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Language Log

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 - 12:28 p.m.

Went to coffee shop, got into political argument with some old rich guy. I wish I had said “this is why people demonize the rich, you use your money as an instrument of social power and to deflect criticism and scrutiny rather than discuss the concerns on their own merit”. But I didn’t. I think I did ok anyway. I did lean over into his face and tell him, “so you withheld your money because someone criticized you? If it’s the right thing to do, GIVE THE MONEY”.

I am having a hard time returning to previous levels of psychological comfort. Next time I will wear my “fuck off” bracelet.

It’s the only coffee shop I’m really comfortable in, too, I hope this doesn’t happen too often or I will have to stop going.

Anyway. Been thinking more about the jewelry. Started reading this book about the long global history of amulets, charms, and talismans. It notes that many of them involve words, and some are just words. Most worn on the body or held close to the body. So there’s a resonance there and while I’m not a supernaturalist, these things can’t protect or influence things beyond the sphere of our own agency, I do wonder whether when the enemy is one’s own mind, the protection has more potential for effectiveness.

I’m uncomfortable using the language of witchcraft and superstition, but I find myself wanting to conceive of it that way. As a sciencey person I wonder what it means to invest power and meaning in an object such that it can influence your thoughts and behaviors. It embodies memory of one’s intention, one’s personal history, and one’s will.

So if I start to conceive of myself not as an artist but as a witch, stitching memory, intention and protection into amulets, charms, and talismans, don’t make fun of me. It’s just a metaphor for a particular kind of tool.

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