wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
Referring, of course, to the old - and quite true - adage about appropriate responses to attack, Nietzsche: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster . . . for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

But "becoming the monster," horrible as it is, by becoming as xenophobic and misogynistic and mistrustful of facts that disagree with our beliefs, is not, actually, the worst part. Just like the swellings of the Black Plague were not its worst part.

No: the worst part is that, by reacting with the same excesses our enemies use, we agree that they were correct to act as they did, and we acknowledge that we have no call to complain about it.


I base this claim on a few premises single premise:

Everybody, without exception, is "me" to hirself.

The correlation, then, is the rule:

A rule has to be the same for me as for anyone else.

Because, of course, otherwise we have a whatsit, a sociopath, who doesn't realize that everyone else is also a person, and instead thinks that everyone not hir is actually a puppet. People like that have to be removed from the rest of us before they do damage. Or more damage. Anyway.

SO: if the ends justify the means, if it is appropriate for anyone to torture someone else to try to get information in order to protect the people sie loves, then Al Qaeda is correct to torture people to defend its own. The Taliban is correct to torture people to scare them into not endangering its own people.

If the ends justify the means, and a group of people feels that because another group has been attacking and injuring and killing it, disrespectfully and thoughtlessly, it is appropriate to respond lethally in such a way as to wake up the others to their misdeeds - then Al Qaeda was correct to fly the planes into the Towers so long as we were correct to invade Afghanistan. Suicide bombers are correct to kill anyone so long as they also kill treacherous police and military, if we are correct to kill anyone so long as we also kill sneaky terrorists.

If God has brought these wars down upon us in retribution for the worldliness of our women and the degeneracy of our permissiveness, then it was correct for Al Qaeda to attack us, as the very Hand of God.

We should rather be grateful.

So. I disagree that the end justifies the means. I disagree that it is in any wise appropriate to use the same tactics on our foes as they have or might use on us.

Because I disagree that they were correct. I call them wrong.

And they are only wrong ... if I call it wrong for me to do anything like it.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Ya think?)
So I looked for an academic history of gay marriage to pull together all the stuff I'd been hearing, and found this intriguing paragraph:

It was in the thirteenth century, however, that the first laws against sodomy emerged and began to be enforced. Through the next several centuries in the West, all manner of behavior deemed deviant or unnatural began to be condemned, causing a shift from the earlier belief that same-sex unions were “problematic” because they were interpreted as unnatural to the belief that same-sex unions were a serious threat to society—and, like heretics, witches, and Jews, practitioners of such unions were violently repelled.


This is precisely when the Medieval Glaciation period began, plunging all of Europe into famine and plague up through the 1800s.

When prayer and repentance failed to fix the situation, folks tried to get rid of the people they figured God was punishing them for tolerating.

Look, folks: it's warm. We have plenty of food. We have plenty of people. We have plenty of old people.

It is fine for us to recognize gay relationships.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
Every once in a while, it's necessary to revisit this discussion. As a former christian I have a unique view of the question, my own efforts to gain a pure and therefore muscular and supportive version of the religion having been met with a series of increasingly narrow definitions that, eventually, defined me right out.

Yeah, really: I was a teenaged conservative fundamentalist evangelical Christian, halleluiah! God-fearing and Bible-studying, Amen!

So these are the things I learned then and what I understood because of them. )

I avow that it is not the business of any living soul whether any other living soul may be or may not be an adherent of any specific faith group or philosophical community. (Basically, and unless it is clear that they are just fucking with folks, if they claim it they are it.)

And I avow that supposed, claimed, or denied membership in any specific faith group or philosophical community has no bearing whatsoever on that person's right to be treated well and with dignity by all others around.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
At least the Rob, Arnie, and Dawn show folks, of Sacramento, have. Please note: Dawn has not been vilified in this matter, as she kept attempting to defend the children in question. Rob and Arnie angrily defended their comments as free speech and as jokes.

Many people wrote in to them. Many advertisers pulled their ads.

Today, on their site at http://www.robarnieanddawn.com/ the following message appears, reproduced here in its entirety:
UPDATED JUNE 7TH, 2009, 11:50AM

TO OUR LOYAL ROB, ARNIE AND DAWN FOLLOWERS,

WE HAVE FAILED YOU. AS A SHOW, AS PEOPLE, AS BROADCASTERS, WE HAVE SIMPLY FAILED ON ALMOST EVERY LEVEL.

