Thursday, November 02, 2006

King of the Hoopties!

Dare I say more?

Mark Foley's Chart

Some of you know I am an astrologer. I know some think astrology is bunk, but I submit a partial chart of Mark Foley, a punchline of this election cycle, to reveal al little more.

I don't expect you to know too much about how to read a chart, but the highlights are interesting. Look at the three planets at the bottom of the chart. Venus, goddess of Love is surrounded is flanked on both sides by Neptune and Saturn. Neptune is the planet of illusion. It is about art, image and fantasy. On the positive side it is about universal love and selflessness. Used negatively it leads to nefariousness and confusion. Saturn on the other is the planet of discipline and reality. Venus and Saturn don't really get along well. Think of how Cinderella's stepsisters treated Cinderella and you have an image of the Venus, Saturn relationship. Both of these planets are in Scorpio, the sign that covers sexual lust. Add nebulous, confusing Neptune and you get an individual with severly mixed and conflicted feelings. BTW, all three planets are in the 3rd house of communication (text messages come to mind).

Look at the two planets just above the middle left of the chart. These are the planets Jupiter and Uranus. Jupiter is the glutton, opportunistic and expansive; too much is never enough. Uranus on the other hand is the bohemian, a bit different than the norm and proudly so. Both planets are in the 12th house of secretive behavior. You do the math.

These two are opposed by the Moon, the planet of emotion, in Capricorn, the least emotional of the signs. The Moon is also in the sixth house of organization. Oppositions show challenges from the outside. My guess, without knowing his parental history is that he was dominated by his mother in a less than loving way (can you say nitpicky). Throw in a molesting priest and you have a very confused person, especially in the area of attracting partners, dying to express himselves in big unique ways (Jupiter combined with Uranus), but who must do them secretly (12th house) and against the wishes of family image (Moon in Capricorn).

My hope is that this reveals a little more insight into the demons that plagued this man. As much as we laugh, we must realize that this is a story involving many. Perhaps now we know a little bit more about why Mark Foley acted how he did.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Why We Need White Power and Men's Groups

White Power? Coming from me? Whad up wit dat?

No, I am not advocating for the KKK or neo-Nazis. But ask yourself this question? What does it mean to be white? Do white people talk about what makes them white (other than their skin)? I think not. Which is part of the problem. White people don't talk about the things that put them in the position they are. They need to talk about their history, what they should demand of themselves. What their boundaries are. Should you be a white person like George Bush? Marilyn Monroe? Marilyn Manson? Martha Stewart? Stalin? What does it mean to be white? Who should white heroes be?

Yes, I rant about racism and how ridiculous to think it has ended. But one of the problems I see is total self-denial. That is because white people don't discuss, with anyone, what being white is about. To so many whites, race doesn't exist because they don't see themselves as white people, just as people. I think of myself that way sometimes, but don't have the luxury of self-erasing my color.

To the same extent, the same goes for men. RQ spoke in "They're made of Meat" of the how confused men are about how to treat women. Feminism as post-modern construct is a little less than forty years old. Men don't know how to treat women because in so many ways (and I am not faulting women in this) the dialog about men and women has been a negative. Plus. not every woman is a feminist and capable of fighting the good fight. After all, who is going to teach men to learn new ways and forget the old ones? For whatever reason (most of them physical), men dominated the world for centuries. Unlearning bad behavior will not disappear in a little over a generation, especially since the argument still rages (and also because the US is still the most advanced as far as feminism relative to other nations).

So, yes, like White Power, I would like to see Man Power (I know, lousy title). Man power that talks about feelings.

And just to give add perspective. Remember that Black Power was based on an image issue; Blacks had for at least a century been told that the best way to gain in society was to act white. Pick up an old copy of Ebony and you will see it littered with skin lighteners (laced with mercury) and hair straighteners (laced with lye). Obviously, the color issue has not gone away in the black community, but remember Black Power too (or what's left of it is also only barely a generation old.

OK, so we need better names than White Power and Man Power, but change must come from within.

Welcome to the panopticon!

The new boyfriend and I were having a chat about going to Canada when he was here this last weekend. Conversation went something like this:

Me: (head sunk in shame) I live just a few hours from the border and I've never been to Canada

Boy: Really, we can totaly fix that. But you know, I'm brown. I'm going to get harrased at the border.

