Wednesday, February 25, 2009

snazzy blog discovery

Be sure to check out Unconscious and Irrational--a blog following media portrayals of women as (you guessed it) unconscious and irrational. The blogger explains:
There aren't many female roles that won't show the girl either passing out, being knocked unconscious, or going totally crazy (usually with a car, credit card or depressed dude).
I already got one great goody off of the site--Target Women. For some reason, I can't get the sample clip on my blog, so please go to the site and play one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Landmark verdict in South Korean transgender rape case

A South Korean court delivered a landmark ruling yesterday when it convicted a 28-year-old man of raping a transgender woman, despite South Korean criminal laws that reject the concept of same-sex rape. This reflects a 2006 law that allows transgender citizens to change their sex on official records.

This ruling perhaps points to a changing tide in South Korea, as the Supreme Court rejected a transgender rape case in 1996.

Troublesome, however, is the fact that the 3 year sentence has been suspended for 4 years. Additionally, the hyper-involvement of the South Korean government in the sex life of the victim is equally questionable. While in this instance, inappropriate discretion on behalf of the court worked in favor of the victim, the finding that the victim is indeed a woman due to her "normal sexual relations" with her partner since her surgery continues to enforce a sexual hierarchy and invade privacy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

good news!

Dear Readers,

I am excited to announce that I will be guest posting on the Trans Group Blog covering transgender issues. Check it out!

Love Always,
The Colonic

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

using transphobia to fight animal abuse?

PETA is no stranger to exploiting sexism to push a vegan agenda. Sex sells mindless consumption. Veganism is hardly an ill-thought choice.

Enter transphobia. Green gossip blog Ecorazzi took no issue with projecting heteronormative anxieties and transphobic ridicule onto the animal rights initiative. In this context, fur is a "drag"--meaning it is bad, and a bloodied cross-dresser is somehow supposed to be quirky or funny. This is all in advertisement for a fashion show where cross-dressers will cat walk fur coats with fake blood. The cat walk is just a cruel play on the walk of shame, cloaked by humor and couture no less. Look, it's a tranny! Everyone laugh.

Let it be known, I did take a moment to try to find within this ad a social critique of transphobia. Alas, there is none in sight. This is the same simple-minded tactic of PETA: promote the liberation of one group through leaning on the oppression of another. A world of vegans where sexism and transphobia remain unchallenged is no dream of mine.

Hey PETA, stick with throwing paint, hosting demonstrations, and releasing undercover footage. Your posters and commercials are an embarrassment to vegans who support you--myself included.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It has been FOREVER since I sent in my secret to Post Secret and it's not up! I'm not going to lie--I'm pissed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

don't divorce us

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

"On December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000 devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on March 5, with a decision expected within 90 days. We, the undersigned, ask that the Court enforce the equality promised to each of us by our constitution and invalidate Prop 8."

Read and sign the full petition here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love Story

In the spirit of all top 40 songs on the radio, "Love Story" by Taylor Swift plays maybe 20 gajillion times a day. Here's the synopsis:

1. Father and boyfriend regulate the sexuality and mobility of the girl. Father tells boy to go away, ultimately the boyfriend convinces the father that he is worthy of taking his daughter. Under this scenario, only men make decisions and shape the life of so called Juliet.

2. Female dependency on the male and passive femininity are the basic themes of this song. Juliet waits to Romeo to "take her", "save her", etcetera. Again, there is a lack of female mobility and autonomy. It's insulting for all of the reasons that mainstream fairy tails are oppressive to female development.

But somewhere along the way, I began to really like the song. How can this be? Well, there are two answers. Simply, I enjoy narratives of romance, love, and lust--and despite sexist and patriarchal undertones, this narrative is a sort of fantasy/reality that is very much alive in our culture--even if I undervalue it.

More importantly, however, I am currently reading Propaganda by Jacques Ellul. One of his overarching points is that propaganda is not in and of itself effective--it needs to play on a specific need, and in fact, an unconscious desire for such propaganda or direction or meaning or fulfillment or whatever you want to call it. This is why propaganda is not per se the "evil" manipulating the "innocent."

Because I have lost the need for sexism to structure my worldview, and because I am over the shock/anger/sadness that it ever was, I suppose I can enjoy a silly song on the radio and even recognize sexist remnants in my own lifestyle. It's actually a liberating feeling that certain cultural artifacts have lost meaning--meaning in terms of "truth" and meaning in terms of angering me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

protecting sharks

The European Commission is taking steps toward protecting sharps, which are largely headed down the road to becoming an endangered species.
"The commitments to science-based fishing limits, endangered species protection, and a stronger finning ban are essential to securing a brighter future for some of Europe's most vulnerable and neglected animals."
These measures have been critiqued as too limited in scope--but they are a start nonetheless. Read the full article.

