first world problems: i gots ’em

i’m trying to stick to my blog publishing schedule, although i am starting to think that i have a really unrealistic perception of how to best manage my time. well, i guess i’m not “starting” to think that. i’ve actually thought it for years.

there’s kind of a lot going on this month. next wednesday, jared & i are flying out to san francisco for a few days. jared is presenting the research he did over the summer (on the historical impact of hydrology evolution in new england…or something to that effect) at a geophysics conference, & i’m just along for the ride. the hotel room is free & my airfare was half off, so why not? then we’re back in lawrence for three days before flying out to boston for xmas. we’ll be there for nine days. jared’s family still lives in boston, so we’re going to be spending the holiday with them. jared is also pumped about checking out some historical archives & getting a jump on his dissertation research. as one would imagine, the idea of hanging around an archive while jared researches the environmental impact of de-industrialization in new england mill towns thrills me to my very core.

actually, it puts me into a boredom coma. i am honestly not that pumped about any of our upcoming travel plans, though i always tend to dread traveling & then manage to have fun anyway. i just especially hate traveling when it’s cold. if there’s one thing worse than wearing a gazillionty layers, it’s having to manipulate those layers through airport security, down narrow airplane aisles, on to unfamiliar public transportation, & in strange places where i am expected to sleep. i just really prefer being in my own space, preferably wearing pajamas.

but at least we will be back home in time for the new year. i would hate to start the year off in some random city where i don’t actually live.

while all of this is going on, i am still foolishly trying to stick to my regular to-do lists. one thing i try to do every day is solve a logic puzzle or two. i have a strange phobia around developing alzheimer’s (only strange because no one in my extended family has ever had alzheimer’s), so i do a few logic puzzles a day in order to keep my mind sharp & try to exercise neuron pathways. i have no idea if this actually does anything helpful for my risk of alzheimer’s or related diseases, or if this is actually a 31-year-old really needs to worry about, but hey. i started doing picture & chart puzzles in the last few months, as opposed to just sticking to grid puzzles. grid puzzles have become too easy for me. i can knock out a basic grid puzzle in under three minutes. i find the picture/chart puzzles a lot more difficult, & therefore, fun. i really enjoy that moment when you unlock the one clue you need to make all the other clues fall into place. but in the last week or two, i have been working my way through a series of increasingly difficult chart puzzles & they’re kind of ruining my life. i worked on a puzzle for almost three hours today. i solved it, & it honestly only felt like i’d been working on it for about twenty minutes, but…yeah. three hours. i became immediately depressed & self-castigating over all the other “more productive” things i could have done in those three hours, like going to the library, washing the dishes, writing a new chapter of my babysitters club fan fiction…okay, it’s pretty arguable as to whether or not i ever do anything legitimately “productive”. but the point stands.

in other news, i am really frustrated by how many of my facebook friends “like” wikileaks (according to the little “like” icon you can click on the wikileaks facebook profile page). talk about your first world problems, huh? “wah wah, my internet friends like a web profile that represents an organization i find morally & politically dubious. i have feelings about this.”

i just don’t get it. straight up: wikileaks has yet to “leak” anything that is new or interesting information to anyone who has spent five minutes thinking about international politics/foreign policy from outside a naive ideological bubble. all that shit about how there are some rogue forces in pakistan that are not falling in line with the relationship the u.s. wants them to have with both india & the taliban? old news. predator drones targeting foreign enemies even in countries with which the united states is not at war? already knew that. leadership within the middle east not being 100% psyched about iran attempting to develop nuclear weapons? you don’t say. i’m not saying that any of this shit is awesome & gets my seal of approval, for for christ’s sake, people. read a newspaper every now & again & maybe wikileaks will seem a lot less interesting.

but the really weird part is how many so-called radicals are crawling up wikileaks ass & dismissing the possibility that wikileaks editor-in-chief may have committed rape &/or sexual assault (for which he was finally arrested yesterday). a few lefty kids i know seem to have been getting most of their info from lefty news source democracy now, & to hear democracy now tell it, assange had 100% consensual sex with two women & now sweden is trying to prosecute him for rape because he failed to wear a condom during these incidents of consensual sex. when in fact, the situation is that the sex was consensual as long as there was a condom being used, & assange continued to have sex with the women once there was no longer a condom in play, despite their protests, which is rape.

how disgusting & yet unsurprising that lefty folks (including self-proclaimed feminists, including well-known self-proclaimed feminists like naomi wolf) are happy to sacrifice the rights & personhood of women & assault survivors when a leftist golden calf like assange is on the chopping block. somehow, when critical thinking is suspended, it seems like it’s usually women who have to take a backseat to the rights of men, people of color being thrown under the bus for white people, queer people being neglected in favor of straight people, etc. assange & his attorney insist that the rape accusations are “dirty tricks” being used to “silence” wikileaks, & that in fact, accusing prominent radical male activists of sexual impropriety is a tried-&-true method for silencing them.

right. because rape is so incredibly easy to prosecute, it never boomerangs back to set the accuser up for a world of shit, & women are constantly lying about it. i forgot.

or maybe some men of all political stripes, including lefty radicals, have a lot of trouble accepting the sexual agency & basic human rights of their intimate partners, & due to being raised in a world where their male privilege reacts in such toxic ways to an overall rape culture, they rape people. the statistics indicate that one in four women will be victimized by sexual violence during her lifetime. if we understand sexual violence to mean any non-consensual sexual behavior, i am not sure i know ANY women that haven’t experienced sexual violence, & a fair number of men i know have been victimized as well. by the teeny tiny proportion of men who just hate women & go around raping them all the time, right? while all the good upstanding radical men take the fall for it…right?

