Thursday, June 28, 2007

"...all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again..."

As I may have mentioned hither and yon, before coming into the wacky world of online feminism, I was a member of an organization that I will here refer to as Dyke Drama Collective, a Downtown theatre that is/was started in the early 80's and is for the women, by the women, very on-a-string, very DIY let's-put-on-a-show. It's had its high points--alumnae include Holly Hughes and Sarah Schulman; and I should say I had a show of my own (directed, wrote, co-produced) at one point. Had some good times with some of the regulars, onstage and off. I don't mean to say this without any affection whatsoever. Just, I was indirectly reminded, elsewhere, just now, from an allusion to the endless Online Dwamas with the Usual Suspects, of this:

Right about when I knew it was time to leave the DDC (which was, I reiterate, not -nearly- as obnoxious as erm some people in terms of the Usual Dread Subjects, on the whole; the younger set far less so than the older ones, whom i didn't know as well, true, still)

...anyway, shortly after 9/11, one of the (older, whom I didn't know very well) women used Vulva puppets, Mr. Rogers-like, (complete with squeaky voice and syrupy intonation) to enact her sentiment that dark as the times were, maybe the crumbling of the phallic structures symbolized a better time to come for Pussies. (or however she put it. there was nauseating cutesiness, was the bottom line, besides the, well, that).

a few years later, i ran into her at the friendly local wimmins' book co-op (which later got bought out by an individualist if still leftie entrepreneur, on account of the wimbon who was "collectively" running it by basically letting crunchy wide-eyed twenty year olds staff the place on a "volunteer" basis basically ran it into the ground, business-wise).

She was all, oh, hi! I can't remember your name. (obligatory exchange) Hi! Good to see you! Say, I'm house managing tonight, why don't you come and staff for me?

Now, the way Dyke Drama Collective works is, everyone pitches in and works volunteer on a system of what's called "sweat equity." You help your sisters with their shows, and the space as a whole, goes the idea, and when it comes time to do your show, you'll get help with yours. In practice it didn't always work out quite so neatly, but anyway. "Staffing" means you help clean up before and after the show (usually not much to do), sit and take tickets at the door or wait downstairs to meet and greet, maybe run some light errands. In return you get basic "sweat equity" and of course to see the show for free. Not a bad system, and a perfectly reasonable suggestion. Except, I hadn't been to the place for several years. But, okay. I tell the woman, politely, sorry, no can do, but good luck!

She goes, in so many words,

"Why not?"

I bit back the first four or thirteen responses ("um, hello, I -might- actually have something else to do, did it occur to you, person-I-haven't-seen-in-several-years, and you don't even remember my damn name?") and said, rather less pleasantly,

"I'm busy."

She did drop it then, at least. The temperature perked back up a few notches, we made with the conversational noises, she bought her copy of -off our backs- or -Tidewombon Periodical- or -Craft Your Way To The Revolution- and maybe a vegan cookie/paperweight or so. Goes off. And that was that.

The brief reunion did leave me with a warm glowy feeling of sisterhood, though. Unless it was acid reflux from the herbal tea.

Okay, okay, okay, so I'm totally freaked out now

so i -finally- saw the season 3 finale of Battlestar Galactica.

and, plotwise, i figured on a fair amount of it (i couldn't help overhearing the gist of the spoilage, even though i studiously avoided seeking any out).

but the existential implications are freaking me out! maaaaaaan

"All of this has happened before, and all of this will--"

oh SHUT up.

it must be that cheesy hippie song they introduced (and yes, THAT was cheesy, i am sorry). it's, like, giving me acid flashbacks...of a past i never had...or did I?

i smell patchouli

it's coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE, i mean the ship.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Why, yes, that's -exactly- my first thought

about Aimee Mullins, an athlete, actress, double amputee, model, one of "50 most beautiful people in the world," and Georgetown graduate with a double major in history and diplomacy, who's skied, made track and long jump records on her prosthetic legs;

out of all that, this would be the bit that I'd focus on:

[Mullens] owns 10 different sets of prosthetic legs, from her titanium sprinting legs ("my brother calls them my 'robo-cop legs,'" she laughs) to the intricately carved ashwood museum pieces she once modeled in a fashion show for designer Alexander McQueen. At a recent media event, she sported fashionable white skinny jeans, gold sandals and a dark pink pedicure. "

and lament, does it -have- to be PINK?

and then,

" It almost makes it sound like these (pictured) legs are her “real” ones and she keeps a fashion array of other prostheses to keep her hotness factor up in social situations! eesh. (ooh, the novelty of seeing a disabled person displaying traditional sexuality! tittilating!!) sigh. "

(h/t Kim, and trin; there's no way I'm linking or going over to the source, but you can guess).

Yes, fuck YES. Christina Jesus forbid that a PWD might keep a "fashion array" of prostheses, display "traditional sexuality," or (this is my favorite) make it look like the legs that have BEEN her real legs since she was frigging one year old, if you read the fucking article, are her LEGITIMATE, -real- legs.

I mean, we all know how fucking -important- it is to remember and -keep- the bodies God/Mother Nature gave us, riiiiight?

So many ways to not be "real."

Well, you know what, fuck "real."

THIS is the part that interests me:

First she was a world-class athlete, having run track at Georgetown and holding records in sprints and the long jump. In January she was voted President of the Women's Sports Foundation by the likes of Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova. Her accomplishments are each impressive enough on their own, but when you take into account that she's done it all on silicone and titanium legs, she's just making the rest of us look bad.

Competitive, you see. Or, as she puts it,

Her athletic background and competitive drive are what propel Mullins through every new experience and challenge. "In athletics, the idea of possibility is presumed," she says. "It's not 'if,' it's 'how.' And that is how artists, and fashion designers, and musicians see the world. It's not possibility, it's potential.

Yeah, it's the kind of story we Americans love: beat the odds, made it to the top, a winner, inspiring. Feel-good. Forget all the other people who -don't- succeed; it makes us/them "look bad."

Well, fuck me, sometimes, you know what, it's OKAY to feel good, vicariously even. Sometimes, it's OKAY to admire the hell out of a remarkable person without butbutbut. And, hello, can we focus on this bit just for a second:

It's not 'if,' it's 'how.' ...It's not possibility, it's potential.

It's the American Dream writ large--the best side of it. Funnily enough, it's the same message I took away from "Sicko," and yes, I'm still planning to do a full post on that.

But yeah, that optimism, the "can-do" thing. I think, you know, sometimes, on the loosely defined (American) left, we can throw that baby out with the bathwater of "o but look, the System, the System, the System is broken. Irreparably flawed. -No-, it isn't enough to say, "here's how we can make things -better-," partially, for now.

It's not good enough. Nothing's good enough. I Blame I Blame I Blame.

Which is really convenient, you know, especially when we're talking about people who may just be more in need of immediate relief than we are.

Or when we want to cover up our savoring of the delicious bitter-bitterness of our own hearts in the safe language of "systemic" blaming.

And you know something else: that is also a titanium-toed kick in the ass for me as well (personal shit, not getting into it right now).

Sometimes, you know what, you got to just go and -do.-

And forgive yourself-and others-for not being fucking perfect the first time, or ever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On the struggle to keep the world spinning forward; or, why some men are indirectly responsible for large forehead-shaped gouges in my desk

(and I'm not the only one)

It starts, in part, inspired by a...thread, here-ish. (and assorted satellites/spinoffs/related).

In the general context of sexual encounters that won't later be interpreted as "rape" or "assault," and whether or not it's reasonable to expect verbal consent for every little thing:

...verbal signs, which have agreed meanings, are so important.

--Tom Nolan.


For a number of reasons.

Let's start with the basics:

Generally speaking, the feminist response is to at -least- give very serious attention to the woman who claims that she was attacked/harassed/molested/raped, because traditionally, OVERWHELMINGLY, the default is to believe

1) she was asking for it
2) ____ women, or women in ____ situation (drunk, stripper, wife of the rapist, wearing xyz article of clothing, in that setting, of that age, of this culture, etc. etc. etc.) can’t *really* be raped
3) and anyway who cares if she was. No big deal. “Just lie back and enjoy it.”

Rape is, in the (yeah i’m gonna use it, because in this case it’s appropriate) patriarchal model, only taken seriously when it is a violation of another man’s property. As in, that is what you find in that classic patriarchal Ur-Text, the Bible. Because, that’s what patriarchy -is-. “Rule of the fathers.” If you rape someone else’s wife or daughter or “good” woman, (or son, for that matter) you’ve potentially ruined another man’s line, and you’ve defiled something that has value (i.e. a previously “virgin” woman). You are STEALING from him. It’s a MATERIAL thing. And, later, a -status- thing, which is the material made slightly more abstract. Rape another man in this particular context and well. You're also taking away his manhood. Anyway.

