‘The Thing’

 

As a teaching assistant at York University, I found it particularly irksome when a student turned in a paper that reduced the assigned topic or question to a moral weaving together the story-line of a movie. On the other hand it was no easy task to constructively deconstruct the naivety of first year students embracing concepts like ’freedom’, ’justice’ and ‘equality’. The trick was to gently bath these concepts in reality without drowning them in truth. This makes sense if you accept the dissonance that is implied here between reality and truth.

It is in the space created by the dissonance between reality and truth that attempts are made to redeem the social validity of concepts like ’freedom’, ’justice’ and ‘equality’. For some this redemption is an academic exercise. For others it is an exercise of faith in our institutions. For a privilege few it is a space where the most vile attempts are made to make certain that freedom is not free; that justice is not just and that equality does not mean equal rights and privileges. In other words, when it comes to ‘freedom’, ’justice’ and ‘equality’ for a wealthy few, ‘the thing’ is not just what they want but what they think they deserve and what the rest of society owes to the maintenance of their comfort zones and expectations.

Calling my experience ‘the thing’ took root after a very good friend referred to the last five years of my life as, ‘the thing’. To be more accurate the last five years of my life has been an experience of ‘the thing’. After some hesitation, I adopted the phrase because of what ‘the thing’ is not, namely, a person or a place. After thinking about it and using the phrase ’the thing’ for a couple days, I began to see the parallels between my experience with the hubris of a privileged few and the story-line of the 1982 version of the movie, “The Thing From Another World (1951)” . When adopted as a vantage point of privilege, hubris and ‘Affluenza’ the movie “The Thing (1982)” is a perfect story-board for how ‘the thing’ operates and seeks to survive by any means necessary.

I must point out the irony of being able to call my experience, an experience of ‘the thing’. It is a privilege to be able to defend myself against ‘the thing’ because in the third world country that nurtured the hubris that I am confronting ‘the thing’ is simply ‘life’ for a majority of people, most of whom dare not put up a fight. If the effort that has been directed into sustaining ‘the thing’ were applied to saving lives and to the ‘rule of law’ in Mexico the boarder between the U.S. and Mexico would not be a graveyard that a privilege few fly over with expectations of a continued existence above the law.

“We have had it up to here,” . . .Sicilia wrote. . . “[You are] not only permitting our children to be murdered, but also subsequently portraying them as delinquents, falsely criminalizing them to satisfy your limited imagination.”  Javier Sicilia’s  public letter to Mexico’s politicians and cartels.

AdnanSelimovic

“Last fall was his first semester teaching. Selimovic, a Ph.D. candidate in York University’s Graduate Program in Social and Political Thought in Toronto, Canada, is working to finish his dissertation on youth cultures and technology while teaching courses at Ithaca College. This semester, he is teaching Political Economy of the Illicit Drug Trade in the United States, Political Theory of Self Consciousness and U.S. Politics Through Scandals.”

Following the outline (A-I) in the tab titled ‘Affluenza’, I will tread carefully as I navigate a path taken by many first year students who attempt to frame and explain complex social realities guided by the irreality of motion picture fiction. Let us start with how ‘the thing’ morphed and grafted itself onto the administrative and organizational structure of York University. Keep in mind, here, that when I mistakenly thought that the University of Toronto (UofT) was involved in the matter because my partner’s girl friend was a student there, the UofT responded to my including them in my Human Rights (HRTO File 2009-02977-I) complaint by stating that they ‘were not apart of the effort and would not have participated if approached.’ So how did York University become a victim of ‘the thing’?

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario File No. 2009-01977-I

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Tom States

 

A) Reviewing edits to an article that I submitted to The Williams Record, I noticed that the then editor Josh Kussman had crossed out references that I had made to ‘black America’. When I asked him about this, he told me that ‘there is only one America.’ Sixteen years later when I asked Josh Kussman to whom I had given power of attorney should any’thing’ happen to me in Canada about his involvement with ‘the thing’ he told me that he would not “dignify my question with an answer.”

