We [Fraction and his wife, Kelly Sue DeConnick] were pregnant at the time, and while I was out there I started to realize that if I had a daughter, there would come a day when I would have to apologize to her for my profession. I would have to apologize for the way it treats and speaks to women readers, and the way it treats its female characters.
I knew that if we had a daughter, because I know my wife and I know the kind of girl she wants to raise and I know the kind of girl I want to raise, she was going to look at what I did for a living and want to know how the fuck I could stomach it. How could I sell her out like that?” Fraction continued. “That conversation is still coming, and I’m bracing for it in the way that some dads brace for their daughter’s first date or boyfriend. I became acutely aware that I had sort of done that thing that lots of privileged hetero cisgendered white dudes do. ‘I’m cool with women, and that’s enough.’ It’s not enough. It’s embarrassing to say, because we somehow have attached shame to learning and evolving our opinions, culturally, but I became aware that there was a deficiency of and to women in my work, and all I could do at that moment was take care of my side of the street.
Tower of David: the World’s Tallest Slum | Via
The Tower of David is an abandoned unfinished skyscraper in the center of Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela, that is now home to more than 3,000 squatters, who have turned the 45-story skyscraper into the world’s tallest slum.
Construction of the building, originally called “Centro Financiero Confinanzas” and nicknamed the “Tower of David”, after its developer, David Brillembourg, was started in 1990 and was to become a symbol of Caracas’ bright financial future. It is the third highest skyscraper in the country. But a banking crisis brought those plans to an abrupt halt in 1994. The government took control over the building and construction was never completed. The building has no elevators, no installed electricity or running water, no balcony railing and windows and even walls in many places.
In 2007, a group of squatters took over the building, and it quickly gained notoriety as a hotbed of crime and drugs. Despite this, residents have managed to build a comfortable and self sustaining community complete with basic utility services such as electricity and water that reaches all the way up to the 22nd floor. Lifts being absent, residents can use motorcycles to travel up and down the first 10 floors, but must use the stairs for the remaining levels. Inside the building’s long hallways there are warehouses, clothing stores, beauty parlours, a dentist and day-care centers. Some residents even have cars, parked inside of the building’s parking garage. Some seven hundred families comprising over 3,000 residents live in the tower today.
On the improvised trail into the woods behind the railroad tracks, you find sheets of abandoned homework from the beginning of summer.
They are teaching little kids about revolution.
Downtown, dudes are carrying long rifles into Starbucks, talking about the tree of liberty and its scarlet fertilizer. The NRA tells them stop, you are embarrassing us. Scaring the visitors.
Thomas Jefferson’s hair is made of fire.
You have seen four movies in the past year in which they blow up the White House. The putative villains vary—North Koreans, crazy ex-soldiers, angry mutants, power mad shapeshifters. The viscous orange fireballs blossoming out from behind the neoclassical pillars get bigger every time. You wonder why no one seems to question the proliferation of this thread in popular cinema. It is one of the principal set pieces of the Zeitgeist.
How long ago was that when the Occupy protesters had their local staging area across the street, in the junkyard behind the old neon plant? Some days you wonder if that really happened. Maybe it was just a way to sell T-shirts and movie tickets.
Uncle Sam is really just the Yankee Peddler.
Your news feed scrolls more stories about right wing nutjobs seizing territory.
One of the first things they teach you about the founding documents in law school is that the Declaration of Independence doesn’t count. Call it Macaroni.
On screen, Channing Tatum is in pain, and the imaginary Secret Service agents fall like Sam Peckinpah castaways.
All week you read about the constitutional edicts handed down by the nine black robes, before they slip away in their chauffeured sedans for summer vacation. Divining the intent of the white guys who made up the rules 225 years ago is tiring work. There is no buffer zone for you.
You wonder why there are so many movies about taking over the White House, and so few about 1776. You wonder if maybe they are part of the same memetic thread.
Twenty years now you have been watching network culture destabilize the monolithic power structures of the old economy. You wonder how long it will be before it starts to destabilize the old political economy.
Is a constitutional republic in which 545 people rule instead of one the historical endpoint of democracy? As you watch your nation go crazy, you wonder if that’s the gestation pain of growing something new inside. Something more authentically participatory, that looks like the future.
Outside, you hear the explosions, but you know they are only pretending. Ritual revolution is the American communion.
On the movie poster, Gerard Butler stares at the ruined White House like Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. The action figure is trying to figure out what to do.
The narrative broke a long time ago. You look at the empty build plate, and wonder what’s trying to assemble.
“Scooter” by Harsimran, on Panj-aab Records.