TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
& other curiosities :: profile
At a house party thrown by my husband's cousin, the conversation revolved around Travellers ("an awful race", as demonstrated by questionable anecdotal evidence) and the annual St Stephen's Day fox hunt. No foxes were shot, but the hunters, including the teenage son of a cousin (the 'master of hounds'), tracked and chased foxes through fields and woods, running them down to near-mortal exhaustion with their dogs. I felt queasy at the more vicious pleasures and peculiar biases of rural Ireland. Such occasions remind me of my difference. How I'll never fit in. Nor do I want to.
Traveling as a black man in Brazil, Teju Cole notes, "Each place has its worries, and there's a sense in which what is visible is the wake of a particular history, fleeting, active, but answering to a large and unseen thing. Each society deceives itself in particular ways. The forms of oppression that were practiced here for so long lead to specific pathologies in the society." Yesteryear's colonial oppression, evolving around the landowner-peasant dynamic, manifests in today's widespread prejudice against an 'itinerant' ethnic-based class and pleasure in a savage, aristocratic sport involving the torture of animals deemed 'vermin'. The pathologies will endure, so long as the structures of the society remain underexamined.