Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wow.

brownfemipower explains why all feminists should care about what's going on in Oaxaca, Mexico:

The longer, more complicated history of this conflict is much too long to go into here, but it basically stems from the oppression of indigenous peoples by the Mexican government. For example, a stepping stone to this violence happened on May 1 of this year when a group of indigenous vendors in Atenco were violently attacked by government forces for attempting to sell flowers at a market. The arrests that occured from that government sponsered attack resulted in many female protestors being raped and sexually violated by the forces. Although this attack proceeds the current attack on Oaxaca, people in Oaxaca use Atenco as a rallying cry–”We are all Atenco.” More clearly, as subcomendante Marcos has noted, the people who protest and live in Oaxaca are largely indigenous. The people who protest and live in Atenco are largely indigenous. The attacks that occured/are occuring against both communities are not isolated or uncommon.

...Indigenous social justice movements invariably center the entire community within the movement. Wheras (white) feminist movements in the U.S. tend to call for “rights” and “equality,” indigenous women tend to call for the recovering of their communities. That is, their communities have been under a 500 year long attack, and it is through (radical women of color/third world) feminism that indigenous women seek to recover and heal their communities.

Thus, indigenous women are active participants in decision making, rebellions, and protests–and as such, these same women are often targetted by the nation/state for retribution and sexualized violence. Just as it’s not uncommon to see video tape of women shutting down mainstream corporate media’s negative coverage, it’s also not uncommon to have women imprisoned and sexually assaulted as well. Resistance comes at a price–and for indigenous women of Mexico, that price is often the murders of their children and the violent loss of their bodily integrity. But to not resist means poverty, sexual violence and death. As subcomendante Marcos has often noted, indigenous peoples are already dead–resistance just means dying a different way.

All feminists MUST pay attention to what is happening in Oaxaca. Indigenous women are leading the way to female liberation–which means that just as their demands for access to birth control carry the same weight in their actions that their demands for access to community radio do, they are also taking the brunt of the violence liberation often brings. But thier entire community recognizes that they will never have liberation (aka community health, freedom from poverty, clean air to breath, workers rights, sexual freedom, control of the land etc) as long as the nation/state has ultimate control over what happens to their bodies and souls–or as long as violence against women is acceptable in any form.

Oh, yeah, and:




Read the rest at bfp's.

One of the great mysteries of life

How it is that one can be possessed of a seemingly infinite number of single socks, all or many of the same color, even, and yet -no two are a pair.- At all. Length, thickness, texture, nothin'. How does this happen, anyway?

another, more pleasant mystery:

how do cats purr? and why can't we do it, too? i want my cat to teach me to purr.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Boo.

"The Thirteen Scariest People In America," according to Alternet. gotta say, they make a pretty good case. I particuarly like this dude:

"Scariest Cop: Joe Arpaio / Sheriff, Maricopa County, AZ

by Charles M. Young

A huge swath of Arizona that includes Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale, Maricopa County attracts journalists and politicians from around the world, all hoping to learn penal reform theory from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who opens his gates to everyone except reporters known to be critical. He brags on the department website that he has "nothing to hide and nothing to fear," and except for the occasional prisoner who gets beaten to death (R.I.P. Scott Norberg), he probably doesn't have anything to hide or to fear.

Most of the press considers him a colorful character who dresses his inmates in pink underwear, feeds them $.45 meals and houses them in tents where the temperature can exceed 140 degrees and the inmates have to breath the stench from a nearby dump and animal crematorium. A true pioneer of women's liberation, he has instituted chain gangs for women as well as men. Both sexes must listen to patriotic songs, and recordings of Arpaio reading self-help books throughout the day.

Although he forbids raunchy magazines (as well as coffee, cigarettes, Kool-Aid and hot meals), his recent jailcam experiment, live Web broadcasts of inmate life including toilet sessions, was a huge hit, and was quickly linked to by porn sites around the world. When inmates sued for invasion of privacy, Arpaio had to shut it down, but it was a rare setback for "America's Toughest Sheriff," as he likes to bill himself. Under a novel interpretation of the state's smuggling law, his most recent stunt is arresting illegal immigrants and giving them the pink-underwear-and-patriotic-song treatment. Having been elected four times by America's scariest voters, Arpaio can (and does) intimidate anyone who objects to his Guantanamo of the Sonora. Why waste cruel and unusual punishment on mere Islamofascists when we've got all these criminals on the border and a shredded Bill of Rights? Welcome to the future of law enforcement."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Natural:" NAILED.

La Lubu provides some much-needed ur-commentary on the Eternal Thrashes that plague the feministverse:

Like A Natural Woman


...From the outside, feminism is often critiqued for giving a nod to multiplicity, for not being quick to strictly define and set forth Dogma, the better to separate the Sinners from the Saved. From the inside, too. From where I stand, multiplicity is our strength; multiplicity gives us the room, the skills, and the people to fight for our liberation on many fronts simultaneously. (Side note: liberation. Don’tcha just love that word? It wasn’t so long ago that we used the term “Women’s Liberation”. I like to reclaim that.)


...Frankly, I’d like to see every bone of contention in the feminism world start off with a blunt answering of the question: who holds the key to power here?, and then go from there. I got the impression from my brief look at the “appearance” threads that too many folks were answering that unspoken question, “the individual woman, as a consumer.” And that’s ludicrous.

There is no Natural Woman. Only natural women. All of us. Whenever and wherever and however we enter.


[more at link]

Saturday, October 28, 2006

D'oh! I forgot my anniversary!

Apparently it was yesterday. I'm such a cad. I'm never speaking to myself again.

as a belated gift to, um, someone: a link to my very first post on this blog! (sniffle). I'm such a sentimental fool. c'mere, me...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nightmare at 30,000 feet

It's straight out of one of the cheaper "Murphy's Law" jokebooks: at the very last moment, the most obnoxious person in the world and her partner are stumbling down the aisle to fill the lovely (oh please please PLEASE just this once...) empty seats next to me. I take one look at her and know that I'm in for it. Something about the eyes...

She is: small, white, very thin, well-worn and weather-beaten...and extremely voluble. He looks a good ten-fifteen years younger, and is her (apparent) opposite in just about every way. With the possible exception of the crazy-drunk (we'll get to that); again, hard to know for sure on account of he apparently wouldn't say shit if he had a mouthful. He's not my problem here, however. Stretching out across him, leathery hand outstretched, my problem says,

"Hi! I'm ____, and this is my partner ___. ."

Reluctantly, i take her paw and offer my first name (fleetingly considering the option of giving a false one); still more reluctantly, i meet her gaze. Mad, staring eyes. No, goddamit, I promised to be more charitable. No, NO, goddamit, i ALSO promised to respect my own gut instincts, my own boundaries. Then again, what am I going to do, jump off the plane? Oh, christ, she's still talking:

"...I just figured, since we're gonna be eating together, drinking together, sleeping together, we might as well get to know each other...'course, you might decide you want to jump off the plane! Ha, ha!"

I smile weakly. Partner murmurs something about how maybe we'd like to change seats, i.e. so that my new pal and i can be cozier chatting away for the rest of the flight. I push down the surge of numb horror and try to hit the delicate balance between vaguely pleasant-if-disconnected and outright churlish as i make noises about how tired i am, probably won't be a terrific conversationalist tonight, i'm afraid. The eyes grow brighter, possibly with tears; she is explaining how she understands, partner there is tired too, probably just from listening to her all day, ha ha! and she hasn't flown in ten years, and something or other she's now rooting in the side of her partner, tickling or nuzzling or searching for an untapped vein or something, I don't know.

I decide that my old defense mechanism from junior high is my best tactic here: if i can't see you, you can't see me. And oh, look, headphones! My own private telescreen! LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU EITHER...i jam the little fuckers in my ears and quickly become engrossed in "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" before Thingie can notice me again. This isn't hard; i love the show. I do catch her trying to get my attention out of the corner of my eye each time i laugh--apparently she wishes to comment on my merriment and perhaps share in its source--but i ignore it, and try to keep the laughter silent from there on out.

Shortly after takeoff, someone...is...touching...me. She's tapping my shoulder. No, not a tap: an outright grab. i turn my head. She's offering a box of crackers. No, thank you. Okay. Blessed silence.

