Friday, August 31, 2007

Iowa judge OKs gay marriages

Makes you feel warm and fuzzy that a gay couple was married in a traditionally conservative state, no?

Hopefully this will be upheld in the Iowa Supreme Court.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Facebook becomes queer-friendly

Facebook added a new application, SGO, by Kreative Software:

"Finally you can express your sexual orientation and gender identity accurately, the way it should be expressed: your way! Choose from many options, both binary and non-binary, for sex, transition status, gender identity, gender presentation, orientation, interested in, title, and pronoun, or fill in your own."

...instead of the notoriously exclusive male and female options in "sex" and "interested in" categories.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Children & religious education

I was asked recently to point out similarities and differences between religion and science. In terms of differences, I responded that religion is (at large)inculcated since birth, while science is (generally) developed later during schooling years.

My response taps into my greater beliefs that early and unbalanced religious ideology disenfranchises children and overrides independent thought.

Do I find the belief in god inherently problematic? Not at all.

Do I believe that imprinting a single reality since birth to create dependency on a particular concept--and consequently intertwining the identity, emotions, conscience and morals of a growing human being with that concept--irrevocably alarming? Absolutely.

I will even go a step further and say that it is emotionally abusive to embed ideas of eternal damnation, divine judgement, Satan, and sin in a vulnerable and developing mind--and worse, present such concepts as absolute truth. That is traumatizing and utilizes fear to carve mental paradigms that will (potentially forever)shape a child's view of the world.

If the beliefs of a certain religious framework are such beacons of truth, is there really a need to indoctrinate children? If the way is so righteous, clearly someone capable of rational thought would choose it.

At the end of the day, there is no greater gift a parent can give a child than independent thought, faculties of reason, and working muscles of critical processing--which BY THE WAY does not happen when you force-feed a kid the idea of the almighty since infancy, implant moralistic and habitual obligations and tendencies, and make intricate connections between a child's emotions and the divine.

Again, nothing inherently wrong with deities, prayer, or spiritual experience--if they are experienced out of understanding, appropriate context, and out of choice.

Sort of like sex--the rule of thumb is cogent, mutual consent.

I am not saying that all religious information must be postponed until post-pubescent years. In fact, I am saying quite the opposite: religious information and tradition can certainly be shared--but should not be presented as a single and undeniable reality that immediately closes off all other modes of thought to a forming brain. Diversity, any one?

This quite relevant to the saying "If you give a person a fish, s/he will eat for a day...Teach a person to fish, s/he will eat forever"

Similarly, if you force-feed ideology onto a defenseless being, you can use tyranny to instill ethics...but if you teach a child rational thought, you can ensure critical thinking for a lifetime.

On one final thought, are parents in general so hot over themselves they need to create clones? I don't understand the inclination to program other people instead of cultivating reason and inquisitiveness.

In a few short words: Don't imprint early...explain later

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

objectification, autosexuality and same-sex fantasy

I have come to conclude that the way our culture objectifies women promotes autosexuality in women, who come to view themselves as objects, and also nurtures same-sex fantasies as such women similarly objectify other females, and come to sexualize their bodies through admiration and/or envy.

I myself have not thoroughly researched autosexuality, and am by no means well-read on the topic--this is but a theory in my head. However, I do recall reading quite some time ago an article on same-sex relations in ancient Greece, and how the cultural glorifications of the male body played a role.

But really, this was quite clear to me even in high school, when girls would proudly proclaim that they would "go lesbian for Britney." I interpret this as admiring/wanting Britney's sex appeal to such an extent that fantasy of Brit sets in.

Now, this is not to say that women do not already experience natural and healthy attractions to other women, nor am I suggesting that no woman would want Britney otherwise
--but I do suspect that western perceptions of the role of women and the objectification of female bodies further promotes same-sex fantasy among women.

Think about it: women are buying the Cosmos and Vogues with other women scantily-clad on the covers. As women are socially programmed to view themselves as objects of desire, they own that role (dieting, primping, tanning, waxing) and therefore buy into a particular view of themselves.

As a person longs to be an object, she strives to wreak of sex, and in doing so, evaluates her own sexual appeal, develops and applauds it, in such a way that she sexualizes herself, to herself. This is the autosexual aspect.

