Thursday, May 31, 2007

Have I mentioned lately...

that I loathe Sheila Jeffreys?

no, really

"We do think...that all feminists can and should be lesbians. Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men. It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women."



quack quack quack


The pursuit of the orgasm of oppression serves as a new "opium of the masses." It diverts our energies from the struggles that are needed now against sexual violence and the global sex industry. Questioning how those orgasms feel, what they mean politically, whether they are achieved through the prostitution of women in pornography, is not easy, but it is also not impossible. A sexuality of equality suited to our pursuit of freedom has still to be forged and fought for if we are to release women from sexual subjection.


you charmer,

The reasons why adult women seek [gender] reassignment surgery stem from the inequality of women, from male violence and from lesbian oppression. Women who have been abused in childhood seek reassignment so that they can escape the bodies in which they were abused and gain the status of the perpetrator in order to feel safe. Some want to gain privileges they perceive to be open to men. And many feel unable to love women in the bodies of women because of societal repression and hatred of lesbians.


you

I call the practices in which women, and some men, request others to cut up their bodies - as in cosmetic surgery, transsexual surgery, amputee identity disorder (pursuit of limb amputation) and other forms of sadomasochism - self-mutilation by proxy.



yes, we are very, very special


It is hard to imagine lesbians, or
any women, finding utopia in a public toilet...The gulf separating women from this variety of queer politics is extremely wide.’


o yes indeed

(another author talking about Jeffreys):

I was not present, by a margin of about twenty minutes, when a group of women, disguised with ski masks, smashed up Chain Reaction, the lesbian SM London night club with crowbars and injured the women who got in their way - in the name of opposing violence against women; I was present a few weeks later at the Hackney Empire for an International Women's Day cabaret when a group of lesbian feminists were jeered by the queue, among whom were almost no SM women, with a cry of 'Where's your crowbars?' I saw women from Sheila Jeffreys' circle at the picket outside Chain Reaction a few weeks earlier and, if she did not know the women who attacked the club with physical violence, one may assume that she knows a woman who does.

...Jeffreys gets very upset in this book at being called an essentialist, claiming that she regards sexual behaviour as socially constructed. Were this the case, her line on transsexuals would seem a little odd, unless she really does believe that we are Trojan horses of the patriarchy, CIA agents prepared to go that little bit further into deep cover; when she really gets down to it, she does not like the idea of sharing toilet facilities with me, let alone friends. If a belief that I necessarily pass water or give good advice in a sinister and unsisterly manner is not essentialism, I do not know what is.



...unless I'm missing the funny part, and the self-parody is deliberate

In your chapter you say admiring things about Andrea Dworkin and me and that we are bad-asses.(I like donkeys too but I do not think this is what is meant).I do not consider myself a bad-ass at all in fact. I don't see it as a womancentred term.


and, Pauline Bart, could you BE any more of a drama queen?

Women who "came out" in large part for political reasons during the seventies as part of feminism, to make themselves whole, their lives consistent, their political personal, are taken aback when they are considered the enemy, the mothers to rebel against, the anti-sex, vanilla, lesbian feminists who are yoked to the Right Wing. To be a lesbian for political reasons now is like being a Stalinist after the Purge Trials in the Soviet Union (when it was clear that the Soviet Union was not the workers' paradise).

Meeting a lesbian who was not a feminist in the seventies was as rare as meeting a Jew who was not a Democrat in the thirties. Alix Dobkin sang "Any woman can/Be a lesbian." Our movement was revolutionary: aiming at overthrowing the patriarchy and creating an "alternative universe in which we would construct a new sexuality, a new ethics, a new culture in opposition to mainstream culture (ix)." Our method was consciousness raising. Our practice was loving women. Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender Studies, marches and journals were unimaginable.

Lesbian feminists produced "women's culture": women's theaters, poetry, music, art, and newspapers, which were crucial in western countries to the creation of a lesbian community. Yet lesbian feminists and their work are currently marginalized by a new generation of women. No good deed goes unpunished!

...Jeffreys's most frightening chapter is the second, "The Lesbian Sexual Revolution," in which paradigmatically brutal or, at best, insensitive practices are extolled and dominance is made sexy and consensual. These s/m lesbians use dildoes, restraints and torture (e.g. dripping hot wax on one's partner)...


"We walked uphill in the snow both ways in manky Birkenstocks, and what thanks do we get? No, don't mind me, I'll just sit here in the dark...alone...get that candle away from me!"

Pillocks.

x-posted at sm feminists

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summertime blues

Just so y'all know: I may be a bit more sporadic in updating during the hot months. I have a few posts I've been meaning to do; these past few days--and no, it's not even that hot yet, today was lovely really--I've been feeling kind of mlehhh. I, like, wilt. My brain wilts. 'Tis the mugginess, I think, really, and the introduction of canned air into indoor buildings, and...anyway.

Then again, I may perk right up again tomorrow. Just, right now? Don't wanna.

Just so y'all know.

meanwhile, note to self:

when attempting to persuade one's Wee Beastie to cease and desist from pushing objects off high surfaces and onto the ground (whee!!), the best choice of phrasing is not, in fact, "Knock it off."

Saturday, May 26, 2007

*nod* *smile* *back away slowly*

Kenneth Eng isn't really funny, I suppose, especially now that he's gone and threatened to kill his neighbors and their dog with a hammer. A past history of stalking and sympathy for the VA Tech shooter, also just a bit sobering. And, worrisome.

and, no, unfortunately, therapy wasn't a solution, apparently:

I’m usually not one to use vulgarity, but I can say without hyperbole that psychiatry and psychology are total fucking rubbish. Before you go out and waste your money on "therapy", let me fill you in on some little-known truths.

...Narcissistic personality disorder: A personality disorder characterized by an exaggerated sense of self and an inability to experience empathy for others.

My rebuttal:

How is this a disorder? Just because I happen to have a high self esteem and I don’t give a damn about anyone else doesn’t make me "insane" (if "insanity" can even be classified as anything more than a word)...



Still, though, as an author, he had such promise. We may now never see his forthcoming oeuvre, Why I Hate Everything; we may never see the filmed version of this screenplay:

The tale is a simple one: an anthropomorphic praying mantis named Anamantis is a "cognitive insurgent" who lives shortly after the Big Bang in the early universe. Mostly, he goes around using his "cerebral fluid sword" to fight a bunch of monsters: the ultra-dimensional Darkaeons, Hera and Pegusus, and a dangerous fleet of space kittens. After teaming up with Shrodingo, Chaos and a comely lady dragon named Drakoness, he goes in search of ultimate knowledge and the 0th Dimension. Then he sort of merges with the universe, his neurons float everywhere, and he bonds his cerebral fluids with Drakoness (who responds by saying, "Whoa! Intelligence!"). There's nothing like a screenplay with stage directions like "EXT. 0th DIMENSION" or "Animantis looks into [Drakoness'] eyes. He sees a world of frolicsome neurons inside her head" or "The felines jam a needle down the tarpan's penis."

... [The Darkaeon] slashes the Universe with a blade of dark flame.

UNIVERSE: AAAAHHH!!


Who doesn't like a universe that screams "AAAAHHHHH!"? At last our hero gains control over the 0th Dimension, saves Drakoness from Chaos, and tells us the moral of the story:

You may be alive like everything else in this Ultimate Reality. But I am the only consciousness. You can’t run from me. I’m everything and I am nothing. I am the 0th dimension.

Eng concludes with a final bizarre stage direction:

Like a god amongst gods, he soars from Universe to Universe, destroying the flames that bind them. The 0th dimension ripples like an extension of his body. He is beyond omnipotent.