Sometime after that, i bring out my own food. She's quieted down a lot, and he's fast asleep. Feeling slightly guilty, i wait till i catch her eye and then offer her my container of grapes. She smiles and takes one, politely enough. Offers her crackers again, this time without touching. I smile, decline. She is saying something. With an internal grimace, i pull one of the headphones out. "What?"

I actually can't hear her all that well. Something about how all we need is some wine and goat cheese. Something the wonderful picnic she had recently. Okay, she's still being Chatty Cathy, and i have to cut her off after a few minutes, but this is at least somewhat closer to normality as i know it and i warm up a few degrees. Back to our respective little worlds. Okay.

Another hour or so goes by. Girlfriend gets up to use the bathroom. After a few minutes, i decide that now is as good a time to get up as any, since this way she won't have to climb across me twice, if i time it right. i stand in line. The wait seems interminable. Eventually, girlfriend emerges from one of the bathrooms. She starts to excuse herself past me, then realizes i am not just some stranger but her friendly neighbor! the airplane narrow-aisle dance turns unsettlingly...intimate; she's practically embracing me as she makes her way past. Is she drunk? "I love ya, man, I love ya." egh, whatever.

As I head back to my seat, one of the flight attendants asks me if i'd mind waiting in the back for a moment; he needs to speak to my seatmates for a moment. o-kay! i hover a few aisles back; sadly, can't overhear anything.

Despite my deepest darkest wishes, whatever the occasion does not result in their immediate expulsion sans parachute, and so i sit back down. The drinks person comes by, and girlfriend orders a Jameson's and a ginger ale. Somewhere along the line, she's offering me a sip of her ginger ale. i don't know if this is spiked or unspiked; by then i'm comfortably half-asleep and so am able to ignore it, somehow. She settles down again, and i doze off, only briefly interrupted by, not so much her turning the light on, as her attempting to loudly get my attention to make sure i won't be disturbed by her turning the light on.

Around one in the morning, i come out of the strange half-sleep one falls into on airplanes and such places, dimly aware that there is a Disturbance. My earphones are still on, but even through the blare of the TV it's impossible not to hear her, although far less clear what it is she's on about. whatever it is, she's clearly entered the maudlin stage. terrific. Past the point of pretend-polite, I shoot her some of my patented Looks Of Death, then return my gaze, blackly, to the television. I note with no surprise at all that it's the Twilight Zone. "The Odyssey of Flight 33."

Somewhere between laughing out loud at the cheesy dinosaur my fictional hijacked counterparts are horrified by (hey, you think YOU'VE got problems...) and the next program, i manage to drift off again.

I am awakened for the next and final time by her hand on my shoulder, again. Shaking me, now.

The snarl of "WHAT!?" dies on my lips as I try to process what I'm seeing: in her hand, a few inches from my nose, is a...white plastic thing, with red markings. Handcuffs?? What the--

"Blood pressure."

For the first time, I pull the headphones all the way off and actually try to understand what she's saying.

"Excuse me??"

"Blood pressure!" she insists, waving the thing in my face. "Take your blood pressure..." and o jesus fuck she's actually grabbing for my arm.

I lose it completely. "What?! No! NO! God! Leave me alone."

Partner cravenly mutters something about how look, no one wants their blood pressure taken. I don't stick around for the rest of the argument; i have HAD IT. I get up. "Sorry..." slurs after me. Yeah, honey, you sure are.

I'm not actually sure what my plan is. I know i'm heading for the bathroom, first of all; perhaps my intention is to simply stay there for the rest of the flight. Then I see the flight attendant who was talking to girlfriend privately, now chatting with the rest of the crew. Okay, let's talk; he understands, then. "Excuse me..."

Bright smile. "You want something to drink? ...Or munch on?"

"No thanks, I..." stop, brief double-take. "Wait, what?"

He repeats it, verbatim. Smile a little more smirklike than i care for, i think, now. The rest of the crew is silently watching; are they smirking, too? I know by now I'm completely paranoid on account of being down the rabbit hole all this time, but is he?... Did he just...or am I?...oh, screw it.

"Listen, what were you talking to my seatmates about?"

Rolled eyes. "Oh." Apparently she wanted to smoke in the bathroom. "There are only about 1,000 signs telling you not to..."

I take this in. "Okay, well, you know, she's kind of driving me crazy." I tell him about the blood pressure thing. This time he's definitely laughing with me, at least. "Do you want me to see if there's another seat available?"

I stuff down any well-worn impulse to go, oh no no no, don't trouble yourself. "Please. Thank you."

I go back to sit down while he susses it out. She's still in weepie-angry-clingy mode, mostly focused on the partner. Only a couple minutes go by before my newfound saviour returns. It's a window seat, apologies, no aisles available; but there's an empty seat between you and the guy on the aisle. Marvellous. Perfection. Thank you. I leave without a word; what is there to say?

The new guy is blessedly quiet. I slide past him, make myself at home, and settle in to watch cartoons for the rest of the flight.

A few minutes after this, the captain comes on to apologize; apparently we're hitting a turbulent patch; they'll do their best to ride it out, but we should know, it'll probably be a bumpy ride for the remaining 1-2 hours.

I don't know what he's talking about. I've never enjoyed such a smooth ride in my life.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Good to know

Satan's bowels began to churn and growl, and they began to give him awful pain. Then he felt a strong urge to expel excrement. When he did so, it gave off the most awful smell. His excrement is the american constitution and its amendments.

some other things you should know:

The musical "Beauty and the Beast" made by atheist homosexual heathens at Walt Disney is designed to subtly create tolerance in the foolish american society for BESTIALITY !

There is no such thing as a "pacifist." Every "pacifist" is a muderer according to God's righteous Law.

Insane sympathy for homosexuality is partly due to the deception successfully imposed upon the society by the demonic catholic religion.

demo cracy ----- demo N cracy ----- DEMONCRACY. Now you know the origin of democracy. It is none other than SATANOCRACY

In almost evey case when you see a "beatiful" female - young or old in america you are looking at a SLUT.

Blacks have never understood how blessed it is to be outcasts in the american society.

Almost all if not all of the places called "churches" in america are none other various gateways to hell. Notice how numerous they are and how easily accessible they are. You don't need to drive to another city. There's one down the road or around the street corner. Notice how welcome you are. You can choose to enter the gates of hell with the rich or with the poor. Satan bars no one. Proof that most if not all of the "churches" are various gates to hell is seen from the little impact they have on the american society in curbing the prevailence of immorality in the midst of their prominence.

You may not have actually given it much thought, but the american government not only allows pornography, but also actually copyrights it for the criminals who make it. A lot of the smut on the Internet has actually been copyrighted by america's government. So you see, it is moral criminals who think america is a great nation. America's entire economy is largely run off immorality. There's not much here for truly righteous people to love, is there

The only people who will say that people have the right to believe the way they want to believe are people who do not have the truth themselves.


Much more crank-addled Calvinism at the site, if you're into that sort of thing.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Elegy for a Stranger


Fastlad, on the brutal assault-unto-murder of Michael Sandy.

...I was seated next to a new reporter I'd just met on the job and - aware of the impression this must be making on her - I found that I was weeping. Michael Sandy wasn't anyone I knew, yet my response was heartfelt: not even 30, seeking a simple human connection, even braving streets where he wasn’t welcome, to be betrayed, beaten, and run to ground by a pack of thugs.

Boy, that sounds familiar. But look how it plays:

Michael was responding to an internet hook up. He went to a historically racist neighborhood to do it. It was racism. It was homophobia. It was unfortunate. It was stupid.

Next.

That’s the reason for the ostentatiously muted response from community leaders: He was looking for sex, he was gay.

Next.

Since Michael won’t roll back his tombstone and rise again, religious leaders won’t concern themselves with his fate either. And since he was gay they won't concern themselves with any lingering parallel. Jesus asked us to love one and other, just not in that way, okay?

Wrong pigmentation, wrong preference, wrong crowd, wrong number.

Next.

''If love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can.''
- James Baldwin.


More at fastlad.


