The Topsy-Turvy World of De’Ir

Posted on 07/18/2012


No bicycles were harmed in the writing of this post

Today, Bikas will pass along a story that we heard many years ago. I can’t vouch to its veracity:

Once upon a time, there was a small kingdom called De’Ir. De’Ir was located on an island called Sihkwah, just off the coast of Kh’arz, and said to be very much under the influence of Kh’arz. The kingdom was harmonious and egalitarian, largely attributable to a long history of enlightened democracy on De’ir.

For many centuries De’Irians had democratically elected their leaders, through elections which followed a grand voting ritual-festival event they called the “Soverko.”

There was a sort of overlooked problem, though, historically with the De’Irians democracy. You see, a lot like early on with the United States, Greece, and many other fabled democracies, De’Ir only allowed white male non-slaves to vote. The De’Irians were fairly enlightened, though, and, during the reign of a particularly wise white-male leader, they quickly opened the vote to women. Women were also granted the opportunity to hold office, but surprisingly only a few ran, and though they were often popular in the local press, they rarely rose above the rank of local water boards.

The “De’Ir Dilemma”, as it has now come to be known, was that De’Ir kept the Soverko ritual intact at that time. Folks were pretty attached to it, being a tradition at the root of their democracy and all. The Soverko was sort of a long, expensive ritual testing of candidates to show their fitness as leaders.

The way the Soverko worked is that candidates were measured in a series of competitions. There was an impartial commission of judges, retired elder community leaders, known as Kohnzholtagnts or just “Kons”, who would assess and rank candidates.

Via the Soverko, the Kons evaluated various aspects of political candidates. Criteria pertained to their fitness for office, all based on tried-and-tested criteria, deeply based in local tradition. Candidates’ leadership aspects weighed included: height, deepness of voice, fullness of beard, length/straightness of hair, flatness of chest and hip, whiteness of skin tone, and a whole host of measures based on the aspects of candidates’, let us say, sexual virility – long held to correspond to success in leadership. So, during the Soverko, Kons measured candidates’ sexual organs for length, girth, speed of erection, rapidity of climax,  and a whole series of other elaborate measures of the candidates’ actual seminal ejaculate: volume, viscosity, whiteness, staining-ability, etc.

While all this may sound a bit quaint to contemporary western ears, in De’Ir, the Kons actually had a long and scientifically-rigorous body of research on leadership. Turns out that De’Ir scribes’ statistics conclusively prove that their great leaders did all have flat chests, deep voices, short straight hair, and so on.

Though the De’Ir Soverko was officially just an advisory evaluation, you can guess that male candidates did pretty well, and female candidates were uniformly found lacking. A few well-loved female candidates did brave the De’Ir Soverko, and prevailed, at great cost in coin, time, and humiliation. Some women protested the De’Ir Soverko was biased, but the well-respected De’Ir judiciary upheld the the Soverko tradition; the courts found the De’Ir traditions rigorously unbiased.

Many women leaders – especially writers, scholars, bicyclists, etc – found their opportunities for leadership limited. A whole lot of smart women left De’Ir, not long before the Sihkwah Island was destroyed in a giant cataclysm where it was said to be swallowed by the ocean. Some posit that the island subsided due to earthquakes; others say tsunami. Many think that it was undone, perhaps sabotaged, internally. Historians are divided on the actual truth of the matter.

The only way that we know the story is through De’Ir expatriate women having recorded this tale.

So… come to the city’s third and final Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) scoping meeting today at 6pm at the Los Angeles River Center – 570 West Avenue 26, LA 90065 – three blocks west of the Metro Gold Line Lincoln/Cypress Station.

For the city to move forward with additional bike lane projects, it will conduct expensive, time-consuming “Level of Service” analyses to tell how bike lanes will impact car speed. The EIR is expected to show that bike lanes will slow down car speeds, therefore proving that it impacts the environment adversely, so the city can then issue it’s “Statement of Overriding Considerations” and move forward on implementing bike projects.

More information on the city of L.A.’s Bike Lane EIR meeting/process/projects in this earlier post.

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck

Posted in: bike lane