Sunday, December 30, 2007

o all right then: the fangirl post.

By request.

So yeah, as noted and obvious in the vids post below, I have turned my affections upon the new Dr. Who and Torchwood.

Or, well, so far I've just been sticking to the new stuff, only referring to the Wiki summaries of older shit when I need a reference.

I started by watching Torchwood, which is a bit grimmer and -slightly- less with the silly (well, the finale was pretty naff);

and then the first DW episode I watched was the "Empty Child" one, the one with the gas masks? which was genuinely creepy and seemed at least somewhat plausible, SF-wise (as these things go). So I was thinking it was all gonna be like that. Also, dunno if this was as true in the old series, but: Russell Davies is, besides being camp as knickers, a rather grim little petunia under it all. You see it more in TW, the whole "there's nothing after death, (except for the scary thing moving in the dark, which disappointingly turns out to be a rather risible CGI monster); "life is all;" it's the inevitable flip side to the firm belief in humanism that carries DW. I mean, that's true in a lot of SF, but this one...seems to go to the existentialist dilemma quite a bit, actually. And whenever it delves into WWII stuff especially, or the whole "British Empire" riff, you really start to see it, although it's symbolically there in even the cheesier Alien Menaces. How -do- you maintain hope in either a benign God or your fellow humyn when there are bombs dropping on your head? How do you defend against the authoritarian menace from outside without becoming Daleks or Cyberpeople yourself? What's actually worse: accepting that dying (personally or collectively) may really be just... the end of everything? Or the price one pays for artifically extending existence just for the sake of existence: shutting oneself off, turning oneself into a machine, or simply the pain of knowing that one is alone within one's own skin/shell, alone in the universe? What's the point of it all, anyway?

and then I go back and start from the beginning of S1, and it's like: giant farting prosthetic aliens! pissy flying salt shakers that shoot blocklike laserbeams at people and scream "exterminate" for long moments before actually y'know doing it, thus enabling people to run away! "K-9!" "the Weakest Link" is still on 200,000 years in the future! with chunky androids! scary savage futurekind 100 trillion years in the future (the universe lasts this long?!) have evolved fangs for eatin' people but apparently still visit their barbershop regularly (perhaps they use the fangs for grooming? nice to know that neither hair nor styles have changed much in 100 trillion years)...and...

and after some initial sputtering, i realized i was basically doing the equivalent of,

"Velvet paintings are -camp- and thus delightful, but flamingos on the lawn? Now that's just -tacky.-"

so said "fuck it" and accepted that this was 1) part of its charm 2) the price one pays for getting to watch both Billie Piper and David Tennant possessed by Zoe Wanamaker.

"Voyage of the Damned" was crap, though. Not campy, just crappy. Not sure how that happened, since it was apparently Davies who wrote that as well and as I've said, I thought the S3 finale was fucking ace. ho well.

"It's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

how deeply true that is.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Weekend get-your-groove-on

Yeah yeah? Yeah, I think so.

and what the hell, a few fanvids*, since I like the songs and also I'm currently sort of obsessed with Dr. Who/Torchwood. -waits impatiently for new seasons even though the DW Christmas special was kind of rubbish-

*not mine, just to be clear; ganked some other folks' efforts that I liked off Youtube along with the rest of 'em is all.


Little Light wrote a post about a week ago that's another post for the ages, but feels especially right, to me, today:

When you look forward to a decisive battle, you look forward to destruction and chaos being visited on real people. When you seek heroism too vigorously, in the end, you're seeking a world where heroes are necessary: a world with enough disaster in it, and enough people sitting back, that someone "better" has to step in. Heroism is only heroism if it wants to make itself obsolete, but too often it's about separation from others. Revolutions go 'round and 'round, but heads always roll.

When it comes to the big fight between the white hats and the black hats, I've become a third-party voter. You put on a hat, you're not just declaring your moral authority above others. You're volunteering for a world where regular folks get to die in the name of ideals and prophecies and grand overarching plans. You're volunteering for a world where people need to be different in order to make it, where the ticket to Utopia is bought by changing human nature.

Us people, we're a mess. I used to think we had to stop that to be worth preserving. We had to shift our natures, slough off the ape, embrace the angel, burn away impurities in a vast moral crucible. It sounds nice if you don't think about it too hard: for people to survive, to be worthy of survival, they have to stop screwing up.

The solution isn't in making people not a mess. That's no good, because in the end, you'd be rescuing and redeeming something that wouldn't recognizably be people. You'd be insisting that people be what you want them to be if they want a life preserver. That's what an apocalypse is. That's what a revolution is. You can't ignore who--and what, in all of us--gets to go against the wall and smoke that last cigarette.

You have to be able to do for people as they are--as messes. You have to be able to love them as messes. Can you really love people, really love them, without loving all of them? Without loving them as flawed, mistake-making, stumbling messes? It's not about good not being able to exist without evil. It's not about people being incapable of change, of striving, of improvement. It's about saying that they don't have to be improved already to be worthy. It's about saying that the revolution doesn't have to come before we can love and stand with the people next to us. They don't have to be heroes. They don't have to be angels. They just get to be people.

read the rest.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Asshole Bingo!

-Is- there a card? for the generalized phenomenon, I mean? if not, there ought to be.

or maybe it's more of a flowchart. anyway at the moment, sans graphic or structure, the components go something like this:

*God, I can't understand how anyone could do/behave like/call themselves/be THAT. Sick, stupid, messed-up, filthy, sad... I wring my hands in despair at the fundamental depravity of it all.

*although, snerk, it's also kind of funny...

*Oh, well, I didn't mean -you.- Don't take it -personally.-

*What? It's just my opinion!


*Stop judging me for judging you!

*Anyway, I'm -not- judging -you,- just that terrible awful icky thing that you claim is an integral part of your being,

*which you wouldn't claim anyway if you knew how brainwashed/damaged/foolish/Lost to Darkness you are.

*I'm only trying to help.

*Really, I'm not telling you what to do. All I want is for you to admit that no matter how you protest, deep down, I'm right, you are wrong about your own experience, and you -really feel just like I do.- Isn't that so much better?

*You're derailing. -Why- must you make it all about -you?- Can't you just be quiet and let us talk -about- you?

*yer so SELFISH. What about the Cause?

*Okay, now you're just being rude. How can I learn if you insist on being so rude and angry all the time?

*I can't be expected to know all about this stuff. I'm just thinking out loud.

*Besides, I am an expert (tm) on this subject, whereas you are only talking about your own experience and thus cannot be objective.

*You are oppressing/silencing me with your stultifying Political Correctness. Shut up!

*The problem with you is, you're just too sensitive. And also mean. To me.

*I'm not like other people! I can't stand pain, it hurts me!

*And, you won't even listen to reason, it's like bashing my head against a brick wall, in fact I actually AM bashing my head against a brick wall, o the noise, LALALALALA CAN'T HEAR YOUUUUUU...

*Okay, okay, clearly I screwed up, even though I still don't understand how exactly and it doesn't interest me much to be honest, but! I FEEL REALLY BAD BECAUSE YOU'RE YELLING AT ME *sniffle*, I'm a terrible person, I heap ashes and sackcloth upon my head, I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I SAID I'M SORRY GODDAMIT CHRIST WHAT MORE DO YOU UNGRATEFUL PEOPLE WANT ANYWAY

*Screw you guys, I'M GOING HOME.



Tuesday, December 25, 2007

in retrospect...

probably, it would have been better to have said something to him more along the lines of,

"Are you still enjoying your entertaining new interactive home video game system?"

instead of, as it came out,

"So. Are you still playing with your Wii?"

yes, i really said that.

no, it was not on purpose.

shut up.

oh. you might have thought from the title that this was going to be some sort of "the year in review" or something, mightn't you?


it's not.


but, happy generalized winter holiday season,

and unspecified Benign Presence, supernatural or otherwise, bestow good fortune and compassion on us, every one.

