Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,941
Number of posts: 13,941
Yeah, I know that's just a red flag term "rape culture," simply ASKING to start a big fat semantic debate and bring the MRA wackjobs out from under their rocks.
Nevertheless, I want to share this quote from a commentin John Scalzi's blog:
Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. He’s raped dozens of women over his life. And at the center of that, by his own words? Bill Cosby doesn’t think he raped anyone.
Because this validates my own rape survival and I think it does so for way too many other women as well.
And that's more important to me- that validation- than yet another tedious argument about semantics and legalities.
One more quote, also referred to in the post that comment is from:
"One of the most radical things you can do is believe women when they talk about their experiences."
And way, way, WAY too many of us experience living in a rape culture.
Deal with it.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon Jul 27, 2015, 12:11 PM (10 replies)
I'm torn between two important bits of awareness.
The first is that affirming #BlackLivesMatter TO ME, is part of a process that's been somewhat-useful in the evolutionary process of social change, through the ages. That is, when you qualify as "mainstream" or "majority" or (quite frankly) "part of the problem," and you acknowledge the problem, take ownership of your share-by-default, and add your voice to the demands for change, you might-- just might-- raise the awareness of, and empower others like yourself, to make way for change.
And that's largely a good thing. So, there's that.
But here's the other awareness:
IT'S NOT ABOUT ME.
And trying to insert myself into the discussion as though what I say matters, perpetuates the whole "part of the problem" issue.
The voices that we need to be listening to, resonating to, responding to are not voices like mine.
Honestly, if I were a candidate-- caucasian middle-aged me? I'm not at all sure what kind of useful response I could make to a flash group of activists using the spotlight directed at me to get their message across.
A very important message.
A message I agree with.
A message I don't really want to dilute with well-intentioned platitudes, endorsements, affirmations, etc.
Because even though as a candidate, my voice would have some relevance, it could never begin to match the power of those speaking for themselves, their family members, friends, loved ones.
What would I say?
I don't know, I'm not a candidate, I haven't been in that situation. I might say something stupid, clueless, tone-deaf.
That wouldn't change the reality and the passion of my belief that those who are speaking need to be listened to, and that we need to change.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 06:37 PM (8 replies)
I posted this initially in September, 2010, but it seems like the right time to re-post it, in response to, well... you know.
Damn' straight, I shouldn't have to work "hard!"
Not when "hard" is defined by people who think that your ass is lazy if you're not gasping in misery at the end of the 10-hour work day.
Not when "hard" means standing on my feet on hard concrete surfaces without a break for hours, with a bare few minutes for lunch and bathroom breaks, and hot, smelly air choking me until the migraine is so bad I can hardly find my locker to pick up my purse at the end of the day.
Not when "hard" means that my "exempt" job "exempts" me from being paid overtime for the extra ten hours a week I routinely have to put in at a flickering computer monitor in an ergonomic nightmare of a chair, with sleazy supervisors telling me how lazy I am and denying me raises because the company's profit margin isn't inflated enough.
Not when "hard" means bending over in the hot sun, muscling a heavy piece of equipment intended to be operated by two people all on my own.
Not when "hard" means accepting shitty pay and constant disrespect, suspicion, and superior attitudes from people whose only "qualification" for the job is that their brother-in-law is a company Vice President.
Not when "hard" means getting a theoretical two weeks' vacation I never get to take because if I do, my job will have been disappeared by the time I get back, "re-organized" so that two even worse-paid part-time employees take over the work.
Not when "hard" means no benefits and barely enough pay to eat on and three months behind in the rent and no money to pay for the medication I need to keep breathing without wheezing constantly, but I'm still expected to be on-the-bounce, cheerful, willing to stay late and arrive early and take over the extra work required when a co-worker is out sick.
No, you fuckers, you're right. I DON'T want to "work hard," you piece-of-crap smug sleazy empty suited heartless amoral assholes. I DON'T want to "work hard" so that you can keep making payments on your Lexus and sneer at me because I'm behind on my mortgage and "not making good financial decisions."
I want to WORK.
I want to work with DIGNITY.
I want to work for a LIVING WAGE.