On the up side, at least there is one woman who can fully appreciate his splendiforousness:

still more patriarchal pole dancing




"Bearlesque"

more seriously

you can read this article, o Concerned Feminist/pro-feminist/earnest citizen:

...This is why I get so upset when feminists criticize the progress that sex workers’; organizations are making towards increasing the rights, safety and agency of women working in the sex industry. It’;s not because I think that sex work is so fabulously radical or that I’;m trying to start the next sexual revolution by twirling round a pole; it’;s because some of the most vulnerable and oppressed women in the world work in the sex industry, and feminists cannot afford to support these women conditionally.

...There is no one perfect solution to the complex problem of mass exploitation and oppression within the worldwide sex industry. Just the other day I overheard a discussion between a couple of women in the dressing room at work. One was complaining about the extortionate house fees which strippers are forced to pay to work in some upscale clubs, and proposing that the government should put a stop to this illegal behavior, while the other argued that state regulation of strip clubs would only force illegal workers, like herself, to work in dangerous underground clubs. This is only one example of the many dilemmas facing political and activist organizations trying to find the most practical ways to improve the lives of sex workers all over the world. Sex worker activists do not agree on everything, nor do we have one ideological vision; some of us are socialists, some of us are spiritualists, some of us are libertarians and some of us are feminists. Some of us believe that a world without a sex industry would be ideal and some of us believe that a world with a radical queer feminist socialist spiritual sex industry would be ideal, but most of us realize that neither of these ideals are just around the corner. In the meantime we are taking small steps to improve the lives of people working in the sex industry now, in this reality. We would really love the support of all feminists.

Yes, yes, and this is totally patriarchal as well, no doubt.

(what -isn't?-)






the Aussie Pole Dancers.

Friday, May 25, 2007

You know, I'm thinking I'm just about ready for my own "you, there, shut the fuck up" moment.



(image ganked from here)

I swear to Christ, the next time I read some straight person handwringing about something or other that is the Deeply Important Item of the day--lipstick, blowjobs, high heels, goddam bloody pole dancing, you know, on account of it's "pandering to the male gaze" or "patriarchal standards" and we're just -concerned- with -what message it sends-, why o why does sexuality have to be like this? Why do -male/female- relations have to be like this, and say, isn't it a shame that there's no way for women in this pornified yogurt cup culture to bond except in relation to male sexuality???

(and but of course, WE DIDN'T MEAN YOU, IT ISN'T ADDRESSED TO YOU, YOU ARE STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT AND WE FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE BROACHING THE SUBJECT OUR VERY OWN SELVES AND OF COURSE WE CAN'T ACTUALLY BROADEN OUR HORIZONS AND LISTEN TO SOMEONE WHO ISN'T ALREADY SAYING WHAT'S COZILY FAMILIAR)

--I'ma take that high heel, possibly rip that whole entire pole out of the ground, and guess what I'm gonna do with it?

Use your imagination.

For once.

You want to know why more women, especially more women who don't fit the status quo (which you yourself in no way represent, no pressure coming from -you,- o no), don't find their very own individual unique sexuality which still somehow fits into a paradigm that doesn't make you too uncomfortable, politically or aesthetically?

Because -every time we fucking try,- --some- happy asshole is coming down the pike to earnestly explain their -concern-. One way or another. If it's not religion, or what-will-the-neighbors-think, it's, you know, -political-, what does it all -mean-, dear, let's pick it apart, pick yourself apart, use your head and not your gonads (because of course they are mutually opposed), because -that- little process is of course in no way -patriarchal-, or -really fucking old.-

and, just hypothetically, mind, if anyone is -seriously- using the phrase "false consciousness" anymore, particularly about something like fucking -pole dancing-, I'm just going to point and -laugh.-

on edit: no, okay, a footnote, god knows I don't want to be -unfair,- so I open it up to you, gentle readers, and particularly all my queer readers, of whatever gender, gentle or otherwise:

Do you, or do you not, give a rat's ass about whether pole dancing is pandering to the patriarchy? Are you concerned about the male gaze? Do you believe in the male gaze? The female gaze? The gay gaze? Do gays have gaze? Do cats eat bats? Why is a stripper pole like a writing desk? You gonna eat that?

(Yes, those are totally and completely unbiased questions, I learned the technique from the back of a cereal box my statistics and research methods class I'm taking in preparation for a degree in multi-ass-wiping psychology, it's cultural elitism something I'm doing specifically to make -you- feel oogy about yourself, just like the pole dancing scientific, shut up)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Best. Commentary. EVAR.

"there's providence in..."

from ABC:

As President Bush took a question Thursday in the White House Rose Garden about scandals involving his Attorney General, he remarked, "I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doin' the job."

Simultaneously, a sparrow flew overhead and left a splash on the President's sleeve, which Bush tried several times to wipe off.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino promptly put the incident through the proper spin cycle, telling ABC News, "It was his lucky day...everyone knows that's a sign of good luck."

Quote of the...era

He's right, you know. Kai, that is. Not the judge:

"This is the kind of offence that cannot be tolerated in our society," District Judge J Owen Forrester said when sentencing Williams


The offense?

Joya Williams, 42, was sentenced in Atlanta - Coca Cola's home - after being found guilty in February.

Then the court heard she stole confidential documents and samples of new products, passing them to two men to sell to Pepsi for at least $1.5m.


The sentence: Eight years in prison.

(By the way: do we know whatever happened to the Pepsi higher-up who commissioned this? --Oh, maybe there wasn't any; maybe she and one other dude concocted this all by themselves. The way you do).

In other Co-Cola news (yeah, I drink shitloads of the stuff),

Indian MPs have upheld the findings of an environment group which reported that Coca-Cola and Pepsi drinks contained pesticide residues.

Activists of the Indian Democratic Party protest in Delhi
The report sparked protests in India
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said last August that its investigations revealed the drinks contained harmful residues and posed a health risk.

The report led to a massive row with both Pepsico and Coca-Cola strenuously rejecting the allegations.

A public outcry led the government to form a parliamentary committee to examine the report.

and

Activists in India have held nationwide protests against multinational soft drink companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Reports said thousands of protesters had gathered near manufacturing plants of the two firms and demanded that they stop production.

Activists want the firms to leave India because they say their plants deplete ground water - claims the soft drinks giants both strenuously deny.


and

Villagers, campaigners and a BBC radio programme have alleged that the plant in the state of Kerala is drying up local ground water and emitting toxic sludge.

For its part, the soft drinks giant strenuously denies the allegations.

The case is pitting the village council of Perumatti against perhaps the world's biggest brand name.

Hindustan Coca Cola opened its bottling factory there four years ago.

Since then local people have been reported as saying the company has soaked up excessive water and that water has turned foul and impossible to drink, cook with or bathe in.

Pesticide claims

In July BBC Radio's Face the Facts programme said there were high levels of toxic metals in the sludge generated by the plant when bottles are cleaned.

Coca Cola insists all its plants are safe and any toxins are within legal limits.

With this notice the council is giving the company 15 days to say why its plants should not be shut down.

If Coca Cola fails to convince, it will face a closure notice. The Kerala High Court will then decide on the legal weight of that notice.



In non-co-Cola related news:

The Jena case in brief


On the morning of September 1, 2006, three nooses dangled from a tree in the High School square in Jena, Louisiana. The day before, at a school assembly, black students had asked the vice principal if they could sit under that tree.

Characterizing the noose incident as an innocent prank, a discipline committee meted out a few days of in-school suspension and declared the matter settled.