Monday, December 24, 2007

there is is again goddamit

that odd noise i mentioned a few weeks back, which, can't tell if it's a TV or the heater or...what. in the bedroom.

i mean...-if- it's a ha'ant or suchlike, it's a rather monotonous and specifically located one.

what it sounds like, is: someone reading a newscast, endlessly, from moderately far away. on a kazoo. is what it sounds like.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Well, it's certainly uncontaminated by phones."

At the local Radio Shack, we learn: the phones that are on display without a price marker are thus displayed because they don't actually have any of those models in stock. This includes the model that I wanted, of the options that were presented, which were already not many.

So, okay: what phones DO they have. Guy checks in back. Emerges with two very basic models. I pick one. Guy disappears into the back again. Re-emerges a few moments later and explains that he'd been going to exchange the model he was showing me, which was defective, for a good one; but oops, looks like the recent flooding in the basement has ruined all the phones that were down there, sorry.

I'm sure there is a profound moral to this story, but I'm sure I don't know what.

So, without further ado: the Cheese Shop sketch.

Here is another post about cheese. No phones there either, though.

The reason

At this point? Simply and bluntly: because I don't need any more higher than a kite maintenance down the rabbit hole drama queens in my life. Which, oh dear GOD and little fishes, you -so are.- If that wasn't abundantly clear before, it certainly is now. And, -that- last little cutie was so incredibly -fucking- inappropriate. Both of you. Way. Out. Of Fucking. Line.

Yeah, I get it. You're butthurt. Know what? Spank your inner moppet, whatever. Last shred of sympathy: gone daddy gone.

Now: any time you want to get off that cross, I imagine someone could use the wood. For instance, you. It takes a lot of wood to build bridges, and honeys, you just burnt a -shitload.- Congratulations.

"The great thing about believing everyone is out to get you is that eventually it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Never thought I'd be saying that to or about you; although in retrospect, maybe I should have.

And, finally: know what, I'm busy too. Too busy for THIS bullshit, I tell you right now.


obligatory disclaimer, if you don't see yourself here it doesn't apply to you, etc. etc. etc. Move along, nothing to see here. Really. Just...clearing up some detritus. I hope to Christ, anyway.

p.s. Guide for the Perplexed: The -next- time something like this happens, with someone -else- I mean, here's what you do:

you write directly to the person who you're so confident is your dear friend and for good reason, mind you, and, instead of playing bullshit games, say, simply,

"Hey. I just heard about this. Why am I not a part of it? I'm hurt and confused and pissed off."

And, if you're not gonna do that, but instead go at it slantwise, when dear friend answers you in like style, and tells you politely but firmly that there are good reasons why not now, if you can't take her at her word, sure: be as hurt as you want to? but stop trying to access something that you have just been -clearly- told you are not going to be accessing, and back the fuck off.

But then, if you were the sort of person who were capable of doing such a thing, you'd never have been excluded in the damn first place. Get it? It's got fuckall to do with -ideology- or -style.- It's called: Hi! Boundaries! It's called: Hi! Sanity! It's called: Grow. The fuck. Up.

And that's all, folks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Say It Ain't So Feminism"

brought to you by the awesome Sudy:

Friday, December 07, 2007

World AIDS day, belatedly

She's got a point there, kids:

antiprincess on the real "sex pox."

...whatever side of the porn/sexwork/bdsm fence you sit on, what about AIDS, y'all?

I'm not HIV+, nor am I an AIDS activist. But I know people who work long and hard to purge the idea from the human consciousness that there is some consensual sexual behavior that deserves PUNISHMENT. Not just any punishment, but The Biggest, Baddest, Most Punishing Punishment - long, slow, conspicuously Capital Punishment in the form of a wasting disease, with clearly visible physical benchmarks of its progress as it slowly kills its victims.

so, when I see the word "sexpox", I don't think of cute hawtt titjobbed bisexee suckfuckers who giggle and simper on their spindly heels and tilt their empty heads and smile while cooing "ooh! I'm so empowerful! aren't I, Nigel?"

(and even if I did get that mental picture, it wouldn't match any of the individuals I know who identify as "sex-positive." the gulf of understanding here is unbridgeable, apparently, when it comes to that.)

when I see the word "sexpox", I think of a fatal disease that happens to people who fuck the wrong way, and need to be punished before they can die as a consequence for their behavior.

I mean, I guess, if you think there's a type of consenting adult sexual behavior that NEEDS to be punished by a fatal disease, because that behavior is THAT SINFUL that people who do it need years and years of suffering until they've repented enough to die in misery, then by all means continue slinging around "sexpox" like it's no more harmful than "tranny" or "faggot". (eyeroll)

but if you really think that there's a type of consenting adult sexual behavior that deserves the death penalty, may I humbly suggest you examine what that really means...

and yes, belatedly, World AIDS day was a week ago.

Some bloggers that covered it:

8 Asians:

When December 1st rolled around, otherwise known as World AIDS Day, I didn’t think too much about it. Granted that I’ve been involved in one shape or form in HIV/AIDS prevention among the queer Asian men’s community for over 10 years, first in LA doing some work with APAIT or Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team and in SF doing research for APIWC or Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center, and have done some collaborative work with APICHA or Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS in New York, but I’ve been out of that loop for some time, and so I do what I usually do–stopped for a moment, reflected on my friends who’ve become HIV+ and friends who’ve passed on, then moved on with my life.

I bring this up because tonight, a friend of mine from Singapore told me he just tested HIV+ and was contemplating suicide. Part of me put on my unofficial HIV counselor cap and encouraged him to seek services within Singapore, like Action for AIDS. Part of me, on the other hand, after I had done everything I could and got him on the phone with a counselor, had to stop, think, and sigh, “Goddamn, another one of my friends.”...

Lesbian Life

December 1st is World AIDS Day. According the the Centers for Disease Control, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Women of color are especially affected by HIV and AIDS. But what about lesbians? Where do they they rank in rates of HIV infection?

Well, there is some good news and some bad news on that front. On the one hand, there seems to be very few documented cases of female to female sexual transmission of the disease. On the other hand, the way the CDC tracks AIDS makes it very difficult to document female to female transmission.

But no matter if lesbians are or are not contracting HIV via sex with women, lesbians and bisexual women are just as likely to contract AIDS through other means: sex with men, IV drug use, rape and even artificial insemination. As a matter of fact, in some of these groups, lesbians are even more likely to contract HIV. Shouldn't you be informed? Here are the facts about lesbians and HIV/AIDS.

bideshi blue

Let's talk about SAFE sex! AIDS has made its way into a variety of communities-gay men, heterosexual men and women, blood transfusions, and injectable drug users, and now migrant workers and truckers who move across regions and countries. However the majority of people living with AIDS are heterosexuals and increasingly women, many of whom lack the knowledge and power to insist on safe sex with their partners.

For example, in many cultures, men visit sex workers and then the men refuse to wear condoms. Some sex workers have made organizations and compaigns to insist on condom usage, such as in Thailand or India. At the same time, if the sex workers are unorganized in such a campaign, "No Glove, No Love", then they face economic pressures to insist that their customers wear a condom because the customer can move on to the next sex worker.

Or women trafficked and/or migrated to India or the Middle East and in sex work may have the same problems and can return HIV positive and face the social stigma from their previous activities and HIV infection.

Migrant workers--men and women--become HIV positive during their construction and domestic-sex-care work(s) and are deported back to their country of origin, for example, Nepali women or Bangladeshi male -female migrant workers, who in turn infect their wives-husbands...


