Saturday, November 03, 2007

I'd like to send this guy back to a special place

Let me first say that racism wrapped up in a shiny bow that you call "love" is still racism, just like beating a child you love is still abuse and raping a woman you love is still rape.

Wonder and I have had these long conversations about our differing views on religion.I think this video, more than anything else confirms my disbelief. I cannot believe in a god who would create the entire world and then pit his creations against one another by allowing them to draw arbitrary borders around themselves. I cannot believe in a god who would chose sides between two waring religious armies while mothers and daughters are raped and families murdered to win the war.

I don't believe that America is god's chosen land. I think a lot of work went into our founding fathers' decisions to make this a secular democracy for a reason. They came from England, a country that had almost 100 years of religious division between Catholics and Protestants and they understood how a simple change in leaders could turn a previously favored religion into a persecuted one. So they left god out of it on purpose.

I wonder how the people who think that this is a Christian nation would feel if the tide turned and we became a nation built on the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses. It would be a country without Christmas or birthday celebrations. Organized sports would be canceled- no World Series, no Superbowl, no Nascar and no cheerleaders (athletes receive praise for their accomplishments that should be going to god and turn themselves into false idols and cheerleaders are worshiping false idols by giving glory to the sports players rather than to god).

If we allow ourselves to be a Christian nation, then we also allow for the possibility of those ideas being overturned by another religion. It is only through secularism that the beliefs of ALL religions are safe from harm. The founding fathers knew this.

We are not a Christian nation and Christians of all denominations should rejoice in that fact. You are free to worship or not worship however you see fit. You will not be punished for being Baptist when Catholics are in power and vice versa. You will not be killed or have your children taken from you for your beliefs. But with that freedom comes the restriction that you cannot harm another person for believing something different from you.

If you believe this is a Christian nation then I ask you to think about what happens when all the non-Christians are removed from society. The power struggles then happen between denominations. Maybe first everyone gangs up on Mormons, they're not really Christian anyways. Then maybe all the Catholics get taken out by the various Protestant denominations. Then the Baptists start taking out the Methodists and Episcopalians. There is no end because there is no one true Christian faction.

For those of us who don't believe, it doesn't matter which religious faction is in charge once the secular line is broken. But for those of you who are Christians, you might want to fight with us non-believers to keep politics and religion separate. Without that secular line in place you do not know what kind of religion you will be forced to follow, even if your heart and beliefs tell you that it is wrong.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How to waste time when you're supposed to be writing research papers

The Kid is making dinner (Spanish rice- very easy, out of a box) and lost (lost!) the grocery bag full of dinner fixins. He just spent almost 30 minutes searching the entire downstairs for the bag. Ha!

In the meantime, I have been reading the internet. All of it. My excuse is that I am supposed to be researching what the Grandmother hypothesis might tell us about modern teenage pregnancy (per my proff " That kind of ties into my Malthusian ideas" I am not sure what the hell he means by that, but he is an old hippie and tends to babble). Instead I have found that I am not the only person that thinks that Milan Kundera is a hack.

I dated a guy once who thought that Kundera was the shiznit. Of course the guy was a middling middle class academic from Eastern Europe who liked to cheat on his wife and had no respect for women, so Kundera was a kindred spirit. He also liked John Irving novels (another middling, middle class academic who thinks adultery is the height of sexual expression).

Dear Literary Gods! Please can we get over the sex lives of middle class men. They are dull beyond all recognition. Seriously. They are the Harlequin Romance Novelists of the tweed jacket set. I'd much rather read Lisa Carver.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not gay is the new gay

There is a saying in Latin America that if I tried to remember the exact Spanish I'd murder- so I'll just quote the translation

"I am man enough to fuck another man"

Which pretty much means that as long as you're not the bottom in a sex act, you're not gay. I'm starting to think we have our own American version of this: "I'm not gay" when uttered by a Republican politician means 'I secretly have sex with men but will oppress those who are open about their sexuality.'

I think it would be good to start asking ALL Republicans if they are gay. I'm pretty sure we know what their answers would be.

Happy Halloween!

Kiki of Kiki's Delivery Service- My Favorite Witch Ever

To all my pagan friends out there (and stealing a line from Ms. Brendann) May all your trick or treating get you the big candy bars, none of that snack sized shit.

Dear Guy Old Enough To be God's Grandpa

It has been a long while since the stone age and women are no longer required to put out when you buy them dinner.

Also, 19 year old women are not required to find wrinkled old man ass hot.

