On Hybrid Vigor, Acceptance and Grace

A banned commenter left the following pain on a thread yesterday:

I cannot stand it when black or hispanic women try to get into the “bollywood” trend. They are so superficially involved with indian culture and dont know shit about the true meaning/history behind why things are done. I doubt they have any respect for the indian culture; they just like the trendy-cool look of things.

I didn’t delete it, nor did I summon the intern to stop fanning me as I lounged on my throne, to do so at my behest. I was too overwhelmed, at how in much the same way a smell can invoke a memory consummately and instantly, bigotry could, too.

ANNA and the Cathedral.jpg

Reading the bitter words in that comment sliced my age in half with the precision of my Mother’s Wusthof carving knife; once my eyes left my laptop screen, I was sixteen again and utterly miserable. It was a Sunday morning, just after church, during the coffee hour, and I was waiting for my Father to finish chatting with one of his acquaintances, a local professor named Dr. Pappas whom he didn’t get to see regularly.

I never felt entirely at home at church, because I was Indian and it was Greek. Though my parents both come from indefatigable Malankara Syriac Orthodox bloodlines, my sister and I were not baptized in the church of our ancestors. The reason for this sounds droll when I narrate it, after I am inevitably asked why I’m Greek Orthodox; personally, however, it is borderline painful, as it created a chasm between me and other Malayalees which can never be closed. I find it bitterly amusing that the only time I was ever “confused” as an American-born desi was when I was trying to reconcile who I was as an Orthodox Christian.

Was I really Indian? I had kicked and whirled through the makellarikos horos since I could remember, but I was never enrolled in Bharatnatyam, despite being fascinated by and drawn to it; the one time I timidly introduced the subject, my mother gave me such a withering look, I slunk back to my books and my room. As an adult, my refrigerator was filled with filo, feta, mizithra and kalamata olives; the only salad I knew how to make was horiatiki. I didn’t take rusk with my kappi, not when there was koulourakia to be had. As much as I crave my beloved semiya payasam, nothing thrills me more than the one time a year I get to dyson down a few dozen loukoumades. Long before I turned up my nose at Starsucks’ obnoxious frappuccino fusterclucks, I greedily slurped up Nescafe frappes. In fact, those luscious, frothy glasses of caffeinated perfection are probably why I choke on what the mermaid serves for $5 a pop.

Sure, most of this has to do with food, but I have always felt that what we eat defines us just as much as where or whom we worship and what we believe, since all of the above are often intrinsically connected. My family is TamBrahm-level vegetarian in our strictness, in part because we always have and will observe a permanent lent. My father was so religious, he felt it was the least he could do to further exercise his faith, especially after being influenced by the eldest of his nine brothers, an ascetic who refused to marry, preferring instead to haunt Parumala and other holy sites. My eldest Uncle had observed a similarly severe, never-ending fast and when he died at age 33, my grief-stricken father, who was then barely six-years old, decided to emulate such dietary self-denial.

Imagine then, what it was like for him in the late 60’s/early 70’s, when he was one of (if not the) first of his kind to settle in strange Southern California. After almost never missing church for the first three decades of his life, having nowhere to worship on Sunday mornings was untenable. So, he picked up the phone book, looked up Orthodox churches and spotted “Greek” before “Russian” and “Serbian”. A Greek Orthodox Church it was, then. And with that unbelievably simple turn of events, lives would be altered forever, leaving me and my sister fractured Malayalees who would never quite fit in anywhere. She and I were the first and perhaps last babies in our family who would be baptized by a man chanting in Greek, not Malayalam or Syriac.

When called out for his concomitantly uber-Orthodox and unorthodox decision regarding the salvation of his daughters’ souls, my father simply responded that to him, it was far more important that we go to church weekly vs. monthly, which was all that could be managed for the nascent Indian Orthodox community of Southern California, who flew in priests to officiate at services which were held at borrowed facilities once every few weeks. What made his choice all the more audacious was the fact that my Father was instrumental in starting what would later become the Los Angeles and San Francisco parishes of his native church; he mailed letters to Kottayam on Saturday while snapping at us to prepare reverently for the following day’s Greek holy communion. The duality which I cannot escape was modeled for me from birth.