The specificity of women and girls has only recently been highlighted in HIV/AIDS policy, research, programmes and resource allocation. Women make up nearly half of the 40 million people living with HIV worldwide, and the rate of infection in women are increasing. Women, especially young women and grrls, are vulnerable due to gender inequality, social and cultural norms, poverty, biology, and in particular, violence against women.

Women living in situations of domestic violence are much more likely to become infected by HIV than women who live in non-violent households. It is also difficult for women and young grrls to negotiate condom use and safer sex with their partners, a recognised method to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection.

Female sexuality is often constructed in as passive and lacking. Men and boys on the other hand, are understood to possess active sexual agency, and are expected to initiate the first move in sexual interaction. As such, women who take control of their sexuality fall outside of what is ‘normal’, and are easily hailed as being ‘over eager’ or ‘shameless’.

The majority of sexually explicit content available on the internet supports this construction of female/male sexuality. At the same time, the internet has also become a critical space for the expression of women’s desires and sexual rights, especially women of diverse sexualities. We need to be able to control our own bodies, and articulate our own sexual desires and rights, according to our own terms. Not only is this crucial to help mitigate the rate of HIV infections amongst women and girls, it is part of our fundamental human rights.

Homo Homo Sapien

Last night I attended the launch of the Victoria Midwinter Pitt documentary, Rampant: How a City Stopped a Plague and next Monday (3 December) all Australians will have the opportunity to see this brilliant piece of television as the ABC will be showing it at 8.30pm.

The film tells the story from the perspective of a handful of people who instinctively stepped forward and took on the challenge that Australia faced. It is because of their foresight and that of many others, that Australia has managed to limit the number of deaths from AIDS to over 6,500 people.

There were many scenes in the film that stood out for me but one was a scene where one of the Sisters of Charity made this point:

"WE made a decision to become an AIDS hospital."

...orking across multiple layers of law, human rights, social justice, discrimination and stigma were the hallmarks of our early response to HIV/AIDS and underpinned our successes, our empathy and supported us through our loss and grieving.

We all have our own story to tell – some will do it more publicly than others. My responsibility is to tell my own story which is both personal and political as well, and as truthfully as I can and shame or judgement is not part of it. I may have come out with all barrels blazing but this has been an almost 30 year work in progress and I have done so in this documentary in the knowledge that I was in the safe and ethical hands of a production company (Penny Chapman Productions and staff and director Victoria Midwinter Pitt whose desire it was to document our unique approach to the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

But seriously I have internalised enough whore stigma and have endured enough of other people's social values to last me another lifetime.

Coming out of the scarlet closet so to speak has been a confronting but liberating experience, it's not for all but for those who can it is exhilarating freeing yourself from the prejudice, stereotyping and stigma that often shames sex workers into silence not to mention the harms that can and do befall our nearest and dearest by association. My children have grown up and are able to fight their own battles and in fact would fight anybody who dared to discredit me and my life’s work including my sex work. Thank you Jesse.

This documentary has also given me the opportunity to highlight the intrinsic role sex workers played in the fight against HIV/AIDS - educating men and providing practical 'hands on' experience in the use of condoms and safe sex while fighting for better conditions and law reform to support these initiatives – they are unsung heroes of the epidemic but amazingly continue to be vilified, shamed and discriminated against in the eyes of the law and in society. SEX WORK and sex work ACTIVISM HAS BEEN A LARGE PART OF MY LIFE and this documentary has given me the opportunity to promote sex worker rights and banish some of the shame of silence which hopefully enables more sex workers to speak out particularly important today in this conservative climate WHERE our hard one (law) reforms and in jeopardy where even our sisters in the right wing faction of post-feminist brigade are calling for criminalisation of our clients and maintaining and even strengthening the criminal sanctions on our industry...

What Black Men Think (Keith Boykin)

We can’t stop the AIDS epidemic until we stop the lies that fuel the epidemic. That’s why today I’m featuring the video (above) about black men...It deconstructs some of the most popular myths about black men in America. One of those myths — that there are more black men in prison than in college — was actually repeated last year by the President of Harvard University. Is it any wonder, then, that so many others buy into the myths?

Another popular myth is that black men on the down low are responsible for the AIDS epidemic. The video discounts that assumption, and now new research by the CDC’s Dr. Greg Millett helps to disprove this theory. The research, reported in this week’s Gay City News, indicates that men on the down low are not the cause of the AIDS epidemic in black America.

New Research on Black Men and HIV

“Among the dozen explanations studied, three leading theories were ruled out by Millett’s work. Significantly, the assumption of higher risk behavior among black MSM-as measured by unprotected anal intercourse, total number of sex partners, and commercial sex work-was not found to explain the differential in infection rates relative to non-black gay and bi men. This conclusion was based on a review of more than 25 separate studies,” GCN reported.

Also important, self-identity does not determine risk for HIV. “Black [men who have sex with men] who don’t disclose their sexual behavior compared to black MSM who do disclose their sexual behavior are less likely to be HIV-positive, they’re less likely to engage in unprotected sex with more than five male partners lifetime, and they engage in less unprotected sex generally,” according to Millett...


Meanwhile, Black Amazon has a pointed reminder that AIDS isn't the only "sex pox" out there:

Of course STD's shouldn't be stigmatized, and no people aren't " bad people" for having them.

But sorry y'all it's still


and I'll curb my observation that social stigma tends to work in specific rarefied airs.

But the constant and unrelenting message of Fuck it , it's not serious, no big deal?


Sex is a big deal, having an std BIG DAMN deal, (especially when for all the hair tossing bullshit that std is only actually manageable if you have health care)




If you got it through sexual contact something went WRONG. You're n ot a horrible person, you still should have a fulfilling sex life, and the ability to have sex only with caring willing understanding partners


Petit explain this to me, what the heck is with everyone ratcheting DOWN the stakes. Self care sexual care big fucking deal

and you know what we'll make mistakes.

and they'll be serious one.

Isn't it bad and wrong to be convincing people that being healthy and RESPONSIBLE is no big damn deal.

As if self care isn't hard?...

...and a bit of news:

News release from Immigration Equality:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued proposed regulations which purport to offer a "streamlined," "categorical" waiver for HIV-positive visitors from other countries. Under current immigration law, any foreign national who tests positive for HIV is "inadmissible," meaning he is barred from permanent residence and even short term travel in the United States. There are waivers available to this rule, but obtaining them has always been difficult.

On World AIDS Day last year, President Bush announced his intention to create a streamlined process for foreign travelers with HIV to enter the United States more easily. Currently the United States is one of only 13 countries in the world, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, which ban travel for individuals who are HIV-positive. Now, almost a year later, DHS has proposed regulations which would make it even harder to get a short-term waiver.

"Unfortunately, despite using the terms 'streamlined' and 'categorical,' in reality these regulations are neither," said Victoria Neilson, Legal Director of Immigration Equality. Under the new rules, a visitor would need to travel with all the medication he would need during his stay in the U.S., prove that he has medical insurance that is accepted in the U.S. and would cover any medical contingency, and prove that he won't engage in behavior that might put the American public at risk. The maximum term of the waiver would be 30 days.

"More than two decades into this epidemic, the United States continues to stigmatize people with HIV and treat this illness unlike any other virus," Neilson continued. "Creating insurmountable hurdles to travel does nothing to protect the American public from HIV."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And now for a much more pleasant and productive conversation:

translation into HumanSpeak:

-This- is what a feminist looks like? Not in my universe.

But then I don't live in Bizarro World, and it's -not- a fun place to visit.

But, okay, for the record: (hey, she wanted me to take fresher material than the "You're that professional virgin who got your vagina embalmed" crack; happy to obleege, energy creature)

"RE will be back, prancing like she's at her job. I mean, she's used
to men tucking dollar bills in her G-string, maybe she expects that
from everybody these days?"