WE PRESENTED OUR OPINIONS ON A VERY SENSITIVE SUBJECT IN A HATEFUL, CHILDISH AND CRUDE FASHION; AND THEN, GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETRACT THOSE REMARKS, WE DEFENDED THEM.

SINCE THEN, YOU, OUR LOYAL LISTENERS, HAVE MADE IT CLEAR TO US THAT WE WENT TOO FAR. THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING. NONE OF YOU SAID THAT WE COULDN’T HAVE OPINIONS, YET SO MANY OF YOU SAID THAT THE WAY WE GAVE THEM CROSSED THE LINE. FURTHER, YOU SAID THAT OUR ATTEMPT TO MASK OUR COMMENTS AS “JOKES THAT WOULD BE UNDERSTOOD BY OUR AUDIENCE,” WAS UNACCEPTABLE. I WOULD SAY NOW THAT IT WAS WORSE THAN THAT, IT WAS COWARDLY. YOU HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR.

WE HAVE REACHED OUT TO VARIOUS GROUPS AND ASKED FOR A CHANCE TO MAKE THIS RIGHT; TO RESPOND, WITH THEIR PARTICIPATION, TO THE EDUCATION THAT OUR AUDIENCE HAS PROVIDED US. THAT OPPORTUNITY HAS BEEN GRACIOUSLY GRANTED THIS THURSDAY MORNING, JUNE 11TH. AT 7:30 A.M.

THE WORD APOLOGY APPEARS NO WHERE IN THIS LETTER FOR A REASON. WE ALREADY HID FROM DOING THE RIGHT THING ONCE AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. APOLOGIZING IN A WRITTEN, POSTED STATEMENT IS A FORM OF COWARDICE. WE WILL SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID THIS THURSDAY.

ON A FINAL, PERSONAL NOTE, AS THE LEADER AND OWNER OF THE SHOW, I HAVE MADE THE DECISION THAT WE NEED TO REFRAIN FROM BROADCASTING NEW EPISODES UNTIL WE CAN ADDRESS THIS ON THURSDAY . WE WILL RETURN TO THE AIR AT 7:30 A.M. JUNE 11TH.

ROB WILLIAMS
ROB, ARNIE AND DAWN
I look forward to hearing what may happen then.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
[personal profile] seperis alerted me to the situation, and I went hunting. The Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show is currently losing advertisers because the two male hosts talked about hurling shoes at hypothetical transgender children of their own. I find in The Huffington Post that this is not their first, let alone their only, offense:
In layman's terms, according to KRXQ, in 2002 "the contemporary standards of the Sacramento listening community" encompassed "humor" about incestuous sexual abuse between a father and a small child, just as in 2009 it ought to encompass what States defends as "joking" about physical, verbal, and emotional abuse of transgender children.
J'accuse.These men are consistently advocating the sexual exploitation of and undifferentiated violence toward children. They should be removed permanently from the ability to voice their despicable opinions on the public's airwaves.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
[personal profile] mecurtin posted part of a discussion happening elsewhere, where she argues:
Given that there are *in fact* virtuous atheists and agnostics, religious belief *must not* be required for virtue. That's what "sine qua non" means. The existence of moral atheists disproves the thesis that religious belief is necessary for a moral compass. Rod has acknowledged the observable *fact* that moral atheists exist -- you cannot go on to argue that belief in God must be necessary for moral behavior.
I would personally argue, as I have before, that morality is trained into the individual before knowledge of a divinity is transferred to that individual.

The infant's very first interactions with Society comes through her primary caregiver - mother, wetnurse, adoptive primary caregiver, the Giver Of Milk. Infants primarily learn at that point ask, and it shall be given unto you, although some must learn ask and demand as you will, it will do you no good: your needs will not be met on time.

Infants also learn Cry injustice and dismay, and you shall be comforted - again, with the above caveat. I shall ask you to take that as read, from here on in.

These are the very roots of moral behavior. Please note the extreme lack of an invisible deity, and the lack of fear of the caregiver which is going on here.

The next roots also occur in the absence of deity: Things still exist even when you cannot see them, and don't hit/don't bite.

The final two roots occur in the presence of the understanding of language, although not necessarily in the presence of the use of language: share your belongings even when you would rather not, and when you have a fight, you can go back to being friends afterward.

Those are the roots on which all other moral behavior is based. They all are trained into the human (or fail to be so trained) before language, and therefor the concept of deity, is available to her.

The book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum argues this same issue, as I understand it, although it comes in at a later point in the child's development: behaving well is a cornerstone, a necessary foundation, to having a society in which children survive. These are things that our cousins the apes and the chimpanzees learn from their mothers and their kin-groups; and no one has yet argued that these are rooted in a religious system there.

