Love and Stuff (or “Love & Stuff”), directed by Judith Helfand and David Cohen, is a family biography about caregiving that aired on Labor Day. Monday September 5, 2022, on PBS POV, running 78 minutes. It was produced in 2020 by Artemis Rising and Fork Films.
In fact, the film is a codirector’s autobiography (something I would like to do!). Judith, around 50, becomes a single mom by adoption shortly after the passing of her mother, for whom she had cared for at home and in a hospice. The home had been along Central Park in New York City.
At the same time, she has to downsize and distribute all of her mother’s stuff, collaring friends and professional decluttering services.
She had lost the ability to have children to cancer surgery. But her mother definitely had wanted her to raise children, so adoption was the only way. The scene were she learns she is approved for adoption is a joyous one, even as she is dealing with the stuff. The film celebrates some traditions in Jewish families, such as eating balka.
She had also been prodded to lose weight. She faces bariatric surgery, a 'gastric sleeve' which will remove 70% of her stomach.
The documentary is remarkable in that Ms. Helfand and others had managed to film so many critical moments for many months.
I could compare this narrative roughly to my own, in my third DADT book. After my own mother passed, I lived in the house, and downsized only about seven years later. I did not do enough to downsize the potential clutter in a new place (even though I moved a lot of it to storage). I did not have or encourage the participation of others (in extended family) in the process. I had my own private transition, which sometimes was celebratory.
I wanted to mention another problem.
Sunday evening, as I took a long walk from the DC Metro (McPherson Square) up north of Thomas Circle to a bar call the Trade, and then returned, I was approached or 'followed' twice for a block or so by 'homeless' men (one in each direction). On the return, a 'homeless' man imitated my elderly stoop (a little spinal scoliosis maybe) and said 'I know what you are thinking about bro'.
In both cases, the young black men seemed to be perturbed about being ignored personally, even more than by their apparent relative poverty. Of course strangers will try to evade them if they feel physically threatened on the street (and this is in a well-lit, downtown neighborhood).
I also wanted to note some alarm at the recent incident where Cloudflare had to disconnect service to a controversial (to say the least) forum said to be involved in circulate physical threats to certain marginalized people. I gave the details and links in a comment to the Sept. 4 post. It is very disturbing to see hosts, domain name registrars, and other backbone infrastructure service providers (like Cloudflare) pull service under “political pressure”. In this specific case, however, the provider said that there was an unprecedented threat to specific human lives, of an unusual nature. This, of course, might well have been said about events in Charlottesville and the election-doubting activities that contributed to January 6. 2021. In the past, most bannings and deplatformings happen with companies we view as social media companies, not basic infrastructure. But since Charlottesville, some infrastructure companies have become involved in certain dire situations.
One aspect of politics, particularly from the Left, is the idea that enough solidarity among ordinary people, bonding together as potential 'victims' or 'oppressed', now can put pressure on companies through boycotts, with more effectiveness than in the past because in large part of the effectiveness of algorithms in enlisting support online, especially among younger people. Older people are more likely to resent being asked or expected to join (in 'allyship') social justice causes that seem remote from them personally, especially with coercion. But not only social media companies but infrastructure companies may find themselves in a position of acting like de facto government, a position Matthew Prince of Cloudflare has said he does not want to be in. And social justice warriors, in making ideological demands, are likely to conflate past group injustices with individual social creditworthiness in the present as this decade develops and elections grow more critical.
Whitney Parnell Ted talk (and music) about allyship from 2017. I can say that in 2007 I let a careless remark about segregation from someone slip by at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
You can’t ignore everyone who shadows you any longer.
(Posted: Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at 12:30 PM EDT by John W Boushka)]]>