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a lie built right into the name

So the opponents of Prop. V have almost convinced me to support it.

Let me back up a bit.

Proposition V is going to be on the ballot this November here in San Francisco. It’s a city-level tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, which for this purpose is being defined as “a beverage that contains added sugar and 25 or more calories per 12 ounces.” When you look at the list of things that are exempt it becomes quite clear that this is specifically targeting soda pop (I don’t even remember the last time I saw those two words together, let alone wrote them myself. Weird.) and other junk-food drinks. Diet soda, alcohol, and probably anything you think of as a healthy soft drink are not subject to it.

There are a lot of valid and interesting points of discussion to this proposal, and I think some good conversations could be had about it, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the campaign against it, specifically the mailings I’ve been getting that were paid for by No on V, Enough is Enough: Don’t Tax Our Groceries, with Major Funding by American Beverage Association California PAC.

That’s seriously what it says. Take a moment to appreciate that at some point there had to be a committee meeting in which people deliberately chose that name. On purpose. Read the rest of this entry

Today’s Feminism

Saw this on Twitter this evening and got to thinking. 

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 9.21.44 PM

The topmost tweet is that one that caught my attention. I’ll quote it in case it’s difficult to read. 

Most gamers seem to support equality feminism. What they reject is today’s male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism.

I read a lot of claims about “modern feminism” or “3rd wave feminism” or even “4th wave feminism” being somehow separate from “equality feminism”, but I don’t usually see much else. It’s just sort of thrown out as though it’s self-evident that mainstream feminism today has abandoned the old standard of “the radical notion that women are people” and become an excuse for male-bashing by ugly, uppity women. 

Actually, I’m pretty sure people have been saying that about women’s rights movements since before “feminism” was a word. 

Honestly I do have an actual point to get to, but first I have to wonder: is “male-bashing, propaganda-driven, female chauvinism” actually a thing? I mean, I’ve seen a couple of websites that describe themselves as “radical feminists” and do seem to be openly hostile towards men, but they seem to be fairly isolated and don’t attempt to, you know, actually oppress men in any way. I just haven’t seen any of this male-bashing in a position of actual influence, you see, and certainly not to the point that you could describe it as though it were the primary voice of feminism today. 

But moving on, the bottommost tweet added some context, which really must be appreciated. 

I always expected other liberal-minded scholars to join me in exposing 3rd wave feminist lunacy.Never happened.But now the gamers r here.

Just so we’re clear, is there some other clash between feminists and gamers, or is she actually talking about the waves of hate and abuse Anita Sarkeesian has been receiving for the heinous crime of creating a video series examining common sexist tropes in video games? You know, the shit that’s gotten so bad that blogging about the death threats she’s received is enough to bring death threats of your own down on you?

Because to be honest, I’m not really seeing that as “exposing 3rd wave feminist lunacy”. Not even a little. It really looks like pure reactionary anger to me. 

Look, I’m not all-knowing. Maybe I’ve missed some vital context here.

Truth is, lately I’ve gotten lazy about checking sources & background on anything to do with feminism, because it’s always boiled down to a bunch of guys with a sense of entitlement whining. I think the turning point was a kerfluffle about a conference instituting a sexual harassment policy for the first time. The outcry wasn’t over the content or implementation of the new policy, it was that they had a sexual harassment policy at all.

Not that it’s really relevant, but from what I recall the policy itself was pretty boilerplate. Instructions to staff dealing with complaints were basically, “Document everything, and call the police if someone asks you to.”

It’s gotten increasingly difficult for me to take this sort of thing seriously since then. 

 

Legitimate Asshole Todd Akin reminds me how we are legitimately fucked.

I apologize for the scarcity of links and references in this post. Perhaps I’ll go back and add them sometime, but it seems unlikely.

Todd Akin is sorry that he said he was sorry about that “legitimate rape” bullshit he spouted off a while back. This spiraled off in my head to a conclusion about just how fucked up America is now.

First: Akin. In his apology for his apology the shithead has the utter lack of humanity to write this,

“Is it a legitimate claim of rape or an excuse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy?”