Me: Hey, that's ok. I maybe look Italian or Spanish and my luggage gets "randomly searched" 90% of the time that I fly.

Boy: You do look generic european. It's probably cause they know you're trouble.

Me: Or it's that I insist on bringing vibrators with me on vacation.

So when I read about this artist today, my heart skipped a beat. Conceptual art that thumbs it's nose at the invasive nature of society, halleluja!
Hasan Elahi is a conceptual artist whose life is an ongoing work about surveillance. He starts by telling us a chilling story - his detention by the INS at Detroit Airport after returning from a trip from overseas. An immigration officer scanned his passport and blanched, then led Alahi through a maze under the airport to an INS detention facility. As a US citizen, this was pretty odd - he tried to talk with the guards to figure out what was going on. But it all became clearer when the man from the FBI in the dark suit came to talk with him.

For the next few months, every trip Elahi took, he’d call his FBI agent and give the routing, so he didn’t get detained along the way. He realized, after a point - why just tell the FBI - why not tell everyone?

So he hacked his cellphone into a tracking bracelet which he wears on his ankle, reporting his movements on a map - log onto his site and you can see that he’s in Camden. But he’s gone further, trying to document his life in a series of photos: the airports he passes through, the meals he eats, the bathrooms he uses. The result is a photographic record of his daily life which would be very hard to falsify. We all know photos can be digitally altered… but altering as many photos as Elahi puts online would require a whole team trying to build this alternative path through the world.
And while we're on the subject, the new boyfriend found a copy of Foucault's Discipline and Punish next to my bed. He thought it was going to be about a naughty subject, but no. It is about how a society allows itself to be placed under constant surveillance because of fear and what the consequnces are. It's about the panopticon society, where everyone is watched all the time but transgressions are only punished when the punishment will benefit the state.

Think about it. None of us are perfect 100% of the time. We litter or jaywalk. We commit tiny infractions all the time. But in a panopticon society those transgressions are captured forever to be used against us when it's convientent. Society is placed under the perpetual fear of discovery. Neighbors and family members turn into the people we fear most. They see us and all our faults. Big brother is not just an Orwellian idea or something that happened in those grey states of oppression like Stalinist Russia or Hitler's Germany.

The idea of the panopitcon, or the all-seeing prison came out of the prisoner reform movement of the late 1700's, early 1800's.

"A building circular... The prisoners in their cells, occupying the circumference—The officers in the centre. By blinds and other contrivances, the Inspectors concealed... from the observation of the prisoners: hence the sentiment of a sort of omnipresence—The whole circuit reviewable with little, or... without any, change of place. One station in the inspection part affording the most perfect view of every cell."
Jeremy Bentham
Proposal for a New and Less Expensive mode of Employing and Reforming Convicts (London, 1798)
Today we are monitored by video cameras and credit card purchases. In the very near future people will be able to google someone by photo alone (think of the implications when your prospective employer uses your photo to see which anonymous dating sites you use or what your myspace profile says). I am a fairly open person. Hell, you all know about my love of vodka, stable boys and things that go buzzzz with batteries. But my boss doesn't need to know any of that. It has no relation to my ability to work.

Actually, I'm sitting in my lab right now drinking a coke and eating chips directly under a sign that reads in large type "NO FOOD OR DRINK IN THE LAB!" There is an agreement between the students and I that I will look the other way at their food and beverage consumption in the lab right up until they spill something and ruin a keyboard and they will ignore the delicous smell of chili cheese fritos wafting from my desk. This is one of those small transgressions that happens everyday without causing harm. But under the panopticon society, when I was threatening to sue because the administration was neglecting to pay me last summer, this little transgression would have been enough for them to threaten me with. The all seeing society puts way to much power to punish in the hands of those who already have power and eliminates the power of the individual to fight back. Mr. Elahi and his total survellience art project has shown us how to turn the panopticon back on itself.

Somehow I missed a conservative troll

Damn. This is what happens when someone who is a little slow on the uptake posts a comment full of previously disproved bullshit on a post written weeks before.

Now I know I am a bit slow on the uptake for not seeing his comment earlier, but I thought I would point out his rehashed, recycled, reheated and well, boring rhetoric just to remind you all of what we are dealing with. Folks who don't read or reason.

