Saturday, April 14, 2007
Please don't ever stop doing what you're doing. It's so very, very necessary. Go read the whole thing.
I find that feminists of the empowerful, slo-mo kickboxing variety are sometimes impatient with women who have been publicly screwed over by the Establishment. These feminists seem actually to be critical of women on the wrong end of a beatdown. Their motto is that the wronged women should open up a can of whup-ass on the thugly oppressor. Otherwise, men might take it into their heads that women can be kept in line with intimidation. According to these feminists, the women who cry uncle have allowed themselves to become “victims rather than people.”
But look here. Who are they trying to kid. Women can be kept in line with intimidation, and the whole world knows it. Aren’t people who have been raped and intimidated and harassed and threatened with death “victims”? What the fuck is wrong with that word? It describes the situation perfectly.
Do you guys get, I mean actually get, that our society is a patriarchy? Patriarchy isn’t just a gimmick for a blog. It really exists. There are actual implications. Do you get that a patriarchy is predicated on exploitation and victimization? It’s not a joke! It’s not an abstract concept dreamed up by some wannabe ideologue making up catch-phrases while idling away the afternoons with pitchers of margs. Exploitation and victimization is the actual set-up! A person is either an exploiter or a victim, or sometimes both, but never neither.
This means me! This means you!
This means that, until patriarchy is smashed, we ain’t got a chance.
Meanwhile, do you guys see that there is no other possible outcome, in a society based on exploitation and victimization, than for the Don Imuses and the Daily Koses of the world to shit, frequently, on members of the lower castes? Shitting on the lower castes is a privilege built into the system. When exercised with macho aplomb, it attracts advertisers. It creates prestige. It makes money. It entertains the masses.
If, by some Stone Age fantasy-world turn of good fortune, our society had not been permitted by the clumsy aliens of the planet Obsterperon to devolve into a patriarchy, Kathy Sierra wouldn’t have done anything wrong. The Rutgers basketball team wouldn’t have done anything wrong. They would have just been human beings, doing whatever the fuck they felt like doing.
But it is a patriarchy. And in a patriarchy, where women are the lowest caste, a public woman is always wrong. Which is why Sierra and the basketball players and lard knows how many others over the millennia have been victimized by a gazillion patriarchy-enthusiasts. These women attempted publicly, in a society in which they are devalued as dirty jokes, hysterics, babymommas, and receptacles, to behave as sovereign human beings. It is one of the first laws of patriarchy that insubordinate females should be jeered at and harassed, from the moment they dare, as members of the sex caste, to step into the gray subumbra of proto-celebrity, to the moment the last blurb is written by some feminist blogger who criticizes their behavior as victims-who-let-the-terrorist-manbags-win.
Do you get the implications? Even the feminists — we’re as poisoned by establishmentarianist dogma as anybody else — operate under the patriarchal paradigm. Thus, even some feminists think we ought to criticize Kathy Sierra for not taking her reaming like a man. We recognize that victimhood does not equal personhood, but beyond that we’re constrained by some dim twilight denial. We can’t believe, even though it is true, that victimhood the only available outcome, so we say insane things like, “don’t act like a victim, you idiot!” But for chrissake, what do we want from her? Do we seriously think she can take down the dominant culture by “standing up” to it, with only a few wan ‘you go, girls’ from the sidelines to mark the occasion? Without a revolution to back her up, all the whup-ass in the world will only get her locked up.
Do you get it yet?
Without revolution, the oppressor won’t stop oppressing. Without revolution, there is no happy ending.
Is it your face that adorns this garden?
Is it your fragrance that intoxicates this garden?
Is it your Spirit that has made this brook a river of wine?
Hundreds have looked for you, and died searching in this garden,
where you hide behind the scenes.
But this pain is not for those who come as lovers.
You are easy to find here.
You are in the breeze and in this river of wine.