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Now five years later I am still absent an answer or explanation how he ended up in Mexico a guest of the girl ‘friend’ of a then romantic interest of mine whose name and status I had not shared with him. Reading the article that Josh Kussman co-wrote for The Washington Post, about Mexico’s Cartels it is hard to imagine that he was not aware of the incentives that were being offered to him and what he would have to do in order the realize certain benefits for his company. Even if Josh Kussman still thinks that the United States is a monolithic experience, he had to know before his cross border venture that there is more than one ‘Mexico’ experienced by those that have and those that have-not. I understand that the power and money of a wealthy Mexican family with high level government connections is seductive.

thing8If a full-court press by the money and power financing ‘the thing’ could flatter a 1998 graduate, with honors, of the University of Chicago Law School, who graduated cum laude from Williams College in 1994 and also serves as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve, it is not too difficult to imagine the personal appeals and incentives that were made and offered to individual administrators, staff and students at York University. The hubris and ability of ‘the thing’ to morph and graft itself onto the administrative and organizational structure of York University was no doubt aided by the official sanction that ‘the thing’ garnered wearing the mask of the government authority that it co-opted to protect and defend the rights and privileges of a wealthy Mexican national from embarrassment and disappointment in her personal life. To this day I have never personally met the girl my partner was dating at the time. The first time that I saw her was when she was jumping up and down trying to peer through the window of the classroom where I was teaching. The second time that I saw her was when she followed me on a bus ride to York University.

SPTSAG

B) One of the many ways that my partner and I got to know each other was through editing each others papers. When I edited his papers, I used the edit and review functions in MS word. This function put my name in the margins next to the comments that I made on his paper. His girl ‘friend’ also reviewed his papers from time to time. Noticing my name in the margins next to comments that she did not agree with, she could not resist the urge to contact me directly via email with her objections. Other than my comments on his paper the only thing that she knew of me at the time was that he had accompanied me to a gay sauna in Toronto.Apparently his visit to a gay sauna with me did not give her reason to question his sexuality because he reassured her that he as not gay. In any event, the tone of her emails to me were rather aggressive and defensive much like a series of emails that she had sent to me from other people’s accounts as ‘the thing’ evolved. I forwarded the first couple emails to my partner along with a message stating that this was his problem not mine.

thing9What I did not know at the time was that she was sending emails to me from her Facebook account. After getting a couple more snarky emails from her, I responded not knowing that my response would be posted on her Facebook wall. I did not have a Facebook account and did not know how the service functioned. How her Facebook friend and family became aware of my response, I do not know. But I gather they found out through my response that I was having a romantic and sexual relationship with her boy ‘friend’. Not believing that visits to a gay sauna with me was a cause for concern turned out to be an extension of her not believing that homosexuality was an orientation. Believing that being gay is a choice, she came to the conclusion that I was trying to turn her boy ‘friend’ gay. Getting ‘rid’ of me in her mind removed a decision and a wrong choice that she believed he had made. Getting married made sense to her as a choice that would last a life-time if she could get him to the alter. A wedding was also a convenient gathering for a show to tell Facebook family and friends that being married and being gay are choices that can be determined by her. The next step was to rally the wealth, power and prejudice of a privileged social circle to reinforce a choice that was being forced on another human being as an act of preferring some ‘thing’ not wanted.

While someone is trying to “fix” you, hold a mirror up in front of them so that they can see what they are doing. Tom States

To her credit and discredit engineering ‘the thing’ and trying to ‘fix’ and define a man was a sincere effort. It was an effort that was as much anti-gay as pro-heterosexual. She did not and does not understand that being gay or bi-sexual is not a choice and that coming out not only means ending years of self-deception and denial but deciding to stop lying and misrepresenting who you are to other people. All of her behavior and beliefs begged for a lie that at the time her boy ‘friend’ wanted her and a part of himself to believe. No one chooses this particular less traveled road. Although many choose not to get in their lane once on it. Too many of us end up as road kill when we try to live a life out of our lane. Despite all that has happen, I do not believe that she hates gays. She has however, recruited to her cause many people with a proclivity towards hate filled acts of violence directed at gays. The power source and motive forces of ‘the thing’ are well financed hate and meticulously tailored technocratic homophobia wearing various legal, clinical and professional mask. In other words, ‘the thing’ is a bourgeois masquerade of hate, fear, ignorance and ‘limited imaginations’.

C) In so far as ‘the thing’ is not a person or a place, its grammar allows me to wrestle with being secretly filmed in a gay bath house in terms of what it means to be in a safe and positive space. Within 48 hours of the incident, I wrote about this experience of ‘the thing’ in a flyer that you can find at these links (p.1,p.2). Here, it is important for me to address the broader issue of safe and positive spaces as they relate to ‘the thing’ beyond my experience. When I returned from a fellowship and three year stay in Germany, I took a teaching position at Steward Hill Elementary School on the west side of Baltimore, MD while I applied and waited to hear back from graduate schools. If you have seen the HBO reality based series about Baltimore, you know that ‘the thing’ does not have anything on the experience of life that is depicted in ‘The Wire’. My first day of sharing the space of a classroom full of more than 30 sixth graders left me sitting at my dinner table that night trembling with a fork and knife tapping the beat of my heart out on the plate in front of me. No! It was not fear for my life and safety as you might imagine. Yes! The experience shocked and scared me.