Ginsburg has surgery for pancreatic cancer

She didn't miss one day on the bench when dealing with colon cancer. Let's hope she's up and running soon. Read the article.

Obama confuses church and state

Obama expands the White House Faith Office.


I am telling myself that Barack is just trying to do his dance down the middle of the aisle. Closing Gitmo: 1 point for the civil libertarians and libs. Religious mumbo jumbo: one for the religious right.

But I won't lie--I am just disappointed. Social services? Yes. Faith-based organizations receiving federal funds? No.

jew-hating bishop must eat his words

From the BBC:

A statement said British Bishop Richard Williamson must "unequivocally" distance himself from his statements to serve in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican also said that the Pope had not been aware of the bishop's views when he lifted excommunications on him and three other bishops last month.

Earlier, a senior cardinal acknowledged the Vatican had mishandled the issue.

The Pope's decision, ending Bishop Williamson's excommunication on an unrelated matter, has caused a bitter row, as the bishop does not believe that Jews were gassed by the Nazis in World War II.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says it is almost unheard of for a pope to admit publicly that he has made a mistake. But that is in effect the significance of the urgent statement put out by the Vatican, our correspondent adds.

"Bishop Williamson, in order to be admitted to the Episcopal functions of the Church, must in an absolutely unequivocal and public way distance himself from his positions regarding the Shoah [Holocaust]," it said.

It said Bishop Williamson's positions on the Holocaust were "absolutely unacceptable and firmly rejected by the Holy Father".

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

maintaining momentum and closing Gitmo

After Obama announced his plan to shut down Guantánamo Bay, the opposition fired up with fear-mongering tirades and the like. The ACLU has released responsed to the "naysayers." Check it out:

Myth #1: Closing Gitmo and transferring detainees to facilities in the United States will endanger the public.

  • Several convicted terrorists have been prosecuted and successfully incarcerated in high-security federal prisons such as Colorado's Supermax facility -- without posing any risk to the public's safety -- including Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik convicted in the first World Trade Center attacks.
  • As Glenn Greenwald notes, "If it were really the goal of terrorists to attack American prisons where their members are incarcerated and if they were actually capable of doing that, they already have a long list of "targets" and have had such a list for two decades."
Myth #2: The U.S. criminal justice system can’t handle prosecuting and holding terrorists.
  • Our justice system, although not perfect, is the best in the world. It is fully capable of handling sensitive national security issues without compromising fundamental rights.
  • The federal prison system has proven time and again that it is capable of holding convicted terrorists. Some of the convicted terrorists in federal prisons include Omar Abdel Rahman and Richard Reid, known as the 'shoe bomber.'
  • Dangerous criminals who have committed horrible crimes are locked up in prisons all over this country every day and nobody wages campaigns objecting to that. This is clearly a politically motivated fear-mongering effort from those who wish to perpetuate the Bush administration's failed illegal detention policies.
Myth #3: Detainees released from U.S. custody are rejoining al-Qaeda or 'returning to the battlefield.'
  • It was the Bush administration's detention and torture policies that made us less safe and more reviled by the Muslim world. Former President Bush's torture and detention policies certainly radicalized many individuals across the Muslim world, and President Obama's executive orders are a first step to defusing that hatred and giving us an America we can be proud of again.
  • Guantánamo and the sham military commissions are more likely to produce terrorists -- both those detained in Guantánamo and elsewhere -- than adherence to the rule of law and a return to American values.
  • The Pentagon’s own reports on detainees who have returned to the battlefield are unreliable and false according to its own data and prior reports -- sometimes including duplicate names, names of people who were never at Guantánamo and people who have never left their homelands

Monday, February 2, 2009

gender-neutral pronoun.

The default male pronoun KILLS me. "Hir" is a combination of both "his" and "her" and is used in combination with "s/he" in queer theory and literature.

Let's bring it mainstream, folks.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

radical lesbian separatism coming to an end?

The New York Times featured a great piece on radical lesbian separatism and the "feminist utopia."

Secluded in open natural settings, these all-women, all-lesbian communities came about in the 1970s in response to the women's liberation movements. Women faced a bitter battle for socio-political enfranchisement, and lesbians bit a bigger bullet at home and in the workplace. A matriarchal utopia seemed like a fitting remedy. And it has been.

But these women from the 1970s are aging, and the new generation of feminist women lack the separatist policies of their fore bearers. Previously silent communities looking to avoid publicity have agreed to be interviewed in hopes of keeping their way of life alive. Read the article.

More than anything, I thought this was an interesting testament to the nature of utopia as dynamic and historically specific. While an older generation of feminists find ideal seclusion from "male violence," the new wave finds most fitting the prospect of complicating binaries and hammering out differences--and some of us even enjoy the competition.