In fact, I would argue that the thesis that a Deity is necessary to moral behavior is evidence that the one posing it does not have a sound moral compass of her or his own.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
Every parent of a child must read But I Did Everything Right! right fucking now. And then take a deep sigh of relief and acceptance.

it reads, in part:
If there is one thing experts on child development agree on, it is that kids learn best when they are allowed to make mistakes and feel the consequences. [...] But not, it seems, all kids. In about 30 percent, the coils of their DNA carry a glitch, one that leaves their brains with few dopamine receptors, molecules that act as docking ports for one of the neurochemicals that carry our thoughts and emotions. A paucity of dopamine receptors is linked to an inability to avoid self-destructive behavior such as illicit drug use. But the effects spill beyond such extremes. Children with the genetic variant are unable to learn from mistakes. [Italics added - ww.]
We knew, the moment Eldest Daughter came into our lives at the advanced age of one month, that she was a strongly self-willed person who would take what she liked of our influence, and reject what didn't make sense. You know things about your own children the same way: that this one responds to this set of actions, that one to that set, and this other is sweet and placid and has a whim of titanium.

It's always more things than one, or even two. Nature, nurture and environment. And we need these other kids, these "Can't learn from mistakes" kids: They are John Sheppard, they are Audey Murphy, they are all the adventurers and inventors and pilots and soldiers and scientists who are constitutionally incapable of taking "no" for an answer, for taking "can't" as a solution, of giving up, of abandoning "try, try again."

Eventually, but not in my lifetime, we will incorporate this knowledge into our Justice System, and evaluate the convicted by the responses of which they are capable when we sentence them. (Probably not until all of the generations prior to, and including, my own are dead dead dead; but it will eventually happen.)

Let me point you to a segment late in the article:
Most researchers who study child development were trained as psychologists, and—to overgeneralize, but only a little—are uncomfortable with or even suspicious of genetics. Geneticists tend to see behavioral research as squishy, not hard science. That produces a body of scientific literature that is remarkably ignorant of genetics. As we reported in this story, we were struck by how clueless so many "experts" in child development were about the new genetics—and how resistant they were to it. Almost all were unaware of the studies showing that genetics acts as a filter between environment and child, letting some influences in and keeping others out.
What this means is that you are the first expert on your child, because you have the primary interest and the primary impulse to observe.

Not every parent, true. But you, and I, and our circle: we have to know:

There are things we can do. And there are things that no one can do anything about.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
Possibly triggering, certainly somewhat anti-Christian material below, depending on which verses you read how. )Now, with all that in mind, allow me to refer you to a pair of articles on Josep Fritzl's activities within the context of good, solid, Austrian culture.

The first one I found was Josef Fritzl's fictive forebears in The Times Online(UK). Ritchie Robertson undertakes a thorough overview of the kinds of literature that Elizabeth's fate recalls. I recommend a careful and thorough reading: Freaud does make an appearance, as one would expect, but there is far, far more to the story than he.

Today, I found Heather Mallick's re-consideration of her call for Austria not wholly to be tarred with one broad psycotic's brush when a reader very politely corrected her Canadian attitude thusly:
Thank you for the article, she wrote politely, but I am Austrian-German, and you are wrong. Her traditional upbringing by an authoritarian father and passive mother had scarred her as well as her own children, she said, causing one of her brothers to commit suicide and leaving the other emotionally unable to cope with life.
In both articles, look for the distinction between English/British attitudes born of class, and Austrian attitudes drawn directly from patriarchy.

We go back, as we always go back, to the above scriptures calling for submission - and the societal structures that empower, require, and coerce that submission. Regardless. We remember (as we of my generation and older should remember, and often fail) that there was, semantically, no such thing as rape in marriage legally, because - they were married. It was a husband's right to have sex with his wife. Up through the 1970s in America.

We remember, as so many of all of us fail to remember, that wifely acceptance of husbandly fits and starts was always demanded, not least by the women who had grown old and bitter in their acceptance, wondering - as Celie of The Color Purple wondered - how these young women dare expect better conditions than their elders.

I look back to my mother's best friend, an initially lively and intelligent woman, who underwent therapy to deal with her bitter unhappiness in her marriage.

Her husband, reluctantly but with care for his wife's mental state, agreed with her therapist for electroshock therapy for her.

Afterwards, she was neither lively, nor intelligent, nor unhappy in her marriage.