I want to work for the feeling that what I do is IMPORTANT and APPRECIATED and DECENTLY COMPENSATED.
THAT'S how I want to work.
That's what UNIONS used to be for: To keep you slimy, self-righteous, greedy, arrogant shitheels from being able to take advantage of my need for a job, my need to support myself and my family and feel like I'm pulling my own weight in the world by regarding me as a disposable commodity that can be pushed around, treated like crap, and ditched whenever your fucking profit margin drops below two hundred percent and your bonus or your stock options are in jeopardy.
And then you can justify your smarmy, hypocritical, vicious, parasitical behavior by sniffing superciliously about how I "don't want to work hard."
Posted by TygrBright | Fri Jul 10, 2015, 04:02 PM (17 replies)
The topic of plural marriage is heating up around here, and the ripples are slopping in predictable directions.
I've already said what I have to say on the topic in general, so I'm not gonna rehash the Bigger Picture.
But one issue I DO want to address is the numerous iterations of this argument that popped up in that thread and continue to pop up in other threads on the topic (Le Taz Hot's deeply-felt post on the difference between rape and polygamy, among others):
"There's a lot of exploitive, rapey, evil, misogynist polygyny out there. And I, personally, don't see a whole lot of healthy, wholesome, consensual polyamory out there. Therefore I must conclude that the exploitive, rapey, evil polygyny is a fair representation of "polygamy" and what would happen if plural marriage were legitimated and I DON'T WANT THAT."
Well, I don't want the positive sanction and proliferation of nasty exploitive rapey polygyny, EITHER, so can we at least start out with that as common ground?
Here's what I'm picking out of that argument that bothers me, though: The "I don't see a lot of healthy, wholesome, consensual polyamory out there, therefore there must not be much, therefore there wouldn't be much if plural marriage were legitimated," train of reasoning.
Consensual, thoughtful, intentional, shared polyamorous orientation and even commitment are pretty invisible for a damn' good reason. A reason very similar to why BDSM was relatively invisible until recently, and somewhat similar to why the "closet" was the primary habitat for LBGT folk until during my lifetime:
It's strongly, overwhelmingly, and near-universally misunderstood and negatively-sanctioned in our culture. (Yeah, one from the "duh" file, but it appears to need stating and re-stating, ad infinitum.)
Most polyamorists are STILL IN THE CLOSET, in other words.
Some "beard" as "swingers." (Not to be confused with the real thing-- monogamists who enjoy a little mutually-consensual variety in their sex lives.) Many live apparently monogamist lifestyles with one partner, just because it's easier.
Ethical polyamorous individuals sometimes accept a monogamous relationship because it's easier, too.
But some work out a clear prior understanding with their monogamous partner: There's no need for the monogamous partner to participate, but the polyamorous individual may have other, consensual, loving sexual relationships with other partners. In some cases, those other partners are welcome, albeit necessarily not permanent, members of the household. In some cases, the "household" the polyamorous person lives in, is spread over multiple dwellings.
These are not optimal arrangements, but they are required, because, remember that reaction you just viscerally had when I wrote about the "clear prior understanding with their monogamous partner?" Somewhere deep inside you hollered "bullshit! They just want permission to CHEAT, the selfish barstids!" didn't you?
The kind of people who are driven to pursue creepy exploitive nonconsensual polygyny usually associate themselves with whole subcultures of other sickos like themselves, and they're really not interested in living in the same culture as the rest of us, because, well, they know the whole "nonconsensual exploitation" thing is at the heart of why they do it, and it's a pretty big stretch to expect the rest of the world to backpedal into that swamp.
The kind of people who are ethically, thoughtfully, naturally polyamorous don't necessarily want to go live in a teeny little subculture with one another where they can be marginalized, stigmatized, prosecuted now and then, and generally made to pay a hellish price for the consensual expression of their sexuality with other adults.
So, you don't know them. But there are more of them than you think.
But they might live next door to you.
Posted by TygrBright | Wed Jul 8, 2015, 11:34 AM (84 replies)
"Plural marriage" is a generic term for when more than two people decide they wish to form a family, create a lasting household together for mutual support and love, and obtain social recognition of their commitment to one another.
