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Jul. 16th, 2020

Blue Stripes

The Rules

1. Don't Be An Asshat.

2. No anonymous commenting. Since an anti-choicer chose to abuse my hospitality in allowing anonymous commenting (the usual level of courage shown by these fanatical misogynists, much the same as they're desperate to force birth on women, but have no interest in helping the women cope with the lives they've forced them to bear), anonymous commenting is now not allowed.

If you have a comment you would like added here, you may do so if you're a registered user with LiveJournal. If you're not, you can always e-mail me - but again, trolls should be warned that not only will your e-mail quickly go into a special folder, if you continue past the time when I tell you to stop, I'll start with making formal complaints to your ISP, and move as quickly as I need to informing the police. I don't fuck around with bigots and trolls.

More added as needed.

Sep. 17th, 2012

Blue Stripes

Caitie has a sad

A strangely serious one, given my title.

the rally effect of the bin Laden death

A phrase I came across while reading about polling in the US Presidential election, and specifically Obama approval ratings. The phrase just chilled me: the horrific idea that one can measurably demonstrate a rise in approval ratings from having taken a life.

I'm not saying bin Laden wasn't a bad dude. Definitely was. Me, I'm with Gandalf on capital punishment, but I recognize other people have a different opinion.

But there's still something chilling about that phrase. Monstrous behaviour does not a non-human make.

Jul. 24th, 2012

Blue Stripes

Sexism in atheism/skepticism, and its relation to dogmatic belief

See, here's the thing: for me, skepticism includes the right/duty to inquire into beliefs that are irrational and, worse, self-defeating, the latter as a priority.

And it can be made in many different ways, the rational argument against allowing sexism to rule within a skeptical movement in 2012. I trust the understanding of my readers to not need this argument made.

So...doesn't that make it not grounds for a schism, but rather grounds for lion(ess)ization, to call out such an irrational, dogmatic belief as the institutional and personal sexism which can be found (and defended so vigourously!) upheld and reinforced by a subset of the skeptical/atheist community?

Seems to me if there is any proselytization wanted in our community, this would be a hell of a place to start, if the goal of sexist atheists were actually to make the movement stronger: broadcast that the movement will be no longer tolerant of sexist behaviours or harrassment of any kind at atheist events. To say to women, to people of colour, to queerfolk, to trans people: hey, we know that the world treats you like shit, for all kinds of stupid, irrational reasons. We're gonna be a place where you can have some peace from that crap, be among the kind of freethinkers who don't subscribe to outdated dogma just because that's the way it's always been, or because it personally benefits them and screw* anything or anyone else.

The result? A much, much stronger atheist/skeptical movement, drawing from all parts of society, stronger than the sum of their parts for their ability to understand the position of other people who experience irrational oppressions. An atheist movement wherein all the members would have better chances, over time, of meeting and becoming possibly involved with someone who has similar ideas and values, without having to make the places and events feel like constant harrassment for by far the majority of humanity**.

It doesn't seem such an irrational argument, does it? And yet, a notable set within the atheist/skeptical community are throwing every kind of threat and abuse against anyone even mentioning it (see Skepchick, for instance, over and over and over). Defending the status quo with dogmatic fervour, while proclaiming their allegiance to the One True Skepticism***.

Okay, I went ahead and made the argument anyway. *shrug* It's late and I felt like it.

The quality of public atheism, these days, is so shatteringly poor, because of the time wasted on defending stupid old ideas. Time for a New Atheism, one that any- and everyone (who wants to) can be part of, says this old lady.

* Pun/horrible reference made with intent.

** Not just sexist, but racist and dogwhistle-Islamophobe arguments that attack all Muslims for the cultural practices of some, and atheists who support The Bell Curve, and so on.

*** The one in which all sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression have ended because Obama, So There.

Mar. 9th, 2012

Blue Stripes

A little poesy to brighten your Friday

I composed these, all three, in a rush recently, about four hours before I was due to perform them at a local event (for reasons of scanty Internet anonymity, I'm not linking to it). Yeah, I write better when the deadline's in sight. They're all Shakespearean sonnets, because frankly those are the easiest, involving three quatrains (abab cdcd efef)and a final couplet, the volta coming with the couplet.

They are all dedicated to, and about, my partner; the final one is concerned with...adult themes and vocabulary (i.e., NSFW, in the sense that if someone's reading over your shoulder, I hope you know them well).