Also, from BlackAmericaWeb:

Michael Sandy could have been any one of us, and yet he was us. He was a black, he was a Black male, and he was a black gay male.

If Michael Sandy would have been heterosexual, would that have brought out the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s of black America? Would that have made it okay for the NAACP to get involved and for other Black civil rights groups to take notice?

I am beginning to think so...


and from the New York Blade:

A teenager who knew the assailants told The New York Times that the attack wasn’t a hate crime against blacks or gays: "They were looking to rob him. They didn’t think he would fight back if he was gay."

But prosecutors in this hate crime case don’t have to prove that the assailants don’t like African Americans or gays, Hynes explained. Prosecutors just have to prove that Sandy was targeted because he was gay or African American. "If you select a member of a class because you think they’re particularly vulnerable—that’s the hate crime."

The assailants indicated they had used the Internet to plot similar attacks in the past, Hynes said.

"The Internet is increasing as a vehicle to victimize people," said Clarence Patton, the executive director of The New York City Anti-Violence Project. Patton said that the police don’t consider race to be a factor in this case.

"Perhaps we move to that point in our history as a country where you have opposite races who are engaged in something like this where race is not an issue, and it’s only about sexual orientation," Patton said.

"What’s hard to believe is that Michael’s race was not in some way considered some sort of bonus to these young men," Patton said...

From the department of silver linings:

After all the blog-related bullshit this week (come back soon, zuzu! Chris Clarke, hope you can too; and what kind of sick fuck threatens someone's dog? Bitch Lab, where art thou? hopefully just tinkering with the site again...), I at least delight in feministe's choices for guest bloggers. Go over and say hi to evil-fizz, La Lubu, and Vanessa aka plucky punk. (I am having a very strange free association to the end of Charlotte's Web, the three new kids on the block, you know: "Greetings and salutations!" don't read any more Deep Meaning into that, really; my mind is just squirrelly like that sometimes).

also am very happy with piny's thread on bisexuality. And happy belated National Coming Out Day to all y'all, too. Remember kids: it's a journey, not a destination.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quote of the day: 10/22/06, 2

This whole post at Pink Thunder: "A Brief Meditation on Fear and Self-Hatred"

If you've been reading the On Racism stories on PinkThunder.com, you know and I know: I wasn't born a coward. I once took on 7 big guys as a kid. Oh -- I got my behind handed to me. I knew I'd lose going into the fight and badly. But winning wasn't my goal. Or maybe it was how I defined winning: my goal was to save my new friend from Korea, Sue. To prevent them from getting past me and going for her. On that score, I won.

The thought of standing and delivering against 7 big guys now is pretty scary to me. Looking back it was scary then too and probably one of the worst beatings I ever took: it was after-school. So what gave me the courage to do it? What freed me mentally and spiritually to be able to do this?...

Why are people so afraid of their true selves, of their personal power? Why do we create the fence of fear? Tai chi sword was one for me. For years and years, this was a practice I hid from almost everyone. Why? I suppose I feared being different. I feared what it might say about me to other people. Mostly, I think I feared me.

At some point, I stopped caring though. I set myself free.

...I never imagined that it would be accepted so easily. That people would think it was cool. That I was cool. Isn't that funny. So now when I push up against a barrier of fear, I don't pretend it isn't there. It doesn't really matter how it got there. It does matter that it stands between me and claiming another piece of personal power. I've decided not to back away but to stand and fight the fear whenever I can...

Why the fear of personal power? With power comes responsibility. How much more relaxing to blame someone else -- your childhood, your job, God, fate, The Man, the wife and kids, your boss, the system, the Bush administration, Tony Blair, your parents, anyone -- other than you...Get over yourself, get around yourself. You owe it to the rest of us. Be who you really are. Without fear. Because who you really are -- is a pretty amazing person we'd all like to know better.



and i could be wrong wrt PT's own philosophy, but speaking for myself i interpret this as: no, this does NOT mean one stops examining the System or even assume that there is no such animal. Rather, i read it as a call to recognize the part we play in it, and see this as a hopeful sign, not as an excuse for more guilt and self-flagellation.

You have the power to help uphold.

You have the power to help change.

Yes. We do all have power. We do all have agency. We do all have choices. They may be limited choices--and it is important to recognize that, yes; and yes, one could certainly Blame the System for that, the restrictions;

but choices they nonetheless are.

and power it nonetheless is.

That's really important.

We already have what we've been looking for. We've had it all along.

Now, the scary part: the unknown. Leap.

Begin:

Quote of the day: 10/22/06

This entire comment by Keith Olbermann.

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awaken to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before—and we have been here before, led here by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote about America.

We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as “Hyphenated Americans,” most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said about America...



Go. Read/play the rest. Now.

And then ask your Congressperson why sie wasn't capable of being 1/10th so brave or lucid.

And then ask ourselves what we're going to do about this.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Quote of the day, 10/21/06

Welch: Senator, you won't need anything in the record when I finish telling you this. Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness... Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty, I would do so. I like to think I'm a gentle man, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.

McCarthy: Mr. Chairman, may I say that Mr. Welch talks about this being cruel and reckless. He was just baiting. He has been baiting Mr. Cohn here for hours, requesting that Mr. Cohn before sundown get out of any department of the government anyone who is serving the Communist cause. Now, I just give this man's record and I want to say, Mr. Welch, that it had been labeled long before he became a member, as early as 1944 --

Welch: Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers' Guild.

McCarthy: Let me finish....

Welch: And Mr. Cohn nods his head at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn?

Cohn: No, sir.

Welch: I meant to do you no personal injury.

Cohn: No, sir.

Welch: And if I did, I beg your pardon. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator.

McCarthy: Let's, let's --

Welch: You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

McCarthy: I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.

Welch: I'll say it hurts!

McCarthy: Mr. Chairman, as point of personal privilege, I'd like to finish this.

Welch: Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir.

McCarthy: I'd like to finish this. I know Mr. Cohn would rather not have me go into this. I intend to, however, and Mr. Welch talks about any "sense of decency." I have heard you and everyone else talk so much about laying the truth upon the table. But when I heard the completely phony Mr. Welch, I've been listening now for a long time, he's saying, now "before sundown" you must get these people "out of government." So I just want you to have it very clear, very clear that you were not so serious about that when you tried to recommend this man for this Committee.

Welch: Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you. You have sat within six feet of me and could ask -- could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out, and if there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask, Mr. Cohn, any more witnesses. You, Mr. Chairman, may, if you will, call the next witness.

--from the McCarthy-Welch Exchange during the Army-McCarthy Hearings

Stupid blogger/blogging tricks requested.

So, I know I keep bitching about how much blogger sux and i really need to get my shit together, move to WP or my own domain, and *eventually* i may even actually take action. (this is my classic pattern: bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch okay FINALLY i'm doing something).

meanwhile, though, moving is a hassle, but i still would like to redecorate a tad.

i know some of y'all have been doing stuff with blogger like changing the background color and putting up banners and so forth. any quick and dirty guide available to doing such things? bear in mind that i know about as much html as will fill an ant eyedropper and get easily bent out of shape when it comes to things technical, on account of the prospect of OH MY GOD I FUCKED IT UP PERMANENTLY/ERASED IT ALTOGETHER/SHUT DOWN THE POWER GRID FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTY/JUST BROUGHT ABOUT THE RISE OF SKYNET, RUN FOR THE FALLOUT SHELTER.

thanks!!

Happy anniversary!

...to the Carnival of Feminists, now in its 25th installation, at Philobiblon.

Thanks to Natalie Bennett for making it happen.

Highly recommended for a good long extended browsing session--not just this edition, but all of them, particularly if you've been in a "Is That All There Is?" place wrt this-here feminism thing. No, no it's not all there is, actually. Whatever it is you're thinking. Betcha. Not by a long shot.

Quote of the day, 10/20/06

"I can call forth spirits from the vasty deep."

"Why, so can I, or so can any man,
But will they come when you do call for them?"