Which pretty much sums up why I’ve decided that abortion should be absolutely legal without restrictions or inconvenience or excess questions right up until fucking labor starts; because assholes like him will do everything in their power to make women suffer.

Look, we live in a society where the idea of making a false rape accusation that lasts long enough for paperwork to happen is pretty damn stupid right off the bat, because we live in a society that treats rape victims worse that it treats rapists. I stand by that statement as long as we have situations where, for example, high school football stars sexually assault a teenage girl on fucking video that gets publicly posted to the fucking internet and not only does their whole community rally around them and against their victim, but it takes a massive online shitstorm to even bring them to trial. And then people cry about these poor “ruined lives”, and they’re talking about the fucking criminals having their lives ruined by being held accountable for their crimes! Meanwhile, the victim is ostracized and driven out for demanding justice. That’s American society today. Read the rest of this entry

A weaker target

Got an email this morning from Courage Campaign, informing me that the people behind prop 8 are now attacking a law that attempts to protect trans kids from discrimination and bullying. My immediate reaction is that being no longer able to beat up gay adults with prop 8, they looked for a more vulnerable target and chose trans children.

The rationale given for opposing this anti-bullying measure is the old narrative that a trans woman is just a man in drag, so they’re trying to keep boys out of the girl’s locker rooms. Look, the social fallout for being a teenage boy who sneaks into the girl’s locker room is very slight, often effectively non-existent, while the consequences of being perceived as trans, or just not hetero-normative, start with bullying and go all the way to murder. You’re bravely defending the strong from the weak, here.

Anyway, mobile posts encourage me to be brief so I’ll sign off here. Take care!

“Equal protection”, but some are more equal than others…

Saw this today and I find myself wondering why John McCain wants so badly to live in a fascist dictatorship. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for his statements & actions the last few years, all of which seem to be along the lines of “give the executive branch all the power.”

the pope on gender identity

So long as there shall exist, by virtue of law and custom, decrees of damnation pronounced by society, artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth, and adding the element of human fate to divine destiny; so long as the three great problems of the century – the degradation of man through pauperism, the corruption of woman through hunger, the crippling of children through lack of light – are unsolved; so long as social asphyxia is possible in any part of the world; – in other words, and with a still wider significance, so long as ignorance and poverty exist on earth, books of the nature of Les Misérables cannot fail to be of use.

HAUTEVILLE HOUSE, 1862

This is the preface to my Kindle edition of Les Mis, which I was looking at in anticipation of seeing the movie on Tuesday. It seemed particularly appropriate to this article about that vile old tyrant, the pope, attempting to be relevant by discussing gender identity and trans people.

The article is written by one Deacon Keith Fournier, who does not feel at home with the idea of writing for clarity. The formatting is odd, broken into three pages for no apparent reason and with a footer on the second page that makes the article appear to trail off mid-sentence. I found it difficult to tell whose words I was reading at any one time, as Fournier frequently quotes people who are themselves quoting others and makes poor use of the tools language and html provides for clarifying such things. I mention this as a pre-emptive excuse in case I mistakenly attribute one party’s words to another, not to nitpick the superficial weaknesses of the article, as the substantial ones are quite sufficient.

The title of this article is “Pope Benedict XVI Exposes the Profound Falsehood of the Philosophy of the Gender Identity Movement”, and perhaps the pope does so in his speech, but Deacon Fournier felt no need to relay this information to us, the readers. At no point in the article is the philosophy of any gender identity movement or movements discussed, nor is any falsehood established therein. In fact, it consists almost entirely of other people’s words, with Fournier occasionally chiming in to bemoan these “new rights” he is being “forced” to “recognize”.

To which I accuse him of, as the preface says, “artificially creating hells amid the civilization of earth”, because his wailing of the restructuring of society is because people who don’t easily fit into hetero-normative categories are insisting that they shouldn’t have to. Because the terrible burden they place upon him is their inclusion in anti-discrimination laws. Read the rest of this entry

The threat of Madonna

Okay. I’m going to start with the link and the headline that went with it: RUSSIA: Court Acquits Madonna Of Threatening National Birth Rate By Promoting Homosexuality

Hard not to laugh, isn’t it?