But it really goes a step further in looking at other women. This same person who forms sexual attractions to herself as an object (because she aspires to be the object for others, generally men), also sexualizes surrounding objects (a.k.a. women), and in desiring similar features, becomes physically drawn to these women.

This is my first time attempting to articulate these thoughts, and so this post remains ill-articulated and ill-researched. More to come in the future, I am sure.

Lesbian priest among nominees for Episcopal bishop

Nice to see growing sexual diversity in the religious sector.

Read full article

Monday, August 27, 2007

word processing

The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch sudty at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

I am going to quote Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals (again) because, despite his flagrant sexism, he touches on core concepts that I believe:

The prerequisite for an ideology is possession of a basic truth...An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma. To begin with, [s/]he does not have a fixed truth--truth to [her/]him is relative and changing; everything to [her/]him is relative and changing. [S/]he is a political relativist. [S/]he accepts the late Justice Learned Hand's statement that "the mark of a free [wo/]man is that ever-gnawing uncertainty as to whether or not [s/]he is right"...[S/]he must constantly examine life, including [her/]his own, to get some idea of what it is all about, and [s/]he must challenge and test [her/]his findings. Irreverence, essential to questioning, is a requisite. Curiosity becomes compulsive.
pg 10-11

Let me repeat my favorite part: the mark of a free [wo/]man is that ever-gnawing uncertainty as to whether or not [s/]he is right.

Similarly, Alinsky also talks about the well-integrated political schizoid:

What I am saying is that the organizer must be able to split himself into two parts--one part in the arena of action where [s/]he polarizes the issue to 100 to nothing, and helps to lead [her/]his forces into conflict, while the other part knows that when the time comes for negotiations, that is really is only a 10 per cent difference--and yet both parts have to live comfortably with each other. Only a well-organized person can split and stay together. But this is what an organizer must do. pg 78-79

I really appreciate the term political schizoid--this is exactly how I have felt about myself for quite some time. It is seemingly conflicting to know that you have strong beliefs, but at the same time to understand that there is no such thing as absolute truth. I believe the only way diversity can exist is if each individual and/or group recognizes that it does not hold the absolute truth, and in knowing this, dialogue replaces enforcement...progress replaces bigotry.

Again, although seemingly contradictory, I cannot engage respectfully with bigots...and in the haste with which I dismiss "possessors of truth," I myself become some sort of bigot.

So if there is no absolute truth, what the hell is the point of the discussion? I will quote another favorite passage:

If we think of the struggle as a climb up a mountain, then we must visualize a mountain with no top. We see a top, but when we finally reach it, the overcast rises and we find ourselves merely on a bluff. The mountain continues on up. Now we see the "real" top ahead of us, and strive for it, only to find we've reached another bluff, the top still above us. And so it goes on, interminably.

Knowing that the mountain has no top, that it is a perpetual quest from plateau to plateau, the question arises, "Why struggle, the conflict, the heartbreak, the danger, the sacrifice. Why the constant climb?" Our answer is the same as that which a real mountain climber gives when [s/]he is asked why [s/]he does what [s/]he does. "Because it's there." Because life is there ahead of you and either one tests oneself to its challenges or huddles in the valleys in a dreamless day-to-day existence whose only purpose is the preservation of an illusory security and safety. The latter is what the vast majority of people do, fearing the adventure into the unknown.
pg 21-22

The all-too-prevalent fear of uncertainty is upsetting to me--fear of uncertainty leads to God. Uncertainty must be re-framed; instead of frightening, it should be exciting. The mindset that the unknown forsakes preparation, stability and ultimately safety must be replaced with understandings that living life day-to-day promotes adventure, growth, and the countless opportunities that come with having no clear vision of the future.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

civil unions and marriage

I follow the fight for sexual equality and same-sex marriage...and I have to say, I believe the frame must be changed.

Gay couples (and of course I don't literally mean all gay couples...actually there is much thought that gay marriage puts gay people back in the closet)--anyhow, so gay couples are trying to get access to marriage, when it finally occurred to me that straight people should be pursuing civil unions.

With its religious implications, sexist traditions, and current status as an elitist heterosexual club...what straight person should care to marry anymore?

Let the religious radicals keep the holy sanctity of marriage to themselves--it really is irrelevant in the context of achieving federal rights as a couple. As long as equal civil unions will be made readily available, there is no need for any religious figure to legally unite anyone--and if religious recognition is a priority, that can be done in a ceremony or tradition independent of state/federal privilege.

