“Slatternly!” This was one of the first “charges” against me as the real estate mobbers began to project harassment, threats and insults into my legal rental home in this lakeside neighborhood in northeast Seattle. Because the real estate mobbers occupy houses on either side of me and had already been seen peering into my windows enough so that I had complained to the Seattle Police Department, this was a charge that I suppose they thought I would take seriously. “Slatternly!” they intoned again and again. It was the voice of an elderly woman, an oddly familiar voice, and at this point in the mobbing they freely included or represented the voices of some of the neighborhood watch, some who may have been the same persons attempting to get the city to rezone parking to “encourage” those they disliked to move and those who were willing to not only publicly say that renters should not park on the street but to accompany other co-captains of the neighborhood watch to court to try to back up their stories. It could even have been the voice of an elderly woman I saw being chummy with a guy who is at one of the mobbing houses every night and day these days, even when the owners are not, and before him it there was a young woman who was there much of the time when I was home, often coming in right after me.
(Incidentally, the threat of “mold in the interior walls” that required the tear-down of my home was oft-repeated for months and months. When the spin on the tale that was spun was that it was my fault didn’t take, they quickly switched into the implications of the “mold in the interior walls” being that my landlords were taking advantage of me and making me, and my cat, sick and that I needed to get out so the house could be torn down.)
This is a word worth examining. Its utterance in the mobbing by the voice of an elderly woman begins its contextualization as an old word. The origin of word dates back to the 1630s, according to the Free Dictionary online at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/slattern.
The noun slattern slat·tern (slăt′ərn) speaks of “an untidy, dirty woman.” The American Heritage Dictionary suggests that it originated from the dialectical “slattering,” meaning “slovenly,” and which was the present participle of “slatter” or “to slop.”
A slattern is defined as an slovenly or untidy woman or girl. And also as a slut or a harlot. This is a morality of filth.
Webster’s College Dictionary (1991 by Random House, Inc.) first defines a slattern as a “prostitute who attracts customers by walking the streets,” or one of the following: “floozie, floozy, hustler, street girl, streetwalker, hooker, bawd, cocotte, cyprian, fancy woman, harlot, lady of pleasure, prostitute, sporting lady, tart, whore, woman of the street, working girl – a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money.”
The second definition provides a general description of “a vulgar promiscuous woman who flouts propriety.” In short, a “floozy.”
Slatternly is thus a gendered term, one old enough to be suited for use by a disapproving elder of the neighborhood watch or perhaps one that might affect the female victim of the mobbing, at least, the “tenant clears” or “real estate mobbers” who have chosen their language and tactics based on stereotype seem to expect it to. But this term is very much a gendered term, one whose underlying implication tends to be sexist. Women should be tidy, and they should be chaste. At least, here in northeastern Seattle, where malicious gossip and some privileged white kids who call themselves “mobbers” have, in conjunction with an unethical neighborhood watch and racketeering real estate interests, attempted to supplant civil rights and law, any conventions that can be used to further their rotten ends will do.
The charge of “slatternly” was intended to intimidate me into believing that my eviction was imminent, and to get me to flee to avoid it–this is the “white glove” approach to constructive, illegal eviction, and the harassing chatter along these lines often threatened that city inspectors would be showing up at my door any moment to make a proper inspection of my housekeeping. The charge was accompanied by exhortations that no one would rent to me again if I did not “get out” immediately. The charge was accompanied by allergations that there was “mold in the walls” that I would be blamed for, or that my landlords had lied to me and there was black mold in the walls that was making me sick, or that my landlords ([my] “new ones”) wanted me out.
I think at some point last year, I was able to find a legal code which actually did use the the term “slatternly” in a passage about causes for eviction. I can’t find it now and want to get out and do an errand or two. But it is important to note that the attempt to enlist the law and legal codes in illegal harassment in this instance and at other times in the mobbing does indicate the willingness of real estate mobbers or tenant clearers to ply their trade in consultation with attorneys who might have some knowledge of the law on tenant eviction.
Anyway, I’ve much to do in the next week before going out of town again and the harassment does continue every minute I sit here, coming over radio or TV if they are on, onto my cell phone if the service is active, and by projected means at least when other avenues are not available. And I continue to try to live and do my work in this, my legal home, in the midst of it all as I continue to write these blog posts in hopes that an investigation by the police, sorely needed, will clean up this situation and return my life to normal. Or as normal as it can be once you’ve pissed off some criminals who call themselves the “mob,” by not giving up your legal home to speculation.
The sky is beautiful out with muted tones of blue and pink, the autumn is here, the leaves are falling and pumpkins are outside. Even people who are so unfortunately ugly and sick that they would seek to criminally harass legal residents out of their homes can’t ruin that.