The short version is that “homosexual propaganda”, and the promotion thereof is now a crime in St. Petersburg (they’re considering expanding this law to the federal level) and nine claimants brought charges against Madonna for voicing her opinions in public at a concert there.

It’s actually very tempting to just quote the entire Joe My God article here and point and laugh, but it stops being funny when you see what they considered “promoting homosexuality”. Here’s what Madonna said at a concert in August,

I am here to say that the gay community and gay people here and all around the world have the same rights – to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love

This is promotion? Saying that gay people are human beings with rights?

I’m pretty sure in one of these blog posts I said that I expected anyone’s rights to be respected, up to and including Space-Zombie Hitler. Was I promoting Undead-Space-Nazism by doing so?

Well, as the headline says, the judge didn’t think so. But it really bothers me that people thought they could win this suit, and though that it was worth even trying to win.

Read the rest of this entry

Christian Fascists in Greece get violent, police do nothing

Here’s a quote that’ll stick in your head:

“Listen here, bitch, we are Greek Christian fascists! 90% of Greeks are Christian fascists, understand?  As a fascist, i have the right to tell you to get out of here.”

That comes from this blog, and here’s a Guardian article on the same event. (I found both links at Butterflies and Wheels.)

I’d heard of the Greek political party Golden Dawn before, but hadn’t realized they had actual seats on the Greek Parliament. I’m a little surprised by this.  Read the rest of this entry

Guess I’m not straight anymore

Continuing to try to get all the blogging I’ve been thinking of the last few days out of my head, here’s one from Miss Ion America…. no sorry, that’s Mission America, which doesn’t sound nearly as interesting to me. I’m just going to blatantly copy this screencap from Joe. My. God., where I found this.

 

I’d like to take this moment to recant my heterosexuality before the jack-booted queens come for me.

I find a sad fascination in people who will, with a straight face, accuse their victim of doing to them exactly what they’re doing. “This is blatant discrimination and amounts to child endangerment.” Who, exactly, is being discriminated against, and how?

“Ex-gay” programs are abusive. This is obvious to anyone who’s made the slightest effort to understand them. Subjecting children to abuse is known by the common term child abuse. Who’s being endangered?

The AIDS dodge is real rich. Most people with HIV are straight women, so by their logic we should be putting all our little girls into Pavlovian training programs to make them think they’re gay, right? Sure it’s horrific abuse and leaves lasting emotional scars, which outlive pretending to be someone you’re not, but it’s for their own good, right?

In my review of her book, Be Ours Forever, (available in paperback or ebook format!) I ribbed R.C. Murphy for her characters’ use of “male” as a noun. She answered that it’s not degrading or demeaning the way it would be with real people, since her characters aren’t actually human. You can’t dehumanize what isn’t human, after all. So likewise, it’s not degrading, demeaning, or dehumanizing to refer to “homosexual males”, because as everyone knows homosexuals aren’t really human.

Once again, I’m just amazed at how important some people think it is to treat gay people like shit. They fight tooth and nail against anything that even hints at treating homosexuals as actual people. They encourage bullying, and psychological torture, and sometimes outright murder because they don’t approve of someone else’s love. Fucking hell, live your own life. Mind your own business.

In a world so filled with human misery, why the fuck would you work so hard to make more of it?

Political correctness gone mad?

Last post I mentioned “political correctness” and how I wish the phrase would die out. Here’ s a good example why I feel that way. Consider this billboard.

This is not “politically incorrect”. It is fucking racist. The proper term for it, the term I would like to see people use for this sort of shit, is not some weak, watered-down phrase like “politically incorrect”, implying that it merely toes a boundary of social taboos or something; the proper term is “fucking racist”, because it uses people as a punchline.

Using disenfranchised people as a punchline is at least a little bit more than toeing a social boundary. At best it’s spitting on people you’re already stepping on.