So, though I occasionally went to the Saturday services of the Indian Orthodox church (we were borrowing churches, remember? They were never available on Sundays) , it was the Greek Church which nurtured me and taught me to pray each Sunday. I had perfect attendance at Sunday school and was an alto in our junior choir. As mentioned before, I learned Greek folk dance, practicing maneuvers my ancestor never made while preparing for annual folk dance festivals. And while my spoken Malayalam was at a toddler’s level of proficiency, I spoke plenty of Greek, especially since my best friend Demetra and I used it to bitch about our snotty prep school classmates and equally annoying teachers; there is nothing like gossip to motivate you to learn a foreign language. Every night during evening prayers, when my father commenced “Our Father…”in what was his AND my mother tongue, I mentally murmured it in Greek.

All of this was why I was standing in the reception hall next to a huge, beautiful white church, which looked as if it should be on a cliff, jutting out against the unforgettable blue of the Aegean Sea. This was the only spiritual home I had ever truly known, but my skin prickled and my heart rate never dropped to “resting” while I was in it. I was constantly anxious and self-conscious, about not looking a damned thing like anyone else in class or choir, about not sharing their histories or their familial village…about not belonging. I felt as if I barely had any right to be standing there, gazing out at the pretty courtyard where I had hunted for Easter eggs every year since we had moved.

I looked back at my father impatiently. He was laughing raucously at something wicked the good Professor had just said and I sighed with a melancholy acquiescence; I wasn’t going anywhere, not anytime soon. I wandered over to the table which had been picked over by the hundreds of adults who were drinking coffee while eating butter cookies. Picking up karidopita, I was about to return to my father’s table when I heard hissing, about me. I froze.

I cannot stand it when stupid Indian girls think they’re Greek. They are so superficially involved with Greek culture and don’t know shit about the true meaning/history behind why things are done. I doubt they have any respect for Greek culture; they’re just wanna-bes…why isn’t she worshipping a cow or something?

Before Alexandra had finished uttering her final insult, I was crying. There. There it was: finally out there, and uglier than I had ever anticipated it could be. The hideous, dreadful sentiment which I was certain lingered behind every glance which lasted a second too-long, was out and proudly unpleasant. Whenever I had gingerly broached the subject with the few people who mattered–like my erstwhile Sunday school teachers who wanted to know why I, consistently the most knowledgeable student of church history, cycled between participating in and withdrawing from class discussions–they had immediately dismissed my insecurity, often pointing out that there were Copts, Palestinians and Ethiopians who also attended our church; they’d always close their pep talks with, “they’re not even baptized Greek! You are!”, as if that somehow helped my cause. I timidly refrained from pointing out the obvious, that yes, we had such families at our parish— a whopping one of each and NONE of the three ever felt welcome enough to stay and mingle, let alone Hoover all the air out of the room like my flamboyant, unapologetically comfortable father.

I tried to stare at a wall to stem the saltwater which would further humiliate and differentiate me from the cheerful crowds, bedecked in their tweeds and chalk-stripes, quilted bags with interlocking Cs dangling from the arms of women attired in the former. While my classmates were wearing starter Chanel suits, I was trussed up like a six-year old in Jessica McClintock’s Gunne Sax. On that ignominious Sunday, I was wearing lilac cotton, trimmed in JM’s signature lace, ruffles and giant bows. Mein Gott in himmel, could this get any worse?

Yes, yes it could. A younger child of about eight, whom I had never spoken to, was staring at me without even attempting to hide it. I spun away on one suitably conservative heel and rushed back to my window, where I could be alone with the emotional maelstrom that Alexandra, that vicious girl with the piliferous face and arms had caused. Now, upon reflection, I know she was ostracized for being morbidly overweight and well, mustached. Whom else could she pick on, being at the bottom of the svelte, outrageously well-clad and perfectly manicured Greek food chain? Ah right, the sad Indian girl.

