Making “It” Better

I have been thinking about the “itness” of “it.” What is meant by the proliferating “its” now in circulation? Is my “it” the same as your “it”? What happens when my “it” meets your “it”? Can we believe that your better “it” also betters my “it”?

My “it” might interrupt your “it,” disrupt your “it,” displace your “it.” There is no guarantee that my better “it” will better your “it.” And, in fact, given the way “it” has been mapped in terms of race, class, and gender, “better” is unevenly distributed. My “better it” might depend on your “worse it.”

We have to be very deliberate about how we define “better” and “it.” “Better” cannot be about individual survival, though it has to be. “Better” has to be collective. We need to balance defining “better” by being as precise as possible, while leaving open possibilities that we can’t yet envision.

The many videos around this project are best understood as weaving together possibilities, not as offering singular life paths. We have to emphasize that “better” is about multiple trajectories. And that the weaving can be shaped or sculpted, directed in particular ways, driven toward particular destinations—legislative and institutional.

To ask how my “better it” can “better” your “it” requires extending the care and generosity of the many video-makers and supporters in unexpected ways.

It might require that I lose elements of my “better it” to enable your “better it.” “It” might require that you understand how your “better” depends on robbing mine. “It” might also require that you understand how your “better it” can “better” my “it.” Here, one can use the word “empower.”

A “better it” cannot simply be about cessation, though that’s very important. And we must make “it” more than about survival, though that’s also very important. Even in what feels like the interminable of a terrible now.

And, here, I might be registering the distinction between the privatized notion of “better” advanced by Savage and the public one issued by Hillary Clinton. His message says “it” gets better; hers, you can make the world better. I want to hold on to the promise of Hillary’s message, to see the “better” as a world-making and re-making venture.