deliriumcrow: (Default)
I have thought of a CD that I must obtain. I haven't heard it in years, and I loved it, and I think my mother used to play parts of it on her violin, and I loved listening to that. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Actually, I think one of the recordings I used to listen to of that was my mother's College performance of it.

There's something about houses on chicken legs that just makes me shiver. I always loved stories of Baba Yaga, though I never pictured her quite as everyone else did -- Partly this is because when I was little my mother got me Jack and Jill Magazine, which had stories of Baba Yaga in them, and she was still ancient, but served more as the Crone archetype than as a source of Evil. And then there's the fact that in stories like that of Vasalisa the Wise, she was still the Crone. Scary as fuck, but not evil. Just a test. Sort of like my grandmother, if my grandmother had control over all sorts of interesting magic. Hell, I'd run from that ... But how can you learn sstrength if you don't have to stand up against anything? How do you learn wit if you don't have to outthink something a million times smarter and more experienced than you? I like Baba Yaga. I don't much care to meet her, but I respect her. And hey, flaming skulls are just nifty.

So yeah. Pictures at an Exhibition. I must find this, and must remember to do so.
deliriumcrow: (Default)
So one of the classes I have to take in order to graduate here is a class on diversity in America. Different experiences in childhood, growing up, etc. It sounded really nifty. It's listed as an English class and thus can be counted towards my minor, which was an advantage that other courses that filled the requirement didn't have. So I took it. And decided on the particular class that fit most neatly into my schedule. Makes sense, no? Ha.

To start, the books we were assigned are all depressing, to various degrees. I realize that childhood sucks. I lived through it too. That's not so bad though, in that pretty much everything I read is in some way disturbing (Though it may not be so brilliant an idea to be reading Bastard out of Carolina, All Quiet on the Western Front, and an account of the homeless population living in the subway tunnels in NYC all at the same time. Breakdown waiting to happen. Again.)

Then there's the fact that the population of the class is all either appologetic about being born white, defensive about being white, or constantly pissed. My role seems to be that of counterexample, or the one who knows of them. I seem to exist soley for the purpose of forcing the realization that no one fits into these nicely categorized littel boxes. This does not endear me to much of anyone in that class, least of all the professor. She seems to have the most guilt about her race. Usually I find this almost easy to ignore, if a bit laughable, and am usually fairly good at ignoring the fact that she talks down to us so often.

Today, however, I was thoroughly insulted be her. She brought up the topic of fairytales in the American experience and how damaging they are to childish minds, and how biased they all are. I agree--Disney is biased. That does not mean all the fairy tales are bad. Most are not, despite the violence that was just as present in the society in which they were written as it is now. And I am not the only one who has heard them, else where would I have gotten them? Or anyone else I know who has heard them? And then when I suggested that I write my paper on fairytales in the American Experience, she said that I have had enough of an uncommon upbringing that she didn't think I could manage to keep it to the stories that everyone knows. I'm sorry, isn't this a class in diversity? How is my experience not American? How is my experience less valid than anyone else's? I grew up here. In America. This is an experience that does not get shared with teh general public, it was not a Dick and Jane childhood. It was not neat, or clean, or pretty. I can pretty well guess where she would like to pin me in society, and that's not where I fit. How is it that she does not recognise that no matter how many catgories you may tey to put a person, how many labels you try to fit them with, how you may try to generalize, the box never fits? Yes, I am made up of all sorts of things, from the cultural background of my ancestors, to who I happen to want to fuck on a given day. There are certain things that are roughly static, but most things change, and I am far more than the sum of my parts. There is no box into which you can put a person and expect that it will always fit. People change so rapidly, there is no solid way to define them. I am not even always Cate. Sometimes I'm someone else entirely.

Remy says an infinite cardbaord tardis will alwas fit.

I have never had the entirety of my childhood experiences so invalidated before--and certainly not by someone who claims to have such Knowledge and Wisdom and Enlightenment that we miserable middle class white kids will never hope to attain. (May I add that I am not, nor ever have been, middle class) Yes, it was unusual in many aspects. Yes, I learned many tales that aren't in the common oral tradition. But then, neither is the story of Rainbow Crow, and that is a decidedly American tale. So how are the selkies that my father used to sing about or Tam Lin any less valid? I am not the only one who;s had this experience, lived in this culture. It may be a minority of a culture, but it's there. It needs to be seen too.

The sad thing was, I asn't even going to use the odd ones, except as a very small contrast point. I was simply going to point out some of the more positive uses of fairytales.


Then the photo lab was closed.

The upshot was that when I met Remy after class we went to Borders because I decided that the free drink card would bring me the chai that was the only thing that would stave off either a massive depression or a homicidal killing spree. And when we were there we ran into my "twin", who hadn't responded to my email of a few months ago because she never got it. good reason. :)

November 2014

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