An Inclusive Litany
The American people generally ignore Haiti because it is thought to have no resources of interest to us, except faceless labor. But when events force us to pay attention, Haiti frightens the American people, particularly the American government!
Haiti has a powerful spirit. It is a very holistic, integrated culture, with land, body and language touching each other.
Furthermore, the culture has been oppressed militarily and economically, which has empowered the grass-roots Haitian spirit even more.
With its history closely wrapped in experiences of the land, the animal world and the past, Haiti's particular and unique identity becomes inclusive and multidimensional.
Built into computer interfaces are also a series of semiotic messages that support this alignment along the axes of class, race, and gender. The white pointer hand, for example, ubiquitous in the Macintosh primary interface, is one such gesture, as are the menu items of the Appleshare server tray and hand, calculator, the moving van (for the font DA mover), the suitcase, and the desk calendar. Other images—those included in the HyperCard interface commercial clip art collections, and in the Apple systems documentation—include a preponderance of white people and icons of middle- and upper-class white culture and professional, office-oriented computer use. These images signal—to users of color, to users who come from a non-English language background, to users from low socio-economic backgrounds—that entering the virtual worlds of interfaces also means, at least in part and at some level, entering a world constituted around the lives and values of white, male, middle- and upper-class professionals. Users of color, users from non-English language background, users from a low socio-economic class who view this map of reality, submit—if only partially and momentarily—to an interesting version of reality represented in terms of both language and image.
|Kill two birds with one stone||Get two for the price of one|
|There's more than one way to skin a cat||There are different ways to solve a problem|
|Take a stab at it||Go for it!|
|Get away with murder||Avoid consequences|
|It's an uphill battle||It's next to impossible|
|You're dead meat||You're in serious trouble|
|Kick it around||Consider the options|
|That's a low blow||That's outside the rules|
|Hit them where it hurts||Find their vulnerability|
|Crash the party||Show up anyway|
|Shoot yourself in the foot||Undermine your own position|
|Hit the computer key||Press the computer key|
|Blown out of the water||Reduced to nothing|
He has hope of staying out [of a gang] as long as he has a basketball in his hands.... Without the basketball this kid is running drugs, carrying a gun and soon to kill somebody. And that's true in place after place. Now we get to decide: Do you want a basketball in his hands, to continue trying to convince him to stay out of a gang, or do you want to face him in a dark street some night with a nine-millimeter Glock in his hands?
I'd say NPR's newscasts are the jewel of public broadcasting—I would say children's programming on television are another—you want to make them more commercial, here's what we're going to see. We're going to see a whole lot more gratuitous pornography of violence. We're going to see a whole lot of celebrity news. And you're going to watch Big Bird chasing Barney with a gun pretty soon.
It sure is exciting to think about that balanced budget everyone wants... it's exciting—until you wonder how it will affect you and your family and your neighbors and your town. Then, it's scary. For that big government that everyone is complaining about finances and awful lot of important things.... Without it, a lot of poor children wouldn't have breakfasts. A lot of professors wouldn't have grants. A lot of needy people wouldn't have medical care—or food....
What Congress should do, of course, is raise taxes. It obviously won't, though, so budget-balancers are left with no choice but to shrink many services my neighbors and I have come to rely on.... We might ask: is big government really bad? Is Newt Gingrich really good?
During the 1992 Presidential Campaign, Bill Clinton, in a speech to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in Chicago, blasted Sister Souljah, a black rap artist, who had written songs that supported the so-called rioters in South Central Los Angeles after the return of the verdicts acquitting all the police officers charged with beating Rodney King. Not to be outdone, Vice-President Dan Quayle ripped into Ice-T, another black rap performer, for creating lyrics criticizing police officers. It all goes to show that both Republican and Democratic Parties will pander to white voters whenever it serves their purpose.
When Sister Souljah spoke in irony,
Reacting to rebellion in L.A.,
The Democrat sensed opportunity
And shocked the Rainbow with a bitter "Nay!"
Then, Mr. Quayle, not to be left behind,
Claimed Ice-T was one of the nation's blights
For rapping cops were something less than kind
When they had Third World suspects in their sights.
The honkies urge the blacks to sing their songs
Like "We Shall Overcome" and all the rest,
And recommend that everyone belongs
To groups that say nonviolence is the best.
The words of rage are never nice to hear,
But white America must lend and ear.
[Ed.: As the Los Angeles riots were underway, Sister Souljah commented that "if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?" Likewise, Ice-T's criticisms of police include the lyrics, "die, die, die, pig, die."]