I numbly stared at my cake, which I couldn’t eat. I just wanted to go home. I looked at my dad again; he was oblivious to all of it. I was relieved; if he had discovered what had transpired, he would have installed a new anal orifice on Alexandra’s father’s rear, as he blazed through a speech my sister and I now had memorized, about how in 52 A.D., St. Thomas himself converted MY ancestors while most of ____’s were burning animals for Zeus’ pleasure. No, better that he not know. Perhaps it would be best if I trudged to the girls’ bathroom and washed my face…

“Anna.”

There was a huge, warm hand on my left shoulder; it belonged to our massive, barrel-chested priest who had the most commanding, thrill-inducing voice I had ever heard. I let him turn me slightly, until we were facing each other.

“Are you okay, koukla?”

I mutely shook my head and soon it was buried in his chest, just above the giant, jewel-encrusted cross which he always wore.

“I know what happened,”

At this, I yanked my face back out of his cassock, out of shock. How…? I looked to my right…there, about thirty feet away, the eight-year old who had stared…he was still watching me.

“I don’t want to come here anymore, Father. I don’t belong here.”

A bear paw yanked my chin up so that I was making eye contact with a man who was 6’3, 300+ lbs.

“Don’t you ever say such things again, not in my church, not ever. You are like my own child; I see no difference between you or Costa, Maria or Eleni. If they come to church here, so will you. Don’t you listen to things said by an ignorant child. She doesn’t run this place; I DO.”

“But Father, I’m not Greek…and she’s not the only one who thinks that way…”

“It’s a sin to think that way. I know the priest who carried you around the altar at the cathedral. Presbytera tells me you know every chant and hymn better than anyone else in the junior choir and I, I have watched you grow up here, just as worthy of blessings if not more so than any other child, because of the purity within you.”

“Father…I know you and Presbytera love me, but that doesn’t mean other people will ever accept me. I wonder if I should…start attending the Indian church with my mother…”

My mother had stopped accompanying us to Sunday liturgy, because she hated the scrutiny; conveniently, her schedule “changed” so that she had to work most Sundays anyway. She preferred to worship with her own, “where I don’t get stared at for being in a sari.”

He placed a considerable hand on each of my shoulders and clasped them firmly. “Anna, if you stop coming to this church, I will be very upset. God doesn’t want you to leave us and neither do I. This is your home. Don’t let anyone, no matter how much they upset you, push you out of it.” And with that, he kissed the top of my head, patted my cheek and smiled before walking away.

Soon he was talking to Alexandra’s father, who probably agreed with his daughter, and who was not enjoying the conversation one bit. The man turned and gave me a dirty look mid-verbal-castigation from our priest. Just as Father could be a cashmere teddy bear (like he was most of the time, like he had been to me five minutes before), he could also be a fearsome, formidable man when necessary. No matter how ignorant or racist a parishioner wished to be, they would never cross or disobey a priest. Alexandra’s father grabbed his daughter by her arm before dragging her outside, cursing her in Greek all the while. The priest watched them leave, then glanced my way and smiled at me.

I wanly smiled back, but the gooseflesh didn’t go away. It never really has.

::

When I eat thayirsadham, it’s with this, and there isn’t a damned thing wrong with it. That simple, anomalous combination is the perfect metaphor for who I turned out to be.

No one has the right to be the arbiter of who does and does not get to participate in their culture. Such judgmental “guardians” had the genetic fortune or fate to be born in to what those whom they look down on are drawn to, but that doesn’t endow them with any priveleges like the one our banned commenter wishes she could exercise on all those “black and hispanic women”.

This is why I am especially protective of Nina and her kundi, Preston and his camera, Asha’s dad and his…sick taste in tunes, Andrea and her voice, Maurice and his linguistic pursuits, T-hype and her blog and every other genuinely down-with-the-brown white, black, blue or pink non-desi. I love them for coming here, for staying, for sitting at a table that can often be intimidating if not nearly unwelcome, due to the utterly unnecessary hostility of the few. I’m not kissing the white devil’s ass, but I am like gang recognizing gang in this bloggy bang bang; I feel just as Greek as I do Indian, if not moreso, and no one shall invalidate that. Nor will anyone get away with that here, not while my memory of similar hatred is so fresh and so unclean.

