I know, I’m terrible June 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging.
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Sorry it’s been slow around here: last week at my current job, plus house hunting and house sitting has left me without time to post. This will change next week, with new stuff Tuesday, and full swing returning Thursday. In the meantime, some things to go:
Men Kissing Men: Jesus, sometimes I hate people edition June 23, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, News and politics.
In the Garden State it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, but the Newark, NJ school superintendent felt it necessary to protect the “sensitivities” of parents. (NJ.com):
Newark Superintendent of Schools Marion Bolden called the photograph “illicit” and ordered it blacked out of the $85 yearbook before it was distributed to students at a banquet for graduating seniors Thursday. “It looked provocative,” she said. “If it was either heterosexual or gay, it should have been blacked out. It’s how they posed for the picture.”
Russell Garris, the assistant superintendent who oversees the city’s high schools, brought the photograph to Bolden’s attention Thursday afternoon. He was concerned the picture would be controversial and upsetting to parents, Bolden said.
There are several photos of heterosexual couples kissing in the yearbook, but the superintendent said she didn’t review the entire yearbook and was presented only with Jackson’s page.
Provocative? Yeah, that rather chaste kiss is sure provocative, and definitely has nothing to do with the genders of those doing the kissing. Right.
I’m reminded of something my tattoo artist told me: “the difference between people with tattoos and people without tattoos is that people with tattoos won’t ever judge you for not having them.” Similarly, I have trouble imagining any gay parents being traumatized by the photos of straight people kissing. Dealing with a dominant culture is like that.
Abuse is the fault of the abuser June 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Morality, News and politics.
If only we lived in a society where the above statement was uncontroversial, but as TheHolyFatMan explains, we have a tendency to blame those who have suffered from domestic abuse (she cautions against the world “victim”), if not overtly, than implicitly by questioning their choices.
Abuse is so complex that the decision to leave an abusive man is tough for so many reasons. Had I not been empowered by a few well meaning women willing to hide me until the coast was clear, I don’t think I would have done it as soon as I did. My family simply denied that I wasn’t at fault. They blamed me for all the violence that happened.
In my experience, this is a sadly common line of thought: if someone is being abused, they must have asked for it in some way. That rhetoric mirrors our society’s twisted view of rape. If we’re going to make progress in the fight against domestic violence, we must continue to point out, as TheHolyFatMan does, that the right reaction is to put the blame on the abuser. If we can change our societal attitudes toward violence, those who commit the violence will find themselves with fewer places to hide. Someday, with great effort, perhaps we can make the abuser be the ones who need be afraid. I’ll leave ThHolyFatMan with the last word:
Not that easy, I say, and explain why it was so difficult to leave. In the end, I won having cut my abuser out my life forever through the proper legal channels. Some “men’s rights’ advocates will scoff at the fact that I cut “my babies daddy” our of her life, but they might believe that his watching her take a shower at age 8 was acceptable. Nooo, suckers. It wasn’t and NO argument will ever change my mind about that. My life will never be the same and I’ll never feel completely safe even though I haven’t seen or heard from him in nearly 4 years. I still will look over my shoulder everywhere I go until I know that he has met his untimely demise.
and I’m not to blame for it.
Midweek Music: poetry edition June 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, Poetry.
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I generally leave the music posts for The Lizard Queen, who’s musical knowledge surpasses mine by several orders of magnitude. But I couldn’t help but note Loreena McKennitt putting Yeats’ “The Stolen Child” to music:
I doubt that any English-language poet from the last century has had more of a gift for making rhyme and rhythm seem natural, and no one best Yeats at the great standard of rhyme proposed by Frost: in a good rhyme, the reader should not be able to tell which word was chosen first and which chosen because it rhymes.
McKennitt captures that aspect of his poetry brilliantly.
Midweek poetry: Rilke’s “Love Song” June 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, Poetry.
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posted for l, with love.
How shall I hold on to my soul, so that
it does not touch yours? How shall I lift
it gently up over you on to other things?
I would so very much like to tuck it away
among long lost objects in the dark
in some quiet unknown place, somewhere
which remains motionless when your depths resound.
And yet everything which touches us, you and me,
takes us together like a single bow,
drawing out from two strings but one voice.
On which instrument are we strung?
And which violinist holds us in the hand?
O sweetest of songs.
Marriage is what brings us together today June 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, Morality.
Well, not really. But that headline is way more funny if you imaging me reading it ala the priest in The Princess Bride. But what I’m actually here to write about to day is the institution of marriage, and why it is not for me. What prompted me to finally getting around to posting my thoughts on this were thought-provoking posts by Jessica and Amanda about how engagement and marriage play out in American patriarchal society.
Now, as I’m male, I don’t feel the worst of the sting of the assumption of male superiority that so heavily taints the institution of marriage. It does affect me, of course: prejudice does not only hurt those who it targets, though it does hurt them far worse than it hurts the privileged.
But read the above links for feminist analysis: I have nothing to add to that discussion. Instead, I would like to explain one reason why I do not plan to get married: even in an equitable marriage, the institution can function coercively.*
In my opinion, there is only one legitimate reason to stick it out through the rough times in a relationship: because one believes the future will make the current stress worthwhile. Simply put, we stay in relationships–or we ought to–because we believe they will continue to be a good thing for us.
When I move at the end of next month, I’ll be moving in with my partner. I am devoted to her and the thought of moving across the country and into a new place with her is a thrilling one: so much so it is even helping to balance out my usual anxiety about moving. I have been and will continue to be asked if we have plans to get married. The answer is simple: no, we do not. (And I find it odd that the one is assumed somehow to lead to the other.)
