fictional: (palin master)
First, there were the PUMAs. Have you guys heard about these folks? PUMA apparently stands for Party Unity My Ass, (??? Really?) and they seem to be American feminists women of a certain age who feel utterly betrayed by the election, and spend a lot of time totting up grievances about who has suffered more, people of color, or women? (And what about female people of color? They don't seem too bothered. The sisterhood, it seems, doesn't contain them; it doesn't even seem to occur to them that it ought to...?)

In all seriousness, they actually seem certifiably nuts.

I spent a good portion of today rubbernecking the traincrash reading [livejournal.com profile] palinpumawatch and clicking on through to associated links. Whoa. If you don't want it filtered, go straight to Reclusive Leftist and look around. I think the mod, Violet Socks, or whatever is a deranged fruit-bat, but the real gold (or tragedy, depending on how you look at it) is in the comments, and the community being fostered. Here is a pre-election sample. At first I was mesmerized (and enraged!) but then -- I began to see the heartbreak of it. Because, from my reading, these seem to be women who have sad, sad lives. They talk about marital discord. They talk about giving up everything for their families (occasionally in really bad poetry.) They are among the casualties of the system, right? And their lives are ordinary, and seemingly filled with a host of claustrophobic, petty disappointments. And so this neo-con cult of aggressive mediocrity (Exhibit A: Not!Joe the War Correspondent1) is going to be terribly appealing to them. Something that makes a virtue out of victimhood, that places all the blame for everything terrible that has happened to them squarely on the shoulders of someone else -- much like Sarah Palin, and her post-election, 2012 prep interviews that accuse everyone of being so unfair. At least the bizarrely named NiceDeb who actually compared Obama to Hitler (!!!) is the most offensively wingnut of conservatives; these other ladies seem to be left-leaning? Or believe that they are left leaning? But I don't think the word means what they think it means. Much like their beloved Hillary being named "secretary" of state? Because some of them don't seem to like the idea. Why? Not just too little, too late, but ...the idea of being a man's secretary? ...kinda sticks in the craw, doesn't it???

Um. No.

And yet, there's legitimacy in their quarrel with the world, right? Hasn't socialism/communism failed women in a stunning myriad of ways? Of course it has, just like capitalism, and well, basically every system in the world. It's a sexist world, no question.

And then I started thinking about feminism. Third wave? Radical? Sex positive? Post-feminist? What is the place of feminism in my philosophy?

I mean, not the PUMA way, obviously. Voting the other way for McCain and his "women's health" and Palin, who is NOT a feminist, saying that abortion wouldn't be necessary if young girls weren't "sluts" (yeah, these PUMAs are really pretty weird), dissing on Michelle Obama, who is just pretty awesome, even if she's got the most thankless (if prestigious) unpaid job in the world, AND voting against the man who not only supports a woman's right to choose, and you know, equal pay for equal work, and incidentally, say what you will, is closing down Gitmo, and trying to make government transparent, and is shutting down the secret CIA prisons round the world [And that's just the first three days in office!] cannot be considered left or feminist, in my opinion.

But what can? How do we appropriately deal with a climate of institutionalized and internalized sexism?

Unrelatedly -- but to close with a taste of awesome, via [livejournal.com profile] rm, author Cathrynne M. Valente makes this post of sheer poetry about our new world.

1 I don't even like Rick Sanchez, but I must admit to enjoying that clip. But this begs another question. I love participatory culture. I think the ability of the internet to give ordinary people a voice, and an impact on affairs is staggering, and awesome (in the old, non-valley sense of the word). And yet, (oh god, am i agreeing with Sarah Palin?) -- we shouldn't be getting our news from blogs! Because there's a difference between reading people's opinions (the Op-Ed page, the Editorials) and the actual news! Is it wrong to want journalists to be, you know, trained? I don't think I've got any right to go to Gaza and be a war correspondent...! And I'd like my president to be smarter than me. I mean, the problem with majority rule is that the majority of people kinda suck, don't they? But if we agree that the Great Man theory of history is wrong...? ...Although ever seen a movement succeed without some stellar spear-heading? I just go back and forth on it all the time. But this just leads me back to one of my central problems -- how does one unite a desire for excellence with an allegiance to the interests of the common person? And the old problem of communism - what is it that binds the intelligentsia and the workers together? But this is another post, for another day...
fictional: (Default)
The sun's shining in DC...
...And I'm a little bit teary.

It's amazing.
fictional: (palin master)
...happy election day!