Amy Sophia Marashinsky says that:
Nut is the Egyptian Goddess of the night sky, also known as the Great Deep, the Celestial Vault, who daily gives birth to the sun each morning, then consumes it again each night. . . . Painted inside the inner lid of a sarcophagus, she mothers and protects the dead on their journey.
Marashinsky adds that:
Nut's twinkling vast dark vault stretches out in your life to remind you to open to mystery. . . . The Wise Woman knows [that] there is much in the universe that will remain a mystery and leaves space for it in the weaving of her life. Nut says [that] the way to nurture wholeness is for you to trust that the mystery [that] you let in will be exactly what you need for your journey to wholeness.
Hail Mystery of the Night Sky! Hail Nut!
Art found here, here, and here.
Friday, April 13, 2007
What Thers said, although he's taken to changing his blog as often as John McCain changes his position on Bush and fundies. watertiger, meanwhile, has made John McCain into her own personal traveling yard gnome.
McCain is, as arabella at Atrios says, done, ruined, and fucked.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
May The Goddess Guard Him. May He Find His Way To The Summerlands. May His Friends And Family Know Peace.
Miniver Cheevey says all that can be said, I think, about the passing of Kurt Vonnegut. I'll just say that Vonnegut's cautionary tale about a woman who was trying, like many Americans, to build a life that made sense out of items that she'd purchased at a gift shop, turned my life around 180 degrees at a time when it truly needed turning around. And that has made, in Frost's words, all the difference.
I love this poem; I've loved it from the first day that I read it, almost twenty years ago. I live a curious life, grounded physically on the East coast, but grounded business-wise and, in many ways, intellectually, on the West coast, in the land of Califia, the Amazon Queen. On both coasts, April is a month of such liminal spaces, perhaps this year more than in many other years. Frost (the poet, not the personfication of cold), old man that he is, captures this so perfectly when he says: "The sun was warm but the wind was chill./You know how it is with an April day/When the sun is out and the wind is still,/You're one month on in the middle of May/But if you so much as dare to speak,/A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,/A wind comes off a frozen peak,/And you're two months back in the middle of March."
What Frost says at the end has guided my life in important ways, as well. "[Y]ield who will to their separation,/My object in living is to unite/My avocation and my vocation/As my two eyes make one in sight./Only where love and need are one,/And the work is play for mortal stakes,/Is the deed ever really done/For Heaven and the future's sakes."
You've been there, haven't you? Where love and need are one, and work is play for mortal stakes? To me, that's a classic definition of the practice of law, but I guess that it's the definition of any job that you love.
How did Frost know so much? What was it about the daily practice of chopping wood and writing poems that taught him to be so wise? And wouldn't I love, at some level, to be a tramp in mud time?
Robert Frost - Two Tramps In Mud Time
Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.
Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose to my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March.
A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn't blue,
But he wouldn't advise a thing to blossom.
The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut's now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don't forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.
The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You'd think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.
Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.
Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man's work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right--agreed.
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.
When these e-mails are found and, believe me, a forensic computer specialist can find e-mails you never dreamed that s/he could find, it's going to turn out that at least some of them dealt with warrantless domestic spying on the Kerry campaign, other Democrats, and members of the media. I'm saying it now so that when it happens, I can say "I told you so."
I was talking with two of my witch friends last night about daily practice and what it's for and how it differs from group ritual. Diane Sylvan says, and I agree, that daily practice is crucial to spiritual growth. Sure, you can be a "festival pagan" or a "Sabbat witch" and there's nothing wrong with that. But for many, that's not enough. And the answer isn't necessarily to work for better and more magical festivals or Sabbats (not that there's anything wrong with that), but to engage in a daily practice.
