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Dept. of Catching Up

I Aten't Dead, Part Deux

Wow. Only three entries in June. I've been snowed under with life and the inability to communicate with others (or perhaps the inability to want to communicate with others - a different thing entirely - or perhaps a bit of both) and thus, this span of empty days.

I've been alive, though. And not everything has been shit. Very probably not even a lot has been shit.

On the job front, we're still fighting the firing of our 28 photographers (which, I should point out, include those photographers from the company's non-union papers; we're fighting for everyone.)

We leafleted the last of the Blackhawks' home games in the Stanley Cup, because team owner Rocky Wirtz is also an investor in Wrapports/Sun-Times Media. That was a trip, for the simple reason that the hundreds and hundreds of people going to the game at the United Center were walking by us at speeds I eventually estimated at about 15 mph. Think that sounds slow? Imagine standing in front of a crowd of Beijing bicyclists all trying to get to work on time; that's what we were facing. Time to talk and explain why we were handing them a leaflet was not only at a premium, it was non-existent.

Luckily, our leaflet had the roster of the team on the front, and a message on the back asking people to call Wirtz and ask him to tell his fellow investors to be as good to the photographers and union as he is to his team (and he's a pretty good owner for the Blackhawks.) So we started shouting out "free roster!" to the humans hurtling by us at bicycle speeds, eager to get to their seats. There was no time to explain what was going on, but we figured that if we got out several hundred of these, at lease a couple of dozen people would read them, and if only five or six people called, that would actually make an impression on Wirtz's office.

I quickly learned all the ways you hand out a leaflet in that kind of hurricane condition, and by virtue of placing myself in front of people and not removing my hand, by virtue of thanking everyone and never stopping smiling (god, my face hurt!), by virtue of making jokes and never once stopping the patter of "free roster free roster free roster have a free roster" - because you can't stop talking - I got rid of two loads of leaflets.

We ended up handing out 2,000 leaflets, far better than I'd initially expected. And, as BB (who leafleted with me, oxygen tank in toe, bless him) pointed out, even the ones that just got dropped on the arena floor would probably be noticed by cleanup crews, and the word would trickle up.

And then we hit Chicago's Pride Parade last Sunday with a different leaflet. I passed out all my leaflets again, but this time I was able to talk to everyone I handed a leaflet to. I developed some patter, a couple of jokes I'd bring out depending on how I judged the person I was handing it to, and always ended by showing the names of the people they could call or email, and I emphasized how easy it was to send a one-sentence email to our owners saying "Please give the photographers their jobs back."

I handed nearly all of them out before the actual parade started, because I knew that no one would pay attention to me once the floats and marchers came by, and I was right. The last ones I handed out largely were handed out without the patter. I told people they didn't have to read it then, but to stick it in their pocket and read it later. And then I was able to watch the parade, something I haven't done in years. It was wonderful, and in places it brought tears to my eyes (the gay veterans, including one proud old African American gentleman in his army cap, carrying the American flag in front of the veterans' group. He was 75 if he was a day, and his smile could have lit up a room. There was a lot of joy on the streets, immediately post-DOMA crippling via SCOTUS.

(As to that last? People are saying that DOMA is dead, which it actually isn't. It still needs to be repealed. All the court said was that the sections of DOMA that refuse federal benefits to same sex couples legally married in a state that allows same sex marriage are illegal. And that throws the whole thing back into the damned "states' rights" battlefield. And that, my friends, is disgusting, because marriage should be, as far as I'm concerned, a federal matter, but SCOTUS did what it could, given the court's makeup. In the Prop 8 case, it chose discretion as the better part of valor and simply refused to hear the case, which is fantastic for California humans and could be indirectly great for other humans, but again? SCOTUS deferred to states' rights. States' rights, y'all. It makes me crazy. You may have 50 states, but you stopped being a confederation of independent quasi-countries after the damned civil war. And ... whups. Let me just step off it, and put this soap box over there in the corner.)

Last thing; I've become a Game of Thrones fan, or more precisely.  A Song of Ice and Fire fan; my friend Dr. Bob (husband to Dr. Gonzo, our famed attorney and bass player of yore) handed me the books one day. One day I shall repay him. A kaffyr always repays her deb--oh, wait. Anyhow, yes, I'm halfway through A Dance With Dragons and I'm realizing that, unless George R.R. Martin speeds it up, both of us will be dead before the next two books become a reality.

And so it was with a certain joy that I read this, which lead me to this, and then to this, which I've read with even more joy. And perhaps some of the joy is a tad mean, given that GRRM thinks very little of fanfiction, and I think that this person has done more in little more than a year, than he's done in a decade. The interesting thing is, as the Rolling Stone writer says, Silverblood's story is incredibly possible. The writer does, I believe, actually write for a living. She's created a realistic sequel to GRRM's latest book. It could do with some editing to take out some language that clashes with the world in which she's writing, and some of the ongoing narrative could be tightened up. But that's it. She draws the characters very accurately and largely captures the tone of the story, even if her touch isn't 100 percent sure.