I am almost certain that no one who reads this blog needs my encouragement to go vote. Still, for what it's worth, please, please, please, go do it. It's a symbol that means something, says to the world: thus far and no farther. I'd love for a record number of people to stand up today and say that they've had enough.

I've voted at the same polling place since I was 20 years old. I decided to go today at approximately 10:30am - I figured this was prime voting real estate - late enough to avoid the before work rush, but before people take lunch. Uh. Yeah. I waited for a little more than an hour in line. Actually, it felt good. Historic even. I find myself getting a bit sentimental over it all. (It was the dead grandmother, I think, that knocked me over the edge. I wish she could have lasted just 48 more hours.)

The Republican Inspector (an overweight, pasty white dude with oversized glasses) got into something of a ruckus with the coordinator. Like with shouting and arm waving and stuff. The Democratic Inspector (a tall black guy with silver hair) stood and observed silently. The issue seemed to be about bathroom breaks for inspectors. I couldn't quite tell if the R.I. was for or against. But it seemed oddly metaphorical.

This might be the first time ever that my horse wins.

I've a lot to say about Chicago and the conference, but at the moment, all I really feel able for is the endless refresh of cnn.com

[p.s. I can't wait to retire this icon!]
fictional: (Default)
Uh... my bank.

Yeah. Not much else to say there.

Also my co-writer is made of win. Go. Fanperson. =)

New episode of Supernatural = Awesome!sauce. cut for spoilers )
fictional: (full face)
Bombs go off in New Delhi.

Some of these bombs went off in the shopping district right near my house in Delhi. I've spoken to my family, everyone is okay.

I'm still in shock. More later.
fictional: (Default)
I keep telling myself that I don't care any more about this election.

Mainly because, after the last one, I cried. Actually cried. With real tears and everything. If you know me in person, you know what that means. I don't get choked up over this stuff. I don't cry at movies or books either, except as a figure of speech.

I also remember watching the DNC last time around, in '04, and watching this speech that came out of nowhere, and saying, "Wow. This guy's going to run for president." Well, lots of us did that, no? That's why we're here. But I didn't think it would be this year, and he has managed to disappoint me in so many ways.

But I've got to say. I got a little teary here:

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.


I wish I could believe it.

bzuh?

Aug. 29th, 2008 11:35 am
fictional: (whiskey tango foxtrot)
WHUT??!!!

This fucking election. I just. Palin??? Alaska? Anti Abortion? What???

I have nothing of substance to say, but a profound sense of WTF.
fictional: (Default)
Reading [profile] mistful's autobiography book review post, I was thinking about how we take these accusations of falsehood way more seriously than we used to. I got into an argument with my office-mates at the College Which Must Not Be Named about this very subject, when I suggested that the whole trope of AUTHENTIC IT REALLY HAPPENED JUST THAT WAY memoir was a virtual impossibility, and at that, an undesirable result. Good story, well researched, well written? Who cares if it happened to you, your next door neighbor, or some dude the next interdimensional bypass over? I really don't get it. It's like those folks who watch "reality"-t.v. and then are like, shock, horror: "OMG it was staged?! You mean, it's not, you know...true?" Um. yeah. Of course it's staged, and p.s. who cares??

If it didn't happen that way, well...it should have. And I can respect that.

It's the truth-shoppers I just don't understand. The American Dream for the past few years has been based on these ridiculous, "we were lied to" disclaimers. Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Fools and Liars Edition. We expect our govt. to tell us the truth? Please. [for the record, what I object to in that whole episode was not that "we were lied to" but that a) we were lied to so poorly! and b) that now other politicians were either too stupid to see that they were being lied to, or c) are now lying poorly about being convinced by other politicians' crappy lies. What the hell. Dear Guys-In-Charge-Of-Stuff: Spin a better, more interesting story, people. No love, Kali. Ahem. anyway.]

So I was thinking about all of that, and also remembering that I had heard of C.S. Forrester long before I ever sailed the seas with Captain Hornblower. Why? Kid-lit ppl in my audience may remember the episode that Roald Dahl recounts in "My Lucky Break" in which he tells a story about his plane crashing in Libya to a Mr. Forrester who has been sent to interview him for the Saturday Evening Post.  Forrester was so impressed by the tale which he had been meant to turn into a "real" story (assuming that this random soldier wouldn't be able to tell a story in a writerly fashion) that he insisted on its publication verbatim. In googling the episode, I turned up THE REAL STORY.

