Winter Break

November 18, 2010

I have not felt the desire to write anything in quite a while. Lately I’ve been feeling really sick of all the talking, talking, talking about things that does nothing and effects nothing. I’d rather put my energy into doing something to change things right now, not just talking about things. Also: I have finals and term papers to turn in. So, Pokemontaco is going on hiatus at least until the semester is over. I’ll still respond to comments but I’m not going to write anything new.

Cis by Default: Misgendering the “cis gendered”

September 1, 2010

“cisgendered – Someone who associates and is comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.”

We’ll go with that definition for now, because many of the other definitions are even more troublesomely worded.
The term cis is not known popularly known. But even among people that do know of the concept, it is sometimes rejected or considered baloney, by people that are apparently cis gendered.

The problem with assuming that the cis-rejecting are cis is that they may not be, well, cis gendered at all. Many have the belief that your genitals define your gender. A vagina makes you a woman. A penis makes you a man. And if you hold that belief, how can you then believe that you are something other than what your genitals are telling people you are?

You can’t. They’re completely contradictory beliefs. Where does the vehement anger and rejection of the label “cis” come from then? I think in many cases it comes from the “happy and comfortable with the gender assigned at birth” part of the cis definition. Because from seeing what some of the cis-rejecting say, they are not happy in their bodies and assigned gender, and they resent being told they are. One said, I think, that “I feel like a female only when other people force me to feel that way, when they remind me that I am a female”.

Another time I ran into an androgyne in a chat and we began discussing things like pronoun use and feminine physical appearances, which led to her casually saying she’d like to get rid of her breasts. A girl in the chat, who’d been kind of weirded out by the whole discussion (but who did not, for her credit, say there was anything wrong with what we were saying) said that while everyone feels that way, we should really not be talking about it in a public chat, etc.

I don’t know. Do most cis women feel that way about their breasts? I’ve never gotten the impression that most women view them as a painful inconvenience with no appreciable characteristics, or that they’d rather be rid of them.

Myself, when I first learned of the word “cis”, I instantly applied it to myself, when perhaps I should not have. I have never been suicidal because of my body, I never went through life suffering a feeling of extreme wrongness. I carried the assumption that most trans people suffered severe dysmorphia, and since I did not, there was no way I was trans. Something as simple as feeling like an intruder in many female only spaces, or getting a sudden stab of wrongness when one has to select “Miss, Mrs, or Mr” for address, feeling that a flat chest would fit so much better… are just things a lot of girls deal with, right?

Then there are also people that go on under the assumption that people must desire surgery or hormones if they are trans. And since they don’t want to do those things, they are cis or fine with their bodies.

Okay, I’m not sure entirely what I’m trying to say here. Just that the rates of trans gendered people are going up, if I remember correctly, and likely some of that is a result of increased awareness. Perhaps my point is just that there are many people that are not comfortable or happy with their assigned gender, but their dysmorphia and discomfort are not so severe as to make them seek the identity of trans and reject their assigned gender.

Is “cis” really the right word for those people?

Disclaimer: I’m fairly new to the concept of gender identity and things like, and am likely extremely ignorant and stating the obvious or oft-rejected. Have tried not to hurt anyone or speak for other people, just get some thoughts out of my head that have been floating around.

Bookclubs: Beware

August 23, 2010

You, humble reader, may not know that I am, in fact, a giant bookworm. A bibliophile of sorts. I attract books. Somehow I seem to get at least 4 or 5 new ones a month, whether because of school requirements or a deal too great to pass up. (Like that time I got 5 boxes of books for just $2 *O* best day of my life, I swear)

So it should come as no surprise that I am a member of 3 bookclubs at the moment. I have also been made aware, through this experience, that some bookclubs are, in fact, a bunch of dirty lying bastards.

Doubleday Bookclub is the worst of the lot. They are the ones I am now struggling to meet my commitment to. Struggling? Why? Don’t I just have to buy 4 books, after all? Well first of all, they must cost $9.98 after discounts. Okay. I load up 4 books in my little cart that cost $12, $10, $14, etc. Then I go to check out.