They accuse radfems of calling them sluts and whores when they're the
ones adopting the double standard to their advantage and profit. If
you dare point out they make money sucking off men, they leap to that
particular accusation."

"Why shouldn't we call you sluts and whores when that's what you ARE? WELL??"

Right-o: you didn't -say- it. First. Of course. "Tit-jobbers," excuse me. "Fuckbot." "Hot, bi-sexee, will suck and fuck anything for money." Not that that's ever a real person; just an image which some tit-jobbers who prance around in g-strings and suck off men for money make themselves LOOK like.

much much more here, if you like that sort of thing.

on edit: the saga continues, apparently. more Issues than National Geographic, by Maud. from someone called "captain vanille":

God DAMN are you a slimy, smarmy, manipulative little shit. You come in here all flowers and puppies, completely ignoring the fact that you are, behind your fuck-me red lips and pert tits, the epitome of what they mean by the word "viper" - not a snake, oh no, but a poisonous, smirking, betraying, Patriarchal collaborator.

Now I must rinse.

oh yeah: Energy Creature? Since you're owed, now, apparently: I'm sorry. Sorry you're such an incurable flaming tinfoil-wearing misogynist ASSHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLEEEEE...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Quote of the Day, 12/3/07

`I don't know what you mean by YOUR way,' said the Queen: `all the ways about here belong to ME--but why did you come out here at all?' she added in a kinder tone. `Curtsey while you're thinking what to say, it saves time.'

Alice wondered a little at this...

`I only wanted to see what the garden was like, your Majesty--'

`That's right,' said the Queen, patting her on the head, which Alice didn't like at all, `though, when you say "garden,"--I'VE seen gardens, compared with which this would be a wilderness.'

Alice didn't dare to argue the point, but went on: `--and I thought I'd try and find my way to the top of that hill--'

`When you say "hill,"' the Queen interrupted, `_I_ could show you hills, in comparison with which you'd call that a valley.'

`No, I shouldn't,' said Alice, surprised into contradicting her at last: `a hill CAN'T be a valley, you know. That would be nonsense--'

The Red Queen shook her head, `You may call it "nonsense" if you like,' she said, `but I'VE heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!'

...Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run.

Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!' but Alice felt she COULD NOT go faster, though she had not breath left to say so.

The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything...

And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.

Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!'

`Of course it is,' said the Queen, `what would you have it?'

`Well, in OUR country,' said Alice, still panting a little, `you'd generally get to somewhere else--if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.'

`A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `Now, HERE, you see, it takes all the running YOU can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!'

--Through the Looking Glass

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Quote of the day, 12/2/07

Meg Swan: We are *so* lucky. We are *so* lucky to have been raised amongst catalogs.


[Yelling at her husband who is trying to coax their son down from the roof]
Fay Berman: Don't look him in the eye! It challenges him! He doesn't like that!

--Best In Show

Young Women's Empowerment Project

Thanks for spreading the word, bfp.

Our mission as the Young Women’s Empowerment Project is to offer safe, respectful, free-of-judgment spaces for girls and young women impacted by the sex trade and street economies to recognize their goals, dreams and desires. We are run by girls and women with life experience in the sex trade and street economies. We are a youth leadership organization grounded in harm reduction and social justice organizing by and for girls and young women (ages 12-23) impacted by the sex trade and street economies.

Buy Tickets for Our First Ever Art Show

Posted November 4th, 2007 by Anonymous

Want to buy tickets to the Opening Night of an art show made entirely by YWEP artists?

Come Celebrate the:
Survival of the Artist in a world of Dics, Dicks and Dicts
$25.00 ticket

Follow these directions to buy tickets:
1.Click the tab "Give to YWEP" -
2.Make a donation that reflects the number of tickets you are purchasing
3.Then print your receipt and bring it with you to the show- your receipt will be your ticket!

Join us on Friday, Dec. 14 from 8 pm to 11 pm

at Mekhaskhen Art Gallery
Located at 5459 S. Drexel
in Hyde Park, Chicago

Saturday, December 01, 2007

after the fifteen minutes are up

This is kind of horrible. Anyone remember the "God Warrior?"
Marguerite Perrin?

So, I didn't know, apparently her daughter died in a traffic accident a couple of months ago.

Just sad, of course, except:

I dunno. I got there through a circuitous route; right before it I was looking at Marguerite vamping it up for Jay Leno, all smiles and charm and apparent normality after that crazy-ass meltdown. Quite a change in demeanor, if you watch both. Take careful note of the family's faces during the meltdown.

But anyway, so, inevitably, the grotesquery turned it into a media circus and of course she ate it up, did Marguerite. Funny haha. All part of the game, you know.

and now I'm looking at the story of the daughter and it's: drove through a guard rail. No skid marks. No drugs or alcohol.

and I'm thinking: yeah. I wonder.

"I needed your prayers."

"So it's my fault."

"You did come to my mind."

Creepy shit, that was, anyway. Creepy and sad. Now a lot sadder.

Oh well. The show must go on, right?

On edit: and having said all that, and on which note (the Show Must Go On), I gotta admit, I'm sort of in love with Candis Cayne for this routine. (stick with it to the end).

(presumably from before the accident; nothing to do with the daughter)


Is there an "uncanny valley" for sounds?

Because, there's a distinctly -odd-...something...that's only audible in the bedroom, these last couple of nights. At first I was convinced that someone was playing the TV or the radio, because it sounded just enough like the rising and falling patterns of speech, with appropriate pauses, but--maddeningly!--just low enough to not be able to make out what was being said, or even what language.

Then I tried to figure out where it might be coming from, since at four in the morning it was getting a bit old. So I tracked it to where I -thought- it was coming out of--sure enough, someone on the floor above playing what sounded like the news in a foreign language, loud enough to be heard through the front door. I knocked and asked her politely to turn it down. She apologized and did. I went back home. No change.

So then I figure it must be the pipes or the radiator, after all. It's wintertime, or nearly, old buildings make a lot of weird sounds as they creak into warmth.

Except...I can hear the pipes. It's -not- the same sounds. They're going right now. They don't sound like that. And, I never hear that particular sound in the rest of the apartment, or during the daytime, like now. Only in the bedroom. At night. In the dark.

i'm sure it's nothing really

And no, it is not a steady pound-pounding coming from somewhere beneath the floorboards.
I'm fine.

That yellow wallpaper's really got to go, though.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why is this apparently such a difficult concept for so many people?

"You are you. I am me. You; me. You; me. You are not inside my head or body; I am not inside yours. Therefore, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that we might not think or feel the same way about ___, even though yes, we -do- resemble each other in certain superficial ways, I suppose. But, and yet! Different people."

Oh, it doesn't much matter specifically what brought this on, today. Just another trip down the rabbit hole, and I've explored that particular bunny pit too many times on this blog already. There's really nothing new to say about that. Just: damn. Sometimes I think some people use politics or whatever else to cover up the basic problem: that they never figured out basic boundaries. And yet, in most -other- ways they sort of kind of resemble adults.

Oh, well. Back to hibernation--

'tis the season to go postal

if i hear "jingle bell rock" ONE MORE TIME...

and it's not even december yet.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

16 days

'tis the season. A grimmer and longer Festival of Light; you can curse the darkness while lighting these candles. 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

November 25 - December 10, 2007

Demanding Implentation, Challenging Obstacles: End Violence Against Women

Since 1991, the 16 Days Campaign has helped to raise awareness about gender violence and has highlighted its effects on women globally. Each year, thousands of activists from all over the world utilize the campaign to further their work to end violence against women. The campaign has celebrated victories gained by women’s rights movements, it has challenged policies and practices that allow women to be targeted for acts of violence, it has called for the protection of people who defend women’s human rights and it has demanded accountability from states, including a commitment to recognize and act upon all forms of violence against women as human rights abuses...