What the woman (or man) thinks or wants or feels traditionally doesn’t much come into it, because, among other things, they -generally- weren’t real big on subjective truths 2000+ years ago, particularly when making Rules For Living, least of all people who by and large weren’t supposed to be subjects. There are some exceptions. But you note that traditionally a lot of people never really quite knew what to do with, say, “Song of Solomon.”

15] And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
[16] Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
[17] Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
[18] But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

--Numbers 31

[13] If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
[14] And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
[15] Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
[16] And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
[17] And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
[18] And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
[19] And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
[20] But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
[21] Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
[22] If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
[23] If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
[24] Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
[25] But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:
[26] But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
[27] For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
[28] If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
[29] Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

--Deuteronomy 22

More recently, our own laws, as well as a lot of current -ideas- about what is, or isn't, "real" rape, are based on medieval English common law:

During the 12th and 13th centuries, an elaborate system of law based on judicial decisions, known as the common law, developed in England. The common law made rape a crime and provided for punishment of the rapist (but not of the victim). Rape was defined as sexual penetration of a woman forcibly and against her will. However, because the common law treated wives as the property of their husbands, a woman’s husband could not be found guilty of raping her, regardless of whether he used force against her to obtain sex. As a result of the wedding contract, wives could not legally refuse to have sex. Therefore, the law considered marital rape an impossibility.

In addition to creating complete immunity for husbands, English law also contained a number of legal and procedural requirements that made the prosecution of rape difficult. Under the utmost resistance doctrine, a man could be found guilty of rape only if his victim could demonstrate that she had physically attempted to fight off the rape but had been overpowered. A woman who was not physically bruised had little hope of proving a case of rape. If a woman did not promptly complain of a rape, under the fresh complaint rule her case could not be heard. The fresh complaint rule was based on the theory that a delayed report of rape was more likely to be fabricated.

Both the utmost resistance doctrine and the fresh complaint rule were based on assumptions that reflected the status of women in society. These doctrines were explicitly designed to protect men from false accusations of rape, indicating that English society placed more value on preventing false accusations than on protecting women from actual rapes. Legal decisions applying these doctrines assumed that women were likely to fabricate rape accusations, either because they were ashamed at having consented to sexual intercourse, because they had been rejected by their lover and wanted revenge, or because they had fantasized the rape.

Under English common law, certain rules of evidence also helped men defend themselves against charges of rape. Evidentiary rules governed what information was available to the jury during a trial, as well as the weight the jury should assign to the information. Special rules made it difficult to achieve convictions and made the trial an ordeal for the victim. Under these rules, a woman who reported a rape could expect to be questioned in great detail about her sex life. For example, the victim could be extensively cross-examined by the accused rapist’s attorney to show that (1) she had consented to sexual intercourse with the defendant (accused rapist) on that or another occasion, (2) she had consented to sexual intercourse with another man or men, or (3) she did not have a good reputation for chastity.

Although it was difficult to obtain a conviction under the common law, the punishment for rape was severe when prosecution was successful. During most eras, English law treated rape as a capital offense—that is, a crime punishable by death.

Note that -any- reforms or modifications on this basic set-up starts in the 1960's or later, and not just in the U.S.:

In the 1970s most states began to change their laws concerning rape. Many states redefined rape and eliminated some of the common law doctrines and their biases against victims. Beginning with Massachusetts in 1968 and Tennessee in 1971, most states have ended the requirement—usually extremely difficult to meet—that a complainant, or alleged rape victim, produce corroborating evidence to the crime. Some states have passed laws enabling males to press charges of sexual assault.

...Like the United States, Canada modeled its criminal law on English common law. Consequently, Canadian rape laws primarily attempted to protect men accused of rape. Prior to legal reforms in the 1980s, husbands were immune from prosecution for raping their wives. Canada also supplemented the English common law safeguards for men accused of rape. A fresh complaint rule was imposed, prosecutors were permitted to introduce evidence of the victim’s past sexual history to attack her credibility, and judges instructed juries about the dangers of convicting a suspect on the uncorroborated evidence of the complainant.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s the Canadian Parliament reformed these traditional rape laws and doctrines, adopting a new statutory scheme governing sexual assault. Under the current criminal code, both men and women may be found guilty of criminal sexual assault, and marital immunity has been repealed. Furthermore, lawmakers have eliminated many of the evidentiary rules intended to make rape prosecutions more difficult, including the fresh complaint rule and the requirement for corroboration.

The idea that people should be having sex only because they DESIRE one another is relatively very new, at least in “our” (I am coming from a U.S. “Judeo-Christian”-based yadda yadda) culture, and frankly it’s still jostling against a lot of those older ideas. That’s true for women, and it’s true for men as well. Besides feminism, there was the Sexual Revolution; there was also the mainstreaming of psychology, so that now, for instance, you get the concept of post-traumatic stress syndrome:

The identification of rape trauma syndrome also affected attitudes and laws concerning rape. Rape trauma syndrome, a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, is a psychological reaction to rape involving feelings of shock and shame. Victims who experience this syndrome are often reluctant to report a rape. Discovery of rape trauma syndrome undermined the fresh complaint rule, which was based on the assumption that delayed complaints of rape were less reliable.

What's different about -this- is, yeah, it's based on a medical model and there are specific material symptoms one can look for when arguing a legal case; but primarily, unlike so much of what we've been talking about thus far, it's largely defined by the victim's -internal state.- *Feelings.* Apparently, they matter. But...we're all not really caught up to that concept, actually.

So! But never mind the law; now consider the act itself. Now you get to things like -body language- and -missed communication- and boy O boy no one knows what to do, because -now- people aren’t just supposed to be attuned to their -own- feelings, their -own- internal thermostat, which is tricky enough, but -now- they’re supposed to be attuned to what’s going on with the -other- person as well. “Empathy,” what kind of feminizing hippie bullshit is that? And it’s CONFUSING, and what do they WANT from us, and why O why can’t we go back to the way things were I mean a new paradigm mumble something, which either way looks suspiciously like TRYING to fall back on old reliable rules:

-If the setting was xyz, if this mark was or wasn’t present, if that act did or did not occur, if she belongs to such and such a category, if he bought her x amount of flowers-

-Material- shit. THAT’S what people want. Suddenly, everyone’s a lawyer. Something -concrete,- because my god, how how HOW are we supposed to know how other people FEEL, huh?

Well. One way is, you -ask.- (And then pay attention to the answer).

No, it ain’t perfect. No, a lot of people don’t do it so well, particularly whilst simultaneously trying to Preserve The Mood, you know, -desire-, -feeling.-

But dammit, it's an improvement over the shit that came before. And you know what: it's a skill that is honed over time, both on the individual and collective level.

It just hasn't been in vogue for very long. Like a number of other things.

See, value placed on directly expressing one's feelings, however clumsily, -talking, rapping,- "communication skills," well, that's another of those little things that came from the last great Flowering Of Social Consciousness or however you want to define it. The 60's et seq, more or less, yes. Consciousness Raising. I'm Okay You're Okay. Workshops, processing. All that happy crappy.

It is also one of those things that, by and large, goes against the traditional masculine Code. Which, it seems to me, if one were truly invested in trying not just to blame feminism/feminists/women for all its/their shortcomings but also examine what, as a straight man, one needs to do to -liberate himself,-

...then pitching the "strong silent stoic" crap overboard ought to be a priority. Along with the whole, "oh it's not SEXY anymore if you -talk- about it. Or god forbid -ask- for something which -real men- are supposed to just -take-...or at least understand the womens' unspoken signals (because Real Women Don't Ask For What They Want, either) and suavely move in for the kill."

And you know what: Antioch be damned, the very real possibility that some women won't get it be damned (hey, we -all- deal with shit when we try new stuff, we -all- make mistakes or strike out, how the hell do you think it is for gay people coming out and trying to start dating post-adolescence?)I’ve not got much sympathy for people who won’t at least consider -trying.- Particularly if they’re so worried about being misunderstood, lord, they’re just a soul whose intentions are good, -I don’t wanna go to the Big House Maw!-

Okay. So: open up your yap and -talk.-

-Communicate.- If you’re not sure how to read any other sort of language. Actually, even if you -think- you -are- sure.

Because, generally speaking? that is a useful skill. Direct, verbal communication. Comes in handy in a -lot- of situations. Really. I recommend it. You’ll (that is a "general" you, Virginia) get the hang of it. -Practice.-

And finally, yeah, sex-positive (gar) me, I gotta say this:

There are worse things in this world than not getting any.


Look, "critique" feminism and its relations, dudes, for where it falls down, and there are plenty places. by all means.

But, when y'all start saying, more or less, (variously), that feminism is the CAUSE of all your woes: please note:

Traditional rape laws were gender specific, providing that only women could be victims of rape and only men could be rapists. In recent years an increasing number of states have rewritten their rape laws to be gender neutral. In these states it is possible, although unlikely, for a woman to be charged with raping a man. In Canada, statutes prohibiting sexual assault apply to both male and female perpetrators and victims.

