20 July 2009

From apparel to anarchy - fun with web histories

The human mind is such an amazing thing. And I love that search histories give us a way to track a train of thought that can be entertaining, or enlightening, or just embarrassing. (The Onion covered this to great effect some time ago )

This weekend's web history traces how I got from considering what to wear to my brother's wedding to a French anarchist's essay on feminism. Tee hee, so much fun!

Bro and fiancee, aka M&C, are Catholic Workers and they're getting married in October. They are non-violent, prayerful activists; vegan, anti-nuclear, jesus-and-peace-loving anarchists. I'm participating in the ceremony (Egads!), presenting collections during the "offering" portion of the mass. And yes, I'm still an atheist, but blood is thicker than politics, and besides, I still appreciate formal rituals that mark life's major events.

Sister Non-Xtian is doing a post-ceremony wedding bellydance and posted her joy at finding an outfit. Gave me something to consider that hadn't hit me yet - what the heck should I wear? Knowing M&C's lifeview, I'm thinking there's no need to hit Macy's for this event. Hm, but what does one wear to a Catholic anarchists' marriage ritual... I'll ask the internetz! And my Google web history documented my journey.

  • July 18 9:15 pm searched for the bride and groom's webpage - to find their wedding announcement and related history, stories, news of their Catholic Worker House
Hm, Dorothy Day is CW founder...
  • 9:32 pm-image search: Dorothy Day catholic worker - Because what would Dorothy Day wear? (also looked up Emma Goldman, but the thumbnail results showed a rather frumpy woman)
  • 9:59 pm-text search: atheist catholic worker? - Because years ago my brother spoke of his atheist Catholic Worker friend at LACW (which M always said he was going to tell me about the guy sometime, but I don't think he ever did...)
Then something or someone IRL distracted me, so I quit for the night.

Sunday morning, back on it, in between playing with my Superpoke Pet, and messaging niece on facebook (and boy am I self-censoring wall posts; she's only 11!!)

Web search highlights:
  • 9:15 am-image search: women's dress 1920s
  • 11:50 am-image search:anarchist woman - jackpot! Found the pictures womans-militia gif, Nancy_Cunard.jpg, song.jpg. The image "song.jpg" illustrates "Gynocracy Song" by Annie LeBrun - which, loving that title, I save to read later.
I searched for some more fashion, culminating in:
So while my dress problem is not solved, all this searching did lead me to form a plan that pleases me and fits the spirit of M&C's lifestyle and lives - I'm going to shop at the Goodwill, find me a cloche hat, and build my wedding outfit around the hat, using only reused clothing.

Mission sort-of accomplished, I could return to the anarchy. I copied it in W0rd (to reformat margins & shrink font for paper-savings [no, did not read online, because laptops are inconvenient if not absolutely dangerous for bathtub reading]). The essay was from a revised translation by Michael William, with a sometimes convoluted intro by Wolfi Landstreicher.

It did make for a tough read on a lazy Sunday afternoon, hence necessitating the focus and concentration only provided by isolation in a tepid bath. But, wow. Anarchist women are hard core. LeBrun even bagged on Simone de Beauvoir. As I understand it, her core criticism is that, unlike the example of Emma Goldman who was for "women's liberation" as a movement toward *all* persons' liberation, "feminism" (now "neofeminism") is dismissed as merely directly substituting men with privileged women in the patriarchal system. In other words, neofeminists want to take over the man's role in the power structure, as opposed to eliminating that structure altogether to provide for true equality among all peoples. I did find some of her arguments persuasive, especially when she addresses the treatment of prostitutes by some feminists. As stated elsewhere, I'm not a sex worker but I am very supportive of sex worker rights (heck, all workers rights). LeBrun calls out the feminists who dismiss SW voices by treating all SWs as deluded victims.

I haven't found the essay's date of publishing, but it seems to be the 70s (& according to the translator, abortion was still illegal in France at the time of publication; it became provisionally available in '75 and legal in '79).

So hey, go get yourself some anarchy for a change. Next on my reading list "Why Work?" Personally, I'm not interested in abolishing work by way of being an anarchist. I'm a hedonist who doesn't mind earning labor-based wages to my support habits and hobbies. It's just, you know, why do the dishes or clean the litterbox when I could be, uh, educating myself on a new perspective toward work, right?

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