legislation rage edition
We meet again.
Here's your weekly reminder that it's time to get very loud about intellectual freedom and freedom of expression if you aren't already. If you don't live in a red state, I know it might be easy to write us all off ("parent versus nonparent" and "liberal blue staters make sweeping generalizations about the American South" are the two categories of internet discourse that make me want to turn in my human badge and pursue a peaceful solitary existence at the bottom of a cave). And sure, a lot of the blatantly unconstitutional legislation getting passed at the state level may not hold up in court. But neither did all those heartbeat bills—until Roe fell.
It's not just the presence of books dealing with race, gender, and orientation in school and public libraries that's at stake here. This is an overt attempt to erase entire categories of people from public life and thought. So even if you're somewhere where this isn't happening (yet), write your school board or city council. Hell, get on your board or city council. Be mad enough to show up.
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here is a partial (PARTIAL) list of introduced legislation that criminalizes school and public librarians for distributing "obscene" materials:
HB1205 (North Dakota)
HB3826 (South Carolina)
Don't believe anyone who tries to claim these bills aren't meant to censor protected speech—they absolutely are. The underlying assumption at play here is that LGBTQ people's existence is inherently obscene, and/or that challenges to white supremacy have no place in public discourse. All the wailing about protecting our children's innocence is just a smokescreen for bigotry.
And this is only one piece of the much bigger shit pie, which includes drag bans, bathroom bills, and all kinds of hateful and cruel attempts at erasure.
It's been a week. But! I did get awfully close to finishing that flash challenge I set for myself. I managed six full drafts, which isn't bad for being ensconced here with everyone else at the intersection of environmental catastrophe and slow motion societal collapse (sorry, in a mood)! I've edited two of them and have them out on submission, and I'm going to look at two or three of the others this week. I have five stories I'm actively submitting right now, which I feel very good about after a pretty substantial dry spell.
And! Look at this! The newest issue of the Frightmarish zine is live, featuring yours truly as a guest contributor! You can pick up a print or digital copy, but I have insider info on how good the upcoming editions are going to be, so I'd think hard about just going ahead and subscribing to Mary Rajotte's Patreon. You can get digital access to the zine for $1 a month, but having those skull-adorned envelopes arrive in my mailbox every three months at the $5 level makes my day every time.
I finished up Lapvona as well as A Snake Falls to Earth, and I'm really excited to dig into Christi Nogle's new collection The Best of Our Past, the Worst of Our Future this weekend.
We managed to watch an entire feature-length film in one sitting last weekend, which has happened, like, four times during our child's lifetime. It was Fall, which played pretty delightfully on the severe fear of heights my husband and I have both developed in our old age. I don't know what happened to me—I didn't mind swinging my legs off a cliff when I was younger, but now even thinking about it gives me sweaty palms (I do know what happened to my husband, but I'm not sure I have permission to share that story. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, watching what happened to my husband might be where my height thing came from.). And there's also the parent addon anxiety package, because I've birthed a creature who's part squirrel who will be halfway up any structure with anything resembling a toehold before I've had time to gasp, "safe decisions please!"
So, yeah, Fall featured spectacularly unsafe decisions and queasy perspective shots that I got a kick out of, in a self-flagellating way, and was perfectly willing to suspend belief as necessary for, excepting a few involved debates about vulture habits and consumption.
We've also been rewatching the first two seasons of Party Down, and thoroughly enjoying them. But goddamn 2009 was a long time ago. I know the Obama administration was a long way from perfect, and my tendency to idealize those years encumbers a lot of my own personal privilege, but Jesus Christ. What a different era.
The Murder Garden
I guess I'm going all in on this, since I've purchased another little baby flytrap. This one is a "red piranha" cultivar, and it's precious.
I'd like to expand our carnivore collection to include a pitcher plant, but I feel like I need to prove I can keep the easier ones alive before I move into more tropical species. Honestly, though, I can't imagine imprinting as fully on anything as I have on my venus flytraps. They're just so charismatic with their toothy little grins. I also appreciate how specific they are—Dionaea is a single-species genus that's only found in North and South Carolina. And their feeding mechanism is fascinating. There are several little sensor hairs inside the traps, and something has to touch two of them in succession to trigger a chomp. That way dust or raindrops won't set them off, which is good, considering a VFT is a plant and it takes a lot of energy for it to pull off this kind of kingdom of life genre blending.
That's it from me. I hope things are good for you today. Thanks for reading this.