lizcommotion: A black-and-white photo of a Victorian woman (victorian lady)
I ran out of new episodes of Orphan Black (which I enjoy but does make me so twitchy about eugenics and creeped out), so of course I watched seven episodes of PBS's Mercy Street last night. It's a period show set during the Civil War at a Union hospital in Alexandria, VA (though filmed in Richmond). I have mixed feelings. Spoilers within.

tw: on-screen period racist violence, sexual assault and why this makes me shouty, also the copious white tears of Confederates including PTSD and SI, all the mental health triggers )

tl;dr However historically accurate or not Mercy Street may be, I did not like it and it made me shouty. It did keep me occupied during a pain flare but uh. Would not rec.
(this is a show where my partner looks at me and goes, "Why did you watch this?" and I go, "Um, pretty skirts? Filmed locally? Shouty historian? I...don't know.")
lizcommotion: A black-and-white photo of a Victorian woman (victorian lady)
I can and will try to write a short answer to this, as I have Many Thoughts on the US ideals of "progress".

(Note: I am writing from a US history perspective here, so I use the word "we" in places to mean "the US mainstream narrative" but it's to save lots of words; I know there are a lot of other perspectives throughout the world and even within the US and I don't want to discount them. Just, language is hard, and expanding beyond the US begins to be beyond the scope of one blog entry.)

Much of the ideas we currently have about progress coalesced during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920s), though they draw from other times and have morphed since then as well.

The Progressive Era was kind of a mixed bag, in a "tally up how we did by today's moral standards" measure. tw: there are some good things here, but gear up for All The Grossness of Historical and Modern Racism, Classism, Sexism, Ableism, anti-NDN policies et al herein, you have been warned )

So, do I think "progress" should be a taboo word like "f-g-t" or banned from the language? No. Plus "I'm making a lot of progress on my life goals" is certainly a fine use of the word.

But I think that knowing the history of how the idea of Progress has been misused is important. (It can have its good points, too.) When I reflexively flinch at the word, now, I also look very carefully at how people use it -- because the speaker can often betray traces of progressivism's history without meaning too.

David Brooks is a soft targettw: yes expect David Brooks to be gross and racist and ethnocentric )

*twitch*
lizcommotion: a drop spindle and the products of my first week of spinning (7 balls of yarn in various colors) (spinning week 1)
A friend came over today when I was spinning*. She, like many people I know, was entranced by the movement of the spindle and the way the yarn got created.

I asked if she wanted to try, and she said yes but she was sure it wasn't as easy as I made it look. I said I'd just had practice, and that 5 year olds can learn. So she gave it a whirl. It went well, and is actually easier to teach than I expected. At least, this time.

I didn't get a photo of her yarn, but she made 10 feet of very gorgeous teal and purple yarn. I think her giddiness at fulling it (that's the part with making it wet and thwacking it to set the spin) was my favorite part of the whole experience. I don't think I made a lifelong spinner out of her, as she doesn't really have the time to knit. However, it did give her a greater appreciation of fiber and fiber things...because her basic reaction was, "This is how yarn gets made?"

And it made me realize (yet again) how separated many people have become from textiles, which used to be an intricate part of daily life for everyone. You /had/ to spin to make enough clothes so you could stay warm, etc. You had one, maybe two, sets of clothes. I don't think I'd choose to go back to then, but it sucks that the reason why clothes are so readily available (in "developed" countries) today is because of sweatshop labor and the devaluation of textiles.

If everyone paid for the real labor value of their clothes, you can better believe we would be a lot more selective about what we buy...and we'd probably be back to one or two outfits.

This was going to be a post about teaching spinning, but clearly it turned into something nearing a rant. Sorry about that. I think I'll leave it, though, because it keeps popping into my head every time someone tells me I should sell my yarn/knitting/etc.

I do it for love. Only the lovelies get it. <3 (And for that I am /incredibly/ privileged.)

*I may or may not have left spindles out on purpose when she came over, and had some roving available in her favorite colors.

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