--Shakespeare, Henry IV, pt. One, act III

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Images meme, 2

So at first I was gonna just be lazy and re-gank two pics I really like from my other, far quieter blog. This one is from a shop called Fairy Goth Mother: (nope, not endorsing, never even been or bought anything. just pining, really)



This one is a snap of one tarot card from a deck called Cosmic Tribe. The card is "The Queen of Wands." I was using her to accompany a Judy Grahn poem with the same title. More information on the general Tarot symbolism of Queen of Wands here; and the Cosmic Tribe artist's interpretation here.



If you want the TV Guide capsule blurb, as far as I'm concerned it boils down to: fire, or creative energy; including the erotic (which means far more than you think it means).

On those general themes, then, a few more, loosely ordered:

First, a couple publicity stills from a performance troupe called Liquid Fire Productions: multi-racial and cultural lesbians of color erotic arts performance and workshops. Alas, I haven't seen their work (wrong side of the country, I b'leeve). I was however very excited to find this website. A few of my passions all bound up together, not least of which an old flame of mine: theatre.







So then I started thinking, for the first time in a very long time indeed, about some of the theatre artists/performances I have seen, that excited me. I started by hunting up a dance/performance troupe called Momix. Here's one still:



Simultaneously I was googline "erotic arts," and found--well, first of all, this is an all-round kick-ass site, I've just barely started exploring it; looks like a portal to all kinds of stuff centering on India, including, but not limited to, an enormous arts section. Kamat's Potpourri. Anyway, within the arts section, there is a smaller subsection dedicated to, yup, "erotic arts." Here are a couple that I liked:




Back to the more performative arts, I've also always been a huge Julie Taymor fan.

Here's a still from the movie "Frida:" (I'm pretty sure; may be a publicity still)



one of her stage productions; "the King Stag," I think?



from the opera "Grendel:"



and finally just jumping around a bit: the Frida Kahlo made me think of Georgia O'Keefe, whom I didn't end up using; somewhere in my wanderings, I found this instead (alas, don't remember where--if this is yours, please claim credit!) "Succulent:"



the Tarot made me connect to Jung, and mandalas:



...which in turn had me thinking a bit more...cosmically. Anyway, I knew I'd seen some photos via NASA I'd really dug:

spiral dance:





more liquid fire (a sunspot, I think)




and just a few others that pleased me. this is a "green aurora:"



another green aurora:




Martian landscape:




...and the familiar made wondrous strange, once again, through an unexpected revelation:




...And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy...



*******


So: tagging. I...tag: Kevin from Slant/Truth, Zuky, piny from Feministe, Bitch | Lab, Donna from "Silence of Our Friends," Robin from bamboo lemur boys...(hey, you said you wanted a fun one!), Alex from Train Mama, kactus, jackadandy, Black Amazon, Rootietoot, and whomever else the spirit moves. n.b. you don't have to do as many as i did: the original meme sez "eight."

Images meme

So I was tagged by Jack to particpate in this meme. It's supposed to be "Eight Things I Find Amazing in Picture Form." I, uh, found more than eight. And I suck at decision making, and I've always been "too much is never enough," so... I guess I'll put a few of 'em here and you can pick yer favorites.

To start off, I've always been a big Bosch fan, particularly the "Garden of Earthly Delights" triptych.



The whole shebang in miniature really can't do it justice, though. Here are a few closeups:

center panel:



and various close-up details, I think all from "Earth" and "Hell" (Heaven's always the least interesting...)







...and, well, that's eight already, isn't it? Hardly seems fair, though. Well, one more here for good measure, a Breughel I find extraordinary. (I always tend to confuse Bosch and Breughel, not to say the two Breughels, Elder and Younger, with each other). The Tower of Babel:




...and, hm. So I'll go ahead and put some of the others in a separate post, then, shall I? Yes, I shall.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Quote of the day, 10/19/06

(yes, it's early. whaddya wanna make of it)

"I'm a feminist. Not the nuts kind."

h/t Dan at Otter Ponderings.

"Deadly Innocence," continued



As promised, further delving into this book by Angela West, as first discussed here.

First, from the chapter "Alice in White Wonderland:"


When white feminism has looked for inspiration from the foresisters and mothers of the past, it was natural that they should come up with suffragists, women like the Grimké sisters who also opposed slavery. She shows how the opposition to slavery by such women was a result of their cultural re-shaping by Northern Enlightenment ideals, the same ideals which caused them to view their gender identity differently. But interestingly, the origins of the Grimké sisters had been in the South, where slavery took its classic form. Here indeed black and white women had a very intimate relationship--but it was not exactly one of common oppression. During the early period of slavery, the dominant Christian teaching was a form of Puritan theology. In this theology, the vast, wild expanse of the frontier was seen as a temptation to the bestial and barbarous in man, who needed to be brought firmly within the safe haven of a cultivated social state and the restraints of religion. Women's place in this particular theological configuration was a distinctive one. As Thistlethwaite says:

Fear of the uncharted possibilities of the wilderness aggravated misogynistic tendencies already resident in a Christianity that had declared sin and death to be the fault of women. Stringent regulation of women's chaotic sexual behavior was the misiterial prescription for the threat of the encroachment of the wilderness. Sex was a symbol of that which threatened man's rational control over his environment.

But the presence of women on the frontier was of two kinds--the black slaves and their white mistresses--and each had a different but intimately connected role.

What the black slave woman provided was a buffer against the hatred of all women built up on the American frontier. She could become the bearer of the stigma of the physical, the carnal and the excess of women's lust that threatened the rationality of Christian civilization.

White women were thus freed to play the role of 'angel in the home,' the symbol of soul and spirituality. Thus their stake in slavery was two-fold. Not only were they relieved of the burden of punishing domestic and agricultural labor by the slaves, but they avoided the sexual terrorism of their menfolk that was the underside of the "civilizing impulse." This instead was vented on the slave women, and the whole system was kept in place by the psychological and physical threat of rape and beatings. And white women, as was expected of them, did their bit to uphold the system. bell hooks quotes from a collection of slave narratives the case of a white mistress who returned home unexpectedly to find her husband raping a thirteen-year-old slave girl. The mistress' response was to beat the girl and lock her in a smoke house. The child was whipped daily for several weeks. Whipping--paticularly of naked slave women, including the pregnant and nursing mother--was frequently employed against black women. White mistresses would send their female slaves to be publicly stripped and flogged for the slightest offence, such as when the bread did not rise or the breakfast was slightly burned.

It is clear that the endurance and resistance of black women to this sort of persecution and oppression was something of a different order to the opposition of it from white women. This, when it came, The division of human experience into the rational and irrational, as in the previous Puritan theology, was retained--the difference being that [Enlightenment feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft and the Grimké sisters] argued that women and men were moral and intellectual equals, and women should be treated as befits their equal status.

These two principles, the faith in human rationality and the assertion of the equality...of men and women are...two of the hallmarks of liberalism; the other two were the view of the human being as an isolated individual who seeks truth and whose dignity depends on the freedom to pursue this search. Closely related to this is the doctrine of natural rights, the view that each individual has certain inherent or natural rights. The latter, of course, is consummately represented in the American Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." And the pedigree of this can be traced back to the French Revolution, which...marks the origin of the modern notion of human rights.

Their belief in human rationality and in natural rights made it logical that [early white feminists] should support the abolitionist cause as well as campaign for women's rights. But...their faith in human rationality did not allow them to perceive the nature and function of the misogynist division of black and white women into body and soul [respectively]. What they saw was the scandal of a situation where a Christian father might sell his own daughter, or the brother his own sister. ..But the appeals for an end to this disgraceful situation were predicated on an assumption of the white woman's "enlightened mind" coupled with her moral purity, and they did not perceive the intimate dependence of this purity on the black woman's degradation. [emphasis mine].

[follows a discussion of the early history of the split between the suffragists like Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton after the end of the Civil War; black men got the vote, they didn't, and from then on out the suffragists declared they would never again "labour to second man's endeavors and exalt his sex before her own." and then comes post-War/Reconstruction overall racist backlash as well; and by 1895, the National Woman's Suffrage Association suggests that [[white]] womens' suffrage is "one solution to the Negro problem."]

It is thus not surprising in view of this history that black women remain skeptical of white feminists' declaration of sisterhood and solidarity between black and white women, the transcending of all differences in favour of a common bonding on the basis of a common experience...