If you stop there, it's just possible to see the horizon where this is another Great Civil Rights fight, queuing up to change American consciousness and society.
And if you stop there, its easy to see why those who regard plural marriage as such get offended when various forms of plural marriage are equated to nonconsensual exploitation, cruelty, and/or criminal behavior. As in, the assumption that advocating the legalization of polygamy-- a form of plural marriage-- is being used to discredit same-sex marriage.
This is the same school of thought that wants to turn "You throw like a GIRL" from an insult into a badge of pride. (see: "Davis, Mo'ne") Fuck you people, you think assigning onus to a reference can MAKE it onerous? We'll show you.
I get this.
Partly because I think that sometime down the road, we'll achieve a redefinition of marriage big enough to include the triads, foursomes, even fivesomes-- who knows? More? Individuals who perceive the bond of love as the basis of creating a home and family, a unit of support and comfort, a growth medium for children and adults alike, independent of past assumptions about the "roles" inherent in one-to-one marriage.
I think we'll get there.
Maybe not soon, though.
Because for now, there are problems, inherent not in the present or the future, but in the ugly past of a particular variety of plural marriage.
Let's be clear: Polyandry has never been a problem. Partnerships that involve more than one member of more than one gender are such a vanishingly small percentage that they haven't even cracked the phenomenonological perception barrier.
Polygamy, however, has a very long, and very repulsive history as a tool of the patriarchy for the control of women. And in the case of some of our more fetid doctrinal interpretations of Guy God-dom, it remains exactly that tool.
How do we legitimate plural marriage, without enabling that vile practice?
I'm open to suggestion.
I think that discussion might be a more productive approach to the challenge than simply name-calling and/or demanding that we accept each others' points of view without acknowledging the problems inherent in both sides.
But... I recognize that here and now probably isn't the most likely place for such a discussion to emerge.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon Jul 6, 2015, 11:18 AM (55 replies)
What she has, is Constitutionally protected speech.
Hate speech carries a heavy, terrible, sometimes generations-long, price tag.
It is not, and never has been "free."
Someone always pays for it.
Constitutionally-protected speech, used to urge the denial of life, rights, and equity to others, has nothing to do with "freedom," so it's not "free" that way, either.
I'm willing to concede hate speech its Constitutional protection.
I am not willing to miscall it "free" in any way.
That is all.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon May 4, 2015, 05:54 PM (158 replies)
Finding the right forum for this topic was a dilemma. I'm fairly sure some folks will feel it should have gone into one of the Gender & Orientation groups. And indeed, it would likely stay on page one there far longer than it will in GD, where I anticipate it dropping like a stone, with barely a ripple. Nevertheless, although it's about gender discrimination, it's fundamentally about all of humanity. So, here it is. I'll tie a bobber to it by adding it to my journal, what the heck.
Social animals tend to develop ways to organize their groups. Some of us (I'm looking at you, order cetacea... and you, species pan paniscus) are better at it than others (yes, that's our cue, homo sapiens.)
We smooth and clever apes seem to have, at some point in the last 10,000 years, invested heavily in hierarchy, probably when we began to tip the balance from hunt/gather to agriculture and extraction. And one of the byproducts of that investment is the tendency of those at the top of the hierarchy to devise ways to protect their status.
The most effective way for a small elite to protect their status is a twofold strategy of co-optation and subjugation. Co-optation is the sharing of minor benefits, with the implication (but rarely the reality) of upward mobility, to keep a barrier of supporters and protectors between the small elite and the disempowered majority. Subjugation is the fostering of fear and division among segments of the disempowered majority, and the creation of obvious disincentives for supporters/protectors of the elite to side with any part of the disempowered majority.
Which is how the patriarchy came into being-- the first, the oldest, the strongest, the most powerful and oppressive institution our species developed.
If you've read any of PG Wodehouse's delicious Jeeves and Wooster stories, you probably remember the Drones Club, Wodehouse's refined skewering of the quintessential symbol of an elite group-- the classic "Club" of well-to-do Anglo-Saxon society.
Maybe it will help to imagine the patriarchy as a species-wide meta-clubhouse.