I would find this story so much more shocking, except that I am regularly hit on by men my dad's age and older. Which is fine. If you don't ask, you never know and there may be women who want that. But I get pissed off when my "thanks but no" becomes an invitation to call me a naughty girl who needs a spanking.

Thankfully, I'm not being sued by any of them for declining to share a viagra fueled night in their bed.

How to be obscure without being obscure

So I have had this crush on this person for ever, but for professional reasons I have never acted on them.

So a few days ago this person gave me something that I thought was for a project. I worked on it for a bit and then found I that they just gave it to me for whatever reasons.

Anyways, I went to a Halloween party tonight with the Naughty Proff (who also used to work in crush's profession) and while he and I and our friend Julie were all curled up in a cuddly ball- I asked them about this.

The consensus was:

As my friends "He totally wants to jump your bones"

As professionals "Not really a professional move on his part- but still...."

Maybe I just need a little bit of a distraction from all the work I'm doing right now, but it's nice to have these little silly crushy moments sometimes. And it's way more fulfilling than having naughty dreams about threesomes with Stephen Colbert and John Stewart.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Comment Policy

Cause it's my (our) blog, my (our) discretion.

If you're racist, sexist, assholish, repetitive, annoying or even just plain boring - I reserve the right to edit your comments and replace them with the Barney song

I love you
You love Me
We're a happy family

Or maybe I'm a little teacup. It's a mood thing really. Also possible are such nursery hits like The Ensy Weensy Spider or Humpty Dumpty.

I also may turn really awful comments into a blogpost to be made fun of and mocked accordingly. If you don't like these policies you are free to write your own blog and you are free to write on your own blog how mean and horrible I am and how you're just a poor misunderstood asswipe. But not here.

The Joys of Urban Living

Everytime I'm on the phone with my Aunt, some crazy always starts screaming in the background and she tries to convince me that the city is dangerous and I should move out to the boondocks.

But I'm urban, at the very least the crazies can sometimes be entertaining- like today.

Imagine Donald Duck's voice trapped in the body of middle aged black man. Then imagine that man is possessed by the devil. In between screaming in what can only be ancient Aramaic, he's hitting up everyone in 100 yard radius of the bus stop for "a quarter, a cigarette?" Then he goes back to screaming. He keeps getting closer and closer to me and an old woman who has decided that since I'm taller, she's going to hide from him behind me. Finally the bus shows up.

The crazy man gets on the bus despite having no money for the fair, but his voice is so freaky that the bus driver just lets him go. The man sits at the front of the bus and manages to clear out all of the seats on both sides of the bus near him with his continued crazy rantings. He picks up the sports section of a newspaper someone left behind and in the demonic Donald Duck voice reads the paper out loud for the entire bus to here. When he is done with the sports section, he starts singing in the demonic voice. Eventually he gets off and one of those rare moments happens when a group of random strangers breathes a sigh of relief and starts cracking jokes with each other.

So thank you demon duck man, you may have terrified old ladies but you made a bus full of people smile for a minute.


I've got less than 10 minutes to write this- so forgive typos

I have never been able to write my own name in the snow with my urine. I don't have the kind of equipment that makes that easy for me. But just because it is not something i can do easily, I don't deny that people can write their names in the snow.

I also have never been pulled over for driving while black. Actually, anytime someone has been pulled over while I'm in the car- they get off with a warning. That doesn't mean that I don't think black drivers get pulled over more often than whites. It means I listen to my black friends when they talk about their experiences and I believe that what they experience is real. i do not have to have known a situation to feel empathy for it.

So when I say that what I have experienced from Christianity is sexist and some guy goes out of his way to prove me wrong by twisting words, I wonder if he's ever tried to walk a mile in someone else's shoes- especially a pair of high heels?

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Alienating Allies

for an example, read the comments from this post

Wisdom for the day


Ow Ow Ow Ow Ow.

You've been warned.

My flag decal turned upside down - what I should have said

OK, so back around July I posted this image on my myspace page.

As you can see, it consists of a US flag turned upside-down, The writing is quoted from the New Testament - Mostly the Sermon on the Mount - things Jesus said that pertain to being one of his followers, and how that relates to such things as power, money, war, revenge

Now i'm not a "flag-waver" most days (4th of july excepted, and no, I don't think that's hypocritical) but I do believe in the principles that flag is supposed to stand for. I don't think we have any "good old days" to hearken back to where those principles were anything more than a wonderful dream of what could be. But I haven't given up on the good ol' US of A just yet.

