Maniac! Keep Within Your Limits: A Statement of Reaffirmation

Posted: November 14, 2016 by Sam in Current Events, Editorial
Tags: , ,

Dear Readers,

Good Lord, I don’t even know where to start, but here goes nothing.

If you’ve never looked at the “About” page on this site, then you might be interested in the origins of the name “Maniacal Geek.” When I was in graduate school, I was writing a paper on women during the American Revolution and one of the articles I read was about the marginal conversations of John Adams with the works of Mary Wollstonecraft (mother of Frankenstein writer Mary Shelley). Separated by an ocean, there wasn’t a lot of immediacy where the mail was concerned, so Adams didn’t have the luxury of telling Wollstonecraft, in real time, how he felt about her ideas on the French Revolution, Democracy, or the status of women. Instead, he wrote in the margins of her printed works, engaging with her ideas by writing down his own reactions, thoughts, and diatribes. One piece of marginalia stood out the most within the article wherein Adams had written, “Maniac! keep within your Limits!”

When I saw that quote, it stuck with me. I wasn’t shocked considering the era of history I was studying, but there was such vehemence in those words that I couldn’t rightly ignore them. Here was a man of his time, one of the Founding Fathers, basically telling a woman that she had no place talking about politics, that her “limits,” her sphere of influence, was in the home raising children and whatnot. Going beyond those limits was a social infraction Adams couldn’t overlook.

So when I was coming up with ideas for a blog a few years back, I wanted something that could be relatively broad and yet speak to the less than better angels that I tend to follow. I’m also a sucker for a maniacal laugh now and again, so the name Maniacal Geek stuck. The intention was to give myself room enough to write about everything that interested me (which is a lot), without limiting myself to one genre or medium of discussion. I rant, I analyze, I opine, and I rationalize all for the sake of processing the world around me. No boundaries, no limits. Take that, Mr. Adams!

And yet, in light of the recent results of the 2016 Presidential election, I find myself questioning if I ever did that at all. Did I push back enough? Did I call out atrocious behavior enough? Did I fight? I can’t confidently say yes, and that hurts because I wasn’t raised to sit on the sidelines. I was taught to stand up for people when they needed help. I was taught to speak my mind regardless of authority figures. I was taught to have empathy and sympathy for those whose lives were not my own. I don’t know if I’m a leader, but I’m a damn good champion for a cause.

Going forward, then, means being that champion without hesitation. Compromise doesn’t mean shit if the other side has only shown open disdain and hatred while daring to ask that we work towards “unity.” Acts of racism, bigotry, misogyny, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia will not be tolerated nor will they be normalized. As a white woman, it’s my responsibility to make sure my actions speak louder now more than ever. I know who broke the world and I don’t get to ignore it. I assumed solidarity where there was none and it’s on me and mine to fix it. So that’s what we’ll do.

That’s the point of this article, Dear Readers. I want and need you to know I’m on your side, but I don’t expect you to take it on faith or trust me. I haven’t earned the right to ask that of you. Just know that I have no intention of going anywhere. I may just be a woman writing about comic books now and then, or a host voicing her opinion on a small podcast, but you’d be amazed at what kind of power is found in the places you least expect.

Love and Kisses,

Sam

 

High resolution safety pin on white, clipping path inside

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