At the end of November, the central academic wing of Jena High School was destroyed by fire (the smoke damage is evident in the picture above). Over the weekend, a stream of white-initiated racial violence swept over the tiny community, adding to the trauma and tension. The following Monday, a white student was punched and kicked following a lunch-hour taunting match. Six black athletes were arrested and charged with conspiracy to attempt second-degree murder. If convicted, some defendants are facing sentences of between twenty-five and 100 years in prison without parole.

...Throughout the following weekend, Jena was engulfed by a wave of racially tinged violence.
· In one incident, a black student was assaulted by a white adult as he entered a predominantly white partly held at the Fair Barn (a large metal building reserved for social events). After being struck in the face without warning, the young black student was assaulted by white students wielding beer bottles and was punched and kicked before adults broke up the fight. It has been reported that the white assailant who threw the first punch was subsequently charged with simple battery (a misdemeanor), but there is no documentary evidence that anyone was charged.



Meanwhile, apparently, on the way to meet me for a drink in our neighborhood last night, my friend passed a homeless guy who'd died in the street, being taken up by the police and so forth.

On the way home, we passed two more homeless folks in sleeping bags, parked in front of the (locked) church.

Just par for the course, really; or getting to be, I don't recall that being so true in -this- neighborhood, but what the hell, it's not like there was an invisible Barrier separating this neighborhood from all the other ones.

But yeah, "what can you do." Of course.

But:

[Selling the Seekrits of one possibly toxic-sludge producing corporate mega giant to another for personal profit] is the kind of offence that cannot be tolerated in our society.

Well, I always did wonder what sort of thing we -didn't- tolerate in this society.

Now I know.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

btw, in case anyone (else) ever wondered what the oft-alluded to "pie fight" was all about

the Daily Kos thing, and the female blogger exodus,

here's a handy synopsis to go spelunkin' in.

h/t (Lauren-era) feministe via Pinko Feminist Hellcat via a linkback to Black Amazon who did I mention lately you really need to go read right now.

"Hello darkness, my old f--" oh, fuck off.

Veronica, and also ilyka, inspired me to note the following:

Yup.

Sending death threats and rape threats is “silencing,” or can be. Attempts at blackmail, (wrt "outing" or otherwise), no matter how spavined (*koff*), are, yep, silencing, or can be. Flooding someone’s personal blog with endless spam and hateful trolling, much less hacking, can be “silencing.” Offline harassment can be “silencing.” They certainly have that intent; whether or not they actually have that effect, those are things that, imo, deserve the label "silencing." Pulling out the big guns. Instill fear. Shout 'til you drown out. Just make it go away. Yeah, that happens.

and lest we forget, silencing existed long before and still exists outside this thing what we call "online," with deadly consequences.

However.

Criticism? -Harsh- criticism? Flames, even? Particularly if you are a Big Important Blogger and the critique is coming from a much smaller blogger, even several of 'em? Particularly particularly if that critique, even the flamey kind, is really an exasperated attempt to -communicate?- Not “silencing.” Sorry.

Now, if you feel “silenced,” well, you feel the way you feel, certainly. Wouldn't try to argue with that.

and yet, ofttimes, in cases like this, o Silenced One(s), one can’t help but notice:

yer still talking.

On edit:

on a happier note, brownfemipower is back in business.

This is just gorgeous.





Ravenmn reports on the Minneapolis/Heart of the Beast Theatre Mayday parade, a tradition since 1975. This year's theme, "Somos Agua" ("We are Water"); the above photo, which I hope it's okay for me to gank, is "the Mother of Waters." More commentary and more stunning pics at Fly By Night, check it out.

How not to be an asshole, a long overdue expanding of the template.

An observer, thegirlfrommarz, whom I'd not heretofore been familiar with, chimes into the FFF/WOC blowup with some words of wisdom and basic sense:

There are always going to be some people who will be jealous of the fact that she has been picked to represent the world of feminist blogging by writing a book or who will be angered that she is the one whose views on feminism are published in the mainstream media (and that the article is so very simplistic, but that’s another story). In short, people are people. Maybe that was why some of the “big bloggers” got it so wrong - they were expecting a backlash from people who wanted some of that limelight for themselves.

And yet that’s not what this was about…

The furore over whether Valenti’s book was inclusive of women of colour (apologies to fellow Brits - we just don’t use that phrase here, but I’ll use it rather than any of the Brit alternatives) wasn’t about jealousy over not getting a book deal, personal issues with the author or the rest. It was about an accusation that has been made about feminism since the very beginning: that feminism is largely a movement for well-off white women talking amongst themselves and that issues of importance to non-white women are systematically marginalised. This is a HUGE issue, and the response from many of the WoC bloggers out there shows that it is one that strikes a chord with them. Saying that it’s not important is simply not an option when there are so many many women out there telling you that it is.

As feminists we hate it when left-wing men tell us to suck it up about our issues because talking about them is “divisive”. Why can’t we white feminists get that it’s just as patronising and just as wrong...to ask non-white feminists to shut up about their issues?

...Chris Clarke wrote a great post for Pandagon back in April as a guide for men (written in response to the Kathy Sierra online harassment situation and the way in which it was dismissed by Kos, one of the big liberal blogs). I can’t imagine a single feminist who won’t have read it and nodded along...

...You know what, everyone? Shut the fuck up. Listen to what fellow feminist bloggers are telling you. They feel marginalised and ignored in a movement whose goal is equality and whose members are quite able to spot a man exercising his privilege at a thousand paces, yet somehow can’t see how a white feminist could be doing the same thing.

It’s hard not to put on the blinkers when a friend is being criticised. It’s even harder when it seems like you are being criticised. But we ask men to do this all the time. We say “it’s not about you - you don’t have to identify with the people who happen to have the same chromosomes as you but who act like assholes“. So take off the blinkers, listen and learn. If we can’t do this for our friends and allies amongst non-white women, how can we expect men to do it either? We owe it to ourselves but, most of all, we owe it to the women around us.


on edit: also see:

You are not the default at tiny cat pants.

gah. i hate that dream.

that one where my teeth keep coming out? or are about to come out?

i hate that dream.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Color me shocked

"Democrats Drop Troop Pullout Dates From Iraq Bill"

“We don’t have a veto-proof Congress,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic majority leader, said the new bill was still being assembled, but he acknowledged the political reality facing Democrats. “The president has made it very clear that he is not going to sign timelines,” said Mr. Hoyer. “We can’t pass timelines over his veto.”

The concession to the president was proving so difficult for the Democratic leadership that by this afternoon, the lawmakers had not yet publicly acknowledged that the timelines would disappear. House Democrats were preparing to advance two separate measures, to enable antiwar lawmakers to support popular domestic spending but not the money for the war. House Democrats were to review the proposal later this evening, but lawmakers were already predicting that many would not support the war spending.

Under the new plan approved by Democratic leaders, Congress would send Mr. Bush the money for the war and include a series of benchmarks that attracted 52 votes in the Senate last week. The Iraqi government could lose some foreign aid if it fails to show sufficient progress but the president would be given the authority to suspend any penalties.

...The Democratic leaders’ concession infuriated one of their own, Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, who failed last week in his attempt to win passage of a measure that would have cut off money for the war next spring.

“I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the president to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history,” he said. “There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq.”

...

The whole Obie & Anthony "rape Condoleeza Rice to death" knee-slapper, as covered by (among others) Shakesville (in three parts), the Rotund, Shapely Prose...

yeah.