In nautical terms, a flag turned upside-down is a distress signal - a sign that all is not well aboard the vessel flying the colors. That's how I interpret this, and how I think many people who are currently displaying the flag upside down intend it. The ship of state has been boarded by pirates masquerading as patriots.

I posted it to get a reaction, and maybe spark some discussion in my small circle

Well, I got a reaction.

One of my friends is a guy I've known for several years. His mom is a family friend, he & Sis went to camp together, and attended the same church for a while, we're both in the same passion play off & on.

He's currently in Iraq, doing "private security". I don't ask, don't want to know, & when he comes home the rich man he hopes to (if he comes home in one piece) I don't know if I'll ever be able to look him in the eye. I don't think I want to see what I think I would see there.

He sent me a message, asking me to take it off my default picture, saying it was "disrespectful" to those who have given their lives defending it.

I moved it from my default, out of respect for my friend, and shared some of my thoughts about why i had it on my page. I challenged him to consider the "religious wording" (his phrase) in the image in relation to some of the polices that were being promoted under the flag.

And I asked him about something he had posted on his page about all things being fair in love and war.

He replied with the complaint that the war was so politicized that they can't do their jobs as effectively as they could if they could, say fire on civilians instead of worrying about offending the Muslims, who want us all dead, and how pulling out of the war now would mean that those who died already will have died in vain.

Now this is a guy who's over there. now. in the middle of this hell. He's there by his own choice, and being handsomely compensated (PSCs make in a month about what the average soldier makes in a year), yes, but in more than one way, he's family. On the one hand, I want to shake him up with just what kind of evil he's actively helping to perpetrate. On the other hand, I don't want to mess with his head in a way that could literally get him killed.

So I told him that i wasn't going to argue firehouse politics with a man inside a burning building. That I hope he gets home safely, sooner rather than later.

And I can't help feeling that in that agreeing-to-disagree, I have failed my friend, and the cause of peace, and God.

I can't help feeling there's more I should have said.

I SHOULD HAVE SAID that they didn't fire on civilians because they're supposed to be the "good guys"

I SHOULD HAVE ASKED why he didn't recognize Jesus' words as anything more than "religious writing"

I SHOULD HAVE SAID that the blind nationalism so common in evangelical circles lately is dangerous, not only politically, and materially, but spiritually.

I SHOULD HAVE SAID that he will have to reckon with God about this eventually, and that I pray that he doesn't wait till he's on the other side of an IED.

I SHOULD HAVE SAID that I fear for his soul.

Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. May God have mercy on us all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Taking my head out of the sand

Way back when my brilliant cousin started this blog, she invited me to participate, partly as supplementary estrogen, and partly because "someone who could write from a liberal christian perspective would be an interesting contrast to all us secular agnostics and atheists."

So some time near the beginning, by way of introducing myself, I posted a blog on what I mean by Christian. DeeK posted a response that at the time, hit me rather hard. Maybe he took my post as a clumsy attempt at evangelism, maybe he was just sharing his own perspective....I don't know, and I suppose I lacked the courage to ask. Writing or talking about my faith among people who don't share it is something that's still a challenge to me. I've never been anxious to proselytize (something that gave me tremendous guilt pangs in my fundy-lite phase) even when I wanted to be a missionary (maybe i shoulda joined the peace corps instead...) and it's hard to put into words what I wear under my skin.

The brand of Christianity I chose to identify with for much of my adolescence and young adulthood sometimes emphasized "The world hates us" so heavily over "God so loved the world" that any disagreement us youngsters encountered with non-believers was hailed as "persecution."

I thought I had grown beyond that.. or that I was "too smart" to have internalized it very much. My fantastic liberal-Catholic-raised parents taught me better. I could argue the left-hand side of Christian politics with people 20 years my senior. Hot-headed and underinformed, but unwavering in my conviction that Jesus was a liberal.
But when DeeK said:
"I guess this is way of saying I accept the need to embrace others as wonder attempts, but I would like to leave the Jesus part out of it."
I heard "Leave the Jesus part out of it." Imperative. command. period. end of sentence.
completely missed that he also said " I accept the need to embrace others as wonder attempts"
And I assumed he was saying "your superstitions are not welcome here you deluded irrational fool"

For that misperception, DeeK, I humbly ask you to forgive me.