Wanting to get a head start, I arrived early for my first day on the job to find a couple dozen students waiting in quite conversation with one another for the school doors to open. It was about a quarter to six. The janitor told me that many of them come early to get away from home or because they were hungry. He said that more students than he could use volunteered to stay after school to help clean the classrooms and to arrange the desks. When I asked one of my students why his eyes where bloodshot, he explained with a resigned look on his face how his foster bother had choked him until the veins in his eyes burst and he lost consciousness. Stepping away to check on a student who I had sitting in the hall, I returned to find another had opened one of the large second floor windows and was laying flat across the glass pane in the frame of the window. My heart skipped a beat as the thought of him falling through or out of the window made me freeze hoping my lack of motion would somehow still him and the situation.

Prior to Steward Hill Elementary, my only experience of the classroom as an unsafe space was trying to get an education in one that I was bussed to on the white-side of town in Greenwood, MS. For high school, I was fortunate enough to attend The McCallie School where my instructors had advanced graduate degrees and the student:teacher ratio was 12:1.

thing4At York University I tried to combine and balance my three real world experiences of the classroom towards a safe and positive space to consume and confront principles and ideas that often fail to create a safe space for most people. When and how ‘the thing’ turned the space of the classroom where I held my TA sessions into a play area for homophobic sting operations and hate speech (See §§ F and G under Affluenza tab) , the hubris and sense of entitlement behind ’the thing’ was made clear. It was the imposed powerlessness of poverty, despair and dysfunction that infiltrated the classroom at Steward Hill Elementary School. thing5It was the poverty, despair and dysfunction of self-entitled privilege that infiltrated my classroom at York University.

Combine the latter with ignorance and homophobia and you have a pathology of power that affords certain persons the luxury of presuming that any and every space is their personal space. For this type and kind of person, a feeling, a sense or a perceived slight that makes them feel uncomfortable becomes justification for making any ‘space’ they happen to occupy, a ‘space’ that is unsafe for others as it undergoes a transformation into a comfort-zone for a privileged few. Learning what happened to me at the gay sauna – as it was happening – elicited a cool calculated initial reaction. I went nuclear later. But my first reaction was tempered by a lack of surprise at the extremes indulged by a third world aristocracy that had high-jacked the power of the Mexican state so that it could low-jack civil society in Canada and in the United States. No matter how complicated and convoluted ‘the thing’ sounds or seems it can be reduced the hubris that allows a privilege few to think that their social status and place in society is permission – in deed a right – to transform ‘spaces’ into environments that are hospitable to their sense of entitlement viz., the fulfillment of the effortless expectations of their simplified lives.

D) Before contemporary fight clubs rose from the netherworld of urban myth to commercialized urban phenomena, there were the three stops that the school bus made returning black kids to the black section of my hometown. “He said”, “she said” and “they said” this or that about mamas, daddies and smelling like do-do gossiped and gobbled up the common sense and pride of elementary adolescents. This whirlwind of insipid stupidity spun out into two or three pairings of kids who were to face off at one of the three stops. If my sister and I found ourselves in an after-school fight there was only one justification that would keep our parents from getting the last lick. We were instructed not to fight unless the fight followed us home and even then only if they stepped foot on our property. Then we were expected to ‘stand our ground’.

My partner’s baby mama sent his other intimate male friend from Mexico to visit my friends and family in order to relay his personal accounts and witness of my “drug use” and “promiscuous homosexual life style”. I do not know? Maybe her ‘limited imagination’ thought that the same antics that instigated after-school fights above would turn my friends and family against me. While her ambassador was away doing her dirty work, apparently she used the time to coax and coerce my partner into betraying and rejecting a very loyal and special friend. I say apparently because I do not know and can not imagine any other reason that he would call his friend who was waiting to take a return flight to Mexico and tell him that he ‘did not love him anymore’ and that he was no longer welcome in Mexico. It was not long after this that I received a telephone call from the guy who had just finished carrying out a smear campaign against me.

