Hello. My name is Bix.

Ongoing notes from a mediocre life.

So what’s behind the “historic” defense? “Neighborhood change can be frightening to longtime residents,” CityLab’s Laura Bliss writes. But saying “I find change scary” isn’t likely to get you very far in city halls. Instead, pleading the cause of historic preservation can become a way for residents to oppose things like new bus lanes or housing, without having to resort to self-serving arguments for protecting parking spots or cherished views. Ultimately, people too often invoke history to defend a very narrow interpretation of it: their own recent memory of a place.

From CityLab Daily: Don’t Say Scooters Destroy ‘Historic Character’ by Andrew Small

#Cities #UrbanPlanning #Highlights #August2019

Not content with founding Autism Speaks, known for its history of eliminationist rhetoric, Bob Wright now wants a president who's already established concentration camps and wants to reestablish mental institutions to go all Minority Report on the mentally ill.

#Fascism #MentalHealth #Politics #August2019

I find this frustrating. It's true that Trump's fascism, racism, and sadism aren't themselves mental illness or due to mental illness, just as Nick Starr-Street's autism wasn't a shield for his racism. However, that doesn't preclude mental illness, disability, or impairment being at issue.

Nor is it ableist to talk about this.

I've routinely self-disqualified for any job that involves driving a forklift, because my particular combination of impairments means that inevitably I would injure, maim, or kill someone. Am I being ableist against myself, or weighing the real-world consequences of placing the health, lives, and well-being of other people in the hands of my impairments?

When it comes to the office of President of the United States, a job with more power over the health, lives, and well-being of other people (not to mention the entire planet) than any other, it would be irresponsible not to consider illness, disability, or impairment.

Trump can be fascist, racist, sadistic, and mentally ill.

There's a danger of painting with too broad a brush, to be sure, but we insult ourselves if we say there's no way to talk about the mental health of the President of the United States without further stigmatizing mental illness. In fact, if what's at issue is undiagnosed or diagnosed-but-untreated mental illness, everyone's silence does no one any good, including Trump.

Mental illness doesn't come with a free pass from all responsibility to those around you, especially if you're President of the United States.

#MentalHealth #Politics #August2019

The actual psychic toll on our mental health is crippling. The lost sleep, the grinding anxiety, the escalating fears don’t just represent squandered time. They start to chip away at your health and at your soul. The healthy response would be to tune it out altogether, but since actual people are actually suffering the brutal consequences, we cannot. And so here we are back in the narcissist’s loop, fueling his need to be at the center because, well, there he is at the center.

From The Demoralizing Reality of Life Under Trump by Dahlia Lithwick

#Fascism #MentalHealth #Politics #Highlights #August2019

“Oregon has a history of white supremacy. We were born from a — as a white homeland. That’s how Oregon got started. And so, we have our own homegrown white supremacists. But when we have people on a national stage encouraging people to come and create violence in our community, that’s when the community must stand up and make sure that we draw a line in the sand and say no way. Again, the difference this time between some of the other protests we had is that there were clear lines of command, who was in charge, who was making decisions about who would move where, and there were also enough law enforcement and community members who were willing to deescalate situations as they arose. And that was one of the things that, really, I was thrilled about. And so, it is unhelpful to have the president or anybody else encouraging people, mislabeling antifa as the problem, when the problem is really white supremacists trying to take over our streets.”

From Portland Rejects Proud Boys & Other Ultra-Right Groups as Trump Tries to Criminalize Antifa by Democracy Now!

#Fascism #History #Portland #Protest #Race #Highlights #August2019

As near as I can tell, the argument here is that tradition and upbringing and I guess probably just plain being old is an iron-clad defense of hating fairness, equality, “lesser” people, and believing the presence of those people is the same as war?

#Nonsense #August2019

Trump shouldn’t be living rent-free in progressives’ heads any more than he should be living rent free in the White House. When there’s so much work to be done, cooking up schemes to “drive Trump crazy” doesn’t seem like a great use of energy. What will we do with a Trump that has been driven “crazy” (to use the kind of mental-illness-stigmatizing language that he’s into)? Will we be able to tell? Will that protect immigrants? Raise wages? Save the environment? Give people health care? Secure reproductive rights? Register voters? Stop fascism, racism, misogyny? Build out the field teams that will help a Democratic campaign actually win?