What would we really be missing out on anyway? A father walking his daughter down the aisle, transferring ownership from one man to another? A white dress that proves to all in attendance that the bride is pure because her hymen is still taut in her vagina?

And if the party/wedding aspect is a big deal, I would suggest that civil unions are equally important to celebrate.

I like what Obama had to say on the issue of marriage during the forum hosted by HRC:

"My view is that we should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word marriage,which has religious connotations to some people, from the civil rights that are given to couples in terms of hospital visitation, in terms of whether or not they can transfer property..."

But we should not just disentangle these issues for gay people...we should disentangle them for straight people as well.

randy old people!

Of course seniors are more frisky than you think...because sex is not strictly about making babies...

"Most people assume that people stop doing it after some vague age," said sex researcher Edward Laumann of the University of Chicago.

However, more than half of those aged 57 to 75 said they gave or received oral sex, as did about a third of 75- to 85-year-olds.

The article is a fun read, and important to fostering healthier perceptions of sexuality.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can you be an object and an objector?

Object is a group of women having a conversation about women...and I have to say I am into the questions being raised.

Here is some context for the group, but I like one of the closing paragraphs:

The fact is, we don’t think we have to pick one meaning of “object” over another. As women, we contain multitudes. We objectify ourselves and we object to our objectification. We are the sacred and the erotic, the Madonna and the whore, the virgin and the slut (sometimes all in one day). Integrating our selves is key to realizing and celebrating who we are. OBJECT is about understanding who we are as subjects

There is no one way to advocate feminist values, and there is no singular female experience. Second-wave feminism oppressed butch/femme lesbians, believing the femmes were objectifying themselves and the butches were emulating the enemy. That is horse shit--the whole point is that women (and ALL people) should not be forced either way into any gender presentation or sexuality. I am proud that the third wave is realizing we need an all-encompassing approach to understandings of women, sex and gender.

This actually ties so well into a piece I wanted to write on Obama's wife...but that will have to come later.

Anyhow, let me cut to the chase: Object is hosting an event that looks fun and challenging. The Colonic will be there.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

OIG Report on CIA Accountability

Although written 2 years ago (June 2005), the CIA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) assessment of accountability issues with respect to 9/11 was just de-classified (and by de-classified I mean only the 19-page summary).

Oh, this part:

NPR covered the release, providing a little more background info:

The summary also said that former CIA Director George Tenet signed a memorandum in which he declared, "We are at war" as far back as 1998, promising to formulate a plan to counter the work of terrorist Osama Bin Laden. However, the report states that Tenet and his deputies did not follow up by creating a plan to guide the counterterrorism effort by the intelligence community.

In a statement, CIA Director Michael Hayden said the decision to release the report was not his preference, but that he was making it available as required by Congress in a law signed by President Bush earlier this month.

"I thought the release of this report would distract officers serving their country on the front lines of a global conflict," Hayden said. "It will, at a minimum, consume time and attention revisiting ground that is already well plowed."

Despite the negative findings, the review team led by Inspector General John Helgerson found no missteps that rose to the level of misconduct.

"The team found no instance in which an employee violated the law, and none of the errors discussed herein involves misconduct," the report states.

In a statement, Tenet said the inspector general is "flatwrong" about the lack of plan.

"There was in fact a robust plan, marked by extraordinary effort and dedication to fighting terrorism, dating back to long before 9/11," he said. "Without such an effort, we would not have been able to give the president a plan on Sept. 15, 2001, that led to the routing of the Taliban, chasing al-Qaida from its Afghan sanctuary and combating terrorists across 92 countries."

The inspector general did take exception to findings of Congress' joint inquiry into 9/11. For instance, the congressional inquiry found that the CIA was reluctant to seek authority to assassinate bin Laden. Instead, the inspector general believed the problem was the agency's limited covert-action capabilities.

The CIA's reliance on a group of sources with questionable reliablity "proved insufficient to mount a credible operation against bin Laden," the report said. "Efforts to develop other options had limited potential prior to 9/11."