thing3When I learned about what had happened with and to their ambassador of hate, it reminded me of the last telephone call I had with my partner before we broke up for a third time. His girl ‘friend’ was hovering nearby coaching him in the background. A fact that I would have been unaware of except for hearing her audible objection to him saying that he wanted to keep in touch from time to time ‘just to know if I was alive.’ thing3You might be thinking that my partner is weak and impressionable. This is not at all the case. The initial stages of coming to terms with ones sexuality is a prelude to cultivating a center of strength and self-confidence. During this initial stage there is an intense feeling of vulnerability and uncertainty. You think that you and everything will be fine if you can just submerge yourself in a set of socially valid norms. Try carrying this burden while dealing with a person who you had seen mobilize and attack the last guy that disappointed her the way she was coming after the guy you loved in ways she imagined for herself. In other words, I am not the first person to confront ‘the thing’. In telling me about his girl ‘friend’ my partner mentioned her earlier successes in mobilizing ‘the thing’. If you can not find a way to empathize with my partner and soul-mate consider what my former best friend of almost two decades did and did not do when confronted with the web of deceit and opportunity that sprang from the well financed imagination of an uniquely possessive and childish mind.

If you think that you would have stood up to the well financed antics of a super stalker consider the number of students, staff, faculty and administrators at York University that were taken in and consumed by a fraudulent scheme leveraging homophobia and feminine loyalties. Seasoned law enforcement officials found themselves in a situations that jeopardized their careers. There was a time in the South when all a white woman had to do was say she suffered a slight from a black man to transform law enforcement, clergy and polite society into lynch mobs. ‘The thing’ is an attempted high-tech lynching engineered by a spoiled rich ‘brown’ girl for whom nothing mattered when it came to what she wanted, not even the fact that the person she wanted did not want her.

Going to my family and friends to smear me was not only following me home. They sent someone to step foot ‘so-to-speak’ on my property. I ‘stood my ground’ in this case by contacting the Federal Bureau of Investigation with information that I had about their ambassador’s transportation of one pound of marijuana from Toronto to Chicago. At the time it seemed a fitting and just response considering that part of the smear against me entailed my “drug use”. A charge that was played up by attributing it to a “homosexual life style’” that diminished my capacity in such a manner that justified the issuance of an ‘extraordinary writ’ granting ‘the thing’ legal sanction supported by the power of attorney I had given Josh Kussman to ‘observe and report’ my movements and electronic communications. When this writ did not yield timely and expected information, extra-legal and extra-ordinary measures were taken such as filming me at a gay sauna, trying to get me fired, evicted from my apartment and sending emissaries to my family and friends etc. viz., ‘the thing’. Driven more by legal and financial reasons to justify its existence rather than the desires of a spoiled child, ‘the thing’ continues to this day on its mission impossible.

E) Feeling her ‘self’ after having a child at the young age of 13, my cousin dismissed a piece of wisdom my aunt tried to share by stating, “I’m a woman”. My aunt replied that having a baby made her a mother, not a woman. Talking like a child and reasoning like a child my cousin thought she was a ‘woman’ because she mimicked the sexual behavior of an adult female and experienced one of the consequences. She was fortunate to have a woman in her life to point out what birthing a child meant and what being a woman means. The experience of child birth could no more make my cousin a woman than it could make my partner the man his baby mama wished and wanted. The saddest modus operendi of ‘the thing’ has been its use and abuse of children.Like my cousin ‘when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child and I reasoned like a child’. As a child I happened upon a diagram of a banana in an encyclopedia. Part of the banana was blue representing the percentage of water in a banana and the other part was yellow representing the percentage of potassium. The next time I got my hands on a banana, I broke off the part that was depicted as water and just ate what I thought was the potassium. My reasoning as a child was deeper than the intelligence behind ‘the thing.’

The homophobia of the Mexican plutocrats financing ‘the thing’ is as basic as misogynist machismo. When they practice their homophobia they reason like a child. They make simple one-to-one translations of how they see the world and what they understand about it. Their views of gay people reflect not only an ingrained Latin American anti-gay cultural bias but a cultivated depraved indifference to the humanity of persons who identify as gay.

thing2The homophobic machismo of ‘the thing’ has a theological aspect. In demonizing gays the impish intellect that contrives and mobilizes ‘the thing’ posits gay people as the embodiment of every vile and evil expression of human sexuality. If as they say the devil is in the details, every detail of the so-called ‘gay life style’ is in some way evil. In other words, gay people are personifications of an entire body of deviant and criminal sexual behaviours in the same way that the devil is a personification of all that is evil. Homosexuality, is equated with everything from bestiality to paedophilia. The ‘gay life style’ is reduced to the impulse control of nymphomaniacs and rapist. In short, gays, should not only be cast out of society but out of the human family.