Nina has been to Kerala far more recently than I have; my last visit was back in the dark ages of 1989. In fact, she lived there, which is something I’ll probably never be able to claim. Who the hell am I or anyone else for that matter, to pull rank over that? As long as someone isn’t skeeving me out like Pardesi Gori with her sketchy, spicier-than-thou Indophilia–and it’s just something I can sense, that weirdness which makes my spider sense tingle as I consider that something ain’t right..and I know, several of you might disagree with me about it, but it’s just how I feel about her– as long as someone’s heart is pure, their contributions are respectful and their affection runs deep for this culture which is not “officially” their own, then they are one of mine.

Miss Banned-and-deleted:

If you’re going to tell Deevani that she shouldn’t sing or participate in the culture which she is lovingly and sincerely invested in, for the sake of not just herself but her three, half-brown children, then you’re no better than Alexandra. And she was a vile bitch. Aim higher, won’t you please? You’re bigger and better than that. We all should be.

183 thoughts on “On Hybrid Vigor, Acceptance and Grace

  1. Bottom line, this is a quality site with a lot of interesting discussions. I suggest that the moderators continue their vigilance, and keep firmly patrolling this site…otherwise the quality of discourse is going to go rapidly downhill. Especially now that this site seems to have caught the attention of some particularly obnoxious and rabid trolls lately. Whatever you guys (the moderators) have been doing so far, it works, so keep it up please.

  2. or does Manju think that bars can’t eject patrons for behaving poorly?

    if the state passed a law saying bars can’t eject patrons for behaving boorishly, i’d think it would be unconstitutional, but given the lowering of standards for state-encroachment post-new deal, i think many may argue that the state has some compelling interest (since private business are now seen as “public accommodations.”) and such a laws may very well be upheld. After all, bars must ban smoking.

    My point was that there are two important areas of difference between the Goldwater claim and the SM claim.

    Actually, even if you were for-profit, and a public accommodation (which you are now) you would still enjoy the first amendment right to ban commenters (on the basis of being racist, or even on the basis of race). Now personally, i’d extend that right out to business’ that do not fall under the category of “press” b/c i believe freedom is indivisible, and I don’t want a slippery slope, and i don’t like the idea of freedom for me but not for thee (excuse the slogans in lieu of long argument)

  3. Though I am not talking about the SM banning guidelines, I must say that to live by the rule that the first amendment is only a check on the state actor and not the private actor can potentially result in a serious chilling effect on freedom of expression.

    Free Speech if only confined to state actions would lose its potency in the real world. For free speech to flourish it must be supported by private actors as well. The government cannot pass a law preventing me from saying odious things, but if every time I say unpleasant things, I am ostracized by my friends, fired by my employer, shunned by my family and picketed by my neighbors, the fact that the government cannot prosecute would not provide much solace to me or to my freedom of expression.

  4. Now personally, i’d extend that right out to business’ that do not fall under the category of “press” b/c i believe freedom is indivisible…

    Just as I suspected, your “naughty and provocative” was merely mask for the passive-aggressive brand of racism at which you’ve been so adept in the past. “Ha ha only joking” but, eh, not really joking at all, right?

    Oh, wait a sec. I’ve totally misread you. You only care about freedom, which, apparently, is indivisible. Of course, freedom for them, in Alabama, in 1960, by your definitions, would be no freedom for you…but let’s not let the details detain us. Freedom marches on!

  5. AMFD writes: >>if every time I say unpleasant things, [1] I am ostracized by my friends, [2]fired by my employer, [3]shunned by my family and [4]picketed by my neighbors, the fact that the government cannot prosecute

    1, 3 and 4 do not necessarily cause a chilling effect on free-speech, since you are free to tell your family, friends and neighbours to take a hike.

    2 definitely is a problem, and there are laws to protect you from that.