In an ideal environment, everything that we do, from the moment that we wake up, through getting on the metro and standing in such close proximity with our fellow humans, through doing the work that we do, through eating a meal, through going to the gym, through falling asleep -- everything -- would be a part of our "daily practice." Every step that we took on Mother Earth would be taken consciously, would be taken as a blessing upon the Earth, would be an act of communion with the
But, you know, it isn't like that. For me, at least, what prevents life from being like that is my monkey mind, the one that starts chattering a few seconds before I wake up and says, "Shit. I forgot to take the trash out last night and now it's raining, but I have to get the trash out because I've got people coming over for dinner tomorrow and I want the back porch really clean and I also have to stop at the dry cleaners to pick up the tablecloth and I have to get flowers and, oh, shit, I have to go to the bank, I think I have a conference call at 5:00 this evening and that means that the dry cleaners will close before I get home so I have to stop on my way to work and I wonder if I can get all of those memos read so I'll be ready for the conference call; X is going to be on that conference call and, you know, X was pretty shitty to me at work yesterday and I wonder what to do about it, X was shitty to me just the way that my father used to be shitty to me and I remember the time that my father said . . . ." Not too much communion going on with Mother Earth as a listen to my monkey mind while brushing my teeth, feeding the cat, carting the trash out in the rain, and dashing to work.
So daily practice for me is a time to do the sometimes quite difficult work of silencing my monkey mind and focusing on what matters. Of course, one should be able to do that on metro, surrounded by hundreds of morning commuters or while dropping off drycleaning. But I find it helpful to have a separate room with an altar, to light candles and incense for Younger Self, to sit and ground, clear my chakaras, say the Ha prayer, and then meditate. If I want to work some particular magic, this is when I'll do it. If I've promised someone that I'll light incense for them, this is when I'll do it.
But it strikes me that what Jensen is talking about in this clip is also a daily practice. A daily, moment-by-moment being present to what our landbase needs and a commitment to do that. To do whatever it takes. It may take sitting at an altar and doing magic to protect the Earth. It may take walking to work instead of driving. It may take radical change and it may take subtle change. But what we have to do, as Jensen notes, is whatever it takes. Saving the Earth isn't like horseshoes or hand grenades; just trying isn't enough. Using your gifts in the service of your landbase, and doing it every single day, is a daily practice, every bit as much as praying or meditating. Even if, not that this is ideal, you do that with monkey mind chattering madly the whole time.
Jensen's discussion of the difference between hope and commitment is important in this context, as well. You can hope that you'll grow spiritually all day long. You can add it to the list of things that your monkey mind chatters on about and chastises you for not doing. You can hope that you'll find the time and the discipline to keep doing it, but that won't help you to grow spiritually. What will is realizing that, as Jensen says, you have agency, and then putting your butt on the yoga blanket in front of your altar every night, whether you feel like it or not.
The two forms of daily practice aren't mutually exclusive, in fact, they support each other and the better that you get at one, the easier that the other is likely to become. And, vice versa. If you were to spend your life using your gifts to care for your landbase, if you were to do whatever it takes to make sure that the Earth is habitable, what would you do differently every day? Will you start today?
Confessions of a 26-year-old Female Porn Writer
I write porn for a living.
I am not talking about erotica.
I am not talking about literature.
Oh, I write that too, the serious stuff
the literary stuff
the stuff I can't show my mother but I can take to class
the stuff, sex stuff, that I can put on the net
that I can sign my name to
that I can be political with
that I can try to change the world with
try to get people talking
get them thinking
get them hot and bothered and hard and dripping and
that they like sex
like reading about sex
like thinking about sex
like talking, out loud, about sex.
That part's easy.
All right, it's not easy.
It bothers some people
and shocks others
and my mother now has something she can hold over me
until the day I die -- look what you're doing to your father!
But I have literature on my side.
I have a book in respectable bookstores
I have a reading at B. Dalton
I have an ISBN number
I have this book in the Library of Congress
and so I can tell you with confidence that this is serious literature
and the ACLU
and the feminists
and the lesbians
and the whole left-wing is pretty much on my side.
That is a formidable army.
The porn is another story.
Let me tell you about the porn.
I write it for Puritan, for Sizzle, for Red Light.
I'd write for Penthouse if they'd buy it;
I might even write it for Hustler.
The porn is not about sex and character
The porn is not about sex and stylistic variation
The porn is not about literary explorations of sexuality.