obviously i don’t know what went down between assange & his accusers because i wasn’t there. but it doesn’t take a professional psychologist to understand that the dude is a megalomaniac with a very fuzzy grasp on appropriate social conduct & safe boundaries. i mean, now that he faces prosecution, he is threatening to unleash his “thermonuclear device” of complete files, no editing, no redaction (which means the identities of his sources will all be game for prosecution, & the names of any spies or other informants who safety is the responsibility of the u.s. government will be public knowledge & ripe for violent reprisal). that sounds a lot like blackmail to me–blackmail that does not bother to differentiate between “friend” & “enemy”. it doesn’t seem like such a leap to me that a dude who thinks that way might also think, “she consented to sex with a condom. why not sex WITHOUT a condom?” the survivors are also coming forth with stories about him doing things like having non-consensual sex with them while they are asleep. sound familiar? sound like maybe…i don’t know…every supposedly radical dude out there who can’t wrap his mind around the fact that he’s not actually entitled to another person’s body just because she’s sleeping nearby?

we’ll see how this all plays out, i guess, but i am definitely disappointed by my radical friends who are naive enough to be impressed by wikileaks in the first place, & willfully blind to the seriousness of the rape accusations in the second.

ps–i’ve had this blog for a little over a year now. & i’ve had about 27,000 views in that time. not bad!

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

3 thoughts on “first world problems: i gots ’em

  1. Hey there, I wish I had time to write a proper response to this, but I don’t really. I just wanted to say that while I agree there’s been a lot of really shit stuff said in regards to the rape charges against Julian Assange, I really disagree with your dismissal of WikiLeaks as a whole. I think Mark Fisher ( sums up the fascination with WikiLeaks quite well: “…surely what we can see here – and something which those who say that the leaks only tell us what we already know have not grasped – is a new level of symbolic crisis. The authoritarian big Other has always relied upon maintaining a clear difference between off-the-record utterances and official proclamations, but it is precisely this distinction which WikiLeaks (and its successors) threaten to abolish.” We all ‘know’ that the world is run by corrupt horrible people who wield power through violence and destruction, and yet that knowledge doesn’t seem to empower us, most of the time, to do anything to change the way things are; there’s a gap between ‘knowing things’ about how the world works (in the sense that Leftists/radicals generally ‘know things’) and there being a genuinely popular desire for people to be made accountable for the ‘known things’. WikiLeaks is exciting because it seems to have opened a space where, potentially, that popular desire or demand could coalesce. I mean, I know it remains to be seen whether anything actually happen, maybe it will take successive waves of this kind of thing to have any effect, but I think that’s why people are so interested in WikiLeaks. Now, I’ll have to go read up on the ‘symbolic order’ so I can actually get my head around this properly…

    Again though, I totally agree that the instant assumption that there’s a conspiracy around Assange and that the women accusing him of rape are liars/covert operators in the pay of the CIA etc is crazy, sexist and stupid. The fact is that we don’t know what happened. But the various calls for Assange’s head from pundits in the US (and Australia) are pretty worrying, too.

    1. i tried to follow the link you offered, but i couldn’t find the post(s) you were referring to, & what i did find was epic text blocks of doom full of anarcho buzzwords that i couldn’t being myself to scan for too long. sorry, dude.

      on facebook, one of my friends responding to this said that he thinks probably the most interesting aspect of the whole wikileaks issue is how it’s all going to shake out in terms of changes to governance in the digital age, when it’s a lot easier to slip state secrets to someone who has the ability to disseminate them to large numbers of people. i agree with that…which is not to say that i would call this a “new level of symbolic crisis”. i think that’s a tad hyperbolic. i also think it’s hyperbolic to suggest that “big other” (for serious?) “relies upon the difference between off-the-record utterances & official proclamations”. i mean, obvs a lot of what governments get up to is not shared in explicit detail with the people being governed, for reasons both arguably nefarious & not. yet, much of what the government gets up to manages to become known one way or another eventually. wikileaks is not breaking any ground in that respect, other than using a dedicated website to disseminate information that they specifically being given for the purposes of “embarrassing imperialist nations” or whatever their mission statement is today. somehow people found out about shit like COINTELPRO without julian assange’s assistance.

      which means that i guess i think that dude’s argument, such as it is, is another radical fantasy attempt to cast assange as neo fighting back against the matrix & i’m not buying it. but to each their own, i guess. the idea of wikileaks paving the way for any kind of accountability whatsoever, considering their embarrassing lack of it even within their own organization, is almost laughable to me. & it also scares me that anyone would see them as a potential guiding light of any sort. i guess i’m in the minority in radical circles though, with that opinion. i just don’t think an organization that threatens to release documents that include the names of their own informers if their leader is prosecuted on rape charges really has any stones to cast in the accountability department.

      oh, & what i meant by “knowing” much of what was in the cables, i meant stuff like “diplomats sometimes don’t like each other” & “sometimes civilians are killed during wars”. do i “know” that the world is run by corrupt horrible people who wield power through violence & destruction? i probably would have agreed that i did know that back when i was like 21. nowadays…i have less faith in humanity & so am not convinced that the people who “run the world” are really all that different from anyone else. but that’s the cynic in me (who controls about 90% of all of my thoughts & behavior) speaking, i guess.

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