    M. Nam

  6. #2 definitely is a problem, and there are laws to protect you from that.

    Yes, but the private employer does not have to respect my freedom of expression, so no, there is no protection of free speech vis-a-vis my private employer.

  7. Your argument is amazingly similiar to that of HVF’s in the California textbook debate
    but I wanted to point out how the same argument when made in a similiar context elsewhere results in the person/organisation being labelled as “fundamentalist”, “sexist”

    i was only trying to present my viewpoint that women are not 2nd class citizens in the most concise and least inflammatory manner … b/c i don’t want to get into a back & forth with nina about her examples, in which case i’d have to go into detail and present my own

  8. if the state passed a law saying bars can’t eject patrons for behaving boorishly, i’d think it would be unconstitutional, but given the lowering of standards for state-encroachment post-new deal, i think many may argue that the state has some compelling interest (since private business are now seen as “public accommodations.”) and such a laws may very well be upheld. After all, bars must ban smoking.

    Manju: Stop channelling Robert Borks. The businesses are not a person. The State does not need a compelling reason for banning the ejection of boors from private establishments. There would be no 14th amendment problems here for the state to jump through the hoops of strict scrutiny/compelling reason. The Federal Government can simply use the Commerce Clause to pass this law.

    In the words of Justice Hugo L. Black

    “Certainly, when the Fourteenth Amendment was submitted for approval, the people were not told that [they were ratifying] an amendment granting new and revolutionary rights to corporations. The history of the Amendment proves that the people were told that its purpose was to protect weak and helpless human beings and were not told that it was intended to remove corporations in any fashion from the control of state governments. The Fourteenth Amendment followed the freedom of a race from slavery….Corporations have neither race nor color.”

    Of course he was in dissent, but that was the pre-new deal court.

  9. The Federal Government can simply use the Commerce Clause to pass this law.

    except banning boors would have nothing to do with inerstate or foreign commerce. unlike abortion, the right to property is explicitly stated in the constitution. And I think you’re making my case against Ennis stronger, as he can now see the slippery slope.

  10. Just as I suspected, your “naughty and provocative” was merely mask for the passive-aggressive brand of racism at which you’ve been so adept in the past. “Ha ha only joking” but, eh, not really joking at all, right?

    I’m serious. I was never joking, just acknowledging that my point is controversial in SM land. But in the land of the midgits, even a regular sized person may look like a giant troll.

    Oh, wait a sec. I’ve totally misread you. You only care about freedom, which, apparently, is indivisible. Of course, freedom for them, in Alabama, in 1960, by your definitions, would be no freedom for you…but let’s not let the details detain us. Freedom marches on!

    Not unlike the ACLU defending the NAZI’s right to march on Skokie. But I guess there just passive-agressive anti-semites, Mr. K. Well, at least we’ve seen the limits to your nuance.

  11. WE DIDNT LAND ON SEPIA MUTINY, SEPIA MUTINY LANDED ON US!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have no idea what that means, but all this talk about rights and what not, I thought it might be approptiate.

  12. As one of the administrators of this site I have first hand knowledge of how often we delete comments or ban commenters. It is in fact very rare.

    I totally believe this. I’ve often displayed ban-worthy rudeness but none of my comments have been deleted and I’ve never been banned. I agree that comments absolutely must be moderated. It’s common sense.

    As for this topic, it’s funny when I first discovered SM I was very disappointed at how the ABDs on this site were always trashing people like Krishna Das, and the whole American yoga scene, specially because I happen to love the rock and roll style kirtans. So I suspect there’s some sort of a framework of what people can trash in a non-bigoted way which has nothing to do with taste and a lot to do with conformity or something. Secondly, at the pop level none of this is important, but when institutions take over someone’s else’s culture and act as if they’re the true representatives of it, it is definitely problematic – like the western departmens of Indology for example.