Oops! that book that was $10.99 is now… $9.45! Oh… Doubleday has a deal where you buy two books at normal membership price, and the rest are half off. Wow, half of?! I could get behind that. Except… Each book has a “publisher’s price” and a “member’s price”. The half off… is half off of the publisher’s price, which is around $18 for my $10.99 book… making it $9.45, and saving me around a dollar… But! disqualifying it for counting towards my commitment, which means I have to buy another $10 book… except I’ll actually have to buy a $20 book for half of it to be considered $10. Except that means it’s now the most expensive book, and my $14 book? Now $7, and not counting towards my commitment. Wow, Doubleday. Way to save me money.

And that’s not the trickiest tumble you’ll have with Doubleday. They also have something called “Book Search Plus” and the books that you buy that come up on Book Search Plus won’t count toward your membership commitment either. But, even worse, it’s very difficult to even discover that information: That Book Search Plus books don’t count, AND even that some books *are* Book Search Plus books. If you search for a particular title it usually won’t tell you. Several books I picked out I didn’t discover were BSP until I was checking out (as it lists it with a BSP price).

The last tasty morsel of shit from Doubleday? They don’t send you the book catalogs. They say they will when you sign up, and the other 2 book clubs I’m a member of have sent catalogs, but Doubleday never has, and I’ve been a member for almost a year now.

They do nothing to make finding books that qualify easy; and it’s quite difficult, especially since most books on their site seem to be BSP. Oh, and if you’re wondering how I’m getting around their wonderful little half off deal? I’m making 3 orders. Each time I will order 2 books… and of course, have to pay shipping on 3 different orders. 3 orders because of the 2 qualifying books I ordered for the 1st order, *they* canceled one of my books. Bunch of assholes.

Now, as to the two other bookclubs… The other one, that I find most satisfactory and have bought from the most, is the Science Fiction Book Club. They’ve sent catalogs every moth, and I easily find a large selection of fair-priced books. They have not made finding books difficult or tricky… I easily fulfilled my membership requirement with no effort, I just bought books when I wanted them. Hey Doubleday Bookclub, maybe you could learn a lesson here. You trick people into buying a bunch of books that won’t qualify, yes, that makes them buy a bunch of books, but they quit as soon as possible. I will be quitting you as soon as I fulfill my duties, and will have bought 5 books from you. I have already bought more than that from the Sci-fi club, AND I plan on sticking with them and ordering more books for the rest of my life! Plus I’ve never had to write a blog post about the Science Fiction Book Club to warn people about assholery. Love ya, sci-fi club ❤ One thing to watch for is what account type you sign up for… My sister accidentally chose to get their 2 top selections each month automatically… which we did not want. A quick call to some very decent customer service people and it was quickly and easily sorted out and switched to the other type of account. The 2 books we received were easily sent back and the money refunded.

That 3rd book club I’m a member of? The History Book Club. To fulfill their membership requirements, you must buy just one book at $13.98. Shouldn’t be too hard, though I haven’t done it yet. They also have the dreaded Book Search Plus bullshit, so be wary of that should you choose to join. So far, I have also received a catalog from them every month since I joined.

Doubleday Book Club: steer clear of, unless you’re willing to deal with a lot of bullshit and stress.
Science Fiction Book Club: Definitely a good deal if you like to buy new Sci-fi/fantasy titles when they come out.
History Book Club: Better than Doubleday. Have not yet tried to fulfill my membership commitments, so no definite judgment yet.

Deconstructing U.S Privilege

August 7, 2010

So the concept of so-call U.S privilege has been rolling around for a while. I was originally intrigued by the concept, and as a result, read quite a few takes on it. There was some interesting points mentioned, like the dominance of U.S media/movies. I doubt most Americans are aware of the extent of that domination, so it’s worth bringing up. However, most other points read more like a laundry list of things the authors disliked about Americans, not necessarily a part of privilege. As such, I’d like to clear them out of the way so I can discover more actual instances of US privilege.

Some of the more common points are:

1. US residents ignorance of matters outside of the good ole’ USA
2. USA military might/influence affecting other countries
3. “American” can supposedly refer to people on the 2 continents and ppl from the US STOLE THE TERM AMERICAN FROM THEM
4. the USA media is a bunch of meanies that won’t cover foreign things outside of disasters
5. american exceptionalism! americans think they’re such speshel snowflakes! WELL THEY ARE WRONG!
6. There are a lot of US-based websites! and websites in English!