I want to see the term “fucking racist” used by everyone, blogs, newsrooms, political spokescreatures. I suppose I could allow the “fucking” part to be optional, but I think you’re really undermining the impact if you leave it out.

As I said before, I’m a believer in free speech. This should absolutely be legal. But that doesn’t, and shouldn’t free it from criticism. As long as this billboard speaks for him, Scott Brown is clearly a racist. It marks his racism the same way calling someone a “nigger” would.

This is not political correctness gone mad. This is recognizing that the things you say also say things about you. If you respond to this by claiming that your freedom of expression is being stifled by political correctness what I will hear is childish whining that people are actually listening to what you say rather than simply agreeing with you.

And that’s why I want the phrase “politically correct” to fade away, because these days when I encounter it it’s not funny anymore. It’s almost always someone whining that when they say or do bigoted shit, people call them a bigot. The phrase has almost become code for a rallying cry to come defend the privilege, defend the good old boy network, defend the fucking patriarchy, defend white supremacy. Keep the rich white guys in charge by defending anything they say, no matter how awful, by dismissing criticism of it as excessive political correctness. Fuck that.

I don’t know what’s worse, that someone thought blatant racism was a good campaign strategy, or that in some parts of this country it might actually work.

“Most of my friends won’t repost this…”

You’ve seen these things before, right? On Facebook, mostly, usually something about some injustice that ends with a crude, hamfisted attempt to manipulate people into sharing it and spreading it around more by implying that those who don’t are either callous or taking part in whatever the issue is.

I hate them. I hate when people try to manipulate me.

So I figured, as a public service, I’d announce that anything which has something like that, “I bet 99% of you won’t, but re-post this if you’re that 1% with a heart”, or whatever, will be ignored by me regardless of content. I suppose if there’s something that actually needs to be said there I can take it as inspiration to write up my own post about it, but I will not be spreading shit like that around.

And if you are one of the people who make these things, if that sort of cheap emotional blackmail is something you’re willing to use, either to spread awareness of a genuine issue or just to boost your own ego, then I kindly invite you to go fuck yourself.

This is one of those posts I think of writing every time I see one of those asinine things, but it was this splendid and worthwhile blog post by Alyson Miers that got me to actually write it.

“unable to give their consent”

So you may have heard a while back that a German court ruled that the circumcision of infants was child abuse. Brendan O’Neill has apparently decided that the only reason for this decision could have been anti-Jewish bigotry, and that bigotry came from atheists.

I’m going to quote the part of O’Neill’s article that made me feel a need to address it, I have more to say on the matter but really this is the primary point, the main idea, the one thing that I want an answer to.

There are many bad things about the modern atheistic assault on religion. But perhaps the worst thing is its rebranding of certain religious practices as “child abuse”. Everything from sending your kid to a Catholic school to having your baby boy circumcised has been redefined by anti-religious campaigners as “abuse”. This use of emotionally loaded language to demonise the practices and beliefs of people of faith has reached its ugly and logical conclusion in Germany, where a court has decreed that circumcision for religious purposes causes “bodily harm”, against boys who are “unable to give their consent”, and therefore should be outlawed.

See the quotes there on the part about consent? I want someone to tell me how an infant gives consent. Heck, the court case was about a four year old boy from a Muslim family, tell me how a four year old gives legal consent.

I notice you also put quotes around “bodily harm”. See the thing is, Brendan (may I call you Brendan?), when you use quotes like that it looks like you’re disputing the words used. So this paragraph suggests that you think:

  1. Cutting off a foreskin is not bodily harm, and
  2. Children, including newborn infants, are capable of giving consent.

I really want an explanation of this. Seriously, no bullshit. Use small words because I’m kind of stupid. How is this not causing harm without consent? O’Neill never explains this, he just goes on to say that people who did terrible things to the Jews in history also called circumcision barbaric child abuse. In other news, a stopped clock is right twice a day, Hitler ate sugar, and an association fallacy really isn’t worth stretching into five paragraphs.

That’s the meat of this post. Frankly you can skip the rest if you want because from here on out it’s mostly just shouting. With lots of wine, so it’s not even coherent.  Read the rest of this entry

Texas Republicans want your kids to be stupid.