  13. Manju-

    I believe the government has a compelling interest to legislate against exclusionary business and/or employment practices. I admit that this is a personal, ideological belief, and that I feel that the nature of racist speech (if “speech” actually applies to this situation — I’m not sure if excluding people from a public place of business even does) is such that it does not deserve the same kinds of protection as other types of speech. I’m sure a lawyer would be able to craft a more eloquent, precise argument for this position, but there we are. I don’t expect you (or anyone else) to agree with me, but that’s what I believe.

  14. Neal (with no ‘e’):

    your opinion is resonable, and is in fact the status quo. especially reasonable in a country where certain groups were denyed their constitutional rights…a point that every individual making my argument should acknowledge.

    But i’m just reminding people that legislating morality is always problematic, because of a slippery slope and the setting of precedents. yesterday bar owners couldn’t ban blacks, but today they can’t allow smokers. perhaps all speech should be allowed, just not racist speech…but of course to some that would include me.

  15. So this policy applies only on us poor commentators and not bloggers :(

    But of course. You obviously didn’t catch the SECOND sentence of this very post:

    I didn’t delete it, nor did I summon the intern to stop fanning me as I lounged on my throne, to do so at my behest.

    So that means there’s no policy at all? Please bare with me, i am a newbie.

  16. Agree that legislating morality is always problematic, especially when you’re dealing with a hugely diverse (ideologically as well as racially, religiously, culturally, etc…) nation like ours. And I could easily see where lines I might support today might blur into lines I might vehemently oppose tomorrow. But that’s kind of the nature of democracy isn’t it? The people determine community standards, hopefully by consensus, but at least by majority vote.

  17. But that’s kind of the nature of democracy isn’t it? The people determine community standards, hopefully by consensus, but at least by majority vote.

    Yes…except that the power of the people is limited by a bill of rights.

  18. except banning boors would have nothing to do with inerstate or foreign commerce. unlike abortion, the right to property is explicitly stated in the constitution. And I think you’re making my case against Ennis stronger, as he can now see the slippery slope.

    Stopping the restaurants from banning boors does have an impact on the interstate commerce in the aggregate. In the last years of the Rehnquist Court the Court did slighly move in the other direction and might continue moving towards the pre-New Deal direction.

    I was making two points in my earlier post. First, the state does not need a compelling reason/strict scrutiny for discriminating against businesses like it does on the basis of race. I guess you and I have a fundamental disagreement (surprise!) as to what constitutes a person whose property interests are protected in the constitution. To me the businesses are not really a person and I am unwilling to give them much rights beyond basic procedural due process so I have no problems putting onerous restrictions on business.

  19. Here are some guidelines on how to argue.

    Yes, given that long list of logical fallacies, there is the possibility of nitpicking on every phrase, word, and comma. But practicing the ‘art’ of debate is crucial for creating institutions that can contain argumentation before they degenerate into flak sessions. Not only is that practice important for this blog, but for the Indian parliament, for Dubya and Ahamdinejad, and for democracy. (I am not getting into the impossibility theorem, the power of the dominant coalition, O’Reilly’s finger wagging and his pharyngular fortitude).

    Reason has a purpose. Rhetorical reason, Aristotle says, is the ‘faculty of observing, in any given case, the available means of persuasion’. It is also true that argumentation, or the tool that sharpens our faculty of reasoning, is replete with expressions such as ‘indefensible’, ‘weak points’, ‘gain ground’, ‘right on target’ that orient us, albeit unconsciously, to the metaphors of ‘being at war’. There is no half-hearted scientist, no half-hearted arguer.

    Now, when you dwell on tastes, which are unchallengeable axioms of behavior, they leave no room for rational persuasion. A better solution is to practice writing, or be an entrepreneur yourself (start another mutiny).

    ‘never again will a single story be told as if it was the only one’ (john berger), and there are so many stories. Anna’s story is her story. Probably Alexandra has another story. If you want your story to be told, you have to coax that richness into view, for others to see and take note. As long as there’s no agreement on what counts as evidence, stories will rule.

    the best one can do is congratulate the blogger for her writing, and making her story (and probably few others’) public. That’s all. There’s good writing and there’s bad writing.