From Como Cocinar Al Pulpo Trump by David Iscoe

#Politics #Highlights #August2019

Mei Mei, the Oregon Zoo’s red panda, pauses during a Wednesday afternoon snack to try to lick some stray food from her nose.

#Photos #August2019

Because I'm nothing if not completely incapable of making good self-care decisions when I am having another of my crises of identity, tonight I rewatched Eighth Grade, and managed somehow to come out the other side more or less psychologically intact.

When I previously wrote about the film's devastating question (an analysis of my own life which I stand behind despite a family member's disavowal), I wrote: “There’s a disconnect between how [Kayla] functions and how the world around her functions that just doesn’t seem to me to be a slice-of-life 'coming of age' story.”

The film never addresses the possibility that she might need help, but I don't know how else to read her monologue when she records her final YouTube video.

It’s just, like, I’m really, like, nervous all the time, and, like, I could be doing nothing and I’m just nervous. It’s like, um, it’s like I’m waiting in line for, like, a roller coaster and that stupid, like, butterflies in your stomach feeling you get. Like, I get that all the time, and I never get the feeling of after you ride the roller coaster, and I try really hard not to feel that way, um, but, I don’t know. I just can’t.

I've still no particular opinion as to whether Kayla is undergoing the effects of undiagnosed autism, anxiety, or some other condition, but I'm also still incapable of seeing anything other than Kayla being at sea in a way that's more challenging than simply putting herself out there to make new friends based on herself rather than on pretense or artifice.

Neither before or after watching Eighth Grade did I really do much in the way of reading about it, to see how much of this is text, subtext, or headcanon. It turns out that Bo Burnham “did not set out to write a movie about eighth grade” but “about anxiety”, which “makes me feel like a terrified thirteen-year-old”.

It's interesting that one therapist has suggested that the fact the word “anxiety” never comes up at all in the film could work both to its, and the audience's, advantage.

But even though Burnham considers this to be a story about anxiety, the word never comes up in the movie, leaving that assessment up to the viewer — a practice in film and TV that “can be really positive,” Menasco said. “A diagnosis is not as significant or as important as the collection of symptoms, and I think that [the symptoms] are the things that people can relate to.”

I'm wondering, though, if that's true, or, rather, if it's true only if the film leads to a real self-interrogation. Are people who should be seeking a diagnosis identifying with Kayla and then following the film's lead of not seeking help (something noted by two psychologists), or are they seeing in the film an unaddressed concern that they decide will not be left unaddressed in their own lives?

One psychiatrist suggested for Kayla a potential diagnosis of social anxiety disorder or panic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder, and I admit that as I've started looking for people talking about the film in this way I am somewhat surprised that I've yet to find any serious discussion of the possibility that Kayla might be autistic. Many of these anxiety characteristics are present in autistics, and there's some indication that Kayla practices scripts for social interaction and often seems reluctant to make eye contact, both common if not universal autistic traits.

Every bit of the discussion appears to be about anxiety, and I can't help but wonder if that's solely because Burnham himself made it clear that anxiety was what he was writing about. That's fair, so far as it goes, but I think the text of the film itself, absent outside authorial weigh-in, allows for more than that.

All of which is a long-winded way of trying to write myself to a sort of recovery by putting the film back at arm's length. When I said I was more or less psychologically intact after the rewatch, I meant it. I guess I had to deal, a bit, with the less.

Note: Links to entires on my previous blog will up updated to entries here on Write House once WriteFreely has WordPress imports.

#Autism #Anxiety #MentalHealth #Movies #PopCulture #August2019

The coalition’s goal of inclusion, combined with the strategies commonly associated with “antifa,” gave the groups a unique toolkit that allowed the coalition to build bridges and increase the number of participants. The success of this method could be a game changer for communities looking to deal with similar far-right threats.

From Portland Anti-Fascist Coalition Shows Us How We Can Defeat the Far Right by Shane Burley

#Fascism #Portland #Protest #Highlights #August2019