The porn is just about sex.
The porn is just sex.
The porn is cocks and cunts and breasts and thighs
The porn is thrusting and dripping and pinning her down
The porn is holding her hands up above her head while
he fucks her brains out
and she fucks her ass
and you, yeah, you, fuck her mouth and then come on her face
The porn will fuck her until she is used up and exhausted
and still wet, still dripping, still hungry for more.
The porn is not politically correct.
The porn is not ethically correct.
The porn that gets me off
is hard and strong and dripping wet
and is emphatically
The porn is unsigned, unnamed, practically unknown
The porn is a cursed untouchable in the civil rights world
the ACLU shuns it
the lesbians read it in the dark, under the covers
the feminists want to burn it
and the left wing is embarrassed that it exists.
That is the kind of shit I write.
That is the kind of shit I don't put my name on.
That is the kind of shit that I do mostly for the money
which would make me the worst kind of whore
the kind who'll fuck anything, anywhere
if it pays well enough, no matter how dry her cunt is...
But my cunt is not dry.
My cunt is dripping.
I am rocking in my chair,
writing those fucking words,
those devoid-of-literary-aspirations words
those mostly for the money, but partly for the sex
And I am hot
is what makes it all
May 18, 1998
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
When our children are young, we teach them to dream big and reach for the stars, and that if they work hard enough they can accomplish anything.
This year the Rutgers women's basketball team defied the odds and lived up to their dreams, providing inspiration to every little boy and girl beginning to pick up a ball or open a book. These remarkable young women reached the pinnacle of success and won the hearts of basketball fans everywhere with their grace, skill, and poise. They are role models deserving our praise -- and our support.
Don Imus's comments about them were nothing more than small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism. They showed a disregard for basic decency and were disrespectful and degrading to African Americans and women everywhere.
Please join me in sending the young women of Rutgers a message of respect and support. Show them that we are proud to stand with them and for them.
Click here to send a message to the Rutgers team.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Sweet Shiva on a Saltine. Go here and enter your zipcode. Find out EVERYTHING environmental about where you live, where you work, where your kids go to school, where you're thinking of moving.
Hat tip Kim.
It always brightens my day when a man completely gets it. Paul Waldman, a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America and author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success shows in this Alternet article that he completely gets it.
Last month saw Al Gore's triumphant return to Capitol Hill -- the once-ridiculed candidate now acknowledged as a visionary and treated with long-overdue respect. But the most remarkable moment of Gore's hours of testimony in both houses may have been one in which he wasn't even involved. It shined a light on both the changed atmosphere in Washington today, and the fear and loathing that that change is bringing on.
The most confrontational part of the day came when Gore was being questioned by Oklahoma senator, famed global warming skeptic and former chairman of the environment committee James Inhofe, in a battle of wits that was not exactly an equal match. Inhofe had trouble getting Gore to answer questions the way he wanted to, and kept interrupting him and complaining about the limited time he was given.
After some back and forth between Inhofe and Gore, the new chair of the committee, Barbara Boxer of California, put a hand on Inhofe's arm and said, "I want to talk to you a minute, please." After Boxer suggested that Inhofe give Gore the time to answer his questions, Inhofe replied, "Why don't we do this: at the end, you [Gore] can have as much time as you want to answer all the questions..." Boxer then interrupted: "No, that isn't the rule. You're not making the rules. You used to when you did this," she said, holding up the chair's gavel. "Elections have consequences. So I make the rules."
Boxer spoke with appropriate authority: not angry, not loud but unmistakably firm. There was no doubt who was in charge in that room. You could almost see the steam coming out of Inhofe's ears, not only because he had been deprived of his power, but because he was deprived of it by a woman. She even held up the gavel, the symbol of that power, and practically taunted him with it. Freud couldn't have scripted it much better.