Homosexual rape, when it is not covered by a state’s general rape statute, may be covered by statutes that prohibit anal or oral sex between members of the same sex, a type of sodomy. Although some statutes do not distinguish between forcible and consensual acts, forcible sodomy is generally subject to more severe punishments. Homosexual rape is a notorious problem in prisons. However, in society as a whole, rape of men—whether by women or other men—is not a highly visible issue.

So, here's the deal as I understand it. Yep, that last bit is a real problem:

However, in society as a whole, rape of men—whether by women or other men—is not a highly visible issue.

and, yep, indeed, I, too, have encountered various feminist-identified (and otherwise) women who share this rather -reactionary- view. Along with other such -unexamined- views (i.e. sexual organs are for reproduction, men are men and women are women and that's the way it is, prison rape is funny and anyway penetration is a punishment, on and friggin' on). Such is life. I'm not even gonna say they aren't "real" feminists, or "we're not all like that." Because, dammit, I shouldn't have to.

Because, THIS:

Traditional rape laws were gender specific, providing that only women could be victims of rape and only men could be rapists.

Yeah? TRADITIONAL. Feminism is not the -cause- of that mindset. Feminism is not even a -friend- to that mindset. Feminism is not a perfect antidote to that mindset -all by itself-, no, that's quite right. Because feminism, by and large, has focused -primarily- on the womens' side of the equation. Sort of in the same way that queer rights, by and large, focus through a queer lens, and disability rights' groups focus on the DB perspective, and First Nations/NDN groups focus get the idea. But they are all part of the same general trend. New mindset. New paradigm. New-ish, okay. The one that's led to a -slight- change in how we look at abuse of men, as well as expectations on men (must wear suits and ties, be Providers, not cry, not be gay or effeminate, be aggressive, be an "alpha" dog, etc).

You want to argue that there's a hell of a lot more work to be done in that regard, I won't argue with you.

But, here's the deal, okay:

1) You gotta do the bulk of the legwork yourselves. And, you have to speak -for- yourselves. Feminists of the traditional sort might support you; they might have ideas that you can build on and draw from (shit, you're doing it already); but, they're not gonna do it for you. It's just not gonna happen that way. If most feminists' priorities are not your priorities, it isn't because feminism is a "failure;" it's because -we have different priorities.- Apparently. This is not the same thing as saying that our goals are not compatible. In fact, in at least some of y'all's cases, I suspect we -do- have very compatible goals in a number of respects. However.

2) What -isn't- compatible is the mindset of the MRA's--"alpha and beta males," silly-ass armchair ev-psych, this rule, that rule, women are this, men are that, and feminism ruined everything--and a genuinely progressive, "gender equity" or whatever you want to call it, movement.

Because, it's not just that so many of the MRA's are ill-tempered assholes. It's not even the spew factor. It's that they are deeply -reactionary.-

It's one thing to say you'd like there to be more attention paid to the sexual abuse of men, or the fact that traditional male gender roles are constricting in xyz ways. Or that war is bad for Men and Other Living Things (so let's stop it, hey hey!)

Rants about how women -really want- alpha blahblah and aren't those rape laws awfully hard on the poor guys who might be unjustly accused...that's something else again. That's not -new.- That's not progressive. That's very, very old.

"One of these things is not like the other."

You can't put the genie back in the bottle. So, if you want more sympathy from feminists and other progressives, how about putting more distance between yourselves and the people who talk like they think it'd be a good idea?


B'll'O'Rly and Howard Stern, take it to the CORN, w00t.

oh, wait, actually: ick.

cliff notes:

BOR: so, here's that prevert degenerate Howard Stern, who for some reason has a problem with (Me, George Bush, Me, nuclear proliferation, Me, people with higher ratings than he has, Me Me Me, baby-raping shit-eaters, and oh yeah, ME), but, strangely, has NO problem with...lezzzzbiannnssss. Isn't that so, Howard?

HS: Why, yes, that's true, Bill! I LOVE lesbians! (By which I totally mean I enjoy analyzing the writings of Audre Lorde and Monique Wittig over a nice hot cup of Earl Gray). YAY! for the SEX-AY, WRITHING, FULLY-TONGUE-EXTENDED, LONG-NAILED LESBIANS! (pant, pant) hotcha hotcha, AOOGA, Hubba Hubba, hot and cold running LEZZ-BEEE-ANNNNSSSSSS!! p.s. you're so tacky.

BOR: I am NOT TACKY. those mugs with my mug on it, *mumble* percentage of the proceeds go to CHARITY. Ever hear of CHARITY, Mr. Selfish? Huh? Huh? No, I didn't think so. You and your LESBIANS. Whyntcha go build HOUSES for poor lesbians, if you like LESBIANS so much, huh?

HS: oooo. now THAT is HOT. too bad YOU are NOT, Mr. Ego.

BOR: Me? Ego? Me? Ego? Me? Ego? You, YOU. ME? EGO???

HS: Wanna step outside?

...sadly, it ended before they, you know, took It outside.

maybe not corn. maybe they could wrestle in a tub of, like, Rogaine.

in an abandoned warehouse in the middle of an eerie grey plain, at midnight, with no electricity. and for the luvvaGod don't TELL anyone.

p.s. BillO, please do not attempt to utter Yiddish again. just...don't.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Well, it's got -some- rat in it."

oh how i love the New York metro, especially in the summer. almost as much as strawberry tart.

"I like New York in June...squeak! about youuuu... squeak squeak!..."

My queer dyke gay ass makes this blog unsuitable for minors


Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

* sex (57x)
* queer (18x)
* lesbian (16x)
* gay (11x)
* rape (9x)
* bitch (7x)
* dyke (6x)
* ass (4x)
* vagina (3x)
* torture (2x)
* breast (1x)

So, did the wordcount on "fuck" just crash the thing, or what?

In any case: how special to know that either the MPAA or the lovely people who run that website or both have such...traditional family values.

And happy day after Pride to you, too, motherfuckers.

on edit: oh! i think i get it! it's based on what's in the blogroll! oh, GOOD, i'm so glad to see that the Breast Cancer Site, Bloggers Against Torture (...?! what happened to the archives...?), Sexual Abuse, Assault and Rape Resources, and New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project are picked up by the cyber-sensors/censors.

...and yet curiously enough, neither Sacred Whore nor Porn Research Directory tripped their trigger.

Politits and Cuntensquirten, it goes without saying, are Fun For The Whole Family.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

on which note: a meme, or something.

Saw "Sicko" the other night, and been meaning to write about it.

For now, though, cheap and easy, either your place or mine:

What's the most affecting meal you can remember?

You know, I'm probably jaded.

or more likely just tired, this weekend.

but for those who went out to enjoy the parade and festivities and debauchery:

Happy Pride.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Good questions, indeed, forsooth.

yep, it's highlights from the keyword search string time again:

"what is the cause of misogyny"

"why aren't dv abusers put in confined housing"

"how is objectification harmful"

"what is chronic masturbation syndrome"

"what causes my brain to hurt when i have sex"

"what does omnivorous mean?"

"what does 'hedonistic mayhem' mean?"

"what is tantrik prayog"

"can a female to male transsexual be a hari krishna?"

"who does aphrodite hate"

"did you fucking say something..."

"do you know the number i'm thinking of"

"did you mean fuck off?"

"why should i call you motherfucker"

"what the fuck are you doing out there you mother fucker"

"what does the jewish statement,of e vey mean?"

"what does 90% fat free really mean?"

"i believe bisexuality and lesbianism is a choice does anyone out there agree with me?"

"what does it mean when a child of age 4 starts killing bugs and pulling their bodies apart?"

Even when it's not phrased in the form of a question, Alex, people do seem to be looking for information/assistance of a rather specific nature:

"definition chittlins"

"how to shave your legs with no running water"

"how to introduce your self in the class"

"dreams and islam teeth falling out in one's dreams"

"god bless the child meaning"

"how to read axe file"

"introducing yourself to the opposite sex"

"after a blunt eye injury my eyeball hurts when i move it"

and, intriguingly,

"o'reilly factor pig puppet"

Less charming: a search string that i won't retype brought me to this site (won't hyperlink, cut and paste at your discretion)

In case you were ever wondering where full blast, no holds barred misogyny and racism had gone. NSFW, not safe for eyeballs or mental health, etc.

*on edit* and apparently also produces zillions of porn pop-ups for some people. just one more caveat; honestly i don't recommend going there at all, would just remove this bit but eh, up to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sex work, crime and punishment: a ramble, with links

What is more base, empty of worth, and full of vileness than harlots and other such pests?... Let them be with matrons and you will produce contamination and disgrace.

