Thursday, June 28, 2007

this is not a diary, again...

I spent the evening playing in the rain, with my a park, dancing to a blue grass like vampire, soggy weenies, etc etc.

I do not remember the last time I ever played.

Even most people do not know this about me: I am an incredibly goofy dumbass somewhere deep down inside. My actual personality is probably that of a ten-year old (the only person who really knows this is Tina). But lately, and by lately I mean these past few years...that has pretty much been buried by other things.

So I've realized that despite the challenges of this goofy, dumbass self is peaking through. I am pestering people, making goofy faces and noises, dancing to all music and bug noises, kart-wheeling, singing in all sorts of voices, playing pranks...literally uncovering I don't know what. What is that? Is that my real self if it's been gone so long? My old self? One of my alter egos?

Anyhow, this playing thing--it really got me thinking. And as I sat there thinking I am wasting my life being serious, fuckin a, I should just play around every day, I am also haunted by far more alarming thoughts. Strange ambitions into elected office. What the fuck? You are just as shocked as I am. I have just spent monthes developing my abhorrence for elected office.

Funny thing: I wanted to sort out all of my ambitions and personas and dilemmas and jitters. But I am starting to think that no sorting out can be done--I am genuinely, 100% just all over the place.

Gender & Activism

Ralph Nader is right--there is a gender problem is activism--but it goes far beyond concern over the 70% female domination of the field.

As a female activist, I question the cultural politics that quite frankly turn my activism into prostitution.

Anyone who knows how hard it is to petition or canvas may think it is a sweet escape to know that mere physical appearance can land signatures, event attendees and even volunteers. Perhaps that is even an initial first-hand reaction for some female petitioners trying to meet a goal of X petitions.

At some point, the jokes stop. As an outgoing person, I am well-aware that men can be friendly and supportive and even chatty--that alone does not suggest a violating pervert. I will not pretend that any male who talks to me wants me.

But there is nothing more disgusting than realizing that your campaign is being re-directed at an alarming rate--that you are sized up and scouted, and your very job to educate and mobilize becomes a platform for suggestive remarks, excessive and violating flirtation, and an overall feeling of filth for being nothing more than a walking piece of ass.

And the sick thing is, many (as far as I know, most) of us take it with stride, smile, and finish our shpeel. Like it's just all okay. Or in a sick way, some of us are flattered as well as repulsed, and many of us fight fire with fire, and flirt back just to get the word out.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

bird dogging

Today I had my first stint of bird dogging...


Bird dogging is a strategy where a group of people find the location of their target (could be anyone...politician, CEO, etc), crash the event, and re-frame the gathering to address their issue and/or ask related questions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nazis in Washington

What greater way to celebrate freedom than to protest Nazis?

The Racial Nationalist Party of America (RNPA) and The
American National Socialist Workers' Party (ANSWP) are
holding a "Dump Israel" Rally on July 4th at the
Washington Monument.

The counter-rally begins at 11:45 in front of the World War II memorial. It does not hold a position regarding Israel/Palestine, but is meant to take a stand against Nazism and racism.

In case you were not already disgusted, DC ANTIRACIST ACTION is promoting the counter-rally...but if you check the info on the site, you will see posted comments from ANSWP members including, "come and get som, nigers and kikes!" and "come on down, niggers and jews, and get an ass whipping!"

I can't even express my feelings right now. I need to figure out how to respectfully get out of my prior campaigning obligations...and how the hell to get from Virginia to DC on my own.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

oh, semantics

So, it was really bothering me that a life time of indoctrination has ingrained every day phrases like "thank god" or "god knows" in my repertoire, despite my (relatively newly-found) atheism.

Yes, yes...words only have the meaning I give them. But still, there is no point for me to call on such expressions, and I always feel a bit silly afterward.

Anyhow, I have now found the perfect substitute--the universe. Thank the universe...universe only knows...etc, etc.

However, I have yet to replace "omg," and I cannot deny my sporadic use of JESUS CHRIST!

All in time, my friends.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

if you are trying to DISCOURAGE bulimia...

I have spent several hours trying to prepare a meaningful blog to promote eating disorder awareness. Specifically, I wanted to find an educational way to expose the pro mia/ana world without exploiting it, and counter-balance thinspiration footage with recovery-encouragement.

What did I learn? PEOPLE ARE FUCKING STUPID. Mess around for a bit on youtube, and it will be abundantly clear that pro mia/ana clips are, by an overwhelming majority, better made and more entertaining than any counter messages. But even and anti-eating disorder clips are either horribly cheesy, poorly made, feature a single person verbally ejaculating for way to long, and most devastating of all, use pictures that completely glorify eating disorders. Honestly, I could not even bring myself to link any clips. Just look at this picture:
How does a sexy woman hunched over a toilet highlight the danger of bulimia? If anything, this eroticizes the victim, especially for those who are easily triggered. If you are trying to reach out to bulimic girls...let's not use some picturesque save-me-I'm-fragile-and-oh-so-good-looking scenario. Why don't you try a picture of eroded, bulimic teeth? I think that is far more convincing. In my quasi-expert opinion, the only people who would use glorifying pictures to discourage eating disorders are people who are trying to recover fully, but can't quite make it. That is to say, those who know how physically and emotionally lethal it is to reverse normal biological functions to numb any and all feeling--but at the same time, still struggle with the mental aspect of the disease and find the act or personal history seductive. If you still love to hate your eating disorder, and still hate to love it...put your thinking cap on before you use images to "save" others. If the counter-thinspiration is going to take on the pro mia/ana subculture, we really need better strategy and cinematography.

