In 2002, having spent more than three years in one residence for the first time in my life, I got called for jury duty. I show up on time, ready to serve. When we get to the voir dire, the lawyer says to me, “I see you’re an astrophysicist. What’s that?” I answer, “Astrophysics is the laws of physics, applied to the universe—the Big Bang, black holes, that sort of thing.” Then he asks, “What do you teach at Princeton?” and I say, “I teach a class on the evaluation of evidence and the relative unreliability of eyewitness testimony.” Five minutes later, I’m on the street.
A few years later, jury duty again. The judge states that the defendant is charged with possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine. It was found on his body, he was arrested, and he is now on trial. This time, after the Q&A is over, the judge asks us whether there are any questions we’d like to ask the court, and I say, “Yes, Your Honor. Why did you say he was in possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine? That equals 1.7 grams. The ‘thousand’ cancels with the ‘milli-’ and you get 1.7 grams, which is less than the weight of a dime.” Again I’m out on the street.
“The conditions of ordinary life… are conditions of the attrition or the wearing out of the subject, and the irony that the labour of reproducing life in the contemporary world is also the activity of being worn out by it has specific implications for thinking about the ordinariness of suffering, the violence of normativity, and the “technologies of patience” that enable a concept of the later to suspend questions about the cruelty of the now”—Lauren Berlan - Cruel Optimism (2011)
“Actuality is when the lighthouse is dark between flashes: it is the instant between the ticks of the watch: it is a void interval slipping forever through time: the rupture between past and future: the gap at the poles of the revolving magnetic field, infinitesimally small but ultimately real. It is the interchronic pause when nothing is happening. It is the void between events.”—George Kubler
“40% of women with disabilities have been assaulted or raped
54% of boys who are deaf have been sexually abused
50% of girls who are deaf have been sexually abused
68% of psychiatric outpatients have been physically or sexually abused
81% of psychiatric inpatients have been physically or sexually abused”—
Grown ups get scared more easily and more often, I think. Children are loud about their fears because they don’t have the same kinds of inhibitions about expressing their emotions as adults; they scream and cry and they say ‘I’m scared.’ We can see and hear their fear. But, children aren’t afraid of pain in the same way as adults, though it may mean they get hurt more often. Children don’t fear financial ruin, they fear failure much less, they don’t fear heartbreak, they aren’t afraid of running around naked, they don’t fear the opinions of others as vehemently. Grown ups make horrible headlines to engender and encourage the fear of others. Adults fear other countries and other races and other sexualities in a way that children don’t even acknowledge, because they’ve not yet been conditioned to fear as we have.