The response in some quarters was unsurprising. Michael Savage, whose hateful rants are reportedly heard by 8 million radio listeners every day, hit the roof. Referring repeatedly to "foul-mouthed, foul-tempered women in high places bossing men around," he opined that the image of a woman giving a man orders would lead to more terrorist attacks (or something like that -- it was a little hard to follow).
And it isn't only extremists like Savage who are having trouble stomaching the idea of women in positions of increasing power. We now have a female speaker of the House, and the strong possibility of the first female president; the prospect is sending some men over the edge. MSNBC host Tucker Carlson recently described Hillary Clinton as "castrating, overbearing and scary." Why Carlson looks at the junior senator from New York and immediately fears for the safety of his testicles might be something he and his therapist should explore, but he's hardly alone -- after the election Chris Matthews wondered on the air if Nancy Pelosi was "going to castrate Steny Hoyer." And Matthews has gone through a series of man-crushes on politicians whom he sees as super-hunky in their masculine ways. First it was George W. Bush, then John McCain and the current object of Matthews' affections is Rudy Giuliani. "I think he did a great job," Matthews said about Giuliani's tenure in New York. "And I think the country wants a boss like that. You know, a little bit of fascism there."
If Rudy ends up getting the Republican nomination, it will be because the GOP primary voters ignore his stands on hot-button culture war issues in favor of that little bit of fascism they crave. And if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we can expect a virtual explosion of sexist rhetoric, every last drop of it based in fear and anxiety. She already gets described with a whole series of derogatory adjectives that don't seem to ever be applied to male politicians -- she is "ambitious" (unlike the men running for president) and "calculating" (unlike every other politician), to take just two. U.S. News recently noted that a speech she gave "was devoid of hard edges, contrary to her longtime image among critics as a harridan and a polarizer." She must have appreciated the compliment. Conservative radio and TV host Glenn Beck admitted that Hillary Clinton's voice drives him crazy. "She's the stereotypical bitch, you know what I mean?" he said. "After four years, don't you think every man in America will go insane?" (ABC News recently announced that Beck will be offering his insightful commentary on Good Morning America.)
For years, our campaigns have been marked by the "gender gap," the fact that Democrats do marginally better among women and Republicans do better among men. The gender gap in the 2004 election was actually relatively small -- John Kerry won women's votes by 3 points (51 to 48), while George Bush won men's votes by 11 points (55 to 44). But it is the fact that the latter margin is so much larger than the former that is worth noting. It is men, and white men in particular, who are so easily persuaded by campaigns like the one Bush ran, which can be boiled down to, "I'm a manly man, and my opponent is a sissy." Bush beat Kerry among white men by an astounding 25 points.
Should Hillary Clinton be the nominee, the gender gap will no doubt be bigger than it ever has been before. Part of this will come from some women who might have voted Republican (or not voted) casting their votes for her. But more of the gap will come from men fleeing from her, spurred on by the likes of Savage, Carlson, Beck and Matthews insisting that if you vote for a woman, then you must not be a real man.
One can't avoid noticing that as a group, conservative media figures are not exactly secure in their masculinity. Forever promoting war when they avoided military service themselves and doubling over to protect their tender parts every time a strong woman appears on their television screens, it's no wonder they are so impressed by politicians who may not be real men but know how to present a convincing facsimile of manliness.
Much of the audience that tunes in to the corps of overcompensating pretend macho men is just as insecure about their manhood, ready to cast a manly, masculine vote lest anyone raise an eyebrow at their choice for president. That doesn't mean that Hillary Clinton -- or any female presidential candidate, for that matter -- can't win. But if she goes around holding up any long, firm objects, a lot of guys' heads might just explode.
This story about Boxer fascinates me, not the least because even after she said to Inhoffe, "I want to talk to you," Inhoffe continued to try to just keep talking to Gore as if Boxer weren't there. I doubt there's a woman in the work world who hasn't experienced something similar. The result was that Boxer had to chide him: "Elections have consequences. You don't make the rules anymore."
