Himemoana Baker wrote a post on the questions that exercise her, Ashleigh Young responded with questions currently circling and confessed a wish that there would be more questions and more responses prompting more questions. Now I want that too, of course. Great flapping bats.
At my work we have in-flight projects and I liked the wings of it and extrapolated and called other live, currently happening things at work in-flight but discovered it made no sense to anyone but me. It is the sort of mistake you make with a language that is not your mother tongue. Only Projects, I discovered, could be In-flight. Until now, and here, ten questions that haven't yet landed.
NB on the date. This was originally posted in the early hours of 15/2/14 but the post went down, so I've reposted.
Dear lovers of music, dear worshippers of freedom of speech, dear fellow freedom fighters, dear attackers of the appalling censorship of Odd Future, today is a wonderful day.
It's so heartening, so great you've spoken out in such vast and articulate numbers about Odd Future. I had no idea New Zealand was filled to the brim with champions of free speech.
You'll of course be horrified to learn that the banning of Odd Future is just the tip of the iceberg. Yup, if you think stopping these poor 'anti-establishment', grammy-nominated, critically-acclaimed, chart-topping artists from coming into the country(1) - probably winning them a hefty compensation package and a few thousand more fans - is a travesty, wait until you hear this.
Last year about 11(4) New Zealand women were censored. They weren't banned from playing some concert 12,000 kilometres from their home town. No. They were censored globally and permanently. Not a single country opened their borders to them, and not a single council let them play in their concert hall. They were denied their freedom of speech and their freedom of movement. The year before last the same thing happened to another 11, and the year before that, about the same. This year, maybe another 11.
Because every year, on average, 11 women are censored by their male partners or ex-partners who decide it's a good idea to shut these women up for good. They kill them (2). They probably kill them because they talked too much and said stuff that the establishment (these boyfriends or partners or ex-partners or the fathers of their children) didn't like. Or maybe they killed them because the women had said they didn't want to be in a relationship with them any more. Whatever, the men didn't like what the women were saying so they censored them. They stopped them from talking to anyone, ever again.
For every women irrevocably censored each year, there are hundreds more who are censored through rape, assault and fear. Who don't talk because it might cost them their lives, or their kids' lives.
And guess what? Some of those dead forever-censored women may have been or might be extraordinary musicians. They may have been astonishing rap artists, or DJs or poets. They might have sung like goddesses and danced like the devil. Or maybe not. Maybe they were just women going about their lives. Doing their best. Being nice, being horrid. It doesn't really matter. What what they weren't was an elite bunch of globe-trotting musicians who write and perform lyrics like I fuck bitches with no permission… Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome/Starve her 'til I carve her then I shove her in the Rover/Where I cut her like a barber.
What they don't have is a vitriolic and possibly entirely new fan base foaming at the mouth at the violation of human rights afforded by denying a few people entry to our country. One country, once. They don't have a bunch of liberal men getting all romantic about disagreeing with what they say but defending to the death the right for them to say But keep your motherfuckin' daughter's mouth shushed boy and every girl I deal and fuck/it's always against her will.
It would be tempting to think some men feel it is a lot, you know, more radical and open-minded and muso-hip to defend a man's right to say he kills women for fun, than it is to defend the women's right to be alive. But no, I know I must have that wrong.
Yup, awesome job on the freedom fighting today guys. Man, those really successful, wealthy, profoundly popular artists who are saying the same old hackneyed women-hating shite, really need your back.
And I'm totes looking forward to you proving that you're not just a bunch of needy blokes who are shocked to the gills with the idea that maybe you won't get to go to a gig you want to go to, or that your mates might want to go to. Or maybe your mates' mates (3). I am utterly convinced you're not just having a little freedom speech tantrum because you're so astounded things aren't going your way this once.
I can see with the fire in your belly, you'll be launching incredible freedom campaigns that will stop the irretractable censorship of around 11 women a year in this country. And stop the daily and widespread violation of women's freedom of speech and movement by men. Police won't be called out to a domestic violence incident every six minutes. Thousands of protection orders won't need to be issued each year.
And the Women's Refuge volunteers who are used to answering some 60,000 calls a year will instead be waiting around getting bored. Maybe they'll surf YouTube, find some blistering new artist, and get to listen to the whole track, start to finish, without some tragic interruption.
