Controlling the Narrative

B56E7246-CD90-4040-A00A-C2E43DA28270
Photo by Tacoma Knights of Pythias/KKK member Marvin Boland of Pythians in “redface,” available through the Tacoma Public Library Digital Archives online: “‘Tahmamaiwis,’ a Native American drama, was presented under the auspices of Tacoma Temple No. 58, PythianSisters, at Castle Hall on September 25, 1924. Castle Hall was located in the Knights of Pythias Commencement Lodge #7, 924-26 Broadway. The play was written by Mrs. Laura B. Downey Bartlett of Tacoma in what the Daily Ledger called the ‘inter-tribal’ language. Examples of tribal baskets are also on display. G23.1-069 (Tacoma Sunday Ledger, 9-28-24, 6B)”

In honor of Women’s Day, check out my latest essay on Medium, “Controlling the Narrative: Gatekeeping, Secret Societies, and the Good Ol’ Boys Network.” This work, adapted from my 2019 presentation for Portland’s Drunken Discourse, explores the inherent sexism and racism of the fraternal order Knights of Pythias. This organization’s history, current structure, and practices are too often glossed over, despite receiving taxpayer funds from the City of Tacoma to make archival materials available to the public. I share some of my own personal experiences with the Tacoma chapter which led me to research this topic, as well as a bibliography for further reading.

If, like me, you think this kind of work is important, then please follow me on Medium (@suzanneskaar) and share this article with friends. I am also available to give the full presentation. Please contact me at suzanneskaar@gmail.com for more information.

I appreciate your support.

 

Drunken Discourse Recap

This weekend I traveled to Portland to participate in a monthly panel discussion, Drunken Discourse. I was invited by the host, Kyle Curtis, who read some of my work and gave me the opportunity to present my newest research project entitled: “Controlling the Narrative: Gatekeepers, Secret Societies, and Good Ol’ Boys Networks.” My best friend since high school accompanied me on the train ride down, and one of my first and favorite friends, my cousin, met us at the venue just as the event was starting.

I was able to take a brief break and join them at their table in between participating in the on-stage “get to know your panelists” conversation and actually giving my presentation. This is how the off-stage conversation started:

 

Cousin: Is she drunk yet?

Me: No.

Friend: No.

Cousin: Should we fix this?

Me: No.

Friend: Yes.

 

As I stated in my presentation, I have done editing and design work for a Tacoma based Drunk History presentation in the past (uncredited) – obviously this is the type of work I didn’t do while inebriated or in public.

Leading up to the event, I announced on several occasions that I was bringing my friend as my designated drinker.

I was honestly not going to have even one drink.

I failed in this endeavor.

I reportedly still rocked my presentation — even with not getting the clicker thingy, aka “slide navigator,” to work initially, and then later accidentally killing the entire slide show. Thank goodness for producers like Megan Taylor of Manic Esoteric Productions for straightening that out without me having to interrupt my presentation to ask. Those present had the great fortune to listen to Juan Coronell’s, Narendran Muralidharan’s, and Bill Hernandez’s talks ranging from sweet (“Embrace Change”) to hysterical. Narendran’s “Conservative Immigrant” had us dying; his timing was dead on.

Saturday night (and Sunday morning) did reconfirm the following for me: there are consequences to giving into peer pressure. Something about trying to be a responsible adult, the chronic sleep deprivation that accompanies parenthood (I had two hours of sleep Friday night), and missing a gallbladder has weakened my tolerance for vodka. But this weekend also reminded me of the power of hanging out with strong, intelligent, positive, and supportive women. I am extremely lucky in this regard.

I am looking to publish the longer written version as soon as possible, and I can also be available to repeat this presentation sober (the audience doesn’t have to be). Feel free to contact me at nominestudios@gmail.com.

Cheers!

 

Suzanne

Edited February 2020: The producers regretfully informed me that a lot of footage from the Fall was damaged and unrecoverable. Unfortunately, this did not just impact footage of my presentation. My liver declined the invitation to do this particular Portland event again, but I am still more than happy to present this topic at other forums.