I was going to say something more general about "shock jocks," maybe connect it to some other recent incidents of "hateful bigoted media asshole says something even more fucked-up than usual, eventually gets shitcanned."

but I'm reading some of the more uh -colorful- comments to these postings and...yeah.

and, I -was- going to say something terribly amusing and oh-so-clever about the various and bloody ways I imagine the tapeworms' in question deaths.

which, would totally be fine and protected FREE SPEECH0RZOMGBBQ, particularly on account of it's JUST A JOKE, LIGHTEN UP, YOU MISERABLE SHITBAGS, SHEEESH.

but suddenly I just feel really, really tired.

on edit: double so, oh lookie, on another front, why, it's not racism, it's -youthful stunts.-

Worthy causes

Liz aka Spinning Liz aka the erstwhile grannyvibe of Of The Tumor Turns, now having gone through most of her treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma without health insurance, is preparing to get on with her life, which will necessitate, among other things, selling her house. In order to do -that,- she needs to rewire and reroof the place; and she could use a little help in doing that. Go on over and say hi, and if you can, click the paypal button.

Black Amazon is also fundraising to help go to the Allied Media Conference, which sounds like a truly fabulous event. "Breaking Silence, Building Movements," it's been a theme lately, hasn't it? An important one.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Quote of the day, 5/21/07

"...Of course we were fair-minded, and would have instnatly let into the Circle (which was also Immortal, by the way) any who demonstrated Circular qualities, as long as they were just like ours.

Somehow they were not.

We did, actually, let a few in. (This made us feel generous).

Most, we did not. (This made us feel that we had high and important standards).

Some didn't even want to get in and stood about making rude remarks. (This made us feel scared).

But how on earth could we possibly let them in?

They were clumsy.

Their work was thin.

It wasn't about the right things.

It was -subsidiary-.

It had no 'universal values.' (These are shiny gold bells, worn on the head, which are indispensable to the art of frument, and which the practicing frumentor, by shaking the head back and forth, causes to go 'bing! bing!' in complicated rhythmic outbursts while performing the other actions proper to this delicate and complex art).

To drop the metaphor...when white critic Elly Burkin informed a room full of us white feminists...that we were racists and homophobes, I felt both angry and accused. After all, none of us had done anything that bad and we were hardly responsible that the Great Tradition of English literature was largely white, or that the others were subsidiary, or that so little had been done in these latter. I had certainly confronted homosexuality in women's writing, and so would I confront color--when and where it was appropriate to do so, of course.

To prove all this, I went to the library, got Black novelist Zora Neale Hursto's classic, -Their Eyes Were Watching God,- and read it.

It was episodic.

It was thin.

It was uninteresting.

The characters talked funny.

It was clearly inferior to the great central tradition of Western Literature (if you added these authors' wives', mothers', daughters', sisters', and colleagues' books). I'd been vindicated. Why go on?

But Elly must have put a virus in my tea or otherwise affected me, as shortly thereafter I returned from the library with one armful of books and from the bookstore with another, all these about women of color. There were novels, short-story collections, books containing literary criticism, literary journals, and a few slender pamphlets from small presses. Then I read John Langston's -Drylongso-, Gerda Lerner's -Black Women in White America-, Barbara Christian's pioneering study -Black Women Novelists-, -Conditions: Five, The Black Womens' Issue, Toni Cade Bambara's -The Black Woman: An Anthology-, Mary Helen Washington's -Black-Eyed Susans: Classic Stories by and about Black Women-, and Barbara Smith's -Toward a Black Feminist Criticism.-

Then I re-read -Their Eyes Were Watching God.-

It was astonishing how much the novel had improved in the interim.

Could it be that all these authors were not--as I had unthinkingly assumed--in subsidiary traditions, but -parallel ones?- And that the only thing unique, superior to all others, and especially important in my tradition-was that I was in it? Was centrality really a relative matter?..."


--Joanna Russ, "How To Suppress Women's Writing"

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Let them eat pro-sm feminist safe spaces"



(image found here, begging the artist's permission --cool looking idea for a workshop)

...is a new blog I am co-authoring with Trinity, verte, and antiprincess. I've just put up my first post: go have a look, if you've an interest in such things. More to come.

Belatedly

R.I.P. Yolanda King.

51 is too damn young.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Of great fleas, little fleas, lesser fleas, and that mysterious annoying, persistent, itchy rash

In the midst of yet another perfect-pitch home run by Black Amazon, (which you -really need to go over and read in full right now,- also this one, yeah, -make- time for it), this little bit of quotage from someone else:

"I just wish that a few of her critics had approached the book in a more fair way, and hadn’t gone after her the same way that we’d go after some anti-feminist right-winger."


Well, BA has plenty to say about -that,- and, once again, just fucking read it;

but I'm going to take it and go in a slightly different, if related, direction, because it helped me crystallize something that started to form while I was reading and responding at Ilyka's (also two excellent posts, you should go there too).

This bit:

the same way that we’d go after some anti-feminist right-winger.

You know something? That right there. That is part of the problem, too.

-We're not the bad guys. We KNOW who the bad guys are, they are over THERE, stop stop you're making it all confusing and uncomfortable-...

Hey, here's a wacky notion: maybe that terrific sport of -going after-? Of, not even really so much -getting angry,- or -critique,- but rather of

TEAM! TEEEAAAAAAMMMMM! CURSE them and CRUSH them and...

If it makes you that uncomfortable to be on the other end of it? Maybe time to rethink that one a little bit. I mean, just a -little- bit.

Because, you know what? This isn't just this dustup. This isn't even just about -white privilege- or -class privilege-, much less y'know "yer just jellus" and so on and blahblee and yadda. There's a hint to be had, there.

Actually, this is rancid yellow trickle-down from the top echelons of the Democratic Party, the movers, the shakers: -ohh, right, we kept losing because we weren't toughnmean enough-. United We Stand! Now let's get in there and WIN! the Winner Takes It All, so let's all win together!--you there, in the back, -sit down- and stop causing a scene, can't you see you're ruining it for everyone? We'll -get- to you. Later. After we've dealt with the -important shit,- we can get to your -pet issues.-

No.

Not enough.

You keep -losing-, (even when you "win"), because you forget the basic supposed -principles.-

Which are, last I checked, yer basic Enlightenment principles, more or less: -liberty, equality, fraternity.-

Or...sorority.

"Sisterhood is powerful," yeah okay.

Which means, what, exactly?

Well, it -might- mean representative democracy. In which case it is incumbent upon the person who is -representing-, to fucking -represent,- or else the incumbent will have to answer to an increasingly irate People. In theory.

And--you know something, that actually goes for more than just elected politicians.

Alternately, we could scrap that, at least for the purposes of you know -building a movement-, go outside the electoral process or try to change it, you know, -direct democracy,- or...anyway, -something.- Something a little more -by the people of the people for the people,- don'tcha know. Something...grassroots.

Which, if we're gonna do -that,- that's gonna take a real serious shitload of work, because it's gonna mean overhauling a lot of our rather basic assumptions.

As well as our approach to power.

Now, some of us do want this more -radical- transformation of society; and some of us would be more content to use the more established channels, fix what's broke, adopt adapt and improve.

And you know what, that could work too, maybe.

But, if you're gonna go -that- way, again, well, as the late great Molly Ivins put it,

"You've got to dance with the people that brung you."

How quickly we forget.

So instead, we whine about how the Gatekeepers are Keeping Us Out.

And most of the time, we can whine amongst ourselves, and it's all just grand;

but every so often, it becomes Election Time;

and when we go to the funny little ants we vaguely remember as "people" and appeal to their great sense of TEAM, now that it's all IMPORTANT;

well, chances are, we might just get the response,

"whaddya mean WE, white man/woman/continue on down as needed?"

Shock! Horror! o no no nonono, WE -can't- be gateKEEPERS, -we- are gate CRASHERS. FIGHT THE POWER! UP THE ESTABLISHMENT! Which isn't us! Not even a little bit!