Challenges and obstacles have been identified by activists in all regions of the world, and we have chosen to highlight a few of those here. These can be addressed both as demands to be made on the state or other institutions and as actions that we must take in our own work in order to achieve better results. A few suggestions for focusing advocacy in this year’s campaign include:

· Demanding and securing adequate funding for work against VAW;
· Calling for greater accountability and political commitment from states to prevent and punish all forms of violence against women in practice, not just in words;
· Increasing awareness of the impact of violence against women, including engaging in measures to end it by men and boys;
· Evaluating the impact and effectiveness of work to prevent violence against women;
· Securing the space for advocacy and defending the defenders of women’s human rights in their work to end gender based violence.

Blogs/gers who have been participating in this include:

Ann Jones of the International Rescue Committee (photos may be triggering/disturbing)

Sokari and chinwe at Black Looks

bideshi blue

Black Amazon


Feminist Allies

A Closer Look

Ultra Violet

There's a roundup of diverse blog posts at openDemocracy.

Also see the blog Document the Silence for ongoing work on violence against WOC, and take a look at the recent week of Red Essays.

Because the "official" commemorative dates pass, but the violence continues, and so does the work.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Quote of the day, 11/25/07

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you, Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Luke 12:27

as loosely inspired by this post, which you should read for a whole bunch of reasons.

Friday, November 16, 2007

and back to giggles

i make post more funny.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

...and this emphatically does NOT make me giggle.

The saga of one Claudia Contrada, a 17 year old who is not gay, no matter how much she insists otherwise. How do we know? Well, her mother says so. She's kind of invested in -not- having a lesbian for a child, you see: she co-runs a virulently anti-gay activist organization. One that in fact was busy protesting the very play her daughter was an actor in--"The Laramie Project," natch, it's such an offensive piece--amd which inspired her to come out, just a couple of weeks ago.

This week Contrada's daughter Claudia is starring in the Acton High School Production of the Laramie Project despite the fact that her mother helped to organize a forum against it, and no doubt opened the door for the similarly anti-gay Fred Phelps crew to plan their own protest of the event.

In a most brilliant display of resilience Claudia is standing up as an inspiring role model for anyone, especially young people, struggling with homophobia in their homes or communities. In addition to her acting, some of the things Claudia speaks out about include animal rights, AIDS, and war.

Today in an exclusive interview with Claudia has revealed that she is a lesbian...

...7. What inspired you to become interested in the rights of oppressed communities, and animal rights, etc.? Who are some leaders (alive or dead) you look up to ?

Well I love animals and have grown up with them so the thought of killing them or torturing them tears me up. It’s disgusting. As far as oppressed communities go, I know what it’s like to be prevented from being who you are. It’s painful and psychologically unhealthy. People shouldn’t have to go through that.

8. Do you identify as LGB or T?

I am a lesbian, which my mom still does not get. She just says that I am confused. I realized in around eighth grade, but I was in denial for quite some time because I was scared due to my mother constantly saying that homosexuality is wrong. How can it ever be wrong to love though? That’s what I’d like to know.

Shortly after this

The story spread among LGBT and progressive blogs. And on November 2nd, Claudia went on to give a stellar performance in the sold-out Laramie Project play that depicts the brutal anti-gay murder of Mathew Shepard. Despite overwhelming support from the community, the play was protested by Fred Phelps thanks to the red carpet Claudia's mom rolled out for them by holding an anti-Laramie Project forum at the school a few weeks prior.

That should have been the end of this story.

But today things suddenly took a turn for the worse. The author of the MassResistance website*, longtime anti-gay activist Brian Camenker, announced that Amy Contrada had pulled her daughter from school and the remaining performances of the play. As usual, his expose' also included lies and attacks on me,, and the Acton school system. The twisted material was also sent out via e-mail to his supporters and the Massachusetts legislators.

As I read his vicious rant my heart sank because Claudia's cherished role in the Laramie Project, and her support system of friends, teachers, and counselors had been robbed from her in order to maintain her mother's sick addiction to hate...

This is how Amy Contrada justifies her actions:

(I'm not hyperlinking the fuckers. I'm sorry, I'm just not).

Homosexual activists violate special-needs student, daughter of MassResistance staffer.
High school involved. Also Boston Globe reporter.
Persuaded vulnerable girl to "come out" as a lesbian on homosexual website -- for their propaganda advantage.
This is the kind of thing the homosexual movement does in schools across Massachusetts. It is pure evil.

ACTON, MASSACHUSETTS (NOV. 7, 2007) Homosexual activists - possibly in cooperation with school staff -- have viciously targeted a 17-year-old special-needs student, the daughter of Amy Contrada, a MassResistance staffer. (It's outrageous that a parent is now forced to reveal once-private information in order to stop this assault.)

Claudia Contrada was born in Korea and was adopted by Amy and her husband as an infant. Claudia's special needs include psychological/emotional issues and learning disabilities. Amy and her husband had Claudia enrolled in private parochial schools until her special needs exceeded those schools' abilities to deal with them. Thus, in seventh grade, they had no choice but to enroll Claudia in the Acton-Boxborough public school system.

But Claudia is talented in singing and especially acting. She has a beautiful voice and a fantastic memory for lines and lyrics. She has won awards for her acting. Her therapists said that Claudia's participation in the school's drama program is directly related to treatment of her special needs.
Pro-homosexual, violent play

This year the high school decided to have the drama club perform "The Laramie Project", a very objectionable pro-homosexual, anti-Christian play filled with profanity and extreme violence. Last summer, Amy met with school officials and also the drama board and begged them to choose a different play, citing Claudia's vulnerabilities. They responded very coldly, and refused to consider it...

Of course, Claudia is no more a lesbian than the man in the moon. She's always had crushes on boys, and her bedroom has always been (and still is) plastered with pictures of boys.

[picture of her daughter's wall]

Claudia's bedroom wall: Does this look like a lesbian's room to you?

So when Claudia told Amy and her husband that she's a lesbian, they basically ignored it as another silly idea that Claudia got from the latest school lunacy, and nothing more. Claudia doesn't really understand what "lesbian" is. It was all about getting attention. They did worry that she was starting to hang out with some very strange kids who had their own emotional problems stemming from "gay" and "transgender" identity issues...

Got that so far? We've got: outing the kid as a (transracial) adoptee, because it is important for everyone to know what kind, saintly people the parents are for taking the wee waif in (and incidentally, whatever's wrong with her is Not Their Fault). We've got rampant ableism--incidentally, what -are- Claudia's "special needs," exactly? There's nothing in the interview or anywhere else that suggests that she's got anything hampering her ability to get on in the world besides hateful, fucked-up "parents" and other authority figures, who, speaking of evil and religion and so on, sound like poster figures for Scott Peck's "People of the Lie." Whatever it is, though, it clearly means she just doesn't know her own mind; she's -confused-, poor dear. Also, she has pictures of teenage boy pop idols on her wall, which means she's totally straight. There is no contradiction here. Anyway, it's best she get taken out of school and away from the Bad Influences, for her own good,- of course. I'm afraid from there it actually gets worse. Photos of her queer classmates, the "corruptors," with personal information and lurid tales of their supposed depravity...

agh. sorry. ill. anyway.

Here is the most recent update from QueerToday.

Here is more information on the hate group run by Amy Contrada, "Mass Resistance" (Watch)

More later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This also makes me giggle, alas:

dammit, kactus.