The homophobic sting operation using York University students in my classes evolved over time from using college age males to underage males in inane efforts to bait the deviant behaviour that ‘the thing’ understood as the essential nature of all gay people. This type of child abuse was not just limited imaginations, prejudice and ignorance but a disregard for the welfare and development of children beneath the social station of rich Mexicans financing ‘the thing’. After arriving in Atlanta, Georgia, I was particularly bothered by the extension of this weird form of itinerant trafficking in young black boys. Simply put, a bunch of rich Mexicans were renting the bodies of young black boys, indoctrinating them in the ways of hate and using them as decoys to ‘hunt’ a gay black man.

As a gay man, I will never understand what it means to be a mother or a woman. I do not need a womb, however, to have a heart that abhors using a child as a decoy, weapon or instrument to entrap, manipulate or coerce others. The choice of using a child to field test homophobia, ignorance and anti-gay prejudice reflects a depraved indifference that goes beyond attitudes towards gays. The only thing lower than using a child as cannon fodder for a bunch of rich homophobic Mexicans operating with impunity in our society, is having a child to compel obedience to a particular sexuality or to extort a relationship with someone who does not want to be with you.

F) My hometown, Greenwood, MS is in the heart of the Mississippi-Yazoo delta. Unlike the Nile river which spreads out like the fingers of a hand creating a fertile agricultural region where it flows into the Mediterranean Sea, the Mississippi-Yazoo delta is further inland. The Mississippi river forms a delta where it branches off into the Yazoo river instead of where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico. In an uniquely Southern way the Mississippi-Yazoo delta is the cradle of Southern civilization or backwardness depending on how you approach its history.

The agrarian signature of my hometown is written in the soil and soul of the people by the mighty Mississippi river. It not only divides a wide area of flat land into, long after slavery, sharecropping and share-renting it nourished the division of labor and people in this part of the South. As a teen in the early 80’s, one of the many possibilities of a summer job was chopping cotton. Yes, there were and are a variety of chemicals used to kill the weeds and plants depriving cotton of nourishment and farmers of profit. Cotton that was not grown in fields sprayed and soaked with chemicals, however, fetched a higher price on the market.

Under the supervision of my aunt who along with her sisters had chopped and picked cotton as young women, I decided to try my hand at chopping cotton. It was a very short lived adventure. The rasp of the routine required to do a good job which mostly meant not damaging the cotton stalks at their roots could not train my muscles. When the searing hot sun rose over the field on a day that began before dawn my mind conspired with my muscles to call it quits as soon as we got our first break. Standing in the field across from my cousin and a couple friends, I joked that if I was a slave, I would ask which way is north and make a run for it.

A few years later during my senior year at The McCallie School, I went north for the first time in my life. I went to visit Williams College. When I landed at a small airport in Albany, NY among the people assembled at an adjacent gate was a kid dressed as a Union solider. Maybe he was going to a themed party or on a school field trip. I do not know. The humor of this citing matched my Southern disposition. The Civil War is still a very big deal for many Southerners. Some members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Atlanta claim that they flinch when they see a Northerner light a match because it reminds them of Union General Sherman’s fiery march through the South.

In the time since I graduated from Williams College, I had traveled and studied abroad in Egypt, Italy and Germany among other places. Yet, when it came time for me to fly to Toronto, I was headed to a part of the world north of my Southern identity. There was no little union solider manning the airport but an older and wiser version of myself was in a space that was considered from a historical perspective to be a ‘safe harbor’ for those seeking relief from social, economic and political ills of the South, especially Mississippi. That is the spirit in which I enjoy Toronto and the learning space at York University. My experience in Canada was great until the despotism and discrimination that inspired Nina Simone’s song Mississippi Goddamn and the movie Mississippi Burning rose from Mexico like the sun over that cotton field to cast its shadow over Toronto.

I love and loved the work and study opportunities at York University. Working as a teaching assistant, I learned more from my students and course director than I can claim to have taught. For the first time in my professional career, I was a member of a union that offered protections in the work place and negotiated on behalf of its members to secure a living wage and other benefits. The heart of the department of political science, the graduate program assistant, nurtured the program and its graduate student as if it and they were her own children. I felt safe and lucky to be under the tutelage of my course director, himself, a former graduate student and teaching assistant in my program. If you had told me during my first year that I would be sitting opposite and apparently opposed to him at a human rights tribunal hearing, I would have laughed in your face. In sections above, I speak to the issue of safe and positive spaces.

