The first thing I want to say is: Kate, how do you look? You look FUCKING HOT. You look FUCKING AMAZING. You look sexy and disreputable and rebellious and brilliant and highly, highly gorgeous.
And YES, my friends, that IS a sonic screwdriver. And YES that is Kate Frackin’ Bornstein (pron. Stine, just so you know, not steen) across a dinner table with me, holding a SONIC SCREWDRIVER. YES.
Do I have a magical life? I have a magical life.
I am in Saratoga Springs at a college health education conference and Kate Frackin’ Bornstein was the keynote speaker after lunch and she is even more brilliant than her several brilliant books would indicate. Here are the notes I took during her talk:
Two things I want you all to know from the talk:
1. Bullies use binaries as a weapon, forcing people into either/or scenarios. You can ask a young person (or anyone, really), “Are you being forced into an either/or scenario?” as a way to assess whether or not they’re being bullied.
Do I think binaries can be used in a loving, supportive way? I do. But I also think they can be used as weapons. Scalpels can be used for surgery or for sex or for threats; it’s not the tool (as the Dog Whisperer says) it’s the intention behind the tool that matters.
2. Postmodern theory can save your life. How? Well, we’re all constructing and reconstructing our Selves (our “who”) based, alas, on the Hierarchical Vector of Oppression (class, gender, race, sex, religion, etc etc etc) as we try to find a “Who” that best attracts the people we want to attract, and we do this when we allow our attempt to create a “who” for which FEWER PEOPLE WILL GIVE US SHIT, rather than a “who” based on WHAT MAKES LIFE MORE WORTH LIVING, viz, identity (who are you? for whom do you want to be a role model?), desire (whom you do want to fuck?), and power (having access to the resources that make life worth living). Suicidal thoughts are giant, important taps on the shoulder to say that one of those “who’s” really needs to die; your PHYSICAL SELF doesn’t need to die, just the identity you need to shed in order to create space for a more genuine Who.
So postmodern theory, which is approximately the idea that things can have more than one meaning, and mutually contradictory meanings too, at the same time, saves your life when you realize that suicidal thoughts are not about killing your body but about killing an identity construction that coexists poorly with the others. So there’s never a need to kill your body, just a need to find things, anything, that make life worth living.
BTW, Kate gives out Get Out Of Hell Free cards, so that you can do whatever you need to do in order to make life more worth living and not kill yourself, and if that includes things that mean you have to go to Hell, she’ll do your time. See in the picture? The only exception is being mean. You can’t be mean. Other than that, do anything you need.
And in case any question still remains, yes I am utterly smitten.