Now, the first 2 tie into each other more, IMHO, more than any one has so far caught onto, and since that will be longer and complex, and since numero uno is also one of the biggest and most common complaing points, I’ll get to it last.

Rebuttal #3 “American” is a Stolen Term – This one is beaten by simple, kindergarten Geography. There is no “American” continent. Fullstop. If one wants to refer specifically to one’s continent, “North American” and “South American”, Central American, Latin American, all these work better and are more descriptive than the incorrect continental-referring term “American”. The Americas as more than one continent corresponds to both geological (N.&S. America are on separate tectonic plates) AND cultural divisions. A Canadian and an Argentinian both have very distinct, different cultural backgrounds. Let’s not erase them by smashing them together, kthx?

Rebuttal #4 The US Media Sucks – I agree with this one, actually. The US media is fracking stupid and gives more coverage on How to Cure Bad Breath than on *any* politics. Trust me dolls, your country is not being singled out- our elections aren’t any more important than Lindsey Lohan’s filthy, filthy panties* than your elections are. The mainstream USA media just fucking sucks, get over it. That’s not privilege, that’s a lack of a series resource.

“Belize doesn’t have hospitals?!?! Oh, those fucking Belizens and their Belize privilege! Running around and not needing hospitals like the rest of us!!!” Uhh if you missed the sarcasm, it doesn’t work like that. If a country lacks a resource that other countries have, that is not a privilege. That’s just sad.

Rebuttal #5: Americans and their Uniqueness – this one always makes lmao. You’d think a bunch of people that kissed psychology’s ass so much would be able to understand statistics. And the statistics show that not only is America unique, it’s a fucking sideshow freak. America leans toward extremeness in most ways of living/culture. We have the most people that live alone, we’re the most patriotic of any countries around today, of Western countries we’re one of the most religious (Ireland, Poland, and USA are all in the top 3 I think), we have the most military/defense spending. So pretty much if you’re trying to argue that America is like most other countries and not the gothy, fundy weirdo of nations; you might just need to see one of the much ass-kissed psychiatrists to get your IQ checked.

Rebuttal #6: Too Many US Websites: Sorry honey but that just comes from having a large, wealthy population. There are a lot of Chinese, Japanese, Brazilian, and Russian websites too. Sucks, dun it? I would admit that *is* a kind of privilege, but it’s not one unique to the USA, so it’s not a specific US-privilege, it’s just large-country-privilege. I also don’t deny English-speaking privilege, but somehow I never see these complaining Canadians and New Zealanders owning up to that… Nonetheless, the US has one of the largest Spanish-speaking populations in the world. Claiming English-speaker-privilege=USA-privilege just serves to erase them, and once again, we’re not the only ones mouthing off in English on the internet.

Rebuttal #1&2: American Ignorance & Military Might As Privilege!

This is actually one of the sadder ones but I’ll give it an informal go. Despite our “USian privilege” we’re one of the few developed nations without government healthcare. Yeah, that’ll be changing in a couple years and we’ll see how it goes, but right now I still can’t go to the doctor with the sore throat I have today, or the sores all over my feet that were oozing pus and blood. Weird thing for a privileged USian to experience, huh? But it’s actually pretty common for us.

I didn’t really come to bitch about that though, but to point out a few facts. Here’s the 2009 USA military expenditure in US dollars: 663,255,000,000. Almost 50% of the world military expenditure is from the US. Admittedly, 4 or 5 other countries have a higher percent of their GDP dedicated to military spending (like our BFF Israel).

Now maybe if we weren’t throwing $600 or $700 billion dollars into God only knows what, I could go and show my nasty ass feet to some know-it-all doctor. But, you say, that is just a sacrifice we choose to make, and our military privilege is the pay-off?

Wrong. Most of the what the military does, when it’s creating free markets (hahahaha) for American goods and such, is done to aid a couple big corporation fat cats. If it ever helped a significant amount of Americans, I’ll smile and kiss a pig.