I.
Comes morning sun and shines upon our bed
Her absence first apparent in the form
Of sheets pressed by her hips, her breasts, her head
My hand lies on a place no longer warm.
Comes sunset and I’m bussing home again
The wintry day hurls winds as sharp as knives;
A sleety beat on nearest icy pane
The sad slow dance of border-severed lives.
Comes moon’s first glow, I cook for two and save
The extra for another dinner’s time;
A hermit’s life in this my modern cave
My solitary search for perfect rhyme.
But this sadness will not be a lifelong curse-
The details of my cure in second verse.

II.
A day goes by, then others follow, slow;
I wake, I go to work, then home once more
And day by day, my joy will slowly grow
Until I hear her keys unlock the door.
And then she’s here, the warmth of life renewed
Our bed again a warm and happy place;
We talk, we laugh, we play cards in the nude,
Our home once more a safe, restoring space.
My hand upon her belly, softly round
Her hand atop my own, her eyes half-closed
I slip down deftly tracing out her mound
And soon we are from two metamorphosed.
The cycle is complete, too soon she’ll leave –
The verse before this shows how I will grieve.

III
Warm fingers moving, palm a-stroke on skin
I push my nose among her tumbling hair
My nails draw traces underneath her chin
None but faint lines will show that I’ve been there.
An earthy lovely scent arises down below
I seek it with my nose, my tongue, my lips
Her skin takes on a scarlet blushing glow
Arms underneath her thighs, I grab her hips.
She moans, and gasps, and squeals, and thrusts, and holds
My head against her, forearms hard and strong
I lap, I dart, I lick and love her folds
She screams and writhes and sings a primal song.
I love her for her body and her mind;
And also that she’s much the same inclined.

Dec. 21st, 2011

Blue Stripes

This spoke to me

I was just reading this, linked from the Wednesday Blogaround at Shakesville, and it really reached me. Note that this link from which I've taken the quotation is about gender-related issues, childhood bullying, and the like; be aware of your own emotional state before reading, if those are concerns for you.
Supporting Gender Variance Every Day

I knew that broadening my students’ ideas of what was acceptable for boys and girls was an important first step, but to make Allie feel comfortable and proud of herself, I was going to have to go further.

For example, as teachers, we often use gender to divide students into groups or teams. It seems easy and obvious. Many of us do this when we line students up to go to the bathroom. In one conversation that I had with Allie’s mother, she told me that Allie did not like using public bathrooms because many times Allie would be accused of being in the wrong bathroom. As soon as she told me I felt bad. By dividing the children into two lines by assigned gender, I had unintentionally made the children whose labels aren’t so clear feel uncomfortable in more ways than one.
(Note that my musings below include an offhand and non-graphic reference to "light" corporal punishment, which was still allowed when I started school as a child; also an indirect reference to suicide - again, non-graphic and personally historical reference only)

Oh yeah. I remember all too well that first day of school, ostensibly segregated by sex but sharing a yard and part of a building, and my horror and confusion when they hauled me out of the girls' line and pushed me to the boys'. I wasn't stupid, I learned quickly not to dispute that, as it only led to unhappiness and a sore hand. It didn't reflect my own reality, and my parents had that same frustrated look on their faces when the headmaster told them, because it was hardly the first time, and no one trans* needs to be told it wasn't the last.

On and on it went, all through school, the army, getting turfed, university: fighting with The Man and the parents and the school and the world, all against myself...and gradually losing, the battle against what I'd known since earliest days, that "boy/man" wasn't where I needed to live when I grew up.

Funny how people think it's a choice. If it were a choice, would I have taken that path so tenaciously? Would I have taken arms against the sea of troubles, or just let the tide carry me off to the place I never belonged, to be unhappy until I gave up?

That was the choice I faced. To be me, or not to be. Is that a choice? For some, yes. Not for me. No moral objection, just not a choice I need (as yet - one never knows what the future brings).

Aug. 21st, 2011

Blue Stripes

Two observations about Doctor Who and Torchwood and their showrunners

Just re-watching some old episodes here, including one of my favourites, Turn Left. And two things struck me, about Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat. Now, I know that there are fervent camps on either side of the divide, but I'll admit, I'm agnostic about the whole thing. I think they each have their strengths and their weaknesses. There are MANY SPOILERY SPOILER THINGS IN THE SPOILERY BIT BELOW THIS NOT-VERY-SPOILERY BIT UP HERE. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN S4 OF THE REBOOTED DOCTOR WHO, AND DON'T WANT SPOILERS, DON'T KEEP READING. SAME GOES FOR THE END OF TIME AND TORCHWOOD: CHILDREN OF EARTH. DON'T SAY YOU WEREN'T WARNED.

