from the mouths of existentialist – eco/anarchafeminist – lesbian – dreamer/blamers…

May 31st, 2007 10:14 pm by Kelly Garbato

So I finished Aftershock almost a week ago now, but haven’t yet gotten around to writing a review. Sure, I’ve given it an inordinate amount of thought, but that’s as much as I’ve mustered. Shocker, eh? It’s a wonder how I ever graduated college, I tell ya, wut with my perpetual procrastinating and all.

I can tell you, though, that the book was unexpectedly awesome. I say “unexpectedly”, not because I thought it would suck (I didn’t!), but because I’m not usually a fan of the whole self-help genre. Particularly when I’m “assigned” the book (for lack of a better term, in this case), and thus am not in need of the type of help offered in said book. Rather than shooting for folksy and falling just short of readable, Aftershock is the rare self-help/advice tome that manages to make the material accessible without completely dumbing it down for the lowest common denominator.

I also love, love, love that author pattrice jones approaches the issue from a vegan / animal rights / feminist / queer / ecological / radical / progressive perspective. More often than not, veg*ns and ARAs are ridiculed by social conservatives and “progressive” “liberals” alike; much like atheists, us animal rights “fanatics” are the lone group that manages to inspire scorn on both sides of the political aisle. Browse enough liberal blogs while agitating for animals, and you start to feel awfully isolated from other so-called lefties. So it’s really freaking awesome to find the topic of post-traumatic stress and depression among activists discussed with a deference to the experiences of animal rights activists.

Anywho, this is starting to sound like a review, so I’ll shut up now. Instead, I thought I’d pull some quotes directly from the mouth of existentialist – eco/anarchafeminist – lesbian – dreamer/blamer pattrice jones herself. Much to my surprise, “Quotables” was the most frequently viewed category in May…so I may as well give y’all whatchawant.

After the jump, words of wisdom via pattrice jones. Who is currently blogging at SuperWeed. So go give her a shout out, is what I’m sayin.

aftershock by pattrice jones

On our animal selves: “[Y]ou are a process rather than an object, a verb rather than a noun. When we affirm that we are our bodies but deny that our bodies are property, we undermine one of the most destructive ideas in history: that people are something other than animals. […] When we affirm that our bodies are systems within systems, we undermine another dangerously divisive idea: that people can and should be separate from the rest of the world.” (18-19)

On Dr. Doolittle: “You may recall that this fictional personage has the ability to converse with nonhuman animals, to understand and be understood by them. If Dr. Doolittle were alive today, he wouldn’t last a minute without tearing his ears off. How could he, how could anyone, tolerate the screams of terror and pain of the billions of animals locked up and tormented in vivisection labs, egg factories, circuses, dairy farms, and puppy mills? What would it be like to hear the rage and frustration of the millions of wild animals struggling to survive in ever-smaller and more polluted habitats, or pacing their cells in zoos?

“We don’t hear those cries. We don’t even hear or heed the explicit pleas of members of our own species.” (38-39)

On AETA: “I live at a chicken sanctuary in an area dominated by the poultry industry. If our neighbor who operates a factory farm were to come onto our property without permission in order to take pictures of the birds at our sanctuary, he could be charged with trespassing. If I were to go onto his property without permission in order to take pictures of the birds locked on his farm, I could be charged with a kind of terrorism.” (57)

On freedom and fear: “I know for sure that none of us are free while some of us are caged. At some level I know: It could be me.” (60)

On one-upsmanship and red herrings: “If I could, I would ban the words “[fill-in-the-blank] is nothing compared to [fill-in-the-blank]” from the meetings and conferences of all progressive social movements. Activists use that phrase to denigrate other movements and also to shame each other out of paying attention to feelings of stress and depression. It’s neither possible nor useful to compare varieties of suffering. Which hurts worse: Fa**ot! or Ni**er!? The question is absurd. […]

“Everybody’s pain is real. Everybody’s pain is meaningful to them. No, the trauma of the undercover investigator who observes monkeys being tortured is not as acute as the suffering of the monkeys themselves. But it is not ‘nothing.’ All suffering is real and meaningful, particularly to the being enduring it. Every social change movement must embrace an ethos of empathy for all – including ourselves.” (147)

On veg*ns and therapists: “[I]t may be that therapists ought to encourage all of their clients to explore their lapses of empathy with the earth, other people, and – yes – other animals. That’s a troubling suggestion, I know. I would have balked at such a thought when I was a therapist in training. I would have wondered whether and how it could possibly be appropriate to raise such issues with clients without transgressing boundaries or trampling into the realm of sacrosanct personal beliefs. Diet seems to be such a rightly private matter. Our bodies, ourselves. But eating an animal is something you do to somebody else’s body without her consent. Don’t therapists routinely intervene, speak up, or at least ask questions when they hear that their clients are violating the bodies of people in their lives? […]

“Therapy is all about facing uncomfortable facts, including those about seemingly personal matters like desire. Let’s face this fact: People who eat mass-produced meat, milk, and eggs derive sensual pleasure from the products of a process of exploitation performed by others on their behalf. Just as with child pornography, the body of an innocent young animal is violated for pleasure and profit. Given its detrimental impact on the planetary resources upon which all beings depend, consumption of such animal products might be calculated to be even more ethically objectionable than the consumption of child pornography.” (162-163)

On hope: “If we don’t have hope, then there is no hope. The only hope we have is to enact hope, even when we don’t happen to feel it. I’m not talking about fakery. I’m talking about realizing that hope is a verb rather than a noun – something you do rather than something you have or don’t have.” (206)

On rights: “All over the world, people and other animals are working in their own ways for peace and freedom. There’s plenty for everyone! Nobody’s freedom hurts me.” (209)

Damn skippy.

————————-

Tagged:

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , ,

One Response to “from the mouths of existentialist – eco/anarchafeminist – lesbian – dreamer/blamers…”

  1. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » Book Review: Aftershock by pattrice jones (2007) Says:

    […] W00t, here it is! Finally finished my review of pattrice jones’s Aftershock, which I totally loved. I also loved that I was able to squeeze all of my thoughts – or at least a summary thereof – into the Amazon review. (Probably due in no small part to the prelim/mini-review of Thursday last, in which I excised the copious quoting right outta my system.) Amazon, for those not in the know, caps reviews at a crazy 1000 word limit. I clocked in at 980, hence the w00t! I thought I was going to have to chop it up, like with my Bird Flu review. So w00t, w00t. […]

Leave a Reply