Then there’s the choice thing. To make a true choice, one has to be informed, don’t they? But somehow we’re known to be the most ignorant people alive. And I agree with that. It’s a sad, true fucking fact. But that’s not a choice either, as any American would know. Our history/geography/foreign/language etc. studies are fucking horrible. Here’s my old summary of it:

Cause history as taught in American schools goes something like this:

PILGRIMS PILGRIMS WIGWAMS PILGRAMS
REVOLUTIONARY WAR REVOLUTIONARY WAR REVOLUTIONARY WAR
(yeah the french may have been involved in there somewhere but WE REALLY DID IT ALL ON OUR OWN /pats america on the back)
CIVIL WAR oh them poor boys didn’t know what they was doin’, racism is bad
/repeat all that until middle school
MAYAS N INCANS N AZTECS CAUSE THAT’S SO MORE RELEVANT THAN NORTH AMERICAN NATIVES OR ANY OTHER HISTORY DUR
ANCIENT EGYPT TOTALLY RELEVANT TOTALLY
CONSTITUTION

then finally high school. Where you might not touch World History and WWII until your jr./senior year, depending on your school :/ My class that was supposed to cover WII ran out of time and only got to the Great Depression. Several other people confirmed this happening to them as well.

OH YEAH FORGOT VIETNAM NEVER HAPPENED. THE END.

Lately, and I suspect I’m being paranoid, I’ve begun to suspect it’s taught in such a repetitive and stupid way to deliberately keep us disinterested in history/politics and make us see them as boring and confusing. Because American history is NOT taught in schools. We never learned about the Spanish-American War, Guatemala, Panama, the Sandcreek Massacre, the stealing of Georgia as soon as gold was found there, we never covered Vietnam at all, ad infinitum, ad nauseum :/ All nations have nasty, shameful events in their pasts. Betcha fur I could do a study of how history is taught by each nationality, and how much of their bad shit they own up to, and the more honest they are, the less patriotic they are. And America is, as we know, the most patriotic country.

Is it so crazy to think that our education, our very knowledge, has been sacrificed so that our military might can continue keeping the world safe and profitable for big corporations and their CEOs? If we were given a decent, honest education about our history and the world, would the military keep getting their blank check and automatic approval for their wars?

It’s a lot harder when you were spoon-fed the same drivel for 18 years and now you have to go learn the rest of all the history outside of the Revolutionary War in just a couple years, and spend your life trying to catch up on that deficiency. How is being denied education and kept ignorant privilege? How is being subjected to near brainwashing privilege? How is being able to interact with non-Americans correctly privilege?

As I understood it, one of the facets of privilege was that the privileged group usually received some benefit from the privilege. Knowledge of the world and foreign language are a strength in terms of being competitive in the job market; the lack of people with the proper knowledge in the US as compared to outside is a weakness, it is no way a strength. I think even Obama has acknowledged the need for it and said it was important to change.

*I have no idea if Lindsey Lohan’s panties are filthy. Plz don’t sue.
**I also have no clue as to the state of hospitals in Belize, having never been to a hospital there :)
***If anyone thinks ignorance of history is a choice, keep class/location considerations in mind. As a kid, my family hardly ever had access to a car, let alone a computer or the internet. As an adult, one has more of a choice, but it still stands that most Americans are at a disadvantage/drastically behind people from other countries by the time they get that choice.

You are now a rich, white, straight, cisgendered, able-bodied man.

June 17, 2010

Let’s talk about an irritating trend that I see happening all over. See, everyone’s always excited over diversity in politics. That politics is and has been the playground of mostly rich white males is so obvious it never even has to be stated.

Who wouldn’t be excited to see more women, non-whites, gay, transgendered, etc. politicians to represent them? Well, apparently liberals, I am honestly surprised to say. As far as diversity goes, the theory seems to be that if you are a woman politican, but you support policies that go against liberal women’s ideas of what’s good for women, then you cease to be a woman.

You are no longer a woman. You are something else, a pawn perhaps, for men, because you couldn’t *possibly* have came up with those ideas yourself. You’re a black man and not a liberal? Sorry, you no longer count as a black politician. You don’t make things more diverse. You don’t make more equal representation. Oh, and you’re gay? But you became a politician because of foreign policy and free trade? And you actually don’t care about fighting for gay marriage rights?