...Says our end of the Beltway to the blogosphere; says Kos and firedoglake to the rest of the blogosphere;, says the "B list" to everyone but Kos and firedoglake and the rest of that little group; sez the Big Feminist Blogs to the WOC; say the radical/cultural feminists to the transfolk, say say say say say say say say; and say, where does it fucking end?

Remind me again: what is it "we" are trying to accomplish, here?

And: who are "we," again?

Friday, May 18, 2007

"Thin brains in thirty days. BRAWWWWK!"

Body Impolitic is kicking off a new contest for Stupidest Fat Related Comment:

This week, we’ve found two.

First, we have this completely not fat-related article about San Francisco’s wild parrots and whether or not they should be fed by tourists. The reasons to limit tourist feeding are that “the parrots are harmed by relying on the handouts instead of fending for themselves, and are more susceptible to spreading and catching disease.” Even though this is hardly a topic you’d expect to lead to stupid fat comments, this gem leaps out:

[a commenter] says “… protecting them from feeding is a good idea. Obesity is a real problem in this country, and you have to start somewhere.”


yes, we’re all worried about the avian obesity epidemic.

i can see it now: the new “Polly Wanna Cracker” diet. you eat nothing but crackers and gorp, and you have to eat it out of someone else’s hand (portion control, you know). comes complete with bonus exercise tape based on standing on one leg, arm flapping and loud, throaty squawks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Calling all queer dudes

...a call for essays at this website, Beyond Masculinity.



***Deadline Extended Until May 31, 2007***

Gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer men's gender identities often exist somewhere outside the traditional categories of "masculine" and "feminine." Sissies, drag queens, and leather daddies alike play with gender in a way that cannot be accounted for in traditional understandings of maleness. This collection -- part blog, part anthology, part audiobook -- aims to shatter traditional understandings of maleness and point towards a new understanding of how queerness and gender intersect.

BEYOND MASCULINITY is looking for contributions in four key areas. Contributors should not feel bound by these categories - they should rather be seen as potential prompts:

*

Identity Intersections: How do race, ability, class, and other kinds of identities and experiences intersect with gender and queerness -- and how do these intersections complicate our relationship to traditional understandings of "maleness?"
*

Feminism, Gender, and Politics: How can feminism inform our understanding of queer male gender? Can queer men be feminists? How can we use our queerness as a political tool? What does male privilege look like for queer men?
*

Bodies, Desire, and Pleasure: What kinds of male bodies are desired? Fetishized? Where does sexual desire intersect with queer gender and how are these politics mapped out on our bodies?
*

Queer Male Communities: How are our identities produced through our communities? How do the gender norms and politics of gay/bi/trans/queer male communities both liberate and constrain us?

We're looking for queer male writers to step up and contribute their thoughts to this online project. This is not your typical bookstore anthology. It will be only available online - and it will be completely free of charge to the public. Wih its unique implementation of media, this anthology aims to change the way queer non-fiction is done.


see website for contact details and submission guidelines.

h/t: Feministing by way of saltyfemme.

straight out of Central Casting


via Shouty Lucy, for once, a type of crusted-over reactionary we -don't- get quite so much over here: an octogenarian Tory with a monocle and a "Sir" in front of his name, sputtering about how much better telly was when it wasn't run by women with all their -female- concerns:

"The trouble is the BBC now is run by women and it shows soap operas, cooking, quizzes, kitchen-sink plays. You wouldn't have had that in the golden days."

"I would like to see two independent wavelengths - one controlled by women, and one for us, controlled by men."

He claimed that interesting programmes were screened too late at night, and said he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than appear on Celebrity Big Brother. And asked about his favourite series, Sir Patrick said he no longer enjoyed certain programmes because of their modern storylines.

"I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC - making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching."


"By Jove, the old boy's got a point! An idiotic one, but a point. God save the Queen! What the BBC wants are stories with backbone, none of your modern milk-and-water namby-pamby programmes. Jorrock's, now that's far more the sort of thing. Good solid virile stuff, get some air into your lungs. Pass the port."

...I especially like that a "BBC spokesman"

described Sir Patrick as being one of TV's best-loved figures and said his "forthright" views were "what we all love about him"


He's a -lovable- crusty old sexist fart.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

one of those rainy evenings

best to stay in



see what's on the tellyvision



...hopefully without becoming a tube zombie

"Your services are no longer required"

apparently the DLC ain't what it used to be:

Since the early days of the Clinton administration, the Democratic Leadership Council’s “National Conversation,” the group’s major annual event, has been a key stop for Democrats who hoped to be party leaders, and in many cases, president. It was a place to be seen, to impress possible donors, and to solidify one’s place as a serious national player.

At least, it used to. This year’s DLC event appears to suggest the group has lost some of its sway.

TNR’s Ryan Lizza noted the other day the line-ups for the “National Conversation” from the last several years.

Bill Clinton keynoted in 1999 and Al Gore in 2000. In 2001, the event featured Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, and future governors Kathleen Sebelius and Janet Napolitano. In 2002, the National Conversation was a major stop for anyone testing the waters for 2004. Lieberman, Bayh, Daschle, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Mark Warner, John Edwards, and Dick Gephardt were all there.

The following year, 2003, was a little less star-studded but still featured Bayh, Napolitano, Sebelius, Warner, Ed Rendell, Jim McGreevey, and Jennifer Granholm. The big attraction in 2004 was Kerry, who was by then the nominee and was eager to show off his centrist credentials. In 2005, the event was again attended by top presidential contenders: Bayh, Warner, Vilsack, and Hillary Clinton. But tellingly, unlike in the run-up to 2004, when even a labor liberal like Gephardt felt obliged to show up, there were no traditional liberals in attendance. Edwards, once a DLCer himself but now reinvented as a liberal populist, was conspicuous in his absence, as was Kerry, who was still flirting with a run.

By last year, about a dozen Democrats were openly considering presidential bids, but only two — Vilsack and Hillary Clinton — wanted to be part of the DLC’s event.

Which leads us to this year. Lizza noted late last week, “Watch the guest list closely. It will be a good indicator of the health of the New Dem brand.”

The list was announced yesterday. By all indications, the DLC brand is in trouble...

o, that's so -sweet.-

Via Renegade, Kyso examines a touching Mother's Day tribute by scary hairdo Vox Day.

We don’t need female doctors. We don’t need female scientists. We don’t need female entrepreneurs. We don’t need female producers of PowerPoint presentations. And we really don’t need female politicians.

While we can argue about whether such luxuries are beneficial or detrimental to society, there is no arguing the empirical evidence which proves that civilization has survived without them before and could easily do so again.

But without mothers, there is no civilization.


"You call this civilization?"

Well. Anyway I think a National Anonymous Sperm Donors Day would be lovely, just lovely, and I for one plan on submitting the request for a line of cards in that vein to Hallmark toot sweet.

actually

since you led me back over there, mandos, and induced me to read for a bit, I am going to say something, although not probably what you expected.

simply this:

fuck cancer.

oh, and by the way:


fuck cancer.

fuck cancer.

fuck cancer.

fuck cancer.


fuck the legacy of it and its treatment. fuck existential terror bright and beneath the surface, fuck other people demanding a "normal" performance so as to be reassured of their own existential terror, fuck scars that still hurt, fuck our health "care" system that makes "your money or your life" a serious question and often ends up saving neither. fuck the premature loss of good people, of bright stars and loved ones. fuck "survived by," fuck hospitals, fuck that drop in the gut brought on by the phrase "it's probably nothing, but..."

did I mention fuck cancer?