Monday, June 18, 2007

this is not a diary

My blog is NOT a diary, but in writing about my experiences in DC over the summer, I feel like the boundaries have been blurred.

With everything I am feeling and doing, I may very well be approaching sensory overload. I would love to divulge the extent of my work, but one must never reveal one's strategy. Suffice it to say I am becoming quite involved with campaigning--specifically bird dogging.

Aside from literally working my ass off, I have to admit I have a problem. Maybe if I publish my problem on the blogosphere, it will force me to deal with it. Anyhow, I doubt any one other than myself takes it seriously.

I have had this for a while. I noticed it getting slightly worse when I could not remember if I washed my hair in the shower or not--and may (or may not have) washed it three times. And then of course, my gorgeous driving record went up in flames when I got in 3 car accidents in 3 months. But even, not so worried.

Although I love my work and training, it has been hard for me to focus throughout the day. I get so lost in thought that I completely tune out of where I am and what I am doing. I hear absolutely nothing, I see absolutely nothing. I am gone off somewhere in my brain thinking. Clearly this isn't a chronic problem...there are many times in the day where I am invested and working with the material presented. But the other day on the metro, I actually frightened myself.

I jumped on the red line in China Town, and literally had to go only one stop to the Metro Center. I sat down on the metro, waiting to leave. I suppose I went off thinking about something, because by the time I checked back in with reality, the metro was still not moving. I had no idea how long I had been sitting there, and thought we didn't even leave China Town yet. I stupidly asked the person next to me (who clearly thought I was on drugs) where we were and if we had moved--turns out we had gone three stops, and I was so disoriented I really did not know what happened.

Fine, not a big deal. I did not end up in another state. But it is still creepy to know that I just check farther and farther out of reality.

That day at the metro really taught me a lesson. Now when people talk, I force myself to visualize the words, and that keeps my engaged. I am glad I am trying to stay's just sooooo fucking annoying. It's like when I went to physical therapy to learn how to walk, and had to think "heal, toe, heal, toe" all fucking day long.

on Gandhi

Not to undermine the work of Gandhi, but I found Alinsky's interpretation of passive resistance quite compelling.

The following comes directly from Saul D. Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, which like everything else, is lacking in one way or another, but also like some things, is fucking dead on here and there.

On the topic of means and ends, Alinsky draws on his own rules:

The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments...Mahatma Gandhi and his use of passive resistance in India presents a striking example of the selection of means...

Gandhi is viewed by the world as the epitome of the highest moral behavior with respect to means and ends...History, and religious and moral opinion, have so enshrined Gandhi in this sacred matrix that in many quarters it is blasphemous to question whether this entire procedure of passive resistance was not simply the only intelligent, realistic, expedient program which Gandhi had at his disposal; and that the "morality" which surrounded this policy of passive resistance was to a large degree as rationale to cloak a pragmatic program with a desired and essential moral cover...Gandhi did not have the guns, and if he had had the guns he would not have had the people to use the guns...

Gandhi and his associates repeatedly deplored the inability of their people to give organized, effective, violent resistance against injustice and tyranny. His own experience was corroborated by an unbroken series of reiterations from all the leaders of India--that India could not practice physical warfare against her enemies. Many reasons were given, including weakness, lack of arms, having been beaten into submission, and other arguments of a similar nature...

Gandhi's passive resistance would never have had a chance against a totalitarian state such as that of the Nazis. It is dubious whether under those circumstances the idea of passive resistance would even have occurred to Gandhi...It is difficult to see how Gandhi's methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the regime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again.
(pgs 36-41)

The book goes into more detail. For those interested, it is worth reading the few pages.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Oh, this is a great one


Monday, June 11, 2007

If you STAND WITH ISRAEL...don't just stand there, DO SOMETHING

Yesterday I attended a pro-Israel, counter-really that had been quickly organized in reponse to a "free Palestine" demonstration in DC. Of course when I arrived I was a bit let down. There was not a large crowd in the anti-rally. Certainly this is to be expected with only 3 weeks notice, and I have been to enough properly organized events to know the masses that support Israel. Anyhow, I did not find 200 people to be very impressive. But that was the least of my worries.

I did not understand why, during my training with Greenpeace, an activist told me that coalitions should be a last resort. What could be so terrible about coalitions?

Well I found out.