Now, by definition, everyone with a Y chromosome starts out with basic provisional membership status. That's half the species, right there, co-opted.
The fact that the membership status starts out as provisional-- well that's a subjugation tactic. Someone with a Y chromosome who fails to measure up to the Club standards? They can be blackballed when it comes time to confirm their membership, and tossed out to outer darkness, where there are none of the comforts of the Club.
It's also possible, of course, to revoke the membership of anyone with a Y chromosome who egregiously and/or repeatedly breaks the Club rules.
The Club has more degrees of membership than the Masons-- and, like the Masons, they shroud the higher degrees in a certain level of mystery and ambiguity.
The lowest degrees of membership are reserved for people who have Y chromosomes but who are otherwise relegated to low-status segments of the disempowered majority--those whose skin color, religious affiliation, social background, etc., render them ineligible for higher levels of membership. They only get two real benefits from their Club membership-- first, admission to the Club itself, albeit only to the stuffier basement rooms with the cheap beer and battered darts boards and tacky pin-up calendars on the walls.
But they get to hang out with one another, and they ARE in the Club, after all, which brings us to the other benefit-- they are automatically entitled, by their status as Club members, to regard all non-members as their inferiors in every way, whose value is defined only by their service to the members.
These low-degree members are also subjugated by a shifting status "lowerarchy" subtly encouraged by the elite. Members from the room at one end of the hall are encouraged to regard the members from the room under the stairs as unworthy to advance to higher levels of membership at all, and vice versa. But there's always some small incentive allowed-- the hope that by rigid adherence to Club rules and extra-meritorious services, they might be inducted into a higher degree of membership.
Above the basement, but on the lower floors of the Clubhouse, are the many rooms designated for the various middle degree members-- more comfortable, better amenities. Then there's a couple of upper levels, with the deep pile carpets and the hushed waiters bringing expensive drinks, for higher-degree members, who consider themselves the elite-- although in fact, they aren't.
The real elite is the Club Board, who meet in the luxurious Boardroom, with all the windows and the scrolly gold leaf on the ceiling moldings, around a long and perfectly-polished table of rare wood. These are drawn from the members of the highest publicly-acknowledged degree. And everyone assumes that it's the Board who run the Club.
But once they're elected to the Board, they're initiated into another, not-so-public hierarchy of degrees. Here they can play vicious power games among themselves for prestigious committee appointments and chairmanships, and ultimately aspire to the very highest and least public degree of all-- the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee is well named-- among their responsibilities is deciding who gets executed, after all. They allow the Board to manage all the showy bits, like the Annual Club Gala and the Catering Committee, to make decisions about the color of the carpet for the redecoration of the library, whether to repair or replace the leaky hot water heater in the basement (it periodically floods the clubroom next to the storage cellar,) stuff like that.
But it's the Executive Committee who control the real power-- the Club bank accounts and books, the proposal of members for the higher degrees, and the nomination of Board members. They have no "official" meeting room, although if you know where to look you'll find the comfortable, well-upholstered lounge and the handball court and locker room reserved for their exclusive use.
At some point it became clear to the Club membership that the half of the species that was excluded from the Club could also be more effectively managed, manipulated, and controlled by the same combination of co-optation and subjugation applied to members.
Hence the institution of the Ladies' Rooms. Non-members who embrace the purpose of the Club (and/or who embrace Club members with sufficient clout) are admitted to the Ladies' Rooms, where they receive a variety of benefits. They're encouraged to form Committees and elect chairwomen, just like the members, providing them with an illusory power and influence. And of course, they're encouraged to maintain the submission of other non-members to the power of the Club. There's always the incentive that if one serves the right Club member diligently enough, she, too, might be admitted to a Ladies' Room and asked to serve on the Flower Arranging Committee.
For thousands of years, the Patriarchy Club has been the underlying foundation of almost every social and economic organizing system our species has devised. This system has allowed a small elite to invest half of the species in the system that sustains their power by disenfranchising and disempowering the other half of the species, obtaining their labor, their creativity, their reproductive services, etc., largely without any compensation beyond sustenance.
