2017-02-06

sovay: (Rotwang)
1. So I did not make Sunday's trans/queer immigrant solidarity protest because I was too busy sleeping for twelve hours to make up for the fact that I was (and am) sick and had not slept for thirty-six hours previous, but I did make it to the latter stages of a letter-writing party held by [livejournal.com profile] gaudior and [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks and sent an appreciative postcard to Mayor Curtatone (it is a joy to live in a city whose elected officials encourage and expect radical empathy, inclusivity, and activism from their community, like living in a Capra film without the creepier aspects of populism) and a hopeful letter to Governor Baker (thank you for recognizing that Trump's travel ban is a constitutional and human rights issue rather than an issue of partisan politics, now how about putting Massachusetts' money where its mouth is and passing the Safe Communities Act to make the entire state a sanctuary like your constituents have been requesting since November). As a monthly event, I could dig it.

Saturday morning I made myself breakfast after staying up all night (small cats appreciate it when you share your kippers with them) and got out of the house in time for the rally celebrating Somerville's thirty years as a sanctuary city, We Are One Somerville. It was bitterly, brightly freezing and Mayor Curtatone sounded like he was getting over a heinous cold, but he delivered a powerful reading of Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus" however his voice cracked. "We'll take the hits for you," he promised the immigrants in the crowd. He said very clearly that as mayor he could not guarantee that nothing would happen in Somerville; nobody can ever guarantee that nothing will happen; but he wanted the people of Somerville to be able to guarantee that no matter what happened they would stand up for each other, take care of each other. Representative Capuano got the obligatory sports reference out of the way ("Go Pats!" at which some people within earshot of me hissed) and then spoke of America's history of intolerance, reminding the crowd that waves of xenophobia and racist institutions are nothing new, the American dream has always been in the process of betraying itself, but the important thing is that the intolerance doesn't win: it can be fought, it has to be fought, let's fight it. "I'm Irish and Italian. My wife's Syrian-Lebanese. That makes our children the United States." Everyone spoke about the importance of education, but I believe it was Ben Echevarria of the Welcome Project—the organizers of the rally—who talked about unions, too. There were speakers from the school board, from other departments of the city government. There is a decent description in the Globe, but it leaves out the Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band bluesily jamming on Florence Reece's "Which Side Are You On?" and does not give nearly enough attention to the immigrants who told their stories, from Perla Hernandez from Mexico (which "will always have my heart, but Somerville is my home") to Joe DeSouza from Brazil (who chose Somerville as a destination more or less at random—"It sounded like 'summer,'" he explained wryly, under the ice-snap sky) to the more than half-dozen high school students—some of them refugees—who did not all give their speeches in English, no more than the adult speakers. I appear to retain enough Spanish to understand about half of a short narrative speech and unhelpfully diagram bits of the grammar of the rest in my head while not knowing the vocabulary. Two students were Muslim and received especial hands from the audience. Habib who had been born in Afghanistan and grown up in Iran got rock-star levels of cheering when he addressed himself directly to Donald Trump: "I'm a refugee. I'm a Muslim. And I love this country more than you." If it's not a typo, 4800 people are estimated to have attended, which is hugely more than I'd thought from my place at close house right of the bandstand; I knew it was crowded around me, but I didn't realize how far out the crowd extended. I did not take any pictures because my hands got so cold that Gaudior's phone couldn't recognize my fingertips as a meaningful swipe rather than contact with a random inanimate object, but Gaudior got a shot of my favorite sign. Black cats on the side of social justice seems like a good thing to me. They, too, have been demonized and misunderstood.

2. The only thing I don't know about the March for Science is whether I'm going to try for the national march in D.C. this time or stick with the satellite march in Boston, which since it will benefit from the local presence of MIT will, actually, probably be ridiculously cool.

3. Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] moon_custafer: two really cute pictures of Brad Dourif and a lot of coffee.

4. Courtesy of the New England Aquarium: Boston Harbor, looking like an Impressionist painting.

5. Courtesy of [personal profile] brigdh: this is a perfectly valid description of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London, but when you put it that way, I really don't know why there's not a TV show.

I have been having political nightmares for about a week and a half now. Literally the kind where I don't want to post them because I don't want to give anyone ideas. Last night I had two dreams that might have been metaphors, but at least weren't an eternally scrolling panorama of unfuturistic dystopia: I dreamed first of a supernatural creature without a name, born from a swirl of tar and a hank of hair; it looked more female than not and everyone was treating it like a succubus, the beautiful demon honeytrap that will gruesomely kill you after luring you with your own blind spots of desire, but all it wanted was to get away from human company into the mountains, into one particular cave or subterranean stream or coal-seam; it wanted from my perspective to disappear. I woke briefly when [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel came back to bed, dreamed of a fictional WWII novel with the reputation of one of the great American satires, the misadventures of a comedically cowardly soldier blundering around occupied Europe, encountering horrors and never quite doing the right thing about them or doing the right thing because he was trying to do the opposite; Billy Wilder had wanted to film it in the early '50's and the PCA had fainted in coils, so the adaptation had had to wait until the 1970's. The two dreams were linked when I was asleep, but awake I can't see the connection. I had been quite happy to find a secondhand hardcover of the novel in a used book store. There were little cartoons above the chapter headings in a sort of Don Marquis style. I kept thinking while reading that it reminded me of Bulgakov.
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