Rid society of prostitutes and licentiousness will run riot throughout. Prostitutes in a city are like a sewer in a palace. If you get rid of the sewer, the whole place becomes filthy and foul.
--Thomas Aquinas

While on the subject of Iran and sex-for-hire: Jill has a link to a sobering-sounding documentary:

And Along Came a Spider

A shocking portrait of the world of a recently captured serial killer, who sees his killing of prostitutes as according with Islamic teaching.

Over the space of a year, 16 women were murdered in the Iranian city of Mashad. Because the victims were lured into the killer's traps, the press soon called these the "spider killings." All but one of the victims had previously been arrested for prostitution and drug-related crimes.

When a 39-year-old contractor is arrested and confesses to the crimes, he claims divine support for the atrocities he has committed. His mother, wife, son, and many neighbors agree.

And Along Came a Spider visits with the families of the victims, with the perpetrator and his family, and with prostitutes in this holy city. This is a chilling film about cycles of moral vengeance.

It's a bit illuminating to place this "divinely supported" dude alongside the fact that his government apparently feels similarly about hoors. It is hard to not think that, in the face of this directive:

A senior Iranian cleric in the city of Qom called for death sentences to be handed down to prostitutes, a semi-official daily reported on Monday.

“Those who try to spread prostitution, corruption, and sins in society must be dealt with”, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi, one of the highest-ranking clerics in the holy city, said...

“If everyone feels responsibility for the orders of Islam, no one will dare to spread prostitution”, he said. “Anyone who stays silent in the face of social disorder and centres of corruption and prostitution has actually betrayed Islam”.

...sentiments like this actually, well, make sense:

Bahari finds support for Hanaei's crimes on the streets of the city, where many residents question the man's unlawful methods, but applaud his choice of victim. Hanaei's wife and young son claim to be proud of his deeds.

Oh yeah, they executed the guy. Of course. Killing is the State's prerogative.

Although some of their other proposals for the problem of street prostitution have been...creative. viddy:

Prague, 7 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Prostitution is illegal in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the penalties are severe, ranging from flogging to execution.

But for reasons no one entirely understands, the number of prostitutes on the streets of Iranian cities and towns has grown substantially in recent years, particularly in Tehran and the holy city of Qom, which is a center for pilgrims and domestic tourists.

Prostitutes wear their veils loosely over their heads in a style that passes for risque in this strictly regulated society. With their faces heavily made up, they stand at traffic circles where men driving by can inspect them and make a deal. The women are often young, including many teenagers who have run away from abusive homes.

Based on official figures, there are some 300,000 women who work as prostitutes in Iran. And according to newspapers, the number is steadily rising, despite frequent police crackdowns.

Now, some senior religious figures are suggesting the only way to solve the problem is to bring it under state control. In recent weeks, several prominent conservative clerics have proposed that prostitutes be placed in government-run shelters for destitute women to be called "chastity houses," where male customers could briefly marry them under Islamic law.

Proponents of the idea argue that it would "eradicate social corruption" by legitimizing sexual relations between the men and women. Under the plan, the couples would register for a temporary marriage under Iran's Shiite religious law code. The code allows a man to marry a woman for a mutually agreed time as short as a few hours or as long as a lifetime by reciting a verse from the Koran.

The temporary marriage license would protect the couple from harassment by authorities and, according to some proposals, it would be accompanied by free contraceptives and health advice. Under religious law, a temporary marriage imposes no obligations on a man unless the union produces a child, who must be recognized as legitimate and can claim a share of any inheritance.

One cleric backing the plan, Ayatollah Mohammed Mousavi Bojnurdi, recently told a newspaper: "We face a real challenge with all these women on the street. Our society is in an emergency situation, so the formation of the chastity houses can be an immediate solution to the problem." He added that the plan "is both realistic and conforms to Sharia [Islamic] law."...

ironically enough

Iran's strict Islamic rules allow little socializing between the sexes, and young Iranians have been jailed and flogged for dancing together at birthday parties. "Parents who are suspicious of their children, don't give their children any choice or freedom, and always impose their thinking on them, force such children to flee homes," said Hamzeh Ganji. Ganji said young girls who leave home often must become prostitutes to survive.

More than half of Iran's 70 million people are below age 25. The unemployment rate is officially 15 percent, but private experts say it really is about 30 percent....

If anyone happens to speak Farsi, there's another video on poverty and prostitution in Iran available here.

There's also a journalistic piece from the Iranian. The tone is...well, see for yourself. I found it interesting, and not all that unfamiliar tbh.

Truth is, we're all fairly used to, metaphorically at least, the stone-the-sluts/oh, let's-rescue-the-poor-pitiful-broken-things attitude; not to mention the (often sensationalistic) stories of serial killers who target prostitutes.
Capital punishment just takes the message to its logical conclusion: prostitutes= corrupt, dispensable, ruined, something to be cleaned up if it can't be salvaged.

Why, yes, yes it IS ultimately rooted, in good part and in complex ways, in institutionalized misogyny. Duh.

Nonetheless, it's worth noting, once again, that the Madonna/whore split is not, in fact, formulated in such a way that "virgin/mother" and "whore" are of equal (lack of, even) worth.

From the CBC article also linked above:

One study has suggested prostitutes are 40 times more likely than other women to be murdered.

quoth the experts being interviewed,

Why are prostitutes such a target?

S.E. For a variety of reasons. The main one is that they are vulnerable and they are vulnerable because they are available. This provides relative anonymity for the killer because when you pick up a prostitute in an area where they ply their trade, everyone expects to see cars picking them up. No one pays much attention to the so-called Johns.

...The other aspect is: Who is going to report a missing prostitute? If it's another prostitute, she may not have credibility with the police.

...N.B. One of the first points that has to be made is that it is only certain kinds of prostitutes who have become a target. We have massage parlours and escort agencies in virtually every city and the women who work there engage in prostitution but they are protected by credit cards and the like.

Their customers know that if they commit violence, they could easily be tracked down. So the violence that does occur is against the most vulnerable women who are working as street-level prostitutes.

...Psychopaths are people who have no empathy for their victims. They treat their victims as objects, not as human beings.

And that plays directly into the choice of prostitutes as victims: They don't see the prostitute as being a person, as being somebody's daughter, somebody's wife, just as an object for the killer to use and throw away.

From the CBS story on Gary Leon Ridgway (aka the Green River Killer):

"In most cases, when I killed these women, I did not know their names," Ridgway said in a statement read in court. "Most of the time I killed them the first time I met them, and I do not have a good memory of their faces."

Ridgway's statement opened an extraordinary window on the twisted mind of a serial killer.

"I wanted to kill as many women as I thought were prostitutes as I possibly could," he wrote.

More on the general subject from All Women Count: An Open Letter to the Women

As the US and UK governments defy the majority of people in the world and get ready to kill and displace millions in Iraq, mainly women and children, where are feminists on 8 March, International Women’s Day? According to every poll, we women are even more opposed to war than men. We are the backbone of every anti-war movement. Yet we have heard little against the war from those who identify as feminists.

Instead, on IWD Justice for Women, Women's Aid, Eaves Housing for Women, POLLY and Lilith will be picketing Spearmint Rhino, a lap-dancing club. How obscene. When most women, children and men are desperately trying to prevent this war and save the lives of millions, some of those who claim to speak against violence against women prefer to attack a sex industry establishment. Machismo begins with the military, not with lap dancing.

.... Women in the anti-rape movement have long established that we are vulnerable to violence because we have less social power than men and the police and courts refuse to value our lives and protect us. True of every woman, including sex workers.

Sex workers in Soho and elsewhere are facing massive raids, arrests, detention, eviction, deportation, and are being forced out of flats onto the street where it is 10 times more dangerous to work. Three women who were driven from Soho premises by eviction have been tragically murdered in recent years, one of them in late 2002.

No reference is made to the women workers in these clubs -- once again some feminists think they know better what’s good for other women. How sexist and arrogant! Most women in the sex industry are supporting families. Many are single mothers, many are immigrants or asylum seekers denied benefits and other resources after fleeing Western-backed wars or dictatorships. To picket lap dancing clubs is to invite more raids and deportations everywhere, and therefore more rape and murders of women who end up on the streets.

A press release from "Safety First!" (UK) sheds some light on the nuts and bolts of "clean up the streets" initiatives:

The Safety First coalition is appalled at proposals of zero tolerance against clients and removal of street prostitution announced yesterday by Ipswich Local Authorities, police, health and probation services. The proposals replicate almost exactly the policies in place before the murders. Once again no lessons have been learned.

The report proposes:

· Removing street prostitution from all areas in Ipswich. Women may be forced out of Ipswich – what has that got to do with safety? Targeting clients with zero tolerance and police crackdowns, including ASBOs, forces prostitution further underground. Women will have even less time to check out men fearful of arrest. Instead, they will be pushed into more isolated, less well lit areas where they are more vulnerable to attack. Whatever anyone thinks about men paying for sex, safety should be the priority. It is not even mentioned in these proposals.

