be radical

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When i was younger (and i know it’s hard to imagine your Auntie Sadie as a young woman but you’ll have to take my word for it for i cut quite the figure and was quite the It girl of the time), i was not the serious matronly aunt you know today. In fact, by the age of fifteen, i had joined the Young Socialist Alliance and wore too much black, dyed my naturally light hair jet blue-black and wore one of those funny scarves around my neck (you know the type – black and white and looking like they were picked up in some baazar, not Harvard Square). I even had a card that said i was a member of the Young Socialist Alliance and tried to get Hill elected to public office.

We young socialists felt it our mission to spread the good word of socialism and attend public rallies for middle-ground politicans and the like and be generally as disruptive as possible. We stood up and protested in the middle of candidates speeches, we sold our own newspaper by hand, we hung out only with other socialists and we made it our business to get arrested, or close to it, by staging peaceful demonstrations that we often co-hosted with other groups, such as PETA and local anti-vivisection organizations like NEAVS.

It was, of course, Auntie Sadi’s fate to join the animal rights movement, and i did so with a vengeance. Oh yes, i wore a bunny suit to protests, i picketed General Motors when they were still crash-testing live pigs in cars and Gillette when they were still, fetishistically, applying make up to rabbits. I would have none of it. And i would be there every time, prompt and sporting my bunny costume and ready for business. i climbed atop an old GM car that one of our staff members had donated and smashed it to bits with an ax in front of a GM dealership. I was a sight to behold; a mad woman wielding an ax and hacking a car to bits. But i tell you, if you had seen the video footage of what happend to these pigs, i think you may have too. It is one thing to eat them, but an entirely different thing to ruthlessly strap them into a car while they are alive to “see what will happen.” Any fool could tell you that.

You see, if you saw me now, you would think me a rather staid and dull lady of a certain age, but a caring auntie nonetheless. But what i have found is that to be this way when one is young proves that you have a heart. The French said, and this i translate very loosely, that if a man is liberal as a child he has a heart, if he is a liberal when he grows older, he has no brain. Something like that. (*i don’t agree with this completely, for the record. i think we may even out a bit, but empathy is not a thing i wish to every grow out of, so call me immature, but there you have it.)

I think when you are young you should follow the surge and uprise of movements. Any movement will do provided it is outside of your normal range of activity and though so much the better if it is a movement you actually believe in. This means not sitting around and watching TV with your friends on Saturday, but getting up, zipping up your bunny costume in the dead of winter, driving out to remote locations where they house such things as nuclear power plants, and seeing how close you can get with you picket sign before you are arrested. Or, you could do what i did, which is to protest hunting in areas that are enclosed (a canned hunt, because where the mcfuck are the deer going to go? it’s shooting fish in a barrel. You could join the Red Cross and be like Joan of Arc. You could join the USO, your local library – heck, there are a hundred such causes just waiting for you to come a knockin’ . You could help a lot of people and yes, you could even change the world, but it will not happen if you hide inside your shell and see only the same friends every day. Broaden your horizons!

You see, when you are young, you can get away with this stuff and more, it lends a certain vitality to the soul and the spirit to know that on this day you did something for someone or some animal or cause, and broke free of your emotive shell. Instead of sitting around and moping because Billy Bob didn’t call, you could be out there protesting circuses and elephant abuse and what not. You could tell the world that rabbits do not need any more eye make-up and that they looked better before. You can start reading all the great classics by Peter Singer and Rachel Carlson. If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on your circumstance) you could even wind up like Auntie Sadi dressed in her bunny garb with the head under her arm and be have your picture splattered all over the UPI Newswire. Imagine that! Now, you’re family may not be so pleased with your newfound fervor for bunnies or deer or socialism or Ayn Rand, but no matter. As long as you stay within some sort of regulated and normal structure (READ: joining the Krishnas is not what i advocate here, nor is joining a Manson-esque cult or moving off to some weird rural ranch with some charismatic loser like the late David Koresh. He is exactly the type of man you are moving away from, charisma or no charisma, he’s bad news.

So, i encourage you to be radical within reason. I don’t want to see you getting dragged out of the screen on the evening news by a cop weilding a billy club to your wilted flower. But get involved, put your passion to a cause and all of that vitality you have into a group or a cause or a person(s) that could benefit from it. Stop wasting it on which color OPI nail varnish you will use this evening. Instead, yu might look into the Free Tibet movements etc. You could even take up meditation, learn what your dosha is, take up yoga, anything – but get involved, be dynamic, dare to be silly and dress up like a rabbit. I still have that photo of me from the newswire, and though i now work for many large corporations, that photograph will always keep me grounded and tell me who i am at my core.