I really wish that were hyperbole. Here’s a video of some guy ranting about it.

And here’s a link to the Texas Freedom Network’s analysis. And here’s a link to a PDF of the platform itself.

Check this out,

Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

Except students won’t be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses because two paragraphs later they oppose the teaching of critical thinking skills. So what does this actually come down to?

A phrase I’ve often heard in discussions of education is “Teach kids how to think, not what to think.” Critical thinking skills is, of course, the biggest part of that and the Texas GOP has now convinced me that we should have critical thinking exercises in fucking preschool.

I have nothing more to say here, it’s just blown my mind that people could advance this as a public policy platform and not be instantly laughed out of politics forever.

Sugar Rainbow!

Ok, I mostly just wanted to post this picture, because I think it’s awesome.

Incidentally, should Oreo decide to market six-layer rainbow Pride Oreos I will totally buy some. And probably make myself sick eating all that sugar, but still!

Buzzfeed has this post highlighting some comments from people who are upset about this image.

There’s something comical about the idea of boycotting a cookie, but reading the comments it quickly stops being funny. Once more I’m left puzzled by how important treating the gays like shit seems to be to some people.

Oh yeah? Well I’ll just sue EVERYBODY!

This is what I get for thinking I could take time off to enjoy myself. I leave the internet for a week and nearly miss one of the most impressive lawsuits ever filed. And by “impressive” I mean “stupid”.

You may recall Charles Carreon as the lawyer who sent a ridiculous threat of legal action to a webcartoonist a couple of weeks ago. The situation has escalated since. (All of Popehat’s posts on this case can be found at this tag search.) Carreon has actually filed suit against:

  1. Matthew Inman, the cartoonist,
  2. indiegogo.com, the site Inman is using to collect the funds,
  3. the two named charities, the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society, and
  4. up to 100 unknown people, presumably he’ll fill in the names as he discovers them.

Yes, he’s really suing the charities. He doesn’t actually say why in his complaint, it just trails off near the end of paragraph 6, like he couldn’t think of anything and intended to go back and add a reason later.  Read the rest of this entry

Girl legislators probably have cooties

From The Detroit News:

“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

Oh my, what could state Rep. Lisa Brown have said Wednesday to so offend Mike Callton that she was forbidden to speak as this awful piece of legislation was discussed Thursday? Well, this:

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,’

Although the article doesn’t specify, presumably after she said this Rep. Callton screwed up his face and cried “EEEeeeewww!”

If you can’t discuss complex issues using grown-up words, you really have no business working in government.

Funny Junk Lawyer

So here’s a thing. In brief, a lawyer representing the FunnyJunk website sent a letter to cartoonist  Matthew Inman (of the Oatmeal fame) threatening a defamation lawsuit if Inman doesn’t pay $20,000. This is in response to a blog post Inman wrote a year ago in which he pointed out that a lot of his cartoons were on FunnyJunk without attribution or a link or anything.

Inman has responded by start a charity fundraiser and scribbling an insulting cartoon. It’s pretty awesome, really.

But what gets me is how the lawyer, one Charles Carreon, is reacting. From Digital Life at MSNBC:

[Carreon] also explains that he believes Inman’s fundraiser to be a violation of the terms of service of IndieGoGo, the website being used to collect donations, and has sent a request to disable the fundraising campaign.

Fucking hell. That’s what you want to do, now that the public is watching, you want to try to shut down the charity drive? You’re supposed to be representing your client, remember? This is shooting your client and yourself in the metaphorical feet by making you both look like giant assholes. It looks like a petulant scream of “If I can’t have it no one can!” at best.

Here’s the Wikipedia page on the Streisand effect. It’s something lawyers need to take into account these days. Carreon’s actions are doing far more damage to FunnyJunk’s reputation than  Inman could have possibly done, because he’s doing it with their sanction, in their name.

I’m not a lawyer myself, nor well-versed in the ways of law, but as I understand things right now it seems FJ would have a much better defamation case against their own lawyer than against the Oatmeal.

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