09.02.2018 | Sleepy. Still A Bit Poorly. Grumpy. And A Bit Reflective.

Sleep | I’m almost 44 years old and obviously still haven’t figured out how to go to bed at a reasonable hour during the (work) week. Which these days more often than not results in me being utterly knackered when the weekend rolls around and going to bed very early on Fridays to catch up on sleep. Glorious 11 hours this time. It feels kind of boring to spend Friday nights asleep, but that’s my life at the moment. Being almot 44 years old also means I don’t care if that makes me look un-cool or not.

Health | My throat is still a bit sore, which still sucks. This cold or throat infection or whatever causes it, makes me feel slightly poorly still in general and that sucks as well and makes me grumpy. I’ve also got my period on Thursday. I’m glad that I ususally don’t have too much trouble with that, cramp- or pain wise and such. In recent months the hormones involved seem to make me a bit grumpy though. So I’m double grumpy these days and it’s probably good I’m staying home most of the weekend.

For a moment I considered not mentioning my period in this post, for fear it would be TMI. And then I thought: WTF? Half of the world’s population has to deal with this each month for half of their lives (rough estimate), so it’s not an issue to “best keep quiet about”. It’s a fact of life and all that. I probably should examine why my first impulse was to think “ugh, you can’t mention that!” Might have to do with how my mum introduced the topic to me 30 years ago. I don’t blame her though, she did the best she could with how she was raised. Anyway… Let’s think for a moment how society might talk about menstruation if the male half of humankind had to deal with it month in, month out. Or maybe… let’s better not. Can you imagine the fuss they might make? The products they might come up with? The adverts? Up until recently Kleenex UK had “man size” tissues in their assortiment for crying out loud!

West Wing Binge | I’m nearing the end of my rerun of “The West Wing”. If you have the TV on with the DVDs almost all day while your doing other stuff like having breakfast, reading, being online, typing blog posts like this one, you get through a lot of episodes *g*. Grumpy couch potato that I am this weekend this suits me just fine.

Books | I finished the “Every Day” trilogy yesterday and even though the last book went a bit too off track for my taste and didn’t tie up all the loose ends in a way I had hoped for, I still enjoyed this last one and the other two before them. How to sum up the story? It’s about

A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

I really enjoyed reading the story of A and Rhiannon from both perspectives, because especially Rhinannon’s side gave so much more depth and insight to all the other characters involved. The 3rd book introduced many more players and I was hoping to get some more background about how they came to be. It left me with more questions than answers, which is always a bit unsatisfactory. Still… I loved the general idea of the story. To get a glimpse – from the inside – how different humans are. How unique every single one of us is. And what’s the things that make us human? All in all, it’s been a read worth my time, so Thank you David Levithan.

Racism or Cultural Appropriation or Nothing Like That? | There has been some strife in my corner of the internet recently. Or rather on the fringes of said corner. I was smart enough to not get involved, but the obsessive part of my brain made me check into the Twitter and Facebook discussion more often and more attentively than I should have. So I might just as well drag it out here as well and chew it over. Frank Turner has a musical side project; just for fun, as kind of a hobby. It’s a 3 guys post-hardcore punk band. I can’t stand the music they make (and trust me, I tried, because I love so much of and about Frank’s music), so I don’t really care much about them. I’m happy for Frank that he found something fun to do with his time when he’s not busy being “Frank Turner”. Anyway, the band’s called “Möngöl Hörde”, named after a lyric from a 20 year old song (As I’ve learned this week). They formed a few years ago, released an album and played a few shows on two seperate tours.

This week someone discovered the band’s existence and claimed that the name was either racist or at least a case of cultural appopriation and therefore should be changed. He mailed Frank about it, Frank replied and explained where the name came from and declined to change the name after all these years. I know about these mails, because the person who mailed him seemed to not have liked that response and posted the whole exchange on Twitter. With a sort of “Look what a racist thing Frank Turner is ok with” tweet going along with it. Of course all hell broke loose with people on both sides throwing around arguments and insults. Towards Frank (from the one side) but also towards each other. It got way out of hand very quickly and it might be still going on on some threads. I’ve so far managed to keep the impulse to catch uo on the “discussion” again in check today.

Here are a few of my thoughts on this subject regardless…

The Frank Turner I know, isn’t a racist! Far from it.

I never considered the name “Möngöl Hörde” or even “Mongol Horde” – the way most people in the whole argument wanted to spell it – racist or a case of cultural apporpriation, but always just a nod to the historical era of the Mongol Empire and their hordes.

I neither ever thought of the derogatively use of the word “Mongol”, when I read the band’s name. I know about it of course, and in fact I grew up in Germany in the 1970s / early 1980s with this term still commonly used for people with Down Syndrome. But like I said, I never ever thought about the band’s name in this context. Maybe because other than in the URL and Twitter name I’ve always seen it spelled with the ‘Umlaut’ Ö.

Thinking about it now though, I can understand how some people might think it’s wrong for white people to use another nation’s name as a band name, especially in the context of “hordes” and the image most of us might have of those from the times when these hordes were in fact raging violence and rage on neighbouring nations.

I still can’t understand how anyone might think the term “Mongol” in the context of a band’s name is meant as derogative term towards someone with Down Syndrome or to anyone else. Historical context, guys! Should the term “Mongol” still be forbidden as part of a band name, because some people used and still use it as as slur? I personally don’t think so, because there are so many more words which can be used as a slur in one context and as a ordinary word in another. Where to draw the line if you don’t want to police all kinds of language?

What’s bothered me most about this whole shitstorm – because that’s how I mostly saw it go down – was that the original critic felt the need to drag the mail conversation with Frank into the public forum of Twitter to call Frank out for his – supposedly racist, possibly ignorant and persumed standoff-ish – behaviour. In my opinion you call out a public figure with this kind of accusation on Twitter with the intent to stir up trouble for that person. I thought it was uncalled for and I have to admit it made me rather reluctant to even give this original claim much more thought. A look at Frank’s Twitter mentions that day and the day after wasn’t fun. And as the fan that I am, I’m sorry he had (and to some extent maybe still has) to deal with that. I hope he stayed off his Twitter mentions tab for a while and that not too many people decided to mail him about it either. I think he handled the direct fallout very graciously…

What am I taking away from the whole thing? The reminder at least, that just because I don’t feel offended or I don’t consider something offensive, doesn’t mean, that others should or must feel the same way. And I really don’t want to dismiss or ignore those voices. I’m a white, straight female European. I’m usually in the majority of any demographic, so I rarely feel discriminated. Ok, the female side of me does more and more whenever fellow German speakers use only the male form of plural nouns and claim that of course all women are included, but that’s a story for another post. Maybe. I’m also taking away that it’s a good thing for my mental health to not get actively involved in any of these kind of discussions. The next step will hopefully be to not pay too much attention passivly either. On a more positive note… I learned or rather was reminded of the existence of the lovely English word “kerfuffle”. Thanks, Frank.

Fangirl Nerd Alert | Originally I had planned to include in this post today some statistic from my extensive and nerd-y and finally fully filled “Frank Turner Songs I’ve heard live” spreadsheet. But it’s late and I’ve spent way too much time typing this up already. I will compile a rundown of interesting (ehm, yeah, for whom? *g*) statistics tomorrow. Let’s just say there is a good chance I might hear my 1000th song live this summer! Woah!

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