Feminism on Youtube

someone's collage-project



preview/clip from a new movie, "I was a Teenage Feminist"



video of the Georgia 2006 Walk for Women's Lives



Guerilla Girls at Moma



someone's digicam video of the new Global Feminisms exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum



montage of Iranian feminists protesting



brief, grainy newsreel of Emma Goldman



Staceyann Chin, "Feminist or Womanist"



"Celebrating Sista'hood," short docu on Vancouver hip-hop fest



Molly Ivins (R.I.P.) on the "Dildo Diaries"



Betty Dodson, "The Internal Clitoris"



clip from "Hot and Bothered," a new film on feminist porn/feminists in the sex industry

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"...but time and chance happeneth to them all."

Falwell's dead.

May he go to whatever Eternal Reward that he has earned.

that, too

from kactus:


You know what? I think the next time I read about stay-at-home-mums-by-choice who have Opted Out of their White Collar Jobs to raise little Courtney and Nicholas, I just might scream.

Because, well, welcome to motherhood under fire. Welcome to motherhood that isn't allowed to stay home, that is forced out into the slimiest, lowest-paid, most enervating work in the world. Welcome to the world of mothering-in-poverty, where you're damned for staying home with your kids and damned for leaving your kids to go to work. Either way, you're to blame.

Welcome to motherhood in the middle of violence. Welcome, and weep.

A four year old baby was murdered, shot in the head in a drive-by. She was just being a kid, sitting on her porch, and some jackass fool with a gun stole her life.

Talk about the upsurge in violent crime in Milwaukee. Talk about how lots of these crimes are being committed by our youth. People shot in arguments; innocent bystanders and children victimized; pregnant women gunned down waiting at bus stops; mobs of kids beating a man to death; violence in the schools.

And then in the letters to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, people cry, "why don't these people get some control of their kids? Why don't they stop their kids from beating/shooting/murdering/knifing/fighting/drug dealing?"

Heh. Talk about a chickens coming home to roost moment. When years ago welfare reform was being debated, the same cry, "why don't these mothers get jobs? Get them out of the house! Let them be examples to their kids!"

So what happened? Here we are, ten years into welfare deform, and those children whose mamas went off to work at any job, anywhere, at any wage, because they had to or lose their homes/kids, now these kids who spent the flowers of their young childhoods in daycares or the streets, now they're the teenagers without mamas, teenagers who've had to somehow raise themselves and their siblings...

this shit is fucked. up.

from Angry Black Bitch, via Anti-Essentialist Conundrum:

A 14 year old young woman I know told me that she had been raped.

She related that she went home after and then noticed that she was bleeding.

She then went to the hospital where she was examined. She was offered counseling and testing…and comfort in the arms of nurses and a doctor.

Then she was sent home.

Six days later we met for a Saturday outing...

A 14 year old was raped…she did the right thing and went to the hospital…she was offered tests and counseling…but she wasn’t offered emergency contraception.

...As a sister in the struggle I am beyond words.

A 14 year old was raped and she wasn’t offered the emergency contraception I have personally spent time working to make available to all women who find themselves in such situations.

I certainly want 14 year old rape victims to be given the option.

I sure as shit wanted the young woman in question to have been.

When we arrived at Planned Parenthood we got another dose of reality. It was too late for emergency contraception but too early to find out if the monster who raped her had also gotten her pregnant.

With an appointment having been set we left…walked out and got into my car…drove past the crowd of anti-choice protesters who chose that moment to thrust dead baby pictures at my window…

Monday, May 14, 2007

how i'm feeling, more or less




ooooodeodeodeo. exactly.

Quote of the day, 5/14/07

“Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.”

--Carl Jung

Sunday, May 13, 2007

yeah, pretty much.

Donna reminds me of this cartoon (hadn't known Amp drew it for some reason):



and continues on for a post of her own, which you should read. On the many and subtle (and not-so-subtle) permutations of "I've got mine, Jack."

in the course of which, she links back to an earlier exchange elsewhere, which is, well, yeah, apt:

...Regarding identity politics — it killed liberalism. Just plain killed it. I saw this with my own eyes. That’s why I hate it. It’s also a deluded way to approach issues; it leads to various “identity” groups competing with each other for attention and privilege, instead of building power coalitions, which is stupid. Liberals have been doing this for years, and its another big reason why righties run everything.

I’ve observed that people who get caught up in identity politics get their egos all wrapped up in their almighty identity issues, and they are insensitive to everybody else’s issues. And I really, really hate that.

Finally, from a Buddhist perspective, race and gender are only temporary conditions. They aren’t who you are.

There’s a great parable in Tibetan Buddhism about heaven and hell. In hell, people sit around a big bowl full of soup, and they have spoons attached to their arms, but they go hungry because the spoons are too long and they can’t bring the bowl of the spoon up to their mouths.

Heaven is exactly the same way, except that in heaven people feed each other.

What the angry ones are telling me is that they don’t trust me to feed them. I understand — really, I do — why they distrust a white person (although, in fact I am not a “white person”), but we have to trust each other, anyway, to help each other, and the trust has to go both ways. That’s how it is.

Comment by maha — September 18, 2006 @ 7:52 am

...maha, what if certain people expect their counterpart to feed them from the bowl until they are full, then turn around and give one or two spoonfuls to the other person and say, “I’m so full I need a nap. And my arm is sore anyway. That’s plenty for you. I think we are done here.” This goes on day after day and the other person is grumbling and angry, the first person says, “If it wasn’t for me you’d be dead. Be grateful I give you your spoonful a day and sometimes I even give you two!” This is more like the “heaven” that POC experience with the Democratic Party and liberals. Unfortunately we realize the Republican “heaven” would gang up on us and beat us with their spoons unless we feed them, while they don’t have to feed us at all, so most of us are smart enough to stick to the Democratic “heaven”.

Two bad choices. Some decide to walk away, yes they know they will die, but why doesn’t our Democratic counterpart see that he will die too, and maybe give us 3 or 4 spoonfuls at least?

It isn’t just the minority constituencies that are giving up on politics and walking away, it’s also labor for instance. I was shocked to read that some 40% of union members vote Republican. That should never happen. But they have bad choices too, neither side cares about labor issues, it’s all corporate welfare, privatization, deregulation, to all of them lately, so instead they walk away and are dazzled by “conservative family values” or some other nonsense. The same might apply to a black woman who attends a conservative church. She knows neither party gives a damn about her identity issues, so she might vote for the Republican who will “protect marriage” instead of the “decadent immoral” Democrat. People usually do have more than one issue, if both parties ignore their top issue they go to the next one, it might mean voting for the other party, or if all their issues are being ignored, they will sit it out.

I guess what I am saying is that giving us a seat at the table is giving us another spoonful, actually listening to us is another spoonful, doing something that actually advances our cause is filling our stomach too.


*****

-by- the way, not that I'm -real- familiar with Tibetan Buddhism, although I am working my way through there's more to dying than death by lama shempen hookham, and The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra by too lazy to dig the book from out of the pile of eight million other partially read and neglected books and look up the author

...I don't think you need to be an Enlightened Being to perceive that this:

race and gender are only temporary conditions. They aren’t who you are.

is, particularly in this context, utter booooolsheeeet.

yeah okay. so's this entire LIFETIME a temporary condition. so's this BODY, so, you know, don't you have anything more -spiritual- to do than focus on -electoral politics?-

personally right now i'm thinking rather more fondly of the various Zen parables where someone whacks someone else with a large stick.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Office Friendly v. Fuck the Pigs: a lesson in perspective

...from Magniloquence, off the May Day madness in L.A.