Unlike my gutsier relatives, I've always been a "nice girl". And I was new around here. And I thought I had offended. And my feelings were hurt, so i took my toys and went home like a big baby, at least where spiritual/religious matters were concerned.

How hypocritical that I accused Jovial of the same thing in comments some months later. I hope you will also forgive me.

Trouble with that is, my belief in God-what I really believe, that thing i struggle to put words to, not the knee-jerk prejudices I'm trying to unlearn in light of Truth- inform every part of my thinking, and to avoid that is to strip all my convictions of their meaning. This is not to say that I can't participate in a discussion without regurgitating a bunch of random Scriptures - as a matter of fact I rarely quote the bible to make a point in a discussion with people who don't accept it as authoritative(partly because I'm no biblical scholar and partly because I detest seeing proof-texts quoted out of context).

But I've discovered I feel almost as out of place among secular progressives as I do among conservative Christians, and for the same reason. Because the "natural" assumption in both groups seems to be that progressivism and Christianity(or ANY monotheistic faith, really) are so diametrically opposed as to be mutually exclusive; that I must be insincere in one or the other; that I am, in short, a "liberal" in spite of my belief in Christ. I don't know how to respond to this sometimes.

So I've avoided the Red Queen's many attempts to call me out & get me to do my job. Please forgive me, for having kept my head down when the wingnuts brought out the big guns. And please continue to call me on the carpet when I fall silent.

Apparently sometimes God talks to Christians through snarky agnostics, reminding us that hanging onto power in this world was never part of the plan.

Meanwhile I rant to my mom about how the power-mad maniac brigade currently claiming to operate in Jesus' name looks more like the Antichrist than the Son of God. To which she invariably replies that I should write about it, talk about it, after all, I've been given a forum to do just that.....

Martin Niemöller, who learned firsthand the danger of being, literally, a "Good German", put it this way:

In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

I know, I said I don't usually throw bible verses around without context, but here's one I probably ought to remember:

James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

May my God forgive me for my complacency, and may the Spirit keep reminding me to do what I ought to do...

The quagmire of masculinity

Just. Go. Read.


So I had to write a quick response paper on a video about porn. Since I am swamped with homework and cleaning, I thought I'd share it with you all (all 3 of you out there).

Remember, it's a quick academic paper so there is no snark.

As a feminist, I am torn on the issue of pornography. On one hand I believe that anyone has the right to do whatever they wish with their own body provided it does not hurt another person. I also know that the only industries where women consistently make more money than men are sex work and modeling, and I am loath to take away that opportunity from someone when they may have no other opportunities to support themselves or their families. On the other hand, most women who work in the sex industry are treated atrociously and that treatment only seems to get worse as women in general acquire more sexual agency in the world. The more control women have in their own sexual choices, the more violent and degrading porn becomes towards women.

Porn is part of culture and a reaction to it. Every culture seems to have it’s own niche in the porn world. In America porn, gangbangs and violent blowjobs are common enough to make up the bulk of mainstream pornography. Female gratification rarely enters into the mix. In Latin America, porn often focuses on men performing oral sex on women, something that is rarely seen in American porn. The Latin idea of machismo may play into that by making female desire and orgasms taboo and therefore erotic. In America where women have more agency and female orgasms are (hopefully) a regular part of sex, porn pushes the limit by punishing women for having sexual agency. It is as if they are saying “you like having one penis- here have 12 and see how you like that”.

Porn is profitable, but it is only profitable when it provides something that people cannot get on their own. When sexual mores are such that only missionary penis in vagina intercourse is acceptable, profits will be made by having porn that includes oral sex and varying positions. Where women are considered to not like or want sex, women in porn will be sexually assertive “bad girls”. Where women are allowed to own their desire and expect mutual satisfaction, porn will punish women for being assertive. It is no more surprising to me that big business is involved in porn than it is that the robber barons of the early 1900’s made money off the opium trade. The difference now is that porn is as easy to get as checking your email, and that makes porn aesthetics much more prevalent in general society.

You can see the influence of porn in our current society by the prevalence of pubic hair removal in both men and women. What started as a way for porn movies to show more detail in close ups has become almost a requirement for women. They are now marketing waxing and hair removal kits to girls as young as 12, girls who hopefully have neither seen porn or had sex. Also profitable are clothing lines that claim to empower girls while they dress like porn stars and classes for girls in pole dancing (all marketed to children). The blowback from this has been “modesty” movements that seek to return girls to the status of being sexual gatekeepers with no sexual agency of their own. Neither of these situations is acceptable.