If we look closely at the situation, it becomes clear that the liberal humanist assumptions of the nineteenth century have been revised and recycled in twentieth-century white feminist politics...The appeal to sisterhood and bonding appealed to white women who had been socialized to concern themselves with bonds--to avoid conflict, to foster dependence and the affective aspects of private life, creatins a haven of peace and harmony from the harsh realities of competition in a capitalistic society...

...Nor has the concern with purity disappeared, though it has been radically metamorphsed. [emphasis mine]. Mary Daly now offers us the journey of pure lust [there's our anti-pornstitution and so forth creeping back in], where women can break through the sphere of potted passions and virtues and get in touch with Natural Grace. For it is in the realm of purity that all differences dissolve. But the irony is that such a realm is likely to be racially segregated too--pure white, since most of the black women (and a good many white ones too) have no access to her mystical spheres because of their economic and social and racial location. Daly's creation is that of a pure enlightened mind, such as the nineteenth-century women aspired to. She reinstates this dream, and in so doing she also reinstate the politics and culture of abstraction that she castigates...

...And as we white stepsisters hug Alice* to our breast at the Great Feminist Writers' Ball, we are desperately hoping that she will be so breathless and startled by the fervor of our embrace that she won't think to bring up the subject of difference. For difference is dangerous; like a dropped stitch, it may cause that whole feminist-ideological pullover to unravel. We are terrified lest Alice and her sisters force us to remember what happened in the slaveowners' kitchen; and worse still, to make us realize that though things have changed, certain things have a way of keeping the same shape."




*bit of a mixed literary allusion there, but o well

Quote of the day, 10/18/06

"Why, a four-year-old child could understand this. (Run out and find me a four-year-old child; I can't make head or tail out of it.)"

and

"Look, if you don't like my parties, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, leave in a minute and a huff. If you can't find that, you can leave in a taxi. — "

finally:

"Go, and never darken my towels again."

--Marx (not Karl, the important one), "Duck Soup"

Well, since I did inspire it






Thanks, Jay

The haunting, cryptic poetry of spam, cont'd.

In today's box:


The first is of a plethora of frogs going through random rhythms. This is slightly worrying: cold showers and prunes can only be around the corner.
- Long-term, that relationship was ending anyway. Annoyingly, it does turn out to be way more productive than starting and finishing later in the day, and apart from the transitional jetlag, I do actually feel better for it as well.
The guest on the show was Lawrence Fritts, who is the director of the Electronic Music Studios . Wilson Betemit started at third base during Chipper's absence. Some of the highlights are discussed below. - Short-term, AMD might lose money. First, it's my wife who's responsible for initiating the process. Annoyingly, it does turn out to be way more productive than starting and finishing later in the day, and apart from the transitional jetlag, I do actually feel better for it as well. More over the next week.
More pictures to come, therefore, when I get the full gallery up in the next few days.
It's got better, though.
They released Wes Obermueller, the pitcher they received in exchange for Kolb during the offseason.
Some of the highlights are discussed below.
They then sold the pitcher's contract to Japan's Orix Buffaloes.
Wilson Betemit started at third base during Chipper's absence.
They then sold the pitcher's contract to Japan's Orix Buffaloes. More pictures to come, therefore, when I get the full gallery up in the next few days. At six or so in the morning, I'm lucky she doesn't use a backhand across the chops to stir me.
More over the next week.
If our roles were reversed, she might wake up with permanent marker drawn on her face, an atomic wedgie, and her hand in a bowl of warm water.
You'd think I'd learn these things the first time. Yes, I appreciate that we steal a moment together, however brief, in the middle of our hectic schedules. You can download this program at the ReBirth Museum, a website setup to illustrate the history, community and development of ReBirth.
Luckily for us both, my nightstand lamp was out of reach. You'd think I'd learn these things the first time. It's got better, though.
The first is of a plethora of frogs going through random rhythms. subsidiary of UK-based ICEM Ltd. These can also be used for Trillian, Miranda .
The best way to communicate for FREE!
As I lay there, facing away from her, I could sense her approaching my backside with her pointy finger poised to poke.
With Edgar Renteria and Marcus Giles nursing injuries, infielder Martin Prado was recalled from Double-A Mississippi where he was hitting . Now you can see and talk to your friends across the planet with this outstanding video phone, easy to use with unbeatable video and audio quality. Wilson Betemit started at third base during Chipper's absence. You'd think I'd learn these things the first time.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Spotted

...in the local Irish/UK grocery store: a can of Spotted Dick. Yes! Suet (? do they still use it) pudding! in a can! With raisins!

god, if that's not one for *Lileks' Gallery of Regrettable Food, I don't know what is.

And that's without the name.

"Yes, please. And a pound of Pustule Pudding and then, I think some Bubble & Queef. Oh, and have you any of that marvellous Crickety Felch? Oh, dear. When do you expect your next shipment? Ripping!"


*possibly the only genuinely funny neocon in existence. and even then i can't bear to read the actual political crap

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Riffing

...off this post at Bitch Lab, which in turn is responding to a post at Feministe, and is part of a bigger, ongoing (eternal?) discussion all over the place: not just the Sex Wars, now, but the Beauty Wars. also passing reference to Tekanji's excellent take on the bogosity of the term "choice feminism."

Anyway, what I said there was, this discussion is beginning to

...[crystallize] for me just why “choice feminism” is so deeply annoying, especially coming out of the mouths of the likes of TF: it's actually being used as a way to bash “sex-positive,” (which here turns out to be women who overindulge in the sins of the patriarchy-defined flesh) again, among other things.

and then what happens is, some people find themselves defending themselves against this straw-image of themselves, and in doing so, will, perhaps inevitably, allude to, yes, all right, I wear high heels, I -like- heels, what’s your damn problem?!

…because there’s the class thing, yes; but all entangled with it is the neo-puritan quasi-radfem crap, hairshirt feminism, you know. people like g-m-r throwing “classism” at people like Vanessa whilst leaving TF the Revolutionary Restaurant Critic untouched doesn’t help, of course.

…but of course in the minds of the people who’ve been just, finally, fed up with the whole damn thing, hello, more burning issues on my own personal agenda here? just end up mentally lumping -anyone- who ever talks about this stuff in -any- context. shut UP about your damn heels. shut UP about -choice.- SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP…

which in some -other- peoples’ minds can (maybe) make it look like, o okay, these people are attacking me because they agree with TF and g-m-r. (for example).

the real problem here is the disingenuousness of the people who’ve been framing it this way in the first place.

I mean, in addition to the class-unconsciousness, yes. Which is a big ol' problem all by itself. No doubt.

But it’d be a lot simpler to address this part (look, some of us don’t -have- $100 for flats -or- heels) without the complicating factor of, here’s a handful of people who have no problem hurling around terms like “classism” and accusations of frivolousness and yadda yadda as it suits -their- needs, i.e., actually it’s about their -own- notion of “patriarchy,” and has jackshit to do with class in the -real- sense.

but so what happens -now- is, they’ve just reinforced the idea that "feminism" must needs be either hairshirt (androgynous?) grimness or “fun."

And further, "fun feminism" always is 1) femme, in the mainstream, het sense 2) trite, shallow (as femmes are often stereotyped as being anyway, of course), 3) heavily, unthinkingly consumer-materialist, and 4) -has to cost a lot of money.-

One or the other. Tastes great! Less filling!

iow, reinforced the very media stereotypes we're supposedly all so exasperated with in the damn first place.

(“false dilemma” is another of those logical fallacies that doesn’t get used nearly enough; everyone always knows “strawman” and nothing else, seems like, sometimes...)

…and ironically enough even that kind of selective “hairshirt” feminism is actually classist itself, or can be. In the sense that you’ve talked about, BL: how “raunch culture”-baiting often=”slut-bashing,” and, of course sexbot–>slut–>”slattern”–> low-class, trashy. (I also talked about this connection in more detail here).