thing3My course director was an extension of and ultimately responsible for the space I was allowed to work in as a teaching assistant. When I began to receive very aggressive and hostile emails from his email account, I simply could not believe they were coming from him. thing3By this time I had become aware of ‘the thing’ in enough details to know of attempts at instigating incidents of inappropriate sexual advances towards male students and situations that demonstrated a violent temper. As if any of the other incidents orchestrated as part of the thing’ weren’t sever enough “stressors”, the part of ’the thing’ that was credentialed by Mexican officials abusing the scope of the ’extraordinary writ’ under which they operated, involved authoring the hostile emails that implied my job was in jeopardy. Again, my reaction to the emails was as tempered as my initial reaction to the real time discovery of being filmed in a gay sauna. Unwilling or unable to deal with a dirty trick that did not yield the desired results private persons financing ‘the thing’ , meddling in an official effort that was not bearing fruit, went the extra step and sent emails from my account to my course director. This too did not play out or into a violent argument or confrontation between myself and the course director. When he approached me outside of one of my sessions about a number of emails.. I informed him that I had no idea what he was talking about.

During the HRTO hearing this issue came up again. Except this time the emails in question were tabled as documents that were not for whatever reason included in the discovery process. I received, during the hearing, emails that I did not send to my course director. When one of the things that I was accused of writing to my course director was mentioned, I asked the human rights attorney representing York University to show me the email where I wrote that I would, “take him [my course director] out.” The implication was that I had threaten to kill him. The silliness of an email mimicking a stock threat phrased in tabloid syntax reminded me of the email that I got from a student placed in one of my session – “Cassandra” – calling me a “faggot”, saying that it is a ‘scientific fact that stingrays have aids’ and claiming that the university ‘pool was closed due to HIV’. I asked the attorney to show me the email in question. It was not in the emails that I received late on the date of the hearing. At first she began to search for it among a pile of papers that seemed to be more for show than evidence. Then she burst out into tears. Her emotional breakdown was such that the adjudicator decided it was best if we separated into two different rooms that he would then shuttle between. When we were settled in our separate rooms, I told him that if I had burst into tears, they would have accused me of being emotionally unstable.

Throughout my experience of ‘the thing’ I have known better, as a black man, than to allow myself certain emotions, even after being filmed in a gay sauna or set up in situations with male students designed to compromise me in some way. I did learn a thing or two in Mississippi. A friend asked me when and how I thought ‘the thing’ would end. The answer lies in how it began. A complicated sexual relationship involving the hopes and dreams of a spoiled rich girl from a culture of corrupt power cried wolf and all of the public and private resources that her folks could muster came to her aid in a way that is familiar to how they operate in a society that is failing the state of Mexico. Her disappointment became ‘the thing’ for two reasons. The first has to do with the benefit of the doubt that Canadian and U.S. authorities and citizens give public and private representatives of Mexico and Mexico’s plutocrats. They can not run their country and one need not look any further for an explanation than how and more importantly why they have run ‘the thing’ over the last five years. The second reason has to do with the collateral damage that has resulted from the manner and public persistence of my resistance. It has cost them millions. It has cost them pride. As time passes they are not only fooling themselves but making fool of themselves.

G) One of the ground rules that I communicated to each new group of students was that if they were particularly observant of any religious traditions and found the frank discussion of any subject uncomfortable, they could excuse themselves and I would go over the material with them during office hours. No one ever took me up on this offer. There was one white female student, however, who reported me to the department for not being sensitive to the female Muslim students in my class. She also reported that when she approached me about this, I called her a racist.Much was made of this complaint as private information related on my record of employment was turned over and digested by ‘the thing’. In a security report written by a senior security official at York University and included in the documents submitted to the HRTO, it was said that I used graphic language of a sexual nature. To get an idea of how I talked about sensitive issues in my session read the blog in which I write as I taught.

thing1When the white student mentioned to me that she thought some of the female Muslim students might be uncomfortable, I asked her if she was asked by one of them to speak to me. She said no. I told her that she should not assume that they are unable to speak for themselves. I also told her that it was rather presumptuous for a white woman to assign powerlessness to the female Muslim students. In her mind, I called her a racist. In my mind the parental instinct of a white person towards a person of color is offensive and a lot more complicated than racism. That she perceived a person of color challenging the rightness of her peculiar indulgence of ‘whiteness’ in this case as a threat is an entirely different matter.