NO, REALLY, SPOILERS (Sweetie)! :)

My first observation is that much of what I hear in complaints about Moffat's Eleventh Doctor seasons can, to some extent, be laid at the door of Mr. Davies. Consider: the final Davies efforts:

The Stolen Earth/Journey's End: the stakes are literally the universe, with billions of Daleks holding the pistol to the puppy's head.

The End of Time: Stop the Master, or the Time Lords will come back, and this time, it's PERSONAL. That is, the stakes are: the universe, with the Time Lords holding the pistol, et c..

Children of Earth: The terrible drug addict aliens are back, and if we don't let them snort our children, they'll exterminate the human race! That is, from a solipsistic human p-o-v, the stakes are the universe, with the 456 holding the pistol, et c..

Each of these is the note RTD chose to go out on. His penchant for always having to keep raising the stakes would make him a lethally bad or extremely lucky poker player, but it means that you're left, when the Doctor/Torchwood/someone saves the day when the stakes were so high, wondering: Now what do I do for an encore to that?

RTD chose to go out, in each case, with a story that pushed the risks to 11 - which made for some interesting TV, granted, but it meant that Moffat had nowhere to go but up. One of the rules I learned as a director in community theatre is that if you start at a high point, you've got nowhere to go, that is, if your scene has to peak with a huge fit of anger, you can't start the scene there and work only upwards, or your peak will be out of your reach.

Discuss amongst yourselves. Don't be rude.

Second observation: much of what irritates me about the endings of RTD's big go-big-and-go-home shows has been the lack of agency. Taking Donna's memory away, after the Doctor-Donna hybrid thing. Why not just ask her? "Hey, Donna, I need to wipe all this out of your memory, or the universe will end, is that okay?" And she gets to say, "Well, I don't like it, but the universe ending, so, okay." It's not much agency, but it'd make it a lot less...rapey?

Similarly, at the end of Children of Earth, when Jack sacrifices his grandson Steven (who looks, btw, eerily like my cousin, also named Steven, did at that age) to defeat the 456. Again: why not just ask him? Why not just say, "Hey, Steven, look, I know this really blows, but we have a way of saving the entire Earth here, every single human there is, but it's going to cost your life. Would you do it?"

If he says no, well, then they force him, as they did. But it's a freaking STORY. We can write it how we like. Wouldn't it have been glorious and blubworthy and awesome if they'd written it so the kid got to be brave, and choose?

Okay, that's your two topics. Be nice to each other, and to me, but express yourselves.

Aug. 9th, 2011

Blue Stripes

Bad times in London

I'm not going to drop links, you can find them easily enough. The areas where it started? They're the areas I lived in, when we lived in London back in the day.

All I have to say is, for me, this is the inevitable response of an entire class of people when the Invisible Hand has been holding their heads down the toilet for decades.

Maybe Marx wasn't so wrong about the dialectic. Class war seems a reasonable response.

Aug. 3rd, 2011

Blue Stripes

Hurray!

Marvel has announced that the Ultimate Spider-Man will be Miles Morales, a Black and Latino youth, in the wake of the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate continuity.

I think that's Completely. Fucking. Awesome.

Bravo Marvel! Small steps, but important ones.

To the racist jerkwads squawking about this: what, 99% of the fucking pie isn't enough? Greedy beggars.

Jul. 30th, 2011

Blue Stripes

Just a tease

That's me. Just a tease.

Or rather, that's this post. I have some writing plans afoot, oh yes my dearies I do, I seem to be moving back into a "writing is okay with my depression hurray" part of my cycle again.

Watch this space.

Jul. 28th, 2011

Blue Stripes

I find it surprising this needs to be said...

...given the name of my blog, but I don't view "immigrant" as a slur.

If you use it against me as one, I will very likely point and laugh.

In fact, I may well invite others to point and laugh, because you will be a Very Silly Person Indeed, and will have done something truly worthy of epic mocking.

For the dreadfully-slow-to-notice-the-point:

I am proud of being an immigrant. In both senses that I mean that self-label, I am proud.

I'm proud of being Canadian, I'm proud of having learnt French, because mon Canada inclut le Québec, et les autres francophones canadien(ne)s.

I'm proud of being English, too.

I'm proud of being a woman, and of the sometimes-difficult journey I've had to be accepted as one.

"Bloody immigrant?" Too right I am.

Wanna make something of it?

(cause I need a good laugh)

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