But we see this more clearly once we start getting into Linda Hirschman, Ann Althouse, even Daily Mail territory. These are hardly one's stereotype of hairy-legged man-hating anti-fun feminists, after all; hell, in the latter two, most people wouldn't even make the connection of them being "feminist" at all. And yet, again: there's a reason why TF was quoting that reactionary anti-Spice Girls article approvingly: this isn't "radical" at all, turns out. And it's a very particular sort of feminism, at best, if indeed it's feminism at all, when it comes to this shit, because it actually ends up reinforcing a very ancient set of shibboleths indeed, albeit perhaps inadvertently.

Anyway, tying it all back together: this is of course what “looking professional” (and to a lesser extent, looking “presentable” on the street in a mainstream sort of way) is all about. Keeping up appearances. These days, what this means for women is: look “feminine,” maybe sexually attractive (to men, mainstream)…but at the same time, not too SEXUAL. Which also means “white” (or as close as you can approximate); “upper class” (or as close as you can approximate), and so on, and so on. Things like “bad hair” and “fat” as well as too-short skirts, too much makeup signal not just "helpless, easily accessible" but also “wild, out of control, corporeal. "Of the body." which is the “low-class;” which is the animalistic; which is the "bimbo;" which is the “slut.” ("sexbot"="bimbo 2.0" as far as I'm concerned). And all of which gets even more weighted for people who don't "naturally" match the "upper" physical ideal: skin too dark, features too non-Euro, hair too kinky, breasts too big, too much flesh in general...

So then you get people like TF uncritically bashing just -one- aspect of this “look,” the most overt expression of the “low,” I guess (i.e. "sexbot"); and first of all, while claiming to be against “choice” feminism (as in, you may think you have one, but you don’t really, muhahaha, the Patriarchy uber alles!), first of all, for all practical purposes this actually doesn’t really blame the System, but rather ends up putting the onus squarely back on the women who sport this “look.”

More to the point here: everything else goes completely unchallenged. Hell, when’s the last time TF even talked about what looking too “butch” does for a woman trying to get ahead? because that, too, is tagged “low-class,” albeit in a different way. manual labor, now: again, it comes back to the body. and of course: DYKE.

but I mean: the only white women I ever see working behind a fast-food counter, here in NY at least, are extremely butch-looking women. Coincidence? shrug.

and then, too: when’s the last time TF, or Sheila Jeffreys,--or hello, Linda Hirschman, she's the author of the "choice feminist" business in the first place, turns out--had anything critical to say about the pressure to wear a navy suit and pearls? and what that signifies?

Serious question, not just rhetorical; not having read the full body of any of 'em I can't swear they never have; just, not to my recollection, I don't see this being addressed much among...certain factions. Blowjobs, "breeding" and bimbos: these are apparently the only boxes which women (all women, all 3,645,900,701 of us, especially the one with the ingrown toenail) are pressured to fit into. The way out is...what? The opposite of all that? pure and simple y punto? Or endless self-(and other)-"criticism" sessions that ultimately go nowhere? Yeah: how's that one working out, again?

Friday, October 13, 2006

I feel so, so VALIDATED.

As I was starting to get at in an earlier post (and indeed i've said such thing before, no doubt), a lot of times, what's happening for me in discussions among straight feminists is: "I don't relate to this." In itself, not necessarily a problem; what is really frustrating is when I gamely try to address the discussion on its own terms (i.e. heteronorm and menmenmen) and, either it is assumed automatically that I am One Of Them and thus share all their assumptions and experiences; or, more annoying, it is known that I am not One Of Them and--and this is a perception that is, frankly, not helped by certain uhhh strains of feminism/ists, let's say, ironically enough--the seems-like tacit assumption is that now I can or should be really relate, especially if it's a rant against Patriarchy or whatnot, because, gosh darn it, lesbians are super-feminists! Damn those men, anyway! Damn them all! (menmenmenmenMENmenmenmenMEN...)

As emily amplified, responding to a bit in that original post,

[quoting me]

>>>>Do you know why certain kinds of radical lesbian feminists resonate with you so well, Straight Woman?

That's right. Because even though they are LES-BE-ANS, they mostly talk about, well, men. Specifically, how awful and oppressive they are. Which, apparently, you can relate.

No disturbingly unfamiliar talk of issues specific to queer folk (not just women, either); no talk about our OWN sexuality, our OWN issues of internal abuse, sexual and otherwise; nothing so tricky and squirm-inducing as internalized homophobia and the deep anger that can sometimes well up not just at men, but at you, too, straight women.


[/me, begin emily:]

Fuck yeah, well put. Not to mention the utter disdain that some (eg Sheila Jeffreys) level at queers--butches, femmes, gayboys, trannys etc. Damn those inconvenient Really Existing Queers fucking up your theories of the lesbian-feminist utopia and the universal patriarchy.

...I always get the feeling I'm reading how straight women imagine lesbianism to be--like how my friend will say "oh, i'm going to become a lesbian" every time she breaks up with some jerky guy. Cos heaven forbid lesbian desire be about, you know, fucking women. So it's about renouncing the evilness of the mens more than anything else..



So there was that. And then I remembered this great post by jackadandy some months back, along similar lines; which in turn referred to yet another post at Waiting for Dorothy. From the latter:

"man-hating lesbian"

that is one phrase i never understood. lesbians have no reason to hate men. lesbians go about their lives not having to deal with the stress associated with having relations with the beings from mars while being a child of venus. when it comes to men, lesbians treat them as buddies or with indifference. there is simply no reason to be bitter towards men, because lesbians are immune to the heartbreak and pain that other women might suffer at the hands of men. we simply don't care about men enough to get involved with them.

the women who do hate men tend to be straight women. they are the ones who have had their hearts broken, been cheated on, and been subjected to various other difficulties while dating the opposite sex.

...in case you were wondering, we lesbians circulate e-mails making fun of women and the trials and tribulations of dating women. men simply aren't mentioned. yes, i know... SHOCKING...


Or sometimes even start entire blogs devoted to the subject (i.e. the trials and tribulations of dating women: allow me to introduce Maggie Bitter, the Bad Lesbian (tm)

Back to jackadandy:

I've always tended to be vaguely to very uncomfortable in the company of groups of straight women, which is a lot about my own issues but part of it has been, I know, consternation at that toxic obsession with men and their perceived abuses.

...A particular lesbian may or may not be a feminist and may or may not have reasons to have problems with men as a class, the same way any woman does in our culture. But my personal experience matches that of Emily2: We waste less bile on men because it's not men that are on lesbians' minds---it's women. Surprise! We're simply indifferent!

Just remember, guys, the next time you think you're getting antipathy from a lesbian, you're probably mistaking disinterest for dislike: It actually IS not about you.


which, first of all,

THANK YOU

...and, musing: you know, I think the reason men and (sorry, but) even some straight women assume that lesbians "hate" men is because, frankly, the prospect of indifference is actually more upsetting than hatred. Even obsessive hatred is still a connection, of a sort, after all; it implies passion, of a sort; it's, well. Validating. "You exist and are important enough for me to hate you, at least."

Which also ties into what J says here:

[A particular group of straight] women resembled nothing so much as a group of addicts who'd gathered for the purpose of sharing a destructive drug that they hated but would never consider giving up. I SO do not get this. If the men are such creeps, what are you doing with them? What does that say about you?

Maybe I'm even more unusual than we think (which would be hard), but I moved in the het world for years and I was never personally involved with any men that fit the mold these women described.


A few more unconscious shibboleths busted here:

1) That queer folk do not get straight people because, as is far more likely to be the inverse (i.e. straight folk simply haven't a clue, because they don't have to), we haven't spent sufficient time socialized in the hetworld, maybe even participating in it. The disconnect, as alluded to above, lies elsewhere: in the emotional investment.

2) That queer folk necessarily had a really bad time when dating/fucking in the het world; as a matter of fact, it might have been just fine; just not where the queer folk's hearts and gonads were at.

3) most perhaps controversially: that in fact it's possible that the gender-related angst amongst the hetfolk may not be strictly necessary, after all.

It's this last bit, I think, that certain types of feminists as well as any straight woman who's ever believed in The Rules or Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus have the most investment in: the binary thing, and an antagonistic relation between the two (and only two) sexes/genders (they are the same, in this world), at that. Of COURSE it's all about Class Men and Class Women! Of COURSE men and women can never be friends, not really! Of COURSE we're from different planets! Of course.