· Measures to ensure “that women do not become involved in street prostitution in the first place”. They offer no budget or resources to address the poverty, debt, rape and domestic violence, lack of housing, cuts in benefits, and low wages in other occupations which force women into prostitution. 70% of prostitute women are mothers, mostly single mothers, who are working to support themselves and their families.

· The only concrete proposals are for more police patrols, CCTV and the use of anti-social behaviour legislation. Where are the proposals to deal with the appalling 1.6% conviction rate for reported rape in Suffolk?...

Meanwhile, in Brazil:

Gathering in a dilapidated cabaret in the Lapa zone of Rio de Janeiro, a group of transsexual prostitutes came together in October, 1999 to formally sue the Brazilian government for the right to repudiate their own citizenship.1 Since 1987, this group had been demanding that the state protect their rights as laborers in the legal field of sex work. They had pleaded for shielding from discrimination, harassment, police brutality, and hate crime. But in their opinion, the Brazilian state had spurned them2 and in stead rounded them up, identified, and registered them in police files3, and labeled these border-crossing sex workers as perversions of globalization, as sex traffickers, as threats to the nation, as a blight on Rio's touristic image.

But transsexual sex workers who walk the streets, a practice they refer to as ir na batalha [going to battle],4 had been facing even more violent threats than those posed by police and state. Since the 1980s, they had been terrorized by white neo-Nazi gangs who had begun to mobilize in Brazil's cities around masculinist hyper-nationalist ideologies, and performing acts of homophobic and racist ritual violence. Like hundreds of Jack the Rippers, these gang members had taken it upon themselves to promote social purity through the most gruesome murder and mutilation of prostitutes, especially transvestites and transsexuals, called travestis in Brazil.5 Rather than protect the sex workers from this terrorism, Rio's Polícia Militar battalions tended to blame the horror on the victims, increasing harassment and extortion of sex workers, and developing new anti-gang and public-space protection policies that detoured around the fact that prostitution is quite legal in Brazil. As Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro remarked:

What do travestis have in common with gypsies? They embody difference. The dream of various authoritarian groups in society is the construction of homogeneity. The city that was a place where everyone got along is now a mere passageway: all alien obstacles must be removed. The more moderate among them believe segregation will be the solution. Others believe only in physical extermination. The streets of the city should be clean like the corridors of prisons. The attacks that have continued for a few years seek to realize a final solution. How is it that these embodiments of difference can be targets for a hunt (as prostitutes) without any risk of punishment for the aggressors? Criminals that murder transvestites consider that they have the right to clean the streets with their own hands. In a way this is an apprenticeship that follows the same repressive practices of this country's police forces: illegal, shameful brutalization, extortion (regular monetary contribution so that this group can remain on the streets without menace), beatings, dog attacks. What pretends to offer itself as an honest imposition of public order, to restrain those that scandalize the image of good citizens, is nothing but pure terrorism and financial profiteering by the agents of discipline.

That last paragraph in particular...I'm going to be thinking about that for a while.

The dream of various authoritarian groups in society is the construction of homogeneity.


Disability rights are womens' rights

Two via trinity:

First, from FRIDA (Feminist Response In Disability Activism):

Kevorkian’s back, making comments to the effect that he is the reincarnation of Thomas Jefferson and responding to disability right opposition by saying “Let the crippled people demonstrate.” FRIDA member Sharon Lamp was actually one of the Not Dead Yet protesters outside Kevorkian’s Southfield, Michigan, press conference on Tuesday, June 5. Hell, Dr. K, just for calling attention to your crackpot crap, Sharon Lamp’s a bigger heroine for human rights than you could ever be. (She’s a heroine in lots of other ways too, for those of you lucky enough to know her.)

...The Kevorkian release spurred an e-mail debate among some of us on the feminist disability side of euthanasia. We felt you might be interested in some of the thoughts, especially since we’ve heard NOTHING on this perspective since Kevorkian’s release. Bear in mind this is simply a stream of consciousness discussion.

which prompted these comments:

I've just seen a list of Jack Kevorkian's assisted suicides, and the vast majority of them are women - at least 70% of them. Many of them were not terminally ill. One of the women that he helped to die is Judith Curren - she was 42 and suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. During the weeks before her suicide, she was assaulted by her husband. Perhaps this experience and her despair may help to explain why she wanted to end her life.


thanks for bringing this up linda. the gender element of jack's victims has almost always been ignored by the press and mainstream feminist groups. although very early on in kevorkian's killing spree a writer did pick up and this and put out an article "the woman problem" or "jack's woman problem" something like that. after this article came out jack began to show more gender diversity-but in the end:
71% of his victims were women
67% divorced, widowed, or single
72% experienced recent declines in health
75% showed no evidence of terminal illness!!
5 victims showed no signs of physical illness or impairment.


there is clearly a gender bias here, though I would not construe it, as the reporter seems to do, that jack has a "woman problem", nor would I construe it as jack "targets" disabled people. Rather what needs to be ascertained is if more women than men sought him out. And why did he assist more women than men to die. Did he see as many men patients as women patients? But also, what about assisted suicide more generally - are women more likely that men to generally seek out assisted suicide? Few feminist analyses have addressed this, though some earlier ones argue that women have different reasons from men for seeking assisted suicide, like poor pain relief, higher rate of poverty, higher incidence of depression, sexism, and domestic violence. One of the feminist arguments I read in favor of it said that "it is not clear that women are more likely than men to be euthanized or extended the means for physician-assisted suicide." But from what I have read, the opposite seems to be the case.

to which trin responds:

Personally, I think "mainstream fems" ignore these facts because mainstream feminism is led, generally, by white, middle-class, able-bodied women. There really isn't all that much picking up of disability rights issues, except from a few people. There's often a tendency to read us, to care about what we have to say, but... more to use us as resources than to actually take on our issues in a meaningful way. We're something to read. We're a reminder. We're not the focus of feminist activism. (Witness the times on a certain ill-starred LJ community that I posted disability rights related posts and got asked "this is great, but why is it feminist?")

And I've been thinking about that. On the one hand... it's not entirely realistic or fair to expect everyone to give equal time to every issue. I know I don't post as often on race-related stuff, for example, as the POC I read. And I'm not sure that's a horrible failing -- though I do also think I should do/say more.

But on the other... it really is something you see. We all talk about intersectionality and about supporting one another. But how do we do that when people don't really know what others' issues are, and when people can easily write them off as "pet issues," etc.?

...(For the record, I'm not sure quite how I feel about the assisted suicide issue. I do, however, worry about the disparity between the assumptions that when WE want to die, that should be taken seriously and assumed to be rational reflection of our true wishes, but when AB's want to die, that means they are thinking in a disordered way, unhealthy, irrational, and need professional help.)

For the record, from an AB perspective, I'm not quite sure how I feel about euthanasia/PAS either. I admit I hadn't been following the Kevorkian business for a good while now, and hadn't really had much thought on him or the euthanasia issue except for

1) he -does- seem like a creepy guy, and I can see the unease with his methods as well as, yep, the slippery slope, and yes, I am aware of the history of targeting PWD for "culling." I had been under the impression that he only "helped" people who were in the very end stage of fatal diseases, possibly because that's what i would have -wanted- to believe. And I hadn't considered the angle of possible gender bias; that is interesting.

2) at the other end of the spectrum, I still think what happened with say Terri Schiavo was a travesty. And having been witness to hospital procedures with two grandparents who stayed on in life support limbo longer, i think, than they should have had to after a certain point of no return (i remember my father talking about thinking his mother, my grandmother, looking like she was "in hell," and not buying the whole doctorly, "don't worry, she's not aware of anything." and my father is not prone to hyperbole or flights of fancy).

What I was far -less- ambivalent about from the beginning, but this just clinches it, the "Ashley treatment." also via trin and FRIDA, this Seattle Post Intelligencer article:

Seattle Post Intelligencer, June 15 2007
The other story from a 'Pillow Angel' Been there. Done that. Preferred to grow.

Three years ago, a 6-year-old Seattle girl called Ashley, who had severe disabilities, was, at her parents' request, given a medical treatment called "growth attenuation" to prevent her growing. She had her uterus removed, had surgery on her breasts so they would not develop and was given hormone treatment. She is now known by the nickname her parents gave her -- Pillow Angel. The case of Ashley hit the media in January after publication of an article in a medical journal about her treatment. It reappeared in the news recently because of the admission by Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center that the procedures its doctors had performed to stop Ashley from growing and reaching sexual maturity violated state law. In Canada (as in Australia), a child can be sterilized only with the consent of a court. At the time of the initial publicity about growth attenuation, Ashley's parents wrote on their blog: "In our opinion only parents of special needs children are in a position to fully relate to this topic. Unless you are living the experience, you are speculating and you have no clue what it is like to be the bedridden child or their caregivers."