I had the pleasure of working as a teaching assistant while completing my Masters at New York University. By my fourth year into the job at York University, the type of flare up like the one described in this section did not phase me. What made this incident significant beyond the scope of its normality in an academic setting is that it along with every other spot and wrinkle in my academic and employment record were exaggerated to effect ‘the thing’. Between York University and C.U.P.E. 3903 there exist redundant and reciprocal policies and procedures for dealing with such matters. A flare up becomes a fire when instead of administrating the bumps and bruised egos in a structured learning community you throw gas on them when they flare. If you have endeavoured ‘to be somebody’, official and unofficial dedicated professional resources combing through your personal and professional life with an agenda will find something. When there is something there, but no there, there; the craft of assembling and managing information becomes an art of deception. Documents describing incidents like the one above read like non-fiction up to a point before nudging the reader towards the fiction of ‘limited imaginations’. After five years of managing an experience of ‘the thing’ I have modified the saying, “where there is smoke, there is fire”, to “where there is smoke there is fire or damn good arsonist”.

H) One of my former partners, a French citizen, was finishing up his PhD in Montreal. Wanting to take a time out from the circumstances created by ‘the thing’, I called him and asked if I could come for a visit. I had not discussed ‘the thing’ with him as it was still in its early stage. Imagine my surprise when he told me that he would rather I did not come to visit because he did not want investigators following me to his home. He spoke as if he thought I knew about an investigation into my personal and professional life. This conversation was not an appropriate time to go into what I knew and did not know. Reading between the lines of a carefully crafted reply to my follow up email, I sensed that he had placed himself in some manner of legal jeopardy by an inadvertent casual mentioning of ‘the thing’. The jest of the email exchange between us was the establishment of the fact that he had not reveal anything to me. For all intent and purposes, this was true.

thing2The very nature of ‘the thing’ was that I had no knowledge of an investigation but was aware of it. Even after acquiring specific knowledge of ’the thing’ through the HRTO process, ’the thing’ continued as if it was a professional investigation unbeknownst to the target, me. This bit of ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ Mexican theater allowed ’the thing’ to perform in front of an audience that knew more about it than the lead actor, me. My role was to be the hapless and helpless victim. Containerizing persons, information and resources that would allow me to ascertain the nature of ’the thing’, was the flip side of attempts to quarantine me. I was suppose to pretend that I was not being stalked, secretly filmed, set up in my classroom, slandered to my friends, and harassed in my work place. If I did not pretend that ‘the thing‘ did not exist, I opened myself up to charges that I suffered from delusions because I thought I was being investigated and surveilled but could not prove it.

There has never been an attempt to inhibit my awareness of ‘the thing’. In fact, one of the objectives, dare I say, the psychology of ‘the thing’, has been to go to extremes to make sure that I was aware of it but had no factual knowledge of it. This explains in-part the reply to my HRTO claim that there was no “factual basis to my claims.” Contacting family, friends like Josh Kussman and former partners in an official law enforcement capacity was as much about facilitating a sense of isolation in that any counsel that I sought regarding ‘the thing’ met with a quasi obligatory ‘what thing?’. In the case of Josh Kussman this explains his response to my direct question about ‘the thing’. He is an honest person that could not be forthcoming so he said that he “would not dignify my question with an answer”. In other words, he like my former partner in Montreal gave me an answer about something I was aware of absent a critical body of knowledge.

The secret that ‘the thing’ policed was not its existence but it goal. It goal was the wish fulfillment of a bunch of Mexican plutocrats and a spoiled rich girl with access to state power and the power of money. To shed a different light on York University’s human rights attorney bursting into tears during the HRTO hearing, more than one close friend of mine broke down in front of me under what I assume to have been the weight of what they knew and could not reveal to me. The attorney for York University indeed the entire legal department was little more than puppets and proxies for cowards wanting to keep their finger clean by fronting other persons as the face of their dirty work. In one particular case that I will not go into details here, information gleaned from my emails was used to jeopardize a friend’s career and marriage. I have gay friends who are not out and others whose HIV status is known to a select few. Talking over the telephone or emailing me became a liability and inhibited our free association as word passed over my head that my communications were not secure. Whether it was a good friend, former partner or an employer, ’the thing’ is by design not an investigative effort. It is an effort to bully and to intimidate using state power and the power of money. ’The thing’ is not just a function of the state and money behind it. It is a manifestation of the dysfunction of the power that money can buy in a state that is for sale to drug cartels and plutocrats alike. Often the only difference between the two is on which side of the law they can afford to be.