But the shining point in her story is its plotting. The writer picks up the multitudinous strings of plot GRRM has already spun and woven with, and continues the job herself, continuing to create a tapestry of her own. The story proceeds perfectly within the ASoIaF universe, honors its past and takes off in wildly inventive ways that are completely compliant with that universe but still unexpected. GRRM might not like this story, true, but in this case not all of his displeasure would be philosophical. Some of it might be jealousy.

And now I have to get back to work, my friends. But at least you know.

I aten't dead.

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/262270.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
It occurs to me that the Pauls are the kind of "libertarians" who want the federal government to stop taking away the rights of the individual because the states are so much better at it.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's entirely possible. When BB and I speak about states' rights, he tends to slur the two words together in a broad Hollywood Southern Redneck accent, which may be entirely unfair, but seems representative of the overall paradigm.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
This is the entertainment age. If you want people to accept your message you need to make it entertaining. Sorta infotainment but less Fox Newsish.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 06:01 pm (UTC)
Yup. I've always said that reporters have to partake a little of the actor's art, and I deployed all those skills at both leafleting events. It's really tiring, though; I went home exhausted both times.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
I was thinking maybe live music with songs written for the occasion. Folk is probably too old school. I don't know what the newspaper readers listen to in Chicago and it's suburbs.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Ah, a rally with music; we were hoping for some music at our second, hastily-called rally, but weren't able to get anyone. We're continuing the pressure, so music could be in our future. It would probably be loud rock and roll or Chicago blues down here. Heh.
Jul. 3rd, 2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
So glad you are okay!! And wow, what a campaign! Keep plugging, bb. There is a light at the end of that tunnel!!

Ahhh, GoT. I'm reading the books...slowly. But they are rather good. I've found fanfiction is usually just as good, if not better than the books/series just because it has the AUDIENCE touch.

Jul. 3rd, 2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks, my dear! I'm sorry to have disappeared, but the spoons, they disappeared too, and I went off to find them.

My mistake with reading Silverblood's fanfic was that I inhaled 500,000 words or so in four or so days.

*hugs right back*
Jul. 3rd, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
It totally understand. Those spoons are rather frigging important. And if I had any spares, you know I'd share. *Grins*

I've done it. I've done it and neglected my own fic. Actually, I'm still doing it. Not with ONE fiction, but...you know...several. *Blushes*
Jul. 4th, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you aten't dead!

I wish you success with the important work you're doing on behalf of the fired photographers. I still can't even believe the gall of firing the entire photography staff.

While the Supreme Court ruling didn't do anything for states that don't allow same-sex marriage, my understanding is that alongside all the talk of federalism/states' rights (ick), Justice Kennedy's opinion also contained language about dignity for same-sex couples and their children that may prove helpful when the issue appears in courts. *fingers crossed* We aren't there, but this was a big step.

I get so angry at people going on about states' rights. Early in the USA's history, people often wrote "the United States are..." but these days practically everyone writes "the United States is...". We're one nation, and I wish we could commit to treating the states as nothing more than convenient administrative divisions. Honestly, I am not really keen on the idea of a governmental institution at any level having rights in the same fundamental way that people have rights.

Oh, ASoIAF. It's nice to have a series of books that is popular because it's really damn good as well as addicting. I can't read the fic yet because I've only just started book 4 today, so I shall have to try to remember this post to find it later. I had been holding off on reading the last two books to delay the moment of having no more of this series to read, but I am sick of getting spoiled.
Jul. 4th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
I still can't even believe the gall of firing the entire photography staff.

I think they actually thought the whole thing would go away; but every time the front page of the Sun-Times looks bad (and during the Stanley Cup - especially when the Blackhawks won and brought the Cup home, and then during the coverage of the parade thereafter - it looked horrible), it continued to make news. The investors surely must be feeling the heat from advertisers, and we've kept up heat from the bottom.

While the Supreme Court ruling didn't do anything for states that don't allow same-sex marriage, my understanding is that alongside all the talk of federalism/states' rights (ick), Justice Kennedy's opinion also contained language about dignity for same-sex couples and their children that may prove helpful when the issue appears in courts.

Our bass-playing lawyer Dr. Gonzo said much the same thing. In fact, she mentioned that Kennedy's comments were in a particular section of the opinion that, according to her, actually carries more legal weight than the wording that covers state's rights. So I'll cross my fingers, too.

Early in the USA's history, people often wrote "the United States are..." but these days practically everyone writes "the United States is...".

I remember hearing this first during Ken Burns' The Civil War, probably from that delightful gentleman and historian Shelby Foote. I also remember being incredibly struck by the realization of just what a tremendous sea change that one little phrase signaled in our history, and for our future. (I say "our" because it was during my viewing of that series, and my reading of Foote's Civil War history, that this Canuck realized she really loved her adopted country.

We're one nation, and I wish we could commit to treating the states as nothing more than convenient administrative divisions.

Yes, this. Absolutely. I don't mind that idea, or the idea that very local governments should have the ability to administer the areas they know best, in the way they think best, but things that affect the entire nation, or the world - human rights, the environment - should be legislated at the federal level. Says the woman whose birth country, while being called a Confederation, acts a whole hell lot more like a federation than her adopted country.