Man, do you think that someday conservative blowhards will come up with a new line of crap to feed us, or is part of being conservative the inability to formulate new arguments based on aquired facts? Oh wait, they don't believe in science either, so they have no aquired facts.

All I have to save to our little friend is not worry, nobody wants to clone his ass.

Like I wouldn't kick ass at this

So here's a little test to see what you know about our lovely government.

I got 51 out of 54 (I'll tell you what ones I missed in comments) and I didn't google a damn thing.

I'm curious to see how you all do. Post results if you dare.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

They're made of meat!

After a week of crappy news on the girly front- I thought I would break it down for you boys so you can see the twisted circles of logic us girls have to go through when it comes to autonomy over our own bodies.

My body is not my own if...

1) I am pregnant. Suddenly I am worth less than the clump of cells in my uterus.

2) If I say no after sex has started. It's not rape, even if sex goes from being enjoyable to violent, painful and dangerous I've already said yes and can't take it back. Even if the guy decides that old fashioned sex isn't good enough and he wants to give it to me up the ass with no lube- I already said yes at the beginning and can't change my mind once the circumstances change.

3) According to some, if I am in a violent relationship I must be addicted to violence and therefore have consented to being beaten. My body is then the property of my abuser.

However, I am totally responsible for my own body if....

1) I am pregnant and not cautious enough in my behavior towards that clump of cells in my uterus.

2) I wear something provocative or go out of my house alone at night or try to be nice in turning a guy down and then I get raped. See, I was asking for it.

3) I am in a violent relationship and my abuser dies while I am defending myself. I will probably serve a longer prison sentence than he would have if he had succeeded in killing me.

But I am kept from taking adequate responsibility for my body by...

1) Increasingly limited access to birth control and emergency contraception. I strongly suggest that all you boys check out this story and then go read the rest of BB's blog.

2) Stupid media images of a man and a woman fighting where the woman is saying no until the man forcefully kisses and or gropes her and she suddenly decides that yes- she does want to fuck him after all. This doesn't actually happen in real life (trust me- if she says yes after that it's only because it's easier to submit than to keep fighting). It is a pervasive enough image to negate the idea of no meaning no.

3) Lack of domestic violence laws that actually offer some protection for women and children from their abusers. Even when abusers are arrested they are usually out in 24 hours and a restraining order is just a piece of paper, not some incredible teflon shield that will deflect blows.

And one more fun fact for you all out there-
One of the greatest risks to a pregnant woman's life is not the pregnancy, but death at the hands of her partner.

Being a woman is definitely not for sissies, it's no wonder you boys are so scared of us. Look at all the crap we put up with already. Imagine if we were treated like *GASP* human beings instead of walking breeding machines, fuckholes and punching bags. Just having the time it takes during a single day to avoid being any of those things would give us enough time to invent a perpetual motion machine and create cold fusion.

Oh- and in case you thought us girls saying that we don't like to be treated like pieces of meat was just an expression, you must read this. We are actual pieces of meat. It is nice that this guy just comes out and says it instead of using quasi-understanding fake liberal psychobabble though.

So let's recap:
Women are not responsible enough to have control over their own reproductive choices and if they enter into a sexual or romantic encounter they forfeit the right to say no or keep from being beaten. But women are totally responsible for things that happen to their own body on a cellular level and for the reaction of SOMEONE ELSE to their own body. They are also not supposed to fight back if someone is trying to kill them, except they are supposed to fight back or we are considered to be addicted to violence. And no only sometimes means no but wearing someone down till they say yes is acceptable behavior from boys. My head hurts from the contortions I have to go through just figuring out where my body ends and societies right to my body begins.

****Bonus points if you've read the story the title comes from******

Monday, October 30, 2006

We're 53rd! WooHoo!

You probably noted that last week Reporters without Borders published their annual free press rankings. You guessed it the US is 53rd, down nine places from last year. The ranking is down considerably from the 17th position at which the US first appeared in 2002.

Much of the blame has been laid at the feet of GW, but I don't think we should give him all the credit; the consolidated media has done a fine job dumbing down the media and becoming a lapdog to the regime.

It should be noted that the insurgency in Iraq has been credited for adapting to and making use of the media as a great propaganda tool. it is so comforting to know that those who supposedly hate us for our freedom, makes better use of the media than we do.