Did y'all know lesbians have a special "clear-eyed gaze?" Neither did I. I must've missed that in the Official Coming Out Package. Well, it's my own fault. After having so many pencil-stab-related-injuries from reading, uh, Certain People and Places, I'm just grateful my eyeballs function at all. Damn, though. The things you learn.

"Fanny, you're looking a little bloodshot today. Have you been thinking about cock again? Tsk. Tsk."

Things that make me giggle

As promised, Fluff.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

something tells me i shoulda stood in bed

A Bad News Roundup, because I kind of don't really feel up to addressing any of these any more than that right now, though each deserves its own post(s).

Via Renegade: another (? i seem to recall) case wherein "sleepwalking" is a justification for rape, cause you know, how was the guy supposed to know the difference? if she's like that? in the middle of the road and all? who wouldn't just get on top and ask questions never? p.s. he's HIV positive.

Dexter Ford, 52, is charged with raping the 23-year-old woman early Thursday morning near Interstate 71 in Cincinnati.

Ford's lawyer, Jeff Adams, said prosecutors told him the woman takes prescription medication and has a sleepwalking condition, a fact that will likely be the core part of Ford's defense.

"It goes to consent," he said. "How is he to know she is sleepwalking, if it's a dream 'yes' or a real 'yes?'

...During the past 15 years Ford, who is currently homeless, has served time in the Hamilton County jail and state prisons on charges including aggravated arson, breaking and entering, possession of illegal drug paraphernalia, theft and trespassing, court records showed.

...Sleepwalkers typically look like they are in a daze, and may not respond to outside stimuli, he said.

See? Totally understandable! Any reasonable person would see a mumbled "yes" (you know, assuming that convenient hypothetical actually happened) from a "dazed looking person" and immediately take advantage of the situation! That's not rape! So not his fault. And plus, you know, guy who's already been arrested for "aggravated" arson, theft, trespassing, and other signs of being respectful of boundaries in general, "on top of" a woman "near the Interstate," I mean, I'd -totally- assume that was, like, all about consensual good times. Who wouldn't? C'mon, people, benefit of the doubt!

Like f'r instance in this case. Trinity reminds us of last year's case in Australia that actually may beat out the Glen Ridge case for sheer evil, and the loathsome enabling thereof. iacb (among others) notes the more recent news that once again, the fuckers got off with a slap on the wrist:

EIGHT teenagers have escaped a jail term for their role in the notorious "Werribee DVD" after a judge ruled they should complete a rehabilitation program to prevent them repeating their "callous" crimes.

A Children's Court judge convicted seven of the eight youths yesterday after they pleaded guilty to making a film in Werribee last year, which showed them forcing a 17-year-old girl to perform sex acts with two of the boys while the others spat on her, poked her with sticks and repeatedly set her hair alight.

...The judge said the DVD shocked the community.

"Your behaviour was cowardly, brutal and, above all, a serious breach of the law … it was a sustained attack by a pack of young men upon a vulnerable young woman," he said. If they had not pleaded guilty they would have been at "significant risk" of serving time in youth detention, he said.

The court heard that the victim, a 17-year-old girl who suffers from a mild intellectual delay, was terrified during the attack and continues to fear she will be recognised in public.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the girl said: "I'm shocked that they did this to me … my life has been changed forever."

The court heard the girl's father, who only became aware of the attack two hours before excerpts of the film were shown on a television program in October last year, had suffered significant emotional and financial damage. He could not be contacted last night to comment on the sentence.

The eight teenagers, now aged 16 to 18, pleaded guilty last month to four offences over the attack, including procuring an act of sexual penetration by intimidation, assault and making child pornography.

Three other teens charged over the DVD will contest the charges in December, meaning the victim will have to testify in court

I wonder what it would've taken for "significant risk" to be upgraded to, like, "oh, you're REALLY asking for it now." Actually burning her to death? Oh, well, errant yoot. twinklecoddlepinchcheeks

Maybe (maybe) if they'd been responsible for something like this: via Questioning Transphobia:

A trans woman in Indiana was airlifted to a hospital with two broken shoulders, burns over 40% of her face, in a drug-induced coma. The hospital says that the injuries are consistent with physical assault, being doused in gasoline, and set on fire. The sheriff says that it was an automobile accident.

Information here

More information here: ("Yeah. That. And her purse is missing")

Donation information here.

brownfemipower links to the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence Women Of Color Caucus' statement on the case of Megan Williams, and also notes (via xicanopower)
the continuing saga of the teenage boy who was kidnapped, taken across the Mexican border, and is not being allowed back into the U.S. Instead, his family in Nebraska is being deported as well.

"He's in a bit of a pickle, of course," Mumgaard said. "Anyone who is here in the U.S. without documentation is behind the eight ball almost immediately, even a 13-year-old boy."

You don't say.

Meanwhile, as the world turns, all kinds of lovely stuff on an epic scale. brownfemipower has been monitoring the catastrophic flooding in Tabasco, Mexico

(one MILLION Mexicans displaced by floods, yes that's right; and the U.S. has pledged $300,000 to aid refugees, yes THAT's correct, which i guess is what, about 33 cents per refugee? sweet)

...over a series of posts, including some choice words of her own springing off some comments at feministe*:

And guess what, poor white folks–they already ARE effected by global warming (try googling mountain top removal and Appalachia some time, or asbestos poisoning and mining town, or drug addiction and mining or black lung and mining towns, or…maybe you get the picture). These white folks have been working alongside people of color to invoke radical environmental justice for a long time.

But let’s go to the next point:

Just look at who Bush is killing with our wars. The Americans dying are more poor than anything else.

Actually, Bush is killing brown people. And he is using poor white people and people of color to do it. He is not killing white people. The mission we’ve “accomplished’ is the deaths of over a hundred thousand BROWN people. And that’s just in Iraq. Yes, Bush is willingly putting the lives of poor whites into dangerous positions,, but he is not killing them. The Bush regime has not created whole knew words (Islamofacists) to describe poor white citizens. He has not named an axis of evil consisting of Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee. He has not used these code words to justify the obliteration of poor whites.

He is killing brown people. Period. He is using poor whites and people of color to do it. Period.

...As native environmentalist activists have said, “Once they’re done with us, they’re coming for you, so you better start paying attention”.

That’s what happens when there’s an economic *hierarchy*–eventually, level by level, each group of people will be destroyed, it doesn’t matter what color they are. But the base of that hierarchy is built on the souls and lives of people of color–and that’s not a fucking accident.

Some people were trying to say that the Katrina response was about class, not race, also (it's always an either-or, too, right?) Speaking of, Bint Alshamsa shares this joyous news:

All Public Housing Units in New Orleans Set To Be Destroyed

Information on upcoming protests/civil disobedience, and how to help or join, included in the link.

And there's oh, so much more--I hadn't even gotten to the scary shit in Pakistan, for instance--this is a good starting place, threats/urgings for Pakistani bloggers to go offline before they're -made- to be shut down notwithstanding--but, I gotta stop now.

The next post(s) shall be about something Fluffy.

Friday, November 09, 2007

New Yorkers and/or folks who've been following the New Jersey 7/4 case, heads up:

via brownfemipower, Renata Hill's mother is coming to Bluestockings bookstore on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Hi, everyone.

Mollie Brown, the mother of Renata Hill, will be speaking in support of her daughter and the other members of the New Jersey 4 on Saturday, November 17, at 7 p.m. at Bluestockings bookstore. She invites everyone to join her and the other speakers and she hopes that everyone who hears about this event will spread the word about it.

Bluestockings is a radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Telephone: (212) 777-6028

Saturday, November 17th @ 7PM - $5 Suggested BUT you will not be turned away from any event at Bluestockings for having empty pockets.