I did live the experience. I lived it not as a parent or caregiver but as a bed-ridden growth-attenuated child. My life story is the reverse of Ashley's. Like Ashley, I, too, have a static encephalopathy. Mine was caused by brain damage at the time of my breech birth. Like Ashley, I can't walk, talk, feed or care for myself. My motor skills are those of a 3-month-old. When I was 3, a doctor assessed me as severely retarded (that is, as having an IQ of less than 35) and I was admitted to a state institution called St. Nicholas Hospital in Melbourne,Australia. As the hospital didn't provide me with a wheelchair, I lay in bed or on the floor for most of the next 14 years. At the age of 12, I was relabeled as profoundly retarded (IQ less than 20) because I still hadn't learned to walk or talk. Like Ashley, I have experienced growth attenuation. I may be the only person on Earth who can say, "Been there. Done that. Didn't like it. Preferred to grow."

((more, must read)

From the git-go, the story, and the way Ashley's been referred to as a "pillow angel," filled me with the sort of creeping horror I'd only ever associated with Gothics and "Johnny Got His Gun."

The latter which, fictional though it may be, kind of sums up the problem from both ends, really: once the guy finally learned Morse code, neither his requests to go outside nor his request to be killed were granted.

It's the same thing that horrifies me about Terri Schiavo or others lingering on life support with no hope of ever getting off or even regaining consciousness (or at least human communication of that consciousness) as does the "Ashley Treatment." The idea of being consigned to a kind of death-in-life, for the convenience or more obscure gratification of others.

As for the Ashley treatment: well, the removal of any signs of her -sexuality- ought to give any feminist pause. As should the go-ahead for drastically invasive surgery without first attempting to see if, indeed, the girl is capable of communicating in some other way. Never mind if she ever "uses" her sexuality; is that the point? We'd be horrified by someone raping someone in her condition, right? Tell me, does going -inside someone's body- and -altering it permanently- not seem like a particularly profound rape to anyone else?

And what could be more "objectifying" than making a "Pillow Angel" out of a person...especially if maybe, just -possibly-, (and no, we don't any of us -know- this, no) she might have a chance of being something else?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

another question.

How do y'all deal with procrastination tendencies?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

On the dubious advantages of "straight" work

"...What [prostitution/sex work] is is societaly coerced and that makes it slavery."

Then flight attendants are also slaves. I have to wear at least 2 inch heels, pantyhose, even though by the airline's own admission, they are dangerous on a flight in the event of an onboard cabin as they melt to the skin at a very low temperature and by SOP, any threat of onboard fire we should take them off, yet they are required with the wool/polyester blend dress that is horrible in 90 plus degree heat with an acrylic scarf around my neck, which any psycho or terrorist can use as a method to strangle me. None of which are articles of clothing I would wear on my own in the summer. All ultimately because it is the societal norm for what is expected of a female airline employee to look professional. Which ultimately means the airline feels men will appreciate seeing female employees dressed this way and our comfort is irrelevant as how many women care that another woman is wearing an acrylic scarf and pantyhose in the south in the summer?

I won't even go into my other job. Both of which are considered mainstream. Both make the the constant targets of frustrated travelers who want to take out their aggression and frustration on the first available person, which that is often me. Did I cause the blizzard that screwed up their travel plans? Or the thunderstorm? Or the declined credit card? Or their own stupid asses that got to the airport too late and missed their flight? Or the mechanical problems that could cause the aircraft to crash thus delaying their flight rather than risking killing 140 people. Of course who cares about the crew or the airport employees in general. The only concern you ever hear about is how passengers are effected. It's a job. It has drawbacks. If I didn't need the money I would quit both of them without notice.

Bad news to all the feminists who call the straight job such a damn improvement over sex work but I take more abuse working two jobs in the aviation industry than I did as a stripper.

But these same radical feminists are the ones who get to their conferences pissed off about their flight delays, that their hotel room wasn't exactly what they wanted, that they got a ford taurus rent a car rather than a lincoln town car because they paid only for the taurus and didn't get a free upgrade just because they felt they were entitled. The same feminists who rip a new ass to the flight attendant forgetting they are one of 150 passengers, not the only passenger, because the airline discontinued pillows to keep fares down, same feminist who ripped the ticket agent a new ass because she told them they were too late to make their flight or that their flight was delayed because God forbid it was determined by the airline or the FAA for whatever reason it was unsafe for the aircraft to push and they'd rather everyone live than take the risk of a crash. Or the waitress who has to tell them the kitchen is backed up and their meal will be 3 minutes late. The same feminists who feel their conferences about sexual slavery and human trafficking should be held only at 5 star hotels with plenty of costumed employees at all levels of their journey who they consider beneath them to serve them and to be the recipient of all their travel frustration because their day wasn't perfect. Where is the feminist respect for these employees?

These same feminists who think the world revolves around them, who feel that because they have their huge degrees, their big honorariums for speaking, their anthology publications, that they should speak about and for sex workers even though they have never done sex work, the same feminists who feel that sex workers shouldn't have a voice or be allowed to speak because we are speaking about work, they are speaking about slavery. Well, screw that! Even if I am a slave, shouldn't I be heard? And those who arrogantly state that I and other sex workers shouldn't be heard because we can't differentiate sex work from slavery,,,,,,,,,,, that sounds remarkably like oppression to me. Oppression by false rescuers. How exactly does a conference or another anthology help anyone in prostitution more than condoms, more than computer skill training when they want to leave sex work, more than STD education,

God fucking forbid but SWOP East is coordinating a harm reduction based project with a sex worker rights activist org in South America to get condoms to sex workers who can't get them, which I know, here we go, is pro prostitution, pro slavery and all that feminist shit, well, I'd rather see the women in South America stay alive and not die of a horrible disease than withhold resources until they agree to give up sex work. Great, according to TVPRA US Law we can send condoms to sex workers pledging not to do sex work. That's constructive. Ok, now that you don't need it, here it is, greetings from your feminist rescuers en Los Estados Unidos....

--Jill Brenneman

Friday, June 15, 2007

Well. Yeah. Pretty much.

Kim wants to know:

A woman finally gets the nerve to leave her abuser.
"Come to shelter, we will help you!"
Except, after her time at the shelter has run out, she is homeless.

We need separate subsidies for victims of domestic violence.
Even six-months to a year of subsidy would help so much.
Why are there not separate subsidies for victims of domestic violence?
Why are the victims put through this housing nightmare, rendered homeless?

Where are the lobbyists, the demonstrators for these women?
Where are the letter writers, the activists for these women?
Where are the non-fun kind of feminists, who claim to care so very much about abused women?

Where are these women, these very same feminists who are so outraged about others "ruining what they started?"
Started back in the days when folks got off their lazy, self-righteous blogging asses and did something.
Protested, got sent to jail, looking for a revolution.
NOW, it appears this "revolution" can take place entirely ONLINE?
You think?
Where are these very serious, very non-fun radical feminists for this homeless woman?


I was already thinking of trying for this internship at a local multi-pronged social justice organization, btw. Thanks for the reminder.

The word the Jewish psychologists have for this is "dreck." That will be $150 please.

Alicublog uncovers this toadstone in the rough:

The long history of marriage is of an institution that raises the next generation and transmits the community’s values. Arranged marriages, loveless marriages – those were marriages. But, now, this transmission is less important; indeed, in most western culture the replacement rate has dropped well below 2.1; on the other hand, surrogate mothers and test tube babies, in vitro fertilization and sperm donors – the babies we do have seem less connected to those old definitions of marriage. That many gays don’t see this as remarkable & ahistorical means they don’t really understand marriage, but, we all tend to see the world through the prism of our own time.

Ta ever so for popping in and explaining it to us, really. And here we all
thought marriage started in 1954 when they started giving it away in the bottom of cereal boxes instead of decoder rings. No wonder there's so much confusion and hostility!

But wait! There's more! Some of her best friends...don't get it either:

These thoughts have been brought on by one of those chance confluences: a letter from an old friend and a newer friend’s loan of Bruce Bawer’s book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.

The letter arrived from a friend from freshman English, forty-four years ago; he was my closest confidante through a series of disastrous love affairs but also because we could discuss literature and character and the ethical questions Henry James posed until dawn lightened the windows. He remarked in a letter as we slowly reach out to one another after so many years apart, that he, as a gay man, can only find acceptance in an anarchic socialist world, but of course, he says, I’ve become conservative, matronly, a suburban wife and mother. He isn’t critical but rather accepts that we’ve become different people than we were. I pause at his remark and recognize its truth. On the one hand, I understand that some & some customs of the world through which I move would make him uneasy, make him feel an outsider. Still, he enjoys his quiet life, having mated and stayed with his “significant other” for well over forty years, buying a house on a quiet street. I can’t, of course, imagine him finding peace in a world that is truly anarchic; certainly, he could not find the peace he has found in American capitalism in the practices that the Muslim minorities practice (and encourage) in socialist Europe.