Waldman's spot on when he notes that conservative men sure do seem terrified of that great big Vagina Dentata in their minds. I still think that Newt Gingrich's assertion that the U.S. should just bomb Iran in order to show Iran that "you're tiny and we're not" says as much about conservative men's real concerns as anything that I've ever heard. EVER.
Interestingly, I had lunch w/ someone on the Hill who was repeating the Boxer/Inhoffe story. I think it's going to become iconic. It's sort of like Pelosi telling Bush to calm down and quit issuing threats, as if she were gently admonishing the least-bright of her grandchildren. The women are taking control. They're going to start out, at least, gentle and firm. But for those like Inhoffe who persist in pretending that the women don't even exist, much less exercise any power, well, gavels have lots of purposes.
Really, conservative men, it's going to happen. We can do it the easy way, or we can do it the hard way. You'll like the easy way a whole lot better in the end. Trust me.
~Someone at Eschaton Comments linked to this article today and I apologize for not remembering who it was.
Monday, April 09, 2007
So it turns out that Don Imus, to whom I've never been able to listen for more than about 90 seconds and whose appeal has always completely escaped me (he just reminds me too much of the kind-of-creepy, dirty, homeless guy who crutches around Ballston getting angry at everyone for nothing and mumbling a lot to himself), but who is a well-known "media" person, has gotten into a bit of hot water for referring last week to members of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."
That's such a disgusting comment that it's difficult for me to understand how any human being could say such a thing. "Nappy-headed" is intended to let everyone know that these young women are African American, but it's more than that. It's an insult to African American people for being African American, for being born with hair that isn't "good hair," nice, straight, blonde hair like all good Aryans, I mean, Americans are supposed to have. And Imus has rightly gotten into a shitload of trouble for it. WaPo says:
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and about 50 people marched Monday outside Chicago's NBC tower to protest Imus' comments. He said MSNBC should abandon Imus and MSNBC should hire more black pundits.
Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP board of directors, said it is "past time his employers took him off the air."
"As long as an audience is attracted to his bigotry and politicians and pundits tolerate his racism and chauvinism to promote themselves, Don Imus will continue to be a serial apologist for prejudice," Bond said.
Imus was mostly contrite in his appearance with Sharpton, although the activist did not change his opinion that Imus should lose his job.
Which is all to the good, but I'm wondering where the outrage is over the second part of Imus' remark: "hos"? Because as sure as "nappy-headed" is used to insult someone for being born African American, "ho" is used to insult someone for being born with a vagina, instead of the "good sexual organ" -- a penis -- that all good Aryans, I mean Americans, are supposed to have. Maybe I just haven't seen it, but why wasn't NOW marching outside of NBC's office and why isn't Imus having to go pretend to apologize to feminist America?
Many, many thanks to my brilliant friend, E, for filling in for me. We had a wonderful weekend in the mountains, cold weather notwithstanding. If you haven't had a chance to read E's posts, check them out. From net neutrality, to DC voting rights, to New Orleans, to some very hot poetry, she covered a lot of interesting topics. (Thanks, too, to my very creative friend K. who took care of Miss Thing and my plants!)
Meanwhile, happy second blogversary to The Gods Are Bored -- it's on my daily must-read list.
Also, while he's more sanguine about the Chrisitianists' ultimate goal (coughitissotheocracycough) Jason at the Wild Hunt does the best job that I've seen so far of explaining their current strategy and goals:
[W]hile conservative Christians would love to see a "real" Christian in office, it isn't nearly as important as planning for the future.
Youth movements like the militaristic BattleCry, the baby-machine politics of the "quiverfulls", and the slow take-over of military academies by evangelicals point to a movement that knows it hasn't reached its goal (yet), but hopes that the next generation just might. In the meantime, conservative Christian groups try to push laws on the state and federal level that will privilege the Christian majority without the violating constitutional rights outright. The ultimate goal isn't supreme political power, but massive cultural power that will ensure that any who do rise in politics can't ignore conservative Christian demands.