It has endured through the evolution of monarchies, oligarchies, dictatorships, and "representative" political systems, through the formation of dozens of religious institutions, and through the trial-and-error of various economic systems. It undergirds virtually every human culture and cultural institution of recorded history.
Lately, there's been a lot of unrest on the lower floors of the Clubhouse. The Board has even made the decision to allow members access to many of the main Club facilities, regardless of degree-- a historic victory for some members. Which is not to say that they're actually getting equal benefit from their titular access to the main facilities-- there's still plenty of resistance and dissension.
The Executive Committee is enjoying the show, as the Board struggles to keep the peace among the lower-degree members trying to restrict each others' access to particular dining rooms, committee meeting rooms, etc. In the long run, this, too, will serve their ends, shaking things up a little and keeping the members on their toes and wary of one another-- too busy to notice that the Executive Committee has once again cut the Catering Budget, so they can have a better grade of champagne in their own lounge.
And just recently-- and this is BIG, people. Make no mistake, it is important-- just recently, a group of blackballed candidates, members of the species ineligible for membership, and even a few ex-members have camped in front of the Clubhouse, and begun demanding that the Club give them access, too. Some have even suggested that the Board and Committees be elected by EVERYONE, not just a self-perpetuating oligarchy among the higher degree Club members. It's a Very Big Deal, indeed, and it has the Board and the Club membership in a real tizzy.
Of course, across the street from the Clubhouse, behind palings that keep the Clubhouse driveway clear and its nice landscaped grounds pretty, there's been a rabble of non-members gathered for the last couple of centuries or so, making foolish demands that they, too, be made full members of the Club-- in fact, that the Club itself be abolished, and the species start reorganizing along more functional, less lethal and oppressive lines.
Silly girls. Co-opt a few into the Ladies' Rooms with promises of a Serious Discussion of membership, send out some platters of goodies and bunches of flowers labeled "rights" to the ones loosely attached to moderate-status members, and send out a few parties from the basement to do some beating up and raping among the lowest-status ones to keep the rest in their places.
Because really, it's totally unrealistic to think that a 10,000-year-old fundamental organizing principle for the species can be overturned. It's too damn' big. Think of the chaos! Think of the risk! Why, some Committees might have to completely restructure! Board members might lose their seats! The squash court might have to be turned into a yoga studio, FFS!
No, sorry. This particular discrimination is too BIG to matter.
Posted by TygrBright | Thu Apr 2, 2015, 03:52 AM (15 replies)
Let me tell you about it, first.
To start with, you probably wouldn't notice it just looking at me. It'd take a pretty sharp observer to see the slightly different way my right arm hangs when at rest, the restricted swing to it (compared to the left one) as I walk. It looks normal, until I try to use it. Then you'll see the awkward way I swing my whole right side into a motion, because I can't lift the arm past a certain point. The strange angles of approach I take to everyday tasks like writing a note, combing my hair, putting on a jacket, etc., because of the severely restricted range of motion.
If you don't look away, you'll see the winces I try to control, as unexpected "radiating pain" hits various parts of my shoulder, back, neck, arm, wrist, hand, fingers, at various times and for no apparent reasons.
If you look very closely indeed, you'll see the traces of chronic pain in deepened lines on my face, and the shadows under my eyes from lack of sleep.
I'm trying very hard, though, to keep you from seeing the non-physical signs of my temporary disability: The irritability that goes with chronic pain and lack of sleep, the "mood trenches" that brim with pessimism and cynicism and self-pity and bitterness. The effort to keep that invisible means I don't chat much. I limit socializing.
And the one final, grinding "sign" of my temporary disability: The loss of energy that turns every day into an exercise in prioritization and calculation: What's most important, and once I've expended all the energy and resources that will take, what else, if anything, can I manage to get done? You won't see that. Or if you do, you're likely to interpret it as depression (which I also suffer from and can you say "heterodyne?" If not, Google it...) or inertia or even laziness.
Now, on to the "gift" part.
First, it's temporary. Prognosis says anywhere from nine months to three years. It's been five months already, which only feels like a millenium or so. But yes, it gets better. (It might come back, in the other shoulder, in this one, or even in both, but I try not to think about that.) So that's a gift. There's a horizon out there somewhere, beyond which I'll be able to sleep through a restful night, put on deodorant without whimpering, use the top closet shelf again, and a whole variety of other formerly-insufficiently-appreciated little things in life.