Austria may well be a simmering hotbed of familial abuse and violence; but it is not alone, not nearly alone.

We are nowhere near enough progressed to be post-feminist.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
ETA: WARNING
It was just abruptly borne in on me that a warning for personal history of child-molestation needs to be here.

For those who have still not seen the SG:A episode *Outcast*. )
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
I am an American feminist information literacy librarian warrior. )
Be like Eve. Choose to hear. Choose to see. Choose to know.

And, knowing, then choose how to act.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
Lesbian IVF users condemn church pederasty and authority-based rape, right back at'em. )

There are sexual crimes, oh yes. But I have no ability to hear the words of the authorities of the Catholic church on this matter: their actions are screaming too loudly.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
My very dear insane friend [livejournal.com profile] mazarinade recently asked for published instances of inter-alien sex - which we duly answered - and the thought led me to this:

I believe in paying money where money is due. And being American, I believe that money is one of the highest forms of accolades, right underneath chocolate, good alcohol, and string-free orgasms. So when I started reading and enjoying the very hell out of slash, I thought to myself, in my wordwitchy way, "Go! Go unto the purveyors of books, and find good porn, and pay thy tribute to the writers thereof!" And so I went unto the purveyors of books, and attempted to find good porn.

I have never read such a motley collection of sad, sad prose since I firmly closed the cover on The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit back when I was in high school. Three pages in.

I thought - well, maybe ... maaaaayyybee it's because this is ... "straight"? Maybe I should poke into (if you will) the gay and otherwise queer stuff?

No dice. Award-winning, multiply-published volumes of sad, sad stuff.

Now: Heinlein, as many things as he got wrong (and as much as I honor him for trying anyhow), got one thing absolutely right:

The only sin sex can commit is to be joyless.

With the single exception of Eric Flint's first novel (ok, ok, and also the scene in his 1632), every single instance I have read in the professionally published literature of explicit sex has been just that: Joyless.

Regardless of genre, orientation, or audience.

I don't run into this among fanfiction, whether slash, het, or omigodwhatWASthat?? And while it's very possible that the reason that I don't is that I've managed to avoid it through the judicious use of recommendations and KnownAuthors, the fact remains that I can read dozens of stories a day and never run into a joyless, soulless sex scene. (Badly written: yes. Flat: yes. Sad? Nuh-uh.)

I ask you, O Fellow Livejournalists: Why Is This?
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
It's still going on, folks. Every time I think - nah, NO parent does that to their child anymore! Reality just *bites* me in the ass.

And for some bizarre reason, the Indianapolis Star has dragged its feet on reporting this.

I hereby announce my personal boycott of Atkins products (they apparently make a delicious cheesecake), and invite you to join me.

ETA to correct the URL for Atkins. Thanks, Badger!
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
There are some elements to being a part of an interracial lesbian Unitarian academic household with children that ... well.

Like the month that my wife got stopped, arrested, and handcuffed for driving my fucking van through a suburb that I myself got stopped and warned in, not a whole two fucking weeks later.

Warned.

The wife is a large woman. Cuffing her hands behind her back nearly dislocated her shoulder. And the cops apologized, and called it standard procedure.

Warned.

ETA: This was for driving with one headlight out. The blasted thing would blow everytime water would get in it - which was every time it rained. I have a new van now.

White privilege? Yeah, I got it. And my brothers get it. Sometimes - but not always - my mom gets it. Though her ex-mother-in-law always thought of her Greek ass as colored.

My kids? They don't get it. And there's this thing about being a mother, be it never so adoptive and not legally recognized:

I want my kids to have at least what I have, if not better.

I want them to assume they have white privilege. And I want the society around them to assume it as well.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
Int'l grandmothers' enviro movement. In part:
The women, formally called the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, come from Africa, Asia and the Americas. Their languages, cultures and traditions are as different as their lands.

"They're not women of politics. They're women of prayer," said Jeneane Prevatt of The Center for Sacred Studies in Sonora, Calif., who goes by the name Jyoti.

The indigenous grandmothers hope to ease war, pollution and social ills by teaching traditional ways that served their people long before the birth of modern peace and environmental movements.
And me, I live in hope.
wordwitch: Woman in a shift, reading on a couch (Default)
People who have friended me from the fanfiction and slash side of my journal are nearly all already aware of this situation. However, and given that I have been commenting on fanfiction for a while now, I desire to present my other friends with some collected information on this subject. Following are links to overviews and discussions that I have found, even as peripheral as I have been to the entire thing.
FanLib materials )

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