I originally meant to use this as a diary of life-writing, poetry and (daily) politics. I would make entries spontaneously over the day. And then publish the whole after day was done. Let’s see if I can go through with it at least for today …
Although promised mushy snow, ice pellets and rain (and the sky was certainly dreary enough at 2 in the afternoon), this morning I loved the winter light, and like yesterday (when Caroline, Yvette & I shopped away, successfully, ate at Lost Dog, and my legs did not give out), I felt happy. I read away most of today, and have a faith Edward Byrne’s photography of “Dune, Late Winter” looks like what I might see were I to take a wander by the Potomac:
I write to make for balance: all these pussycat pictures have made me forget to show how women draw puppydogs differently from men too: one at mid-March, Maira Kalman’s Canine Couture on the cover of this week’s issue of the New Yorker reveals how right Margaret Doody was to argue that women’s poetry in history often focuses on small vulnerable animals because they have identified with them:
The woman on the bench and the woman by the tree are not distinguishable from the dogs they watch over. The interpersonal relationships are fun too; last year there was a similar picture of dogs wrapped up against the snow by Ana Paul, who did the anniversary issue picture with a woman: too.
Not that life has not had its little irritants today.
I had to go go the post-office, the pet store and the DMV today (to turn in old license plates). My new car, a Prius C, thinks it’s smarter than me: it has no less than several boards of of computer programs. It was too hot in the car some time last week. The booklet of instructions is of course hopeless. Nothing under “heat” — instructions are under an arcane system of engineer thought. I managed to put heat off or down. But this morning I still couldn’t get it back to make heat – this had been going on for 4 days!!! with the cold though, my hands turned up chilblains on me. There am I frantically pushing buttons and finally heat returns. The GPS is great only how to get from “address” to the keyboard another mystery hitting buttons will not help. Life’s little irritants … These computerized boards are real barrier for me.
But not all that grated was trivia. I was so relieved when the pair who raped the Steubenville girl were convicted. The unnamed young girl attacked gang-raped, humiliated — pissed on — the video put on Net as an achievement to be triumphantly laughed with, and (most unexpectedly by me after two summers when two rapes went unpunished, a third the parents were fined for bringing suit over), the boys actually found guilty, actually asked to serve time in jail. Held responsible for their behavior and this is how it’s reported.
I had watched Zerlina Maxwell shouted down on Fox News for saying that men should be held responsible for raping women and taught it’s wrong; an intoxicated girl is not an automatic target, 80% of rape is done by women known to the girl and if she tried to defend herself with a gun, she’d find herself booked for capital punishment.
Finally, There was something really curious or odd and unexplained to me about the video and images of the boys’ hideous behavior that are said to have gone “viral” on the Net: unless they came with explanations, they would not have struck me as anything horrifying. The image of the boys holding this passed-out girl by the arms as she lays on the floor is not at easy to “read” or understand. If I had not been told what it was I would not have recognized it for what it is. As shown on the Net it comes out fuzzily too. The other photos or brief YouTubes of the young men talking or laughing are also not clear. They seem to be jeering but it’s not clear at what.
Amy Goodman interviewed Alexandria Goddard, the original blogger who was responsible for grabbing the videos and tweets and photos before they were taken down by the young men and the school authorities. Well it was like pulling teeth to get Ooddard to express the simplest views and all Goddard’s replies were of the one sentence variety. Asked what she thought of the coniction, Goddard said they boys committed a crime and the law is supposed to punish crimes. She would say nothing more. She had her lawyer with her; it seems the boys and others in the town tried to sue her for defamation of character in order to defame her character and destroy the supposed power of what she had put on the Net. But I can’t see any power in the images unless they were accompanied by strong clear talk. Her lawyer too spoke briefly and when asked to discuss any parts of the case, he’d say things that “what was the question?” then answer it in the narrowest way.
So why did this set of images have this impact? it is so rare for a rape case to reach a conviction against the rapists.