It was nice to hear that the pro-Israel rally consisted of Christians--this is not just a Jewish issue, and it's great to feel support. HOWEVER, I was absolutely beside myself when I these Christian supporters turned out to be a group of die-hards, and upon reaching the stage, spewed religious rhetoric that made me absolutely embarassed to be in any close proximity. And this continued.

I don't care HOW last-minute the counter-protest was...sitting there listening to pro-Iraq and Lord Almighty banter absolutely undermines the case for Israel. So what did I do? I marched up to the stage to take the microphone and speak for myself.

I started off with something along the lines of, "I am here from Los Angeles, and it is great to see everyone here supporting Israel. But I want to remind you--and the world--that you don't need to believe in God to believe in Israel. You don't need to call on scripture or prayer..."

I believe I closed with something similar to "Stand with freedom...Stand with Israel."

I was very proud of myself. And while I am on the topic, I must vent a little: JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE PROGRESSIVE DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU NEED TO BE ANTI-ISRAEL. I consider myself somewhere in the middle of progressive and radical, and let me tell you, I think it is awfully sad that the progressive movement swings in favor of ANY under dog, constantly assuming that the minority is always the victim. (I have to say the bit about the under dog was taken from Seth...but it's the perfect phrase).

On that note, I will speak of one of the most difficult trade-offs: I am thankful that America supports Israel, because Israel is a tiny country in the middle of a volatile and extreme region--and Israel needs as much support as possible.

But at the same time, Israel inherits the bad image. The tragedy that is our president, and the fiasco in Iraq equally throw Israel into the anti-American bandwagon...when the situation in Israel absolutely predates our exploited war on terror, and subsequently exploits Israel.

I know it's become trendy to be anti-everything American...but absolutism has never been positive.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


"I know that all revolutions must have ideologies that spur them. That in the heat of conflict those ideologies tend to be smelted into rigid dogmas claiming exclusive possession of the truth, and the keys to paradise, is tragic."

--Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals


So I feel really guilty because I have not been able to watch any of the debates over the past couple days. It's no fault of mine--I have no TV and I can't read horrendously long transcripts.

But I suppose it is appriopriate, seeing as I want to scale my already scarce TV watching (I give myself a 1 out of 10) down to nothing.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

"The Quiet Holocaust"

I was emailed a copy of The Quiet Holocaust: The Perfidious Plot to Convert Jews, by Meira Bat Avraham. Personally, I think the term "quiet holocaust" is exploiting a monstrous historical occurrence to provoke emotions, instead of simply presenting the facts. Either way, it is an interesting read, and will copy and paste (emphasis on "copy and paste"...I don't hyphenate God)a few introductory paragraphs. To keep reading, click the link for the entire article (it's long).

"However, perhaps the most insidious, dangerous, and hateful anti-Semitism is more subtle, less easy to spot, less provoking of criticism. This type of anti-Semitism is societally condoned. It can be characterized as "affectionate, compassionate anti-Semitism". I am speaking of the evangelical Christians, particularly the Baptists, who are attempting to LOVE US TO DEATH.

While a determination to "save" the Jews has always been among the cornerstones of the evangelical movement, only recently have churches and ministries upgraded their mission to a more active status. In 1996, the Southern Baptist Convention not only passed a resolution calling on all Baptists to "direct their energies and resources toward the proclamation of the Gospel to the Jewish people", but directed $100,000 toward the cost of hiring a full-time missionary to the Jews. Individual churches have also directed funds toward this effort. (It is of note that the Southern Baptists were the propounders of the statement "G-d does not hear the prayer of a Jew.")

Committed Jews, of course, will have nothing to do with this effort. Those of us who are Judaically educated, secure in our relationship with G-d, or Israel, or our community, are immune to the preachings and teachings of a missionary whose own beliefs are fundamentally contrary to our own. However, our community is not invulnerable; there are many young Jews, in particular, who have been poorly or incompletely educated as to the principles of our faith, feel unwelcomed in their search for meaning and G-d, and, as a result, may be easily misled by the missionaries.

Even those vulnerable ones, however, are unlikely to be persuaded to join a Christian church. Within most Jews, regardless of affiliation or lack thereof, is a bond to our history which is repelled at the thought of actual conversion to the Christian religion. The evangelicals know this. They are not stupid, they are not blind; they are crafty.

What's the Difference?

To that end, the Baptists, in particular, have developed an interesting strategy that they hold will allow a Jew to worship Jesus (and be "saved," of course) without relinquishing their Judaism. Messianic Jews claim to be Torah-following Jews who obey the commandments; however, they fail to obey the first commandment, to not follow anyone other than G-d. They believe Jesus was the messiah, and will go to an extreme point to brainwash their beliefs into other unsuspecting Jews. They have "synagogues," which incorporate traditional Jewish prayer services with some worship of Jesus. They celebrate the holidays, and consider themselves "biblical," rather than "rabbinic," Jews. (i.e., they don't buy into the Talmud). Perhaps one of the most abundantly evident approaches of Messianic "Jews" is their non-stop attempts to sound Jewish. They, therefore, use Jewish symbols with a twist of Christianity added to them."