Newt In A Tea Cup

{March 27, 2007}   What were you thinking?

It’s amazing all the static, white noise that presses against our ears, envelops our head in cotton so we can’t hear anything clearly any more. Do we sometimes feel that everything we know might be wrong? Of course. But worse than that is the strength of other people’s simultaneous voices; real and imagined. We write scripts to save time, thinking, help us slip along in peace. The answers don’t matter but the adherence to the script does – “Good morning” “Nice weather today” “How are you” “I like your top” “How are your family doing?” “Did you see her outfit?” “How’s work going?” “What do you expect?” “That’s life” “Be safe” ”
Be safe”
“Be safe”
“Should have known better”

Watch this video at Christi Nielsen. This is the fear, the void. This is what we all hear at some point. Sometimes less, sometimes more. But it’s there. And it’s not going away.


Grace says:

Surely that’s something that should be said to men more so than women (should be)…? Be safe, be responsible for your actions (for your penis did not make you do it), be a representation of safety for the people, for the women, that you are close to, be not a thing to fear and be not a perpetuation of this ‘unsafe’ society in which some women are scared and others are naive…

Not “be safe…” dont go out alone, don’t dress the way you want to, don’t allow yourself to feel sexy or attractive, it is not safe.

Sorry if I missed the point of your post tcup! I thought that video was very powerful, especially as it was women’s voices making those judgements – just shows how entrenched the fault of victims is in society’s view of sexual violence (although, rarely the case for other violence, unless it’s domestic…)

tcupnewt says:

That’s my point though I’ve been working on little sleep and time so it may be fuzzy.

It’s said so much and really what’s the point of saying it in the first place? Nothing. It’s just a socially rehearsed script as if somehow we can magically “be safe” and make the evil go away. It’s like my friend and I were saying the other day – her boyfriend doesn’t want her walking home alone when it’s dark. He wants to come with her. To which I scoffed – “what’s he going to do – use his balls as a protective shield?” Our safety is often out of our control but by rehearsing those statements to each other we delude each other that somehow we can control whether we are safe.

I love your spin on “be safe” addressed to men’s behaviour. This is the real message because men can control whether they are safe towards other people unlike the victims.

Very powerful video – and I liked your take on the ‘white noise’ newt. The static that short-circuits us from fully functioning. On a side note when you actually step into the void, it isn’t silent as people may think but noisy – the difference is that it isn’t the disabling ‘white noise’ of the infernal chatter of the script.

it would be better if we as men were told not to do things that generally fuck over women every time we step outside the door (mind you the generalised ‘they’ are dong more fucking up and it would be even more use to find a way to stop that…big job). i don’t suppose it would change much, but it would begin to hammer home that the safety of others is everyone’s responsibility and the responsibility for rape is only men’s. but saying it is all very well – translating it into action is harder. it’s more about the ‘do no harm’ principle. i wish we were encouraged more actively to think about what we did today to make anything better. the answers would be pretty embarassing in my personal case. but only by having it going on in your head all the time will we improve patriarchy is going on all the time in our heads a la white noise, so maybe we need some positive noise to counter it. or touch the void with sparkle.

tcupnewt says:

simplywondered- I completely agree. A lot of this comes down to personal responsibility, and where this should be appropriated. Action is the hardest part of this. I’ll admit that I still struggle with many issues and that I think we all collectively have a long way to go. This is why I believe that the younger generations are the key to solving this issue – for example I remember going to see a rather old play “Gigi” because a friend was in it. Some of the jokes left me and several of my friends gasping, open mouthed in shock and horror as the elderly audience thought it the best thing since sliced bread. Sensibilities do change but it takes a concious effort to clear the way.
I guess it’s true that we can’t always focus on this from one perspective or another. I know it has certainly sent me very, very emotionally depressed. But then, it’s important to realise that every victory, however small, is important and positive. I mean, hey! I can vote! Consider worldwide and historically- that’s a huge thing!

Our voices, the very act of raising them, is the positive noise. I think that there is a momentum starting despite the backlash.

wouldn’t get too excited by voting, though… i have now taken to putting ‘none of the above’ on the last few ballot papers – i refuse to vote labour any longer after the war in iraq and we have no left-wing candidates or even a green. so the most positive statement i can make is to spoil my paper. and that pisses me off enormously because my grandfather was a pitman and as his father was lodge chairman (early trade union shop steward – approximately) he passed his deputy’s exam and was never promoted. couldn’t have a union man – or his son – in that club. tho as a socialist, he would have deplored the war and hated blair with a passion so it doesn’t feel like a betrayal; i just think we deserve a bit better.

tcupnewt says:

Yeah… I, too, remain completely undecided. All the parties seem to be the same minus one or two altercations in their promises; which they will, of course, never keep. So whilst I look forward to my first ballot I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. I guess the vote is more symbolic really, as the politicians seem to be hell-bent on ignoring public accountability. But in this quandary we are all equally screwed at least; men and women.

vote tory and at least they’ll make sure that of the people fucked over in this country the women will have it worst…
i am of course utterly biased – well what do you expect from a ‘tory-hating arch-feminist’? (at least they were half-right…)

tcupnewt says:

“arch-feminist”?! “Arch”?! My goodness that’s impressive! How many kittens did you kill to get that title?

ahem: i fear it was the other half that was the correct bit; ah well!

tcupnewt says:

Yes, but all that denotes is that you aren’t brain dead. 😛

tcupnewt says:

Me? Not really. I let all the big strong menz do the hard thinking stuff for me.

You do it in the nigh. Kristel Lesly.

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