Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dazzle Me

This is a photo of Coco Fusco, a performance artist/writer/professor, who did a lunchtime presentation yesterday for the Photography and Memory Workshop that LW organizes.
In her current project she is exploring the reality of women in the military who become interrogators of prisoners of war in places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. She is trying to understand and raise awareness of how women in the military are trained to carry out the kinds of torture they do. Fusco did a slide show of illustrations of the specific tortures that are taught, and showed a bit of film footage of her and seven other colleagues who agreed to experience a simulated interrogation at a U.S. training facility for soldiers in Pennsylvania. The seven women were put through the same training that soliders experience when they are being taught how to survive as prisoners of war. Her belief is that our government and the American people are not outraged enough about the torture being done in the name of the so-called "War on Terror" and the Bush administration. She was extremely provocative, the topic was painfully heavy, and the discussion was honest, challenging, and wide-ranging. I questioned her on why she admitted to being surprised that women could commit such acts of torture and violence, especially when there are so many cases of mothers who abuse their children in ways that could clearly fall into the category of torture. I added further that women who commit these crimes against children are usually repeating what happened to them, in the absence of having healed themselves from such atrocities perpetrated by their own mothers and fathers. She said she did not want to use this theory to explain what was happening, that this was too "simple," put women in the role of victims, and that these female soldiers were carrying out a duty, an order, not unconsciously compulsively repeating what was done to them, a la Alice Miller. She said most men and women go into the military for a j-o-b, not because they want to kill or torture. I would counter that anyone who chooses the military for a job is on some level aware that killing might be a part of it, and on some level is agreeing to do that. Men too suffer childhood abuse, and perhaps there is a part of those male survivors who again, unhealed, are not averse to passing on the violence, either through the military service, or in their own families. Violence is violence.
On to happier matters. Patti came over this morning and M & M and I had coffee with her. Then Bindi and I went over to visit Annette, and we sat outside in the sun for a while. It was a glorious cool warmish day. Then off to the post office to return a bunch of clothes from Coldwater Creek. The fabrics were gross. They used to have almost all their garments made from high quality cotton, now a lot of it is acrylic, polyester, spandex, etc. Yuk. The post office closed at 1pm, but they let me in at 1:05, for which I was very thankful. Then we went over to the Guilford Food shop and got some the marrow bones that Bindi likes to chew on, and I was seduced by some rose plants they had just gotten in from Pinchbeck's down the road. I bought a lavender rose bush, and hope that the fragrance will be as strong as other lavender rose blooms I have smelled. Smelt? Then across the street to Paws on the Green to look around. Ended up buying some Innova cat food, and yet another conversation about pet foods.
Off then to the Madison Flower and Garden Center to see what they had to offer. I asked them how their prices compared with the now defunct Fonicello's Garden Center, but a young man working there said they were more expensive but try to make up for it with customer service. I said, "Great! You got any coffee?" He said "No, but how about a hug?" We were outside, it was said very sweetly, others were around, so I said "Sure!" and we exchanged a quick friendly embrace. I thought it was kind of a hippie guy thing to do, and kind of nice. I didn't buy anything. Got a sandwich from Subway, then dropped into Agway where a Merrick pet food rep was giving out samples to the doggies. Bindi had a bit of Australian sausage which she liked very much. Ok, the pet food discussion again. Turns out Science Diet (Hills) is owned by Colgate! And the reason all the vets carry it is that Hills sponsors lots of vet conferences, gives scholarship money to veterinary schools, and offers many incentives for vets to carry their products. And that many vets are not taught nutrition in medical schools, not unlike people docs.
Been taking the trazedone to sleep, and it seems at least to be giving a bit more REM sleep, cause I've been having intense dreams. Still not waking up feeling any more refreshed tho.
Signed up for the "white women's" gospel choir again, six weeks starting April 16. I'll miss one rehearsal cause I'll be away, but it was such fun last year.
Tommaso brought me and Bindi a bottle of Origins dog shampoo cause he was in the shop and saw it and said he just had to get it. It smells of lavender which is such a clean fresh sent.
Hey, my clivia that I thought might be yellow, actually is, and is about to bloom! Yellow ones are not common at all, so it is very exciting. It is a baby plant from my friend Paula, which has grown into a big plant. The secret to getting them bloom which M has taught me, is to keep them outside in the fall until just before the first frost. That sets the blooms.
Interesting message on my cell phone the other day. A bone marrow donor bank in California reached me looking for my friend Isa, as her bone marrow might be a possible match for a patient. Isa had signed up with the bank because apparently some Latina blood or marrow, I'm not sure which, is hard to come by. And she gave the bank my info as a contact person. Well, Isa is in Spain, so I called her there, reached her, and hopefully they will hook up.
The Judith Butler dvd came in, "Philosophical Encounters of the Third Kind." Haven't watched it yet. Took Mihaela and Adam out for ice cream yesterday. It's Adam's first time in the U.S. He wants to see the ocean so I hope to get them out here next Friday and go to Hammonassett beach with the doggie.


kim said...

Smelled. not smelt. :-)

kim said...

do you think anyone really wakes up rested?

I know I get plenty of REM sleep - evidenced by my many elaborate dreams - but I never feel well rested. At best sometimes I don't feel restless, like I can't sleep any longer, when I wake, but that's not really the same.