But there's more: I know what to appreciate:
It's not a barrel of laughs to feel gratitude for these things, but I do feel it. I savor it-- not in a self-pitying way (mostly) but in a mindful way. Because these are important things to know and to experience, and I don't want to forget them even when I'm no longer disabled.
There is no single human quality more valuable to me (and, I firmly believe, to all of us, collectively-- because it allows us to evolve) than empathy. The ability to sense how others experience life and the feelings that come with those experiences.
And no matter how thoughtfully I tried to imagine what it must be like for a disabled person to experience the challenges of living in a world that assumes the absence of disability, I could never have reached this level of understanding without my own experience.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone else. Not the pain, not the sleeplessness, the anger, the lack of energy, the self-pity, the grinding effort. But if there were a "consciousness transfer ray" that would let you join me here in my body, in my brain, in my awareness, for just a little while, I'd welcome you.
I believe you'd hate the experience as much as I do, but then... you'd look in the rearview mirror, and see the difference between what you understood before, and what you understand now. And you'd say "thank you," too.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon Mar 23, 2015, 04:07 PM (11 replies)
A lot of people are going to get a jizz of satisfied agreement from Chris Hedges' latest commentary.
Indeed, like many DUers, I felt a jolt of righteous anger myself. Because his core argument: That terrorism is a direct product of the catastrophic transformation of the world economy to oligarchy; I'm in total agreement with that.
Here's where we part ways, though.
Hedges believes that religion is the tool of the dispossessed, to lash out at the privileged.
I, on the other hand, believe that religion is the tool of the privileged, to put the dispossessed to work solidifying the oligarch's control by escalating fear and generating increased support for militarized policing and institutionalized repression of dissent.
Here's how I came to this conclusion:
Who dies in terror attacks? Whose property is destroyed? Who is vulnerable?
One thing is crystal clear: It's not the oligarchs or even the wealthy helots who serve them. It's the vast bourgeoisie, the bards, the satirists, institutions of learning, places where the remaining middle classes gather to enjoy what few privileges remain to them, and, of course, the dispossessed's own neighbors.
Riots never start at the gates of gated communities.
Martyrs never seem willing to die blowing up the limousines pulling up at the exclusive club galas.
When was the last time an offshore bank or a stock exchange was the target of a major terrorist attack?
No, religion is never used to gin up rage at the real authors of the world's misery.
It is used, as it always has been, as a tool to divide, control, oppress, and divert attention from the rapacious greed and thievery of our Beloved Oligarchs.
Making nice about these pathetic tools' "honor" or "righteous anger" or whatever isn't going to bring any enlightenment to this discussion.
Trying to respect the "religious sensibilities" of these shock troops will avail the rest of us no relief.
Pandering to the "sincere beliefs" of those whose misery and rage has blinded them to the extent of becoming proxies for the very forces oppressing them isn't going to bring about the fundamental changes needed to reverse the tide of inequality.
Religion is a potent, potent lever that the powerful have always used to disempower threats and keep the masses under control. When the "jam tomorrow, reward in the afterlife, divine purpose" bullshit loses its effectiveness, they turn seamlessly to the "holy war/victims of oppression" play. It's in the very same playbook.
And until the rage is focused exactly where it belongs, nothing will change.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon Jan 12, 2015, 03:51 PM (37 replies)
Well, this guy:
And these sweetie-pies:
Also this lovely bit of beefcake:
And this prince:
This guy you've probably never heard of:
What do they all have in common?
They all love having the media, governments, pundits, earnest analysts, statespersons, human rights advocates, bloggers, and random noisemakers focusing on big, splashy, bloody atrocities that kill half a dozen here, a couple of hundred there, a few more somewhere else, all in the luridly evil and indefensible cause of "God."
It's far better than those same folks focusing on the slow, wholesale confiscation, exploitation, and destruction of everything that everyone in the world (except them,) needs to stay alive.
Posted by TygrBright | Fri Jan 9, 2015, 08:29 PM (4 replies)