-screeeee- a who?

the practices that the Muslim minorities practice (and encourage) in socialist Europe.

Maybe I'm missing something here. Apparently "socialist Europe" is responsible, which practices, exactly? Oh, wait, you mean the reactionary rage of the disaffected fanatic minority, channelled into vociferous hatred and oppression of women and gay folk, aided and abetted by the supposedly democratic countries' Powers That Be? Yes; thank goodness we don't have any of that here.

Anyhoo, alicublog sums up the gist of the rest pretty well with this:

The author's real point, made somewhere in the first hundred paragraphs, is that homosexuals should shut up about Bush because he protects them from Muslims. But she finds it at least as important to explain -- with endless slabs of convoluted prose as evidence -- that she is well-read and even a bit artistic. This is meant to signal that she is not a mouth-breathing faggot-hater, but someone who is tolerant -- which is to say, she tolerates both her gay friends' continued existence and her colleagues' continued discrimination against them.

This is usually the case with conservative converts of the sort described by Michael Berube with the phrase "I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick." They like to think that, because they broke away (assisted by stark fear) from an old orthodoxy, they have become true free-thinkers. But when issues of discrimination come up, they find themselves compelled to defend their new wingnut friends and their bone-deep prejudices.

In reality they haven't broken free, they've just switched gangs -- and have to live by the new one's code, including the by-law about No Poofters. If they want to face their old friends, they have three options (besides sanity, of course, which is out of the question):

They can swallow whole their new friends' lunacy and bravely assert it to all comers;

They can try a it's-for-your-own-good defense, pleading the necessity to accomodate moderate Muslims or red-state voters until such time as we can afford luxuries like civil rights;

Or they can plead the ties of friendship and remind their old friends of how they used to discuss Henry James until "dawn lightened the windows."

That, and the "Christian" part of our Judeo-Christian heritage, (along with our general rootin' tootin' spunkiness) makes us better than the Europeans, who, unlike us, are in danger of falling into the Dark Ages.

--oh yeah, but just so we're clear: she's got -no problem- with the Judeo part, despite the implications of how much better the switch to New Testament values (which we all -totally- embody, especially the bit where the quirky dude in the sandals suggested that hoarding up material wealth and shunning of Those People wasn't such a hot road to the Kingdom):

It is easier to believe others tempt us than within us are desires we must (and with difficulty) control. To many, the shift from the Old Testament to the New may be theologically one of grace, but is also from the tribal to the universal, from the external to the internal. Whether this is the lesson of the Bible or of the slowly modernizing world, it is clearly one that restrains us in ways that those who see temptation in a right angle can not understand and leads to quite different understandings of guilt. The man’s lust, we believe, not the woman’s clothing, causes rape. This and so much else is the mark of a value system internalized and assumed universal. We think it is right. Sure this assumption of a certain universality may impose upon others, but it is more practical than narrow: it is also the only way that people with varying beliefs can easily live beside one another.

And thanks to Jewish psychologists, we began to find words for this internalization...

See, even though you haven't quite evolved to the universal, Christlike place that's what -really- makes this nation great, -you- tribal, Old Testament people have something to contribute, too, you smartypantses, you.

Back to the other People She Respects And Cares About, Really, you know, I'm not even sure this was self-aware/ironic:

Some of my best employees were gay

I'm sure she has lots of other friends, too.

Still more evidence of our -wonderful- priorities

Tale of last 90 minutes of a woman's life

In the emergency room at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, Edith Isabel Rodriguez was seen as a complainer.

"Thanks a lot, officers," an emergency room nurse told Los Angeles County police who brought in Rodriguez early May 9 after finding her in front of the Willowbrook hospital yelling for help. "This is her third time here."

The 43-year-old mother of three had been released from the emergency room hours earlier, her third visit in three days for abdominal pain. She'd been given prescription medication and a doctor's appointment.

Turning to Rodriguez, the nurse said, "You have already been seen, and there is nothing we can do," according to a report by the county office of public safety, which provides security at the hospital.

Parked in the emergency room lobby in a wheelchair after police left, she fell to the floor. She lay on the linoleum, writhing in pain, for 45 minutes, as staffers worked at their desks and numerous patients looked on.

Aside from one patient who briefly checked on her condition, no one helped her. A janitor cleaned the floor around her as if she were a piece of furniture. A closed-circuit camera captured everyone's apparent indifference.

Arriving to find Rodriguez on the floor, her boyfriend unsuccessfully tried to enlist help from the medical staff and county police — even a 911 dispatcher, who balked at sending rescuers to a hospital.

Alerted to the "disturbance" in the lobby, police stepped in — by running Rodriguez's record. They found an outstanding warrant and prepared to take her to jail. She died before she could be put into a squad car.

...The Times reconstructed the last 90 minutes of Rodriguez's life based on accounts by three people who have seen the confidential videotape, a detailed police report, interviews with relatives and an account of the boyfriend's 911 call.

"I am completely dumbfounded," said county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who has seen the video recording.

"It's an indictment of everybody," he said. "If this woman was in pain, which she appears to be, if she was writhing in pain, which she appears to be, why did nobody bother … to take the most minimal interest in her, in her welfare? It's just shocking. It really is."

...When the officers talked to the emergency room nurse, she "did not show any concern" for Rodriguez, the police report said. The report identifies the nurse as Linda Witland, but county officials confirmed that her name is Linda Ruttlen, who began working for the county in July 1992.

Ruttlen could not be reached for comment.

During that initial discussion with Ruttlen, Rodriguez slipped off her wheelchair onto the floor and curled into a fetal position, screaming in pain, the report said.

Ruttlen told her to "get off the floor and onto a chair," the police report said. Two officers and a different nurse helped her back to the wheelchair and brought her close to the reception counter, where a staff member asked her to remain seated.

The officers left and Rodriguez again pitched forward onto the floor, apparently unable to get up, according to people who saw the videotape and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

...When Rodriguez's boyfriend, Jose Prado, returned to the hospital after an errand and saw her on the floor, he alerted nurses and then called 911.

According to Sheriff's Capt. Ray Peavy, the dispatcher said, "Look, sir, it indicates you're already in a hospital setting. We cannot send emergency equipment out there to take you to a hospital you're already at.

...Marcela Sanchez, Rodriguez's sister, said she has been making tamales and selling them to raise money for her sister's funeral and burial. Her family has been called by attorneys seeking to represent them, but they do not know whom to trust.

She said the latest revelations, which she learned from The Times, are very troubling.

"Wow," she said. "If she was on the floor for that long, how in the heck did nobody help her then?

"Where was their heart? Where was their humanity? … When Jose came in, everybody was just sitting, looking. Where were they?"

Sanchez said her sister was a giving person who always took an interest in people in need, unlike those who watched her suffer. "She would have taken her shoes to give to somebody with no shoes," she said. Rodriguez, a California native, performed odd jobs and lived alternately with different relatives.

...Over the last 3 1/2 years, King-Harbor has reeled from crisis to crisis.

Based on serious patient-care lapses, it has lost its national accreditation and federal funding. Hundreds of staff members have been disciplined and services cut.

h/t Veronica

Oh, yeah, that reminds me. Sicko is coming to a theatre near you soon.

Speaking of the Vice War:

via The Angry Black Woman, this story:

Jonathan Magbie

Jonathan Magbie

On September 24, 2004, 27-year-old Jonathan Magbie died while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession in a Washington, D.C., jail. Magbie, a quadriplegic since a drunk driving accident at the age of 4, was a first-time offender.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin defied a presentencing recommendation that Magbie be given a term of probation — a sentence that even the prosecutor found acceptable.

Retchin imposed the sentence because she didn't like Magbie's attitude, and the car in which Magbie was riding when apprehended had a loaded gun and cocaine. Magbie had told Retchin that marijuana made him feel better and that he didn't think there was anything wrong with using it.

A miscommunication between jail, hospital, and court officials gave Retchin the impression that the D.C. jail could handle Magbie's medical needs — primarily, a near-constant need for ventilation to help him breathe. In fact, the jail could not accommodate him, but by the time Magbie reached a hospital, he was dead.

Ironically, D.C. voters passed a medical marijuana initiative in 1998 with 69% of the vote. The initiative has never taken effect because Congress blocks its implementation. Had the law been in effect, Magbie might have been able to present a medical defense in court, and might be alive today.

