Jan. 17th, 2017

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Our culture has celebrities in place of myths, and we have grief twitter instead of byzantine lore about the journey to the underworld and the proper ways of burial. When celebrities die and we mourn them in a massively public way, this is a safe way to practice mourning for our parents and our partners and our friends, to try to force ourselves to make the unthinkable familiar. 

The generational quality of this grief comes from the fact that, as the celebrities with whom we grew up die, it signals that we are at the age where people are dying, and we look ahead to the inevitable disasters, the wave that grows larger on the horizon. If our public grief is a performance, it’s a performance in the way that a disaster drill is a performance. 

Our grief at losing an icon who meant a great deal to us is a real grief but a bearable one. But that bearable grief is a test-drive for future unbearable ones. We practice together in the hope that we can be prepared, so that the idea of loss does not seem so alien. 

Complaints about the inappropriate nature of grief on social media – that it’s a circle-jerk, a joiner’s club, an obligated performance – are as defining a part of these mournings as the remembrances themselves. But to call this grief a performance is to miss the point – it’s not a performance, it’s a rehearsal. It seems right to me that grief be public, and messy, and inconvenient, that it make everyone in its path uncomfortable. 

Small amounts of discomfort, after all, increase our tolerance for large amounts of pain. Mourning celebrities who mattered to us is a way to remind ourselves that no one is spared, not even those who seemed immortal, larger than a human being with petty little organs doing their pedestrian little jobs inside their skin. Speaking things aloud removes their terror, dulls the power of their unfamiliarity. We speak this over and over to try to come to terms with something that cannot possibly be made familiar.

–Helena Fitzgerald

Fascinating way to think about shared public grief.
athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)
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i know carrie’s death is devastating, and i know we’re all mourning the loss of such a bright soul, but in these dark times please don’t forget what she taught us.

don’t forget that your mental illness doesn’t define you, but it’s not something to be ashamed of, either. don’t forget that you are so much more than it. don’t forget that you are not alone in your fight.

don’t forget that a jewish woman was a princess, and a general, and that she kicked some major ass.

don’t forget that you are beautiful no matter what age, no matter how your body has changed, no matter what unrealistic standards you face.

don’t forget that carrie was so much more than just princess leia. she was an author, activist, mother, friend, inspiration.

don’t forget that carrie would be so, so proud of you, just for being here and for continuing to keep fighting.
athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)
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may the force be with you.
athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)
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If you live in a GOP state, for the love of God, CALL YOUR CONGRESSPERSON.

Not sure who they are? Here.

We’re all scared of the phone. But this is about people’s lives. It can’t be put bluntly enough: IF THE ACA/OBAMACARE IS REPEALED, PEOPLE WILL DIE. Would a script help? Here are a bunch of them.

One more thing: if you’re capable of getting aggressive? Do that. Not abusive to some poor harried staffer, but very, very clear: if your congressperson votes to repeal the ACA, you will make it your mission in life to destroy them. You will campaign for their opponent (you should). You will fight to make sure other people vote for their opponent (you should). You will tell everyone who will listen that they voted to give rich people a massive tax cut while poor people get sick and die. You will do everything in your power to see that they never take office again.

Why? Because one thing the last week or so has taught us is that most of these people will not do the right thing unless they’re shamed and harassed and threatened into doing so. They care about reelection. That’s it. So that’s where you need to hit them, if you can, and you need to hit hard.

Call. Do it. The only way this thing gets saved is if we save it.

(and follow this same strategy for just about every other stupid, evil thing your congressperson tries to do)

If you need someone else to make a phone call for you, please ask!

If you can make phone calls on behalf of someone who can’t, please offer!


athousanderrors: from 'Spirited Away' - soot sprites, clutching confetti stars, running about excitedly. (Default)

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