If you loathe violence….BYOB

“Marching forward hypo-critic and Hypnotic computers You depend on our protection Yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth Everybody’s going to the party, have a real good time Dancing in the desert, blowing up the sunshine. Why don’t presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?” -System of a Down

one of the best video captures from BYOB, thank you System of a Down

Normally I like to keep my content fluffy and light.  This is not to say I don’t feel a certain way about items,  I have issues of my own. I am a queer non-binary single female struggling in a demographic I find very conservative.  I have to work two jobs, I have difficulty find appropriate relationships because unless I am in a large city or possibly overseas I feel marginalized and forced to fall in line with a certain narrow view of my demographic area.  I suppose on some level we all feel this way and struggle.


I have to tell you my Saturday night started out wonderful.  I had purchased a gorgeous hairpiece, ombre silver, and finally uncovered my brazen red disco pants during this horrible remodel I have been suffering.  If you know me I live a multi-poly life and went out to meet one of my “daddies” (kinky epitaph for my older male friend) in White River Junction. We had a drink at the Engine Room and found ourselves bored.  We left to go to Windsor and had a nice time there.

But then the darkness hits us.  We decided we wanted to go to Claremont where the lights are low, the floors are dirty, and the girls are purty.  We love dancing there. It is the only place with a wide dance floor and dance relevant music. I go with him when he is home from traveling and we have a routine of it.

feeling beautiful before the violence

As you have heard by now there was a murder in Claremont.  I live streamed some of it and out of emotion and confusion my message was wrong, but it was right.  Why was there violence on the dance floor (not really, it was outside). In lieu of all second amendment fighters I have heard the term “good guys have guns.”  So my question in my video was….where were these good guys with guns? Why are good guys with guns never there when shit is going down? My other point of the video is marginalization.  This is “Claremont”. I could already predict that people would see this death or behavior “worthy,” “trashy,” or “common” of underserved hard working people. I said these things in my video.

Low and behold I wake up the next day to a slew of comments to the tune that he was some type of “trashy, poor, racist, loser.”  I don’t know if these items are true. He did not deserve what happened to him. Regardless if his politics or lifestyle may have been anti-normative.  

I decided to go live the best I could in a semi-buzzed state because it is important.  It is important to see in real time what goes on in these situations before the media and police state feeds you their version of events.  

What I can tell you is that we were locked in for hours while a body laid on the pavement outside.  With a tarp, I was told. The tension was high, there were minor fights. There was confusion and at one point we thought there was a shooter inside with us.  My friend and I ran for our very lives (or so we thought) into the men’s room. We held the door shut and told the men in there NOT to leave! When we felt somewhat safe to emerge I was hollered at, for being a female in the men’s room by staff (another binary issue, please let me use whatever bathroom I chose for life safety and the emptiness of bladders, thank you).

It took the police hours to get names and facts while that body sat.  I want to say this. If we were in a better demographic, I can only predict that professional patrons would be escorted quickly out an opposing egress.  Information possibly collected and contacts made later. Dead bodies would not lay on the pavement for hours and would be given a proper body bag if they did.  In a better demographic, we would not expose patrons to such ugliness.

This is not the bar’s fault, or the polices fault.  It is the nature of poverty and demographics. This is how it is acceptable to treat us and our loved ones, and our victims of crime when we are just dancing and trying to have a good time like everyone else.  

I implore everyone who has made comments to me about the nature of the establishment and victim to reach out.  Be better people all around. All over the Upper Valley. Go to this business, have a meal or a drink (they make great drinks).  Remember people feel pain and loss and to please keep all unkind opinions to yourself. We have enough issues here and we are fighting them one by one.  People like me who write, and try to form a Woman’s Group and go to work every day. We are here as well in this town. That place was a great place to dance.

I am banned now, for life for taking video.  Somehow it is disrespectful to want to show truths in the wake of violence.  Disrespectful to be pro-gun control. That is alright with me. I can’t even process or translate the experience right now.  I can imagine the fear people are under in these situations. Apply this fear to children in a learning environment. Looking for cover, afraid.  Possibly acting out and confused. Waiting for contact with loved ones on the outside. It is deplorable to think there are no answers here. There has to be.

It is us.  You can tell me that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  I will tell you that you are right.  I will also tell you the establishment feeding you this agenda wants you to be poor, underserved, underinsured, marginalized, addicted, lonely, unstable, unpredictable because if we are in this constant state, we tip our own tables.  We resort to violence and kill ourselves far faster than they are killing us. We deserve more. Equal pay for our work, we are notoriously underpaid and work twice as hard. Safe and affordable housing. Access to medical and mental health care because seriously, who has a sound body and mental health?  None of us do.

Stop judging each other.  If you know someone who is experiencing difficulty offer up help.  If you can’t help then don’t judge. Keep comments at bay, comments are useless when actions work better.  We all judge and have opinions and I am not saying you should change your views, perhaps maybe live by the grade school law of keeping all unkind things unsaid.  I am not perfect at this but I am going to make a huge effort. Starting today. I think changing the dialogue of our thoughts is a giant step.