Yes well of course there are a number of conclusions one can take away from this little story, besides the part about the maryjane, aren't there. Starting, as ABW notes, with the color of his skin. (Three guesses: it's not the same as Paris Hilton's, and presumably neither is his class). Another might have to do with gee golly, quadriplegic? Oh yeah, we can accomodate y--oh no, oops, guess we can't, oh well, sorry about your DEATH.

In jail, that is. In jail for toking marijuana, because it makes him feel better. Made.

But punishment is really way more important that helping people -feel better.- Besides, he should've just taken Vicodin or something.

I mean, presumably the person who originally caused his condition, the drunk driver was severely punished. We hope so. It'd make up for -everything.- If not, some fuckoff celebritante's tears will do for the moment, I guess. bread and schadenfreude. What else is there?

Oh yeah, and: the judge "didn't like his attitude." Chew on that one for a while.
This is after all the point: not safety, not even adherence to law, not what's best for everyone: RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH.

yeah, I can't imagine where it all went wrong.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

so, notes on pole dancing thus far:

oh yeah, did i mention i started lessons?

1) The studio & set-up is not at all unlike any number of other dance studios I have gone to, (I've taken many varieties over the years, from ballet to hip-hop to swing), except for it being pretty much women-only (they run some classes for couples and gay men, but not on the nights I've been thus far)--a good 50% or more thus far (both staff and students, as well as an exiting bachelorette party who'd rented the studio) WOC. Boas and other props in a corner (which we're not using for this class--strictly meat and potatoes)--been there, did that: theatre dance. Oh yes, and the poles.

2) It's. Not. Easy.

What I am hoping for out of this, I am realizing, in part, is some sort of triumph over all those memories of sucking hopelessly at gym, particularly pullups or anything similar involving the upper body.

Actually at this point, it seems like it's as much -fear- as actual lack of strength that's keeping me from being able to do the spins or support my weight for more than a second or two. Instructor sez I'm thinking about it too much.

Oh, just in case you were thinking it's not as valid or challenging as any other form of dance/physical art form:

--oh, what the fuck is wrong with youtube all of a sudden?! what is this "beta" shit?

never frigging mind. anyway.

On the way home, I found myself eyeballing the subway poles in a new way...

I also found myself overhearing some woman on her cell:

"The guys I'm used to, when they want to kiss me, they kiss me. When they wanna hug me, they hug me. I'm not used to them asking. He might be a little too, you know, granola?"

ah, so THAT'S where the Twinkie Defense came from.

That is...Mom and Dad lied to me about the tooth fairy, whereupon finding out i became disillusioned with both Jesus and tooth brushing; my soul and my molars decayed at a rapid pace until I was forced to KILL, KILL...

look, work with me here, okay? It all made sense at the time.

...yes, it's the lovely and talented Jack Chick, Inc.. who, you will also be pleased to know, is now branching out with the diversity.

h/t Tough Like a Creampuff

a question.

Did anyone out there actually enjoy high school? (junior high, elementary...)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well, at least they won't have to worry about "raunch culture," right?

Iran moves to execute porn stars.

People involved in adult films are "corrupter of the world," Iran's parliament says
• Producers, directors, cameramen and actors could face the death penalty
• Distributors and producers of pornographic Web sites could also face death
• The vote follows the leaking of a sex tape allegedly involving an Iranian actress

The "main elements" referred to in the draft include producers, directors, cameramen and actors involved in making a pornographic video.

The bill also envisages convictions ranging from one year imprisonment to a death sentence for the main distributors of the movies and also producers of Web sites in which the pornographic works appear.

Besides videos, the bill covers all electronic visual material, such as DVDs and CDs. Other material, such as porn magazines and books, are already banned under Iranian law.

To become law, the bill requires an approval by the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog in Iran.

It is widely believed that the drafting of the bill came about as a reaction to a scandal last year, when a private videotape, apparently belonging to Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi and allegedly showing her having intercourse with a man, became available across Iran.

The videotape was leaked to the Internet and released on a black market DVD, becoming a full-blown Iranian sex tape scandal. Ebrahimi later came under an official investigation, which is still ongoing. She faces fines, whip lashing or worse for her violation of Iran's morality laws.

The unnamed man on the tape, who is suspected of releasing it, reportedly fled to Armenia but was subsequently returned to Iran and charged with breach of public morality laws. He remains in jail.

In an exclusive interview with the British newspaper The Guardian early this year, Ebrahimi denied she was the woman in the film and dismissed it as a fake, made by a vengeful former fiance bent on destroying her career.

In recent years, private videotapes have increasingly been leaked to the public in Iran, riling the government and many in this conservative Islamic country, where open talk of sex is banned and considered taboo.

However, pornographic material is easily accessible through foreign satellite television channels in Iran. Bootleg videotapes and CDs are also available on the black market on many street corners.

h/t trin

Lemme guess:

1) "You see from this how women are all equally oppressed as a Class everywhere; it is a direct continuum from pole dancing classes over here to the whipping and possible execution of this woman (we'll just gloss over the whole State repression of sexual expression aspect, not to mention zomg what about the men involved). We are as one with this poor woman in her suffering, except for the actual possibly-going-to-be-tortured-and-executed part. Quick, to the Blamemobile!"

2) "Those evil barbaric bastards! Let's bomb 'em! Or at least take 'their' women away from them! That'll learn 'em! Thank God we live in a democracy, eh?"

3) Extensive coverage on the minutia of what was, or wasn't, on the tape, and whether it is, or is is not, the actress in question, what she looks like, how she's feeling as she awaits her fate, how many lashes she might be whipped with, and how and when she might be executed, all done with great concern and not-at-all salacious detail, to be followed immediately by up to the minute coverage on Paris Hilton, with absolutely no change in tone or sense of urgency at all.

"Oh yeah. In the new millenium I believe we will all be insane."
--Angels in America

nice n fresh n coool

i feel SO MUCH BETTER today than i have in weeks. WEEKS.

damn. maybe i need to move to Seattle, or summat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Satire's based in reality, you know

Anyone remember an 80's Cheech movie, Born in East L.A.?

The movie is about a Chicano who authorities deport to Tijuana even though he was born in East Los Angeles and thus has American citizenship.

The film was based on a novelty parody song (1985) of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.", written by Marin and released on the 1985 Cheech and Chong album Get Out of My Room"...

Yes well anyway. I remember the flick. It was about what you'd expect. I probably laughed.

Not so funny when it happens for reals:

U.S. Citizen Illegally Deported From Jail Is Missing in Mexico
ACLU and Law Firm Seek Federal Help to Find Developmentally Disabled Man

Monday, June 11, 2007 printer iconprinter version

LOS ANGELES — Federal immigration officers and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department illegally deported a U.S. citizen last month, the ACLU/SC has learned. He is missing in Mexico, and today the ACLU/SC and the law firm of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking his safe return.

Pedro Guzman, 29, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Lancaster, California. He was serving time at Men’s Central Jail for trespassing, a misdemeanor offense, when he was deported to Tijuana May 10 or 11. Mr. Guzman is developmentally disabled, does not read or write English well, and knows no one in Tijuana. He declared at his booking that he was born in California.

He spoke to his sister-in-law by telephone from a shelter in Tijuana within a day of his deportation, but the call was interrupted. Family members traveled to the city in an attempt to find him and have remained there, searching shelters, jails, churches, hospitals, and morgues.

There are no circumstances under which government officials may deport a U.S. citizen. Federal officials have refused requests by family members and a private lawyer to assist in the search for Mr. Guzman.

"This is a recurring nightmare for every person of color of immigrant roots," said ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum. "Local jail officials and federal immigration officers deported the undeportable, a United States citizen, based on appearance, prejudice, and reckless failure to apply fair legal procedures."

"What has happened to Pedro Guzman is a tragedy," said Stacy Tolchin of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale. "His life may be in danger, and the government must act immediately to locate him and return him to the United States."

Jail and Department of Homeland Security officials failed to identify Mr. Guzman’s disability and improperly obtained his signature for deportation from the United States. "The procedures for determination of legal status implemented by Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs … fail even minimal criteria for constitutional due process," the lawsuit states.

Sheriff's deputies trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conduct immigration checks at L.A. County jails. The ACLU and immigrant-rights groups warned that involving local law enforcement in immigration policing would lead to mistaken deportations and violate the due-process rights of inmates.

Anyone with information about Mr. Guzman can call the ACLU/SC at (213) 977-9500.

h/t And We Shall March

You know what I also love about this? About how the current atmosphere in which this sort of thing is more possible than ever, is brought to you courtesy of many of the same people who tend to rail against too much government intervention.

And of course, there's -nothing racist- about any of this, ever. All perfectly fair and reasonable. Gotta defend the boundaries, don't you know. Good fences make good neighbors, and alla that. Perfectly sane and reasonable.

And hey, even if it's not, it's not like it's your ass ever gonna be carted away in the dead of night, never to be heard from again; no need to speak up.