- Dr. Rob Clark (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues):
It seems to me the campaign against AIDS has already destroyed many
taboos about discussion of sex in public. It seems to me that there
still remains a taboo against the discussion of masturbation. And
please forgive me for trying to do my tiny bit by announcing that I
masturbate and I do want to ask you what do you think are the
prospects [for] a more explicit discussion and promotion of
- Surgeon General Elders:
- I think you already know that I'm a very strong advocate of a comprehensive health education program, if you will, starting at a very early age. I feel that it should be age appropriate, it should be complete, and we need to teach our children the things that they need to know. And we know that many of our parents have difficulty teaching certain things and for that reason to make sure all of our children are informed I've always felt that we should make it a part of our school. I feel it's the only institution we have where all of the children go. And at present in our schools it's very incomplete and only five percent of schools have a comprehensive program. As per your specific question in regard to masturbation, I think that is something that is a part of human sexuality and it's a part of something that perhaps should be taught. But we've not even taught our children the very basics. And I feel that we have tried ignorance for a long time and it's time we try education.
[Ed.: In 1997 came word that Elders was hard at work on a book called The Dreaded M Word, written to "get rid of the myths and lies" that surround masturbation. According to Elder's co-author, Barbara Kilgore, "It's not a how-to manual.... We don't have anything new on masturbation. We didn't do any basic research. We've just taken what people—like scientists and other experts—have done and we've brought it together in a little book that can be easily read by average folk." Commenting on the book's potentially wide audience, Kilgore notes, "Everyone touches themselves some way or another."]
The other was the Assata Shakur Scholarship Fund, named after the woman whose "slave name" was Joanne Chesimard. In 1973, Shakur/Chesimard was a member of the reconstituted Black Panther Party when she was wounded in a robbery and shoot-out on the New Jersey Turnpike that left a state trooper dead. The scholarship application says that Shakur was convicted on "flimsy charges in 1977"; she later escaped and fled to Cuba. This scholarship's mandate was meant to "honor her life," encourage students to "take Ethnic Studies classes" such as Haitian and Puerto Rican Studies, and "create awareness around the struggles of People of non-white Color."
Following a barrage of telephone calls and telegrams protesting the scholarships, the New York Times reported that the scholarships were to be renamed. College officials did not say whether the eligibility requirement of a 2.0 grade point average would be raised.
A few weeks later, in Alberta, Canada, a man was acquitted for assaulting his wife, based explicitly on the Supreme Court's ruling.
A Los Angeles jury found a man guilty of a charge less than murder because he had supposedly bludgeoned his wife to death only after years of psychological abuse and only because his religion forbade leaving her.
The Chicago office of the EEOC launched a full-scale investigation into the claim of a woman supposedly passed over for a promotion because she notified the company interviewer about her disability: a microchip embedded in her tooth that enabled her to communicate with other people far away.
A man who was fired when he brought a loaded gun to his job claimed that he was entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act because he was receiving psychiatric care.
An employee who tried to get back pay from his company after supposedly firing him for "whistle-blowing," had, as it turns out, taken it upon himself to spread poison ivy on a toilet seat used by his boss, resulting in an injury that required two months of treatment.
You were reading a somewhat retro loveletter, the last in history. But you have not received it. Yes, its lack or excess of address prepares it to fall into all hands: a post card, an open letter in which the secret appears, but indecipherably. You can take it or pass it off, for example, as a message from Socrates to Freud.
What does a post card want to say to you? On what conditions is it possible? Its destination traverses you, you no longer know who you are. At the very instant when from its address it interpellates, you, uniquely you, instead of reaching you it divides you or sets you aside, occasionally overlooks you. And you love and you do not love, it makes of you what you wish, it takes you, it leaves you, it gives you.
On the other side of the card, look, a proposition is made to you, S and p, Socrates and plato. For once the former seems to write, and with his other hand he is even scratching. But what is Plato doing with his outstretched finger in his back? While you occupy yourself with turning it around in every direction, it is the picture that turns you around like a letter, in advance it deciphers you, it preoccupies space, it procures your words and gestures, all the bodies that you believe you invent in order to determine its outline. You find yourself, you, yourself, on its path.
The thick support of the card, a book heavy and light, is also a specter of this scene, the analysis between Socrates and Plato, on the program of several others. Like the soothsayer, a "fortune-telling book" watches over and speculates on that-which-must-happen, on what it indeed might mean to happen, to arrive, to have to happen, or arrive, to let or to make happen or arrive, to destine, to address, to send, to legate, to inherit, etc., if it all still signifies, between here and there, the near and the far, da und fort, the one or the other.
You situate the subject of the book: between the posts and the analytic movement, the pleasure principle and the history of telecommunications, the post card and the purloined letter, in a word the transference from Socrates to Freud, and beyond. This satire of epistolary literature had to be farci, stuffed with addresses, postal codes, crypted missives, anonymous letters, all of it confided to so many modes, genres, and tones. In it I also abuse dates, signatures, titles or references, language itself.
[Ed.: D'ya wanna know the creed'a
Dere ain't no reada
Dere ain't no wrider