Perish the thought, dear. You are not gay any longer. If you do not subscribe to the ideas of white, middle-class liberals, please line up and have your race, gender identity, and sexuality erased. You are now a rich, white, straight, cisgendered, able-bodied man. Please don’t complain about this-it’s no one’s fault but your own. Were you so naive as to think you could follow your genuine feelings on political issues?

Liberals, pat yourself on the back. Of course it’s your God-granted right to erase people’s race/gender/etc when they cease to agree with you.

Missouri 2010 Elections

June 5, 2010

With the Missouri primaries coming up this August, today I began my research on the candidates and who would be running.

While looking at the U.S Senate runners, I came across the Missouri Progressive Party’s Midge Potts She supports universal healthcare. That doesn’t necessarily mean she supported the piece of trash excuse for a bill that was passed by Obama & cronies. I’m not opposed to healthcare reform-what I am opposed to is all the political armtwisting and backhanded tactics used to pass the current bill, as well as how huge, convoluted, and chopped to fucking shit the healthcare bill that was passed was. Unlike the pathetic feel-good lack-of-addressing any issue that the Democratic candidate shows, Midge is extraordinary clear about exactly what she’ll try to do for this country, and Missouri. She’s also transgendered, has a history of political activism, and is a veteran, complicating her appeal for many voters. (in other words, MO, like many states, has an ample amount of close-minded foo’s filling out the ballot)

Other than Midge, the current options for the 2010 U.S Senate race are an utter, complete, SLIMEBAG of a man for the Republican party (and the idiot supports being on your parents insurance till you’re 27, as well as working to ban gay marriage, cutting all dental coverage for adult Medicaid patients, and fembots, his positions on abortion are of course, the worst) and a Democratic candidate who says she would’ve voted for the healthcare bill, and who actually seems pretty silent on the issues, other than some feel-good support education and farm families on her website.

Other candidates running include Glenn Miller, who I didn’t bother to read much about, seeing as how his site is covered in Confederate flags and he is a apparently a white supremacist (one of his campaign promises deals with “the Jews Running the World”, if that tells you anything), as well as the Libertarian candidates, Jonathan Dine.

In short, I don’t much like the two likely winners of the main parties. Thank God for third parties. Belonging to the Republican or Democratic party washes all the personality out of politicians. Or maybe R&D parties just naturally attract bland, personality-lacking drones who can’t do anything other than mumble mindless placating drivel. Third party runners are almost shockingly honest about their stance on the issues and often clearly show their true personalities, which is probably why they so rarely get elected. Could you picture Bush, Clinton, or McCain telling voters they were going to keep whites in a position of privilege and power? No. Their actions may be discriminatory, their hearts might be racist, but they will never have the fucking stones or honesty to tell people that.

Is Obama for legalizing marijuana right now like the Green Party candidate? No. And there is not a single, logical reason not to. But instead of following reason and doing what’s best for this country, he panders to the hypocritical Americans that smoked pot regularly but oh noes! their kids might smoke pot if it was legal. Like they don’t do it anyway. Alcohol is more destructive than marijuana, maybe Democrats should get on banning tha-Oh Wait. A few people have prophesied the end of one of the two main parties-however, they assumed the Republican party would be the one to go. I personally think it’ll be the Democratic Party, giving way to a less right-wing party.

That Old Immigration Trope Again

June 2, 2010

So there’s a bill rolling around that would change the current law (citizenship to anyone born on U.S soil) so that like many countries, a child born in the U.S would need to have a parent that was a citizen or legal resident.
I find myself incredibly amused. Looking at a list of nations that grant citizenship to babies born on the soil, regardless of parents, I found that there were almost all American countries (U.S&Canada, South America, Caribbean, etc. )

What about those Europeans? You know, those countries with the AWESOME health care systems that are so superior to ours, not to mention a superior education system, among all the other European laws some people *cough*liberals*cough find better than ours.

So liberals, any takers? Do you think the general European trend (demanding a parent of born child be a citizen or resident as well) to be superior to the United States’? I’m sure you want to make the citizenship laws stricter, yes?

Or could it even be… that what is good for Europe, is not necessarily best for us? Or even best at all?

May 20th is “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day”

May 20, 2010

To promote free speech and religious freedom, those of who can are exercising our right to draw Mohammad.
Well, I actually drew Meowhammad.