  20. I have a bone to pick with some of you.

    There could be a post on this site about “The most beautiful breast’s in the world, with pic for evidence” And some how the post’s will turn into a discussion about income tax and how awesome they are for the economy.

    Stop boring me. Please stop!!

  21. tamasha #77,
    I have no problems admitting that I sometimes feel like this. It’s like, “Dudes, I can’t even understand my own culture! It’s not fair that you can!” That just makes me jealous. What can I say?
    I hope what you said was tongue in cheek.

    Well, actually it wasn’t. I know it’s my responsibility, but it doesn’t make it any easier to feel – dare I say it? – overthrown in a way. But I suppose that’s my own fault for being so confused from the beginning.

  22. A few quick takes

    1.) Nice job Anna and very well done as always. Humorous, well-written, thought provoking, and insightful. I imagine little Asha will have some of the same feelings of confusion and the search for identity you have expressed in your posts, so it’s comforting to have something to related to. 2.) I blushed a little at getting mentioned in an Anna post. My 15 minutes (er seconds) of SM fame. 3.) Kids can be cruel. I know I was at times. When I was a child, I thought and spoke as a child….hopefully I’m more enlightened now. 4.) Perceptions and judgements will always be made on outward appearances. Books will always be judged based on their title and the appearance of their cover. In America my wife is viewed as “Indian” based on her skin color, but over in India she is viewed rather quickly and perceptively as “American” based on her dress, mannerisms, speech etc. I will always be viewed on the surface as a generic white guy….until I bust my freestyle rhymes (8 mile!) or thrown down my cardboard and start breakin’ 5.) The SM Intern works pretty hard 6.) “I hate Illinois Nazis” – Jake Blues (#160)

  23. Great post, ANNA. Now that the interns are up and about, what about this comment? Where were you when this racist comment was written?

  24. Great post, ANNA. Now that the interns are up and about, what about this comment? Where were you when this racist comment was written?

    Oh Cmon Mohan, some asinine comment that someone left, and you make it sound as if it’s Anna’s fault that it wasn’t cleaned up! Dude, people only have so much time they can spend on cleaning up. Think about how much effort it takes to constantly monitor all the posts (sometimes even older ones) to take out the trash. Give the mutineers some credit.

  25. Where were you when this racist comment was written?

    Thank you for the kind compliment you commenced your comment with, but as many of you perceptively figured out when I stated this earlier today, I don’t need more shit or guilt or ____ right now.

    I’m getting frustrated with this line of thought; here’s what I was doing when you snapped your fingers– I was AT WORK.

    I do not moderate Sepia Mutiny all day.

    Do any of YOU get to surf the web all day at your job and ignore your deadlines? If so, awesome for you. I’m not in that lucky position. And until I win powerball and take care of my student loans and rent that way, I can NOT be at this website’s beck and call to ban idiots or write posts faster or respond to tips…ad infinitum. Does logic escape once some of you come to these threads? I work 70+ hour weeks. THIS IS NOT MY FULL-TIME JOB. It’s not the case for any of us.

    There are several other bloggers who are part of this space…why is the disappointment at things not getting done aimed at me? Why do THEY get your tolerance and compassion?

    I’m not trying to start something here, but this sort of situation is exaclty why I unexpectedly left the Mutiny earlier this year. I contribute what I can afford to, if not slightly more. If I can never do enough, why do at all?

  26. I’m not trying to start something here, but this sort of situation is exaclty why I unexpectedly left the Mutiny earlier this year.

    OMG – That’s too scary to even think about, Akka! Not pretending, but I know what I’d like to give you – a “big, cashmere teddy bear” hug, and an ooma. Yes. Enjoy, relax, breathe deeply, post only when you can, and ignore the silliness, or look above it!