Breviloquence and I were talking about it last night. He still can’t get over the fear and mistrust we have of our police here. Where he’s from, the police generally have little to do, and mostly spend their time breaking up parties for underage drinking and occasionally stopping people for speeding. They’re annoying, sure… but they’re not scary.

As he was watching the events proceed on TV (where even the heaviest Fox spin couldn’t mask the fact that this was a PR disaster, at the very least), he finally exploded: “This isn’t what police do! This is what you do when you’re the police who’s really the military in a dictatorial state, not what you do when you’re the city/county police force here!”

I think I looked at him funny. I’m pretty sure I laughed. Between my discipline (see how I took it macro up there, with the fear and training and physical circumstance? Just watch me add in some game theory and probability to make it more interesting.) and my context (brown, female, and growing up here), I couldn’t help it. Even though we’ve had relatively little police harassment (and that’s a story for another time), and my family has worked pretty hard to keep us from an irrational fear of police… even though I try not to fall prey to irrational fear of the police… I’ve never experienced them as people who were fully “on my side.” Individual police officers are as varied as individuals in other contexts; some are nice, some are mean, some are apathetic, some are funny… but in groups, especially in times of confrontation, they are scary.

“This is the LAPD. What did you expect?”

I think he’s still having trouble processing that...


...oh, and by the way, she's right on about something else as well:

We live in a world that is increasingly polarized. Not just in the normal, heuristics and conflict theory ways, but a heightened and distorted “us against all” mentality. This pervasive fear of the namelessfaceless “other”… the scary person that melts back into the crowd, the quiet kid that could turn on you at any moment, the hardworking migrant worker who’s really a terrorist… when anybody outside of your little circle can turn out to be your worst nightmare, doesn’t a little preemptive force seem justified?

That’s what I saw in the conflict yesterday. In terms of scale, and cost, and even outrage… it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. But the mechanism at work seems subtly altered. Rather than outright racial tension, or “simple” hyperaggression, or even corruption… we have a return to zombies and boogeymen. Everyone’s potentially a threat. Every bump in the night could be the house settling or a monster out to get you...




read the rest

"...could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship"

O'Rly? and child-actor-turned-fire-and-brimstone-preacher Kirk Cameron, together at last! It just doesn't get any better than this.



You know. I'm I guess a mystical agnostic-cum-sort-of-pantheist with pagan sympathies. I got no problem with believers. I got no problem with atheists.

and I figure, whatever Deity there is/are, if indeed there is a Transcendent One, presumably the assholes would be, too, part of Hir creation.

but. if Sie has to depend on the likes of Kirk Cameron to prove Hir existence?

Well, that would be...depressing.

Like, "makes Sartre and Beckett come off like Up With People!" depressing.

"There IS no Crocoduck!"

too bad he doesn't know I've got one living in my bathtub.

Oh yea, Kirk's got his own website, I know I've pointed (and laughed) at it before.
"The Way of the Master." Verah Klassah.

as is (I -know- i've talked about this before) "The Atheist's Nightmare," to wit, some silly lookin' Scottish dude being very solemn and not at all OO ER MISSUS with a banana.

Quote of the day, 5/12/07

...He thought of Mrs. Athelny, cheerful mother of many children, with her kindly hospitality and her good humour; of Sally, grave for her years, with funny little maternal ways and an air of authority...and then in a bunch of all of the others, merry, boisterous, healthy, and handsome. His heart went out to them. There was one quality in them which they had that he did not remember to have noticed in people before, and that was goodness. It had not occurred to him till now, but it was evidently the beauty of their goodness which attracted him. In theory he did not believe in it: if morality were no more than a convenience good and evil had no meaning. He did not like to be illogical, but here was simple goodness, natural and without effort, and he found it beautiful.


--Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage"

Carnival of Radical Action

Sylvia, picking up bfp's initiative, is launching:

I think we should move on with this, and so I’ll repost BFP’s call for submissions here. Please advertise this on your blogs so we can get maximum participation for this first attempt.

Announcing:

The Carnival of Radical Action

Most of us are organizers or activists in our real lives. Or at the very least, we think about it an awful lot and wish we had the skills and/or knowledge to organize. But contrary to the images of protest that make front pages and cause our hearts to swell–actual organizing is not as easy as it looks–nor is it very glamorous.

More often than not, the process it takes to actually get to the glamorous protest part is boring, tedious, filled with infighting, or done by one or two overburdened people who haven’t quite figured out how to say no.

And yet, the organizing part is so vitally important to achieving liberation (whatever that may be). It was through tons and tons of grass roots organizing and hard work that the right managed to come to power in the U.S. the way it has. The Zapatistas and the U.S. based Civil Rights movement both also have a history of achieving goals towards liberation through grassroots organizing.

So how does one go about doing this grassroots organizing?

That’s what this carnival is all about. I will be accepting any posts/submissions that have anything to do with organizing on a grassroots level. Some topic ideas that you might feel inclined to think about:

How do you do radical leftist organizing in the Midwest [or wherever you are]? How do you confront racism/sexism/disableism/homophobia/classism etc within your group? How do you work with a community instead of on a community? How do you confront accessibility issues (that is, you’re all working class mothers and there’s rarely a time to meet or the site where you meet is not wheelchair accessible etc)? What’s been the major problem/setback your group has faced? How did it over come it? What has been a successful tactic in your organizing (for example, you found that taking pictures of violent cops and posting them online is more successful in stopping the abuse than reporting them to their superiors)? If you’re a life time activist, what are some problems you see today with organizing compared to when you first started? Or, if you’ve never organized before, write about why you never have.

This carnival will be about sharing strategies more than finding a “right” answer. In the world we face today where there are so many intersecting forms of oppression, one answer will not fit every community. But something that worked for one community might work for another if they alter it and adjust it to suit their own needs.

[…]

DEADLINE: MAY 25th
and the carnival will be posted on May 27th.

I’ll be waiting!

and many thanks to fire fly for motivating me to organize this!

You can post links to your submissions in the comments or e-mail them to me at sylviasrevenge at gmail dot com.

Let’s turn this idea into an excellent carnival in honor of BFP and our dedication to human rights.

This is sort of entertaining, in a meanly petty sort of way

("call it a weakness")

trinity got paid a visit by some outfit called nopornorthampton (no, i'm not giving them a link, they spammed themselves all over the place as it was). we had a few um exchanges. you can go see for yourself if you've a taste for that sort of thing.

and then i am curious blue posted a link to some other outfit which popped up in response to these guys (a married couple, i take it, neither fundamentalist nor radical feminists, some sort of conservative Judeo-Christian ethos with nominally liberal views), mopornorthampton. a multi-volumed epic on "the horror that is nopornorthampton." well, god be with the days. so, i read for a bit, and learn...

...i guess the sheer level of smallness is amusing me. i mean, i'm used to pr0n wars, but in -this- case, what we would appear to have is one couple with a -lot- of time on their hands who are very VERY concerned about the adverse effects of pr0n on...the property value of their home. Or their neighborhood. as in, "there goes." as in, apparently -a pr0n store might be coming to their neighborhood-. Hence the blog title. Oh, yeah, and it's bad for wimminz and children and penguins and salad and the relations between the sexes (I Care, Deeply) and morality and other stuff, besides bluenosed NIMBYism. As we all know. But the POINT of the entire website there, basically, is: it's coming! A pr0n store! It's coming to town! HERE!!!11!!

