Recently my grandmother found out I’m queer. Her response was to tell me that she disapproves of me living with my “friend” (i.e. my girlfriend) and that I should give up my vile queer ways and become a Christian (Lol). She even sent me a bible. Here are its remains, which I made into black-out poetry.
Poem 1: Bisexual (from Leviticus 19:9)— “Have sexual relations with her. Have sexual relations with him. Have sexual relations with both a woman and a man. Have sexual relations with yourself. Vomit on everyone who does not respect you.”
Poem 2: Fisting (from Judges 8:5)— “water/ lap the water/ drink/go down to drink/your hands/go down/I give into your hands/go down/encouraged/down/on the seashore/the whole hand/your hand/inside/I get to the edge/and shout/grasping/crying out/Beth/Beth/Beth/Beth/Beth/God/I came”
Poem 3: A Letter to the Exiles (from Jeremiah 28:13) — “Ze said: ‘Do not let lies name you, nor harm your heart. Gather. Raise the sword against them. They scorn and reproach, for they have not listened— again and again have not listened.’ “
Poem 4: Child (from Ezekiel 16:22) — “Your father and your mother rubbed salt in. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough for you, for on the day you were born you were despised. Live! Grow. I looked at you and saw you were enough.”
Poem 5: Father (from Ezekiel 16:22) — “You never adored us. You became very angry. You took some out on us. Your sons and daughters were not enough? You slaughtered— in all your detestable practices— our youth.”
Poem 6: Misandry (from Acts 27:41) — “Dangerous men should be broken.”
Languages animate objects by giving them names, making them noticeable when we might not otherwise be aware of them. Tuvan has a word iy (pronounced like the letter e), which indicates the short side of a hill.
I had never noticed that hills had a short side. But once I learned the word, I began to study the contours of hills, trying to identify the iy. It turns out that hills are asymmetrical, never perfectly conical, and indeed one of their sides tends to be steeper and shorter than the others.
If you are riding a horse, carrying firewood, or herding goats on foot, this is a highly salient concept. You never want to mount a hill from the iy side, as it takes more energy to ascend, and an iy descent is more treacherous as well. Once you know about the iy, you see it in every hill and identify it automatically, directing your horse, sheep, or footsteps accordingly.
This is a perfect example of how language adapts to local environment, by packaging knowledge into ecologically relevant bits. Once you know that there is an iy, you don’t really have to be told to notice it or avoid it. You just do. The language has taught you useful information in a covert fashion, without explicit instruction.
The Mangy/Adorable Cats of Marrakech Need Names
The best thing about Marrakech, one of my favorite Moroccan cities, is its out-of-control cat population. I love cats and have a soft spot for deformed and mangy cats, so Marrakech is heaven for me—all of the city’s friendly people, delicious food, and beautiful rugs are cool too, but I’m really all about the cats. I like naming the cats and picking them up no matter how filthy they are. Here are some of the cats I’ve met in Marrakech.
I named this cat Paris. He has a cute, wonky eye. I met him in the Ourika Valley while hunting for textiles on a rainy day. He has tiny paws.
Here’s Moto. He was always lounging in the shade of this motorcycle.
This is Palace Cat. Every day she sat outside the palace guarding it. I never saw anyone sitting on this bench besides her.
This is Meowy. He’s named Meowy because he meowed a lot when I took his picture. Afterwards, he walked over to me to receive a good pet. Marrakech’s cats are typically friendly.
It’s uncommon for people to have cats as pets in Morocco—at least not in the medinas—but some cats will hang out at shops and become shop cats. You can usually find this cat getting sun at this art shop. The owners don’t mind him because he eats mice and attracts tourists.
This kitten is puny, especially compared to that big stone lion. There’s a shop I go to to get textiles, and going there is such a treat because cats and kittens rule the place. It’s called Mustapha Blaoui. It is the premier destination for Moroccan cat tourism.
These cats are tired after a long day. It was around 100 degrees when this photo was taken. So sleepy!
Source: Vice Magazine