  27. Where were you when this racist comment was written? Thank you for the kind compliment you commenced your comment with, but as many of you perceptively figured out when I stated this earlier today, I don’t need more shit or guilt or ____ right now. I’m getting frustrated with this line of thought; here’s what I was doing when you snapped your fingers– I was AT WORK. I do not moderate Sepia Mutiny all day. Do any of YOU get to surf the web all day at your job and ignore your deadlines? If so, awesome for you. I’m not in that lucky position. And until I win powerball and take care of my student loans and rent that way, I can NOT be at this website’s beck and call to ban idiots or write posts faster or respond to tips…ad infinitum. Does logic escape once some of you come to these threads? I work 70+ hour weeks. THIS IS NOT MY FULL-TIME JOB. It’s not the case for any of us. There are several other bloggers who are part of this space…why is the disappointment at things not getting done aimed at me? Why do THEY get your tolerance and compassion? I’m not trying to start something here, but this sort of situation is exaclty why I unexpectedly left the Mutiny earlier this year. I contribute what I can afford to, if not slightly more. If I can never do enough, why do at all?

    ANNA, it wasn’t directed at you. It was directed at the interns! That’s why I stated “Great post, ANNA”. Sorry for the mixup!

  28. All of what she describes is not untrue. But to paint SUCH a broad brush of Trivandrum society and by extension Keralite society demonstrates a MAJOR knowledge gap about gender dynamics in Kerala. I was born in Cochin, and like many other Keralite families, my mother was in charge of the household, and was by no means a ‘second-class citizen.’ There is ample literature out there which describes the matriarchial positioning of many Keralite households and families.

    ……………………………………………..

    I’ve read the ample literature for years, which made my actual experience in Trivandrum all the more shocking and disappointing. We could get into details – virtually no women on the streets after dark, women’s college dorms locked by 7:30 pm while men’s open all night, never being able to have dinner with my unmarried girlfriends whose families demanded they be home by 7:30 but my male friends were of course available, women complaining about sexual harassment at work and having no legal recourse – but I will continue to stand by my own experiences and my perceptions. I also make it clear I lived in TRV only a short time. I take pains to not position myself as an “expert.” Someone who grew up there has far more authority about Trivandrum, Kerala, and India than I do. But I saw what I saw, I experienced what I experienced, and my responsibility as an artist and a human being is to be honest. It’s not to promote other peoples’ ideologies. It’s not to shut up. And it’s not to apologise, over and over again, for being a white American woman.

    I’m with you on that!

    In fact, I’ve heard the “women are the heads of the household” line so many times to render it meaningless. Many women are the heads of the household because it is not deemed fitting to be anything else. The head-of-the-household position can actually work against them if they decide they don’t want that role anymore and want to do something outside the household. Just because women may be the heads of the household does not mean they enjoy the same freedoms that their men do outside of the household. To assume that is foolishness – just like western people who assume because India has so many Goddess figures, their women must be totally honored and revered in society. One does not equal the other. And most women I know would rather just be treated with basic human respect and have the basic human rights and freedoms as men rather than be put up on some “Devi pedastal”. Devis and Sati/Savitris are not allowed to make mistakes. They must remain pristine and worshippable all the time. Ordinary women just want to be able to make ordinary mistakes and not be shamed for them.

    As far as the differences in curfews at the male/female hostels/dormitories in India — it’s up to the residents of those to protest them and bring about change. If they are not protesting one must ask — why? If they are happy with the inequality then there is nothing we can do about it but ask — why?

  29. Mohan, thank you so much for clarifying…it’s very kind of you.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I need an entire bottle of something fermented to calm me off the stress-ledge I’m on…eeek.

  30. If we closed a thread, we did that for a reason. Venting your spleen on a different thread, even one which is tangentially related to whatever you are so upset about is gaming the system. If I wanted to prolong my headache due to moderating, I would have left THAT thread open.

    Meta-commentary (comments about comments), comments you wish you could’ve left on now-closed threads and similar HAVE and WILL be deleted.

    Please stay on topic. Thank you.

  31. The author herself already answered your question. The person who writes each post has final say on what is deleted and isn’t.

    Since I’ve had to intervene thrice in under one hour, it seems like there is nothing more that anyone has to say which is of value or relevance to THIS TOPIC. Time to close it, then.

    Achtung: It’s not okay to spam threads, no matter what your intention. If you’re so concerned about something, our email addresses are listed here.