But don't worry too much:

You can check out CIA Director Michael Hayden's Statement on the 9/11 Report, which is summed up by one of his closing sentences, "There are limits to what intelligence can accomplish, and there can be no guarantee of perfect security. But the talented, motivated officers who work against this threat day and night give our nation a strong advantage."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

presidential forum hosted by HRC

so this was available live on Logo a week or two ago, but in case you missed it, here is the presidential forum on LGBT issues hosted by the Human Rights Campaign.

when good (gay) politics go bad

Here is just a snippet of a larger article, Rudy Giuliani Takes the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Approach to LGBT Issues

Who knew he was such a huge LGBT flip-flopper?

As hard-hitting and contentious as his hometown, Mayor Giuliani incited complicated feelings among New York’s LGBT community beginning from his earliest days in office in 1994. On the one hand, he marched in Pride parades, welcomed the Gay Games, repeatedly dressed in drag and shared the home of two gay friends during his bitter, high-profile divorce from second wife, Donna Hanover, who learned about his plan to break up with her via a press conference. Classy. He also supported statewide hate crimes legislation that included sexual orientation and helped pass the city’s groundbreaking 1998 domestic partnership law. However, he could be heavy-handed in his famous attempts to improve the quality of life around town, such as his enforcement of long dormant, Prohibition-era cabaret laws that limited dancing in public spaces and harmed the city’s gay and lesbian nightlife community. They did not call him “Ghouliani” for nothing, after all.

Giuliani, who trails the more conservative former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in fundraising, seems inclined to hide his lavender-leaning associations in order to win the Republican nomination. Recently, he has abandoned his previous enthusiasm for civil unions, although he remains opposed, at least for now, to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. He supports federal hate crimes legislation and employment non-discrimination measures that include sexual orientation, although it remains unclear whether he believes transgender individuals should also be protected in these areas. His position on LGBT adoption rights is unconfirmed, and where openly gay members of the military are concerned, he says he does not think the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy should be revisited during wartime. His campaign did not return a call placed yesterday to clarify his positions. Go figure.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"us" versus "them" language

I previously blogged about stereotypes versus inside jokes...but an old friend over at On a Diner Napkin points out something very pivotal to reclaiming language: if only some people get to re-own a word...then the definition can never fully transition...thus the word still maintains hurtful implications.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

blowing old steam

I really applaud Pink's 2006 endeavor on her fourth CD, I'm Not Dead, to re-direct her pop-culture roots towards the finer things in social awareness.

So why the hell am I still blogging about this in 2007?

Actually, it was recently suggested that I listen to Pink's song (also from I'm Not Dead), Dear Mr. President. The song is sweet...good for her for questioning the status quo in America.

Anyhow, this talk of Pink re-sparked an old fire. While I really dug the song Stupid Girls, I still cannot contain my anger regarding the music video. So now that I have a blog and a mental erection on the matter, feel free to watch the whole video...or skip until the time remainder is the portion that I believe is quite counter-productive to actual understandings of women and eating disorders, and any actual progress regarding mainstream perceptions of such diseases.

I am quite bothered that Pink would use a song geared toward female empowerment, and drive it into the ground by reinforcing cultural stigma that misunderstands, humiliates and alienates bulimics.

The video clip wraps the disease in a pretty package, associating it quickly and easily with stupid, ditsy and superficial skanks.

To clarify, the majority of people (men, too) who suffer from eating disorders are intelligent, driven and perfectionist-to-a-fault.

I just want to know why any one would find it fitting to mock a bulimic...because clearly there is nothing more entertaining than an emotionally, spiritually and physically decrepit person who cannot bear the feeling of nourishment, has a chronic inability to process thoughts and feelings, has a deficiency in relationships with others and self, and suffers so desperately from guilt and personal disgust that s/he is willing to suffocate her/himself and reverse a natural and instinctual biological process to be cleansed of “sin.”

Check out an older post of mine to better understand how eating disorders are not really about food.

And on another note...I would also like to dispel this myth that women who adhere to certain hegemonic criteria of "good-looking" are inherently stupid. Take a walk around USC, and you will learn that many fake-baked, bleach blonde Barbies riding on pink beach cruisers, giggling and inserting "like" every 4 words while texting on bedazzled blackberries are actually ambitious young women and high achievers in school.


Fellow activists,

If you are interested in attending a week-long conference on environmental activism and grassroots organization, complete with an action and lobby day, you should check out ChangeIt--a program sponsored by Seventh Generation (which produces eco-friendly paper goods/cleaning products available at stores such as Whole Foods) and Greenpeace.

