Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not Perfume: Jay Smooth is a genius.

Look, here's the deal. I am VERY political in real life. VERY political. I'm one of those people who talks about oppression and privilege in real life so much that other people can find it, well, oppressive. (Pun intended.) But I do think about oppression and privilege ALL.THE.TIME. I can't watch the news, or read the paper, or look at the internet, or hell, watch one exceedingly bad episode of "Jersey Shore" in an attempt to figure out what the hell people are so enamored by (verdict? There's 45 minutes of my life I'll never get back and could have been spent reading F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Six Tales of the Jazz Age"), without thinking about racism, sexism, ageism, ablism, classism, our ability to define our own singular or layered identities, etc.

I grew up in what I consider to be, yes, an extremely and sometime intentionally ignorant environment filled with people who either ignored issues because it served their privilege to do so or who worked so damned hard every day of their lives to survive they did not have time to stop and worry about the socio-economic structures that kept them running on the hamster wheel. I recognize that being obsessed with privilege as a white, well-educated, young, married, childless, fully-able bodied American IS A PRIVILEGE itself, even if I also identify as a queer woman who survived domestic violence, homelessness, and poverty. I have had the room to make choices; I have made good ones. But I am reminded constantly about that other place I could be right now, that place -- literal and metaphorical -- where other members of my family reside permanently.

And frankly, I try like hell to keep it out of this blog because most of this thinking and thinking and not knowing how to change it makes me sad or angry, and I try really hard to keep this a positive place, focused on enjoying the art and beauty in a world that frequently does not make sense to me. But I just want to take moment here to say that I love Jay Smooth. He's funny. He's smart. He's thoughtful. He's articulate. And he makes me hopeful that I can figure out a way to harness my pain and grief and anger and concern to my creative impulses and make something that says something about the world and helps make things better someday.

So check him out.


Ines said...

I think it's great you put some of your non-perfume thoughts into your blog. And I hope you keep doing that. :)
And regarding your family (and the rest of the world) making you angry and sad, I had a period recently when I felt bad because I could see my sister wasn't happy in her life and I wanted to help her. But what I learned and try to implement in my life regarding others is that you can't make other people happy - they need to make themselves/their lives happy and full.

mariam said...

Cute blog

im new :)

The Left Coast Nose said...

Diana, first off, THANK YOU for your honesty and your bravery. Those are two things in short supply in the world-- don't hide them.

Secondly, thank you for revealing more of yourself to the world-- we need that too, and it is good to see you as you are.

Third-- I don't think this post asks for a me-too moment, but I will just say right now, I am right there with you, sister-- on notions of identity, on privilege, on family history. And on the emotions that go along with consciousness. I think what Jay Smooth had to say is so right on: that it is so easy to get swept up in words and stupid stuff, when it's a whole lot harder to go out and make *real* change.

I'm on the other side of 40 from you, so I feel like I have some experience on this matter: things actually do change (not always for the better, though, and that's the rub) but they do. I've lived long enough to see it. So that is some comfort, and something to work towards.

Finally, thank you for the Jay Smooth video-- I've got it up on my FB page and sent out several of his other vids to just about everyone I know.

(Oh, and you are not going to believe this: the word I have to type into Blogger to prove I'm not spam?: "bling.")