But who cares? "A Piece of Cake" is a great tale; and Forrester obviously really liked "Shot Down In Libya."

And Roald Dahl was a great writer, and I loved him. Should we revoke his writing license? No more "Danny the Champion of the World" because he told a story that was more good than true?

If it didn't happen that way...it should have.
fictional: (Default)
A few days ago I read something - can't quite remember what, as it was a day filled and fueled by procrastination, so this was one in a long line of clicks- which said something like the following: Did there ever exist at any time, any girl for whom Jo was not their favorite character? The reference, which I apologize for mangling and vaguing and ungrammaticalling - went on to suggest that surely any red blooded girl, certainly one who wanted to be a writer, of course wanted to be Jo, and had no time for any of the other girls - housewifely, prim Meg, saintly Beth, and spoilt, vain, petulant Amy.  Naturally Jo, who wanted to be a boy, and was boisterous and adventurous and daring was the one to emulate.

I liked Jo fine, but I didn't want to be her. I liked Amy best. I cheered when Amy and Laurie got together; I thought they made a great couple. And in many ways I thought Amy's story far more tragic than any of the other girls. How terrible to desire greatness, and then graciously resign yourself to your own mediocrity. I thought she was great. Not pretty, perhaps - but none of the girls were really supposed to be, except Meg. Her juno-esque figure, her blonde hair, her blue eyes never made me crave them. But I liked her. I thought she was clever and funny and I adored her method of catching flies with honey, and her sharp tongue, and her aplomb.

It's odd because normally, I never like best the character that the author wants you to. I almost always root for the bad guy. Because if the author is God - and God loves you the most, you'll always be a little more blessed. The book will always give you the benefit of the doubt. That's why they need me, those bad guys. They don't have God on their side, so instead - they get me. I'm a firm believer in toppling the Kingdom of Heaven and forming a republic.

But - for books like Little Women, and Little House on the Prairie (both incidentally based on the authors' real families), this didn't happen. I liked Amy best, and I loved older sister, prissy Mary who always wanted to be reading and sewing, and WHO WENT BLIND and then could do neither (until college, but even then it wasn't the same...). And in both these books, I'm convinced both independent Louisa and adventuresome Laura wanted me to. These writers were writing about sisters whom they adored. Surely they wanted us to love and know them as they did. If they hadn't; if they gave their own fictional counterparts the god-dispensed "benefit of the doubt" that other, completely fictional characters often get, the books would have read like the worst kind of Mary Sue fic! But they don't.

So why are readers who happily go along with the author's judgement in other cases, so unwilling to do so [and even unwilling to believe that anyone else might do so] here? The Kingdom may have fallen, but Cromwell's already formed his parliamentary dictatorship. You're supposed to like the author-projection best, say generations of readers! Because? Well...They are tomboyish and devil-may-care! They have agency! They are rapscallions!

It reminds me of nothing more than the whole school of feminism which states that women have to be as man-like as possible in order to be treated equally, and any woman who does not follow this law should be ejected from the sisterhood. Or the kind of queer community that thinks there's not room in one lesbian relationship for two femmes - 'cause we all know the only way to do it, is to reproduce heteronormative norms as closely as possible. Or the kind of s/m folks who look down on submissives because they think they are weak (and not in a fun way).

There's nothing wrong with being a tomboy. I was never one, but I knew them, and thought they they were fun, and admired them (and probably thought they were hot.) I wasn't particularly successful at being a girly-girl either (too lazy and uninformed and self loathing).

But I reject utterly the idea that you have to be one to be worthwhile.

Amy/Laurie OTP!!!
fictional: (full face)
I had originally intended this first entry, post-joining the ranks of [livejournal.com profile] paidmembers to be a happy one - singing all praises of the glorious [livejournal.com profile] magnetgirl, hallowed be her name. For she is the bestest. But alas.

Hopefully I will get back to that entry later on, since she definitely deserves it, even if LJ doesn't, but for now I have other fish to fry.

For a detailed roundup of what's been going on, please check http://catrinella.livejournal.com/151812.html

Basically the situation is this: due to what may be the actions of a particular watchdog group, supposedly meant to purge the internet of child predation and other "illegal" activities, or possibly due to some coincidence of greater or equal stupidity, LJ & SixApart have permanently suspended numerous accounts that listed certain triggers as lj interests. Such triggers include "incest," "rape" etc. In the process, journals and communities that have been targeted include participants in: fanfiction/fanart, discussion of Nabokov's Lolita, fashion communities, and oh yes, perhaps most embarrassing for those concerned: survivor communities. And also, some communities that appear to be purely pornographic in nature.