Onward! Be brave, be bold, stay curious, never settle.

sadi ranson-polizzotti

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About Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti

  • Eric Olsen

    exceptional advice, I too examined my options for reinventing the world in my youth – you have been a force of nature of late, Sadi, thanks!

  • srp

    thx eric… i’ve decided to offer up auntie sadi’s philospy (which you can see more of at, though it’s also for boys and i’m encouraging folk to post their issues in teh comments section and i will do my best to give auntie sadi’s advice. something to do for fun, and since a lot come to me for advice, then why not formalize it; this way, we can have a nice, neat book. like Tiffany’s table manners for teenagers etc (lol lol).

    oh, i amuse myself… sad sad sad.

    anyway — i have been a bit of a hurricane lately, it’s true eric. not sure what that’s about. some kind of hypergraphia no doubt. ah well, it’s all to the good. chat soon.

    and contribute to the cause..blogcritics, ten clams a year = bargain.


  • Eric Olsen

    thanks babe

  • Actually, I think it was Shaw who said the Prince of Wales was like a stream of bat’s piss.

    I’m a supporter of activism, but “animal activists” just make me wonder at human delusion. No, I don’t advocate that bunnies be used to test cosmetics, but damn, they sure are tasty.

    When I have the unfortune to speak with most “animal rights” people, it turns out they have no experience at all with animals or nature. They are just Mary Provosts in the waiting. Almost always they have never had to raise or cultivate their own food. Now, if they were activeist about the black market labour required to harvest their food, I’d cut them some slack. But of course migrant workers don’t have the sense to wear bunny costumes.

  • srp

    i actually agree with you. i’ve never been anti hunt or whatever or even anti meat. You and i agree in that i think it shows a helluva lot more respect to kill your own food rather than see it all neatly packed etc. etc –THAT is agood thing and too bad we don’t see more of that. As for bunnies, was poor satire to make a point. For me, i’ve been a vegetarian since i was fourteen, but only because to me, if i couldn’t kill it then i felt i had no business eating it. that’s just for ME. What others do is irrelevant to me unless it’s just horrific testing and unnecessary the way the GM thing was. THAT was absurd. It proved nothing.

    But on the whole you and i are agreeing. I do hope you weren’t judging me as some flake activist, because a. i’m not and b. i wouldn’t judge a hunter or whatever that way. i have nothign but the utmost respect. i even know how to shoot myself (whaddya know), but i just couldn’t kill an animal, unless i absolutely had to to survive; but again, it’s not a view that i impose on others and that’s the main point. there’s no need to assume i’m removed from nature (i’m not) or any of those things.

    mainly, the point anyway, wasn’t about animal rights. it was about just being young and getting involved. i could care if one joined the republican party (which, for the record, i did volunteer work for as well, at the same time i was working for an animal rights group and running a soup kitchen (that yes, served meat, my god)… do you see what i’m saying?

    thx. for your comments and for reading; i hope you hadn’t pigeonholed me because it felt a little like that, and it’s dead wrong. not me at all.
    maybe true of many, but not this kid.



  • E. Martin

    Michael Berumen’s Do No Evil gives a superb analysis of why we ought to include animals in our moral judgments. He basically says that avoiding suffering is the princple object of morality, and that equal amounts of pain ought to be treated equally, whether we are talking about humans or other animals.

  • Eric Olsen

    intentional cruelty should always be avoided, animals should be treated with respect and consideration, but I do not believe they have the same moral rights as humans

  • Tom Manton

    I have read Berumen’s book, too. He says moral rights do not derive from our rational nature. If that were the case, one ought to differentiate between the less rational or more rational…fetuses, grownups, infants, the mentally disabled, etc. Moral agency…a function of rationality…must be distinguished from being a subject of the moral realm. Rationality requires us to avoid doing harm to ourselves without a reason….add impartiality to the mix, we are required to avoid harming others without a reason. The common denominator, here, is to avoid causing others to suffer. Impartiatliy, by definition, accords this rule to everyone without reference to who loses or benefits. Therefore, one ought to avoid causing other animals to suffer, unless we can come up with a reason, one that we can will as a universal rule for the given circumstance in conformance with logic. Nature or rationality alone do not confer moral rights, we prescribe them in accordance with impartial rationality. Nature is indifferent to morality. Insofar as we accept these conjoint princples,however, animals have moral rights, too. Equal pain ought to be treated equally. Only science, Berumen says, can help us judge how to measure the suffering or loss of consciousness (self-awareness) of others.