I'd talk more about men, straight men especially of course, and their own mishegoses about alla that, but, well: honestly, not as interested. At the moment.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I am however possessed of a certain curiousity, even about such matters that don't directly affect me, and so will probably tackle that subject again sooner or later.

Full disclosure

Over at Bitch Lab (and elsewhere) we have lately been talking about some of the subtler (?) manifestations of power-over. A comment by Jay Sennett mentions

...the all-too-common response, when a trans person discloses their history, “oh you should have told me….” This situation is also why I hate the term passing for trans people,…


...and it immediately made me start connecting to, well, a number of different scenarios i have witnessed and/or been in, recently and otherwise. The general theme would seem to be the practice known as "outing."

This is a term that has a number of different specific meanings, depending on context. But what seems to me a common denominator is this: it implies that the one who is "outed" (either by self or others) has something substantial to lose by doing so.

Once framed this way, it is generally understood that therefore it is very bad form indeed to request/demand that someone else out hirself, much less take it upon oneself to do it for hir. And in the cases where one does actually do it for hir, this is, or should be, understood to be the "civil" equivalent of the A-bomb. You do it, if you do it at all, when it's not only a loathed enemy but one whom you feel is posing a clear and present danger to you and yours. The most common example of this currently is someone "outing" as gay a powerful politician, lawmaker, or influential demagogue of some sort or another precisely because, and only because, said person is directly responsible for making life concretely more difficult for gay people, through laws or persuasion or both. Thus, this isn't just done because "bad person for being a hypocrite, no biscuit" or "this is teh Enemy: exterminate with extreme prejudice." It is done as a conscious act of self-protection. And even then, there are a number of honorable people who will probably chastise you for this: this was below the belt in any circumstances; one ought to be able to defeat one's opponent by argument alone.

Well, perhaps. As you can probably guess, I lean toward exceptionalism myself, but only in extreme and easily identifiable cases: i.e. a certain Congressperson a while back who was responsible for some truly vile pieces of anti-gay legislation. got caught trolling for hot man on man action in some personal ad (must be discreet, uh huh). Went down in flames, and imho, deservedly so. (as someone put it, I forget where, but this itself was memorable: "Hi, I'm looking for someone to hoist my petard...")

On the other hand, would i support "outing" a Hollywood celebrity who hasn't made any particular homophobic remarks, just "vants to be alone" a la Greta Garbo; but maybe has said some other things that i find personally offensive? Fuck no. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly pure as the driven snow about enjoying celebrity gossip; it's not as though the tabloids aren't going to do what they do anyway, wring one's hands though one might. But do I have any respect for people who unearth someone's deeply personal shit simply because it suits their own agenda? (i.e. oh, so and so IS gay! knowing this will somehow make life better for hir viewers! like me! or, arguably worse: I just plain don't like so and so, and if everyone knows sie's gay, they'll lose popularity! Muhahaha!) Nope. And the higher the stakes for the outee, the less respect I have for the "outer."

Extrapolating, that extends to the charming habit some, mostly right wing, have to say, bloggers have apparently developed, of "outing" fellow bloggers who disagree with them; or more accurately, more often, really, to threaten and insinuate and whisper. "I know something about you-u..."

The goal here, of course, is not to create more "honesty;" the goal is to intimidate and bully and shut up one's opponent.

It is contemptible, for any number of reasons. Yes, that includes insinuating and demanding and nagging. "Hey, I use my full name; why can't you? Huh? huh? Bet you wouldn't be so brave if..."

Among them, which ties back into my original point, it implies that in fact the full-name revealer and the person sie's nagging/cajoling/hint-threatening are on the same footing; that they do/would have an equal amount to lose by revealing their names.

This is disingenuous at best, frankly; it becomes clearer in some cases than in others.

To take a hypothetical example: let's say the would-be outer, whose full name and photo and so on are on full display to the world, is an upstanding member of the community; professional, well-to-do, job pretty safe even if sie takes heat from some people online or says provocative things. Lots of friends in high places and resources in general.

That person is not risking what, say, someone writing as a sex worker would be by revealing hir name. Or, I don't know, someone living here as an illegal immigrant, writing about the experience. Or someone who has an abusive ex stalking hir, or just someone who has very little in the way of personal resources should the boss decide sie doesn't like what hir employee is saying online, makes the company look bad, off you go.

So say one of these people says something that pushes the professional person's buttons sorely. Instead of owning this, or fighting back on the merits of the argument, well-heeled Pillar reaches for the red button:

"Bet you wouldn't be so brave if you were posting under your REAL NAME, like me; come out here and say that!"

Nasty, nasty move. Not least because: said person is being brave, is taking a risk; both by being online at all, with so much at stake--because frankly, in this age? any illusion of true privacy is just that, an illusion; if someone really wants to find you, they will--and/or by, quite likely, saying the things sie's saying; which, let's be honest, is probably what pissed off Professional Pillar in the first place.

And that is how power maintains itself; or one way. It's not by fighting fair. It never was. And particularly unfair is the way the powerful have the power to define the rules of the game, what "fair" is, for themselves.

...At the time I could not see beyond the moral dilemma that is presented to the weak in a world governed by the strong: Break the rules, or perish. I did not see that in that case the weak have the right to make a different set of rules for themselves; because, even if such an idea had occured to me, there was no one in my environment who could have confirmed me in it.

--George Orwell, "Such, Such Were the Joys"


And it all ties back together, of course. As piny said over at BL's, wrt the choice to keep anonymous:

Perhaps I have different standards, as a queer; protected space is all too familiar to me.

and as Jay noted,

Some of us get privacy on a contigent basis. Period. Poor. Working class. Trans. POC/WOC. Fat. Disabled. and on and on.

And anonymous only pisses people off who think, “why’d you have to make me ask???!!!!”


Getting back to the original example, Jay's, what it first made me think of was what it may well have been inspired by (or could have done; this sort of shit happens all the time, of course): as was discussed at feministe, some mulleted 'stain said on his blog (mullet himself makes no secret of his real name, I believe; brave brave lad, yes) some seriously nasty shit about TG folk in general, piny in particular. The gist, again, being that the TG person has a responsibility to tell the cisgendered person of hir TG status, particularly when (gasp) dating; mullet, being a 'stain, took this all the way to a conclusion most posting at a place like feministe wouldn't, of course: that any TG person who has or even suggests sexual relations with an unknowing cisgendered person deserves pretty much whatever wrath the "deceived" "normal" person decides to unleash on the TG person, up to and including physical violence.

I think y'all can probably see the problem there.

But, and as I was also noting: the funny thing here, particularly when it comes to matters where straighty straightertons get antsy about matters sex-shul/gender related, they can also go the opposite way and complain because gender/sexual deviant is revealing too much for their comfort, and clearly their own comfort is more important, here. Even better: sometimes you get both "Ew, don't tell me that!" and "I demand that you tell me more!" in the very same interaction.

“I don’t care what anyone does in the bedroom. Why does anyone need to know? I don’t go around telling everyone what my wife and i do in the bedroom; why do these people need a parade? Why do they need to shove it in our face? I mean, some of the things i saw this one time, i was just disgusted, get this

…oh, jesus, YOU’RE…man, I mean…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean -you-, some of my best friends, I didn’t mean it that way…But you should have told me!”

fuck OFF.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Speak it.

This Here Garden.

And you: listen. Yeah, you.

Better yet: go THERE and read it. I'm just posting enough for you to get the idea, here. And then: getting out of her way, because she's got something to say, goddamit; and i for one, if nothing else, want to keep my eyes and ears open.

An Angry Loveletter to WhiteSister

I’ve been dealing with some issues that have been overwhelming. Primarily, I suppose, it’s about the trauma of being a colonized person. I do not say this lightly. Being a black woman, decendant of kidnapped and enslaved Africans, in America is traumatic.

It’s traumatic
every.
single.
day.
Many of us deal with it by living in denial, because the anger would consume us if we didn’t. Sometimes we turn the anger against ourselves because colonization is not just about taking control of resources, it’s about taking control of minds so that the colonized no longer resist...