This is already taking shape. Not a single presidential candidate, no matter how liberal, dares to offend evangelicals (if they want to win). A Muslim congressman swearing in on the Koran instead of the Bible makes national news, and teaching the Bible in school is no longer seen as a fringe issue. What we are seeing isn't necessarily the coming of a theocracy (though I suppose all things are possible), but the makings of an entrenched Christian population that has a powerful influence over our daily lives. No need to get rid of our Constitution, after all, we are a Christian Nation don't you know?
What he has to say is especially scary when you consider that the Bush junta has stuffed the government at every level with Christianists.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I hope you all have enjoyed my guestblogging over the past few days as much as I have.
I know the topics have been a bit of a change, hopefully an interesting and informative one.
I now return you to your regular programming.
So until the next time Hecate takes some richly deserved personal time, ciao!
Amazingly, he survived. After about two weeks in a coma, Quike woke up and found out that about half of his skull had shattered and would need to be reconstructed. Unfortunately for Quike, he works in the service industry, like about 23 million other Americans. And, in common with most of those people, he lacks health insurance, as our benighted country is pretty much the only advanced industrial democracy in the ENTIRE WORLD that refuses to provide universal health coverage.
Now Quike might be able to finance his expensive medical bills with credit - it's easy to get credit these days. But how long do you think it will take someone who gets most of his income from tips to pay off medical bills that are well into 6 figures? And thanks to the Republican 108th Congress and the credit card companies, declaring bankruptcy won't help. ("Consumer Protection Act" my sweet round booty.)
So what can you do to help?
- Support gun control. Until recently, handguns were illegal in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, they're not in Virginia, and it's REALLY easy to get them there. And Virginia's only a bridge away.
- Listen to Quike's story in his own words.
- Support Universal Health Care. Support politicians who support universal health care.
- Make a donation (securely, online, through Amazon.com) to help Quike pay his medical bills.
As I prepare to head to my second Jazz Fest in about 10 days, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind people that New Orleans - indeed, the entire Gulf Coast - still desperately needs our help. You see, Dubya still doesn't care about black people. Large sections of the city and the entire region have barely been touched in the almost 20 months since Katrina made landfall. FEMA's still fucking people out of their trailers. No one (coughcough Federal Government) is putting any pressure on the insurance companies to give people their goddamn money. The local economy is shredded. The three major local industries, shrimping (and fishing more generally), the oil industry, and tourism, are all still struggling to recover. Actually, between the oil-industry facilitated loss of wetlands and the hurricane damage, Gulf fishing may never recover.
So what can you do?
- Inform yourself about what happened in August of 2005. Watch Spike Lee's excellent When the Levees Broke. Don't close your eyes.
- Pay attention. For hundreds of thousands of people who are still displaced, whose homes are still destroyed, whose tight-knit families and communities are still dispersed, it ain't over yet. The Times Picayune won Pulitzers for their heroic hurricane coverage, and the paper remains an excellent source of news. And tell other people what you find out.
- Support charities. No, not the damn Red Cross. Spend locally. There are lots of good options: the Tipitina's Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, the Musicians Relief Fund, Common Ground...there's an almost endless list of choices. You don't have to give $1 million (although if you have it lying around...) - many of these organizations can do amazing things with as little as $10.
- Support wetlands restoration. One of the reasons the entire region is increasingly vulnerable to hurricanes is the tremendous loss of wetlands in the area. Mike Tidwell, founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and all-around righteous dude, has written an excellent book that lays out what's happened to date, the mounting dangers, and the possible solutions, Bayou Farwell. Mother Jones did a great piece on the book, and you can check it out of your local library.
- Visit. The city - the whole area - is struggling to rise from its knees. You can help, and have a ball at the same time. Jazz Fest 2006 was my first trip back to the city after the hurricane. I had a fair amount of time to hang out in watering holes and talk to locals. I asked every person I met the same question, "What can I do to help?" and every one gave me the same answer: "Tell people we're open for business and to come visit!" And it's true, and you should. You'll get a chance to do good while doing well.
i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big Love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new
-- ee cummings