The temperature here is set to reach a hundred degrees by the end of the week, and we’re the lucky ones. In some parts of the country, it’s too hot for airplanes to fly. On days like this my dad used to throw us in the truck and head out to the lake, his scratched-up driftboat in the bed and us with our thighs stuck to the hot vinyl seats in the front. I remember being so small, kneeling in the curved belly of the boat while my father rowed, one eye on the sky for July thunderstorms. “Sit still, mae-mae,” he’d remind me. “Don’t rock the boat.” Continue reading
Three quarters of my family can make anything grow, anywhere. And then there’s me.
I’m not actually a good person.
I know this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who really knows me, but it sneaks up on me sometimes. And it’s a particular kind of bad person that I am, and it’s all at odds with my image of myself as someone who’d lay down their life for a friend, who has your back in a fight (physical, verbal, or metaphorical), who’d absolutely punch someone who called you a racial slur or said something shitty about your body, and who’d go out of their way to correct more general stuff that people say that contributes to the stuff I really hate about society. You know, like calling out misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, reminding people that humor should punch up instead of down…
But I’m not always that person. I’m also vindictive and petty AF and there are days I just have to own it and go surfing through Facebook for my schadenfriends.
Yeah, schadenfriends. People I personally know or have known whose misfortune delights me. People I know well enough to have access to entire archives of online photos, posts, old livejournals. I like to think I have good reasons for hating them.
Really, though, I’m keeping them around for the endorphin rush I get from watching them suffer.
The ex who kept a friend so stoned for six solid months that he lost his job, who undermined him at every turn and told him he wasn’t good at doing things so she’d do it for him, under the guise of martyrdom. The ex who did, in fact, end up fucking him. The ex who was a six-foot tall redhead when I dated her… and who now looks like somebody’s Nonna, grey and round with square jowls. She’s 50 years old and I think she still delivers pizza (and pot). Hi, baby, I upgraded but damn that’s a bad picture Tim tagged you in!
The ex-friend who I gently tried for years to convince that LGBTQ folks were people too, who should probably be allowed to get married, and that if she was as good a friend to them as she thought she was she’d support that too? The one who used to be a ballerina, who was lifting weights and running with me? Well, since she joined this hate enforcement group working to legislate against the rights of my family and friends God has been literally striking her down. Still single, still overweight (which, you know, my body positivity ends with the people I hate and honestly I think maybe I’m still ok with their bodies but I enjoy watching them be put down by society in all the ways you can be put down?), now wheelchair bound for no medical reason the doctors can find. God is striking you down honey. You’re that religious, learn to read a fucking sign.
Not everyone has what it takes to be a schadenfriend. Some people pretty much exist to be blocked. Nazis. Nazis are boring. MRAs are boring. There’s no real pleasure to be had listening to the tickertape of their thoughts. Even their misfortunes are boring. No, it takes a special something to elevate yourself to schadenfriend.
- Be terrible.
- Make me think you’re not terrible
- Suffer misfortune
OK, maybe it’s not really complicated.
I’m pretty good at real life revenge. I’ve peed on cars, I’ve written shady recommendations, and I’ve definitely gone behind a boss’ back to warn an organization that he was courting about him.
But it’s not like the satisfaction that you get when you feel like the universe is taking revenge for you. I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning. It smells like justice and just for a moment, just for that one, shining glittering moment as I make sure I’m not clicking “like” on that shitty photo they’re tagged in… I can believe that the world has balance and that sometimes the good guys really do win.
I think we all need that.
Of all the tone-policing arguments that have come out of the dozen or so groups I’ve been shunted into since the election, the one that currently impresses me the least is “you won’t win anyone to your side by breaking windows and blocking streets.” There also seems to be some sort of delusion that movements must court and win the favor of moderate white liberals in order to prevail, and that anyone who refuses to use honeyed words and pleas is “hurting the movement.”
Look, if being polite to the oppressor made them see you as human, take your side, and award you rights, Gone with the Wind would have ended with Scarlett selling all those fancy dresses so that she could make sure to have the right mule-to-acreage ratio for Mammy and Pork and Prissy and Big Sam. Continue reading
Whoa. When I put together that post – which, let’s be honest, the original intended audience was like ten very earnest white ladies who occasionally buy me mimosas and pumpkin spice lattes – I had no idea what was about to happen. Let’s just say a) I’m a little blown away; b) my blog stats are 100% fucked forever; and c) I’ve had plenty of opportunities to reflect on what I left out, why I left it out, and exactly how many people are ready to crawl up in someone’s DMs and lambaste them for leaving nuance out of a 101-level post. So let’s grit our teeth and dive back in at a more nuanced level. For those of you who are just getting up to speed here, some of this stuff may be frustrating or not make a lot of sense yet, but I can just about guarantee you an AHA! moment with all of it at some point in the future. I’m still focusing on the able-bodied white ladies, because that’s the most significant data sampling I have, (plus, like, I am one?) so bear with me. You’re smart enough to extrapolate these lessons to your particular situation, or to leverage them for the well-meaning white ladies in your life. Comments will remain on until the first dude pops up and makes a damn fool of himself (non-fool dudes, you are of course welcome). Continue reading
I wrote this for a specific group, but I’ve been asked to share it. A lot of folks are just waking up to activism and are heading into intersectional feminist spaces with some trepidation. Hopefully this can help keep you on track. I’ve already been reminded that I missed code-switching, appropriation (which is a whole post, frankly, but TL;dr if a living group exists that can be mocked for the thing you think is cool and that you want to do, don’t), and a few other things. I’ll try to pick those up at a later date, but in the meantime this primer will help you get your feet wet without making a damn fool of yourself. Much. It’s all lessons I learned the hard way, so do better than me and remember we’re all works in progress.) Continue reading