‘Violence does not cause poverty. Violence is a symptom of poverty. To say otherwise perpetuates false information that has plagued policy in this country for decades and made it impossible to affect real change. When you muddy the relationship between the two, it contributes to a myth that has plagued the poor, especially poor black people, forever: That their situation is their fault.

“If they weren’t so violent, maybe they wouldn’t be so poor.”

“If people are violent, it’s usually because they are poor” because when you are poor, your opportunities to escape poverty are exceptionally limited.

WHEN PEOPLE IN mainstream America think of violence, they also think of poverty: the deviant, defiant, dangerous “underclass” or “undeserving poor.” Such stereotypes contain a grain of truth amid their untruths. Bad apples exist in all classes, from muggers among the poor to manufacturers of defective products among the wealthy; nothing in this essay. is intended to deny the existence of undeserving people. (It is interesting that no one ever complains about an undeserving middle class.) But notions like undeservingness take on an existence independent of the specific behaviors they describe, often broadening into labels and stereotypes that gloss over useful distinctions. The attitudes that such labels reflect and reinforce have political ramifications, some of which exacerbate poverty in their own right. (thehill.com)’

‘Social labeling ­­the resort to imagined knowledge to make moral judgments, differentiating some people pejoratively­­ has a long historical context. America has inherited much of its labeling tradition from England. From the 14th century, when the centralized church conferred responsibility for the English poor on local parishes and a new category of “unworthy poor” was recognized,to the 19th, when the terms “deserving” and “undeserving” entered the language in connection with the 1834 Poor Anglo-American social beliefs have continually dichotomized the poor. Along with their supposed laziness, feeblemindedness, and debauchery, the undeserving poor are considered prone to violence. Whether this is based on beliefs in inherited deviance (as propagated by 19th-century genealogist Richard Dugdale and early 20th-century eugenicist/psychologist Henry Goddard) or in a “culture of poverty” (Oscar Lewis’ famous term), this perception provides a rationale for scapegoating. It is remarkably consistent over time: The characterization of the undeserving poor (the one thing all other strata of society agree on) has changed remarkably little over at least 500 years. Undeservingness is not simply a problem of modernity or postmodernity, capitalism or socialism.

In this mixture of fear, anger, and disapproval, fear is perhaps the most important element. The threat to safety blends into other threats to cultural standards, economic positions, and moral values, justifying blanket measures (e.g., increasing life imprisonment) that do little to diminish violence but increase the distance between the so-called underclass and the remainder of society. The poor are the major victims of street crime, but mugging, robbery, and pickpocketing are particularly threatening to everyone because they involve invasions of intimate personal space. (Auto theft, probably the most pervasive of urban and suburban crimes, is treated as less threatening.)

Fear makes people less willing to distinguish between actual and imagined threats and more willing to listen to politicians who promise harsh reprisals. Local news media rarely miss the most dramatic incidents, especially in white neighborhoods. (Researchers have long argued that the emphasis on crime news is connected to the publicity needs of police departments, especially at budget times, but news organizations also respond to perceived audience interest.) The media rarely explain why crimes have taken place, adding to the sense of randomness and senselessness. 

To break the dubious dichotomy in which the Right blames the poor and the Left blames society, we need less blaming (justified or otherwise) and more policy-focused research into the empirical causes of crime and the (self-) selection of some poor people to turn to violence. More attention should be paid to the relation between ideology and fact, and researchers can insist on empirical study for questions that can be answered empirically. Either street crime is primarily caused by poverty and unemployment, or it is not; this need not be a matter of permanent debate. After all, the middle and upper classes do not mug.

Ultimately, violent crime will not decline until enough Americans realize that punitive measures have not worked. But until the actual threats decline significantly, imagined and displaced threats are not likely to be reduced either. The political, and tragic, reality is that mainstream America appears to be unwilling to give the poor a chance at decent full-time jobs until safety threats decline. The poor, however, need the jobs first. Otherwise, the lure of the streets will be too strong, and the incentive to move into seemingly secure and well-paying criminal occupations too great. (columbia.edu)’