He looks better in full view, but I didn’t want to break the page with a huge image.

the usefulness of ethnic studies

May 13, 2010

Today I read that Arizona had cut ethnic studies classes. In truth I am less interested in the right or wrong of this particular move, and more interested in the actual usefulness of ethnic study classes.

Assuming two things, that
1. Ethnic studies classes are popular with people of the studied heritage
2. Minority students have a tougher time getting into good colleges, and lower graduation rates

I wonder if it’s really a good idea for a minority student to take them at all? I would encourage my own children (if/when I have some) to take math, science, or computer electives, possibly more foreign language classes. Regardless of whether you think Admissions tests like the SATs or ACT tests are useful, they are still required to get into many good schools. I just don’t see how knowing about the heritage and history of a certain culture/ethnic group will help one perform better on them. If your heart is set on formally studying it, there’s plenty of room for electives at college.

Also, assuming that one is legitimately interested in that heritage, and not just looking for an easy A, I have never found history/culture a particularly hard subject to research. Partly because it’s what I enjoy the most, but a lot of people love writing about their experiences living in other countries and dealing with other cultures. With the internet, it’s not difficult to ask people of those cultures first-hand either. Your own relatives may have valuable information.

Another issue I have with ethnic studies is that there is almost no way most public schools could offer a class for every student’s particular heritage. That will inevitably deny a group, whether it’s Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, German-Americans (you get the picture) the ability to formally study their own culture in a middle/high school setting. Cultures with small populations will inevitably lose out. I suggested earlier that there just be a class where students do an individual heritage study or study a particular culture and each do reports, presentations, etc on it. That’s a possibility, but I still think it’s a wasted credit. School should help you study what you cannot do on your own-a student wanting to weight-train, but lacking their own gym equipment, can often take a gym elective and gain access to the weight room. A budding astronomy enthusiast can gain equipment access without having to shell out their own cash for a telescope, etc.

I studied Spanish in high school, and we learned quite a bit about the Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures and histories. If not for Spanish-I I would have no clue about how Mexico gained it’s independence. Many say the best way to study a country or it’s culture is to study it’s language. Yet, while I’ve seen African-American Studies offered, apparently the non-Colonial languages of Africa have no usefulness in the eyes of educators, or pro-ethnic studies people, because I have NEVER seen any African language classes offered.

What does an ethnic studies class provide that can’t be found at home, or at a library? I very much welcome the experiences and opinions of people that have been in or taught an ethnic studies class. Or anybody’s opinions on the matter.

What prompted this post? SCHOOL IS OUT! :D

Civil Unions and Why They Suck

May 13, 2010

You know, people have asked me how I can so virulently oppose civil unions and yet call myself a supporter of gay rights.

To me, they look like nothing but another attempt at ‘separate but “equal”‘ new gay marriage version.
People for civil unions often say there is nothing special about the word marriage, but if so, why don’t we all, het&homo alike, have civil unions instead? Or, y’know, we could all have marriages :)

To me they are the biggest put-down, spit-on, slap-in-the-face that could ever be dreamed of for a gay person. Call me a disgusting, vile prevert, a corrupter of children, soulless and destined for hell, but don’t throw me a shitty table-scrap bone like “civil unions” and expect me to kiss your ass and be grateful for it.

It’s a funny thing about rights-they’re inherent, aren’t they? So why should you be happy when someone is offering you less than your full right?

I am always told I should support these people that want same-sex couples to be able to have a civil union. But the thing is, these people, usually Democrats or liberals, really should know better. They have utterly no excuse. They do not have a fanatical evangelistic demographic to cater for, and are supposed to be the politicians for the working man, the oppressed, the minority. What is their excuse? Fuck them. I’ll vote for the guy telling me I’m going to hell before I’ll vote for you, you little half-assed cowardly homo-hating asshole who doesn’t even have the guts to call a homosexual a dyke or a faggot and evil. Because surely that’s what someone thinking “civil unions are ok but marriage? hey no!” really believes, the shit-eating cretins.

Such people are not even worthy of being spat on.

/my exclusive individual opinion, which is likely quite different than yours but hey! that’s ok cause different lives, thoughts, personalities, etc. I have no problems with people getting them where they’re available, but I do have a serious issue with being expected to act like someone is the Savior of teh Gays because they support the right to “civil unions”.


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