I) One of the academic disputes that my partner had with his then girl friend was about the social validity of a Caribbean strand of feminism rooted in the experience of Caribbean women with post colonial patriarchy colored by the legacy of slavery. She dismissed out of hand the notion that the set of social relations in which Caribbean women are embedded structured or restructured ways of knowing or understanding feminism. After this difference of opinion between my partner and his then girl friend she became more proactive against influences that she thought led him away from her dogma. It has never been clear to me whether she thought of him as a boy friend, puppet or parrot. In her mind his personal and intellectual development was under her tutelage and outside influences were not to be tolerated. It was comments that she noticed when editing his papers that I made about feminism, racism, sexism etc being understood within a meta narrative of class and historical materialism that prompted her to contact me directly. She turned a debate that my partner and I were having into an accusation that I had a problem with women.

thing6There was no room to disagree with her bourgeois militant strand of feminism. Understand that the undercurrent of the debates that we were having run deep in most structured learning communities. She was not the first and will not be the last to turn an academic debate into a life or death situation. It is usually the case that those with the least at stake, stake the greatest claims when opinions differ from their own. In this case by least at stake, I mean that her economic and social status represent a material dissonance between her and the experiences of realities that she studied and wrote about. This became more and more clear once she employed ‘the thing’ to advance her grasp of feminism and her grasp of my partner’s sexuality.

Her search for allies to remedy any attraction that my partner has for the same sex evolved from reaching out to and inciting persons with Spanish sounding last names to enlisting fellow feminist on pretence that I had a problem with women. She turned a personal experience with a man in which her femininity was not confirm or appreciated the way she imagined into an affront against all women. Casting herself in the role of victim and me as villain she led a cadre of people to low points in their lives and careers. Treating her fellow feminist like dogs, she used my comments and email exchanges with her on the subject to incite and sic them on me. Her true motive was to neutralize a romantic rival.

By expanding the scope of her very personal problems with me to include genuine champions of women, she involved members of York University community in an effort – ‘the thing’ – that resulted in them either being suspended or asked to leave Canada for violating the terms of their visa. ‘The thing’ was born and grew out of efforts towards mitigating the consequences of her reaction to rejection. I can’t help but to think that she hopes and needs ‘the thing’ to bare fruit in order to restore as much of the lives that she has destroyed as would be possible if half of the tale she tells about me and my partner is true. In other words, her defence of those persons whose lives and careers were consumed by her snide schemes has been an attempt to redeem those persons by proving that I am the person she thinks I am. This is just as silly as staking her life and the life of child on her certainty that homosexuality is not an orientation but an undue influence of a ‘gay life style choice’. As if my partner were the weak willed and feeble minded person her actions and reactions presume. I assure you he is not. If he were, I would not want to be with him.

Destroying the lives of those that came running when she called “she-wolf” was one thing, doubling down by bringing an innocent life into the world and this insipid war of hers was/is another matter all together. I sincerely regret the negative impact that an intrapersonal matter – that grew into ‘the thing’ – had on those people with good intents and hearts who came to her aid thinking that a challenge was being made to principles that they hold near and dear only to find themselves the victims an elaborate bourgeois hoax.

Officially, the feminist angle of ‘the thing’ took the form of independently contracted investigators and lawyers working with quasi Mexican officials approaching any employer of mine in the same way that York University was involved in ‘the thing’ as well as potential employers with vague references of their “investigation” and implications of my problem with women. The goal was not to champion feminism but to inflate a toxic air around me and any employment I sought such that I would not be able to afford to fight ‘the thing’ or maintain contact with my partner. In my main blog I call this type of hostage taking and high jacking a high-tech lynching.

Unofficially, ‘the thing’ relied on loosely affiliated persons, some male but mostly females who were either in ‘the thing’ for the money and or answering a call to defend feminism. The first women to answer this called wrecked their academic and professional careers. Some of these women have moved on, others have thrown themselves into ‘the thing’ sharing the hope that it will redeem them. Still others are out for revenge. There is nothing that I can or will do to reverse the negative impact that ‘the thing’ has had on those women who joined a fight that was not theirs or about them. They have been deceived. Their fight is not with me but with the spoiled rich girl that use them and feminism to forge two different false masculine identities – one heterosexual and one that has a problem with women. Tragic!

Horrific, is how the modus operandi of ‘the thing’ went from enlisting male students in my classes as sex objects to working with males that were my neighbors while I resided in Atlanta, GA. Again and again, ‘the thing’ did not hesitate to enlist men who beat, rape and pimp women. In section (I) under the following tab, I will go into details about how I saw females acting on behalf of ‘the thing’ walking up step that less than 72 hours earlier I had seen the same men they went to visit knocked women down, beaten and bloodied.