Discussion: Criminalization of Queer Youth of Color
Let’s have a cross movement dialog regarding race, gender, media and the law. As highlighted by the arrest and incarceration of a group of 4 young lesbian women of color from New Jersey (the Jersey 4), the legal system has a heavy bias with respect to our treatment, our safety, our freedom. Please join us.

Bluestockings is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington - which means that we are 1 block south of Houston and 1st Avenue.

By train: We are 1 block south of the F train’s 2nd Avenue stop and just 5 blocks from the JMZ-line’s Essex / Delancey Street stop.

By car: If you take the Houston exit off of the FDR, then turn left onto Essex (aka Avenue A), then right on Rivington, and finally right on Allen, you will be very, very close.

I'm planning to go to this; if anyone else in the area is too and wants to hang out before or after or at least say "hi," give me a shout.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quote of the day, 11/8/07

Consensually kissing the ass of a human being is remarkably less damaging than consenting to kiss the ass of the state.

--Sly Civilian

Time, gentlepersyns.

Last call for the 2007 Weblog Awards (vote for meeeee).

Oher finalists for best LGBT category:

Republic of T

Pam's House Blend
Joe. My. God.
Average Gay Joe
Susie Bright
The Bilerico Project
Keith Boykin

Other fine nominees in other categories: Shakesville for best Liberal blog, feministe for best 251-500 blogs, Rosemary Rowe aka Creampuff Revolution for Best Individual Blogger (woo!)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Update on the Deni election :(

from Philly News

QUELLE surprise.

Teresa Carr Deni has survived.

The Municipal Court judge who provoked a national uproar when she downgraded rape charges to armed robbery in a case involving a prostitute will be back on the bench for another six years.

Lucky us.

Deni won a retention vote yesterday, despite a rare public rebuke from the chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and a grassroots effort to defeat her.

"A city official told me that you pretty much have to kill your mother not to win a retention vote," said Matilda O'Neill, a local activist and the prime mover behind the "Deny Deni" movement.

The furor over Deni's ruling, which made national news and spurred denouncements on the Internet from as far away as Australia, couldn't penetrate the public apathy about judicial retention elections.

But her Oct. 4 ruling had a profound impact on one person for sure: the victim.

She's a 19-year-old woman who struggles to support herself and her infant daughter - while she cares for her sick mother.

"I'm a single parent by myself and I go through so much - it's so hard," she told me this week.

Her disabled mother spends months at a time in the hospital - which prompted her daughter to drop out of school when she was in 10th grade...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sex worker raped on the job. Judge Teresa Carr Deni rules it "theft of services." Time to fight back.

A number of people covered this story when it first broke . The basics:

A DEFENDANT accused of forcing a prostitute at gunpoint to have sex with him and three other men got lucky, so to speak, last week.

A Philadelphia judge dropped all sex and assault charges at his preliminary hearing.

Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni instead held the defendant on the bizarre charge of armed robbery for - get this - "theft of services."


Deni told me she based her decision on the fact that the prostitute consented to have sex with the defendant.

"She consented and she didn't get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery."

The prostitute, a 20-year-old single mother, agreed to $150 for an hour of oral and vaginal sex on Sept. 20, according to assistant district attorney Rich DeSipio. The arrangements were made through her posting on Craigslist.

She met the defendant, Dominique Gindraw, 19, at what she thought was his house, but which turned out to be an abandoned property in North Philadelphia.

He asked if she'd have sex with his friend, too, and she agreed for another $100.

The friend showed up without money, the gun was pulled and more men arrived.

When a fifth man arrived and was invited to join, DeSipio said, he asked why the girl was crying - and declined. He helped her get dressed so she could leave.

It's true the prostitute negotiated sex with the defendant - but not unprotected gang sex at gunpoint.

"The Legislature has defined sex by force as rape," said DeSipio, accusing the judge of "rewriting her own laws."

DeSipio said Judge Deni's ruling was based, not on the law, but on moral contempt.

"Certainly if a jury wants to make that judgment, they're entitled to. But for a judge to make a judgment on a human being - I've never seen that before."

Deni did seem contemptuous of the victim:

"Did she tell you she had another client before she went to report it?" Deni asked me yesterday when we met at a coffee shop.

"I thought rape was a terrible trauma."

A case like this, she said - to my astonishment - "minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped."

The defendant was charged in an identical incident involving a 23-year-old woman four days later, DeSipio said.

Now, Bound Not Gagged has called for a blogswarm about this.

I'm feeling a bit brain-burnt at the moment, so I'm just going to post some highlights from the numerous others who've said everything I could've or would've said a lot better already. Well, one quick introductory note: it is nice to see that despite the differing stances on What This All Means Dear, at least wrt what should be done about prostitution, legally speaking, people on both/all sides of the ideological fence are united in the belief that: damn this was a fucked-up, sexist, awful decision, of COURSE it was rape, and Judge Deni needs to be removed.


In Contempt of Humanity, Judge Deni, and definitions

rape1 /reɪp/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[reyp] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, raped, rap·ing.

1. the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse...

Judge Deni should have to look no further than the first line in the dictionary of the definition of rape. When physical force and/or duress became involved it became rape. When the victim was in a position where sex was forced upon her against her will, without her consent, that was rape. Consent is active not passive. Unless the victim said yes to having sex with all of the men, which she did not, the answer is no. No means no. Anything short of yes is no. Money means nothing if it is against a person’s will.

Sex Workers Against Rape

Sex workers can and are often raped. Sex workers are opposed to rape. We are as vulnerable to it as anyone, we feel as strongly opposed to it as anyone. Because money is exchanged for sex does not change the fact that we do not want to be forced into anything sexually that we do not consent to nor do we want any other woman to.

Supporting sex worker rights is essential to fighting rape. As long as there is a class of women considered “bad” and somehow deserving of rape, all women, sex workers and non sex workers suffer. NO ONE chooses to be raped. The need for society to respect a woman’s right to choose, to consent, or not to as it comes to sex, regardless of how she dresses, what time she is outside, where she is walking, who she is with, and what she does for work, is a social necessity that we all must stand together for. Ending social views that deem some women as bad and deserving of rape is essential.

Where are you?

Now, I’ll ask again, beloved partners in defense of women’s rights, supporters of sexual freedom, revolutionaries waiting for the reverberating call to action, are you listening?

Because I don’t think you are, and it pains me. Unlike Ren, I am still shocked by the deafening silence over this case. I know people are talking, but why isn’t anyone outside of the sex worker community screaming?!?!?!

We could really use allied forces right now. We don’t even have to engage in the ’sex work debate’. We can unite as sisters and brothers in arms against sexual violence.

Everyone, especially the revolutionaries whom so many of us call friends and lovers, should be alarmed by Judge Deni’s ruling. It sets a dangerous legal precedent and suggests that serial rapists can prey on sex workers with impunity.

A guest commenter says,

I’m not here as a supporter of many of the positions of websites like boundnotgagged or because I think all aspects of the sex industry should be legalized. I’m against legalizing measures that allow pimps and johns to consume and trade women. I’m writing on the blog because I agree that Judge Deni’s ruling is a violation of the rights of prostituted women and because we are all concerned with the welfare of women in the sex industry. But I’m mainly here in hopes that the people of PA will vote out Judge Deni. Her ruling that a raped prostituted woman should not be considered a rape victim but instead a victim of “theft of services” because her “services” were stolen when she was not paid after answering an add in the ever dangerous Craigslist and held at gunpoint while she was gang raped by the “client’s” friends makes Deni an unsuitable judge. Please vote her out of service! This is a horrid decision that she made and literally left me up at night in shock and in sadness for the brave victim who had the courage to press charges, despite the social stigma against her. She has been raped twice – once by her attackers and again in the legal system (as Chancellor Jane Leslie Dalton rightly stated).

