Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Spotted Logger

bridgetmartha's picture

Like Sunshine, I lingered onto the spotted owl/logger conflict. Clare brought a unique perspective to this particular situation, given his familiarity with both the economics of his hometown and the necessity of logging to sustain his community as well as the ecological damage sustained by deforestation--a knowledge particular to 1) those with the class privilege and education to be familiar with ecology and, 2) those who are on the outside looking in, a location from which it is easy to criticize and, furthermore, to scapegoat the "Neanderthal thugs' and 'club-weilding maniacs,'" the "dumb brutes" who are tearing down forests simply as a means of work (52). I feel that this situation is one specific, concrete example of the larger conflict that has shaped Clare's identity, the ever-present divide between the community he has been exiled from by his sexuality, gender, education, and class mobility. His leaving was his own choice but also one expected by his community; however, doing so alienated him from "a whole set of values, a whole way of being in the world" that consisted of both the detrimental, like racism, and the inegnious and understated community of neighbors who connected in a way rare elsewhere. It is this side of him that understands the "kill the spotted owl" side, but it is the other side that understands the "kill a logger" end of the conflict. This side is pursuing education and books, is swept up by dyke culture but out-of-place in the posh urban setting. It is in relation to this dichotomy that I chose my picture, one of a used bookstore (actually in my hometown). Unlike his peers, Clare's upbringing in a relatively well-off home by college-educated parents fostered in him a love of books that eventually became one of the reasons he left (he wanted to have the money for such activities). His intellectuality is another source of conflict with the life he knew growing up, another way in which he is alienated from the rural Oregon community (this time, by class). Throughout the entire first section, Clare expresses a strong attachment to Port Orford, for better or for worse. As they are  both directly linked to class and the privilege permitted by higher education,  these two parts of his identity tie him to his past and present and provide a foundation of ways that his other identities--his race, his sexuality, his disability--intersect with an identity inherent to his upbringing (as Solomon would say, a vertical identity, one passed on by his parents that has shaped his person and will stay with him well into the future).