Most people who have written about this, many of them more eloquent on the matter than I, have started out their posts saying some variation of, "Well, I certainly agree with the philosophy - it's just that it's been handled wrong. I certainly support catching online predators!!"

I was all but heartbroken to read Warren Ellis' blog entry on the subject
.

The outcome, therefore, has been pure comedy, with comments that read very much like “I love spending all day reading about forced underage incestuous sex with squirrel fisting on top, but of course I’m not interested in that in real life — that’d make me a pervert!”...

All that said: if you listed “rape” as an interest on your LiveJournal user profile, you must have known that someday someone was coming to see you about that.



And from his previous entry,

Personally? I have an eleven year old daughter. I’m with Warriors For Innocence on this.


What gives, Spider Jerusalem?

I think I'm about to express a brutally unpopular opinion here, but I actually think that policing of the internet is probably about the least effective measure a society could take to decrease child-molestation. I also think that pornography has nothing to do with actual child molestation, and the fact that we still believe it does, is pretty mind-boggling.

If your 12 year old, or 14 year old can leave the house and meet up in a hotel or a house with a strange adult that they met on the internet, you have done something terribly wrong somewhere, and the fact that the child is going to pay horribly, both for your mistakes, and their own naivete/stupidity/hormones, doesn't change the fact that policing the internet and laying traps for people based on their imaginary acts isn't going to save anyone. If your child is younger than 10 or 11, and you allow them to roam the streets alone, without giving them the knowledge they need to protect themselves, that you have committed an even more egregious fault.

All actions have consequences; some of us learn that more painfully than others. People are no doubt going to attack me for saying this, but I firmly believe it to be true. And without going into detail, believe me, I know this as personally as it is possible to know such a thing. So take some responsibility. It's not the internet, or cell phones or video games. It's you. It's me. That's it.

The other thing I have to say on this matter is that fantasy, creativity, conversation and pornography are weapons. They cast light into dark places; or rather, they make dark places your own. They are the instruments of reclamation. If you can take something terrible and, by some manner of strange alchemy, make it into something beautiful and transformative, or at the very least, fun, then how dare anyone pass judgment on that? And if I should be brave enough to share that with the world? No one is being forced to look. You can always click past.

I do believe that children deserve special protection under the law; we do not hold them accountable in the same way that we do adults, and that we must make sure they are fed, schooled, kept emotionally and physically healthy, and in general provided for. Similarly I believe that everyone has a right to exist in their society without undue fear of being aggressively acted upon. However, I know two things for sure:
1)We will never have a society that is completely free of these things.
2)Preventing people from talking about them, in whatever forum, be it discussion or fiction or titillation, is the surest way to defeat us all.

Added to all this of course, is the incredibly moronic way that LJ has handled the whole kerfuffle - suspension without investigation, utter lack of communication, and a basic breach of trust between users and service.

The thing is you shouldn't just care if you're someone whose journal got suspended, or if you're someone who was just trying to cope with a terrible experience. You shouldn't only care because you're someone who liked a story or a poem or a painting or a play once that had these elements in them, or if even, god forbid, one of these things turned you on. You shouldn't only care if you're a fetishist or kinked, and these are the only fantasies that get you going.

You should care because we should be able to talk and think and imagine whatever the hell we want. Even if it's deviant. Especially if it's deviant.

If enough people hate it, and don't click, don't read, it will die.

But if we lived somewhere where people could express their darkest desires in play, in fantasy, in thought...well, who knows? We might be able to save the world.

Please, if you have a moment, take some time to write a letter to LJ (feedback@livejournal.com) and register your opinion. Thanks.
fictional: (full face)
Part of me wants to say that to me, anniversaries (especially of this particular stripe) are close to meaningless, and I don't feel today anything that I wasn't feeling yesterday, or last week, or even probably tomorrow (though who knows?).

However, it is a gorgeous day out there - part of the reason I used to love September, aside from my birthday, and that is a little terrifying - that beautiful azure skies with the white puffy clouds at this time of year now signify disaster and catastrophe.

I have to say, I resent that.

And I also have to say, it's hard to believe sometimes that it's been five whole years since my childhood absolutely and irrevocably ended, but in the end, it's all I really feel free to comment on today.

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kali

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