I am sick of getting spoiled.

I managed to get spoiled for the red wedding, but I then convinced myself that I was wrong. Besides, I have only myself to blame because part of the reason I got into the books, besides Evil Dr. Bob, was my habit of reading the recaps over at Television Without Pity, then watching fanvids, then reading fic, then ... you see the pattern here? Heh.

Jul. 4th, 2013 08:16 am (UTC)
Glad to know you're okay - and good luck with all of that!
Jul. 4th, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks; I'm definitely better than I was this time last week. Today I'm celebrating the 237th birthday of my adopted country with a picnic, band concert and fireworks, in the company of friends and family, so I'm hoping for more relaxation.
Jul. 4th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
Good! I hope you have a lovely day. ♥
Jul. 5th, 2013 09:35 am (UTC)
I have been thinking of you! Actually, you've become one of my invisible friends, the kind that you have interior conversations with over coffee because there isn't anyone else to talk to.

Yay for the leafleting! I hope that it is effective.

I signed up for Eleventyfest and, argh! I haven't written anything in months, which is kinda sorta why I signed up. Beta for me?
Jul. 5th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
Hi there, my dear! I'm flattered, in a bewildered sort of way, that I'm fit to have interior conversations with. I hope I hold up my end. I think the essence of my tendency to solipsism is that all too many of my internal conversations are only with myself. It's a very bad habit.

I'm happy to beta. Let me know!
Jul. 5th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC)
Aten't Dead is good

I have whatever is a notch or two below PTSD about leafleting. I spent the entire year leading up to the G8/NATO circus looking for ANYONE doing anything except repeating decades old movies and never found one. I'm so glad you folks thought out what you were doing. The roster is perfect.
Smile and say thank you, and fan out a handful at a time, so you can grab the to corner of the next one fast.

re: DOMA &c. I knew we were going to win when I saw Ellen Degeneris in an American Express ad. If the company whose product is image targets their middle American demographic with one of the most famous lesbians in the country, the fight may not be over (it's not), but victory is in sight.

When the peanut gallery got so shrill that the gentleman nonpareil Neil Gaiman wrote "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch", and John Scalzi worked out that he and George publish about the same number of words a year, it was already sore point. So somebody ran (and ran and ran) with one character. George is running with scores of them. And I will bet you a lunch he grips and surprises you more.
I saw his appearance on . . . Conan? where he was showed a collection of reaction takes of people who were taken by surprise by the red wedding. He explained that all of those clips had to have been taken by people who'd already read the books; he wrote that thirteen years ago. "Now you know why all your ultra-geeky friends were so depressed thirteen years ago." (("Why doesn't George R. R. Martin twitter?" "He killed all 144 characters."))

One of the warning signs of fandom is that you travel 400 miles to party with people you can see at home.
Jul. 6th, 2013 02:18 am (UTC)
I recall you talking about leafleting during the lead up to the G8/NATO meetings; so you never found anyone willing to put some thought into good informative materials?

I know we'll eventually win on DOMA, but I harbor worries about the way in which we are currently winning in the courts. The whole states' rights thing gives me the creeps. Culturally, though, I agree - although the public vitriol and frightening amount of private dollars being put into the push back is depressing, as always.


Wait, you think I'm dissing anything about George except some gentle but firm disagreement with him on the way he regards fan fiction and fan fiction writers? Not in the least. I remember reading the "George R. R. Martin is Not Your Bitch" piece; it was good. (I didn't see the Scalzi piece, but I'm sure it's probably pretty good as well. I generally like what he has to say.)

The truth is that Martin's under no obligation to anyone but himself. He needn't write at any speed other than his own and fans who get in his face about that, or about the world he's chosen to create and write in, or anything else, do so at their own risk. He isn't their bitch. Writers write, first and foremost, for themselves. We're the lucky recipients, but we aren't the writer's raison d'etre, or raison d'écrire/badfrench either. Fans all too often suffer from a huge amount of entitlement, perhaps because of the emotional investments they tend to make in writers, perhaps because they're human; not sure which.

On the other hand, as a reader who got sucked into his world and now waits for the next part of the story, I really am praying that he can successfully pick up the pace in some way. I imagine he wants to as well. I'm just not going to get in his face about it.

So somebody ran (and ran and ran) with one character.

Wait, what? If you're talking about the fanfiction I referenced, no. The author is running with all of Martin's characters. All of them, all the continuing stories. It wouldn't be worth my mentioning or comparing it to Martin's work if that wasn't the case.

And I will bet you a lunch he grips and surprises you more.

Possibly. Probably. But this is remarkably good work. I said this of the story to someone over on DW, when they asked my opinion: Let's see ... it's professional level writing in general; I'd give it a B- to B when compared with GRRM's best stuff, his A+ level work. Compared with the overall body of his ASoIAF work, I've give her work a strong B+. Judged solely on the inventiveness of plotting, I'd rate it an A- to A. It gets points off for allowing too many modern language anachronisms in, and for too often reusing certain personality tics when describing certain characters. But right now, that's about it.

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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