Pervocracy's Personal Tumblr: I used to think people called me irresponsible, dirty, immoral, or... -
I used to think people called me irresponsible, dirty, immoral, or speculated about me having diseases because I wrote about having multiple partners.
Then I changed my name from Holly to Cliff.
I used to think people called me fat because I’m overweight.
Then I changed my name from Holly to…
“The monetary cost for a rape victim to receive treatment at a hospital in the United States.”
I made my first website with a friend when I was in 7th grade. It was called Gaming Galaxy Online. It was extremely cheesy— with a giant animated GIF as the title graphic, and pretty much all content harvested straight from other sources. The page never got any traffic, but I remember how exciting it was to build the site. The internet seemed like a place where a 7th grader could participate in the adult world on a level playing field. My friend and I tried one website idea after another. None of them really worked, but we felt very empowered. On the internet, it felt like we were one good idea away from a very adultlike level of success. And like pretty much everyone else in 1996, our free websites were hosted on Geocities.com.
Fast forward almost 20 years—- in my late twenties, after countless attempts, I’ve finally managed to create a popular website. And last night I was out gathering content. I was walking past the Apple Store on 59th and 5th when I spotted a man sitting alone in the plaza. I asked for his photo, he agreed. “What was the happiest moment of your life?” I asked him.
"Probably when my company had its IPO," he answered. "I founded a company called Geocities.com."
Today we’re excited to make another recent Longreads Member Pick free for everyone. It’s a full chapter from Among Murderers: Life After Prison, by Sabine Heinlein.
Heinlein is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer who spent more than two years at the Castle, a prominent halfway house in Harlem, where she met convicts who were preparing for the outside world. (She’ll be speaking about the book this Thursday at the Mid-Manhattan Library.)
Heinlein explains the origins of the book:"A few years ago I set out to learn how New York’s reentry organizations help former prisoners navigate freedom. I talked to clients and staff and observed programs at nonprofit agencies with Pollyanna-ish names like STRIVE (Support and Training Results in Valuable Employees), CEO (Center for Employment Opportunities) and the Fortune Society. The Fortune Society is New York’s most prominent and comprehensive reentry agency. It offers substance abuse treatment to ex-offenders, as well as computer, cooking, fatherhood and ‘job readiness’ classes. Fortune, as it is commonly known, also runs a halfway house in West Harlem nicknamed the Castle. I clearly remember the first time I visited the Castle, its schist rock facade sparkling in the sun. With its miniature lookout towers, its arched windows and the bright crenellations that top some of its walls, the Castle resembled a Gothic bastion. One could easily imagine a muddy moat separating those who had committed serious transgressions—those who had been stigmatized and locked away for most of their lives—from the rest of the world.
"To shed light on the struggles of the 700,000 men and women who are released from U.S. prisons each year, I followed three residents of the Castle for several years. Angel Ramos, the protagonist of my book, Among Murderers: Life After Prison, spent 29 years in prison for strangling a young girl in an abandoned building in East Harlem and for trying to kill a co-worker. At the Castle, the 47-year-old befriended two older men, Bruce and Adam, who had also spent several decades locked up for murder. Over the course of more than two years Angel, Bruce, Adam and I spent a lot of time with each other. I accompanied Adam when he bought his first winter coat in 31 years and visited different ethnic restaurants and cafés with Bruce. I helped celebrate Angel’s ‘first’ birthday and was there when, on Halloween, the halfway house residents turned the Castle into a haunted house. Together, the men and I explored the neighborhoods of their youth. We talked about murder, remorse, shame, love, loss and prison. (Sooner or later our conversations inevitably returned to prison, where the men had spent most of their adult lives.)
"One of the most revealing experiences the men shared with me was their seemingly endless track through New York’s job readiness programs, a requirement to qualify for housing subsidies, welfare and the agencies’ employment referrals. This is what I saw."
Among Murderers, Chapter 7: Job Readiness
Sabine Heinlein | University of California Press | 2013 | 25 minutes (6,132 words)
Angel felt like throwing a brick. A few weeks after he was released, he began to experience anxiety in closed spaces. Whenever he was inside the Castle, he found himself cleaning obsessively. Something he had suppressed began to creep up in him. But what? He wiped surfaces and picked up little pieces of paper and cigarette butts. He was astonished by his own behavior. Obsessive cleanliness wasn’t a problem he had had in prison, and he was determined to find out its motivation.
Angel thought that once released from prison he would be a free man again. When he first got out, he had big dreams. He felt like a young man. He wanted to get an apartment, a job, and a woman. “I’ll find me a girl with kids. I don’t care.” He just needed some time to adjust to the world, some time to breathe and wander. Angel passively granted parole the authority to structure and control his life. He stoically accepted his parole officer’s decision not to extend his evening curfew. The officer had said she would prolong the curfew to nine o’clock three months after his release but then inexplicably changed her mind on the ninetieth day. He seemed almost indifferent when he was denied a pass after his Upstate Quaker community awarded him a grant to spend a few summer days at a spiritual retreat in Silver Bay. “I already got over it,” he told me the day after the decision was made. “Everything positive is discouraged.”
One summer evening, as we sat in the Castle’s backyard, Angel fumed, “I have all these people running my life and none of them is competent. If you think about it, I’d be one of the last guys you want to stress out.”
This comment struck me as odd. It reminded me of what went through his mind when he killed Olga. “Look what you made me do!” he thought to himself when she went limp. It was as if the responsibility to keep his impulses in check lay outside of him. While I could relate to his anger about a reentry system that was, at times, Byzantine, useless, and even counterproductive, I did not understand how it could be the system’s responsibility to prevent him from snapping again.
Tangerina: Newsmedia and rape culture -
To understand how to prevent rape and sexual abuse from happening, as a society we need also to understand the concept of rape culture. A rape culture is one in which problematic attitudes and practices that support the prevalence of rape are condoned, excused and…
Tangerina: Don’t pretend that Texas is the place with the abortion problem -
This afternoon (New Zealand time) many of us watched in awe and disbelief as US Senator Wendy Davis and her supporters worked to stop the passing of a bill which would reduce abortion access in Texas.
The bill seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, severely limit access to…
(Source: pleasestopbeingsad, via coleytangerina)
Diane Revoluta: Seven Reasons The Malborough Express Reeks (And Not Just of Racism) -
1. Racism. It’s a thing.
A non-exhaustive list of how this cartoon depicts brown people:
- People who see child poverty simply as a way to get free food;
- Lazy in that instead of “going out and getting a job” to feed their kids they just wait for a hand-out;