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59. “How to Rent a Negro,” damali ayo

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Interesting read. I’ve definitely seen many of these practices, and I’m sure I’ve participated in a few rentals myself.

damali ayo gave a presentation at my school once. She was very funny, but she promised to kick our asses and mine was left unkicked. I like “diversity lectures” that don’t pull punches.

By the way, when I was talking to her after the event, she made sure to mention that several of her models for her new organic, sliding-scale clothing line were gender queer. I was about a year into my transition at that time and things were rocky. I wish I asked to touch her hair after that because dang I reduced to my body, the Other.

I brought her guide of things you can do to end racism home and put a copy in my bathroom, which had a chair in it for some reason, so there was apparently a lot of thinking happening in there. One of my roommates come out all outraged, holding the guide and asking why people were always concerned about making black people equal and why wasn’t anyone worried about how people of Swedish decent, like him, faced prejudice.

And then I put my righteous anger where it belonged.

Page count: 191
Page total: 23,620

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57. “The Lost City of Z,” David Grann

August 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Too sleepy to say much now. I learned some cool, and some horrifying things. Fawcett was the guy upon whom the explorer in “Up” was based! I figured that one out myself.

This was the first book I did Twitter updates for, since it was an e-book and I was, obviously, on my computer while reading it. Fleshing out my Twitterings…

I’m reading “The Lost City of Z” and, damn, I have absolutely no interest in hiking into a rainforest.

“If a member of the party fell overboard, he could not grab onto the raft without capsizing it. The only honorable course was to drown” (97). Fuck honor, yo.

Are you kidding?: When being shot at with seven-foot arrows, Fawcett and his team PLAYED THE ACCORDION to show they had no violent intent (128). (You know, besides the colonial imperialism.)

UH. It’s apparently really common for maggots to burrow into wounds, or for them to be injected when you are bitten by the bottle fly. This is what lead me to intitially say that I would never go into the fucking rain forest. But the Ecojas, a native group in the Amazon, make a high-pitched sound that makes the maggots in their wounds raise heads out of their skin so they can pluck ’em out (133). That is really cool, but so horrifying that I can’t even think about it any more.

If I were so weak from malnutrition and exhaustion that I had to crawl? No way anyone would convince me to crawl /into/ the jungle. (148). Ornella, a Spanish explorer, somehow convinced them to do so. And when he died, he was buried on the banks of the Amazon so “the brown waters that had so long possessed his mind…possessed his body” (149).

Fawcett came out of the rain forest to discover WWI was underway. He went to fight, where a fellow soldier remarked to him that cannibalism “at least provides a reasonable motive for killing, which is more than you can say for civilized warfare.” I’m right with him.

I’ll be honest, I don’t understand how to can use carbon dating to figure out when a rock structure was built. It is made out of old rocks?

One of Grann’s guides on Fawcett: “This colonel goes to many lengths to hide something that no one has ever found” (191). Cracked me up.

Explorer John Whitehead was on Dyott’s search for Fawcett’s remains. Their search ended when they were surrounded by a native group and had to slip away down the river, throwing food and equipment overboard. Whitehead milked his fame in an ad for Nujol laxative: “No matter what important equipment I have to discard… I will take plenty of Nujol (229).” If nothing else shows how exploration and mapping changed, that’s it.

Page count: 277 (it’s 325 with the full notes, which I didn’t read)
Page total: 23,429