The story is sweet. President and CEO of Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Hollender, approached Greenpeace with a desire to pour money into youth, the environment, and change. The 6 day program was born, and this summer, ran for a second year, with 200 students from across the nation flown into DC for FREE. But I'm not naive--Hollender is sincerely impressive and uplifting--but we all know he got a big fat tax break from his brain child and gift to the environmental movement. Quite frankly, I love it...I am all for combining business and progress.

Anyhow, in case you wondered what the hell organizers do to get pumped, here is a clip of what my group (The Greenpeace Organizing Term) threw together for the rest of the bunch (seriously, in activism, you go crazy if you can't get up and get down).

free titties

Good news--If you can't pay for your own breast augmentation, some other schmucks will!

At, women sign up and chat/exchange pictures for money ($1.20 per interaction...$1.00 goes to the woman, $0.20 to the site).

But these implants are actually not free. Women signed up on the site need to basically sell themselves and maintain conversations/build online relationships with "gents" to accumulate more money, faster. Therefore this is not a charity, this is a service--so why even incorporate the I-need-bigger-titties sob story into the transaction?

I am just thinking out loud, but is there something empowering for a man to bestow the gift of jugs onto poor, deprived women? Sort of like a modern version of a damsel in distress?

I have no problem with sexual products/services offered as goods and given a market value. But I do not like the "save me, I'm flat" undertones because I believe in women solving their own problems, and in this case, paying for their own boobies.

Yes, that means I am differentiating between selling naked pictures of yourself and "giving" away those same pictures for contributions under the song and dance of "I need you." While the pictures and the exchange would still be the same, I believe the implications are different.

Also, I would like to say for the record, small breasts are not the plague. I happen to love mine.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Birth rate crisis hits Central Europe...minus Slovakia

Seeing as The Colonic just returned from a bit of Slovakian campaigning, I find this article ultimately useless...but still an interesting read and quite fun in light of my recent adventures (on which I have yet to fully digest and blog).

Then again, declining birth rates are always joyous news in my opinion.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Chimpanzees & Contraception

In an interview published in Massive Change by Bruce Mau and the Institute Without Boundaries, Janine Benyus discusses biomimicry--a new science immitating nature to solve human problems. The classic example would be the golden silk spider, whose silk greatly out-performs steel per unit weight.

Author of Biomimicry: Innovations Inspired by Nature, Benyus explains how chimpanzees are "masters of smart eating" and use diet to "self-medicate." But more to the point of my title, howler monkeys select plants to eat in order to bring on, stage or delay fertility during reproductive stages.

A.K.A. these monkeys manipulate their diet to procreate, but also use it as BIRTH CONTROL. The counter-contraception movement (I am differentiating between anti-abortion and anti-birth control in this post) views not getting knocked up as sinful, yet it seems to be an act present in other species living on earth, otherwise known as natural.

But I suppose this means jack shit if you believe that humans are a special creation by god and have no evolutionary ties to other creatures.

Readers of The Colonic, expect to hear much more about Massive Change in posts to come. You can also explore the online exhibit here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Post-traumatic stress disorder

I have just returned from Slovakia, and as I am befuddled by jet long, over-exhaustion and lack of proper nutrition, I am not yet ready to unveil how fucking insane this trip was...(actually I have not even explained that I was there protesting a uranium mine...more to follow upon recuperation).

Anyhow, a smaller, more isolated result of the trip:

I cannot begin to explain how hard and under what conditions I worked, and while I absolutely loved it, my body was paying a high price. During a meal in Bratislava, I was feeling so progressively ill that something else was triggered--I had a flashback of a really painful and dangerous experience from my past. I believe this happened because the symptoms my body was feeling were very similar to a long-gone experience and so conjured the memory.

The flashback itself was quite shocking for me. I have never felt that particular sensation, and all at once my face crumbled, I began blinking uncontrollably, and was short of breath. I could not shut the scene out, and my eyes became blurry with tears. I became so overwhelmed that my body went into literal (not exaggerated) panic, and my heart palpitations and tremors were so intense I gasped for Britte and booked it to the bathroom.

Amidst all of this, I could not stop thinking about how debilitating my single experience of a flashback was, and sickened that our troops with PTSD, who confront profoundly greater trauma than I have, do not receive proper care, and are even sent back into Iraq.

This matter concerned me before, but my first experience with a flashback and subsequent panic has given me a more personal attachment that will continue to influence my political thoughts and work.