Why not say what you really mean?

I mean, come on judge Deni, why not just say it. I mean, you said (this case) “minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped.”

Why not just say it…that it minimizes cases of rape against real women. After all, that’s pretty much the impression you’ve given, the mode of thinking you have towards the victim of this crime, that she’s lesser some how. Not like you. So why not just say it.

Be honest. After all, you’re already an asshole.

From Matilda at the Deny Deni! Campaign in Philadelphia

As I’ve worked on the campaign to get Deni voted out of office on November 6th, the evidence of her contempt for sex workers has become more and more apparent. In the first place, one of her statements to Jill Porter, the reporter who originally broke the story, (which you can find here) was that the victim had taken another client before reporting the incident.

Not only is this in no way relevant—even if she had, people who experience trauma often go on with their plans before they begin to process what has happened to them and, more to the point, she still needed to make money to support herself and her child—but it actually turns out that was an outright lie on Deni’s part. Clearly she thought this would bolster her stance in other people’s eyes but it is nowhere in the court transcripts and participants who were there that day say that no such thing ever came up.

There have also been two different court records leaked of cases involving sex workers she has presided over in which she also dismissed rape charges. It has been repeatedly been stated to me that Deni has been a pretty good judge when some women have ended up in front of her. Apparently she is considered lenient and fair in these cases. What is also readily apparent, however, is that she has a deep-seated and irrational hatred of women who engage in sex work. She clearly feels that she is justified in punishing them for their choice of employment no matter what the reason they have come before her in court.

Right Then

Despite all that other average Citizen Americanus stuff, I’m a sex worker, which makes me different, other, and yes, as Judge Deni proved so brilliantly with her decision to label the rape of a prostitute a mere theft of services, lesser and not deserving of the full protection of the law.

...And people wonder why people like me, who are pretty much Average Citizen Americanus in almost every other way would not ever consider going to the cops in this sort of a situation. It’s very true that on the job I could be beaten, raped, threatened with a gun, and if that happened, guess what? I would not go to the law. I’d like to think I could, that it would be worth it, but this case and every other one like it just shows me otherwise. There is no faith in the justice system here on this issue. If you sell sex, well, you’re just asking for it, right? That’s what they’re saying...

Hell, even when sex workers get murdered, it some how ends up being their own fault. Any attack or assault upon our persons we bring on ourselves, because we sell nudity, sex and sexuality for a living. We somehow, well, deserved it. What did we expect after all, doing something so unseemly? What did she expect?

I guess she really shouldn’t have worn a short skirt.

I guess none of us should.

And this is not going to change until people, people above and beyond us, people above and beyond we sex workers with Internet connections start making some noise.


Questioning Transphobia

This is an abhorrent way to treat rape and rape victims, this encourages the treatment of cis women who are sex workers as less than human, and I can’t help but wonder what would happen if a trans woman sex worker were brought before this judge or one of a similar mindset. Hell, I wonder about the even more likely case of a trans prostitute’s murder brought before this woman. If this is her attitude, she shouldn’t be sitting on the bench. Thanks to Elizabeth McClung, I don’t have to worry about that last any more. It’s no surprise, though.


It may be tempting for those of us who are not prostitutes to sit this one out. After all, this isn’t about us, right?


If it is not rape to be forced to have sex, at gunpoint, after refusing, just because you’d previous agreed to have unforced sex for money, then who is next?

Maybe they’ll come for those who agree to have sex with a friend of the guy who rapes them? That’s not rape, it’s identity switching.

Or those who agreed to have sex in the past and then are forced to do so at a later point? That’s not rape, it’s time discrepancy.

Or those of us who are or have been strippers? We were willing to do sex-related stuff for money, so this isn’t rape it’s just forced inflation of services.

What if we at one point had sex with a boyfriend as a fun way to settle a bet? Then we ARE prostitutes and it’s back to theft of services.

What if we can be demonstrated to have sex with our husbands in exchange for material security? Then there’s no spousal rape...

Bint Alshamsa

This is outrageous! This judge is absolutely incompetent. Fortunately, the people of Philadelphia have the ability to do something about it. Tomorrow, Philadelphians going to the polls will have the chance to decide whether or not they want to give Teresa Carr Deni six more years to misapply and ignore the laws she is getting paid nearly $150,000 a year to uphold.

What this judge did hurts all women in that it makes it more difficult for any of us to get justice from the courts. When she has been victimized by the rapist, a woman is already forced to give all sorts of irrelevant information about her sex life anytime she makes an accusation of rape. Then, to have to go before a judge who claims that a woman being gang-raped at gunpoint is nothing more than a theft of services...Well, how many women do you think would be willing to put themselves through that? I'm not even a sex worker and I know I wouldn't.

Black Amazon

Today sex positive,sex worker and WOC blogs are blogging for a woman.

She was trying to survive. For many women of color,trans women,LGBT women, this " good behavior" that is so derided is simply self preservation.

A black mother in a city that is dismantling welfare.

She is being told that a gang rape, an utter violation of her humanity.

Is equatable to " theft of goods"

The person who told her this was a woman.

...Because the judge is a woman , she a high ranking court official. She's a "woman in power"

and what did her power get us

but her looking another human being in the face and telling her she was "stolen goods"...

...That we are as women supposed to invest and believe in women and a movement that are more invested in unfettered power than actually engaging the problems we have with it.

It leaves me in a strange place.

Because in the end our action is focused on deposing and fighting the woman who " mattered'

Her power her "bad behavior" now becomes paramount.

What about the victim?

Why don't we talk about her motherhood or her blackness and her city taking away her options

Why is she suddenly amorphous woman?

To be discussed not as a specific survivor but emblematic of suddenly larger ills .

Why are the WOC and sex workers the ones who remember this may not be a time to be snide and stick it to somebody.

Why do all of these suddenly blend to me into one large drone of " we'll use you any way we want"

Why is she a one liner in a list or a step to something else...

Renegade again

Every once in awhile, BfP comes around and slaps some sense into my head. Black Amazon probably has a sense slapping stick with my name on it sitting in a corner of her room somewhere…and it’s needed, because often times while I do take on the issues surrounding sex work, and yep, even class (because face it, those are two I am more familiar with) often times I neglect race…which is often the biggest issue of them all.

Truth be told, in the Deni/Prostitute case in Philly…I had not read anywhere, in any of the news reports, that the survivor was black. I knew she was a single mother, I knew her age, I knew where she advertised, but rarely was her race mentioned.

This does not surprise me. Well, as I said already, nothing about this case surprises me.

I am familiar with the city of Philadelphia. It’s a strange place, and though called the City of Brotherly Love, it often times does not live up to the moniker. Philly is notorious for it’s lack of support systems for the economically disadvantaged; it’s bellow the surface racism and anti-gay sentiments. Face it, in a lot of ways, Philly has a bad rep, and it’s somewhat warranted.

And what we have here is a White Female Judge, who makes a whole lotta money, who has all sorts of advantages, Treating a Black Female who does not have that money, or those advantages like a subhuman piece of garbage. And it is so not an isolated incident. It is also bullshit. This whole thing reeks of the snotty upper-class white lady turning up her nose at the dirty, unseemly single black mother hooker. A woman who does, probably has to do, things that the Refined Judge herself has never had to consider doing, would never considering doing, because she has advantages in life this other woman did not. And yet, she sits in judgment over her, and passes down judgment that is far more reaching than in a legal capacity.

...I wonder, if, there were more PoC’s sitting on benches in the legal system if things would, here, there and everywhere, be a little different. Well yes, I think they would be. I wonder if people didn’t carry around this mental image of a hooker in their heads if things would be different. I wonder if this woman had been white if things would be different…

Yes, I think they would be. In her case, and in countless other similar ones.