On Teaspoons and Teaspooning

So it occurs to me that, of late, I've made several references to teaspoons and teaspooning, plus added a tag to that effect. Any readers coming across from Shakesville, or who have hung out there much, will understand what I mean by it. But for those who are from other places on the web, or who have come here after meeting me in realspace, an explanation might be in order.

The beginnings of the term originate from Melissa McEwan, blogmistress of Shakesville, in a post where she said:
Today is the final day of the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, during which I suppose I have blogged exactly as often as always about violence against women, in America and abroad. Sometimes it feels like it's all I ever write about; sometimes it feels like I can't possibly write about it enough to do the issue justice; often, those feelings exist within me simultaneously. All I ever do is try to empty the sea with this teaspoon; all I can do is keep trying to empty the sea with this teaspoon.

But the idea has taken on a life of its own and grown since that inception. Teaspoon Theory is one of the defining codes by which I live my life. I define Teaspoon Theory for myself as thus:
On their own, the little things we do each day to fight the forces of injustice, hate, and bigotry, are as futile as trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, one scoop at a time. But each person has a teaspoon they can wield, for good or for ill, and if we can inspire enough people to use enough teaspoons...eventually, the ocean will be a lake, then a pond, and eventually a slightly damp valley. Teaspoons will be what saves the world.

An email I send to my Congressperson is a teaspoon. A reply to an obnoxiously racist forward that lands in my email box is a teaspoon. A comment on a beauty blog, asking the blogger not to review AHAVA products, is a teaspoon. Being the visible feminist in class, drawing ire away from those whose feminism is still nascent and too delicate to withstand ridicule, is a teaspoon. Asking my brother for the nth time not to say "That's so lame" is a teaspoon. Each and every post I put up on this blog is a teaspoon.

Some teaspoons are easy to deploy, like a letter to a Congressperson. Some are terrifying, like calling your father out over a racist joke. Teaspooning is exhausting, often, and sometimes I wonder why I do it still. But then I remember. My teaspoon is small, but it is not alone. And in conjunction with the Law of Non-Neutrality (aka All In), choosing not to raise my teaspoon is choosing to uphold the status quo. How can I do anything but rally and teaspoon forth again?

Teaspoons ho!

Quote of the Day: American Superiority Style!

Via Bitch, Ph.D, (seriously, after you read this, go read the whole thing) on the "Not on American soil!" cries of righteous indignation coming from many on the subject of transferring/releasing Guatanamo Bay prisoners:

What is so special about American soil? What is so special about the field in Kansas, the trees in Michigan, the dirt roads of Southern Illinois that these men can not be near them? I do not believe in the sacredness of ground. I do not believe that America is God's special country that God loves more than all the other countries, and that He loves the Chesapeake Bay more than Guantanamo Bay or the Mississippi more than the Nile. Other people believe that, and they are being allowed to run our government, they are being allowed to hijack not just the public discourse but the lives and civil liberties and freedom of one hundred and ninety-six men because they think our dirt is fucking special and suddenly, anyone who does not like America or might be a criminal can not be near it. As if their subversion, their antipathy, their righteous grievances against us will travel like pixie dust through the rocks and pebbles and get in our groundwater.

And, see, speaking as someone who DOES, in fact, believe in the sacredness of ground...I still agree. Because while I believe the ground is sacred, I don't believe that the ground of THIS nation, the USA, is somehow particularly or specially sacred. Our ground is sacred; but so is the ground of every other nation on earth, equally. So this rhetoric, this "Not on our soil!" bullshit, is just one more manifestation of America's fascination with itself and our national fetish for declaring ourselves the Super-Special Niftiest Nation Evar!

Because when we say "Not on our soil!", what we really mean is, "These people are too Evil to contaminate us*. But they're good enough for all the rest of you lesser nations, so here, take them!"

Fellow Americans of mine, that's enough. Can we please get over ourselves now? Pretty please?

*This is, of course, assuming that the prisoners of Guatanamo Bay who would be released are, actually, evil, and not innocents caught up in our shitstorm of overzealousness.


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