(1) On admittedly spurious grounds of possibly causing riots (update 17/2/13 as information has emerged it's looking less spurous to me - not just an incident when a policeman hurt his arm but a far more serious incident in Australia but that's another story ( or post?)
(2) This and other stats come from http://www.nzfvc.org.nz/data-summaries/family-violence-deaths and http://www.areyouok.org.nz/files/statistics/ItsnotOK_recent_family_violence_stats.pdf. It's quite hard to get the exact statistic I was trying to extract but I think from both these sources the 13 a year for partner and ex-partner male to female murder is not far off. Gendered analysis of violence fell out of flavour for several years in New Zealand so getting a good understanding of what was going on has been difficult. My number crunching wise friends may be able to be more specific (see note 4, I updated this from 13 to 11)
(3) Edited on16/2/13 from "...music you might want to listen to" etc, as I realised "gig" better reflects the situation with Odd Future that I am referencing. Anyone, of course, can listen to OF, they just weren't able to listen to them at one particular concert.
(4) Edited on 17/2/13 from 13 to 11. One of my wise number crunching friends did indeed say the official stats would make the figure closer to 11. My initial reasoning can be seen in (2)
This post is a few months old, but I just rediscovered it in my drafts. From a few weeks after my family moved from Wellington city to Kapiti Coast.
Today four fat kererū sat in low branches on the neighbour's plum tree. They were so close. Every day tuis. For the last three mornings Alexandra has gone outside in her pyjamas to feed the birds. The two girls spent hours on the lawn making gooey 'cakes' with flour, water, food colouring and something pale and granulated in a tall glass jar with a corroded red lid. It looked healthy and we probably moved into our previous house eight years ago. This move it has floated to the top again.
I am thinking about a new dining room table.
Maggie says 'No! No new table. I like this one'.
'Too much change, huh?' I ask. She goes silent for a while.
Then quietly, 'I want to go back. Want to go back to Brooklyn'.
'I know you do. I'm sorry.
You miss the house and your friends. What else?'
I don't mean to torment her but to give her room to experience what she is experiencing. I think though I may be tormenting her.
'The park. The playground. The teachers at my school.'
'I know it's hard. And I am sorry. It will get easier'.
Maggie is homesick for the house we lived in. The house is about twice as big as our old one. It is dry and insulated. It has a garage and the girls each have their own room. But I remember homesickness. How it crushes your digestive tract and possibly your lungs as well because breathing is a bit harder. Homesickness is a weighty presence that you must lug with you.When I was travelling a bit for work it would hit me on night three. I wanted home and Joe and the girls when they came along. But as an adult I had tactics and ways to distract myself. I understood the problem and what would solve it. There was even a bit of gladness in knowing my body and mind were grounded enough to feel queasy when in flight. Maggie is seven and homesick.
Alexandra is less overtly sad but she is more grumpy than usual. Stamping her feet and being gleefully uncooperative. I think about how big feelings are. I remember hearing the idea that it is easy to dismiss children's feelings as smaller than adults' feelings because they are smaller than us. How that's wrong as their feelings are every bit as intense as ours. I heard the idea before I had kids and it struck me because I had been in that space of not taking children's emotions seriously. It rang true. My memories of childhood were full of big feelings. Now I think - imagine having the intensity of an adult's emotions in a child's body. With a child's mind not yet trained in scale or scope or perspective. How it must wrack you. I took my girls away from their home. It was more their home than mine because it was the only one they'd had. All the ritual and comfort of home was associated with our little slightly wonky cottage on a road beset with rubbish trucks.
Moving was absolutely the right thing to do. The girls play for hours outside in a new way. M's appetite has grown phenomenally - like she is now a young girl whose body moves as well as her mind. Paekākāriki has quiet streets where a child can live alongside. It has the sea and skies you can see stars in. We have places to play right outside our front and back doors. I dug up one strip of lawn where we'll plant potatoes and beans while the girls played hide and seek. They get to know the good places to hide and the really good places to hide. I get to know the sandy soil and try to figure out if I can tell those kereru apart. Instead of a mess of heavy cables and the houses across the road we see the Paekākāriki hills and the sky. We see the motorway and the railway in the distance. We see close things and faraway things which makes my heart stretch its legs a bit and take a gentle walk around. I am not homesick in the slightest. I bless the bathroom of the old house for failing to have a sound floor and prompting us, in realising the extent of the job, to disclose and sell and move.
'I know it's hard to believe', I say to my sad girl, 'but one day you'll be homesick for this place'.
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