I have white friends, my sisters in this deen who I love deeply. I also know that they are blind to so many of these issues and in that willing blindness (because they refuse to listen to people of color when we try to share these experiences, so I know they are intentionally blind) they uphold the system of oppression they claim to despise. Yes my leftie sisters, you are racist too. You can not marry out of it, you can not convert out of it. White supremacy is like alcoholism. Once it’s in you, it’s there. You are forever an alcoholic either your only hope is the ongoing struggle of recovery. And the first step is acknowledging you have a problem. Don’t worry, we victims are constantly struggling to recover too. It’s just a different road. You are victims too, because this has hurt is all, deeply.
...

... Like so many POC my life is schizophrenic. My experiences say, “you can not trust white people” but my heart and mind refuse to acknowledge it. They say in unison, “no that can’t be true.” My white friends, my sisters in this deen love me! I know they do, they love their angry little brown friend. They send me gifts and words of encouragement. They hold me when I sob, so long as that sobbing isn’t about the pain of being a colonized person, and pump their fists to my anger at sexism and war. Some of them can see the systems of oppression. But when it comes to one on one, they can not deal with me. And can you say you love me, when you refuse to acknowledge all of me? That’s not love WhiteSister.

They must hear my pain from white faces before they can even begin to acknowledge that it exists. I say to WhiteSister “I hurt because racism has hurt my family for generations.” WhiteSister says, “we all hurt because men have oppressed us.” I say to WhiteSister, “Damn it WhiteSister! I hurt because YOU have oppressed us.” WhiteSister cries or rages and throws a tantrum that lasts for months or years because internalized sexism has taught her that that’s the only way to win. Two months later WhiteSister contacts me about this new book she’s read by WhiteWoman talking about racism. WhiteWoman wrote EXACTLY what I told WhiteSister, but now that she’s read it from WhiteWoman it’s a damned revelation. WhiteSister wonders why I’m not jumping for joy at her newfound awareness. She wonders why I just want to smack her across her hijabed head and ask her what the hell her problem is. And she still doesn’t get it when I tell her she’s a racist, and she isn’t even in recovery yet. Nope, until you can really listen to us, you are still just a racist. I know, I’m just not quite as happy in person, as I look on your wall...

A refresher, for those in need of refreshment.



Feeling a little, shall we say, burnt out by life on the Internets? Feeling used, misused, and abused? In need of a break? A little love? A little, perchance, tension relieving giggle? Of course you are.

Well, first of all, if you must engage in these taxing flamewars, at least arm yourself first. Forewarned is forearmed: here find the ever-trust field guide to flame warriors. Know thine enemy. Unless of course it looks like s/he's staring back out at you from over your bathroom sink. Pay no attention if that happens; it means nozzing. I'm OK, You're (sort of) OK, that dude over there is fucked up. To the barricades, comrades! Kill! KILL!

Once you're back in the hospital nursing your freshest battery of wounds, you probably won't want to do anything much more taxing than look at videos. Possibly even ones you've seen before; anyway I for one find repetition strangely soothing when I'm in a funk. anyway, pretty sure I already linked the video of Weird Al Yankovic's "Angry White Boy Polka" at least once. Today however i discovered that there is another version. This one mostly just splices and dices the original Angry White Boy videos being polka-ized. The cartoon one is funnier. But if you, like me, had not actually seen most or any of the actual videos, on account of I grow old I grow old and get those goddam kids offa my lawn, then you may, like me, find that watching the original and then the cartoon makes it that much funnier.

and if you, like white and nerdy me, just can't get enough of Al playing polka, here he is doing Klassik Rawk, and contemporary top o' the pops, live.


Finally, a 'Net oldie but goodie. Seems some people are feeling, well, kind of upset; they are just souls whose intentions are good, lord, please don't let them be misunderstood. Well, rest assured, white liberal enlightened well-meaning people, yes, you are indeed beloved.



Aww. See? Isn't that sweet? Now, tell me: don't you feel better already? Just a little bit?



That's the spirit!

Dwama on the Internets, Act I, scene 2

"Doop de do, scanning the horizon--oh, look, someone has posted something that reminds me of Me! I have never noticed this...person? ...before, and well i COULD take the time to read a bit more-indepth here, get a sense of what this person is -truly- saying, where they're coming from, context of not only whatever they've revealed about themselves personally (you know, thoughts, feelings, something that might distinguish this voice from just another faceless extra in the grand epic saga that is -My- internal life), but also even (who? what? huh?) any cultural framework which might be different from mine; or hell i don't know, whether there are -other- people out there who are saying pretty much what this person is saying on account of it IS a different cultural framework; but, sheesh, who has time for that? I've picked out a few words here n there that push My buttons; -everyone- knows what THIS symbol means; what more could anyone possibly want? Now, watch me deconstruct it with my jagged if somewhat dull blade! (P.S. Aren't I clever). -Click-. Post: up. Ah, accomplishment. Now, onto the IMPORTANT stuff, like engaging in round 10,305 of the same endless circular wank that i've been going at with my mirror-opposite across the aisle for yonks now, to the tune of the rapturous hoarse shouting of the crowd; that is Politics.

...I hear a faint buzzing. shrug.

...oh! someone...? oh, yeah, you, that's right, i sort of remember you from, um, oh yesterday i guess it was, someone is...angry? is it? with me? With Me? But, why? Let me answer that before you start; of course, I know why; it is because I threaten you, with my keen and penetrating insights. Or, perhaps you're jealous, of the glory that is Me; which, that, I can understand. Or perhaps you're simply terminally stupid. Or most likely all of them at once. I'll explain this to you nicely and then you'll go away again. ...oh. you're still here? God, what do some people WANT already?!

...oh, shit, now here come a bunch of -other- people shouting and waving their shadowy limbs in My general direction. Are you all a gang? That's it, isn't it! You're in this together! You're all out to get Me!

...oh, NOW what? et tu, Brute? I thought -you- of all people -understood- Me! well, if even YOU think I did something wrong (oh godohgod not that not I Did Something Wrong, dark mutterings threaten to break the surface, I am the Worst Person In the World Ever, i can't BEAR it, o A-GO-NEE)...all right all right. (gestures helplessly; then, inspiration)...Look. I know. This ought to make everything better:

I AM SORRY IF YOUR FEELINGS WERE HURT. I MEAN YOU NO HARM. WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS. I AM ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS; I AM A -GOOD PERSON.-

okay? okay. good. Thank God. Now, back to Me and My understanding of exactly -why- you misunderstood Me so...

oh, I thought we were done, here! --oo, look, -you- over there, i'll have YOU for my next deconstuction fest, seeing as how i have Moved On and all.--oh, WHAT?!?!?!?! already??? all right i can't stand it anymore: HELP HELP I'M BEING OPPRESSED

(thunder of cavalry in the distance, dazzling light glancing off armor)

...THERE. NOW maybe FINALLY I can...

SHIT!! right that's IT. you have TRIED MY PATIENCE. You know what you are? Hm? SELFISH. SelfishselfishSELFISH. -ALL- you think about is yourself; why WHY must you continually INSIST on INTERRUPTING me with your petty concerns? why are you PERSECUTING me and making me feel like a BAD PERSON when clearly i am so NOT. Huh? HUH??? WELL?

...the what what now?! okay, now i'm simply confused. what is this, 'it's not about you' supposed to mean? I simply don't understand. You ARE talking to Me, are you not? I don't see anyone else here--

what do you mean, 'that's exactly the problem?'

You've got a real smart mouth, you know that? Say, you wouldn't be -threatening- me now, would you? Really, you should know better than that. Wash your mouth. And clean up your grammar; and, what -is- that you're wearing anyway? How tacky. I don't even know why i bothered addressing you in the first place, ___

all RIGHT so i got your name wrong, GOD, ALL you can do is pick on me, that's it, i don't have time for this, this is so beneath Me anyway. I have an important duty to fulfill! I am talking about the World! The World, it is Me! And therefore when you talk about something that ISN'T about Me, or irritates Me, or both, you are...

well, at best. So, so, so, selfish.

It's sad, really.

Now: where was I? --oo, look, someone here has posted something that reminds Me of..."