So, at one point in the conversation, one of the two lovebirds is asking me to empathize with their plight thusly:

nopornnoho wrote:
May. 8th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Kung Pao Pussies....
Porn may seem like a small deal until adult enterprises move into your area. As many towns have discovered, it can take years of hard work to recover from the crime and blight:


...which, you know, here in New York City, we all worry about this a -lot.-

Yeah. Funny place to visit. Wouldn't want to live there. I don't mean Northampton, I mean the -heads- of some people.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday git-your-groove-on

Plains Feminist got me thinking hip-hop-wise, so: here're a few I like.

"Your Revolution," Sarah Jones (not a video, not sure the Dove ad still someone put up there really captures it, but oh well)



Blackstar, "Respiration"



Missy Elliott, "Pass That Dutch"



MC Paul Barman



Princess Superstar, "Bad Babysitter"

Meanwhile, not very far away

my pal fastlad is trying to take on the Jamaican tourist industry, or more accurately the rather resounding silence on--well:

I wrote a short protest letter to several of the main Jamaican newspapers about the recent spate of anti-gay lynchings there. I'm afraid my correspondence exhibited more passion than eloquence, but I'm comfortable with that - here's an excerpt:


Dear Editor, I'm writing because I notice that your publication of April 28 had the following sub-headline about (yet another) anti-gay lynch mob beating in Jamaica: "Melee in Falmouth; wig, form-fitting blouse ripped off".

It must be interesting to possess so little empathy that you can mock - and perhaps even enjoy - the attempted murder of a person whose life you clearly don't value. But it's not a very Christian impulse, is it? ("Form-fitting blouse pulled off?"). Do you imagine Jesus would have been in there casting stones with the rest of that braying mob? Didn't Jesus once say something about casting stones? Hmm?

There are obviously very many gay people in Jamaica (because the public there seem to be lynching them as frequently and as hatefully as the KKK used to lynch African Americans in the American South)...


and got responses that included stuff like:

I do not condone the beating of anyone for whatever lifestyle they chose to live. It is becomming frightening how this "Battyman" thing is spreading in jamaica. Obviously, it is a normal way of life in the US but jamaicans like myself knows that it is not only obnormal and immoral but sickening in it's very immagination for two persons of the samegender to be engaging in this perverted 'sexual' activity. Do not equate jesus or God into this for your 'filthy' convenience. I felt sorry for that fellow who was beaten in Falmouth,but moreso because he is one of the many "exploitable" social circumstances that are being used in enhancing this kind of life style in our society.


and

I was reading your response to a Gay lynching where you relate this situation to the lynching of Blacks in the South. I dont think that you should relate these story together because they have no similarities at all. I am a Jamaican and i dont believe in throwing the first stone because we are all sinners. Blacks were lynch because of their colour, they did not commit any sin at all, no sin that was different from the Whites. They were lynch just because of colour and not sexual immorality. We should never compare the two: Sexual Preference & Colour.


and

Bye the way, as poor as we are, we have always done well as a people on our own. Oh yes! I agree with you that there are lots of gays in Jamaica, there are gays everywhere, most gays in Jamaica are spawned from molestation and greed or sickness. God gave Jamaican men nices penises to pleaure women and not to pleasure men.


and

Homosexuality is not only a "freak" of nature. It is an immoral and perverted activity, and practised also by "satanic" ritualists. The God in whom I believe could never sanction this kind of lifestyle for the human race. Unless I am worshipping a different God, and the Bible is wrong about "sexual" relationship between people of similiar gender. See first Corinthians chapter 6 verse 9, and Romans chapter 1, verses 18-32, chapter 12, verses 1 and 2. It is only a socially retrogressive society that encourages and accepts homosexuality as being normal.


...yeah.

You know what I think is one of the more painful lessons? That people that you think -should- be your friends and allies, -should- have empathy for you because they -ought- to be able to make the connection to their -own- tsuris, often...don't.

as BA put it earlier on, people, generally speaking, are selfish; or self-interested.

Which isn't really the problem.

The problem is -when the penny doesn't drop.-

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" isn't enough.

and by the way, you think I'm excluding myself from that particular equation? Uh uh. The way out isn't through moralizing alone. not -them-, not -you.- Not just that.

You know what -consciousness raising- really is, right?

Yeah.

"We have met the enemy, and they is us."

--Pogo

Read it.

this

Links for us and comments are not about traffic. Links are what makes it known that you cant come to a certain place and degrade our lines. comments are the voices that let the trolls and the assholes know you will be reckoned with.

They are the things that keep us from disappearing in the night. You can't be bothered to be challenged or discuss or even say

We're here so you don't have to be alone in front of a motherfucking keyboard.

While debate dissecting our shit for your own self glorification

and you know this when you joke at calling people sluts. You know this when you sit and talka bout how much smarter you are than the discourse, you know this when you call us stupid, or misquote us , or mischaracterize us , or deliberately disrespect or requests for privacy and autonomy.

Use our names and bodies for press or conveniently rember how important it is to be one of us when you can get paid.

But it's not really powerful until then,

We can't organize till then

Our lives aren't worth it till then

YOU KNOW THIS

You know how little it takes to not feel alone or left out

You know how powerful a simple I'm here can be...


read it

When Marisa commented on the recent Homeland Security tactic of intimidating this year's Cinco de Mayo gatherings, which led them to be cancelled, an anonymous commenter referenced the recent gestapo tactics (teargas and rubber bullets fired into) a crowd of marching Mexican Americans in LA (now being investigated by the FBI for use of excessive force):

Personally I wish it was real bullets and we can only hope our government ends this invasion with superior force ending it for good, helped by a huge strong wall at the border.

Do not think that is rare. Do not "Other" that commenter and say he is a sleazy, sick strange individual. Please believe me when I say I could fill this entire post with similar and even worse sentiments. From Left- and Right- wing typists. Just as Jensen said, when the typical invisible structures in place are violated by those who no longer wish to go along with them, the rhetoric gets very ugly, and will eventually turn to violence, when that rhetoric fails to dampen these "transgressions." Any "mainstream" blog you read that does not bear these vicious tirades simply keeps away from the controversy. The lack of the hate does not equal a lack of racist thought any more than a lack of lynchings in our society indicates the struggle for Civil Rights is over. And this is why we all need to be concerned with this.

...We, right now, are facing a struggle for HUMAN rights that could not be more obvious or pronounced. With each move the US Government makes against Mexican migrant workers—from jailing children in prison camps, to breaking up families that labor for America and pay taxes never retrieved, to allowing hatemongers to frame the mainstream debate, to bringing inappropriate, unwarranted violence on those exercising their First Amendment rights or those reporting on the demonstrations—the silence from the mainstream blogs becomes egregiously deafening. Do these blogs hide behind the pus-riddled logic that litters the threads like at Brad Blog's recent foray into this front? Do they tell themselves that REMEMBER, THESE ARE ALIENZZZZ? Or do events like this just not make a blip on their radar? Are they afraid of rousing the ire of their mainstream audiences? Which of these would be a more damning conclusion?


watch it







then read through some of the comments in each of those.

Yeah, i didn't talk about this shit right away either.

That's my hometown, you know, or near enough. "cops gone wild" isn't exactly a new theme. hasn't been for a long time. neither has ugly-ass race-baiting, both leading to, during, and after the fact.

What's newer to me is the "traitor" business (again, read those comments).

This shit may well just be getting warmed up.

And yeah, it matters, and yeah, it's more than blogwars, and yeah, freaking say something already, okay? -To- the bloggers in question, -at- their space, -put- the links. and no, you don't have to know exactly what to say, really. Here, I'll demonstrate:

"Goddam. This sucks. Scary shit."

See? -Brilliant-, right? What it -isn't-, though, is -total- silence. day late, dollar short, but um hello: this shit is important.

and there are worse things than -not looking good.-