What would marriage give us that we don’t already have? Devotion? Love? A shared commitment to each other? Nope: all those things are already present. What marriage would add–and the only thing I can see it adding, besides tax breaks**–is state sanction of our relationship. We would have a piece of paper that says we’re committed to each other, and that demands a great deal of work for us should we ever chose to dissolve that union. In other words, we would have a legal document designed to make it harder for us to seperate.
Should it ever happen that my partner decides to leave me, I do not want her to feel compelled to stay because of a contract. I have no desire to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me. If we were married, that adds extra complications to that equation. And to what benefit? We stay with our partners because we love them and are devoted to them, whether we are married or not.
Now, there are some legitimate reasons to consider marriage: benefits (my new job does not provide domestic partner benefits, sadly), an expression before the community of our commitment, and a ceremony which we can affirm what is already implicit. I do not wish to make light of these considerations: economic, communal and personal, respectively, they should not be easily ignored.
But neither are they sufficient reason for every relationship to follow the marriage model. I recognize that marriage makes sense for many people. For me it does not. I have my reasons, which many people would disagree with. But as I do not attempt to assume others will stay unmarried, I would appreciate it if no one would assume that marriage is an inevitable part of a sufficiently successful relationship.
* I do not mean to imply that marriage isn’t the right choice for some people. In general, consenting adults are way better at deciding what to do in their own relationships than anyone else is about deciding for them. I have dear friends for whom marriage was absolutely the right choice, and I have no desire to deride that choice. I just want to explain why I don’t desire to participate in this particular institution.
** I’m speaking entirely for myself here. I don’t presume to speak for my partner: she’s more articulate than I anyway, and will speak for herself if she wishes.
Dudesky on Vox Day’s literary genius June 19, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, Blogging, language and lit.
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His argument, as nearly as I can follow it’s “logic,” breaks down like this:
1) All art is subjective.
2) Good art is that which is published.
3) I, Evil Bender (or “Evilpunk,” as he dubs me*), am a “propagandist.”
Yeah, I know. But who wants to throw around a phrase like non sequitur?
* I’m always amused at how wingnuts think they’re being clever by either saying “evil is right” or otherwise modifying my name. “Evilpunk?” How will my ego ever recover from such a glorious bashing?
In Massachusetts, a gang — including the governor, including the Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi, including Senate president Therese Murray, and including Governor Deval Patrick — they did an end-run around the voters. The voters wanted a vote on homosexual marriage. They wanted it to go before the people, and these criminals went behind the voters’ back and shot it down. They won’t even let them vote on it. They said “drop dead” to all of you. “We’re not going to let you vote on it! We control the state!” The gang that answers to the gay mafia controls the state — “You people, you can drop dead, all of you.”
How dare those politicians let the “gay mafia” convince them that civil liberties shouldn’t be taken away by a vote? Michael Savage is simply truly deranged. He honestly believes that an attacked, belittled, marginalized minority is somehow in control of our nation, when of course that honor goes, as even Bill O knows, to white Christian (heterosexual) men.
Savage would be funny, if he weren’t taken seriously by such a large audience, and if he didn’t encourage that audience to be venomous hateful thugs like him.
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
- sex (6x)
- murder (4x)
- lesbian (3x)
- death (2x)
- drugs (1x)
Really, that seems rather tame. I mean, we don’t even get a mention of men kissing men. And apparently my discussions of the continuing cost of war, the phrase “homosexual Mecca,” and a post mentioning the words “gay” “penis” and “nazi” don’t even figure into the rating system.
Sounds like real movie ratings, after all.
“Every religion should be tolerated” which is why we’re going to suicide bomb the f*ck outta you June 19, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Morality, News and politics, wingnuts.
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PZ has some thoughts on fundie Muslims going batshit crazy over Salman Rushdie being knighted in Great Britain. Now, I’m on record repeatedly as saying that we should practice tolerance for others’ religious beliefs (or lack thereof), and I stand by that assessment. But the reason for that tolerance is that no set of views has a right to special privilege: every view deserves to be heard, and no view has the right to use hatred and violence to silence others.
But if you take a fundamentalist of almost any stripe, they don’t recognize that. Or, more precisely, they understand the rhetoric well enough to pretend to care about fairness while supporting their own ends:
Pakistan’s minister for parliamentary affairs, Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, who proposed the resolution condemning the honour, branded Rushdie a “blasphemer”.
She told MPs: “The ‘sir’ title from Britain for blasphemer Salman Rushdie has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims across the world. Every religion should be respected. I demand the British government immediately withdraw the title as it is creating religious hatred.”
What a clever and entirely disingenuous argument: withdraw the title out of respect for Muslims. Nevermind the complete contempt that shows for those who are not Muslims. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Religious tolerance, in the rhetoric of fundies, means “don’t attack my beliefs and especially don’t attack my right to attack yours beliefs.”
And of course it isn’t Islam these people are defending, it is their own fundamentalist interpretation of it. Listening to these breathless attacks, you’d think that every Muslim in the world hates Rushdie, which just isn’t so. But to the fundies, no doubt, anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t really a Muslim. I wonder where we’ve heard that before?
Religion does not and should not have a special place in the realm of tolerance. We should tolerate others beliefs because we wish for our own beliefs to be tolerated. But we must never be deceived by those of any faith who would hide behind a mask of tolerance to avoid criticism while simultaneously attempting to silence anyone who disagrees with their warped version of reality.