Friday, October 2, 2009


What makes the other "other"?
Is it the definite article?


  1. More queries inspired by the chain poem on the Expressive Subjects Blog:

    Does naming an other make it the genuine article?

    Do you know an other when you see it?

    Have you been "othered" by others?
    How would you know?

  2. it gives me pause for thought when I have to consider how I am co-opted into agendas that I thought I was working to interrupt... your questions are a marvelous opportunity to catch myself before I get too complacent ....
    as Picard would say... " vigilance, Mr Worf, vigilance.."
    nicely done.

  3. [Format correction]

    Reflective post, HQ. I think the pauses and interruptions give us (humans) the capacity for self-correction.

    On a more humorous note: Reading your comment, I had this image of someone giving you paws for thought -- kind of like a thinking cap, only furry. Wearing those would tend to make anyone an other, don't you think?

  4. start to wonder if "other"
    is an-other
    cultural construction

  5. I thing maneuvering to be the who othering whom is the cultural game.

    The next blog post is for you, Jon.

  6. Given that I hope you might have noticed my delight in finding Harlequin, Autism being a part of my life through my sisters child (and I am very inspired by that site. Sort of overwhelmed with relief, actually) I find this particular post especially apropos. In assuming for "an other" or "the other" boundaries perhaps sacred, or merely narcissistic spring up. Clearly we must know where we end... but why to we take this to such ends? "What's my purpose?" leads... to "what's Your purpose? which leads to all manner of pathology, which doesn't matter so much when such pathology is merely the rite of passage of leaving a lover, or a child to their own devices. But there are exceptions to that set of people you can leave, and "go west" as we Americans so fancy. And I suppose everyone else.
    Recently my sister blew my mind an said she felt "saved" by her son's Autism. She had realized he saved her. This was one of the most spiritually grounded admissions of "knowledge" I had ever heard. From a woman who previously had stood in for the effervescent youth of all. She had finally found her identity, and purpose, through pain, and her words continue to toll through my selfish little life.
    When your Son becomes "other" whatever modifiers one might fancy can be seen in the eyes of people who have no iron in the pyre beneath you.
    Thanks for your clever post. Oh how I would love to find no use for "other." We reach...

  7. Inspiring confessions here, Andy. Autism is a poignant example of cultural "othering" and its consequences. Your analysis is a remarkably succinct and powerful summary of what it means to come to terms with the felt, embodied presence of the strange, alien presence that others -- even in our own families -- can represent. Sometimes it takes some unavoidable pain and direct mindblasting to shake us out of our "who othering whom" privilege and complacency. I'm glad to see you on this side of the shake.

  8. I just loved reading the past couple/three or so comments.... wonderful stuff!