had read that the experience of totality produced a kind of primal fear in some viewers, an irrational sense of ominous doom; or in others, a sense of expanded cosmic awareness of the universe. I didn’t feel any of that, but I did get goose bumps of awe. (It’s entirely possible that I just live in a constant state of ominous doom and cosmic awareness.) Mostly I just stared at that silvery ring, mumbling to myself, “There’s the shadow, ooooh prominences, wooow” while letting the camera trigger run through exposure cycles.
Post-totality I also met Thomas, who didn’t just watch the eclipse, he was the eclipse. We talked a bunch about space and forklifts and Nebraska and DC, and he gave me a ride back to my parking spot.
This was a same-day round trip and sadly there wasn’t time to drive into Lincoln and see the sights before going to the airport. Instead I hiked around Pioneers Park a bit to see the Prairie and Nature Centers. There was an injured barn owl at the Nature Center who had gotten used to waking at daytime hours to interact with guests. Apparently she had fallen asleep during totality, thinking it was night, and was still sleeping when I got there.
It was a 22 hour journey, much of it spent aboard planes, in airports, or driving a rental Nissan Rogue around the Lincoln area, all for a minute and a half of cloudy celestial twilight above four grimy sandstone columns. It was worth the trip.