“THE CARNIVAL IMAGERY Grotesque bodies—bodies that drink, eat, fart, sweat, sicken, vomit, and simulate copulation—form the dance floor figuration. Here the grotesque bodily presentation of self-predominates. Speech is loaded with obscenities: “Shake ass with me,” “Bring your ass to the floor.” The floor can be quite filthy; for example, broken glasses; broken beer bottles; bodily and non-bodily fluids, in both liquids and gases; spilled alcoholic drinks and sometimes urine; semen released by sexually aroused bodies; the smell and sweat of bodies; the farts released into the air; people dancing on tables, clearly “shaking ass” in erotically provocative ways for everyone to see and enjoy; the noises of shouts and screams (e.g., the singing along). All these form the carnival imagery of the dance floor figuration. Watching and smelling such scenes can be “such a turn on,” as Blogger 2 intimates: “There have been many times when I have gotten excited just watching others dance slow—sometimes the smell of testosterone/estrogen alone lures me to the heavens! [I]t is that raw energy that is so intoxicating!” These images suggest something about the emotional standards of the dance floor figuration. In contrast to non-leisure associations where people maintain high sensitivity to filthy and gross scenes, in the dance floor figuration this emotional standard is lowered. The threshold of revulsion, shame, and embarrassment shortens. Sensitivity to body proximity shrinks as the invisible walls between bodies tumble. Close body proximity is desirable. Bodies enter in contact and in friction with one another. They move back and forth in the same or opposite directions, simultaneously exerting pressure on each other. They sway sideways—now to the left, now to the right—in friction with each other; while one sways to the left, the other sways to the right; they move round and round and around each other with friction and pressure; they move clock- or counterclockwise in the same direction; they move in opposite directions, one clockwise whereas the other counterclockwise; they move in straight, curvilinear, and zigzag lines, forming intricate combinations of moves. Through touching, pressing, and rubbing, the bodies stimulate each other. Pressure or friction or both during the movements produce pleasurable sensations on the skin. These movements occur spontaneously as bendings of gender, class, age, and ethnicity: Girl dances with girl in erotically provocative ways in orgies of three or more; girl dances with boy but it’s girl who makes the move to ask boy to dance; girls and boys dance together erotically in orgies of any type; class and ethnic distinctions are violated; young and old “shake ass” together in a variety of ways and groupings. The resulting mobile figuration is an emotionally refreshing dance orgy.

The sight of police officers entering nightclubs looking for “troublemakers” is common. On a night in September 2005, there was an episode in the Guilty Martini (nightclub just behind Whyte Avenue) in which two police officers came in, handcuffed a man, and took him away. The police thus enforce the civilizing codes of conduct and impose limits to emotional excitement. In addition to this, individuals also exert social controls on each other. They monitor each other’s behavior and disapprove of each other’s taking things too far, to unacceptable levels. Internalized social controls, shyness, fear of shame, and anxiety about what others might think tie patrons’ bodies to a certain degree. The ingrown armor of self restraints prevents some people from loosening up sufficiently, from taking on the liminal character necessary for emotional refreshment. “Civilization’s overgrown taboo on the expression of strong, spontaneous feelings ties their tongues and hands” (Elias, 1985, p. 28). Some remain restrained, unexcited, and bored throughout the liminal time. These are self-restraints with which individuals in clubs police themselves. The civilizing gaze is indeed internal and automatic.”-Matsinhe, 2009

The dance floor figuration is not complete anarchy, for it has a structural organization of its own. The lessening of controls in human societies of all kinds, but particularly in societies so well ordered and complex as ours, always entails risks, the controlling function of leisure activities which opens up the way for the refreshment of emotions is on its part too surrounded with precautionary rules so that it can be socially tolerable. (Elias & Dunning, 1986, p. 115) Like other liminal spaces, the dance floor is a “place on the margin” (Shields, 1991), not outside, of civilization. It is within the range of the civilizing gaze in the form of external and internal social controls. Consequently, not every participant succeeds in decontrolling his or her emotional controls. As one enters the nightclub, one is greeted by security guards, popularly known as “bouncers.” The bouncers’ physical appearance—big, tall, muscular, and simulated angry looks in the face—is part of social controls. This self-presentation is nonverbal communication that symbolically threatens patrons and stimulates fear in them. The bouncers decide who gets in and who must get out. They decide who acceptable or unacceptable customers are. They patrol the figuration, enforce order in it, and literally throw out those who get out of control. Sometimes the bouncers offer to drive home patrons who are too drunk to drive.

Turner, V. (1969). The ritual process: Structure and anti-structure. Chicago: Aldine.Turner, V. (1975). Dramas, fields, and metaphors: Symbolic action in human society. Ithaca, NY:Cornell University Press.Walkowits, D. (2006). The cultural turn and a new social history: Folk dance and the renovationof class in social history. Journal of Social History, 39(3), 782-802.Wesely, J. K. (2003). Exotic dancing and negotiation of identity: Multiple use of body technologies.Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 32(6), 643-669.Wouters, C. (1977). Informalization and the civilising process. In P. R. Gleichmann,J. Goudsblom, & H. Korte (Eds.), Human figurations: Essays for/Aufsätze für Norbert Elias(pp. 437-453). Amsterdam: Amsterdams Socialogisch Tijdschrift.Wouters, C. (1986). Formalization and informalization: Changing tension balances in the civilizingprocesses. Theory, Culture & Society, 3(2), 1-19.Wouters, C. (1987). Developments in the behavioural codes between the sexes: The formalizationof informalization in the Netherlands, 1930-85. Theory, Culture & Society, 4(2-3),405-427.Wouters, C. (1992). On status competition and emotion management: The study of emotions asa new field. Theory, Culture & Society, 9(1), 229-252.Wouters, C. (1995a). Etiquette books and emotion management in the 20th century: Part one—The integration of social classes.

-Matsinhe, 2009



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