“So,” you may be asking yourself, “what the hell’s with that blog name?” Well, here’s some things that have got to do with it. I hope it provides a clarification or two. And it’s not just raccoons and opossums being the original crust punks. Before I begin, I wish to clarify that whenever I make reference to “this country,” I probably mean the so-called United States of America.
In every corner of this colonised, capitalist hellscape of a country, you will find unwanted things. Unwanted people. Unwanted places. Unwanted creatures. Living, once-living, or having only existed in concepts and dreams. They are the refuse, the unwanted, and the truest inheritors of this land, the trash mammals.
Some of my favourite animals are “pests,” and all of my friends exist as pests to the powers-that-be.
In no particular order, I’m fond of these critters: wild hogs/boar, raccoons, opossums, crows, pigeons, feral cats and dogs, and I could go on.
I exist in the axes of marginalised identities. I am working class, trans, queer, mentally ill, and belong to a disempowered religious minority, among others. I empathise immensely with these creatures for a multitude of reasons, but among these reasons is that they are often viewed as vermin to be eradicated for the “betterment of society.” Let that sit with you for a minute.
In the case of wild hogs, is my existence in the weird limbo of having native and settler ancestry, and feeling “I am not from here, but I have always been here, so do I truly belong anywhere or must I try my best to survive anyway in spite of that not knowing?”
In the case of raccoons and opossums, it is that state of being a “trash mammal.” I am a trans person who has no interest in passing or not passing, rather, I am intent on living as honestly as I can, by any means necessary. I’ve eaten trash to survive, in the literal sense. In an almost nihilistic sense, I revel in this sentiment of “kill your gods, eat trash, live free.” A mother opossum carries her young on her back, and I carry all that I love wherever I go.
Crows are the scavengers of this world of vermin critters. They are tricksters, careful wanderers. And they never forget a kindly or cruel deed, nor do they forget the face of someone who betrayed their trust.
Pigeons are hardy. Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? Not likely. They hide their young most protectively, like with many of us who must protect what matters most to us.
Feral cats and dogs, goodness me. We almost view them as traitors, since they’re the “most” domesticated critters we know. But at least in the case of cats, they chose to be domesticated and can walk away from that life at any time. You need your cats, more often than not, than your cats need you. But they’ll choose humans over sleeping rough, if it suits them. Feral dogs are built for survival, and are the most natural state of canine as it stands. True mutts, healthy and shameless.
All of these exist on the margins, like I do. I have always found by embracing the Other, I empower myself to refuse assimilation into the dominant cultures of a society which otherwise would see me dead. I don’t want to become part of their world only if I am of use to them! I want their world to become mine. And if that cannot happen, then I will do my damndest to outlive it, and consume its remains.
To the wretched, the damned, the disinherited, and disenfranchised of society go the prize of holding the noose to hang it with. I hope this helps clarify some things.